The Alternative Movement (video)
The Alternative Movement.
Do you know how it started?
Tens of thousands of people are working within The Alternative Movement and Alternative Medicine.
Many are making a living and/or have gained knowledge of alternative methods and philosophies and integrated them into their lifestyle.
Amongst the range of “Alternative” methods and treatments offered in the marketplace, few are evidence based and, in the opinion of some academics, the area is so vast that science has a problem creating research models. How come? Well, my belief is that this is because many of the methods address deeper levels of our being – unquantifiable by today’s research models.
Much of what is called Alternative Medicine was developed long before the use of scientific methods. For example the Shamanic methods, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda. With the onset of Western Medicine, or Conventional Medicine, everything involved in treatments had to be quantified by measuring, weighing and counting to produce statistics and be warranted “evidence based”. What then followed was a tendency by scholars to degrade and criticise the old traditional methods and mystery schools.
Nevertheless, some highly intelligent and courageous people devoted their life’s work to safeguarding the “old knowledge” even though their efforts were disregarded and ridiculed by academia. Some of the trail blazers and forerunners of the Alternative Movement have been both “glorified and vilified”. It’s these people to which present day students and practitioners, owe gratitude, the spiritual visionaries. And the one name that stands out more than any other is Helena Petrovna Blavatsky or Madame Blavatsky, who lived from 1831-1891. Born in the Ukraine, she spent much of her life in England, the US and India. Madame Blavatsky and was one of the most driven, extraordinary and controversial figures of the 19th century.
More than any other single individual, her life, writings and teachings have been a major influence on the Alternative Movement and all present day forms of spirituality, energy work and consciousness. Madame Blavatsky had a visionary mind, and while her contemporaries Freud and Pavlov were beginning to formulate the theory of the mind into what we know as today’s Psychology, Madame Blavatsky was intent on rescuing a forgotten deeper psychology of the superconscious and the extrasensory from ancient mystery schools, occult traditions and exotic religions. Her collected works formed Theosophy – the first philosophy of psychic and spiritual evolution in the Modern West.
Blavatsky’s Theosophy contributed to much of the knowledge in Esotercism and Occult philosophies that became the foundation blocks for the New Age Movement a century later – in the 1960s and ’70s. Other terms that were used synonymously for New Age were “Alternative”, “Spiritual”, “Green” and “Holistic”. In more recent years “Mind, Body, Spirit” has become very popular – serving as a perfectly “palatable” term to serve the explosion of the Wellness Industry, where even many critics now have confidence and find “comfort and safety”.
Theosophy has been the most influential philosophy bringing Eastern teachings to the West. No other school of thought has contributed to the same degree as Theosophy. Rudolf Steiner was learned within Blavatsky’s teachings and his Anthroposophy is an offshoot of Theosophy.
“There is no religion higher than the truth” is the motto of the Theosophical Society. Indeed, during her 59 years Helena Blavatsky demonstrated an insatiable hunger and unstoppable drive in her pursuit for truth. She appealed to women allowing them to take on spiritual leadership, an option that was out of the question traditional Christianity and other religions.
I’ll talk more about Helena Blavatsky in new posts.
Gillian Godtfredsen, Doctor of Metaphysics, PhD Life Coaching
Theodore Roszak, Unfinished Animal: Aquarian Frontier & the Evolution of Consciousness.
The “Hodgson Report” on Madame Blavatsky,
J. Gordon Melton, Jerome Clark & Aidan A. Kelly, eds., New Age Almanac.