A Treatise on Cosmic Fire: A Theory of Everything

Back in the early noughties, I undertook doctoral studies in the School of Social Ecology at Western Sydney University and produced the world’s first PhD thesis on the teachings of theosophist Alice A. Bailey. Last year, peer-reviewed journal The Esoteric Quarterly encouraged me to write an article based on one of the chapters. I chose the one on cosmology.

I was keen not to simply copy and paste a thesis chapter; a PhD thesis proves the candidate worthy of calling themselves a scholar and is not necessarily reader-friendly. Even though my thesis was commended by examiners for the quality of its prose, as well as for its originality, in September 2020 I did a complete re-write of the cosmology chapter. It was a huge undertaking and a massive shift away from creative writing. Anyone who knows anything about Alice Bailey’s A Treatise on Cosmic Fire will know what I am talking about. I was amazed I could even get back into the headspace.

The article was peer-reviewed, praised, edited and proofread, and was due to be published in the Winter 2020 issue of The Esoteric Quarterly. Then it got put forward to Spring. I just heard that The Esoteric Quarterly is on hiatus. But they did format the article with their masthead. So here it is!

This article explores and evaluates Alice Bailey’s esoteric cosmology presented in A Treatise on Cosmic Fire as a mythic theory of everything, situating it alongside scientific quests for a single explanation of the universe, since in the words of esoteric scholar Olav Hammer, “one of the most striking characteristics of the Esoteric Tradition is precisely its use of contemporary science as a source of legitimacy.”

Isobel Blackthorn, PhD, is the author of The Unlikely Occultist: a biographical novel of Alice A. Bailey, and the biography Alice A. Bailey: Life & Legacy.

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.

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/

Praise for Alice Bailey biography

I’m truly humbled by all the praise pouring in for my biography of Alice Bailey. Such kind words as these warm my heart.

“This is so much more than a very detailed biography of Alice Ann Bailey; it is also a very comprehensive review of the many interesting groups and people throughout the history of theosophical thought and the continuing impulse of the Ageless Wisdom teachings. At every turn we feel like we are on intimate terms with the lives and events of this span of time, and the overall view is awesome and inspiring.” – Gail Jolley, School for Esoteric Studies.

“Our thanks to Dr Blackthorn for her insights into the life of one of the most influential esoteric teachers of the twentieth century. As scribe for the Tibetan Master, Alice Ann Bailey provided a body of teachings unrivaled in their importance at the dawn of the Aquarian Age.” John F. Nash, PhD www.uriel.com

“A thorough documentation of Blackthorn’s years of dedicated research into Alice Bailey’s life and spiritual output. This book encapsulates the wide-ranging illumination which flowed through Bailey’s life, along with its trials and triumphs. Gaps are filled and misconceptions corrected, which have allowed many a conspiracy theory and error to proliferate. A treasure for the serious student of life in all its dimensions.” – Murray Stentiford, physicist and student of universal human spirituality

“A must-read for any Bailey student, anyone interested in the New Age movement, and for those who wonder, amidst our confused and divided world, where will it all end?“-  Steven Chernikeeff, author of Esoteric Apprentice

“A really enjoyable read! A clear light shining on a very important spiritual scribe of our age, and that to come. The inclusion of historical context gives great flavor and understanding of AAB’s challenging life, and clears up many misunderstandings of her views. An erudite explanation of living theosophy for general consumption – no mean feat!” – Brenton Phillis,  www.heartforchange.net

“As a long time student of the blue books and someone who deeply admires AAB I couldn’t have asked for a better biography. It is all I hope for and more, combining scholarship and heart. A pleasure to read. Many clues are drawn together to provide a fuller picture of AAB. New information is given. Key periods in her life are given new light – such as the Ascona period. Alice Bailey and her writings are made more accessible and put into historic and esoteric context. It is high time the myths and misconceptions about AAB and her writings be dispelled and she takes her place as one of the greatest esoteric thinkers of the 20th Century. Isobel Blackthorn has done a great service to Alice Bailey’s legacy and provided a gateway for a new generation of Alice Bailey students.” – Patrick Chouinard, theosophical scholar and teacher

“This remarkable, deeply researched book on Alice Bailey is a fascinating read for anyone who has an interest in the occult, Theosophy, the origins of the New Age movement, spirituality or the esoteric. Isobel Blackthorn has done an extraordinary job of writing an accessible biography of a unique woman whose ideas and writings have inspired generations, yet remains obscured and half-forgotten in history.” ~ Right Worshipful Master K. Crombie, 18° Freemason.

“This is a remarkable biography for its sheer scope and level of detail, placing Alice Bailey clearly amid her spiritual contemporaries. One of the many strengths of Alice A. Bailey: Life and Legacy is the way it enables the reader to follow the maturation of Bailey’s teachings, and to witness how through Bailey’s unique spiritual guidance, she arrived at such a large vision for humankind.”  – Maggie Hamilton, author of The Secret World of Fairies

“I don’t think you will find a more thorough and documented treatment of Bailey’s life. Extremely well researched.” Dr Lisa Love

“One of the most fascinating visionaries of the 20th century is Alice A. Bailey, often called the Mother of the New Age Movement. Although her cultural influence has been immense she is still very much vilified and even neglected by academic scholars of Western Esotericism. Hopefully this situation will change with the biography Alice A. Bailey: Life & Legacy by Isobel Blackthorn. She is eminently qualified for this difficult task, holding a PhD from the University of Western Sydney for her research on the texts of Alice Bailey. Blackthorn´s study is a treasure trove of new data on the life and work of Alice Bailey, The Arcane School and the many organizations and activities based on her writings. This biography is an important and ground-breaking contribution to our understanding of, not just Alice Bailey, but also the Esoteric Tradition, the third intellectual force or pillar in cultural history alongside science and religion. Isobel Blackthorn is to be commended for an excellent work of interest to all serious students of esotericism.” Håkan Blomqvist, Sweden Librarian and co-founder of Archives for the Unexplained (AFU)

“This biography details the turbulent life of Alice Bailey, the Mother of the New Age. An orphan by the age of eight, living a rigidly disciplined childhood with grandparents, a violent husband, lone parenthood, the struggle for survival, and constant ill health. Hardly a promising start for the woman who brought so much esoteric knowledge to the world through her writing and teaching. Isobel Blackthorn’s thorough research and compelling style present the polarity of experiences of Alice Bailey: admiration and antagonism, leadership and service, devotion and betrayal, and the accumulation of wisdom that underpins, without acknowledgement, much of our modern belief systems. Lovers of enlightenment and esoteric philosophy will treasure this book.” – Veronica Schwarz, author and editor.

“Isobel Blackthorn, does an excellent job of weaving the many threads of Bailey’s life and works into a cohesive, well-written and very readable biography with just the right balance of biographical details and critical discussion around the intellectual, spiritual and theosophical thoughts and tenets that emerged at different points along Bailey’s life journey. The contention around Bailey’s legacy is also addressed and will be of particular interest to specialist readers as will the author’s inclusion of a good range of photos, lists and extensive chapter notes. The book’s subject matter is not for everyone but I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in esoteric thought and/or the subjective nature of spiritual experience in general and in the contribution of Alice Bailey to New Age ideas in particular.” – Carmel Bendon, Scholar in Medieval Literature and Culture

 

Purchase on Amazon here – getbook.at/AliceBaileyBiography

Or through all good booksellers!

 

Alice A. Bailey: Life & Legacy acquired by Shooting Star Press

I am thrilled to announce my full biography of Alice A. Bailey has just been acquired by Shooting Star Press! 

This comes after many weeks of turbulence as the original edition released on 7 May 2020 was withdrawn from sale. The matter that caused the withdrawal has been resolved. I had thought of self-publishing but then endured a tiresome few weeks waiting for the manuscript to be properly formatted. Sometimes, such difficulties and delays have a fated feel and when Cath Brinkley of Shooting Star Press took a keen interest in my book, I felt a corner had been turned.

I couldn’t be happier. Shooting Star Press are a Canberra-based publisher who will make sure Alice A. Bailey: Life & Legacy finds its way into the hands of readers worldwide.

The new cover will be revealed next week and preorders available soon. Join my mailing list to stay in touch or my Facebook group dedicated to this remarkable woman and mother of the New Age movement.

New Release: Alice Bailey Biography

I’m delighted to announce the forthcoming full biography of Alice Bailey, to be released on Wesak 7 May 2020 thanks to my obliging publisher.
(Please note, this version of the biography is no longer for sale. A new edition is due to be published on 5 August 2020 by Shooting Star Press)

Here’s the new cover:

I have created a dedicated Facebook group for those who want to follow the story of this biography and Alice Bailey more closely.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/394500304830614/)
And here is the book page on my website – https://isobelblackthorn.com/alice-a-bailey-life-and-legacy/

ABOUT ALICE A. BAILEY: LIFE AND LEGACY

From tragic beginnings as an aristocratic orphan to becoming the mother of the New Age spiritual movement, Alice A. Bailey is one of the modern era’s most misunderstood occult figures.

Bailey’s journey is a story of faith, from orthodox Christian beginnings, through a protracted spiritual crisis, to a newfound belief in Theosophy. A mystic and a seeker, a founder of global spiritual organizations, and a surmounter of adversity, Bailey’s past is rife with injustices, myths, and misconceptions – including that she was an anti-Semite and a racist with a dark agenda.

With scandals and controversies laid bare, Bailey’s extraordinary life is revealed as a powerful, remarkable legacy.

Some background on the creation of this book

I say this is my life’s work and it really is. I was first urged to compose a biography back in 2007, a year after I was awarded my doctoral thesis at the University of Western Sydney for my comprehensive study of the Bailey books, when I scored a job with a high-powered literary agent representing Nobel prize winners and prime ministers and the like. Back in 2016, the now retired agent wrote me a rather exasperated email in response to mine saying “Isobel, I just don’t know why you won’t write a biography of Alice Bailey.” Sometimes you just have to do what you’re told. I ‘obeyed’, but the manuscript I produced lacked the sort of detail that makes for a good biography. So I transformed what I had into The Unlikely Occultist: a biographical novel of Alice A Bailey.

As a result of that book, which serves now as a companion book to the biography, a door opened. The vital element that was missing until we met was trust. Suddenly, what seemed an impossible if essential task was made possible because of that trust.

There are so many I owe my gratitude to in the creation of this work, those who have given vital resource material willingly and bravely so that certain key moments in the story of the Bailey community post-1949 could be told. Photos have been provided, the Lucis Trust, the Agni Yoga Society and the School for Esoteric Studies provided their assistance, and a number of key individuals with certain specialisms read over chapters to make sure I had things sitting right and had not omitted anything vital. Thank you! I have mentioned you all in my acknowledgements.
I am sure more detail will arise, oversights come to light and revisions will be made – I have a very flexible publisher who will facilitate this – but for now, the moment has come and this book will be in the world sitting alongside biographies of HPB and the Roerichs and Steiner and Jung…
In the end I am left with one essential thought about Alice Bailey. She was her whole life a spiritual activist and it is that activism that so inspires me and so many others. My life has been touched and shaped by Alice and DK for many decades. What an honour now this moment is! LLP

Book Review: Spirit Teaches a Simple Seeker by Jean Whitred

The reader is invited to witness a struggle within the mind of a simple seeker when her thinking is challenged by a formless intelligence.

 

My Thoughts

Contained with the pages of this short book are, as the title states, thirty-three lessons of life, in what amounts to a series of short and insightful dialogues between a ‘simple seeker’ and Spirit teacher.  Each lesson presents a charming and ironic reflection on a key aspect of our journey through life, with lessons on loneliness, seeking, awareness and compassion.

The premise of the book is usefully summed up by Whitred with an ‘expansion of awareness can’t possibly develop without an ever-expanding capacity to think.’

Humility shines through the pages of this well-written volume. I enjoyed the inquiry, the open-mindedness, and despite the apparent simplicity, the profundity inherent in the insights. Simple wisdom, yes, perhaps. In all, Spirit Teaches a Simple Seeker: Thirty-three Lessons of Life is a book written to encourage readers to reflect and ponder. An inspirational book that would make an ideal gift.

You can find a copy on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Spirit-Teaches-Simple-Seeker-Thirty-three/dp/1982228695/

The Unlikely Occultist Book Tour Wrap Up

When I booked a review tour for my biographical novel of Alice Bailey, it was with considerable unease. I knew few if any reviewers would have heard of the mysterious esoteric figure, which perhaps renders my novel of special interest only. That was my thinking. I was wrong. The Unlikely Occultist was very well received by all bar one reviewer, who signed up not realising what my book was about. She was very kind in saying so without hating on my offering.

As for the others, well, my hat is off to them all, not only for their considered words of praise, but for making a solid effort to read a rather dense story steeped in historical detail. I also commend Rachel’s Random Resources for yet again putting together an excellent tour.

Here are the highlights of The Unlikely Occultist book tour.

” I think if you like history and finding out more about iconic figures, then this is definitely one you should try.” https://bytheletterbookreviews.com/2019/08/20/the-unlikely-occultist-by-isobel-blackthorn-rararesources-iblackthorn/

“She is truly an inspiring lady who fought back against adversity time and again to remain true to her beliefs” https://maitaylor567291325.wordpress.com/2019/08/20/the-unlikely-occultist-isobel-blackthorn/

“An interesting and enjoyable read about a very charismatic woman who wrote more than twenty-four books on theosophical subjects.” https://eclecticreview.com/2019/08/21/the-unlikely-occultist-a-biographical-novel-of-alice-a-bailey-by-isobel-blackthorn-iblackthorn-rararesources-nonfiction-biography-isobelblackthorn/

“The combination of fact and fiction brings her name and influence to the table and perhaps even a 21st century view on the woman and her legacy.” https://cherylmmbookblog.blogspot.com/2019/08/blogtour-unlikely-occultist.html?spref=tw

“Isobel Blackthorn’s use of fiction cleverly achieves this; Alice Bailey’s name and work is brought into the mainstream rather than hidden in the shadows.” https://fromundertheduvet.co.uk/2019/08/22/book-review-the-unlikely-occultist-a-biographical-novel-of-alice-a-bailey/

“Even if you’re someone who might be tempted to dismiss spiritualism in all its various guises as ‘bunkum’, do at least give this book a chance. It’s so intelligently written that I’m sure you’ll at least see if not understand why so many people give it credence. In summary, this is a persuasively written novel that cleverly combines fact with a little fiction in order to thoroughly entertain as well as enlighten.” http://www.booksarecool.com/2019/blackthorn-fascinating-persuasive/

“I enjoy Isobel Blackthorn’s writing, so while this might not have been a book I’d normally read, the writing is beautiful and I’m glad I took a leap.” https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/2019/08/22/blogtour-the-unlikely-occultist-isobel-blackthorn-iblackthorn-rararesources-gilbster1000-amreading-bookblogger-bookreview/

“I found myself flying through the pages and intrigued by the whole plot, so much so that I went on to learn about Alice Bailey and her real life. She was a fascinating woman and you should look her up.” Stacey https://whisperingstories.com/the-unlikely-occultist-isobel-blackthorn-book-review/

“Bailey’s life was fascinating no matter what you do or don’t believe. A writer and teacher, she was one of the first people to coin terms like ‘New Age’ and ‘The Age of Aquarius’, Bailey also claimed to have had her books dictated to her by a Tibetan Master of Wisdom – a human-like divinity steeped in Eastern esoteric religion.”  http://www.jameshartleybooks.com/a-life-of-alice-bailey/

” The author supplements the facts of Ms. Bailey’s life with well-written fictional accounts of Alice’s day-to-day life, which brings this enigmatic person to life.” https://www.jenabooks.com/sharing-a-new-book-15/

“Blackthorn has a story to tell, and she’s going to take her time with it. It’s as relaxed as it can be, and sort of moseys through the plot, allowing the reader to soak in all the information at hand. That should also be mentioned. This is a lore and information heavy novel, in its own way. If you have no idea who Bailey is, you’ll learn something, and that’s exactly the type of novel I’ve been loving of late. If that’s something you’re attracted to as well, check this out.” http://www.vainradical.co.uk/blogs/the-unlikely-occultist-book-tour-review/

“drew me in from the beginning and I instantly became connected to Alice’s world. It was such a wonderful read that I just couldn’t out it down.”https://babydollsandrazorblades.wordpress.com/2019/08/24/book-review-the-unlikely-occultist-by-isobel-blackthorn/

“this book was definite learning experience for me!” https://ktrobson.home.blog/2019/08/25/the-unlikely-occultist-by-isobel-blackthorn-review/

“I really did enjoy this and am looking forward to doing some investigating into Alice” https://curledupwithagoodbook.co.uk/blog-tour-review-the-unlikely-occultist-by-isobel-blackthorn/

” I had not heard of Alice Bailey but boy was she an interesting character! I loved finding out about her and I even found myself on online after I’d finished the book to find out more – that for me is the sign of excellent characterisation – she certainly piqued my interest!” https://donnasbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/08/25/blogtour-bookreview-for-the-unlikely-occultist-by-isobel-blackthorn-rararesources/

“As the story proceeds, Alice’s contribution to the theosophical society is explained in detail. Her life was nothing short of a ship in a storm. It was heart-wrenching to read the hardships she went through” https://thebookdecoder.com/2019/08/26/the-unlikely-occulist-by-isobel-blackthorn/

“The Unlikely Occultist is a book for someone who loves history or when you want to be fascinated by a wonderful and stubborn lady who just wants to make the world a better place.” https://indeboekenkast.com/english-books/romans/the-unlikely-occultist/

“I really enjoyed this book, I had never heard of Alice Bailey but Isobel Blackthorn really brings her to life here.” https://thedivinewrite.wordpress.com/2019/08/26/the-unlikely-occultist/

Visit The Unlikely Occultist here

Isobel Blackthorn is an award-winning author of unique and engaging fiction. She writes dark psychological thrillers, mysteries, and contemporary and literary fiction. Isobel was shortlisted for the Ada Cambridge Prose Prize 2019, for her biographical short story, ‘Nothing to Declare’. The Legacy of Old Gran Parks is the winner of the Raven Awards 2019. Isobel holds a PhD from the University of Western Sydney, for her research on the works of Theosophist Alice A. Bailey, the ‘Mother of the New Age.’