P. G. Bowen

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Quoted from Gunnar Larson's web page:

From The Sayings of the Ancient One, published 1985 by The Theosophical Publishing House, London:


Captain P. G. Bowen, one of the most distinguished students of recondite philosophies and the occult, was born on 29th June 1882 at Cleady House, Kenmare, County Kerry, Eire. He was the youngest son of Robert Bowen, a gentleman farmer, a personal pupil of Madame H. P. Blavatsky. It was Robert Bowen who wrote down H. P. Blavatsky’s priceless words of guidance for students of The Secret Doctrine, which are contained in the pamphlet How to Study Theosophy.

Captain P. G. Bowen was originally intended for a scholastic career, but, disliking the prospect, left Ireland for South Africa, where he became attached to the Intelligence Department of the South African Mounted Rifles. It was during this period that he acquired the deep interest in native dialects and modes of thought that formed the sum of his work in later years. He spent over 20 years in Africa and his aptitude for native languages brought him into contact with the real rulers of the tribes. Thus he met an Atlas Berber, an initiated teacher, Mehlo Moya, and was admitted into his Occult Brotherhood. The higher grades of attainment amongst them were spoken of as ‘Those who Know’, and above these, at the apex of the hierarchically ordered organisation was said to be ‘The Ancient One’. P. G. Bowen was permitted to copy and publish three fragments, translated from a document in an archaic Bantu language (Isinzu), which comprise the present volume and which mirror the re-cognition, progress and evolution of the SOUL. Here is a gateway to the PATH for all Truth seeking students, without straying in strange or psychic by-paths. It is of special interest that these fragments point to a connection and common origin with the source from which stem all Esoteric traditions.

It was after the Great War – during which P. G. Bowen saw service both in South Africa and France – that he first met the late George Russell (A.E.).

The two men, linked by their common interest in the mystic and the occult, became fast friends and worked in close collaboration after P. G. Bowen’s return to Ireland in 1922. When A.E. departed for America in 1935, shortly before his death, he nominated P. G. Bowen to the Presidency of the ‘Hermetic Society’ in Dublin, which he had opened in 1885, as a branch of Anna Kingsford’s London ‘Hermetic Society’, and which became a focus of the Irish Literary Renaissance. The foremost members of this Society were Charles Johnston (who married H. P. Blavatsky’s niece in 1888), the able translator of the Bhagavad Gîta, the Yoga-Sûtras of Patanjali, etc., Stephen Mackenna who translated the Enneads by Plotinus, the poets and authors James Stephens (The Crock of Gold), Fiona McLeod and W. Butler Yeats (whom Charles Johnston had introduced to Theosophy). W. Q. Judge, born in Dublin in 1851, the co-founder of the Theosophical Society in America, was a close friend of A.E. and the ‘Hermetic Society’ members, and helped to kindle the flame of the Irish Literary Renaissance.

In 1933 “at A.E.’s request” P. G. Bowen published the remarkable book on the inner life The Occult Way, the chapters of which are veritable lessons in practical occultism. P. G. Bowen, whose reputation is now world-wide, passed away on 30th July 1940. Whatever he wrote seems to be spiritually ‘charged’ and yet is intensely practical. As he says of all inspired works “They are not mere guide books setting out the configurations of the universe, they are FIELDS OF EXPERIENCE wherein CONSCIOUSNESS may exercise itself; and so gain DIRECT KNOWLEDGE of the laws of universal nature”.[1]


  • The Sayings of the Ancient One.
  • Occult Way.
  • Natural Magic.
  • The True Occult Path. Available at HPB.narod.ru. Introduction by editor, E. A. Ansell: "The matter contained in this little book was originally given in the form of a lecture to the Dublin Lodge of the Adyar Theosophical Society. Later, at the request of the editor, it was recast and published in its present form in the magazine - THEOSOPHY IN IRELAND. The Author, Capt. P.G.Bowen, who was then an independent student of the Ancient Wisdom, has since become president of THE HERMETIC SOCIETY, Dublin, having been appointed to that office by the founder of the Society, the late Dr. George Russell ("A.E".) Capt. Bowen has given his assent to the publication of his article in book form."