Tim has kindly set me the task to furnish you with eight facts about the phenomenon that was Madame Blavatsky. Madame Blavatsky was a real person, not to be confused with Madame Bovary who was a fictional character. But even a cursory glance at the Russian Madame's life story throws up inconsistencies and it is difficult to separate fact from fiction.
But here we go. In for a penny, in for a pound. 8 Random Facts about the great woman (at least one of which is possibly a Random Fib)...
1. Helena Blavatsky, in 1888, was the first person to use the phrase “intelligent design” to convey her understanding of evolution. The evolution of the species was guided by an underlying purposeful intelligence in nature. So, Mr Scientist, there is no “chance” about it.
2. Madame Blavatsky was a founder of the Theosphical Society whose chief aim was to “reconcile all religions, sects and nations under a common system of ethics, based on eternal verities.” The creation, therefore, of a groovy Brotherhood of Man.
3. According to Madame Blavatsky herself, she married at 17 to a much older man, stole a horse to escape from her unhappy marriage, and remained a virgin her entire life. As a true practitioner of Theosophy should “live, if the esoteric instructions shall profit him, a life of abstinence in everything, of self-denial and strict morality, doing his duty by all men,” she seems to have done pretty well to control her sexual urges.
4. However, according to other sources, she had several extramarital affairs and even mothered a child. So did she really live a life of abstinence?
5. She claimed to have had childhood visions in the 1830s of a tall Hindu who eventually materialised in Hyde Park and became her guru and advisor. From Hyde Park, she went to Tibet where she was trained by Theosophy masters from 1868 to 1870. She spread the theosophy message around the world till her death in 1891.
6. She was also an Eastern Star Freemason, a member of the largest fraternal organisation in the world that men and women can join. The order is open to people of all monotheistic faiths, so one wonders which god she aligned herself to in order to join up.
7. One of her followers in the 1980s was Roger Taylor of Duran Duran. Roger kept an inspirational photograph (see above) of her taped to his drum kit. Simon Le Bon and John Taylor found this most amusing and wrote a 5 minute jam called Wanking Over Madame B which can be heard on the bootleg album Duran Live In Bogota.
8. In her later years she gained employment as a circus performer and seance assistant. In no way does this discredit the seriousness in which her works are held. In no way at all.