Anna Bonus Kingsford (1846-1888) was an English mystical writer and doctor of medicine. She was the author - in collaboration with Edward Maitland (1824-1897) - of The Perfect Way; or, The Finding of Christ (London, 1882). In 1883 Mrs. Kingsford became President of the Lodge Lodge of the Theosophical Society. In Mr. Maitland's reminiscences given below, he often refers to Mrs. Kingsford as Mary. He was closely involved with Mrs. Kingsford's mystical work and often describes their joint endeavors using the terms "we", "us", "our", etc.
These reminiscences contain valuable primary sources including transcriptions of several of Madame Blavatsky's letters.
The following fifty plus pages are excerpted and compiled into a flowing narrative from Edward Maitland's Anna Kingsford: Her Life, Letters, Diary and Work, 3rd. edition (edited by Samuel Hopgood Hart), London, John Watkins, 1913, Volume II, pp. 14-17, 19-20, 64-69, 73-74, 79-81, 103-106, 119, 122-123, 138-140, 146-148, 154-155, 158-160, 165-167, 185-188, 193, 202-205, 221-223, 226-227, 274-282, 293-294, 296-297, 338-341, 374-376, and 419-424. The first edition of this work was published in 1896.
The headings (subtitles) have been added to the original text. Ellipses have been added to show where most of the breaks in the excerpts occur.
For more background on Mrs. Kingsford and Mr. Maitland, see Biography of Anna Kingsford. For H.P.Blavatsky's comments on Mrs. Kingsford and Mr. Maitland, see The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett. For comments of the Mahatmas, see The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett.
1. "The Perfect Way" Lectures
2. A.P. Sinnett's Review of The Perfect Way
3. Election of Mrs. Kingsford as President of the London T.S.
4. Controversy over A.P. Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism
5. Madame Blavatsky Arrives in London
6. Resignation from the London Lodge T.S.
7. A Visit to Madame Blavatsky at Ostende, Belgium
8. The Serious Illness of Mrs. Kingsford
9. Anna Kingsford's Death
10. Post Mortem Communications from Mrs. Kingsford
The approach of the time fixed for the commencement of our lectures [later published in the book The Perfect Way] found us much exercised about the composition of our audience, owing chiefly to the conditions imposed on us. . . . .
And among these were sundry members of a body with which we now first formed acquaintance, bearing the name of the British Theosophical Society. These were a group of students of the occult science and mystical philosophy of the East, who formed a branch of a parent society founded originally in New York by a Russian lady, Madame H. P. Blavatsky, and an American, Colonel H. S. Olcott, but whose headquarters were now in India. Our attention had already been called to the former personage by her Isis Unveiled, with which we had made acquaintance shortly before leaving Paris. A compendious compilation from numerous sources, reliable and other, of knowledges of the kind of which we were in receipt, but ill-digested, ill-arranged, and pervaded by a singularly combative and truculent tone, Isis Unveiled was, nevertheless, a work which showed both power and knowledge of an unusual kind, however undisciplined their possessor; and the fact of its appearance shortly after the commencement of our own work had struck us as a very remarkable coincidence. It now appeared that there was a coincidence which consisted in the fact that, about a couple of years after the commencement of our [Anna Kingsford's and Edward Maitland's] collaboration, the purpose of which had proved to be the restoration of the esoteric philosophy or Theosophy of the West, and the interpretation thereby of the Christian and kindred religions, a like collaboration, also between a woman and a man, had been commenced, having a similar object in regard to the esoteric philosophy or Theosophy of the East, and both parties had [until] now been working on lines thus parallel in complete ignorance of each others existence. And while, moreover, our knowledges were derived directly from celestial sources, the hierarchy of the Church Invisible in the holy heavens, theirs claimed as their source certain ancient lodges of Adepts said to inhabit the inaccessible heights of the Thibetan Himalayas, an order of men credited with the possession of knowledges and powers which constituted them beings apart and worthy of divine honours.
The chief intermediary between the Theosophical Society and ourselves was my friend, Charles Carleton Massey, so well known and highly esteemed as the "C. C. M." of the occult and mental literature of the day. Another of its members was Dr. George Wylde, also a man of considerable light and leading in the same line. When to these are added the names of the Hon. Roden Noel, Sir Francis Hastings Doyle, J. W. Farquhar, Dr. Inglis, Rev. John Manners, Hensleigh Wedgewood, Rev. Stainton Moses, Herbert Stack, Gerald B. Finch, Frank Podmore, Elizabeth V. Ingram, Francesca Arundale, Isabel de Steiger, and the Kenealy family, as members of our circle, it will be seen that we had an audience of more than average intelligence and culture of the kind requisite for the appreciation of our results.
It is unnecessary to render any particular account of the course. Each lecture was succeeded by a discussion, and a frank and marked recognition was shown of the value and beauty of the teachings received by us, and of their difference, in kind as well as in degree, from aught that had hitherto been known, as indicating their derivation from a source altogether transcending any as yet reached within human cognisance. Among others, Sir Francis Doyle - whose judgment, as a scholar, a thinker, and a poet of no mean order, was especially valuable - declared emphatically of some of the utterances recited by us that "they were something quite new in the world; there was nothing in literature to compare with them. And to hear them was like listening to the utterances of a God or an Archangel." We kept to our programme of a weekly lecture. . . . The lectures were largely written from week to week, while in actual course of delivery, the dates of which were May 16, 23 ; June 1, 13, 20, 27 ; and July 4, 11, 18 . Nos. 1, 4, 5, and 6 were delivered by Mary [Anna Kingsford], and the others by me. This as they stood in the first edition of The Perfect Way. . . .
We recognized another notable sign of the significance attaching to the year 1881 in the arrival from India this summer of Mr. A. P. Sinnett, who came over for the purpose of publishing the book which was to introduce the alleged thaumaturgists of the East, whom the Theosophical Society claimed as its "Masters," to the notice of the Western world. We were naturally curious to know what he had to say, and he, on his part, was curious to make the acquaintance of those who - if all were true which he had heard about us - were in certain respects setting themselves up as rivals to his own venerated chiefs. It was arranged, therefore, that he should pass an evening with us. There were several points on which we desired information, especially the existence and powers of the alleged "Mahatmas," and the system of thought which constituted their "esoteric doctrine." That there should be persons such as the Mahatmas were stated to be was not impossible for us, it followed from the teaching we had already received, and which was contained in our eighth lecture, though we had never before heard it said that such persons actually existed in the world now. We knew, too, that Reincarnation, under the name of Transmigration, was an Eastern tenet, and consequently the doctrine of Karma, which we had received in such plenitude of detail without ever having heard of that term for it. We were therefore greatly surprised to learn from Mr. Sinnett that these tenets formed no part of the doctrine of the Theosophical Society, being neither contained in their chief text-book, the Isis Unveiled of its foundress, nor communicated to it by its Masters, and on these grounds Mr. Sinnett rejected them, sitting up with us until long after midnight arguing against them, and saying, among other things, of the doctrine of Reincarnation, that even of the spiritualists only the few who followed Allan Kardec accepted it. Whereupon we stated our conviction that it would yet be given to his society by its Eastern teachers, and that, as for Allan Kardecs writings, we knew of them enough to know that they were far from trustworthy, and his presentation of that doctrine especially was unscientific and erroneous. For the sole source of his information was ordinary mediumship, as exercised by some sensitives who could see only in the astral, and represented, therefore, no true spiritual vision, but only the ideas of living persons, whom they reflected. And when his own book, The Occult World, made its appearance, as it did in the course of that same year [June 1881], we were able to infer from it that, if there really was a true system of esoteric philosophy in the East, it had not yet been imparted to the Theosophical Society, if only for the reason that the doctrine of that book was sheer materialism, and had no room for the Theos, who forms so essential an element in that which is denoted by the term "Theosophy."
A.P. Sinnett's Review of The Perfect Way
. . . The latter part of May  brought us from India a copy of the Theosophist of that month, with the first portion of a review of The Perfect Way, written, we were given to understand, by our visitor of the preceding summer, the author of the Occult World, Mr. A. P. Sinnett. Coming, as did this review, from the one quarter in the world - so far as we were then aware - which laid claim to special knowledge of the subjects dealt with in our book, this review could not fail to have great interest for us; and it was accordingly with much satisfaction that we found it described at the outset as an "upheaval of true spirituality; a grand book by noble-minded writers, and one that, if every man in London above a certain level of culture should read attentively, a theological revolution would be accomplished". . . .
But though thus highly appreciative of the book from some aspects, the reviewer took violent exception to it from others, for he not only dissented from some of its teachings on occult matters, but objected to the symbolism, in which, in order to interpret the Bible, we had followed the Bible. . . .
Recalling his persistent denial of Reincarnation on his visit to us in the previous year, we were interested to find him now accepting the doctrine. But even here also he differed from us in certain respects. For where we had taught the possibility of a souls return into a form below the human, by way of penance for grievous faults, he insisted to the contrary on the ground that "Nature does not go back on her own footsteps." As if such return, for such purpose, implied a going back of Nature, and not simply a putting back by Nature of a grievous offender for his own correction and reformation, to the making of the form the expression of the character.
Thus, while profoundly gratified by the review in some respects, we were almost as profoundly antagonised by it in others. And the result was a controversy in the pages of the Theosophist, not altogether devoid of bitterness, Mary especially resenting what she regarded as an affront to her sex. It was, however, finally and happily composed. Our reviewer concluded his part of the correspondence by describing us as "having produced one of the most - perhaps the most - important and spirit-stirring of appeals to the higher instincts of mankind which modern European literature has yet evolved." To which we returned a conciliatory reply, pointing out at the same time certain respects in which he had mistaken us. And the controversy wound up with the following characteristic enunciation by the editor, Madame Blavatsky, in which, as will be seen, she entirely threw over Mr. Sinnett in his repudiation of an intended mystical sense as underlying Christianity: -
"Editors Note. - It is most agreeable to us to see our reviewer of The Perfect Way and the writers of that remarkable work thus clasping hands and waving palms of peace over each others heads. The friendly discussion of the metaphysics of the book in question has elicited, as all such debates must, the fact that deep thinkers upon the nature of absolute truth scarcely differ, save as to externals. As was remarked in Isis Unveiled, the religions of men are but prismatic rays of the one only Truth. If our good friends, the Perfect Way-farers, would but read the second volume of our work, they would find that we have been all along precisely of their own opinion that there is a mystical truth and knowledge deeply underlying Roman Catholicism, which is identical with Asiatic esotericism; and that its symbology marks the same ideas, often under duplicate figures. We even went so far as to illustrate with woodcuts the unmistakable derivation of the Hebrew Kabala from the Chaldaean - the archaic parent of all the later symbology - and the kabalistic nature of nearly all the dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church. It goes without saying that we, in common with all Asiatic Theosophists, cordially reciprocate the amicable feelings of the writers of The Perfect Way for the Theosophical Society. In this moment of supreme effort to refresh the moral nature and satisfy the spiritual yearnings of mankind, all workers, in whatever corner of the field, ought to be knit together in friendship and fraternity of feeling. It would be indeed strange if any misunderstanding could arise of so grave a nature as to alienate from us the sympathies of that highly advanced school of modern English thought of which our esteemed correspondents are such intellectual and fitting representatives."
The two parts of the review appeared in the Theosophist of May and June 1882, and the articles in discussion in September and October of the same year; and our final reply and the above editorial in January 1883.
The review in question procured for us the following vivacious letter from Lady Caithness: -
"Paris, June 28, 1882.
"Dear Mr. Maitland, - A thousand thanks for sending me the Theosophists with the review of The Perfect Way, my copies not having reached me. Yours are doubly welcome, because they have your notes and observations. The writer is evidently not up to the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, but very far from it. And I must say I am very much disappointed - not in the review itself, because I expect reviews to be unjust and one-sided; they always are so - but that such a want of appreciation should be found in the Theosophist of what to me is the pervading and crowning glory of the Book - the doctrine of the Duality as it is in God, and should be in Man when made in the image of God - or perfect. I did expect more knowledge of the great mystery of God, which, if it has been kept secret from the beginning of the world, is now to be made known. For we have arrived at the turning-point of the worlds history, - the point when, the number 666 of the Beast being complete, we are to look for the manifestation of the Sons of God, or the Divine Humanity. I cannot tell you, therefore, how much the Theosophist has fallen in my estimation. Perhaps I have been inclined to estimate it too highly since the publication of those Fragments of Occult Truth, and also as compared with the spiritualist papers, which are so meagre, though Light is sometimes brightened by a letter from E. M. or a wonderful lecture by A. K. Then, too, what a disappointment it is to see the very low estimate in which woman is held! - the woman who was to be exalted, whose seed was to bruise the head of the serpent, who was the last and crowning creation of God, and not taken from the dust of the ground, but from the man created in the image of his Creator, - his own better and higher self, - and for whom no better description is comprehended or advanced than the following: The woman of the social system might at least as fairly be taken to typify the lower pleasures, fascinating enough at first, but ever less durable than desire, and culminating in satiety, ugliness, and decay. Poor, poor Theosophists, how have they fallen from their throne, - the throne to which, however, I suppose I only had exalted them! Now, I shall never more have any confidence in their advanced knowledge, in spite of their Himalayan Brothers and the authoritative tone in which they proclaim their theories - theories which I fancied were founded in the accumulated occult knowledge of the Ages, until now safely locked up in the Himalayan mountain fastnesses and Thibetan Lamasaries, whose threshold no profane foot had ever crossed.
"What a fall is here! - worse even than that of the first Adam; for he at least acknowledged his partner and companion to be bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh, and looked upon her with loving delight as the most beautiful of all the most beautiful objects that surrounded him in that earthly paradise.
"And the editor of the Theosophist is a woman! And she also is as blind as her reviewer, or any old world Bat, to the signs of the times and their fulfilment of prophecy, recognised at least by all those who have made themselves ready for the 'Marriage of the Kings Son.' . . . What in the name of Mystery have they been occulting all this time? For is not this the great secret, the secret of all the ancient Mysteries? Why, they have not understood even the lovely social mission of woman!"
. . . .
"St. Leonards, July 3 .
"My Dear Lady Caithness, - I hope you will not be misled by the misinterpretations of The Perfect Way given in the June Theosophist. The most serious and incomprehensible of the reviewers mistakes is that in which he finds fault with the fourfold division of Human Nature, and actually pretends that he can find in that division no place allotted to the Soul! - when the whole book is nothing else than the history of the Soul and her apotheosis!! The blunder is so gross and palpable that I find it hard to believe it has been committed innocently. Of course, the sevenfold division of the Theosophist is included in the four of The Perfect Way, and no more contradicts it or clashes with it than the fact that there are twelve months in the year contradicts the fact that there are four seasons in the year. For the seven are included in the four, the Jiv-atma or physical vital force belonging to the division of the body - for Jiv-atma is nothing else than nerve-force, and the Linga-Sharira, Kama Rupa, and Intelligent Mind being, of course, comprehended in the Astral spirit. The other two divisions of Soul and Spirit (absolute) perfectly correspond with ours. Not to see so plain a fact as this is surely to be wilfully blind.
"After all this reviewing and fault-finding on the part of critics having but a third of the knowledge which has been given to us, there is not a line in The Perfect Way, which I would alter were the book to be reprinted. The very reviewer - Mr. Sinnett - who write with so much pseudo-authority in the Theosophist has, within a years time, completely altered his views on at least one important subject, - I mean, Reincarnation. When he came to see us a year ago in London, he vehemently denied that doctrine, and asserted, with immense conviction, that I had been altogether deceived in my teaching concerning it. He read a passage from Isis Unveiled to confute me, and argued long on the subject. He had not then received any instruction from his Hindu Guru about it. Now, he has been instructed, and wrote Mr. Maitland a long letter acknowledging the truth of the doctrine, which, since seeing us, he has been taught. But he does not yet know all the truth concerning it, and so finds fault with our presentation of that side of it which, as yet, he has not been taught.
"I have no fear that the Immortals will deceive me; nor am I in the least disconcerted by adverse criticism. That others do not see, and cannot understand, proves only how greatly our work is needed in the world, and how far it surpasses all minor labours and teaching. Let no one, dear friend, shake your constant mind from the great doctrines which we have of the holy Powers themselves. For all other teaching, save that which is based on Justice, shall come to nothing. The just Lord loveth justice; His countenance beholdeth the thing that is just. Try all the doctrine of The Perfect Way by this supreme test, and see if it does not in all things satisfy and fulfil it as does no other under the sun. All are broken lights, - lights indeed, but fragmentary merely; one teaching including some stray beams, and others more. But to us the Gods have given without measure a perfect and glorious orb of complete glory, and if we be but faithful - we three - there is nothing we may not know. - Yours affectionately.
Election of Mrs. Kingsford as President of the London T.S.
. . . From a letter addressed to me, . . . we learnt as follows. The writer, Mr. G. B. Finch, was at once one of the most competent judges of our work and warmest of our adherents: -
"The Theosophical Society in England has arrived at a crisis. Dr. Wyld resigned the presidency some time ago, and Mr. C. C. Massey has been elected. On his election he wrote to Colonel Olcott, asking whether it was any good keeping up the Society, and entering into full particulars about the state of affairs here. I learned these things from Mr. Massey, to whom I had gone to see whether something could not be done to keep what seemed to me a useful agency going. M. says that members are admitted too freely; that he had urgently proposed to put it on an ascetic basis, but that Madame Blavatsky had rejected this. She apparently wished the Society to be Catholic. But it can be this and at the same time eclectic, for they have sections; and it would be in accordance with the practice of the Society elsewhere to have a section on an ascetic base, or any other base within the purview of the Societys aims. M. seemed to wish for some such section, and if Mrs. Kingsford were in it I think he would be greatly pleased. He seemed to me to be in a phase of discouragement or of depression, which perhaps is rather general, due to the inevitable law of reaction after action. I should like to be a member of some such section as I have described if you and Mrs. Kingsford were members. Not that I see that I could do anything, having so little originating or constructive imagination. But as you know that in chemistry bodies unite to act upon each other in the presence of a third supposed neutral body, so in such a section I might help action if I could not originate it."
This was the first suggestion to us of a conjunction with the Theosophical Society, and the idea had not occurred to us before; nor, now that it was suggested, and this by those whom we held in high esteem, did we feel drawn to it. On the contrary, we already knew enough about the origin, motives, and methods of the Theosophical Society to distrust it. Its original prospectus committed the glaring inconsistency of declaring the absolute tolerance of the Society of all forms of religions, and then of stating that a main object was the destruction of Christianity. Its founders had committed it also to the rejection of the idea of a God, personal or impersonal, and this while calling it Theosophical. And it claimed for its doctrine a derivation from sources which, even if they had any existence - a matter on which we had no proof - were not to be compared with those from whom ours was derived, while the doctrine itself was palpably inferior so far as yet disclosed, and this both in substance and form.
On sending the letter to Lady Caithness, together with some remarks to the above purport, she replied as follows: -
"I am surprised at what is said about the T. S. in London, and greatly fear that, unless you can be induced to undertake to preside over it, it will fall to the ground, which would be a deplorable event for Mde. B. I therefore think she will gladly accede to your terms, whatever they may be, excepting, of course, the change of name. For that would be to form a new society altogether, quite independent of the Hindu Theosophical and of the Himalayan Brothers. Therefore I do not understand your wish to change the name if you join it. For it would be easier for you to establish one of your own, with Mrs. Kingsford as directress, as no doubt she is a sufficient power by herself to do so; but if there is really any truth in the Himalayan Brothers - which I believe there is - does it not seem a pity to ignore them entirely in such an undertaking? For surely, if they are, they would be a great power, though invisible. Shall I tell you that it would not surprise me in the least that Mrs. Kingsford should be suddenly invited to go to India, where no doubt she would become personally acquainted with some members of this Occult Brotherhood? I shall be anxious to see how it all comes about; for there is no doubt she has been much canvassed by the Hindu set. And perhaps The Perfect Way has found its way to the occult fastnesses, and orders have come from the Brothers to hold her in due reverence. Indeed I feel sure that ere long she will hear something important from that quarter. So I think it will be a pity to begin by quarrelling with the name Theosophist, or Striver after the Divine, which is so eminently characteristic of their only occupation, the one for which they have sacrificed all their things."
The matter went no further at this time; but we were struck by learning that Mary had been recognised by the mysterious chiefs of the Theosophical Society as "the greatest natural mystic of the present day, and countless ages in advance of the great majority of mankind, the foremost of whom belong to the last race of the fourth round, while she belongs to the first race of the fifth round." Without attaching any value to this doctrine of rounds and races, we could not but recognise the singular coincidence between this assertion of her antiquity and the intimation given to us some years before while at Paris, that she was a "soul of vast experience, and many thousands of years older than" I was, of which intimation we had never uttered a word to any person, but had kept it strictly to ourselves. . . .
. . . 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: -
"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 much with what I take to be a Buddhist propaganda, though I believe 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 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. Kingsfords scientific attainments an unimportant consideration to the 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 interest, 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 as 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 worlds 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 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 Kings 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.
. . . We arrived in England May 20 , and two days later went to Norwich, where she [Mrs. Kingsford] had undertaken to lecture on behalf of vegetarianism. Her reception was most enthusiastic. Returning to London, she commenced her duties as President of the Theosophical Society by suggesting as a better designation for it the London Lodge of the Theosophical Society, a proposition which met with cordial approval. Her reasons were set forth in the following letter which she wrote a few days later to Lady Caithness, urging her to adopt the same plan with the Paris branch instead of calling it by the name then proposed: -
"Atcham Vicarage, June 8 .
"I did this because there are in London a vast number of Societies, good, bad, and indifferent, and I wish the character of our fraternity to be entirely distinct from that of the ordinary run. We are a secret society, too, and our members are, or should be, brothers and sisters. But chiefly our aim is to establish branch societies throughout the world, and as the members of all these will be in constant intercommunication, and will virtually be brothers of one fraternity, I think it best to designate the different groups by the name of Lodge, the meaning of which is now classical and explains itself. There is really but one T. S., as there is but one Society of Freemasons, and all its various sects are really its Lodges. Mr. Sinnett adopted this idea with great zest, and it was carried immediately and unanimously. Pray do not let yourself be drawn away from the original idea by giving your Society such a name as the Oriental. It will mean nothing, and will put you into communication with no one either in India or in England. As a Theosophic Lodge you will have everything we of England or India can give you, and I have by me some very interesting papers to send, which you shall have. But you know you must not communicate their contents to any uninitiated person.
"I am going to do my utmost to make our London Lodge a really influential and scientific body. . . Besides, we do not want to pledge ourselves to Orientalism only, but to the study of all religions esoterically, and especially to that of our Western Catholic Church. Theosophy is equally applicable to such study; but Orientalism can relate only to Brahmanism and Buddhism. . . .
Controversy over A.P. Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism
. . . The arrival of Mr. Sinnett in England [in April 1883], and the publication of his Esoteric Buddhism [in June 1883], had completely revolutionised the status of the Theosophical Society. No longer now was it a private group of students engaged for their own satisfaction in mastering the philosophy of the Orient, and pledged to secrecy respecting its nature. It was a propaganda eager for notoriety, and claiming to be in possession of a doctrine resting on the infallible authority of an order of men divinised and hid away in the inaccessible fastnesses of the Thibetan uplands. This made it all the more necessary for us to see that we were committing ourselves to nothing that could impair the authority of the teaching received by us. And it was with no little interest that we looked forward to an examination of Esoteric Buddhism.
The proposed Epiphany of the Theosophical Society took the form of a public reception to Mr. Sinnett, in Princes Hall, on July 17 . The audience numbered some three hundred, and - as stated in the press - "was at once fashionable and influential." The proceedings were opened by Mary, who, in her capacity of President, delivered . . . [an] address. . . .
. . . Esoteric Buddhism was, then, the book which, as the chiefs of the London Lodge of the Theosophical Society, we were bound to study, and upon which, as the writers of The Perfect Way, we were equally bound to pass judgment, and this not for the sake merely of the members of the Society, but for the sake of our own work, and for the vindication before the world of the teaching committed to us, and which we knew of ourselves to be true, while - as the writer of Esoteric Buddhism frankly admitted - he was entirely dependent for his knowledge upon teachers of whom he had no personal knowledge, but whom, nevertheless, he had learnt to trust implicitly.
Such being the position, our course seemed to us to be clear. This was to ignore persons, and judge the doctrine on its own sole merits, making appeal only to the understanding. Having ourselves insisted on the possibility of mans attainment of knowledges and powers even transcending those claimed for the Eastern Adepts, we were by no means averse to the idea that such persons may actually exist. But there was no sufficient evidence of their existence, or of the possession by those who asserted their existence of the ability to recognise them, even in the case of contact with them. For, as only they who possess the Christ-Spirit in a measure can recognise the Christ, so only they who are themselves adepts in a measure can recognise the Adept. And even if the teaching in question really came from the source alleged, what guarantee was there that it had not undergone in transmission a change sufficient to vitiate it? Our own position in regard to the current Christianity was, that the Church had all the truth, having received it from a Divine source, but that the priests had materialised it, making themselves and their followers idolaters. And might not the same thing have happened with the teaching now propounded, and this while its propounders were acting in the best faith, owing to the lack of spiritual insight on the part of the recipients? The very designation, Esoteric Buddhism, moreover, was open to grave question. And there was the further consideration, that to accept it upon authority, and independently of the understanding, would be but to establish a new sacerdotalism in place of that which we and they alike sought to dethrone.
And, indeed, it very soon became evident that matters were not only in danger of tending in this direction, but had already gone far in it. The idea of a group of divinised men, dwelling high up in the fastnesses of the Himalayas, and endowed with transcendent knowledges and powers, possessed a fascination for all but the strongest heads; and that many had succumbed to the glamour of the supposed "Mahatmas," as the adept masters were called, was evidenced by their readiness to accept implicitly all that was put forward in their name, even to resenting as blasphemous the suggestion of need for caution and deliberation, and their refusal to recognise the presence of an esoteric element in Christianity corresponding to that which was claimed for Buddhism.
There was also much in the tone and character of the publications issued from the headquarters of the parent [Theosophical] Society in India of which we disapproved as not only calculated to impair the credit of the Society with the public, but as harmful in itself and incompatible with its real aims. For, while we recognised the Society as at once representing high aims and possessed of invaluable knowledges, we were compelled to recognise the presence of other and conflicting elements which, unless eliminated, would assuredly wreck the whole movement. This is to say that, although, owing to the heterogeneous nature of its elements, chiefly as regarded the personalities of its foremost representatives, it was but a chaos, we discerned in it the possibilities of a kosmos, provided only those elements could be duly redeemed from their limitations and fused into harmonious accord. For us its promoters were as children who, having become possessed of a valuable instrument which they were as yet incapable of appreciating, were in danger of destroying it through the exuberance of their child-nature, and their consequent disposition to play with it, instead of setting seriously to work to apply it to its proper uses.
In view of these objections, "Mary" addressed . . . [a] letter of remonstrance to Colonel Olcott in his capacity of President of the Parent Society. . . .
Our dissent from Mr. Sinnetts book, and our attitude towards the alleged "Masters," produced in the Society a feeling which called forth the following letter from Mary: -
"The Vicarage, Atcham, November 2, 1883.
"Dear Madame De Steiger, - I do not know what view you may have taken of the manifestation of feeling elicited at last Lodge meeting by the reading of my Letter. I can only say that, for some reason or other unknown to me, you all took a view of that Letter which was certainly not in my mind when I wrote it. I never dreamed of disparaging the Brothers, nor of imputing that I did not believe in them. But you must be aware that experience has shown the folly of the course pursued in the latter half of last season by Mr. Sinnett, of dragging the names of the Brothers forward into undue prominence, and so making our Society ridiculous in the eyes of the world and of the press, so that in more than one paper we have been held up to public ridicule, as followers of a company of Indian jugglers, on whose alleged feats we have built our whole system. Yet this statement actually occurred in a leading article of the Standard at the close of this summer. Mr. Sinnett dislikes my being President for reasons of his own, and if I were to retire would not be slow to accept the vacant Chair. A hint is enough on this matter. The fact is patent to all who have eyes to see. Following his lead, you have, most of you, read into my address a meaning I had not the least wish to convey, and I am heartily sorry so many of my friends should so much have misunderstood me. Mr. C. C. Massey, at whose lead, as you know, I first joined the T.S. and became your President, under what we all then thought such happy auspices, is coming up to town specially to be present at Sundays meeting, the 4th, and to do his best to break down the cabal raised against me. I hope you will support him, and I hope also that others of my friends will do likewise. Can you manage to get a little private conversation with Mr. Massey before the meeting, and exchange ideas with him? You will then learn exactly what it is he proposes to do. I have written him a letter to read at the meeting. Mr. Sinnett will doubtless propose to call on me to retire from the Chair and from the Society; because this is his policy. Do not be misled by him. Both Madame Blavatsky and Mahatma K. H. himself are, I have reason to believe, anxious to retain me as President. I had a long and cordial letter from Madame B. herself yesterday, with a kindly message from K. H. I feel sure they would all be grieved to hear I was displaced. - Yours affectionately.
"Atcham Vicarage, November 5, 1883.
"Dear Mme. De Steiger, - In thanking you for your letter, which is, I suppose, a fair exposition of the present views of the London Lodge T. S., it would not be honest in me to leave you without a clear statement of my position in the matter that has arisen between us.
"(1) When I was invited to join the Society, I was emphatically and distinctly told that no allegiance would be required of me to the Mahatmas, to Mme. Blavatsky, or to any other person real or otherwise, but only to Principles and Objects.
"(2) Consequently, I am no traitor to the express conditions on which I entered the Society when I say that I neither owe nor do I acknowledge the allegiance which now appears to be required of me to persons of whose existence and claims I am utterly unable to affirm or deny anything positively.
"(3) If, then, it is the deliberate opinion of the whole Lodge - which it certainly was not six months ago - that it must have a President whose allegiance to the Mahatmas is sans peur et sans reproche, then I certainly am not, from the nature of things, fitted to occupy your Chair. And I do not see how anyone can occupy it, on such terms, who is not, of his own personal experience, in a position to testify to the existence and claims of the Brothers. This even Mr. Sinnett cannot do, as he only knows them through a glass darkly, and not face to face.
"(4) I cannot consent to pose before the world in the absurd position of a person claiming to act on principles of exact knowledge and scientific methods, who has abandoned the platform of Historical Christianity, because its so-called events and personages are impossible of verification, and who yet accepts as indubitable another set of events and personages the evidence for which is meagre and unsatisfactory in a degree surpassing even that of Historical Christianity. All that is affirmed may be true; but I am not in a position to know of its truth, and cannot therefore say I believe it, or disbelieve it.
"The utmost I can say in the present matter is - and this I say cordially - that I am heartily willing and anxious to hear all that comes to us from the East, with serious attention, provided I am not called upon to connect it with subservience to any personal authority claiming my belief and confidence as a duty; and provided also that I may fairly and freely criticise what I hear, and test it by reason and experience.
"(5) Madame Blavatsky called the Mahatmas Masters. Her experience and evidence may justify this epithet for her, but they do not justify me in using it. I do not, therefore, and will not, apply that term to any earthly being soever.
"I may add that it is not I who seek to separate Esoteric Buddhism from Esoteric Christianity. First, the system expounded by Mr. Sinnett is not - so far as I can see - esoteric at all, being simply a scheme of transcendental physics; and, secondly, he is deliberately seeking to silence every other voice but that of the Mahatmas. If there is to be unification and brotherhood, there must be equality. It now seems to me that I am the only representative of Christian doctrine left among you!
"In conclusion, I would like to add that, personally, I sincerely thank Dr. Wyld for the criticisms he has from time to time contributed to Light on the subject of Mr. Sinnetts book. I think he is a wholesome check upon extravagances and assumptions which, but for the timely part he plays, might land some of us in abject fetishism. - Always affectionately yours,
Meanwhile, with a view to the vindication of our own position in regard to [Mr. Sinnetts] Esoteric Buddhism, we wrote a pamphlet in two parts [the two parts covering twenty-nine pages], the first of which (1) was by Mary, and the second (2) by myself, addressed to the London Lodge (3) . . . .
. . . My portion of the pamphlet . . . consisted in a criticism which, by contrasting various statements in the book with each other, and with sound reason, convicted it of incoherences and inconsistencies fatal to its claims to be regarded at all as a system of thought. And as there was no one on this side who felt competent to reply to us, our protest was referred to the Societys headquarters in India. Meanwhile an admirable essay entitled, "The Metaphysical Basis of Esoteric Buddhism," was issued by C. C. Massey, which coincided in all essential respects with our view of that book. The great majority, however, of the Lodge were strongly adverse to the line taken by us, for reasons apparently personal rather than philosophical, in that they resented our attitude towards the Mahatmas. And it became clear that, when the time came, as it would come in January , for the annual election of officers, we should be displaced. This was a conclusion which, so far as concerned ourselves, we contemplated with more than equanimity, with positive satisfaction and relief. The turmoil of the position and the personal conflicts engendered were distasteful to us in the extreme; and only the hope of saving the Society from its own discordant elements, to become a redeeming influence in the world, reconciled us to a continued association with it. Meanwhile both sides represented their views of the situation to the Founders, Mary writing a letter of some 4000 words to Madame Blavatsky, and one nearly as long to Colonel Olcott. . . .
The meeting of January (4) passed without any overt action affecting the situation, the elections being postponed until such time as word should be received from India. The following letter from Mary to Lady Caithness refers to the meeting: -
"5 Chapel Place, Vere Street,
"January 28, 1884.
"Dear Friend, - Thank you very warmly indeed for your kind and sympathetic letter. The meeting is over, but I cannot say it has advanced us much. There has been no election; it is postponed for a fortnight, by which time it is thought that letters will have arrived from India, and by these I suppose the Lodge will be entirely guided. Whether the reply of K. H. will be in accordance with our hopes or not, my conviction will, of course, remain entirely unshaken. The doctrine we have received is that of all Hermetic and Kabalistic teaching from time immemorial; and to forsake that and embrace the strange and inconsistent creed put forth as Esoteric Buddhism would be to turn our backs at once and definitively upon all that is divine and true, in the highest sense. None of us are capable of such folly as that would be. Mr. Ward (Uncle Sam) (5) sent me his vote, accompanied by an affectionate letter. Of course many hard things were said of us, but all quite incorrect and unwarrantable. - Always affectionately yours,
When the time came for the decisive meeting to be held, the occasion proved to be in the highest degree dramatic. The tension was extreme, so high did feeling run on both sides; and when, at the moment that the crucial question was to be put, Mary produced a telegram (6) from India saying, "Remain President," and signed "Koot Hoomi," the sensation was indescribable. The mandate was at once recognised as imperative, and the election was but a formality. And such was the effect of the sudden coup on our American friend [Samuel Ward], ardent believer as he was in "Mahatma Koot Hoomi," that he wept outright with joy and triumph.
The result of the reference of our criticism of Esoteric Buddhism to India was a pamphlet of some forty-five pages, bearing the name of "T. Subba Row, Counsellor of the Parent T.S.," and written jointly by him and Madame Blavatsky, in support of Mr. Sinnett and refutation of us. It necessitated a rejoinder (7) from us, which took the shape of another pamphlet of thirty-one pages, in which we showed conclusively that the reply, so far from being an answer to us, was inaccurate and incoherent, and left our position untouched. And we still had to wait for the presentation of doctrine which was to remove the objections we had formulated against Esoteric Buddhism. This came in due time, but not until the publication of The Secret Doctrine. In this, her magnum opus, Madame Blavatsky threw over Mr. Sinnetts presentation in favour of ours, having meanwhile informed us that it had been as much as she and Subba Row could do to make a plausible defence of Esoteric Buddhism, as we were right and it was wrong, through its writers misapprehension of the teaching received by him. "But," she added, with the candour characteristic of her in her best moods, "we were obliged to support him then because he represented us. But when the Secret Doctrine was concerned, it was necessary to tell the truth" - a position at least intelligible. . . .
The following letter . . . throws so much light on the situation as to be well worth reproducing. . . .: -
"To Lady Caithness
"London, March 11, 1884.
My Dear Friend, - Let me before all congratulate you very heartily and earnestly on your splendid letter published in the last number of the M------. It is beyond praise, but a great deal too valuable for publication in such a periodical. I am almost sorry to see you descending into the vulgar arena of mere spiritism to contest with such unworthy opponents as the majority of the readers of the M------. Most of these people are without education, and belong to a class addicted to personalities and to the calling of names on the smallest provocation. It is for these reasons that I never myself write in that print. It seems that to give expression to any ideas unfamiliar to its supporters is to expose oneself to a volley of abuse. All this, however, does not detract from the value of the contribution you have made to the metaphysics of true Christianity in your excellent homily. If the rest of the work on which you are engaged be as lucid and as profound as this example of it, then we may look forward to some hope of illuminating the world at last. Do you know Baron Spedalieri of Marseilles? He is a very advanced and learned Theosophist, a friend of Eliphas Levi, and now ours. He would be delighted with your exposition. You should send him a copy of it with your compliments, if you have not yet corresponded with him. Of course he knows you well by reputation, and we have often spoken to him of you and of our association with you.
"Mr. Maitland and I have just completed a reply to Mr. Subba Rows pamphlet, in which we have clearly shown the obscurities and confusion of the greater part of his argument. Of course, he had a very difficult, and indeed an impossible, task to perform. For he had to defend Mr. Sinnett against us while well knowing that our charges were by no means ill-founded. Thus he endeavours to rebut our suggestion of the exoteric character of Mr. Sinnetts book by saying it is not wholly allegorical, and that he is not at liberty at present to speak publicly of the esoteric doctrine of the Buddha. We never said he was; but why pretend then, that Mr. Sinnett has done so? It is manifest from Mr. Subba Rows exposition that the truth of our statements respecting Esoteric Buddhism is virtually conceded by him and by his directors. And I think that our reply will make this fact unmistakably clear.
"Neither Mr. Maitland nor I have the smallest desire to adopt towards Mr. S[innett], or anyone else, an attitude of hostility. We have from the beginning done our utmost to impress on him and on our fellow Theosophists the fact that we are contending for certain Principles, and not against any persons soever. I hope you will take the opportunity, when you meet Madame Blavatsky, of impressing this fact upon her, because - judging from a paper which Mr. S. read to the assembled Lodge at its last meeting, and in which very violent language was used against us - it is highly probable that he may have written to her or to Col. Olcott in a similar strain, and so imported into our controversy a personal element which ought studiously to have been avoided. I cannot say what he has written to India, nor what he has received from thence, as he persistently refused to communicate to the Lodge, or even to the council, any letters or parts of letters passing between him and his Chiefs. In fact, we know little or nothing of the views entertained at headquarters on matters of philosophical interest; for all these are jealously reserved from us, and shown, if at all, to those only who are prepared to accept everything coming from the Masters with blind faith.
"The fact of the matter is, that Mr. S. has a personal and intense aversion to Christianity, and regards with absolute intolerance any attempt to unfold its esoteric meanings. Truth to tell, the very word esoteric is not understood by him; for he interprets it only of that which is not commonly known, rather than of that the nature of which is interior and spiritual. Thus, for him, transcendental physics are esoteric; and so forth. He does not understand that things occurring on the historical plane, and capable of verification by ordinary physical scientific processes, cannot possibly belong to esoteric, that is, to spiritual, truth. When I seek to unfold to him, or to the Lodge, truly esoteric mysteries affecting not the mere intellect, but the soul, he characterises such expositions as cloudy and hazy. He is utterly wanting in the qualifications which alone fit a man for the study of the deep things of God. There is nothing spiritual in him; he hungers and thirsts, not after Justice, but after mere occultism, and to this he would reduce all the studies of the T.S. Lodge. The more I see and hear him, the more I marvel that K. H. or any Adepts should have permitted such a man to be the bearer to Europe of their philosophy. For they must have known the kind of presentation it would receive in his hands, and the character of the interpretation of it on which he would insist. His language against us at the last Lodge meeting caused a lady who was present, and who was previously inclined favourably to him, to write to a friend a letter which he showed me, in which she said, As I listened to Mr. Sinnett I wondered where peace and joy and brotherhood had fled to; and when Mrs. Kingsford rose to answer him I marvelled at her great moderation. Surely one so gentle as she is in such a trying position is far more fitted to be our President than one who, like Mr. S., whatever may be his loyalty to the Masters, loses his temper so readily.
"I do not know whether you have yet read Mr. C. C. Masseys new pamphlet on Esoteric Buddhism called forth by the recent controversy. It is a most excellent and philosophic little treatise, and will, I doubt not, prove of the greatest value and service to us all. Massey is not only a scholar and a clear thinker, but he has the spiritual mind; and if it be thought advisable that I should retire from the Presidency, he is the only man who is, in my view, likely to direct the Lodge with knowledge, prudence, and charity. But he has already refused the office, being inordinately modest and diffident. When I hear from you that Madame Blavatsky has arrived at Nice, I will write to her on several subjects of vital interest in our Lodge. Meanwhile, will you tell her from me that she mistakes me in two points - first, the question of belief in K. H. I dont quite know the theosophical meaning of this word belief, but if it implies belief in the existence of K. H., then I believe in that quite as much as I do in her own. All that I see reason so far to doubt is the exact significance to be attached to the terms Adept, Mahatma, etc., as applied to him. The other point regards her own conception of the nature of the gifts with which she is good enough to credit me. 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 I 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, but 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.
"But powers of the occult order, the exercise of which depends on the knowledge of certain natural modes of law, and on the development of an intellectual will, competent to grapple with and direct akasic magnetism, - these can be communicated only by the initiation of the intellectual mind; and this, I have reason to believe, is not transferable from one birth to another, because it affects a vehicle of the human kingdom which is renewed at every new birth. Wherefore it is only to be attained by severe training and rigid exclusion from the world; and when thus the desired power is educed, the natural object of the fully developed occultist becomes to perpetuate the life during which only this initiation will be available. I will explain myself more fully, should you wish it, at another time. - Always your very affectionate friend,
Madame Blavatsky Arrives in London
. . . March  witnessed the arrival in England of the Founders of the Theosophical Society. (8) Colonel Olcott was the first to arrive, Madame Blavatsky having elected to remain awhile in Paris. One of his first acts was to hold a meeting for the purpose of initiating new members. We were present at the function, but failed to be greatly impressed by the solemnity. Indeed, the President-founder seemed anxious to relieve the occasion of any undue amount of feeling of the kind. Among other things, he explained that the expression in the initiation formula, "Ab Oriente lux," which signifies "Light away from the East," was a mistake for Ex Oriente lux," which means "Light from the East." But as the mistake had been made, it had not been considered worth while to correct it.
There was a melodramatic element in the first appearance of H. P. B., which for us seemed altogether incompatible with any sense of seriousness. The occasion was the Lodge meeting [of April 7, 1884] at which our successors were to be inaugurated, and to show our acquiescence in the change, we attended it. By all but a few who were in the secret, Madame Blavatsky was believed to be still abroad. But during the meeting the whisper went round that she had unexpectedly and mysteriously arrived, and would presently appear. The excitement of the devotees was, of course, intense on finding themselves about to be brought face to face with so miraculous a personage. And it culminated when, on entering the room, she authoritatively bade Mary and myself to present ourselves to her, and then peremptorily bade us to shake hands with Mr. Sinnett, and let bygones be bygones for the sake of the universal brotherhood. Meanwhile she fixed her great eyes on us, as if to compel us by their magnetism to obey her behest. Making myself spokesman for us both, I remarked to her, firmly but quietly, that repentance ought to precede forgiveness. Let Mr. Sinnett do his part, and we should not be slow to do ours. At this unexpected opposition her eyes flashed yet more powerfully on us, especially on Mary, who, as presumably the weaker vessel, might be expected to yield the more readily. Of course neither of us was in the smallest degree affected by her sorcery. And the President, seeing that Madame was courting a fiasco, approached her and said that he would not have her trying to magnetise Mrs. Kingsford. The rest of the evening was passed in conversation more or less amicable, curiosity and amusement being our dominant sentiments. And in the issue, being unable to reconcile ourselves to their programme [and in deference to the general desire for officials devoted wholly to the Eastern teachings], we withdrew from [our positions of President and Vice-President respectively of] (9) the Lodge, and sought an independent platform for our own teaching. The result was the formation of the Hermetic Society, in which we had the concurrence and assistance of the Theosophical Society Founders and several of its members, their desire being to make it a separate Lodge of their own Society. This, however, to our satisfaction, proved impracticable, owing to the issue of a rule prohibiting membership of more than one Lodge at a time.  The Hermetic Society was therefore established on an independent basis, with Mary as its President. Throughout the whole course of the contentions our valued friend, C. C. Massey, had proved himself a wise counsellor and indefatigable supporter, and he now threw himself heartily into our new enterprise, having found himself compelled to sever his connection with the Theosophical Society on account of certain incidents which failed to find satisfactory explanation. . . .
To Lady Caithness.
21 Henrietta Street, Cavendish Square,
"May 12, 1884.
"Dear Friend, - Will you kindly send me the title and publisher of the book on Masonry that I read when I was staying with you in Paris a year ago? I mean the book containing pictures of the various signs, grips, ceremonies, etc. I hardly dare ask you to lend me the book, because I know how much you value it, and how rare it is; but probably, if it is at all procurable in England, I might be able to get a copy through some collector. The Popes recent denunciation of Masonry makes me anxious to investigate more closely than I have hitherto done the details and purport of the craft; for I think I have discerned the cause of the enmity borne by the Catholic Church against the Masonic system. I believe it is nothing more nor less than the ancient feud between Judaism and Christianity. Yesterday I had a long conversation with a Mason, and am convinced that the main object of the craft is no other than the perpetuation of the Jewish system and religion. It is fundamentally opposed to the very spirit of the Catholic Church, and especially to the worship of our Blessed Lady. It is materialistic and male, and radically subversive of spirituality and womanhood in its supremest sense.
"Our Society (the Hermetic) was inaugurated on the 9th with good success. Colonel Olcott was present, and expressed his sympathy with our intention and objects. But we want to get known. Sometimes I think that the truths and knowledges we hold are so high and so deep that the age is yet unable to receive them, and that all we shall be permitted to do is to formulate them in some book or books to leave as a legacy to the world when we pass away from it. The truth we have is far in advance of anything the disciples of Madame Blavatsky and her Gurus possess. They know only the Lower Triangle of the Seal of Solomon; (11) and this, again, is all that the Masons or the Buddhists know. The Lower Triangle is Solomons Temple, which the Masons are always engaged in rebuilding. But that which has been expounded to us, and which we hold in trust for the age to come, is the secret of the Upper Triangle - the city not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens. Do not talk about this to Madame B.; she cannot know it; she is an occultist, not a mystic, and she is incapable of comprehending this Upper Triangle.
"I like Mohini Chatterji. I think he knows more intuitively than Mme. B. is capable of knowing. I have had two hours conversation with him, and found him instructed and intelligent. I think him honest and free from malice, so far as I can judge. Do you know anything of chiromancy? If you do, ask to see Madames hands. - Your most true and affectionate friend,
. . . .
From C. C. Massey to E. Maitland
"July 16 .
"I had a note from Olcott this morning. He seemed greatly pleased with his visit to Mrs. Kingsford. No doubt she will soon be the Goddess with them again, as she was with Sinnett a year ago! As to their attitude towards yourself, perhaps you are right; but that, too, is a question of times and moods, and meanwhile your equanimity is not likely to be disturbed. And now that troubles are menacing on account of the old Lady, other peoples depravity will throw yours into the shade. I, who have been the spoilt child of the theosophical movement up to now, may be discovered to be a very wicked wretch, if not a Jesuit. (12) We all have to take our turns at this sort of thing in the Brotherhood. . . . .
. . . We had been warned that our attitude towards the Theosophical Society and its Masters exposed us to personal danger from the occult powers possessed by them, and some of the more ardent of their partisans had already expressed their surprise at our immunity from their vengeance. Certain incidents which occurred during our sojourn in London this summer seemed to lend confirmation to the idea, of which the following is one: -
Mary was roused from sleep one night by a sound of rustling among some manuscripts which were on a table at the foot of her bed, and on looking to see the cause, beheld a dwarf figure, which she recognised as that of an elemental of the order of the Gnomes, or earth-spirits; for it was costumed as a labourer, and carried a long-handled shovel, their distinguishing symbol. It was turning over the manuscripts as if looking for some particular paper, and muttering to itself in French. She therefore accosted it in the same language, sharply demanding its business, and bidding it begone. Upon which the imp looked at her in great surprise, as if not expecting detection, and exclaiming in the same language that it had made a mistake, and took its departure.
On the following night I was roused from a sound sleep by hearing her exclaim in great distress, "Caro! Caro! I am dying!" Owing to the distance between our rooms - for they were on different storeys and staircases - I knew that her actual voice could not have reached me, call as loudly as she might. I took it, therefore, for an interior summons, obeying which I hastened to her door, and knocking at it, asked if she was in want of anything, as I fancied I heard her calling out. Whereupon she presently exclaimed, "Oh! I am so glad you woke me; I was just being suffocated by a terrible nightmare."
She had been much exercised about the experience of the previous night, owing chiefly to the circumstance that the goblin spoke in French, this being quite a novel feature to her; and she could not help connecting it in some way with a visit she had on that day paid to Madame Blavatsky, in which they had chiefly spoken French together. The visit itself had been marked by an incident which we had discussed with considerable interest, and which was in this wise.
On calling at the house [in London] where Madame Blavatsky was staying, she found her on the point of going out for a drive, and instead of entering the house, complied with a message asking her to get into the carriage and wait there. Presently Madame appeared, with one of her Indian proteges, one M------, and the three went for a drive together, Madame being very cordial, and cheerful even to jocularity. After a while she referred to the criticism we had written on Mr. Sinnetts book, Esoteric Buddhism, quoting a sentence which she ascribed to Mary, and asking how she could say such a thing. To which Mary replied that she had said nothing of the kind, but quite the opposite. Whereupon, in order to prove herself right, Madame asking M------ for the pamphlet, saying she was sure he had it about him. This M------- denied, but, on her persisting, searched his pockets for it, but without finding it. At this Madame seemed disappointed, but presently regained her cheerfulness, and showed herself full of vivacious humour, much to Marys delight, as she had heard so much of that trait in her character, but had never yet witnessed any exhibition of it. In the course of the drive the "Old Lady" proposed that they have some refreshment, and the party accordingly repaired to a confectioners, and called for some chocolate. While sitting there Madame again recurred to the pamphlet, reaffirming her accuracy, and insisted on M------ again searching his pockets for it, saying in a tone of command, "I must and will have it." This time, after a short search, he produced it; upon which Madame exclaimed triumphantly, "There! you see! the Masters------." To which Mary responded by saying quietly, "That is very nice; now I will show you"; and taking the book, she found the passage, which proved to be as she had declared. Madame at once frankly admitted her mistake, saying she was very glad to find she was wrong; and the rest of the time passed pleasantly all around.
On coming home and telling me the story, Mary said that, even if she had believed there was a miracle in the matter, she would not have shown any surprise, as that would have been to credit Madame with a monopoly of thaumaturgic power. What she wanted, however, to do was to find a middle course between a miracle - in which she did not for a moment believe - and a barefaced trick, deliberately contrived and rehearsed to impose upon her. The explanation to which we inclined was this twofold one. Madame had been prompted, partly by her irrepressible love of fun, and partly by her desire to put Mary to a test to ascertain whether she was really a sensible person, or belonged to the category of those whom Madame had been wont to call her "domestic imbeciles," "flapdoodles," and the like names. It was the way of the Adepts in occultism to test their neophytes, and Mary took this as an ordeal similarly devised to try her, and believed that her behaviour on the occasion had greatly raised her in Madame Blavatskys estimation. In this view I was glad to concur, but could not help remarking that it was a serious risk for the "Old Lady" to run, whether as regarded her own credit or that of her cause, as the generality of persons would be apt to take a view less favourable to her. But then prudence was notoriously not her strong point, and, in fact, was the very last quality with which either her friends or her enemies would credit her. For she was a veritable personification of impulsiveness.
Knowing, too, as we did know, that for several years prior to the formation of the Theosophical Society she [Madame Blavatsky] had followed the vocation of a professional spirit-medium, and knowing also the class of entity with which such persons are apt to be in relation, and the liability of sensitives to yield to sudden suggestions from such source, we were disposed to regard her peculiarities as representing a survival from her former vocation, and as due, therefore, to what she herself called "the spooks of the seance-room," rather than to any deliberate design of her own to deceive. . . .
Resignation from the London Lodge T.S.
. . . In December  I accompanied Mary on a lecturing tour to Leeds, Hull, Birmingham, and Cheltenham, her subjects being as before vegetarianism and vivisection. She had everywhere the same success and recognition as on her previous tour, but also as then a vast amount of physical suffering.
Returning to Atcham, we finally resolved to terminate our connection with the Theosophical Society. (13) It was a resolution slowly and reluctantly formed, and only after taking much counsel with Mr. Massey, who had himself retired from the Society in the previous summer. In our letter of resignation, which was dated Christmas Eve, 1884, we ignored our very strained personal relations with the leading members, and confined ourselves to the reasons put forth in the following letter to the Hon. Secretary: -
"Having decided upon resigning our membership in the London Lodge T. S., we have duly notified our intention to the Treasurer, and now communicate to you, for the information of the President, Council, and Fellows, the following statement of our reasons for the step we are taking.
"But first we will state what those reasons are not. They are in no sense or degree of a personal nature. Whether as regards the Founders of the T. S., the members of the London Lodge, or ourselves, our decision has been uninfluenced by any considerations of that kind.
"Nor are they founded in any objections to the professed objects either of the Parent Society or of the London Lodge. On the contrary, we have always been, and still are, in full sympathy with those objects; and we recognise - with a writer in the Madras Christian College Magazine of September last - that something like what the Theosophical Society proposes with regard to the ancient religions and literature of India, is an absolute necessity at the present time, and that there are great possibilities before the Society.' (14)
It is therefore not to the professed objects of the Lodge that we take exception, but to its actual practice, which - in our view - constitutes a departure from those objects, amounting in no small degree to a renunciation of them, and involving an exhibition of intolerance out of harmony with them and with ourselves. For, instead of a sentiment of universal brotherhood, we find that of exclusiveness; instead of an unsectarian standpoint, we find a narrow sectarianism; instead of seeking to demonstrate the substantial identity of various systems, we find one particular system alone heeded; instead of the revival of research connected with occult science and esoteric philosophy, and the freedom of opinion and expression indispensable to such research - and distinctly permitted in the prospectus of the Society - we find implicit acceptance required both for persons and for teachings, - no adequate guarantees for either of which have been afforded, - and freedom of expression, whether within or without the Lodge, regarded as an offence; while incidents of the most perplexing character have been allowed seriously to impair the credit, and therein the usefulness, of the Society, without receiving satisfactory explanation, or eliciting a demand for such investigation and reform as would lead to the discovery and removal of the sources of deception.
"Concerning the attitude taken by the Lodge in regard to the allegations last named, we would observe that to treat as indifferent - as is now being done - the question whether or not deceptions have been practised by individuals in a position to compromise the Society; and to fall back upon philosophy as the true object of the Society - is not a course open for adoption. It was upon the strength of certain exhibitions of alleged thaumaturgic powers, that the teaching called Esoteric Buddhism was commended to and adopted by the Society, and by it introduced to the world. So that to admit the possibility of deception in regard to those exhibitions is to destroy the superstructure of philosophy founded upon them, and thus to deprive the Society of its reason for being.
"It is with profound regret that we have found ourselves compelled to withdraw from the Lodge; but we feel that to retain our membership longer under existing circumstances would be to place ourselves in a false position and one from which no satisfactory results could accrue either to the Lodge or to ourselves." (15)
. . . .
To Mrs. Frederica Macdonald
"27 Montpelier Square, May 18, 1885.
"My Dear Madam, - As some correspondence, however slight, has already passed between us, I do not feel that in addressing you I am guilty either of an indiscretion or of an impertinence. I have just read your article in the Fortnightly on Buddhism and Mock Buddhism, and I feel impelled to write and thank you for it. It expresses in strong, sweet English, and with clear terseness of phrase, the exact contention which led me to renounce, first, the Presidency, and, secondly, membership in the camp of the London Theosophists. I am now unconnected with the Lodge, whose leader is the author of Esoteric Buddhism; but, being deeply interested in religious science, I have gathered about me a small group of students, who, under the name of the Hermetic Society, continue to meet at regular intervals for the discussion and consideration of transcendental doctrine. [I could wish there were some better word than this long and formidable one to express my meaning, but no better one presents itself, and rather than pause over a word, I pass on to express my idea.] You will see, from the enclosed card, that our plan is to ask some one of our number to read a paper on a subject - chosen by himself - every Wednesday. This reading is followed by a liberal discussion, in which the largest share is usually taken by the reader. We have no Mahatmas, no miracles, no occultism; our lines are precisely those you indicate as the truest and highest method of religious research; our aim is to instruct and assist one another by facilitating thought. Each of us brings what he can to the common treasury; none of us pretends to initiation - unless, indeed, that of the kingdom which is within - nor do we profess chelaship, or obedience to any external authority. As I read your article, it seems to me that the ideal you describe is that after which we also aspire. Is it asking too much of you to beg you to come to our place of meeting and judge for yourself whether I speak advisedly? So serious and scholarly a mind as yours, so trained and disciplined an intellect, would be a great gain to us. No doubt it is selfishness that moves me to write thus, but a selfishness in which the exterior Ego is not concerned; - a greed for diffusion of thought and increase of light, which surely you will understand and pardon. My office as President of our little group is chiefly that of a hand to gather into our barque all able mariners I may chance to come across. Such a mariner I recognise in you; and, like the phantom in Pauls vision, I ask you to come over and help us.
"When you come [I prefer this when to if] make yourself known to me, for, of course, you are a stranger to me in face; although I think, so much my intimate in thought and tone of mind. As I have mislaid your former letter, I trust this to the publishers of the Fortnightly, and am, very faithfully yours,
"Anna Kingsford." . . .
A Visit to Madame Blavatsky at Ostende, Belgium
. . . It soon became evident that the only hope of immunity [for Mrs. Kingsford] from intense and constant suffering, if not also from positive lung-disease, lay in flight to some less unfavourable conditions of climate. The wrench for us all was a severe one, for we were never so happy as at the vicarage, and it was an ideal place for study and work. She [Mrs. Kingsford] herself was so averse to leaving it that she was about to prepare for a few weeks only of absence. Being less sanguine, I prevailed on her to provide against all emergencies and prepare to pass the winter [of 1886-1887] abroad. For I had in my mind the south of Italy as the climate most likely to suit her. We resolved, however, for the present, to make trial of Paris, first spending a few days with the Kenealys at Watford - a visit which she greatly enjoyed, and by which she was considerably benefited. Our next halting-place was Ostende, to make trial of sea-air, and also to respond in person to the following letter from Madame Blavatsky, to whom she had written in consequence of a communication from Lady Caithness: -
"Villa Nova, Ostende, Aug. 23, 1886.
"Dear Mrs. Kingsford, - I was expecting a letter from you, and it came. What I wrote to our dear Duchesse about you was six months ago, and my ideas of you since then have only gained in my sincere thankfulness and gratitude to you for what you have done for Mohini. He is with me for the last fortnight, and will stop here two or three weeks longer. He will not go to America, since there is cats and dogs fight among the Theosophists there worse than in Europe. Ah! what an exemplar, our Society, for the world in general, and our enemies in particular! My dear Mrs. Kingsford, I cannot put on paper what I might say were I to see you face to face. I winter here, and therefore you will find me when you like. Only, if you would see me alone, better come toward the end of September, when the whole house will be at your disposal. In October I will have here Theosophists who do not feel, unfortunately, so friendly to you as Mohini and I do. Then I will answer any questions you may please to ask me. I am hard at work now, for I am afraid not to be able to finish my Secret Doctrine if I wait long. Whatever it may be as a literary production, people will learn in it more than one new thing.
"Please convey my friendly regards to Mr. Maitland. - Wishing you health and success, and assuring you I have long ceased paying attention to any gossip - personal gossip - against me least of all, believe me, ever yours with genuine admiration.
H. P. Blavatsky."
Arrived at Ostende, we took up our quarters at an hotel, and when Mary had sufficiently recovered from the journey we made our intended call on Madame Blavatsky, who then had living with her a lady for whom we had high esteem, the Countess Wachtmeister. Here we found ourselves not only cordially welcomed, but overwhelmed with reproaches for having put up at an hotel instead of going straight to them, - a thing we had not for a moment contemplated doing. And Madame Blavatsky took it so seriously to heart as to show that our continued refusal would very deeply wound her. Our hesitation had no personal element in it, being solely for the sake of our work, which, in the then position of the Theosophical Society, was liable to be seriously prejudiced by association with it. My own sense of such risk was so keen that nothing but Marys determination to accept the invitation for herself finally induced me to consent. The reasons pleaded by her were these three: her unwillingness to wound further a fellow-woman - even if in fault - who was already smarting under great obloquy, and who would inevitably ascribe our refusal to our concurrence in the prejudice against her; her desire to enlist Madame Blavatskys influence with her followers on behalf of the anti-vivisection cause; and the promise that, if only she would come and stay in the house, she should see the Master, Mahatma Koot Hoomi. This last was a crowning inducement which she avowed herself quite unable to resist. So, finding her resolved, and being myself also exceedingly averse to paining "the Old Lady" - as she was familiarly styled by her adherents - and feeling, moreover, that I dare not let Mary be exposed alone and unshielded to the occult influences, at once powerful and hostile to us, with which we had reason to believe the Society to be associated, I at length yielded, having first ascertained that there would be no difficulty on the score of diet. In regard to which Madame Blavatsky assured us that, although her doctors insisted on her eating flesh, the Countess was, like ourselves, a pure liver, and we should share her diet.
Our visit, which lasted three days - from October 5 to October 8  - proved most enjoyable. The hospitality and geniality of our hostesses were unbounded, and "the Old Lady" fully justified her reputation for the possession of knowledges in the highest degree recondite. But no Mahatma vouchsafed an appearance, nor did anything happen that was suggestive of occult powers, unless the following incident be so regarded: -
On the first evening, while "the Old Lady" was engaged, according to her invariable wont, in playing a game of "Patience" with cards, and conversing the while at one end of the table, the Countess occupied herself in divining, also with cards, at the other end; during the course of which she suddenly exclaimed, "Oh, Mrs. Kingsford, here is a divination which concerns you! The cards say that you will very shortly have a proposition made to you which may send you back forthwith to England and affect all your future life. And it will be made to you, as I read the cards, by two women. And it will be your duty to give serious heed to it."
The divination in question had a rapid and accurate fulfillment; for on the very next day a proposition was made to her by Madame Blavatsky and the Countess themselves, that she should rejoin the Theosophical Society in the capacity of President of Madame Blavatskys own Lodge, the latter retiring in her favour. It was against herself personally, "the Old Lady" declared that all the prejudice was directed, and Mary would disarm all opposition, and, by combining our work with theirs, would create a Theosophy which would really be universal, and be everywhere recognised as such. Meanwhile she, Madame Blavatsky, would keep herself in the background, only helping with her knowledges. For, as she expressed herself to Mary, "Though you are cleverer than I, I know more than you."
We had no difficulty in arriving at a decision respecting this proposition. Much as we felt the need of a platform for the spread of our teaching, and admired the energy which marked the proceedings of the Theosophical Society, the acceptance of an offer which identified us with it and its chiefs would, we felt, be suicidal, for it would ruin us without saving them. And thus far, moreover, our avowed missions were wholly incompatible; for, while our purpose was the restoration of the true, esoteric, and spiritual Christianity, theirs was the total subversion of Christianity itself. Nor were we favourably impressed by the method by which they had sought to predispose us to the acceptance of the proposition. For, as was now apparent, this was the real object of their insistence on our staying with them; and as the minds of both were full of the project, the "divination" of the previous evening was obviously nothing more than one of those tricks for which the Society had already acquired so evil a repute. We wondered what sort of persons they had been in the habit of dealing with who would be taken in by such a palpable device, and were disposed to resent the implied imputation on our own want of percipience.
No special illumination was vouchsafed to guide our decision, but we took the following experience as pointing in the same direction: - Being attacked by a bad fit of asthma one day while conversing with our hostesses, Mary begged for a whiff of chloroform to allay, which she duly took, with the result desired, I meanwhile being somewhat uneasy as to what she might be prompted to say while under its influence. For she had never been lucid in the presence of anyone save myself. I therefore silently exerted my will to restrain injudicious utterance. The drug gave instant relief, at the same time inducing lucidity, when, speaking in her own person, she made some remarks in depreciation of "showing so much concern about a little pain - a thing in itself of no consequence." Presently she complained of being oppressed by what seemed to be the lowness of the ceiling, which pressed upon her like a weight, preventing free utterance. "I see such curious and beautiful things," she exclaimed to me, "which I want so much to tell you. But I cannot. There is something that holds me back. I am not allowed to speak. What can it be? It was never so with me before." From this I gathered that, in accordance with my apprehension, the influences of the place and persons present were not of an order such as might participate in her revelations, the expression "lowness of ceiling" having a mystical meaning denoting this.
Presently, changing the subject, she said -
"I see now that my projections in London against Pasteur were successful. They produced a decided effect of the kind I intended. But they were the main cause of my own illness. They took from me my nervous force. But they were successful, however."
Here I asked in an undertone, "But were they legitimate, supposing they caused the death of the patients?"
"Yes," she replied in the same tone, but with much decision. "The case was one in which the motive justified the action. They were quite lawful in such a cause. The patients who accept such a system share the guilt of those who practise it."
The frankness which was one of "the Old Ladys" [Madame Blavatsky's] greatest charms found full vent on the occasion of our visit. Speaking to me of her troubles in connection with the exposures of the Society for Psychical Research, she exclaimed of herself, "My dear Mr. Maitland, I am the biggest intellectual fool in the world."
"Meaning," I asked "that you are one of those persons whom Tennyson had in his mind when he said, Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers?"
"Exactly so," she replied. "With all my knowledge, I cant get discretion. He must have meant me when he said that." And she told Mary that what she wanted was someone to take care of her, as I did of her - Olcott was not good for that - and then she would never do the things which got her into trouble.
Our destination was Paris, where we were to pass a few days with Lady Caithness; but we had a double motive for lingering a while in Belgium. One was to give Mary time to recover somewhat from her low condition, and the other to give Lady Caithness the same chance; for she also was indisposed, and not equal to receiving us. Accordingly, on October 8 we left Ostende to Antwerp, having passed exactly three days with Madames Blavatsky and Wachtmeister. While under their roof we had been entirely free from molestation from occult influences. But on comparing notes on the morning after our first night at Antwerp, where we stayed at the Hotel St. Antoine, we found that we had both of us been assailed by nightmare dreams, hideous and distressing in the extreme, and of the order of which Mary had experience in 1884 after visiting Madame Blavatsky. And the agencies so exactly resembled the "spooks" of the seance-room as to suggest that, with all her denunciations of "spiritualism" and her claims to intercourse with beings so exalted as her "Mahatmas," Madame Blavatsky was still infested by the entities encouraged by her in the days of her professional mediumship, which possessed the power and the disposition to inflict annoyance on those who were not in accord with her. It was to their influence over her that we were disposed to ascribe her own astonishing inconsequence and variability, and incapacity for recollecting things said or done by her even within the space of a few hours. And it was doubtless to actual forgetfulness that were due her emphatic denials of facts laid to her charge and known to be true. She was as one alternately controlled by and controlling entities other than herself, even to reflecting, all-unconsciously to herself, the characters of those with whom she came into contact, to the utter suppression of her own personality, especially those who were possessed of a strong decided individuality. For these she would take on and reflect them to themselves so completely as to serve as a mirror in which, while fancying they saw her, they really saw themselves. Such want of continuity was necessarily a serious hindrance to the acquisition of a sense of responsibility, especially of the kind requisite to constitute her a veracious historian, whether in speech or in writing. And as this liability was shared by her associate, Madame Wachtmeister, who had been compelled to abandon the practice of mediumship on account of the exceedingly objectionable character of the manifestations of which, whenever she exercised her gift, she was the subject, it was not difficult to account for the curiously unhistorical character of the narrative which she subsequently published of our visit to them at Ostende. For in her little book, Reminiscences of H. P. Blavatsky and "The Secret Doctrine," published in 1893, our visit of three days was magnified into a fortnight, and instead of being paid in unwilling deference to their most earnest entreaties, was a charity bestowed on us on account of Mrs. Kingsfords suffering from the discomforts of our hotel! No mention is made of the motive for the invitation, though a somewhat particular account is given of the conversations held, which conversations, however, it is declared, "soon drew to a close, for Mrs. Kingsford became very ill, and was not able to leave her room, and Mr. Maitland thought it expedient to take her to a warmer climate, so one fine morning they started for Paris, and H. P. Blavatsky and I were once more alone" (p. 70).
Until the appearance of this book I had every respect for its writer, believing her to be a conscientious and veracious person, despite the limitations due to her temperament as a medium. And had these inaccuracies been my only cause of complaint against her, I should have written nothing of her here which might be detrimental to her, but contended myself with simply stating the facts as they occurred. But what came to my knowledge subsequently entirely absolved me from any obligation to reticence, and made it my paramount duty, for our works sake and our own, to discard all such considerations. This was the practice in which Madame Wachtmeister indulged of systematically depreciating my colleague, especially by alleging that in respect of diet she did not practise what she preached, and was no consistent opponent of cruelty to animals. It was not only in loose conversation that she said these things, but in writing, and it is from letters of hers which were placed in my hands by the greatly shocked recipient of them - herself an ardent friend of Marys - that I quote the following: -
"Theosophical Publishing Society, Duke Street, Adelplhi,
"September 29, 1892.
. . . "Anna Kingsford was not a vegetarian, so you see she could not deprecate the torturing of animals both before and at the slaughtering-houses, for she was inconsistent both in teaching and policy."
This elicited from the recipient a reply, to which the following response was made: -
October 10, 1892.
"You seem to be as surprised to hear that Mrs. Kingsford was no vegetarian as I was myself when she and Mr. Maitland begged of me to provide both fish, poultry, and birds during the time that they were the guests of Mme. B. and myself at Ostende. The first evening there was only vegetarian food such as I eat myself, but during the fortnight they stayed with us I, of course, provided the food Mrs. Kingsford told me she was accustomed to eat. You may be sure that I would not have mentioned such a thing if I had not had personal experience of it.
"I do not oppose anybody eating meat, and for some I think it absolutely necessary; but I like the old adage of Practise what you preach. - Yours very sincerely,
What actually happened on "the first evening" was that, on a special tray of flesh-food being brought in for Madame Blavatsky, she renewed the expression of her regrets at her inability to live as we and the Countess lived, and the only thing that I "begged" for was that she would say nothing about it, as we fully understood the compulsion under which she acted. The spirit in her was willing; it was only the flesh that was weak.
As soon as I was aware of the misstatements of Madame Wachtmeister as to the motive and duration of our visit, I sent to the Theosophical Society magazine, Lucifer, the correction which appeared February 1894, p. 517. The other and far more serious misstatement only came to my knowledge in consequence of that correction, through the recipient of Madame Wachtmeisters letters taking heart on finding how mistaken she had been in those respects, and hoping to learn from me that she had been equally wrong in the others. For the friend was one to whom Marys character for consistency and integrity was very dear. How far the calumny spread, and what the injury done by it to our reputation and work, I have no means of judging. I must content myself with adding in this connection that the want of veraciousness shown by Madame Wachtmeister in regard to us has been such as to entirely discredit her for me as a witness on behalf of Madame Blavatsky, and has suggested an explanation of the extraordinary difficulty which has been found in ascertaining the truth concerning the origins and methods of the Theosophical Society, and this despite its motto, "There is no religion higher than Truth." That explanation is, that its originating and controlling influences are better represented by the term "mediumistic controls" than by the term "Mahatmas." In this view, its abounding irreconcilable incoherences and contradictions are tokens, not of any deliberate, conscious defect of moral sense on the part of the parties to them, but of the obscuration of such sense through the practice of mediumship, which involves the substitution of other and irresponsible entities as the controlling agents. And such is precisely the explanation since rendered by the Founder-President himself, Colonel Olcott, of the events to which the more recent crises in the Society were due. As will be seen by our subsequent intercourse with Madame Blavatsky, she herself made no manner of charge against us on the score alleged by her associate, Madame Wachtmeister, but showed herself to be at bottom the possessor of a large, noble, and frank nature, full of warm sympathies and impulses, and quite incapable of being a party to the malignant inventions propagated by her associate, Madame Wachtmeister.
From Antwerp we visited Bruges, Ghent, and other places of interest, and then Brussels, whence Mary wrote the following letter: -
"Hotel Du Grand Mirroir, Brussels,
"October 12 .
"Dearest Lady Caithness, - I am so very grieved to hear of your suffering. I know well how distracting a thing facial neuralgia is, having suffered from it terribly myself, both at Atcham and Ostende, where I had to go to bed in consequence and put on hot poultices. We shall remain here until we hear from you; and as I told my husband to forward letters, etc., to your care, perhaps you will keep them until we call for them, which we will do at once, if we do not become your guests. Pray do not think of undergoing any inconvenience if not well enough to receive us, for we can easily find shelter elsewhere. Miss D. will take me in. While at Ostende we stayed nearly three days with Madame Blavatsky, at her urgent request. She was very genial and hospitable, and we got on together admirably. She is hard at work on The Secret Doctrine, which promises to be a larger book than even Isis. I trust most earnestly to see a letter in your own handwriting in a day or two announcing your recovery from the sad pain you have been so long enduring. How is it you did not mention to us before this that you were suffering? We should not then have ventured to think of trespassing on you. - Yours always most affectionately,
. . . While at Ostende she [Mrs. Kingsford] had proposed to Madame Blavatsky a scheme for uniting a number of occultists in a band for the purpose of exercising their will-power on the vivisectors with a view to the destruction, first of their system, and next of themselves in the event of their refusing to abandon their cruel methods. . . .
The following letter to her from Madame Blavatsky, November 29 , refers to the same subject: -
"The Masters attention was first drawn to you just because of that feeling you have in you for poor animals. The venerable old Choha Chohan was for you, when everyone, including myself (though in lesser degree), was against you. When I went to London I was prejudiced against you, and it is the Master who blew me up for it, and made me do my duty. All that came to pass later on was not the Masters desire, but the rebellion of his would-be lay and unlay Chelas. Therefore I feel sure and know that the Master approves your opposing the principle of Vivisection, but not the practical way you do it, injuring yourself and doing injury to others, without much benefiting the poor animals. Of course it is Karma in the case of Paul Bert. But so it is in the case of every murdered man. Nevertheless the weapon of Karma, unless he acts unconsciously, is a murderer in the sight of that same Karma that used him. Let us work against the principle, then; not against personalities. For it is a weed that requires more than seven, or seven times seven, of us to extirpate it."
"Attack the principles, and not the persons!" she [Mrs. Kingsford] exclaimed when we had read this letter. "And while the world is being educated to recognise the principle, millions of poor creatures are being horribly tortured, to say nothing of souls degraded and damned. I will tell you what that means. It means that whenever you see a ruffian brutally ill-treating a woman or a child, instead of rushing with all your might to the rescue, you are to stand by and do nothing but talk, or else go home and write something attacking the principle. No; the power to interfere and save imposes the duty to interfere and save; and as that power has been given to me, I should not be doing my duty if I did not exercise it". . . .
The Serious Illness of Mrs. Kingsford
. . . The effect of the dream on her [Anna Kingsford] was greatly to modify her preference for cremation, and for a time to make her as wishful to live as she had before been to die. This change of mood found expression in her readiness to take more nourishment, and consent to such treatment as was deemed calculated to arrest her disease, to both of which she had given but a grudging assent, asking why she should seek to prolong her suffering. . . .
The tokens which poured in upon us of sympathy, regret, and concern from the many friends who had become attached to her, for her works sake as well as for her own, were numerous and fervid. . . .
The two following letters are from Madame Blavatsky:
"Maycot, August 1887.
"Dear Mr. Maitland, - Thanks for your kind letter. You have no idea how deeply with the illness of Mrs. Kingsford I feel grieved and ready to rebel against fate and Karma. We cannot pretend to question the latter and its immutable wisdom. But Fate, or Destiny, to which only the manifested physical world is subject, does seem a cruel, idiotic, ever-blind and erring something. For the Mystics of England and English-speaking peoples - I mean the true Mystics, not the spiritualists - to lose such an intellect is more than they deserve, and would be a blow indeed. I feel one thing. Apart from her great intellect, I love her as a woman. I really first made her acquaintance at Ostende, and since then a strange revulsion of feeling took place in inner me. I had always admired her, but I had little personal sympathy till then with her. Why is this? Why should I feel such a sincere affection for her now? But I really do. For me she is quite another woman, or rather Being, and quite apart from the A. K. the world knows of. Perhaps you will understand me. Other wont; therefore I say very little.
"Ah, dear Mr. M.! if you had followed the advice given to take her to Davos, no blood-spitting would have developed there. A man I knew who had both lungs decaying and threw up blood terribly, and was condemned only last autumn, returned in May nearly cured, and never spat blood since. I had never heard of the place before I was told (occultly) to advise you to go there; after which I took an interest in it. He went there late in November, and yet he is cured. It is as I told you: Davos has become an ELIXIR OF LIFE in consequence of the incessant seismic disturbances and the shifting of electro-magnetic centres, and their gathering or grouping on several particular spots - (occult doctrine, whether scientific or not). But it is too late now, and it is useless to talk of it. It is the Mediterranean climate and the mistrals that have developed so rapidly the illness. Yet if she can only succeed in never allowing her will-power-to-live to break down, she can save her body and nearly recover. She could recreate her lungs at all events, - crystallise them and make them remain in status quo. You will regard all this as nonsense. So I shut up. . . . Have you seen a very curious work by one G. H. Pember, M.A., author of The Great Prophecies, called The Earths Earliest Ages, and their Connection with Modern Spiritualism and Theosophy? It has been sent to me by the author to review in Lucifer. In it the kind man combs the hair of all of us with delightful impartiality. You, Mrs. K., myself, C. C. Massey, Sinnett, Olcott, Edwin Arnold, Perfect Way, Isis, etc., etc., all are boiled in the same pot into an olla podrida of Satanism and Devil-worship. We are all servants of Anti-Christ, and subject to the Spirits of the Air or devils. It reads like the nightmare of an insane Methodist or Bible-lunatic.
I am going to emigrate to town, to Lansdowne Road. Tell me how high you live, and how I can see you (both) when you are alone. I do so wish to see her. Give her my affectionate love. Ah, poor dear great soul! Now I know that cactus-leaves water would stay blood-spitting and do her the greatest good; but where can these cactuses, which grow in millions at Adyar and by the Indian roads, be got here? Suppose a large cactus-leaf, half-an-inch thick, with fine thick hairs on it, could be got from some hothouse. Cut it into pieces after scrubbing off well the outer fine prickles, and put the pieces into a large tumbler of water. In two or three hours it will become oily, and in twenty-four hours like thick oil. Try it for mercy sake. - Yours sincerely and sympathetically,
H. P. B."
"17 Lansdowne Road, Holland Park,
"October 10, 1887.
"Dearest Mrs. Kingsford, - I am so glad to hear from the Countess that you feel better, and are now determined to will to live. I do hope you will go on strengthening and progressing in health. Thanks so much for your pretty story; it is really very, very charming. But do let me put your full name. You must do this for poor Lucifer, as you are too good a writer, and too well known, for him to afford to receive a visit from you almost anonymously. We have many reverends wanting to write for it. There is a regular steeple-chase, and you will laugh.
"If you were well enough by the end of this month, I would ask you to write an answer to Gerald Massey, who, speaking of the contradictions of the New Testament, calls it a volume of falsehoods and lies. I must do so if you do not feel strong enough, for it is absolutely necessary to show that the Bible is as esoteric as any other Scripture of old. You will read his attack in No. 2 of Lucifer, which will appear in about a week.
"Please give my love to Mr. Maitland. I hear he does look pulled down. I love him, and would love him if it were only for the care he gives you, and nursing you as he does throughout your illness. He is a dear man. - Yours sincerely and faithfully,
H. P. B."
Anna Kingsford's Death
. . . The obituary notice [of Anna Kingsford's death] in Lucifer of March 1888 was preceded by a letter to me from Madame Blavatsky, in which she says: -
"I have written for this Lucifer a little obituary of her whom I now know and appreciate ten times more than I did during her life. I did the best I could, letting rather my heart speak, and leaving the brain suggestions to those who say that which they do not feel. I do not like that notice of her in the Pictorial World; it is too flippant in my estimation. The one in Light is very good."
"THE LATE MRS. ANNA KINGSFORD, M.D.
[Lucifer, March 1888, pp. 78-79.]
"We have this month to record, with the deepest regret, the passing away from the physical world of one who more than any other has been instrumental in demonstrating to her fellow-creatures the great fact of the conscious existence - hence of the immortality - of the inner Ego.
"We speak of the death of Mrs. Anna Kingsford, M.D., which occurred on Tuesday, February 22, after a somewhat painful and prolonged illness. Few women have worked harder than she has, or in more noble causes; none with more success in the cause of Humanitarianism. Hers was a short but a most useful life. Her intellectual fight with the vivisectionists of Europe, at a time when the educated and scientific world was more strongly fixed in the grasp of materialism than at any other period in the history of civilisation, alone proclaims her as one of those who, regardless of conventional thought, have placed themselves at the very focus of the controversy, prepared to dare and brave all the consequences of their temerity. Pity and justice to animals were among Mrs. Kingsfords favourite texts when dealing with this part of her lifes work; and by reason of her general culture, her special training in the science of medicine, and her magnificent intellectual power, she was enabled to influence and work in the way she desired upon a very large proportion of those people who listened to her words or read her writings. Few women wrote more graphically, more takingly, or, possessed a more fascinating style.
"Mrs. Kingsfords field of activity, however, was not limited to the purely physical, mundane plane of life. She was a Theosophist, and a true one at heart; a leader of spiritual and philosophical thought, gifted with most exceptional psychic attributes. In connection with Mr. Edward Maitland, her truest friend - one whose incessant watchful care has undeniably prolonged her delicate, every-threatened life for several years, and who received her last breath - she wrote several books dealing with metaphysical and mystical subjects. The first and most important was The Perfect Way; or, The Finding of Christ, which gives the esoteric meaning of Christianity. It sweeps away many of the difficulties that thoughtful readers of the Bible must contend with in their endeavours to either understand or accept literally the story of Jesus Christ as it is presented in the Gospels.
"She was for some time President of the London Lodge of the Theosophical Society, and after resigning that office she founded The Hermetic Society for the special study of Christian Mysticism. She herself, though her religious ideas differed widely on some points from Eastern philosophy, remained a faithful member of the Theosophical Society, and a loyal friend to its leaders. [Both she and Mr. Maitland resigned from the London Lodge, but not from the parent Society.] She was one the aspirations of whose whole life were ever turned towards the eternal and the true. A mystic by nature - the most ardent one to those who knew her well - she was still a very remarkable woman even in the opinion of the materialists and the unbelievers. For, besides her remarkably fine and intellectual face, there was that in her which arrested the attention of the most unobserving, and foreign to any metaphysical speculation. For, as Mrs. Fenwick Miller writes, though Mrs. Kingsfords mysticism was simply unintelligible to her, yet we find this did not prevent the writer from perceiving the truth. As she describes her late friend I have never known a woman so exquisitely beautiful as she who cultivated her brain so assiduously. I have never known a woman in whom the dual nature that is more or less perceptible in every human creature was so strongly marked - so sensuous, so feminine on the one hand; so spiritual, so imaginative, on the other hand.
"The spiritual and psychic nature had always the upper hand over the sensuous and feminine, and the circle of her mystically inclined friends will miss her greatly, for such women as she are not numerous in the same century. The world in general has lost in Mrs. Kingsford one who can be very ill spared in this era of materialism. The whole of her adult life was passed in working unselfishly for others, for the elevation of the spiritual side of humanity. We can, however, in regretting her death, take comfort in the thought that good work cannot be lost or die, though the worker is no longer among us to watch for the fruit. And Anna Kingsfords work will still be bearing fruit even when her memory has been obliterated with the generations of those who knew her well, and new generations will have approached the psychic mysteries still nearer.
"*** The boasts made by the Roman Catholic Weekly Register, to the effect that Mrs. Kingsford died in the bosom of the Church, having abjured her views, psychism, theosophy, and even her Perfect Way and writings in general, have been vigorously refuted in the same paper by her husband, Rev. A. Kingsford, and Mr. Maitland. We are sorry to hear that her last days were embittered by the mental agony inflicted upon her by an unscrupulous nun, who, as Mr. Maitland declared to us, was smuggled in as a nurse, and who did nothing but bother her patient, importune her, and pray. That Mrs. Kingsford was entirely against the theology of the Church of Rome, though believing in Catholic doctrines, may be proved by one of her last letters to us, on poor, slandered St. Satan, in connection with certain attacks on the name of our journal, Lucifer. We have preserved this and several other letters, as they were all written between September 1887 and January 1888. They thus remain eloquent witnesses against the pretensions of the Weekly Register, for they prove that Mrs. Kingsford never abjured her views, nor died in fidelity to the Catholic Church!" . . .
Post Mortem Communications from Mrs. Kingsford
. . . I received an invitation to attend a sitting for automatic writing by two ladies who possessed that gift. Of these ladies one only of them was known to me. She was a Mrs. C., whom I had met but twice, but of whom I had seen sufficient to assure me that she was a person of sound judgment, mature in spirit as in years, and altogether reliable. Nevertheless, I at first declined the invitation, on the ground that I disliked mixed sittings, and never joined in them. I was assured, however, that the persons to be present were all serious inquirers, and no element of frivolity would be admitted; all that was wanted of me was to be present and offer any suggestions respecting the conduct of the sitting. While pondering the matter I found my hesitation entirely disappear, and I consented to attend in the character described. I had no definite anticipation of any results personally interesting to me, but previously to going I mentally asked Mary to be present, and to tell me through them, if she might, of any change that ought to be made in my book of her illuminations. The sitting duly took place, the two ladies who wrote being in the centre of a circle of six or eight persons, when, after some messages which they recognised as from persons known to them, they said to me that my late friend, Mrs. Kingsford, was present, and would answer any questions I might like to ask. To which I replied by exclaiming, "So, then, you have really come at my request?" To which it was said in writing "Yes; the tie is not snapped." I then said, "Now is the time to tell me about my work. Is there any change you wish made?" To which it was answered, "I wish to tell you that since I have been on this side I have come to see some things differently from what I did before, and that about the Vision of the Worlds I was wrong and you were right." My satisfaction at this was supreme. Only we two had ever known of the difference which had thus arisen between us; and now, after the lapse of seven years, she had fulfilled my prediction, and used the very words I had declared she would use when her perceptions should become clearer, thereby showing recollection and growth and readiness to acknowledge her error of judgment. And when I explained the matter to the persons present, they fully appreciated the grounds of my satisfaction and the positive proof afforded of continuance and memory and advancement after death.
On June 5, 1889, Mrs. H. sat with me and reported Mary as saying that she was aware of the difficulties placed in my way by opposition of various kinds, and was pleased at my unswerving steadfastness; that the opposition was becoming weaker, and would gradually disappear. . . .
To a question put by me about the Theosophical Society, the "Secret Doctrine," and its influence on our work, it was replied: -
"The ultimate effect of that Society will be to help your work. It will have acted as a great net to draw people to these subjects; but they will not long remain at the Societys level, but will rise towards yours. That Societys work fell into about the worst hands into which it could have fallen. There were no good instruments, and such as were available had to be used. They will pass away and be succeeded by better ones, and you will find that movement has been a great help to yours. Madame Blavatskys sources of information are partly from study, and partly, as she states, spiritual, but reflective or astral rather than original and Divine, the truth being greatly obscured and distorted. Reading her book is like wading into a sea of mud to find a single little pearl. In all you write you should explain fully, and you will have nothing to recall; and remember that whatever you say will endure for ever."
Startled by this last utterance, I remarked, "You mean whatever I say with full perception." To which it was replied, with much decision, "I mean whatever you say. You will be allowed to say nothing without full perception."
The sitting concluded with an injunction to use the medium only on an emergency, and to seek directly to Mary herself, as it was almost a sacrilege for any third person to come between us. . . .
Speaking with Madame Blavatsky of these and other experiences, I remarked that her attitude towards spiritualism failed to take account of phenomena such as ours. To which she replied very emphatically that nothing that she said about spiritualism applied to persons like us, but only to persons who are quite undeveloped in their spiritual nature, as the spiritualists are as a rule, and who can therefore hold intercourse only with phantoms and spooks, and such other low orders as correspond to their own level. What I had told her confirmed the belief she already had, that Mary had become what the Hindoos call a Nirmana-kaya. That is an order of souls who have to such extent been adepts in their lifetime, and so far perfected their spiritual principles, that after death they are free, and able to renounce their right of immediate ascent to higher conditions, and remain within reach of the earth in order to influence and instruct persons who are still living on it. . . .
Notes(1) "A Letter to the Fellows of the London Lodge of the Theosophical Society." It is dated "Atcham, Shrewsbury, December 1883."
(2) "Remarks and Propositions suggested by the perusal of Esoteric Buddhism."
(3) The pamphlet also contained a third part, namely, Anna Kingsfords letter, dated October 31, 1883, to the President of the T.S., Madras. . . .
(4) The meeting was held on January 27, 1884.
(5) Samuel Ward, a noted representative American, and the uncle of Marion Crawford. His esteem for Anna Kingsford was great, and, Edward Maitland says, "his death, which followed not long afterwards, filled her with grief as for a valued friend of long standing." - S. H. H.
(6) The telegram had been received by Anna Kingsford on December 9, 1883, after the printing of the pamphlet on Mr. Sinnetts Esoteric Buddhism, addressed to the Fellows of the London Lodge. . . . Further, in a letter dated "Adyar, November 25, 1883," written by Madame H. P. Blavatsky to Anna Kingsford, and received by her on December 21, 1883, Madame Blavatsky, writing "under orders," asserted that the policy and actions of Anna Kingsford were known to and approved of by the Mahatmas. The following is an extract from Madame Blavatskys letter: -
"I happen to know - and I write this to Mr. Sinnett to-day - that notwithstanding your own doubts and slight misconceptions of our Masters, and the opposition you experience (or rather Mr. Maitland) on the afternoon of October 26 - and all the rest, They are still desirous (and more than ever, as my Guru expresses it) that you should kindly pursue your own policy, for they find it good. This I write a laveugle, for I know nothing either of the said policy or what has been the nature of the disagreement between you in its details, though acquainted with its general character. I simply communicate to you the Order I receive, and the words used. Future alone will show why we take another view of the situation than Mr. Sinnett - are the words used. . . . I have always understood the Chelas to say that They - the Masters - knew and watched your proceedings, that you were notified of Their presence, and that you are the most wonderful sensitive in all Europe, not England alone."
- S. H. H.
(7) The rejoinder, which is dated March 18, 1884, is entitled Reply to the "Observations" of Mr. T. Subba Row, C.T.S. It is a joint pamphlet-letter by Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland "to the Fellows of the L.L.T.S." - S. H. H.
(8) The object of their visit to England was to compose the division that had been set up in the London Lodge of the Theosophical Society. It was then that the two parties first became acquainted with each other. (See E. M.s letter in the Unknown World of March 15, 1895.) - S. H. H.
(9) Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland did not at first sever their connection with the Lodge, but remained members thereof, with the double object of examining any further teachings that might be received from the East, and effacing personal antagonisms. At the close of the year, however, they took the further step, and resigned their membership in the Lodge. . . . - S. H. H.
(10) A charter was, in fact, granted by Col. H. S. Olcott, the President-Founder of the Theosophical Society, to the new society, which was to be known as the Hermetic Lodge of the Theosophical Society, and members of other Lodges were to be eligible for admission to the Hermetic Lodge without renunciation of any previous affiliation: and on April 9, 1884, a meeting for the purpose of inaugurating the new Lodge was held at C. C. Masseys Chambers, Col. H. S. Olcott presiding. But owing to the issue almost immediately afterwards by Col. H. S. Olcott of the above-mentioned rule prohibiting membership of more than one Lodge at a time, and as some of the members of the Hermetic Lodge were also members of the London Lodge and had no desire to sever their connection with it, it became necessary to make the new adventure outside of the Theosophical Society; and at a meeting held on April 22, 1884, it was unanimously resolved to surrender the character affiliating the new Society to the Theosophical Society, and to reconstruct it independently of that organisation. It thus became possible for members of a Lodge in the Theosophical Society to remain in or join the Hermetic Society without severing their connection with the London or any other Lodge of the Theosophical Society. - S. H. H.
(11) The hexagram, or double triangle.
(12) This is an allusion to a charge made against us to account for our action in reference to the Theosophical Society. We were alleged to be "agents of the Jesuits" on the authority of occult knowledge! - E. M.
(13) By their letter of resignation, it will be seen that they terminated their connection not with the Theosophical Society, but with the London Lodge only. They never severed their connection with the Parent Society. . . . - S. H. H.
(14) Anna Kingsfords views respecting the mission of the Theosophical Society were some years afterwards stated by Edward Maitland to have been as follows: - He says:
"Engaged as she herself was in restoring to Christendom the system of Western Mysticism which underlay its religion, and by means of which alone that religion can be interpreted, she regarded the disclosure of the system of Oriental Mysticism - the task undertaken by the Theosophical Society - as an important adjunct to her own work, if only for the demonstration thereby afforded of the substantial identity of the two systems, and therein of the needs and perceptions of the human soul in all ages and places. And she further recognised the simultaneous but independent movements represented respectively by Madame Blavatsky and herself, but as two divisions of one great movement providentially ordained and having for its object the rescue of the world from the abyss of materialistic negation, and the promotion of the spiritual consciousness of the race to a level transcending any hitherto attained save by rare individuals."
- S. H. H.
(15) The severance by Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland of their connection with the London Lodge of the Theosophical Society was, at the time, a necessary step to enable them to vindicate their true position, and show the world that Mahatmas and occult phenomena were not necessary to "Theosophy." They desired to "redeem and resume that name, and save it from being identified with Buddhism, esoteric or exoteric." Their reasons for resigning their membership in the London Lodge were summarised by Edward Maitland as follows: -
"(1) The inversion [by the Theosophical Society Founders and others] of the true places of phenomena and philosophy involved in putting the former first and resting the philosophy on them, with the result of making the senses and not the understanding the criterion of truth. (2) The insistence [by the said Founders and others] on an implicit recognition of and deference to authority, and the investment with infallibility of the sources from which their teachings claimed derivation. And (3) the exclusive recognition [by the said Founders and others] of the Occultism of the East, to the rejection of the Mysticism of the West - with the restoration and interpretation of which we ourselves were chiefly occupied - instead of such a combination of the two branches of study as would enable them to throw light upon each other, - a combination upon which we considered ourselves bound to insist, inasmuch as it was in consequence of their recognition of our work, The Perfect Way, that the Chiefs of the Society in India had first sought us out and invited us to join the English Branch of it as its President and Vice-President, until which time we held no relations with the Society."
Edward Maitland says: -
"When, later, she [Madame Blavatsky] came to know us personally and to respect us, she frankly admitted that we had been in the right in all our contentions, and our opponents in the wrong, even though she herself was one of the latter" (The Unknown World, 1894, vol. ii. p. 90. . .).
Some six years after their resignation from the London Lodge (namely, in 1890), Edward Maitland said: -
"Not only did the friction engendered of these differences soon pass off, but the causes themselves of the differences underwent considerable modification. And I for one, at least, can look forward with unabated confidence to the time of which it was long ago predicted that many shall come from the East and the West, and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, understanding by the former expression the mysteries of Brahma, Isis, and Iacchos, or Spirit, Soul, and Body - the mysteries at once of India, Egypt, Greece, and Syria, and through them of the true Christianity; and by the latter expression, of a perfect system of thought and rule of life; and when the movements represented by the terms Theosophic and Hermetic will be recognised as having been indispensable factors in achieving this blessed result."
- S. H. H.