Beginnings of the Theosophical Movement in Slovenia

Hitherto known data about the beginnings of the Theosophical Movement in Slovenia comes from Mrs. Elena Pisareva’s biography of the first General Secretary of the Theosophical Society in Russia, Mrs. Anna Kamensky. In this work Mrs. Pisareva mentions that she visited, in 1901, Rikli’s [1] Health Institute in Bled (now well-known tourist resort in Slovenia) and that coming there she saw thirty or forty people in a group that seemed somehow different from other, ordinary visitors. One of them, Mrs. Hamilton, English, explained her that they were theosophists, and Mr. W. B. Fricke, head of the Dutch section at that time, gave Mrs. Pisareva some theosophical literature and introduced her to the movement.

Further on Elena writes that few years later, in 1904, also Mrs. Anna Kamensky, visited Bled to recover from nervous exhaustion, and that while there she experienced a prophetic dream about her mission as a theosophical leader.

On the basis of these data we can conclude that in that period, at the end of the nineteenth and at the beginning of the twentieth century, Rikli’s Health Institute in Bled was also the theosophists’ meeting place and consequently a center for spreading the information about the theosophical movement. That this was the place from where the theosophical ideas were promoted into area confirms the correspondence between Mr. Fricke and Dr. Edvard Šerko, indubitably the originator of the theosophical movement in Slovenia. Namely, after their first meeting, in 1989 in Bled, Mr. Fricke continued to acquaint Dr. Šerko with theosophy, to send him theosophical literature and to encourage him to promote theosophical ideas and to translate theosophical texts. On this ground Dr. Šerko originated in Ljubljana the first theosophical study center, formed out of four aspirants, which regularly met on Sunday afternoons.

As in that time Slovenia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy Slovenian theosophists naturally nurtured contacts with Austrian theosophists in Graz and Vienna, where in 1912 the Austrian Section of the Theosophical Society was founded. The first WW broke all these links till 1918 when a revival of the tendency to establish a theosophical body in Slovenia became eminent.

[1] Dr. Arnold Rikli, (13.02.1823 - 30.04.1906) Swiss hidro- and helio-path, who in 1895 set up in Bled a simple wooden bathing and Health Institute.

This is first in the series of articles which tend to represent the history of the theosophical movement in Slovenia and former Yugoslavia. It is based on the presently available data and will be regularly updated with new recognitions where they come in our view. Therefore, readers are kindly asked to constructively collaborate in this representation with particulars known to them and which will further elucidate the history of the theosophical movement in Slovenia and former Yugoslavia.

Anton Rozman

Last update: January 2009
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