- Bailey, Alice Ann
- (1880–1949)Theosophical teacherAlice Ann Bailey was a prominent teacher and leader in the Western Theosophical movement. She founded Lucis Trust, the Arcane School, and World Goodwill.Bailey was born on June 16, 1880, in Manches-ter, England. She had a rather confined childhood. A devout member of the Church of England, as a young adult she went to India on its behalf to work with the British army. There she met her first husband, John Evans. The couple moved to the United States, where he served as an Episcopal minister, and had three children. The marriage eventually ended in divorce.About the time of her divorce during World War I, she was introduced to the THEOSOPHI-CAL SOCIETY. At the society headquarters in Los Angeles she saw a picture of a man in a turban, whom she recognized as the same person who had appeared to her in England when she was only 15 years old. She later learned that the figure was Koot Houmi, one of the ascended masters who had communicated with the society founder Helena P. BLAVATSKY. Bailey went on to become an active member of the society, where she met her future husband, Foster Bailey.While working with the society she was con-tacted by another of the masters, Djwhal Khul, usually referred to as D.K., or simply the Tibetan. Bailey began to channel writings from the Tibetan, later compiled into 19 books. In an appendix to her unfinished autobiography she explained her method of receiving teachings and writing texts in cooperation with the Tibetan. In the same book she stated the founding principles of the school she would later establish.Bailey’s first book, Initiation: Human and Solar, was initially well received. However, Annie Besant, the international president of the society, frowned upon writings independently received from the masters, and both Alice and Foster were soon relieved of their positions in the society.The Baileys were married in 1921. Soon after-ward they founded Lucis Trust and the Arcane School, to publish and disseminate the writings and teachings of the Tibetan and to facilitate the work of interested students. These teachings continued the synthesis of Western and Hindu thought first articulated by Blavatsky that had become the hallmark of Theosophy. The teachings emphasized the divine plan for humankind, the role of karma and reincarnation, and the existence of a spiritual brotherhood or hierarchy, overseeing the evolution and welfare of humanity. Of note is Bailey’s prolific writing on the science of the Seven Rays, first introduced by Blavatsky.Bailey’s work also emphasized the practical aspects of spiritual discipleship, applied on a human level, in particular the importance of group consciousness and world service. To this end, she also founded World Goodwill, a nongovernmental organization dedicated to the promotion of good human relations on a global scale. The Lucis Trust has consultative status at the United Nations, and World Goodwill is affiliated with the United Nations Department of Public Information. Bailey also introduced a world prayer for peace, enlight-enment, and spiritual assistance called the Great Invocation, as well as a set of creative meditations designed to be observed cyclically, primarily at the time of each full Moon, in order to create human alignment with the divine Plan.In addition to the 19 titles written in coop-eration with D. K., Bailey authored five books by herself. All 24 books carry Bailey’s name. Bailey continued to head the Arcane School until her death on December 15, 1949, when Foster took over to lead the organization for several additional years. The Arcane School and the Lucis Trust, together with the service activities World Good-will and Triangles, continue to function today. In addition, a number of other groups attempt to perpetuate the Bailey teachings.Further reading: Alice A. Bailey, The Externalisation of the Hierarchy (New York/London: Lucis, 1957); ———, Initiation, Human and Solar (New York/London: Lucis, 1922); ———, The Reappearance of the Christ (New York/London: Lucis, 1948); ———, The Unfinished Autobiography (New York: Lucis, 1951); John R. Sin-clair, The Alice Bailey Inheritance (Wellingborough, England: Turnstone Press, 1985); Thirty Years Work: The Books of Alice A. Bailey and the Tibetan Master Djwhal Khul (New York/London: Lucis, 1957).
Encyclopedia of Hinduism. A. Jones and James D. Ryan. 2007.