Anna Kingsford was an extraordinary 19th Century woman. She was one of the first women in Britain to become a medical doctor, edited a feminist newspaper, and served as president of the Theosophical Society. She knew Helena P. Blatavsky, Eliphas Levi, and many other primary figures in Occult and Esoteric circles of the time. She was a principled vegetarian and anti-vivisectionist, and opposed foxhunting. She was considered one of the inspirations for the Golden Dawn, a ritual magic secret society which was one of the sources of modern neo-paganism, although she did not live to join it. In particular, the equality of the sexes in the Golden Dawn is acknowledged as her contribution.
Anna Kingsford claimed to be in contact with fairies as a child. As an adult she had channeled visions, both waking and in lucid dreams, in which she tapped esoteric knowledge imparted by angelic beings, travelled in time, and witnessed shamanistic visions of a vast cosmos alive at every scale of creation. These ‘illuminations’, as she called them, were exhausting and sometimes terrifying. Her close collaborator Edward Maitland worked with Kingsford to record her illuminations in this book, published after her death.
Much of the channeled and revealed literature of the 19th Century is surreal fantasy, invented pseudo-histories, or pure free-association. By contrast, Anna Kingsford’s illuminations are consistent, coherent, and display a deep understanding of occult traditions. Her theology could be described as Gnostic Christian Polytheist. She had a radical feminist viewpoint which seems fresh even today, one in which a Goddess figure, the ‘Sophia’ of the Essenes, Gnostics and early Christians has a central role:
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.
Kingsford was chronically ill her entire life; she died of complications from pneumonia at the early age of 42, on February 22nd 1888.
LAMBDA, OR THE LAST OF THE GODS[U]; BEING THE SECRET OF SATAN 1
AND on the seventh day there went forth from the presence of God a mighty angel, full of wrath and consuming, and God gave unto him the dominion of the outermost sphere.
2. Eternity brought forth time; the boundless gave birth to limit; being descended into generation.
3. As lightning I beheld Satan fall from heaven, splendid in strength and fury.
4. Among the Gods is none like unto Him, into whose hand are committed the kingdoms, the power and the glory of the worlds:
5. Thrones and empires, the dynasties of kings, the fall of nations, the birth of churches, the triumphs of time.
6. They arise and pass, they were and are not; the sea and the dust and the immense mystery of space devour them.
7. The tramp of armies, the voices of joy and of pain, the cry of the new-born babe, the shout of the warrior mortally smitten.
8. Marriage, divorce, division, violent deaths, martyrdoms, tyrannous ignorances, the impotence of passionate protest, and the mad longing for oblivion:
9. The eyes of the tiger in the jungle, the fang of the snake, the fœtor of slaughter-houses, the wail of innocent beasts in pain:
10. The innumerable incarnations of spirit, the strife towards manhood, the ceaseless pulse and current of desire:–
11. These are his who beareth all the Gods on his shoulders;[V] who establisheth the pillars of necessity and fate.
12. Many names hath God given him, names of mystery, secret and terrible.
13. God called him Satan the Adversary, because matter opposeth spirit, and time accuseth even the saints of the Lord.
14. And the Destroyer, for his arm breaketh and grindeth to pieces; wherefore the fear and the dread of him are upon all flesh.
15. And the Avenger, for he is the anger of God; his breath shall burn up all the souls of the wicked.
16. And the Sifter, for he straineth all things through his sieve, dividing the husk from the grain; discovering the thoughts of the heart; proving and purifying the spirit of man.
17. And the Deceiver, for he maketh the false appear true, and concealeth the real under the mask of illusion.
18. And the Tempter, for he setteth snares before the feet of the elect: he beguileth with vain shows, and seduceth with enchantments.
19. Blessed are they who withstand his subtlety: they shall be called the Sons of God, and shall enter in at the beautiful gates.
20. For Satan is the doorkeeper of the temple of the King: he standeth in Solomon’s porch; he holdeth. the keys of the sanctuary;
21. That no man may enter therein save the Anointed, having the arcanum of Hermes.
22. For Satan is the Spirit of the Fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom.
23. He is the devourer of the unwise and the evil: they shall all be meat and drink to him.
24. Whatsoever he devoureth, that shall never more return into being.
25. Fear him, for after he hath killed, he hath power to cast into hell.
26. But he is the servant of the Sons of God, and of the children of light.
27. They shall go before him, and he shall follow the steps of the wise.
28. Stand in awe of him and sin not: speak his name with trembling; and beseech God daily to deliver thee.
29. For Satan is the magistrate of the justice of God: he beareth the balance and the sword,
30. To execute judgment and vengeance upon all who come short of the commandments of God; to weigh their works, to measure their desire, and to number their days,
31. For to him are committed weight and measure and number.
32. And all things must pass under the rod and through the balance, and be fathomed by the sounding-lead.
33. Therefore Satan is the minister of God, Lord of the seven mansions of Hades, the angel of the manifest worlds.
34. And God hath put a girdle about his loins, and the name of the girdle is Death.
35. Threefold are its coils, for threefold is the power of Death, dissolving the body, the ghost, and the soul.
36. And that girdle is black within, but where Phoibos strikes it is silver.
37. None of the Gods is girt save Satan, for upon him only is the shame of generation.
38. He hath lost his virginal estate: uncovering heavenly secrets, he hath entered into bondage.
39. He encompasseth with bonds and limits all things which are made: he putteth chains round about the worlds, and determineth their orbits.
40. By him are creation and appearance; by him birth and transformation; the day of begetting and the night of death.
41. The glory of Satan is the shadow of the Lord: the throne of Satan is the footstool of Adonai.
42. Twain are the armies of God: in heaven the hosts of Michael; in the abyss the legions of Satan.
43. These are the unmanifest and the manifest; the free and the bound; the virginal and the fallen.
44. And both are the ministers of the Father, fulfilling the word divine.
45. The legions of Satan are the creative emanations, having the shapes of dragons, of Titans, and of elemental gods;
46. Forsaking the intelligible world, 1 seeking manifestation, renouncing their first estate;
47. Which were cast out into chaos, neither was their place found any more in heaven.
48. Evil is the result of limitation, and Satan is the Lord of limit.
49. He is the father of lies, because matter is the cause of illusion.
50. To understand the secret of the kingdom of God, and to read the riddle of Maya, this is to have Satan under foot.
51. He only can put Satan under foot who is released by thought from the bonds of desire.
52. Nature is the allegory of spirit: all that appeareth to the sense is deceit: to know the truth,–this alone shall make men free.
53. For the kingdom of Satan is the house of matter: yea, his mansion is the sepulchre of Golgotha, wherein on the seventh day the Lord lay sleeping, keeping the Sabbath of the unmanifest.
54. For the day of Satan is the night of spirit: the manifestation of the worlds of form is the rest of the worlds informulate.
55. Holy and venerable is the Sabbath of God: blessed and sanctified is the name of the angel of Hades;
56. Whom the Anointed shall overcome, rising again from the dead on the first day of the week.
57. For the place of Satan is the bourne of divine impulsion: there is the arrest of the outgoing force; Luza, the station of pause and slumber:
58. Where Jacob lay down and dreamed, beholding the ladder which reached from earth to heaven.
59. For Jacob is the planetary angel Iacchos, the Lord of the body;
60. Who hath left his father’s house, and is gone out into a far country.
61. Yet is Luza none other than Bethel; the kingdom of Satan is become the kingdom of God and of His Christ.
62. For there the Anointed awakeneth, arising from sleep, and goeth his way rejoicing;
63. Having seen the vision of God, and beheld the secret of Satan;
64. Even as the Lord arose from the dead and brake the seal of the sepulchre;[V]
65. Which is the portal of heaven, Luza, the house of separation, the place of stony sleep;
66. Where is born the centripetal force, drawing the soul upward and inward to God;
67. Recalling Existence into Being, resuming the kingdoms of matter in spirit;[W]
68. Until Satan return unto his first estate, and enter again into the heavenly obedience;
69. Having fulfilled the will of the Father, and accomplished his holy ministry,
70. Which was ordained of God before the worlds, for the splendour of the manifest, and for the generation of Christ our Lord;[X]
71. Who shall judge the quick and the dead, putting all things under his feet; whose are the dominion, the power, the glory, and the Amen.[A]
169:1 A portion of this illumination, viz. 28 verses of the first part (but not the 28 first verses as they stand), were received at Paris, on November 12, 1878. The “redelivery and completion” of this Illumination was received, “without quitting the waking state,” at Paris, on October 21, 1886 (Life of Anna Kingsford, vol. i, pp. 289, 290: vol. ii, pp. 282, 283). S. H. H.
171:1 Of which the sensible world is the antithesis. E. M.