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Theon, Max

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Max Théon (05.08.1847, Warsaw, Poland (then Hungarian-Austrian Empire) — 04.03.1927, Tlemcen), he teached the Mother occultism. Mother believed him incarnation of emanation of Asura of Death.

Some sources states that he was born Louis-Maximilian Bimstein (it dubious information). Bimstein is a Jewish German-sounding name (like Bernstein, Rothschild, Bronstein, etc). And Louis-Maximilian is an homage to the Austrian Emperor of that time, as a kind of protection.

This is a record from Tlemcen’s census of 1911 (kept in the National Archives at Aix-en-Provence, France, Overseas section): Saf-Saf road, Suburb of Tlemcen; Théon, Louis-Maximilien, born on: 5 th August 1847; at Warsaw; Nationality: Austrian; Family Status: Head of the household, Widower; Profession: None. Theon stated his nationality as Austrian, because the Poland was parcelled up by its three neighbours, Austria, Russia and Prussia. The Mother told: “Théon was a Jew, although he never mentioned the fact. It was made known by the Tlemcen officials; when he arrived he had to tell them who he was. He never talked about it and had changed his name. They said he was of Jewish origin, but they never could say whether he was a Pole or a Russian. Or else, the person who told me never knew... He had assumed two names: one was an Arabic name he had adopted when he took refuge in Algeria...After having worked with Blavatsky and having founded an occult society in Egypt, he went to Algeria, and there he was first called ’Aia Aziz’ – a word of Arabic root, meaning ’the beloved’. Then, when he began setting up his Cosmic Review and his ’Cosmic Group’, he called himself Max Théon, in other words, the Supreme God (!), the greatest God! And nobody knew him by any other name than these two.”

Theon was exceptionally young when he mastered different occult lores and became proficient in occultism. He spoke several languages with ease, and was adept at many crafts.

In 1870, Theon established the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor. In 1873, he became its Grand Master. The Scottish philosopher Peter Davidson was the Order’s frontal Chief. Blavatsky, Olcott, Barlet and many others were its members. But in 1877 Blavatsky and Olcott severed their relation with the order. About this time, Theon too became a dissenter, resigned from his post of Grand Master and broke completely with the Brotherhood in Egypt.

He left Egypt for England about 1884. There he was known as Louis Maximillian Bimstein, Doctor of Medicine. Dr. Théon’s enigmatic personality aroused everybody’s curiosity, but he took good care never to satisfy it.

On 21 March 1885. he married young English poetess Alma. The marriage between him 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 Roife, who is none other than the devoted Teresa. Theon’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 No 11 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. 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 on 14 November 1886, 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 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.

Around 1901 Max and Alma Théon established the “Cosmic Movement”. The first volume of Revue Cosmique (a journal of the Cosmic Movement in French, that was intended for the “study and re-establishment of the original Tradition”) was issued in 1902 in Paris. Its first editor was Charles Barlet; and Theon, under the name of Aia Aziz, was its Director. Later Mirra Alfassa took over the role of editor, she translated the teachings from English into French and contributing an occasional piece of her own.

The Theons and their students published a number of articles and narratives in the seven years of the Cosmic Review — from January 1902 to December 1908. Further, they published six volumes of the “Cosmic Tradition”. Among the most important of Theon’s students at this time were Louis Themanlys and Charles Barlet. Louis was also a friend of Matteo Alfassa, Mirra’s brother, and in this way Mirra first heard about Théon and the Cosmic Philosophy.

In 1903–04 the Mother had her first contacts with the Cosmic Movement. In 1905 the Mother met Théon, when the Théons were on a visit to France during October and November.

On 14 July 1906 the Mother and her husband, Henri Morisset, first visited Tlemcen. They were there till 15 October 1906. “When I met him,” Mother said, “I saw that he was a being of great power. He bore a certain likeness to Sri Aurobindo. Theon was rather tall, about the same height as Sri Aurobindo – not a tall man, of medium height – and lean, slim, with quite a similar profile... Theon had a wide forehead, a moustache that mingled with his beard, and wavy, auburn hair that fell onto his shoulders; he had fine and sensitive hands. ...But I saw, or rather I felt that Theon was not he whom I had seen in my vision, because when I met him he didn’t have that vibration. Yet it was he who first taught me things, and I went and worked at Tlemcen two years in a row. ...He was handsome. A man around sixty – between fifty and sixty. He normally wore a long purple robe that wasn’t at all like the dress in my vision. ...His background? He was European. He was either a Pole or a Russian, I am not sure. But the impression I got is that he was more certainly a Russian, of Jewish descent, and that he was forced to flee his country. He never said anything about this to anyone, it’s only an impression.... He never said who he really was, or where he was born, or his age. Nothing.”

The second visit of the Mother to Tlemcen continued from 18 July 1907 (date of arrival) till October 1907.

In summer 1908, the Théons were at Courseulles, with the Thémanlys family. Early in September, Madame Theon decided to visit the Channel Islands, so she went to the port of Carteret on the Normandy coast. Before taking the steamer that was to ferry her to the island of Jersey, she went out for a stroll on the narrow cliff path, which soon gets narrower and rather dangerous. As she was walking along in a trance, she fell off the promontory and into the sea. The water in September is chilly there. But undeterred, she did not cancel her short voyage —from Carteret to Jersey is more or less 30 kilometres, and the steamer would have made it well within two hours. But once the ship had sailed, she suddenly felt an extreme malaise. So much so that the Captain on board the ship informed the officer commanding the Port of Gorey in Jersey that one of the passengers, a lady, was sick. The news was published in a local daily, datelined 12 September 1908, which contained additional details: Upon the ship’s arrival, a doctor, O’Connor, examined her and diagnosed pneumonia. She was immediately transported to Hotel Elfine, where she died almost immediately after. It seems that she was taken to a hotel — the nearest available —rather than to a hospital because of her critical condition. The newspaper states further that a telegram was sent to her husband, Max Theon, editor of The Cosmic Review in Algeria, who arrived by S.S. Cygne. She was buried in the cemetary of the Croix-Grouville in the island of Jersey.

The entry in the register (death certificate) goes thus: Place: Faldouët; Date: 10 September 1908; Name: Miriam Lin Woodroffe; Sex: Female; Age: 65 years; Cause of death: Pneumonia; Registered on: 12 September 1908 in the Parish of St-Martin Jersey.

The departure of Alma was a terrible blow to Max. He fell a prey to a profound depression. The Thémanlys couple took him to their Normandy home and for several months nursed him, until he was somewhat recovered. Then he returned to Tlemcen and lived there in company with his devoted secretary, Miss Teresa, up to 1927. The publication of the Cosmic Review was stopped. His visits to France became extremely rare.

On 18 October 1913, Theon gone to Alger about autos. On 24, he return home after accident with the auto. In January 1914, Theon left his rooms for the first time since the acciden. On 10 October 1919 Theon and Teresa visited Paris. On 3 June 1920 they start for Tlemcen and on 8 June got home. According to a small paragraph in a newspaper published at Tlemcen, Theon died on 4 March 1927, and the funeral was held on 6 March 1927. Teresa survived him perhaps by two years.

 

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Bibliography

In English

Boaz Huss

about person

In English

Madame Théon, Alta Una, Mother Superior

•   : The Life and Personas of Mary Ware (1839–1908) // Aries – Journal for the Study of Western Esotericism 15 (2015), pp. 210–246.

Nahar, Sujata

In English

The Mother’s chronicles.- Vol.3. Mirra the Occultist

In Russian

Нахар, Суджата

In Russian

Хроники Матери.- Т.3. Мирра - оккультист

In Russian