I think everyone who is interested in how Paganism ended up with so much appropriative crap needs to read up on Theosophy seriously.
I would also recommend Edward Said’s Orientalism, but that might be a bit dense for some of you, or at least read the synopsis on Wikipedia.
In fact you should probably also read up on 19th century romanticism in Europe while you’re learning about the roots of Paganism. I would also recommend an overview of the New Age Movement in general.
Are you saying theosophy is appropriative? (Just wondering, I’ve been doing a bit of research on it.)
I’m saying it’s important to understand where ideas come from and Theosophy had a significant role in the spread of Hinduism and Buddhism in the West, not to mention how it influenced the New Age movement and occultism, as well as nationalists who ended up influencing Heathenry.
I should also note though that Blavatsky’s work has been criticized for being appropriative. This paper touches briefly on that and goes into Theosophy’s impact in India. I also found a neat book on Theosophy with an article on Theosophy and Orientalism by Christopher Partridge (who is a professor of Religious Studies at Lancaster University).
Actually I find it rather telling that Blavatsky’s apparent response to criticism was essentially that her critics only knew the exoteric truths of Buddhism, not the “true” esoteric teachings, or that she didn’t actually mean to talk about Buddhism, she was actually taking about something else that means “wise teachings”.
In any case, I see a lot of asks talking about Pagans appropriating Eastern religions and for those who are curious about it to know about 19th century romanticism and similar things of that nature because a lot of what we do as Pagans was influenced by that time period.