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• HART, Samuel Hopgood. The Crucifixion of “The Woman”. This letter was published in The Vegetarian, of 15th February 1896.
Information: [The information below was sent by Mr. Brian McAllister, who kindly photocopied and sent this text to the Anna Kingsford Site.]
“This dream of Samuel Hopgood Hart’s evidently made a very deep impression on him and not without good reason. When he says, I felt that it had been sent for a purpose, he spoke truly for, with the benefit of hindsight, we can see that it points very clearly in the direction of the mission he was to undertake to further the work of Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland by taking the part of “The Woman” in opposition to those who would “crucify” her. The timing and context of the dream is significant because it came only eight months after Hart’s first meeting with Edward Maitland during a period when he would have been in the process of familiarizing himself with the ideas and writings of Kingsford and Maitland. At the outset of the dream, Hart is told by one of the two gentlemen present: I have something to show you that it is necessary you should see. Hart has already said: I did not exactly know why I was there. It seemed to me that I had come on some important business. The purpose of this preamble is to register with the dreamer the great significance of the message contained in the dream. This message is also underscored by the dreamer’s abhorrence and outrage over the barbarous treatment meted out to ‘the woman’. In short everything about the dream is geared to ensure that the dreamer will never forget it and will act upon it appropriately. And, indeed, Hart did act upon it, leaving behind him a wonderful legacy in support of “The Woman”, in the form of his lifelong promotional work for the vitally important cause of Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland to help the world appreciate this largely unrecognized aspect of human nature, exemplifying, on one level, the intuitive faculty, and on another level, the soul.
It is also noteworthy that the dream shows all the hallmarks of having come from the inspirers of Anna Kingsford, who had herself been in spirit almost seven years at the time it was given to Hart. This claim is supported, not only by virtue of the message the dream contains, but also on account of the marked similarity between it and the dreams of Anna Kingsford herself. Besides there is the reference to the face of ‘the woman’ in the dream being of Grecian mould, which would seem to be more than coincidental bearing in mind Anna Kingsford’s strong soul links with ancient Greece and fondness for the ancient Greek pantheon. It is, in fact, as if the very essence of all that Anna Kingsford represents is being used here as an archetype for the feminine aspect, that part of humanity that, even as of the present day, still patiently awaits its due and proper recognition from a world that sadly seems to be just as over-balanced on the masculine side as it was all those years ago.
Brian G. McAllister. January 2009.”
SAMUEL HOPGOOD HART’S DREAM OF
THE CRUCIFIXION OF “THE WOMAN”
The letter that follows, which was published in The Vegetarian of 15th February 1896, recounts an unusual dream that Samuel Hopgood Hart had in December 1894:
The Crucifixion of “The Woman”
(to the Editor of The Vegetarian)
Sir, – It may be that the teachers of our Christian Churches have not been and are not eyes to the blind, nor ears to the deaf, nor feet to the lame. But who is to blame if this is so? We must remember that there has been no real demand for such teachers. They would not stand much chance of a hearing. Their teaching would not be acceptable. The cry would still be “Not this man,” and it might be “Crucify him.” And yet the world is perishing for want of them. There is, however, even in this eleventh hour, one teacher whose voice can be heard by some amongst us, and he speaks from within. A lesson that I learnt some time ago from this teacher is as fresh in my mind today as though I learnt it but yesterday, and it has been of such great importance to me that I feel I ought not to keep it to myself.
It was on the evening of the 23rd December, 1894. I had been speaking against those who deliberately, complacently, and without the slightest necessity for doing so, shed or cause to be shed the blood of innocent animals. My remarks were particularly directed against those who thus offended by purchasing the skins of animals for the mere adornment (?) of their persons – which is vanity – or for the mere sake of fashion – which is time service. I denounced such conduct as ‘inhuman’ and ‘unchristian.’ My words fell upon deaf ears. It was getting late, and rather than continue a useless discussion I retired to bed and was soon asleep. But during that night the “still small voice” spoke to me in a dream. I found myself standing by a table in a private library – or study. The room was comfortably furnished. Two middle-aged gentlemen were present. I had never seen either of them before. My impression was that they were Frenchmen, though they spoke English. I did not exactly know why I was there. It seemed to me that I had come on some important business. One of the gentlemen immediately advanced towards me and said, “I have something to show to you that it is necessary you should see.” Both gentlemen then walked across the room towards a table which was standing by the wall, and one of them took from among some papers in a drawer of the table what appeared to me to be a photograph and handed it to me to look at. I looked at it. I had never before seen or heard of anything like it. Everybody represented in the photograph was moving about as though alive, so that I was in reality looking – not at some momentary scene or event of the past which might have happened ages ago – not at something merely historical – but at something that was then and there actually taking place before my very eyes. I learnt that what I saw related to the present time. And what did I see? I was horrified at it. I saw a woman being crucified. A cross had been erected, and a woman was being pushed up to it from below, and dragged up and nailed to it from above – for two men were above mounted on ladders leaning against the back of the cross for that purpose, and each of them had hold of one of the woman’s arms. The nails were being driven into her hands as I looked. She was not a willing victim, but she uttered no cry. She offered no resistance. Many men and women passed by. Some were moving about at the foot of the cross. But what most struck me was that none stopped to interfere, none were horrified at what was being done. Either they were accustomed to see such sights as this, and thought little or nothing of them, or they were too wrapt up in their own concerns to think it was their duty to interfere, or perchance they did not even know what was being done. I learnt from this that the world cares naught about the crucifixion of the women which is now taking place, and perhaps it is even ignorant of it. “They know not what they do.” A feeling of great horror came over me. I felt sick at heart. I would have stopped it if I could, but I was powerless. I could not look at the sight any longer. I turned away from the photograph and was about to hand it back to the gentleman who had given it to me when motioning to me to keep it he said, “Look again.” I felt that I couldn’t look again, but I overcame my feeling. I looked again. The woman was now nailed up upon the cross. The cruel deed had been done. I looked at her face to see if she suffered, but there was no sign of pain. She was alive, but her face – which was of Grecian mould – was calm and placid. She might have been asleep. But I was more horrified than ever at what was now being done. The men (not content with having crucified the woman) began to mutilate her body by cutting patterns on it, as we are accustomed to see patterns cut on the bodies of animals in butchers’ shops at Christmas time. It was sickening. I could not look at the sight any longer. I handed the photograph back to the gentleman who had given it to me, and immediately the scene vanished from my sight. But not from my memory. I shall never forget it. I was very troubled the next morning because of this dream. It haunted me. I felt that it had been sent for a purpose, and I could not understand it. But in the course of the day the meaning of it came to me suddenly – like a flash of light. I said to myself, “The woman that I saw crucified is the soul. It is the soul that they are crucifying whose conduct I denounced as ‘inhuman’ and ‘unchristian.’ ” – Yours very truly,
Samuel Hopgood Hart. January 30th, 1896.