Biographies of the exponents of Theosophy
HELENA PETROVNA BLAVATSKY (1831-1891)
FOUNDER OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY
The greatest occultist of the history of western civilization, a direct agent
of the Trans Himalayan Brotherhood of Adepts.
She was born on the 12th August (31st July according to the old Russian calendar)
1831, in Ekaterinoslav, Ukraine, Russia.
She was the daughter of Col. Peter Alexeyevic von Hahan and Helena Andreyevna,
born Fadeyev, famous novelist, who died at a young age. She was the niece on
her mother’s side of the First Chancellor Mihailovich de Fadeyev and the
Princess Helena Pavlovna Dolgorukov, who took care of her education in Saratov
and Tiflis, Caucasus.
During her early childhood she traveled with her father in Western Europe.
She showed since then an exceptional psychic sensitiveness.
In 1849 she married Nikifor Vassilyevich Blavatsky, a State officer much older
Between 1849 and 1850, she left him and traveled to Turkey, Greece, Egypt
and France. She met her Master in London in 1851.
The same year she embarked to Canada, went to New Orleans, Mexico, South America
and Western India. She then headed to India through Ceylon in 1852. She tried
to enter Tibet and failed.
She went back to England via Java in 1853. She was back in America in the
summer 1854, crossing the Rocky Mountains on emigrants’ convoys.
She wanted to visit South America again. She headed to India via Japan at
the end of 1855. She traveled through India, Kashmir, Ladakh, part of Tibet
and Burma in 1856-57.
She went back to Europe via Java in 1858, stopping in France and Germany.
After this she went back to Russia, reaching Pskov on Christmas night of 1858.
At the beginning of 1860 she went to Caucasus, traveling amongst the native
tribes and staying with them until 1864-65.
She experienced hard psychic and physical crisis, acquiring a complete control
on her occult powers.
She went back to Russia and traveled to the Balkans, Egypt, Syria and Italy
between 1866 and 1867. After being back to Italy in 1867 she paid a short visit
to southern Russia. She participated to the battle of Mentana on the 3rd November
1867, where she was wounded. She went to India and Tibet with her Master at
the end of 1868. She went back to Greece in 1870.
She embarked to Egypt but she suffered a shipwreck near the island of Spetses
on the 4th July 1871. She settled in Cairo in 1871-72, where she tried to fund
a Spiritual Society that failed within a short time.
In 1872 she traveled to Syria, Palestine and Lebanon; then she was back in
Odessa for a short period of time.
After a brief journey in Eastern Europe, she was back in Paris in the spring
1873. By order of her masters she left for New York and arrived there on the
7th July. She met Col. Henry Steel Olcott in the Eddys farm, Chittenden, VT,
on 14th October 1874.
She started her literary career towards the end of 1874, publishing works in
defense of genuine spiritistic manifestations.
On the 8th September 1875 she founded the Theosophic Society, together with
Col. Olcott, William Q. Judge and others (the official inauguration was on 17th
She published her first great work, Isis Unveiled, in the autumn 1877. She
became an American citizen on the 8th July 1878. She headed to India with Col.
Olcott on the 17th December 1878, settling down in Bombay.
She launched her first journal ‘The Theosophist’ in October 1879.
It had a fast circulation thanks also to the work of theosophists in India during
the years between 1879 and 1883. She moved the headquarters to Adyar, Madras,
in January 1883.
She left for Europe on the 20th February 1884, accompanied by Olcott, Mohini
After visiting Nice, she stopped in Paris for a while, working at the Secret
Doctrine. She briefly visited London. She went to Elberfeld, in Germany in the
autumn 1884; at that time the Coulomb’s conspiracy burst in Adyar.
She went to London in 1884 and just afterwards she embarked to India, arriving
in Adyar on the 21st December 1884. She fell seriously ill in February 1885
and was saved by her Master.
She set off for Naples on the 31st March 1885, leaving India and treating
herself to a journey for pleasure. After a short stay in Torre del Greco, she
settled in Wurzburg, Germany, where she wrote most part of the Secret Doctrine.
She moved to Ostende in July 1886, visiting Elberfeld on the way. She carried
on her literary work and moved her residence to London in May 1887. Here the
Blavatsky Lodge was founded and her second journal, ‘Lucifer’, was
launched in September 1887.
She published ‘The Secret Doctrine’ at the end of the autumn 1888.
She founded the Esoterical School in the same year and wrote her Instructions.
She published ‘The Key to Theosophy’ and ‘The Voice of Silence’
in 1889. In 1890 she established the European General Headquarters of the Theosophic
Society at 19, Avenue Road, London, where she died during her hard work on the
8th May 1891.
She was cremated at Woking Crematorium, Surrey.
After a century from her death, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky is still subject
of discussion and her figure stays one of the most extraordinary, enigmatic
and debated of all times.
She was considered the most authoritative spokesperson of the eastern philosophical
and religious attitude in the West. In the austere European cultural environment
of the end of the 19th century, her numerous works spread a new idea of human
existence and life after death. They deeply affected the mind of writers, painters,
scientists and musicians (from Jack London to D. H. Lawrence, from Gauguin to
Mondrian and Klee, from Mahler to Sibelius and Einstein).
Like all great characters considered ‘revolutionary’ for the diversity
of their thoughts, H.P.B. had to suffer, during her incredible life, the attacks
of people who didn’t want to believe her mediumistic gift and pictured
her simply as an adventurer.
Today the works by Blavatsky are periodically re-printed in many languages
and they still arouse the interest of a wide spread public, confirming the fact
that her ideas are full of interesting starting points, which deserve to be
studied in deep.
Athos A. Altomonte