Helena Petrovna Blavatsky is a name which is perhaps less commonly recognized than it deserves; she was, after all, one of the most influential women of the 19th century. Her main impact on the world was the creation, in the 1870s, of the esoteric system of Theosophy, expounded via her massive, never-finished work The Secret Doctrine and the gnomically-named Theosophical Society.
The mainstay of the system, allegedly learned from various nebulously-actual mahatmas and lamas and corroborated by visions, is a belief in reïncarnation, teleological to the object of realizing one's divine nature. As one nears this goal, one begins to manifest psychic powers, actually regained senses of previous human species: humanity, according to Theosophy, is evolving through seven »root-races«, of which present, »Aryan« mankind — Blavatsky believed that all present races were descendants of the Indians — is the fifth, preceded by, in order, pure spirits, Hyperboreans, Lemurians and Atlanteans. If these ideas seem almost ludicrously hackneyed, it only demonstrates the wide-ranging impression they left; in Blavatsky's day, the ideas although dubious were immensely groundbreaking.
The Theosophical Society still exists today, in an anæmic and shrunken form. However, the real legacy of the Theosophists is their unabashed and pseudo-historicizing syncretism, a very Victorian mode of thinking which is still with us today in the form of the New Age movement; homeopathy is a direct product of Theosophist thought, via their heirs the anthroposophists, who, for some unfathomable reason, are allowed to operate schools in most of the Western world. Similarly, it is hard to imagine the panoply of Wiccan combination and invention without the pioneering efforts of Theosophy.
In other words, the Theosophists were the first hippie-ass dipshits. Join me, friends, and spit on their fucking graves; it is all their fault.
300, and auuugh