A Search for Meaning in Victorian Religion: The Spiritual Journey and Esoteric Teachings of Charles Carleton Massey

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9781611461848: A Search for Meaning in Victorian Religion: The Spiritual Journey and Esoteric Teachings of Charles Carleton Massey
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Christian mystic, astrologer, and spiritualist, Charles Carleton Massey (1838–1905) underwent an eclectic spiritual journey that resulted in a series of articles, letters, and booklets that have largely been neglected by modern society. Massey was a child of privilege formally trained as a barrister of law at the Westminster School and the son of the English Minister of Finance for India. He devoted his life to solving the metaphysical mysteries of existence leading him into the world of religious philosophy that placed him in the middle of a crossroads between Victorian science, religion, and philosophy. Beginning his journey as a Spiritualist, Massey continued on a course that brought him into the Theosophical Society, eventually becoming the founding president of its British branch, going through the ranks of the Society of Psychical Research and ultimately into his final role as a Christian mystic.

This indispensable work combines Massey’s collected writings with never before published letters organized topically in order to define Massey’s unique world-view for a new generation of readers. This book covers a range of topics from the “nature of God” to the “microcosm and macrocosm” to “Satanism” and “reincarnation” all the while allowing the reader a rare glimpse into Victorian England and the social and religious issues of this time period. The recollections recorded in this book though written over a hundred years ago, are dealt with in such a simple yet profound way that remain relevant to modern spiritual seekers of all types.

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About the Author:

Jeffrey D. Lavoie is a researcher at the University of Exeter and is the founding pastor of the Well Community Church.

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"Lavoie looks upon Massey as an extremely influential figure on Victorian culture ...his account of Massey's personal and professional life is given in considerable detail...Massey has been restored to public view, and setting him in the context of his contemporaries has given us a new and valuable material from which to work."- Robert A. Gilbert, 'Book Reviews: A Search for Meaning in Victorian Religion', Theosophical History,  17:4 (October 2014), 188,191.

"Following his earlier book on the relationship between Spiritualism and Theosophy, Jeffrey Lavoie pursues that link further through a biography of one man who served as a "connecting rod" between the two movements [C. C. Massey]...There is less information available about Massey's personal life than his intellectual life, but Lavoie provides as full a portrait of the private man as possible. The greatest strengths of the book are its excellent introduction and conclusion, which places Massey the public figure in context of intellectual history. Here Lavoie's expertise as a religious historian and his deep personal sympathy for Massey combine to give an interpretative framework for the chapters about various phases of his subject's life. Recommended especially for scholars interested in Religious Studies and Victorian England, but accessible and interesting for general readers interested in Spiritualism, parapsychology, and esotericism."- Paul K. Johnson, author of The Masters Revealed: Madame Blavatsky and the Myth of the Great White Lodge (SUNY Press, 1994)

"[This book] provides new perspectives on how esoteric religion moved internationally in the nineteenth century. In particular, it sheds new light on the exchange of the philosophies of Britain with both Germany and France. . . . It belongs on the bookshelves of anyone interested in Western Esotericism." Lori Lee Oates, Journey for the Society of Psychical Research (2016)

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