Published by Blavatsky Study Center. Online Edition copyright 2004.

Mme. Blavatsky and Reincarnation

To the Editor of the Occult Review.

[by Walter R. Old]

[Reprinted from The Occult Review (London), February 1914, pp. 111-112.]

Dear Sir, - Allow me the privilege of replying to the letter of "Omnia Vincit Amor" in your last issue.  When this question of the apparent contradiction of the teaching in Isis Unveiled and in The Key to Theosophy was personally brought to her notice in 1889, Madame Blavatsky gave me the following explicit information, which in my opinion fully accords the two view-points. At the time of writing Isis she was very inadequately acquainted with the English language, and could not distinguish between the expressions "metempsychosis" and "reincarnation," believing that the terms were used indiscriminately to indicate the return of the human soul into any material body, whether that of a fish, bird, or beast, and this she said was "absurd and unphilosophical, doing violence to the law of evolution," as indeed it is. Through neglect of the context in which the Pythagorean doctrine of Metempsychosis is discussed, and the entire overlooking of meaning of the adjunct phrase "doing violence to the law of evolution," readers of her works have stumbled to the conclusion that at one time she held the Spiritist doctrine of direct ascension through the spheres, and that later she espoused the doctrine of cyclic evolution through reincarnation.

Yet in the earliest of her works we find that she cites cases of reincarnation and successional rebirth in human form. Also on the testimony of Col. Olcott she affirmed the genuineness of the Eddy manifestations, but showed that she had the power to predict or control the various "appearances" or "materializations."

These facts seem to indicate that while she adhered to the theory of evolution, in connection with reincarnation as the means of such evolution, she also acknowledged the facts of Spiritism so far as psycho-physical phenomena were concerned. The recognition of these facts does not, however, infer adherence to the doctrines of Spiritualism.

However that may be, it is for me a fact as certain as my own existence, that she was in touch with the same source of inspiration from first to last, and that the Mind that shaped her thought in the very latest phases of her brilliant and kaleidoscopic teachings, was the same that had singled her out and named her "Upasika" when she was in her teens. Lastly she affirmed that a new body had been prepared for her - a male one this time - and that she looked forward with impatient joy to the hour when the avesham (transference from one body to the other) would be possible.

During the night of May 9, 1891, she appeared to me in her new garb, tall, magnificent, and serenely smiling, and questioned me as to her identity. Whether I passed the test or not need not transpire, the point being that I was fully satisfied that what she affirmed had come to pass - she whom I had known as H.P.B. was and is now a male incarnation. Your correspondent "O. V. A." can take the fact or leave it. The last thing Mme Blavatsky gave to this world was a little flower which I received from her dying hand. It was a forget-me-not.

Yours, etc.