Alice Ann Bailey
Alice Ann Bailey (June 16, 1880 – December 15, 1949) was a writer of more than twenty-four books on theosophical subjects, and was one of the first writers to use the term New Age. Bailey was born as Alice La Trobe-Bateman, in Manchester, England. She moved to the United States in 1907, where she spent most of her life as a writer and teacher.
Bailey's works, written between 1919 and 1949, describe a wide-ranging system of esoteric thought covering such topics as how spirituality relates to the Solar System, meditation, healing, spiritual psychology, the destiny of nations, and prescriptions for society in general. She described the majority of her work as having been telepathically dictated to her by a Master of Wisdom, initially referred to only as "the Tibetan" or by the initials "D.K.", later identified as Djwal Khul. Her writings bore some similarity to those of Madame Blavatsky and are among the teachings often referred to as the "Ageless Wisdom".
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky
Born into an aristocratic Russian-German family in Yekaterinoslav, then in the Russian Empire (now Ukraine), Blavatsky traveled widely around the empire as a child. Largely self-educated, she developed an interest in Western esotericism during her teenage years. According to her later claims, in 1849 she embarked on a series of world travels, visiting Europe, the Americas, and India. During this period she encountered a group of spiritual adepts, the "Masters of the Ancient Wisdom", who sent her to Shigatse, Tibet, where they trained her to develop a deeper understanding of the synthesis of religion, philosophy and science.
In New York City, Blavatsky co-founded the Theosophical Society with Olcott and William Quan Judge in 1875. In 1877 she published Isis Unveiled, a book outlining her Theosophical world-view. Associating it closely with the esoteric doctrines of Hermeticism and Neoplatonism, Blavatsky described Theosophy as "the synthesis of science, religion and philosophy", proclaiming that it was reviving an "Ancient Wisdom" which underlay all the world's religions. In 1880 she and Olcott moved to India. Amid ailing health, in 1885 she returned to Europe, where she published The Secret Doctrine, a commentary on what she claimed were ancient Tibetan manuscripts, as well as two further books, The Key to Theosophy and The Voice of the Silence.
Dion Fortune (born Violet Mary Firth, 6 December 1890 – 6 January 1946) was a British occultist, qabalahist, ceremonial magician, novelist and author. She was a co-founder of the Fraternity of the Inner Light, an occult organisation that promoted philosophies which she claimed had been taught to her by spiritual entities known as the Ascended Masters. A prolific writer, she produced a large number of articles and books on her occult ideas and also authored seven novels, several of which expound occult themes.
Fortune was born in Llandudno, North Wales, to a wealthy upper middle-class English family, although little is known of her early life. By her teenage years she was living in England's West Country, where she wrote two books of poetry. After time spent at a horticultural college she began studying psychology and psychoanalysis at the University of London. She became interested in esotericism through the teachings of the Theosophical Society, before joining an occult lodge led by Theodore Moriarty and then the Alpha et Omega occult organisation.
She came to believe that she was being contacted by the Ascended Masters, including "the Master Jesus", and underwent trance mediumship to channel the Masters' messages. In 1922 Fortune and Charles Loveday claimed that during one of these ceremonies they were contacted by Masters who provided them with a text, The Cosmic Doctrine. Although she became the president of the Christian Mystic Lodge of the Theosophical Society, she believed the society to be uninterested in Christianity, and split from it to form the Community of the Inner Light, a group later renamed the Fraternity of the Inner Light. With Loveday she established bases in both Glastonbury and Bayswater, London, began issuing a magazine, gave public lectures, and promoted the growth of their society.
Fortune is recognised as one of the most significant occultists and ceremonial magicians of the early 20th century. Her novels in particular proved an influence on later occult and modern Pagan groups.
Sri Aurobindo (born Aurobindo Ghose; 15 August 1872 – 5 December 1950) was an Indian philosopher, yogi, guru, poet, and nationalist. He joined the Indian movement for independence from British rule, for a while was one of its influential leaders and then became a spiritual reformer, introducing his visions on human progress and spiritual evolution.
Aurobindo studied for the Indian Civil Service at King's College, Cambridge, England. After returning to India he became increasingly involved in nationalist politics. He was arrested, but in a highly public trial where he faced charges of treason, Aurobindo could only be convicted and imprisoned for writing articles against British rule in India. During his stay in the jail, he had mystical and spiritual experiences, after which he moved to Pondicherry, leaving politics for spiritual work.
During his stay in Pondicherry, Sri Aurobindo developed a method of spiritual practice he called Integral Yoga. The central theme of his vision was the evolution of human life into a life divine. He believed in a spiritual realisation that not only liberated man but transformed his nature, enabling a divine life on earth. In 1926, with the help of his spiritual collaborator, Mirra Alfassa (referred to as "The Mother"), he founded the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
His main literary works are The Life Divine, which deals with theoretical aspects of Integral Yoga; Synthesis of Yoga, which deals with practical guidance to Integral Yoga; and Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol, an epic poem.
Anandamayi Ma (30 April 1896 – 27 August 1982) was a Bengali Saint, described by Sivananda Saraswati (of the Divine Life Society) as "the most perfect flower the Indian soil has produced." Precognition, faith healing and miracles were attributed to her by her followers. Paramahansa Yogananda translates the Sanskrit epithet Anandamayi as "Joy-permeated" in English. This name was given to her by her devotees in the 1920s to describe her perpetual state of divine joy.