- by Rogelle Pelletier
This is in response to [Ann Watson's] quick summary of the history of the
Theosophical Society...There are a
number of errors included there so I have taken the liberty of providing
you with a brief outline of my own for your future reference.
The Theosophical Society was formed in New York in 1875. Among those
present were HP Blavatsky, Wm Q Judge and Col HS Olcott. These three
have become recognized as the three principal founders.
In December 1878 Blavatsky and Olcott moved the headquarters of the TS
to India where it was hoped they could revive the respect of the Indians
for the ancient wisdom preserved by them for centuries. Blavatsky &
Olcott initially joined efforts with Arya Samaj but eventually went
their own way, establishing a headquarters first in Bombay and later in
Adyar, where it remains to the present day.
When Blavatsky and Olcott left in 1878, Wm Q Judge and General Doubleday
were left to look after affairs in America. Things were relatively
quiet there for some years. Judge spent time with Blavatsky in Europe
where she was visiting in 1884. From there he went to India for some
months, returning to New York in November 1884.
Activity picked up in America upon Judge’s return and the American
branches of the Theosophical Society became fairly numerous and well
established. The American Section was formed in 1887.
Annie Besant became involved with the Theosophical Society after
reviewing Blavatsky’s major work: /The Secret Doctrine/ and joined in
1889. Blavatsky died in May 1891. Besant had spent a lot of time touring
and did not spend a lot of time with Blavatsky. While she was a good
lecturer, Blavatsky herself described her as ‘’not psychic nor spiritual
in the least -- all intellect’’, whereas she described Judge as having
been a part of her for eons. Shortly after Blavatsky’s death Besant
accused Judge of fraudulently producing letters from the Mahatmas. She
pursued him relentlessly, and continued to attack his character even
after Judge died in 1896.
Judge was named as General Secretary when the American Section was
established in 1887. The goings-on described above led to a split in the
Society in 1895, with those loyal to Judge and the original program of
the Theosophical Society forming the independent TS in America, although
at the time all they had requested was to have more independence in the
running of their affairs, but under the umbrella of the original
Branches (known as ‘lodges’ here) in Canada were considered part of the
American Section. Canada became its own Canadian Section with its own
General Secretary in 1919. For many years it remained directly
affiliated with The Theosophical Society in Adyar, India.
In 1991 TS in Canada was thrown out of the Adyar organization on a
technicality. Adyar very much follows the Besant/Leadbeater brand of
Theosophy and TS in Canada has maintained loyalty to the original
program; we have been a ‘thorn in the side of Adyar’ for many years.
When TS in Canada was forced to make changes to its By-Laws because of
demands put upon it by the Government of Canada to comply, Adyar took
offense to these changes. On January 1st, 1991 Adyar decided that by our
actions we had /withdrawn/ from The Theosophical Society.
In 1995 difficulties within TS in Canada resulted in the then General
Secretary throwing Edmonton TS out of its ranks – and that’s how ETS
became its own independent unit. We are friends with one and all, but
are not officially affiliated with any other theosophical organization...
We are looking forward to Thomas and Orsolya's visit.