IN the preface to Dreams and Dream-Stories Mrs Kingsford speaks of the "priceless insights and illuminations," acquired by means of dreams which had elucidated for her many difficulties and enigmas of life, and even of religion, by throwing on them a light which penetrated to their very springs and causes. By far the greater number of the insights and illuminations thus referred to were received during the period of some fourteen years, in which it was my high privilege to collaborate with her in the work principally represented by our joint book, The Perfect Way; or, the Finding of Christ, having been expressly vouchsafed, first, to bring about our association in that work, and, next, to aid us in its accomplishment. Many of them were accordingly used, either in whole or in part, in our book,--those that were not so used being reserved either as not coming within its assigned scope, or because their publication at that time would, we were instructed, be premature. The present volume comprises both those which were so used,--such of them as were there given in part being here given in full,--and those also which were withheld -the motive for their reservation being no longer operative; together with others, some of which have appeared elsewhere, and some were received subsequently. And the publication is made in fulfilment of the twofold purpose of separating Mrs Kingsford's illuminations alike from her ordinary writings and from mine as her collaborator; and in accordance with her express injunctions, emphatically renewed on finding her departure imminent. The present volume, however, does not exhaust the store of similar treasures left by her, but only such portion as comports with the form of publication here adopted. There still remain sundry lectures 1 and occasional papers, and the majority of her conversations with her Genius; for, as is shown in this book, she was privileged in this respect far
in excess of any instance known to history;--conversations which, while also constituting illuminations, were of too personal a character for inclusion in these pages, comprising as they did not only instructions for guidance in circumstances of difficulty, but also intimations--fully borne out by evidence--respecting her own previous existences. For in this respect also Anna Kingsford was a demonstration of the great doctrine, the rehabilitation of which was an important part of her mission,--the doctrine of the pre-existence of the soul or Ego; of its persistence through all changes of form and conditions, and of its power, while still in the body, to recover and communicate to its exterior selfhood its recollections of its past existences. Belonging, however, to the category of the biographical rather than of the exegetical, all precise references in this relation are withheld from these pages, such allusions only being retained as are necessitated by the context.
Although the questions of the derivation and significance of the matter herein contained have been treated with considerable fulness in The Perfect Way,--particularly in the preface to the revised and enlarged edition, 1--some account is not the less called for here; and this, not only for the sake of those readers who may not have prior acquaintance with that book; but also because the removal of the personality concerned has made it possible to speak with greater explicitness than was fitting in her lifetime.
A comparatively brief statement, however, will suffice, since the questions to be satisfied are but two in number, and the answers to them will be addressed to such persons only as are already sufficiently developed, in respect of the consciousness of things spiritual, as at the least to be capable of entertaining propositions involving the reality of the region and experiences concerned. For this is a restriction which obviates the necessity of arguments and explanations, which could not be other than protracted, conceived in deference to those who, being totally devoid of the spiritual consciousness, are wont to make their own defect of sensibility an argument against such reality, and to regard denials based upon non-experience as effectually disposing of affirmations based upon experience.
The two questions to be elucidated are--(1) The source and method of these illuminations; and (2) the nature and import of the revelation contained in them, supposing it to be, as confidently
regarded by ourselves, a new and divine revelation. And this, whether judged by the method of its communication, or by its intrinsic nature. For the test, no less than the testimony, is twofold.
As respects the first head. These illuminations are in no way due to artificial stimulation of faculty, whether by means of drugs, or by "animal magnetism," "mesmerism," or "hypnotism," or to the induction of any abnormal state through the act of the recipient herself or of some other person; all that was or could be done on this behalf being the promotion of the interior conditions favourable to the reception of them. And these conditions consisted, not in the search for phenomenal experiences--though these would sometimes occur--but in the intense direction of the will and desire towards the highest, and an unchanging resolve to be satisfied with nothing less than the highest, namely, the inmost and central idea of the fact or doctrine to be interpreted; the motive also being the highest, namely, the emancipation, satisfaction, and benediction of souls, our own and those of others. As will be seen from this book, the majority of her illuminations were received during natural sleep, some in satisfaction of their recipient's own difficulties, and some in immediate response to needs and mental requests of mine, of which she had no cognisance and surpassing her ability to have satisfied. And not unfrequently the responses surpassed the ability of either of us to comprehend them at the time,--though invariably coming through the consciousness,--and only on our subsequent advance in perceptivity did they fully disclose their significance, thereby proving their independence of our own limitations. They never failed, however, sooner or later, to demonstrate themselves to us as necessary and self-evident truths, founded indefeasibly in the very nature of existence, and never did we finally accept and use them until thus demonstrated to and recognised by us both. And such, precisely, is the authority to which appeal is made on their behalf, and in no way to book, person or institution--however sacred or venerable--or even to the manner of their communication veritably miraculous though this was, as the term miracle is wont to be understood. For, to cite the preface to [the First Edition of] The Perfect Way, we held it to be "contrary to the nature of truth to prevail by force of authority, or of aught other than the understanding; since truth, how transcendent soever it be, has its witness in the mind, and no other testimony can avail it. . . .
What is indispensable is, that appeal be made to the whole mind, and not to one department of it only." Now, that mind only we had learnt to account a whole mind which comprises the two modes of the mind, the intellect and the intuition, and these duly trained and developed.
Having such derivation and character, these illuminations are the product, simply and purely, of the process which has ever, by those versed in Divine things, been recognised as that whereby Divine communication occurs,--namely, the spontaneous operation of the Spirit in a soul duly luminous and responsive. Through such operation the perceptive point of the mind is indrawn and uplifted to a sphere transcending both the physical and the astral or magnetic, and one altogether superior--because interior--to those accessible to the mere lucid, sensitive, or clairvoyant; in that it is the inmost and highest sphere of man's manifold nature, the celestial, or "kingdom within." Attaining to this degree of inwardness, the soul is "clothed with the sun" 1 of full intelligence, recovering all memories and discerning all principles and significations, in measure according to its capacity as developed by the experiences gained in its many earth-lives and in the intervals between, and is enabled also to communicate of them to its
To a certain writer who gave a personal application to the expression "Clothed with the Sun," and charged Edward Maitland with setting up a cultus of Anna Kingsford, Edward Maitland replied: "Our teaching throughout is an emphatic protest against precisely such a substitution of persons for principles as that would involve, and an emphatic affirmation of the duty to 'Worship God only.' And following this rule we declare the mystic woman of Holy Writ, to whom, in the Book of Revelation, the expression 'Clothed with the Sun' is applied, to be no person at all in the ordinary sense of that term, but to be the Soul and her Intuition, these constituting the feminine factor in man's spiritual and mental system. And it is in that sense that the expression is fitly made the title of a book which represents, in a measure transcending any other known to literature, the soul 'Clothed with the Sun' of full Illumination by the Divine Spirit, undimmed by the intrusion of lower elements, and constituting a full revelation from the spheres celestial, at once for the interpretation of the Scriptures of the past, and for the preservation of the world from error., arising from the delusive experiences of the present, such as those which, pretending to be spiritual, are spiritualistic only, and not of the soul and the celestial, but of the phantom and the astral, and such as, 'were it possible, would deceive the very elect'" (Letter Of E. M. in Light, 1894, p. 419. See also Letter of E. M. in Light, 1889, pp. 553-551). The command to "Worship God only" will be found in the illumination "Concerning the Three Veils between Man and God, Part I, No. 1. S. H. H.]
superficial personality. The condition is, moreover, one to enter which is to hold direct communion with the "spirits of the just made perfect," and to be qualified to become the mouthpiece of the Church invisible and triumphant. So many and of such kind were the experiences received by Mrs Kingsford that when, after conjecture had been exhausted in the endeavour to frame a satisfactory hypothesis concerning them, assurance at length came from her own angel-genius, declaring the method of this revelation to be entirely interior, in that his "client" was a "soul of vast experience, knowing all things of herself and needing not to be told; who was being divinely enabled to recover in this incarnation the memory of all that was in the past, expressly in order to give the world the benefit of the holy and inner truth of which she was the depositary";--so far from the statement--extraordinary and remote from anticipation as it was--being found difficult of credence, it was at once recognised as affording the only solution which reconciled all the difficulties and accounted for all the facts. 1
And so far, it may be well to add, from these experiences occurring in the first instance to persons predisposed to accept them, we were--both of us--at their commencement utterly sceptical as to their possibility, or as to there being any basis of reality for any spiritual phenomena whatsoever. Not that we were materialists. In neither of us had perception ever been at that low ebb. Rather were we idealists, but idealists who had yet to learn that the ideal is the real, and that the ideal world is a spiritual and personal world. They came, too--as already said-in course of a quest, not for phenomena, but for truth; and were possible only because
the veil of matter interposed between the worlds of sense and of reality had already, by dint of persistent earnest seeking inwards, and by the adoption of the mode of life 1 which has always, by proficients in spiritual science, been insisted on as essential to the higher perceptions, become for us so rare and tenuous as to be readily penetrable. The period, moreover, was anterior to that of the recent impulse given to such studies by the importation of kindred knowledges from the East. And from first to last our work was carried on in complete independence of extraneous sources and influences, such recourse as was had to books or to persons being on behalf of parallels, correspondences, and confirmations in regard to our own experiences and results.
The search for such parallels and confirmations in the records of the remote past proved satisfactory in a measure far surpassing aught that we had ventured to anticipate. For, over and above the full recognition of our methods, facts, and doctrines in quarters worthy the highest respect, we discovered clear and positive announcements, both Biblical and extra-Biblical, of precisely such an illumination to take place at the exact time of its occurrence to us, and possessing exactly the features by which it was characterised for us,--the event itself being variously described as constituting a new illumination, the return of the Gods, the reign of Michael, the breaking of the seals and opening of the Book, the Second Advent, the "number"--or period--of the "Beast"; and the end of the World,--each alike implying the downfall of the world's materialistic system, both in philosophy and in religion, through the demonstration of the falsity of the materialistic hypothesis. The period assigned was that from 1878 to 1882, and it was precisely the period of our reception of the chief part of our doctrine and of its first promulgation, The Perfect Way--which consists of lectures delivered in 1881--having been published in the winter of 1881-82. So that whether judged by the dates, or by the world's condition, nothing was wanting to the accomplishment of the predictions. And of these we knew only after the event.
To come to our second head--the nature and import of that which was thus received. It was from the very outset made clear to us--and every fresh accession of experience, perception, and knowledge served but to confirm the intimation--that the event
constituted nothing less than the re-delivery, from the source and by the method to which it was originally due, of the ardent revelation which, under the name of the Hermetic or Kabalistic Gnosis, constituted the Sacred Mysteries, and underlay and controlled the expression of all the sacred religions and Scriptures of antiquity, and formed at once a perfect system of thought and rule of life, in that it was founded in the very nature of existence as uniformly discerned under Divine illumination by the advanced souls of all times and places. From which it will be seen that the claim to be a new revelation does not imply a claim to be a new gospel, but a gospel only of interpretation, and therein of restoration and reconciliation. For the position maintained is that Christianity has failed, not because it was false, but because it has been falsified; its official guardians having, after the wont of their order, "taken away the key of knowledge (Gnosis), and not only not entered in themselves, but hindered those who would have entered in."
The following remarks on the chief points in this indictment of the Church visible on behalf of the Church invisible, will serve to facilitate the comprehension of this book.
Christianity--which is rightly definable as a symbolic synthesis of the fundamental truths contained in all religions--early fell into bad hands. Like its Founder, it was crucified between two thieves, who were no other than the types of its crucifiers. These were, on the one hand, Superstition, which is the distortion of spiritual perception; and on the other hand Materialism, which is the privation of spiritual perception. These are the "two beasts" of mystical Scripture, which come up, respectively, from the "sea" and the "earth," to ravage the hopes of humanity. And the two are one under the name of Sacerdotalism, being but varied modes of its manifestation. It was Sacerdotalism that crucified both Christ and the doctrine of Christ with its two hands Superstition and Materialism.
For, operating as Superstition, Sacerdotalism perverted into mystery, and rendered not merely unintelligible but irrational, a gospel which in itself was absolutely simple, obvious, and reasonable. This is the doctrine that the true life and substance of Humanity are not material and created, but spiritual and divine; and that it is possible for man, by co-operating with the spirit within him, and subordinating his lower nature to his higher, to rise wholly into and be reconstituted--which is "regenerated"--of his higher, and become thereby divine, having in himself the
power of life eternal. And that whereby this is effected--namely, inward purification--is the sole secret of the Christs. Wherefore he in whom this process finds full accomplishment, has and is Christ, and attains the summit of human evolution, the point of junction between Humanity and Divinity. Thus demonstrating to men in his own person their divine potentialities, and the manner of the realisation thereof, and by his loving self-devotion on their behalf softening their hearts and winning them to follow in his steps, he becomes their "Saviour." And that he is said to save them by his blood, is because "the blood is the life," and the true life-blood of the Christ is a spirit absolutely pure,--the inward God in the man,--and by the attainment of this pure spirit man is redeemed. And that the Christ is said to suffer and die for others, is because through his abounding sympathy he suffers even to death in and with them;--not instead of them--"for" does not here mean "instead of"--for that would be to deprive them of their means of redemption, since only through his own suffering can anyone repent and become perfected.
This doctrine, so reasonable and obvious, and satisfying alike to head and heart, Sacerdotalism, operating as Superstition, superseded by shifting the whole edifice of Christianity from its proper-because its only intelligible and consistent--basis in Pantheism, or the doctrine that God is all and in all--to that of an impossible Manichæanism--or the doctrine of two eternal, self-subsistent opposing principles of good and evil,--a doctrine which by making evil a positive thing, and thus exalting it to an equal rank with God, at once dethrones God and eternises evil. It deprives God also of His supreme quality of justice, by representing Him as accepting physical suffering as an equivalent for moral guilt, and the punishment of the innocent in lieu of that of the guilty. While by removing Christ from the category of the highest human to that of the superhuman, it robs all of their potential divinity in favour of the exclusive divinity of one; and thereby effectually neutralises the significance and value of his mission, the express purpose of which was to show his fellow-men, not what could be achieved by some great supernatural personage, with whom they could have nothing in common, but what they themselves have it in them in due time to become, simply by giving fair play to their own best, namely, the ideal of perfection disclosed to them by their own intuition. For the fulfilment of the intuition is the realisation of the ideal; and the realisation of the ideal is the "Finding of Christ."
Operating as Materialism, and preferring the letter to the spirit, the symbol to the verity, the form to the substance, Sacerdotalism ignored and suppressed the real, because the mystical and spiritual, import of Christianity, by means of the idolatrous exaltation, as the agents of salvation, of its persons, events, forms, and other things physical, in place of its spiritual realities, the principles, processes, and states implied by these and of which they were the symbolic representatives. The obvious truth that religion, as a thing relating not to the senses but to the soul, and appealing, therefore, only to the soul, must consist in things cognate to the soul, in that they are of like nature with the soul, and not in things material and physical, was altogether set aside, all logical proprieties being violated, as just shown, by positing physical bloodshed and suffering as the compensation for moral guilt, and these, too, of another than the guilty--instead of the repentance and amendment to which they are ordained to minister. While every expression in Scriptures avowedly mystical and parabolical was enforced in its literal sense, in defiance of repeated injunctions in Scripture to the contrary. And that which was really "an eternal gospel" by virtue of its being founded in the unchanging nature of things, and everlastingly demonstrable to the mind and verifiable by inward experience, was made dependent on the perishable records of physical events in themselves exceptional, and liable--whatever the testimony--sooner or later to be called into question.
Christianity was further mutilated, dwarfed, and distorted by the exclusion from recognition, and worship due, of those Divine Principles or modes of Deity, variously designated the Gods and the Spirits of God, by whose immediate operation in the soul the man regenerate and made perfect is built up, the spiritual chaos is transformed into a kosmos, and Christ becomes Christ. The very process of Regeneration, moreover, although emphatically declared by Jesus to be the sole condition of Salvation--a process wholly spiritual and interior to the individual--came to be either altogether ignored or thrust into the background, in favour of that of atonement by vicarious physical bloodshed, through the loss of the knowledge of the meaning alike of regeneration and of atonement, and the consequent failure to recognise those terms as denoting one and the same process, and this a process, as just said, wholly spiritual and interior to the individual.
While, as presented by Sacerdotalism, or--to adopt the modern equivalent of this term as more appropriate for the rest of these
remarks--Ecclesiasticism, Christianity is thus but a congeries of arbitrary and unintelligible propositions, bearing no discernible relation to the needs, aspirations, or perceptions, whether of the mind or of the soul; as presented in the recovered Gnosis, it is at once intelligible and irrefragable, constituting a perfect system of thought and rule of life, and satisfying alike the demands of the keenest mind, the longings of the tenderest heart, and the aspirations of the most ardent soul. These are characteristics which not the most hardy champions of Ecclesiasticism venture to claim for the orthodox presentation; but on the contrary they freely acknowledge it to be a problem insoluble by reason, and one to be accepted on authority of Church or Book, even at the cost of intellectual suicide. Said one of them recently--a dignitary of the Anglican Church--speaking, apparently, not alone for his order, but for mankind at large: "We weary ourselves vainly in endeavouring to shape these truths into a system. We have no faculties for such speculation. It is enough for us to rest in the language of the Apostles." 1 Such is the frank admission of the official guardians of the faith according to Ecclesiasticism, and the admission is one in respect of which it is hard to determine whether its candour or its courage is the most conspicuous. Its candour, because of its complete indifference to the consequences to their order which can hardly fail to follow the confession that it does not understand its own teaching; and its courage, because of its palpable disregard of the emphatic injunctions wherein Scripture expressly reprobates such "resting in its language," affirming that the "letter kills,"--as indeed it has killed the very faculty of the perception of things spiritual in all who have "rested in" it,--and strenuously repudiating meanwhile the notion of the incomprehensibility of its doctrines, as when it calls on men to "prove all things" and to render a "reasonable service," and insists on the necessity of "hearing ears and seeing eyes," that is, of a "spirit of understanding" in respect of divine things, as the indispensable basis of the faith that saves. But to this it has come, that after having rendered the doctrine of Scripture unintelligible by insisting, against the express injunctions of Scripture, on the literal meaning of the words of Scripture, Ecclesiasticism now complains that, owing to the limitations of human faculty, there is no alternative but to rest in the letter of Scripture! Obviously it is not Ecclesiasticism that is entitled to resent the advent of an interpretation which, by restoring the Spirit to the
letter of Scripture, shall restore the doctrine and rehabilitate the credit of Scripture.
But whatever may be the attitude of Ecclesiasticism towards the new--or rather the recovered--interpretation, that of the world at large is scarcely doubtful. The world, it is true, has followed the Church in its fall into materiality in respect of things spiritual--a fall which, but for the Church's initiative, the world had not undergone. But there are tokens manifold and indisputable to prove that the heart of the world is, nevertheless, in the main right; and, consequently, that--like the Prodigal of the parable-having once eaten of the husks of mere materiality--whether religious or scientific--it has learned to loathe them, and is already coming to its proper, because better, self, and turning wistful thoughts homewards. And hence it is that for those who, in virtue of their "ploughing with the heifer" of the spiritual consciousness, are able to "expound the riddle" 1 of the age, the epoch is no other than "Othniel"--God's good time; the world is "Caleb"--one whose heart is right; "Kirjath-sepher"--the city of the letter--has already surrendered; and "Achsah"--the rending of the veil (that hid the Spirit)--is about to become the bride of the victor, bringing to him as her dowry the "upper and nether springs" of those blessed results in soul and mind and heart and life which ever flow from the full understanding of Divine things. 2 From which it may be surely inferred that unless Ecclesiasticism also accept the new interpretation, which also is the old, and like a living garment participate in the growth of its wearer, it will find itself discarded as obsolete; while the new humanity--to which it will thus have served but for matrix--will constitute itself a new, and more than ever a true, Church, and one that can never fail and fall, inasmuch as it will have for foundation, not the incohesive sands of authority and the letter, but the indefeasible Rock of the Spirit and the Understanding.
. . . . . . . . . .
The chief means proposed in this book in furtherance of its ends, may be summarised as follows:--
1. The re-establishment of the Understanding as the basis of Faith.
2. The restoration to its true place, as the object of veneration, of the thing signified--that is, of the spirit, substance, verity, or reality--instead of the symbol or appearance of it; and therein
the abolition of idolatry both in religion and science, whether the object be a person, a book, or an institution, the form, the letter, or the rite, or matter itself,--to the end that God only may be worshipped.
3. The restoration of the doctrine of the Duality of the Divine Unity, or Original Being; and therein the recognition of the essential divinity of both constituents of existence, its life, or force, and its substance; with the result of removing matter from its wrongful position as an independent, self-subsistent entity, to its proper rank as a mode of the Divine Being, wherein it represents Spirit, by the power of the Divine Will projected into conditions and limitations, and made exteriorly cognisable.
The restoration of this doctrine involves the deposition alike of Materialism, and the no less atheistic Manichæanism also widely in vogue, in favour of that true Pantheism which, while it regards God as the all in all of Being, does not regard all Being as in the condition of God.
4. The restoration of the true doctrine of Creation and Redemption by means of Evolution, (1) by re-establishing the doctrine of the permanence of the true Ego of the individual, and its persistence through all changes of exterior form and condition, thus positing as the subject of Evolution an entity competent to retain the impressions, and to progress by means, of its experiences; and (2) by exhibiting one and the same method as that both of Creation and of Redemption, the difference being only of medium--or "vehicle"--and of direction; inasmuch as the former occurs by a centrifugal operation in matter; and the latter by a centripetal operation in substance (or spirit),--a process which constitutes involutional evolution, both processes occurring in the same individual. Herein consists the reconciliation of science and religion, inasmuch as Redemption is thus the logical complement of Creation and outcome of Evolution, in that the process whereby it occurs--which is mystically called Regeneration--consists in the reconstitution of the individual by and of the higher elements of his own system, the Soul and Spirit, and--instead of dispensing with experience--is accomplished by means of the experiences acquired in a multiplicity of earth-lives, the number of which is determined by the exigencies of the individual case, their purpose being to afford the requisite opportunities for the "suffering"--which is felt experience--through which alone perfection and, thereby, salvation are attainable.
The restoration of the doctrine of a multiplicity of earth-lives
involves as its corollary that of the doctrine of acquired destiny, called by the Hindûs "Karma." 1
5. The interpretation of Christianity and of religion generally, in such manner as to exhibit the identity of the needs and perceptions of the soul in all ages; as well also as the identity of the theological doctrine of salvation by "vicarious atonement" with the mystical, but none the less scientific, doctrine of redemption by regeneration as defined in the foregoing paragraph.
6. The solution of the problems of inspiration, prophecy, and miracles, and the practical demonstration of the so-called supernatural as natural to man, in that it appertains, not to the superhuman but to the higher human.
7. The disclosure of the Christian origines as regards both the person of Jesus and the composition of the Gospels.
8. The enlargement of Christian faith and practice by means of the restoration of the Gods to their due place in man's recognition and veneration; and the combination of the Greek and Buddhist with the Christian ideals, thereby restoring to man the sense of beauty, joy, and hopefulness which comes of the recognition of the universal indwelling Divinity--(which is Greek); and providing a perfect system and rule in respect of things physical, intellectual, and moral--(which is Buddhist), as the foundation for the higher, because more interior, spirituality (which is Christian).
Going so far as do the illuminations in this book to realise the most sanguine anticipations of that "new birth of Esoteric Christianity, or new and higher religion in which philosophy, religion, and poetry shall be fused into a unity," 2 to the full satisfaction of man's highest needs and aspirations, their lamented recipient, Anna Kingsford, must, sooner or later, be recognised by all competent judges, as having made at once to science, philosophy, morality, religion, and literature at large, and especially to that of our own country and language, a contribution of an order unique, unsurpassed, and in certain respects of supreme moment, unequalled and even unapproached.
In the arrangement of the contents of this volume, the method followed is that of subordinating the chronological to the logical, and regulating the sequence in accordance with the mutual dependence of the subjects treated. It is on this principle that precedence is given to those illuminations which may best serve
as the writer's personal credentials in respect of her mission. The second place is assigned to those which, in virtue of their being derived from Scripture, and prophetic of precisely such an event in the world's spiritual history as to occur at this time, serve--at least for the faithful--to relieve the idea of a new revelation of any a priori improbability. The others--with the exception of Part II, which is arranged according to express instructions--follow in an order the rationale of which will be obvious to the intelligent reader. And all of them are given as originally written down either by their recipient herself, or by myself acting as amanuensis,--a function which--as her sole associate in the spiritual task with which we were jointly charged--I alone exercised. It need hardly be added that, regarding as we did that task as a sacred one, and the highest that could devolve upon mortals, no pains were spared either to observe the conditions necessary for it, or to secure absolute accuracy in our relation of the "things seen and heard" in the prosecution of it. For the annotations and explanations-which are in accordance with the teaching received--I alone am responsible, that is, restricting the term "alone" to its ordinary acceptation..
Concerning the hiatus in the "Hymns of the Gods" in Part II, Mrs Kingsford wrote in her diary under date August 23, 1887, being the eleventh month of her last illness, and the seventh before its termination:--
"I wish I knew whether I am to recover or not. It seems, judging from physical signs, as if I could not live long, but then strange things hap where prophetesses are concerned! I am so sure that the prophecy is not finished, and that a vast amount of work remains to do which must be done by me or not at all, that I cannot but think the Gods will restore me in time. . . .
"Why do not the Gods give me the three hymns which are yet wanting to their series? I have the hymns of Phoibos, of Hermes, of Aphrodite, of Dionysos, of Saturn. I yet want the hymns of Ares, Zeus, and Artemis. If these hymns be not given to me, they will never be given to any other. . . .
"I had hoped to have been one of the pioneers of the new awakening of the world. I had thought to have helped in the overthrow of the idolatrous altars and the purging of the temple; and now I must die just as the day of battle dawns and the sound of the chariot wheels is heard. 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?" 1
It remains only to add, in regard to Part III and the Appendix, that the references to my own experiences are admitted with great reluctance, and in spite of every effort to deprive the book, not merely of a biographical character, but far more so of an autobiographical character. It was only on finding that the omission of such references would operate disadvantageously by mutilating or weakening the record--(as by leaving it to appear as if I were unable of my own knowledge to testify to the possibility of such experiences)--that I consented to renounce my design and strong preference in the matter.
LONDON, Whitsuntide, 1869.
xviii:1 Since the publication of the First Edition of this book there have been published Addresses and Essays on Vegetarianism, by Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland (now out of print, but a new edition of which, with additions, is in course of preparation); and The Credo of Christendom, being Lectures and Articles on Esoteric Christianity, by Anna Kingsford, and containing some Letters, on various subjects, by her and Edward Maitland. S. H. H.
xix:1 The reference here is to the preface to the Second Edition, which was published in 1887. S. H. H.
xxi:1 The "woman" of the Apocalypse and all other mystical Scriptures is never a person, but always the soul. Hence the significance of the present title. Any such exaltation of a person would be an act of idolatry. E. M.
xxii:1 In a letter dated March 11, 1884, written to the late Lady Caithness, Anna Kingsford, referring to what a friend had described as her "gifts," said: "I have no occult powers whatever, and have never laid claim to them. Neither am I, in the ordinary sense of the word, a clairvoyante. I am simply a 'prophetess'--one who sees and knows intuitively, and not by any exercise of any trained faculty. All that 1 receive comes to me by 'illumination,' as to Proclus, to Iamblichus, to all those who follow the Platonic method. And this 'gift' was born with me, and has been developed by a special course and rule of life. It is, I am told, the result of a former initiation in a past birth, and the reason that I am enabled to profit by it is, that I am an 'old spirit,' having, by 'thirst of life,' pushed myself on to a point of spiritual evolution somewhat in advance of the rest of my race, to which all can attain in time who have really been once initiated. My initiation was Greco- Egyptian, and therefore I recall the truth primarily in the language and after the method of the Bacchic mysteries, which are indeed, as you know, the immediate source and pattern of the mysteries of the Catholic Christian Church" (Life of Anna Kingsford, vol. ii, p. 167). S. H. H.
xxiii:1 They were both abstainers from flesh-foods and from alcoholic drink. S. H. H.
xxvii:1 Canon Westcott on the Atonement (Historic Faith, p. 133).
xxviii:1 Judges xiv, 12-18.
xxviii:2 Joshua xv, 13-19.
xxx:1 See Appendix, "Definitions and Explanations."
xxxii:1 I cite this last paragraph as showing how small in her own view appeared the work which she accomplished as compared to that which remained, and which she felt she had it in her to accomplish were only time and strength allowed: and also as showing the intensity of her realisation of its importance, as well as her conviction of the truth of the doctrine of a multiplicity of earth-lives. E. M.