Image of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, foundress of the theosophical movement. From F13414

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (HPB), one of the founders of the Theosophical Society, died on May 8th 1891 and White Lotus Day is a Theosophical celebration of her passing. HPB herself suggested in her last will and testament that her friends should gather on the anniversary of her passing each year and read from The Light of Asia (E0729) and from the Bhagavad Gita (E0741).

Although her friend and co-founder of the Theosophical Society, H.S. Olcott, named the day, the symbolism of the White Lotus is best described by HPB herself:

             The underlying idea, in this symbol, is very beautiful, and, furthermore, shows an identical parentage in all the religious systems. Whether as the Lotus or water-lily, it signifies one and the same philosophical idea: namely, the emanation of the Objective from the Subjective, Divine Ideation passing from the abstract into the concrete, or visible form.[1]

Title page of Rough Outline of Theosophy by Annie Besant

A Rough Outline of Theosophy. A lecture delivered at South Place Institute by Annie Besant. F0586.

Special Collections & Archives collects material related to Spiritualism and theosophy. The collection includes books by notable theosophists such as HPB herself, Annie Besant, Charles Leadbetter, and William Quan Judge.

Visit us to learn more about these fascinating collections.

 

[1]

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. The Secret Doctrine. Vol. 1. (London: Theosophical Pub. Soc, 1893-1897) 407. G16335

 

Blog topics

  1. 2020 (4)
    1. July (1)
    2. May (1)
    3. April (2)
  2. 2019 (6)
    1. September (1)
    2. August (1)
    3. July (1)
    4. May (1)
    5. January (2)
  3. 2018 (8)
    1. December (2)
    2. September (2)
    3. June (1)
    4. April (1)
    5. March (1)
    6. February (1)
  4. 2017 (10)
    1. October (1)
    2. September (1)
    3. August (2)
    4. July (1)
    5. May (1)
    6. April (2)
    7. February (2)
  5. 2016 (17)
    1. December (1)
    2. November (1)
    3. September (1)
    4. July (1)
    5. June (2)
    6. May (1)
    7. March (3)
    8. February (4)
    9. January (3)
  6. 2015 (20)

Visit us

Contact us

Common questions

Donations

Hours

Special Collections & Archives is pleased to offer limited in-person appointments for current Waterloo students, faculty, and post-doctoral fellows.

Although we remain closed to the public, staff have limited access to the archival and rare book collections. Please continue to contact us with your research requests but note that there will be a delay in resolving your inquiry.

We also invite you to visit the Waterloo Digital Library to view select items from our collections online.

Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
View full library hours.

Visit our HistoryPin page Visit our Facebook page Visit our Twitter page  Visit our Instagram page