United Lodge of Theosophists, London, UK

Historical Reformers

Those who preceded the Theosophical Movement of 1875

Paracelsus, born 1493

“… There are some cases in which we can judge with a degree of certainty that such adepts were incarnated and what they were named.

“Take Thomas Vaughn, Raymond Lully, Sir Thomas More, Jacob Boehme, Paracelsus, and others like them… These souls were as witnesses to the truth, leaving through the centuries in their own natures, evidence for those who followed, and suggestions for keeping spirituality bright – seed-thoughts, as it were, ready for the new mental soil.

“And as well as these historical characters, there are countless numbers of men and women now living who have passed through certain initiations during their past lives upon earth, and who produce effects in many directions quite unknown to themselves now.

“They are, in fact, old friends of “the sacred tribe of heroes,” and can therefore be more easily used for the spreading of influences and the carrying out of effects necessary for the preservation of spirituality in this age of darkness.”

from “Cycles,” an article by W.Q. Judge [Collected Articles Vol. 1 p. 193-4]

Dates of the chief figures from 14th century

14th century

1357-1419  TSON-KA-PA (also Je Tsongkhapa and Son-kha-pa).

A famous Tibetan reformer of the fourteenth century, who introduced a purified Buddhism into his country. He was a great Adept, who being unable to witness any longer the desecration of Buddhist philosophy by the false priests who made of it a marketable commodity, put a forcible stop thereto by a timely revolution and the exile of 40,000 sham monks and Lamas from the country. He is regarded as an Avatar of Buddha, and is the founder of the Gelukpa (“yellow-cap”) Sect, and of the mystic Brotherhood connected with its chiefs. The “tree of the 10,000 images” (khoomboom) has, it is said, sprung from the long hair of this ascetic, who leaving it behind him disappeared for ever from the view of the profane.

Tsong-ka-pha founder of Gelugpa Buddhism

of importance:

1304-1374  Francesco Petrarch (poet & Platonist)

1328-1384  John Wycliffe (also ‘Wyclif,’ reformer and translator of the Latin Vulgate Bible which was largely unintelligible to the majority, into English).

forerunners of Reformation:

1369-1415  John Huss (Reformer, precursor of Reformation)

1379-1421  Thomas a’Kempis (Imitation of Christ)

15th century

1493-1541  PARACELSUS (Theophrastus Bombastus)

The symbolical name adopted by the greatest Occultist of the middle ages – Philip Bombastes Aureolus Theophrastus von Hohenheim – born in the canton of Zürich in 1493. He was the cleverest physician of his age, and the most renowned for curing almost any illness by the power of talismans prepared by himself. He never had a friend, but was surrounded by enemies, the most bitter of whom were the Churchmen and their party. That he was accused of being in league with the devil stands to reason, nor is it to be wondered at that finally he was murdered by some unknown foe, at the early age of forty-eight. He died at Salzburg, leaving a number of works behind him, which are to this day greatly valued by the Kabbalists and Occultists. Many of his utterances have proved prophetic. He was a clairvoyant of great powers, one of the most learned and erudite philosophers and mystics, and a distinguished Alchemist. Physics is indebted to him for the discovery of nitrogen gas, or Azote.

Platonic Academy, Florence. Theosophical Movement in the Renaissance.

of importance:

–                   Gemistus Pletho (Platonic MSS to Florence)

1433-1499  M. Ficino (Library – Florentine Platonist)

1389-1464  Cosimo de Medici (Library & Platonic Academy)

1449-1492  Lorenzo de Medici (Library & Platonic Academy) [Patron of: Boticelli, Michelangelo, Lippi]

1401-1464  Nicholas de Cusa (Renaissance reformer) [mystic & Neo-Platonist]

1455-1522  John Reuchlin (Reformation)

1462-1516  Trithemius

1466-1536  D. Erasmus (Reformation)

1473-1543  N. Copernicus

1478-1535  Sir Thomas More (Platonist)

1486-1535  Cornelius Agrippa

1483-1546  Martin Luther

16th century

1575-1624  JAKOB BOEHME   see “Jacob Boehme and the Secret Doctrine” His life was written about by Franz Hartmann.

1574-1637  ROBERT FLUDD


of importance:

1509-1564  John Calvin (Reformation in Europe)

–                   Van Helmont [pupil of Paracelsus]

1501-1576  Jerome Cardan

1502-1598  Henry Khunrath

1586-1654  C.Rosenkreuz (Rosenkranz) [Rosicrucians]

–                    Johan Valentin Andrea

1515-           George Postel

–                    Joseph Borri

–                    Bragadini

1564-1616  Shakespeare;

17th century


of importance:

1605-1682   Thomas Brown (Religio Medici)

1614-1687   Henry More (Cambridge Platonist)

1617-1688    Henry Cudsworth (Cambridge Platonist)

1617-1692   Elias Ashmole (1st Mason)

1632-1677   Baruch Spinoza

1688-1772   E. Swedenborg (mystic)

1628-1688   John Bunyan

1646-1716    Baron C. W. Leibnitz

18th Century

–                     COUNT DE ST. GERMAIN sent by the Lodge of Masters to the West.

1743-1803   COUNT DE ST. MARTIN


1733-1815   ANTON MESMER

of importance:

1700-            Martinez Paschalis

1706-1790   Benjamin Franklin

1707-1809   Thomas Paine

1787-1854   J. Ennemoser (hypnotism)

1724-1804   I. Kant (philosopher)

1749-1832   J. W. Goethe

1758-1835   Thomas Taylor (Platonist)

–                     Ragon (Masonry)

–                     Eliphas Levi [Abbe Louis Constant]

1788-1860   A. Schopenhauer

1799-1850   Henri Balzac

1799-1888   Bronson Alcott (educationist)

19th century

1831-1891   H. P. BLAVATSKY   (Theosophy)

1851-1896   W. Q. JUDGE   (Theosophy)

1857-           Damodar K. Mavlankar (Theosophy)

1832-1907  H. S. Olcott (Theosophy)

1851-1919  Robert Crosbie (Theosophy)

of importance:

1803-1882   Ralph W. Emerson (Transcendentalist)

1805-1872   G. Mazzini

1807-1882   G. Garibaldi

1809-1865   A. Lincoln

1812-1870   Charles Dickens

1817-1862   Henry D. Thoreau (Transcendentalist)

1819-1892   Walt Whitman

1828-1910   Leo. Tolstoy

1823-1913   A. R. Wallace

1832-1919   Prof. Wm. Crookes

1840-1902   Emile Zola

1842-1925   C. Flammarion

1850-1898   Edward Bellamy

1847-1931   T. A. Edison

1847-1933   Annie Besant

1856-1943   Nikola Tesla

1869-1948   Mohandas Gandhi

There is  much of relevance to the modern Theosophical Movement to be learnt from these lives, and There are articles on many of them and the parts they played, by H. P. Blavatsky and William Q Judge.

See also the Wisdom World precursors page and at the bottom of this page, for the Great Theosophists series.

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