A STRIKING feature for us was the exquisite tenderness and poetic delicacy, both in matter and manner, which characterised all that we received. Nor was there the intrusion of anything to suggest feelings such as are described by Daniel when he says, “I saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me, neither was there breath left in me.'' And not only was the element of terror so completely absent as to make us feel as if we had entered on the dispensation of that “perfect love which casteth out fear,” but there was occasionally an element of playfulness, and this on the part of our chiefest illuminators, the Gods themselves. While their instructions were replete with every graceful and delicate adornment such as could not but delight the poet and the artist, and this without abatement of profundity or solemnity. By these things it was intimated to us that the religion of the future was indeed to be one of sweetness and light, and for the severe and gloomy spirit of the Semite would be substituted the bright and joyous spirit of the Greek. All this, we learnt, was because the new dispensation was to be that of the “Woman,” and in accord therefore with woman's nature and sentiments. It was moreover to be introduced by means of the Woman's faculty, the Intuition, and this as subsisting in a woman.
The following exquisite little apologue, which was given us in the early days of our novitiate, is an instance in point: –
A blind man once lost himself in a forest. An angel took pity on him, and led him into an open place. As he went he received his sight. Then he saw the angel, and said to him, “Brother, what doest thou here? Suffer me to go before thee, for I am thine elder.” So the man went first, taking the lead. But the angel spread his wings and returned to heaven. And darkness fell again upon him to whom sight had been given.
Here was a parable which, slight as it seemed, was truly Biblical for the depth and manifoldness of its signification. For while it applied to ourselves both separately and jointly, and to our work, it was also an eternal verity applicable alike to the individual, the collective, and the universal. For as the angel was to the man, so is the intuition to the intellect, which of itself cannot transcend the sense-nature, but remains blind and dark and lost in the wilderness of illusion. And as she, my colleague, had supplemented me, so were we each to supplement in ourselves intellect by intuition, in order to become capable of knowledge and understanding. It was, moreover, a parable of the Fall and of the Redemption, an epitome in short of man's spiritual history. And it had been spelt out for us by the tilting of a table in one of our earliest essays in spiritualism! So carefully guarded and daintily taught were we from the outset.
The charming allegory of “The Wonderful
Spectacles” which was given in
her faculty and its indispensableness as an adjunct to mine for the work assigned to us; it was also a prophetic intimation of the character of that work, and of the nature of the influences controlling it, which at the time was altogether unsuspected by us. This is the account which she sent to me by letter, for we were not then together: –
I dreamt that I was walking alone on the sea-shore. The day was singularly clear and sunny. Inland lay the most beautiful landscape ever seen; and far off were ranges of tall hills, the highest peaks of which were white with glistening snow. Along the sands by the sea towards me came a man accoutred as a postman. He gave me a letter. It was from you. It ran thus: –
“I have got hold of the rarest and most precious book extant. It was written before the world began. The text is easy enough to read; but the notes, which are very copious and numerous, are in such very minute and obscure characters that I cannot make them out. I want you to get for me the spectacles which Swedenborg used to wear; not the smaller pair – those he gave to Hans Christian Andersen – but the large pair, and these seem to have got mislaid. I think they are Spinoza's make. You know he was an optical-glass maker by profession, and the best we have ever had. See if you can get them for me.” (1)
When I looked up after reading this letter, I saw the postman hastening away across the sands, and I called out to him, “Stop! how am I to send the answer? Won't you wait for me?”
He looked round, stopped, and came back to me.
“I have the answer here,” he said, tapping his letter bag, “and I shall deliver it immediately.”
“How can you have the answer before I have written it?” said
“No,” said he, “In the city from which I come, the replies are all written at the office and sent out with the letters themselves. Your reply is in my bag.”
“Let me see it,” I said. He took another letter from his wallet and gave it to me. I opened it, and read, in my own handwriting, this answer, addressed to you: –
“The spectacles you want can be bought in
I gave this letter back to the postman. He smiled and nodded at me; and I saw then to my astonishment that he wore a camel's-hair tunic round his waist. I had been on the point of addressing him – I know not why – as Hermes. But I now saw that it was John the Baptist; and in my fright at having spoken with so great a saint, I awoke.
This was the second suggestion of a Greek element in our work, the first having been the slight allusion to Phoibos Apollo in the illumination concerning the Marriage in Cana of Galilee. (1) The signification of the connection between Hermes and John the Baptist remained unintelligible to us until the key to it was given us in a revelation of the method of the Bible-writers explaining their practice of representing principles as persons. We then found that by the baptism or purification, physical and mental,
practised by John, was meant the course of life
and thought whereby alone man develops the faculty of the understanding of
spiritual things. And Hermes is the Greco-Egyptian name for the “second of the
Gods,” called by Isaiah the Spirit of Understanding. Hence the adoption of this
name by the formulators of the Hermetic, or sacred books of
“Est in Mercurio quicquid quoerunt sapientes,”
All is in the understanding that the wise seek, – Mercury being the Latin equivalent for Hermes.
The mention of Swedenborg and Andersen implied their possession of the faculty indispensable to our work, that of mystical insight, of which they were the most notable recent representatives.
A larger part was played by Hermes in another instruction received a few months later. (1) This was also given in sleep, the vision taking the form of a “Banquet of the Gods” in which the seeress received the following exhortation from him, in enforcement of the necessity of pure and natural habits of life for the perfectionment of the faculties requisite for full spiritual perception, when, having put into her hands a branch of a fig-tree bearing upon it ripe fruit, he said: –
“If you would be perfect, and able to know and to do all things, quit the heresy of Prometheus. Let fire warm and comfort you externally: it is heaven's gift. But do not wrest it from its rightful purpose, as did that betrayer of your race, to fill the veins of humanity with its contagion, and to consume your interior being with its
breath. All of you are men of clay, as was the image which Prometheus made. Ye are nourished with stolen fire, and it consumes you. Of all the evil uses of heaven's good gifts, none is so evil as the internal use of fire. For your hot foods and drinks have consumed and dried up the magnetic power of your nerves, sealed your senses, and cut short your lives. Now, you neither see nor hear; for the fire in your organs consumes your senses. Ye are all blind and deaf, creatures of clay. We have sent you a book to read. Practise its precepts, and your senses shall be opened.”
Then, not recognising him, I said, “Tell me your name, Lord.” At this he laughed and answered, “I have been about you from the beginning. I am the white cloud on the noon-day sky.” “Do you, then,” I asked, “desire the whole world to abandon the use of fire in preparing food and drink?”
Instead of answering my question, he said, “We show you the excellent way. Two places only are vacant at our table. We have told you all that can be shown you on the level on which you stand. But our perfect gifts, the fruits of the Tree of Life, are beyond your reach now. We cannot give them to you until you are purified and have come up higher. The conditions are god's; the will is with you.” (1)
The allusion to Prometheus, and the fact that Hermes had been represented in the Greek tragedy of that name as the executor of the vengeance of the Gods upon Prometheus, as well also as the significance of the fig-branch and the fact of its being the symbol of Hermes as the Spirit of Understanding, – all these things were beyond her knowledge at the time, some of them indeed having been
long lost. But all were made clear as our education for our work proceeded, and we learnt the intention and recognised the necessity of restoring the Greek presentment of the Sacred Mysteries in explanation of the Hebrew, and in correction of the ecclesiastical presentment of Christianity. The restoration was to be twofold, of faculty and of knowledge, the knowledge to be recovered through the faculty by which it was originally obtained. Hence the insistence on our adoption of the pure regimen of the Seers of all time. Hence, too, the presentation to her by Hermes of the fig-branch bearing ripe fruit. The parable of the cursing of the barren fig-tree was explained to us as denoting the loss by the church of the inward understanding, the Intuition. In the Seeress it was restored; she was the appointed representative of it. The “time of the end” was at hand, of the approach of which the budding of the fig-tree was to be the sign. And here it was not merely budding and blossoming, but bearing mature fruit to signify that in her the faculty was restored in its perfection.
In an instruction subsequently given to me by her Genius, he said of her, “I have fashioned a perfect instrument,” implying that the process of her preparation under his tuition had extended over numerous lives. And again, “The Gods have given to their own a perfect ear.”
Being desirous once to test the powers of a medium to whom she was totally unknown even by name, she asked his controlling spirit about herself and her faculty. “You are not a trance-medium at all!” the spirit exclaimed in reply. “My medium is a trance-medium. You are far beyond
that. You are a spiritual lens. You are a mirror in which the highest spirits – the Gods – can reflect their faces. You take the light of the whole universe and divide it so that it can be understood, as it has never been understood yet. Your gift is very extraordinary. You are a glass to reflect the highest and the greatest to the world.” This was in 1877, before she was known in connection with the spiritual movement of the age.
The description given of himself by Hermes as “the white cloud in the noon-day sky,” proved to be a quotation from an ancient ritual, subsequently recovered by her, in which the “Hymn to Hermes” (1) opens thus: –
As a moving light between heaven and earth: as a white cloud assuming many shapes;
He descends and rises: he guides and illumines; he transmutes himself from small to great, from bright to shadowy, from the opaque image to the diaphanous mist.
Star of the East, conducting the Magi; cloud from whose midst the holy voice speaketh; by day a pillar of vapour, by night a shining flame.
All these are symbolic expressions for the Understanding, especially in respect of divine things, so that Hermes is no individual soul or spirit, but the divine spirit Itself operating as the second of the
Creative Elohim, and as a function therefore of man's own spirit when duly unfolded and purified, in token whereof it is said in the recovered hymn (1) to the Planet-God Iacchos –
Within thee, O Man, is the Universe; the thrones of all the Gods are in thy temple. ....
And the Spirits which speak unto thee are of thine own kingdom.
In the hymn of invocation summoning the Seeress to her mission in the name of the two first of the “Holy Seven,” the Spirits of Wisdom and Understanding, both of whom were wont to manifest themselves to her, Hermes is referred to as “the God who knows”; the other being personified as Pallas Athena. “In the Celestial,” we were informed, “all things are Persons.”
“Wake, prophet-soul, the time draws near,
'The God who knows' within thee stirs
And speaks, for His thou art, and Hers
Who bears the mystic shield and spear.
A touch divine shall thrill thy brain,
Thy soul shall leap to life, and lo!
What she has known, again shall know,
What she has seen, shall see again.
The ancient past through which she came .…” (2)
As the Spirit of Understanding, the name of Hermes signifies both Rock and Interpreter. Hence the significance of the saying of Jesus,
“Thou art the Rock, and upon this Rock I will build My Church,” which He addressed not to the man Peter, but to the Spirit of Understanding whom He discerned as the prompter of Peter's confession of faith. By this Jesus implied that the only true and infallible church is that which is founded on the Understanding, and not on authority whether of book, tradition or institution. The utterance of Jesus was a citation from the proem to the hymn to Hermes (1) recovered by us: –
“He is as a rock between earth and heaven, and the Lord God shall build His Church thereon.
As a city upon a mountain of stone, whose windows look forth on either side.”
As our education proceeded we found indubitably that in excluding from its curriculum, the whole range of the knowledges represented by the term “Hermetic,” Ecclesiasticism has ignored the chief source of information concerning the Christian origines. Doing which it has incurred the reproach uttered by Jesus against those who took away the key of knowledge, neither entering in themselves, nor suffering others to enter in. And it was to restore this Gnosis, suppressed by the priests, that the new revelation was promised, with the reception of which we found ourselves charged, the prophecies pointing to a restoration both of faculty and of knowledge.
Besides the Fig-branch of Hermes, there is another symbol of the intuitional understanding which was disclosed to us as having special and peculiar relation to the work set us. This symbol
is Woman herself. She had already, in the
instruction concerning the marriage in
Behold the FIG-TREE, and learn her parable. “When the branch thereof shall become tender, and her buds appear, know that the day of God is upon you.”
Wherefore, then, saith the Lord that the budding of the Fig-Tree shall foretell the end?
Because the Fig-Tree is the symbol of the Divine Woman, as the Vine of the Divine Man.
The Fig is the similitude of the Matrix, containing
inward buds, bearing blossoms on its placenta, and bringing forth fruit in darkness. It is the Cup of Life, and its flesh is the seed-ground of new births.
The stems of the Fig-Tree run with milk: her leaves are as human hands, like the leaves of her brother the Vine.
And when the Fig-Tree shall bear figs, then shall be the Second Advent, the new sign of the Man bearing Water, and the manifestation of the Virgin-Mother crowned.
For when the Lord would enter the holy city, to celebrate His Last Supper with His disciples, He sent before Him the Fisherman Peter to meet the Man of the Coming Sign.
“There shall meet you a Man bearing a pitcher of Water.”
Because, as the Lord was first manifest at a wine-feast in the morning, so must He consummate His work at a wine-feast in the evening.
It is His Pass-Over; for thereafter the Sun must pass into a new Sign.
After the Fish, the Water-Carrier; but the Lamb of God remains always in the place of victory, being slain from the foundation of the world.
For His place is the place of the Sun's triumph.
After the Vine the Fig; for Adam is first formed, then Eve.
And because our Lady is not yet manifest, our Lord is crucified.
Therefore came He vainly seeking fruit upon the Fig-Tree, “for the time of figs was not yet.”
And from that day forth, because of the curse of Eve, no man has eaten fruit of the Fig-Tree.
For the inward understanding has withered away, there is no discernment any more in men. They have crucified the Lord because of their ignorance, not knowing what they did.
Wherefore, indeed, said our Lord to our Lady: – “Woman, what is between me and thee? For even my hour is not yet come.”
Because until the hour of the Man is accomplished and fulfilled, the hour of the Woman must be deferred.
Jesus is the Vine; Mary is the Fig-Tree. And the vintage must be completed and the wine trodden out, or ever the harvest of the Figs be gathered.
But when the hour of our Lord is achieved; hanging on His Cross, He gives our Lady to the faithful.
The chalice is drained, the lees are wrung out: then says He to His Elect: – “Behold thy Mother!”
But so long as the grapes remain unplucked, the Vine has nought to do with the Fig-Tree, nor Jesus with Mary.
He is first revealed, for He is the Word; afterwards shall come the hour of its Interpretation.
And in that day every man shall sit under the vine and the fig-tree; the Dayspring shall arise in the Orient, and the Fig-Tree shall bear her fruit.
For, from the beginning, the Fig-leaf covered the shame of Incarnation, because the riddle of existence can be expounded only by him who has the Woman's secret. It is the riddle of the Sphinx.
Look for that Tree which alone of all Trees bears a fruit blossoming interiorly, in concealment, and thou shalt discover the Fig.
Look for the sufficient meaning of the manifest universe and of the written Word, and thou shalt find only their mystical sense.
Cover the nakedness of Matter and of Nature with the Fig-leaf, and thou hast hidden all their shame. For the Fig is the Interpreter.
So when the hour of Interpretation comes, and the Fig-Tree puts forth her buds, know that the time of the End and the dawning of the new Day are at hand, – “even at the doors.”
On handing me the first portion of the instruction
of which the foregoing is the conclusion, “Mary” – to use the name which meanwhile had been bestowed on her by our Illuminators in token of her office as representative of the Soul and Intuition – confessed to some perplexity. Her usual Illuminator for revelations of this order was Hermes, whose Hebrew equivalent is Raphael. But on this occasion it had been a Hebrew one, Gabriel. Her surprise and delight were great on being reminded that Gabriel was Daniel's own inspirer in respect of the prophecy in question, and that he had prophesied his return, saying, “Go thy way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. .... Thou shalt rest and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.” The explanation given us was that both Daniel's own spirit and his illuminating angel had come to her, the former serving as the vehicle of the latter. As with all our other results similarly obtained, we judged it entirely by its own intrinsic merits, and not by its alleged derivation. We knew too well the propensity of low influences to appropriate to themselves great and even divine names, and the liability of the recipients to be deceived and to make the names the criterion instead of the communication itself. But in no instance did it happen to us that we had any cause to distrust the genuineness either of messenger or of message, even when both claimed to be divine.
The difference between the two interpretations or applications given us of the incident at the “Marriage in Cana of Galilee,” was explained to
us as an instance of the manifoldness of the sense of Scripture. The parables have a separate meaning for each of the four planes of existence. (1)
We wondered much whether there were any parallels in history to our work and to the manner of it; and especially as to how far an association such as ours coincided with the ideas of the Hebrews. It was true that they had both prophets and prophetesses, but did they work like us in supplement and complement of each other? As regarded the recovery of knowledge acquired in a previous life, Ezra also had ascribed his recovery of the long lost Law to intuitional recollection occurring under special illumination, saying, “The Spirit strengthened my memory.” But no mention is made of a female coadjutor. Nor does it appear that the Vestal Virgins were similarly supplemented, except to be thrown into the magnetic trance-state. In her zeal for her sex and her corresponding distrust of men – sentiments which seemed to be inborn in her – “Mary” was disposed to think that most of the prophesying of old had been done by women, but that the credit had been appropriated by men. The answer to these questionings was of a kind altogether unexpected by us, both as regarded its manner and its matter. For neither of us had the smallest suspicion that the book referred to was capable of the interpretation given us of it. This was the book of Esther. The incident was as follows: –
The occasion was an Easter Sunday (2), and we
“Do you, Caro (1), take a pencil and write, and let her look inwards, and we will dictate slowly.”
“Mary” then became entranced, and delivered orally, repeating it slowly, without break or pause, after a voice heard interiorly, the following exposition of the book of Esther, an exposition entirely novel, as I have said, to us, and, we believed, to the world. Some divines have called the book a romance, but none have discovered that it is a prophecy in the form of a parable. Luther, indeed, pronounced both it and the Apocalypse to be so worthless that their destruction would be no loss.
The most important book in the Bible for you to study now, and that most nearly about to be fulfilled, is one of the most mystic books in the Old Testament, the book of Esther.
This book is a mystic prophecy, written in the form of an actual history. If I give you the key, the clue of the thread of it, it will be the easiest thing in the world to unravel the whole.
The great King Assuerus, who had all the world under his dominion, and possessed the wealth of all the nations, is the genius of the age.
Queen Vasthi, who for her disobedience to the king was deposed from her royal seat, is the orthodox Catholic Church.
The Jews, scattered among the nations under the dominion of the king, are the true Israel of God.
Mardochi the Jew represents the spirit of intuitive reason and understanding.
His enemy Aman is the spirit of materialism, taken into the favour and protection of the genius of the age, and exalted to the highest place in the world's councils after the deposition of the orthodox religion.
Now Aman has a wife and ten sons.
Esther – who, under the care and tuition of Mardochi, is brought up pure and virgin – is that spirit of love and sympathetic interpretation which shall redeem the world.
I have told you that it shall be redeemed by a “woman.”
Now the several philosophical systems by which the councillors of the age propose to replace the dethroned Church, are one by one submitted to the judgment of the age; and Esther, corning last, shall find favour.
Six years shall she be anointed with oil of myrrh, that is, with study and training severe and bitter, that she may be proficient in intellectual knowledge, as must all systems which seek the favour of the age.
And six years with sweet perfumes, that is with the gracious loveliness of the imagery and poetry of the faiths of the past, that religion may not be lacking in sweetness and beauty.
But she shall not seek to put on any of those adornments of dogma, or of mere sense, which, by trick of priestcraft, former systems have used to gain power or favour with the world and the age, and for which they have been found wanting.
Now there come out of the darkness and the storm which shall arise upon the earth, two dragons. (1).
And they fight and tear each other, until there arises a star, a fountain of light, a queen, who is Esther. (2)
I have given you the key. Unlock the meaning of all that is written.
I do no tell you if in the history of the past these voices had part in the world of men.
If they had, guess now who were Mardochi and Esther.
But I tell you that which shall be in the days about to come. (3)
On consulting the Bible-dictionary, we found this relation between Esther and Easter. The feast of Purim, which was instituted in token of the deliverance wrought through Esther, coincides in date with Easter. And it was on Easter day that this was given us, by way of enhancing the correspondence between the parts assigned to us and those of Mordecai and Esther. Later it was shown us that the parts assigned to Joseph and Mary were, in one aspect, also identical with those of Mordecai and Esther. This is the aspect in which Joseph represents the mind, and Mary the soul in the regenerate human system.
Besides “Hermes,” “Mary” received much of her illumination from her “Genius,” her relations with whom far surpassed not only my relations with mine but any that are recorded in history, the experiences of Socrates, the chief instance on
record, being insignificant both in quantity and in quality as compared with hers. It is important, therefore, to give an account of the nature and office of this order of angels, which shall be rendered in his own words.
Every man is a planet, having sun, moon, and stars. The genius of a man is his satellite; God – the God of the man – is his sun, and the moon of this planet is Isis, its initiator or Genius. The Genius is made to minister to the man, and to give him light. But the light he gives is from God, and not of himself. He is not a planet but a moon, and his function is to light up the dark places of his planet.
The day and night of the microcosm, man, are its positive and passive, or projective and reflective states. In the projective state we seek actively outwards; we aspire and will forcibly; we hold active communion with the God without. In the reflective state we look inwards; we commune with our own heart; we indraw and concentrate ourselves secretely and interiorly. During this condition the “Moon” enlightens our hidden chamber with her torch, and shows us ourselves in our interior recess.
Who or what, then, is this moon? It is part of ourselves and revolves with us. It is our celestial affinity, – of whose order it is said – as by Jesus – “Their angels do always behold the face of My Father.”
Every human soul has a celestial affinity, which is part of his system and a type of his spiritual nature. This angelic counterpart is the bond of union between the man and God; and it is in virtue of his spiritual nature that this angel is attached to him. ....
It is in virtue of man’s being a planet that he has a moon. If he were not fourfold, as is the planet, he could not have one. Rudimentary men are not fourfold, they have not the Spirit.
The Genius is the moon of the planet man, reflecting to him the Sun, or God, within him. For the Divine Spirit
which animates and eternises the man, is the God of the man, the Sun that enlightens him. .... And because the Genius reflects, not the planet, but the Sun, not the man (as do the astrals), but the God, his light is always to be trusted. ....
The memory of the soul is recovered by a threefold operation – that of the Soul herself, of the Moon, and of the Sun. The Genius is not an informing spirit. He can tell nothing to the soul. All that she receives is already within herself. But in the darkness of the night, it would remain there undiscovered, but for the torch of the angel who enlightens. “Yea,” says the angel Genius to his client, “I illuminate thee, but I instruct thee not. I warn thee, but I fight not. I attend, but I lead not. Thy treasure is within thyself. My light showeth where it lieth.” ....
The voice of the Genius is the voice of God; for God speaks through him as a man through the horn of a trumpet. Thou mayest not adore him, for he is the instrument of God, and thy minister. But thou must obey him, for he hath no voice of his own, but sheweth thee the will of the Spirit.
We noted that the inspiring angel of the Apocalypse had twice similarly spoken when the seer was about to worship him; – “See thou do it not; for I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: Worship God.”
The like positive injunctions were given us also against according divine honours to Jesus.
Besides Socrates, there is another notable historical “Spiritualist” of whom our experiences vividly reminded us. This was Joan of Arc. The correspondence between her and “Mary,” in gifts, experiences, and personal characteristics, was of the closest. We had no difficulty in believing her
history. Each of them, moreover, had a mission of deliverance, the one political and national, the other spiritual and universal.
Although we had learned to trust our Illuminators implicitly long before the receipt of the above instruction, we were still without assurance as to the source and method of the revelation. Be the knowledges received by us as new as they might to our external selves, they never failed to be familiar as recovered memories, excepting in such cases as they were couched in terms of which the sense, being mystical, was not at once recognised. But such difficulties were soon overcome, and the doctrine, when fully apprehended, was always to us as necessary and self-evident truth, and such as to excite wonder at the potency of the glamour which had hitherto withheld it from the world's recognition. In every detail, the revelation represented for us Common-Sense in its loftiest mode. For the agreement it represented was not that of all men merely, but that of all parts of Man: of mind, soul and spirit, intellect and intuition, and these purified and unfolded to the utmost, and perfectly equilibrated. Whatever the manner of its communication, whether heard by the interior ear, seen by the interior eye, flashed on the mind as vivid ideas, whether acquired waking or sleeping, or in the intermediate state of trance-lucidity, or given in writing, it always seemed that we knew it before, and did not require to be told it, but only to be reminded of it.
The problem specially exercised myself. “Mary” had other work than the analysis of our spiritual experiences. That was my special function. I learnt to see in her a soul of surpassing luminousness
and variousness, who had been entrusted to my charge expressly in order that by my study of her I might recover for the world's benefit the long-lost knowledge of the soul's being, nature, and history. And so many and various were her spiritual states, that she seemed to me to represent in turn every stage of the soul's evolution, and to be “not one, but all mankind's epitome.”
This also used to occur so frequently as to be observed by both of us and discussed between us. When in the process of my endeavour to find the solution of some problem, such as the meaning of a parabolic or otherwise obscure passage in Scripture, I had exhausted my stock of tentative hypotheses, but, through consideration for her other and engrossing work, refrained from imparting my need to her, she would receive in sleep the desired solution, which she wrote down on waking, and which invariably proved satisfactory beyond my highest imaginings. And besides showing intimate acquaintance with the course of my thought, it was couched in language which, for simplicity, dignity, purity, and lucidity, was without an equal in literature; the English being that of the best period of our literature, and better than the best even of that period. She herself had a remarkable mastery of English, but these compositions reduced her to despair, causing her to exclaim, “Why cannot I write as well when I am awake as I do in my sleep!” Of course the explanation lay in the limiting influence of the physical organism.
The frequency of this occurrence led me, in the absence of authoritative explanation, to try the following, as an hypothesis purely tentative. The revelations generally came to her when, through
my inability to find the interpretations which satisfied me, my work required them, and they came independently of any desire or knowledge on her part. Might it not be, then, that it was my own spirit who knew them and gave them to her, finding her more sensitive to impression than myself? The explanation was not one that either pleased or satisfied me, one reason being that I took a delight in recognising the primacy accorded to her. The idea occurred to me one night, and I pondered it the next day, but did not divulge it. What happened on the evening of that day led me to suspect that our Genii had suggested it to me in order to make it the occasion of imparting to me the knowledge in question, namely, that of the real source and method of the revelation.
For the experience to be properly appreciated it must be remembered that “Mary” had no knowledge of the explanation suggested to me, and neither of us had as yet entertained the idea of past lives as the key to our present work. The question of Reincarnation itself had not come before us, and far less the possibility of recovering the memory of the things learnt in previous existences, much as we had been puzzled to account for our experiences in the absence of some such explanation.
The proposal to sit for a written communication came from her, having evidently been prompted by our illuminators. The method was one which both they and we disliked, and it was adopted only when they desired to address us both at once. So we sat for writing.
The result confirmed my surmise. We had scarcely seated ourselves when the writing began, as if we were being waited for. And this is what was written: –
“We are instructed to say several things to-night. We are your Genii.
“(To caro.) In the first place, you entirely misconceive the process by which the Revelation comes to Mary. The method of this revelation is entirely interior. Mary is not a Medium; nor is she even a Seer as you understand the word. She is a Prophet. By this we mean that all she has ever written or will write, is from within, and not from without. She knows. She is not told. Hers is an old, old spirit. She is older than you are, Caro, older by many thousand years. Do not think that spirits other than her own are to be credited with the authorship of the new Gospel. As a proof of this, and to correct, the false impression you have on the subject, the holy and inner truth, of which she is the depositary, will not in future be given to her by the former method. All she writes henceforth, she will write consciously. Yes, she must finish the new Evangel by conscious effort of brain and will.”
Coming from a source which we had learnt to trust implicitly, and according with our own highest conceptions, this message was supremely satisfactory, and was welcomed accordingly. But it was followed forthwith by another which excited feelings of a very different character. For, as if expressly in order to prevent her from being made vainglorious and uplifted by it, they added –
“(To mary.) It may serve to exhibit the path by which you have come, and to suggest the nature of some ancient tendencies which may yet tarnish the mirror of a soul destined to attain perfection, to learn that you dwelt within the body of –––.”
Here were given the name and character of a certain Roman dame of some seventeen centuries ago, one of high station, but of a repute so evil as to cause an immense shock to both of us. It does not come within the design of this book to disclose the particular personalities with whom we had been identified in the past. (1) Concerning this one it must suffice to state here that, omitting from account one whole side of “Mary's” character, we both recognised in the other side traits strongly resembling those which had been indicated. And she subsequently recovered distinct recollections of scenes in the life in question which served to assure her on the point. Our discussions on the matter tended to conclusions of which fuller knowledge brought the verification. It was not one of those lives in virtue of which she was directly qualified for her present work; but it was one of those lives of which the sin and the suffering may well be conceived of as indispensable elements in the education of a soul called to a lofty work and destiny in the future, in accordance with the principle which finds expression in the sayings, “The greater the sinner the greater the saint,” and “Pecca Fortiter.” This also we discerned clearly, that, supposing it to be indeed a truth that man is “made perfect through suffering,” the experiences in the course of which the suffering is undergone must imply sin as well as pain and sorrow; since otherwise there would be a whole region of his nature, namely the moral, in which he would
remain unvitalised. The lesson of which is that a man is alive only so far as he has lived. There was yet another reflection that was prompted by the occasion in question, and one which crowned and glorified the rest. This was the assurance implied that none need despair. If the soul which had dwelt in the body of the person named, could nevertheless become within measurable time what “Mary” was now, and be “destined to attain perfection,” there is hope for all, and the doctrine of Reincarnation is indeed a gospel of salvation. And herein we discerned a lesson hitherto unsuspected so far as we were aware, in the parable of the Prodigal Son. It is not the “elder brother” who stays at home that can best appreciate the divine order; but the prodigal who has gone forth into the world of experience to acquire knowledge for himself at first hand. They who have been the most fully satiated with the husks of materiality, can – when their time arrives for coming to their true selves – best estimate the fare provided in the “Father's House.” “He loveth most to whom most has been forgiven.”
While sitting alone one day and pondering these things, and particularly the difficulty which people often find in correcting in themselves even the faults which they deplore, this pregnant sentence was spoken audibly to my inner hearing by a voice which I recognised as that of my Genius: –
“Tendencies encouraged for ages cannot be cured in a single lifetime, but may require ages.”
This further reflection also was suggested to me: that souls of exceptional strength are reincarnated in bodies of exceptionally strong passional natures, expressly in order to obtain the discipline which
comes of the effort to subdue them. All of which reflections tended to exhibit the rashness of judging outward judgment in respect of others. In order to judge righteous judgment it is necessary to know the strength of their temptations, and of their efforts to resist them. And these can be known only to God. The attainment of perfection, and therein of salvation by conquest and not by flight, – this is the principle of reincarnation. It is the condition of Regeneration, which is from out of the body.
In due time we were able to recognise the whole plan of our work as so ordered as to make the work itself a demonstration of the doctrine of reincarnation. When once this doctrine had become a practical question for us, it assumed a prominent place both in our teachings and in our experiences. One instruction given us was no less striking in itself than in the circumstances of its communication. The messenger was one with whom we had never anticipated coming into relations, for, besides not courting intercourse with the souls of the departed, we had not paid to the writings of the person concerned the heed that would entitle us to count him among our cordial sympathisers; and still less as among our possible visitants. This was the famous Swedish Seer, Emmanuel Swedenborg. In the course of what we afterwards found to be a strikingly characteristic communication from him, he informed us that owing to the difficulty our angels had in approaching us just then, through the condition of the spiritual atmosphere, they had charged him with a message to us, in which “Mary's” Genius had spoken to him of her as “A soul of vast experience, who under his tuition
had so painfully acquired the evangel of which she was the depositary”; adding that he, her Genius, “had been promised help to recover for her, in this incarnation, the memory of all that was in the past”; and – which was the point of the message – that it was to be put forward, not as we were then contemplating putting it forward, but “as fragmentary specimens of such recollection occurring to one now a woman, but formerly an initiate, who is beginning to recover this power.”
It will be interesting to remark on this experience, that to this day the followers of Swedenborg set their faces against the doctrine of reincarnation, expressly on the ground that their master denied it in his lifetime. Whether Swedenborg really denied it is uncertain. There is grave cause to doubt whether his writings on the subject have been rightly understood or fairly represented. It has been maintained with much show of reason that Swedenborg denied only the reincarnation of the astral soul, not of the true soul; in which case he would be right. Having once obtained access to us, his visits were for a time frequent, the manner of them being various. For he came to us jointly and separately, in waking and in sleeping – the latter to “Mary” only – and audibly and visibly – the latter also to “Mary” only. He alluded to a recent incarnation of mine, of which I have since had full and independent proof. And he recognised our work as not only a confirmation and continuation of his own, but also as a correction. For, as he gave us to understand, he had been too much under the influence of the current orthodoxy to be able to transmit the revelation given to him in its proper purity, and unbiased
by his own preconceptions. The doctrine in respect of which he was chiefly desirous of being set right was that of the Incarnation, the orthodox presentment of which he now saw to be wrong, by reason of its deification of Jesus. In referring to the perversion of the truth by the formulators of the Christian orthodoxy, he said to us, with much emphasis, “Do not be too kind to the Christians.”
This allusion to an experience which belongs to, the category of “spiritualism” rather than to that of our special work, may with advantage be followed by some account of our other experiences of the same order, partly for the sake of testifying to the genuineness of the experiences relied on by spiritualists, and partly in order to show the distinction between the two orders of experience, as discerned by persons whose familiarity with both qualified them to institute comparison between them. For, having once become sensitised in the inner and higher regions of the consciousness, we had become sensitised also in the intermediate regions, and were able therefore to hold palpable converse with the denizens of these also. And the converse thus held was of the most satisfactory character, on the ground both of the certainty of its reality and its intrinsic nature. Father, mother, wife, brothers, sundry dear friends, and others interested in our work, all came to me, and some of them to my colleague, and this several times, and in a manner impossible to be distrusted. For my mother more than once spoke to me aloud in her own unmistakable voice, and in tones that anyone might have heard, as I sat alone in my study. My wife came repeatedly to both of us, jointly and separately, audibly, visibly, and
tangibly; giving us timely warnings of dangers unsuspected by us but proving to be real. And one of my brothers cleared up a mystery which had hung over his death. No mere attenuated wraiths or soulless phantoms were they who thus visited us from “beyond the veil,” they were strong, distinct, intelligent individualities, veritable souls, palpitating with vitality, and eager to render loving service. But they came spontaneously and unevoked, for we never sought to compel their presence. Our quest was purely and simply for truth, not for persons. But we considered that, when these also came, as they did come, to ourselves directly and without intervention of any third party, to refuse to receive them on the ground that they had put off their bodies, would be equivalent to repulsing our friends in the flesh on the ground that they had put off their overcoats. The spirit in which alone such intercourse is permissible will be seen by the following citations from the instructions received by us. Terms from the Hebrew, Greek, and Oriental Scriptures were used indifferently by our illuminators. The word Ruach in the following – which is Hebrew for Spirit – is here used in a kabalistic sense to denote the astral soul or ghost, as distinguished from the divine soul, the Psyche or Neshamah, and from the Nephesh or mere phantom. The following is from an instruction given to “Mary” in sleep, in direct solution of certain perplexities.
“Thou knowest that in the end, when Nirvana is attained, the soul shall gather up all that it hath left within the astral of holy memories and worthy experience, and to this end the Ruach rises in the astral sphere, by the gradual decay and loss of its more material affinities,
until these have so disintegrated and perished that its substance is thereby lightened and purified. But continual commerce and intercourse with earth add, as it were, fresh fuel to its earthly affinities, keeping these alive, and hindering its recall to its spiritual ego. Thus, therefore, the spiritual ego itself is detained from perfect absorption into the divine, and union therewith. For the Ruach shall not all die, if there be in it anything worthy of recall. The astral sphere is its purging chamber. For Saturn, who is Time, is the trier of all things; he devoureth all the dross; only that escapeth which in its nature is ethereal and destined to reign. And this death of the Ruach is gradual and natural. It is a process of elimination and disintegration, often – as men measure time – extending over many decades, or even centuries. And those Ruachs which appertain to wicked and evil persons, having strong wills inclined earthwards, – these persist longest and manifest most frequently and vividly, because they rise not, but, being destined to perish utterly, are not withdrawn from immediate contact with the earth. They are all dross; there is in them no redeemable element. But the Ruach of the righteous complaineth if thou disturb his evolution. 'Why callest thou me? Disturb me not. The memories of my earth-life are chains about my neck; the desire of the past detaineth me. Suffer me to rise towards my rest, and hinder me not with evocations. But let thy love go after me and encompass me; so shalt thou rise with me through sphere after sphere.'
“For the good man upon earth can love nothing less than the divine. Wherefore that which he loveth in his friend is the divine, that is, the true and radiant self. And if he love it as differentiated from God, it is only on account of its separate tincture. For in the perfect light there are innumerable tinctures. And according to its celestial affinity, one soul loveth this or that splendour more, than the rest. And when the righteous friend of the good man dieth, the love of the living man goeth after the true soul of the dead; and the strength and divinity
of this love helpeth the purgation of the astral soul, the psychic ghost. It is to this astral soul, which ever remaineth near the living friend, an indication of the way it must also go, – a light shining upon the upward path that leads from the astral to the celestial and everlasting. For love, being divine, is towards the divine. 'Love exalteth, love purifieth, love uplifteth.'“
And this also, which was similarly obtained, represents a further restoration of the original, pure, undistorted and unmutilated doctrine of Christianity concerning the communion of souls.
* * * * *
So weepest thou and lamentest, because the Soul thou lovest is taken from thy sight.
And life seemeth to thee a bitter thing: yea, thou cursest the destiny of all living creatures.
And thou deemest thy love of no avail, and thy tears as idle drops.
Behold, Love is a ransom, and the tears thereof are prayers.
And if thou have lived purely, thy fervent desire shall be counted grace to the soul of thy dead.
For the burning and continual prayer of the just availeth much.
Yea, thy love shall enfold the soul which thou lovest: it shall be unto him a wedding garment and a vesture of blessing.
The baptism of thy sorrow shall baptize thy dead, and he shall rise because of it.
Thy prayers shall lift him up, and thy tears shall encompass his steps: thy love shall be to him a light shining upon the upward way.
And the angels of God shall say unto him, “O happy Soul, that art so well-beloved; that art made so strong with all these tears and sighs.
“Praise the Father of Spirits therefore: for this great love shall save thee many incarnations.
“Thou art advanced thereby; thou art drawn aloft and carried upward by cords of grace.”
For in such wise do souls profit one another and have communion, and receive and give blessing, the departed of the living, and the living of the departed.
And so much the more as the heart within them is clean, and the way of their intention is innocent in the sight of God. ....
Count not as lost thy suffering on behalf of other souls; for every cry is a prayer, and all prayer is power.
That thou wiliest to do is done; thine intention is united to the Will of Divine Love.
Nothing is lost of that which thou layest out for God and for thy brother.
And it is love alone who redeemeth, and love hath nothing of her own. (1)
But precious as is the communion of souls when thus conditioned, it was not to them that we looked for light and guidance in our work. Nor, indeed, to any persons at all in the sense in which the term is ordinarily used. We looked steadfastly and directly to the Highest, confidently leaving to the Highest the appointment both of the Messenger and of the Message, but never failing to submit both manner and matter to the keenest scrutiny of faculties which we had striven to the utmost to attune to divine things. We were, moreover, emphatically warned from the outset against allowing any intrusion into our work of the influences accessible to the ordinary sensitive, the two planes being absolutely distinct. Herein lay
the significance of the saying of “Mary's” Genius, that he had been “promised help to enable her to recover in this incarnation the memory of all that is in the past.” The Genii themselves, although of the celestial, belong to its circumferential and lowest sphere. They touch the astral, but do not enter it. The help spoken of was to come from the innermost and highest spheres. And the charge was accordingly given us, “Do not, then, seek after 'controls.' Keep your temple for the Lord God of Hosts; and turn out of it the moneychangers, the dove-sellers, and the dealers in curious arts, yea, with a scourge of cords if need be.”
The manner in which we received the first full and particular account respecting the method of revelation, was as follows. I was pondering to myself with much intentness the nature and source of inspiration, and desiring a test whereby to distinguish between true and false inspiration. But I refrained for various reasons from consulting my colleague, at least until I should have exhausted my own resources. And she was still without any intimation of my need when she received the instruction concerning inspiration and prophesying of which the following is a portion. It was received in sleep, and the date was shortly before we were told that her knowledges were due to experiences undergone in previous lives. (1) When I had read it she said, referring to the first verse,
“But I did not ask.” In reply to which I told her that I had asked. It was addressed equally to both of us, as making together one system.
“I heard last night in my sleep a voice speaking to me, and saying –
You ask the method and nature of Inspiration, and the means whereby God revealeth the Truth.
Know that there is no enlightenment from without: the secret of things is revealed from within.
From without cometh no Divine Revelation: but the Spirit within beareth witness.
Think not that I tell you that which you know not: for except you know it, it cannot be given to you.
To him that hath it is given, and he hath the more abundantly.
None is a prophet save he who knoweth: the instructor of the people is a man of many lives.
Inborn knowledge and the perception of things, these are the sources of revelation: the Soul of the man instructeth him, having already learned by experience.
Intuition is inborn experience; that which the soul knoweth of old and of former years.
And Illumination is the Light of Wisdom, whereby a man perceiveth heavenly secrets.
Which Light is the Spirit of God within the man, showing unto him the things of God.
Do not think that I tell you anything you know not; all cometh from within: the Spirit that informeth is the Spirit of God in the prophet.
* * * * * * *
Inspiration may indeed be mediumship, but it is conscious; and the knowledge of the prophet instructeth him.
Even though he speak in an ecstasy, he uttereth nothing that he knoweth not.”
Then followed this apostrophe to the Prophet: –
“Thou who art a prophet hast had many lives: yea, thou hast taught many nations, and hast stood before kings.
And God hath instructed thee in the years that are past, and in the former times of the earth.
By prayer, by fasting, by meditation, by painful seeking, hast thou attained that thou knowest.
There is no knowledge but by labour: there is no intuition but by experience.
I have seen thee on the hills of the East: I have followed thy steps in the wilderness: I have seen thee adore at sunrise: I have marked thy night watches in the caves of the mountains.
Thou hast attained with patience, O prophet! God hath revealed the truth to thee from within.”
Thus, for the first time known to history, was given a definition of the nature and method of inspiration and prophecy, at once luminous, reasonable, and inexpugnable, to the full and final solution of this stupendous problem; and comporting with and explaining, as it did, all our own experiences, we felt that we could bear unreserved testimony to its truth. But, vast as was the addition thus made to the New Gospel of Interpretation, it did not exhaust the treasures revealed and communicated on that wondrous night; for it was followed immediately by a prophecy of the meaning of the new dispensation on which the world is entering, and of which our work is the introduction. At once Biblical in diction and character, it reached in loftiness the highest level of Biblical prophecy and inspiration, demonstrating the same world celestial and divine as the source of both. For which reason, and the crushing blow administered by it to the superstitions which have made of Christianity a by-word and a reproach by their
gross materialisations of mysteries purely spiritual, it is reproduced in full here. The heading is of our own devising: –
A Prophecy of the Kingdom of the Soul, mystically called the Day of the Woman.
“And now I show you a mystery and a new thing, which is part of the mystery of the fourth day of creation.
The word which shall come to save the world, shall be uttered by a woman.
A woman shall conceive, and shall bring forth the tidings of salvation.
For the reign of Adam is at its last hour; and God shall crown all things by the creation of Eve.
Hitherto the man hath been alone, and hath had dominion over the earth.
But when the woman shall be created, God shall give unto her the kingdom; and she shall be first in rule and highest, in dignity.
Yea, the last shall be first, and the elder shall serve the younger.
So that women shall no more lament for their womanhood; but men shall rather say, “O that we had been born women!”
For the strong shall be put down from their seat, and the meek shall be exalted to their place.
The days of the Covenant of Manifestation are passing away: the Gospel of Interpretation cometh.
There shall nothing new be told; but that which is ancient shall be interpreted.
So that man the manifestor shall resign his office: and woman the interpreter shall give light to the world.
Hers is the fourth office: she revealeth that which the Lord hath manifested.
Hers is the light of the heavens, and the brightest of the planets of the holy seven.
She is the fourth dimension; the eyes which enlighten; the power which draweth inward to God.
And her kingdom cometh; the day of the exaltation of woman.
And her reign shall be greater than the reign of the man: for Adam shall be put down from his place; and she shall have dominion for ever.
And she who is alone shall bring forth more children to God, than she who hath an husband.
There shall no more be a reproach against women: but against men shall be the reproach.
For the woman is the crown of man, and the final manifestation of humanity.
She is the nearest to the throne of God, when she shall be revealed.
But the creation of woman is not yet complete: but it shall be complete in the time which is at hand.
All things are thine, O Mother of God: all things are thine, O Thou who risest from the sea; and Thou shalt have dominion over all the worlds.” (1)
(72:1) A.K. knew nothing of Spinoza at this time, and was unaware that he was an optician. Subsequent experience made it clear that the spectacles in question were intended to represent her own remarkable faculty of intuitional and interpretative perception. (See Life A.K. Vol. I. pp. 150-1.) S.H.H.
(74:1) Page 52.
(75:1) The 22nd September, 1877.
(76:1) The book referred to was a treatise entitled Fruit and Bread, which had been sent to her anonymously the previous day. E.M.
(78:1) The “Hymn to Hermes” was received by A.K. in 1878, “under illumination occurring in sleep.” She remembered it so perfectly that on waking she wrote it without hesitation or error. Representing knowledges long lost, by no amount of mere scholarship could it have been reproduced. It is given at length in the P.W. pp. 357-358, and in Life A.K. Vol. I. p. 287. S.H.H.
(79:1) As to the recovery by A.K. of the Hymn to the Planet-God, see p. 122-3.
(79:2) These dream-verses are from “Through the Ages,” a poem received by A.K.,
“in sleep,” in
(80:1) See p. 122 note.
(81:1) See pp. 51-52-53 ante.
(81:2) That is, in the place of God and the Soul.
(85:1) The four planes being, from without inwards, those of the body, mind, soul, and spirit. S.H.H.
(85:2) The 28th March, 1880. S.H.H.
(86:1) The name by which I was thus addressed had been given me by our illuminators as an initiation name, as that of “Mary” to her. It denoted love as the dominant note of our work, and was an equivalent for “John the Beloved,” who – we were given to understand – is one of the two controlling “angels” of the new illumination – Daniel being the other – in accordance with the intimations given by Jesus, one to His disciples and the other to the Seer of the Apocalypse himself, that John should tarry within reach of the earth-plane to bear part in the event which was to constitute the second advent of Christ. These names had a further correspondence in the Greek parable of Eros and Psyche, which denotes love as the vivifying principle of the soul. E.M.
(88:1) Materialism and Superstition.
(88:2) The name Esther denotes a star or fountain of light, a dawn or rising.
(88:3) The spelling of the names is that of the Douay Version, the Protestants having relegated the second part of the book of Esther, in which the latter part of this narrative occurs, to the Apocrypha. As also that of Ezra above cited. E.M.
(95:1) These are disclosed in Life A.K.. The personality referred to on this occasion was “Faustine, the Roman,” the Empress of Marcus Aurelius. (Life A.K. Vol. I. pp. 353-354.) S.H.H.
(103:1) The “Hymn of Aphrodite,” including the “Discourse of the Communion of Souls, and of the Uses of Love between Creature and Creature; being part of the Golden Book of Venus,” from which latter the above is taken, is given in full in the P.W. pp. 350-356.
(104:1) The instruction
concerning inspiration and prophesying was received by A.K. in
(108:1) P.W. pp. 311-314. Life A.K. Vol. I. pp. 344-345.