Charles Webster Leadbeater

CWL World: A Primary Source Archive for the Life and Work of C. W. Leadbeater

Charles Webster Leadbeater was a well-known clairvoyant and theosophist who dedicated his life to the dissemination of Theosophy. He left his position as a clergyman in the Church of England in 1884, travelling with Madame Helena Blavatsky to India to help her in her work for the Theosophical Society. He was accepted as a chela (disciple) by Mahatma K.H., one of HPB’s Adept-Teachers, in a letter (part two) written by him to the young Leadbeater while the latter was still in England.

His investigations into the unseen dimensions of life have had a far-reaching influence on the contemporary world, one of them being the discovery of the young J. Krishnamurti on the Adyar beach in Madras, India, in April 1909, who would later become one of the most respected and insightful spiritual teachers of the twentieth century.

This website makes available aspects of CWL’s vast literary output as well as biographical information, some of which hitherto unpublished in academic works about him. Also included are the charges and accusations against him, his work for the Theosophical Society and the Liberal Catholic Church, and a comprehensive list of his books, written over a period of several decades. CWL World also shows a number of photographs, letters, rare archival material and key testimonies, by those who knew and worked with him, about his life, his character and his helpfulness.

NEW Articles - New Additions

NEW Articles by Pedro Oliveira

NEW On God and Evil: The Mahatma Letters

NEW Krishnamurti Speaks About His Discovery:

NEW CWL’s Books in the Digital Age

NEW C. W. Leadbeater’s letter to a correspondent: Annie Besant, HPB Centenary (1931)
         and the “Back to Blavatsky” movement, plus Bertram Keightley at Adyar


T. Subba Row, CWL and Esoteric Teachings

CWL Speaks: a few praises and criticisms

The Mystery of C. W. Leadbeater’s Clairvoyance

Madame Blavatsky and C. W. Leadbeater: A Timeline

What HPB Thought of CWL

First Letter of Master K.H. to CWL (1884) - with facsimile of the original document

The Turning Point in CWL’s Life: Second Letter from Master K.H.

CWL Receives his third Letter from Master K.H.

The Leadbeaters: Brief Biographical Information by Pedro Oliveira

The Cipher Letter: Historical Background by Pedro Oliveira

When Leadbeater went to Court

For Private Circulation (1913 Madras Court Case)

Ernest Wood letter regarding C.W. Leadbeater (1913)

Sydney Police Investigates C. W. Leadbeater

Facts and Testimony concerning Bishop Leadbeater by E. L. Gardner

1906 and 1908 - A letter from Annie Besant to the Daily Telegraph (Sydney)

C. W. Leadbeater - The Received Tradition

When C. W. Leadbeater Met Madame Blavatsky: First Impressions

The Spiritual Path and the Phoenix Mystery by Linda Oliveira

The Quest for Meaning by Joy Mills

God: A Theosophical View

Blavatsky and Krishnamurti: A Timeless Dialogue

Annie Besant in India - online edition

The Battle of Theosophy by Pedro Oliveira

The Failure Archetype by Pedro Oliveira

Magic and the Left Hand Path: from the writings of Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbeater

Articles Written by the Masters and Published in The Theosophist: Mary K. Neff

The Hidden Side of The Theosophist”: Mary K. Neff

Interview with S. S. Varma

Annie Besant and The Secret Doctrine

From Exile: C. W. Leadbeater’s letter to Fritz Kunz, August 1906

Why do we Belong to the Theosophical Society? by Linda Oliveira

Testimony of One of Krishnamurti’s Tutors at Adyar, 1909

‘There is no Religion higher than Truth’ Views on E. L. Gardner’s criticisms of CWL

Freedom of Thought by Dr Hugh Shearman

C. W. Leadbeater: Various Testimonies

The book CWL SpeaksC. W. Leadbeater’s Correspondence concerning the 1906 Crisis in the Theosophical Society is now online. You can read it here.

Theosophy and the Golden Dawn

Introduction to Annie Besant in India

‘Drawn into the Vortex of Probation’ (as described in The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett)

Theosophy and Psychism

The Birth of a Clairvoyant: Charles Webster Leadbeater by Ricardo Lindemann, Ph.D.

Krishnamurti: Ninety Years of Theosophical Ripples by Pedro Oliveira

Authority in Theosophy?

Is Theosophy an Ideology?

Harold Morton: CWL’s Last Days

Episodes of a Living History

Who was Djual Khool? by Pedro Oliveira

Annie Besant in India - Book Review by Michelle Osborne
 Orders for the book can be placed at

Video: ‘Seeing the Invisible: Thought Forms’, a presentation by Pedro Oliveira

Why is Religion part of the Second Object of the Theosophical Society?

Elementals and Elemental Essence by C. W. Leadbeater and Betrand Keightley


A Mysterious Manuscript


My First Flight

Has Theosophy Become a Creed?

Glimpses of Occult Chemistry
a talk by Pedro Oliveira

Charles Webster Leadbeater’s Essays and Lectures on Freemasonry (From The Light of Luxor)                                   

‘Occultism and the atom: the curious story of isotopes’ by Jeff Hughes
(the influence of Occult Chemistry

                                                             read the article (reproduced by permission)

The Future of the Theosophical Society
Annie Besant, J. J. van der Leeuw and C. W. Leadbeater

CWL Travels with Madame Blavatsy

At Cairo and Madras by Isabel Cooper-Oakley (On the Coulomb Case)

CWL, the Mahatma and God

Early Letters prior to 1906 Crisis

CWL in Brazil: Further Evidence

Krishnaji and CWL

Lady Emily Lutyens – Her Impressions of CWL

The Maha-Chohan’s Letter - historical renderings

The Story of Occult Chemistry by Elizabeth W. Preston

Occult Chemistry by Annie Besant

The Akashic Records (1897)

The Aura by C. W. Leadbeater (1895)

C. W. Leadbeaters Teachings by Alfred Taylor

A Comprehensive List of C. W. Leadbeater’s Books

Dora van Gelder Kunz and Fritz Kunz audio recording about C. W. Leadbeater

G. R. S. Mead’s Review of Man Visible and Invisible by CWL

On Gossip: A Harmful Habit?

Fragments of Autobiography of Russell Balfour-Clarke An old associate of C.W. Leadbeater recollects aspects of his own life and his work with CWL.

The Buddhist Curate: C.W. Leadbeaters Contribution to Buddhist Education in Ceylon by Pedro Oliveira

The Attitude of the Enquirer by C. W. Leadbeater


Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, in a photograph of 1884, in London, the year she first met CWL.

Dedication written by H. P. Blavatsky on the copy of her book The Key to Theosophy, which she presented to C. W. Leadbeater in London.

A young Charles Webster Leadbeater with his mother, Emma.

T. Subba Rao was an initiated Chela of the Mahatmas. CWL was a member of his esoteric group in Madras in the mid-1880s.

A. P. Sinnett, through whose agency CWL joined the Theosophical Society in 1883.

Betrand Keightley, who prosecuted CWL at the Advisory Board meeting in London, May 1906, presided by Col. Olcott.

A young J. Krishnamurti in Madras,1910,
after his First Initiation.

Facsimile of the ship manifest for the English vessel “Tamar”, which arrived in Salvador, Bahia, northeast of Brazil, on 30 May 1858. On the sixth line down, there is a record that Charles Leadbeater arrived in Bahia on that date with his wife and a young son. (Source: Public Archives, Salvador, Bahia.)

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