Arthur E. Powell

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Arthur Edward Powell

Lt. Col. Arthur E. Powell was a Welsh-English writer active in the Theosophical Society based in Adyar, Chennai, India.

Personal life

Arthur Edward Powell was born on September 27, 1882 in a house called "Plas-y-Bryn" in Llanllwchiairn, Montgomeryshire, Wales, near Newtown.[1] His parents were Edward Powell (1850-1918) and Mary Eleanor Pughe Pryce-Jones (1859-1944).

When he was about eighteen he joined the Royal Engineers. In 1901, he was stationed at Brompton Barracks in Newtown, Montgomeryshire, Wales. In 1902 he was a 2nd lieutenant.[2] By August 29, 1904, he was serving in India as a lieutenant. That was the date he was admitted to the Theosophical Society.[3] During his years in northwest India he served as president of the Quetta T.S.[4] By 1912 he had the rank of captain.[5]

On October 18, 1909, Powell married the prominent English Theosophist Hilda Mary Hodgson-Smith in Christ Church, in the town of Harrogate, Yorkshire, England. Hilda's father was the longtime head of the Harrogate Lodge, and her brother was Walter Basil Hodgson-Smith, who traveled with Charles Webster Leadbeater as his secretary. Evidently after the wedding, the party went to London, where Annie Besant, President of the international Theosophical Society, delivered

an address at the Masonic Temple,on their marriage, to Mr. and Mrs. Powell and their invited friends. The bride, nee Miss Hilda Hodgson-Smith, is well known in the North as one of the most energetic members of the Harrowgate [sic] Lodge. The good wishes of the Section will follow her to India, where Mr. Powell is, very appropriately, stationed. He is himself an ardent Theosophist, and they both hope to do active work in India for the cause they love.[6]

In 1915, during the First World War, Mrs. Powell wrote to American friends that Captain Powell was "training sappers at Newark [England], where about three thousand men are stationed."[7]

The Powells had a son named Cyril, born around 1911, who traveled with them to Ommen in The Netherlands for a summer school in 1922.[8] Both Arthur (then referred to as Major) and Hilda Powell were very active in T.S. activities. That year he was President of the Eastern Federation of the T.S. in England and Treasurer of the Russian F.T.S. Emergency Fund, for example.[9][10] Hilda lectured in Wales, England, the United States, and at Ommen.

Powell married a second time to Winifred May Fenwick of Torquay, Devon, England. During the 1930s and 1940s they traveled between Canada and the United States. The 1940 U.S. Census found them in Los Angeles with a daughter Winifred Iris, 10 years old, and son Brian, who was 8. They became naturalized American citizens. They spent time with Arthur's younger brother Sydney Pryce Powell, who lived in Vancouver.

Powell died on March 20, 1969 in Los Angeles, California.[11]

Theosophical Society involvement

Writings on human constitution

Powell's most important contribution to Theosophical literature was a series of books in which he compiled materials drawn from several previous authors.

Kurt Leland wrote:

Each volume draws on dozens of theosophical books published during the previous forty years (approximately 1888-1928). Powell gathered up isolated sentences, paragraphs, pages, and chapters scattered throughout some seventy books, sometimes quoting directly, sometimes summarizing in his own words. He then organized them into a coherent and systematic presentation...

Most of the sources reflect the esoteric investigations of Annie Besant, second president of the Theosophical Society, and her close friend and ally, the highly gifted, though controversial clairvoyant, Charles W. Leadbeater.

The text of Powell’s books is accompanied by numerous attractive, hand-drawn diagrams to facilitate understanding of sometimes abstruse concepts. Each volume includes a detailed, well-organized index.[12]

Writings

Lt. Col. Powell was a prolific writer. The Union Index of Theosophical Periodicals lists 22 articles by or about AE Powell, several under Arthur E Powell, and others under variant spellings.

Theosophical books

  • The Etheric Double: The Health Aura of Man. London: Theosophical Publishing House; Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House; Wheaton, Ill.: Theosophical Press, 1925.
    • London: Theosophical Publishing House; Wheaton, Ill.: Theosophical Press, 1969,1979.
    • Some editions are entitled The Etheric Double and Allied Phenomena.
    • 1925 edition - Limited availability at Hathitrust.
    • 1969 edition at Hermetics.org website.
    • 1969 edition at Internet Archive.
    • YouTube book review by ThingsUnspoken111.
    • Translated into Romanian.
  • The Astral Body and Other Astral Phenomena. London: Theosophical Publishing House; Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House; Wheaton, Ill.: Theosophical Press, 1926, 1927, 1954.
    • Wheaton, Illinois: Theosophical Publishing House, 1965, 1972, 1973, 1978, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1996.
    • London: Theosophical Publishing House, 1965, 1972.
    • 1927 edition at Internet Archive.
    • 1927 edition at Hermetics.
    • 1965 edition at Theosophy World website.
    • 1973 edition at Internet Archive.
    • 1992 edition at Internet Archive.
    • Translated into Spanish, Polish, Romanian.
  • The Mental Body. London: Theosophical Publishing House; Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House; Wheaton, Ill.: Theosophical Press, 1927.
  • The Causal Body and the Ego. London: Theosophical Publishing House; Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House; Wheaton, Ill.: Theosophical Press, 1928, 1956.
    • London, Theosophical Publishing House, 1978, 2000.
    • Wheaton, Ill., Theosophical Press, 1978.
    • Manila: Stellar Books, 1992.
    • Translated into Polish, Spanish, Romanian.
  • The Solar System. London: Theosophical Publishing House; Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House; Wheaton, Ill.: Theosophical Press, 1930, 1957.
    • Unidentified edition at International Homeopathic Web Clinic.
    • Wheaton, Ill.:Theosophical Publishing House, 1971.
    • Translated into Spanish, Italian, French.
  • The Nature of Man. New York: Vantage Press, 1957. A modern presentation bringing together science and religious concepts.
  • What Is Personality?.
  • The After Death Life: a Brief Exposition of the Teachings of Modern Theosophy on the Subject. Chicago: Theosophical Press, 1929. 91 pages.
  • The Work of a Lodge. 1916. Pamphlet.
  • Karma: Bondage or Freedom? London: Theosophical Society in England, 1931. 72 pages.
  • The Rationale of Reincarnation. London: Theosophical Society in England, 1930.

Economics

  • The Flow of Economics: a Brief Introduction to the Subject. London, P.S. King & Son, Ltd., 1929. Limited availability at Hathitrust.
  • The deadlock in finance, or the solution of our money troubles. London: C. Palmer, c1924. Limited availablity at Hathitrust

Other topics

  • The Magic of Freemasonry. 1945?
  • Food and Long Life: Dietetics and Natural Hygiene: a Short Treatise on Dietetics, with an Introduction to Natural Hygiene. New York City: The Health Guild, 1956.
  • The Ritual of Business. London: Theosophical Order of Service, 1924. A discussion of leadership and other aspects of business.

Other resources

Notes

  1. 1902 UK, British Army Lists, 1882-1962.
  2. 1901, 1902, UK, British Army Lists, 1882-1962.
  3. Membership Register. Theosophical Society Adyar Archives.
  4. Anonymous, "Indian Section," General Report of the Theosophical Society, 1906 (Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1906), 113.
  5. 1912 UK, British Army Lists, 1882-1962.
  6. Elisabeth Severs, "Correspondence" Theosophic Messenger 11.3 (December 1909), 165.
  7. "Correspondence," The Messenger 3.5 (October, 1915) 148.
  8. C. W. Dykgraaf, "T.S. in The Netherlands," General Report of the Theosophical Society, 1922 (Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1922), 77.
  9. C. W. Dykgraaf, "T.S. in The Netherlands," General Report of the Theosophical Society, 1922 (Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1922), 77.
  10. A. E. Powell and others, "Russian F.T.S. Emergency Fund," General Report of the Theosophical Society, 1922 (Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1922), 233.
  11. California, Death Index, 1940-1997.
  12. Kurt Leland, "Books by Arthur E. Powell" at Kurt Leland's Spiritual Orienteering web page. Accessed November 24, 2017.