The word theosophy is from the Greek theos, meaning God, and sophia meaning wisdom. The occult version of Lemuria began in the 1880s as a submerged origin of the Third Root-Race, proposed by Helena P. Blavatsky (1831-1891) and her Theosophical Society (Blavatsky 1928; 1931). Blavatsky was an important figure in the occult because she rehabilitated archaic and discarded myths from all over the world. She proposed that ancient peoples had always known about Lemuria, which made it a very popular in the twentieth century as secret, hidden body of knowledge.
Blavatsky was the first to place Lemuria in the Pacific Ocean near California, not in the Indian Ocean. This reflects a shift in orientation in occultist materials from the East to Western sources. Many people involved in the occult movement were located in North America so the ancient histories seem more accessible when placed in this geographic location. Theosophy may be considered a modern Gnostic movement continuing from the late nineteenth century and the precursor to New Age beliefs. Theosophical philosophy is found in ancient Greece in the writings of Plato, Plotinus, neo-Platonists and Jakob Boehme (1575-1624) who wrote Mysterium Magnum (1976). Boehme describes evil as necessary and describes God as an abyssal nothing (Palmer 1954). Many of his followers were absorbed by the Quakers.
The Theosophical Society was founded in 1875 in New York City by Blavatsky, Henry Steel Olcott (1832-1907) and William Quan Judge (1851-1896). Blavatsky believed that behind the beliefs and practices of the major world faiths there was a hidden body of esoteric knowledge. The five prominent symbols visible in the Seal of the Theosophical Society are the Star of David, which is usually recognized as the symbol of Judaism; the Ankh, used in Egypt as the symbol of life; the Swastika, an ancient cosmic symbol; the Ouroboros, which is another ancient symbol that depicts a dragon swallowing its own tail forming a circle; and the Aum, the three sounds of Sanskrit believed to be the essence of the universe. “Theosophy is both very old and very new – very old because its truths were known and taught in the oldest civilizations, and very new because it includes the latest investigations of the present day” (Rogers 1956:8).
The system of Theosophical beliefs incorporates aspects of Buddhism and Brahmanism, especially attitudes in reincarnation and spiritual evolution. Both religions teach that humans have achieved their human body through thousands of reincarnations, beginning as mineral, plant, animal and lastly, human form. Theosophism differs from Buddhism in that they do no believe in the regressive evolution of the soul. In other words, once a person obtains a human body, negative karma will not cause the person to be reincarnated in an animal form.
Blavatsky believed that she was appointed by Ascended Masters to present hidden teachings to the world. It became acknowledged that people must seek, outside of themselves, a spiritual teacher or Ascended Master. Her idea of Ascended Masters may have come from the book Zanoni (1842) by Edward Bulwer-Lytton that recounts the life of an immortal alchemist during the French Revolution, based on actual historical accounts of Count of Saint-Germain. According to Theosophy, there are nine Ascended Masters are known to humankind: Maitreya, Koot-Hoomi, Jwul-Khul “The Tibetan,” Hilarion, Morya, Serapis, Rakoczi, Maha Chohan and Jesus. The three aims of the Theosophical Society are to:
- To form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity without distinction of race, color, or creed.
- To promote the study of Aryan and other Scriptures, of the World’s religion and sciences, and to vindicate the importance of old Asiatic literature, namely, of the Brahmanical, Buddhist, and Zoroastrian philosophies.
- To investigate the hidden mysteries of Nature under every aspect possible, and the psychic and spiritual powers latent in man especially (Blavatsky 1969:39).
Theosophy attracted a leisure class of middle-aged women (Wilson 1987:39). Those with secure social roles are more likely to join a new movement because these people can change and adopt new lifestyles. Theosophy is a recrudescence of Edwardian and Victorian spiritual concerns that appealed to wealthier individuals (Sutcliffe 2003).
Theosophy is mystical in that is claims insight into God by learning through direct knowledge. God is assumed absolute reality, where the spiritual nature of the universe is derived. Evil in the world exists because people have a desire for goods and are greedy for material objects. Theosophists use theories to formulate a complete philosophy of humanity and nature. For theosophists, there is no coincidence in nature. The past, present and future operate within the laws of the Universal Paradigm, which is present in New Age belief systems and is often called Law, Evolution and Logos. The universe is ordered by the number seven, including the seven bodies: the physical, the Linga-Sarira or Vital body, Kama or desire, also known as the astral body by medieval alchemists. The fourth body is the Mental body, the fifth is the Causal body or Arupic, the sixth is the Buddic or Intuitional and the seventh body is the Atman the Ineffable (Blavatsky 1928; 1931).
There were schisms within Blavatsky’s original Theosophical Society. Judge was accused by Olcott and Annie Besant of forgery. Later, Olcott and Besant founded the Theosophical Society-Adyar in Chennai India. The North American branch is called Theosophical Society in America and is located in Wheaton, Illinois. The society led by Judge is known as the Theosophical Society and is located in Pasadena, California. The United Lodge of Theosophists split from the original Theosophical Society in 1909 and was founded by Robert Crosbie (1849-1919) who focused on the literature by Blavatsky and Judge.
Theosophy, Lemuria and Atlantis
Blavatsky’s The Secret Doctrine (1928) and Isis Unveiled (1931) describe the ancestors of humans, not as simians, but as highly evolved and technological beings. Blavatsky provided a theory of evolution for those seeking an alternative to Darwin and Christian beliefs. People find their descending from apes and monkeys distasteful and for many, humans evolving from spirit is more palatable. Thus, for Theosophists, Darwin had discovered only part of the human evolution record.
According to Blavatsky (1928; 1931), there are seven Root-Races of humans. The First and Second Root-Races were ethereal beings, who had no speech, sight or sex. The Second Root-Race existed on a continent called Hyperborea, located at the North Pole. Here, the Lemurians chose to take a material body, spoke in monosyllables and engaged in sex. The Fourth Root-Race, from which most humans today are descendants, was located in Atlantis. Black people have degenerated from the original Lemurians; Caucasians are descendants of the Fifth Root-Race and are far removed from Black peoples. Thus, Theosophy provides an explanation for human variation and racism. The races of Lemuria were ethnically diverse, but governed by a white race.
Theosophists place Lemuria in the Mesozoic era (250 to 65 million years ago) until the end of the Permian (290 to 245 million years ago). At the end of the Mesozoic era the Atlantean Fourth Root-Race began to appear, and their sub-race, the Rmoahals, bred with the Lemurians. In the Eocene Period (55 to 38 million years ago) the Lemurian continent vanished due to cataclysmic events; the sinking of Lemuria took almost 700,000 years. For the Lemurians that survived, many traveled to Atlantis, creating the Fourth Root-Race. The Fourth Root-Race evolved into what are now the Chinese, Japanese, Polynesians, Indians, Siberians, and North Pole tribes (Spence 1933:95). Spence (1933:223) notes:
Ideas and arts were communicated in early times, slowly, by a hand-to-had process, over many extensive distances, and myths and artifacts, tools, and even slaves and captives have been known to travel thousands of miles from the areas of their origin by exchange or barter. Atlantis and Lemuria knew about each other but contact was probably through diffusion.
The Lemurian and Rmoahal offspring had black skin, stood twelve feet tall and bred with the Sixth and Seventh sub-races of the Lemurians. Cro-Magnon is the descendants of the Rmoahals. Interestingly, William Scott-Elliot (1990) believed that the Lemurians went through an egg-laying phase and then bred with beasts, resulting in the great apes. These great apes evolved into Cro-Magnon humans, which are the earliest known type of modern human found in Europe, from 50,000 to 30,000 years ago.
According to Theosophists, another sub-race, the Tlavatlis, were red skinned; their descendants now live in Mexico and Central Americas. Also occurring at the same time of the destruction of Lemuria was the flight of the Toltec’s. The Toltec’s were originally eight feet tall and kept the Atlantean glory alive through the establishment of a monarchy. However, their culture disintegrated after 100,000 years because of their gross misuse of psychic powers. Another sub-race, the Turanians, also fought the Toltec’s, were cruel and lawless. When Atlantis began to sink, the Turanians migrated to Asia and began the Seventh sub-race, which are now the Mongolians. The Fifth sub-race, the Semites, were driven out of Atlantis by the Sixth sub-race, the Akkadians, who are the present day Basque people.
The constituent sub-races of the Aryan race are Hindus, Sumerians, Egyptians, Hellenes, Europeans, Nova men and a race that will appear in the future as the seventh sub-race. The sixth race constitutes a new coming group, which will possess a higher consciousness than humans today. However, this was very futuristic when it first appeared and now seems very dated. The future of nanotechnology, cyborgs and genetic engineering seems like drastically overtaking any theosophical version of a coming race.
Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) broke from the Theosophical society in 1907 and founded the Anthroposophical Society, headquartered in Dornach, Switzerland. Steiner, in The Submerged Continents of Atlantis and Lemuria (1911) wrote of the Akashic Records that contain all lost, ancient knowledge and are only accessible to those deemed spiritually ready. By “reading” the Akashic Records, Steiner added more details about the Lemurians and Atlanteans (Steiner 1911, 1923). He claimed that Lemurians lifted objects by will power, lived in caves, reworked hills and accomplished complex masonry. There were no temples or places of worship, only places of instruction in science and magic. Ancient civilizations rose from the knowledge of the gods. “Only by degrees in post-Atlantean times was the door closed into the divine spiritual world which in the Atlantean period had still been wide open for the human soul” (Steiner 1950:31).
Steiner emphasized the scientific study of the spiritual world. Unlike Blavatsky, he did not emphasize hidden masters or occult communication with Ascended Masters. He warns the clairvoyants must practice good judgment when talking to the spirit world. Steiner notes (1950:46), “We may meet some being of the soul or spirit world, but we do not necessarily know whether it is progressing in its evolution, or whether it belongs to the category of powers that have lagged behind.” He believed in spiritual basis of reality, reincarnation and personal experiences that could expand the consciousness. “The passing of the individual through successive incarnations is of importance for the collective evolution of the human race” (Steiner 1950:11). Steiner believed that humans originally shared the spiritual consciousness of the cosmos and the present knowledge is only a vestige of primordial cognition (Ellwood 1973:107). For Steiner, all beings advanced though at every state, some were left behind (Steiner 1950:39). Anthrosophists placed importance on education, creative arts and drama, later establishing schools called Waldorf Schools.
Theosophists and Hollow Earth
Theosophists believe that many beings live within the earth, most importantly the spiritual guides of humankind. According to theosophists, the earth is a hollow sphere with a shell thirty to forty miles thick. M.L. Sherman (1884:251) notes,
The interior surface, which is a beautiful world, in a more
highly developed condition than the exterior, is accessible by
a circuitous and spirally formed aperture, that may be found in
the unexplored open Polar Sea.
The author was aware of the interior world through clairvoyance and telepathic abilities.
Alice Bailey (1880-1949) focused on the esoteric aspects of theosophy and founded the Arcane School in 1923. She also developed the spiritual Hierarchy of spiritual leaders in Initiation Human and Solar (1929) that explains that God is the Solar Logos, ruler of the solar system and Sanat Kumara is the Lord of the World. He guides the earthly evolution of humans and came from Venus about eighteen million years ago. The Lord of the World lives in Shamballah, located in the Gobi Desert; under the Lord of the World is Buddha are Bodhisattvas and humans. Bailey attempted to avoid the development of a movement centered on her personality. Instead, she emphasized meditation and performing service in the community.
Shamballah and Agartha: Where are They Now? There are two occult versions of Shamballah and Agartha. Agartha, the underground dwelling place of the Ascended Masters, is sometimes at odds with another underground city, Shamballah, located in the Gobi desert. Blavatsky mentions Shamballah in The Secret Doctrine (1928), where she telepathically received information from her teachers in Tibet. Shamballah is believed to possess a purity that sets it apart from the world. Those who seek to enter its gates must forgo their journeys if they desire worldly possessions or to become ruler of the kingdom. “Myths of hidden places like Shamballah help to remind us, if only subconsciously, that there is much more to the world than we imagine” (Bernbaum 1980:259).
Blavatsky sometimes called Ascended Masters Mahatmas, a familiar term to British people who were influenced by India. She wrote that as Lemuria sank, some Lemurians traveled to Atlantis while the rest traveled to Shamballah in the Gobi Desert. Helena Roerich, in Collected Letters (1994[1935-1939]) wrote that Blavatsky was a messenger of the White Brotherhood from Shamballah. The Theosophists regard Shamballah to be the seat of the Brotherhood of Adepts. The secret opening to Shamballah is located beneath Mount Kanchenjunga, the third largest mountain in the world. The mountain is surrounded by three territories: Sikkim in the south and east, Nepal in the west, and Tibet in the north. This Brotherhood of Adepts sends Ascended Masters to the surface world to instruct humans into the next level of higher consciousness.
Theosophist Rudolph Steiner (1950) wrote that Jesus Christ will return and reveal the true location of Shamballah with his Second Coming. Both Steiner and Blavatsky emphasized the struggle between good and evil and the constant battle between Agartha
and Shamballah. Another theosophist, Alice Bailey (1880-1949), channeled occult information from Tibetan masters. Bailey wrote extensively about Shamballah in Letters on Occult Meditation (1926), Initiation, Human and Solar (1929), A Treatise on White Magic (1934), and A Treatise on Cosmic Fire (1958). Bailey believes that the Shamballah Force is highly volatile energy and is the destructive origin of evil. There is also a Hierarchy in Shamballah that protects the Force and will initiate The Plan when conditions are right. According to Bailey, this Shamballah Force was present during the Lemurian Age and during the Atlantean times. Because of the evil Shamballah is capable of, Bailey attributes the underground city with destruction and the antichrist. Shamballah is associated with the destruction of earth, yet it is necessary to create a utopian society. Thus, destruction by Shamballah is ultimately a benevolent act on the dwellers of earth.
One of the first to mention Agartha was Joseph-Alexandre Saint-Yves de’Alvidre in his Mission of India in Europe (1886), where he described it as an underground kingdom with a repository of secret knowledge. Another author, Ferdinand Ossendowski (1876-1945), may have heard the myth of Agartha from Saint-Yves d’Alveidre and reworked it to appeal to a German readership. In his book Beasts, Men and Gods (1931) Ossendowski claimed that tunnels to Agartha were built prior to the last glacial period. Agartha can be reached through tunnels that exist in the Tien Shan Mountains, Tartary Asia and another opening in Afghanistan. These tunnels were built by colonizers from Mars and later Venusians from Venus, who devised the tunnel systems in anticipation of a battle and as an important defensive tactic. Ossendowski (1931) writes that Agartha is ruled by the King of the World and he will return to the surface when materialism ruins the world. Then, a world war will occur and the people of Agharti will return to the surface and help end the violence. Robert E. Dickhoff (1951:25-27) suggests that Lemuria and Atlantis destroyed each other though atomic missiles, which resulted in the catastrophic result of the Biblical flood. Dickhoff writes (1951:36):
Before Agartha became the recognized Holy City to be used by Buddhist Lamas it had to be cleansed of a remnant of Venus serpents masquerading in convenient human bodies, who had held the terminal city for many eons and from which stronghold they spread evil propaganda, designed to fight the Martian wizards’ mentality, who also had selected human bodies via the principle of reincarnation.
The King of the World was one of these people that had been overthrown by the Lamas.