(The) Banquet of the Gods

“I saw in my sleep a great table spread upon a beautiful mountain, the distant peaks of which were covered with snow, and brilliant with a bright light. Around the table reclined, twelve persons, six male, six female, some of whom I recognised at once, the others afterwards. Those whom I recognised at once were Zeus, Hera, Pallas Athena, Phoebus Apollo, and Artemis. I knew them by the symbols they wore. The table was covered with all kinds of fruit, of great size, including nuts, almonds, and olives, with flat cakes of bread, and cups of gold into which, before drinking, each divinity poured two sorts of liquid, one of which was wine, the other water. As I was looking on, standing on a step a little below the top of the flight which led to the table, I was startled by seeing Hera suddenly fix her eyes on me and say,

“What seest thou at the lower end of the table?” And I looked and answered, “I see two vacant seats.” Then she spoke again and said, “When you are able to eat of our food and to drink of our cup, you also shall sit and feast with us.” Scarcely had she uttered these words, when Athena, who sat facing me, added, “When you are able to eat of our food and to drink of our cup, then you shall know as you are known.” And immediately Artemis, whom I knew by the moon upon her head; continued, “When you are able to eat of our food and to drink of our cup, all things shall become pure to you, and ye shall be made virgins.”

Then I said, “O Immortals, what is your food and your drink, and how does your banquet differ from ours, seeing that we also eat no flesh, and blood has no place in our repasts?”

Then one of the Gods, whom at the time I did not know, but have since recognised as Hermes, rose from the table, and coming to me put into my hands a branch of a fig tree bearing upon it ripe fruit, and 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. (1) Practise its precepts, and your senses shall be opened.”

Then, not yet 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.”

These last words seemed to be repeated from the sky overhead, and again from beneath my feet. And at the instant I fell, as if shot down like a meteor from a vast height; and with the swiftness and shock of the fallI awoke.

– HINTON, SEPT. 1877.

FOOTNOTE

(1) The book referred to was a volume entitled Fruit and Bread, which had been sent anonymously on the previous morning. 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. The plural used by the seer included myself as the partner of her literary and other studies. The term virgin in its mystical sense signifies a soul pure from admixture of matter. (Ed.)”
(Anna Kingsford. Dreams and Dream-Stories, pp. 36-38)

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