Charles Webster Leadbeater

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 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 some biographical information, including the charges and accusations against him, his work for the Theosophical Society and the Liberal Catholic Church. Also included are a comprehensive list of his books, written over a period of several decades, plus 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.

Has Theosophy Become a Creed?

Glimpses of Occult Chemistry   
a talk by Pedro Oliveira

TheᅠMystery of C. W. Leadbeater’s Clairvoyance NEW  

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

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

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

When CWL met HPB in London NEW      

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

Madame Blavatsky and C. W. Leadbeater: A Timeline  

What HPB Thought of CWL

CWL Travels with Madame Blavatsky

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

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

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

CWL receives his third letter from Master K.H.  

CWL, the Mahatma and Godᅠ   

Early Letters prior to 1906 Crisis 

The Cipher Letter: Historical Background

CWL in Brazil: Further Evidence    

The Leadbeaters: Brief Biographical Information  

When Leadbeater went to Court

For Private Circulation (1913 Madras Court Case) 

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

Krishnaji and CWL

Lady Emily Lutyens – Her Impressions of CWL

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 theᅠDaily Telegraph (Sydney)

The Maha-Chohan’s Letter - historical renderings

 The Story of Occult Chemistry by Elizabeth W. Preston 

Occult Chemistryᅠby Annie Besant   

The Akashic Records (1897)

The Auraᅠby C. W. Leadbeater (1895

C. W. Leadbeater’s 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

Visit the expanded Gallery and Bio pages 

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

On Gossip: A Harmful Habitᅠ  

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. His statement about Mr Leadbeater’s integrity can be seen here:

The Buddhist Curate: C.W. Leadbeater’s Contribution to Buddhist Education in Ceylon


C. W. Leadbeater at Adyar in 1930

New Release!

Annie Besant in India

See announcement below

Annie Besant in India  New Release

Compiled by C. V. Agarwal and Pedro Oliveira

Paperback, 590 pages. Printed in Australia, February 2021

Cover design by Neeta Agrawal

This book focuses on Annie Besant’s work in India and for India. It includes her work for Indian education, her accomplishments as President of the Theosophical Society, and her introduction of J. Krishnamurti to the world. It also presents her inspiring vision for India, and her brave work towards Home Rule for India. The book also contains a number of heartfelt testimonies by her Indian friends and co-workers.

“One of the outstanding events in my life is the day when I first met Annie Besant. I was twelve then and both her personality, the legends that already surrounded her heroic career, and her oratory overwhelmed me. … India especially owes a very deep debt of gratitude for all her work for it to find her own soul.”

                                                                                         Jawaharlal Nehru

 “Though born in England, Mrs. Besant worked in India for the emancipation of a brown race. She was a combination of Parvati, Lakshmi and Sarasvati—Parvati for power, Lakshmi for love and Sarasvati for wisdom.”
                                                                                               Sarojini Naidu

“The service she rendered the women of India is invaluable. She has demonstrated to the world what women are capable of achieving and it looks that she came to India as an embodiment of Shakti, the goddess of Power. She had revolted against the taboos and meaningless customs and conventions that hampered women and kept her down as an inferior humanity.”
                                                                                   S. Muthulakshmi Reddi

Reminiscing about his younger years Krishnamurti once said that among the theosophists of that time the only one who was close to inner transformation was Annie Besant. When asked why he said: ‘Because you don’t know how great her capacity for love was.’

Orders can be placed at Olive Tree Publishing:

Cost: A$40.00 per copy, plus postage. Payment by PayPal.

CWL Speaks: C. W. Leadbeater’s Correspondence concerning the 1906 Crisis in the Theosophical Society

Foreword by Robert Ellwood  Compiled by Pedro Oliveira
Published in Australia by Olive Tree Publishing, February 2018, 311 pp.
Orders can be placed at
CWL Speaks: a few praises and criticisms

Excerpt of Prof. Garry Trompf’s review in Aries journal, volume 21 (2021): The great value of Oliveira’s effort is that he has made as exhaustive a collection of letters about the 1906–1908 Leadbeater scandal as he could, and these letters not only let the renowned defendant in the case be heard, but other voices as well, including relevant boys’ parents, concerned female Theosophists, but above all influential members of the Society in a tangle of in-house politics.”

Prof. Trompf is Emeritus Professor in the History of Ideas, University of Sydney, 2007- (Professor, 1995-2006); Adjunct Professor in Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney, 2016; Professor of History and Head of Department, University of Papua New Guinea, 1983-85; Senior Lecturer and then Associate Professor (and inter alia Head of Department), Religious Studies, University of Sydney (1978-1994). Visiting Professor to the Universities of California, Santa Cruz (three times); Utrecht, Edinburgh, Warsaw and the Jung Institute, Zurich.

   In a statement about the Leadbeater case and the Advisory Board meeting in London [May, 1906], A.P. Warrington, a leading member in the United States and also a lawyer, said: ‘It has been said that Mr. Leadbeater was tried; that moral wrongs were proved, and after confessing them he was condemned and forced to resign from the T.S. This is all utterly false! There could be no trial save in a court of justice, upon a definite indictment, with counsel representing both sides, where witnesses could be compelled to attend and be examined, and where the accused could be confronted by his accusers and subject them to cross-examination.’
CWL Speaks, p. 117

Tributes to Col. Henry Steel Olcott
For his work with Buddhist Education in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka)

It was Col. Olcott that took C. W. Leadbeater to Ceylon in 1886 where he worked until 1889. His work there is documented in the article ‘The Buddhist Curate: C. W. Leadbeater’s Contribution to Buddhist Education in Sri Lanka’. (

The tributes to Col. Olcott which are excerpted in the above link show the resilience of his contribution to the Buddhist revival in Ceylon. He put all his skills and all his strength and vision at the service of that cause and the Singhalese people responded with admiration and lasting gratitude.

Col. Olcott’s statue in front of the Fort Railway Station in Colombo

Source: Google

A Few Hours at Adyar and What They Were Made to Reveal by T.H. Martyn

The Catholic and Puritan Spirit in the TS by Annie Besant

CWL on Magic

 Steps of the Path

The Way to Seership

Radhaji: From Here to There

HPB in Tibet

The Hidden Side of The Theosophist by Mary K. Neff

T. Subba Row

The Magic of the Christian Church A clairvoyant discovers the power and the spiritual reach to the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

Places of Pilgrimage in India by T. Subba Row

T. Subba Row, CWL and Esoteric Teachings

Anuradhapura and Mihintale C. W. Leadbeater’s impressions
 of his visit to ancient Buddhist sacred sites in Sri Lanka.

Two Leading H. P. Blavatsky’s Students Review CWL’s Books

Copyright © 2021 Pedro Oliveira

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