A Lifetime in Error: Helena P. Blavatsky and the Immaculate Conception

Keywords: Catholic theology, Marian devotion, Immaculate Conception, Western esotericism, occultism, Helena P. Blavatsky, modern theosophical movement, Theosophical Society


This article presents the cognitive error made by Helena P. Blavatsky concerning the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Blavatsky’s error consisted in ascribing the term “Immaculate Conception” to the content of one of the basic tenets of the Christian faith, which is the Incarnation of the Lord. An additional mistake in connection with this error was the observation that it was only in the middle of the 19th century that the Church elevated this truth to the rank of dogma. The confusion of the conception of the Mother with the Incarnation of the Son, and the association of the latter with the term “Immaculate Conception” gave rise to further difficulties, when the new verse of the Litany of Loretto pointed to Mary as “immaculately conceived.” The doubled cognitive problem that H. P. Blavatsky had to face because of this led her to announce further fantastic theories about the Immaculate Conception, which were not challenged by anyone for the next 150 years. Her grave cognitive error is now widespread and responsible for the functioning in contemporary Western culture of popular expressions such as the “Immaculate Conception of Christ,” where the “immaculateness” of the conception means the absence of sexual intercourse leading to the conception of a child. As a result of the widespread use of expressions of this type the authentic content of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary remains unknown to many people. In the article, this issue is presented based on the sources, which testify to the agency of H. P. Blavatsky as regards the spread of this cognitive error in the Western culture.


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