Born 12 August [O.S. 31 July] 1831, Yekaterinoslav, Yekaterinoslav, Russian Empire (today Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) – died 8 May, 1891, London, was a founder of Theosophy and the Theosophical Society with Annie Besent, a member of the Fabian society.
Blavatsky posited that humanity had descended from a series of non-human "Root Races" (Cosmologically on par with the Christian sacraments, Cabalistic Tree of life, the eastern phylosophy of the chakras) naming the fifth root race (out of seven) the Aryan race. The Root Races were evolutionary stages, each new Root Race being more evolved than the previous one. She thought that the Aryans originally came from Atlantis, who were part of the fourth Root Race.
She did not encourage any feeling of superiority by any person or race, spreading the idea of the common origin and destiny of all humanity, and establishing the principle of universal brotherhood as the First Object of the Theosophical Society: "To form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity without distinction of race, colour, or creed."
She was in London in 1887. The poet W.B.Yeats describes meeting her.
I found Madame Blavatsky in a little house at Norwood, with but, as she said, three followers left--the Society of Psychical Research had just reported on her Indian phenomena--and as one of the three followers sat in an outer room to keep out undesirable visitors, I was kept a long time kicking my heels. Presently I was admitted and found an old woman in a plain loose dark dress: a sort of old Irish peasant woman with an air of humour and audacious power. I was still kept waiting, for she was deep in conversation with a woman visitor. I strayed through folding doors into the next room and stood, in sheer idleness of mind, looking at a cuckoo clock. It was certainly stopped, for the weights were off and lying upon the ground, and yet as I stood there the cuckoo came out and cuckooed at me. I interrupted Madame Blavatsky to say. 'Your clock has hooted me.' 'It often hoots at a stranger,' she replied. 'Is there a spirit in it?' I said. 'I do not know,' she said, 'I should have to be alone to know what is in it.' I went back to the clock and began examining it and heard her say 'Do not break my clock.' I wondered if there was some hidden mechanism, and I should have been put out, I suppose, had I found any, though Henley had said to me, 'Of course she gets up fraudulent miracles, but a person of genius has to do something; Sarah Bernhardt sleeps in her coffin.' Presently the visitor went away and Madame Blavatsky explained that she was a propagandist for women's rights who had called to find out 'why men were so bad.' 'What explanation did you give her?' I said. 'That men were born bad but women made themselves so,' and then she explained that I had been kept waiting because she had mistaken me for some man whose name resembled mine and who wanted to persuade her of the flatness of the earth.
When I next saw her she had moved into a house at Holland Park, and some time must have passed--probably I had been in Sligo where I returned constantly for long visits--for she was surrounded by followers. She sat nightly before a little table covered with green baize and on this green baize she scribbled constantly with a piece of white chalk. She would scribble symbols, sometimes humorously applied, and sometimes unintelligible figures, but the chalk was intended to mark down her score when she played patience. One saw in the next room a large table where every night her followers and guests, often a great number, sat down to their vegetarian meal, while she encouraged or mocked through the folding doors. A great passionate nature, a sort of female Dr. Johnson, impressive, I think, to every man or woman who had themselves any richness, she seemed impatient of the formalism, of the shrill abstract idealism of those about her, and this impatience broke out inrailing & many nicknames: 'O you are a flapdoodle, but then you are a theosophist and a brother. 'The most devout and learned of all her followers said to me, 'H.P.B. has just told me that there is another globe stuck on to this at the north pole, so that the earth has really a shape something like a dumb-bell.' I said, for I knew that her imagination contained all the folklore of the world, 'That must be some piece of Eastern mythology.' 'O no it is not,' he said, 'of that I am certain, and there must be something in it or she would not have said it.' Her mockery was not kept for her followers alone, and her voice would become harsh, and her mockery lose phantasy and humour, when she spoke of what seemed to her scientific materialism. Once I saw this antagonism, guided by some kind of telepathic divination, take a form of brutal phantasy. I brought a very able Dublin woman to see her and this woman had a brother, a physiologist whose reputation, though known to specialists alone, was European; and, because of this brother, a family pride in everything scientific and modern. The Dublin woman scarcely opened her mouth the whole evening and her name was certainly unknown to Madame Blavatsky, yet I saw at once in that wrinkled old face bent over the cards, and the only time I ever saw it there, a personal hostility, the dislike of one woman for another. Madame Blavatsky seemed to bundle herself up, becoming all primeval peasant, and began complaining of her ailments, more especially of her bad leg. But of late her master--her 'old Jew,' her 'Ahasuerus,' cured it, or set it on the way to be cured. 'I was sitting here in my chair,' she said, 'when the master came in and brought something with him which he put over my knee, something warm which enclosed my knee--it was a live dog which he had cut open.' I recognised a cure used sometimes in mediaeval medicine. She had two masters, and their portraits, ideal Indian heads, painted by some most incompetent artist, stood upon either side of the folding doors. One night, when talk was impersonal and general, I sat gazing through the folding doors into the dimly lighted dining-room beyond. I noticed a curious red light shining upon a picture and got up to see where the red light came from. It was the picture of an Indian and as I came near it slowly vanished. When I returned to my seat, Madame Blavatsky said, 'What did you see?' 'A picture,' I said. 'Tell it to go away.' 'It is already gone.' 'So much the better,' she said, 'I was afraid it was medium ship but it is only clairvoyance.' 'What is the difference?' 'If it had been medium ship, it would have stayed in spite of you. Beware of medium ship; it is a kind of madness; I know, for I have been through it.'