Max Théon

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Drawing by Mother of Max Theon 1908.jpg
Theon with dog at Zarif 1906 detail.jpg

(Mother to Satprem, 1961:) “Théon also taught me how to turn aside lightning.

(Satprem:) Is it possible?!

Ah, yes — he used to do it.

But it must take a formidable power!

Oh (laughing), he had a formidable power! Théon had a formidable power.... One stormy day (there were terrible thunderstorms there), he climbed to the high terrace above the sitting room. “It's a strange time to be going up there,” I said to him. He laughed, “Come along, don't be afraid!” So I joined him. He began some invocations and then I clearly saw a bolt of lightning that had been heading straight towards us suddenly swerve IN THE MIDST OF ITS COURSE. You will say it's impossible, but I saw it turn aside and strike a tree farther away. I asked Théon, “Did you do that?” He nodded.
         Oh, that man was terrible — he had a terrible power. But quite a good external appearance!
         Have you seen his photo? No? I'll have to show it to you. He was a handsome man, about sixty years old — between fifty and sixty.
         And do you know how he received me when I arrived there?... It was the first time in my life I had traveled alone and the first time I had crossed the Mediterranean. Then there was a fairly long train ride between Oran and Tlemcen — anyway, I managed rather well: I got there. He met me at the station and we set off for his place by car (it was rather far away). Finally we reached his estate — a wonder! It spread across the hillside overlooking the whole valley of Tlemcen. We arrived from below and had to climb up some wide pathways. I said nothing — it was truly an experience from a material standpoint. When we came in sight of the house, he stopped: “That's my house.” It was red! Painted red! And he added, “When Barley came here, he asked me, ‘Why did you paint your house red?’” (Barley was a French occultist who put Théon in touch with France and was his first disciple.) There was a mischievous gleam in Théon's eyes and he smiled sardonically: “I told Barley, ‘Because red goes well with green!’” With that, I began to understand the gentleman.... We continued on our way uphill when suddenly, without warning, he spun around, planted himself in front of me, and said, “Now you are at my mercy. Aren't you afraid?” Just like that. So I looked at him, smiled and replied, “I'm never afraid. I have the Divine here.” (Mother touches her heart.) Well, he really went pale.
         There were all kinds of stories in the countryside, terrible stories....”[1]

(Sujata:) “It is on record that before he founded the Cosmic Movement, Max Théon was associated with the mysterious H. B. of L. (Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor). In 1873, Théon, then just twenty-six, [was] its Grand Master; the Scottish philosopher Peter Davidson was the Order's frontal Chief. Blavatsky, Olcott, Barlet and many others were its members.
...At the time of Blavatsky's and Olcott's dissension, he too became a dissenter, resigned from his post of Grand Master and broke completely with the H. B. of L. in Egypt.
         He left Egypt and went to England.”[2]

(Sujata:) “We do not know when exactly Théon landed in England after leaving Egypt, but by May 1884 Max and Alma knew each other well enough to go to theatre together. Not in a twosome, though — the strict Victorian code of morals forbade it — they were chaperoned by Teresa.
         Then, on 21 March 1885, Max and Alma were married.
         The marriage between Louis Maximillian Bimstein, Doctor of Medicine, and Mary Chrystine Woodroffe Ware, was solemnized at the Register Office, in the District of Westminster, County of Middlesex. One of the two witnesses was Augusta Rolfe, who is none other than the devoted Teresa.
         Théon's father is listed as: Judes L. Bimstein, Rabbi.
         Alma's father as: William J. Ware (deceased), Gentleman.
         The three of them went to live in N°ll Belgrave Road, St. John's Wood, Marylebone, which was Alma's residence.
         It would seem that Alma and Teresa were friends from their convent days at Claydon, Suffolk. The latter remained a lifelong companion of the former.
         Teresa, when she turned forty, in July 1885, was allowed a year's trial under Théon.
         By and by, Théon began holding séances. Soon, however, the couple realized that England was not a place where they could pursue unhindered their exploration of the lost knowledge. So the next year they went to the Continent. It was on March 9, 1886, that the three crossed over to France and reached Paris. They spent a few days there sightseeing, before embarking on a tour of exploration. They soon found a house to live in. And in November — 14th to be exact — Théon began his séances in France. But after several trials of living in one part of France or another, they realized their error: what they really needed was a change of continent. Therefore in December 1887, the Théons left France for Algiers. Three weeks later Teresa — to say nothing of the three dogs! — joined them in Oran. After several months' search they finally found a place in the suburbs of Tlemcen. They acquired, in Madame Théon's name, naturally, a large villa on a hillside with extensive grounds. It took them about one year to make the place livable. Thus it was that on May 1, 1889, they came to live in Zarif. It was to become their base. They lived there many years with their devoted English secretary, Miss Teresa.”[3]

(Disciple:) “I should like to know something about Théon: what role has he played in this new manifestation of yours?

(Sri Aurobindo:) Théon was merely the Mother’s guru in occultism — he had some idea of the aim to be achieved, but got much of it wrong. Moreover what was true came from his wife and was not originally his.”[4]

  1. Mother's Agenda 1961, 4 February 1961
  2. Mother's Chronicles, Volume 3: Mirra the Occultist
  3. Ibid.
  4. Letters on the Mother, p.37

See also

External links