Occult Chemistry Revisited

Printed in the Winter 2015 issue of Quest magazine.
Citation: Clewell, Andre and Phillips, Stephen M.,"Occult Chemistry Revisited" Quest 103.1 (Winter 2015): pg. 27-28.

By Andre Clewell and Stephen M. Phillips

In her voluminous writings, Helena P. Blavatsky foretold important scientific discoveries that would eventually come to light. Annie Besant was among the first to demonstrate the veracity of HPB's predictions in a scientific article that she published in the November 1895 issue of the journal Lucifer. This article was the first of a series of original contributions to physics and chemistry that Besant and Charles Leadbeater published. The fundamental importance of their discoveries is just dawning on scientists who dare to step beyond the confines of materialistic reductionism.

Besant and Leadbeater were instructed by adepts in a technique mentioned in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras for psychically envisioning incredibly small objects. They described spects of atomic structure in ninety-two natural elements—from hydrogen to uranium. They made these observations as their busy schedules allowed over a period of thirty-eight years and published their last article in 1933, shortly before their deaths.

Theosophical Society - Ultimate physical atom (UPA), as portrayed by Besant and Leadbeater.

Ultimate physical atom (UPA), as portrayed by Besant and Leadbeater.

Besant and Leadbeater not only described the inner structure of atoms, they identified four new elements (promethium, technetium, astatine, francium) before scientists discovered them. They described several isotopes (elements with atoms containing extra neutrons) before isotopes were known to science. They discovered that geometrical configurations of atoms corresponded to the position of elements in the Periodic Table of Elements. They discovered that the atomic weights of all natural elements, as determined by science, were proportional to the number of ultimate physical atoms (UPAs) in each atom. UPAs were the smallest discrete subatomic structures that Besant and Leadbeater discerned.

At the time that Besant published her detailed investigations of atomic structure in 1895, scientists believed that atoms lacked any internal structure whatsoever, just as had been assumed by the ancient Greeks. That assumption changed in 1912, when physicist Ernest Rutherford announced that the atom consisted of a nucleus around which electrons orbited. The two principal components in the atomic nucleus—protons and neutrons—were not discovered by science until much later, in 1919 and 1932 respectively. Besant had portrayed them diagrammatically in her 1895 article.

Besant and Leadbeater summarized their initial observations in Occult Chemistry, published by the Theosophical Publishing House in 1908. This book was extensively revised in its third edition by C. Jinarajadasa in 1951 as a compendium of all of Besant's and Leadbeater's observations. During observation sessions, Besant and Leadbeater were fully awake and alert: no trance state was involved. Stenographers recorded what they said, and artists drew what they described. Jinarajadasa—Leadbeater's protégé and later the international president of the Theosophical Society—served as project director. 

Even though the Second Object of the Theosophical Society is "to encourage the comparative study of religion, philosophy, and science," interest in occult chemistry waned by the mid-twentieth century. Theosophists were treating science as if it were a forgotten stepchild. This attitude reflected the degree to which science had advanced beyond the knowledge of most Theosophists, as well as their hesitancy to accept psychic information other than that which had been conveyed by HPB. Furthermore, no one had reconciled the observations of occult chemistry with the terminology of modern physics. During the Summer National Conference held by the Theosophical Society in America in July 2014, which focused on science and spirituality, only one speaker made a fleeting reference to occult chemistry.

Recent Theosophical amnesia regarding occult chemistry is difficult to explain in light of research and publications by one of us (Phillips), who wrote three books on the subject that were released by Theosophical publishing houses, the first one in 1980. Phillips, who earned a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, thoroughly interpreted the observations of Besant and Leadbeater in terms of modern physics.

Thirty-five years ago, Phillips noted the correspondence between UPA structure, as described by Besant and Leadbeater, and superstring theory. This correspondence initially lacked mathematical confirmation, but Phillips recently discovered the elusive mathematical proof. He showed that the exceedingly complex geometry of UPAs is identical to that of ten-dimensional, heterotic superstrings, which, some leading quantum physicists suggest, underlie the structural reality of all matter in the universe. This same geometry is echoed in what Phillips recognizes as the inner form of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, as well as in other sacred geometries.

New Zealand Theosophist Geoffrey Hodson learned how to see small objects psychically and viewed UPAs in 1959. Hodson described nuances of UPA behavior that allowed Phillips to show their relationship to Higgs particles, which are responsible for imparting mass to matter. Journalists with a penchant for sensationalism have nicknamed Higgs particles as "God particles." In addition, Phillips has recently described a variation of the UPA which apparently comprises dark matter, whose existence continues to perplex mainstream science.

The scientific establishment ignores investigations from occult chemistry. However, skeptics will find it difficult to assail the findings of occult chemistry, since Theosophists published their observations well before mainstream scientists made these same discoveries independently. There were far too many discoveries by Besant and Leadbeater to call them lucky guesses, and their content was too rational to call them hallucinations. Eventually, science will have no recourse but to recognize the validity of occult chemistry and to develop theories based on its findings in order to explain how the universe works.

Once science accepts the authenticity of occult chemistry, the door opens for scholarly examination of all Theosophical precepts. A renewed interest in Theosophy's contributions to science could be the key for a global renaissance of Theosophical thought.

Considerable information on occult chemistry is available from the TSA Library's new online encyclopedia (theosophy.wiki; search for "occult chemistry"). Phillips maintains his own Web site (smphillips.mysite.com), which thoroughly describes the science, sacred geometry, and history behind occult chemistry and includes links to books and articles that are accessible online.


ANDRE CLEWELL, Ph.D., is president of the St. Petersburg, Florida, Theosophical Lodge.

STEPHEN M. PHILLIPS, Ph.D., is a theoretical physicist, Theosophist, and student of ancient wisdom from Bournemouth, Dorset, England.

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