On the most recent 'Expanding Mind' podcast, the wonderful Erik Davis talks to the equally wonderful Gary Lachman about secret masters, mysterious teacups, and the origins of the New Age:
The topics discussed all come from Gary's new book, Madame Blavatsky: The Mother of Modern Spirituality
Pioneer. Visionary. Provocateur. Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky — mystic, occult writer, child of Russian aristocrats, spiritual seeker who traveled five continents, and founder (with Henry Steel Olcott) of the Theosophical Society — is still being hailed as an icon and scorned as a fraud more than 120 years after her death. But despite perennial interest in her life, writings, and philosophy, no single biography has examined the controversy and legacy of this influential thinker who helped define modern alternative spirituality—until now.
Gary Lachman, the acclaimed spiritual biographer behind volumes such as Rudolf Steiner and Jung the Mystic, brings us an in-depth look at Blavatsky, objectively exploring her unique and singular contributions toward introducing Eastern and esoteric spiritual ideas to the West during the nineteenth century, as well as the controversies that continue to color the discussions of her life and work.
(Full disclosure: Publishers Tarcher/Penguin currently have a paid banner ad here on TDG for another book by Gary, Jung the Mystic. This had no bearing on my posting of this story. Gary's a good friend of TDG - he has a featured blog here - and I'm a big fan of both his work and Erik Davis'.)