Alan and Bessie Leo
In 1914 Charles Carter, then 26 and working as a solicitor in London, had been attending several of Alan and Bessie Leo’s meetings and lectures, and was present when Alan Leo announced his intention of forming what would become known as the Astrological Lodge. Deliberately taking a back seat, Alan Leo proposed that his wife should be the president, and this was unanimously agreed, although the young Carter did not hold a very high opinion of her: “She was possessed by an itch for power but she was totally incompetent.” (Quoted in A Confusion of Prophets, Patrick Curry, Collins & Brown, London. 1992). Neither did Bessie have much love for Carter, whose astrological brilliance so obviously outshone her own.
After Alan Leo’s death in 1917, Bessie’s preference for lecturing her brand of Theosophy became increasingly obvious and attendance numbers at the meetings waned, as the lack of proper astrology on offer became apparent. She hung on to her presidency for several years, until Carter was the majority’s choice to take over. “People came to an astrological lodge to hear astrology, and that is what we gave them” said Carter, as membership at the Lodge started to build again. However he sought to retain the spiritual inspiration of Alan Leo, introducing for example the Lodge Ritual in 1922. Charles Carter remained president of the Astrological Lodge for the next four decades.
[For a fuller account of the Astrological Lodge as the link between Leo and Carter, see “The Astrological Lodge from Alan Leo to the Present Day: An Interpretation of History and Purpose” by Geoffrey Cornelius. The Astrologers’ Quarterly. Volume 60. No1. Spring 1986]