Theosophy is a religious movement that often gets overlooked when discussing modern spiritual groups. As with many religions, theosophy aims to help followers understand the machinations of the universe and the ultimate purpose of life. The belief system involves a variety of different philosophies and rituals taken from both Eastern and Western religions. Review these details to learn more about theosophical beliefs.
Theosophy Was Founded by Helena Blavatsky
It is impossible to discuss theosophy without mentioning the founder of the religious movement. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky was a Russian-American mystic and occultist. During the 1850s, Blavatsky traveled across Europe, India, and the Americas, learning about the many spiritual and esoteric beliefs practiced around the world. After spending several years working as a medium, she moved to New York City and founded the Theosophical Society. According to Blavatsky, the movement was meant to be "the synthesis of science, religion and philosophy." Throughout her life, she wrote a number of books that would be used as prominent texts in theosophical circles.
Followers Believe Certain Principles
There are several key tenets to theosophy. First, followers usually believe that everything that exists in the universe as the result of an all-encompassing and impersonal divine intelligence. This eternal force is considered an Absolute, meaning it is not dependent on or restricted by any other force. Theosophy is also built around the Eastern concept of reincarnation. Blavatsky’s trips through India expanded her view on the nature of life itself, and she came to the agreement that the human soul must live a number of lifetimes in order to reach a state of perfection.
The third main point of theosophy surrounds the role of human participants in the religion. Blavatsky explained to followers that certain people were born as “spiritual masters.” She believed these individuals had a divine wisdom that gave them great insight into the right direction humanity needed to go in order to reach new levels of spiritual evolution. These individuals would sometimes be given the honorific title of Ascended Master.
Knowledge Can Be Accessed Via Meditation
Meditation is also important to followers of theosophy. According to the teachings of Blavatsky and her contemporaries, meditation could be used as a tool to reach a wealth of secret knowledge about the human race and the entire universe itself. This esoteric information was referred to as the “Akashic records.” By accessing these hidden records, a person could learn anything about the past, present, and future of the human race. Several followers claimed they used these records to “discover” that humans evolved from monkeys who once inhabited the moon.
Meditation was also used as a way for followers to evolve their own souls. For many, spending hours in a meditative trance helped them to achieve a strong and profound connection with the divine. Those involved in theosophy would sometimes use meditation as a way of becoming a better person, focusing mainly on improving the variety of methods they used to interact with others in their daily lives.
Showing Respect for the Source Material
While there are not many people who consider themselves theosophists in modern times, scholars and academics attribute this movement to a number of interesting changes across the United States and Europe. For one, Blavatsky is credited as being one of the most prominent figures to bring Eastern teachings and philosophies to Western audiences. Before spreading her ideas, people across America had very little understanding about the practices related to Buddhism and Hinduism. Blavatsky also treated everything she learned in India and South Asia with respect and reverence, which was not commonplace in the 1800s.
Theosophy Shaped the West
Though it is not a name many people are familiar with, theosophy is a religious movement that changed the landscape of spirituality in the West. Without the influence of Blavatsky and her peers, many important cultural beliefs of the East would not have spread around the world.