Alice A. Bailey: Life and Legacy Reviews

Quoted from the NYHETSBREV 2:2020 Newsletter: Earlier this year, Isobel Blackthorn’s biography of Alice A. Bailey was published. The has the title Alice A. Bailey – Life and Legacy and is available in bookstores and also understood in the two internet bookshops Bokus and Adlibris. A central question when a biography of this kind is published is whether the author has a background that gives one reason to expect a work that does the object of the biography reasonable justice. And when it comes to this, there is none doubt that Isobel Blackthorn is well-versed in the subject. As shown by her content-rich website, she is a recognized author who also (under the name Isobel Wightman) has written a doctoral dissertation in philosophy at University of Western Sydney on Bailey’s esoteric philosophy. The dissertation has the title “ln The Texts of Alice A. Bailey: An Inquiry into the Role of Esotericism in Transforming Consciousness.”

Here is a review previously published on the Stiftelsen Tibetanens Bokfond Facebook page, translated by Google and me:

“Well no when the nearly 500-page book by Isobel Blackthorn Alice A. Bailey: Life & Legacy is read, the question, of course, is whether it was worthwhile for a person who has already read Bailey’s autobiography. And the answer to that question is yes. At least if you are interested in more details and discussions about the conflicts that characterized Bailey’s activities while she lived and how these after her death led to various divisions among them who with varying degrees of credibility claimed to manage her correct ideological heritage.

“In her autobiography, Bailey only hints at these various discords with them charged understatements that are typical of the British temperament. And for obvious reasons she has nothing to say about the battles over her ideological legacy. Isobel Blackthorn, on the other hand, has with what appears to be exemplary research accuracy unearthed various facts.

“This kind of deep dive into poorly handled personal conflicts can, of course feel like yum-yum for sensationalists. But Isobel Blackthorn does not inspire such an attitude, instead she has a sober and mild tone of regret in light of the fact that she is well versed in and obviously appreciates Bailey’s perspective, and therefore realizes that the fighting has been to serious detriment for the spreading of a way of looking at men and their role in the common management of their earthly abode which would be worth a significantly greater impact than it has had so far.

“Towards the end of the book, Blackthorn also makes an attempt to assess Baileys influence by making an of course hardly comprehensive but still interesting exposition of various spiritually based initiatives in which Bailey played a significant role as an inspirer. And she also believes that this role is far from exhausted since she ends the book by invoking a quote from The Externalization of the Hierarchy which emphasizes that: “During the years intervening between now and then (2025) very great changes will be seen taking place, and at the General Assembly of the Hierarchy – held as usual every century – in 2025 the date will in all probability be set for the first stage of the externalization of the Hierarchy.”

“And then she follows up this reminder with the following reflection that directly addresses the reader: “Whatever belief the reader holds, the idea of ​​spiritual assistance at a time when the world is riven with crises and the planet is dying, could not be more apposite. In the light of this students of the Ageless Wisdom might ask themselves what they would like to advance: esoteric knowledge, an esoteric way of knowing, or esoteric activism. ” This must in all likelihood mean that from Blackthorn’s perspective, it would be a good idea to quit the fight over what is usually called “the pope’s beard”, ie. various hotly argued interpretations of more or less obscure details in the different variants of the ancient wisdom, and instead realize that what our times need and moreover is mature for is an esoterically based activism. That Blackthorn  believes that main point in Alice Bailey’s perspective is that man has suffered enough to be ready to rebuild our human existence in the light of the esoteric view of men and the world.” – Karl -Erik Edris

Reviewed by De Gevallene, October 2020 – “This book is a work of level-headed and scrupulously annotated research from an unashamed admirer of Alice Bailey’s life and legacy.  It is beautifully written and it seduced even this dyed-in-the-wool sceptic. Close up, the author tells Alice’s unique and special life with an affection that makes it impossible not to like both author and subject.  Alice was a fine and beautiful human being, and I imagine that the author of this book is also that. 

“But I was also seduced by the parallel world that this story depicted. 

“By parallel world, I am not referring to any of the esoteric planes to which Alice Bailey and her associates claimed privileged access, but to the parallels between this remarkable story about the development of the New Age Movement and other stories with which I am more familiar. The development and ongoing impact of psychoanalysis. The birth and growth of the socialist Labor movement in Europe.  The organisational and ideological story is one that could be written about any of these nineteenth-to-twentieth century movements.  A story of clashing personalities as they struggle for control over “truth”, the formation and splintering of institutions and groups, the inevitably disappointed desire to protect a legacy – and, through all of it, the intensely-felt personal betrayals and rivalries between people divided only by passionately believing almost (but infinitesimally not quite) the same thing. (Just read the competing reviews of this book on Amazon! See those tiny bitter visceral resentments writ angrily there!) This is a cover version of a song sung so many times, in so many voices, probably for as long as there have been human societies. 

“But this is also a story that is historically specific.  Alongside Socialism and Psychoanalysis, the New Age movement weaves through the final century of the last millennium, drawing on threads from different places, but arranged and organized on a loom of the same design, ultimately weaving cloth that is curiously similar, intended for the same grand purpose. In all of these movements we see the same millennial optimism, the belief in the possibility of a new enlightenment and the breathless conviction that the next evolution of humanity is almost within our grasp.  Can their emergence at the same point in western history really be co-incidental? 

“No, I’m not talking about the birth of the Age of Aquarius!  I don’t believe in that.  Sadly I doubt that these millennial ideologies will survive to the next millennium, let alone through the next 2,000 years till we will enter, as astrologists quaintly declare, the Age of Capricorn. But they are good stories, worth telling in our time, however long that lasts. And Isobel Blackthorn has made the telling of this one a delight.” –

Read more about the Alice Bailey biography along with more praise here –

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