Theosophy in Wales

Ancient & Modern

History of the Theosophical Society in Wales


Life after Death & Reincarnation

The Aftermath of the Somme


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The mass bereavement of the First World War generated upsurge in interest in the possibility of life after death and reincarnation with many turning to the Theosophical Society for answers. Welsh Theosophical records show that this trend increased after the Battle of the Somme in 1916. Spiritualism also experienced a revival. The First World War marked the beginning of a slow decline in traditional church attendance both in Wales and throughout the UK.


In 1917 Penarth Lodge ran a study course on the subject of “Life after Death” and records note that this was in response to enquiries from the public.


The public interest in the subject is indicated by the promotional notices and reports given in the Penarth Times for Theosophical Lectures. The first two reports come in the aftermath of the Battle of the Somme (July 1st to Nov 13th 1916) in which 420,000 British troops were killed.


Penarth Times, November 15th 1916 (Report). Sadly, it seems that the use of the word “savages” was acceptable in 1916.






Quite the best attended lecture held under the auspices of the Penarth Lodge of the Theosophical Society was that on Tuesday evening last, when the seating accommodation of the Public Library was taxed to its uttermost for Mrs Forbes Williams’ address “Do our Dead Live?” In the unavoidable absence of Mr Peter Freeman, Miss A M Thomas took the chair.


More than interestingly lucid was the lecturer in answering the question “Do our Dead Live?” in the affirmative. She touched on the spirit beliefs of savages before discussing the ideas of modern thinkers. Using the old classification system of body, soul and spirit, she showed how there was nothing more marvelous than the soul of man. Death was not any worse than a great many things that were patent in life. The soul persisted in technical language, in the etheric and astral states after death, where sensitized individuals could perceive their beloved dead and with whom in sleep, if not ordinarily, they could communicate. Grief and anxiety to a great extent prevented this. It was by loving and protective thought that the veil which separated the living and dead was worn thin.


Penarth Times November 30th 1916




At this time enhanced interest should attach to the subject of the lecture of Mr B  A Tomes B.A. Gloucester “Reincarnation and its application to Evolution” which he will deliver tomorrow (Friday) evening, under the auspices of the Penarth Centre of the Theosophical Society, at 7.45PM at the Public Library, Penarth. The doctrine of evolution set forth by Darwin, has undergone modification, in the light of greater knowledge; The problem of life after death engrosses the attention of innumerable people because of the carnage of this war.


How this ancient teaching applies with more force than ever today will be shown by Mr Tomes, who is a lecturer of wide experience. There will be no charge for admission, and any questions dealing with the matter of the address will be welcomed by the speaker.


Penarth Times, March 28th 1917 (Promotional Notice)






Diverse are the views upon the subject of Life and Death, for it is a problem that exercises the mind of everyone to a greater or lesser degree. The more interest therefore attaches to the lecture at the Penarth Public Library next Tuesday evening under the auspices of the Penarth Lodge of the Theosophical Society, for “Life after Death” is the title of the address and Miss Pattinson, of Bradford, the Secretary of the Northern Federation of the Society, the lecturer. Those who have had the privilege of hearing her on her previous South Wales tour will know that not only will she deal with her subject in an eminently rational fashion, but the words in which it is clothed will add that hearty characteristic of fine speeches. As the lecture is free, and as the opportunity is given for questions at the close, the audience should be a large one.



Theosophy and the Great War


Theosophy and Reincarnation




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Theosophical Society, Cardiff Lodge,

206 Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 – 1DL.