The Manor – a minor mystery solved

References to the history of The Manor have noted that, prior to it being purchased for the Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society and named “The Manor”, it had an earlier name. It was known locally as “Bakewell’s Folly” or “Bakewell’s Mansion” after the man who built it, or “Garroch”.


However, details of the house published when it was offered for auction as part of the Bakewell Estate in September 1922 by Stanton and Son Ltd, Real Estate Agents and Auctioneers, provide the facts.

Manor ad 1

Stanton and Son offered for auction two houses, built by Bakewell, as part of his estate. One was “Garrock”. It was located at the corner of Wharf Road and Mary Street, and was described as an “Imposing Residence” of brick, with slate roof, having a hall, 2 reception rooms, a breakfast room, a billiard room, a ballroom, 5 main bedrooms, 2 maids’ rooms, 3 bathrooms, “all modern offices, exceptionally well appointed”. “The grounds are most attractively arranged in gardens, lawns, shrub, and arc surrounded by brick wall on stone coping. Area for tennis court. This is one of the finest private residences over the harbour, and lends itself for convenient alteration into flats.

The second house was indeed already named “The Manor”, and was on what was then Sarah Street, extending to the harbour front reservation. “This mansion residence comprises approximately 45 rooms, all exceptionally large, also servants’ quarters, garage, stables, laundries, and gardeners’ rooms…Such a fine property should be particularly desirable for an Educational Institution, Residential Flats, for a Private Hotel, or for a Large Hospital.”

The Sydney Morning Herald, Saturday 16 September 1922, Page 9

Garrock  Manor 2

The Sydney Morning Herald, Saturday 2 September 1922, Page 18




Identifying the characters in “The Lives” – again

The large collection of lists identifying the characters in “The Lives” has slightly expanded.

I have received a copy of a duplicated (on the now long forgotten Gestetner Cyclograph which was probably the most popular, and certainly the cheapest, means of document reproduction from around 1900-1990). The document is undated, but appears to come from the mid-1920s.


Various private lists of “Star names” circulated within the Theosophical Society, especially during the hey-day of “the Lives’”; some of these were consulted in the Theosophical Society Archives and Library at Adyar.  In addition, handwritten annotations in copies of The Lives of Alcyone and Man. Whence, How and Whither in the Adyar library provided additional information, as did material on file in the Theosophical Society Archives at Adyar.  Of the three hundred or so “Star names” that were employed, only about forty were ever published with the corresponding names for their present incarnation. Arthur Nethercot, in his research for his biography of Mrs Besant discovered the identities of over 90. Gregory Robertson, who acted as my research assistant for most of the time I was at Adyar, and for a time after my return to Sydney, identified all “Star Names” bar one (“Scorpio) by a laborious, and meticulous, cross-matching of published and unpublished lists. See Gregory Robertson The Identification of Characters in The Lives of Alcyone Privately published, Sydney, 1980.

Although various suggestions were made as to the identity of “Scorpio”, it is clear that it was kept by Leadbeater as a threat which might be applied against a particular enemy.



Leadbeater in “Gems of Thought”

Gems of Thought

A curious volume, Gems of thought from leading intellectual lights: education, soul elevating and spiritualizing; designed to illustrate certain grand truths which are connected with the spiritual philosophy Compiled by John R Francis, Chicago, IL : Progressive Thinker Publishing House, 1906, contains some interesting early versions of some of Leadbeater’s writings:

“Dreams and their significance” 46-68

Dreams Gems

“Man and his bodies” 190-202

“Reincarnation” 215-228

“The law of cause and effect” 240-253

“Life after death: Purgatory” 254-267

“Life after death: The heaven world” 268-282

“Telepathy and mind cure”  294-309

“Invisible helpers”  329-343

“Clairvoyance: what it is” 344-356

Available in digital format on-line at:

Leadbeater and the Gospels

One of the interesting, and perhaps unexpected, results of modern New Testament scholarship, including the discovery of ancient documents, has been to essentially confirm traditional accounts of the origin and dating of the Gospels. This contradicts Leadbeater’s claims, allegedly based on his clairvoyant research, regarding the Gospels.

Those claims were initially made to a group of his students and originally published in the private (or secret) ES publication, The Link, May, 1908 [although the date at the top of the pages on which the work was published read May, 1901].

The Link Gospels i

The Link Gospels ii

The Link Gospels iii

The claims were then repeated and expanded in The Inner Life. Theosophical Talks at Adyar (1911):

Certainly the Christian Bible ought not to be taken literally, for many of its statements are symbolical, and others are simply not true. When we examine clairvoyantly the life of the Founder of Christianity, for example, we can find no trace of the alleged twelve apostles, it would seem that as men they never existed, but that they were introduced into the story for some reason– possibly to typify the twelve signs of the zodiac. The disciple Jesus, whose body was taken by the Christ, was not an illegitimate son, as is implied in the gospel, nor was his father a carpenter. He was in reality of the highest aristocracy of the Jews, a descendant of their own old royal line. He may however have had a tinge of Aryan blood in him, which would be quite enough to cause the exclusive Jews to say that he was not legitimately of the seed of David, and that statement might very easily be taken to mean such an irregular birth as is suggested by the narrative.

The truth is that the four gospels at any rate were never intended to be taken as in any sense historical. They are all founded upon a much shorter document written in Hebrew by a monk named Matthaeus, who lived in a monastery in a desert to the south of Palestine. He seems to have conceived the idea of casting some of the great facts of initiation into a narrative form and mingling with it some points out of the life of the real Jesus who was born 105 B. C., and some from the life of another quite obscure fanatical preacher, who had been condemned to death and executed in Jerusalem about 30 A. D.

He sent this document to a great friend of his who was the chief abbot of a huge monastery at Alexandria, and suggested to him that he, or some of his assistants, might perhaps recast it, and issue it in the Greek language. The Alexandrian abbot seems to have employed a number of his young monks upon this work, allowing each of them to try the task for himself, and to treat it in his own way. A number of documents of very varying merit were thus produced, each incorporating in his story more or less of the original manuscript of Matthaeus, but each also adding to it such legends as he happened to know, or as his taste and fancy dictated. Four of these still survive to us, and to them are attached the names of the monks who wrote them, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The splendid passage with which the gospel of St. John opens was not original but quoted, for we found it in existence many years before the time of the Christ in a manuscript which was even then of hoary antiquity.

The Inner Life. Theosophical Talks at Adyar Rajput Press, Chicago, 1911: Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, 1917:119-120. The 1917 edition is available on-line at:



Blavatsky and Ritual

Leslie Price has asked me whether I think that Madame Blavatsky would have approved of such rituals as were developed within the (Adyar) Theosophical Society.\

He noted an old paper of Ted Davy, located by Barry Thompson, which was given at the 1998 HPB conference in Edmonton. The volume was called ” The Works and Influence of H.P. Blavatsky, and Davy’s paper was: “A material body which suffocates the soul: H.P. Blavatsky’s attitude to ritual” (p.81-88.)


I am certainly not an authority on Blavatsky, but it seems to me that she did not object to ritual as such – after all, the TS was originally intended to involve rituals – as a form of what might be called “symbolic drama”, but did object to ritual that was claimed to be “magic”.

Carlos Cardoso Aveline has also written on this topic in: “Why Theosophy Excludes The Practice of Ceremonialism” available on-line at:

“In “The Mahatma Letters”, one of the Raja-Yogis of the Himalayas mentions the illusion of “belief in the efficacy of vain rites and ceremonies; in prayers and intercession.”  

While discussing the same paragraph in the book “Early Teachings of the Masters”, C. Jinarajadasa adds this information:

“Of the ten ‘Fetters’ on the Path to liberation, the first three are: 1) Sakkayaditthi, the delusion of self; 2) Vichikicheha, doubt;  3) Silabbataparamasa, belief in the efficacy of rites and ceremonies.”  

In another paragraph of the same letter, the raja-yogi refers to a rite performed by high lamas in Tibet, many decades before the Chinese invasion of the 20th century, and a rite of which he himself, a Mahatma, would be a part. And the Master clarifies that even a ceremony of that level is no better than a meaningless superficiality, whose usefulness is limited to childish and scarcely advanced souls. The Master says:

“In about a week – new religious ceremonies, new glittering bubbles to amuse the babies with, and once more I will be busy night and day, morning, noon, and evening.” 

Esoteric philosophy gives its students tools with which they can liberate themselves from such delusions.

In the famous Letter of 1900, which was addressed to Annie Besant, a Master anticipates and warns against the main mistakes that the Adyar society would make from that moment on.

He clarifies that the modern theosophical movement was meant “to be the corner-stone of the future religions of humanity”. In order to accomplish this object, “those who lead” it, says the Master, “must leave aside their weak predilections for the forms and ceremonies of any particular creed and show themselves to be true Theosophists both in inner thoughts and outward observance”…

…Henry S. Olcott was one of the main founders of the Theosophical Movement in 1875. In his book “Buddhist Catechism” one finds this question:

“What was the Buddha’s estimate of ceremonialism?”

And Olcott answers:

“From the beginning, he condemned the observance of ceremonies and other external practices, which only tend to increase our spiritual blindness and our clinging to mere lifeless forms.”

In one of the Letters from Mahatmas, a Master says it is impossible to perform good ceremonial magic in the West. He narrates the frustrating result of “the last attempt” in that direction, in London around 1860, of which meetings the master took part in “about half a dozen” occasions. The meetings were led by Edward Bulwer-Lytton and included Eliphas Levi, Regazzoni and other occultists.”



Rituals associated with the (Adyar) Theosophical Society – updated 16.06.17

CWL ritual

  1. The original initiation ceremony into the TS and variants of that
  2. Admission into and rituals for meetings of the ES: (i) Blavatsky; (ii) Besant; (iii) Leadbeater; (iv) Jinarajadasa; (v) Sri Ram; (vi) Taimni; (vii) Burnier
  3. Rituals used by Blavatsky in the Inner Group of her ES in London in the “occult room”
  4. The rituals of the Lodge of the Blue Star established in 1891 by Gustav Meyrink (1868-1932) in Prague
  5. The rituals of the Esoteric Rosicrucians of Franz Hartman (1838-1912)
  6. The Lotus Circle (1894)
  7. The Golden Chain (1899)
  8. International Co-Freemasonry (1902) and variations (e.g. as written by Wedgwood and Leadbeater)
  9. The Order of the Round Table (1908)
  10. The Temple of the Rosy Cross (1912)
  11. The Krotona Ritual
  12. Rituals of or associated with the Order of the Star in the East (including The Order of the Rising Sun)
  13. The League of Healers
  14. The Liberal Catholic Church (1916)
  15. The Guild of the Mysteries of God
  16. The Ritual of the Mystic Star (1917)
  17. The World Mother rituals (including that written by Mary Rocke)
  18. The esoteric rite for the World Mother established by Leadbeater in Sydney in 1925 (and distinct from similar rites, e.g. that written by Mary Rocke), involving a “succession” from the World Mother
  19. The Rite of the Planets
  20. The Bharata Samaj Puja
  21. The Egyptian Rite – including rituals revised under (i) Sri Ram; (ii) Taimni; (iii) Burnier
  22. The rival Egyptian Rite established by Herbrand Williams in 1934 which used rituals revised at the direction of The Master the Count
  23. The “Sun Ritual” established by Geoffrey Hodson in 1946

There are almost certainly others – further information will be gratefully received! It would be useful to compile a comprehensive list, with brief histories and bibliographies of the rituals, and to make the rituals used accessible.

This list does not include rituals used by other Theosophical Societies (e.g. Point Loma, The Temple of the People), or groups deriving from the (Adyar) Theosophical Society (e.g. those founded by Rudolf Steiner or Alice Bailey), or groups in which leading members of the (Adyar) Theosophical Society were involved (e.g. Sat B’hai; Memphis and Mizraim; and The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn).



Ritual and the Theosophical World

An interesting article in the recent “Theosophy in Australia” (Vol 81, No 2, June 17:58-61 by Dianne K. Kynaston: “Ritual and the Theosophical World” – available on-line at

AB ritual

“Within the Theosophical world there have been a number of ceremonial activities. The following list provides a number of examples:

  • The Order of the Round Table – an international activity for youth, based on the legend of King Arthur.
  • Temple of the Rosy Cross – a ritual created by Annie Besant in 1912, in London, but which closed at the beginning of World War One. A temple was built for it in the grounds of old Krotona in Hollywood.
  • The Krotona Ritual – a ceremony created in the early 20th century by A.P. Warrington in the U.S.A to herald the advent of the World Teacher.
  • The Ritual of the Mystic Star – a ceremony devised by C. Jinarajadasa in the late 1940s to celebrate the coming of the Great Religious Teachers.
  • International Co-Freemasonry – a Masonic Order created in France in the 1880s for both men and women. Although there is no direct connection with the Theosophical Society, many prominent TS leaders and members joined its ranks.
  • The Liberal Catholic Church – a Christian church developed from the Old Catholic Church of Holland by Bishops Wedgwood and Leadbeater, in which the intent was on ceremony and not on dogma.
  • Rite of the Planets – an activity of an astrological lodge formed in London.
  • The Bharata Samaj Puja – a ritual of Indian congregational worship.
  • The Order of the Golden Dawn – a Hermetic order whose founding members included a number of TS members such as W.B. Yeats.”

There are some obviously significant omissions from the “number of examples” – the original initiation ceremony into the TS, the World Mother ceremonies, and the Egyptian Rite being most notable – and some historical errors in the list.

Has anyone seen the “Rite of the Planets – an activity of an astrological lodge formed in London”?

Perhaps a more complete descriptive list of Theosophical “ceremonial activities” would be useful?


George Frederick Kunz and the Magic of Jewels

Another probable source for Leadbeater’s writings on jewels was the work of George Frederick Kunz (1856-1932), an American mineralogist and mineral collector, author of over 300 articles and a number of books. See:

Curious lore

The Curious Lore Of Precious Stones Being A Description of Their Sentiments and Folk Lore, Superstitions, Symbolism, Mysticism, Use in Medicine, Protection, Prevention, Religion, and Divination, Crystal Gazing, Birthstones, Lucky Stones and Talismans, Astral, Zodical, and Planetary J.B. Lippincott, Philadelphia and London 1913; Halcyon House, New York, 1938.

Digital version available on-line at:  Chapter X is devoted to “Planetary and Astral Influences of Precious Stones”.


 The Magic of Jewels and Charms Philadelphia London, J.B. Lippincott Company, 1915.

Digital version available on-line at:



William Thomas Pavitt

William Thomas Pavitt was born in 1870, the son of John and Sarah Pavitt. He married Kate Pitt (1868-1949), a dressmaker and milliner, in 1906. He died in 1937. His wife had joined the Theosophical Society in England in 1912.

Pavitt zodiac

Symbols of the Zodiac from William Thomas Pavitt and Kate Pavitt The Book of Talismans, Amulets, and Zodiacal Gems 1st edition: William Rider and Son, London, 1914.

Pavitt moonstone

“An Egyptianesque moonstone pendant by William Thomas Pavitt. Stamped ‘W.T. Pavitt, London’, the oval cabochon moonstone within a pierced rayed mount with three lotus flowers, flanked by leaf motifs, the bead and scroll base with circular wire drop enclosing the symbol of Venus, with fancy-link chain and bale, 6cm long.” Sold at auction, London, 2009.

Pavitt ring

“An Arts and Crafts gold and turquoise set ring by William Thomas Pavitt, the cast wirework foliate frame set with central turquoise stone, internally applied white metal panel with the symbol of Venus, another copper panel with Libra symbol, flanking quartered, date 1909, in William Thomas Pavitt presentation case, size P.” Sold at auction, London, October, 2016.