Charles Webster Leadbeater Charles Webster Leadbeater 1854-1934  
A Biographical Study
by Gregory John Tillett   
First Edition:  University of Sydney, Department of Religious Studies, March, 1986  
A thesis of 23 chapters plus
appendices, notes & bibliographies --- viii + 1169 pp.

2008 Online Edition published at Leadbeater.Org

All intellectual property rights in the material in "Charles Webster Leadbeater, 1854-1934:  A Biographical Study by Gregory Tillett" Ph.D. Thesis, The University of Sydney, Sydney, 1986 published on this site are owned by Gregory Tillett - copyright (c)  Gregory Tillett 2006.

The material is published with specific permission on this site, and its publication on this site does not constitute any permission for its reproduction in whole or in part on any other site or in any other form.  It may not be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise for any other. Otherwise, apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of private study, research, criticism or review as permitted under the relevant law relating to copyright and intellectual property rights, the material may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without prior written permission.  Enquiries regarding permission for any other use should be directed to:

The version of the thesis published on this site remains to be completely proof-read and corrected, and cannot therefore be taken to represent an accurate text of the original thesis.  See Table of Contents below.
Summary:  "The modern occult movement owes more to [Charles Webster] Leadbeater than to anyone else.... In almost all modern works on occultism there are clear traces of his influences, often unacknowledged....His concepts and ideas, his popularizing of Theosophical terms and principles, run throughout all modern works in the area.  The idea of reincarnation, and of investigations into life before birth as much as life after death, ideas of 'reincarnational therapy' and examinations of the akashic records derive directly from Leadbeater's work....The concept of the Occult Hierarchy, centred at the mythical city of Shamballa in the Gobi desert, with its Masters and progressive Initiations, appeared first in his writings, and was first publicized by him.  Whether or not such concepts originated in the works of Helena Blavatsky, whom Leadbeater claimed as his occult teacher, matters little:  her works remain obscure and largely unread outside a select circle.   Leadbeater's books made the concepts popular and reached a wide reading public....Leadbeater's authority as the world's greatest occultist, psychic and seer was unquestioned by his disciples, including Mrs Annie Besant, during his lifetime or since....Yet for every enthusiastic disciple who hailed him, there was a critic who denounced him.  Even within the Theosophical movement there were those who held, and still hold, that he had perverted and corrupted Theosophy from its original doctrines to his own misinterpretation of them....Who was Charles Webster Leadbeater, this man acclaimed on the one hand as being 'on the threshold of divinity', and denounced on the other as an evil sex pervert and Black Magician?  What sort of man was he, and how he did he come to such an extraordinary position?....This thesis is intended to provide a detailed critical biographical study of Charles Webster Leadbeater.  It has been written on the basis of documentary sources, both published and unpublished, and of oral history....The final chapter gives special consideration to two aspects of Leadbeater's life.   First, to the influence he exerted on a diverse range of organizations and individuals, and second, to the major 'mysteries' of his biography...." --- Gregory Tillett

Table of Contents

Original Title Page
Acknowledgments pp. i-iv
Outline pp. v-viii
Chapter 1 Introduction pp. 1-74
Chapter 2 The Early Years   pp. 75-93
Chapter 3 The Anglican Ministry   pp. 94-111
Chapter 4 Introduction to Theosophy pp. 112-129
Chapter 5 The Influence of Madame Blavatsky   pp. 130-146
Chapter 6 Buddhism and India pp. 147-159
Chapter 7 The Development of Occult Powers pp. 160-185
Chapter 8 Annie Besant and Occult Work   pp. 186-213
Chapter 9 Occult Work Expanded    pp. 214-241
Chapter 10 Accusations of Immorality pp. 242-273
Chapter 11 Return to the Society pp. 374-404
Chapter 12 The Discovery of Krishnamurti pp. 405-433
Chapter 13 Explorations of Past Lives pp. 434-465
Chapter 14 The Training of Krishnamurti pp. 466-505
Chapter 15 Conflict Over Krishnamurti pp. 506-553
Chapter 16 Work for the Advent pp. 554-589
Chapter 17 The Liberal Catholic Church pp. 590-638
Chapter 18 Police Investigations pp. 639-693
Chapter 19 Tension and Divisions pp. 694-750
Chapter 20 The Dissolution of the Order pp. 751-795
Chapter 21 The Final Years pp. 796-838
Chapter 22 Epilogue pp. 839-860
Chapter 23 Assessment and Conclusions pp. 861-931
Appendices:  Introductory Note
          Appendix 1:  The Evolution of Life pp. 932-935
          Appendix 2: The Planes pp. 936-938
          Appendix 3: The Occult Hierarchy and the Masters pp. 939-941
          Appendix 4: Membership of the Theosophical Society:
                                 Statistical Summary
pp. 942-950
Notes pp. 951-1074
Bibliographies:  Introductory Note on Abbreviations & Locations pp. 1075
          Bibliography 1 - Works by C. W. Leadbeater pp. 1075-1095
          Bibliography 2 - Journals pp. 1096-1098
          Bibliography 3 - Other Works pp. 1099-1168