Work for the Theosophical Society

From the time he joined the Theosophical Society in 1883, until his death in 1934, C. W. Leadbeater worked for it incessantly. During Col. Olcott’s travel to Europe in 1888, he was put in charge of the compound at the International Headquarters at Adyar, in Madras, India. He was also manager of the magazine The Theosophist and secretary to the Executive Committee. He traveled with Col. Olcott to both Ceylon and Burma and helped him to establish schools and TS Lodges in those countries.

C. W. Leadbeater, USA, 1900

After his return to England in 1889 he became one of the popular speakers for the TS, visiting many Lodges in that country. Later on, his lecture tours would take him to the US where, in 1900, he toured the country for four months. Soon after that he became an international speaker attracting large audiences in many countries to the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom.

Mental body of a spiritually developed person. Source: Man Visible and Invisible

Above: radiating affection; below: grasping, selfish affection. Source: Thought-Forms

Depression as seen clairvoyantly. Source: Man Visible and Invisible

Right: upward rush of devotion; left: the response to devotion.        Source: Thought-Forms.

Although working ceaselessly, he managed his time in such a way that a stream of articles and books were produced. Most of the books he wrote are still in print and are now offered for sale on the Internet. His literary contribution formed a body of work that presented the teachings of Theosophy in an accessible and attractive way for it was mostly based on his own clairvoyant investigations into the unseen realities around us. Books like The Hidden Side of Things (1913), Man Visible and Invisible (1902), The Inner Life (1910), Thought-Forms (1901, in collaboration with Annie Besant), The Masters and the Path (1925) and The Chakras (1927) continue to attract the attention of many students around the world to ideas and insights of perennial value.

“A Ravine in Tibet”. Source: The Masters and the Path

                             The causal body of an Adept.                             Source: Man Visible and Invisible

The crown chakra. Source: The Chakras

He is also the co-author, with Annie Besant, of a trilogy entitled Talks on the Path of Occultism (1926) which includes their commentaries on the so called three Theosophical gems – At the Feet of the Master, Light on the Path and The Voice of the Silence. These three books contain instructions for those who are interested – and prepared – to thread the Path that leads, in Madame Blavatsky’s words, “to the heart of the universe.” In their trilogy, Besant and Leadbeater clearly demonstrate how selflessness and self-responsibility are the preparatory steps on that Path.   

Re-writing history: Occult Chemistry and the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, 1922

In his introduction to the third edition (1951) of Occult Chemistry: Investigations by Clairvoyant Magnification into the Structure of the Atoms of the Periodic Table and Some Compounds, by Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbeater, originally published in 1908, C. Jinarajadasa writes:

This work contains a record of clairvoyant investigations into the structure of matter. The observations were carried out at intervals over a period of nearly forty years, the first in August 1895 and the last in October 1933. The two investigators, Annie Besant (1847-1933) and C. W. Leadbeater (1847-1934) were trained clairvoyants and well equipped to check and supplement each other's work.

                           Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbeater, London, 1901, during investigations into Occult Chemistry.


There were a number of studies on Besant and Leadbeater’s book, including Extra-sensory Perception of Quarks by Dr Stephen Phillips, and Occult Chemistry Re-evaluated by E. Lester Smith, FRS. There were also studies by those who were (are) skeptical of Besant and Leadbeater’s original work.

The journal Physics World, in its September 2003 issue, carried an article by Jeff Hughes, from the Center for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, Maths Tower, University of Manchester, UK, entitled “Occultism and the atom: the curious story of isotopes”. In his article Hughes highlights the influence of Occult Chemistry on the the scientific work of Francis Aston, Nobel Prize for Chemistry (1922). The article is reproduced by kind permission here.


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