I was first introduced to Helena Blavatsky’s writings in college. I was taking a course on the works of W. B. Yeats and had to read excerpts from Blavatsky’s works as supplemental material. Her insights into the occult helped shed light on Yeats’ more esoteric poems.
Studies in Occultism is comprised of a series of articles published by Blavatsky. The articles address the tension in the late 19th century between occultists and psychiatrists, particularly those that practiced hypnotism, a relatively new field of scientific study at that time. According to Blavatsky, hypnotism is an extremely dangerous form of black magic. In order to understand her claim, it is necessary to understand Blavatsky’s definition of black magic.
According to Blavatsky, it is intent that defines black magic. If a willful act is selfish or detrimental, then it falls into the category of black magic. She asserts that all spiritual pursuits must…
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