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Re: Theos-World Bulwer-Lytton and Bunsen

Jan 09, 2009 07:48 AM
by Drpsionic

I've read it once, fell asleep 14 times in the process.
BL was very influential in Euro occult circles.  He was one of Eliphas  
Levi's sources of inspiration and a lot of the stuff in the Golden Dawn comes  
right out of his work.
Chuck the Heretic
In a message dated 1/9/2009 6:56:21 A.M. Central Standard Time, writes:

Yes Paul, I would be very interested in reading those extracts.    My first 
teacher pointed me to Bullwer Lytton's Zanoni, but still haven't read  it.  
Perhaps this is the cue I  needed


From:  kpauljohnson <_kpauljohnson@kpauljohn_ ( 
To:  _theos-talk@yahoogrotheos-t_ ( 
Sent:  Friday, 9 January, 2009 6:51:55 PM
Subject: Theos-World Bulwer-Lytton and  Bunsen

Hello all but especially Cass and Frank,

I have noticed  the recent references to Edward Bulwer-Lytton and Ernest 
Bunsen, and while  these were made in other contexts I want to point out 
that there is an  important connection between these individuals and the 
founding of the  Theosophical Society. The first two books published by 
a Founder of the  TS, in the first year of its existence, were Art Magic 
and Ghost Land by  Emma Hardinge Britten. Robert Mathiesen's monograph 
The Unseen Worlds of  Emma Hardinge Britten is an amazing tour de force, 
establishing beyond  reasonable doubt that Bunsen was the "Chevalier 
Louis" of those two books,  and that the "Orphic Circle" depicted in 
them was a genuine occult  research group whose most eminent member was 
Edward Bulwer-Lytton. Emma  and Bunsen first met as adolescent trance 
mediums used in the experiments  of this group around 1840; then renewed 
acquaintance years later after the  emergence of the Spiritualist 

When I read Marion Meade's  HPB biography years ago, I found ridiculous 
her assertion that a primary  basis for HPB's description of the Masters 
was the novels of  Bulwer-Lytton. Why, I thought, would someone with 
such vast documented  experience with so many authentic teachers have to 
rely on silly Victorian  novels for her inspiration? What Meade and I 
both missed was that it  wasn't B-L's *novels* that inspired HPB, it was 
the man himself and his  nearly lifelong devotion to occultism. In a 
OF OLCOTT, HPB wrote to  Stainton Moses of Bulwer-Lytton that "He was an 
*adept* [italicized in the  book, presumably underlined in the letter] 
and kept it secret-- first for  fear [of] ridicule..and then because his 
vows would not allow him to  explain himself plainer than he did." 
(Letters I:202) At the moment I'm  reading Leslie Mitchell's 2003 
biography of Bulwer-Lytton, and if any here  is interested will share 
some excerpts about his occult preoccupations.  HPB was very accurate 
about his fear of ridicule over his occult  involvements.


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