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Blavatsky the Satanist: Luciferianism in Theosophy, and its Feminist Implications
Stockholms universitet.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9264-0395
2012 (English)In: Temenos, ISSN 0497-1817, E-ISSN 2342-7256, Vol. 48, no 2, p. 203-230Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

H. P. Blavatsky’s influential The Secret Doctrine (1888), one of the foundation texts of Theosophy, contains chapters propagating an unembarrassed Satanism. Theosophical sympathy for the Devil also extended to the name of their journal Lucifer, and discussions conducted in it. To Blavatsky, Satan is a cultural hero akin to Prometheus. According to her reinterpretation of the Christian myth of the Fall in Genesis 3, Satan in the shape of the serpent brings gnosis and liberates mankind. The present article situates these ideas in a wider nineteenth-century context, where some poets and Socialist thinkers held similar ideas and a counter-hegemonic reading of the Fall had far-reaching feminist implications. Additionally, influences on Blavatsky from French occultism and research on Gnosticism are discussed, and the instrumental value of Satanist shock tactics is considered. The article concludes that esoteric ideas cannot be viewed in isolation from politics and the world at large. Rather, they should be analyzed both as part of a religious cosmology and as having strategic polemical and didactic functions related to political debates, or, at the very least, carrying potential entailments for the latter.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 48, no 2, p. 203-230
Keywords [en]
Theosophy, Blavatsky, Satanism, Feminism, Socialism, Romanticism
Keywords [sv]
Teosofi, Blavatsky, Satanism, Feminism, Socialism, Romantik
National Category
History of Religions
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-36189ISI: 000312679300005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-36189DiVA, id: diva2:1243435
Available from: 2012-12-31 Created: 2018-08-31Bibliographically approved

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Faxneld, Per

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • harvard-anglia-ruskin-university
  • apa-old-doi-prefix.csl
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf