Was H.P.B. a Rosicrucian Initiate?
Dr. David Gardner
While doing some historical research, I came across some references to H.P.B, the Rosicrucian’s and the writing of “ Isis Unveiled” and “The Secret Doctrine” that seems to little known. Thus, I will give these references and comment briefly thereon.
The first citation is from an article written by Fra Fidelis, the historian of the Rosicrucian Order in 1928. It constitutes part of footnote 23 of an article that appeared in “Mystic Triangle” of 1928, pg.367. Reference being made to a French Rosicrucian writer, Ernest Bosc, Fra Fidelis adds: “Bosc’s “Doctrine Esoterique” was written in Versailles in 1899, and ‘ Belissma or Celtic Occultism” did not appear until 1910.It is also possible that Bro Bosc had not yet been admitted to the Illuminati when he wrote the first – mentioned work. He knew Blavatsky intimately; knew too that she was not an advanced member when she wrote Isis Unveiled and the Secret Doctrine in French, before translating it into English; hence, the unavoidable errors in these splendid works, errors which Bosc pointed out to H.P.B before publication. She believed she was correct….and went ahead with the publications. Like Bosc, our imperator then (Dr. Spencer Lewis), was correct, for he knew in 1909 what Bosc wrote in 1910, “H.P.B refers to the Rosicrucian’s in her work, but in a somewhat hesitating manner, as if she were,…. Shall I say it!…. guessing, surmising, feeling her way, and exercising great care in the selection of her words. The Dear Old Lady, at times, was impatient to do good…. And she accomplished her great work so successfully, because her heart was great and good as gold! The most wonderful woman of her time! Would that All of her followers were worthy of her! With gratitude, too, for her work greatly facilitated ours!”
Bosc is not mentioned in the excellent and comprehensive biography of H.P.B by Sylvia Cranston, nor does she refer to the existence of French originals for her two largest works. It would be most interesting to know whether these original versions still exist and to compare them with the English version normally regarded as canonical. The respect that Rosicrucian’s have for H.P.B and the Theosophical Society is worth noting, a respect that was not always reciprocated by the T.S.
The other citation to be made is from an article entitled “H.P. Blavatsky and the Masters, A Few Words of Appreciation and Explanation” written by Imperator H. Spencer Lewis and published in “The Mystic Triangle” in May 1929, pg.104-108. Lewis referred to Basle, where the earliest form of metaphysical university known to the world was located. It was here that Paracelsus studied and worked, and where his original manuscripts remain and were seen by Lewis in 1928. He wrote: “ It was in Basle that Franz Hartman joined the order that might study the writings of Paracelsus and other Rosicrucian’s, and become familiar with the secret documents, and it was while he was a student in this town that Mme. Blavatsky came for the purpose of writing a part of her great books, while hidden away from the profane world, and when she was believed to be in India or other parts of Europe. She too had access to the wonderful manuscripts of Paracelsus and some other Rosicrucian masters and Fraz Hartman became her personal companion and personal physician, establishing a friendship and association in the work that lasted throughout their lives.”
This citation implies that H.P.B was initiated, but does not state when this might have occurred. There is no statement as to whether she ever reached the Illuminati (12th degree). However, we notice that she had definite connections with at least two Rosicrucian’s.
The concluding sentence of Lewis ‘ article worth recording: “ She was but one of the great avatars in peace, and perhaps the greatest of all women who have been used by the cosmic and the masters as a channel or instrument. But it is not because she was a woman or to her sex that we pay homage, but to the great soul within her body that has reached even greater heights since her transition, and is even now in close contact with those who are still carrying on the great work of the masters in the Rosicrucian work, for souls are sexless and spirit is not of the Limitation of the flesh. Mme. Blavatsky is one of us, and with us beloved and revered, and awaiting by those who always knew her and love her still.”
Dr. David Gardner’s notes: Frederick Hinricks writes in 1800’s “ The Madame (H.P.B.) claimed to be a Rosicrucian…”Editor’s Note: This article was first published in The Canadian Theosophist,
Vol 80 NO 4.