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• HART, Samuel Hopgood. The Food of Perfection. This article was published in The Comet, 17th April 1937 (The Comet is a Nigerian publication).
Information: [The information below was sent by Mr. Brian McAllister, who kindly photocopied and sent this text to the Anna Kingsford Site.]
“This article (The Food of Perfection) by Samuel Hopgood Hart was photocopied from Mr. Hart’s own typewritten copy, on which, as you see, he has written in a number of corrections. The article was published in The Comet, 17th April 1937 (The Comet is a Nigerian publication). The size of the original typed sheets is somewhat larger than A4.”
THE FOOD OF PERFECTION
In this Article, I have endeavoured to state the case in favour of a pure, humane and bloodless diet as it was presented to the late Dr Anna Kingsford when under Illumination. Anna Kingsford was one of the foremost Illuminati of her day, and as she from time to time while under Divine Illumination received specific instructions on the subject of diet, they are worthy of consideration. They are, in fact, of great value, for if followed they will bring blessing not only to those who follow but to the world at large. Inhumane diet is at the root of much of the evil in the world, particularly that which falls under the head of cruelty and injustice. The reformation aimed at is, therefore, of the inner as well as of the outer man: of the soul as well as of the body.
Speaking of Illumination, there is in the mind of man a gate or gates for the admission of Light from Above – “The Light of Wisdom whereby a man perceiveth heavenly secrets. Which Light is the Spirit of God within the man shewing unto him the things of God.” Thus, we read that, at the close of his life, David – “the man who was raised on high (...) the sweet psalmist of Israel” – said:
“The Spirit of the Lord spake in me
And His word was upon my tongue”.
And this was the case with Anna Kingsford. One has only to read The Life of Anna Kingsford by her friend and collaborator Maitland to realise this. The object of her life and that to which both she and Edward Maitland devoted their lives was “the downfall of the world’s materialistic system both in religion and in science,” and The Life of Anna Kingsford is Edward Maitland’s record of their joint lives and teaching. For this most interesting and instructive Biography the world owes to him a debt that can never be repaid. He also, after her death, published a book of her Illuminations under the title of Clothed with the Sun, which includes in full those which can here be given only in part.
It is a fundamental principle of the Mysteries that “By means of the body is the soul initiated”. “The body is the chamber of ordeal; and therein is the soul of man tried.” “The body in which
man is redeemed is of the earth.” In reading the following, this fact that our bodies are verily “the chambers of ordeal, and the houses of the initiation of the soul,” must be borne in mind.
In 1881, Anna Kingsford had a remarkable vision in which a golden chalice having three linings was given to her in her sleep by an angel. These linings, she was told, signified the three degrees of the heavens: – Purity of life, Purity of heart, and Purity of doctrine. The vision is too long to relate in full, but, during part of it, the seeress stood within a temple in which there was a dark curtain suspended from the dome before the altar, which arrested and obscured the light so that the body of the temple was “plunged in gloom, broken only by the fitful gleams of a few half-expiring oil-lamps.” But for this, the temple would have been fully illumined. Observing that the angel before referred to was looking earnestly at her, she said, “tell me what curtain is this before the light, and why is the temple in darkness?” And the angel answered, “This veil is not One, but Three; and the Three are Blood, Idolatry, and the Curse of Eve. And to you it is given to withdraw them. Be faithful and courageous; the time has come”. With the removal of the three veils, which she effected, the temple then being full of light was carried up into heaven. The temple may be taken to represent the body or soul of man which should be “the temple of God” but which, for the reasons given, is defiled to such an extent that the light which should shine within is well-nigh put out. At the close of the vision, the seeress heard a voice crying:
“Put away Blood from among you!
Destroy your idols!
Restore your Queen!”
It is with the removal of the first of these three veils, which was said to be “red and very heavy”, that we are now concerned.
This veil presents itself to us in many ways some of which are very insidious, and Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland were called upon to fight not only for the emancipation of the animals from cruelty and injustice but also for the emancipation of man from a priest-constructed religion and a civilisation wholly materialistic. It was with a view to qualify herself to speak with authority – particularly against the practice of vivisection, which she and Edward Maitland
regarded with abhorrence as representing the lowest depth of wickedness to which under the above mentioned systems man has sunk, and in favour of a Food-reform that would include and stand for a pure and bloodless diet – that she entered the medical profession.
It will be noted in the above mentioned vision Concerning the Three Veils between Man and God, what great stress was laid upon the necessity for purity on all planes of man’s being: Purity of life, Purity of heart, and Purity of doctrine. Purification, like St. John the Baptist, must ever precede the manifestation of Christ. This fact was emphasised in another remarkable vision which she had some years after (viz. in October, 1879), when she found herself in her sleep – most of her Illuminations came to her in sleep – conversing with some one who spoke of the difficulty that lies in the way of anyone who wishes to attain a full revelation of God, which can come only through the spiritual consciousness – “The Spirit of God within the man, shewing unto him the things of God”. The difficulty was said to be “owing to the deterioration of man’s system through impure habits of life and especially in respect of food, through which the blood is tainted and the tissues rendered incapable of the sensitiveness necessary for perfect interior vision”; and she was told that “perfect knowledge” would come “only when the world has for many generations lived purely, and the human system has recovered in a great degree the perfection which properly belongs to it, and which it once had,” and that “it is to man frugivorous, and to him alone, that the intuition reveals herself, and from her comes all revelation. For between him and his Spirit there is no barrier of blood; and in him alone can the spirit and the man be at one”. Thus was the former vision referred to confirmed, and this by one whom Anna Kingsford took to be Jesus.
On another occasion when Anna Kingsford had asked the question “Who shall attain to perfection?” she received (in part reply) the following answer: “Eat no dead thing. Drink no fermented drink. Make living elements of all the elements of your body (...) Take your food full of life, and let not the touch of death pass upon it (...)
Hephaistos is a destroyer, and the breath of fire is a touch of death. The fire that passes on the elements of your food deprives them of their vital spirit, and gives you a corpse instead of living substance (...) The spirit of the fire enters into the elements of your body, and sets up in all its molecules a consuming and a burning (...) The spirit of the fire is a subtle spirit, a penetrative and diffusive spirit, and it enters into the substance of all matter upon which it acts. When, therefore, you take such substance into your organism, you take with it the spirit of the fire, and you assimilate it together with the matter of which it has become a part”. This raises the question of eating cooked or fired food which, though outside the humanitarian aspect of food reform, is not outside “the excellent way” that was pointed out to Anna Kingsford for those who are far advanced on the road to perfection, which is our goal. The hot foods and drinks which we take consume and dry up the magnetic power of our nerves, seal our senses, and cut short our lives. And this was not the only occasion on which the subject of fired foods was referred to. Abstinence from flesh foods and from fired foods would appear to be an essential condition for full spiritual perception.
In the ancient Mysteries, it was recognised that there are spiritual grades of perfection or castes which are as ladders whereby man ascends from the lower to the higher. Being spiritual grades, they have no relation to the outward conditions of life. They are four in number, corresponding to the fourfold nature of man. In the highest of these grades – those relating to the mysteries of Phoibos Apollo (representing the Spirit of Wisdom) “it was forbidden to eat anything upon which terrestrial fire had passed,” but bread (unleavened) might be eaten sun-baked, and fruits from high trees which had been ripened by the sun’s rays were allowed: and, as regards drink, “the pure juice of the grape drunken new” or unfermented was permitted. The rule forbidding fired-food applied only to initiation in “the inmost and highest mysteries of the perfect humanity”, and was not obligatory on others. The reason given for this prohibition was: “The fire that passes on the elements of your food deprives them of their vital spirit and gives you a corpse instead of living substance”. In the
next grade below the highest, that of Hermes (representing the Spirit of Understanding) “it was forbidden to eat any creature which had life, or, rather, which had seeing eyes”. The use of flesh food was absolutely forbidden, but vegetable foods, which might be cooked with terrestrial fire, and wine, which might be fermented, were allowed. Flesh foods were for those only who were in the Outer Circle; those who belonged to the lowest class and were regarded as being “in the body only”, which is to say, devoid of spiritual consciousness, some of them descending so low as to sacrifice and eat human flesh. These last were regarded as belonging to the “beasts of prey” and not as human beings. To those who would know the higher mysteries and attain to Spiritual or God consciousness the eating of flesh is an abomination. “Let us say boldly”, said Anna Kingsford, “that the Interior Life and the clear Heaven are not attainable by men who are partakers of blood”.
On another occasion, Anna Kingsford received under illumination, occurring also in sleep, a communication (purporting to come from Hermes) in which she and Edward Maitland were confirmed in their opposition to certain doctrines, which they regarded as “a travesty of the truth,” which had been put before them by Lawrence Oliphant, who was a follower of Thomas Lake Harris, for their acceptance with a view to obtaining their acquiescence in the teaching of his “master”. The communication referred to was an answer to the teaching of Thomas Lake Harris, which had been objected to and it included the following: “I would have you armed both with a perfect philosophy and with the power of the divine life. And first the knowledge, that you and they who hear you may know the reason of the faith which is in you. Purify your bodies, and eat no dead thing that has looked with living eyes upon the light of Heaven. For the eye is the symbol of brotherhood among you. Sight is the mystical sense. Let no man take the life of his brother to feed withal his own. But slay only such as are evil, in the name of the Lord. They are miserably deceived who expect eternal life, and restrain not their hands from blood and death”.
One of the most important of the Illuminations received by Anna Kingsford was on the subject of Sin and Death, and, although flesh-eating is not therein expressly referred to, it is by implication condemned, because the “malady” therein referred to and condemned is behind the practice. Anna Kingsford was told that every cell in the human body is a living entity, and that in the healthy body every cell is polarised in subjection to the central will of man’s system. Obedience to this central will is above all things required. As a spiritual being, if man would overcome death and attain to life eternal he must live in harmony with his inmost or spiritual consciousness, which, for Christians, is the Christ-spirit or the “Christ within”. “The Spirit within you is Divine. It is God”. Only by so living can man have hope of salvation from spiritual death and dissipation. This is what was said:
“Health is order, obedience [to the central will of the physical system] and government. But wherever disease is, there is disunion, rebellion [against such central will] and insubordination. And the deeper the seat of the confusion, the more dangerous the malady, and the harder to quell it (...) If the disobedient molecules corrupt each other continually, and the perversity spread, and the rebellious tracts multiply their elements; the whole body shall fall into dissolution, which is death. (…) And when dissolution is complete, then follow corruption and putrefaction. Now, that which is true of the physical, is true likewise of its prototype. The whole world is full of revolt; and every element hath a will divergent from God. Whereas there ought to be but one will, attracting and ruling the whole man. But there is no longer brotherhood among you; nor order, nor mutual sustenance. Every cell is its own arbiter; and every member is become a sect. Ye are not bound one to another; ye have confounded your offices, and abandoned your functions. Ye have reversed the direction of your magnetic currents; ye are fallen into confusion, and have given place to the spirit of misrule. Your wills are many and diverse; and every one of you is an anarchy. A house that is divided against itself, falleth. O wretched man; who shall deliver you from this body of death?”
I have written enough to shew the attitude of those who know,
towards cruel, unjust and unnatural methods of sustaining life. Both Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland spoke and wrote much against the practice of flesh-eating and many of their speeches and writings were after their deaths collected and published in Addresses and Essays on Vegetarianism, now out of print, a new edition of which is likely shortly to be forthcoming. As regards the future there is hope for better things, for Anna Kingsford was assured that “the true gospel of the inner knowledge,” which appertains to a perfect spirit, will smite this age upon its materialistic hypothesis, and, with the denunciation of the falseness of its doctrine, now being made to the world, shall fall the whole fabric of society with its empire of force, its exaltation of the masculine (intellectual) mode of mind, its subjection of the feminine (intuitional) mode of mind and its torture of animals. The knowledge and spirit of understanding – which are of the intuition – shall usher in the kingdom of God.