Alice Bailey and the Plan

by Isobel Blackthorn

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.

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.

More Conspiracy Thinking About Alice Bailey: The United Nations

by Isobel Blackthorn

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.’

http://www.uri.org

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.

Read my previous articles here:

https://isobelblackthorn.com/2021/01/18/alice-bailey-and-the-new-world-order/

https://isobelblackthorn.com/2021/01/27/new-world-order-and-alice-bailey-whats-the-evidence/

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

New World Order and Alice Bailey: What’s the Evidence?

by Isobel Blackthorn

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 

“The United Nations 10 Point Plan”  http://kingdomnewsng.com/more/prayers/223-the-plan-the-united-nations-10-point-plan 

and “Alice Baileys 10 Point Plan” Battle Cry for Christ.  http://battlecryforchrist.blogspot.com.au/2013/12/alice-baileys-10-point-plan.html

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 July 15, 2015, Salon published an article by Bob Cesca announcing that leading far right conspiracy proponent Alex Jones warns his listeners that ‘The UN is a “space cult” plotting to eradicate humanity by making our children gay.’  http://www.salon.com/2015/07/14/alex_jones_warns_listeners_the_un_is_space_cult_plotting_to_eradicate_humanity_by_making_our_children_gay/

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.

Read more here https://isobelblackthorn.com/2021/02/04/more-conspiracy-thinking-about-alice-bailey-the-united-nations/

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.

ALICE BAILEY AND THE NEW WORLD ORDER

by Isobel Blackthorn

From Goodwill to Conspiracy Theory

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. 

Paul Hanaoka, Unsplash

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.

photo by Pawel Janiak, Unsplash

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.

Image by Okan Caliskan from Pixabay 

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.

Read more here https://isobelblackthorn.com/2021/01/27/new-world-order-and-alice-bailey-whats-the-evidence/

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.

The Unlikely Occultist receives a Five Star Readers’ Favorite Badge!

The Unlikely Occultist

Reviewed by Deborah Lloyd for Readers’ Favorite

Shortly after her loving Aunt Hilary’s funeral, Heather faced a challenge at her job. At the State Library in Victoria, Australia, she was assigned the task of assessing a one-hundred box collection donated by the late Professor Foyle. She was a professor of religious studies, with a strong interest in Alternative Spiritualities, often called New Age. Heather soon became engrossed in the professor’s writings, and how her own belief system was affected by the study of this collection is a fascinating aspect of this book. Author Isobel Blackthorn has crafted a thought-provoking, insightful book in The Unlikely Occultist: A Biographical Novel of Alice A. Bailey. The journey of Alice is told in a chronological format, including both her personal life and her work in the spiritual realm.

This biographical novel is written in an easy-to-read, flowing manner. It describes the facts of Alice Bailey’s life – the early years of strong Christian beliefs; her commitment to service; the expansion of her spiritual beliefs; the telepathic connection with several Masters; her marriages and mothering three daughters. It also includes how some spiritualists accepted and others vilified her prolific writings and presentations. How Isobel Blackthorn interweaves the life of Alice of the last century and the life of Heather at the present time is truly masterful. This book provides a context for anyone interested in Alice’s teachings and books, the Arcane School, or organizations she or her followers founded. A novel based on historical facts, The Unlikely Occultist is truly an exceptional read. – 5 STARS

Discover more herehttps://isobelblackthorn.com/the-unlikely-occultist-a-biographical-novel-of-alice-a-bailey/

The Transformative Process of Writing Fiction

Benefits for Readers

When reading, the suspension of ordinary awareness through engagement in a story world has enormous benefits of itself. Empathy, theory of mind and critical thinking are all enhanced. Reading relaxes you, de-stresses, takes you out of yourself and improves vocabulary and memory.

Then there is the enrichment that comes with engagement. Other views are expressed. Moral dilemmas confronted, insights into human nature given. We learn stuff! Tons has been written by psychologists and educators about how fiction benefits readers. What about the benefits for writers?

Photo by Carolyn V on Unsplash

Benefits for Writers

I’ve been writing fiction for over a decade and I often reflect on how the process has changed me for the better. One thing I found early on is that writing fiction might be a solitary act but the writer is never really alone. They have for company the imaginary world they have created and that world can be all-consuming.

Creative writing is multifaceted. Everyone surely knows composing good fiction requires and develops the imagination. But I think it does a whole lot more than that.

The act of creating sentences in a story is a form of meditation in which the writer’s own sense of self is temporarily suspended as they enter the flow. There are therapeutic benefits embedded in the act. Self-forgetfulness is a release from all of the worries and preoccupations of daily life. A soothing, centring, focusing takes place, and the more the writer practices the craft, the stronger, the more complete this self-forgetting becomes. All art and craft does this, including and even especially knitting and needlework, anything that brings the mind to a single point of focus beyond the self. Writing goes the extra mile as it replaces the self-forgetting with an imaginary world of the writer’s own making. There is nothing more thrilling than watching all those sentences come together into chapters as the story grows and grows.

The various elements of the craft of writing require different skillsets and position the writer differently.

Action scenes bring the writer very close to the story in a process of imaginative embodiment. I find action the hardest element of storytelling to write, only because, for me at least, an action scene cannot be written in one hit. There are layers to build and each sentence requires a lot of crafting and altering to make sure the reader is right there with the writer, living the action. Good action writing disappears from view as the reader engages with the story. Any tiny thing that jars and brings the reader back to the realisation that they are reading rather than actually living the story is to be avoided. A lot of fine judgements have to be made to get everything sitting right and pacing is crucial. I daresay some writers find writing action natural and easy. I’m a little envious! I think my failing is that I am inclined to rush.

Description is built out of blocks of sensory observation, pieced together like a work of impressionist art, the writer standing back, just as the painter stands back to observe the canvas. I find writing description rewarding. I enjoy shunting around phrases, making sure a descriptive passage flows well and is very much embedded in the story through the eyes of the narrator and/or protagonist. It’s important not to overdo it. Sometimes, two words are enough to describe something. As ever with writing, description involves lots of fine judgements and a dollop of style.

Dialogue, for me at least, is like channelling voices. I write dialogue stream of consciousness style and figure out the attributions and tightening and styling afterwards. Dialogue can be ideas-driven, sometimes intuitive, or it can simply be a shorthand way to progress the story. I find dialogue easy to write and very pleasurable but I know other writers don’t. I seem to have an internal editor that cuts out most of the fat before the words appear on the page. The trick with dialogue is to pare things down to a minimum so that a conversation appears to be natural and lively but is not at all how real people speak. The art of writing dialogue also develops a kind of inner poise.

Reflective passages require the writer to enter the mind of their protagonist or character via the narrator who is in charge of the voice or tone of the work. Empathy is required and is also developed through this extraordinary process of giving voice to the thoughts and feelings of the imaginary other. For me, reflection is the best part of the writing process. It just seems to land on the page fully formed. But it is a kind of brainstorm and the better you are at brainstorming the easier reflective writing will be. Stands to reason, then, that this element of creative writing develops our critical thinking skills and expands the higher mind.

Telling a story through combining the elements of action, description, dialogue and reflection requires another skillset. The writer needs an idea or premise and a plot and they need to follow the conventions of genre and storytelling. Above all, the writer needs to embody a story, bit by bit and make it whole. A story is a synthesis of its parts. Once the first draft is written and the story is told, the writer holds that entirety in their mind as they tinker with all those parts. This process is expansive and stretches the mind of the reader. It’s a visioning thing.

All creative arts offer the potential of a pathway to wholeness. I have found over the past decade that writing fiction full time has enriched my life in ways I could not have thought possible. There’s the satisfaction side when others tell you your story is pretty good. But that is only a small part of the gains. Imagination, intuition, empathy, poise, focus, concentration – all these attributes and qualities have grown in me through writing fiction. And I have managed to lay to rest a whole heap of junk in my life. I’ve developed a sense of humour and proportion. Above all, I am a lot more detached about the hard stuff that happens to me as it does to all of us. And I have a fabulous way to work through the things that bother me.

I might have developed the habit of solitude to the detriment of other areas of my life. I might have lost interest in other pursuits like cooking. But I am contented, satisfied, the happiest I have ever been. If anyone questions why writers write, I hope I’ve provided a few insights to offer up in our defence. I firmly believe creative writing is an excellent way to grow as a person.

Book Review: The Plot Against Heaven by Mark Kirkbride

About The plot against heaven

Death doesn’t stand a chance against love.

Hell-bent on confronting God after the death of wife Kate, Paul gate-crashes Heaven. With immigration problems and a wall, Heaven turns out to be nowhere near as welcoming as expected. Both Heaven and Hell are modern and militarized, and the cold war that exists between them is about to heat up, with him in the middle of it. Caught on the wrong side of Heaven, Paul faces an impossible choice if he’s to have any hope of seeing his wife again.

Death doesn’t stand a chance against love.

My Thoughts

This is an intriguing little book – just a few hours read – that takes you across unexpected vistas of the afterlife – God in his police state, the Devil in his Casino, both too self-absorbed to give much time to our heartbroken hero, who is only there because he wants to find his wife, and who never meant to get caught up like this… The working out of it nicely captures the paradox of the idea of a war between heaven and hell: what could it look like, such a war? Kirkbride forces it to absurdity, giving both sides a panoply of military equipment and personnel, not to mention the PR men, spinning their propaganda – this is no different from all the other wars, in our own worlds, all of them billed from both sides as battles between good and evil, with the accident of where one happens to live determining one’s allegiance. Kirkbride doesn’t appear to take sides – the Devil, as always, gets the better lines and the more attractive characters, but there is a redemptive moment at the end, reminiscent of the strange scene at the end of Kubrick’s 2001 Space Odyssey, where God gets a better look-in. It’s not a tract: the theological issues take second fiddle, in the end, to a touching love story – and a twist to die for.

Many thanks to Blackthorn Book Tours for the chance to read this book!

Book Review: Cancer Daily Life by Carola Schmidt

About Cancer Daily Life

Cancer Daily Life is a bittersweet collection of single and double-frame strips that only readers who are highly involved with the C world could relate to. It’s sometimes cute and sweet, sometimes acid, sometimes trivial, sometimes funny, just like daily life.

It’s ideal:

*For adolescents and adults age 12 to 100 years old or older

*As a gift for a friend who received a diagnosis of any type of cancer

*As a gift for a friend who will start or is undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy

*When you have a family member or friend aged 12+ coping with cancer, and you don’t know what to say

*When a friend or family member with cancer feels stressed and needs to know they are not alone in this

My Thoughts


A child with cancer: for most of us, our children blessed with health, the idea is too shocking: one would rather not think about it. But of course, for the children concerned, cancer becomes ordinary, their daily life. This little picture book depicts a series of critical points in that daily life, that hurt, have to be tolerated, become ordinary – but does so in a way that remains warm and tender and upbeat. It is a book of charming pictures – just a few words.

The issues it glances at will be familiar to anyone who has suffered cancer treatment – the waiting, the difficult reactions of friends and family, the side effects. It will speak to teenagers who will assume it’s for little kids but read it anyway and find it is also for them. It will speak to the little ones who will find different things in it. It will speak to their parents and family and friends of all ages – and perhaps flag up a few paths not to go down.

I was given access to this little book by Blackthorn Book Tours who are giving copies to clinics around the world where children with cancer are treated without charge. A welcome addition to all their waiting rooms.

You can find your copy of this lovely book here – https://www.amazon.com/Cancer-Daily-Life-Carola-Schmidt/dp/B08DSYSP3G

Book Review: The Patchwork Prince Book 1 Stumbling Stoned by A. van Wyck

I’m delighted to review Stumbling Stoned (The Patchwork Prince Book 1) for Blackthorn Book Tours!

About The Patchwork Prince – Stumbling Stoned

State-sponsored drugs in the megaton range. More rice pudding than I could shake a spork at. And a little padded terrarium of my very own.

If you’d told me yesterday that, come morning, I’d be hunted by the police, the mob, the supernatural (and a cat), I’d have laughed in your face. Granted, I’d have laughed in your face regardless (Clozapine gives me the giggles). Then I’d have gone looking for your flying DeLorean in the nuthouse parking lot.

An epic misadventure involving drugs, sorcery, cannibalism, love and other necessary evils.

My Thoughts

Stumbling Stoned is a celebration of a particular brand of surreal : quirky, violent, gross, chaotic – an excited celebration of drug culture , that embraces the transgressive, the outrageous, the dangerous, the unconstrained, the unpredictable. Like Mad Magazine on steroids, it races through its 300 odd pages with the wild and gleeful abandonment of familiar novelistic restraints (such as a semi-coherent plot, or a single arc of reality, or regard for a particular genre). Mafia bosses and a psychiatrist vie for attention with witches and a zombie skeleton. There are lapses of time and place and person. The hero can accidentally eat and then vomit up an assailant’s finger. He occasionally has superpowers.

If you search this book for moral nourishment, you will find thin pickings. At one point our hero sides with an abducted damsel rather than the sex traffickers who are abducting her (well done!) though there are no great heroics and most of the victims he leaves behind. He’s on a quest for a sense of identity, which I guess is creditable in a psychological novel. There may be other creditable moments but they don’t, in retrospect occur to me. It’s not that sort of book.

On the other hand, it is sharp and slick in its writing and the author is clearly witty. Much of the book is ‘actually’ amusing (in that rather contentless way that stoned people often ‘imagine’ they are being amusing). And it is, it would appear, a thoroughly ‘novel’ novel, and ‘once off’ is something of a recommendation (though the promise of a sequel – this is only book one – rather undermines this premise). But let me give it the benefit of the doubt. It is no more absurd than Buster Keaton or the Marx Brothers, no more drug crazed than much of Coleridge, no more elusive in its narrative arc than Alice in Wonderland. Perhaps one day, like them, it will gain a cult following or be treated with reverence as a classic. Such elevation is slightly more plausible than its plot, so I award these stars to mark my place in its history in case that happens. Future enthusiasts: I was here before you were.

About the Author

André van Wyck is a South African-born writer and law school graduate. Despite the hardships of earning coffee money, and in between yelling at Duolingo, he perseveres at his passion: writing.

“When I started The Waking Worlds series, it was as an exercise in exorcism – a way to rid myself of this ‘writing nonsense’ and get back to my nine-to-five… It did not work out so well.”

His debut novel, A Clatter of Chains, published on Amazon’s Kindle Store in 2016. The supposed palate cleanser (before starting the second installment) turned into a book in its own right and delayed publication of A Fray of Furies considerably. Stumbling Stoned was published in 2018 and advanced to the semi-finals of the vaunted Booklife Prize.

André lives in Luxembourg, with his Industrial Psychologist wife and imaginary pet rock.

Alice Bailey in 1920 at Theosophical HQ Krotona

There are so few photos of Alice Bailey which is why I’m delighted to share this digitally enhanced image courtesy of Steven Chernikeeff, original photo courtesy of the Lucis Trust. The image appears in the original in my biography Alice A. Bailey: Life & Legacy.

This image of Alice Bailey – then Mrs Alice Evans – seated on a rustic bench in the grounds of Krotona, Hollywood, Los Angeles is delightful. She was almost forty years old and even with her hand obscuring part of her face it is easy to see how beautiful she was.

Here she is again in the same photo, this time with her future husband Foster Bailey. Both held key positions in the administration of the USA branch of the Theosophical Society, Alice as editor of The Messenger, the sectional magazine, and Foster as National Secretary.

And here seated with the couple is editor of The Theosophist Bahman Pestonji Wadia who had been sent by TS head Annie Besant to try to help sort out an ongoing organisational dispute that Alice and Foster were embroiled in. The dispute is detailed in depth in my biography, along with a possible explanation of why Alice looks so contended in the photo. She wasn’t to know what 1920 would bring.

getbook.at/AliceBaileyBiography

https://isobelblackthorn.com/alice-a-bailey-life-and-legacy/