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THE intimation given us of the probable early close of Mary’s life seemed but to stimulate her efforts in the cause so dear to her, the rescue of animals from their tormentors, scientific and others. She resolved accordingly to resume her interrupted crusade in Switzerland when sufficiently recovered, and to utilise the interval by going through a course of instruction in philosophy, engaging a professor for the purpose. She felt strongly the need of thus supplementing her medical and scientific knowledge; and, with the view of keeping up the latter, she also resumed her visits to the hospitals.

            The imprudence of this step, which I represented to her in vain, soon became apparent. The resisting power of her system, never strong, had been enfeebled by her recent illness, and she presented symptoms which the doctor, whom she reluctantly consulted, declared to be of so serious a character as to afford little prospect of recovery, or even of living beyond a few weeks, the most imminent danger being due to tubercle. It was, moreover, not one malady but several that affected her, as if she had contracted all the diseases which prevailed in the wards she had visited. Nevertheless, alarming as was report, and desperate as appeared to be her state, she rallied in a manner so surprising as to lead him to distrust his own diagnosis in favour of the singular supposition that her symptoms were not real but simulative, causing her to have the appearance only of the ailments in question and not the ailments themselves; and as if in confirmation of this explanation, she was shortly after shown a vision of herself as a building in the form of a fortress, the citadel and central positions of which were complete and sound, but the outer walls were either broken down or but partially built, having gaps and openings through which noxious creatures of various kinds made incursion. This, it was explained

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to her, was a type of her own state, physically, morally, and spiritually. Her “outer walls” had yet to be built up to render her inaccessible to extraneous influences. This experience recalled to our minds the curious account given of her some time before by the spirit of Sir William Fergusson, in which he had said, “The spirit in her is unclothed. It is, as it were, naked”; and compared her symptoms to those of the disease called purpura haemorrhagica. (1) Discussing the matter together, we found it fruitful of suggestion respecting obsession as a possible factor in crime and insanity, as well as in ordinary disease, under the influence of which persons may be constrained by extraneous and parasitical influences to commit actions which, of themselves, they would shrink from. In view of the injustice of punishing persons thus liable for actions of which they are morally innocent, we were led to recognise the wisdom of the ancients, who required of physicians that they be also priests, versed in occult science, and competent to deal with spiritual maladies. The necessity of training clairvoyants medically, for the purposes especially of diagnosis, was continually being impressed on us by our own experiences.

            The effect on Mary of her first lessons in philosophy was not only to perplex but to distress her. The teaching was, of course, that of the materialistic school of the day; but so insidious and specious was the mode of its presentation that, even while discerning its falsity, she was at first unable to formulate her objections to it satisfactorily to herself. As the event proved, she had within herself the antidote to its poison, but aid was necessary to enable her to find it. As had so often happened to her before, the extremity of the man without was made the opportunity of the God within. And she had no sooner recognised the need of such reinforcement than her appeal found response. Such were the circumstances under which she received [chiefly in sleep] the wonderful series of expositions concerning the constitution of the spiritual and substantial, as distinguished from the physiological and phenomenal, Ego, contained in the book of her illuminations. (2) We

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saw in them the most valuable contribution ever made to psychological science. Their length precludes their insertion here. She had already, in the previous year, (1) received the following answer to an inquiry respecting the advisability of her studying occult science: –


            “The adept, or ‘occultist’, is at best a religious scientist; he is not a ‘saint.’ If occultism were all, and held the key of heaven, there would be no need of ‘Christ’. But occultism, although it holds the ‘power’, holds neither the ‘kingdom’ nor the ‘glory’. For these are of Christ. The adept knows not the kingdom of heaven, and ‘the least in this kingdom are greater than he.’ ‘Desire first the kingdom of God and God’s righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’ As Jesus said of Prometheus, (2) ‘Take no thought for to-morrow. Behold the lilies of the field and he birds of the air, and trust God as these.’ For the saint has faith; the adept has knowledge. If the adepts in occultism or in physical science could suffice to man, I would have committed no message to you. But the two are not in opposition. All things are yours, even the kingdom and the power, but the glory is to God. Do not be ignorant of their teaching, for I would have you know all. Take, therefore, every means to know. This knowledge is of man, and cometh from the mind. Go, therefore, to man to learn it. ‘If you will be perfect, learn also of these.’ ‘Yet the wisdom which is from above, is above all.’ For one man may begin from within, that is, with wisdom, and wisdom is one with love. Blessed is the man who chooseth wisdom, for she leaveneth all things. And another man may begin from without, and that which is without is power. To such there shall be a thorn in the flesh. (3) For it is hard in such case to attain to the within. But if a man be first wise inwardly, he shall the more easily have this also added unto him. For he is born again and is free. Whereas at a great price must the adept buy freedom. Nevertheless, I bid you seek; – and in this also you shall find. But I have shown you a more excellent way than theirs. Yet both Ishmael and Isaac are sons of one father, and of all her children is Wisdom justified. So neither are they wrong, nor are you led astray. The goal is the same; but their way is harder than yours. They take the kingdom by violence, if they take it, and by much toil and agony of the flesh. But from the time of Christ within you, the kingdom is open to the sons of God. Receive what you can receive; I would have you know all things. And if you have served seven years for wisdom, count it not loss to serve seven years for power also. For if Rachel bear the best beloved, Leah hath many sons, and is exceeding fruitful. But her eye is not single; she looketh two ways, and seeketh not that which is above only. But to you Rachel is given first, and

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perchance her beauty may suffice. I say not, let it suffice; it is better to know all things, for if you know not all, how can you judge all? For as a man heareth, so must he judge. Will you therefore be regenerate in the without, as well as in the within? For they are renewed in the body, but you in the soul. It is well to be baptized into John’s baptism, if a man receive also the Holy Ghost. But some know not so much as that there is any Holy Ghost. Yet Jesus also, being Himself regenerate in the spirit, sought unto the baptism of John, for thus it became Him to fulfil Himself in all things. And having fulfilled, behold, the ‘Dove’ descended on Him. If then you will be perfect, seek both that which is within and that which is without; and the circle of being, which is the ‘wheel of life’, shall be complete in you”.


            We had subsequently recognised this teaching as on the lines of the Kabala. It was in pursuance of it that Mary had now undertaken a course of philosophy; and the occasion was taken advantage of to make another and invaluable addition to the New Gospel of Interpretation.

            December 12 brought the following long-desired supplement and complement to the stupendous revelation concerning the Immaculate Conception which had been received in the summer of 1877. (1) It appears in her record, without preface, note, or comment, as one of the regular course, showing that the perceptive point of her mind was now so much accustomed to these altitudes that she remained unexcited even by the disclosure of the significance of that mystery of mysteries, the Church’s last and supreme dogma which still remains to be promoted from a pious belief to an article of faith; which promotion is implied in the insignia of Pope Leo XIII, as to take place during his pontificate, though not therefore necessarily through his act. (2) The utterance contains a further recognition of the divinity of the Kabala, and also of the truth of the saying of St. Paul: “These things are an allegory.” It is a token also of the inseparability of philosophy from religion, by disclosing psychology, which appertains to philosophy, as the gateway and threshold of religion: –


            “The two terms of the history of creation or evolution are formulated by the Catholic Church in two precious and all-important dogmas. These are, first, the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary; and, secondly, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin

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Mary. By the doctrine of the first we are secretly enlightened concerning the generation of the soul, who is begotten in the womb of matter, and yet from the first instant of her being is pure and incorrupt. Sin comes through the material and intellectual element, because these belong to matter. But the soul, which is of the celestial and belongs to heavenly conditions, is free of original sin. ‘Salem, which is from above, is free, which is the mother of us all. But Agar’ – the intellectual and astral part – ‘is a bond-slave, both she and her son.’ The soul, born of time (Anna), is yet conceived without taint of corruption or decay, because her essence is divine. Contained in matter, and brought into the world by means of it, she is yet not of it, else could not be mother of God. In her bosom is conceived that bright and holy light – the Nucleolus – which dwells in her from the beginning, and which, without intercourse with matter, germinates in her and manifests itself as the express image of the eternal and ineffable personality. She gives this image individuality. Through and in her it is focused and polarised into a perpetual and self-subsistent person, at once God and man. But were she not immaculate, – did any admixture of matter enter into her integral substance, – no such polarisation of the Divine could occur. The womb in which God is conceived must be immaculate; the mother of Deity must be ‘ever-virgin.’ She grows up from infancy to childhood at the knee of Anna; from a child she becomes a maiden, – true type of the soul, unfolding, learning, increasing, and elaborating itself by experience. But in all this she remains in her essence divine and uncontaminated, at once daughter, spouse, and mother of God.

            “As the Immaculate Conception is the foundation of the mysteries, so is the Assumption their crown. For the entire object and end of kosmic evolution is precisely this triumph and apotheosis of the soul. In the mystery presented by this dogma, we behold the consummation of the whole scheme of creation – the perpetuation and glorification of the individual human ego. The grave – the material and astral consciousness – cannot retain the immaculate Mother of God. She rises into the heavens; she assumes divinity. In her own proper person she is taken up into the King’s chamber. From end to end the mystery of the soul’s evolution – the history, that is, of humanity and of the kosmic drama – is contained and enacted in the culture of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The acts and the glories of Mary are the one supreme subject of the holy mysteries.”


            Her lessons, and her illuminations in correction of them, were now intermitted for a space. It had been my custom daily to pass some hours with her, and to discuss together what had been received. She still suffered greatly with weakness, and even positive illness, under the influence of which she was liable at time to subside to a level at which she failed fully to appreciate the value of her inspirations. It was therefore a great satisfaction to her to have my unqualified recognition of them, and

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positive assurance of their inestimable value at once to the science, the philosophy, and the religion of the future. Her next entry in her Diary, which was dated December 20, was an extract from St. Augustine, whom she had been reading in French, which struck her as indicating his recognition of the esoteric meaning of Church dogma as its true and intended meaning. For it seemed to her that he could hardly have spoken as he did of the Virgin unless he regarded her as denoting the Soul, and no actual historical person.

            This is the passage: –


            “Tous, nous sommes les pauvres, les mendiants de Dieu, omnes mendici Dei sumus. Mais c’est par les mains de Marie que Dieu veut nous accorder ses graces; tous ses doivent passer par le Coeur de la Vierge Immaculée; de sa Mère. Totam nos habere voluit per Mariam. Elsewhere he says, “Mary brings us to Jesus.” What is this but our own doctrine that the finding of Christ is by the culture of the Soul, the Christ within us, our spiritual and substantial Ego in which we are redeemed?


            The next entry bears date Christmas Day: –


            It is strange how I forget! This evening I have re-read several passages and chapters written by my own hand, and conceived in my own mind, of The Perfect Way, and they filled me with as great wonder and admiration as though I had read them for the first time in some stranger’s work. Ought this not to set me a thinking how little this outward and mundane memory has to do with the true and interior consciousness? For, indeed, in my true self, I know well all these things, and as hundredfold more than there lie written; yet my exterior self forgetteth them right readily, and, once they are written, scarce remembereth them more! And this sets me wondering whether, perchance, we are not altogether out of the reckoning when we talk of memory as a necessary part of selfhood; for memory, in the sense in which we use the word, signifies a thinking back into the past, and an act by which past experience in time is recalled. But how shall the true, essential self, which is without end or beginning, have memory in any such sort, since the “eternal remembrance” of the soul seeth all things at a glance, both past and to come? To that which is in its nature Divine and of God, memory is no longer recollection, but knowledge. Shall we say that God remembers? Nay, God knoweth. I thank thee, O my Divine Genius; thou art here! I feel thee; thine aura encompasseth me; I burn under the glow of thy wonderful presence. Yes, it is thus indeed!


            Here meditation passes into illumination, and the Diary thus continues: –


            This faculty which we call Memory is but the faint reflex and image in the material brain of that function which, in all its celestial

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plenitude, can belong only to the heavenly man. That which is of time and of matter must needs think by means of an organ and material cells, and these can only work mechanically, and by slow processes. But that which is of eternity and spirit needeth neither organ nor process, since organism is related only to time, and its resultant is process. “Yea, thou shalt see face to face! Thou shalt know even as thou art known!” And just as widely and essentially as the heavenly memory differs from the earthly, so doth the heavenly personality differ from that of the material creature.

            Thou mayest the more easily gather somewhat of the character of the heavenly personality by considering the quality of that of the highest type of mankind on earth – the Poet.

            The poet hath no self apart from his larger self. Other men pass indifferent through life and the world, because the selfhood of earth and heaven is a thing apart from them, and toucheth them not.

            The wealth of beauty in earth and sky and sea lieth outside their being, and speaketh not to their heart.

            Their interests are individual and limited: their home is by one hearth: four walls are the boundary of their kingdom, – so small is it!

            But 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: and responding to their strength and their plenitude, he feels more intensely than other men. 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, he shines and aspires, he sighs and thunders.

            And when he sings, it is not he – the man – whose voice is heard: it is the voice of all the manifold Nature herself.

            In his verse the sunshine laughs: the mountains give forth their sonorous echoes; the swift lightnings flash.

            The great continual cadence of universe life moves and becomes articulate in human language.

            O joy profound! O boundless selfhood! O God-like personality!

            All the gold of the sunset is thine; the pillars of chrysolite; and the purple vault of immensity!

            The sea is thine with its solemn speech, its misty distance, and its radiant shallows!

            The daughters of earth love thee; the water-nymphs tell thee their secrets; thou knowest the spirit of all silent things!

            Sunbeams are thy laughter, and the rain-drops of heaven thy tears; in the wrath of the storm thine heart is shaken: and thy prayer goeth up with the wind unto God.

            Thou art multiplied in the conscience (1) of all living creatures; thou art young with the youth of Nature; thou art all-seeing as the starry skies:

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            Like unto the Gods, – therefore art thou their beloved: yea if thou wilt, they shall tell thee all things;

            Because thou only understandest, among all the sons of men!

            Concerning memory; why should there any more be a difficulty in respect of it? Reflect on this saying, – “Man sees as he knows.” To thee the deeps are more visible than the surfaces of things; but to men generally the surfaces only are visible. The material can perceive only the material, the astral the astral, and the spiritual the spiritual. It all resolves itself, therefore, into a question of condition and of quality. Thy hold on matter is but slight, and thine organic memory is feeble and treacherous. It is hard for thee to perceive the surfaces of things and to remember their aspect. But thy spiritual perception is the stronger for this weakness, and the profound is that which thou seest the most readily. It is hard for thee to understand and to retain the memory of material facts; but their meaning thou knowest instantly and by intuition, which is the memory of the soul. For the soul takes no pains to remember; she knows divinely. Is it not said that the immaculate woman brings forth without a pang? The sorrow and travail of conception belong to her whose desire is unto “Adam”.


            By “Adam”, of course, was meant the outer and lower reason. For “these things are an allegory”.

            It was to the above glorious apostrophe, to the poet, that I referred when describing the feelings evoked in her among the mountains of Switzerland. I hope it will not be considered unduly egotistic in me to say that it recalled to us both some verses written by me in Australia nearly thirty years before, in a similar vein, which were included in my tale, The Pilgrim and the Shrine, of which the following are some of the stanzas. Having for theme a poet’s rejection by a wealthy dame on account of his poverty, they were entitled “The Poet’s Reprisals”: –


I’ve jewels that cost nought, and are all joy;

Each dewdrop trembling on a leafy spray,

Lit by the morning sun, a diamond is;

And each bright star that gems the nightly sky

Doth lend a ray of beauty to my soul;

                        What more can thine?


All nature spread around is my domain;

Mine own peculiar park trough which I pass,

To cull rich thoughts from her redundant breast,

Hold converse grave with dark mysterious woods,

And gaily banter with the fluttering winds;

                        Thus all are mine.


Where flowers grow, sun shines, and trees make shade,

Where waters flow, rains fall, and winds refresh;

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Green earth, blue sky, and ever-changing sea,

And the grand rolling music of the clouds;

I have a right in all I ne’er would yield

                        For ten times thine.


            Mary’s Diary continued: –


            December 26 [1882]. – After waking this morning early I had a real Christmas vision, or rather a Picture, for I was not asleep, but quite wide awake. First, it was dark all around, with only the stars overhead, and these were cloudy. I sat on a hillock thinking, and behind me I heard a sound of running water. All at once a voice said “Anna!” and this startled me all the more because no one ever calls me by that name. But I soon saw it was a play on the word, such as I have often heard lately; for the next moment another voice, and another after it, cried out, “The Year! The New Year!” Then it seemed to me that I was being called, and I turned – for the voices came from behind me – and saw on the other side of my hillock a broad river; and on the opposite bank I could just make out by the starlight three misty and motionless shapes, that looked like men. One of them lifted his hand and cried to me across the water, “Where is the Ford?” I stood still, much puzzled, and looked right and left along the river, but could see no Ford at all. And just as I was going to answer, “There is none,” behold! The water where I stood, at my very feet, began to open and part, and a path seemed to rise up from its midst as though by magic. And at that instant the dawn broke, a clear line of horizontal light straight behind the three men. So I saw they were coming from the East, and it flashed upon me that they were the Three Kings, and that somewhere Christ was born that night.”


            To which she might have added, but left it for me to do, “And that I myself was the King’s ford.”

            On the resumption of her lessons her illuminations recommenced, and continued at short intervals until the course was completed, by which time she had received a complete exposition of the evolution of the spiritual and substantial Ego, and demonstration of the fallacy of the materialistic philosophy.

            There seemed to be a special purpose in these communications to us at this juncture. Whatever might be our relations to the movement [represented by the Theosophical Society] we had consented to join – the importation into the West of the corresponding philosophy of the East – it was necessary that we be equipped with the means of testing and judging that philosophy by the light of actual knowledge, in order to determine its true place in regard to the religion of the future, and, perhaps, even to influence its course.

            Respecting that Society, the then President of the English Branch, our valued friend C.C. Massey, wrote as follows: –


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            “For the attitude of the Society towards all the religions of the world, I may refer you to the enclosed paper, ‘Individuality of Branches,’ now being issued, along with the enclosed circular, to all our members. I believe there would be much opposition among us to giving our own branch a sectarian designation or direction. One grand aim of our Society is to show the underlying, or esoteric, identity of all religious philosophies worthy of the name, and, while respecting the particular forms or manifestations of the one truth, to cut away the ground of sectarian antagonism which such partial or disguised presentations appear to contain. In India, Olcott has busied himself he would not admit this. Anyhow, there can be no doubt whatever that to Christianity, as popularly understood and taught, we are all more or less opposed. We have two beneficed clergymen of the Church of England among us, and they would probably say that the popular form is capable of a true statement, and must be regarded as ‘dispensational.’ That is quite consistent with the discovery in it of a true system of doctrine, which however, would be such a ‘new departure’ as almost to amount to a second revelation. And that, I believe, would be the position accepted by yourselves as the writers of The Perfect Way. And I think you will find the answer to the question, whether that position is inconsistent with our regard for the Indian Teachings, in the paper about the ‘Individuality of Branches.’ The liberty reserved to Branches cannot be denied to individuals. I cannot, of course, conceal from myself that it is desirable that our President should be in great sympathy with the acknowledged teachers of the Society, – although, indeed, there is no one who is ready and able to teach us whom we should not be ready and able to acknowledge. Certainly, I should not accept the statement that we look to ‘Koot Hoomi,’ or any one else, as the ‘ultimate source of illumination’. But at present we are studying in his school. It will be for our President to read to us the expositions which come from that quarter, and of course we should look to her for a sympathetic, and not a controversial, attitude towards them. That does not prevent her from holding and pointing out any other aspect of truth, even in relation to them.

            “If I hear from Mrs. Kingsford, I may be able to satisfy her and you more fully on these points in my reply to her. I infer from your letter that the return to London will not be just yet, if you find the suitable quarters for her health in the Engadine. We should have to set off the hope for her restoration from this residence against the postponement of her appearance among us. I most earnestly trust that the Providence which guards her work will also secure her to us as its best agent.”


            The following is from the circular in which Mr. Massey notified the Society of his intention to nominate Mrs. Kingsford as its President: –


“I have now to give notice of an important proposition, which I shall submit to the general meeting, in the earnest hope that it may meet with general and cordial approval, and in the belief that its adoption will conduce to the future vitality, progress, and use of

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the Society. It is that Dr. Anna Kingsford shall be elected President of the Society for the ensuing year. From information I have received, I think there can be no doubt that this choice would be acceptable to those with whom we are most anxious to come into direct relations, while the knowledge many of ourselves possess of the genius, moral force, and entire devotion to spiritual ideals of this accomplished lady seems to designate her as the natural leader of a Society with beliefs and aims such as ours. Nor are Dr. Kingsford’s scientific attainments an unimportant consideration to a body of students who see and desire to trace in occult phenomena an extension of the range of Natural Philosophy. It may also be allowable, in a private letter like the present to refer to the well-known fact that she is one of the literary authors of that remarkable work, The Perfect Way; or, the Finding of Christ. The general resemblance of the ideas there put forward to the teachings which we are studying has been expressly acknowledged by our Indian authorities. It is, however, scarcely necessary to observe that our selection of Dr. Kingsford will not imply unqualified acceptance of all her published opinions. We could never have at our head any marked individuality, if members supposed that in electing a President they were so committing themselves. On the other hand, as a result of this step, we may expect important accessions to our ranks, and a union of forces which have lately been tending in the same direction. It is, perhaps, quite unnecessary to urge a recommendation which will, I believe, be generally acceptable; but to all who may think that my long connection with the Society, and intimate relations with those most completely identified with its interests, entitle my opinion to any consideration, I may say that I have not decided on making this proposal without the most careful deliberation and consultation, and that I regard its adoption a of vital importance. It only remains to add on this subject, that Dr. Kingsford herself has, I rejoice to say, given a conditional consent to the nomination.”


            When at length we gave consent, we did so on condition that we retain absolute freedom of opinion, speech, and action, acknowledging no superiors, nor any allegiance save to our own illuminators, and reserving the right to use as we might deem fit any knowledges we might acquire. For, having obtained what we had already received expressly for the world’s benefit, we were resolved to remain unfettered in this respect. Our association was thus so ordered as to have for its purpose a simple exchange of knowledges. They should tell us what they knew, and we would tell them what we knew, both sides reserving the right of criticism, acceptance, and rejection, the Understanding alone, and in no wise Authority, being the criterion.

            The election of Mary as President, and myself as Vice-President, of what was subsequently called the London Lodge of

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the Theosophical Society took place at the first meeting in 1883, which fell on Sunday, January 7. We discovered in the course of the day that it was the Festival of the Three Kings of the East; whereupon Mary made the following entry in her Diary: –


            On the 7th of this month I was elected President of the British Theosophical Society. The 7th was Epiphany Sunday, the Festival of the Kings. A strange coincidence and augury.


“21 AVENUE CARNOT, PARIS, January 11, 1883.

            “DEAR MADAME DE STEIGER, – I salute you in my new character of President of the British Theosophical Society; and though I shall not be able for some time to come to take my place among you in the body, yet I hope that my new dignity will serve as a fresh link in the tie of friendship already existing between us, and that you will from time to time send me some account of your proceedings in the Society, and of your own personal reflections on the teaching we are now promised from the East.

            “I pointed out to Mr. C.C. Massey in a recent letter the singular coincidence that it was on Epiphany Sunday, the Festival of the Magi, that the T.S. elected as its President for the new year a King’s ford; and I suggested that we might regard this fact as a happy augury for the prosperity of the Society in the immediate future; since now indeed the way seemed at last opened for the passage of the Kings of the East, and, as it is said in the Apocalypse, the River is dried up that the way of the Kings of the East may be prepared.

            “My health, about which you are so kindly interested, is much better lately, and I am able to get to work again. But I am sorry to learn from your letter that you are not likely to remain in London during the whole of the coming year. I hope, however, that you do not intend staying abroad long.

            “It gives me considerable surprise, and puzzles me not a little, to learn that Dr. Wyld is still not only a member of the Theosophical Society, but is absolutely accepted as co-Vice-President with Mr. Maitland! I quite understood from Dr. Wyld himself, and also from the circular issued by Mr. Massey, that the aims and programme of the T.S. had become so distasteful to the Doctor that he had determined to resign his connection with it. Strange that he should withdraw deliberately from the Presidency, only to come forward as Vice-President so shortly after! Can you explain this riddle? I should be very glad to have it solved.

            “I have requested Mr. Massey to retain his place as my locum tenens until I return, and feel sure that, as he is so manifestly in harmony both with our Indian correspondents and with myself, you will all be glad of this arrangement.

            “How are you going to treat the subject of Circe? It is a splendid subject for a mystic artist. Do you intend to illustrate the allegory itself, or is it only an ideal portrait that you contemplate? Remember me to all our friends, especially to Miss Arundale and her mother, and accept my love and best wishes for the new year. Mr. Maitland, who is spending the afternoon with me, sends his kindest regards. – Affectionately yours,



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            A striking experience of Mary’s which occurred in this month was led up to in this wise. We had been following with much interest a discussion in Light between two of its most eminent contributors – the Hon. Roden Noel and C.C. Massey – respecting the divisibility of the principles in man after death, and the retention by them of consciousness when separated from each other. The latter of the two disputants maintained the doctrine, held in common by us and the Eastern occultists, which assigns consciousness and memory to the phantom or astral shell when dissociated from the Soul and true Ego. And the former maintained, in common with the spiritualists, the impossibility of such a division on the ground that consciousness is necessarily one and indivisible, and compared the detached phantom – supposing there to be such a thing – to a cast-off coat. Some of Mary’s recent illuminations had borne directly on the subject, and we proposed to contribute a paper to the discussion. It occurred to me, however, to remark to her that I should like to know what the phantom itself would say about the matter, and I begged her to question the next one she saw about its own nature in this respect. A few nights afterwards she had this experience: –


            Being asleep, she found herself in a place resembling the Tower of London, among a group of persons all of whom had been historically associated with the Tower. One was Mary Stuart, looking so like our friend Lady Caithness that she took her for her. Another was so like our friend Arabella Kenealy that she addressed her by that name, but only to be instantly corrected by Mary Stuart, who exclaimed, speaking just as Lady Caithness might have done, “Arabella Stuart, you mean.” Presently, while they were conversing, a form passed rapidly by of a man enveloped in a cloak, but without his head. “Who is that?” exclaimed Mary, and was told by Mary Stuart that it was Sir Walter Raleigh. “Oh, I must speak to him,” she said, remembering my suggestion and recognising him as a man of high intelligence; and she accordingly gave chase to him until she had come up with him, when she addressed him, saying –

            “Tell me, are you the soul of Sir Walter Raleigh, or only his phantom?

            “His phantom,” he replied, speaking in a man’s voice, which seemed to come from the air above him, “but without my head, for they cut that off and threw it into a basket of papers.”

            “Then tell me,” she said, “how, if only a phantom, you are able to understand me, and to answer questions, and to remember. Ought you not to be merely like a cast-off coat, as Roden Noel expresses it?”

(p. 108)

            “Roden Noel knows nothing about it,” responded the ghost sharply. “He forgets that a coat is a mere material spun in Manchester machines out of gross and lifeless stuff, and that a man’s phantom is living substance nowise comparable to it. He compares things which are incomparable and have no point of similitude between them. Mind is rather to be compared with flame, part of which you may take away and yet leave a living, energetic flame behind. We phantoms of the dead resemble mirrors having two surfaces. On one surface we reflect the earth-sphere and its pictures of the past. On the other we receive influxes from those higher spheres which have received our higher Egos, which represent the most sublimated essences of the lower. Most philosophers fall into the error of confounding the unities. They forget that space, distance, time, and separation belong to physical and mundane conditions, and ought not to be imported into discussions about the condition of the freed soul. There is no far or near in the Divine state.”

            “But,” said she, “if your soul, your thinker, be gone, how can you reason and remember?”

            “In and by the same method as Roden Noel’s old coat holds its parts and its woof together when he takes it off. To everything belongs its proper behaviour. While Noel wore this coat it behaved as a coat, and its business was to cover him and to keep itself in shape and consistency. And when he takes it off, it still remains such as it was, and continues to preserve all its characteristics. It was a coat when he wore it; it is a coat still. The proper characteristic of this Ego in a man’s lifetime is to reason and think electrically. It is not a coat; it is Substance having life. And when the soul puts it off, it goes on being what it was; for its very warp and woof is of thought-nature; and it only keeps this nature, just as does the coat. It would be a miracle indeed if the coat, when taken off, should suddenly change its nature and become something else, say non-material. So equally would it be a miracle if, when the soul departs, the phantom should suddenly change its nature, and become something else, say non-substantial. Matter remains matter, psychic substance remains psychic substance. Noel would make differentiation in the substantial world impossible. If the Divine can differentiate into many protoplasmic selves, and yet retain all these in Itself, so also can Man differentiate protoplasmically. For there is but One Nature, and the part is essentially one in potentiality with the whole.”


            Here the colloquy ended, and she awoke. On the following night she was shown a demonstration of the error involved in Noel’s conception, and was told: –


            “If the Ego could not differentiate of its personality, the doctrine of the Trinity, which, as you have it, is a true doctrine, would be impossible. Noel’s conception is fatal to the Trinity.”


            The soundness of the reasoning of the phantom left us no doubt that it truly reflected the higher Ego and true soul of the

(p. 109)

speaker, and the experience tended to confirm us in our conclusion that the detached astral portion of the individual may serve as a lens through which the soul can communicate with persons in the earth-life.

            It will be remembered that we had been told of Swedenborg, with reference to our intercourse with him, that “a portion of him is still in this sphere, through which he can communicate with those with whom he is in affinity.” (1)

            It served also to illustrate this statement in the instruction given us “Concerning the Hereafter”: – “The reason why some communications are astral, and others celestial, is simply that some persons – the greater number – communicate by means of the anima bruta in themselves; and others – the few purified – by means of their anima divina, for like attracts like.” (2) It is the key to all the incoherences of “spiritualism.” Its votaries, as a rule, communicate only by means of the astral in themselves, through lack of unfoldment of their spiritual nature, and the results are of the astral, astral. To attain to the highest without himself, man must seek to the highest within himself.

            The fact that Mary had been attracted to this group of spirits tended to confirm also the intimations given us of her identity with Anne Boleyn. It was not as a stranger and an intruder that she had been received by them, but as one whom they recognised and knew intimately, and regarded her presence among them as a matter of course.

            The appearance of our article on the subject in Light (February 10, 1883), elicited the following letter from Mr. Massey: –


            “I read with very great interest the letter in last Light from ‘The Writers of The Perfect Way’. It is a very able attempt to make the conception of dual and divisible consciousness intelligible, and seems to have succeeded in at least one unexpected quarter. For Mrs. Penny writes to me that she finds it admirable, helping her much to understand the subject.

            “I should like to know if your revelations include any information on the long intermediate periods of rest, or ‘Devachan’, described by Sinnet in his recent letter in Light. It now appears that the ‘spiritual individuality’ is never annihilated, only the personality when Devachan is not attained, and after it is exhausted and re-birth takes place into a world of causes. There seems some

(p. 110)

inconsistency here with former teachings in the Fragments of Occult Truth.

            “How, upon the principle you lay down, that the work of Spirit in the world must have the co-operation of a couple male and female, do you reconcile the fact that this has not been so in the case of the greater Avatars, or Revelators, Buddha, Christ, etc.? The answer I suppose to be, either that in those cases the two principles were perfectly united in equilibrium in one person; or that it is only now that the epoch has arrived for manifesting the feminine function. But in the latter case I should suppose that the woman would work alone.

            “The Psychical Research Society is too exclusively exoteric for such considerations to be relevant. The presentation of objective evidence to the world of certain facts is not a spiritual work at all, at least not directly and consciously, and does not make the least pretence to being so.

            “As yet we have had no instruction from India about the Planetary Spirits, or Dyan Chohans.’ You, I understand, are already in independent possession of this Gnosis. Well, I hope it will be that the Planetaries are not separate Gods, but the superior Monads including our individualities and the substantial beings of them. Thus by true self-knowledge our consciousness would be universalised, would be one with the world-soul.

            “I can easily believe that Mrs. Kingsford would make it very uncomfortable for the Paris ‘theosophical’ vivisector. That such a person should have been admitted to the Society there seems to me little to its credit. Certainly I would veto any such candidate, however eminent, for our branch here. Indeed, it is questionable to me whether social relations should be maintained with anyone addicted to that horrible practice – that damnable profanation of ‘science.’”


            Ever mindful of the subject of this closing sentence, Mary had joined with a band of resident friends in organising a French Society for the abolition of the practice in question. Her success on this behalf is notified in the following letter to the editor of the Herald of Health, which appeared in the May number of that organ: –


            “I dare say you may like to hear that I am still busy and successful. There is now a Paris Anti-Vivisection Society, and, as you will see from our circular, its President is no less a person than the great poet, Victor Hugo. I have been much in the physiological laboratories of the École de Médecine lately, and have been witness of the immense necessity which exists for some prompt and decisive intervention by the public in this matter of scientific torture. It is horrible to see and hear what goes on daily in these infamous dens.

            “I think that possibly you may like to reproduce an article which has recently appeared in a French newspaper, and of which, therefore, I enclose a translation. I have seen several of the advertisements, ‘Bains de Sang’ (Baths of Blood), to which the article refers, and I know a Parisian lady whose doctor told her that she

(p. 111)

would probably die if she did not consent to go to the slaughter-house in the morning and drink blood. He said she had tubercular symptoms, and that nothing else could save her. She refused to comply, and recovered.

            “This ‘blood mania’ is, in fact, the last new medical craze, and it may interest your reader to see what is thus the practical outcome of vivisection and carnivorous tastes, encouraged as they are here in this atheistic city of Paris.

            “Have you seen the enclosed cutting from the Lancet? This, too, is one of the last suggestions of the enlightened medical faculty.”


            The article contained a graphic description of the scene at the abattoirs in the Rue de Flandres, the files of elegant equipages of the upper classes drawn up before them, and their dainty occupants awaiting in the buildings the slaughtering of the “mild-eyed oxen,” and then quaffing bowls of the fresh-shed, steaming blood; while others supplement or vary the process by having baths of blood at home. (1)

            Towards the middle of March we returned to Switzerland to resume our interrupted crusade. Meanwhile Mary had the following dream, which we took as an indication of a severe conflict awaiting her on her arrival. The event proved the truth of the augury: –


            Paris, Feb. 15 [1883]. – I dreamed that I sat reading in my study, with books lying all around me. Suddenly a voice, marvellously clear and silvery, called me by name. Starting up and turning, I saw behind me a long vista of white marble columns, Greek in architecture, flanking on either side a gallery of white marble. At the end of this gallery stood a shape of exceeding brilliancy, the shape of a woman above mortal height, clad from head to foot in shining mail armour. In her right hand was a spear, on her left arm a shield. Her brow was hidden by a helmet, and the aspect of her face was stern – severe, even, I thought. I approached her, and as I went my body was lifted up from the earth, and I was aware of that strange sensation of floating above the surface of the ground, which is so common to me in sleep that at times I can scarce persuade myself after waking that it has not been a real experience. When I alighted at the end of the long gallery before the armed woman, she said to me –

            “Take off the night-dress thou wearest.”

            I looked at my attire, and was about to answer, “This is not a night-dress,” when she added, as though perceiving my thought –

(p. 112)

            “The woman’s garb is a night-dress; it is a garment made to sleep in. The man’s garb is the dress for the day. Look eastward.”

            I raised my eyes, and behind the mail-clad shape I saw the dawn breaking, blood-red, and with great clouds, like pillars of smoke, rolling up on either side of the place where the sun was about to rise. But as yet the sun was not visible. And as I looked she cried aloud, and her voice rang through the air like the clash of steel: –


            And she struck her spear on the marble pavement. At the same moment there came from afar off a confused sound of battle-cries, and human voices in conflict, and the stir as of a vast multitude, the distant clang of arms, and the noise of the galloping of many horses rushing furiously over the ground. And then, sudden silence.

            Again she smote the pavement, and again the sounds arose, nearer now, and more tumultuous. Once more they ceased, and a third time she struck the pavement with her spear.

            Then the noises arose all about and around the very spot where we stood, and the clang of the arms was so close that it shook and thrilled the very columns beside me. And the neighing and snorting of horses, and the thud of their ponderous hoofs flying over the earth, made, as it were, a wind in my ears, so that it seemed as though a furious battle were raging all around us. But I could see nothing. Only the sounds increased, and because so violent that they awoke me; and even after waking I still seemed to catch the commotion of them in the air.


            Dr. Gryzanowsky’s appreciation of our work, as evinced in the following letters, was highly gratifying to us: –


LIVORNO, April 2, 1883.

            “DEAR SIR, – Your kind letter of March 25th has given me a welcome opportunity of holding communication with you once more, and of thus renewing an acquaintance which, if not personal, is certainly more than merely epistolary, considering that you have spoken to me through your Book. That Book seems to me not only your work, i.e. one of the many possible productions of your mind, but a reflection of your whole and innermost self, and as such it can be fully understood and appreciated only by those who have a certain affinity (intellectual and moral) with its author. In this respect, you have good reason to be satisfied with your reader who, in his turn, feels grateful to you for the spiritual treasures he has found in its pages. To say that your Book is brimful of information and of deep thought would be a mere platitude which you could hardly care to hear. The question which alone can be interesting to you in this case is whether or how far the general ‘world-view’ propounded in your work may happen to tally with your reader’s world-view, and whether or how far, in case of discrepancies, you may have compelled the reader to accommodate his to yours. I say unhesitatingly – in general terms at least, and quite apart from more or less irrelevant details – that I fully acknowledge the fundamental truths of your

(p. 113)

philosophy, which is, without a doubt, the noblest and purest form of spiritualism I have yet met with. It is, at the same time, the most comprehensive form of spiritualism, containing or implying all that is worth having in the so-called mystic lore of ancient and modern times.

            “We meet, in the history of religion and of philosophy, with certain ever-recurring ideas which seem altogether independent of the accidents of tradition and of historic continuity. They are irrepressible, because they are eternal verities, and if Philo’s works had all been destroyed by Omar’s fire in the Alexandrian Library, the doctrine of correspondences would, sooner or later, have been propounded anew. In all probability Swedenborg never read Philo’s Liber Legis Allegoriarum, nor is it necessary to assume that Goethe had read either Philo or Swedenborg when he wrote that short but wonderful Chorus Mysticus at the end of his Faust.

            “I believe with you that religion is nothing historical (p. 26), and that its truths require, or, at all events, are capable of, repeated revelation. In this way Christianity can be rationalised, not in the shallow sense of Strauss, Rénan, or of the Unitarians, but in the sense of the German Theosophists, such as Jacob Boehme and Baader, and even Hegel, who openly declared his belief in the Triune God and all the mysteries of Christian dogma as in conceptual (and as such eternal) truths whose validity had nothing whatever to do with historic evidence or human testimony.

            “I am not sure whether I can agree with your appreciation of Spinoza, whose All and One has always appeared to me as sterile, as all monistic doctrines must necessarily be. Without some form of dualism, sexual, dialectic, or metaphysical, no fertility, no development seems possible, and I admire particularly your way of affirming this dualism in your second Lecture (Parts I and IV). There you reason like Philo, but Philo was the only Jew that could rise (or descend) to dualism, the Hebrew mind being essentially monistic, while the Aryan mind finds repose only when it has passed through the dual to the triune. Once there one can easily go on to the Τετρακως, like Pythagoras, or to the Madonna, like the Catholic Church; but what can Spinoza evolve from his solitary One? And whence come his modi? From the Dual, from the God and ‘Non-God’ (as you have it), I can find the modi, the relativities, and all the rest, but not otherwise.

            “I felt almost triumphant on reading your ideas about the limitations of the Creator through His Creation. It is true you speak in the first place only of the material creation, but evidently imply the same with regard to the plurality of finite living beings. This ‘limitation’ of God by quasi-autonomous beings is sufficient to account for the origin of Evil, and a ‘theodicea’ is possible only if partial freedom is assigned to the human will.

            “But whither am I drifting? I hardly know where I should end if I wanted to discuss the contents of your Book. Let me add, however, that I consider the fourth and the fifth Lectures, and more particularly the third part of the latter, as the most important and (to me) most interesting chapters of the work – as far as I have read it. For, wishing to read it, not hastily, but carefully, and having been interrupted by tasks which brooked no delay, I left the last two

(p. 114)

Lectures and the whole of the Appendix unread. I hope to read these parts in the course of the present month, and I must trust to the future for opportunities of exchanging notes with you and your fellow-author. Meanwhile accept my warmest thanks for every ray of light and hope that has reached me, thanks to this dual influx from brighter spheres.

            “I had no knowledge of the ‘Adepts’ of Hindustan and Thibet, nor of the existence of a Theosophic Society in England. Your communication concerning these matters, and your apocalyptic interpretation of Mrs. Kingsford’s personal data, are, indeed, interesting and suggestive. Dr. Aderholdt, even if he were a sceptic, might make a poem of it, a better one than the German sonnet On Mrs. Kingsford, which I found in his volume of Songs, and which is by no means bad.

            “You have chosen an inclement season for your trip, but you have come on a noble errand. The foundation of a truly international Anti-Vivisection Journal would be of the greatest importance. I have joined the newly-formed Paris Society, but fear that such questions do not ripen on French soil.

            “May I trouble you with the enclosed note to Mrs. Kingsford? In hopes that this letter may still find you in Geneva, I remain, with sincere regard and gratitude, yours faithfully,



LIVORNO, April 3, 1883.

            “DEAR MADAM, – I need not apologise, I believe, for addressing you, as I have to thank you for what I must consider as a token of good fellowship and goodwill. The French translation of your article in the Nineteenth Century was the more welcome to me as I never had read the original, which I only knew through Lord Coleridge’s quotation. I am glad to be able to add that I made at once use of some of its passages for three short articles for German newspapers, the mot d’ordre in our camp being just now a frequent and anonymous discussion of the Vivisection question in the daily press, as the most plausible mode of influencing our lawgivers on the eve of the impending debates in the Reichstag (on the 16th). Not that we expect any positive success, any tilting of the scales, but we hope to find a change in the distribution of weights which would be a sort of invisible success.

            “I have often heart, and I rejoice to hear again, of your untiring and most valuable services to the cause of Humanity. After all, our demands are but negative. No bloody food, no bloody science. Yet how difficult it is to kill these dragons! Even Miss Cobbe’s services, valuable though they are, would be more efficient if she had less bitter feelings against vegetarians.

            “I have joined the newly-formed French Society, but I attach greater importance to the foundation of an international Anti-Vivisection Journal, which (Mr. Maitland informs me) is one of the objects of your visit to Switzerland.

            “Your excellent Inaugural Dissertation I have read in Aderholdt’s German translation. But my indebtedness to you has, of late, been greatly enhanced by my perusal of that wonderful Book which Mr.

(p. 115)

Maitland ascribes to your and his joint authorship. Pray accept your share of my thanks, together with my congratulations on your election to the Presidency of the Theosophical Society. May the mystic meanings implied in the circumstances of this election be one day affirmed and confirmed by the fruits of your activity, and may these fruits ripen in the rays of the heavenly Light.

            “With profound esteem and gratitude, I remain, dear Madam, yours sincerely,





(96:1) See Vol. I, p. 148.

(96:2) Clothed with the Sun, Part I, Nºs. XLI-XLVII, inclusive. These illuminations were received during the months of December 1882 and January and February 1883.

(97:1) June 1881. Illumination, “Concerning Regeneration.”

(97:2) A term which signifies forethought, and as here used implies distrust of the divine sufficiency. E.M.

(97:3) I.e. the flesh itself is their thorn.

(98:1) Vol. I, p. 195.

(98:2) For the explanation see The Perfect Way, V. 44, n. 13.

(101:1) An archaism for consciousness.

(109:1) Vol. I, p. 350.

(109:2) See Clothed with the Sun, Part I, Nº. XL.

(111:1) The Daily Express of July 16, 1908, contains an account of the Blood Cure, as then recently practised, which is reprinted in Addresses and Essays on Vegetarianism, pp. 48-49 n. – S.H.H.



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