Madame Helena Blavatsky launched the Theosophical movement 1875. In 1900, Madame Katherine Tingley established a branch of the society on Point Loma, California called Lomaland.
Blending spiritualism, occultism and Eastern mystery traditions, the movement flourished and survives to this day, though no longer at Lomaland. Blavatsky and Tingley were controversial figures in their time, both guilty of a great deal of self-invention. The San Diego press often referred to the formidable Madame Tingley, half affectionately and half derisively, as “The Purple Mother.”
“They Architect’s Key” reimagines Tingley as genuine supernatural being, a powerful woman who established a Utopian community in the early twentieth century posing as a wealthy San Diego philanthropist – a benefactress with an ulterior motive tied to certain tangles in her time weaving.