On the southern edge of Madras, India’s fourth largest city, nestled between the sea and one of the city’s busiest boulevards, is a sprawling, well-wooded compound known locally as Adyar. For more than 100 years, Adyar has been the international headquarters of the Theosophical Society, a worldwide organization dedicated to the promotion of Eastern religious thought and the occult.
Nowadays, Adyar is chiefly famous among Madrassis for its large banyan tree, reputedly the world’s largest. But more than a century ago, this quiet park witnessed the beginning of a movement that today claims tens of thousands of adherents worldwide, and enjoys the attention of the world’s power elite at the United Nations, the World Bank, and other centers of political and financial power in the United States and Europe. Its influence is felt in America’s public school classrooms, public and private universities, thousands upon thousands of misguided churches and synagogues, and in the varied outlets of our nation’s popular culture. Collectively, the worldwide movement born at Adyar is called “New Age,” and its insidious roots now cling tenaciously to the fabric of our society.
Mother of this devilish creation was the Russian occultist Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. Born Helena Petrovna in Ekaterinoslav, Russia, in 1831, the girl who was to become the most famous occultist of the 19th century showed an early interest in magic and the supernatural. At the age of 18, following an impetuous marriage to Nikifor Blavatsky, a government official more than twice her age, Helena Blavatsky ran away from her husband and embarked on a series of worldwide wanderings. Her travels apparently took her across Europe to the New World, where she wandered through Latin America as well as Canada and the United States.
Eventually her travels led her to the Indian Subcontinent, where pagan and occult religion in every conceivable form flourished like nowhere else. For a number of years, she traveled about India in obscurity. She later claimed that she spent a significant time in Tibet at a secret monastery where she received arduous training in the magic arts. At the same time, she later wrote, she was initiated into a worldwide network of adepts who practiced what she called “the secret doctrine” or “the wisdom religion.”
She also claimed to have been contacted and given direction by two “Ascended Masters,” superhuman beings belonging to an exalted hierarchy of demigods who secretly guided the affairs of humanity. According to Blavatsky, these Ascended Masters worked in concert with certain human adepts — individuals with highly developed occult powers, who generally nurtured their secret arts in the world’s remotest places, unknown to the rest of humanity.
Blavatsky related that she was first contacted by the “Masters” in London by a dashing Indian prince dressed in the garb of a Rajput warrior, who called himself “Morya.” Morya told Blavatsky that she had been selected to play a part in the revival and public promotion of the secret occult tradition, which had lain hidden for centuries in secret monasteries and libraries in the remotest reaches of the Himalayas. Accordingly, Blavatsky spent a number of years in the Himalayas, interacting with both mortals and “Masters,” who (she wrote) instructed her in the ways of the occult and taught her the keys to unlocking the mysteries of the secret doctrine.
Finally, her training completed, according to her account, Blavatsky traveled back to Europe, including her native Russia, where she quickly acquired celebrity for her alleged supernatural powers. She claimed to have the ability to converse with unseen beings, to read sealed letters, to cause objects to become unnaturally heavy, to conjure objects out of thin air, to know of distant events taking place, and so forth. While she apparently made believers out of her family, friends, and many others, her public life was dogged by controversy. She was accused of charlatanism and immoral conduct. It was alleged that she had fabricated her stories of travel in India and Tibet, having instead spent years in the Parisian demimonde, where she had gradually developed the idea of passing herself off as a mystic.
Whatever the truth of these allegations, Helena Blavatsky threw herself into promoting an interest in the occult with missionary zeal. She traveled to America, where she found a particularly receptive climate for her claims of occult powers.
America in the 1870s was undergoing a surge of public interest in occult phenomena, such as “spirit rappings” and seances. Taking up residence in New York City, Blavatsky quickly established a circle of fellow occult devotees. Among them were Colonel H.S. Olcott, who would become the first president of the Theosophical Society and Blavatsky’s alter ego, and W.Q. Judge, a New York attorney who would be responsible for the explosive growth of the Society in America in later years.
While in America, Blavatsky produced the two-volume Isis Unveiled, a rambling work on the role that the occult tradition allegedly played in all the world’s major religions.
The Theosophical Society was set up in 1875 in New York City, but personality conflicts and lack of initiative prompted Blavatsky to return to India to transplant the headquarters to more fertile soil. Before leaving the U.S. for the last time, however, she became an American citizen, for reasons that remain obscure. She clearly nurtured no great love for the United States, as evidenced by her bitter parting words in 1878 to a reporter from the New York Daily Graphic: “I am glad to get away from your country. You have liberty, but that is all.”
Accompanied by Colonel Olcott and several other friends, Blavatsky sailed to British India to start afresh. After several problematic years in Calcutta, she and Olcott found their way to Madras, where they acquired the estate at Adyar. However, the ferocious heat of south India and various tropical ailments soon began to take their toll on Blavatsky’s health.
By this time, Colonel Olcott had become thoroughly steeped in the occult as well, traveling about India and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), and trafficking with Blavatsky’s “Ascended Masters” himself. Blavatsky therefore decided to leave administration of the Society in Olcott’s now-experienced hands, and return to Europe. In following years, the Society prospered at Adyar as it never had in New York, attracting the interest of a number of notable British Indians. Moreover, under Olcott’s direction, the American branch was not only revived by W.Q. Judge, but grew and flourished.
Helena Blavatsky, in the meantime, ended up in London, where she attracted the patronage of English aristocrats, radicals, and assorted crackpots. Realizing that she was near the end of her life, she worked feverishly to produce her magnum opus, The Secret Doctrine, a much lengthier treatment of the same themes and occult mythology set forth in Isis Unveiled.
While much of Blavatsky’s life was a mystery, her ideas are not. Both Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine evince an unholy fascination with demonology, racist mythology, and secret societies. Though claiming broad interest in all religions, Blavatsky clearly and unmistakably pitched the superiority of Eastern religions and shamanic traditions over Christianity. She entertained a peculiar animus for Catholicism, and her writings are suffused with rants against the Pope and against most of the doctrines of the Catholic faith.
Blavatsky was also fascinated with Lucifer/Satan, whom she viewed not as an enemy, but as a wise being who brought enlightenment to humanity. Not only that, but she declared, in open contradiction of Holy Scripture, that the Christian Apostles worshiped Satan: “If we compare the doctrine of Paul with [that of] Peter and Jude, we find that, not only did they worship Michael, the Archangel, but that also they reverenced Satan, because the latter was also, before his fall, an angel! This they do quite openly.”
In Blavatsky’s twisted worldview, all orthodox religions grew out of the secret occult tradition. Some religions, notably Hinduism and Buddhism, still actively foster aspects of this tradition, and so meet with her approval. Orthodox Christianity, on the other hand, has suppressed the occult teachings she insists are part of its roots, and so stands condemned. Blavatsky charges that the Apostle Peter was a shameless usurper, that the Virgin Mary is but a thinly disguised fertility goddess, that Christian churches are full of obscene and phallic imagery, and that Jesus, far from being the Son of God, was merely an enlightened mortal who was “overshadowed” by one of Blavatsky’s “Masters.”
Near the end of her life, Blavatsky became acquainted with the woman who was to become her spiritual heir, the socialist revolutionary Annie Besant. Besant had been an atheist for many years, following a spiritual crisis precipitated by a failed marriage. However, when she read a copy of The Secret Doctrine for the purpose of writing a review, she was converted to the occultist cause. Seeking out Blavatsky in person, Besant studied under her for a short time prior to Blavatsky’s death in 1891.
Annie Besant took up the mantle of occult leadership in England after Blavatsky’s passing, eventually following her mentor’s footsteps to India, where she studied Eastern mysticism. She also became president of the Theosophical Society after the death of Colonel Olcott.
Besant was well-known for her leadership in radical political causes, such as the anti-vivisection movement (the equivalent of modern-day animal rights activism), the promotion of birth and population control, and various episodes of union unrest. As a Fabian Socialist, she was personally acquainted with a number of influential leftists of the day, and was largely responsible for bringing Theosophy into favor in radical political circles in Europe.
One aspect of Besant’s newfound religion, which she learned from The Secret Doctrine and must have taught to her radical friends, is of particular interest — her bizarre notions of race. From Blavatsky she learned that the Aryan race (i.e., the progenitors of the various so-called “Indo-European” language speakers and other “caucasian” groups) was the most highly evolved human stock, the so-called “Fifth Race.” To the Aryans the “Masters” had supposedly vouchsafed not only the most complete version of the “true” occult religion, but the purest language as well. The closest surviving language and religion to that original pure Aryan bequest were the ancient Vedic texts of India and the archaic form of Sanskrit in which they were written. Accordingly, in a series of lectures tellingly entitled The Inner Government of the World, Besant laid out an elaborate taxonomy of races and sub-races. According to her, east Asians, who are “predominantly emotional and passional,” belong mostly to the Fourth Race. The more highly evolved “Fifth Race” is the Aryan race, of which, Besant declared, “India is the common motherland.” The various European nationalities Besant catalogued under numerous “sub-races” which emigrated in prehistorical times from their central Asian/Indian homeland.
So important was the emphasis on Aryan supremacy that Besant, in a letter to fellow socialist agitator Charles Bradlaugh, listed as one of the three objects of the Theosophical Society “to forward the study of Aryan literature and philosophy.” While the modern Society has now substituted for this object “the study of comparative religion, philosophy, and science,” the early Society’s obsession with race was to reap a bitter harvest.
The Nazi interest in Aryan supremacy was a direct outgrowth of the inclusion of that doctrine in Blavatsky’s and Besant’s occult theology. The dreadful Thule Gesellschaft, the German occult society that shaped the careers of Adolph Hitler and his inner circle of confidants, borrowed heavily from Blavatsky’s teachings in its own perverse worldview. In his fascination with German paganism, Hitler concluded that the Germans were in fact the purest representatives of the Aryan race, with apocalyptic consequences that need not be rehashed here.
Although the Theosophical Society remains a force in the occult/New Age camp, its influence today seems to be confined to the education (or re-education) of those seeking alternatives to Western religion. The Society at Adyar parted ways with European and American power elites back in the 1920s, with the expulsion from the Society in America of Alice Bailey and her husband Foster Bailey. The Baileys inaugurated the Lucis Trust, a New York-based organization responsible for giving the New Age movement most of its modern organization and political trappings.
Like Helena Blavatsky, Alice Bailey claimed to have been overshadowed on various occasions by an “Ascended Master” (named Djwhal Khul), and to have penned many volumes of occult writing under his influence. The Lucis Trust, like the Theosophical Society, claims as one of its purposes the advancement of interest in occult and arcane religion. It runs a number of non-profit “arcane schools” designed to teach various occult doctrines and practices.
The Lucis Trust is also aggressively involved in promoting a globalist ideology, which it refers to as “goodwill.” Its World Goodwill organization is closely connected to international elitist circles. Authors and participants in its various conferences read like a Who’s Who of the globalist Insiders. Featured on its website, for example, is the Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities, put forth in April 1998 as a companion document to the notorious UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Signatories to the World Goodwill document include Helmut Schmidt, former chancellor of West Germany; Malcolm Fraser, former Australian prime minister; Oscar Arias Sanchez, former prime minister of Costa Rica; Shimon Peres; Robert McNamara; Paul Volcker; and Jimmy Carter.
Indeed, the Lucis Trust enjoys consultant status at the United Nations and, judging from the political writings appearing in its publications, it is as much a political organization as an occult religious one.
If Alice Bailey’s epiphanies of the 1920s and ’30s were the incubating phase of the New Age movement in its modern form, then the experiences of English painter Benjamin Creme represent the birth of the most dominant strain of present-day New Age eschatological religion.
Creme’s story has a familiar ring: Beginning in 1959, he was contacted by one of the “Ascended Masters,” who told him he had a mission to perform for the advancement of the Masters’ plan for humanity. Creme was instructed to prepare the way for the coming of one Lord Maitreya, a Master who would assume human form and begin preparing humanity for the advent of the Age of Aquarius — a sort of New Age millennium. The Aquarian Age would be a time of peace, plenty, perfect equality, and global governance under the Masters, via the United Nations.
Creme claims that on July 1977, Lord Maitreya took a human form and descended from his hidden redoubt in the Himalayas. He now resides incognito in the South Asian neighborhood of London, making miraculous appearances from time to time at religious gatherings all over the world. At some time in the near future, declares Creme, a global crisis will bring about conditions for the so-called “Day of Declaration.” At that time, Lord Maitreya will announce his presence on worldwide television, at the same time “overshadowing” every human being in such a way that all mankind will recognize him as Master. Thus will the Aquarian Age of peace and prosperity be ushered in.
Creme himself travels and lectures all over the world, while his organization, Share International, promulgates the Gospel According to Maitreya. Share International’s newsletter of the same name is advertised as “a monthly magazine, bringing together the two major directions of New Age thinking — the political and the spiritual.” Each issue includes articles ranging from globalist politics and finance to occult phenomena such as UFO sightings. Also featured is a message from the Master (Maitreya), which, it is claimed, is communicated telepathically via Benjamin Creme.
Another luminary in the contemporary New Age firmament is Maurice Strong, Canadian multimillionaire and grand panjandrum of the global environmentalist movement. Strong has been pivotal in bringing about a confluence of two major streams of globalist subversion: radical environmentalism and New Age worship. In 1992, Strong chaired the UN Conference on the Environment and Development (the “Earth Summit”) in Rio de Janeiro. The wacky folks comprising the fringe elements present at the conference — including ritual drummers seeking to heal the earth and worshipers of the Brazilian sea goddess “mae orixa” — were treated by the press as harmless nuts, having little to do with the serious agenda of the conference participants. In reality, however, New Age themes such as worship of the earth (or “Gaia”) as a Mother Goddess, pantheism, and an interest in aboriginal religious traditions such as Native American shamanism, are all dominant mainstream topics in present environmentalist circles.
We cannot hope to provide exhaustive coverage of every aspect of the New Age in the scope of this article. Suffice it to say that the New Age movement at the close of the 20th century is a far-reaching agglomerate of rather diverse interests and groups, embracing not only theosophy, the Maitreya cult of personality, and much of environmentalism, but also Wicca (witchcraft), voodoo, magic, and more recent phenomena such as the bizarre annual “burning man” festival held in the Nevada desert.
The doctrines and language of the New Age, much of which was introduced by Blavatsky and her disciples, permeates today’s popular culture. Who is not familiar with gurus, karma, holistic medicine, meditation, yoga, and so forth? Who hasn’t seen best-selling books by the likes of Shirley Maclaine and Deepak Chopra? Our discourse, music, television, and educational institutions are all steeped in New Age culture.
We have already seen that much of the contemporary New Age movement is closely intertwined with politics, particularly the United Nations and global environmentalism. It is crucial for patriotic Americans to understand that much of the New Age phenomenon is not accidental, but is instead being carefully and deliberately promoted by the globalist power elites. Why is this being done? A partial answer was provided by Samuel Insanally, past president of the UN General Assembly, during a 1994 UN briefing of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) affiliated with the UN:
Old policies and strategies, which we have promoted in the past at the United Nations, have led us nowhere. Although I am not a “religious” person … I do believe that the construction of a New World Order requires a sense of moral obligation on the part of all nations … which will give flesh to the concept of interdependence. We need in effect a spiritual catalyst to bring about change. The ethic of national self-interest must yield to the ethic of co-operation within the larger family of nations.
In other words, the globalist Insiders, recognizing that all societies and governments ultimately are rooted in religious traditions, have seen the need for providing a religious foundation for a global society under a global government. That religion is to be New Age.
Understandably, then, the United Nations is regarded by many of its devotees as an essentially religious organization. Robert Muller, former UN assistant secretary-general, enthused that “if Christ came back to earth, his first visit would be to the United Nations to see if his dream of human oneness and brotherhood had come true.” Tourists at the UN may visit the Meditation Room, a New Age chapel designed by the late UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold and maintained by the Lucis Trust.
The UN’s Society for Enlightenment and Transformation has brought to the UN every imaginable species of New Age crank, from “channelers” to UFO enthusiasts. Its president, Mohammed Ramadan, has said: “As international civil servants, we often feel our colleagues are here by divine appointment to serve the world through the United Nations…. Our society’s role is to further this divine service by serving the servers, teaching them and inspiring them, whether here in the headquarters or in the field.” Notes the Boston Globe: “From a small, basement headquarters at the United Nations, Ramadan and other spiritual seekers have established several metaphysical associations with the intention of radiating karmic energy into the upper reaches of UN headquarters.”
What makes New Age religion so attractive to our would-be global overlords at the UN, including self-professed non-believers such as Insanally? One very important common theme in all shamanic, pagan, and polytheistic religions is the de-emphasis (or outright denial) of individuality. As Alice Bailey put it, “Each soul is an individualized aspect of one great Oversoul. The sense, therefore, of being separate, is the great illusion. From that illusion stem all our problems, all our suffering.”
The doctrine of reincarnation, common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and many other variants of New Age thought, de-emphasizes the individual life as well. Westerners visiting India are often shocked at the blatant disregard for human life and individual welfare manifest in Hindu society. Yet this is the logical outgrowth of a belief system that supposes that each human life is part of an endless cycle of death and rebirth, in which a single lifespan is comparatively insignificant. It is not difficult to appreciate why a religion that de-emphasizes individual human life would be of interest to globalist elites, with their passion for population control, abortion, and collectivization.
A second major theme in pagan religion (and hence in the New Age movement) is the notion of fate as the prime determiner of all events. Hinduism and Buddhism are both closely wedded to astrology. Even now, devout Hindus seldom make important decisions without consulting astrologers. Astrology, fortune telling, and other forms of divination also figure prominently in the New Age movement. The very term “Age of Aquarius” reflects the belief that, starting about the year 2000, the earth will be so aligned as to be under the astrological influence of the constellation Aquarius, and will remain so for the next 2,500 years or so.
A belief in fate, as manifest by a reliance on astrology, soothsaying, and other forms of pagan superstition, tends to dull the individual’s interest in taking control of his own life and in making independent decisions. In general, such a life view tends to render one passive and disinterested in resisting encroachments on his personal liberty.
An outgrowth of this mindset in India is the horrendous caste system. Caste in the Hindu religion reinforces the notion that one’s birthright is one’s appointed fate in this life, so that one must accept his lot in life, whatever that might be. Once again, it is not hard to perceive how such fatalistic beliefs would tend to nullify the natural human tendency to resist tyranny, and how attractive it would be to those with dictatorial leanings.
A third characteristic of New Age beliefs is the emphasis on inner enlightenment as the path to spiritual fulfillment. This doctrine downplays the value of divine revelation or inspiration from a superior, external source. Instead of supposing fallen man to be at the behest of a merciful God who may vouchsafe understanding in response to humble supplication or righteous conduct, the New Age view unabashedly presumes to declare man’s inner light as the sole source of wisdom. In this frame of reference, man is god, and need therefore incline to no higher authority than his own intellect.
In this same vein, occultists maintain that certain gifted individuals, by virtue of superior intellectual powers or an exceptional aptitude for the occult, may progress to a state of near-godhood while in their mortal coil, and hence will be uniquely qualified to participate in overseeing the rest of humanity. This notion is neither new nor unique to the New Age/occult movement. It is merely a modern expression of the Platonic program for philosopher-rulers, restated over and over again across the centuries as the central claim by apologists for the Utopian State.
The New Age/pagan worldview is at variance with Western monotheism in many other ways, which space does not allow us to discuss in depth. However, we note the following additional traits of non-Western religion, the consequences of which the reader is invited to consider on his own: a de-emphasizing of moral behavior as a central aspect of religious conduct; the worship of human sexuality, under the guise of “the procreative principle”; and the emphasis of the intellectual virtues of wisdom and knowledge over moral virtues like charity and humility.
Such ideas and practices are completely at loggerheads with the Western religious and philosophical tradition that inspired our Constitution and our values. By contrast, we might consider some of the fruits of the Eastern/New Age worldview, which are on display throughout the Oriental world, and especially in those regions where Western values have little influence.
The mention of Hinduism and Buddhism conjures up pastel images of glittering, exotic temples, bearded sages, remote monasteries in scenic montane surroundings, and repositories of ancient wisdom. Even the casual visitor to India cannot fail to be impressed by the soaring Hindu temples with their pools, gardens, peacocks, and elephants. The pleasant odors of incense and the parades of pious pilgrims furnish welcome relief from the steamy chaos of India’s cities.
But behind this impressive facade lies a different face of Hinduism, unknown to most of the vast numbers of Westerners who visit India every year. For example, the southern city of Madurai, where this writer currently resides, is known far and wide for its temples, particularly the imposing Meenakshi temple, a massive walled complex occupying a huge area in the center of the old city. Here tourists and religious pilgrims stream in from every corner of India and the world. The temple is one of the most important Hindu sites in all of India, and is touted lavishly in all the tourist guide books.
However, far from the gaze of tourists, on the remote outskirts of the city, is another temple. It is little more than a collection of open-air altars and a single small indoor shrine, dedicated to the ferocious god Pandi. Here the visitor to this temple is greeted by the shrieks of men and women who are in a state of possession by the spirits that are said to inhabit the area. At any given time, numbers of these possessed souls may be seen fighting with one another, dancing, convulsing, and grabbing people by the hair to “prophesy” on their behalf. Spellbound believers crowd around the possessees, hoping to be told when their son will marry, or where their lost cow may be found. The air is thick with the smell of gore, as dozens of goats are methodically slaughtered beside the altars, their heads stacked in a macabre pyramid.
Temples such as this one are found all over India and Sri Lanka, usually in villages or on the outskirts of cities — far from the skeptical eyes of non-believers. Spirit possession, accompanied by such activities as firewalking, mortification of the flesh in various creative ways, and activities such as those described above, are the norm.
Hinduism also has a peculiar and ambiguous view of human sexuality. Scores of varieties of “tantric” Hinduism, which claim to repudiate and overturn “orthodox” Hinduism, practice every imaginable form of perverse sexual act in the name of religion. Even in orthodox Hindu temples, the lingam or stylized phallus is a ubiquitous feature, while some famous temples in northern India are well-known for their graphic depictions of various sex acts.
It is no secret that India is one of the world’s poorest countries. Less understood by Westerners is that India’s “democratic” government is a monumentally corrupt and oppressive majoritarian tyranny. While India has never had an outright Marxist government, virulent socialism has been the rule since independence. Vast and impotent, modern India is the very model of “oriental despotism.”
None of the foregoing is intended as a blanket condemnation of Hindus. But it must be clearly understood that many of India’s problems, including her seemingly incurable affection for despotic political regimes, may be traced to the inability of Hinduism and other Eastern religions to provide a spiritual framework for an ethic of individuality, God-given rights, and political liberty.
Moreover, the strange aspects of Hinduism described above by no means represent merely a few marginal cults. Rather, they represent major factions within the teeming diversity of Hinduism, and impart to what is otherwise a religion of old temples and repetitive observances a bizarre vitality. Far from being aberrations, such phenomena are a natural outgrowth of polytheistic religion with its moral and doctrinal ambiguities.
In broader terms, it is precisely these aspects of Eastern religion, and indeed pagan religions everywhere, that are of chief interest to the practitioners of New Age religion. Spirit possession is the focal point of shamanism and animism all over the world, from India to Sudan to Haiti to homegrown mediums, spiritualists, and many practitioners of witchcraft and Satanism.
This, then, is the unmasked face of New Age religion. It is a conspiratorial drive by the enemies of the Judeo-Christian ethic, and the civilization it has produced, to return us to the dreadful realm of paganism, where fixed standards of morality and belief are replaced by a confusing melange of shamanism, magic, idolatry, and the worship of human sexuality. We may further expect that, if the New Agers and Insiders have their way, the vigorous traditions of individual rights and love of freedom which have been the dominant theme in American history will be gradually erased by the crippling superstitions, fatalism, and bondage that are the inevitable handmaidens of pagan religion.
Freedom-lovers everywhere must understand that the battle in which we are engaged is at root a spiritual one. The Insiders are working diligently to replace our Judeo-Christian heritage with beliefs that will reduce us to spiritual bondage and corresponding political impotence. We must therefore recognize the growing New Age culture for the deadly threat that it is.