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The influence of the theosophical movement on the revival of astrology in Great Britain and North America in the 20th century

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The influence of the theosophical movement on the revival of astrology in Great Britain and North America in the 20th century

Lehmann, Jutta K (1998) The influence of the theosophical movement on the revival of astrology in Great Britain and North America in the 20th century. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This dissertation traces the part played by the Theosophical Movement in the enrichment and popular revival of Western astrology in this century in Great Britain and North America, through an exploration of the philosophical and practical influences at work. In particular, we explore the extent to which the Theosophical teachings have affected the self-understanding and practice of modern astrology in the two countries. Theosophical teachings claim to represent the common spiritual heritage of mankind that is found in all the major religious traditions of the world, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Neoplatonism, Hermeticism and early Christian and Jewish mysticism. This thesis proposes that modern astrology has, to a considerable degree, enriched and renewed itself by drawing upon these traditions through Theosophy, leading to enhanced interest and prestige for astrology in society at large. Four major themes in contemporary astrology were identified as having been inspired by Theosophy: the notions of the macrocosm and the microcosm, of karma and reincarnation, of planetary cycles, and of the psychology of the soul. In addition this dissertation identifies the Theosophical channels through which these ideas were transmitted, and awes how they came to be incorporated by the mainstream astrological communities in these two countries. The most important source of Theosophical inspiration and insight for modern astrology is to be found in the writings of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, one of the founders of the Theosophical Society. After reviewing her ideas and attitudes towards astrology as given in particular in The Secret Doctrine as well as in her other works, this thesis traces their subsequent vicissitudes in the attitudes to astrology of major figures in the Theosophical Movement, astrologers and nonastrologers alike. A review of the Theosophical Movement and other literature about astrology, its history, and its merits as part of Theosophy, enables us to identify the contribution of the many local Lodges of the T.S. towards astrological education in the two countries, and hence their role in training succeeding generations of astrologers. The Astrological Lodge of the Theosophical Society in London, for example, is found to have played a particularly important role in preserving the Theosophical link to astrology. In addition, an archival search of Theosophical membership lists served to highlight the numerical importance of Theosophists among the founding members of The American Federation of Astrologers , the oldest, largest, and for decades the most influential astrological organization in the United States. Finally, we trace the dissemination of Theosophical ideas in astrology through the lives and thought of four eminent authorities, recognized for their contributions to contemporary astrology in the two countries, all of whom were strongly influenced by their Theosophical background or affiliation. In a brief biography of their life and work, as well as a selected presentation of their type of astrology, we illustrate how each of these men have, in their own way, enriched astrology. They achieved this through the Theosophical content in their writings and their activities (e.g. lectures, classes), thereby promoting a renewed enthusiasm for its practical utility in the helping professions and a greater standing among the wider public

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Religion
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Lehmann, Jutta K
Pagination:viii, 272 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (Ph.D.)
Program:Religion
Date:1998
Thesis Supervisor(s):Rossner, J
ID Code:1223
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:17
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:19
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