Of all the names associated with modern spirituality, that of Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky—or HPB, as she preferred to be called—is surely one of the most controversial. Although she died more than a century ago, Blavatsky’s name still turns up in serious discussions about “ancient wisdom,” “secret teachings,” and “inner knowledge,” and it is generally agreed that her Theosophical Society (or TS, as it is often called), which she founded in New York in 1875, with her colleagues Henry Steel Olcott and William Quan Judge, was more or less the official starting point of the modern spiritual revival. By “modern spiritual revival,” I mean our contemporary widespread interest in a direct, immediate knowledge and experience of spiritual reality, and in a more profound relationship to the cosmos than traditional religions and mainstream science can provide. Represented by a heterogeneous collection of different occult, esoteric, or spiritual pursuits, today this revival is popularly, if often mistakenly, associated with the “New Age.” This grassroots hunger for a sense of meaning and purpose that the official organs can no longer supply can be traced to the nineteenth century—indeed, in this book I will look at some of the sources of it—and can be said, I believe, to have be