This article returns attention to Bernard Shaw's heterodox understanding of religion and faith, which bears subtle yet consistent traces of theosophical, hermetic, and gnostic influence. Although he did not possess anything beyond a passing intellectual interest in occult practice, the esoteric inclinations of Shaw's inner circle mingled with his own deeply felt faith in the progress of humanity to give rise to his well-remembered belief in the “Life Force.” From his early collaborative relationships with leading occultists Florence Farr and Annie Besant to the visionary brilliance portrayed in Saint Joan, Shaw's dramatic writing and religious speeches capture a complex and ever-shifting understanding of the relationship between humanity and the divine, and an unerring faith in the ability of the individual to pursue their own gnostic genius.

You do not currently have access to this content.