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Astral Projection or Liberation of the Double and the Work of the Early Theosophical Society (Used)
by Deveney, John Patrick
Publisher: Theosophical History Center
Book ID: 9781883279066, 1883279062
Theosophical History Company, 1997.
An information sheet on the Theosophical Society published around 1897 describes the T.S. as "an International Body . . . which was founded at New York, U.S., on the 17th day of November 1875, with three well-defined objects . . . ." Although somewhat ambiguous, the impression to the casual reader is that the T.S. at its inception had three objects, the first of which is "to form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity . . . ." This is the impression that still exists today among many Theosophists and historians with passing knowledge on Theosophy. A careful reading of the events that led to the formation of the Theosophical Society and its activities during the New York years (1875-1878) leaves no doubt that this is an erroneous view. Although a number of studies have revealed the original goals and activities of the Society, no study has exhibited such an extensive investigation of this topic as John Patrick Deveney's Astral Projection or Liberation of the Double and the Work of the Early Theosophical Society. Mr. Deveney culls his information from a host of primary sources that leave the reader with little doubt that magic, occultism, theosophy all imply that acquiring successful practical experience, not simply knowing the theory, was the main purpose in founding the Society.
Madame Blavatsky's famous lamasery is mentioned as a training school for magic, especially the separation of the astral body from the physical body. Isis Unveiled is largely based on the separability of the astral and physical bodies. Madame Blavatsky herself possessed this ability or at least claimed this ability well into the 1880s. Other members, such as Damodar, Stainton Moses and Elliott Coues supposedly possed the same ability. The role of George Henry Felt in the founding of the Society, what it means to be a "chela" and achieve "Chelaship," and the possible implications of the early objects upon the later T.S. are all discussed. In short, this study serves as a corrective to the misconceptions and general ignorance of the early T.S. that seem to be widespread to the present day.
Mr. Deveney is very well qualified to write on this topic. The author of the newly published Paschal Beverly Randolph (Albany: SUNY Press, 1996) and co-author of The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor (York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, 1995), he has a grasp on the literature of the period that is unsurpassed.
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