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Tibet and the Occult

The Secret Doctrine of Madame Blavatsky

Wednesday, January 18, 2012
7:00 PM–8:30 PM

Gandhi was influenced in his spiritual quest by her. The New York papers dubbed her rooms the “Lamasery” on Eighth Avenue. The Russian composer Scriabin wanted to orchestrate her major work The Secret Doctrine as part of a week-long performance of music and light in the foothills of the Himalayas. Truman Capote claimed her writings to be the blueprint for the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Bobby Kennedy. A source of both inspiration and scandal, Madame Blavatsky’s interpretation of Asian philosophies nonetheless provided a fundamental turning point in the West’s approach to the ‘mysteries’ of the East.
In this discussion two experts seek to trace the origins of the occult in America and the extent of Madame Blavatsky’s influence on Western thinking.
Michael Gomes, the historian and Theosophical scholar who edited Blavatsky’s The Secret Doctrine in a single edition in 2009.
Mitch Horowitz, author of Occult America: White Séances, Ouija Circles, Masons, and the Secret Mystic History of Our Nation (Bantam, 2010)
Ticket includes a tour at 6:15 p.m. of the exhibition Hero, Villain, Yeti: Tibet in Comics, in whichHelena Blavatsky’s book The Secret Doctrine is on display, as are Madame Blavatsky, Medium & Magician by John Seymour and The Morning of the Magicians: Secret Societies, Conspiracies and Vanished Civilizations by Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier.
There will be a book-signing session after the program.