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Madame Blavatsky: The Mother of Modern Spiritualityby Gary Lachman
Synopses & Reviews
The first truly popular biography of the influential twentieth-century mystic and educator who-while widely known for founding the Waldorf schools and other educational and humanitarian movements-remains a mystery to many who benefit from his ideas.
People everywhere have heard of Waldorf schools, Biodynamic farming, Camphill Villages, and other innovations of the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). Indeed, Steiner-as an architect, artist, teacher, and agriculturalist-ranks among the most creative and prolific figures of the early twentieth century, pioneering work in alternative education, holistic health, and environmental research.
While his accomplishments are felt all over the world, few people understand this unusual figure. Steiner's own writings and lectures fill several bookcases, intimidating those who would like to know more. Works on Steiner are often dense and "insider" in tone, further deterring the curious. No popular biography, written by a sympathetic but critical outsider, has been available.
Gary Lachman's Rudolf Steiner provides this missing introduction. Along with telling Steiner's story and placing Steiner in his historical context, Lachman's book presents Steiner's key ideas in a readable, accessible manner. In particular, Lachman considers the spread of Steiner's most popular projects, which include Waldorf schools-one of the leading forms of alternative education-and Biodynamic farming-a popular precursor to organic farming. He also traces Steiner's beginnings as a young intellectual in the ferment of fin de si?cle culture, to his rise as a thought leader within the influential occult movement of Theosophy, to the founding of his own metaphysical teaching called Anthroposophy.
Finally, the book illustrates how Steiner's methods are put into practice today, and relates Steiner's insights into cosmology to the work of current thinkers.
Rudolf Steiner is a full-bodied portrait of one of the most original philosophical and spiritual luminaries of the last two centuries, and gives those interested in the history of ideas the opportunity to discover one of the most underappreciated figures of the twentieth century.
A thoughtful biography of one of the most polarizing pioneers of alternative spirituality, the occult-mystic Helena Petrovna Blavatsky.
Pioneer. Visionary. Provocateur. Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky—mystic, occult writer, child of Russian aristocrats, spiritual seeker who traveled five continents, and founder (with Henry Steel Olcott) of the Theosophical Society—is still being hailed as an icon and scorned as a fraud more than 120 years after her death. But despite perennial interest in her life, writings, and philosophy, no single biography has examined the controversy and legacy of this influential thinker who helped define modern alternative spirituality—until now.
Gary Lachman, the acclaimed spiritual biographer behind volumes such as Rudolf Steiner and Jung the Mystic, brings us an in-depth look at Blavatsky, objectively exploring her unique and singular contributions toward introducing Eastern and esoteric spiritual ideas to the West during the nineteenth century, as well as the controversies that continue to color the discussions of her life and work.
This bold, compact new biography of Carl Jung fills a gap in our understanding of the pioneering psychiatrist by focusing on the occult and mystical dimension of Jung's life and work, a critical but frequently misunderstood facet of his career.
Although he is often called the "founding father of the New Age," Carl Jung, the legendary Swiss psychiatrist best known for his groundbreaking concepts like the collective unconscious, archetype theory, and synchronicity, often took pains to avoid any explicit association with mysticism or the occult. Yet Jung lived a life rich in paranormal experiences-arguing for the existence of poltergeists in a debate with Sigmund Freud, participating in séances, incorporating astrology into his therapeutic work, reporting a near death experience, and collaborating with the pioneering ESP researcher J. B. Rhine. It is these critical experiences-often fleetingly touched on in other biographies or critical studies, and just as frequently used to make a case against Jung and his philosophies-that form the core of this exciting new biography, Jung the Mystic.
While Jung's ghostwritten memoirs, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, touch on the role his mystical and occult experiences played in his life, Gary Lachman's Jung the Mystic completes the circle: Lachman assesses Jung's life and work from the viewpoint of Western esoteric tradition and helpfully places Jung in the context of other major esoteric thinkers, such as Rudolf Steiner, G. I. Gurdjieff, and Emanuel Swedenborg. In that respect, this new biography appeals directly to the sensibility of spiritual readers who rightly see Jung as a pioneer of today's contemporary metaphysical culture.
About the Author
GARY LACHMAN is one of today's most widely read and respected writers on esoteric and occult themes. He has written for several national journals on philosophy, esotericism, and modern culture, and his books—including Swedenborg, Jung the Mystic, Rudolf Steiner, Politics and the Occult, Turn Off Your Mind, and A Secret History of Consciousness—have been published to acclaim in both America and Europe. In his musical career, Lachman has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a founding member of the pioneering rock band Blondie. Born in New Jersey, Lachman currently lives in London.
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