Blavatsky Lodge

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The Blavatsky Lodge of the Theosophical Society was organized in London, on May 19, 1887. The first President was Mr. G. B. Finch.

First meeting

The inaugural meeting was held in Mme. Blavatsky's small quarters at Maycot, Crownhill, Upper Norwood. According to the Minute Book,[1] those present included:

Madame Blavatsky
Mrs. Mabel Cook
Miss Louisa S. Cook
Mr. G. Thornton
Mr. T. B. Harbottle

Mr. W. B. Hamilton
Mr. Edouard Coulomb
Mr. Bertram Keightley
Mr. Archibald Keightley
Mr. G. B. Finch

The resolutions adopted at that meeting were these:

  1. That a new Lodge be formed.
  2. That the undersigned be members of such Lodge.
  3. That it be called 'The Blavatsky Lodge of the Theosophical Society'.
  4. That the aim of the Lodge be active work.
  5. That Mr. Finch be President for the first year.
  6. That Mr. Thornton be Vice-President.
  7. That Mr. Arch. Keightley be Secretary and Treasurer.
  8. That the council consist of the undersigned members.
  9. That a copy of these Resolutions be forwarded to Adyar with a request for a Charter.
  10. That the next meeting be held at 'Maycot' on 26th May at 6 p.m.

Activities

The Lodge was quite active and its members produced a monthly Theosophical magazine, Lucifer, and formed a Theosophical Publishing Company. Reginald Machell became a member on December 1, 1888.[2] Other early members during Madame Blavatsky's lifetime included Isabel Cooper-Oakley, Alfred J. Cooper-Oakley, William Kingsland, Sydney H. Old, William Wynn Westcott, Annie Besant, Herbert Burrows, Mabel Besant-Scott, Esther Bright, amd Ernest Temple Hargrove.[3]

In early October, 1887, the Lodge moved to a large house on 17, Lansdowne Road, where is held public and private meetings. On this month, G. B. Finch resigned his office as President of the Lodge, as well as membership in the Theosophical Society. Other resignations followed. According to Josephine Ransom the main reason for the rift seems to be the determination on the part of the Lodge to do public propaganda, its policy being that of spreading "Theosophical teachings and Brotherhood by the individual and collective work of its members".[4]

In January 1889 William Kingsland became the President of the Lodge until January 2 (other sources say January 17), 1890, when Annie Besant was elected.

In July of 1890 Besant's rented home in 19 Avenue Road became the new headquarters for the Blavatsky Lodge (and also for the European Section of the TS). Finally, on September 21, 1899, took place the last meeting in this venue, before relocating to a less expensive quarters.

A glimpse of the group's dynamics was provided by the Minute Book, dated Thursday, March 31, 1892:

Annie Besant in the chair. Mr. Pryse was to have spoken but, owing to there not being a full attendance, refused to do so. Annie Besant apologised to the lodge for his behaviour and gave an interesting lecture.[5]

The Pryse involved was probably James Morgan Pryse rather than his brother John Morgan Pryse.

Online resources

Books

Notes

  1. Richard Groves letter to Boris de Zirkoff, quoting the Minute Book of the Blavatsky Lodge. March 6, 1956. Theosophical Society in England correspondence. Boris de Zirkoff Papers. Records Series 22. Theosophical Society in America Archives.
  2. Theosophical Society General Membership Register, 1875-1942 at http://tsmembers.org/. See book 1, entry 4703 (website file: 1B/47).
  3. Theosophical Society General Membership Register, 1875-1942 at http://tsmembers.org/.
  4. Josephine Ransom, A Short History of The Theosophical Society (Adyar, Madras: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1989), 241.
  5. "Two Theosophical Lecturers," The American Theosophist 32.2 (February, 1944), 45.