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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Peru, Theosophy in

The earliest record of theosophical activity in Peru is 1918 when a group led by Ibrahim Vasquez met at Iquites to discuss theosophy. On June 1, 1924, another group which met in Lima calling themselves the “Socratic School,” founded the first Peruvian theosophical lodge which they named “Blavatsky.” Prominent among the founding members of this lodge were Fransisco La Rosa Villanueva and its first President, Gustava Riofrio. The Blavatsky Lodge was affiliated with the Argentinian Section after receiving its charter dated July 24, 1924.

On May 9, 1926, Felipe Boisset succeeded in forming a lodge in Lima which was named “Evolution” and it was he who edited Peru’s first theosophical magazine which he named after the lodge. The period 1926 to 1929 saw the formation of quite a number of lodges and study groups resulting in a national section, located in Arequipa City, being formed in 1929 with Alejandro Benavente Alcazar as General Secretary. The newly formed section comprised eight lodges with three in Lima named “HPB,” “Evolution,” “Jinarājadāsa”; in Junin named “Annie Besant” and “Felicidad”; in Suciani “Tupac Amaru”; in Cuzco “Inti”; and in Arequipa “Liberacion.” The section produced a magazine called Liberacion.

Unfortunately, shortly after the section was formed a decline in membership occurred to the extent that only the HPB Lodge survived which resulted in the withdrawal of the section’s charter in 1934 and the appointment of a presidential agent, Juan F. Aguilar. Aguilar succeeded in establishing branches at Chiclayo and Mollendo, but these were short-lived.

On September 5, 1939, Jorge Torres Ugariza was appointed Presidential Agent and he succeeded in reviving interest in theosophy in Peru to the extent that on February 4, 1943, the section was reformed with him as General Secretary. The official organ for the new section was the magazine Serenidad. The Peruvian Section flourished until the early 1950s when it was infiltrated by a dissident element which resulted in the section’s charter being withdrawn leaving only the HPB lodge to continue the work.

From 1969 to 1974 theosophical activities were at a low ebb; however, in May 1974 Julio Gerardo Pomar assumed responsibility for theosophical work which marked the beginning of slow but steady growth and he was appointed Presidential Agent in October 1989. Peru had, in 1994, two lodges, the perennial “HPB” and “Loto Blanco.” The Presidential Agency’s magazine is now called Búsqueda (”Search” or “Quest”).

J.G.Pr.

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