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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Cooper-Oakley, Isabel

Isabel Cooper-Oakley
         Isabel Cooper-Oakley

(nee Cooper) (1853- 1914). Theosophical author noted for her works on Comte de St. Germain and Masonry. She was the daughter of Henry Cooper, C.B., Commissioner of Lahore. She was born at Amritsar, Punjab, India, in 1853. When she was twenty-three Cooper-Oakley met with a severe accident which left her unable to walk for two years; during her period of incapacity she read Helena P. BLAVATSKY’S Isis Unveiled and this opened her eyes to the existence of theosophy. After her recovery she entered Girton College, Cambridge to study philosophy and there met Archibald KEIGHTLEY and also A. J. Oakley. She and Oakley joined the Theosophical Society (TS) in March 1884 and then married in June of that year. Shortly thereafter, she and her husband accompanied H. P. Blavatsky to India. At ADYAR she said she “had every opportunity of investigating the Coulomb affair and also was an eyewitness to Richard Hodgson’s investigations, besides seeing the unfair way in which the S.P.R. representative behaved to H.P.B.” (CW XII:731). Blavatsky fell ill at Adyar and Cooper-Oakley nursed her until she herself fell ill. Blavatsky returned to Europe in February 1885 leaving Cooper-Oakley at Adyar where she remained until the summer of 1885. Blavatsky and Cooper-Oakley eventually met again in London in 1887 and during that time the latter held meetings of inquirers in her rooms. In the autumn of 1887 she spent three months in India and some time later (1889) she moved into Blavatsky’s apartments at Landsdown Road, London where she became one of the household staff. In 1890 Cooper-Oakley was admitted to Blavatsky’s London Circle.

It was reported (CW XIII:732) that the night before she died Blavatsky suddenly looked up at about 3 a.m. and said: “Isabel, Isabel, keep the link unbroken; do not let my last incarnation be a failure.” At the moment of Blavatsky’s passing however, Cooper-Oakley was not present; receiving a telegram, she hurried back, but arrived just ten minutes after Blavatsky had passed away.

Cooper-Oakley lectured internationally, and in 1893 represented Australasia at the World Parliament of Religions, Chicago, U.S. She organized Hungary’s first TS Lodge in 1905 and in 1914 helped to reorganize the Hungarian Section. Cooper-Oakley was a TS worker in Italy for many years.

Publications include:

Compte de St. Germain, Mystical Traditions, Traces of a Hidden Tradition in Masonry and Medieval Mythology.

P.S.H.

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