It seems that Theosophy has some roots in the Hermetic Tradition. Some of you may know this, but perhaps many are unaware of just how deep they go. Here are two Hermetic groups that tie in when Theosophy started.

The "Hermetic Brotherhood Of Luxor"(HBL) was started in 1870 in Britain, and went public in 1884. It's teachings were based on that of the Rosecrucian Freemasonry tradition, along with those of P. D. Randolph and Hargrove Jennings. As the Theosophical Society was founded in 1875, the two organizations had harmonious relations in the beginning. In fact, many prominent Occultists, Spiritualists and Theosophists were members of the HBL, including evidence of Blavatsky herself. But, by 1886 they were rivals, the reasons being several and too lengthy to go into here.

The other groups is the better known "Hermetic Order Of The Golden Dawn," founded in 1888. It had some indirect influence from the HBL and included numerous Theosophical Society members, two better known are W. B. Yeats and Dion Fortune. In fact, the noted British Occultist, Kenneth Grant, states in "Magick Revival"

"The Golden Dawn was the inner mystery school of the Order that formulated itself in the outer world as the Theosophical Society."

My questions are: Does anyone here have further knowledge and comments on these two Hermetic connections? What Theosophists were involved with Hermeticism and what splinter groups came about that are not commonly known? Why did Blavatsky go to the East and India and not stick more with the Western Mystery Schools? Plus, any comments along these lines.

Also, are there any out there who have fashioned a Theosophical-Hermetic approach of their own they'd like to share?

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We will waiting Johnston's blog.
I want to distinguish between Hermetic mediterranean philosophy ( s. I-III) and rosicrucians-hermetic-like groups.
One of the founders of GD (William Westcot) was in the Blavatsky's Inner Group and wrote many entries in the Theosophical Glossary. But his story-history is somehow complex.
About HBL, well, there is the Randolph-Blavatsky affair, which is subject of many books and historical analisys.
Leslie, thanks for the info. One thing I want to follow up on is the "Randolph-Blavatsky affair" you refer to. I've never run across any reference to this, but I'm far from an expert on Blavatsky's life. Are you indicating a "romantic" affair of sorts? It is known that as a young woman she worked as a bareback rider in a traveling circus. A serious fall one day displaced her womb, thus pretty much putting a damper on her sex life. A doctor later verified this.

As P.B. Randolph was a Western pioneer into Sex Magic, any physical affair between them would certainly open up new avenues of speculation and perhaps some new insights into the real beginnings of Theosophy.

Any more information you have on this, please feel free to share it here, along with sources.
Hi Michael, at this moment I haven't the sources at hand, in fact, in South America it is dificcult to find and check certain sources, but in the following days I will try to find some of them.
The affair is not a romantic one but magickal, and who must know something about that is Robert Searle too, he write in kheper, where there is information about Max Theón.

In the following book, you'll find some analisys of the relations between Randolph and HPB.
But I am not a specialist, Paul must have better information.
Besides, some authors suggest relations between HPB and the Sat Bhai order.
Thanks, Paul, for your clarification and information. This is the kind of response I was hoping for. I read your blog post and would like to read the continuing parts, as it was dated October, 2009. If you could give a link here for others to read it also, I'm sure it would be appreciated.

I only learned of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor(HBL) in the last few days, so my research on them was quick and limited. I'm sure there is lots more to tell and I look forward to your input and others. Joe Fulton gave me a reference to the Church of Light a short while back, but didn't know it was connected to the HBL. I haven't had time to look into it, but will soon.

I'm more familiar with The Golden Dawn and hope others can throw more light on its connections with the early Theosophical Society.
Leila, this is great information, thanks. I'm afraid the $75 for the P.B. Randolph book is a little steep for me! The info on Max Theron is a surprise, as I've never heard of him. I hope some others here can benefit from all this also.

It looks like we're starting to gather more data on the Hermetic influence and beginnings of Theosophy and on HPB herself. Much more is needed and I hope additional input comes through here. I'm going to follow up on the Golden Dawn and the Wm Westcot connection. The British Occultist, Kenneth Grant, is quite knowledgeable on the Golden Dawn and matters Hermetic. He's still alive, living in London, but I'm not sure how to contact him.

What part of South America are you in? What time zone? I'm in Los Angeles, CA. Keeps up the good work and contribute anything more you have, please.
Briefly, it is not the more comfortable but perhaps it could help
Tomorrow I'll write something more, if God wills.

Thanks so much for the link. When I first checked it out, it was very slow loading and there were only blank pages. I checked it again and got the full download. I'll have to skim much of it for now, as I have a lot of back reading. It looks fascinating.

I'll get back to you about it.
Joe, Interesting. As I've mentioned to you before, the majority of the buildings of old Krotona in Hollywood in the Beachwood Canyon area, have a Moorish architectural motif to them. They were designed and built around 1912 to 1916. I don't think the Moorish design influence was an accident or whim, but must be of some metaphysical/spiritual significance.

I can only find one article on the Internet with pictures of old Krotona and some text concerning a few of the buildings, most still standing. But, there's no reference to why the Moorish architecture was decided on in the first place. Joseph E. Ross is mentioned as an authority on Krotona, with a book out about the community. You know him and I'm sure he'll have some answers.
In reference to H.P Blavatsky's relationship to the P.B. Randolph and the "Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor," I've finished looking over the relevant pages in the book: "Paschal Beverly Randolph: a nineteenth century Black American Spiritualist." Leila Becquer so graciously provided the link to it:

The pages dealing with Blavatsky and Randolph and the HBL are from 264 to to about 272. Blavatsky had been involved with a group of Rosicrucians in the early 1870's, which she called the "Brotherhood of Luxor" in 1875, the year the Theosophical Society was started. She was familiar with P.B. Randolph's writings and approved of them, except for the Sex Magick parts. It was pointed out that others in the TS also studied Randolph in the early years of TS, but distanced themselves from the sexual aspects. This seems in line with the Victorian prudery of the era, or at least to publicly disclaim any interest in that part of Randolph's teachings.

It's interesting that in 1875 a Mr. Mendenhall put out a circular questioning the existence of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor and Blavatsky responded in writing that it not only existed, but she was a member. This is interesting because there's no official notice of the BHL until 1884. Perhaps Paul could clear this up, for this particular book doesn't.

By 1888, Blavatsky was at war with the HBL and even denied ever being associated with it, as she was involved with her Eastern Masters and Mahatmas by then. There's no detail as to what caused the rift. There also some confusion as to whether there were two "Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor's" in the U.S.A. during this time. A Kenneth MacKennzie speaks of a HBL in the U.S., but Blavatsky claims it is some kind of Royal Masonic Society in secret.

To sum up: there's written evidence from Blavatsky and Olcott that she and others from TS were involved with part of Randolph's teachings and with a group that used his teachings that became known as the "Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor." By around 1888, HPB, again, for reasons not covered in this book, became estranged from the HBL and denied any involvement with them. - Though, some evidence suggests she was only denying involvement with the mistaken HBL in the U.S.

There's obviously plenty more to be said on all this, and it's out there. Then there's the relationship between The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and many members of the Theosophical Society. Anyone with information on that are also invited to come forward.
Thanks, Paul, for additional info and the correction about "Brotherhood of Luxor" without the Hermetic. I'd missed that.

I look forward to your blog coming soon on this. Best to you.


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