“An imperious necessity forces me to speak the truth, as I see it, whether the speech please or displease, whether it bring praise or blame. That one loyalty to Truth I must keep stainless, whatever friendships fail me or human ties be broken.”
– Annie Besant, An Autobiography Chapter XIV.
Annie Besant eat no meat and drank no liquor. She is considered the forerunner start of the British Anti-vivisection group (animal testing) and Lizzy Lind af Hageby, one of her many proteges, gave her such credit. Marc Jones wrote about her to such length in his Essentials of Astrology that abbreviating it would be hard to do; so we won’t.
There are two times out there for Mrs. Besant. 8:29 per Astro.com and 8:20 per Marc Jones. We would go with Jones’s rectification, but YMMV.
The young Annie
The young Annie
Annie Wood was 20 years, a devout Christian, when she married an English clergyman, Rev. Frank Besant and had two children, Arthur and Mabel, but five years later she reputed Christianity finding no logic therein and became a freethinker. In 1879 she matriculated from London University with a degree in science and started publishing and writing pamphlets on free-thought but it was meeting Helena Blavatsky that changed her from a Free-Thinker to a Theosophical one and she became Blavatsky’s dedicated pupil and eventual heir.
In 1888, Annie Besant became attracted to the philosophy of Marxism. In addition to being a member of the Fabian Society, British socialist organisation whose purpose is to advance the principles a democratic socialist party that advocated a gradual social reformation rather than via a bloody revolution.
She was also a member of the Social Democratic Federation (SDF) that was the first British socialist political party by Henry M. Hyndman. It was a popular among the British socialists and included the artist William Morris, George Lansbury, and Eleanor Marx, Karl Marx’s daughter advocating women’s voting, birth control and abolishment of the House of Lords. However, Friedrich Engels, Karl Marx’s long-term collaborator, refused to support Hyndman’s venture because it was not “Marxian” enough.
In 1885, Annie Besant stood for election to the London School Board. Campaigning on a policy of ‘No more hungry children’ she won with over 15,000 votes despite that women could not vote. During her period on the Board of Education, she played an important role in helping the London Dockers form a union and gain better wages in an industry which had been dominated by one-day employment contracts.
Annie became a Freemason in 1902 attracted by their belief that men and women should join together to work for a better world. And from 1907 to 1993 she was the second President of The Theosophical Society. Her protégé was Jiddu Krishnamurti, an Indian native raised in England, whom she believed to be the messianic teacher whose arrived was announced by his great pupil, Jesus Christ.
However, Krishnamurti renounced her and Theosophy in 1929 in favour of self-reliance and unflinching self-knowledge. He said that to do this, meant vegetarianism and renunciation of all organized religions and ideologies.
Mrs. Besant died shortly thereafter in 1933 at her home in Tamil Nadu India.