Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, B.A. (Bristol), D.Phil. (Oxon) Professor of Western Esotericism and Director of the Exeter Centre for the Study of Esotericism (EXESESO), University of Exeter, 2005-2012
The relationship between the Trust and Nicholas has its roots in the early years of the new millennium. It had been a few decades beforehand that Geoffrey Farthing in conjunction with Christmas Humphries QC, founded the Blavatsky Trust, an educational charity, part of the purpose of which is to give Theosophy its rightful place within the world’s metaphysical-philosophical traditions. Geoffrey Farthing understood that a proper academic recognition was both justified and necessary, though he initially expressed doubts as to the existence of anyone capable of leading such an enterprise. Within weeks, however, of talks having commenced at Lampeter University, Wales, where the project initially started, Nicholas Goodrick-Clark, an eminently qualified academic and theosophist, stepped forward. Nicholas proposed a Masters programme under the title ‘Western Esotericism’ which would include Theosophy alongside the other Western Esoteric Traditions. In 2002, Goodrick-Clarke was appointed a Research Fellow in Western Esotericism at Lampeter University. The project was moved to Exeter University in 2005, where with the financial support of the Blavatsky Trust, Nicholas was appointed to a personal chair in the department of History. As Professor of Western Esotericism and Director of the Exeter Centre for the Study of Esotericism (EXESESO), Goodrick-Clarke developed a successful distance-learning MA in Western Esotericism and successfully supervised a number of doctoral students. While at Exeter he wrote The Western Esoteric Traditions: A Historical Introduction, published in 2008. Today we can say, with some justification, that Western Esotericism is a recognised study in its own right, and Nicholas had played an undoubted and significant part in this achievement. From its inauguration, together with the Chair of Western Esotericism in August 2005, the Exeter Centre for the Study of Esotericism (EXESESO) was to complete seven years of successful operation.
Recognition of the Trust’s support, was marked by the induction of The Blavatsky Trust into Exeter University’s College of Benefactors at the Winter Graduation Ceremony on 23 January 2011 (photograph showing Mr Colin Price, Chairman of the Trust and Prof. Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke).
Nicholas was author of several books on modern occultism and esotericism. These include Helena Blavatsky (2004), one of the Western Esoteric Masters Series and described by a past student, as ‘the best introduction to Madame Blavatsky currently available.’ His publications also included: The Western Esoteric Traditions: A Historical Introduction (OUP, 2008), G.R.S. Mead and the Gnostic Quest (2005) (with Clare Goodrick-Clarke); The Occult Roots of Nazism (2004); The Esoteric Uses of Electricity, ARIES 4:1 (2004); The Divine Fire: H.P. Blavatsky and the Theology of Electricity, Theosophical History 9:4 (2003); transl. and foreword to Ernst Benz, Emanuel Swedenborg: Visionary Savant in the Age of Reason (2002); Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity (2002); Paracelsus: Essential Readings (1999); The Rosicrucian Prelude: John Dee's Mission in Central Europe in The Rosicrucian Enlightenment Revisited, ed. Ralph White (Lindisfarne Books: Hudson NY, 1999); Hitler's Priestess: Savitri Devi, the Hindu-Aryan Myth and Neo-Nazism (1998). As General Editor of Western Esoteric Masters (North Atlantic: Berkeley) edited Rudolf Steiner (2004), John Dee (2003), Emanuel Swedenborg (2003), Jacob Boehme (2001), Robert Fludd (2001).
Nicholas was born 15 January 1953 and died 29 August 2012 from Cancer at a relatively young age. His funeral & committal was held in the church of St John the Baptist in the quintessentially English village of Hinton Charterhouse, Somerset. The area with its beautiful countryside, history and communities had meant much to Nicholas.