The wide influence of Anna Kingsford’s Christian Theosophy, which is laced with Egyptian, Greek, and Eastern mythologies, religions and world philosophies, inspired many later Theosophists, Christian Hermeticists, and Anthroposophists. Her effect upon Western Esotericism is more far-reaching than has been understood before now. As we reviewed the existing literature on the Divine Feminine Trinity in preparation for writing The Gospel of Sophia, we studied Anna Kingsford’s work and extracted some beautiful passages to illustrate that it was Anna who first pointed to the separate and coequal Divine Feminine Trinity in a comprehensive fashion.
After careful study and review of the various time-lines involved, we now believe that Valentin Tomberg, that infamous Anthroposophist, was probably influenced by Dr. Kingsford’s work which ended up in his book, Covenant of the Heart:Meditations of a Christian Hermeticist on the Mysteries of Tradition. Tomberg was the first student of Rudolf Steiner’s work to conclude that there is a Divine Feminine Trinity that can be found in Anthroposophy and also the Kabbala’s Tree of Life. Thus, Kingsford may have been the first Christian Hermeticist to arrive at the same conclusion our research and experience had brought us to understand – there is a Divine Feminine Trinity of Mother, Daughter, and Holy Sophia.
When Valentin Tomberg extrapolated a Divine Feminine Trinity from the Kabbalistic philosophy found in the Zohar, and other Jewish texts, it was one of the first times that this idea was given voice in the modern, Western esoteric tradition. Tomberg, unfortunately, falls short of defining and describing these three Divine Feminine Beings anywhere in his writings.
Tomberg gives us a quick glimpse of what he was able to find in Jewish tradition about the being of Wisdom (Shekinah) and what Rudolf Steiner had indicated about the being he called ‘Anthroposophia.’ Tomberg eventually became a Roman Catholic and fully embraced the Catholic traditions concerning “Mother Mary” and incorporated them into his anonymous tome, Meditations on the Tarot. In this work, Tomberg leaves behind the influences of Anna Kingsford and limits his understanding to Roman Catholic views of Mary and the divine feminine dogma and doctrine of a male-dominated Roman Church. Tomberg eventually takes on a Jesuit inspired rendition of Mary, the Immaculate Virgin who becomes Queen of Heaven after her Assumption. This interpretation is a partial view of Kingsford’s understanding of the Divine Feminine Trinity.
Kingsford herself gives wonderful descriptions of the three divine members of the feminine trinity but then backs off when she assigns their power and duties to a secondary position somewhat subservient to the “male” Holy Spirit.
As is often the case with philosophies that do not have a comprehensive cosmology behind them, clear lines of demarcation become blurred when the “activities” of male and female divine counterparts are described in detail. Without a full understanding of the historical milieu of the text, great misunderstandings slip in. Even with the oldest writings in the world, the Upanishads, we have multiple, changing definitions and descriptions of the creator gods and goddesses – and their original Mother. Truly, the secret of all the ancient Mysteries involved knowledge of the Mothers, the Trinity of the Divine Feminine Trinity.
The influence of Anna Kingsford goes far beyond Valentin Tomberg and his obvious “courting” of the Divine Feminine Trinity. Unfortunately, Tomberg’s study of Rudolf Steiner did not lead him to the Divine Feminine Trinity concepts that are implicit in Steiner’s Anthroposophy. Steiner tells us about the “Mother” who is the original creatrix of the cosmos. Steiner calls her, “The Mothers”, who are the three great creators of the Saturn, Sun, and Moon incarnations of the Earth. These Mothers are the mothers of creation and were present with the Father from “before the beginning.”
Anna Kingsford recognizes this Mother Goddess as co-equal with the Father God and this Mother Goddess also has a “Daughter” in her Divine Feminine Trinity who is the consort/sibling of Jesus Christ, the “Son.” Steiner, on the other hand, describes the second person in the Divine Feminine Trinity as a being of Wisdom who works through the collective hierarchical beings of Wisdom called the Kyriotetes. This Being of Wisdom, according to Steiner, descended through the hierarchy until, like an angel, she over-lighted the “Mother of Jesus.”
And lastly, Steiner gives great details about the third person in the Divine Feminine Trinity whom he called – ‘Anthroposophia’. This being is the collective consciousness of humanity that develops along with each developing soul who attains any step towards their own higher spirit self. Anthroposophia is the mid-wife of all souls on the quest to the spirit as the third person in the Divine Feminine Trinity.
Steiner’s view of the Divine Feminine Trinity consists of ‘the Mothers’, the Collective ‘Being of Wisdom’ working through the combined Kyriotetes, and the being ‘Anthroposophia’ as the Mother/Daughter/Holy Sophia. Unfortunately, there are few followers of Steiner that have noticed this description in his voluminous work, including Valentin Tomberg.
Even the great Anthroposophical commentator Sergei O. Prokofieff falls short and can’t seem to identify the third aspect of the Divine Feminine Trinity, the Mothers, in Steiner’s teachings. Anna Kingsford, on the other hand, falls short in attributing the third person of the Divine Feminine Trinity to the aegis of the Holy Spirit just as Tomberg described his third person, ‘the Holy Soul’, with no feminine distinctions with the Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost) of the Roman Catholic church. This diminishing of the power of the Divine Feminine Trinity is common in the many attempts to describe the three beings in the trinity. Even Steiner himself was not ready to simply blurt out the simple truth of this Divine Feminine Trinity. This “radical” reality is still not well-received in the male-dominated world, especially in the world of religion.
Theosophists are usually quite aware of Hindu philosophies and their myriad pantheons. Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu are always accompanied by their consorts Saraswati, Shakti, and Lakshmi in the ancient philosophies, mythologies, and religions of the East. But even these two paired-trinities were created by another female goddess named Vac, their progenitor, the original creatrix of the Upanishad and Vedas. It was perfectly natural that gods were paired with goddesses and that the goddess was the “primal” creator/creatrix. The secret teachings of the higher yogas are almost all based upon the feminine line of transmission.
The female tantric deity Vajrayogini is the consort of all ten thousand Buddhas, and yet she is not diminished in her transcendental wisdom. The primal place of the divine feminine is ubiquitously found throughout ancient philosophies, mythologies and religions and the teachings about the Divine Feminine Trinity are older than male gods or male trinities. The Great Mother was worshipped throughout the world as the triple goddess of birth, death, and rebirth. These teachings are the oldest known spiritual teachings that arose from animism and shamanism at the dawn of history. The female Blood Mysteries revealed the nature of birth, death, and rebirth and were guarded by mid-wives who ministered to the spiritual needs of the community at birth, death, and healings.
Even though Anna Kingsford does not complete a comprehensive picture of the Divine Feminine Trinity, she gets closer than her contemporaries and she brought cosmic Christianity to a very one-sided Theosophy that tended to use non-Christian, Eastern philosophies as a philosophical foundation. Kingsford awakened many Theosophists to the deeper mysteries of Christianity and placed them in perspective with Eastern, Persian, Egyptian, and Greece Mystery traditions. But Anna also received direct revelations from a variety of spirit beings who gave her insight that was far beyond the prevalent book-learning of the standard Theosophist. It so happened that many Theosophists used Anna’s ideas to gloss over their shallow understanding of the Cosmic Christ. Anna came closer than most to accurate descriptions of the spirit in her inspired writings and her work stands on its own and has been corroborated by the many researcher who came after her and could build on her insights and spirit communications.
Let’s look at some of Anna Kingsford’s ideas about the Divine Feminine from her book, The Perfect Way:
Adam and Eve – sense and soul.
The fourfold human kingdom’s queen and priestess is the soul.
We must end blood sacrifice, idolatry, and the curse of Eve.
Now is the Gospel of Interpretation come; and the Kingdom of the Mother of God.
By the exhibition of divine wisdom, by the restoration of the “woman” or “Mother of the Living” to her rightful throne, will the world finally be redeemed from the dominion of the serpent of the abyss, that is, of the lower and materialistic reason.
Put away blood from among you! Destroy your idols! Restore your queen!
Glory of Woman
Now I show you a mystery and a new thing, which is part of the mystery of the fourth day of creation. The word which shall come to save the world, shall be uttered by a woman. A woman shall conceive and shall bring forth the tidings of salvation. For the reign of Adam is at its last hour, and God shall crown all things by the creation of Eve. Hitherto the man hath been alone, and hath had dominion over the earth. But when the woman shall be created, God shall give unto her the kingdom; and she shall be first in rule and highest in dignity. Yea, the last shall be first; and the elder shall serve the younger. So that women shall no more lament for their womanhood; but men shall rather say, “Oh that we had been born women!”
For the strong shall be put down from their seat; and the meek shall be exalted to their place.
The days of the covenant of manifestation are passing away; the Gospel of Interpretation comes.
There shall nothing new be told; but that which is ancient shall be interpreted. So that humanity, the manifestor, shall resign its office; and woman the interpreter shall give light to the world.
Here is the fourth office; she reveals that which the Lord had manifested. Here is the light of the heavens, and the brightest of the planets of the holy seven. She is the fourth dimension: the eyes which enlighten, the power which draws inward to God. And her kingdom comes, the day of the exaltation of woman. And her reign shall be greater than the reign of the man; for Adam shall be put down from his place; and she shall have dominion forever.
She alone shall bring forth more children to God, than she who has a husband. There shall no more be a reproach against women. For the woman is the crown of man, and the final manifestation of humanity. She is the nearest to the throne of God, when she shall be revealed.
But the creation of woman is not yet complete; but it shall be complete in the time which is at hand. All things are thine, O Mother of God; all things are thine, O She who rises from the sea; and shall have dominion over all the worlds.
The Divine Feminine
She it is, the divine woman of man’s mental system, that opens to him the “perfect way,” the “way of the Lord,” that “path of the just which, as a shining light, shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” And her complete restoration, crowning, and exaltation, is the one condition essential to that realization of the ideal perfection of man’s nature, which, mystically, is called “the finding of Christ.”
Spirit is essential and perfect in itself, having neither beginning nor end. Soul is secondary and perfected, being begotten of spirit. Spirit is the first principle and is abstract. Soul is the derivative and is therefore concrete. Spirit is thus the primary Adam; and soul is Eve, the “woman” taken out of the side of the “man.”
Immaculate though she be in her virginal essence, psyche is not the “espoused bride” until the bond between her and the earth be severed. And this can be only when every molecule of her essence is pervaded by spirit, and indissolubly married therewith, as God with Arche in the principle.
Thus is the soul at once Daughter, Spouse, and Mother of God. By her is crushed the head of the serpent. And from her triumphant springs the man regenerate, who, as the product of a pure soul and divine spirit, is said to be born of water (Maria) and the Holy Ghost.
Whether incarnate or not, the “Son of Man” is of necessity always “in heaven,” – his own “kingdom within.” Accordingly, the terms describing his parentage are devoid of any physical reference. “Virgin Maria” and “Holy Ghost” are synonymous, respectively, with “Water” and “the Spirit”; and these, again, denote the two constituents of every regenerated selfhood, its purified soul and divine spirit.
As the Immaculate Conception is the foundation of the Mysteries, so the Assumption is their crown. For the entire object and end of cosmic evolution is precisely this triumph and apotheosis of the soul. In this Mystery is beheld the consummation of the whole scheme of creation – the perfecting, perpetuation, and glorification of the individual human ego. The grave – that is the astral and material consciousness – cannot retain the Mother of God. She rises into heaven; she assumes her queenship.
In the individual or microcosmic system, the celestial wisdom or soul of the universe, finds expression as the soul of the man. And the condition of humanity “unfallen” and sinless, is one of obedience on the part of the sense-nature, or “Adam,” to the rule of the soul, or “Eve.” But, by the “Fall” this state of things is directly reversed, and the “woman” or the “living” becomes subject to this sense-nature. This is “the curse.” And the curse will be removed, paradise regained, and the second Sabbath of the Golden Age restored, only when the “woman” is again invested with her rightful supremacy.
Eve is said to be taken from the side of the sleeping Adam, because, although, the soul subsists in all men, she becomes revealed only in such as have transcended the consciousness of the body. When the “Adam” is asleep, passive, unassertive, the soul, or living man, is made manifest. Hers it is to guide, to rule, to command; hers the vocation of the seer, the pythoness, the interpreter and guardian of the Mysteries.
The Heavens eternally witness to the promise of the final redemption of the Earth, and of the return of the Golden Age, and the restoration of Eden. The keynote of that desired harmony is to be found in the exaltation on all the universal fourfold planes, physical, philosophical, physic, and celestial, of the Woman.
The human being’s fourfold nature is itself included in a dual personality consisting of male and female, reason and intuition. The masculine moiety comprises the dualism of sense and intellect; and the feminine moiety, the dualism of soul and conscience.
Only because it is already so with humanity on the inner plane, is it so on the outer. Whatever the sex of the person, physically, each individual is a dualism, consisting of exterior and interior, manifested personality and essential individuality, body and soul, which are to each other masculine and feminine, man and woman; he the without, and she the within. And all that the woman on the planes physical and social, is to the man, that she is also on the planes intellectual and spiritual. For, as soul and Intuition of Spirit, she withdraws him, physically and mentally, from dissipation and perdition in the outer and material and by centralizing and substantializing him redeems and crowns him; – from a phantom converting him into an entity, from a mortal into an immortal, from a man into a god. Without her, it were better both for himself and for others that he should not be at all.
On no plane of being is it good that the man-element be alone. For without love, force can but work evil until it be spent. And such is man and his doom until he finds and is found of her, the soul and woman within him. She is to him very “mother of the living,” and without her is no life. And she is this because she is, by her nature, that wherein the divine life, resides. For, as the soul is the life of the man, so is the spirit, which is God, the life of the soul. Thus is she mediator between man and God, to draw them together in herself. And only he is truly alive, is truly human, and made after the divine image, in whom she thus operates. Redeeming him from chaos and making him a cosmos, she is the centripetal to his centrifugal, the attractive to his separative, the constructive to his destructive, the synthesis to his analysis, the being to his seeming, the reality to his illusory. With her advent he begins to be; and thenceforth, through her, he can claim kindred with the I AM.
His aggressive and destructive tendencies must have been exhausted, and the animal in him, his own exterior self – in a word, the man part of him – cast into deep slumber, before the woman in him can reveal herself, and make him conscious of something, or rather some one, within him – himself, yet differing from himself, and higher and better than anything he has before had or been.
In creating man, God creates one whole and perfect being, formed of two distinct parts, Adam the earthly, exterior man, and Eve the spiritual and interior man, his soul and “living mother.” These two are joined together by God in perfect union as one creature, and made, for the time, indispensable to each other. Adam, as the manifested personality or man, is not complete, that is, is not a man having manhood, until Eve, the soul or woman, is added to him as helpmate and guide. By the addition of her, the two natures become one humanity.
This is ever the history of sin. The exterior personality cannot of itself sin, for it is not a responsible being. Sin is of the soul; and it comes of the soul’s inclination to the things of sense. Taking of this fruit and enjoying it, she is said to eat it. And at her instigation “Adam” does likewise. And thenceforth, instead of the soul operating within him to purify and enlighten him, and lead him upwards towards the Spirit, together they become sensual and debased. And thus the sin, which has its commencement in the thought of the soul, afterwards becomes developed into action through the energy of the body or masculine part.
Meanwhile Adam, being interrogated by the Divine Voice, lays the blame upon Eve. But for the soul within him, the man had not known or been capable of committing sin; sin being possible only where there is a sense of right and wrong, which the soul alone possesses. Eve, interrogated in her turn, throws the blame on the serpent of matter – sense, or the lower nature – through whose allurements she has fallen. It is no particular act that thus constitutes sin. And sin does not consist in fulfilling any of the functions of nature. Sin consists in acting without or against the spirit, and in not seeking the divine sanction in everything that is done. For sin is not of the physical but of the spiritual man. And by the spirit, the act is redeemed or condemned. It is sheer materialism and idolatry to regard an act as itself sinful. For to do this, is to invest that which is merely physical with a spiritual attribute.
It is for the woman in us to wish, and therein to prompt. She is the inspirer. But the man in us must work. He is the executor. Apart, powerless; together, they can move the world. He and She, will and love, spirit and substance, operating in the celestial, created the world; and assuredly they can redeem it.
Concerning the Mysteries
It is said that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the daughter, spouse, and mother of God. But, inasmuch as spiritual energy has two conditions, one of passivity and one of activity, it is said that Mary’s spouse is not the Father, but the Holy Ghost. For the Father denotes the motionless, the force passive and potential, in whom all things are subjective. But the Holy Ghost represents will in action, – creative energy, motion and generative function. Of this union of the divine will in action, – the Holy Ghost, – with the human soul, the product is Christ, the God-Man, and our Lord. And through Christ, the divine spirit, by whom he is begotten flows and operates. In the trinity of the unmanifest, the great deep, or ocean of infinitude – Sophia – corresponds to Mary and has for spouse the creative energy of whom is begotten the manifestor, the Lord.
The Mother is coequal with the Father, being primary and eternal. For the woman is the mother of the living; and the crown and perfection of humanity. Her body is the highest step in the ladder of incarnation which leadeth from earth to heaven; upon which the spirits of God ascend and descend. Thou art not perfected, O soul, that hast not known womanhood.
Within thee, O human, is the universe; the thrones of all the Gods are in thy temple. You are Gods; you are all made in the image of the most high. No man can know God unless he first understand himself. God is nothing that humanity is not. What humanity is, God is likewise. As God is at the heart of the outer world; so also is God at the heart of the world within thee. When the God within thee shall be wholly united to the God without; then shalt thou be one with the most high.
Thy will shall be God’s will; and the Son shall be as the Father. Thou art ruler of the world, O human: thy name is legion; thou hast many under thee. What thou knows is told to you from within; what you work is worked from within. When you pray, you invoke the God within thee, and from the God within yourself you receive all good things.
Extracts from: The Golden Book of Venus
Of God and the soul is Love born; in the silence of twilight; in the mystery of sleep; in the fourth dimension of space; in the womb of the heavenly principle; in the heart of the man of God; – there is Love enshrined. Yea, Love is before all things; desire is born of Love; Love impels the springs of life inward unto God; by Love the earth and heavens are drawn together.
As the fishes of the sea am I (Love) covered; I am secret and veiled from sight as the children of the deep. That which is occult hath the fish for a symbol; for the fish is hidden in darkness and silence; he knows the secret places of the earth, and the springs of the hollow sea. Even as Love reaches to the uttermost; so find I the secrets of all things; having my beginning and my end in the wisdom of God. The spirit of counsel is begotten in the soul; even as the fish in the bosom of the waters. From the sanctuary of the deep Love arises; salvation is of the sea.
The secret of the angel of Love is at the heart of the world as the song of God is the sound of the stars in their courses. O Love, thou art the latent heat of the earth; the strength of the wine; the joy of the orchard and the cornfield; thou art the spirit of song and laughter, and all the desire of life! By thee, O Goddess of Love, pure-eyed and golden, the Sun and the Moon are revealed; Love is the counselor of heaven.
Wisdom Axioms of Anna Kingsford
Another mystery that Dr. Anna Bonus Kingsford solved for me was the question of: Who was the inspiration for the works of C. G Harrison? Harrison was a Christian Theosophist and Berean Society member who seemed to know “so much about so many things” that he revealed in his book, The Transcendental Universe. Harrison claimed no initiation to any esoteric group, brotherhood or secret society to arrive at what some consider to be one of the great books of the Christian Western esoteric tradition. Harrison revealed the archangelic cycles of Johannes Trithemius of Sponheim, the Hermetic secrets of the Egyptian Mysteries, the hidden contents of the Greek Mysteries, many ancient Masonic secrets, and the deeper side of Theosophically interpreted Eastern teachings. Harrison also coined new phrases and words to describe ancient spiritual principals. For instance, he tells us in The Transcendental Universe that there are three spiritual axioms the student should keep in mind:
- The microcosm is a copy of the macrocosm
- All cycles are septenary
- All phenomena are the result of vortices
The first axiom is taken from Hermetic teachings, the second from alchemical teachings, and the third is taken from direct spiritual perception of clairvoyants – revelation. It so happens that Anna Kingsford was adept at these and many other channels of wisdom that inspired her. Her wisdom is not easily tracked through normal traditions due to her direct revelations, inspirations, dreams, visions, and intuitions. For Anna, the teachings of the past could be checked and verified with her own clairvoyance, just as Rudolf Steiner had done to arrive at his philosophy, Anthroposophy.
It is highly likely that Harrison studied the works of Kingsford because Anna was a very well-known Theosophist who led the Theosophical Society in England and H. P. Blavatsky had particularly identified Anna as the best person to help Theosophist understand Christianity, which was not Blavatsky’s area of strength. Anna was the appointed “Christian Theosophist” of her time, as well as a recognized author in Hermetic Christianity. Anna was also a poet, novelist and editor of her own newspaper. It would have been extremely unlikely for Harrison, a wonderful student of the esoteric, to have missed the work of the principal Christian Theosophist and Hermeticist of his time, especially since he claimed to be a Christian Hermeticist himself who was elaborating on Theosophical ideas. Thus, the mystery was solved for me when I found hundreds of similarities between Kingsford’s work and the books of C. G. Harrison.
Another question was answered in our in-depth research into the works of Anna Kingsford when we saw many references to Aeon, a key character in Kingsford’s cosmology. I was reminded that George William Russell, who wrote under the pseudonym AE, tells the story of how he came to chose AE as his writing name. AE relates that he was looking down at an open book on the table and saw the name Aeon in the text. He decided at that moment to take Aeon as his spiritual name. Later he shortened it to AE as a pseudonym. I now believe the book he was looking at was Anna Kingsford’s The Perfect Way.
Anna and AE were both poets, artists, novelists, Theosophists, authors, social leaders, connected to Blavatsky’s Theosophical Society, and deeply interested in spiritual science and spiritual development. They used numerous media to express their spiritual scientific discoveries, which often sounded similar in their poetry and prose writings. AE was also a painter like Anna and both produced poetry books that were popular and highly praised. To imagine that AE was not aware of Anna would be unlikely. There is no doubt in my mind that AE was “influenced” by Anna, just as C. G. Harrison was in his Christian Hermetic cosmology and Valentin Tomberg in his theory of a Divine Feminine Trinity.
We believe that Kingsford’s use of imaginative, visionary spiritual science was a merging of poetry and revelation – spiritual science and supersensible vision. This type of direct experience of the spirit pervaded Kingsford’s work and can be found arising in echoes in the works of many other Theosophists and spiritual scientists of her time.
Anna Kingsford, like C. G. Harrison, was good at coining phrases that are fresh and carry imagistic archetypes along with accurate spiritual content. Kingsford knew spiritual axioms of wisdom because she experienced them first-hand. Others, who came after her, built upon her deep insights and accurate descriptions of the spirit-worlds that interpenetrate our visible world. Anna was the queen of both worlds as a medical doctor and a spiritual scientist who wrote beautifully from the heart of a poet. It is from those resources that she was able to state spiritual axioms in simple terms that can be understood by the uninitiated. We present some of those axioms below to demonstrate her adroit skill of expression.
Spiritual Axioms of Anna Kingsford
Thought is the creator of the cosmos.
Purity is indispensable to higher perception.
Your heart is the chalice of divination: all the forms of nature are reflected therein.
Intuition wars with passion.
As is the outer so is the inner; he that worketh is one.
As the small is, so is the great; there is one law.
There is no far nor near in the divine.
The spirit may be perpetually one with the soul, and thus eternize its individuality.
The life-giving seed is the priceless pearl of the true “word.”
Nothing is small and nothing is great in the divine economy.
Substance is psyche, the medium; force is spirit, the energy.
God is divided, yet not diminished: God is all, and God is one.
For man can recognize outside of himself that only which he has within himself.
Questions of duration affect the mind; questions of intensity affect the psyche.
Matter is the wax, the soul is the wick, and God is the flame which illumines.
The man who has arrived at wishing for nothing and fearing nothing, is master of all.
Our souls, then, are the agglomerate essences of the numberless consciousnesses composing us.
Life is the elaboration of soul through the varied transformations of matter.
The Angel of Understanding shall know thee for his elect, if thou offer unto God a reasonable faith.
The Spirit comes and goes; you hear the sound of its voice: but you cannot tell whither it goes nor whence it comes. All that is true is spiritual.
God is light, truth, order, harmony, reason; and God’s works are illumination, knowledge, understanding, love, and sanity.
To find the soul is the first step towards finding Christ; that is, as the Catholic Church puts it, “Mary brings us to Jesus.”
Find the Way of the Cross, and the path in the midst of the wilderness toward Christ.
There are twenty-four Ancients, because there are twelve Avatars of the Lord, and every one is dual.
The saint does not fear death, because his consciousness is gathered up into his psyche, and she into her spouse the spirit.
You may light many lamps from the flame of one; yet it does nothing to diminish the first flame.
God is both within and without; and the God within is all that the God without is.
The one life is the point of consciousness. The will is the impulse which moves it.
The Divine Word, by which all things are created, is the celestial archetypal humanity, which subsisting eternally in the divine mind – makes the universe in his own image.
When the fixed is volatilized, the magian is free. Before this, he is “subject.”
The magnetic chain between earth and heaven is strong.
The man who seeks power, and who would achieve the “Great Work”, must accomplish his own initiation.
Gnosis, or divine science is the substance of the universal humanity, and its object is the attainment of personal perfection.
The very planet (Earth) of which he is the offspring, is, like himself, a person, and is possessed of a medium of memory.
Generation, degeneration, regeneration – in these three terms is comprised the whole process of the soul’s history.
The thinker, therefore, who is son of Hermes, is a far beyond the medium who is controlled and who is not self-conscious.
Divine illumination is spoken of as the descent of the Holy Spirit, or outpouring of the heavenly efflux, which kindles into a flame in the soul, as the sun’s rays through a lens.
Idolatry consists in the materialization of spiritual mysteries, and the substitution for the true things signified, of their material symbols; those interpretations are idolatrous which give to mystical doctrines physical applications.
The mystery of the soul’s evolution – the argument, that is, of the cosmic drama and the history of humanity – is contained and enacted in the cultus of the Blessed Virgin. The acts and the glories of Mary are the one and supreme theme of the sacred Mysteries.
The six stages or “days” of the creative week of the microcosm, correspond to the processes included in the lesser and greater Mysteries, and are, in order, baptism, temptation, passion, burial, resurrection, and ascension (marriage of the Lamb).
The means of delivery for mankind from the “ravenous lion” and the “fiery serpents” of the outer intellect or earthly “wilderness of sin” will be the exaltation of the dual humanity at once “Mother” and “Son.”
The Life of Anna Bonus Kingsford
Anna Bonus Kingsford was born on September 16, 1846, in Stratford, Essex, England. She died on February 22, 1888 (aged 41), in London, England. She was one of the first English women to obtain a degree in medicine. She pursued her degree in Paris, graduating in 1880 after six years of study.
Kingsford was interested in Buddhism and Gnosticism, and became active in the Theosophical movement in England, becoming president of the London Lodge of the Theosophical Society in 1883. In 1884 she founded the Hermetic Society, which lasted until 1887 when her health declined. She said she received insights in trance-like states and in her sleep; these were collected from her manuscripts and pamphlets by her lifelong collaborator Edward Maitland, and published posthumously in the book, Clothed with the Sun (1889). Subject to ill-health all her life, she died of lung disease at the age of 41, brought on by a bout of pneumonia.
Anna grew up in a middle-class English family. A sickly but precocious child, she wrote her first poem at age nine. At thirteen she wrote a 114-page history of Christianity, published four years later. When she turned twenty-one, she married her cousin Algernon Godfrey Kingsford, an Anglican clergyman in Shropshire. They had one child, a daughter Edith. Anna’s father died the year of her marriage, and his estate provided her an income of £700 a year, a considerable sum for the time. From the funds she bought The Lady’s Own Paper in 1872 and became its editor. The work brought her into contact with prominent women of the day and stimulated her feminist instincts.
Dr. Kingsford established a medical practice, only the second female physician to do so in Great Britain. Kingsford converted to Roman Catholicism in 1872, but her Christianity was anything but conventional. She had mystical experiences, including what she believed to be visitations by Mary Magdalene. In 1873 Anna came in contact with English novelist Edward Maitland and the two developed a lifelong platonic relationship. Maitland, twenty-two years older, became her constant companion, serving as chaperone in Paris and accompanying Kingsford on her many lecturing tours. When she began to experience trance-like states and lucid dreams in 1875, Maitland transcribed and helped interpret her impressions. His name appears as coauthor on her two major books.
Early in 1883 Anna Kingsford was appointed president of the British Theosophical Society, which she promptly renamed the London Lodge of the Theosophical Society. Ever at her side, Maitland served as vice-president. Anna agreed to the appointment because she approved of the Society’s charter, whose idealistic goals included: “To form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color; to encourage the study of comparative religion, philosophy and science; and to investigate the unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in man.”
No one teacher stands out to whom Kingsford seems indebted. She affirmed that her esoteric work represented a “recovery and a discovery, independent of any prior knowledge derived directly from celestial sources, the hierarchy of the Church Invisible in the holy heavens.”
Kingsford also regarded the Theosophical mahatmas, later identified as including the Masters Morya, Kuthumi, and Djwhal Khul, as inferior to her own sources. Anna and Maitland resigned their positions in December 1884. By that time, they had formed a new organization called The Hermetic Society. One of its stated goals was to study “Christian mysticism,” and it was advertised as having “no Mahatmas, no miracles.”
Shortly before her death she wrote in her diary: “I had hoped to have been one of the pioneers of the new awakening of the world. . . . Is it, perhaps, all premature? Have we thought the time nearer than it really is? Must I go, and sleep, and come again before the hour sounds?”
Wynn Westcott, who along with McGregor Mathers had lectured in Kingsford’s Hermetic Society, eulogized her as “indeed illuminated by the Sun of Light.”
Kingsford read widely, and her work reflects Platonic, Neoplatonic, Gnostic and Kabbalistic influence. She quoted Emanuel Swedenborg and Eliphas Levi and was familiar with the writings of Jakob Boehme. Reportedly, she studied Buddhism and Hinduism, and from them she may have acquired her firm belief in reincarnation.
Kingsford’s influence can be seen in the work of Mathers; Rudolf Steiner, founder of Anthroposophy; Max Heindel, founder of the Rosicrucian Fellowship; Dion Fortune, founder of the Fraternity of the Inner Light; and Annie Besant, among many others.
Kingsford needs to be recognized as the pivotal figure she was in the development of esoteric philosophy in the 19th century.
Kingsford’s The Perfect Way
The Perfect Way; or, The Finding of Christ, gives the esoteric meaning of Christianity. It sweeps away many of the difficulties that thoughtful readers of the Bible must contend with in their endeavors to either understand or accept literally the story of Jesus Christ as it is presented in the Gospels.
Edward Maitland described the course of lectures entitled, The Perfect Way, in the following words: “It is unnecessary to render any particular account of the course. Each lecture was succeeded by a discussion, and a frank and marked recognition was shown of the value and beauty of the teachings received by us, and of their difference, in kind as well as in degree, from aught that had hitherto been known, as indicating their derivation from a source altogether transcending any as yet reached within human cognizance.
Among others, Sir Francis Doyle – whose judgment, as a scholar, a thinker, and a poet of no mean order, was especially valuable – declared emphatically of some of the utterances recited by us that “they were something quite new in the world; there was nothing in literature to compare with them.
And to hear them was like listening to the utterances of a God or an Archangel.” We kept to our program of a weekly lecture and the lectures were largely written from week to week. Numbers 1, 4, 5, and 6 were delivered by Anna Kingsford, and the others by me. This is the way they stood in the first edition of The Perfect Way.”
A. P. Sinnett, a renown Theosophist, wrote in a review of the book The Perfect Way the following description: “it is an upheaval of true spirituality; a grand book by noble-minded writers, and one that, if every man in London above a certain level of culture should read attentively, a theological revolution would be accomplished.”
Sinnett also said of the book: “the authors have produced one of the most – perhaps the most – important and spirit-stirring of appeals to the higher instincts of mankind which modern European literature has yet evolved.”
Selections from: The Perfect Way
Christ is the God-Man who, transcending the limitations of matter, should efface the evil of materialization by the force of love, and should see and hear and speak and feel as though he were pure spirit, and had annihilated the boundaries of matter.
The Son of Man shall overcome the limitations of matter and the evil which is the result of the materialization of spirit. His Mother is spirit, his Father is spirit, yet He is himself incarnate; and how then shall he overcome evil, and restore matter to the condition of spirit? By force of love. It is love which is the centripetal power of the universe; it is by love that all creation returns to the bosom of God. The force which projected all things is will and will is the centrifugal power of the universe. Will alone could not overcome the evil which results from the limitations of matter; but it shall be overcome in the end by sympathy, which is the knowledge of God in others,–the recognition of the omnipresent self. This is love. And it is with the children of the spirit, the servants of love, that the dragon of matter makes war.
The Tree of Life
The Tree of Life is the central will or divine life, the God, that is, whether of the universe or of the individual. The Tree of Knowledge is experience which comes of trespass, or a descent from the region of spirit to that of matter. It is thus Maya, or illusion; and the serpent, or tempter, is the impulse by yielding to which the inward reality of being is abandoned for the outward appearance, and idolatry is committed through the preference of the symbol to the verity of the form to the substance.
The Tree of Life signifies also the secret of regeneration, or final transmutation into pure spirit, and the consequent attainment of eternal life, which can come only when all the necessary processes have been performed, and the soul/Eve is once more pure and free, when she becomes “Mary.”
Springing from the heart of humanity, when its outer sense and reason and passions are laid in sleep, or mystic trance, Eve is the Sibyl, or “Mother”, who has the sacred tree in charge. Being tempted by the prospect of sensuous reward, she yields to the serpent of matter–or astral impulses–and communicates the Mysteries to the vulgar, and thereby loses her supremacy over men, and from being their mistress and ruler, becomes their slave, while the prophets, her offspring, are persecuted and slain, so that all her revelations and proper ministrations are made in pain and sorrow and labor.
The Female Soul
The clearest understanding may be obtained of the soul by defining it as the divine idea. Before anything can exist outwardly and materially, the idea of it must subsist in the divine mind. The soul, therefore, may be understood to be divine and everlasting in its nature. But the soul does not act directly upon matter. It is put forth by the divine mind; but the body is put forth by the sidereal or fiery body. As the spirit on the celestial plane is the parent of the soul, so the fire on the material plane begets the body.
At the moment when the soul appears in any hitherto inorganic entity, it is by means of the convergence of the magnetic poles of the constituent molecules of that entity. The focusing of these poles gives rise to a circular magnetic current, and an electric combustion is the result. This vital spark is organic life, or the soul.
The soul is formed by polarization of the elements of the astral body, and it is a gradual process; but when once formed it is capable of passing from one body to another. Imagine the magnetic forces of innumerable elements directed and focused to one center, and streams of electric power passing along all their convergent poles to that center. Imagine these streams so focused as to create a fire in that central part,–a kind of crystallization of magnetic force. This is the soul. This is the sacred fire of Hestia or Vesta, which burns continually. The body and person may fall away and disappear: but the soul, once begotten, is immortal unless its perverse will extinguish it. For the fire of the soul, or central hearth, must be kept alive by the higher air or divine breath, if it is to endure forever. It must converge, not diverge. If it diverge it will be dissipated. The soul, therefore, which ascends, tends more and more to union with the divine.
Hence, Demeter and her mysteries are of profound import and relate to secrets the most interior. As the force which causes spirit to become manifest as matter or earth, she is the Earth-Mother and the power whereby germination occurs. Constituting all that is fixed and solid, she is creation, or manifestation through action or motion, the invisible made visible. And to her is due the phenomenal or illusive by which her daughter Persephone–or the soul–is drawn outwards and downwards.
Illusion, the “fiery” or electric body generated of motion and operating as a veil to hide the inner reality, is maya (illusion) and glamour; and the soul following this is carried off to Hades by its ruler Pluto. Eating of the pomegranate (the “apple” of Eve), the volatile becomes alchemically fixed, the soul is incorporated with the body, and in part, at least, materialized, and is no longer “virgin” or pure, — wedded to flesh and sense. At the entreaty of her mother, who fears her total immersion in matter, and consequent final loss, Zeus grants that she may divide her existence between the two worlds or conditions, the earthly and the heavenly, being–while in the lower–Queen of the Shades or those who sleep, being unconscious of things spiritual.
The volatile or astral body, which is the immediate manifestation of the soul, is the daughter–or product–of motion; and motion is the daughter of time (Kronos or Saturn), and of substance, which is Rhea, or the Holy Spirit in its feminine aspect. This last is the Great Mother, the original Panthea. The production of the material body by the fixing of the particles of the volatile body comes of the reversal of the poles of those particles through the outward tendency of the will of the individual, and its separation or divergence from the divine or central will.
Origins of Evil
Creation is the projection of spirit into matter; and with this projection came the first germ of evil. We would have you know that there is no such thing as purely spiritual evil, but that evil is the result of the materialization of spirit. If you examine carefully all we have said to you concerning the various forms of evil, you will see that every form is the result of the limitations of matter. Falsehood is the limitation of the faculty of perception; selfishness is the result of the limitation of the power to perceive that the whole universe is but the larger self. It is true that God created evil; but yet it is true that God is spirit, and being spirit, is incapable of evil.
Matter is the intensification of idea. All things are made of God’s thought. God is spirit, and the substance of things. Two forces are ever in operation; the centrifugal and the centripetal, and they are one and the same that rebound back to God. Creation is ever being projected from God as from a luminous center; it is always being drawn back again also.
God is perception itself. God is universal percipience. God is both that which sees and that which is seen. If we all could see all, hear all, touch all, and so forth, there would be no evil, for evil comes of the limitation of perception. Such limitation was necessary, if God was to produce aught other than God. Aught other than God must be less than God. Without evil, therefore, God would have remained alone. All things are God, according to the measure of the spirit in them. The nearest of all to God is a woman.
The Nature of the Human Being
It is that mode of the mind whereby, after exercising itself in an outward direction as intellect, in order to obtain cognition of phenomena, it returns towards its center, as intuition, and in ascertaining the essential idea of the fact apprehended through the senses, completes the process of its thought. And just as only by the combined and equal operation of the modes termed centrifugal and centripetal, of force, the solar system is sustained; so only by the equilibrium of the modes, intellectual and intuitional, of the mind, can man complete the system of his thought, and attain to certitude of truth.
Grace, or luminance of the spirit, is the baptism of fire which, falling from on high, sanctifies and consummates the results of the baptism of water springing from the earth to be illumined by this inward light to be united with this abiding divinity.
The four elements which constitute the human being are, counting from without inwards, the material body, the fluidic astral body, the soul or individual, and the spirit (divine Father) – life of his system.
The modes whereby the intuition operates are two, namely, perception and memory. By the former, man understands and interprets; by the latter, he retains and utilizes. Perceiving, recollecting, and applying, the mind enacts for itself a process analogous to that which occurs in the physical organism. For its operations correspond to the three physiological processes of nutrition – prehension, digestion, and absorption.
Placed as is the soul between the outer and the inner, mediator between the material and the spiritual, she looks inwards as well as outwards, and by experience learns the nature and method of God; and according to the degree of her elevation, purity, and desire, she sees, reflects, and transmits God. It is in virtue of the soul’s position between the worlds of substance and of phenomenon, and her consequent ability to refer things to their essential ideas, that in her, and her alone, resides an instrument of knowledge competent for the comprehension of truth which she alone is able to behold face to face.
The first and lowest mode of power is the mechanical; the second is the chemical; the third is the electrical – an order which includes the mental; and the fourth is the psychical. The first three belong to the domain of physiological science; the last to that of spiritual science. It is this last mode of power which belong to the “immaculate” and essential. It is inherent in the substantial, and is, therefore, a permanent and indefeasible quantity. It is in the Arche and is wherever there is organic life. Thus, is psyche at once the “living mother” and “mother of the living.” And she is from the beginning latent and diffused in all matter. She is the unmanifest, by the divine will made manifest; the invisible, by energy made visible. Wherefore every manifested entity is a trinity of force, substance, and the expression or “word” of these.
Of this energy, or primordial force, there are two modes, the centrifugal, or accelerating force, and the centripetal, or moderating force; of which the latter, in being derivative, reflex, and complementary, is feminine to the other’s masculine. By means of the first mode, substances become matter. By means of the second mode, substance resumes her first condition.
In all matter there is a tendency to revert to substance, and hence to polarize soul by means of evolution. For the instant the centrifugal mode of force comes into action, that instant its derivative, the centripetal force, begins also to exercise its influence. The primordial substance has no sooner assumed the condition of matter, than matter itself begins to differentiate – being actuated by its inherent force – and by differentiation to beget individualities. Then psyche, once abstract and universal, becomes concrete and individual, and through the gate of matter issues forth into new life. A minute spark in the globule, she becomes – by continual accretion and centralization – a refulgent blaze in the globe.
The essential principle of personality – that which constitutes personality in its highest sense – is consciousness, is spirit; and this is God. Wherefore the highest and innermost principle of every monad is God. By means of creation God the One becomes God the Many.
We have spoken of an outer personality and an inner personality, and of a material consciousness as differing from a spiritual consciousness. We have now to speak of a spiritual energy as differing from a material energy. The energy whereby the soul polarizes and accretes, is not dependent upon the undulations of the ether as are material energies. The astral ether is the first state of matter. And to the first state of matter corresponds the primordial force, the rotatory, or centrifugal and centripetal in one. But before and within force is will; that is, necessity, which is the will of God. It is inherent in substance, which is the medium in which it operates. Such as the primordial will is in relation to the primordial substance, the individual will is to the derived soul. And when the current of spiritual energy, or will, is strong enough in the complex organism to polarize and kindle centrally, then the individual psyche conceives divinity within her and becomes God – conscious.
The Nature of God
God unmanifest and abstract is the primordial mind, and the cosmic universe is the ideation of that mind. Mind in itself is passive; it is organ, not function. Idea is active; it is function. As soon, therefore, as mind becomes operative, it brings forth ideas, and these constitute existence. Mind is abstract; ideas are concrete. To think is to create. Every thought is a substantial action.
Spiritual consciousness redeems man from the condition of non-entity, by withdrawing him inward from materiality and negation, and disclosing to him a noumenal, and, therefore, stable ego, as the cognizer of the unstable states of his phenomenal ego. The recognition of this noumenal ego in himself involves the recognition of a corresponding ego, of which it is the counterpart, without himself: – involves, that is, the perception of God. For the problem of the ego in man is the problem also of God in the universe. The revelation of one is the revelation of both, and the knowledge of either involves that of the other. Wherefore for man to know himself, is to know God. Self-consciousness is God-consciousness. He who possesses this consciousness, is, in such degree, a mystic.
Hence the radiant point of the complex ego must be distinguished from its perceptive point. The first is always fixed and immutable. The second is mutable; and its position and relations vary with different individuals. The consciousness of the soul, or even of the mind may lie beyond the range of the perceptive consciousness. As this advances and spreads inwards, the environment of the ego concerned expands; until, when, finally, the perceptive point and the radiant point coincide, the ego attains regeneration and emancipation.
The Great Work
Of the four constituent spheres of the planet one subsists in two conditions, present and past. This is its magnetic atmosphere or astral soul, called the Anima Mundi. In the latter condition it is the picture-world wherein are stored up all the memories of the planet; its past life, its history, its affections and recollections of physical things. The adept may interrogate this phantom-world, and it shall speak for him. It is the cast-off vestment of the planet; yet it is living and palpitating, for its very fabric is spun of psychic substance, and its entire parenchyma is magnetic. And forasmuch as the planet is an entity ever being born and ever dying; so this astral counterpart of itself, which is the mirror of the globe, a world encompassing a world is ever in process of increase.
Salt was, in alchemic terminology, a synonym for matter. This transformation into salt is the converse of the “Great Work”; it is the fixation of the volatile. The Great Work is, in alchemic science, the volatilization of the fixed. By this act of depolarization, the soul imprisons herself definitely in the body, and becomes his subject until that “redemption” for which, says Paul, “all creation groans and travails in the pain of desire.”
It is through the soul, and the soul only, that man learns the divine will, and learning it, saves himself. And the clearness with which the soul, on her part, discerns and transmits that will, depends upon her purity. In this word purity lies the essence of all religion. It is the burden of the whole Bible and of all bibles. Always is purity insisted on as the means to salvation; always impurity as the cause of condemnation. To this uniformity of doctrine, the Parable of the Fall is no exception. With the soul pure, man dwells in Eden and “sees God.” With the soul impure, he is driven forth into the wilderness.
Salvation and condemnation are matters of spiritual gravitation. Man tends towards or away from God – the Tree of Life – according to the specific gravity of his soul. Of this the density depends upon the nature of the affections cultivated by him. And this depends upon his own Will, which is free. Wherefore, in being the regulator of his own specific gravity, he is the arbiter of his own destiny; and according as he himself wills, he tends inwards and upwards to salvation, or outwards and downwards to extinction.
While there is life in psyche, there is hope for the human spirit; but only through a return to purity. For only when she has regained her “virginity” and become “immaculate,” can the Christ – his savior – be born of her.
The stars which surround Sophia are the jewels of her crown, each of them denoting one of the “twelve labors” necessary to be endured by the soul on her path to her final perfection and the spiritual gifts and graces acquired in the process.
Under their rule, the “New Jerusalem,” or state of perfection, which “cometh down from heaven,” – the city which has God for its sun, and which has no temple because every man is himself a house of God – replaces the lost garden of Eden.
The Path of Ascension
The seeker descries at length a mount, towards the summit of which the sky appears to dip, so that by the meeting of the two a junction is formed between the earth and heaven. Thus does it appear to the interior vision, with which, to be a successful follower of such quest, the seeker must be endowed. That which he finds on reaching the mount, is a community of beings, of both sexes, to the ordinary eyes human, but to the interior divine also. And the life they lead – though outwardly quiet, grave, uneventful, and, as some would deem it, even ascetic – in reality throbs with intense vitality, abounds in enterprise the most lofty, and brims with keenest satisfaction.
For, of this community the members are, of all mankind, the profoundest of intelligence, widest of culture, ripest of experience, tenderest of heart, purest of soul, mature of spirit. They are persons who – using life without abusing it, and having no perverse will to the outer – having learned all that the body has to teach, and who, rising above earth by the steadfast subordination of their lower, and exaltation of their higher nature, have at length – to use their own most ancient and significant phrase – crucified in themselves the flesh, and thereby made of their bodies instruments, instead of masters, for their souls, and means of expression, instead of sources of limitation, for their spirits. Thus rising above the earth, they have drawn down heaven to meet them; and, like the resolving rain-cloud of tropic seas, formed a pillar of communication between the spheres upper and nether.
An order, or school, to these compose, whereof the initiates, while honoring the human as the heir of all things – if only he be lawfully begotten and be a true child of the Spirit – specially champion the woman, by exalting her within themselves to share supremacy with the man, making themselves at once man and woman. For together with the intellect, they cherish also the intuition, together with the head, the heart, and combining in all things love with will, make it their one object to enable the substance of their humanity to attain in them the full manifestation of its qualities.
Practitioners as well as preachers of the doctrine of creation by development, and fearless followers of thought to its most extreme spheres in every direction, they are the earth’s sole genuine evolutionists and free-thinkers; and to them alone, and those who, affiliated to them, know and follow their method, it is given, while in the body, to live the life of the Spirit; to reach their intellectual adulthood; to complete the system of their thought, and find certitude of truth even the highest; to attain the supreme common sense of all the spheres and modes of being in which substance is wont to be manifested; and, in a word, to be taught of the Informing Spirit itself of universal humanity, all the mysteries of that kingdom which, being within, is the counterpart of and sole key to that which is without.
From this order, wherever established, have proceeded, as from a central sun, all the light and heat of knowledge and goodness which, distributed through faithful priesthoods, have ministered towards the world’s redemption from utter ignorance and barbarism to such degree of humanity as it has reached. From the germs of truth and beauty, in doctrine and conduct, idea and practice, thus originated, and transferred to various soils, has sprung all that the world has of true philosophy, morality, art, science, civilization, and religion. And in so far as the products have been lacking in excellence, the fault has been due, not to the original seed, but to the soil and to the husbandmen.
On the Nature of Woman
Man rose into man, and attained the full image of God, through the culture of the woman within him. Representing his soul and intuition of God, she was his initiator into the knowledge of divine things. And led by the clear perceptions which are her special gift when duly tended and honored, he learned to shun idolatry, and bloodshed, and with these whatever might serve to obscure or distort his conceptions of the divine feminine character.
Exalting the woman on the spiritual and intellectual planes of her manifestation in humanity, the wise man regarded her as a later and higher development upon himself, and as, of the two, the nearer to God. And richly did she repay him for the preference, so long as it was accorded to her. For through her he attained paradise. But as, when pure and uncorrupted, the soul is man’s initiator into things divine; when turning towards the things of sense, the soul loses her purity, she becomes his initiator into things evil, and gives him of the fruit of forbidden knowledge, making him a “sinner,” which, but for the soul, he could not be. For “by the law is the knowledge of sin,” and the law is given to the soul. The Fall, therefore, when at length it came, came not through any individual person, woman or man, but through the fault of man, and was due to the fall of the woman in himself. Following her intuition of God, he had ascended from the material, through the astral to the celestial, and became made in the “image of God.” Following her in her fall into matter, he descended by the same way to where he now is, his path being one continuous track of agony, tears, and blood, due solely to the suppression within himself of the “woman.”
At once the cause and consequence of the Fall, the manifestation of this suppression is always threefold. The loss of the intuition means idolatry, and idolatry means murder. Each of these is a condition of the other. Losing his intuition of spirit, man becomes a materialist, and instead of the spiritual idea, which alone is real, worships the visible symbol. That is, he ignores the soul and exalts the body of things. Exalting the body, he sacrifices all to the body, and sheds, for its gratification, innocent blood. Thus, he is murderer as well as idolater. The woman in him falling, he becomes “Cain,” a cultivator of “the fruits of the ground” only, or lower nature, whence proceeds all evil. In other words, for a doctrine of love he substitutes a doctrine of selfishness. For this is the sin of which bloodshed is the symbol and outcome.
The cry, then, is onward, upward, inward to the celestial. Happy will they be who first are uplifted thither, for they will surely draw all men up after them. Reversing the Fall and the Curse of Eve, they will lead Man to a new Golden Age, a new Sabbath of Perfection, and the glories of the New Jerusalem which comes down from the heaven of his own pure ideal. Thus will the divine Virgin Astraea – forced to quit earth when the Golden Age was no more – fulfil the promise of her return, bringing her progeny of divine sons, to redeem the world.
It is according to the divine order of nature that the soul should control the body. For, as a manifested entity, man is a dual being, consisting of soul and body; and of these, in point both of duration and function, and therefore in all respects of value, the precedence belongs to the soul. For the soul is the real, permanent individual, the self, the everlasting, substantial idea, of which the body is but the temporary residence and phenomenal expression. The soul, nevertheless, has, properly speaking, no will of her own, since she is feminine and negative. And she is therefore, by her nature, bound to obey the will of some other than herself. This other can be only the spirit or the body; – the within and the above, which is divine, and is God; or the without and the below, which, taken by itself and reduced to its last expression, is the “devil.” It is, therefore, to the Spirit and soul as one, that obedience is due.
Hence, in making the body the seat of the will, the man revolts, not merely against the soul, but against God; and the soul, by participation, does the same. Of such revolt the consequence is disease and misery of both soul and body, with the liability, ultimately, to extinction of the soul as well as of the body. For the soul which persistently rejects the divine will in favor of the bodily will, sins mortally, and, becoming mortal, at length dies.
The result, on the other hand, of the soul’s steadfast aspiration towards God – the spirit, that is, within her – and of her consequent action upon the body, is that this also becomes so permeated and suffused by the spirit, as, at last, to have no will of its own, but to be in all things one with its soul and spirit, and to constitute with these one perfectly harmonious system, of which every element is under full control of the central will. It is this unification, occurring within the individual, which constitutes the atonement. And in him in whom it occurs in its fullest extent, nature realizes the ideal to attain which she first came forth from God. For in the man thus redeemed, purified, and perfected in the image of God, and having in himself the power of life eternal, she herself is vindicated and glorified, and the divine wisdom is justified of her children.
The Role of Redemption
The process of ascension is one which each individual must accomplish in and for himself. For, being an interior process, consisting in self-purification, it cannot be performed from without. Perfection is attained through experience, which implies suffering. For this reason, the man who is reborn in us of “water and the spirit,” – our own regenerate self, the Christ Jesus and Son of Man, who in saving us is called the captain of our salvation – is said to be made perfect through suffering. This suffering must be borne by each man for himself. To deprive any one of it by putting the consequences of his acts upon another, so far from aiding that one, would be to deprive him of his means of redemption.
There are two senses in which the term Fall is used, each of them having relation to an indispensable epoch in the process of the universe. The one is the fall of spirit, the other of the soul. The first occurs in the universal and concerns the macrocosm. The second occurs in the individual and concerns the microcosm. The first and general descent of spirit into matter consists in that original projection of the divine substance from pure being into the condition of existence, whereby spirit becomes matter, and creation occurs.
The doctrine which regards the universe as the thought of God, is a true doctrine. But the universe is not therefore unsubstantial. God is real being, and that which God thinks is also God. Wherefore, in consisting of the thought of the divine mind, the universe consists of the substance of that mind, the substance, that is, of God. God’s ideas, like God, are real beings, divine personages, that is, gods. Put forth by, and, in a sense divided from, God, in order to accomplish God’s purposes, these become messengers of God, that is, angels. And, of them, those to whom is assigned a condition below that of God – a condition no longer of spirit – are called “fallen angels.” Wherefore the “fall of the angels” denotes simply the original and cosmic descent of spirit into the condition of matter – the precipitation, that is, of the divine substance from a state of pure being, into the various elements and modes which are comprised in and which constitute existence or creation.
Creation is not as ordinarily supposed, a making out of that which is not, but a manifestation or putting forth – by the conversion of essence into things – of that which already is, but which subsists unmanifest. It is true, that prior to such manifestation, there is no thing. But this is not because there is nothing; but because before things can exist, the ideas of them must subsist. For a thing is the result of an idea, and except as such cannot exist. Thus, matter, as the intensification, or densification, of idea, is a mode of the divine consciousness, put forth through an exercise of the divine will and being so, it is capable, through an exercise of the divine love, of reverting to its original, unmanifest condition of spirit. The recall of the universe to this condition constitutes the final redemption or “restitution of all things.” And it is brought about by the operation of the divine spirit within the whole.
Although redemption, as a whole, is one, the process is manifold, and consists in a series of acts, spiritual and mental. Of this series, the part wherein the individual finally surrenders his own exterior will, with all its exclusively material desires and affections, is designated the passion. And the particular act whereby this surrender is consummated and demonstrated is called the crucifixion. This crucifixion means a complete, unreserved surrender – to death, if need be – without opposition, even in desire, on the part of the natural man. Without these steps there is no atonement. The man cannot become one with the spirit within him, until by his “passion” and “crucifixion”, he has utterly vanquished the “old Adam” of his former self. Through the atonement made by means of this self-sacrifice he becomes as one without sin, being no more liable to sin; and is qualified to enter, as his own high-priest, into the holy of holies of his own innermost. For thus he has become of those who, being pure in heart, alone can face God.
The “passion” and “crucifixion” have their immediate sequel in the death and burial of the self thus renounced. And these are followed by the resurrection and ascension of the true immortal human and new spiritual Adam, who by his resurrection proves himself to be – like the Christ – “virgin-born”, in that he is the offspring, not of the soul and her traffic with matter and sense, but of the soul become “immaculate,” and of her spouse, the spirit. The ascension, with which the drama terminates, is that of the whole human, now regenerate, to his own celestial kingdom within himself, where – made one with the spirit – he takes his seat forever “at the right hand of the Father.”
Known as the Kabbalistic philosophy, it was a philosophy – or rather a science – based upon the recognition in nature of a universal substance, which man can find and “effect”, and in virtue of which he contains within himself the seed of his own regeneration, a seed of which – duly cultured – the fruit is God, because the seed itself also is God. Wherefore, the “hermetic science” is the science of God.
In order to gain “power and the resurrection”, a man must, first of all, be a hierarch. This is to say, he must have attained the magical age of thirty-three years, having been, in the mystic sense of the terms, immaculately conceived, and born of a king’s daughter; baptized with water and with fire; tempted in the wilderness, crucified and buried, having born five wounds on the cross. He must, moreover, have answered the riddle of the Sphinx. To attain the requisite age, he must have accomplished the twelve labors symbolized in those of Heracles and in the signs of the Zodiac; passed within the twelve gates of the Holy City of his own regenerate nature; overcome the five senses; and obtained dominion over the four elements. Achieving all that is implied in these terms, “his warfare is accomplished”, he is free of matter, and will never again have a phenomenal body.
He who shall attain to this perfection must be one who is without fear and without desire, save towards God; who has courage to be absolutely poor and absolutely chaste; to whom it is all one whether he have money or whether he have none, whether he have house and lands or whether he be homeless, whether he have worldly reputation or whether he be an outcast. Thus is he voluntarily poor, and of the spirit of those of whom it is said that they inherit the kingdom of heaven. It is not necessary that he have nothing; it is necessary only that he care for nothing. Against attacks and influences of whatever kind and coming from whatever quarter without his own soul’s kingdom, he must impregnably steel himself. If infortune be his, he must make it his fortune; if poverty, he must make it his riches; if loss, his gain; if sickness, his health; if pain, his pleasure. Evil report must be to him good report; and he must be able to rejoice when all men speak ill of him. Even death itself he must account as life. Only when he has attained this equilibrium is he “free.” Meanwhile, he makes abstinence, prayer, meditation, watchfulness and self-restraint to be the decades of his rosary. And knowing that nothing is gained without toil, or won without suffering, he acts ever on the principle that to labor is to pray, to ask is to receive, to knock is to have the door open, and so strives accordingly.
To gain power over death, there must be self-denial and governance. Such is the “excellent way”, though it be the Via Dolorosa. He only can follow it who accounts the resurrection worth the passion, the kingdom worth the obedience, the power worth the suffering. And he, and he only, does not hesitate, whose time has come.
And hence it is also, that, in order to be made in the image of God; the individual must comprise within himself the qualities masculine and feminine of existence, and be, spiritually, both man and woman. Man is perfect only when the whole humanity is manifested in him; and this occurs only when the whole spirit of humanity – that is God – is manifested through him. Thus manifesting Himself, God, as the book of Genesis says, “creates man in His own Image, Male and Female.”
Man attains to the image of God in proportion as he comprehends the nature of God. Such knowledge constitutes, of itself, transmutation. For man is that which he knows. And he knows only that which he is. Wherefore the recognition, first of God as the Lord, and next of the Lord as the divine humanity, constitutes at once the means of salvation and salvation itself. This is the truth which makes free – the supreme mystery, called by Paul the “mystery of godliness.”
As the parent spirit – the nous, or divine mind – is God, so the product thought, or the “word,” as a Son of God, is also God. Nor does the divine procession cease at the first generation. Christ also is Son of God, and therefore God.
Intuition is the operation of the soul. The knowledge received through intuition from above, descending into the soul, fills it with the perception of the interior causes of things. The Gods announce it by their presence, and by illumination, and enable us to discern the universal order.
In virtue of intuitions two-foldness, this “vehicle” expresses the corresponding opposites, will and love, justice and mercy, energy and space, life and substance, positive and negative, in a word, male and female, both of which subsist in the divine nature in absolute plenitude and perfect equilibrium. Expressed in the divine idea – Adam Kadmon – the qualities masculine and feminine of existence are, in their union and co-operation, the life and salvation of the world; and in their division and antagonism, its death and destruction.
Woman being treated as an inferior part of humanity, it is not until she is, on all its planes, exalted, crowned, and glorified, that humanity, whether in the individual or in the race, can attain to Christhood, seeing that she, and not the “man,” is the bruiser of the serpent’s head, the last to be manifested, and therefore the first in dignity. For this reason, it is that only by the restoration of the woman, on all planes of her manifestation, can the equilibrium of man’s nature, destroyed at the “Fall,” be re-established.
In the promotion of this development enthusiasm is a prime factor. By means of it the man is elevated to that region, interior and superior, where alone serenity prevails and perception is unobstructed, where are the beginnings of the clues of all objects of his search, and where his faculties are at their best, inasmuch as it is their native place, and they are there exempt from the limitations of the material organism. Attaining thus to his full altitude he no longer has need to reason and compare. For he sees and knows, and his mind is content. For him, in the divine order of his spiritual system, “the woman is carried to the throne of God.” The Zeus and Hera of his own celestial kingdom are wedded. The Adam, perfected, has found an infallible Eve. Existence is a garden of delights, whereof the fruits are the “golden apples” of knowledge and goodness. For the intellect and intuition – divine man and woman of his perfected humanity – are at one in the blissful home of his parent spirit, the within or fourth dimension of space, whence all things have their procession, and where alone, therefore, they can be comprehended.
The mystic, discerning through intuition the spiritual nature of the substance of existence, recognizes himself, not as superior to that from which he has sprung, but as a limitation and individuation of that which itself is unlimited and universal, even the absolutely pure and perfect spirit which is no other than God. Knowing himself to be thence derived and sustained, and only temporarily, and for a purpose conceived in infinite love and executed in infinite wisdom, subjected to inferior conditions, he yearns towards the whole of which he is a part, as a child towards its necessary parent, and strives, by divesting himself of the withholding influences of matter, to rise into nearer resemblance to and contact with his divine original.
He who knows not love, is not yet man. For he has yet to develop in him that which alone completes and makes the man, namely, the woman. Herein is the full solution of the mystery of the mystic’s enthusiasm, and of the materialist’s inability to comprehend it. The one is already man, and, knowing what being is, loves. The other is not yet man, and, incapable of love, has all to learn.
Meeting the Masculine and Feminine Trinities
By the vision of God as the Lord, the seer knows also that of this celestial kingdom within, the king is also the queen; that, in respect of form no less than of substance, man is created in God’s “own image, male and female;” and that in ascending to and becoming “one with the Father,” man ascends to and becomes one with the Mother.
That which in the current presentation of the doctrine of the Trinity is termed the Father and First Person in the Godhead, is really the Father-Mother. And that which is theologically said to be begotten of them and called the Second Person and Son, is also dual, being not “Son” merely, but prototype of both sexes.
Having for Father the spirit which is life, and for Mother the great deep which is substance, Christ possesses the potency of both, and wields the dual powers of all things. And from the Godhead thus constituted proceeds, through Christ, the uncreated creative spirit, the informer and fashioner of all things. This spirit it is who, theologically, is called the Holy Ghost, and the Third Person, the aspect of God as the Mother. This knowledge having been ignored or suppressed by a priesthood desirous of preserving a purely masculine conception of the godhead.
The necessary method of the divine evolution and procession, for both macrocosm and microcosm, is duly set forth in the very commencement of the book of Genesis; being expressed in the words: – “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters: and God said, Let there be Light, and there was Light.”
Whenever and wherever creation – or manifestation by generation – occurs, God the Father co-operates with God the Mother – as force, moving in substance – and produces the utterance, word, logos, Christ, or Adonai – at once God and the expression of God. And of this logos the Holy Spirit, in turn, is the expression or creative medium. For, as Adonai is the word or expression whereby is manifested God, so the Holy Spirit, or primal light – itself sevenfold – is the radiance whereby is revealed and manifested the Lord.
The manifestation of the Lord – which also is the manifestation of God – occurs through the working in substance of the Elohim or seven spirits of God from whose number first of all the number seven derives its sanctity. They are the Powers under whose immediate superintendence creation, whether of great or small, occurs. And of them is the whole of the divine substance pervaded – the substance of all that is.
This is the order of the divine procession: first the unity, or “darkness” of the “invisible light.” Second, the duality, the spirit and deep, or energy and space. Thirdly, the Trinity, the Father, the Mother, and Their joint expression or “Word.” Last, the plurality, the sevenfold light and Elohim of God. Such is the “generation” of the heavens or celestial region, both in the universal and in the individual. Within the experience of each individual lies the possibility of the verification thereof. For in due time, to each who seeks for it, “the Holy Spirit teaches all things, and brings all things to remembrance.”
With mighty enthusiasm engendered in him of the spirit, the component consciousnesses of the initiates system become more and more completely polarized towards their divine center, and the animating, divine spirit of the man, from being diffused, latent, and formless, becomes concentrated, manifest, and definite. For, bent on the highest, the astral does not long detain him; and soon he passes the Cherubim – the guardians from without of the celestial – and enters within the veil of the holy of holies. Here he finds himself amid a company innumerable of beings each manifestly divine; for they are the angels and archangels, principalities and powers, and all the hierarchy of the “Heavens.” Pressing on through these towards the center, he next finds himself in the presence of a light so intolerable in its luster as to drive him back from any further quest. Of those who reach thus far, many adventure no farther, but, appalled, retire, well content, nevertheless, to have been privileged to approach, and actually to behold, the “Great White Throne” of the Almighty.
Enshrined in this light is a form radiant and glorious beyond all power of expression. For it is “made of the substance of light;” and the form is that of the “Only Begotten,” the Logos, the Idea, the Manifestor of God, the Personal Reason of all existence, the Lord God of Hosts, the Lord Adonai, Christ.
Thus projecting and recalling, expanding and contracting, Adonai (Christ) fulfils the functions expressed in the mystical formula “Solve et Coagula.” So also in constitution and form, Adonai is dual, comprising the two modes of humanity, and appearing to the beholder alternately masculine and feminine according as the function exercised is of man or the woman, and is centrifugal or centripetal. As the beholder acquires clearer vision, he discovers that, of the images thus combined, while one is manifested the more fully exteriorly, the other appertains rather to the interior, and shines in a measure through its fellow, itself remaining meanwhile in close contiguity to the heart and spirit. And whereas of these forms the inner is the feminine, the beholder learns that of the two modes of humanity, womanhood is the nearer to God.
Anna Kingsford’s Clothed With the Sun
It is said that Anna Kingsford was in contact with fairies as a child. As an adult she had channeled visions, both waking and in lucid dreams, in which she tapped esoteric knowledge imparted by angelic beings, travelled in time, and witnessed shamanistic visions of a vast cosmos alive at every scale of creation. These ‘illuminations’, as she called them, were exhausting and sometimes terrifying. Her close collaborator Edward Maitland worked with Anna to record her illuminations in the book, Clothed With the Sun, published after her death.
Anna Kingsford’s illuminations are consistent, coherent, and display a deep understanding of occult traditions. Her theology could be described as “Gnostic Christian Polytheist.” She had a radical viewpoint which seems fresh even today, one in which a Goddess figure, the ‘Sophia’ of the Essenes, Gnostics and early Christians has a central role as the daughter of the highest Goddess who is the sibling of Jesus Christ, the son of the highest God.
Selections from: Clothed With the Sun
God is a pure and naked fire burning in infinity, whereof a flame subsists in all creatures. The cosmos is a tree having innumerable branches, each connected with and springing out of various boughs, and these again originating in one stem, and nourished by one root. And God is as a fire burning in this tree, and yet consuming it not. God is “I AM.” Such is the nature of infinite and essential being. And such is God in the beginning before the worlds.
The passion of the spirit is a fierce upward burning towards spirit; a force bursting forth and leaping into life; a vehement taking of heaven by heavenly violence. This is zeal. But the passion of the astral is a fierce burning downward through the body; a force translating itself in material action; a furious and blind collision of matter with matter.
God is the primordial mind, and the cosmic universe and its manifestations are the ideas of that mind. Mind in itself is passive; it is organ, not function. Idea is active; it is function. As soon as mind begins to act, it brings forth ideas, and these constitute existence. Mind is abstract; ideas are concrete. When you think, you create. Every thought is a substantial action.
The first state of matter is ether. But psyche is within and before the ether; therefore, is she rightly termed “immaculate.” And to the first state of matter corresponds a first mode of force, that is rotatory, the centrifugal and centripetal in one. But before and within force is will;–that is necessity. Necessity is the will of God. This will is spiritual force. It is inherent in psyche, and she is the medium in which it operates. Such as the primordial will is in relation to the primordial substance, so is the individual will in relation to the derived soul. And when the current of spiritual energy (or will) is strong enough in the complex organism to polarize and kindle centrally, then the individual psyche conceives divinity in her womb, and becomes God-conscious.
Accomplishing the Great Work
Jesus being asked when the Kingdom of God should come, answered, “When two shall be as one, and that which is without as that which is within.” In saying this, he expressed the nature of the Great Work. The two are spirit and matter; the within is the real invisible; the without is the illusory visible.
There is a power by means of which the outer may be absorbed into the inner. There is a power by means of which matter may be ingested into its original substance. He who possesses this power is Christ, and he has the devil under foot. For he reduces chaos to order and draws in the external to the center. He has learned that matter is illusion, and that spirit alone is real. He has found his own central point; and all power is given unto him in heaven and on earth.
Renounce vanity, and be poor; renounce praise, and be humble; renounce luxury and be chaste; renounce thy own will and let the Law of God only be within thee; renounce doubt; pray always and faint not; be pure of heart also, and thou shalt see God.
We must find the force which solves, transmutes, and divines; the bread of heaven which is the substance of all things and the food of angels; the table of the law, which is the will of God, written with the finger of the Lord.
The One Life
The elemental kingdoms represent spirit on its downward path into matter. There are three of these before the mineral is reached. These are the formless worlds before the worlds of form. They are in the planet, and also in humanity.
All the planets inhabited by manifest forms are themselves manifest. After the form-worlds come other formless worlds, caused by the upward arc of ascending spirit; but these also are in the planet. They are also in the human being and are the states of pure thought.
Each round takes the one life higher in the spiral. Neither the planet-soul nor humanity goes over the same ground again. But a perverse and disobedient will may reverse the direction of the spiral.
In the celestial the one life is the Elohim; and the will is the Father. The one life is manifest by effulgence (the Son). So then, the will begets in substance the effulgence which is the manifestation of the one life. In man and the planet, the effulgence is dim and diffuse until it moves into the soul; then Christ is born. The one life is invisible until Christ manifests it in the Father-Mother latently, until manifest by the Son (effulgence).
Will, when it is derived through existence, begets karma and God is karma in the channel of initiation. The perfect man saves himself and saves others by this righteousness. The two terms of existence are creation and redemption; the first is God’s work, the second is the work of Christ – God in humans.
There is no enlightenment from without; the secret of things is revealed from within. From without comes no divine revelation; but the spirit within bears witness.
None is a prophet save he who knows; the instructor of the people is a person of many lives. Inborn knowledge and the perception of things, these are the sources of revelation; the soul of the man instructs him, having already learned by experience. Intuition is inborn experience; that which the soul knows of old and of former years.
Illumination is the light of wisdom, whereby a man perceives heavenly secrets. This light is the spirit of God within the man, showing unto him the things of God. By prayer, by fasting, by meditation, by painful seeking, have you attained that which you know. There is no knowledge but by labor; there is no intuition but by experience.
The personality of the poet is divine; and being divine it hath no limits. He is supreme and ubiquitous in consciousness; his heart beats in every element. The pulses of all the infinite deep of heaven vibrate in his own heart-beat; and responding to their strength and their plenitude, he feels more intensely than others. Not merely he sees and examines these rocks and trees, these variable waters, and these glittering peaks; not merely he hears this plaintive wind, these rolling peals; but he is all these; and with them – nay, in them – he rejoices and weeps, and shines and aspires, and sighs and thunders. And when he sings, it is not he – the human – whose voice is heard; it is the voice of all manifold nature herself. In the poet’s verse the sunshine laughs; the mountains give forth their sonorous echoes; the swift lightnings flash. The great continual cadence of universal life moves and becomes articulate in human language.
The Mystic Theosophist
It is clear by reading the words of Anna Kingsford that she was uniquely inspired and original in her approach to spiritual questions. It is distinctive that Anna received her spiritual scientific wisdom from her own interactions with beings on the other side of the threshold between the physical world and the spiritual realms. There were no Theosophical “Masters” involved in her inspiration as there were with H. P. Blavatsky and her successor to the Theosophical Society, Annie Besant. Theosophy was the home to three of the most powerful women in society at that time.
Blavatsky had support from Henry Steele Olcott and Annie Besant worked closely with Charles Leadbeater to create their many books and pamphlets on Theosophy just as Anna Kingsford worked with Edward Maitland. Blavatsky and Besant claimed direct, physical contact with great masters from the East to substantiate their mystic claims of ancient wisdom. Anna simply wrote down what the spiritual world shared with her in clear, day-waking visions and revelations. Anna, like Annie Besant, wrote on many topics and under numerous pen-names. As one of the first female doctors in England, she set the stage for Maria Montessori to become the first female doctor in Italy. Both doctors studied in France and then returned to their own respective country. Montessori eventually came to live at the world headquarters of the Theosophical Society in Adyar, India, with her dear friend Annie Besant. These three women set the stage for women’s right throughout the world at that time. All were well known authors, social justice warriors, and spiritual leaders.
Anna Kingsford did not need the authority of masters to validate her revelations; the truth and wisdom in her words spoke for themselves. Anna suffered terribly throughout her adult life and this surely added to her abilities to cross the threshold and commune with higher beings. Her life was cut down at age 41 after long years of frailty and attempts to curb her weak constitution. Throughout it all, Edward was by her side recording every utterance of the spirit that came through Anna. Their interaction with the Theosophical Society led them to turn away from the notion of “Masters” and “Miracles” which they advertised would not be found in their new group, the Hermetic Society.
Anna and Edward wanted to make sure that their followers knew that they disapproved of knowledge gained from psychism, trance induced states of consciousness, and dubious associations with the several Eastern Masters that the Theosophists seemed obsessed with. Rudolf Steiner would later say that Blavatsky was, in fact, in an “occult prison” created for her by evil brotherhoods of the East that wished to control her work. Anna had some of those same concerns and certainly had difficulties with Blavatsky’s eccentric personality and psychic quirks. The letters between them indicate that there was no love lost between them.
Bringing forth Anna’s work from the obscurity of the ten thousand Theosophical books, that tend to induce more confusion than illumination, was the intent of this monograph. The mystical insight of Anna’s works stand out as a polished diamond amongst the heaps of esoteric Eastern jargon of the Theosophical Society. Anna’s two main contributions to the work of the many hundreds of Theosophical writers is her insight into the Cosmic Christ and His work with the Divine Feminine Trinity. Theosophy lacks Christ and degrades Christianity in favor of pre-Christian, pagan Mystery school wisdom. Though these Theosophical ideas were all quite correct and applicable during the ages when they were created, they tend now to be outdated and need a modern interpretation for the contemporary student of spiritual science. That is why Anna states that she brings the “gospel of interpretation” that takes the old Mystery initiation wisdom and “interprets” it for modern aspirants.
It is not good enough in our times to have mystical revelations and visions unless they can be interpreted through a new science of the spirit. We need a spiritual science that develops new sense organs that can penetrate the spiritual world and develop a language of the spirit to commune with the higher hierarchies. The wisdom of the past is a good foundation, but true spiritual communion should be personal, applicable, direct and place the aspirant into a continuing relationship with one’s own guardian angel and the ‘Spirit of the Time.’ This is what Anna Kingsford did in her personal life as an example of what the modern aspirant of the spirit should accomplish – interaction with higher beings. This was the source of her inspiration, her reciprocal symbiotic communion with the divine. It was from this realm that we were gifted with Anna’s intuitions about the spirits who support us and the spiritual world we are questing towards.
Seldom in any philosophy, religion, mythology or spiritual tradition do we find a woman so enflamed with the spirit and so inspired with her descriptions of speaking with and for the divine spiritual beings who surrounded her constantly. Anna would study great spiritual texts and then put the book down and have a vision of an angel that highlights the truths of the text, as well as the errors that needed to be reinterpreted for our modern age. Anna was a translator of the spirit whose supersensible organs of perception could witness the eternal and then poetically present wisdom that is philosophically profound and appropriate for our age.
The study of Anna Kingsford’s works is difficult but truly worth the effort. Only in the great works of writers like Novalis and AE will you find a poetry that opens vistas into the higher worlds like those found in The Perfect Way and Clothed With the Sun. In these works, you will find a beautiful vision of the Divine Feminine Trinity presented by a woman who thoroughly understood the esoteric traditions of the East and the West and could place Christianity in its rightful place while adding the quintessential component of a co-equal feminine trinity to a glorified male trinity. In Anna Kingsford’s work will you find the prophecy of the ‘Age of Woman’ which has evidently arrived as she predicted. If we can take up these new revelations with freedom and love, humanity will have a chance to open the channel of earthly and cosmic nutrition that feeds both the divine and physical realms just as we saw with the inspiration of Anna. Diligent study of the words of Anna Kingsford will build a sure foundation upon which the spiritual science of a questing aspirant can construct the edifice of their own spiritual nature.
Anna Kingsford’s obituary by H. P. Blavatsky
This is the obituary notice written by Helena Blavatsky of Anna Kingsford’s death in Lucifer, the Theosophical newsletter of March, 1888.
“We have this month to record, with the deepest regret, the passing away from the physical world of one who more than any other has been instrumental in demonstrating to her fellow-creatures the great fact of the conscious existence – hence of the immortality – of the inner Ego.
“We speak of the death of Mrs. Anna Kingsford, M.D., which occurred on Tuesday, February 22, after a somewhat painful and prolonged illness. Few women have worked harder than she has, or in more noble causes; none with more success in the cause of Humanitarianism. Hers was a short but a most useful life. Pity and justice to animals were among Mrs. Kingsford’s favorite texts when dealing with this part of her life’s work; and by reason of her general culture, her special training in the science of medicine, and her magnificent intellectual power, she was enabled to influence and work in the way she desired upon a very large proportion of those people who listened to her words or read her writings. Few women wrote more graphically, more takingly, or, possessed a more fascinating style.
“Mrs. Kingsford’s field of activity, however, was not limited to the purely physical, mundane plane of life. She was a Theosophist, and a true one at heart; a leader of spiritual and philosophical thought, gifted with most exceptional psychic attributes. In connection with Mr. Edward Maitland, her truest friend – one whose incessant watchful care has undeniably prolonged her delicate, every-threatened life for several years, and who received her last breath – she wrote several books dealing with metaphysical and mystical subjects. The first and most important was The Perfect Way; or, The Finding of Christ, which gives the esoteric meaning of Christianity. It sweeps away many of the difficulties that thoughtful readers of the Bible must contend with in their endeavors to either understand or accept literally the story of Jesus Christ as it is presented in the Gospels.
“She was for some time President of the London Lodge of the Theosophical Society, and after resigning that office she founded ‘The Hermetic Society’ for the special study of Christian Mysticism. She herself, though her religious ideas differed widely on some points from Eastern philosophy, remained a faithful member of the Theosophical Society, and a loyal friend to its leaders. Both she and Mr. Maitland resigned from the London Lodge, but not from the parent Society. She was one whose aspirations of whole life were ever turned towards the eternal and the true. A mystic by nature – the most ardent one to those who knew her well – she was still a very remarkable woman even in the opinion of the materialists and the unbelievers. For, besides her remarkably fine and intellectual face, there was that in her which arrested the attention of the most unobserving, and foreign to any metaphysical speculation. For, as Mrs. Fenwick Miller writes, ‘I have never known a woman so exquisitely beautiful as she who cultivated her brain so assiduously. I have never known a woman in whom the dual nature that is more or less perceptible in every human creature was so strongly marked – so sensuous, so feminine on the one hand; so spiritual, so imaginative, on the other hand.’
“The spiritual and psychic nature had always the upper hand over the sensuous and feminine, and the circle of her mystically inclined friends will miss her greatly, for such women as she are not numerous in the same century. The world in general has lost in Mrs. Kingsford one who can be very ill spared in this era of materialism. The whole of her adult life was passed in working unselfishly for others, for the elevation of the spiritual side of humanity. We can, however, in regretting her death, take comfort in the thought that good work cannot be lost or die, though the worker is no longer among us to watch for the fruit. And Anna Kingsford’s work will still be bearing fruit even when her memory has been obliterated with the generations of those who knew her well, and new generations will have approached the psychic mysteries still nearer.”
Works by Dr. Anna Bonus Kingsford and Edward Maitland
Works by Anna Kingsford in chronological order:
- Beatrice; A Tale of the Early Christians. Published under the name of A. Bonus (Anna Bonus Kingsford). Joseph Masters, London (Aldersgate Street and New Bond Street), 1863.
- River-Reeds. Poems; originally published anonymously, London, 1866. Joseph Masters, London, 1866.
- An Essay on the Admission of Women to the Parliamentary Franchise. Ninon (Anna) Kingsford. London: Trubner & Co., 1868.
- The Lady’s Own Paper (a Journal of Taste, Progress and Thought). Journal edited by Mrs. Algernon (Anna) Kingsford, 1872.
- In My Lady’s Chamber; a Speculative Romance Touching a Few Questions of the Day. of Colossa (Anna Kingsford). J. Burns, 15, Southhampton Row, Holborn, London, 1873.
- Rosamunda the Princess, an Historical Romance of the Sixth Century. Ninon (Anna) Kingsford. James Parker and Co., Oxford and London, 1875.
- The Perfect Way in Diet. Anna Kingsford. Kegan Paul, Trench & Co., London, 1881.
- The Perfect Way; or, the Finding of Christ. Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. Hamilton, Adams & Co., London, 1882.
- The Uselessness of Vivisection. Anna Kingsford. Nineteenth Century, February 1882.
- Address of the President – To the London Lodge of The Theosophical Society – October 21st, 1883. Anna Kingsford. Lecture published in: Theosophical History magazine, July, 1987.
- The Virgin of the World. A translation of Hermetic manuscripts. Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. George Redway, London, 1885.
- Astrology Theologized: the Spiritual Hermeneutics of Astrology and Holy Writ – A Treatise upon the Influence of the Stars on Man and on the Art of Ruling Them by the Law of Grace. Translation by Anna Kingsford from the original by Valentine Weigelius, dated 1649. George Redway, London, 1886.
- Health, Beauty and the Toilet: Letters to Ladies from a Lady Doctor. Anna Kingsford. Frederick Warne and Co., London and New York; 1886.
- Unscientific Science: Moral Aspects of Vivisection. Anna Kingsford. Article published in the work Spiritual Therapeutics; or, Divine Science by W.J. Colville, Educator Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888.
Works by or about Anna Kingsford Posthumously Published
- Dreams and Dream-Stories. Anna Kingsford. Edited by Edward Maitland. George Redway, London, 1888.
- Intima Sacra: a Manual of Esoteric Devotion. Compiled by E. M. Forsyth. David Stott, London: 370, Oxford Street, W. 1891.
- Clothed with the Sun: Being the Illuminations of Anna Bonus Kingsford. Anna Kingsford. Edited by Edward Maitland. John M. Watkins, London, 1889.
- Addresses and Essays on Vegetarianism. Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. Edited by Samuel Hopgood Hart. John M. Watkins, London, 1912.
- The Credo of Christendom: and other Addresses and Essays on Esoteric Christianity. Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. Edited by Samuel Hopgood Hart. John M. Watkins, London, 1916.
Works by Edward Maitland
- The Pilgrim and the Shrine; or, Passages from the Life and Correspondence of Herbert Ainslie. Edward Maitland. New Edition, John W. Lovell, New York, 1889.
- One Passed By! (Song). Words by Edward Maitland. Music by Virginia Gabriel. London, Ashdown & Parry, 18, Hanover Square, 1870.
- Higher Law. A Romance. Edward Maitland. Tinsley Brothers, London, 1871.
- Jewish Literature and Modern Education: or, The Use and Misuse of the Bible in the Schoolroom. Edward Maitland. Ramsgate, 1871.
- By and By: an Historical Romance of the Future. Edward Maitland. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 1873.
- The Keys of the Creeds. Edward Maitland. Trübner & Co., Ludgate Hill, London, 1875.
- England and Islam: or, The Counsel of Caiaphas. Edward Maitland. Tinsley Brothers, London, 1876.
- The Soul, and How It Found Me. Edward Maitland. Tinsley Brothers, London, 1877.
- How the World Came to an End in 1881. Published anonymously (Edward Maitland). Field & Tuer, London, 1884.
- The New Illuminatio. Edward Maitland. George Conway, London, 1886.
- The Modern Inquisition. Text published in the magazine The Path, Vol 5, n. 4, July 1890.
- The Bible’s Own Account of Itself. Edward Maitland. Ruskin Press, Birmingham, 1891.
- A Message to Earth. Edward Maitland. Lamley & Co., London, 1892.
- The New Gospel of Interpretation. Edward Maitland. Lamley & Co., London, 1892.
- The Appeal of the Esoteric Christian Union to the Churches and People of Christendom. Edward Maitland. London, 1893.
- Vivisection. Edward Maitland and Edward Carpenter. William Reeves, London, 1893.
- The Story of Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland and of the New Gospel of Interpretation. Edward Maitland. Samuel H. Hart. Ruskin Press, Birmingham, 1893.
- The Life of Anna Kingsford: Her Life, Letters, Diary and Work. Edward Maitland. George Redway, London, 1896.
Reblogged this on Blue Dragon Journal.
Solid scholarship on the whole, but I question whether the criticism of Valentin Tomberg is immanent. Did he not have direct spiritual contact with Sophia, out of which he in 1940 wrote the “God Our Mother”? There are also post-mortem messages given from him to the German anthroposophist and occultist Willy Seiss recorded by the latter in his Chakra Work, as yet untranslated, which shed light on the Sophia mysteries.
In your round of criticism of anthroposophical authors that purportedly fail to do justice to the Mothers, I miss the work of Robert Powell. Was it not worthy of being scrutinized?
But on the whole, as I mentioned, congratulations with this treatise on Anna Kingsford.
We have already written extensively about the fraudster Valentin Tomberg.
Thanks for your reply. Could you please inform me where and what you have written about Valentin Tomberg?
Ok, but where then?
Douglas wrote and spoke about Tomberg ad nauseum a few years ago. Betsy doesn’t have time to find it.
I am puzzled by the continual references to Christian revelations and ideas while describing dual Trinities and a feminine trinity. I do not recall any such teachings in the
Christian faith. These writings seem to suggest a very diversionary path to knowing and loving God, our Creator. In this sense, it is somewhat offensive to see classic Christian art, such as images of Mary, used in support of non-Christian philosophies.
You people do such a great job of digging out the back story of important daily events from around the world. I keep wondering how such topics as the gospel of Sophia
and “Meeting the Masculine and Feminine Trinities” fits in with the program. I do commend you and all who do the heavy lifting to keep us up to the minute on what is REALLY happening.
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