The purpose of this blog is to provide regular news of historical research and publications relevant to members of the Church of Light. I wrote books about esoteric traditions in the 1990s, but my research and writing have since then been focused elsewhere. Over the next few years I will be involved with book projects from The Typhon Press which relate in various ways to esoteric teachers. Claims about adept brotherhoods are examined in several of those works, and the process of investigation has yielded many unexpected discoveries about the 19th century origins of the Church of Light.
Considerable progress has been made by several authors working on various aspects of history relevant to CofL roots. Our origins are especially complicated because of their international scope. A movement that has been concentrated in America for more than a hundred years was formally established in England and found some of its most eminent members in France. Egypt plays a major role both as the original source of Hermetic teachings and as a center that attracted 19th century occultists from around the world. Although the Church of Light identifies its teachings with the Hermetic tradition, there are kinship connections with Theosophy, New Thought, Yoga, Spiritualism, Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, Kabbalah, and Sufism. Many new primary sources are being made available online and I will try to alert readers to the new discoveries that are continually being made in 19th century periodicals and books, as well as current research.
Readers of this blog will find the following websites to be of special interest in illuminating figures in the history of modern Hermeticism and occultism:
www.ehbritten.org is biographer Marc Demarest’s site reporting his ongoing research on Emma Hardinge Britten, best remembered today as a pioneering Spiritualist but whose writings are foundational to the Church of Light. A scholarly edition of Art Magic, Britten’s work most relevant to Church of Light members, is now available as the first publication of The Typhon Press, edited by Demarest.
www.kheper.net provides a vast amount of information on esoteric movements of the 19th and 20th centuries gathered by researcher Alan Kazlev, whose primary interest is the Indian spiritual philosopher Sri Aurobindo. The connections between Aurobindo’s teachings and those of the Church of Light involve Mirra Alfassa who had been a disciple of the mysterious Max Theon before becoming Aurobindo’s partner and “the Mother.”
www.light.org is the site of the Church of Light.