In a recent note to someone I had mentioned some reasoning behind the discussion on the Stanzas of Dzyan.  Recently, the thought came to mind, what else did we miss?

Perhaps a good question here is to gather a list of questions that result from comments made by HPB (and others) that either left more questions than answers or did not sufficiently answer a question, and results in confusion today.  Of course, this does not only apply to Blavatsky, but also to others who in their incompleteness or by omission, left gaps in their explanations.

So, let's have at it and have fun.

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The first thing I learned when I started my History Honours degree is that you do not judge the actions of historical characters by modern standards, you judge them by the standards of their own time.  Hence, the use of pseudonyms in the late Victorian era is appropriate to the time, whatever the field of study and whoever is supposed to be using them.  It was comprehensive, not just limited to occult writings and womens fiction as you seem to think.  It was also very common in travel literature - to the point where novels were presented as actual travels or correspondences.  A point in case is a book called "Letters from an English Gentlewoman to an Indian Judge" or some such.  It was always presented by its author as real, but is actually a novel.

I know the practice is frustrating to later historians and biographers.  I'm just pleased I'm not giving the same attention that I gave Countess Wachtmeister to "Wishar S Cerve - WS Cerve - Spenser Lewis - H Spenser Lewis - Harve and Harvey Spencer Lewis, James D Ward" - and so on up to about thirty different variations of the above.  (I've classified him under Lewis, if anybody knows that's not his actual name please let me know.)  And, as you comment about the "Church of Light,"  I doubt that AMORC are at all fussed about all the pseudonyms.

Why a different criteria should be imposed on the Mahatmas from the common practice of other literature of that time is beyond me.  The letters themselves explain why pseudonyms are used.

 

PS, I think the subject of who were the sources of Blavatsky's many quotes and whether she had any actual physical contact with them has been done to death somewhere else.  It was started when Countess Wachtmeister and the Keightley Brothers tried to find them prior to the publication of the Secret Doctrine for inclusion in that book, and has been ongoing ever since.

Paul, you mentioned that you don't know of any current or recent authors in the spiritual field who are using pseudonyms of people in their work. I can think of two offhand, though I'm sure there are more. Although, these might not meet the criteria you have in mind.

First would be Carlos Castaneda, who passed on in 1998. I'm aware of the controversy over his books on "Don Juan, the sorcerer," and won't go into a lengthy discussion of it here. But, he definitely used pseudonyms, and "Don Juan" was most certainly a pseudonym as were the other characters, all probably roughly based on a combination of real people, plus his imagination. I'm not a "Castaneda devotee," but Irregardless of whether most of what he wrote took place on different Astral Planes, the first four are generally recognized as having some genuine wisdom in them.

Second would be Lynn V. Andrews, sort of the "Female Castaneda." She did something similar with her "Medicine Woman" series. I'm not that familiar with her work, but she is still alive and giving seminars and workshops that have a following.

There are cases where it's a question as to whether the characters are entirely fictional, as many of Paul Twitchell's Eck Masters are for example, or based closely or remotely on models as his Sudar Singh is based closely on Kirla Singh.  Then with Idries Shah we have an author writing under multiple pseudonyms rather than an author giving pseudonymous names to his characters.  He died in 1996 so is almost as contemporary as Castaneda.

 

Thanks, Paul and Joe. I wasn't trying to start a new thread here of "how many current or recent spiritual writers are using pseudonyms in their writings?" Just a sideline comment in reference to Paul's brief statement.

As for "What did Blavatsky miss?", I gave my view on that in a previous comment several months ago, so won't reiterate it now.

Paul, I'm trying to find some information on "Ghost Land" on the Internet, but so far it only seems to be sites selling the book. I'm sure many here look forward to your research into the book and all the circumstances and personages that were involved with and/or in it.

 

Dear Michael,

The full edition of Parts I and II (not Book II) is available on Google books and linked (along with several other titles you might find of interest) in the Recommended Reading list (second entry and second in significance for church members IMO) on my CofL history blog.  But as I work with the text line by line there are a great many points that require explanation.  Just correcting the text was a big task but now we go back through and add annotations; then write a historical introduction.

So if you find the available version daunting, hopefully you'll want to read the new edition either in book or ebook form.  It should be much more user friendly, plus it has the never-published-in-book-form Book II.  I think that Emma would have wanted a new edition that included Book II, which only appeared in serial form in her lifetime.  She ties up a lot of loose ends and settles scores in the final portion.

Cheers,

Paul

Michael A. Williams said:

Thanks, Paul and Joe. I wasn't trying to start a new thread here of "how many current or recent spiritual writers are using pseudonyms in their writings?" Just a sideline comment in reference to Paul's brief statement.

As for "What did Blavatsky miss?", I gave my view on that in a previous comment several months ago, so won't reiterate it now.

Paul, I'm trying to find some information on "Ghost Land" on the Internet, but so far it only seems to be sites selling the book. I'm sure many here look forward to your research into the book and all the circumstances and personages that were involved with and/or in it.

 

Thanks, Paul, for the link. It looks great and I'll definitely get around to reading "Ghost Land." The other selections there also look intriguing. It'll be interesting to compare this with your newer, updated version when it comes out.

In perusing the Internet via Google Search about Emma, I ran across this site that has an article purporting that Emma and Blavatsky were tools of the "dark side" and the only true medium was a Cora Richmond. Sounds like some kind of "crank" at work here, but thought you might be interested(if you haven't seen it before):

http://www.interfarfacing.com/statements.htm

Kirpal Singh, and his master, whose name I can't remember.  We were members of his organisation at the time, and he didn't have much time for the westernisation of his materials.

K. Paul Johnson said:

There are cases where it's a question as to whether the characters are entirely fictional, as many of Paul Twitchell's Eck Masters are for example, or based closely or remotely on models as his Sudar Singh is based closely on Kirla Singh.  Then with Idries Shah we have an author writing under multiple pseudonyms rather than an author giving pseudonymous names to his characters.  He died in 1996 so is almost as contemporary as Castaneda.

 

Oops, that was a typo-- object lesson, re-read one's post.  Sorry for the red herring.  Too late to go back and edit the comment but it's Kirpal Singh of the Sant Mat tradition, formerly associated with Radhasoami Satsang-Beas, who was transformed into a fictionalized character by Twitchell according to Radhasoami history scholar David C. Lane. Joe Fulton said:

Is Kirla Singh and Kirpal Singh the same person?  I had a really hard time finding anything on Kirla Singh including a Google search. Any information you can provide is most appreciated.

Thanks,  Joe

That would tally with what Kirpal Singh himself said at the time we were members of the Saant Mat tradition.  He said he'd initiated Twitchell into the Saant Mat tradition, but didn't approve of the way he'd watered down and Westernised the teachings.


Dear Paul,

Thanks for the suggestions. I'm following up on the idea of the influence of occult literature. It's quite a rich field of inquiry. The importance of this genre seems to be to disseminate occult ideas, and, maybe more important, the evocation of the sense of the marvelous, fantastic and uncanny. This kind of literature might have played indeed quite big role in the acceptance of the occult in the 19th century.

Dear June,

 

Which sources are you referring to? Best sources so far known to me would be the BCW with Zirkoff's additions, Godwin's The Theosophical Enlightenment and Paul's work, though none go into the origin of specific quotes. Then Coleman never produced his promised work.


June Vallyon said:

PS, I think the subject of who were the sources of Blavatsky's many quotes and whether she had any actual physical contact with them has been done to death somewhere else.  It was started when Countess Wachtmeister and the Keightley Brothers tried to find them prior to the publication of the Secret Doctrine for inclusion in that book, and has been ongoing ever since.

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