Alan Bain

Alan Maxwell Bain (1933-2006) was a teacher of Kabbalah in London in the 1950s and 1960s.  In later life he moved to the West Country and practised as an independent Catholic priest and bishop. He was a co-founder of Theosophy International in the 1990s.

Articles about Alan Bain


In his early twenties, Alan had a spiritual awakening, which he describes in an article in Theosophy World. He had reached a crisis point in his life, and awoke one morning after a night of internal struggle convinced that the old Alan Bain had died: “That is to say that the Alan Bain who lay down on the bed at three in the morning was gone, complete with phobias, inadequacies and inhibitions, and a new Alan Bain had emerged, chrysalis-like, from the shell of the old. Reborn.

He spent the next six months working his way through the rudiments of Astrology, Theosophy and Kabbalah, and within a year he was heading a small group of young students.


The aim of the group, according to another article in Theosophy World, was “studying, investigating, and practising the occult virtues, mainly by way of Kabbalah…” Students were required to purchase and study two books in order to show that they were serious:  The Mystical Qabalah by Dion Fortune, and First Principles of Theosophy by C. Jinarajadasa.

Kabbalah was then and remained his specialist area. In the early 1970s he completed the first draft of his book The Keys to Kabbalah and it received its latest redefinition and extensions in 1995. The Keys to Kabbalah is currently available on the internet.

Alan Bain in Bristol, 1970s

Alan Bain in Bristol, 1970s

Independent Bishop

In later life, Alan became involved with the independent Catholic movement.  The bishops of independent Catholic churches receive their consecration  from irregular lines of succession outside the established church. In 1985 Alan edited and published Bishops Irregular, An International Directory of Independent Bishops (ISBN 0951029800).

In the preface, Alan describes an early experience: “When, in 1977, an “irregular” bishop in a London council flat laid his hands upon me, saying ‘Receive the Holy Spirit for the office and work of a Deacon in the Church of God,’ – I did. Right there, right then. It was the last thing I expected, took me totally and completely by surprise, frightened me silly, and led me ever so gently, miracle by miracle, to know Him through His Son. For me, loving God has become the easiest thing to do, and the happiest gift I have ever received, or could receive. It’s my neighbour I have trouble with…

Alan was ordained as a priest in 1978, and consecrated as a Bishop in 1982.

Theosophy International

In 1996 Alan became one of the co-founders of Theosophy International, an informal grouping of people interested in Theosophy, and communicating with each other via the internet. One of the early posts about Theosophy International describes it as follows:

THEOSOPHY INTERNATIONAL comprises men and women who, of their own free choice, subscribe to the spirit of the three objects first formulated by the Theosophical Society, but in a more up-to-date form based on suggestions by members of the internet community, and expressed thus:

1. To form a nucleus within the universal human family, without
distinction of sex, sexual orientation, creed, class, or color.

2. To encourage and engage in the study of comparative religion, theosophy, philosophy, and the scientific method, according to individual ability and inclination.

3. To investigate mysteries of nature and unrealized human
potential and abilities, with an underlying respect for all


9 Responses to Alan Bain

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  6. John Pearce says:

    This is most interesting. I am looking for any trace of the late Tony Potter, a one time associate of Alan Bain, who headed an esoteric Cabala- based group in Highgate, North London in the early 1960s, and later was ordained in the free Catholic Church.


  7. Robin Harford says:

    So good to see a short bio of a teacher who I still have a lot of love for. Alan was something special, and his influence still impacts my life on a daily basis. I was part of his small Kabbalah study group in Bristol in the early 1990’s before I moved away. Thanks for posting.


  8. Pingback: Meeting Walter Lassally – Cinematographer and Kabbalist – Cherry's Cache

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