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.

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.

Two superb reviews of The Unlikely Occultist: A biographical novel of Alice A. Bailey

The Unlikely Occultist

When I wrote The Unlikely Occultist I was more than a little apprehensive. How would a biographical novel of Theosophist Alice A. Bailey be received, both by those in the esoteric community and others unfamiliar with the terrain? Would my book be rejected and me along with it? Would general readers pass over this book in favour of another?

Relief washed through me as first one, then another reader let me know how much they loved the story I wove out of Alice Bailey’s life.

Then two reviews arrived in my inbox on two consecutive days. The first, by Swedish scholar Hakan Blomqvist is especially prized.

“It is fascinating to follow how Isobel portrays the mindset and moral attitude of Alice Bailey. Not an easy undertaking as the scenes and anecdotes presented may create new myths around a woman already a favourite among conspiracy advocates. Reality and fiction becomes blurred…Although The Unlikely Occultist can be considered as a defense or apology for Alice Bailey and esotericism, Isobel Blackthorn is no naive devotee…I highly recommend The Unlikely Occultist. I found it intensely captivating and enchanting. This work can actually function as an introduction to studies in the Esoteric Tradition and may even inspire a minor renaissance for Alice Bailey. Esotericists will be delighted by this biographical novel and if you are a librarian or archivist you will just love it.”  Hakan Blomqvist

The second review is from the Historical Novels Society and appears in the May 2019 issue of their magazine.

“Blackthorn’s book offers a fascinating portrait of a woman dismissed by mainstream thinkers and religions, a woman whose current obscurity is all the more poignant considering the grandeur of her ambitions and her hopes for a healed world.” – Misty Urban 

And that is exactly what I set out to achieve. I wanted to usher Alice Bailey back into the mainstream and afford her some dignity.

You can find out more about The Unlikely Occultist here

The Prague Cemetery – a belated review

The number of authors fascinated by metaphysics and the supernatural never ceases to make me wonder about the relationship between the creative psyche and that vast realm of the imagination.

There are those who immerse themselves in mythical and symbolic riches and create complex fantasy landscapes. I’m not a huge reader of fantasy and can only mention Ursula le Guin’s The Earthsea Trilogy, which I have read and thought amazing.

Others tackle the metaphysical side of reality in more direct ways, taking journeys into the supernatural and occult. Bram Stoker’s Dracula seems a good early example.

There are the magical realists from Jorge Luis Borges on, who include the paranormal in their stories as if it were a given. Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits is just one example.

Then there are those who embed their insights to give shape to themes. I think of how Doris Lessing’s interest in Sufism inspired her Canopus in Argos Archives.

And it seems that down the ages many writers, along with artists, composers and scientists have had more than a passing interest in the occult. I found a list on a website of Rosicrucians and was astonished to find Bram Stoker, Isaac Newton, Victor Hugo, Yeats, Satie, Edith Piaf and Walt Disney on the list, along with more obvious suspects, such as Jacob Boehme and Francis Bacon. I have no idea how accurate the list is or how immersed in Rosicrucianism each person listed may have been.

ECO

I do know a fair bit about the occult though, or western esotericism as it is more properly called. Which is why I found Umberto Eco’s The Prague Cemetery such a compelling read.

The Prague Cemetery might seem at first like a cook’s tour of the upheavals and power struggles of Europe at the time, written from the perspective of a fierce anti-semite. The basic plot is very simple, the reader uncertain as to whether the protagonist, the repugnant Simonini, has a split personality.

Following Freud’s thinking on the matter, Simonini, who seems to have no idea himself, decides to write a diary to find out. What ensues is a journey through the latter part of he nineteenth century, as Simonini, a master forger of documents, becomes immersed in a web of lies, misinformation, and elaborate inventions of truth designed to discredit the Freemasons and the Jews. Simonini is an unscrupulous psychopath, who works for the secret service of first Italy, then France. What is remarkable is that every other character in The Prague Cemetery existed in reality and all the historical events and those involved are verifiable.

While much has been made of Eco’s fictional depiction of the notorious The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a complete invention that inspired Hitler decades later, in my view a subtler and more general point is being made.

That behind the scenes of history there are those hard at work creating one conspiracy theory after another, whether in fiction or as apparent fact, in other words conspiring to accuse others of a conspiracy in order to fulfil their own agenda, an agenda as simple as personal greed.

I salute the author for hammering this point. For it is my contention that the ultimate coup of the propagandists today is the discrediting of the very conspiracy theories they themselves have created in order to cement in the zeitgeist the view that all conspiracy thinking is rubbish, thus allowing them a huge freedom to continue to conspire.

Umberto Eco’s interest in western esotericism is well known. Through his fiction he explores this world within the world while keeping himself distant from it. An observer, not a practitioner. A thinker who questions and probes, not an adherent who adopts without question. It is this distance that allows him to write works like The Prague Cemetery.