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Wiccans: How do you feel about the role Theosophy played in the 'rebirth' of Wicca?

Of course, Theosophy introduced many Hindu and Buddhist ideas into England, where it heavily influence Gardner and other early witches to recreated and restructured the Wiccan religion. These ideas, such as the “Secret Chiefs” have persisted in many Wiccan circles.


  1. the rebirth of wicca was mostly an anti-christian movement
    it allowed people to piss off their judgmental parents
    but it was influenced by theosophy and adopted heavily from it
    which as you said was buddhist thought (mostly)
    i do not think any of the true pagans made it through the dark ages

  2. “theosophy holds that all religions are attempts by the ‘Spiritual Hierarchy’ to help humanity in evolving to greater perfection, and that each religion therefore has a portion of the truth”. – Funny, I have been saying that all along without knowing the roots of it.
    “The three declared objects of the original Theosophical Society as established by Blavatsky, Judge and Olcott were as follows:”
    “First – To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color.” — Well that just makes sense, now doesn’t it.
    “Second – To encourage the study of Comparative Religion, Philosophy and Science.” — Learning all things has never been a bad thing that I know of.
    “Third – To investigate the unexplained laws of Nature and the powers latent in man.” Again a worthwhile pursuit.
    So in general I have no problems with Theosophy, it teaches us to learn from all things and to treat everyone as equals.
    Blessed Be )O(

  3. I was not aware that Wiccans accepted the idea of the inner college of the secret chiefs, at least none on the ones I know do.

  4. Oh, dear.
    Gardner wasn’t restructuring anything.
    The people Gardner worked with had left theosophy for reasons they made public.
    Gardner spent very little time in England to be heavily influenced, he picked up most of his eastern stuff while traveling and living in the far east.
    Theosophy had a much more profound effect on American Wicca.

  5. Wicca was created, not recreated. There’s no evidence that Wicca existed before its modern emergence. I recognise a lot of influences on Wicca such as the Golden Dawn and Aleister Crowley, but I don’t see Theosophy as a major influence. Gardner lived in the far East for many years. He learned of Hinduism and Buddhism from indigenous believers, and I personally have never heard of the “Secret Chiefs” idea existing in Wicca.

  6. i didn’t study gardner’s ideas. i didn’t like the initial things i read from him. the ideas of theosophy, tho never cited in any of the works i’ve read or acknowledged by the people who’ve taught me, seem to play a major role in the ideas i’ve learned here in middle america. i’ve been concentrating on other things. it’s high time i start looking into madame blavatsky’s work.

  7. Tahuti, Theosophy was one of the cornerstones in the rebirth of Witchcraft. The concept that the GOAL of ALL is essentialy the same thing (spiritual growth and oneness with Deity) is that goal. Theosophy was the acceptance that there are MANY paths to reach that goal and that ALL should be explored. As such, although it may NOT have been HOW Witcraft (The original Religion of the early Pagans) was conducted in the early days of European History, it DOES have a lot of validity. Now, I’m not quite sure just HOW heavily Gardner was influenced by Theosophy (as the organized philosophy) and I will grant that there was SOME influence. I believe that Gardner’s many travels to exotic places allowed him to see and understand that there were MANY form os worship that included Magic, multiple Gods and Goddesses, and incorporated many concepts and ideas that are foreign to Western Jehovahism. He essentialy had NO choice in including material from other, and many belief systems as the Oral tradition was eradicated by the persecutions of the Romans and then the Abrahamic Religious persecutions, alng with most written material on these subjects as well.
    As MOST Witches will readily acknowledge, the Religion of Wicca may indeed, have little resemblance to the “Old Religions”. However, it is ALL we have to work with and, if it includes materials from other sources, all the better, as it becomes MORE inclusive and incorporates truths and concepts from a wider range and variety of sources.
    Now as for the concept of “Secret Chiefs”, I would tend to agree with the others as I have NEVER heard of this idea in over 35 years of practicing Wicca. Now, I’ll readily admit that I am FAR from being an expert, howerver I AM well read and have had a LOT of exposure to MOST of the various traditions’ inner “secrets”. IN NONE of that time and exposure have I come across that term or concept, except in reading the writings of Christopher Penczak. Not to disparage, his meditations are among the VERY best guided meditations that I have come across, BUT, it is MY belief that he has succumbed to the pressures of Llwellyn Publishers (his publisher) and is making an attempt to incorporate many concepts that are unique to the Abrahamic Faiths. Llwellyn has sold out for “popular occultism” rather than attempting to stick to it’s basic roots that were developed by publishing many of the Classical Works of Witchcraft. The motive is PROFIT. So, in order to maximize profit, it HAS to sell to the widest range of readers possible. It’s just a matter of simple economics, nothing more. Unfortunately, Pnczak is under contract with Llewllyn and is subject to THEIR editorial review in order to get his material published. Whenever MONEY enters the equation the quality of the information in written material becomes suspect.
    Tahuti, May I recommend that you seek out a wider range of publishers and writers? Llwellyn’s older writers such as Buckland and Cunningham ARE excellent sources of good information, so, do NOT discount Llewellyn entirely, just be careful of who and waht you read as being of true Witchcraft. Look at the publishing dates in the overleafs, not the latest dates of printing but at the date the original work was swritten for publishing. KNOW who the GOOD writers are and feel free to snatch them up, regardless of WHO was the publisher. Discuss your “wish list” with several accomplished Witches for advice and guidance. There are MANY such people, even here in Y!A and, we would be MOST happy to assist you in choosing materials to read and study.
    For sure, I can advise you to NOT purchase your materials from just ONE sourch. Search Amazon.com, EBay, and other online book sellers, Even look at them by publisher, as many WILL sell dirrectly to individual customers over the internet. Get to know the writers that you arfe interested in, go to THEIR websites and get THEIR views directly from them and then go to sites that are critical of them and read through that reasoning as well, and form your own judgements on the individual.
    Being a Witch involves following the ways of “the Wise” and, wisdom is NOT easy work to obtain. That means that you MUST do your homework BEFORE you spend your hard-earned money, and invest your precious time, studying.
    Brightest Blessings,
    Raji the Green Witch

  8. I don’t find that much in common between Theosophy and Wicca. My opinions could be clouded a bit my low overall opinion of Blavatsky.
    Anyone interested in Theosophy may find it worth their time and effort to read up on Mabel Collins as well. Her works are available online. She was a theosophist with some interesting writings and even has a bizarre tie to Jack the Ripper.


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