K. Paul Johnson's Blog (10)

The Quest for Hermes Trismegistus by Gary Lachman

Somehow this 2011 book escaped my attention until today, and I'm delighted that such a reliable author has taken on a subject of such importance.  Will be ordering it immediately, but sight unseen will add this to the recommended reading list for Church of Light history.  It meets a very real need, that much is apparent from some of the reviews. 

Here's the publisher's webpage…


Added by K. Paul Johnson on October 10, 2011 at 10:15pm — 5 Comments

"no one puts any confidence in...such shadowy testimony"-- Emma Hardinge Britten

While contemplating Ghost Land's multiple pseudonyms and searching for possible prototypes in other works of Emma Hardinge Britten, I came upon this telling passage from Emma, expressing class resentment at her aristocratic informants and their penchant for secrecy.  Bolded passes are highlighted by me:


From Nineteenth Century Miracles (1884) pp. 90-91

In America, where the sources of popular power are derived from the people, Spiritualism may be…


Added by K. Paul Johnson on October 2, 2011 at 2:30pm — No Comments

Google ngrams yields fascinating data about Theosophy, Spiritualism, occultism over two centuries

In the last three blog posts at ehbritten.org Marc Demarest delves into a new research tool that addresses precisely the kinds of questions discussed by Joe, Govert, June, and others in a recent thread.  Having seen a few of his search results, from the POV of the Church of Light I wanted to see how Hermetic/Hermeticism and astrology, the two keywords most relevant to us, compare to Theosophy and Spiritualism, two source…


Added by K. Paul Johnson on September 28, 2011 at 3:00pm — No Comments

Blavatskycentrism: true/false and good/bad

The constitution, no doubt, of the Society is broad enough to include minds more sceptical than my own in regard to the alleged sources of its vitality and influence. But let any one try to realise this nominal freedom, and he will find himself, not only in an uncongenial element, but in an attitude of controversy with his ostensible leaders, with the motive forces of the Society. That is not consistent with the sympathetic subordination or co-operation which is essential to…


Added by K. Paul Johnson on September 17, 2011 at 8:30am — 4 Comments

Felt chronology, Pancoast notes, blog post about Cobb and Horton, from Marc Demarest

Marc Demarest shared his notes on Seth Pancoast and a report on a George Felt group research project, an



for the "Invisible Founders" discussion.

He has also…


Added by K. Paul Johnson on September 16, 2011 at 9:00am — 1 Comment

The Invisible Founders of the Theosophical Society: Rescue Them from Historical Amnesia


Lately I've been thinking about the original founders of the Theosophical Society listed in Colonel Olcott's account, and how little we know about most of them.  Googling "founders of the Theosophical Society" leads largely to repeated assertions that one, two or three are the Founders and none of the rest count.  Thanks to Marc Demarest, Emma Hardinge Britten is emerging from historical obscurity (although we can't quite say that…


Added by K. Paul Johnson on September 8, 2011 at 6:00pm — 6 Comments

Chevalier Louis meets the Ellora Brotherhood (from Ghost Land)

 (The Chevalier Louis visits an underground temple in India, and participates in rites of an occult brotherhood)


In all I gazed upon, there was no minutiae of detail; all was colossal, distinct, magnificent, whilst every design, however vast its size, was executed in a style of the most perfect workmanship. The light diffused from the gorgeous planisphere of the roof was soft yet brilliant, and by an arrangement since explained to me,…


Added by K. Paul Johnson on September 2, 2011 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Jack the Ripper and Black Magic-- new book examines TS connection to Ripper case


I just noticed this new title from McFarland on Google Books.  It includes 35 mentions of Blavatsky due to the suspicion that has fallen on one individual who was associated with the TS.

Added by K. Paul Johnson on August 27, 2011 at 6:51am — 16 Comments

Interview on "A Mystery of a People" (Melungeons) for North Carolina Public Radio

For most of a decade I took a break from subjects related to esotericism, and focused on my own family history and that of mixed ancestry groups and communities of the US Southeast.  For five years I've been involved with the board of the Melungeon Heritage Association, planning and organizing annual scholarly conferences.  The week after our fifteenth annual gathering, the first in the Carolinas, I was interviewed in Durham along with filmmaker Julie Williams Dixon about…


Added by K. Paul Johnson on August 19, 2011 at 1:30pm — 1 Comment

Celebrating Art Magic, working on Ghost Land

Hi everyone, I'm back after a hiatus of several months, absorbed in various work that I'll post about over time.  The Church of Light convention and history preconference were delightful, and my research on the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor's history well received.  But Emma Hardinge Britten, and Marc Demarest as her biographer, were the stars of the preconference and returning her major works to print is worth celebrating not just for CofL members or Spiritualists and occult historians but…


Added by K. Paul Johnson on August 18, 2011 at 6:30pm — 2 Comments

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