The Theosophical
Society in Australia

With International Headquarters at Adyar, Chennai, India.

CWL Speaks

Cost: $40.00

Cost to TS Members: $35.00

C.W. Leadbeater’s Correspondence concerning the 1906 Crisis in the Theosophical Society, FOREWORD BY ROBERT ELLWOOD, compiled by Pedro Oliveira

ISBN 978-0-646-97305-0

Foreword by Robert Ellwood

"This fine account by Pedro Oliveira of the 1906 crisis in the Theosophical Society, in which the prominent Theosophist Charles Webster Leadbeater was accused of sexual teaching and perhaps practice deemed unacceptable by the Society’s leadership, is important not only for its contribution to Theosophical history, but also because it represents one response to a time of rapid change in the life of the world, above all in social and psychological attitudes.

Good historical writing is not just the narrative of a certain slice of time, often a narrow slice. It also offers a window into an era and its people, for no one lives entirely apart from his or her times, whether in sympathy with its trends or in reaction against them." ... ... ...

"In the present book Pedro Oliveira makes clear that, in respect to these charges, Leadbeater was often assumed guilty before he could be proven innocent, and that none of the charges were in fact proven then or later in a way that could have satisfied a court of law.  And in fact, in this particular respect, CWL may have been more attuned to the trends than he may have recognized." ... ... ... " C.W. Leadbeater himself, in The Masters and the Path [1925], quotes from H. P. Blavatsky (herself drawing here from Eastern sources) to the effect that among the first rules of a chela or disciple was ‘Absolute mental and physical purity.’" ... ... ...

"In the same year, 1906, over in Vienna Sigmund Freud turned fifty, and was becoming more and more widely known for his much-debated psychoanalytic theories.   In the previous year, 1905, Freud had first published Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, which work, expanded and reprinted over the years, presented many of the basic concepts of Freudian psychology." ... ... ...

"To be sure, Theosophy has always emphasized, and still does, that sexuality is meant to be exercised only within a committed one-to-one relationship. Like every other aspect of life, our sexual lives call down discipline as well as glory.   But the meaning of what there transpires is now expanded to include wonder as well as asceticism, the change perhaps influenced at least indirectly by the cultural Freudianism widespread by 1940.  A slice of how we got from one perspective to another is the burden of CWL Speaks, and it is highly recommended, for it is also the story of its times."

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