I am in a stretch of time where I have done everything I can to more or less set some things right. Inasmuch as you can in some of these situations, anyway. So, of course, this means a fairly relentless stream of anxiety about how things will turn out- it’s a pointless relentless stream, because frankly: the worrying does diddly shit here but make me a basket case.
I have been reading a lot, lately. I mean, this is where it’s at for me, pretty much these days: clean, spend time with kiddos and pets, garden, read, clean some more- see kiddos and pets. And I study. I used to mention in my old press bios and crap that I studied for ages, before kinda dipping my toe into things- but, pulling back a leg covered in the fecal matter and utter toxicity of the new age movement tends to shrink one back. Still, I study and I practice. (And, I am still not a “solitary” heathen because, all things considered I am not, in fact, a unicorn. You’d have to be. But that’s another rant for another day- tribalism, how do it do, really?) You know what they say- those who can’t, teach. I never really bought that all that much but, one thing I can say is that those who can roll their eyes and grunt at a lot of those who teach- at least, in this particular field of study.
I am not entirely sure what made me decide to re-read the Isis Unveiled books, but…here you go. Another part of my bio often mentions I dig theosophy and I do: however…this would be another area where I kinda had to reconcile some of my own bullshit and inner (okay…not so inner) conflicts about a lot of things.
Let’s just take this shit on back to the Victorian Era
Okay, so that’s circa 1880-81, but I am not, in fact, wearing a bustle. 1870s women’s fashion, oh yes, please. Except, you know, I’m not keen on crushing my innards with my corsets.
At some point, I’m going to tell you all about The Ugly Girl Papers and all the fun shit we’d do for beauty. But you get the idea, so far…
Alright, so we’re teetering on the tail end of the Victorian era, which would last another 30 years, give or take. The thing is, though, to understand Theosophy- you have to understand what an explosive sort of time frame this was- powder keg, comes to mind. For Blavatsky, who was born into Russian/German aristocracy- it would have been intense. Granted, you get into her and it’s hard to know what’s true and what isn’t: she had a tendency towards, ah, shall we say, rewriting her own reality and history. Even those writings have vanished into the aether for the most part, so, she’s a figure that’s more or less shrouded in mystery and controversy.
Though it is fairly well known she traveled extensively- the thing is, she’s growing up in the decades leading to the Russian Revolution in 1917. In fact, worldwide, really, this is a time where quite a bit seems to be coming together in a very real sense- science is really starting to take some steps beyond the wobbly baby steps, and socially: we’re really getting into where pop culture was born. Additionally, psychology is beginning to find some footing and philosophy’s making a bit of a come back- except, back in those days, it was some dark shit.
Don’t call it a come back…
So you know, you have these minds exploring minds and consciousness, then you have all these artists and writers also exploring those things on more personal levels. Back to the social- all around, you have people who are seeing all of these advancements and glorious things being advertised wide scale- yet, at the same time with all that industry came some nasty shit. Poor working conditions, disease and otherwise just kind of fucking people up. Beyond that, those baby steps in science and marketing combined to result in some pretty screwed up ideas.
I was also not paying attention as Youtube went into random mode and ran across this. Relates to absolutely nothing but…I’m uh, BUSTLES. It relates to Bustles. And somehow, some way, Kevin Bacon.
Gott ist tott
And absolutely, yes, my putting that quote after Sir Mixalot was deliberate. If you were wondering.
Though Blavatsky would begin her work earlier than Nietzsche’s The Gay Science would come out in 1882- if you don’t understand what he meant by God is Dead– and I am so looking at you, Trent Reznor: what he was talking about was The Enlightenment. Yes, he was an atheist but, he was referring more to how the pursuit of knowledge, reason, and science was really diminishing the stranglehold the church had on things. It wasn’t really new concept- others had posited this before, including Nietzsche himself in Also sprach Zarathustra, circa 1883-1891.
God is dead is part of a bigger quote from The Madman, which goes:
God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?— Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Section 125
Enter the fashionable occult
So, you have a bunch of people who are sort of adrift- things are changing in big ways and not necessarily for the better in a lot of ways, at the same time. Religion is getting a bit wobbly in terms of what it now controls on both the wide scale and personal. So along comes Blavatsky and Olcott- bringing together all this sort of arcane knowledge from a collection of different religions of the world and invoking this combination plate of Rosicrucianism, Neo-Platonism and a more or less regimented Buffet O’ Religion. Except, at the time in that movement- you didn’t just pick up a book. Oh no. If you wanted those secrets from the Masters, you had to get it from a guru: somebody who not quite so oddly enough, you’d pay a shitload of money to obtain these initiations and traditions from.
I really want to talk about Wedgewood’s Bathroom Follies and Leadbeater telling young boys masturbation was the key to attaining enlightenment- but, holy moly, there’s a book in and of itself. The thing is, this whole Sociopath as Guru thing we see all over the place is absolutely nothing new. In general, if you can appeal to something people already want to condone or validate yet can’t, slap a label on it and market it well: they’ll give you a shitload of money til you really, REALLY fuck up. And history has shown us time and time again that, well, even once that happens: sycophants gonna phant.
Do I touch on Krishnamurti? Oh, not with a 20 foot pole and several gallons of bleach. Suffice it to say, them gurus do not go down easy- nah, they get people to pay for the honor of going down.
So, that groundwork laid for why and having touched VERY lightly and with full sanitary measures in place on what people will condone in the name of enlightenment– baby, fire up the grill because here and there over the next few weeks I’m going to do an entire series where we BBQ some serious sacred cows.