Isobel Blackthorn is an award-winning author of mysteries, thrillers and historical fiction. She holds a PhD in Western Esotericism for her groundbreaking study of the Alice Bailey books. She has a passion for social justice, philosophy, current affairs, books and art.
It’s always a thrill when a your latest release goes live. This one is especially special. The story is based on my own family history!
About Emma’s Tapestry
At the dawn of World War Two, German-born nurse Emma Taylor sits by the bedside of a Jewish heiress in London as she reminisces over her dear friend, Oscar Wilde.
As the story of Wilde unravels, so does Emma’s past. What really happened to her husband?
She’s taken back to her days in Singapore on the eve of World War One. To her disappointing marriage to a British export agent, her struggle to fit into colonial life and the need to hide her true identity.
Emma is caught up in history, the highs, the lows, the adventures. A deadly mutiny, terrifying rice riots and a confrontation with the Ku Klux Klan bring home, for all migrants, the fragility of belonging.
Emma’s Tapestry came about when my mother and I decided to investigate what happened to my great-grandfather who disappeared in 1928, leaving my grandmother fatherless and bereft. The result of his disappearance has reverberated down the generations and explains why my grandmother and mother both migrated to Australia in the 1960s. Once I found out what really happened, I also made some amazing discoveries about the astonishing life my great-grandmother led. It was such a compelling story, I had to turn it into a novel.
The first chapter of Emma’s Tapestry was shortlisted for the Ada Cambridge Prose Prize 2019 and can be found in my short story collection All Because Of You.
LAS ANTIGUAS RUINAS DEL PARAÍSO DE UNA ISLA DEL DESIERTO
Antiguas granjas salpican el paisaje de toda la isla, especialmente en los pueblos del interior y sus alrededores. Algunos han sido restaurados, y por supuesto a un gran costo, pero muchos han quedado en ruinas mientras se construyen nuevos edificios, a veces justo al lado. Lo que se está perdiendo no es solo roca y cemento, sino todo un legado, la historia de una forma de vida de un pueblo que vivió en uno de los climas más duros del planeta. Estos edificios son parte integral de la identidad cultural de Fuerteventura.
Fueron imágenes como estas las que me impulsaron a repasar mi español e interactuar con las publicaciones de Jf Olivares. Lamenta lo que está sucediendo en Canarias como consecuencia del turismo no regulado. Pronto nos hicimos buenos amigos cuando le dije que compartía su pasión. Participé en la restauración de una antigua ruina en Lanzarote en 1988, que supuestamente tenía 300 años, una ruina que poseía en parte en ese momento. Era la casa de mis sueños en el pueblo de mis sueños en la isla de mis sueños y tuve que dejarla ir. ¡No es de extrañar que me atrajeran estas antiguas ruinas de Fuerteventura!
Mi propia conexión con Fuerteventura se remonta a 1989, cuando visité, alojándome en Corralejo y Tetir. Me llevaron allí mis amigos locales de Lanzarote, donde vivía. La primera vez que fui, fue para un festival. Corralejo era tan vibrante y viva que conocí a un hombre, Pedro, un artista local. La atracción era fuerte, tan fuerte que quería que viviera con él en un pequeño pueblo llamado El Time.
Pero ya me estaba arrastrando otro hombre, el carismático Miguel Medina Rodríguez. En ese entonces yo era como una pluma en el viento. A menudo me pregunto cómo habría sido mi vida si me hubiera quedado, con Pedro, con Miguel, o solo en las islas que se habían incrustado en mi corazón. Eran días embriagadores, bohemios.
Tenía muchas ganas de volver a las Islas Canarias. El año pasado estuve a punto de comprar una antigua granja en un pequeño pueblo, pero la venta fracasó. Entonces, hice lo mejor que podía hacer y escribí una novela ambientada allí, una novela sobre una mujer que gana un premio mayor de lotería y restaura una ruina en un pueblo llamado Tiscamanita. ¡Me encanta que mis personajes puedan vivir mis sueños!
Me quedé en Puerto del Rosario durante todo febrero de 2020 y no puedo esperar a volver de nuevo.
La Advertencia de Clarissa se escribió para ayudar a crear conciencia sobre estos hermosos edificios antiguos que caen lentamente a la tierra. Estoy en deuda con JF Olivares por inspirarme a escribir este libro y por dejarme usar sus fotos. ¡nuevamente gracias a JF!
I’m delighted to share a bunch of highlights from the book tour of The Ghost of Villa Winter!
‘I appreciate the amount of work that went into the world-building in this book. Almost Dickensian in its detail, The Ghost of Villa Winter invites the reader to step in deeply into this at-times dire and deadly locale and explore the nooks and crannies with the heroine….Classic Agatha Christie in its bringing together of a group of disparate individuals, many of whom seem suspicious (and perhaps for no other reason than their foreignness to one another), The Ghost of Villa Winter makes use of this device to further explore the geography, as the group tours around the island, seeking insights into one another and commenting on the lore of the land, which involves that sturdy old chestnut, the Nazis….’ The New Mystics
‘… I enjoyed the idea of this story. It was an interesting place to base the story off of, also the characters were all unique…. ‘ Emily Hirst, Books with Raven
‘… The Ghost of Villa Winter is just as effective a murder mystery as its predecessor. Blackthorn once again provides a real strong sense of place throughout the book…. ‘ Julie Sara Porter, Bookworm Reviews
‘… This book is so well written. The author has a knack of drawing you in with her words and this keeps you gripped the whole way through…. ‘ Confessions of a Bookworm
‘… This is my first Isobel Blackthorn book and it will not be my last. Set in idyllic Fuerteventura, this detective thriller packs a punch…. ‘ Chloe Elizabeth McCrea
‘… Mysterious killings…intriguing and interesting characters…gripping unexpected twists and turns…paranormal entities…yep, this book has it all…. ‘ Jenny Dy
‘… I have never read any of Isobel’s work before and I look forward to reading more…. ‘ Karen and her Books
‘… I think the best way to describe Villa Winter is a mix between Cluedo with Death in Paradise… ‘ Kiki Hempell
‘… An engaging murder mystery with a fun plot line, some annoying characters and vividly descriptive scenes…. ‘ Marilyn Goncalves
‘… It’s #4 in the series of Canary Island mysteries that feature Clarissa Wilkinson. The book is complete on its own and it doesn’t matter if you haven’t read the earlier ones, this is the only one that I have read…. ‘ Archana Maroo, Narrate a Tale
‘… If you’re looking for a #cozymystery with a slightly #supernaturalstory then you should try this book…. ‘ Angel Hench, Ouroboros
‘… Ha, the fun I had reading this book by Isobel Blackthorn. I am a huge fan of Jessica Fletcher’s Murder She Wrote, and Clarissa Wilkinson’s adventures in The Ghost Of Villa Winter reminded me of her…. ‘ Farshana, Rain’n’ Books
‘… The Ghost of Villa Winter has everything- a modern day Miss Marple ..Murder … mystery… ghosts… history …not to mention a mini tour through the Canary Islands….’ Ceylan Goktalay
‘… I enjoyed this book as it had a really unique setting, a solid mystery, a main character I grew fond of, and a twisty ending…. ‘ Debbie Rozier
‘… As the story builds you start to wonder where it’s going and who the perpetrator could be (I never get it right). I also really liked the setting and now want to go to the Canary Islands… ‘ Emily Patten
‘… This was an entertaining, fast-paced murder mystery and I enjoyed it! The story was a bit slow to start, but I liked how the author took the time to describe the beautiful island and introduce us the characters…. ‘ Elvina Ulrich
I’m delighted to share this article by theosophical teacher and thinker, and dear friend Patrick Chouinard in which he addresses the broader issues underlying the so-called Ten-Point Plan circulating among conspiracy theorists opposed to Alice Bailey.
Are Alice Bailey’s teachings satanic or part of a conspiracy for a “one world government”?
Alice Bailey teaches that we are here on earth to love and be of service, and lead lives of unselfishness, honesty and goodness. Isn’t that what God wants of us? Jesus said only those who follow God’s commands love God and only these will be saved (Matthew 19:17; Matthew 7:21–23; Rev 20:12) and He gave a “new command”: Love one another. What God looks at is our heart. We are told in the Bible that “God is love”: “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love; Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:8 and 4:16) .
Alice Bailey writes: “Let love be the keynote in all relationships, for the power which must salvage the world is the precipitation of love; Arrest each unloving thought; stamp out each critical action, and teach yourself to love all beings – not in theory but in deed and in truth.”
Theosophy is of God because these are the principles or “commands” it teaches and stands for. It emphasizes love and compassion above all. H.P. Blavatsky, the foundress of the theosophical movement wrote: “ALTRUISM … This is the keynote of Theosophy and the cure for all ills; the giving to others more than to oneself… especially that which we owe to all those who are poorer and more helpless than we are ourselves – self-sacrifice.”
James, the brother of Jesus wrote, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27).
I fail to see how striving to live these ideals could be satanic or “lead one astray.” You don’t have to agree with everything Alice Bailey or Blavatsky wrote (nor do they encourage mindless unquestioning acceptance) – I don’t – but to call their work evil or of Satan, the “father of lies,” is actually itself “Satanic,” for the way of Satan (the “accuser”) has ever been to make evil to appear good and good to appear evil. Let me quote the Biblical criteria for deciding which side a teacher is on:
“But he that believeth these things which I have spoken, him will I visit with the manifestations of my Spirit, and he shall know and bear record. For because of my Spirit he shall know that these things are true; for it persuadeth men to do good. “And whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do good is of me; for good cometh of none save it be of me.”
Is there anything in any of Alice Bailey’s teachings that does anything other than attempting to persuade men and women to do good? I assure you there is not. If there is good in a teaching then the scripture says that this “good cometh of none save it be of me.”
And as Hastings Rashdall said:
”Those who believe that love is the thing of highest value in human life will generally believe also that ‘God is love indeed, and love Creations highest law.’ But even if through intellectual perplexity they fail to do so, such persons may be placed among those of whom Christ said, ‘He that is not against us is for us’…”
Furthermore, Alice Bailey was AGAINST a centralised totalitarian “one world government,” and any form of authoritarianism or oppression:
“The basic goal is the freedom and the liberation of mankind, but the spiritual workers are handicapped by the fact that men themselves must make free choice and decision in order to be free; they can only be liberated when they – as individuals and later as groups – liberate themselves from the expressed thought-control of the powerful dominating groups and from the fears which these groups intentionally engender.
Freedom can never be conferred through totalitarian methods; liberation cannot come through a dictator or dictating groups…they are fighting – and rightly fighting – the totalitarian methods of cruelty, spying, murder, suppression and the lack of freedom.
What they are doing in truth is fighting the abominable methods of imposing the rule of a few evil and ambitious men upon the masses…They are fighting the technique of exploiting the ignorant through misinformation, organized lying and limited education. They are fighting against the sealing up of nations within the confines of their own territory, against the police state, the lack of free enterprise and the reduction of men and women to automatons. This is the true imprisonment of the human spirit.”
(The Rays and the Initiations, p.745)
”Mankind is not ready for some super-government, nor can it yet provide the unselfish and trained statesmen that such a government would require. As yet, there are more seeds of danger in this concept than there are of helpfulness. Nevertheless, it is a dream which will some day materialise.”
Externalisation of the Hierarchy, p. 640
“The unification to which the forward looking people aspire does not involve the neglect of any part, but it does involve the care and nurture of each part in order that it may contribute to the well being of the entire organism. It involves, for instance, the right government and proper development of every national unit so that it can adequately perform its international duties, and thus form part of a world brotherhood of nations.
“This concept does not even involve the formation of a world state, but it does involve the development of a universal public consciousness which realizes the unity of the whole, and thus produces the determination that each must be for all and all for each as it has been said. Only in this way can there be brought about an international synthesis which will be characterized by political and national unselfishness.
“This universal state of mind will not again inevitably involve the founding of a world or universal religion. It requires simply the recognition that all formulations of truth and of belief are only partial in time and space, and are temporarily suited to the temperaments and conditions of the age and race.
“Those who favor some particular approach to the truth will nevertheless achieve the realization that other approaches and other modes of expression and terminologies, and other ways of defining deity can be equally correct and in themselves constitute aspects of a truth which is greater and vaster than man’s present equipment can grasp and express.
“The new world order will not impose a uniform type of government, a synthetic [universal] religion and a system of standardisation upon the nations. The sovereign rights of each nation will be recognised and its peculiar genius, individual trends and racial qualities will be permitted full expression”
All of this directly contradicts the “New World Order” narrative painted by Bailey’s accusers.
It is true that Alice Bailey was critical of orthodox (i.e, Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, etc.) Christian theology, yet she said “There is, however, no point in attacking Christianity. Christianity cannot be attacked; it is an expression—in essence, if not yet entirely factual—of the love of God, immanent in His created universe.” (Her views on the New Testament and on Christ are contained in her book From Bethlehem to Calvary: https://www.lucistrust.org/online…/from_bethlehem_calvary .)
She regarded Christianity as the “religion of love” and of service. Aside from these two essentials she thought certain ideas and attitudes in orthodox Christianity need revisioning:
“Priests and churchmen, orthodox instructors and fundamentalists (fanatical though sincere) are seeking to perpetuate that which is old and which sufficed in the past to satisfy the enquirer, but which now fails to do so. Sincere but unenlightened religious men are deploring the revolt of youth from doctrinal attitudes…
[The] presentation of divine truth, as given by the churches in the West and by the teachers in the East, has not kept pace with the unfolding intellect of the human spirit. The same old forms of words and of ideas are still handed out to the enquirer and they do not satisfy his mind nor do they meet his practical need in a most difficult world. He is asked to give unquestioning belief but not to understand…[He] is asked to accept the interpretations and the affirmations of other human minds who claim that they do understand and that they have the truth…
[Christ] must feel (with an aching heart) that the simplicity which He taught and the simple way to God which He emphasized have disappeared into the fogs of theology…Men have traveled far from the simplicity of thought and from the simple, spiritual life which the early Christians lived.
Is it not possible that the Christ may regard the separative life of the churches and the arrogance of the theologians as wrong and undesirable—dividing (as they have) the world into believer and unbeliever, into Christian and heathen, into the so-called enlightened and the so-called benighted—and as contrary to all that He Himself held and believed when He said, “Other sheep I have which are not of this fold.” (John X.16.)
How can light shine again in the minds of men when churchmen keep the people in a state of fear unless they accept the old theological interpretations and the old ways of approaching God?
Christianity has emphasized immortality but has made eternal happiness dependent upon the acceptance of a theological dogma: Be a true professing Christian and live in a somewhat fatuous heaven or refuse to be an accepting Christian, or a negative professional Christian, and go to an impossible hell—a hell growing out of the theology of The Old Testament and its presentation of a God, full of hate and jealousy.
Both concepts are today repudiated by all sane, sincere, thinking people… Still less do they accept the “lake that burneth with fire and brimstone” (Rev. XIX.20) or the everlasting torture to which a God of love is supposed to condemn all who do not believe in the theological interpretations of the Middle Ages, of the modern fundamentalists or of the unreasoning churchmen who seek—through doctrine, fear and threat—to keep people in line with the obsolete old teaching.
The churches in the West need also to realize that basically there is only one Church, but it is not necessarily only the orthodox Christian institution. God works in many ways, through many faiths and religious agencies; this is one reason for the elimination of non-essential doctrines. By the emphasizing of the essential doctrines and in their union will the fullness of truth be revealed.”
Yes, Alice Bailey believed that one can find God in other religions besides Christianity. Christians seem to have forgotten that truth, wherever it is found, must come from God. According to pastor John Burke, God looks to our heart (1 Samuel 16:7) not our beliefs:
“No one person knows or sees all—we’re all limited, unless God reveals himself, we’re all just making blind guesses…What’s fascinating if you read the sacred Scriptures of the World’s Religions is that only one God speaks to All Nations, or seems concerned with all people on earth.
Ultimately, we don’t know, but we don’t need to worry about “those other people” because God cares about them more than you do. “The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chronicles 16:9). What does He see when he looks in your heart—a desire to seek Him? To humbly follow Him? To love him?
So the important question for you and me is not, “What about other religions” or “How will God deal with people who have never heard.” We don’t really know. The better question for us is, “What will I do with what I do know?” Will I seek God? Will I live for God? God wants relationship with you.” (No Perfect People Allowed)
It is curious how Bailey’s Christian critics fear the creation of an imposed “one world religion,” whereas it is they who seek to covert everyone to their creed – a “one size fits all” religion, with all the “right” views on Christ and Christianity (because they are so sure they have the last word on how to interpret the Bible). Religious diversity and different theological interpretations seem intolerable to them.
The mission statement of the Lucis Trust is summarized at their website:
“The worldwide activities of the Lucis Trust, founded by Alice and Foster Bailey, are dedicated to establishing right human relations. The motivating impulse is love of God, expressed through love of humanity and service of the human race.” They certainly sound like Satanists! The real history of Satanism is not a real history at all. It is mostly Christian Fundamentalist propaganda written for the purpose of demonizing perceived enemies of fundamentalist beliefs.”
It seems Christianity as it has existed has always needed an enemy – an enemy to define itself against; to separate itself from, and to rally its membership against, rather than to humbly and simply love and serve in the spirit of Christ. Evangelicals focused on Communism, then when that threat fell, they filled the void with an anti-gay campaign (raising millions to “fight” this “threat”).
Now the big enemy is the New Age movement and Alice Bailey (they are in good company, even Jesus was accused of being possessed by Beelzebub). Contrast that with this challenge given by Alice Bailey:
“I ask you to drop your antagonisms and your antipathies, your hatreds and your racial differences, and to attempt to think in terms of the one family, the one life, and the one humanity. I would remind you that hatred and separateness have brought humanity to the present condition…I ask you to seal your lips to words of hatred and of criticism, and to talk in terms of brotherhood and of group relationships…
Lose sight of your own affairs, your petty sorrows, worries and SUSPICIONS, in the urgency of the task to be done, and spread of unity, of love and of harmlessness.
I also ask you to sever your connection with all groups which are seeking to destroy and to attack, no matter how sincere their motive. Range yourself on the side of the workers for constructive ends, who are fighting no other groups or organisations, and who have eliminated the word “anti” out of their vocabulary.”
Esoteric Psychology – Volume I, 2. The Present Ray Plan and the Workers
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.”
“Thank you for reaching out. In response to Australian government legislation, Facebook restricts the posting of news links and all posts from news Pages in Australia. Globally, the posting and sharing of news links from Australian publications is restricted. We are working on restoring any pages that have been restricted in error.”
That was the email I got yesterday from Facebook’s help centre after Facebook put a blanket ban on Australians accessing news on their platform. They acted in advance of the Australian government’s proposed legislation or new media code requiring that Facebook pay for news content after the Australian branch of the Rupert Murdoch empire News corp kicked up a stink over lost advertising revenue. The government chose to include a very broad definition of ‘media’ to include any and all publications. Facebook then took that definition and went ahead with the ban.
We can’t see any news at all on Facebook. Not only Australian news, but all international news as well. My newsfeed is now so incredibly dull I can scarcely be bothered scrolling.
Without any warning, Australians woke up to discover their Facebook pages had been removed or their page content wiped. Emergency services and health advice pages were quickly restored when it became apparent Facebook had overreached. But for authors like me who have a website where they showcase their books and reviews and more, the ban is still in place.
My Facebook page has been wiped of all content and I cannot post there any more. I unable to share a link to my website on my Facebook profile, and I cannot share it in any Facebook group. Neither can any other Australian. If I get an overseas friend to post my website link in one of my Facebook groups or anywhere on Facebook, I and no other Australian can see the post. All because my author website has been deemed an Australian publication.
It feels so extreme. This sudden and dramatic action by Facebook brings home how vulnerable ordinary citizens are. We rely on tech giants in a vast array of ways. And the landscape can change with the flick of a switch and suddenly, what we treated as a basic human right of sorts, has gone.
What really gets me riled is this situation that ordinary Australians are in is entirely the result of an advertising-revenue battle between the Murdoch empire, our rather bullish and myopic government, and a tech giant majoring in zero empathy. We are just collateral.
In my previous articles https://isobelblackthorn.com/alice-bailey-articles/I’ve explored some of the roots of the Alice Bailey conspiracy theory and attempted to show how the theory is unjustified by providing a taste of the meaning and intention behind the theosophist’s thinking. Here I focus on a term that triggers alarm in the conspiracy mind, the notion of a ‘Plan’. It might be said that the entire conspiracy edifice rests on this single conceptual foundation. So contentious is this term that on the basis of it alone Bailey has been condemned to burn on the pyre of her own pages.
Out of the numerous definitions of the Plan, the most apposite can be found in Discipleship in the New Age II. ‘The Plan for this cycle…is goodwill for all men, and through all men, goodwill.’ In Bailey’s scheme, and in keeping with her own Christian faith, the task of her spiritual hierarchy is to bring about goodwill on earth in accordance with divine will. Goodwill is the hierarchy’s major thoughtform, the idea dressed up and sent out into the world in the hope that it may take hold. Goodwill is a synthesising energy; simply put, it brings people together in harmony. The Plan is ‘divine synthetic purpose’ or the Will of God. It all sounds harmless enough, but religious fundamentalists react to the idea that anyone outside of Christ and the Bible could possible know God’s purpose.
There are more abstruse ways of defining the Plan in Bailey’s texts. She states that ‘The Plan is substance. It is essentially substantial energy. And energy is substance and nothing else.’ In such statements Bailey leaves the average reader behind, the words only meaning something for those in the know. The only way to understand esoteric thought is to stand inside it, and few are so predisposed.
In, False Dawn: The United Religions Initiative, Globalism, and the Quest for a One-World Religion, key Bailey detractor Lee Penn views the Plan as spiritual totalitarianism. Whereas Bailey had in her sights the dawning of a new global consciousness, one fundamentally humanitarian in nature and not at all despotic, which totalitarianism implies.
Of concern for Penn is Alice Bailey’s so-called disciples of Shamballa. The legend of Shamballa comes from classical Hinduism and was introduced into Western esotericism by Blavatsky. She describes it as The White Island located in Central Asia. Bailey expanded on the notion, claiming it to be the central home of her Hierarchy of Spiritual Masters, at ‘a centre in the Gobi desert…It exists in etheric matter.’ She doesn’t explain a great deal about this mythical kingdom based in Mongolia, since her primary concern is the Spiritual Hierarchy. In simple terms, Shamballa is defined as the will-to-power:
‘Shamballa’ refers to ‘the world of pure energy, of light and of directed force’
‘Shamballa is simply a word conveying the idea of a vast focal point of energies.’
Or ‘Shamballa is the place of purpose…[it is] a major centre of related sates and a relatively static energy.’
Alice A. Bailey,Discipleship in the New Age, Vol II, 293, 404 and 519.
Without making any effort to understand this concept, Penn cites Bailey’s esoteric claim that despotic leaders from Napoleon and Bismark to Hitler and Mussolini were ‘disciples of Shamballa’ and were ‘great outstanding personalities who were peculiarly sensitive to the will-to-power.’ The detached tone of these statements appears callous. On first reading it is as though Bailey condones the cruelties these men meted out. On closer scrutiny, ‘great’ and ‘outstanding’ do not mean Alice Bailey thought they were in any way ‘good’. Rather, that they stood out. She also notes Hitler was an ‘exponent of the reversed reaction to Shamballa (and consequently the evil reaction), The Rays and the Initiations, 35.
However, she does put a positive spin, from an esoteric perspective, on aspects of destruction. Outmoded forms that can no longer cope with or are suitable to incoming spiritual energies inevitably die. As a lizard grows, it sheds its old skin. Human civilisations rise and they fall. From an exoteric perspective, the detached way Bailey talks about death might be a justifiable criticism of her work. Yet her contentious statements, such as those cited by Penn, extracted and amplified as though representative of the whole eleven thousand pages of text, are rare. Should the whole corpus be thrown out as a result, or should she be regarded as at times opinionated, outspoken and perhaps prone to an over-application of her own esoteric worldview?
In much of her body of work, Bailey applies her own esoteric logic to world affairs, and her teachings should be interpreted through the lens of her basic concern for the evolution of consciousness. Bailey not only argues that all of the world’s dictators were embodying the energy of Shamballa, which manifests most potently as the destruction of outmoded forms of thought, she also acknowledges this as ‘dangerous and terrible’. (The Externalisation of the Hierarchy, 133.) Although from the point of view of a collective unfolding awareness, she argues that such destruction serves a purpose in furthering the overall Plan (global goodwill), by breaking down existing boundaries that separate communities and nations. For some, this assertion jars and anyone who has read Voltaire’s Candide might note tinges of the ‘All’s for the best in the best of all possible world’s’ response to the terrible earthquake that struck Lisbon in 1755 offered by prominent philosopher and optimist Leibniz. Is it ever desirable to frame the suffering that comes with destruction in a positive light?
Alice Bailey had a very particular way of seeing the world. For her, what matters is the evolution of consciousness. In this regard, she saw the emergence of the ideologies of democracy, totalitarianism and communism as evidence of an early form of group consciousness and world awareness:
‘It is therefore surely apparent that behind all the surface turmoil and chaos so devastatingly present today in the consciousness of humanity, and behind all the fear and apprehension, the hate and separativeness, human beings are beginning to blend in themselves three states of consciousness—that of the individual, of the citizen, and of the idealist.’
Education in the New Age, 103.
Bailey’s statements should be considered on their own terms and understood within her overarching belief system. The Plan is the expansion of human consciousness to embrace group consciousness and is brought about through the expression of goodwill. Shamballa is concerned with the expression of spiritual will and is not the primary focus in the Bailey teachings. Both the Plan and Shamballa represent aspects of the theosophical worldview. This worldview has its roots in Neoplatonic metaphysics. It is not possible to extract either concept from this worldview and try to reach an understanding independently of this context.
For conspiracy thinkers in the 1950s and 60s, the United Nations exemplified not internationalism as Alice Bailey pictured the organisation, but totalitarianism. As if Hitler, Stalin, Franco and Mussolini were not bad enough, Chairman Mao Zedong implemented his own communist version of group consciousness, the individual forced to serve the ideals of Chairman Mao. A consequence of this experiment was the great famine of 1959-61, leading to the deaths of up to forty-five million people. This example of a totalitarian regime requiring citizens to kowtow to a typically despotic leader, one with distorted ideals and a self-centred vision, terrified sections of the American community after McCarthy whipped up anti-communist fears.
The New World Order narrative emerged out of this anti-communist sentiment along with a newly politicised fear of global tyranny coming in the wake of the creation of collective security organisations: the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the United Nations. This narrative pivots on the apprehension of a hidden plot to subsume sovereign nations, and personal autonomy by extension, under a one-world government.
As the twenty-first century unfolds in the shadows of the bombing of the World Trade Centre in 2001 and the global financial crisis of 2008, the New World Order narrative has gained credence. Both events have ushered in a new era of chaos and uncertainty, with deep fears in the populace concerning matters of terror and security, unjustified wars, and a widespread mistrust in the global financial system and the political will to do something about it.
All conspiracy theories require a scapegoat or fall guy, a human agent masterminding the plot. Alice Bailey is an easy target. She’s a Theosophist – and in conspiracy circles, Theosophists are known to be an evil, occult sect aligned with the Nazis. She’s dead, so can offer no defence, and she’s a woman, a soft target. She moved in high circles, counting among her friends numerous dukes and baronesses and sirs. She was linked to Freemasonry via her husband. As if that were all not damning enough, when Bailey made numerous statements in her texts in support of the United Nations, she effectively handed New World Order conspiracy thinkers the rope for her own execution.
The New World Order mega-theory is one of the most influential and persuasive conspiracy narratives at large today and has many variants. With respect to the United Nations version, not only does Alice Bailey’s writing provide substantial material that feeds the secret-occult-order trope, leading figures within the United Nations are known or thought to be or have been followers or admirers of her teachings, or have loose associations, arousing paranoia that the organisation has in fact been infiltrated.
This apparent merging of the occult with the United Nations in the eyes of conspiracists enables them to claim that various behind-the-scenes actors controlling the UN have a secret agenda to institute an evil plan laid out by Alice Bailey. It is a plan of absolute global control and domination of the economic, religious, political and social spheres. In effect, a one-world government with malevolent intent, poised to impose martial law over the United States, and institute programs of global depopulation.
Whenever conspiracists feel a need to justify their claims regarding the UN, they need only point to Alice Bailey. Since Bailey’s oeuvre is esoteric in nature and she had the audacity to re-interpret the role and significance of Christ, it seems predictable that the Bailey mega-theory has firm roots in the Christian far right.
One example can be found in Lee Penn’s False Dawn: The United Religions Initiative, Globalism, and the Quest for a One-World Religion. The primary focus of Penn’s attack is the United Religions Initiative, which was launched by his former bishop, Bishop Swing, in 1995 to promote interfaith cooperation and help put an end to religiously motivated violence. Bishop Swing’s stance caused Penn to leave the Episcopalian church and switch to Eastern Catholicism. The URI describes itself as:
‘a global grassroots interfaith network that cultivates peace and justice by engaging people to bridge religious and cultural differences and work together for the good of their communities and the world.’
It is this trajectory towards universality that upset Penn, who saw his Eastern Catholic faith undermined; his own newly adopted and closely held creed no longer regarded as absolute truth, but positioned relative to other creeds. Penn is concerned that those associated with the URI are also proposing to construct a new world order through the United Nations. Penn goes on to cite the various ways that the URI and the UN are linked.
Penn’s scope is broad, his referencing meticulous, and his work has all the appearance of thoroughness and rigor. And he demonstrates the hallmarks of the conspiracy thinker. Having pre-judged the URI and all its associates, Penn bases his argument in part on the assumption that it is possible to assess the motives of an organisation based on the affiliations of its membership. Second, he believes that an organisation should be condemned on the basis of an apparent association with a particular current of thought, the New Age. Third, he believes that this current of thought is essentially evil. He then applies a dot-joining technique that masquerades as incisive analysis, stringing together various extracts taken out of context as representative of whole bodies of work and using them as evidence to support his claims.
In conspiratorial fashion, after citing the URI’s relationship with the United Nations, in a part of his work titled “Servants of the Shining Darkness: The Anti-Gospel of the New Age Movement”, Penn directs his scaremongering at Theosophists Blavatsky and Bailey, and idealist philosopher Teilhard de Chardin, all of whom advocate notions of interconnectedness, inclusivity or unity. In his Bailey chapter, from the outset he asks his readers to keep in mind the number of Bailey followers who have donated to the URI, including, according to him, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Jean Houston, Avon Mattison and Robert Muller.
Penn begins his analysis by focusing on concerns raised by Cumbey that Bailey’s work is representative of the Antichrist, before spotlighting her statements relating to population control in which she, like many other thinkers of her time, considers ways to limit growth of the human population.
For Penn, matters of abortion and contraception, and the right of women to choose what happens to their bodies, cannot easily be separated from concerns over some imagined eugenics or ruthless cull being plotted by the United Nations. Ironically, Alice Bailey’s Edwardian moral values and sensibilities meant she distanced herself from her feminist sisters, including vociferous birth control campaigner Rose Pastor Stokes. For Stokes, women’s bodies were paramount, for Bailey it was the planetary body. Besides, Bailey argues that population control should be exercised not through some despotic program of eugenics, but through the exercise of personal self-control.
Penn’s presentation of Bailey’s teachings comprises little more than a series of quotes and linking sentences, as though, bereft of their original context, these quotes are able to more or less speak for themselves. In the section of his chapter titled ‘Bailey’s New World Order: “A New Power of Sacrifice”’ the only interpretation Penn offers is an accusation that Bailey is guilty of ‘spiritual totalitarianism’.
In support of his claim, Penn draws on Bailey’s vision for the New Age as based on group interplay, group idealism and group consciousness. He seems alarmed at the notion that individual awareness will become blended into group awareness, and that the individual is encouraged to surrender to the good of the whole. For him, this represents a loss of personal autonomy, something sacrosanct amongst conspiracists.
Soul awareness, or merging into group awareness isn’t a loss; it’s a gain, an expanded sense of self that carries with it a profound sense of sublime fulfilment and a kind of serene wellbeing, of feeling filled with love and joy. It’s similar to the feeling you get when you fall completely in love and feel yourself expanding. Or when you hold a newborn in your arms. You are still you, but you are also bigger than you. It is a both-and situation.
Penn seems incapable of understanding this. Using a string of quotes, he seeks to demonstrate what spiritual totalitarianism might look like. He conflates Bailey’s notion of subordinating the individual personality’s wants and wishes for the good of the whole as a form of Orwellian Big Brother.
For Penn, the New World Order equates to The Plan, which in turn equates to dictatorship.
Most references to a new world order in Bailey’s writings, were given in pamphlets to the New Group of World Servers’ Units of Service, collated in The Externalisation of the Hierarchy. Here the new world order concerns:
‘A general process of educating the public in the fact and use of goodwill. A great but undeveloped potency is still locked up in mankind which, if evoked by man himself, will prove adequate to do two things:
1. Lay the foundation for a stable peace—active and positive because the result of active and positive action—after the Forces of Light have won the victory upon the physical plane.
2. Provide the subjective synthesis or network of light embodying the force of goodwill as the expression of right human relations. This will guarantee a workable world order and not an imposed tyranny or a mystical and impossible dream.’
Externalisation of the Hierarchy, 321-2.
When Bailey affirms the bringing about of ‘the eventual synthesis and unification of men of goodwill and of understanding into one coherent body,’ (Esoteric Psychology II, 669) the only harm that can be found in the idea is seated in ill-conceived threats to the individual ego, or the personality-centred individual. Conspiracy theorists like Penn see into this notion of the individual sacrificing their selfish desires, impulses and drives for the good of the whole, a loss of personal power and autonomy. Yet the entirety of Bailey’s work is spiritual and concerns the evolution of the soul, one that involves a journey away from all of the divisions that the personality likes to surround itself with, towards the embodiment of love. Goodwill is simply an ordinary and everyday expression of agape.
If conspiracists stopped for a moment and attempted to understand that the individual is not sacrificed for the good of the whole, that when Bailey talks of group consciousness, another may talk of the importance of community or neighbourhood, they might see that they are reacting to language, to words, only because they have imbued those words with meanings that were never intended.
Mother of the New Age movement Alice Bailey has been the bête noire of conspiracy thinkers for decades, helped along by Christian writer Constance Cumbey. See https://isobelblackthorn.com/2021/01/18/alice-bailey-and-the-new-world-order/ The tap root that anchors this conspiracy theory is the notion of a new world order, a phrase much used in the Bailey teachings. What Bailey meant and what conspiracy thinkers think Bailey meant are entirely different. For Bailey, the new world order is a term grounded in good for all, ‘founded on an active sense of responsibility’ in which ‘the governing body in any nation should be composed of those who work for the greatest good for the greatest number and who at the same time offer opportunity to all, seeing to it that the individual is left free.’ Alice Bailey, Externalisation of the Hierarchy, p191. In the same passages, Bailey talks of the need for democracy, equality, equal opportunity, a fair sharing of natural resources, universal education, and steady and regulated disarmament. For Bailey, a new world order is the antithesis of totalitarian rule.
Conspiracy theorists do not appear to be interested in what Bailey wrote about the new world order. When it comes to Alice Bailey, New World Order conspiracy theorists Terry Melanson and David Livingstone appear more interested in who they can claim were on the board of trustees of Bailey’s publishing arm, the Lucis Trust. According to these theorists John D. Rockefeller, Norman Cousins, Robert S. McNamara, Thomas Watson, Jr., Henry Clausen and Henry Kissinger were ‘said to have been’ all board members. see Terry Melanson, “Lucis Trust, Alice Bailey, World Goodwill and the False Light of the World” http://www.conspiracyarchive.com/NewAge/Lucis_Trust.htm and David Livingstone, “The Age of Aquarius: Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘N Roll” http://www.conspiracyschool.com/age-aquarius
It appears that condemnation by association is enough for these conspiracy thinkers.
The Fellowship of Minds website also has the United Nations’ Spiritual Caucus in its sights, on April 9, 2011 posting ‘UN, Hotbed of New Age Occult: The Spiritual Caucus,’ making the point in the first sentence that the United States’ taxpayer is funding these ‘pagan’ practices. In the website url, ‘occult’ is replaced with ‘satanism’. https://fellowshipoftheminds.com/un-hotbed-of-new-age-satanism-the-spiritual-caucus (It should be noted that this Spiritual Caucus is small compared to the myriad other caucuses at the UN, exerting little tangible influence over UN proceedings.)
Other Christian-right conspiracists prefer summaries and lists. They’ve made a ten-point plan in Bailey’s name for the new world order, to be adopted by the United Nations. This plan is said to involve: taking God out of institutions of learning; reducing parental authority over children; destroying the Judeo-Christian family structure; legalising divorce and abortion; allowing homosexuality; debasing art; using media to change how we think; creating an interfaith movement; and requiring governments to adopts the plan. see “Ten Point Plan of the New World Order” https://plannedpurity.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/the_tenpoint_plan_of_the_new_world_order-1.pdf
In a post entitled ‘NAFTA: The Shocking Rest of the Story” Forbidden Knowledge, a leading conspiracy website, makes reference to Bailey’s work with regard to the creation of ten spheres of influence in the reorganisation of global power into ten super states. The number ‘ten’ is of import as it is seen to refer to completion. – “NAFTA: The Shocking “Rest of the Story” http://www.theforbiddenknowledge.com/hardtruth/nafta_nwo.htm
It is in this piecemeal fashion that Alice Bailey’s name is bandied about in conspiracy circles. While serving to discredit her teachings, there is a more disturbing aspect to this conspiracy theorising. The sinister motives attributed to Bailey have fed into a broader mistrust of the United Nations and vice versa. This mistrust is pervasive and goes far beyond the Christian right.
On June 30, 2016, in his online news magazine Infowars (now banned from Facebook), the controversial conspiracist Alex Jones alleges that the United Nations is seeking to quietly invade the USA. On 29, August 2016, Jones announces that if Obama abdicates Internet stewardship, the United Nations might take control of it. While the original article was published in the Wall Street Journal, Jones’ takes hold of it in order to add to his smear campaign of the UN. And on September 2, 2015, Jim Marrs posted on his website an article by Michael Snyder concerning the 2030 Agenda: The United Nations blueprint for a New World Order with the help of the pope.
The anti-Bailey sentiment amongst leading conspiracy theorists is strong; so strong that professional conspiracy thinker David Icke was at pains to distance himself from all association with Bailey’s thinking after accusations flew in the early half of this decade that he’d drawn on her teachings to inform two of his early book titles, The Truth Vibrations and Love Changes Everything. No one, it seems, is immune from attack. Since then, amongst his anti-New World Order output, Icke makes bold alarmist claims that the United Nations is seeking to expand its peacekeeping forces. For conspiracy theorists like Icke, the United Nations is forever involved in political manipulations in the service of the New World Order.
Most of what is written on the array of online media sites appears to be superficial, sensational and repetitive, the anti-Bailey conspiracy narrative held together by flimsy evidence, a headline, an insinuation, an association. The literature is not much better. It also seems conspiracists targeting Bailey and the UN seek to undermine initiatives for human and planetary betterment. In this sense, unlike other conspiracists, such as those seeking to reveal assassination cover-ups, or those concerning aliens and UFOs, the Bailey mega-theory is fundamentally anti-life, in effect becoming its own other, an embodiment of the very aims it so vehemently opposes.
In my view, it is important to counter the conspiracy narrative surrounding Alice Bailey by pointing out what she actually stood for: goodwill and right relations. Everything she taught boils down to, quite simply, learning to be a good person. I’d be the first to put up my hand and say I’m still learning.
Alice Bailey devoted thirty years to the fulfilment of her mission to be the conduit for the latest outpouring of the Ageless Wisdom and establish a number of organizations that would help carry that mission of goodwill forward. Back in the 1920s to the late 1940s she couldn’t have known there was a nemesis growing right beside her, one that would culminate in the form of a grand conspiracy theory with her name on it.
Perhaps the seeds of the conspiracy theory were sown that day in May 1922 when she established the Lucifer Publishing Company, wisely changing the name to the Lucis Publishing Company in 1924, after she became concerned about public perception of the word “Lucifer”, especially amongst orthodox Christians. Alice Bailey was wise to make the change, but it came too late to avert the outrage of evangelical Christians who, in the 1980s, used the original name of the publishing company as a basis to their argument that Alice Bailey was possessed by the antichrist.
One leading critic writing in the 1980s is Christian activist Constance Cumbey (1944-). In The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow: The New Age Movement and the Coming Age of Barbarism, Cumbey is at pains to construe Bailey as a vulnerable victim of circumstances, confused, lonely and in despair at the time she encountered Theosophy, and not as the strong-minded intellectual that she was. However, Cumbey still sees Bailey as possessed by the Antichrist. For Cumbey, Bailey’s beliefs in God immanent and reincarnation are ‘the standard lies of the serpent of the Garden of Eden days!’ “Lucifer” might mean light bearer, but to Cumbey the word denotes pure evil.
Everything that Bailey wrote is seen by Cumbey through the lens of Lucifer. The ‘Plan’ of the ‘Spiritual Masters’ is for Cumbey not only unorthodox, but intended ‘to utterly root out people who believe in the Bible and worship God and to completely stamp out Christianity.’ Even the ‘holding the mind steady in the light’ is seen as an act of pure evil.
Unfortunately, Cumbey’s inflammatory scaremongering, while off-putting to non-evangelists, has fed the fears of a receptive audience of believers. Cumbey’s work has been widely discredited by scholars due to its conspiracy theory tone, yet her book and her ideas continue to circulate, aided by Cumbey herself, who has a strong online presence.
The views of Cumbey have become foundational and fuel the fearful hatred of evangelicals and conspiracy theorists far and wide. There are scores and possibly hundreds of websites and blogs dedicated to attacking Alice Bailey, propped up by Cumbey’s book.
Cumbey’s citing of “Lucifer” was picked up in 2001 by leading conspiracy thinker, Jim Marrs in his book Rule by Secrecy, a comprehensive exploration of ‘conspiracy truth’, involving the discovery and interpretation of the various guises of the New World Order plot. Marrs makes only this one reference to Alice Bailey, using it as evidence to support his claim that the core motive of esotericists down the ages is to convert believers to Satanism. If Bailey could have known how far reaching the consequences of this single word choice would be, she would have been kicking herself.
Some of Cumbey’s accusations draw on skewed interpretations of Bailey’s central concepts. Conspiracy thinkers have taken these interpretations and embellished them, creating a veil of disinformation around a body of work intended to foster spiritual enlightenment.
That Bailey’s work has attracted the attention of such thinking is unsurprising. There is much in her work to arouse the suspicions of conspiracy thinkers, including: The existence of a hierarchy of masters overseeing humanity; the notion of a Plan; a call for one world government; and a belief in the value of the United Nations. With these triggers, little wonder Bailey has come under their high beam, since all of these central concepts point to the workings of hidden power.
Perhaps it doesn’t matter that Bailey’s teachings have become shrouded in conspiracy thinking since those who may benefit from her insights will probably find a point of entry, and despite being regarded as the mother of the New Age movement, the bulk of humanity has never heard of her.
Generally, conspiracy thinkers are concerned with threats to national sovereignty and a desire to re-attain a sense of national and personal identity and power in a rapidly globalising world. It is easy to see how Bailey would be regarding by conspiracy thinkers as an arch enemy, since she advocated a form of one-world government.
The moment Bailey latched onto the United Nations, history was against her. Her hope was that through its auspices, the world would re-orient itself on a better course, and that her works would achieve their intention, to found a new world order. Ironically, conspiracy theorists believe wholeheartedly that she was successful.
In her book Cumbey devotes a series of appendices to Bailey’s organisations and ideas, including: World Goodwill, Triangles, the Lucis Trust, the New Group of World Servers and the Unity-in-Diversity Council, an organisation based on an ancient phrase Bailey utilised to convey an important holistic idea. Unity does not confer uniformity and diversity is not fragmentation. In Cumbey’s view, New Age conspirators are enacting the plan for a quasi-Nazi new world order set down by Bailey, largely by infiltrating the United Nations, along with government and business groups. For Cumbey, its adherents are deluded, naïve, and held by mass hypnosis and mind control.
Cumbey quotes from nine volumes of the Bailey canon, with an emphasis on The Externalisation of the Hierarchy:
‘These teachings omitted little or nothing. They ranged from the attitude of the Hierarchy towards the Jews (negative) through dietary advice. Step by step they plotted the coming “New Age”, with instructions for the institution of the necessary New World Order through the use of identifying rainbows. Plans for religious war, forced initiations, theology for the New World Religion, disarmament campaign, and elimination or sealing away of obstinate religious orthodoxies—all were covered extensively in the Alice Bailey writings.’
Constance Cumbey, The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow, p51.
In Cumbey’s language, Bailey adherents have followed her teachings ‘to the letter,’ the New Age utopia of Findhorn was meant to ‘anchor The Plan,’ and many followers have ‘infiltrated’ the United Nations. Having pre-determined that everything the New Age and its theosophical underpinnings stand for is coming out of that evil space, Cumbey has no choice but to condemn notions of world peace and unity, sharing and brotherly love.
Anti-Bailey conspiracy theorists tend to equate Bailey’s version of a new world order with globalisation as we know it today. In the following quote, Bailey makes an important distinction between materialism and spirituality as two pathways towards a new global world order.
‘Arguing as one ever must from the universal to the particular, it is essential that humanity relates its own mechanism to the greater mechanism through which the planetary Life functions and views his soul as an infinitesimal part of the world soul. It is necessary for him, therefore, to relate…his soul to his personality, viewing both as aspects and integral parts of the human family. This will be increasingly the case. This process is beginning to demonstrate in the steadily expanding group, national and racial consciousness which humanity is today demonstrating – a consciousness which shows as a spiritual inclusiveness or as an abnormal and wicked attempt (from the standpoint of the soul) to fuse and blend all nations into a world order, based on material issues and dominated by a material vision.’
Alice Bailey, Esoteric Astrology p. 519.
It should be clear from the quote that Alice Bailey desired the antithesis of the very path Cumbey accuses her of advocating. Constance Cumbey is just one of Alice Bailey’s detractors. That her view has been amplified in the conspiracy theory milieu is unsurprising, yet there are few voices countering the perspective.