Back in the early noughties, I undertook doctoral studies in the School of Social Ecology at Western Sydney University and produced the world’s first PhD thesis on the teachings of theosophist Alice A. Bailey. Last year, peer-reviewed journal The Esoteric Quarterly encouraged me to write an article based on one of the chapters. I chose the one on cosmology.
I was keen not to simply copy and paste a thesis chapter; a PhD thesis proves the candidate worthy of calling themselves a scholar and is not necessarily reader-friendly. Even though my thesis was commended by examiners for the quality of its prose, as well as for its originality, in September 2020 I did a complete re-write of the cosmology chapter. It was a huge undertaking and a massive shift away from creative writing. Anyone who knows anything about Alice Bailey’s A Treatise on Cosmic Fire will know what I am talking about. I was amazed I could even get back into the headspace.
The article was peer-reviewed, praised, edited and proofread, and was due to be published in the Winter 2020 issue of The Esoteric Quarterly. Then it got put forward to Spring. I just heard that The Esoteric Quarterly is on hiatus. But they did format the article with their masthead. So here it is!
This article explores and evaluates Alice Bailey’s esoteric cosmology presented in A Treatise on Cosmic Fire as a mythic theory of everything, situating it alongside scientific quests for a single explanation of the universe, since in the words of esoteric scholar Olav Hammer, “one of the most striking characteristics of the Esoteric Tradition is precisely its use of contemporary science as a source of legitimacy.”
Isobel Blackthorn, PhD, is the author of The Unlikely Occultist: a biographical novel of Alice A. Bailey, and the biography Alice A. Bailey: Life & Legacy.