Theosophy

Theosophy (lit. divine wisdom), a mystic philosophy of very difficult definition which hails from the East, and was introduced among us by Madame Blavatsky, a Russian lady, who was initiated into its mysteries in Thibet by a fraternity there who professed to be the sole custodiers of its secrets as the spiritual successors of those to whom it was at first revealed. The radical idea of the system appears to be reincarnation, and the return of the spirit to itself by a succession of incarnations, each one of which raises it to a higher level until, by seven stages it would seem, the process is complete, matter has become spirit, and spirit matter, God has become man, and man God, agreeably somewhat to the doctrine of Amiel, that “the complete spiritualisation of the animal element in us is the task of our race,” though with them it seems rather to mean its extinction. The adherents of this system, with their head-quarters at Madras, are numerous and wide-scattered, and form an organisation of 300 branches, having three definite aims: (1) To establish a brotherhood over the world irrespective of race, creed, caste, or sex; (2) to encourage the study of comparative philosophy, religion, and science; and (3) to investigate the occult secrets of nature and the latent possibilities of man. The principal books in exposition of it are, “The Secret Doctrine,” “Isis Unveiled,” “The Key to Theosophy,” by Mme. Blavatsky; “Esoteric Buddhism,” “The Occult World,” &c., by Sinnett; “The Ancient Wisdom,” “The Birth and Evolution of the Soul,” &c., by Annie Besant.

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

Theophrastus * Therapeutæ
Theodicy
Theodora
Theodore
Theodore
Theodoret
Theodoric
Theodosius I., the Great
Theognis
Theology
Theophrastus
Theosophy
Therapeutæ
Thermo-dynamics
Thermopylæ
Thersites
Theseus
Thespis
Thessalonians, Epistle to the
Thessalonica
Thessaly
Thetford

Nearby

Theosophy in Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase & Fable