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Doctrines The published aims of the Theosophical Society were "First - to form the nucleus of an Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed or colour. Second - to promote the study of Aryan and other Eastern literature, religion and sciences and vindicate its importance. Third - to investigate the hidden mysteries of Nature and the Physical powers latent in man", and also to abolish Christianity and replace it with freethinking humanism.

History The foundation of the Theosophical Society by Helena Petrova Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott in New York in 1875 was a breakthrough for occultism - for the first time, it had been given an organised, serious body, open to both men and women, for research and study. When Theosophy was introduced to England in January 1883 , it was seized upon by a section of the middle classes who were spiritually unsettled by religious doubts arising from the Darwinian controversy.
The Theosophical Society set out to correct of spiritualism, push back the boundaries of science, and oppose dogmatic Christianity, drawing inspiration at first from Egyptian occultism and from the Western esoteric tradition and later from India, the embodiment of Oriental wisdom which, according to Blavatsky, surpassed that of the West. Blavatsky once said that she had embraced Buddhism merely to show that any Eastern religion was better than Western Christianity - she had reached the conclusion that Western society and religion contained nothing good - and she tried, through the Theosophical Society, to supplant Western ignorance with Eastern wisdom.
The Theosophists did not succeed in overthrowing Christianity, but they did provide a forum for debate and study of many religions and did a great deal to popularise Indian religions in particular. The Society is still in existence today, though in an era of freethinking, it is not the grounbreaking movement it was in the late Eighteenth/early Nineteenth Centuries.

Symbols None. Many Theosophists became followers of the Hindu and Buddhist religions and would therefore have used symbols and icons pertaining to those religions.

Adherents No figures available.

Headquarters The Theosophical Society, Great Russell Street, London, England