Bailey, Alice A(nne) (LaTrobe-Bateman) (1880-1949)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Bailey, Alice A(nne) (LaTrobe-Bateman) (1880-1949)

A noted Theosophist who later founded her own Arcane School of esoteric teaching. Bailey was born June 16, 1880, in Manchester, England. An unhappy childhood led her to attempt suicide; however, at the age of 15, a mysterious stranger wearing a turban walked into her room, sat beside her, and stated that she should prepare herself for an important mission. For many years she believed her visitor was Jesus Christ, but later she saw a picture on the wall at the Theosophical Society, which she knew to be the stranger. It was Koot Hoomi, one of the mysterious mahatmas claimed to have inspired and communicated with Helena Petrovna Blavatsky.

Bailey was raised in the Church of England, and after attending finishing school in London, she worked for the Young Women's Christian Association. She spent some time in India with the YWCA and at a soldier's home there she met Walter Evans. They married in 1907 and moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where Walter studied for the Episcopal priesthood at Lane Theological Seminary. After graduation, they moved to California, but the marriage was an unhappy one; eventually they divorced. Like Annie Besant, who also had an unhappy marriage with an Anglican clergymen, the emotional ordeal of marital breakdown culminated in an interest in Theosophy.

In the case of Alice Bailey, she was introduced to Theosophy by friends in Pacific Grove, California. She was attracted by the Theosophical concepts of a spiritual hierarchy, karma, and reincarnation. She joined the society and moved to the headquarters at Krotona in 1917, where she edited the society's periodical, the Messenger, and became friendly with Foster Bailey, national secretary of the society.

In November 1919 while walking in the hills, Bailey was contacted by another spiritual master, Djual Khul, who came to be known as "The Tibetan." He requested her to be his amanuensis for a series of books, to be dictated telepathically. The first book, titled Initiation, Human and Solar commenced in 1920, and over the next 30 years some 18 other books were produced. She married Foster Bailey in 1920.

The production of the "Tibetan" books and the charge by Alice Bailey that the society was dominated by the Esoteric Section led to disagreements, and both Bailey and her husband left the society. They founded the Lucis Trust to publish the books and the magazine Beacon. In 1923 they founded the Arcane School to disseminate spiritual teachings. The school became an international organization, branching into special groups. The New Group of World Servers was dedicated to uniting people of goodwill in the goal of creating a new world civilization. Triangles evolved as a spiritual service through groups of three individuals uniting with others.

The books of the Tibetan promoted the ideal of a forthcoming world religion uniting East and West, and the Arcane School developed special prayers and meditations, such as the "Full Moon Meditation" and the "Great Invocation," toward this goal. Another theme arising from the Tibetan writings was the reappearance of the Christ. After the death of Alice Bailey in 1949, the Arcane School split into several groups. Foster Bailey headed the Arcane School and the Lucis Trust until his death in 1977. The work is currently headed by the Baileys' daughter, Mary Bailey.

Sources:

Bailey, Alice A. The Unfinished Autobiography of Alice A. Bailey. New York: Lucis Publishing, 1951.

. Works. New York: Lucis Publishing, New York, various dates.

Sinclair, John R. The Alice Bailey Inheritance. Wellingborough, England: Turnstone Press, 1984.

Thirty Years' Work. New York: Lucis Publishing, n.d.