To be born on the 12th August would guarantee the native shines a bean at its maximum heat and intensity; but that also means, the stronger the light, the sharper the shadows. Leos like to be centre-stage and female lions are more strategic than their male counterparts. The lioness does most of the work for the ‘pride’ while the male sits back, scratches his paws and does a lion’s yawn. The sullied reputation of Madame Blavatsky can almost be seen in these bright contrasts: she shone brightly was recognized for great achievements, but it brought many haters out to destroy her, which she said was her ‘karma’. She had all the passion of the lioness, just one whose chart has the Sun in opposition to Jupiter. This guarantees fame and projects the native into the limelight, appearing larger than life. From the re-locational astrology point-of-view, her Jupiter Ascendant/Descendant line runs through New York where she founded the Theosophical Society in 1875 with Colonel Henry Steel Olcott- another Leo. But it was mainly Blavatsky’s idea- she was the force behind the theosophy. But in opposition these two planets, Sun and Jupiter, can pivot back and forth, and fortunes can be made and lost and made again. The added twist is that Uranus is close by to Jupiter taking ‘dull’ completely out of the equation; and the Sun is close to the north-node making dissemination of that light, her overriding goal. She did not lack energy, drive and boldness with a chart full of strong cardinal, fixed and mutable modalities and a well-blended range of elements. Her Venus and Moon are in Libra hint too that she had a calm and balanced approach, knowing how to please, but not necessarily wishing to marry for love.
One view of Blavatsky is that she was the outright leader of a new world religion, the godmother of the new age, and therefore as pioneering as any man. The other view of her was that she was an unspeakable fraud: a cigar-smoking, meat-eating, overweight ‘Russian’ woman who scared a lot of people and attacked Christianity. But truth is never that simple. And with the hindsight of the 21st century, she achieved her goal of bringing Eastern philosophy to the West but the appearance of Swami Vivekananda (Capricorn) at the Parliament of World Religions in 1893 may also have boosted the image Hindu philosophy. Blavatsky paved the way. She was the ultimate mistress of metaphysics and very unconventional for her time.
Helena Blavatsky was born in the Ukraine in 1831 just ten days before a slave rebellion led by Nat Turner broke out August 21st in the states – this was a sign of the times perhaps as there was the intensity from that conjunction of Uranus /Jupiter. Its opposition to the Sun plagued her life with problems that torqued into powerful oppositional energies. Her life was picaresque and is outlined in many sources elsewhere so I’ll let the astrology tell her story: Blavatsky has Uranus conjunct Jupiter in the 8th house of death and transformation so this is a grand, penetrating and unstoppable quest for freedom of ideas, freedom in religion, and prises open the portal to a level universality people had not been accustomed to before.
The famous mantras of the Theosophical society were:
- to form an active brotherhood among men
- to study ancient and modern religion, science, and philosophy
- to investigate the powers innate in man.
This conjunction of Jupiter and Uranus in Aquarius would also grant expansion of the intuition which would arrive like a lighting flash and with depth and intensity. Blavatsky was certainly famed for her psychic powers and helped lead the revival of interest in the Occult. Many would have agreed with her that she had an “early connection with the supernatural.” This power appeared to continue throughout her life. But one drawback was that this placement would show unconcern for money; cash would come and go, which was the case with Blavatsky who turned her skills to flower arrangement when there was no money to pay the rent.
She was accused of plagiarism and this raises the question – what does that really mean? One of her detractors Coleman (1877) claimed he had identified over 1000 instances of plagiarism in Blavatsky’s published work. Other reports pointed to the the focus is often on this point, in order to discredit her they said things that appeared to be in those days self-evidently vile : 1, she was a woman, 2) she was fat, 3) she was foreign and 4) she never went to school – what seemed worse to critics who themselves were not strong on attribution of sources. Blavatsky appeared to trigger and provoke the structures of authority and rattle the established hierarchies of knowledge just by being herself.
To bring up her lack of sources is also to ignore the much larger number of subsequent authors and thinkers who absorbed their ideas from Blavatsky without referencing her once. The reason for this could be quite likely that was she had been discredited in the newspapers as a fraud. Rudolph Steiner, D.H. Lawrence, and T.S. Eliot all drank from the font of Theosophy. Plagiarism as an ‘issue’ of the type Coleman mentions was only just gaining credibility as the convention of including citations was not common until later. Aldous Huxley’s book ‘The Perennial Philosophy’ (1945) covers the same territory that Blavatsky outlined 80 years earlier. He said that there was an underlying ‘esoteric’ thread beneath all religions that periodically breaks through into the mainstream, yet it is as if for Huxley, Blavatsky never existed or had ever made any contribution on this topic.
The other way she was damned was in the Coloumb affair which exposed the fake appearance of letters and tricks at her seances. Her accusers were people who had worked for her at Adhyar near Madras who had turned against her. Thousands attended the Theosophical centre in India and not surprisingly those same Jupiter/Uranus lines traverse the Eastern Coast of India. Why there was any need to fake anything she later regretted as she got caught up in the media circus that demanded proof supernatural powers to be concrete and real. But it created the climate of damaging ‘spin’ around her that she was a fake- but it didn’t stop the Theosophical society from growing. It is only now we can begin to see the motivations of the haters in the longer perspective- which is not to say the sphinx did not make any mistakes.
Having said that, it is also true that Blavatsky’s writing is truly opaque. While her Mercury is well-placed in Virgo, an advantage for any writer, it is also conjunct Saturn and Mars, and the tone is that a secret revealed is a secret also heavily shielded from misuse. Isis is therefore not completely unveiled here. Her method was odd. Some sources say up to 50 pages of writing would appear overnight and she saw books via inner vision not by checking in a library. Weird letters would arrive out of nowhere accompanied by astral bells and whistles. The writing is as dense as a thicket that you need a machete to chop through. Readers should be warned that ‘Isis Unveiled’ (1877) and ‘The Secret Doctrine’(1888) are a monumental read: the first is 1,200 pages and the second is 1, 400 pages. The style does not so much appeal to the ordered, sequenced intellect. ‘Isis Unveiled’ begins with Cosmogenesis and meanders thereafter.
Mercury, the planet of writers, is sequiquadrate to Neptune, so to some, the blurring of the lines is evident. It is also quincunx to Pluto and she doggedly maintained that she was only the vessel of the teachings and did not invent them herself. They came through her. Her style appears to prod and poke into more diffuse areas of the mind. Her prose is convoluted and cluttered with long quotes in languages like Tibetan and Sanskrit. It can put some readers off completely, but perhaps that was not the point of the books, that those who persevered eventually understood and became enlightened.
Pablo Sender (2013) goes to great lengths to say that the point of the diffuse style was to derail the left-brain approach and bring readers genuinely into the presence of matchless wisdom as you might apprehend a churning unsettling feeling of vastness. It is slow moving, as Neptune in Capricorn might suggest. ‘Isis Unveiled (1877) was ‘the key to the absolute in science and theology’ and this style was continued with ‘The Secret Doctrine’ – two phases of the same river of information that emerged from her. These books are still celebrated today due to their importance to lovers of the Esoteric and contemporary generations who are spiritually inclined. She attempted to knit together Eastern philosophies with Western Judeao-Christian thinking and that blend has continued to grow and gain currency from the seeds that she planted. When Sanskrit was translated into English, it revealed that the Bible was only a partial view and that there were hundreds of thousands of years before unaccounted for from a western perspective.
Blavatsky is a genuinely fascinating character – that she may have travelled alone into Tibet in th e 19th century puts her in a league of her own, on a par with adventurer, Sir Richard Burton. The quote is very Leo as well, as it focusses on the heart: “The essence of truth cannot be transmitted from ear to mouth. Nor can any pen describe it unless man finds it in the sanctuary of his own heart, in the innermost depths of his divine intuitions.” This certainly sounds holistic and authentic as we’d expect from Leos who operate from their core. The sphinx aside from being a woman/lion combined also had eagle’s wing and some said – a serpent’s tail- all fitting for Blavatsky and her referencing of the mystery schools. That more people than ever are aware that the ancestors of all religions originated from a common source, in shamanistic practices, is directly attributable to this cigar-smoking woman who never gave up on her mission and lived out her story in the blazing light of the sun.
©Proteus Astrology, August 12th, 2019
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Kieron has a Certificate in Astrology from the London School of Astrology
He writes for Celestial Vibes Magazine edited by Aswin Balaj.