William Quan Judge
was a mystic
Mysticism is the knowledge of, and especially the personal experience of, states of consciousness, i.e. levels of being, beyond normal human perception, including experience and even communion with a supreme being.-Classical origins:...
, esotericist, and occultist, and one of the founders of the original Theosophical Society
The Theosophical Society is an organization formed in 1875 to advance the spiritual principles and search for Truth known as Theosophy. The original organization, after splits and realignments has several successors...
. He was born in Dublin
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...
. When he was 13 years old, his family emigrated to the United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
. He became a naturalized citizen of the USA at age 21 and passed the New York state bar exam, specializing in commercial law
Commercial law is the body of law that governs business and commercial transactions...
A vigorous, imaginative and idealistic young man, he was among the seventeen people who first put the Theosophical Society together. Like H.P. Blavatsky
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky , was a theosophist, writer and traveler. Between 1848 and 1875 Blavatsky had gone around the world three times. In 1875, Blavatsky together with Colonel H. S. Olcott established the Theosophical Society...
and Henry Steel Olcott
Colonel Henry Steel Olcott was an American military officer, journalist, lawyer and the co-founder and first President of the Theosophical Society....
, he stayed in the organization when others left. When Olcott and Blavatsky left the United States for India, Judge stayed behind to manage the Society's work, all the while working as a lawyer.
When H.P.B. and Col. Olcott left America, they left Theosophy in North America in the
hands of William Q. Judge. While Judge kept in close contact with both H.P.B. and
Olcott through correspondence, there was little if any organized activity for the next
several years. His difficulties over this period of time are illustrated by a biographical
passage written by Mrs. Archibald Keightley : “It was a time when Madame Blavatsky –
she who was then the one great exponent, had left the field…the interest excited by
her…striking mission had died down. The T.S. was henceforth to subsist on its
philosophical basis…From his twenty - third year until his death, (Mr. Judge’s) best
efforts and all the fiery energies of his undaunted soul were given to this work.
In 1876, business affairs took him to South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...
, where he contacted Chagres fever,
and he was ever after a sufferer from that torturing disease. Other “phases” of his
experiences on this journey are recorded in his writings, often allegorical, suggesting the
character of the occult contacts which may have been established on this journey.
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...
, H.P.B. established a new headquarters. As a European, her efforts to restore
respect for the Hindi faith were quite effective. As a result, she made enemies among the
Missionaries of Conventional Christianity. When she left for Europe, Christian
Missionaries conspired with her housekeepers, the Coulombs, to fabricate evidence of
fraud. The Theosophical Movement 1875-1950 sets out some of the events that followed:
“William Q. Judge, who arrived in India soon after the Coulombs had been sent away
from headquarters, made a detailed examination of the false door constructed in Madam
Blavatsky’s “occult room”. He showed the product of Coulomb’s interrupted labours to
some three hundred witnesses who signed their names to a description of the place. He
removed the “shrine” in which the Coulombs had attempted to plant evidence of fraud.”
Even many years later, these actions provide cogent evidence of “the Coulomb
Conspiracy” and vindicate Madame Blavatsky.
In 1885, after his return to America, Judge set about to revitalize the Movement in the
United States. The real beginning of the work of Theosophy in the United States began in
1886, when Judge established The Path , an independent Theosophical magazine. Until
this time, not much had been accomplished in the way of growth of the Society in
America. Mr. Judge addressed the common man in homely language and with simple
reason. The Path showed that he had found himself and was now cultivating the area of
his greatest usefulness, as a writer. His natural interest in the welfare of others affected
everything he did, so that his articles and Theosophical talks are cast in the idiom of the
common man.In his first editorial, he wrote:
“ It is not thought that utopia can be established in a day…Certainly, if we all say that it is
useless…nothing will ever be done. A beginning must be made and it has been made by
the Theosophical society…Riches are accumulating in the hands of the few while the
poor are ground harder every day as they increase in number…All this points unerringly
to a vital error somewhere…What is wanted is true knowledge of the spiritual condition
of man, his aim, and destiny…those who must begin the reform are those who are so
fortunate as to be placed in the world where they can see and think out the problems all
are endeavouring to solve, even if they know that the great day may not come until after
He also wrote: “The Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...
nations have dazzled themselves with a baneful glitter of
material progress. They are not the peoples who will furnish the clearest clues to the
Path…The Grand Clock of the Universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...
points to another hour, and now Man must seize
the key in his hands and himself – as a whole – open the gate...Our practice consists in a
disregard of any authority in matters of religion and philosophy except such propositions
as from their innate quality we feel to be true.”
It has been said of Judge: “Everything he wrote of a metaphysical nature can be found,
directly or indirectly, in the works of Madame Blavatsky. He attempted no new
“revelation” but illustrated in his own works the ideal use of the concepts of the
Theosophical Teachings.” The Theosophical Mov’t, 1875 - 1950. Over the years, Mr.
Judge attracted to the Movement a nucleus of devoted followers. The movement grew
steadily in America.(1)
Judge wrote theosophical
Theosophy, in its modern presentation, is a spiritual philosophy developed since the late 19th century. Its major themes were originally described mainly by Helena Blavatsky , co-founder of the Theosophical Society...
articles for various theosophical magazines, and also the introductory volume, The Ocean of Theosophy
in 1893. He became the General Secretary of the American Section of the Theosophical Society in 1884, with Abner Doubleday
Abner Doubleday was a career United States Army officer and Union general in the American Civil War. He fired the first shot in defense of Fort Sumter, the opening battle of the war, and had a pivotal role in the early fighting at the Battle of Gettysburg. Gettysburg was his finest hour, but his...
Mr. Judge left no record of the period before the founding of the Theosophical Society
but some of his published statements reveal the character of his relationship with H.P.B.
during this period. On the occasion of her death in 1891, he referred to their first meeting
in her rooms in January, 1875. He wrote:
“It was her eye that attracted me, the eye of one whom I must have known in lives long
passed away. She looked at me in recognition for that first hour, and never since has that
look changed. Not as a questioner of philosophies did I come before her, not as one
groping in the dark for lights that schools and fanciful theories had obscured, but as one
who, wandering through the corridors of life, was seeking the friends who could show
where the designs for the work had been hidden. And, true to the call, she responded,
revealing plans once again, and speaking no words to explain, simply pointed them out
and went on with the task. It was as if but the evening before we had parted, leaving yet to
be done some detail of a task taken up with one common end; it was teacher and pupil,
elder brother and younger, both bent on the one single end, but she with the power and
knowledge that belong but to lions and sages.”(2)
Madame Blavatsky often referred to the founding of the Society
A society, or a human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations...
as coming about as a
result of occult direction from her teachers. Judge would later write that the objects of the
Society had been given to Col Olcott by the Masters before the meeting at which they
were adopted. Thus, the founding of the Theosophy Society may be seen to have been inspired.
In 1881, looking back on the founding of the Society, Blavatsky wrote: “Our society as a
body might certainly be wrecked by mismanagement or the death of its founders, but the
IDEA which it represents and which has gained so wide a currency, will run on like a
crested wave of thought until it dashes upon the hard beach where materialism is picking
and sorting its pebbles…” At this time, the affairs of the Society were largely in Olcott’s
hands. Meetings were held irregularly, and many plans for occult experimentation were
proposed. Neither H.P.B. nor William Q. Judge took any active part in the meetings after
the first few sessions. He was busy with his law practice. She was beginning to write her
first book, Isis Unveiled. (3)
After Blavatsky died in 1891, Judge became involved in a dispute with Olcott and Annie Besant
Annie Besant was a prominent British Theosophist, women's rights activist, writer and orator and supporter of Irish and Indian self rule.She was married at 19 to Frank Besant but separated from him over religious differences. She then became a prominent speaker for the National Secular Society ...
by staying true to the original teaching from the Mahatmas. As a result, he ended his association with Olcott and Besant during 1895 and took most of the Society's American Section with him. Despite being hounded by devotees to Besant, Judge managed his new organization for about a year until his death in New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...
, whereupon Katherine Tingley
Katherine Augusta Westcott Tingley was a social worker and prominent Theosophist. She was the founder of the Theosophical Society Pasadena. She founded and led the Theosophical community Lomaland in San Diego, California.Tingley grew up in Newbury, Massachusetts. She married Philo B. Tingley in...
became manager. The organization originating from the faction of Olcott and Besant is based nowadays in India and known as the Theosophical Society - Adyar
The Theosophy Society - Adyar is the name of a section of the Theosophical Society founded by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and others in 1875. Its headquarters moved with Blavatsky and president Henry Steel Olcott to Adyar, an area of Chennai in 1883...
, while the organization managed by Judge is known nowadays simply as the Theosophical Society
The Theosophical Society is a successor organization to the original Theosophical Society founded by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and others in 1875....
, but often with the specification, "international headquarters, Pasadena, California
Pasadena is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. Although famous for hosting the annual Rose Bowl football game and Tournament of Roses Parade, Pasadena is the home to many scientific and cultural institutions, including the California Institute of Technology , the Jet...
". In 1898, Ernest Temple Hargrove, who had initially supported Tingley, left with other members to form the Theosophical Society in America (Hargrove)
The Theosophical Society in America was an organization that developed from the Theosophical Society in America.In 1895 a division occurred between the Theosophical Society Adyar and the Theosophical Society in America, leading William Quan Judge to form a separate organization distinct from the...
Branch. Other new organizations fissioned from his, including the Temple of the People
Halcyon, California is an unincorporated community of approximately 125 acres in San Luis Obispo County, California, located just beyond the southern border of the city of Arroyo Grande...
(whose library bears his name) during 1898 and the United Lodge of Theosophists
The United Lodge of Theosophists, or ULT, was founded in 1909 by a Theosophical Society member, Robert Crosbie . Crosbie wanted to focus exclusively on the literature left behind by H.P. Blavatsky and William Quan Judge....
or ULT during 1909.
During those years and until his death, Judge continued to receive instruction from the Mahatmas and who signed written under the pseudonym of David Lloyd
David Lloyd may refer to:*David Lloyd , chief justice of colonial Pennsylvania*David Lloyd Welsh cleric and translator*David Lloyd , British tenor...
, which were used by Guy Ballard
Guy Warren Ballard was an American mining engineer who became, with his wife, Edna Anne Wheeler Ballard, the founder of the "I AM" Activity....
to the founding of the "I AM" Activity in early 1930's.