• Anna Mary Bonus
Kingsford – Esoterista, Visionária, Mística Hermética. Paradoxos Alpha.
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O texto possui caráter biográfico, e está principalmente orientado para mostrar
como “Ela foi um personagem importante na criação dos antecedentes que levaram o
ocultismo moderno a encorajar a participação igualitária de mulheres e homens em
organizações como a Golden Dawn e a O.T.O. (Ordo Templi Orientis)”.
Podemos ler no texto, por exemplo, que: “Aleister Crowley era muito consciente da influência e da importância
de Anna Kingsford para o ocultismo de seu período. Em sua introdução ao primeiro
volume do Livro Quatro, ele escreveu que Kingsford tinha feito mais no
mundo religioso do que qualquer outra pessoa tinha feito por gerações. Ela, e
somente ela, tornou a Teosofia possível, e sem a Teosofia o interesse mundial em
assuntos similares jamais teria sido despertado. Esse interesse é para a Lei do Thelema o que a pregação de João Batista foi para o
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Anna Mary Bonus Kingsford
Inductee of the Order of the Eagle, Anno IVxii
by Paradoxos Alpha
Anna Kingsford (nee Bonus, 1846-1888 e.v.) was prominent among mystics and
theosophists in the 1880’s. Politically active throughout her adult life, she
was a feminist, vegetarian, and most especially an anti-vivisectionist. To
bolster her authority in the cause of anti-vivisectionism, she pursued and
achieved a medical degree through the university in Paris. She lectured on political, social, and
religious topics, coming to style herself as an "esoteric Christian." Although
she was an adult convert to Roman Catholicism, taking the name "Mary" at
confirmation, she was never a member of any parish, and was not active within
the church. Her beliefs were rooted in visionary experience, and her principal
collaborator in mysticism was Edward Maitland, a lapsed Anglican with
Spiritualist leanings, who was many years her senior. Together, Kingsford and
Maitland elaborated the teachings of what they called "the new Gospel of
Interpretation" through a series of lectures and a resultant book: The
Perfect Way: or, The Finding of Christ.
Kingsford served a term as President of the
body of the Theosophical Society. Subsequently, she was the founder and head of
the Hermetic Society, which was an instrumental forerunner of the Hermetic Order
of the Golden Dawn. S.L. Mathers dedicated The Kabbalah Unveiled
to Kingsford and Maitland, and W.W. Westcott eulogized her as "indeed
illuminated by the Sun of Light" in a Golden Dawn history lecture. Both Mathers
and Westcott had been lecturers in Kingsford’s Hermetic Society. Kingsford’s
doctrines regarding the role of active will in mysticism and the undesirability
of "passive mediumship" may well have influenced the composition of the original
Golden Dawn Neophyte obligation, in which the initiand swore, "I will not suffer
myself to be hypnotized, or mesmerized, nor will I place myself in such a
passive state that any uninitiated person, power, or being may cause me to lose
control of my thoughts, words or actions."
Aleister Crowley was very much aware of Kingsford’s influence and importance to
the occultism of his period. In his introduction to the first volume of Book
Four, he wrote that Kingsford had done more in the religious world than any
other person had done for generations. She, and she alone, made Theosophy
possible, and without Theosophy the world-wide interest in similar matters would
never have been aroused. This interest is to the Law of Thelema what the
preaching of John the Baptist was to Christianity.
Similarly, in General Principles of Astrology, he observed that Kingsford
was "disposed of an initiating force sufficient to transfigure the thought of
half the world. [...] She was doubtless the head of the battering-ram that broke
in the gates of the materialist philosophy of the Victorian Age."
pointed to Kingsford’s writings as providing an example of Knowledge and
Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. The text in question was "The Vision of
Adonai" included in her book Clothed with the Sun. That book was
assembled by Maitland from Kingsford’s writings that were "received" through
mystic inspiration and "not to be changed in so
much as a single word." It stands as an obvious predecessor to and influence
upon the Holy Books of Thelema in both form and content. In "The Vision of
Adonai," she wrote:
“In the midst stands Deity erect, His right hand raised aloft, and from Him
pours the light of light. Forth from His right hand streams the universe,
projected by the omnipotent repulsion of his will. Back to His left, which is
depressed and set backwards, returns the universe, drawn by the attraction of
His love. Repulsion and attraction, will and love, right and left, these are the
forces, centrifugal and centripetal, male and female, whereby God creates and
Kingsford distinguished between the man Jesus and the historically repeatable
phenomenon of "Christs" or fully-realized adepts. Her doctrines emphasized a set
of archangels which were identical with deities of Hellenic paganism, and were
set in presidency over the planets.
Along with her talk of attaining to the condition of "Christ," it is clear from
other indications that Kingsford nursed messianic aspirations. Kingsford and
Maitland developed an idea of historical Apocalypse, which treated 1881 as the
beginning of the "Age of Michael" and a new spiritual regime, according to the
calculations of Trithemius. Despite the protestations of modesty by Maitland in
his "Preface" to Clothed with the Sun, it seems that Kingsford did
view herself in some sense as the "woman clothed with the sun" from the twelfth
chapter of the final book of the Bible, just as Crowley would later identify
himself with the Great Beast of the thirteenth. In the sixth appendix of The
Perfect Way, Kingsford explained various points of apocalyptic symbolism,
including "the Abomination of Desolation" and the precession of the equinoxes.
Kingsford’s other ideas about the "Aeon Jesus" and the feminine component of
deity were transmitted through her friend Lady Caithness to influence Jules
Doinel, founder and first patriarch of the Église Gnostique which was an
antecedent rite of the Thelemic Gnostic Catholic Church in O.T.O.
Not the least of Kingsford’s accomplishments was her infusion of a
self-conscious feminism into the occultist organizations of the late nineteenth
century, with a pronounced influence on the founders of the Golden Dawn. She was
an important player in setting the precedents that led modern occultism to
encourage the equal participation of women with men in such organizations as the
Golden Dawn and the O.T.O. Indeed, one might fairly say that Kingsford’s work
led quite directly to the fact that the Order of the Eagle now exists to
recognize women who have contributed to the principles and work of O.T.O.
A woman of high and intense energies, Kingsford’s health was never robust. While
struggling with her final illness, she wrote in her diary,
“I had hoped to have been one of the pioneers of the new awakening of the world.
I had thought to have helped in the overthrow of the idolatrous altars and the
purging of the temple; and now I must die just as the day of battle dawns and
the sound of the chariot wheels is heard. Is it, perhaps, all premature? Have we
thought the time nearer than it really is? Must I go, and sleep, and come again
before the hour sounds?”
Kingsford was a fervent advocate of the theory of reincarnation, but it is not
necessary to suppose her return after death to appreciate her importance to the
work of Thelema.
PRINCIPAL PUBLISHED WORKS OF ANNA KINGSFORD
and Essays on Vegetarianism
Theologized: The Spiritual Hermeneutic of Astrology and Holy Writ (editor)
with the Sun
of Christianity and other Addresses and Essays on Esoteric Christianity
and Dream Stories
Beauty and the Toilet
The Perfect Way: or, The
Finding of Christ
The Perfect Way in Diet
Virgin of the World of Hermes Trismegistus (editor)
BIOGRAPHICAL SOURCES (abridged list)
Alison. "Magical Beginnings: The Intellectual Origins of the Victorian Occult
Revival." Limina 9, 2003. pp. 78-95.
Joscelyn. The Theosophical Enlightenment. Albany: SUNY, 1994.
K. Women of the Golden Dawn: Rebels and Priestesses. Rochester: Park Street, 1995.
Edward. Anna Kingsford: Her Life, Letters, Diary and Work. (3rd edition)
Peter. Madame Blavatsky’s Baboon. New York: Schocken, 1995.
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