Feb 21, 2017

The Theosophical Movement, 1875-2075

The Hundred-Year Cycle And
The Dawning of the Aquarius Age

Carlos Cardoso Aveline

The Theosophical Movement, 1875-2075
Front cover of “The Fire and Light of Theosophical Literature”


The following text reproduces Chapter 22 of
the book “The Fire and Light of Theosophical
Literature”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline, The
Aquarian Theosophist, Portugal, 255 pages, 2013. 


“If the light of Theosophy is kept burning clear,
 it will be the saving light of the whole world ....
But the question is, who will be the light-bearers?”

(Robert Crosbie, in “A Book of Quotations”,
 Theosophy Company, Mumbai, India, p.104)

The adept-teacher and Buddhist reformer in Tibet, Tsong-kha-pa (1357-1419), established a centennial rhythm in the work of the Brotherhood of Initiates which guides human evolution. H.P. Blavatsky wrote that among the commandments of Tsong-kha-pa “there is one that enjoins the Arhats to make an attempt to enlighten the world, including the ‘white barbarians’, every century, at a certain specified period of the cycle.”[1]

Tsong-kha-pa gave the impulse for the first special effort by the end of 14th century. Since then human progress has had a hundred-year pace of systoles and diastoles, and everyone who observes world history will be able to distinguish them. But time is more than simply cyclic. It has cycles upon cycles, bigger and smaller, and there is a close, continuous interaction among them all.

From Tsong-kha-pa’s time to the year 2000 we have had seven end-of-century efforts. Every number seven indicates danger and opportunity, and it typically means a change in consciousness. It is not by mere chance, then, that the 1975-2000 effort - the seventh of its kind - led us into the closing years of the transitional twilight / dawn between the whole Pisces age and Aquarius age.[2]

It was HPB herself who sowed the first seeds of anticipation with regard to the 1975-2000 period. And she did the same as to the 21st century. Her last sentence in “The Key to Theosophy”, suggesting that the Earth will be like a heaven in our present century, can’t be easily forgotten. Elsewhere, Blavatsky stated that the victory of true Occultism would certainly be achieved before the end of 21st century.[3] And many a student around the world remembers these words in “The Secret Doctrine”:

“In Century the Twentieth some disciple more informed, and far better fitted, may be sent by the Masters of Wisdom to give final and irrefutable proofs that there exists a Science called Gupta-Vidya; and that, like the once-mysterious sources of the Nile, the source of all religions and philosophies now known to the world has been for many ages forgotten and lost to men, but is at last found.” (SD, volume I, p. XXXVIII)

William Q. Judge wrote in a private document dated November 1894 that the 19th century effort was into a large extent a preparation for the future moment when H.P.B. herself would come again to the world. Yet Judge was emphatic in foreseeing that great efforts would be made by anti-evolutionary forces, to try to prevent that. [4] In January 1895 an article by Judge was published in the “Irish Theosophist”, in which he said:

“H.P. Blavatsky has clearly pointed out in the Key, in her conclusion, that the plan is to keep the T.S. alive as an active, free, unsectarian body during all the time of waiting for the next great messenger, who will be herself beyond question.” [5]

At this point, one must examine an apparently uncomfortable question. Why did HPB and W.Q.J. make such public revelations as to the next Messenger?

After all, as the New Testament saying goes, “one must not let the left hand [path] know what the right hand [path] does” (Matthew, 6: 2-4).

One possible answer to this has at least two aspects.


There is no reason to believe that - in making or authorizing those statements - the Masters and HPB gave out to the public all of their action plan from 1875 through 2075. HPB did not give details of the victory of truth over falsehoods which she predicted for the 21st century. The prophecy about the next messenger must be seen as a hint and at the same time a blind. One should see it as a partial indication given about future events. It was probably designed and destined to be interpreted with the help of higher intuition by those concerned, and implying various shades of meaning, along different moments and situations of the cycle.

During her 19th century mission, HPB set the tone for the whole transition into the new cycle. In addition to that, she also spread all over her vast written work thousands of hints which have been and will be useful to generations of readers and theosophical workers, past and future.

The Jesus of the New Testament taught by using parables which could be easily understood by everyone, but which were esoterically interpreted only by those entitled to it (see Matthew, 13: 13-16). Modern theosophy does not often teach through parables, but it has its own way to give a teaching to the public which has quite different levels of reading. Besides using abstract thought, it spreads fragmentary elements of information which will emerge as a context at the right occasions and places. Aspirants to discipleship are literally seekers after truth, as explained in the Mahatma Letters. Lifelong students have the opportunity to make a patient inquiry after truth which stimulates the development of their Buddhi-Manas. Alfred P. Sinnett seems to have been at some moment able to grasp this fundamental pedagogical principle. He wrote in “The Occult World”:

“These scattered revelations (....) have been broken up and thrown about in fragments designedly, in order that as yet it should only be possible to arrive at a full conviction (....) after a certain amount of trouble spent in piecing together the disjointed proofs. But when this process is accomplished we are provided with a certain block of knowledge.....” [6]


Let’s see now the second aspect of the answer to the question on “why such an early publicity about the next Messenger”. The matter of the fact is that, in the short term - id est, up to the year 1975 - such a statement had another role to play. “Theosophy” magazine clearly suggests something about that in a 1942 article. After mentioning HPB, the text says:

“... And for her to write definitely that another messenger would appear in the last quarter of the twentieth century was insurance against faithful Theosophists being deceived as to the occult status of any who might pose as ‘new revealers’ before the cycle for further inquiry and deeper learning had arrived.” [7]

This is an important point indeed: it was, among other things, an insurance against the dangerous fireworks of pseudo-theosophy. This aspect of the publicity question can be further clarified as we resume our examination of how the idea of the “next messenger” evolved across the years.

Shadow can only run after light, and error is doomed to imitate truth. Annie Besant probably thought the “next messenger” issue was important, for she soon tried to take advantage of the opportunity and do something about HPB’s return. In 1900, having already abandoned the original teachings, persecuted William Judge and provoked the division of the movement, Besant was actively trying to organize and to announce a false rebirth of HPB, through the little daughter of Mr. G. N. Chakravarti. The 1900 letter made Besant stop the operation. [8]

In 1904 it was the president-founder Henry S. Olcott who - in spite of his limited loyalty to HPB - had something to say about her expected return in a new body. After describing Damodar Mavalankar’s last retreat to the Masters’ ashrams in the region of the Himalayas, Olcott speculated:

“I do not know when, if ever, he will come back to us. That he will, I believe; and I should not be surprised if he came when HPB, reincarnated and, like himself, changed beyond all recognition, shall resume the world-work she had to drop (....).” [9]

Meanwhile, Annie Besant had not forgotten the idea of a “second coming”. If it didn’t work with HPB, it could be tried with someone else. Soon after Olcott died in 1907, Besant got busy organizing the spectacular “reappearance” of Lord Christ.

The project was a long, treacherous “Christian comedy of the new messenger”. It had a “preemptive dimension”, and it thus fully confirmed Judge’s warning made in 1894. The messianic fireworks only stopped, at least outwardly, when the would-be “Christ” abandoned the theatrical role of Messiah and left Besant Society in 1929. [10]

The delusive versions of the theosophical movement are but the husk (though too thick at times) which surrounds the real and living organism.

Throughout the difficult part of the century, independent students preserved a small, active nucleus of universal vision and brotherhood, and this silently inspired other individuals from around the world to follow the original lines of work. Knowledge of the cyclic law and its predictable tidal waves of karma offered a beacon light to theosophists, as they looked into the future. Year after year, the anticipation about 1975 was kept alive and seemed to grow. A new torch-bearer would possibly appear in the last quarter of the century, and he might lead the movement into a higher level of progress and understanding.

When the magical year of 1975 finally arrived, vast sectors of the movement seemed to be taken by a feeling of enthusiasm.

Pamphlets, magazines and new editions of HPB’s works multiplied. A number of significant initiatives and accomplishments happened, not only within the movement, but also in the world at large, in various fields of science, in philosophy, and in the areas of human rights and social justice. The dialogue among religions got stronger. Throughout the planet, ecological consciousness spread and stimulated a perception of the inner unity which embraces all beings. There was an expectation in the air. In May 1991 the Adyar magazine included in a special edition these meaningful words by Manly P. Hall:

 “Suppose this very day H.P. Blavatsky, the lioness of the Theosophical Society should return from the Amenti of the wise and should demand an accounting from the members of the Society she had founded. Who could stand before her and say honestly, ‘Beloved teacher, we have done our best, we have remained true to you and the Masters for whom you spoke’?” [11]

That would be an embarrassing question for some. But the years were already passing by and the spectacular return had not happened. The new wave of theosophical vitality remained visible during the first half of the 1990s. After that, the life of the movement started to ebb away, and at some point by the year 2000 individual theosophists began to feel an undeclared void. From that moment on, negative aspects of collective karma quickly emerged, inside and outside the theosophical movement.

In 2001, the terrorist attacks of September 11 in the United States served to symbolize the change of direction in human karma. As we approached a change of planetary dimensions, the karmic cloud over some quarters of the movement - which radiated despondency to the honest students and love for power to the cunning - was getting thicker.

Difficulties are to be expected in any beginning of century. Yet one may still have a couple of surprises, long before the year 2075. All is not said about karmic cycles. Other and larger circles of time overlap and overshadow the short term, hundred year cycle.

It is well-known that HPB’s mission prepared the close, in 1897-1898, of the first 5,000 years since the death of Krishna in 3102 B.C.E., which was the starting point of Kali Yuga.

In August 1931, an article in “Theosophy” magazine called attention to the fact that, right in the middle of these two points in history (the death of Krishna and HPB’s Mission), Lord Buddha was born in India by 621 B.C.E. Gautama Buddha lived 2,500 years after Krishna’s death and some 2,500 years before HPB’s death. Pythagoras and Lao-tzu were broadly contemporary to Buddha, and gave extra strength to that middle point of the 5,000 years cycle.

Thus the completion of HPB’s mission in the 19th century closed two cycles, one of 2,500 years and the other of 5,000 years. Her work has had a strong impact in both East and West, and its influence is still evolving.

Due to the principle of overlapping of different cycles during transitional times, figures and numbers do not always have to be mechanically precise. HPB was supposed to live until 1897, for instance; but there was no actual need for that, and she didn’t.

Among other considerations, the 1931 article in “Theosophy” said that, because of the larger cycles overlapping HPB’s mission, “it is little short of absurd for Theosophists to consider that the end of the 19th Century marked the end of an ordinary centennial mission.”

The article went on:

“But it is strongly hinted that in 1975 a greater mission will be undertaken; that the new Messenger will be empowered to demonstrate as well as teach - provided the intervening Theosophists are loyal to their trust. But - tradition says that Buddha incarnated fifty years after his death in order to complete his mission. Mr. Judge has seen fit to make a strong statement regarding the Messenger of 1975 being the same Initiate as in 1875.” [12]

This statement could only make sense if there were other large cycles related to 1975-2000, which could add to its significance. And they exist.

Using a rather obscure and indirect language, in a modest footnote to an article, HPB gave the precise dates and duration of recent astrological ages, and revealed that the year 1900 was to be the starting point for the new Aquarian Age. She wrote that one of the “several remarkable cycles” coming to a close in the end of 19th century was “the Messianic cycle (....) of the man connected with Pisces”.

And she added:

“It is a cycle, historic and not very long, but very occult, lasting about 2,155 solar years (....). It occurred [in] 2410 and 255 B.C., or when the equinox entered into the sign of the Ram, and again into that of Pisces. When it enters, in a few years, the sign of Aquarius, psychologists will have extra work to do (....).” [13]

Geoffrey Barborka clarified this statement:

“Since 2155 years is the time-period for the duration of each of the cycles of the Age of Aries and Pisces, and as the Piscean Age began in 255 B.C., the date of the beginning of the Aquarian Age is 1900 A.D.” [14]

HPB gave further evidence in 1888:

“... Time has taken one mighty stride more: a step of twelve months’ duration toward the last day of our present age; (.....) - the ultimate frontier of our senile century. In twelve years more the curtain will have dropped, shutting out the foot-lights from the actors and all the latter from the public view . . . . . It is only then that many a scene enacted in the sad drama of life, and many an hitherto misunderstood attitude of some of the chief actors in that Mystery of the Age called Theosophy and its Societies, will appear in its true light.” [15]

By writing in 1888 and referring to “twelve years”, she was clearly pointing to 1900 as the limit between the two ages. The chronological limit is rather an abstract point, though.

Overlapping is a law, as to succeeding cycles. Different ages live together side by side for quite some time. The transition of astrological ages is a complex process, and its effects take a few hundred years to become clearly visible. It is said in “The Secret Doctrine” that each yuga is preceded by a period of “dawn” called Sandhya, which has one tenth of the age’s duration. And the cycle is also concluded by a period of twilight, called Sandhyamsa, whose duration is the same as the period of dawn.[16]

If we follow the law of analogy, this yuga information can give us the measure for the main overlapping period between two smaller ages of 2155 years each.

We thus have a closing twilight or Sandhyamsa for the Pisces age of 215 years, and an opening dawn or Sandhya for the Aquarius age also of 215 years.

As there are no pralayas or obscurations in such short periods of time as 2155 years, the same period which is twilight for Pisces may also be seen as the period of dawn for the Aquarius era.

If 1900 was the year when the new age began, as stated by HPB, it must be the middle point, the mathematical turning point in the twilight / dawn process. In this case, we must divide the 215 years in two periods of approximately 107 years and a half, and put one of them before the year 1900. The other half must be projected for the period after the year 1900.

Going back 107.5 years from September 1900, one finds the year 1793. It is the time of the French Revolution (1789-1793), which had been prepared by the North American Revolution started in 1776. All over the world, colonialism began to fall. It was the time of the emerging human rights, liberty of thought, universal brotherhood; and these values are as much Theosophical as they are Aquarian. This was the starting point for the 215 years transition period.

On the other hand, when we add 107.5 years to September 1900, we find 2008, a moment in history around which several levels of unprecedented changes may have begun.

In addition to the twin concepts of sandhyamsa (or twilight) and sandhya or dawn, we must remember that one of the occult cycles mentioned in the “Mahatma Letters” is precisely 107 years[17]. This is precisely half the twilight in the case of the 2155 year cycle. Such a piece of information confirms that “something important” must have ended for good around 2007-2008, even if not everyone is able to see it by now. It probably is the close of the whole transitional period of 215 years between one age and the other.

To add more strength to the idea that from 2008 the twilight / dawn is basically complete, we had in the sky, around the same time, the co-regent of Pisces, Neptune, slowly transiting the sign of Aquarius, while the co-regent of Aquarius, Uranus, visited Pisces.

This symmetrical event is the perfect symbol for a change in command: the scepter of power changed hands in the sky. 

From 2012, having completed its 2155 year mission, Neptune is “back home” in Pisces, its own sign, and closing its “minor cycle” around the Earth. At the same time, his brother Uranus, the Aquarian co-regent, transits the pioneer and renewing sign of Aries, thus vigorously opening its first round or cycle through the terrestrial Zodiac after the change in command fully opened the Aquarius age.

Neptune and Uranus are considered “ambassadors” of the galaxy, and HPB wrote that Neptune does not really belong to our solar system (SD, I, 102 fn.). She also said that Neptune and Uranus are considered warriors and architects. It is possible that by adhering to the solar system with their “weight” and magnetism they gave a final touch to its finely tuned balance and equilibrium (see SD, I, 101-102). Mathematically and astronomically, their orbits are not only closely linked to each other. They are intimately connected to that of Pluto, another “ambassador” - and one who brings us major structural changes since the significant year of 2008 (Pluto in Capricorn, the sign of structures).

There is also the question of the 70-year period. HPB said that every cycle must be a multiple of seven (SD, I, p.36). Tsong-kha-pa started the end-of-century efforts in the 14th century, and we are now at the 21st century, both being multiples of seven.

HPB added that the number seven is the great number of the Divine Mysteries, while “number 10 is that of all human knowledge (Pythagorean decade)”.

Hence the number seventy, which is a combination of seven and ten and a multiple of seven, must be a significant figure.

In 1875 the public effort for universal brotherhood was started, and if one adds 70 years to that, one finds 1945, the year when, precisely on May 8th (the anniversary of HPB’s death), democracies declared that the war had been won in Europe. They then started preparing the United Nations, whose headquarters were established in New York, the same city where the movement was founded.

And if one adds other 70 years to 1945, one gets to the year 2015, when the “change of command” between Neptune and Uranus (with Pluto’s assistance) is not only complete since 2012, but producing effects.

There is a cautious note, though, to add to the prophecy made by HPB that true occultism will have a final victory before the end of 21st century.

She also commented that the 20th century might be perhaps “the last” to be called by that name. [18]

This warning implies that, depending on how things would evolve, we might experience such a radical change as a civilization that a new way of counting time would be adopted in the 21st century. Yet this is a hint and a possibility. The principle of overlapping allows different karmic possibilities to remain open and side by side, for some time during the gradual meeting of two Ages.

What to think, then, of the fact that a great messenger did not visibly appear at the expected time and in the expected way?

Perhaps there is a lesson on anthropomorphism in that. All of HPB’s philosophy was built on the principle of impersonality and on the need to transcend the instinctive psychology of the flocks, the state of mind which invites us to blindly look for a pastor, a shepherd, so that we can automatically follow him.

Esoteric Philosophy is about finding inspiration in one’s own higher self, and this fundamental idea - the true basis for conscious brotherhood - remains our test as a movement.

HPB’s philosophy is the teaching of the Masters for the new Age. As a guiding principle to our spiritual souls, it is not only a generous gift: it is also more than enough. The correct way to be one in spirit with HPB is to learn from her example and from the sacrifice of countless generations of pioneers, as one strives to work for the good of all beings. [19]


[1] For the quotation above, see “Collected Writings of H.P. Blavatsky”, TPH, USA, volume XIV, p. 431. Read a biographical text on Tsong-kha-pa in “Collected Writings of H.P. Blavatsky”, vol. XIV, pp. 573-575.

[2] It should be noted - in addition to it - that the first centennial effort included the first part of the following century, since Tsong-kha-pa was active until 1419. This could be connected to an expanding or delaying factor in the seventh centennial effort, which is the one started in 1975. In other words, the seventh occult attempt may be extending itself into the following century, just as it happened in the case of the first one. The seventh effort closes a cycle of 600 years between the years 1419 and 2019. (The year 2019 also completes one cycle of 100 years since the death of Robert Crosbie in 1919.)

[3] HPB wrote: “Occultism must win the day (…) before the end of the twenty-first century ‘A.D.’.” (“Collected Writings”, vol. XIV, p. 27.) A complete quotation of her words will be found in Chapter 28, “The Bright Side of Saturn”.

[4] “The Judge Case”, by Ernest Pelletier, Edmonton Theosophical Society, Canada, 2004, Part II, p. 135.

[5] “The Closing Cycle”, an article by W.Q. Judge. See “Theosophical Articles”, W.Q. Judge, Theosophy Company, 1980, volume II, p. 153.

[6] “The Occult World”, A. P. Sinnett, first edition 1884, Appendix to the Fourth Edition, Kessinger Publishing Co., Montana, USA, 160 pp., see p. 158.

[7] “The Centenary Cycle”, an article in “Theosophy” magazine, April 1942, p. 267.

[8] See Letter 46, first series, in “Letters From the Masters of the Wisdom”, TPH, 1973 edition.

[9] “Old Diary Leaves”, Henry S. Olcott, T.P.H., Adyar, India, volume III, first printed 1904, 460 pp., 1972 edition, p. 279.

[10] See Chapter 15, “The Making of an Avatar”.

[11] “The Theosophist”, Adyar, India, Memorial Issue, May 1991, p. 404.

[12] “The Hundred Year Cycle”, an article in “Theosophy” magazine, August 1931, p. 451.

[13] “Collected Writings of H.P.B.”, TPH, USA, volume VIII, p. 174, footnote.

[14] “Secret Doctrine Questions & Answers”, by Geoffrey Barborka, Wizards Bookshelf, San Diego, USA, 2003, 197 pp., see p. 100.

[15] “From the Note Book of an Unpopular Philosopher”, by HPB, in “Lucifer” magazine, September 1888, page 84 in the edition of Kessinger Publishing Company.

[16] “The Secret Doctrine”, HPB, Theosophy Co., Los Angeles, volume II, p. 308, footnote. See also “Theosophical Glossary” (Theosophy Co.) entry on “Yuga”; and “Encyclopedic Theosophical Glossary” (T.U.P.), entry on “Sandhya” or “Sandhi”.

[17] “The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett”, T.U.P. edition, Letter XLVII, p. 272.

[18] See the last sentence of part II in HPB’s text “The Esoteric Character of the Gospels”. The sentence can be found at volume VIII, p. 205, in “The Collected Writings of HPB” (TPH), or at page 193, volume III, of “Theosophical Articles”, HPB, Theosophy Co., Los Angeles.

[19] An initial version of the above Chapter was first published as an article by the Canadian magazine “Fohat” in its Winter 2008 edition, starting at p. 82. Original title: “The Theosophical Movement, 1875-2075: The Hundred-Year Cycle And the Twilight of the Pisces Age.”


In September 2016, after a careful analysis of the state of the esoteric movement worldwide, a group of students decided to form the Independent Lodge of Theosophists, whose priorities include the building of a better future in the different dimensions of life.