Published by Blavatsky Study Center. Online Edition copyright 2004.

The Myth of the "Missing" Third Volume of The Secret Doctrine
by Daniel H. Caldwell

Part 3


Returning to Bertram Keightley's account of the editing of The Secret Doctrine, he wrote:

A day or two after our arrival at Maycot [in May, 1887], H.P.B. placed the whole of the so far completed MSS. in the hands of Dr. [Archibald] Keightley and myself....We both read the whole mass of MSS.--a pile over three feet high--most carefully...and then, after prolonged consultation, faced [HPB]...with the solemn opinion that the whole of the matter must be rearranged on some definite plan....

Finally we laid before her a plan, suggested by the character of the matter itself, viz., to make the work consist of four volumes....

Further, instead of making the first volume to consist, as she had intended, of the history of some great Occultists, we advised her to follow the natural order of exposition, and begin with the Evolution of Cosmos, to pass from that to the Evolution of Man, then to deal with the historical part in a third volume treating of the lives of some great Occultists; and finally, to speak of Practical Occultism in a fourth volume should she ever be able to write it.

This plan was laid before H.P.B., and it was duly sanctioned by her.

The next step was to read the MSS. through again and make a general rearrangement of the matter pertaining to the subjects coming under the heads of Cosmogony and Anthropology, which were to form the first two volumes of the work. When this had been completed, and H.P.B. duly consulted, and her approval of what had been done obtained, the whole of the MSS. so arranged was typewritten out by professional hands.... [in Reminiscences of H. P. Blavatsky and The Secret Doctrine, by Countess Constance Wachtmeister et al., Quest edition, 1976, pp. 78-9; also quoted in de Zirkoff, SD Intro., 41]

So as Bertram Keightley tells us, the order of the volumes of The Secret Doctrine was rearranged. Volume I became Volume III.

Were the contents of the new and unpublished Volume III kept completely intact? No. For example, HPB decided to take out one of the appendices ("Star-Angel Worship in the Roman Church") and publish it as an article in Lucifer (CW 10: 13-32). Another example: The appendix entitled "Kuan-Shai-Yin" was apparently taken out and published in Volume I of 1888, pp. 470-3. Some other portions of the re-ordered third volume were also incorporated into Volume I as published in 1888: Part of the section "To the Readers" and part of "Explanations of the 1st Page of Isis Unveiled" (see the Table for the contents of Vol. 1) were incorporated into the "Introductory" (xvii-xxi and xii-xlvii) of the published Volume I of 1888. But by and large the material that was in Volume I of the original Secret Doctrine manuscript of 1886-1887 remained in the manuscript of what became Volume III.

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