#123 Claude Bragdon, Architect


Claude Fayette Bragdon (1866-1946) was an architect, artist, writer, philosopher, and stage designer. He was a dedicated Theosophist and occultist.  He is a Splash temperament type; notice that all but three houses have a planet contained — the eighth, the third and the sixth.  The eighth is odd because of the deaths of his two wives, but Bragdon via the occult kept in telepathic contact with them so perhaps this emptiness is best explained as not really pertinent to him as they were still in proximity but just another plane. ²

The time is unrectified but as stated in the Sabian Symbols by Marc Jones; he does not give his sources.

His  Leo 09 Sun gives us a picture of someone proud and unselfish and an inclination towards philosophical thought, as it is conjunct his Leo 05 ascendant so the predominance of the ninth house in sympathetic Pisces takes on extra significance with his Moon there conjunct the modern Piscean lord, Neptune (the historic lord is Jupiter and  is sextile the duo in the seventh house of administrative Capricorn).

His Part of Fortune is at Sagittarius 05, the natural lord of the ninth house, that is trine the duo and sextile its essential lord in the seventh highlighting his “Steadiness” and ability to “span time and space by a mighty bridge¹,” and in many ways as shown in his chart that was true.

Bragdon Drawing for a Theatrical Design

After a successful career as an architect in Rochester, NY, Bragdon entered the world of stage design in 1919, at the age of 53, after the death of his second wife  Eugenie Julier Macaulay who was said to have psychic and mystical powers died.. He had married Eugenie in 1912 shortly after his first first wife Charlotte died  giving birth to the couple’s second son.  Bragdon threw himself into his work and the absorbing task of raising two motherless boys.

The move propelled himself into a movement in American theatre called “the New stagecraft, ”  where the  actual texts and language of the plays speak for themselves.   This was implemented by rther than supplying a simple tableau like in Ancient Greece,  New Stagecraft filled the stage with symbolic colors, and innovative lighting, providing a coherent experience for its audience  — this is found in current opera theatre today still.


Bragdon through with his theosophical beliefs, took this concept a step further by designing productions he hoped would not only move his audience, but enlighten them.  His  writings are  at Manybooks.net.  You can read more of his biographical data and correspondence at the URochester’s online library.


  1. Hyperion Symbols by G. K. McClung, pg. 108 of the Quaternary Series.
  2.  One of Theosophy’s main tenents is the Astral Body that functions in the Astral World, the second lowest of their seven worlds and the one associated with emotions, desires and passion.  Like a man’s five senses it is of matter,, but of finer material,  as  it interpenetrates and extends into and beyond the physical body. When the astral body separates from the denser physical form body like in sleep, or the influence of (psychadelic) drugs, or even accidents it takes with it the capacity for feeling pain, anxiety or displeasure.   When the event is over, the feelings return and can be overwhelming.
    The Astral World is attainable to clairvoyants of even moderate powers, and they can call the appropriate body of person desired. Thought is not the abstraction in Theosophy,  but has a definite form  which depends upon its quality that appear as colours and shapes.  A nebulous appearance tells of an imperfect development while an ovoid (the perferred shape)  appearance a more perfect development, while colours represent thought so inferior thoughts beget loud colours:  red is red & religious thought is blue.
    During physical life all these various thing intermingle in the astral body but after physical death the elementary life of the astral body seeks self-preservation, and causes the matter to rearrange itself in a series of seven concentric sheaths, the densest being outside and the finest inside. This state is not eternal, and under the evolutionary process, the gross sheath of astral matter wears away, and then the person is clothed with the six sheaths and then five and so on, making these sheaths akin to purgatory until the last sheath fades and the person enters the Greater Astral Body called the Mental.
                    -“Astral World.” Encyclopaedia of the Occult, by Lewis Spence, Dodd, Mead and Co. , 1920, pp. 40–43.

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