Writings of H P Blavatsky


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Helena Petrovna Blavatsky  (1831 – 1891)

The Founder of Modern Theosophy


A Paradoxical World


H P Blavatsky


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Open your ears . . .

when loud rumour speaks!

     I, from the Orient to the drooping West,

     Making the wind my post horse, still unfold

     The acts commenced on this ball of earth:

     Upon my tongue continual slanders ride,

     The which in every language I pronounce;

     Stuffing the ears of men with false reports.

     I speak of peace, while covert enmity,

     Under the smile of safety, wounds the world:

     And who but Rumour, who but only I . . .


     Why, I can smile. and murder while I smile;

     And cry content, to that which grieves my heart;

     And wet my cheeks with artificial tears,

     And frame my face to all occasions . . .



WE live in an age of prejudice, dissimulation and paradox, wherein, like dry leaves caught in a whirlpool some of us are tossed helpless, hither and thither, ever struggling between our honest convictions and fear of that cruellest of tyrants--PUBLIC OPINION. Yea, we move on in life as in a Maelstrom formed of two conflicting currents, one rushing onward, the other repelling us downward; one making us cling desperately to what we believe to be right and true, and that we would fain carry out on the surface; the other knocking us off our feet, overpowering, and finally drowning us under the fierce, despotic wave of social propriety and that idiotic, arbitrary and ever wool-gathering public opinion, based on slander and idle rumour. No person need in our modern day be honest, sincere, and righteous in order to curry favour or receive recognition as a man of worth. He need only be a successful hypocrite, or have become for no mortal reason he himself knows of--popular. In our age, in the words of Mrs. Montague, "while every vice is hid by hypocrisy, every virtue is suspected to be hypocrisy . . . and the suspicion is looked upon as wisdom." Thus, no one seeming to know what to believe, and what to reject, the best means of becoming a paragon of every virtue on blind faith, is--to acquire, popularity.

But how is popularity to be acquired? Very easily indeed. Howl with the wolves. Pay homage to the favourite vices of the day, and reverence to mediocrities in public favour. Shut your eyes tight before any truth, if unpalatable to the chief leaders of the social herd, and sit with them upon the dissenting minority. Bow low before vulgarity in power; and bray loud applause to the rising donkey who kicks a dying lion, now a fallen idol. Respect public prejudice and pander to its cant and hobbies, and soon you will yourself become popular. Behold, now is your time. No matter if you be a plunderer and murderer combined: you will be glorified all the same, furnished with an aureole of virtues, and allowed even a broader margin for impunity than contained in the truism of that Turkish proverb, which states that "a thief not found out is honester than a Bey." But now let a Socrates and Epictetus rolled into one suddenly become unpopular. That which will alone remain of him in the hazy mind of Dame Rumour is a pug nose and the body of a slave lacerated by the plying whip of his Master. The twin sisters, Public Opinion and Mrs. Grundy, will soon forget their classics. Their female aspect, siding with Xantippe, will charitably endeavour to unearth various good reasons for her outbreaks of passion in the shape of slops poured over the poor bald head; and will search as diligently for some hitherto unknown secret vices in the Greek Sage. Their male aspect will see but a lashed body before its mental eye, and will soon end by joining the harmonious concert of Society slander directed against the ghosts of the two philosophers. Result: Socrates-Epictetus will emerge out of the ordeal as black as pitch, a dangerous object for any finger to approach. Henceforth, and for æons to come, the said object will have become unpopular.





The same, in art, in politics, and even literature. "A damned saint, an honourable villain," are in the present social order of things. Truth and fact have become unpalatable, and are ostracised; he who ventures to defend an unpopular character or an unpopular subject, risks to become himself anathema maranatha. The ways of Society have contaminated all those who approach the threshold of civilized communities; and if we take the word and severe verdict of Lavater for it, there is no room in the world for one who is not prepared to become a full-blown hypocrite. For, "He who by kindness and smooth attention can insinuate a hearty welcome to an unwelcome guest, is a hypocrite superior to a thousand plain-dealers," writes the eminent physiognomist. This would seem to settle the line of demarcation and to preclude Society, for ever, from becoming a "Palace of Truth."


Owing to this, the world is perishing from spiritual starvation. Thousands and millions have turned their faces away from anthropomorphic ritualism. They believe no longer in a personal governor and Ruler; yet this prevents them in no wise from attending every Sunday "divine service," and professing during the week adherence to their respective Churches. Other millions have plunged headlong into Spiritualism, Christian and mental science or kindred mystic occupations; yet how few will confess their true opinions before a gathering of unbelievers! Most of the cultured men and women--save rabid materialists--are dying with the desire to fathom the mysteries of nature and even--whether they be true or imaginary--the mysteries of the magicians of old. Even our Weeklies and Dailies confess to the past existence of a knowledge which has now become a closed book save for the very few. Which of them, however, is brave enough to speak civilly of the unpopular phenomena called "spiritualistic," or dispassionately about Theosophy, or even to abstain from mocking remarks and insulting epithets? They will talk with every outward reverence of Elijah's chariot of fire, of the board and bed found by Jonah within the whale; and open their columns for large subscriptions to fit out scientifico-religious expeditions, for the purpose of fishing out from the Red Sea the drowned Pharaoh's golden tooth-pick, or in the Desert, a fragment of the broken tables of stone. But they would not touch with a pair of tongs any fact--no matter how well proven--if vouchsafed to them by the most reliable man living who is connected with Theosophy or Spiritualism. Why? Because Elijah flying away to heaven in his chariot is a Biblical orthodox miracle, hence popular and a relevant subject; while a medium levitated to the ceiling is an unpopular fact; not even a miracle, but simply a phenomenon due to intermagnetic and psycho-physiological and even physical causes. On one hand gigantic pretensions to civilization and science, professions of holding but to what is demonstrated on strictly inductive methods of observation and experiment; a blind trust in physical science--that


science which pooh-poohs and throws slur on metaphysics, and is yet honeycombed with "working hypotheses" all based upon speculations far beyond the region of sense, and often even of speculative thought itself: on the other hand, just as servile and apparently as blind an acceptation of that which orthodox science rejects with great scorn, namely, Pharaoh's tooth-pick, Elijah's chariot and the ichthyographic explorations of Jonah. No thought of the unfitness of things, of the absurdity, ever strikes any editor of a daily paper. He will place unhesitatingly, and side by side, the newest ape-theory of a materialistic F.R.S., and the latest discourse upon the quality of the apple which caused the fall of Adam. And he will add flattering editorial comments upon both lectures, as having an equal right to his respectful attention. Because, both are popular in their respective spheres.





Yet, are all editors natural-born sceptics and do not many of them show a decided leaning towards the Mysteries of the archaic Past, that which is the chief study of the Theosophical Society? The "Secrets of the Pyramids," the "rites of Isis" and "the dread traditions of the temple of Vulcan with their theories for transcendental speculation" seem to have a decided attraction for the Evening Standard. Speaking some time since on the "Egyptian Mysteries" it said:


We know little even now of the beginnings of the ancient religions of Thebes and Memphis. . . . All these idolatrous mysteries, it should also be remembered, were always kept profoundly secret; for the hieroglyphic writings were understood only by the initiated through all these ages. Plato, it is true, came to study from the Egyptian priests; Herodotus visited the Pyramids: Pausanias and Strabo admired the characters which were sculptured so large upon their outer casing that he who ran could read them; but not one of these took the trouble to learn their meaning. They were one and all content to give currency, if not credence, to the marvellous tales which the Egyptian priests and people recounted and invented for the benefit of strangers.

Herodotus and Plato, who were both Initiates into the Egyptian mysteries, accused of believing in and giving currency to marvellous tales invented by the Egyptian priests, is a novel accusation. Herodotus and Plato refusing "to take the trouble" of learning the meaning of the hieroglyphs, is another. Of course if both "gave currency" to tales, which neither an orthodox Christian, nor an orthodox Materialist and Scientist will endorse, how can an editor of a Daily accept them as true? Nevertheless the information given and the remarks indulged in, are wonderfully broad and in the main free from the usual prejudice. We transcribe a few paragraphs, to let the reader judge.


It is an immemorial tradition that the pyramid of Cheops communicated by subterranean passages with the great Temple of Isis. The hints of the ancient writers as to the subterranean world which was actually excavated for the mysteries of Egyptian superstition, curiously agree. . . . Like the source of the Nile itself, there is hardly any line of inquiry in Egyptian lore which does not end in mystery. The whole country seems to share with the Sphinx an air of inscrutable silence. Some of its secrets, the researches of Wilkinson, Rawlinson, Brugsch, and Petrie have more or less fully revealed to us; but we shall never know much which lies concealed behind the veil of time.1 We can hardly hope even to realize the glories of Thebes in its prime, when it spread over a circuit of thirty miles, with the noble river flowing through it, and each quarter filled with palaces and temples. And the tyranny of the Ethiopian priests, at whose command kings laid down and died, will always remain one of the strangest enigmas in the whole problem of primitive priestcraft.2

It was a tradition of the ancient world that the secret of immortality was to be found in Egypt, and that there, amongst the dark secrets of the antediluvian world which remained undeciphered, was the "Elixir of Life." Deep, it was said, under the Pyramids had for ages lain concealed the Table of Emerald, on which, as the legend ran, Hermes had engraved before the Flood, the secret of alchemy; and their weird associations justified the belief that still mightier wonders here remained hid. In the City of the Dead to the north of Memphis, for instance, pyramid after pyramid rose for centuries towering above each other; and in the interior passages and chambers of the rock-cut tombs were pictured the mystic wisdom of the Egyptians in quaint symbols. . . . A vast subterranean world, according to tradition, extended from the Catacombs of Alexandria to Thebes' Valley of Kings, and this is surrounded with a whole wealth of marvellous story. These, perhaps, culminate in the ceremony of initiation into the religious mysteries of the Pyramids. The identity of the legend has been curiously preserved through all ages, for it is only in minor details that the versions differ. The ceremonies were undoubtedly very terrible. The candidates were subjected to ordeals so frightful that many of them succumbed, and those who survived, not only shared the honours of the priesthood, but were looked upon as having risen from the dead. It was commonly believed, we are told, that they had descended into Hell itself. . . . They were, moreover, given draughts of the cups of Isis and Osiris, the waters of life and death, and clothed in the sacred robes of pure white linen, and on their heads the mystic symbol of initiation--the golden grasshopper. Instructed in the esoteric doctrines of the sacred college of Memphis, it was only the candidates and priests who knew those galleries and shrines that extended under the site upon which the city stood and formed a subterranean counterpart to its mighty temples, and those lower crypts in which were preserved the "seven tables of stone," on which was written all the "knowledge of the antediluvian race, decrees of the stars from the beginning of time, the annals of a still earlier world, and all the marvellous secrets both of heaven and earth."3 And here, too, according to mythological tradition, were the Isiac serpents which possessed mystic meanings at which we can now only vainly guess. When the monuments are silent, certainty is impossible in Egyptology; and in thirty centuries vestiges have been ruthlessly swept away which can never be replaced.




Does not this read like a page from "Isis Unveiled," or one of our theosophical writings--minus their explanations? But why speak of thirty centuries, when the Egyptian Zodiac on the ceiling of the Dendera temple shows three tropical years, or 75,ooo solar years? But listen further:


We can, in a sense, understand the awful grandeur of the Theban necropolis, and of the sepulchral chambers of Beni Hassan. . . . The cost and toil devoted to the "everlasting palaces" of departed monarchs; the wonders of the Pyramids themselves, as of the other royal tombs; the decoration of their walls; the embalmed bodies all point to the conclusion that this huge subterranean world was made a complete ante-type of the real world above. But whether or no it was a verity in this primitive cult that there was an actual renovation of life at the end of some vast cycle is lost in learned conjecture.

"Learned conjecture" does not go far nowadays, being of a pre-eminently materialistic character, and limited somehow to the sun. But if the unpopularity of the Theosophical Society prevents the statements of its members from being heard; if we ignore "Isis Unveiled" and the "Secret Doctrine," the Theosophist, etc., full of facts, most of which are as well authenticated by references to classical writers and the contemporaries of the MYSTERIES in Egypt and Greece, as any statement made by modern Egyptologists--why should not the writer on the "Egyptian Mysteries" turn to Origen and even to the Æneid for a positive answer to this particular question? This dogma of the return of the Soul or the Ego after a period of 1,000 or 1,500 years into a new body (a theosophical teaching now) was professed as a religious truth from the highest antiquity. Voltaire wrote on the subject of these thousand years of post mortem duration as follows:


This opinion about resurrection (rather "reincarnation") after ten centuries, passed to the Greeks, the disciples of the Egyptians, and to the Romans (their Initiates only), disciples of the Greeks. One finds it in the VIth Book of the Æneid, which is but a description of the mysteries of Isis and of Ceres Eleusina;

Has omnis ubi

mille rotam volvere per annos,

     Lethœum ad fluvium deus evocat agmine magno;

     Scilicet immemores, supera ut convexa revisant.


This "opinion" passed from the Pagan Greeks and Romans to Christians, even in our century, though disfigured by sectarianism; for it is the origin of the millennium. No pagan, even of the lower classes, believed that the Soul would return into its old body: cultured Christians do, since the day of the Resurrection of all flesh is a universal dogma, and since the Millenarians wait for the second advent of Christ on earth when he will reign for a thousand years.




All such articles as the above quoted are the paradoxes of the age, and show ingrained prejudices and preconceptions. Neither the very conservative and orthodox editor of the Standard, nor yet the very radical and infidel editors of many a London paper, will give fair or even dispassionate hearing to any Theosophical writer. "Can any good come out of Nazareth?" the Pharisees and Sadducees of old are credited with asking. "Can anything but twaddle come from Theosophical quarters?" repeat the modern followers of cant and materialism.


Of course not. We are so very unpopular! Besides which, theosophists who have written the most upon those subjects at which, in the words of the Evening Standard, "we can now only vainly guess" are regarded by Mrs. Grundy's herds as the black sheep of Christian cultured centres. Having had access to Eastern secret works, hitherto concealed from the world of the profane, the said theosophists had means of studying and of ascertaining the value and real meaning of the "marvellous secrets both of heaven and earth," and thus of disinterring many of the vestiges now seemingly lost to the world of students. But what matters that? How can one so little in odour of sanctity with the majorities, a living embodiment of every vice and sin, according to most charitable souls, be credited with knowing anything? Nor does the possibility of such charges being merely the fruit of malice and slander, and therefore entitled to lie sub judice, nor simple logic, ever trouble their dreams or have any voice in the question. Oh no! But has the idea ever crossed their minds that on that principle the works of him who was proclaimed:



"The greatest, wisest, meanest of mankind"

ought also to become unpopular, and Baconian philosophy be at once shunned and boycotted? In our paradoxical age, as we now learn, the worth of a literary production has to be judged, not on its own intrinsic merits, but according to the private character, the shape of the nose, and the popularity or unpopularity of the writer thereof. Let us give an example, by quoting a favourite remark made by some bitter opponent of "The Secret Doctrine." It is the reply given the other day to a theosophist who urged a would-be Scientist and supposed Assyriologist to read the said work. "Well," he said, "I grant you there may be in it a few facts valuable to students of antiquity and to scientific speculation. But who can have the patience to read 1,500 pages of dreary metaphysical twaddle for the sake of discovering in it a few facts, however valuable?"


O imitatores servum pecus! And yet how joyfully you would set to work, sparing neither time, labour nor money, to extract two or three ounces of gold from tons of quartz and useless alluvial soil. . . .





Thus, we find the civilized world and its humanities ever unfair, ever enforcing one law for the wealthy and the mighty, and another law for the poor and the uninfluential. Society, politics, commerce, literature, art and sciences, religion and ethics, all are full of paradoxes, contradictions, injustice, selfishness and unreliability. Might has become right, elsewhere than in colonies and for the detriment of "black men." Wealth leads to impunity, poverty to condemnation even by the law, for the impecunious having no means of paying lawyers are debarred from their natural right to appeal to the courts for redress. Hint, even privately, that a person, notorious for having acquired his wealth by plunder and oppression, or unfair play on the Stock Exchange, is a thief, and the law to which he will appeal will ruin you with damages and court expenses and imprison you into the bargain for libel, for "the greater the truth, the greater the libel." But let that wealthy thief slander your character publicly, accuse you falsely of breaking all the ten commandments, and if you are in the slightest degree unpopular, an infidel, or too radical in your views, no matter how honourable and honest you may be, yet you will have to swallow the defamation, and let it get root in the minds of people; or, go to law and risk many hundreds or even thousands out of your pocket and get--one farthing damages! What chance has an "infidel" in the sight of a bigoted, ignorant jury? Behold those rich speculators who arrange bogus quotations on the Stock Exchange for shares which they wish to foist upon an innocent public that makes for everything whose price is rising. And look at that poor clerk, whose passion for gambling--which the example of those same wealthy capitalists has fired--if caught in some small embezzlement, the righteous indignation of the rich capitalists knows no bounds. They ostracise even one of their own confreres because he has been so indiscreet as to be found out in dealings with the unhappy wretch! Again, what country boasts more of Christian charity, and its code of honour, than old England? Yea, you have soldiers and champions of freedom, and they take out the deadly machine-guns of your latest purveyor of death and blow to fragments a stockade in Solymah, with its defending mob of half-armed savages, of poor "niggers," because you hear that they perchance may molest your camps. Yet it is to that self-same continent you send your almighty fleets, into which you pour your soldiers, putting on the hypocritical mask of saving from slavery these very black men whom you have just blown into the air! What country, the world over, has so many philanthropic societies, charitable institutions, and generous donors as England has? And where, on the face of the earth, is the city which contains more misery, vice and starvation, than London--the queen of wealthy metropoles. Hideous poverty, filth and rags glare from behind every corner, and Carlyle was right in saying that the Poor Law was an anodyne--not a remedy. "Blessed are the poor," said your Man-God. "Avaunt the ragged, starving beggar from our West End streets!" you shout, helped by your Police Force; and yet you call yourselves His "humble" followers. It is the indifference and contempt of the higher for the lower classes which has generated and bred in the latter that virus which has now grown in them into self-contempt, brutal indifference and cynicism, thus transforming a human species into the wild and soulless animals which fill the Whitechapel dens. Mighty are thy powers, most evidently, O, Christian civilization!





But has not our Theosophical "Fraternity" escaped the infection of this paradoxical age? Alas, no. How often the cry against the "entrance fee" was heard among the wealthiest Theosophists. Many of these were Freemasons, who belonged to both institutions--their Lodges and Theosophy. They had paid fees upon entering the former, surpassing ten times the modest £ I, paid for their diploma on becoming Theosophists. They had to pay as "Widow's Sons," a large price for every paltry jewel conferred upon them as a distinction, and had always to keep their hands in their pockets ready to spend large sums for paraphernalia, gorgeous banquets with rich viands and costly wines. This diminished in no way their reverence for Freemasonry. But that which is good for the masonic goose is not fit sauce for the theosophical gander. How often was the hapless President Founder of our Society, Col. H. S. Olcott taunted with selling theosophy for £ I per head! He, who worked and toiled from January 1st to December 31st for ten years under the broiling sun of India, and managed out of that wretched pound of the entrance fee and a few donations to keep up the Headquarters, to establish free schools and finally to build and open a library at Adyar of rare Sanskrit works--how often was he condemned, criticised, misjudged, and his best motives misinterpreted. Well, our critics must now be satisfied. Not only the payment of the entrance fee but even that of two shillings yearly, expected from our Fellows to help in paying the expenses of the anniversary meetings, at the Headquarters at Madras (this large sum of two shillings, by-the-bye, having never been sent in but by a very limited number of theosophists), all this is now abolished. On December 27th last "the Rules were completely recast, the entrance fee and annual dues were abolished," writes a theosophist-stoic from Adyar. "We are on a purely voluntary contribution footing. Now if our members don't give, we starve and shut up--that's all."


A brave and praiseworthy reform but rather a dangerous experiment. The "B. Lodge of the T.S." in London never had an entrance fee from its beginning, eighteen months ago; and the results are that the whole burden of its expenses has fallen upon half a dozen of devoted and determined Theosophists. This last Anniversary Financial Report, at Adyar, has moreover brought to light some curious facts and paradoxical incongruities in the bosom of the Theosophical Society at large. For years our Christian and kind friends, the Anglo-Indian missionaries, had set on foot and kept rolling the fantastic legend about the personal greediness and venality of the "Founders." The disproportionate]y large number of members, who, on account of their poverty had been exonerated from any entrance fees, was ignored, and never taken into account. Our devotion to the cause, it was urged, was a sham; we were wolves in sheep's clothing; bent on making money by psychologizing and deceiving those "poor benighted heathen" and the "credulous infidels" of Europe and America; figures are there, it was added; and the 100,000 theosophists (with which we were credited) represented £ 100,000 etc., etc.


Well, the day of reckoning has come, and as it is printed in the General Report of the Theosophist we may just mention it as a paradox in the region of theosophy. The Financial Report includes a summary of all our receipts from donations and Initiation fees, since the beginning of our arrival in India, i.e. February 1879, or just ten years. The total is 89,I40 rupees, or about £6,600. Of the Rs 54,000 of donations, what are the large sums received by the Theosophical (Parent) Society in the respective countries? Here they are:


IN INDIA   .   .   .   .   .   .   Rupees        40,000

     IN EUROPE   .   . 

.   .   .        "                7,000

     IN AMERICA   . 

.   .   .   .      "                 700!!

     Total 47,700 rupees or £3,600


Vide infra "Theosophical Activities": "The President Founder's Address."

The two "greedy Founders" having given out of their own pockets during these years almost as much, in the result there remain two impecunious beggars, practically two pauper-Theosophists. But we are all proud of our poverty and do not regret either our labour or any sacrifices made to further the noble cause we have pledged ourselves to serve. The figures are simply published as one more proof in our defence and a superb evidence of the PARADOXES to be entered to the credit of our traducers and slanderers.


Lucifer, February, 1889


1 The more so since the literature of theosophy, which is alone able to throw light on those mysteries, is boycotted, and being "unpopular" can never hope to be appreciated.


2 Because these priests were real Initiates having occult powers, while the "Kings" mentioned died but for the world. They were the "dead in life." The writer seems ignorant of the metaphorical ways of expression.



3 Much of which knowledge and the mysteries of the same "earlier races" have been explained in the "Secret Doctrine," a work, however, untouched by the English dailies as unorthodox and unscientific--a jumble, truly.








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Translated from the Sanskrit


William Quan Judge


Psychic Glossary


Sanskrit Dictionary


Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy

G de Purucker


In The Outer Court

Annie Besant


Dreams and


Anna Kingsford


My Path to Atheism

Annie Besant


From the Caves and

Jungles of Hindostan

H P Blavatsky


The Hidden Side

Of Things

C W Leadbeater


Glimpses of

Masonic History

C W Leadbeater


Five Years Of


Various Theosophical


Mystical, Philosophical, Theosophical, Historical

and Scientific Essays Selected from "The Theosophist"

Edited by George Robert Stow Mead


Spiritualism and Theosophy

C W Leadbeater


Commentary on

The Voice of the Silence

Annie Besant and

C W Leadbeater

From Talks on the Path of Occultism - Vol. II


Is This Theosophy?

Ernest Egerton Wood


In The Twilight

Annie Besant

In the Twilight” Series of Articles

The In the Twilight” series appeared during

1898 in The Theosophical Review and

from 1909-1913 in The Theosophist.


Incidents in the Life

of Madame Blavatsky

compiled from information supplied by

her relatives and friends and edited by A P Sinnett


The Friendly Philosopher

Robert Crosbie

Letters and Talks on Theosophy and the Theosophical Life



Obras Teosoficas En Espanol


La Sabiduria Antigua

Annie Besant


Glosario Teosofico


H P Blavatsky



Theosophische Schriften Auf Deutsch


Die Geheimlehre


H P Blavatsky




Elementary Theosophy

An Outstanding Introduction to Theosophy

By a student of Katherine Tingley


Elementary Theosophy Who is the Man?  Body and Soul   


Body, Soul and Spirit  Reincarnation  Karma


The Seven in Man and Nature


The Meaning of Death




Theosophy Avalon

Guide to the

Theosophy Wales King Arthur Pages



Arthur draws the Sword from the Stone


King Arthur

Fact or Myth


King Arthur &

The Knights of The Round Table


Arthur’s Table

The Roman Amphitheatre at Caerleon,

Gwent, South Wales.


Kings Arthur’s Round Table

Eamont Bridge, Nr Penrith, Cumbria, England.


King Arthur’s Round Table

At Winchester


Isle of Avalon


The Holy Grail

A Brief Overview


The Holy Grail and

the Celtic Tradition


The Lady of the Lake


Geoffrey of Monmouth

(?- 1155)

Historia Regum Britanniae

(History of the Kings of Britain)

The reliabilty of this work has long been a subject of

debate but it is the first definitive account of Arthur’s Reign

and one which puts Arthur in a historcal context.


The Arthur Story according to

Geoffrey of Monmouth

and his version’s political agenda


Geoffrey of Monmouth

His Life & Works


King Arthur’s Family Tree

According to Geoffrey of Monmouth



Historia Brittanum

History of the Britons

800 CE

The first written mention of Arthur as a heroic figure

The British leader who fought twelve battles

against the Anglo Saxons


Where were Arthur’s Twelve

Victories against the Saxons?


King Arthur’s ninth victory at

The Battle of the City of the Legion



The Battle of Badon Hill

King Arthur ambushes an advancing Saxon

army then defeats them at Liddington Castle,

Badbury, Near Swindon, Wiltshire, England.

King Arthur’s twelfth and last victory against the Saxons


The Battle of Camlann

Traditionally Arthur’s last battle in which he was

mortally wounded although his side went on to win



The 6th century Welsh bard

No contemporary writings or accounts of his life

but he is placed 50 to 100 years after the accepted

King Arthur period. He refers to Arthur in his inspiring

poems but the earliest written record of these dates

from over three hundred years after Taliesin’s death.


The Elegy of Uther Pendragon

From the Book of Taliesin


Pendragon Castle

Mallerstang Valley, Nr Kirkby Stephen,

Cumbria, England.

A 12th Century Norman ruin on the site of what is

reputed to have been a stronghold of Uther Pendragon



His origins and development

over centuries

From wise child with no earthly father to

Megastar of Arthurian Legend


The Prophecy of Merlin

From Geoffrey of Monmouth’s

History of the Kings of Britain


Merlin’s Vision

on Pendle Hill

Near Burnley Lancashire



Drawn from the Stone or received from the Lady of the Lake.

Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur has both versions

with both swords called Excalibur. Other versions

have two different swords.


Chronology of Britain

in the 5th Century CE


Celtic Kingdoms Prior to the

Anglo – Saxon invasion


The Saxon Invasion of Britain


Where did the 

Angles, Saxons & Jutes

Come from?


5th & 6th Century Timeline of Britain

From the departure of the Romans from

Britain to the establishment of sizeable

Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms

Glossary of

Arthurian Legend



Arthur’s uncle:- The puppet ruler of the Britons

controlled and eventually killed by Vortigern

Circa 440 -445CE


Hengist & Horsa


The Massacre of Amesbury

Amesbury, Wiltshire, England. Circa 450CE

An alleged massacre of Celtic Nobility by the Saxons

at a “Peace” conference


Caer-Anderida (Pevensey)

Falls to the Saxons 491 CE


King Arthur is Crowned

at Silchester

From Geoffrey of Monmouth’s

History of the Kings of Britain


King Arthwys of the Pennines

Born Circa 455 CE

Ruled the Kingdom of Ebrauc

(North Yorkshire)


Athrwys / Arthrwys
King of Ergyng

Circa  618 - 655 CE
Latin: Artorius; English: Arthur

A warrior King born in Gwent and associated with

Caerleon, a possible Camelot. Although over 100 years

later that the accepted Arthur period, the exploits of

Athrwys may have contributed to the King Arthur Legend.

He became King of Ergyng, a kingdom between

Gwent and Brycheiniog (Brecon)


King Morgan Bulc of Bernaccia

Angles under Ida seized the Celtic Kingdom of

Bernaccia in North East England in 547 CE forcing

King Morgan Bulc into exile.

Although much later than the accepted King Arthur

period, the events of Morgan Bulc’s 50 year campaign

to regain his kingdom may have contributed to

the King Arthur Legend.




Old Welsh: Guorthigirn; Anglo-Saxon: Wyrtgeorn;

Breton: Gurthiern; Modern Welsh; Gwrtheyrn;

Latin; Vertigernus:


An earlier ruler than King Arthur and not a heroic figure.

He is credited with policies that weakened Celtic Britain

to a point from which it never recovered.

Although there are no contemporary accounts of

his rule, there is more written evidence for his

existence than of King Arthur.


How Sir Lancelot slew two giants,

And made a castle free.

From Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur

Published 1485


How Sir Lancelot rode disguised

in Sir Kay's harness, and how he

smote down a knight.

From Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur

Published 1485


How Sir Lancelot jousted against

four knights of the Round Table,

and overthrew them.

From Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur

Published 1485


The Passing of Arthur

Alfred, Lord Tennyson





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