PERSECUTED OF APOLLYON
IT was not yet,
however, that I was to accompany her to
“A. has gone, and I am all alone in
such woman as the imaginary ‘she’ you speak of; and of downright horror at the notion of any man who knows anything, and has felt anything, desiring to introduce a new sentient creature into hell. For this is hell, and nothing else. It is a terrible thing for the ignorant and thoughtless to do; but they who know should surely give thought to the capability to suffer, which they are about to bring into being, and refrain accordingly.
“I have just come from the hospital, where I have seen a man who for months has lived in horrible torture. Last time I saw him he was lying back on his pillows panting for breath, with great drops of sweat on his forehead, his whole body exhaling a fetid odour which sickened the bystanders. This morning he is dead – white, and still, and calm, and indifferent. I stood and looked at him. ‘It is living,’ said I to myself, ‘that is the only real disease. Why should we seek to prolong it? To be dead is to have triumphed over the fever, and to be convalescent. What fools we doctors are! Then I went upstairs into the women’s ward. Among them was a new patient – a woman twenty-six years old. She had ankylose of the coxo-femoral articulation, arthrite of the knee, and was bedridden. When the chef turned down the bed-clothes – behold, she was eight months gone in pregnancy! ‘What,’ he cried, ‘you suffer all this, and you are about to be a mother!’ Miserable wretch! Could she not have learnt one lesson of forbearance and charity to the unborn from all her own sufferings. Incurably diseased at twenty-six, and she thinks life e so fine a thing that she will bring into it another unfortunate to share it with her!
“‘There is no way out!’ These are the words I saw in my dream. They are burnt into my brain; I go all day repeating them. And there are moments when I feel like the hero of the old Hebrew poem, – ‘Cursed be the day in which I was born; and the night in which it was said, “a child is conceived!”’
“This morning I had a letter from Florence Marryat,
enclosing a cheque and a copy of the February number of London Society containing
my story. A. has the MS. of another for
These tales were of a comparatively frivolous order, and represented the revulsion to the other extreme of her nature necessary to the maintenance of its equilibrium, and were written far rather as a relief from spiritual over-tension than from motives of gain. It was her intention later to include them in a volume of her collected stories; but during her last illness she withdrew them from the list, not wishing to have her name permanently associated with anything of so exclusively worldly a character.
For the next few weeks but little communication passed between us; we were both absorbed in our respective work. Then came a letter, which I interpreted as signifying that our guiding influences were once more preparing to bring us together again; for it said:
“I think that they who have the guardianship of you are, above all things,
anxious to detach you from your present surroundings. I think they wish to place
you in circumstances wholly different from those of your previous life, and to
‘isolate’ you, as they themselves said, from all worldly influences. In order to
do this you will have to leave
“A most extraordinary thing has just happened to me! As I wrote that word ‘family,’ I suddenly saw, with all the clearness of actual vision, the figure of Christ, with Mary Magdalen beside Him, going forth together over a plain towards Jerusalem, and in the far distance a group of persons, men and women, standing at the door of a cottage, shading their eyes with their hands, and looking after their departing forms. It must have been a vision of Christ leaving His family to go out and preach the gospel. I must go and rest a little. This sudden appearance has disturbed me. (...)
“What I propose, then, is that you should join us so soon as you can after A. leaves me. For he is coming first. I am going to send away E.’s governess, and have her taught at a school close by, to which she will go for certain hours in the daytime. We three should constitute a pure household, and our work would be easy and peaceful. I cannot do real, worthy, and valuable work apart from you. I think your magnetism imparts a vigour to my brain which nothing else gives me. (1) And I earnestly believe that this proposition of mine is the actual end towards which we have long been being conducted. You must detach yourself from your present world. You must be one with me. It is not permitted us to serve both God and Mammon. The tongues of the world will die away and be hushed when the world knows our lives and sees our work – work which we cannot produce apart, and which it will be idle to attempt unless we are together. I write with the strong conviction that I speak the truth, and that you must and ought to hear it. I will ask Miss D. to write to you; for I know she will take my view about the governess, and the school, and your being with us.
• • • • • • • • • • •
“I have spent two hours with Miss D., and she does take my view; so pray look upon the arrangement as a settled one. Ah, what happy communions we shall have, and how great the work we shall accomplish! A. is sure to be pleased, for he himself mentioned it to me as a feasible plan, and said he was certain you and C. would never get on together – he with his student chums, and you with your serious work – in the same rooms.”
“Why Mary Magdalen and her reappearance on the scene?” I asked myself, as I pondered this strange recital, and recalled the corresponding incident which had led to her joining the
Roman communion. And then, as I continued to think, the words came to me: “You will know in time”; and before I could frame further questions, there were projected into my mind these words:
“Meanwhile, what she wrote was inspired, and must be heeded. You are to go to Paris, and live with her as John the Beloved would live with Mary Magdalen were the two to come back to tell the world what they knew about the Christ.”
“And how is that?” I asked; but there was no response. Clearly I was to think it out for myself. And while endeavouring to do this, there recurred to me a passage I had written in the previous winter. It is on p. 428 of England and Islam, and is as follows: –
“Fancy a Paul redeeming a Magdalen by sheer dint of out-loving her! Fancy his exhibiting the divine tenderness and patience which could go on enduring and loving without stint, while the frantic hysterical woman was rent by one devil after another of the seven which possessed her! Tormented and fretful himself, the Alexander Pope of the Apostolate, save for his unfeigned enthusiasm – so far from the feverish hand of Paul soothing the excitement of those inflamed nervous centres – as we may conceive was done by the sympathetic magnetism of the touch of Jesus, it would have but aggravated the symptoms until, in place of peace and salvation, despair and madness had supervened. Paul might boast of being all things to all men. Christ could be all things to all men, and to all women also.”
Seeking for the reason why such a train of thought was suggested to me, I found myself impressed with the conviction that it was for my own guidance, and was on no account to be communicated to her. She was to be frank with me in all things, but much that was given to me was for practice, and not for speech.
It was yet several weeks to the time suggested for my visit to
May was within ten days of its close when word came of an illness so severe, as to make it a question whether we should
ever meet again unless I started forthwith. The summons came at a moment when compliance would have involved what seemed a serious dereliction of duty in another direction. In my dilemma I bethought me of having recourse to clairvoyant aid. I was acquainted with two ladies, each of whom possessed the requisite faculty, and who also knew her, but they were unknown to each other. Each had a “control,” that of the one I consulted first purporting to be the spirit of a brother of the medium, some time dead. In neither case did I give any hint as to the subject of the consultation. In the first instance it was said to me:
“Mary is exceedingly ill, but she is not to join us yet. You can help her by writing to her, and keeping up her spirits, and by stimulating hope and faith. Do not go until summoned by your Guardian. The crisis is passing.”
In the other quarter the control professed to be the soul of a woman who was now one of an order of ministering spirits, and was then engaged in tending the souls of the victims of the war in the East, but had returned voluntarily in order to tend Mary in her illness. And she had, she declared, just left her sleeping soundly and doing well; and as she could not herself stay away longer from the scene of war, she had left another spirit in charge, who would be of great use to her. Before going away the control represented in the strongest terms the necessity of paying the utmost regard to Mary’s health, physical and spiritual, if she was to accomplish the purpose for which she was born, in respect either of her own soul or of her work; and added, “Her time is by no means too long for what she has to do.”
As these Communications coincided both with each other and with my own feeling, I decided to postpone m y departure, at least, until the next day. The morning brought news that the crisis had passed, and with it the need for urgency on my part.
The latter of the foregoing experiences had a remarkable termination. Declaring the necessity of her immediate return to the battlefield, “Terése” – to give the control the name used by her as that of her order – enabled the clairvoyante to see a number of the spirits of the newly slain, whom the latter de-scribed as ranged in rows, habited in white, and all weeping. On the departure of “Terése” the medium, being still in trance, was controlled by another spirit, evidently a male, who, making
her seize pencil and paper, wrote through her with vehement haste for my instruction:
“‘Wake her instantly, or she will follow Terése to the war, when her ears will for days be full of the howlings of the newly dead, who cannot bear the sudden chill of the spiritual state, and her eyes will be full of figures, horrible, like raving maniacs. Open the window for air, and recall her instantly.’ The difficulty of recalling and waking her was considerable. For she was eager to go, and already could see, she declared, groups of the spirits of the slain, each one surrounded by ministering angels, and weeping bitterly.”
The Information thus obtained proved correct in respect of Mary’s spiritual no less than of her physical state. Her depression had become extreme, sinking her to depths corresponding to the highest altitudes previously attained. And “Apollyon, the falsifier of all things,” had fulfilled the prediction made to us, by discerning and seizing his opportunity. Seeing, as was her wont in such mood, but one side only of things, and the under and dark side, she no sooner was able to resume her pen than she wrote:
“I long for a little rest and peace. The world has grown very bitter to me. I feel as if every one were dead!
“Ah, what a life is before me! – A life of incessant struggle, reproach, and loneliness. I shall never be as other women, happy in their wifehood and motherhood. Never to my dying day shall I know the meaning of a home.
“And behind me, as I look back on the road by which I have come, all is storm and darkness. I fought my way through my lonely, sad-hearted childhood; I fought my way through my girl-hood, misunderstood and mistrusted always; and now, in my womanhood, I am fighting still. On every side of me are rebuke and suspicion, and bitter, abiding sorrow. Pain and suffering of body and of spirit have hung on my steps all the years of my life. I have had no respite.
“Is there never to be peace? Never to be a time of sunlight that shall make me glad of my being?”
This was the opportunity taken by the enemy to sow in her mind the seeds of distrust and doubt as to the reality of the world which had been opened to us, and the truth of the teachings thence received. Nor was he at a loss for an instrument through which to operate. This was a certain fellow-student whom, at the recommendation of the chef of her hospital, she had engaged as her professor. He proved to have attained considerable proficiency in occultism, but of the kind we have since learnt to recognise as “Black Magic” or sorcery. In common
with the votaries of this cult, he insisted that the soul – though it does indeed survive the body – does so but for a brief space, and then too dies, and the individual becomes extinct. And it was to this evanescent efflorescence of the physical organism that he ascribed all experiences of the kind received by us. Of course, in a system which comprised a doctrine of the soul such as this, the idea of God and of moral responsibility could have no place, and that of the world’s redemption became the vainest of dreams, and life itself the ghastliest of riddles. True, there were demons, or rather nature-spirits, powerful but non-moral, but even these must yield to man, whose will – short-lived though he is – is the most potent thing in the universe. And it was the dominion over these that was the supreme object of man’s desire and attainment.
With these teachings, backed as they were by large scientific knowledge, and a strongly magnetic presence, enforced with evident sincerity, and coming at a moment of collapse on all planes – physical, mental, and spiritual – Mary found herself powerless to cope. Her “walls” were down, and the enemy was free to make incursion. Nevertheless, the issue proved that “they who were on our side were more than they who were against us,” and she was enabled to come off victorious. This is her narrative, written to me, of the first encounter:
“We must take care that we do not deceive ourselves, and fail into some snare at these times when our spiritual faculties are open to presences of which, in ordinary states, we are unaware. I suspect that in many cases vanity is made an occasion to mislead us. A circumstance which happened to me last night has somewhat instructed me as to the true source of those ‘immaculate conception’ theories we have been hearing about of late from a certain class of spiritualists.
“The night was very hot; I was but lightly covered, and the casement was open,
the Venetian shutters only being closed. Thus lying, I had a very curious dream,
or rather vision, beginning – as sometimes before – by the sound of a sweet
voice saying, ‘Salve! Salve
of equality and affinity with angels; that it would be better than any love for one of my own kind, and would procure me all sorts of gifts. Thereupon the rest chimed in the same strain, and I presently added, ‘If such a thing be possible – if such loves can take place – does the woman so “blessed” have but one lover among you, or is she the property of as many as please?’ ‘We are free in our affinities,’ said the spirit sitting at my feet; ‘you may have as many of us as you please for lovers.’ Hereupon, as if with one accord, the whole troop of them assailed me with caresses and flatteries, throwing their arms about my feet and round my waist. At this I jumped up and cried out, ‘Be off, all of you! I believe all this nonsense about spiritual affinities is a mere temptation of Apollyon, who is your chief. I stick to natural human love, and faithfulness to one of my own kind – that is God-given and good – and I will have nothing to do with other beings. That which you suggest is a kind of new crime, strange and monstrous’; and I drove them from me, and woke up to find the room empty and quiet. It may have been only a dream; but I distinctly felt on awaking the sense of a recent weight where I had been touched or pressed. I believe it was an attempt to get over me through any weak point in the way of vanity which they might find in me. Save us from conceit. I am sure this is a fatal loophole for witchcraft of the kind for which miserable women used to be broken on the wheel and burnt at the stake. Write to me at once. I am anxious to know what you think. There is no one else I can tell who would understand.”
After a short interval the visitation was repeated. The spirit particularly mentioned before came alone, when the following colloquy was held in familiar French:
“‘Dost thou love me?’ I asked, wanting to know his motives. He answered –
“‘No, I do not love thee; but that does not mean that I shall not love thee hereafter. The time will come when I shall love thee, but it is not yet.’
“‘Then why comest thou hither if thou dost not love me?’
“‘I have never yet loved anyone. I know not what love means.’
“He seemed to be a young man of about twenty, with a face that changed from one moment to another, and at one time looked so infantile that I cried out –
“‘How young thou art! Thou art a boy – a child!’
“‘Thou, too, art young,’ he said; ‘but thou hast never yet had a young lover.’
“I am in a very singular state of mind; for though quite well, steady application to work is impossible, all my thoughts being occupied with the face and form and tone of voice of my demon lover. I go about as one in a dream. I forget everything, and don’t hear when people speak to me. I seem to be living in a kind of reverie which cannot take account of outward things. I do hope and trust I am not going to fall in love with my phantom. What a dreadful thing that would be! It will do me good to have you with me, and will bring me back into a more natural frame of mind.
As it is, I have a conviction that though I can’t see him, he is always with me. It is a strange condition to be in, but has no pathological aspect, for my pulse is steady, and my appetite good, and my sleep sound. (...) I don’t believe my ‘demon’ is so bad as you make him out to be. He could not have been so beautiful and attractive had he been wholly evil. I look on him rather as an undeveloped creature, ignorant of the true nature of love and of all good. And he is such a child to look at, the expression and colouring of his face so thoroughly infantile. The more I examine my feeling towards him, the more I am convinced it is but one of compassion mingled with fascination. (...) I should like to know what my professor would say to it all, but I cannot on any account tell him. I am rather afraid he is too much interested in me already. The last time I saw him he quite startled me by asking, with an odd look, if I ever fancied I saw him in his absence. Of course I said ‘No’; and even if I had seen him, I should not tell him so. But his question reminded me that he had more than once suddenly come into my mind without my knowing why.”
I had written to her my conviction that whatever the agent of these visitations might be in itself, it was altogether evil for her, and for our work, and must be steadfastly repelled. It was only through the weakness of our wills that such things could have power to injure us; and as the influences which had directed us thus far were, by their own admission, power less to help us while separated, the only plan was to look beyond them to the Source of all Power, and, meanwhile, to keep up her courage and resolution, and never forget the immensity of the interests at stake. And I promised to join her at the earliest possible moment, feeling that in the presence of a danger so real and insidious I should not be justified in hesitating longer.
The first week in July saw me in Paris, and determined to remain until A. could replace me, which would probably be in about a month; for I felt very strongly the danger of leaving alone and unshielded a sensitive who had developed such abnormal liabilities, and was actually associated with one who was evidently not only able, but eager, to turn them to his own ends, irrespective of the consequences to her – for the sight of her professor, whose acquaintance I made, served to confirm my worst apprehensions on her account. To an extraordinary power of concentration, both of mind and of will, he added a temperament so ardent as to be beyond his own control, while the peculiar and sinister fascination of his glance bespoke him a born sorcerer if ever there was one. It was at once obvious to me that only by dint of exceeding tact and caution would
some terrible catastrophe be avoided. And it was no less evident that he keenly resented my appearance on the scene, and that some way for his dismissal must be devised without giving him cause to suspect my hand in it. The first difficulty was to obtain the pupil’s consent to part with her instructor. She had never found one so competent. His intellectual superiority over other men, and his very unlikeness to them, made him an object of interest to her; and she was unable to realise the danger to herself and her aims which would arise from the establishment of his influence over her. The consciousness of her own strength of will served to give her a confidence in her power of resisting his fascination altogether delusive. She did not know that, as a sensitive of sensitives, her very will was at the mercy of one who knew how, without opposing it, to turn it in his own direction. Already had she begun to see and speak from his point of view, under the impression it was her own, and not knowing that she was but reflecting him. It was as if she had descended to a plane of consciousness in which all cognisance was lost of her higher experiences and perceptions; hence I looked to the renewal of these as the best counteractive.
I was at this time engaged in writing the record of our experiences up to that date in The Soul and How it Found Me, and had completed the seven chapters which brought it down to that present time. One of my hopes in rejoining her was to obtain materials for an extension of the book, and to this end we resumed our sittings for writing. The failure of our first attempts showed that owing to the presence of some disturbing element our invisible friends were unable to approach us, and we had no difficulty in finding the cause in the new influence introduced into our spiritual atmosphere. By perseverance, however, we were brought into tune, and the necessary condition of harmony restored, the results being such as to surpass my most sanguine hopes, and this both as to method and to material; for after a few slight communications in writing, mechanical means were entirely discarded in favour of direct perception and suggestion. The written messages were, however, noteworthy on more than one account.
We had placed on the table both our original instrument and the one made after the directions given by the elementals. On placing our hands on the former, and inquiring whether any
one was present, and which instrument was to be used, it was written:
“Yes, but the new writing-table is reserved for the genii.”
The next message was as follows: –
“Teach the doctrine of the Universal Soul and the Immortality of all creatures. Knowledge of this is what the world most needs, and this is the keynote of your joint mission. On this you must build; it is the keystone of the arch. The perfect life is not attainable by man alone. The whole world must be redeemed under the new gospel you are to teach.”
She had sought to gain her tutor’s adherence to our larger views of the nature of existence, and especially as regards man’s relations to the animals. And one of her chief reasons for retaining him was the hope of enlisting in our anti-vivisection crusade one who had it in him to be a potent ally. Thus far, however, the notion of a man having any duties or obligations beyond the limits of his own immediate self or belongings, or any moral standard of conduct, was wholly strange to him, and had been suggested only to be repelled with disdain as a vain figment of the priests; and similarly with the application of the terms “beauty” and “ugliness” to character and conduct. They were meaningless for him, except in relation to the bodily senses.
Mary had been expressing to me her disappointment at her failure to impress him, when the following message was written for us: –
“This to our
The relation of the terms Mary, Sea and Bitterness, as we came to learn, is in this wise. The word “Mary” means both sea and bitterness, and is the mystical name for the soul, as representing the individuation of the “Sea” or Substance of Space, the lower mode of which – the astral ether – must be surmounted and transcended by the soul for her to attain her proper divine condition; and the bitterness refers to the experiences to be undergone in the process. This astral sphere is the “sea” spoken of in the Apocalypse, as also in Shakespeare. “There is no more sea of troubles” for the perfected soul. The latter
part of the above message had a remarkable sequel, as will duly appear.
In the early morning of July 17 she received in sleep the vision recorded in
Clothed with the Sun (
July 21. – I was reading aloud some parts of my book, then in preparation, when, on coming to the passage describing my evocation of the soul of a tree, Mary was touched on the hand and told that further instructions on that subject would be given to us in the evening, when our experiments would enter on a new phase. When the time for the sitting came she was impelled to discard the planchette for a pencil which, though held by her, was not to be consciously directed by her; and at her desire I placed one of my hands on her head, the idea, doubtless, being to duplicate her forces by my own. Whether or not it had this effect, I am unable to say. It was the only occasion on which any physical action was used between us for this purpose, so that it may be presumed that the mental and spiritual bond between us was deemed sufficiently potent. It was always harmony of this kind that was insisted on, and “whatever ministered to affection.” On the present occasion the usual phenomenon of a cool afflatus soon manifested itself, and the impulse to write became strong. But she resisted it on the ground that the words to be written had been simultaneously presented to her mind, and she wished, if possible, to be unaware of them. Her wish was gratified, so far at least as her external personality was concerned, for she had no sooner been compelled to commence writing than she fell into a profound coma, in which she was unconscious of everything external saving only my voice, to which she responded readily. In this manner was written Part I of Nº. XIX, in Clothed with the Sun, “Concerning the Origin of Evil, and the Tree as the type of Creation.”
At the conclusion the pencil fell from her hand, and she passed from coma into a deep sleep, in order to encourage which I transferred her to a sofa and lowered the light. After a little while she re-entered the lucid condition, and called to me to come and
hear about the wonderful things she was seeing. I was still writing them down from her dictation when she awoke and asked in surprise why I was writing in the dark; and she was incredulous on being told it was what she herself had just been saying. It was Part II of the Illumination just cited. In neither instance had the utterance reached her outer consciousness. They contained what was new and even startling to both of us, especially the expressions “Materialisation of God,” and “the nearest to God is a woman,” and also the declaration of the possibility of the soul’s final loss; but each one found its place as a necessary and self-evident truth in the system of thought gradually unfolded to us.
And here I may remark that on no occasion in all the years of the unfoldment did we find a defect of coherence or logic. True, there were utterances which, at the time of their reception, surpassed our power to comprehend them, generally because couched in a mystical terminology, but they never failed sooner or later to become clear; and we noted that it seemed as if sometimes points were purposely left obscure or half-stated expressly in order that we might exercise our minds on them before having them fully disclosed; and this, we learnt, was because in the school in which we were being educated it is not the memory, but the understanding that is paramount, this being the Rock on which the true Church is built.
It was, too, with no little satisfaction that I noted the complete accordance of the teaching given to me while working alone in the past year with that now coming in greater fullness through my colleague, showing it to be in very truth one and the self-same spirit that informed us both, and that such minute discrepancies as had occurred were but due to my own imperfect apprehension of what had been intended. Every fresh experience, moreover, served to enhance our recognition of the appositeness of the exquisite parable of “The Wonderful Spectacles,” setting forth the microscopic character of her faculty, and the necessity of it to supplement and complement mine; for that which was now being done through her was to fill up in detail the various compartments of the vast framework which had been shown to me, in such wise as to make our respective functions correspond to those of the microscope and the telescope, or of the carpenter and the mason, the latter to build the
outer walls of the edifice of the system of our thought, and the former to construct and fit the inner chambers.
The following night afforded another and a striking confirmation of the identify of the teaching received by us separately, as well as an illustration of the exquisiteness and manifoldness of her faculty; for the vision then received seemed designed expressly to confirm and amplify what I had seen and said in England and Islam (pp. 332 et seq.), while the beauty of the scenes beheld by her surpassed all previous experience. This vision is given at length in Dreams and Dream-Stories, under the title of “The Forest-Cathedral.” Her delight in it was intense, and after writing it out nothing would do for her but to go to St Cloud and pass the afternoon in the lovely woods there, that she might preserve the impression undimmed by the sights and sounds of the city or the hospital-wards. But exquisite as were the woods through which we roamed – then in their richest foliage – they failed, she declared, to approach those beheld in her vision, partly, no doubt, because of the superiority of the spiritual eyes with which she had seen them to the physical. And as we talked, point after point of beauty and truth recurred to her memory, showing that the relation she had written, striking as it was, was but a meagre sketch of the reality, and giving me hope of a yet fuller account. But this was not to be. Further revealments were in store, the pressure of which precluded the realization of the hope. Only the leading idea deposited in her mind can be added. It was this: That the Divine Idea in creation, as expressed in the Tree, finds through evolution its final unfoldment in a perfected Humanity. Hence the sanctity of the Cross as denoting at once the tree of life and the instrument of man’s perfectionment, inasmuch as he attains this through the crucifixion of the lower self, which is the process whereby he rises into the higher and becomes one with God. We conversed much on the method and function of inspiration and prophecy. And in her character as a keen resenter of the wrongs of her sex, she was disposed to find a new and flagrant instance of man’s chronic injustice to woman in his assumption of the prophetic office to the almost total exclusion of her. She expressed the conviction that she herself was but one of many of her sex who had been similarly endowed, but that their male associates had generally taken all the credit to themselves; and
she was obviously alive to the possibility of a further injury to her sex through a like misappropriation of the products of her own faculty. This was but one form of many in which the feeling of distrust of her kind showed itself to be so deeply rooted in her nature as to constitute for me a psychological problem, and one for the solution of which I had yet long to wait, and far to advance in my thought and knowledge before it was vouchsafed; and the nature of which, when it came, proved to be altogether beyond anticipation, for it proved to be due to pre-natal causes.
The approach of night brought her an access of the sensations which we had learned to recognise as heralding a call to spiritual communion. It had been intimated to her in the previous night that something was in contemplation for her which would re-quire special preparation, and she now proceeded to carry out the instructions. These consisted in taking a bath, anointing herself with fragrant oil, brushing out her hair and allowing it to hang loosely down, baring her feet, and enveloping herself over all in an ample flowing robe of a white gauzy material, which was fastened at the throat with such gems as she possessed, the opal only being excluded, as having a malign influence. Of these preparations I was unaware until she emerged from her room after making them, already in a comatose state, as I learnt afterwards she had been during the whole time. The main object of these devices, which proved to be in accordance with the ancient usage of the Sanctuaries in the Sacred Mysteries, was to impress her imagination with a sense of solemnity, and thereby to enhance the magnetic forces of her system. Thus every gem allowed to be used was possessed of a magnetic potency of its own; and the feet were bared in accordance with the practice of putting off the shoes when treading on holy ground, in order to allow free passage through the aspirants system of the earth’s magnetism, for the excess of which such spots were selected.
The night was one of exquisite beauty, and as thus symbolically arrayed the slender form stood by the open window, with the fair hair streaming behind, and bathed in the soft light of a moon wanting but two days of its full, and closely attended by the king of the planets, with Saturn and Mars not far removed – a conjunction at once rare and of high astrological significance;
while far below lay outspread the city, so fair to the sense, so foul to the spirit, and within the darkened chamber rose wreaths of burning incense – the scene lacked nothing to give to it a character appertaining to spheres angelic rather than human, so that the sense of the artistic well-nigh dominated in me over any other. And, as if divining this, she said solemnly, being the while in the somnolent state, “Fix your thoughts steadfastly on the Highest, and keep them there”; and then asked me if there was any subject on which I especially desired information. I enumerated several on which light would be welcome – the origin of evil, the genesis of the soul, the motive of creation and method of redemption, and the truth about Jesus; adding that I would rather leave it to those who were directing us to determine according to what they saw was our need. On the table lay materials for writing, and by her desire I seated myself at it, for she was impelled to utter aloud that which was given her. This was a new feature, and one that betokened a further development of her powers. Presently she extended an arm upwards, and with one hand over her eyes as if to intensify her sense of hearing, she spoke with the halting utterance of one repeating what was with some difficulty heard from afar. Looking at her, I perceived that the afflatus had descended, and the spirit of prophecy was upon her.
The utterance which followed is Nº. XXXI, in Clothed with the Sun, and entitled, “Concerning the Manicheanism of Paul.” Remarkable and important as it was, it produced in me a feeling of disappointment, as – although I had no definite expectations – it was not for a message of that description that the scene before me had prepared me. It proved, however, to have been interpolated into the programme, as it were, in response to my suggestion of the origin of evil and the motive of creation as subjects on which I desired light.
On finishing the writing of this utterance, I looked towards the seeress and found that, though in a state of profound somnolence, she had quitted her erect position, and was kneeling in a rapt attitude, and praying silently with her hands clasped and uplifted. To whom or for what she was pleading I knew not. Had I known, I should have been spared a period of severe uneasiness; for, as I learnt on the following day, she had, under the entrancing beauty of the planet-illumined skies and an intense
access of spiritual exaltation, yielded to a sudden impulse to pray that she might be taken to the stars and shown all the glory of the universe. My uneasiness arose from the impression that she had been taken unawares, and that, therefore, our directing influences could not be trusted to refrain from rash enterprises. But, as appeared from the sequel, that which occurred was in compliance with her own request – a request which, however, had probably been made at their suggestion; and they knew how to avert any ill consequences.
Presently she rose, and after gazing upwards in ecstasy lowered her eyes, and clasped her arms round her head to shut out the view, precisely as if it had been an external one, uttering the while in tones of wonder, mingled with moans and cries of anguish, expressions indicative of the intolerable splendours of the vision she had unwittingly invited. We called it variously, “The Vision of the Worlds,” “The Vision of God and the Universe,” and “The Vision of Adonai,” under the last of which titles it is given in Clothed with the Sun. Its repetition here is due to the presence in it of certain allusions of a profoundly occult character, the explanation of which still remains to be given, and also to its biographical interest and psychological value. It will be remembered that after my reception of the same experience I had been withheld from communicating it to her by the intimation that it would be given to her also, but on the condition that she have no anticipation or prior knowledge of it.
“Oh, I see masses, masses of stars! It makes me giddy to look at them. O my God, what masses! Millions and millions! WHEELS of planets! O my God, my God, why didst Thou create? It was by Will, all Will, that Thou didst it. Oh! What might, what might of Will! Oh, what gulfs! What gulfs! Millions and millions of miles broad and deep! Hold me! – Hold me up! I shall sink – I shall sink into the gulfs. I am sick and giddy, as on a billowy sea. I am on a sea, an ocean – the ocean of infinite space. Oh, what depths! What depths! I sink – I fail! I cannot, cannot bear it!”
Observing here that she was becoming unsteady, and swaying to and fro as one on ship-board, I approached close, in order to catch her in case she fell. This presently happened, and I placed her in a chair, from which, however, she presently slid to the carpet, where she insisted on remaining during the rest of her trance. But so wholly independent were her spirit’s sensations of her bodily position, that this change afforded no
relief from the feeling of rising and sinking by which the soul’s passage across the gulfs of space was accompanied; and during the rest of the vision, and through the night, and far on into the next day, she endured all the miseries of a rough sea voyage.
The intensity of the body’s distress, however, effected no abatement of the spirit’s ecstasy; and the paroxysms of wonder, fear, and adoration alternated continuously with those of the physical malady. So unrestrained were her expressions of anguish and apprehension at the sights presented to her, that it became necessary to close the windows to prevent an alarm out of doors; and mingled with her exclamations to the very end were descriptions of what she felt and saw – things, persons, and scenes, so novel and unanticipated – described so vividly and graphically as to leave no doubt either of their reality or that of the journey she was making to the centre of her own and of all consciousness. She declared repeatedly that her soul had quitted her body, and was being borne through the universe by invisible guides, herself also being invisible. It appeared as if it were through the occasional failure of her own faith that she experienced the sensation of falling which was so distressing to her. Her exclamations continued:
“I shall never come back. I have left my body for ever. I am dying; I believe I
am dead. Impossible to return from such a distance! Oh, what colossal forms!
They are the angels of the planets. Every planet has its angel standing erect
above it. And what beauty! – What marvellous beauty! I
see Raphael. I see the Angel of the Earth. He has six wings. He is a god – the
god of our planet. I see my genius, who calls himself A.Z.; but his name is
Salathiel. Oh, how surpassingly beautiful he is! My genius is a male, and
his colour is ruby. Yours, Caro, is a female, and
sapphire. They are friends – they are the same – not two, but one; and for that
reason they have associated us together, and speak of themselves sometimes as I,
sometimes as We. It is the Angel of the Earth himself that is your genius and
mine, Caro. He it was who inspired you, who spoke to
you. And they call me ‘Bitterness.’ And I see sorrow – oh, what unending sorrow
do I behold! Sorrow, always sorrow, but never without love. I shall always
have love. How dim is this sphere! Oh, save me – save me! It is my demon that I
am approaching. It is Paris – Paris himself, once of
This very unexpected Identification of her nocturnal visitant recalled to my mind certain passages in England and Islam, (1) in which I had been led to speak of Paris and Helen of Troy, as being at this day the presiding evil genii of the French capital, the idea being then suddenly and vividly impressed on me, as if by the recollection of a lost knowledge, that whatever may be the historical basis of the Iliad, it is really a spiritual allegory, and that by these two characters were denoted certain evil influences recognised as subsisting in the lower spheres of consciousness, and finding manifestation in and through the people with whom they have the closest affinity of character. It had also been suggested to me that the whole of the Homeric scriptures have a spiritual import, and are allegorical expressions of the sacred mysteries of antiquity, corresponding to those of Alchemy, as the science of Regeneration was called, and being, therefore, essentially Biblical.
Remembering that my own ascent in the like vision had been direct to the centre,
and without divergence to any inferior or outlying sphere, I was somewhat at a
loss to account for this part of Mary’s experience, until I found that she was
being borne in various directions in order to visit the “heavens” of the
different races among which – we were subsequently given to understand – she had
been incarnated. With
“I am entering a brighter region now. What glorious form of womanhood is that,
so queenly, so serene, and endowed with all wisdom? It is Pallas Athena – a real
personage in the spiritual world! And yonder is one of whom I have no need to
ask. I am passing through the circle of the Olympians. It is Aphrodite, mother
of love and beauty. Oh, Aphrodite, spirit of the waters, firstborn of God, how
could I adore thee! And men on earth now deem the gods and goddesses of
“Oh, the dazzling, dazzling brightness! Hide me, hide me from it! I cannot, cannot bear it! It is agony supreme to look upon. O God! O God! Thou art slaying me with Thy light. It is the throne itself, the great white throne of God that I behold! Oh,
what light! What light! It is like an emerald? A sapphire? No; a diamond! In its 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 redeems. Adonai! O Adonai! Lord God of life, made of the substance of light, how beautiful art Thou in Thine everlasting youth! With Thy glowing golden locks, how adorable! And I had thought of God as elderly and venerable! As if the Eternal could grow old! And now not as Man only do I behold Thee! For now Thou art to me as Woman. Lo, Thou art both. One, and Two also. And thereby dost Thou produce creation. O God, O God! Why didst Thou create this stupendous existence? Surely, surely, it had been better in love to have restrained Thy will. It was by will that Thou createdst, by will alone, not by love, was it not? – Was it not? I cannot see clearly. A cloud has come between.
“I see Thee now as Woman. Maria is next beside Thee. Thou art Maria. Maria is God. O Maria! God as Woman! Thee, Thee I adore! Maria-Aphrodite! Mother! Mother-God!
“They are returning with me now, I think. But I shall never get back. What strange forms! How huge they are! All angels and archangels. Human in form, yet some with eagles’ heads. All the planets are inhabited! How innumerable is the variety of forms! Oh! Universe of existence, how stupendous is existence! Oh! Take me not near the sun; I cannot bear its heat. Already do I feel myself burning. Here is Jupiter! It has nine moons!”
“Are you sure?” I cried. “Look again.”
“Yes; nine – some are exceedingly small. And oh, how red it is! It has so much iron. And what enormous men and women! There is evil there, too. For evil is wherever are matter and limitation. But the people of Jupiter are far better than we on earth. They know much more; they are much wiser. There is less of evil in their planet. Ah! And they have another sense, too. What is it? No; I cannot describe it.”
“Is it like that of the migratory birds?” I inquired.
“No; I cannot tell what it is. It differs from any of the others. We have nothing like it!”
“Come, you are nearing earth now.”
“No, no. I cannot get back yet. I shall never get back. I believe I am dead. It is only my body you are holding. It has grown cold for want of me. Yet I must be approaching; it is growing shallower. We are passing out of the depths. Yet I can never wholly return – never – never!”
Her apprehension was not without justification, for several hours passed ere her consciousness was once more wholly replaced in her body.
It is impossible for anyone who did not witness the intensely dramatic action and tone with which these ejaculations were
uttered to form anything like an adequate conception of the sense of reality they inspired. Following every step with eager sympathy, I seemed to be repeating my own experience of the same vision, only with the difference that what was then shown to me in general outline, was now being seen by her in all fullness of detail. And of my vision, as well as of the possibility of such a vision at all, she was wholly unaware; for, as already said, I had been constrained, for the reasons stated, to maintain absolute reserve respecting it.
Thus had she, no less than myself, been able – like the “nobles of
The experience was fruitful of suggestions tending to the solution of many problems of the profoundest kind. That which chiefly struck me was the contrast between the emotions excited in us by our respective visions. With me – as already related – the demonstration of the love-principle in Deity, as indicated by the feminine aspect of Adonai, had produced a joy so intense as to make me eager to hasten back to earth to proclaim the glad tidings that God is in very truth a God of love; “that our Father in heaven is merciful,” and is not the blood-loving God of a priest-constructed theology, but is really Father-Mother in one. Mary, on the contrary, while recognizing and adoring the feminine aspect of Adonai, had shown herself ready to bandy words with the Almighty, by reproaching Him for not having refrained in love from exercising His will in creating. I took it as showing how profoundly ingrained in her was the pessimism which found so emphatic and frequent expression; and I marvelled as to its possible origin, and what could have been the history of a soul thus conditioned. To the same cause I ascribed it that, while she retained such clear recollection of the masculine aspect of Adonai as enabled her to make the drawing of him given in Clothed with the Sun, on neither of the two occasions on
which the feminine aspect had been presented to her was she able to remember and to reproduce it afterwards. It was as if there were some temperamental disqualification for the recognition of this side of the Divine Nature.
Her description of the planet Jupiter as being of a reddish hue was strange to both of us, having been accustomed to credit Mars only with that peculiarity; nor had we thought of the cause of this colour as due to the preponderance of iron in the composition. It was, therefore, with no little surprise and satisfaction that we read a few months later in the newspapers that precisely such a discovery of iron in the atmosphere of Jupiter had been recently made through the spectroscope. Upon this I sent to the Standard an account of our experience in this respect, which duly appeared, but of course with a bantering heading, being prefaced by the words, “Reliable Information.” The discovery yet later of the possession of a satellite by the hitherto “moonless Mars,” suggested the possibility of a yet further discovery of satellites to Jupiter. And this also has been fulfilled by the discovery of one, if not of two, satellites in addition to the four known at the time of Mary’s vision; so that Jupiter may yet prove to be in the enjoyment of the “nine, some exceedingly small,” satellites beheld by her with her spiritual eyes. The experience is further suggestive of the means whereby, in the absence of telescopes, the Chaldeans were able to discern the multiple belts of Saturn, as proved by the fact – mentioned by the astronomer Proctor – that they represented the divinity thus named as girt with a threefold ring. We explained the sudden overwhelming burst upon her vision of the vast multitude of luminous orbs described by her, by the supposition of a spiritual and substantial universe corresponding to the physical and phenomenal, lying within the latter, and perceptible only to the spiritual senses.
The name Salathiel was interpreted to us as meaning “lent of God,” Divinity having a separate name for each individual aspect assumed in creation, one of which is that of the angel-genius. The letters A and Z are the equivalents in our alphabet for the Alpha and Omega of the Greek and of Scripture.
The accompanying drawing made by her of the planetary angels is an approximate, rather than an exact, representation of the forms under which they were beheld by her.
When the time came for the re-delivery of the Divine Gnosis so long lost, the following utterance concerning Adonai was received by Mary, in continuation of a chapter defining the Elohim of Original Being as consisting of the two constituent principles of All Being, called in Scripture the Spirit and the Water, and meaning the Force and the Substance, by the mutual interaction of which Deity generates the universe, as implied in the opening sentences of Genesis, which really read as follows: – “In the beginning God, the Unity, created, or put forth from Himself, the Duality, the Heavens, or Spirit and Deep, Force and Substance, and their ultimate phenomenal resultant, generated of them, the Earth or Matter. And the Spirit, or Force, of God, moved on the face of the Waters, or Substance, of God, and God said, or found expression, and there was Light, or manifestation of God.”
“Then from the midst of the Divine Duality, the Only Begotten of God came forth:
“Adonai, the Word, the Voice invisible.
“He was in the beginning, and by Him were all things discovered.” Without Him was not anything made which is visible.
“For He is the Manifestor, and in Him was the life of the world.
“God the nameless hath not revealed God, but Adonai hath revealed God from the beginning.
“He is the presentation of Elohim, and by Him the Gods are made manifest.
“He is the third aspect of the Divine Triad:
“Co-equal with the Spirit and the heavenly deep.
“For except by three in one, the Spirits of the Invisible Light could not have been made manifest.
“But now is the prism perfect, and the generation of the Gods discovered in their order.
“Adonai dissolves and resumes; in His two hands are the dual powers of all things.
“He is of His Father the Spirit, and of His Mother the Great Deep.
“Having the potency of both in Himself, and the power of things material.
“Yet being Himself invisible, for He is the cause, and not the effect.
“He is the Manifestor, and not that which is manifest.
“That which is manifest is the Divine Substance.”
We at once recognised in this utterance the original from which the opening sentences of the Fourth Gospel were derived, and in due time were enabled to discern both the fact and the
cause of the error by which the Church has falsified the truth entrusted to it.
The greater part of the day following the vision of Adonai was passed by Mary in her bed, where her sufferings from the continued sense of the heaving and sinking of her transit were still very severe, for all surrounding objects continued to rock and sway as with one unaccustomed to the sea recently off a stormy voyage. It was late on the second day when she presented herself, and then it required all her power to receive her wonted lesson from her professor. Of renewed communication that evening we had no thought, her nervous system being far too much shaken, and her force reduced, to allow of further exhaustion without danger. I found, on conversing with her on the subject of her vision, that she had a perfect recollection of nearly the whole of it, and was able even to amplify my account and supply sundry details, and make the drawing of Adonai given in Clothed with the Sun. Her lesson over, she was still further lowered, and this by reason not only of the intellectual exertion, but of the nature of the subject. For it had been a lesson in physiology; and her instructor had insisted on detailing a number of experiments he was engaged in making upon rabbits and guinea-pigs, and other highly sensitive living creatures – experiments which consisted in tying the passage between the kidneys and bladder in order to produce blood-poisoning through the diversion of the secretions from their proper course; varnishing their bodies in order to produce another form of poisoning – namely, that which arises from the suppression of the cutaneous evaporation, and ends in a lingering death by asphyxia; together with other favourite barbarities which come under the category of “experimental physiology,” all of which have been hundreds of times repeated, and are wholly useless for any purpose of therapeutics – a purpose, indeed, contemned as “sentimental” by the ruthless worshippers of the god Knowledge. Her teacher had, moreover, in answer to a question; admitted the fallacy of arguing from the animal to the human economy.
Having already embittered her relations with other of her teachers by her energetic remonstrance’s on this behalf, she had endured in silence a recital that to her was simply agonising; but her demeanour showed what she had suffered, and that she
was yet further unfitted for a renewal of spiritual communion. Hence we had on parting for the night no anticipation whatever of that which was about to take place.
I had slept for about two hours, when I awoke to find my door had been opened, and a strong and fragrant odour pervading the room. Hastily arraying myself, and joining her, I found her semi-conscious, and arrayed as on the previous occasion, the table by which she was standing presenting evidence of the manner in which she had been occupied; for it was covered with sheets of paper, of which several were filled with writing. Pointing to these, she said that she had summoned me in order that I might place them in safety until the morning, and then give her something to restore her to life, as she was chilled to ice, especially in the region of the head; a symptom I recognised at once as indicating an access of trance-lucidity. When at length, by the administration of food and warmth, she was restored to full consciousness, I learnt, in reply to my remonstrance’s, that the impulse to communicate had seized her during a brief glance she had taken at the moon before retiring with a force she could not resist, and that she had mechanically obeyed it. She added, that of the nature of the communication received she had no conception, except that it referred to the sea, the saline odour and moisture of which she had felt as palpably as if she had been on the shore, where, indeed, it proved she had been in spirit. On the following morning we eagerly perused together the message that had been so strangely delivered, when we had no doubt that it had been in order to avail themselves of the moon’s full that our genii had insisted on thus using her at such a time. Doubtless, too, they were the best judges of what she could bear without injury, and of the effect upon her of the experience. It proved to be a re-delivery, accompanied by the interpretation, of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception [of Maria], purporting to come – as there is no reason to doubt that it did come – from the same celestial source from which it was originally derived – the “US” denoting the hierarchy of the Church invisible and celestial – and restoring it to its true place as the expression of a truth no less reasonable than sublime, inasmuch as it is the supreme product of the soul’s perception of its own nature and destiny; and that the time of full moon had been ordained for the communication of what we could not
but recognise as one of the most
precious of all “the precious things put forth by the moon” (as said in
Deut. xxxiii, 14) was because, as the reflective faculty of the soul, the
Intuition has the moon for its symbol, and hence its dedication to
Although published in Clothed with the Sun [Part I, Nº. III], the importance of this utterance, as well as its biographical interest, renders its reproduction here indispensable, if only for the sake of those who may be unacquainted with the book just named.
“I stand upon the sea-shore. The moon overhead is at the full. A soft and warm breath, like that of the summer wind, blows in my face. The aroma of it is salt with the breath of the sea. O Sea! O Moon! From you I shall gather what I seek! You shall recount to me the story of the Immaculate Conception of Maria, whose symbols ye are!
“Allegory of stupendous significance! With which the
“Yet has there been one who comprehended and who interpreted aright the parable of the Immaculate Conception, and he found it through US, by the light of his own intense love, for he was the disciple of love, and his name is still – the Beloved; – John, the Seer of the Apocalypse. For he, in the vision of the woman clothed with the sun, set forth the true significance of the Immaculate Conception. For the Immaculate Conception is none other than the prophecy of the means whereby the universe shall at last be redeemed. Maria – the sea of limitless space – Maria the Virgin, born herself immaculate and without spot of the womb of the Ages, (1) shall in the fullness of time bring forth the perfect Man, who shall redeem the race. He is not one man, but ten thousand times ten thousand, the Son of Man,
who shall overcome the limitations of Matter, and the Evil which is the result of the materialisation of Spirit. His Mother is Spirit, His Father is Spirit, yet He is Himself incarnate; and how then shall He overcome evil, and restore Matter to the condition of Spirit? By force of Love. It is Love which is the centripetal power of the universe; it is by Love that all creation returns to the bosom of God. The force which projected all things is Will, and Will is the centrifugal power of the universe. Will alone could not overcome the evil which results from the limitations of Matter; but it shall be overcome in the end by Sympathy, which is the knowledge of God in others – the recognition of the omnipresent Self. This is Love. And it is with the children of the Spirit, the servants of Love, that the dragon of Matter makes war.
“Now, whether or not the world be strong enough to bear this yet, we know not. This is not the first time we have revealed these things to men. An ancient heresy, cursed by the Church, arose out of a true inspiration; for the disciples are ever weaker than the Master, and they have not His spiritual discernment. I speak of the Gnostics. To the Master of the Gnostics we revealed the truth of the Immaculate Conception. We told him that Immanuel should be the God-Man, who, transcending the limitations of Matter, should efface the evil of materialization by the force of Love, and should see and hear and speak and feel as though He were pure Spirit, and had annihilated the boundaries of Matter. This, then, he taught; but they who heard his teaching, applying his words only to the individual Jesus, affirmed that Jesus had had no material body, but that he was an emanation of a spiritual nature; an Aeon who, without substance or true being in the flesh, had borne a phantom part in the world of men. Beware lest in like manner y e also are misled. It is so hard for men to be spiritual. It is as hard for us to declare ourselves without mystery. The Church knows not the source of its dogmas. We marvel also at the blindness of the hearers, who indeed hear, but who have not eyes to see. We speak in vain – ye discern not spiritual things. Ye are so materialised that ye perceive only the material. The Spirit comes and goes; ye hear the sound of its voice; but ye cannot tell whither it goeth nor whence it cometh. All that is true is spiritual. No dogma of the Church is true that seems to bear a physical meaning. For Matter shall cease, and all that is of it, but the Word of the Lord shall remain for ever. And how shall it remain except it be purely spiritual; since, when Matter ceases, it would then be no longer comprehensible? I tell you again, and of a truth – no dogma is real that is not spiritual. If it be true, and yet seem to you to have a material signification, know that you have not solved it. It is a mystery; seek its interpretation. That which is true is for Spirit alone.”
The satisfaction and delight with which I read and re-read this deliverance were beyond expression. For although a full appreciation of its significance and value came only with my own advance, I saw in it at once the doom of the sacrificial system hitherto in vogue, the rescue of the world from the
grossest of idolatries, and the restoration to men of the knowledge of their Divine potentialities.
And while rehabilitating both God and man, it convicted the Church of having anathematised as heretical the school from which its own supreme dogma was derived – that of the Gnostics, the fundamental tenet of whose system was that of the Divinity of the Substance of Existence. Thus was this tenet first divinely affirmed to us, the subsequent assertion of it being contained in the revelation already recited of Adonai, in the words, “That which is manifest is the Divine Substance”; to which it was later added, “Which is the Substance of all that is; the soul of individuals, and the receptacle of the Divine nucleus; whose veil is the astral fluid, and who is the potential essence of Matter.”
While appreciating it equally with myself, Mary confessed herself somewhat appalled when, viewing it from the standpoint of orthodoxy, she perceived the immensity of the issues involved in the removal of the Virgin Mary from the plane of the physical and personal to that of the spiritual and universal, and the making of her a principle, and no actual woman at all. Indeed, so vast and momentous seemed to us the import of this revelation, that we found it difficult to imagine a worthy sequel to it, and were disposed to regard our mission as accomplished when thus crowned. But, as events proved, this was very far from being the case. We had but crossed the threshold of the temple of the mysteries awaiting disclosure to us, and it was as if expressly designed to dispel this impression and prepare us for what was yet to come that a few nights later – July 29 – Mary received in sleep the following intimation, which I entitled in our archives
A Vision of the Secret of Youth
“I saw myself seated at a table writing in a great white book; but what I wrote I knew not. At my right hand sat Caro, and it seemed to me that another person, whom I could not see, stood behind me and guided my pen. All about me was light, and of a white colour. My dress was white, the walls of the room appeared argentine, the letters of the words I wrote were themselves traced in silver. I said, ‘If I write so much I shall grow old.’ And some one answered, ‘Not while the sun stands in the centre of all things.’”
According to a frequent Scripture wont this vision was in token of its significance thrice repeated, and it was accompanied
by a strong impression that though the present series of communications was near its close, the amount yet to come was unlimited. The concluding sentence of the utterance was, of course, a symbolical way of representing God as the life of the soul; and the silvery whiteness denoted the intuitive faculty of which, as described above, the moon is the symbol. But that this faculty was the source of the revelation, and what precisely the faculty itself is, we had at this time yet to learn.
My sojourn in
The eve of the day on which she proposed to carry out her idea, by imparting our secret to the professor and inviting his attendance at our sittings, found us still at variance on the subject, and she was so possessed by her idea as to be inaccessible to any counter-considerations; so that when we separated for the night it was with the most earnest desire on both sides for some positive guidance. To my great relief the morning found her completely converted to my view. She had received two striking dreams, the intention of which was so obvious, and the
lesson so wise, that she abandoned her project forthwith, and joined me in eliminating from my book all references by which she might be identified by others than our own personal intimates. The dreams in question are those entitled “The Bird and the Cat,” and “The Treasure in the Lighted House,” which are printed as Nºs. V and VI in Dreams and Dream-Stories.
Our precautions were only partially successful. The imminent danger was averted; but, as was presently predicted, there was a danger ahead which was not to be escaped. The relation only of the prediction belongs to this stage of our narrative; that of its fulfilment to a period some years later, as will be told in its place.
On the evening of August 5, having entered the lucid state, she spoke as follows, nothing having passed between us to lead up to any part of the utterance: –
“The music of the spheres is a fact! A tremendous fact! It opens upon me so fully and richly, and the subject is such a vast one, that I could speak volumes about it; but I must not touch it now. I wish I could have music, though. The spirits could do so much better with music, especially that of the organ, which has neither strings nor metal, but uses the air itself. That is why the organ is used in churches. The wind represents the Spirit. They prefer melody, too, to harmony. Melody produces such exquisite order among the particles of air. Any interruption, like the barking of dogs, which I hear, disturbs the order and breaks up the image, as the throwing of a stone into water destroys its reflection of the heavens.
“You wish to know the meaning of the dream concerning the Bird, and the Treasure in the house without shutters. We mistook it. It referred to that which MUST be, which must come, no matter what you say or suppress. It was not so much a warning or an admonition as a prophecy.
“The world will cast us out. You saw, though you did not tell me, that you and I were the ‘Two Witnesses’; and the Dragon is the materialistic philosophy that will fight against and slay us, and for some time have the empire. But in the end we shall prevail, for the death is a spiritual one, and the rising again is spiritual. All this is written in John’s Apocalypse. I see now that you and I are one; our genii wish us to be one, because you supply that which I have not, and I supply that which you have not.
“I perceive that all the Christs of the world are precisely those over whom the veil of Matter is thinnest. This is why the painters and poets of all times have always represented the saints, and especially Jesus, with the aureole. It is the spirit shining through the veil of flesh. This is why the face of Moses and of Stephen shone.
“We have the Spirit shining through us in two different ways. It is the love and expansiveness of your spirit that burns through the veil, making your colour blue. I have not the love; with me it is
courage and aspiration that appear as a red flame. I see you as the woman and myself as the man. A web of Matter encircles each of us, and in only one point does the light within seem to pierce through it: it is love with you; with me it is courage. I have no love; I have courage – any amount – but no love. That is why I want the love of others so much. Oh, what a fierce thing I see myself! My Genius is here, close beside me. How splendid, how colossal, how beautiful he is!
“There is a verse in the Apocalypse which stands thus: ‘And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days clothed in sackcloth; and they shall have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy; and over the waters to turn them into blood.’ This signifies that the world is on the brink of a terrible convulsion, and that you in the days of your prophecy shall foretell – nay, have already foretold – the woes that must come to pass. It is in this way that the prophet is said to occasion that which he prophesies. The Dragon is always Materialism. He must make war upon us and slay us, yet shall we triumph at the last. As I said just now, with us the veil of Matter is thin; hence our spirits are accessible to the angels; they get at us readily. And the part of the veil rent around you is rent by love, and with me by courage. You are Latitude and I am Longitude, and yet the Sun is in the centre for both of us. It is so curious! I wish you could see it! The sun is in the centre of the two lines which cross each other and comprise all the world – the lines of expansion and of aspiration. I have no trust, I have no love; all is courage and determination; the love is yours alone. Nothing can get near me; I am inaccessible, as though it were rocks that must be climbed, and I myself am the rocks! Oh, I see so much, I could not describe it all in years.
“If you have any question to ask, ask it now, before the power grows weak. (In reply to further questions about the dream of warning) – Publish all as proposed, taking what caution you can; but the dream was a prophecy, and must be fulfilled.
“Concerning the Resurrection, Ascension, and other Christian dogmas. What was told us about the Immaculate Conception is true of all these. All are of spiritual significance. Materialism is a mere veil. Whatever is true, is true for Spirit. Matter has no part in it whatever. This, and a great deal else which we are beginning to know, was seen in part by all those different orders of the Catholic Church which have been separated off by her into monastic grades. These were the Franciscans, Benedictines, Dominicans, Carmelites, and others. They were bodies of philosophers, and their doctrines were veiled under allegories, always adapted to the Christian faith, which faith they held in a spiritual sense. And the Church knew it, and gave to the vulgar the fable instead of the truth. Was this wise, was it right – knowing so much, to withhold so much? Having the truth, but refusing to impart it, the Church of the Middle Ages at last lost the truth. It is twilight now in the Church. (1)
“I will look at the Pope. (...) Why, Pius the Ninth knows nothing! He began life
by being a soldier! He knows nothing. He is good-hearted, but he never thinks.
He lacks the faculty for thought. It seems to me that he is being specially
preserved to see the beginning of the changes that are coming. The spirits take
no account of the
“It is shown to me that the Catholic Church has the whole of the truth in a parable; but the truth is wholly spiritual, and the Church has materialised it. I see the rays from the sun streaming down upon her, but as they pass into and across the atmosphere which envelops her, each ray becomes encased in a sheath of matter, so that the sheath only is apparent, and the true impalpable ray within it is concealed. It is like the cylinder-axis of a nerve – the true nerve – which, passing from the inner substance of the spinal marrow into the periphery, becomes then – and only then – encased in a sheath of medullary matter, and an exterior membrane of connective tissue; so that beneath these the true axis is hidden, and the volume of the nervous cord increased by a foreign substance. But as for Protestantism, it is far aside; no nerves from the great trophic centre reach it to vitalise and nourish it. We shall never have a perfect revelation until you come out wholly from it. There are immense revelations for us in the future, but only on the condition of your quitting Protestant communion. The Catholic Church has all the truth, but the priesthood has materialised it.
“I perceive a great war in
“It seems to me as if
a terrible people.
“‘Of the day and the hour knoweth no man, not even the
Son, but the Father only.’ All
“In spite of all, the Catholic Church holds on without end. She has a new dogma, the Divinity of the Blessed Virgin. They will have Matter. It is impossible to help laughing at the horror of the Calvinists and Protestants over this new declaration of Church doctrine. They see and know nothing. They call the dogma ‘blasphemous,’ not comprehending its inner truth and spiritual meaning. The spirits are full of humour, and they, too, are merry over the confusion and alarm of the ‘heretics.’ I see Dr. Cumming writing a book about the ‘number of the Beast’ – 666. He says the dogma of the Divinity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the ‘filling up of the cup.’ Spiritually, of course, the Church is quite right, but he understands nothing. I cannot tell whether the Church is on the verge of this new dogma or far off.
“We have much tribulation before us in the shape of persecution. It is not want of money; of that we shall always have enough. There is no way of seeing closely into our own particular future, but I know that we have abundant and great work before us.
“It is strange that John the Seer should have understood and beheld all this so plainly so long ago. I wish you could see it as I do. It seems to me as though I stood in the midst of a vast system, and saw around me Past, Present, and Future, all as one. That is why it is impossible to prophesy precisely with regard to time. I know what is past, and what is future, but not the when.
“There is nothing in my life to regret. All has been educational. You and I have a tremendous career before us. Whatever my health shall be, it seems to me that I shall live long enough to do a great deal of work. Many whom I know are about our orbit, but I can distinguish perfectly only such as are in the Spirit. Those who are too materialistic for the spirit to shine through them do not reveal themselves to me. They appear dark; they are in an outer circle. I see women chiefly. Near me are Letitia G––, looking sweet and beautiful; and another, who is larger in figure and fair, and has a generous face and full lips. It is Marie C––. I see also Anna W––. They pass before me one by one. I see neither Gladstone nor Lord Beaconsfield. The Prime Minister of England seems to be a man of about forty-five years of age, of middle stature, and fair or brown complexion. Some of those near me would be nearer but for their carnivorous mode of life.”
Some of the points in this utterance call for remark. It was true that I had, during my term of special illumination in the previous winter, recognised the mind’s two modes, the intellectual
and the intuitional, as always the “Two Witnesses” for God on the earth, and applied them in interpretation of the passage in the Apocalypse. And I had also recognised the work on which we were entering as coming under the category implied, in such a way as to constitute us members of the order of those who, in virtue of their devoting their intellect and intuition to the interpretation of divine things, are in their measure the “Two Witnesses” in question. And it was true also that, as with much else then discerned, I had been constrained to hold it in reserve. Nor did I then, nor did we now, entertain the idea that the prophecy referred to us either personally or exclusively, but regarded it as a declaration, having universal application, of the method by which, always and everywhere, the knowledge of divine things is attained and the “dragon” of Materiality overcome and cast out. It was not persons but principles – it was shown to me – that it is the function of Revelation to declare and exalt, persons being of importance only in so far as they exemplify principles. And the time came when we were explicitly instructed that the reversal of this procedure – namely, the exaltation of persons instead of principles – is precisely what constitutes idolatry, inasmuch as it implies the preference for the form to the substance, for the appearance to the reality. And, besides shrinking instinctively and inveterately from anything approaching to self-exaltation, we were warned both by experience and by precept against it as the most insidious of snares and most frequent cause of downfall to those who indulge in it.
The injunction against my remaining in any Protestant communion I regarded as confirming the position I had already taken up, rather than as prompting to a new one; a position, namely, of independence of all visible communions, contenting myself with knowing myself to be a member of the Church Invisible, and not identifying myself with any particular section of the Church Visible. In insisting on my detachment from all limiting influences, it could not be intended that I was to exchange the Protestant limitations of thought and knowledge for the Romish limitations of faith and practice. So inveterate, moreover, was my aversion to the idea of association with a body which had so hideous a past behind it as the Church of Rome, that I declared it to be my conviction that if the gods
had required such a step as the condition of their work, they would have selected some other instrument. Rather was it my conviction that even though Catholic doctrine, purified and spiritualised as was being done through us, is destined to be the religion and philosophy of the future, the Catholic Church will cease to have its centre at Rome, or to be called by its name, that place having forfeited its right to the primacy hitherto accorded to it. For the true Christianity – that which is not nominally only but really a religion of love – cannot, under the regeneration to come, have for its pivot and centre a place which both by its name and its nature represents the opposite and negation of love. For, whether pagan or papal, Roma has always been Amor reversed.
The allusion to Dr. Cumming is not necessarily invalidated by his death. Taking his name for that of an order, and himself as the type, the Dr. Cumming of the future will inevitably occupy himself like his prototype of the past, and indeed is even now doing so, to judge by the utterances of the ultra-Protestant Press. And, besides this, it is the wont – as we duly came to learn – of the souls of those who, when in the flesh, have been engrossed by their present ideas to the exclusion of any fresh and higher ones, to continue the same pursuit after death for periods corresponding to the intensity of their prepossessions and the strength of their lower wills. So that we may, without violence to probabilities, conceive of that redoubtable champion of Protestantism as continuing his work in the sphere of the astral, with as much of energy and cleverness, and as little of spiritual knowledge and perception, as when in the sphere of the material.
An explanation of the reference to her “demon”
to prevent. For even while we were
sitting together it would, though impalpable to me, be visible, audible, and
tangible to her as any real person. And she described it as no longer being
wholly demon, but partially human, as if compounded of the two natures, the
human part resembling her professor. Of the possibility, now familiar to the
world, of the projection by a person of a palpable image of himself into the
presence of another we were wholly ignorant, having never even heard of it. But
that such was the fact was made certain by the professor’s own conduct. For he
never failed, on the day after each such apparition, to importune her to admit
that she had seen him, saying, “Now, did you not see me last night? I am sure
you saw me last night! Do confess; I want so much to know.” And “I believe I am
as clairvoyant as yourself. Try me. I will describe
your room, and you will tell me if I am right.” He was accurate on all points;
but, much to his vexation, she refused to make any admissions, and told him
plainly that, if he had nothing better to talk about, she must decline to
receive him at all. Meanwhile, rather than risk an open rupture, I sought by an
energetic exercise of my will to counteract his, and being – as I had reason to
believe – reinforced from unseen sources, I succeeded in baffling him to such a
degree as to put a complete stop to his projections of himself. Unfortunately,
he became aware not only of the fact of his failure any longer to penetrate our
sphere, but also of the cause of it, and conceived accordingly a violent
animosity against me, partly, no doubt, through wounded vanity; for his
confidence in the strength of his own will was such as to lead him to declare
his conviction that there was no will in existence which could withstand it. In
this mood he made himself so disagreeable to his pupil that she devised an
excuse for breaking off her lessons for a time in order to be free of him, and
he had accordingly ceased his visits during the latter part of my stay. And it
was owing to the weakening of his influence that she had been able – on again
beholding her “demon” in her trance – to say that she was “not afraid of him
now.” Such was the position when I left
disclosing my reasons, as these lay so
far outside the range of his recognition that the communication of them to him
would only have caused him to doubt my rationality. I took my leave on the 8th,
my anxiety being relieved by the understanding that they would return to
“I have a great deal to tell you. Breakfast was scarcely cleared away this
morning, and it was not ten o’clock, when the bell sounded, and I heard
Christine show someone into the sitting-room. A. and E. were in the back room.
Then Christine came and announced ‘That gentleman.’ ‘Which gentleman?’ I asked. She did not know his name. It
could not be O., I thought as I went, for he never leaves home on Sundays. But
it was O., white, and old-looking, and horribly ill. I had not seen
him since Thursday morning, and the change in him was wonderful. ‘I am come’ he
said, shutting the door, ‘to tell you I have acted unpardonably. I cannot ask
you to forgive me. I can only say I have been mad, and have meditated horrible
things. Is he gone?’ (meaning
you). l stood facing him, and answered ‘Yes.’ ‘Since he
is really gone,’ he went on, ‘I will tell you that I have been in a fever about
him and you. I had wished to assassinate him.’ ‘I knew it,’ I said. ‘I have not
slept for three nights,’ he continued; ‘and I was so mad that I could have
killed anyone out of pure despair and rage. My own mother could not speak to me.
I shut myself up in my room and raved to myself. Well, it is over now. I have
got the mastery over myself. I am sorry. Look at me in the face.’ I looked. He
stood silent a moment or two, and then said, ‘I am a vile wretch. I am no better
than the lowest of beasts. I know myself now.’ ‘Courage,’ said I; ‘if this be
so, there is hope. I thought you had a heart of stone.’ He caught at the words
and seized my wrist. ‘Coeur
de Pierre! How extraordinary! Why do you use those words?’ I was
astonished in my turn, and said, ‘Why not? You have indeed a heart of stone.’
‘It is extraordinary,’ said he, ‘because in my fever last night I heard someone
say those words to me: Coeur de Pierre!
‘I, too, heard them,’ said I; ‘they are not mine.’ ‘Nor his?’ ‘No, nor his.’ [They had been written
for us about him, it will be remembered, a month before this.] He sat looking at
me steadfastly, and then said abruptly, ‘Feel my hands; feel my forehead. I am
in a fever now ‘; and they were, indeed, burning hot. ‘I could not stay at
home,’ he said. ‘My mother wondered where I was going. I would not tell her. She
thinks I have had a sun-stroke.’ We sat silent a little while; then suddenly he
leant forward, caught my hands, and kissed them with a kind of fury. ‘I cannot
live without you,’ he said; ‘I thought l hated you; but j’étais poussé, j’étais
poussé. It was stronger than I. I could not
help myself.’ ‘What was stronger?’ said
against him. He may be right after all. I was not myself. I believe in God.’ The extraordinary juxtaposition of two phrases so little connected struck me; I asked him what he meant. He seemed unable to explain; all he said was, ‘I was a miserable wretch, – now je comprends; voyez-vous, je comprends; you will see. I, too, have a heart and eyes. Oh, how much evil I have done you!’ ‘No,’ said I, ‘not so much as that. For myself I did not care greatly; but it was the evil you said of him. And there I was most to blame; I ought to have held my tongue about him. I ought not to have told you what I did.’ I was going on, but he stopped me. ‘It was no fault of yours,’ he said; ‘I should have known it all if you had never opened your lips. I have done you evil both in body and soul, and it has fallen on myself in the end. When I began I did not love you – frankly, I did not love you; now, I shall never have peace any more all my life. I have been a cursed wretch.’ He excited himself so much that I sat trembling, and dared ask him no questions; I don’t know what he meant. He went on like this for about an hour and a half, alternately accusing himself in the bitterest terms and declaring his absolute and perfect penitence. At last I begged him to go, for I feared he might forget himself again, though he assured me there was no chance of his doing so. What am I to think? This unexpected humiliation on his part has utterly disarmed me. It seemed that to reproach a man so changed and fevered would be like kicking one’s adversary when he is down. His face was quite white except when he spoke, and then he flushed crimson from forehead to chin with wonderful rapidity; one could see the blood sweep over his face. Tell me what I ought to do. I want to be just, and he seems to accuse himself of everything we had laid to his charge.
“Virginia Gabriel – Mrs. March – is dead! She was thrown out of her carriage and killed last week. You will be very sorry.” (1)
The course I advised was the only and obvious one – to keep the man at a distance and exert all her power of will, seeking for reinforcement from a higher source to repel the demon, and this not only from troubling her, but from obsessing him. The latter would be the hardest task, for unfortunately he had invited it and given himself up to it; and not only was there for him no higher source from which to seek aid, but the will to deliver himself was feeble or wanting. A week later – August 21 – she wrote: –
“The devil has returned to O. I saw him to-day as I was leaving the hospital. He looked as black as a thundercloud and as white as death. Curiously enough, Mrs. A. has taken a fright and horror of him. ‘He is possessed,’ she declared, ‘by an evil spirit. There is something in his eyes that looks like a demon. He makes me shudder when my glance meets his. Something looks out through
his eyes which is not himself. It is a devil.’ I noted him particularly to-day, and said to him, ‘You are not well?’ He answered me between his teeth, but without looking at me, ‘If I had anything between my hands now I should crush it to powder.’ I laughed and said, ‘Then I am glad my head isn’t there.’ He only said, ‘Don’t touch me, then.’ It is my belief he will either go mad or assassinate someone before long.”
In a postscript, written next day, she added: –
“I dreamt last night that O. fired a pistol at me as I left one of the wards, and that I put up my hand with a cry, and the bullet hissed over my left shoulder and grazed it. I felt the blood spurt over my cheek, and heard distinctly the sound of people running towards me and a great din of voices. When I woke it was the middle of a peal of thunder; there was a storm going on. (...) Yes; I mean to work straight on through summer, autumn, and winter. I mean to pass my two first doctorats before the spring, so as to finish all in the year. I have gone in for it hot and strong. I work all day, and this very day have entered myself in a new service of medicine from eight to ten every morning; so I am securely fastened down now, and can’t leave on any account. I shall have to be alone here all September if you can’t come, for A. must leave me on the 7th; and my birthday – upon which I counted so much – will be passed in solitude! Well, I must take what the Gods send. Doubtless they have many trials in store for me yet. I am very tired this morning, having had a spell of work lasting from eight until twelve, and I am only just sitting down for the first time. And I have a lesson after lunch; so I must go to my work again almost directly.”
This letter reached me on the morning of the 23rd. The prospect disclosed by it
caused me the profoundest uneasiness; for, while loneliness meant for her a
descent into the depths of a melancholy amounting to hypochondria, the
companionship that would, as I perceived, to a certainty be forced on her was,
if possible, yet more dangerous, through her utter inability to resist the
occult influences which would assuredly be again brought to bear upon her so
soon as her unprotected situation was known. Even were I prepared to accede to
her proposition by going to live in Paris, disregarding the danger of
compromising her as the least of the evils threatened, I could not make the
necessary arrangements in time to prevent her from undergoing exposure for a
season to the risks of loneliness. All that I could do, therefore, for the
moment was to write, strongly urging her to come home with A., and trust to my
being able to return with her to
be taken; and the next one confirmed my apprehensions by telling me that A. and O. had become acquainted, and had taken to each other; for I knew that this meant unlimited opportunity for the re-establishment of O.’s influence over her.
The event proved my apprehension to be well grounded. But it proved also that “there are things in heaven and earth undreamt of in our philosophy” even at the point we had already attained, and that there were “larger other eyes than ours” on the watch over us, and, severe as might be the ordeals to be endured, we should be enabled to pass safely through them. But the narration requires a chapter to itself.
(172:1) This is not to be taken as implying any mesmeric or kindred process. There was nothing of that kind between us, but only the flow of vital energy which always, consciously to both of us, seemed to set in from my system to hers when in propinquity, and which was almost as exhausting to me as invigorating to her. – E.M.
(195:1) Vol. II, p. 99.
(200:1) This was recently well exemplified in a letter (published in Light, 1893, p. 360) of the late Cardinal Vaughan, Archbishop of Westminster, who, in reply to a letter addressed to him containing the questions (1) “Is it true that there is an esoteric side of the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church?” and (2) “Is it true that the Church holds, and has ever held, that the Blessed Virgin represents the Motherhood of God?” wrote as follows: “The Catholic Church has no esoteric doctrine. Her whole teaching is accessible to all the world in her published books; and there are no private books, and no private teaching. The Blessed Virgin is the Mother of God, but she is not a Deity, nor part of a Deity; she is a pure creature, and the notion of a feminine nature in God is simply Asiatic, and foreign to the teaching of the Catholic Church.” – S.H.H.
(207:1) Her death and the manner of it were a great shock to me, for I had known her well, and she had set some of my songs to music. – E.M.