Although we now have a site dedicated to the “New” Gospel of Interpretation, we have chosen here a few works as a synthetic presentation of the Gospel of Interpretation, which is the denomination of the main message given to the world by Dr. Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland, her great work companion. These works are complete in the Site Anna Kingsford.
Besides this synthetic presentation, we added a small set of quotations about the “New” Gospel of Interpretation and its importance to the well being of humanity. Below you have the links to the selected works, and after that the set of quotations:
• The Perfect Way; or, the Finding of Christ. Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. Fifth edition, edited, with additions and a long preface, by Samuel Hopgood Hart. John M. Watkins, London, 1923. 405 pp.
• The Living Truth in Christianity. Bertram McCrie. John M. Watkins, London, 1915. 43 pp. Although this little book was not written by Anna Kingsford or Edward Maitland, it was written as an introduction to the message of these two prophet-souls. And as it is an important work, we decided to include it in this selection.
• Why the “Anna Kingsford Site” Was Created? (Abridged Version), or Why the “Anna Kingsford Site” Was Created? (Longer Version). Arnaldo Sisson Filho. Texts writen to explain the reasons to create this Site, which is the main instrument for the spreading of the works and the religious message of Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland and, thus, of the “New” Gospel of Interpretation and of the Buddhist Christianity.
• The Story of Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland and of the New Gospel of Interpretation. Edward Maitland. 1st Edition, 1893. 2nd Edition, 1894. 3rd Edition, edited by Samuel Hopgood Hart. Ruskin Press, Birmingham, 1905. 204 pp.
• The “New Gospel of Interpretation”: Being an Abstract of the Doctrine and a Statement of the Origin, Object, Basis, Method and Scope of the Esoteric Christian Union. Edward Maitland. Published under auspice of the Esoteric Christian Union, whose President-Founder was Edward Maitland. London, Lamley & Co., 1892. 93 pp.
• The Credo of Christendom: and Other Addresses and Essays on Esoteric Christianity. Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. Edited by Samuel Hopgood Hart. John M. Watkins, London, 1916. 256 pp.
• Clothed with the Sun: Being the Illuminations of Anna (Bonus) Kingsford. Anna Kingsford. Edited by Edward Maitland. First edition: John M. Watkins, London, 1889. Second edition: The Ruskin Press, Birmingham, 1906. Third Edition: edited by Samuel Hopgood Hart, 1937. Sun Books (reprint), Santa Fe, 1993. 210 pp.
Quotations about the “New” Gospel of Interpretation and its Importance:
THE LATE MRS. ANNA KINGSFORD, M.D.
We have this month to record with the deepest regret the passing away from this physical world of one who, more than any other, has been instrumental in demonstrating to her fellow-creatures the great fact of the conscious existence – hence of the immortality – of the inner Ego.
We speak of the death of Mrs. Anna Kingsford, M.D., which occurred on Tuesday, the 28th of February, after a somewhat painful and prolonged illness. Few women have worked harder than she has, or in more noble causes; none with more success in the cause of humanitarianism. Hers was a short but a most useful life. Her intellectual fight with the vivisectionists of Europe, at a time when the educated and scientific world was more strongly fixed in the grasp of materialism than any other period in the history of civilization, alone proclaims her as one of those who, regardless of conventional thought, have placed themselves at the very focus of controversy, prepared to dare and brave all the consequences of their temerity. Pity and Justice to animals were among Mrs. Kingsford’s favourite texts when dealing with this part of her life’s work; and by reason of her general culture, her special training in the science of medicine, and her magnificent intellectual power, she was enabled to influence and work in the way she desired upon a very large proportion of those people who listened to her words or who read her writings. Few women wrote more graphically, more takingly, or possessed a more fascinating style.
Mrs. Kingsford’s field of activity, however, was not limited to the purely physical, mundane plane of life. She was a Theosophist and a true one at heart; a leader of spiritual and philosophical thought, gifted with the most exceptional psychic attributes. In connection with Mr. Edward Maitland, her truest friend – one whose incessant, watchful care has undeniably prolonged her delicate ever-threatened life for several years, and who received her last breath – she wrote several books dealing with metaphysical and mystical subjects. The first and most important was The Perfect Way, or the Finding of Christ, which gives the esoteric meaning of Christianity. It sweeps away many of the difficulties that thoughtful readers of the Bible must contend with in their endeavours to either understand or accept literally the story of Jesus Christ as it is presented in the Gospels.
She was for some time President of the “London Lodge” of the Theosophical Society, and, after resigning that office, she founded “The Hermetic Society” for the special study of Christian mysticism. She herself, though her religious ideas differed widely on some points from Eastern philosophy, remained a faithful member of the Theosophical Society and a loyal friend to its leaders. (2)
She was one, the aspirations of whose whole life were ever turned toward the eternal and the true. A mystic by nature – the most ardent one to those who knew her well – she was still a very remarkable woman even in the opinion of the materialists and the unbelievers. For, besides her remarkably fine and intellectual face, there was that in her which arrested the attention of the most unobserving and foreign to any metaphysical speculation. For, as Mrs. F. Fenwick Miller writes, though Mrs. Kingsford’s mysticism was “simply unintelligible” to her, yet we find that this does not prevent the writer from perceiving the truth. As she describes her late friend, “I have never known a woman so exquisitely beautiful as she who cultivated her brain so assiduously. (…) I have never known a woman in whom the dual nature that is more or less perceptible in every human creature was so strongly marked – so sensuous, so feminine on the one hand, so spirituelle, so imaginative on the other hand.” (3)
The spiritual and psychic nature had always the upper hand over the sensuous and feminine; and the circle of her mystically-inclined friends will miss her greatly, for such woman as she are not numerous in the same century. The world in general has lost in Mrs. Kingsford one who can be very ill-spared in this era of materialism. The whole of her adult life was passed in working unselfishly for others, for the elevation of the spiritual side of humanity. We can, however, in regretting her death take comfort in the thought that good work cannot be lost nor die, though the worker is no longer among us to watch for the fruit. And Anna Kingsford’s work will be still bearing fruit even when her memory has been obliterated with the generations of those who knew her well, and new generations will have approached the psychic mysteries still nearer. (4)
(1) Note from the editor of the Anna Kingsford Site: This text, The Late Mrs. Anna Kingsford, M.D., was published in H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings, Vol. IX, pp. 89-91. TPH, Madras (India), 1962, 487 pp. It was first published in the magazine Lucifer, Vol. II, nº. 7, March 1888, pp. 78-79.
(2) Note from the original text: Both Mr. Maitland and Mrs. Kingsford had resigned from the “London Lodge of the Theosophical Society,” but not from the Parent Society.]
(3) Note from the compiler of the work H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings: “Woman: Her Position and Her Prospects, Her Duties and Her Doings,” Lady’s Pictorial, London, March 3, 1888.]
(4) Note from the original text: The statement made by some papers that Mrs. Kingsford did not find her resting place in psychic force, for “she died a Roman Catholic,” is utterly false. The boasts made by the R.C. Weekly Register (March 3 and March 10, 1888) to the effect that she died in the bosom of the Church, having abjured her views, psychism, theosophy, and even her The Perfect Way, and writings in general, have been vigorously refuted in the same paper by her husband, Rev. Algernon Kingsford, and Mr. Maitland. We are sorry to hear that her last days were embittered by the mental agony inflicted upon her by an unscrupulous nun, who, as Mr. Maitland declared to us, was smuggled in as a nurse – and who did nothing but bother her patient, “importune her, and pray.” That Mrs. Kingsford was entirely against the theology of the Church of Rome, though believing in Catholic doctrines, may be proved by one of her last letters to us, on “poor slandered St. Satan,” in connection with certain attacks on the name of our Journal, Lucifer. We have preserved this and several other letters, as they were all written between September, 1887 and January, 1888. They thus remain eloquent witnesses against the pretensions of the Weekly Register. For they prove that Mrs. Kingsford had not abjured her views, nor that she died “in fidelity to the Catholic Church.”
At Some Distant Day It Will Become a Religion of Great Nations
“I know that at some distant day, now, indeed, perhaps very remote, the message we preach in a corner will become a religion of great nations.” (Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. Addresses and Essays on Vegetarianism, p. 1; emphasis added)
Appealing to the Intellectual As Well As to the Devotional Side
“In an age distinguished, as is the present, by all-embracing research, exhaustive analysis, and unsparing criticism, no religious system can endure unless it appeals to the intellectual as well as to the devotional side of man’s nature. At present the faith of Christendom is languishing on account of a radical defect in the method of its presentation, through which it is brought into perpetual conflict with science; and the harassing and undignified task is imposed on its supporters of an incessant endeavour to keep pace with the advances of scientific discovery, or the fluctuations of scientific speculation. The method whereby it is herein endeavoured to obviate the suspense and insecurity thus engendered, consists in the establishment of these two positions: –
(1) That the dogmas and symbols of Christianity are substantially identical with those of other and earlier religious systems.
(2) That the true plane of religious belief lies, not where hitherto the Church has placed it, – in the sepulchre of historical tradition, but in man’s own mind and heart; it is not, that is to say, the objective and physical, but the subjective and spiritual; and its appeal is not to the senses but to the soul. And,
(3) That thus regarded and duly interpreted, Christian doctrine represents with scientific exactitude the facts of man’s spiritual history.” (p. lxxii) (Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. From Preface to the Second (Revised) Edition, of The Perfect Way; or, the Finding of Christ; emphasis added)
Bible Presents the Fall and Redemption of the Souls Under the Form of Symbols and Parables
“Only let us once read the Bible with vision, unobscured by a veil of blood, and undistorted by prejudice, and its whole mystery – the mystery of our fall and of our redemption – becomes clear as the cloudless sky. For then we can trace as occurring in our own souls the whole process from beginning to end which the Bible from Genesis to the Revelation sets forth under types and parables precisely after the manner of our Lord Himself.” (Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. Addresses and Essays on Vegetarianism, chapter Vegetarianism and the Bible, p. 221; emphasis added)
Bible, Collection of Parables About the History of the Soul: Persons, Peoples, Animals etc, Are Symbols – To Materialize the Symbols Is to Commit Idolatry
“The Bible, in short, may be defined as a collection of parables setting forth the history of the Soul from its first descent into matter, to its final return to its original condition of pure spirit. And as the Soul undergoes the same process whether it be one or many – a person, a church, a race, or even the universe at large – the narrative that sets forth, or the parable that represents the history of one, does so equally of all. And the same terms, which are three in number, comprise the entire process. These are Generation, Degeneration, and Regeneration, and these, therefore, as applied to the Soul, are the subject of the Bible, as we shall presently show, and not the physical history of any person or people whatever, though described in terms derived from persons and people. And to take such persons, people, or other symbol from their proper place as symbols, and, ignoring their true signification, to pay to them the honour due only to that signification is, in biblical language, to commit idolatry. For, in so doing, we materialise spiritual mysteries, and accord to the Form the regard due only to the Substance. Whenever we understand the things of Sense where the things of Spirit are alone implied, and so conceal the true features of Divinity with false and spurious presentations, we commit what the Bible regards as the most abhorrent of sins, and make ourselves idolaters, and, at the same time, identify ourselves with that materialistic school which is fast overspreading the world with the avowed object of eradicating the very idea of God and the Soul.
For “Idolatry is Materialism, the common and original sin of men, which replaces Spirit by Appearance, Substance by Illusion, and leads both the moral and intellectual Being into error, so that they substitute the nether for the upper, and the depth for the height. It is that false fruit which attracts the outer senses, the bait of the serpent in the beginning of the world” (Clothed with the Sun, Part I, Nº. v.); and this alike for the race and for each individual who has ever lived, for all are liable to its attraction.
We ought then to know, for the right understanding of the mystical scriptures, that in their esoteric, or interior and real, sense, they deal, not with material things, but with spiritual realities; and that neither is Adam an actual man, but denotes rather the lower personality or intellectual force in every human being; nor is Eve an actual woman. But denotes the feminine element in every human being, namely, the Soul or moral conscience; and she is therefore called the “Mother of the Living” or spiritually alive, namely, those in whom the Soul has attained self-consciousness. Nor is Eden an actual place, but a condition of innocence prior to a fall from a height attained. Nor is the Tree of Life in its midst an actual tree, but God standing in the midst of the Universe as its life. Nor is man made all at once in the image of God, but only after long ages of development, beginning in the lowest forms of vegetable life, and passing upward through many forms, till he reaches the human form; and even then he is not made in the image of God, is not truly man in the Bible and mystic sense. For in this sense it takes something more than the man physical, more than the man intellectual, more, even, than the man moral, to be a man. To be made in the image of God he must attain his spiritual majority, through his development of the consciousness of his spiritual nature. He must be soul as well as body; Eve as well as Adam; as on the physical, so on the spiritual plane, he requires the woman to make him man, and the mystic woman is his Soul. Prior to her advent, he is man materialistic and rudimentary merely, human in form only, and an animal in all else. But she comes at length, manifested as alone the Soul can be, when his lower self is wrapped in deep slumber, and he awakes to find himself wholly man, in the image of God, male and female, in that he represents the two aspects, masculine and feminine, of Deity, the divine power and the divine love, and also the Seven Spirits through whom God creates all things. Thus constituted he is indeed Man, for he is a manifestation of God, by whose spirit, working within him, he has been created. And thus created has been and will be every man who ever lived or will live.” [Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. Addresses and Essays on Vegetarianism, chapter Vegetarianism and the Bible, pp. 216-218; emphasis added)
The Bible Insists on the Esoteric Sense
“But, first, to vindicate from Scripture itself the assertion of the presence in it of an esoteric sense on which Scripture insists as its true and divinely-intended sense. That such vindication should at all be necessary is in itself proof positive not merely of the inadequacy, but of the unfairness of the manner in which Scripture has been dealt with by its official expositors. But that it is necessary is shown indisputably by the charge of impiety which those expositors are wont to bring against the advocates of an esoteric sense, on the ground of seeking to “wrest Scripture from its obvious meaning” – namely, the meaning “obvious,” not to the spiritual, but to the superficial vision – and even of ascribing to its writers insanity for intending a meaning other than the obvious! As if spiritual things could be “obvious” to the superficial vision! Herein the literalists show that they fail to see that to make the “obvious” sense of the Bible its real sense would be to destroy it as a Bible or book of the soul; since as such it must appeal to the soul and not to the senses; and must refer, not to persons, things, and events belonging to the physical plane, but to principles, processes, and states purely spiritual – though expressed in terms derived from the physical plane – using persons, things, and events by way of illustration only.
The literalists fail, moreover, to see that, in view of the fact that all ancient Scriptures were similarly written, namely, in symbol, parable, and allegory, to insist upon the Bible as intended literally is to make it differ absolutely from all other books of its order. The following are some of the passages relied on: –
1) “Thou shalt see my back-parts” (the parchments used for the outer coverings of the sanctuary, and the material of books), “but My face thou shalt not see.” – Ex. XXXIII, 23. (Moses is here informed that the external sense only, and not the true sense of the Divine Word, should be recognised in his time, for the reason subsequently given: – the “hardness of men’s hearts.”)
2) “Moses gave you not that bread from heaven;” – (the food of the understanding). – John VI, 32.
3) “Even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. Nevertheless (…) it shall be taken away.” – 2 Cor. III, 15-16.
4) “He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.” – Heb. X, 9.
5) “And they (the Levites and Elders) read in the book, in the law of God, with an interpretation, and caused them (the people) to understand the reading.” – Nch. VIII, 8 (R.V. margin).
6) “And the good or understanding heart (Caleb) said, he that smiteth the city (or system) of the letter (Kirjath-sepher) and taketh it, to him will I give the Rending of the Veil (Achsah), my daughter, for wife.
7) “And the strong man of God (Othniel) took it, and he gave him the Rending of the Veil, his daughter, to wife. (And she brought him for dowry “the upper and nether springs,” an expression of frequent use in Scripture to denote the satisfaction of spiritual needs.)
8) “And that which before was called the city, or system, of the letter, was thereafter called the Word (Debir). – Josh. XV, 15-19.
9) “We speak theosophy (theou sophia) in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom (of God). Wisdom among them that are perfected (lit. full-grown, implying initiated). (…) Unto others as babes.” – 1 Cor. II, 6; III, 1.
10) “Which things (in the books of Moses) are an allegory; for there are two covenants; the one from Mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar” (the stranger which must be discarded as foreign to the soul and the true sense).
11) “But Jerusalem which is from above (the perfect doctrine contained in the interior sense) is free, which is the mother of us all. What saith the Scripture? Cast out the bond-woman (the literal sense) and her son” (the falsity engendered of that sense). – Gal. IV, 24-30.
12) “Perceive ye not yet, neither understand? Have ye your hearts yet hardened? Having eyes, see ye not? And having ears, hear ye not, and do ye not remember? How is it that ye do not understand?”
13) “Take heed; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees” (literalism and formalism), “and of the leaven of Herod.” (Ecclesiasticism, which is always the slayer of the pure intuition, and hence the massacrer of the innocence in man. Both name and deed imply Herod as identical with the Serpent of Eden.)
14) “O foolish, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken. (…) And beginning from Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” – Luke XXIV, 27. (Little or none of which appears on the surface of the books referred to.)
15) “Woe unto you lawyers” (Ecclesiastics)! “For ye have taken away the key of knowledge (Gnosis); ye have entered not in yourselves, and those who would have entered in ye have hindered.” – Luke XI, 52. (Addressed to, the Ecclesiasticism of all time.)
16) “But this I (Paul) confess unto thee, that after the way which they” – the Ecclesiastics, my accusers – “call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and the prophets.” – Acts XXIV, 14.
17) “For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of Man be to this generation.” – Luke XI, 30. (Because as the swallowing of Jonah by a whale represented the suppression of the true doctrine by the Ecclesiasticism of his time, and his ejectment its restoration, whereby the Church was set free to accomplish its mission, so would Christ be a personal demonstration of that doctrine to the world in spite of its suppression by the Ecclesiasticism of His time.)
18) “If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die.” – Rom. VIII, 13.
19) “Henceforth know we no man after the flesh; yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more.” – 2 Cor. V, 14. (The flesh here denotes the literal and personal sense, as distinguished from the spiritual truth represented by Christ, namely, the doctrine of salvation by regeneration as the one way for all.)
20) “If David then call him Lord, how is he his Son?” Matt. XXII, 45. (An example of the confusion caused by understanding persons where principles are intended.)
21) “Render unto Cesar the things which are Cesar’s, and unto God the things which are God’s.” – Matt. XXII, 21. (This is an injunction on behalf of attaching their due relative value to the two senses of Scripture as against the exclusive preference for the superficial.)
22) “Understandest thou what thou readest?” “How should I except some man should guide me?” – Acts VIII, 30-31.
23) “Art thou a Master of Israel and knowest not these things?” – John III, 10. (This is a rebuke addressed to the Ecclesiasticism of all time for its blindness to the spiritual doctrine of regeneration of which Jesus himself was the express and typical example, and its preference for the sacerdotal doctrine of vicarious sacrifice.)
24) “Open thou mine eyes that I may behold the wondrous things out of thy law!” – Ps. CXIX, 19.
25) “Mystery; Babylon the great; the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.” – Rev. XVII, 5. (This is a denunciation by Jesus, speaking by his “Angel” through “John the Divine,” of Ecclesiasticism as the “Scarlet woman,” for denying to man a faculty of understanding, by insisting on authority as the criterion of truth, and making Mystery consist in something which transcends and contradicts reason, instead of only requiring the application of reason to a higher, because spiritual plane, thereby falsifying the doctrine, wholly reasonable, represented by Jesus.)” (Edward Maitland. The “New Gospel of Interpretation”. Chapter III: The Bible Insists on the Esoteric Sense; emphasis added)
Moses and Elias Correspond to Buddha and Pythagoras: the Mind and the Body. Jesus: the Heart-Spirit. Functions Exercized by Pythagoras, Buddha and Jesus: Works, Undestanding and Love, or Body, Mind and Heart
“As it was no part of the design of the Gospels to represent the whole course of the Man Regenerate, so neither was it a part of that design to provide, in respect of religious life and doctrine, a system whole and complete independently of any which had preceded it. Having a special relation to the Heart and Spirit of the Man, and thereby to the nucleus of the cell and the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle, Christianity, in its original conception, relegated the regeneration of the Mind and Body – the covered House and open Court of the Tabernacle, or exterior dualism of the Microcosm – to systems already existent and widely known and practised.
These systems were two in number, or rather were as two modes or expressions of the one system, the establishment of which constituted the “Message” which preceded Christianity by the cyclical period of six hundred years. This was the Message of which the “Angels” were represented in the Buddha Gautama and Pythagoras. Of these two nearly contemporary prophets and redeemers, the system was, both in doctrine and in practice, essentially one and the same.
And their relation to the system of Jesus, as its necessary pioneers and forerunners, finds recognition in the Gospels under the allegory of the Transfiguration. For the forms beheld in this – of Moses and Elias – are the Hebrew correspondences of Buddha and Pythagoras. And they are described as beheld by the three Apostles in whom respectively are typified the functions severally fulfilled by Pythagoras, Buddha, and Jesus; namely, Works, Understanding, and Love, or Body, Mind, and Heart, And by their association on the Mount is denoted the junction of all three elements, and the completion of the whole system comprising them, in Jesus as the representative of the Heart or Innermost, and as in a special sense the “beloved Son of God.”
Christianity, then, was introduced into the world with a special relation to the great religions of the East, and under the same divine control. And so far from being intended as a rival and supplanter of Buddhism, it was the direct and necessary sequel to that system; and the two are but parts of one continuous, harmonious whole, whereof the later division is but the indispensable supplement and complement of the earlier.
Buddha and Jesus are, therefore, necessary the one to the other; and in the whole system thus completed, Buddha is the Mind, and Jesus is the Heart; Buddha is the general, Jesus is the particular; Buddha is the brother of the universe, Jesus is the brother of men; Buddha is Philosophy, Jesus is Religion; Buddha is the Circumference, Jesus is the Within; Buddha is the System, Jesus is the Point of Radiation; Buddha is the Manifestation, Jesus is the Spirit; in a word, Buddha is the “Man,” Jesus is the “Woman.” But for Buddha, Jesus could not have been, nor would he have sufficed the whole man; for the man must have the Mind illuminated before the Affections can be kindled. Nor would Buddha have been complete without Jesus. Buddha completed the regeneration of the Mind; and by his doctrine and practice men are prepared for the grace which comes by Jesus. Wherefore no man can be, properly, Christian, who is not also, and first, Buddhist.
Thus the two religions constitute, respectively, the exterior and interior of the same Gospel, the foundation being in Buddhism – the term including Pythagoreanism – and the illumination in Christianity. And as without Christianity Buddhism is incomplete, so without Buddhism Christianity is unintelligible.” (Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. The Perfect Way; or, the Finding of Christ, pp. 249-251; emphasis added)
Christ, the Realisation in Man of His Own Divine Potentialities
“No personage unique, abnormal, unthinkable, of hybrid constitution and disorderly generation, then, is He the Christ of the Bible, of God, of Nature, and of the Gnosis, such as is that of Ecclesiasticism. Counterpart in man of the Logos in the Godhead, He is the Perfect Reason of God in manifestation; the fulfilment, not the subversion, of the divine-natural order, the realisation, alike for the individual and for the universal, of the divine potentialities proper and common to all in virtue of their derivation and constitution, by the indefeasible law of Heredity; the matured fruit of the seed implanted in every man, the seed of his own regeneration; the demonstration of the “precious jewel” of divinity “borne in the forehead of the toad,” symbol alchemic for matter. And in Him, as thus defined, is restored to man the Saviour of which his priests have defrauded him.
Generation, degeneration, regeneration, – these are the three terms of man’s spiritual history. The first and the last are the work of God; the second is the work of man himself. For all things are by generation, being the product of the interaction of Force and Substance, as respectively Father and Mother, the result depending on the will of the generator. Once generated, man is free to degenerate himself, until his time comes to be regenerated. His possibilities on this behalf are dependent on the use he has made of his period of freedom. Evolution is by generation; but the ladder thereof may be descended even until a condition is reached wherein regeneration is impossible, and extinction inevitable. The period of Grace implied by the “seventy times seven” has then elapsed for him.
The “denunciatory” expressions, so-called, of the Bible and the Creed, are simply affirmations of the necessity to salvation of the observance of the laws of being. It is with the life spiritual as with the life physical. The conditions essential to life must in both cases be respected. And just as the physiologist speaks affirmatively only when he declares that but for the fulfillment by man’s physical system of certain functions, he will undoubtedly perish, expressing himself in the technical language of his craft; so also do they speak affirmatively only who assert the same of man’s spiritual system. The conditions of the life eternal, like those of the life temporal, are founded in the nature of things; and there is nothing arbitrary in the affirmation of them by those who know, even though the language used be technical, and not understood of the uninstructed. Dogmatism consists only in the positive assertion of that which the asserter himself does not know positively.
The Bible specifies two sins as of peculiarly heinous and fatal character, the nature of which its official expositors have failed to discern, or at least to disclose. They are called “Anti-Christ” and the “Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.” They are essentially one in kind, though their manifestations are various. The key now restored convicts Ecclesiasticism of representing the systematic commission of them in all their manifestations, from the beginning.
“He is Anti-Christ that denieth the Father and the Son.” [1 John 2:22] The Father and the Son are denied by denying the Mother. For to exclude, as Ecclesiasticism has excluded, its feminine principle, Substance, from divinity, is to render impossible the relationship denoted by the terms Father and Son, seeing that they imply and involve Spouse and Mother.
Similarly as regards the sin against the Holy Ghost. Alike in repose and in activity, in the Godhead and in manifestation, the divine unity must comprise the duality, Force and Substance, Father and Mother, to render possible that eternal generation whereby are creation and redemption, and therein the manifestation of God in Christ. That the sin of this denial in respect of the Holy Ghost “shall never be forgiven neither in the world that now is, nor in that which is to come,” [Mark 3:29] is because, as a sin against the essential principle both of Being and of Becoming, it bears its own penalty with it. Denying the Universe to be generated of God, and constituted of God’s own force and substance, it denies it to be a manifestation of God; denies, therefore, that correspondence between God and creation in virtue of which the “invisible things of Him are clearly seen, being understood by the things which are made.” [Romans 1:20]
And it denies regeneration as the process of the manifestation of God through individuation in man, to deny which is to deny Christ as the crown of evolution, and therein of creation.
Positing as the material of existence, something which, not being essentially God, is unreal and unrelated to God, such denial constitutes the negation of any vital relation between God and the Universe, as parent and offspring, to the exclusion of the idea of duty, as from one to the other in either direction. And regarding God as Force only, and not Substance; Will only, and not Love; it substitutes for a living God and a living Universe but mechanical, inconscient cause and effect.
The expression of Jesus, “My Father and your Father, My God and your God,” [John 20:17] is an affirmation of the divinity of substance, and consequently of the consubstantiality of God and man. It is only Ecclesiasticism that has made man a “child of the devil.” Doing which it has ascribed to him precisely the paternity which Jesus ascribes to it as when, addressing his ecclesiastical persecutors and slayers, he says, “Ye are of your father the devil.” [John 8:44]. (Edward Maitland. The “New Gospel of Interpretation”, pp. 49-52; emphasis added)
Crucifixion, Resurrection and the Doctrine of Vicarious Atonement Which, As Ordinarily Understood, Is Idolatrous, Blasphemous, and Pernicious in the Highest Degree
“And it is always by the crucifixion and death on the cross of renunciation of that old Adam, the lower self, and the resurrection and ascension to a condition of final perfection that salvation is finally attained. And the reason why all these eternal verities in the soul’s history are made to centre in the prophet of Nazareth is simply because, recognising in him the tokens of his attainment of perfection in a degree never reached before, and in his history the fitting symbolical correspondences, the Divine Spirit, under whose inspiration the Gospels were composed, selected him as the type of the possibilities of humanity at large.
But even while thus rejecting as idolatrous, blasphemous, and pernicious in the highest degree the doctrine as ordinarily understood of Vicarious Atonement [NA.: That realized by someone else in place of another one; in this case the sacrifice by Jesus Christ to redeem us from sin, to reconcile us with God], we still see in “Christ Jesus” “the only begotten Son of God,” [John 3:16, 18] and still cling fast to His blood and cross as the sole means of salvation.
But it is the Christ Jesus, or man reborn of a pure soul and spirit, as Jesus Himself declared that all must be born – even precisely as He is dramatically described as having been born – within ourselves, to whom we look for salvation. And the means are His cross of self-sacrifice, renunciation, and purity of life; and the reception into ourselves of that “Blood of God” which is no mere physical blood – between which and moral imperfection is no congruous relation – but which is the life of God, even pure Spirit, which is God, and which God is ever freely shedding for His creatures, giving them of His own life and substance.
How pernicious is the doctrine of vicarious atonement as ordinarily accepted may be seen in the world’s present condition, intellectually, morally, and spiritually, no less than physically. Man ever makes himself after the image of his God, that is, after his idea of God. And believing in a God who is unjust, selfish, and cruel, man cannot be other than unjust, selfish, and cruel also.
It is precisely this misrepresentation of the divine character, and this perversion of the true and only possible doctrine of the atonement into one that makes man’s salvation a process external to himself and dependent on the action of another than himself, which, by falsifying Christianity, have ensured its failure, and, instead of a world ordered on the principles of justice, sympathy, and purity, have given us a world of wrong-doing, selfishness, and sensuality.
According to the true gospel, as declared by the prophets, the substance of humanity is not material and created, but spiritual and divine. And man rises out of his lower into his higher nature by subordinating the former to the latter, and so rising wholly into that higher, becoming thereby divine – for between Spirit and Matter there is no boundary line. The knowledge of this was the priceless treasure of which Israel fleeing, “spoiled the Egyptians.” [Exodus 12:36] And it was the grand secret of all sacred mysteries from the first. That, on the contrary, is a false gospel, proceeding from the priests, which, defying at once the intellect and the intuition, ascribes salvation to a vicarious operation, and, instead of the sacrifice of our own lower nature to our own higher nature, and of ourselves for others, insists on the sacrifice of our higher nature to our lower, and of others for ourselves.
It is of this inversion of the divine order that the prevalent habit of flesh eating and of vivisection – that most infernal of all practices that ever issued from the bottomless pit of man’s lower nature – are the direct and inevitable outcome. And until the divine order is restored, in act as well as in thought, by the renunciation of the doctrine of vicarious sacrifice as ordinarily held, and by the consequent rehabilitation of the character of God, all our efforts at improvement must be futile; our civilisation will be but a mockery of the term; and our morality and religion will be things we should be the better for being without.” (Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. Addresses and Essays on Vegetarianism, chapter Vegetarianism and the Bible, pp. 221-223; emphasis added].
Once the Veil of Symbolism is Lifted All Churches Are Akin, and the Basic Doctrine of All Is identical
“Once the veil of symbolism is lifted from the divine face of Truth, all Churches are akin, and the basic doctrine of all is identical (…). Greek, Hermetic, Buddhist, Vedantist, (1) Christian – all these Lodges of the Mysteries are fundamentally one and identical in doctrine. (…)
We hold that no single ecclesiastical creed is comprehensible by itself alone, uninterpreted by its predecessors and its contemporaries.
Students, for example, of Christian theology will only learn to understand and to appreciate the true value and significance of the symbols familiar to them, by the study of Eastern Philosophy and Pagan Idealism
For Christianity is the heir of these, and she draws her best blood from their veins. And, forasmuch as all her great ancestors hid beneath their exoteric formulas and rites – themselves mere husks and shells to amuse the simple-minded – the esoteric or concealed verities reserved for the initiate, so also she reserves for earnest seekers and deep thinkers the true interior Mysteries which are one and eternal in all creeds and Churches from the foundation of the world.
This true, interior, transcendental meaning is the Real Presence, veiled in the Elements of the Divine Sacrament: the mystical Substance and Truth figured beneath the Bread and the Wine of the ancient Bacchic orgies, and now of our own Catholic Church.
To the unwise, the unthinking, the superstitious, the gross Elements are the objects of the rite; to the initiate, the seer, the son of Hermes, they are but the outward and visible signs of that which is ever and of necessity, inward, spiritual, and occult.
(1) A careful and an erudite student of the Hindû Scriptures said that The Perfect Way contained “passages identical with some which he had rendered from the Upanishads, but of which no translation had ever been published; and he accounted for the coincidence by supposing an identical illumination of both” (Life of A.K., Vol. II, p. 310). Edward Maitland says: “Whenever the highest plane of consciousness has been attained, and entrance won to the ‘kingdom within,’ the doctrine discerned has been one and the same – to the mind a necessity, and to the soul a reality: and has always been that of the Gnosis, variously termed, by the Gentiles, Hermetic, and by Hebrews, Kabbalistic.” (Edward Maitland’s MS. Preface, dated March, 1885, to an American Edition of The Perfect Way.) Samuel Hopgood Hart.”
(Edward Maitland, quoted by Samuel Hopgood Hart, in his Preface to the Fifth Edition, pp. xii-xiii, to the work The Perfect Way. Quotation from The Life of Anna Kingsford, Vol. II, pp. 123-124; emphasis added)
Ex Oriente Lux. Why the Christian Church Is Catholic? The Central Figure of the Christ Synthetizes All the Characteristics, Legends, and Symbols Appertaining to the Central Figures of Preceding Dispensations
“The Christian Faith is the direct heir of the old Roman faith. Rome was the heir of Greece, and Greece of Egypt, whence the Mosaic dispensation and Hebrew ritual sprang.
Egypt was but the focus of a light whose true fountain and centre was the Orient in general – Ex Oriente Lux. For the East, in every sense, geographically, astronomically, and spiritually, is ever the source of light.
But although originally derived from the East, the Church of our day and country is modelled immediately upon the Greco-Roman mythology, and draws thence all its rites, doctrines, ceremonies, sacraments, and festivals.
Hence the exposition to be given of Esoteric Christianity would deal more especially with the mysteries of the West, their ideas and terminology being more attractive and congenial to us than the inartistic conceptions, the unfamiliar metaphysics, the melancholy spiritualism, and the unsuggestive language of the East.
Drawing its life-blood directly from the pagan faith of the old Occidental world, Christianity more nearly resembles its immediate father and mother than its remote ancestors, and will, therefore, be better expounded by reference to Greek and Roman sources than to their Brahminical and Vedic parallels.
The Christian Church is Catholic, or it is nothing worthy the name of Church at all. For Catholic signifies universal, all-embracing: – the faith everywhere and always received. (1)
The prevalent limited view of the term is wrong and mischievous. The Christian Church was first called Catholic because she enfolded, comprehended, and made her own all the religious past of the whole world, gathering up into and around her central figure of the Christ all the characteristics, legends, and symbols hitherto appertaining to the central figures of preceding dispensations, proclaiming the unity of all human aspiration, and formulating in one grand ecumenical system the doctrines of East and West.
Thus the Catholic Church is Vedic, Buddhist, Zend, and Semitic. She is Egyptian, Hermetic, Pythagorean, and Platonic. She is Scandinavian, Mexican, and Druidic. She is Grecian and Roman. She is scientific, philosophic, and spiritual. We find in her teachings the Pantheism of the East, and the individualism of the West. She speaks the language and thinks the thoughts of all the children of men; and in her temple all the gods are shrined.
I am Vedantist, Buddhist, Hellenist, Hermetic, and Christian, because I am Catholic. For in that one word all Past, Present, and Future are enfolded. And, as St Augustine and other of the Fathers truly declared, Christianity contains nothing new but its name, having been familiar to the ancients from the beginning. And the various sects, which retain but a portion of Catholic doctrine, are but as incomplete copies of a book from which whole chapters have been torn, or representations of a drama in which some only of the characters and scenes have been retained.
(1) Abstract, by Edward Maitland, of the Lecture given by Anna Kingsford, on the 12th June 1884, to the Hermetic Society, and published in Light, 21st June 1884, p. 254, where it is stated that “The discourse, which occupied an hour in delivery, dealt with the origin, symbolisation, and interpretation, of religious doctrine in general, and the esoteric significance of the opening clause of the Creed in particular, shewing in a profoundly metaphysical disquisition the fallacy involved in the conventional anthropomorphic conception of Deity, and the necessity to a rational system of thought of a substratum to the universe which is at once intelligent and personal, though in a sense differing from that which is ordinarily implied by the term; the Divine personality being that, not of outward form, but of essential consciousness; and creation, which is manifestation, being due, not to action from without, but to the perpetual Divine presence and operation from within: ‘God the Father’ being, in the esoteric and true sense, the original, undifferentiated Life and Substance of the universe, but not limited by the universe, and Himself the potentiality of all things.” The Report also states that at the close of the Lecture Anna Kingsford “gave some account of the method of illumination whereby Divine knowledges are obtained, and said that recent conversations with properly instructed initiates from the East had convinced her of the identity of the religious systems of the East and the West.” – Samuel Hopggod Hart.” (Anna Kigsford and Edward Maitland. The Credo of Christendom, pp. 94-96; emphasis added)
Fig-Tree and Hermes
“The fig-tree, which both with the Hebrews and the Greeks was the type of intuitional perception, was an especial symbol of Hermes, called by the Hebrews Raphael.” (Anna Kingsford. Dreams and Dream-Stories. Footnote 38:1)
The Son of God, Is No Other Than the Spiritual Manhood, Fortified and Sustained by Wisdom and Thought
“Andromeda, the Soul, the better part of Man, is on the point of being devoured outright by the baleful dragon of Negation, the agent of the lower nature, and the ravager of all the hopes of mankind. Her name, – identical with the terms in which is described the first Woman of Hebrew story, – indicates her as the helpmeet and ruler of man; her parentage denotes the origin of the Soul from the astral Fire or Aether, signified by the land of Aethiopis; the brazen fetters with which she is bound to the rock, typify the present bondage of the Divine in man to his material part; and her redemption, espousal, and exaltation by the hero Perseus, prefigure the final and crowning achievement of the Son of God, who is no other than the Spiritual Manhood, fortified and sustained by Wisdom and Thought.” (Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. Preface, The Perfect Way, p. 14)
Idolaters and Idolatry
“And besides all these Symbols, Moses taught the People to have beyond all Things an Abhorrence of Idolatry. What, then, is Idolatry, and what are False Gods?
To make an Idol is to materialise spiritual Mysteries. The Priests, then, were Idolaters, who coming after Moses, and committing to Writing those Things which he by Word of Mouth had delivered unto Israel, replaced the true Things signified, by their material Symbols, and shed innocent Blood on the pure Altars of the Lord.
They also are Idolaters who understand the Things of Sense where the Things of the Spirit are alone implied, and who conceal the true Features of the Gods with material and spurious Presentations.
Idolatry is Materialism, the common and original Sin of Men, which replaces Spirit by Appearance, Substance by Illusion, and leads both the moral and intellectual Being into Error, so that they substitute the Nether for the Upper, and the Depth for the Height.
It is that false Fruit which attracts the outer Senses, the Bait of the Serpent in the Beginning of the World. (1) Until the Mystic Man and Woman had eaten of this Fruit, they knew only the Things of the Spirit, and found them suffice. But after their Fall, they began to apprehend Matter also, and gave it the Preference, making themselves Idolaters. And their Sin, and the Taint begotten of that false Fruit, have corrupted the Blood of the whole Race of Men, from which Corruption the Sons of God would have redeemed them.
(1) Meaning: “the beginning of the World in the Church; or worldliness or materiality, that is, in the interpretation of things spiritual.” (see Life of Anna Kingsford, Vol. I, p 261). Samuel Hopgood Hart.”
(Anna Kingsford. Clothed with the Sun, Pt. l, N°. V, pp. 14-15; emphasis added)
The Interpretation of Your Bibles
“That which you need on Earth is the interpretation of your Bibles, and of all the Scriptures which contain the hidden wisdom, the mystery of which St. Paul so often speaks as existing from the foundation of the world. (As in Romans 16:25)” (A Message to Earth. Edited by Edward Maitland. p. 69; emphasis added)
The “Woman” Is Not a “Woman”, But the Soul, and the Intuition
“It is the inveterate enmity of the occult powers of evil to the mystic “Woman” of Scripture that is implied in the Apocalyptic presentation of the dragon, “when knowing he has but a short time,” as “casting out of his mouth water as a flood to carry her away.”
The imminence of the restoration of the intuition recognised by the dragon, who is no other than her old seducer in Eden, is due to the commencement of the reign of Michael, “the great prince who standeth for the children of God’s people.” This is because, as the representative of the principle of equity or equilibrium, in respect of the masculine and feminine factors in man’s nature, Michael represents the restoration to her proper throne of the Intuition, by whom is the discernment of spirit and, therein, of the true nature of the dragon as the antithesis of the Spirit.
The denial of the Intuition is a distinguishing characteristic of Ecclesiasticism, be it religious or scientific. And never was it more conspicuous by its absence from either kind than in the present day. But the question has first to be answered, who or what precisely the Intuition is. And as there is none so competent to answer it as herself, it is in the words in which she has revealed herself anew expressly for the purposes of the New Interpretation represented by this Society, that the answer shall be given. It will be seen that at the very outset she restores the doctrine – Universal in the pre-Christian Churches, but suppressed by Ecclesiasticism on assuming the designation of Christian – which alone renders her, or the Bible, or existence itself, intelligible. This is the doctrine of a multiplicity of earth-lives.
“Intuition is inborn experience; that which the soul knoweth of old and of former years. 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. None is a prophet save he who knoweth: the instructor of the people is a man of many lives. 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.” (1)
The mystic books deal only with spiritual entities. The tempter himself even is not matter, but that which gives matter the precedence. Adam is, rather, intellectual force; he is of earth. Eve is the moral conscience; she is mother of the living.
Intellect, then, is the male, and Intuition the female principle. And the sons of Intuition, herself fallen, shall at last recover truth and redeem all things.
By her fault, indeed, is the moral conscience of humanity made subject to the intellectual force, and thereby all manner of evil and confusion abounds, since her desire is unto him, and he rules over her until now.
But the end foretold by the Seer is not far off. Then shall the Woman be exalted, clothed with the sun, and carried to the throne of God. And her sons shall make war with the dragon, and have victory over him.
Intuition, therefore, pure and a virgin, shall be the mother and redemptress of her fallen sons whom she bore under bondage to her husband, the intellectual force.
Moses, therefore, knowing the mysteries of the religion of the Egyptians, and having learned of their Occultists the value and signification of all sacred birds and beasts, delivered like mysteries to his own people. (…) And he taught his initiated the spirit of the heavenly hieroglyphs, and bade them, when they made festival before God, to carry with them in procession, with music and with dancing, such of the sacred animals as were, by their interior significance, related to the occasion.
Now, of these beasts, he chiefly selected males of the first year, without spot or blemish, to signify that it is before all things needful that man should dedicate to the Lord his intellect and his reason, and this from the beginning and without the least reserve. And that he was very wise in teaching this is evident from the history of the world in all ages, and particularly in these last days. For what is it that has led men to renounce the realities of the Spirit, and to propagate false theories and corrupt sciences, denying all things save the appearance which can be apprehended by the outer senses, and making themselves one with the dust of the ground? It is their Intellect which, being unsanctified, has led them astray; it is the force of the mind in them, which, being corrupt, is the cause of their own ruin, and of that of their disciples.
As then, the intellect is apt to become the great traitor against heaven, so also it is the force by which men, following their pure intuition, may also grasp and apprehend the truth. For which reason it is written that the Christs are subject to their Mothers. Not that by any means the intellect is to be dishonoured; for it is the heir of all things, if only it be truly begotten and be no bastard.
And besides all these symbols, Moses taught the people to have beyond all things an abhorrence of Idolatry. What, then, is Idolatry, and what are false gods?
To make an idol is to materialise spiritual mysteries. The priests, then, were idolaters who, coming after Moses, and committing to writing those things which he by word of mouth had delivered unto Israel, replaced the true things signified, by their material symbols, and shed innocent blood on the pure altars of the Lord.
“They also are idolaters who understand the things of sense where the things of the Spirit are alone implied and who conceal the true features of the Gods with material and spurious presentations. Idolatry is Materialism, the common and original sin of man, which replaces Spirit by Appearance, Substance by Illusion, and leads both the moral and intellectual being into error, so that they substitute the nether for the upper, the depth for the height. It is that false fruit which attracts the outer sense, the bait of the serpent in the beginning of the world. Until the mystic man and woman had eaten of this fruit, they knew only the things of the Spirit, and found them suffice. But after their fall, they began to apprehend matter also, and gave it the preference, making themselves idolaters. And their sin, and the taint begotten of that false fruit, have corrupted the blood of the whole race of men. From which corruption the Sons of God would have redeemed them.” (2)
“All that is true is spiritual. 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. For matter shall cease and all that is of it; but the Word of the Lord shall endure for ever. And how shall it remain except it be purely spiritual, since when matter ceases, it would “then be no longer comprehensible?” (3)
For, though matter is eternally the mode whereby spirit manifests itself, matter is not itself eternal.
The Church has all the truth; but the priests have materialised it.
In their real sense its doctrines are divine verities, founded in the nature of Being. As ecclesiastically presented, they are blasphemous absurdities. They are true as God intended them; not as priests will have them.
The Bible was written by intuitionalists, for intuitionalists, and from the intuitionalist standpoint. It has been interpreted by externalists, for externalists, and from the externalist standpoint. The most occult and mystical of books, it has been expounded by persons without occult knowledge or mystical insight.”
(Edward Maitland, The “New Gospel of Interpretation”, pp. 27-32)
Divine Order of Chivalry Is the Order of the Christ, the Horse is the Symbol of Intelligence
“The divine Order of Chivalry is the enemy of ascetic isolation and indifferentism. It is the Order of the Christ who goes about doing good. The Christian knight, mounted on a valiant steed (for the horse is the symbol of Intelligence), and equipped with the panoply of Michael, is the type of the spiritual life, – the life of heroic and active charity.” (Anna Kingsford. Dreams and Dream-Stories, p. 278; emphasis added)
Redemption of Spirit from Matter, the Theme of All Sacred Scriptures, Fall of Adam, Israel, Going Down of Israel or the Soul into Egypt, Exodus or Flight Into the Wilderness-Desert, Crossing of the Jordan and Promised Land
“It is this process of transmutation, or redemption of Spirit from Matter, alike in the individual and in the universal, which constitutes the theme of all sacred scriptures, the object of all true religions, the task of all true churches.
And they are the several stages of this process which constitute respectively the Fall of Adam through the yielding of the Eve in him to the serpent of Matter; the going down of Israel or the Soul into Egypt or the world and the body; and the Exodus or flight from the world across the water of separation and consecration into the wilderness of beneficial experience; and the crossing of the Jordan or river of purification to take possession of the promised land of perfection.
They are still the several stages of this process which are represented in the Gospel-history of the typical man regenerate. Whether they be termed water and the spirit, a pure soul and the divine operation therein, or the Virgin Mary and Holy Ghost, it is of these two in each man himself who finally is redeemed that the new man, or man regenerate, the Christ Jesus – who always is the “only begotten son of God” [John 3:16, 18] – is produced.
And it is always by the crucifixion and death on the cross of renunciation of that old Adam, the lower self, and the resurrection and ascension to a condition of final perfection that salvation is finally attained. And the reason why all these eternal verities in the soul’s history are made to centre in the prophet of Nazareth is simply because, recognising in him the tokens of his attainment of perfection in a degree never reached before, and in his history the fitting symbolical correspondences, the Divine Spirit, under whose inspiration the Gospels were composed, selected him as the type of the possibilities of humanity at large.” (Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. Addresses and Essays on Vegetarianism, chapter Vegetarianism and the Bible, p. 221-222; emphasis added)
Christ into Hades, Regeneration, Flight from Egypt, Desert, Provation, Period of Forty Days-Years, Redemption, River Jordan and Promised Land
“Not only do the death, burial, and descent of Christ into Hades, renew on an interior and personal plane the immergence of the soul into existence; but they also repeat, in a higher and subtler sense, the drama of the forty days’ fast and exile in the wilderness. For this period of forty days epitomises the ordeals of initiation as practised in the Greek mysteries; (1) and the dissolution, burial, and three days’ abode in Hades, epitomise the heroic and saving oblation of the Man-God.
Regeneration, in the Hebrew mysteries, is symbolised by the flight from Egypt, the body, and, therefore, land of bondage for the soul, across the Red Sea into the Wilderness of Sin, the scene of ordeal where the mystical forty days are expressed in a like term of years.
The Redemption is typified by the passage of the Jordan, which divides this wilderness of trial from the promised land of spiritual perfection and rest. This Jordan, or river of judgment, could not be passed by Moses because he had failed in the ordeal of his initiation. The ultimate deliverance of Israel was reserved for Joshua, a name identical with Jesus, who had remained faithful throughout. Jordan corresponds to the Acheron of the Olympian mysteries, which all souls, descending to the under-world, were compelled to traverse. And Limbo, Paradise, Avernus, the Elysian Fields, Tartarus, Purgatory, and the rest, all denote, under various names, not localities, but spheres or conditions of being, recognised alike in the Hebrew, Pagan, and Christian systems, and subsisting in man himself.
And the passage of Christ through the under-world represents occultly the work of Redemption within the human kingdom, precisely according to the Hermetic doctrine of transmutation that is, the Redemption of Spirit from matter, allegorically termed the conversion of the baser metals into gold.” (Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. The Credo of Christendom, p. 102-103)
Mystical Sense, and Not the Literal Sense
“Such was the first intimation (…) given us of the truth subsequently revealed in plenitude, – the presence in Scripture of a mystical sense concealed within the apparent sense, as a kernel in its shell, which, and not the literal sense, is the intended sense.” (Edward Maitland. The Story of Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland and of the New of Interpretation, p. 53; emphasis added)
On the Passion and the Blood of Christ
“Coming to His passion and death, I explained that these were no atonement in the sense ordinarily understood. For that God does not take the mere shedding of innocent blood as any satisfaction for the moral guilt of others; but that the mystical Blood of Christ by which we are saved is no other than the secret of the Christs whereby they transmute themselves from the material to the spiritual plane, the secret, namely, of inward purification.
And I showed that throughout all the sacred writings the word blood is used as a synonym for life; and that life, in its highest, perfectest, and intensest sense, is not the mere physical life understood by materialists, but the essence of that life, the inward God in the man. (…) And when, also, it is said that the blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin, it is signified that sin is impossible to him who is perfectly spiritualised and has been baptized with the spiritual baptism.
The blood of Christ, therefore, is not the material blood of any man whatsoever. It is the secret and process of spiritual perfectionment attained by the Christ, and that whereby all who, following His method, know God and are initiated, become redeemed and attain the gift of eternal life.” (Edward Maitland. The Life of Anna Kingsford, Vol. I, p. 316; emphasis added)
Convert the Material, Idolatrous, Interpretation of Ancestral Doctrine into a Spiritual One
“Orthodox Christianity, both in Catholic and in Protestant countries, is languishing on account of a radical defect in its method, – to wit, the exoteric and historical sense in which, exclusively, its dogmas are taught and enforced. It should be the task (…) in these countries to convert the material – and therefore idolatrous – interpretation of the ancestral faith and doctrine into a spiritual one; to lift the plane of the Christian creed from the exoteric to the esoteric level, and thus, without touching a stone or displacing a beam of the holy city, to carry it all up intact from earth to heaven. Such a transmutation, such a translation as this, would at once silence the objections and accusations now legitimately and reasonably brought by thinkers, scholars, and scientists against ecclesiastical teaching. For it would lift Religion into its only proper sphere; it would enfranchise the concerns and interests of the Soul from the bondage of the Letter and the Form, of Time and of Criticism, and thus from the harassing and always ineffectual endeavour to keep pace with the flux and reflux of material speculation and scientific discovery.
Nor is the task thus proposed by any means a hard one. It needs but to be demonstrated, first, that the dogmas and central figures of Christianity are identical with those of all other past and present religious systems – a demonstration already largely before the world; next, that these dogmas being manifestly untrue and untenable in a material sense, and these figures clearly unhistorical, their true plane is to be sought not where hitherto it has been the endeavour of the Church to find them – in the sepulchre of tradition, among the dry bones of the Past, but rather in the living and immutable Heaven to which we, who truly desire to find the ‘Lord,’ must in heart and mind ascend.
‘Whyseek ye the Living among the dead? He isnot here, He is risen.’
Lastly, it should be demonstrated that these events and personages, hitherto wrongly supposed to be purely historical, accurately represent the processes and principles concerned in interior development, and respond perfectly to the definite and eternal needs of the human Ego. And that thus the Initiate has no quarrel with the true Christian religion or with its symbolism, but only with the current orthodox interpretation of that religion and symbolism. For he knows that it is in the noumenal and not in the phenomenal world, on the spiritual, not on the material plane, that he must look for thewhole process of the Fall, the Exile, the Immaculate Conception, the Incarnation, the Passion, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, the Ascension, and the Coming of the Holy Spirit. And any mode of interpretation which implies other than this, is not celestial but terrene, and due to that intrusion of earthy elements into things divine, that conversion of the inner into the outer, that materialisation of the Spiritual, which constitutes idolatry.
For, such of us as know and live the inner life are saved, not by any Cross on Calvary eighteen hundred years ago, not by any physical blood-shedding, not by any vicarious passion of tears and scourge and spear; but by the Christ Jesus, the God with us, the Immanuel of the heart, born and working mighty works, and offering oblation in our own lives, in our own persons, redeeming us from the world and making us sons of God and heirs of everlasting life.” (Edward Maitland. Life of Anna Kingsford, Vol. II, pp. 142-143; emphasis added)
“Adam,” “Eve,” “Christ,” “Mary” and the Rest – Denote the Various Spiritual Elements Constituting the Individual and His States
“The subject of her second lecture (…) was the second clause of the Creed: “And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; who is conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary.”
Concerning this clause, she said that in insisting upon the esoteric signification as alone true and of value, we are but reverting to the ancient and original usage. It is the acceptance of the Creed in its exoteric and historical sense which is really modern. For all sacred mysteries were originally regarded as spiritual, and only when they passed from the hands of properly instructed initiates into those of the ignorant and vulgar, did they become materialised and degraded to their present level.
The esoteric truth of this article of the Creed can be understood only through a previous knowledge, first, of the constitution of man, and next, of the meaning of the terms employed in the formulation of religious doctrine.
This doctrine represents perfect knowledge of human nature, and the terms in which it is expressed – “Adam,” “Eve,” “Christ,” and “Mary” and the rest – denote the various spiritual elements constituting the individual, the states through which he passes, and the goal he finally attains in the course of his spiritual evolution.
For, as St. Paul says, “these things are an allegory”; and in order to understand them it is necessary to know the facts to which they refer. Knowing these, we have no difficulty in recognising the origin of such portraiture and in applying it to oneself.
Thus “Adam” is man external and mundane merely, yet in due time developing the consciousness of “Eve” or the Soul – for the soul is always the “Woman” – and becoming a dual being consisting of matter and spirit. As “Eve,” the Soul falls under the power of this “Adam,” and becoming impure through subjection to matter, brings forth Cain, who, as representing the lower nature, is said to cultivate the fruits of the ground.
But as “Mary,” the Soul regains her purity, being said to be virgin as regards matter, and polarising to God, becomes mother of the Christ or Man regenerate, who alone is the begotten Son of God and Saviour of the man in whom he is engendered. Wherefore Christ is both process and the result of process. Being thus, he is not “the Lord,” but “our Lord.” The Lord is Adonai, the Word, subsisting eternally in the heavens; and Christ is his counterpart in man.” (Edward Maitland. The Life of Anna Kingsford, Vol. II, pp. 197-198; emphasis added)
Purified Soul and Divine Spirit, Water (Virgem Maria) and Holy Ghost
“Thus is the soul at once Daughter, Spouse, and Mother of God. By her is crushed the head of the Serpent. And from her triumphant springs the Man Regenerate, who, as the product of a pure soul and divine spirit, is said to be born of water (Maria) and the Holy Ghost.
The declarations of Jesus to Nicodemus are explicit and conclusive as to the purely spiritual nature both of the entity designated “Son of Man,” and of the process of his generation. Whether incarnate or not, the “Son of Man” is of necessity always “in heaven,” – his own “kingdom within.” Accordingly the terms describing his parentage are devoid of any physical reference. “Virgin Maria” and “Holy Ghost” are synonymous, respectively, with “Water” and “the Spirit”; and these, again, denote the two constituents of every regenerated selfhood, its purified soul and divine spirit. Wherefore the saying of Jesus – “Ye must be born again of Water and of the Spirit,” was a declaration, first, that it is necessary to every one to be born in the manner in which he himself is said to have been born; and, next, that the gospel narrative of his birth is really a presentation, dramatic and symbolical, of the nature of regeneration.” (Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland, The Perfect Way; or, the Finding of Christ, p. 143; emphasis added)