Dreams and Dream Stories By Anna (Bonus) Kingsford
Part I Dreams
I. The Doomed Train II. The Wonderful Spectacles III. The Counsel of Perfection IV. The City of Blood V. The Bird and the Cat VI. The Treasure in the Lighted House VII. The Forest Cathedral VIII. The Enchanted Woman IX. The Banquet of the Gods X. The Difficult Path XI. A Lion in the Way XII. A Dream of Disembodiment XIII. The Perfect Way with Animals XIV. The Laboratory Underground XV. The Old Young Man XVI. The Metempsychosis XVII. The Three Kings XVIII. The Armed Goddess XIX. The Game of Cards XX. The Panic-Struck Pack-Horse XXI. The Haunted Inn XXII. An Eastern Apologue XXIII. A Haunted House Indeed! XXIV. The Square in the Hand
I. "Through the Ages" II. A Fragment III. A Fragment IV. Signs of the Times V. With the Gods
Part II Dream Stories
I. A Village of Seers II. Steepside; A Ghost Story III. Beyond the Sunset IV. A Turn of Luck V. Noemi VI. The Little Old Man's Story VII. The Nightshade VIII. St. George the Chevalier
Preface* The chronicles which I am about to present to the reader are not the result of any conscious effort of the imagination. They are, as the title-page indicates, records of dreams, occurring at intervals during the last ten years, and transcribed, pretty nearly in the order of their occurrence, from my Diary. Written down as soon as possible after awaking from the slumber during which they presented themselves, these narratives, necessarily unstudied in style and wanting in elegance of diction, have at least the merit of fresh and vivid color, for they were committed to paper at a moment when the effect and impress of each successive vision were strong and forceful in the mind, and before the illusion of reality conveyed by the scenes witnessed and the sounds heard in sleep had had time to pass away. I do not know whether these experiences of mine are unique. So far, I have not yet met with any one in whom the dreaming faculty appears to be either so strongly or so strangely developed as in myself. Most dreams, even when of unusual vividness and lucidity, betray a want of coherence in their action, and an incongruity of detail and dramatis personae, that stamp
———————- * Written in 1886. Some of the experiences in this volume were subsequent to that date. This publication is made in accordance with the author's last wishes. (Ed.) ———————
them as the product of incomplete and disjointed cerebral function. But the most remarkable features of the experiences I am about to record are the methodical consecutiveness of their sequences, and the intelligent purpose disclosed alike in the events witnessed and in the words heard or read. Some of these last, indeed, resemble, for point and profundity, the apologues of Eastern scriptures; and, on more than one occasion, the scenery of the dream has accurately portrayed characteristics of remote regions, city, forest and mountain, which in this existence at least I have never beheld, nor, so far as I can remember, even heard described, and yet, every feature of these unfamiliar climes has revealed itself to my sleeping vision with a splendour of coloring and distinctness of outline which made the waking life seem duller and less real by contrast. I know of no parallel to this phenomenon unless in the pages of Bulwer Lytton's romance entitled—"The Pilgrims of the Rhine," in which is related the story of a German student endowed with so marvellous a faculty of dreaming, that for him the normal conditions of sleeping and waking became reversed, his true life was that which he lived in his slumbers, and his hours of wakefulness appeared to him as so many uneventful and inactive intervals of arrest occurring in an existence of intense and vivid interest which was wholly passed in the hypnotic state. Not that to me there is any such inversion of natural conditions. On the contrary, the priceless insights and illuminations I have acquired by means of my dreams have gone far to elucidate for me many difficulties and enigmas of life, and even of religion, which might otherwise have remained dark to me, and to throw upon the events and vicissitudes of a career filled with bewildering situations, a light which, like sunshine, has penetrated to the very causes and springs of circumstance, and has given meaning and fitness to much in my life that would else have appeared to me incoherent or inconsistent. I have no theory to offer the reader in explanation of my faculty, —at least in so far as its physiological aspect is concerned. Of course, having received a medical education, I have speculated about the modus operandi of the phenomenon, but my speculations are not of such a character as to entitle them to presentation in the form even of an hypothesis. I am tolerably well acquainted with most of the propositions regarding unconscious cerebration, which have been put forward by men of science, but none of these propositions can, by any process of reasonable expansion or modification, be made to fit my case. Hysteria, to the multiform and manifold categories of which, medical experts are wont to refer the majority of the abnormal experiences encountered by them, is plainly inadequate to explain or account for mine. The singular coherence and sustained dramatic unity observable in these dreams, as well as the poetic beauty and tender subtlety of the instructions and suggestions conveyed in them do not comport with the conditions characteristic of nervous disease. Moreover, during the whole period covered by these dreams, I have been busily and almost continuously engrossed with scientific and literary pursuits demanding accurate judgment and complete self-possession and rectitude of mind. At the time when many of the most vivid and remarkable visions occurred, I was following my course as a student at the Paris Faculty of Medicine, preparing for examinations, daily visiting hospital wards as dresser, and attending lectures. Later, when I had taken my degree, I was engaged in the duties of my profession and in writing for the press on scientific subjects. Neither have I ever taken opium, hashish or other dream-producing agent. A cup of tea or coffee represents the extent of my indulgences in this direction. I mention these details in order to guard against inferences which otherwise might be drawn as to the genesis of my faculty. With regard to the interpretation and application of particular dreams, I think it best to say nothing. The majority are obviously allegorical, and although obscure in parts, they are invariably harmonious, and tolerably clear in meaning to persons acquainted with the method of Greek and Oriental myth. I shall not, therefore, venture on any explanation of my own, but shall simply record the dreams as they passed before me, and the impressions left upon my mind when I awoke. Unfortunately, in some instances, which are not, therefore, here transcribed, my waking memory failed to recall accurately, or completely, certain discourses heard or written words seen in the course of the vision, which in these cases left but a fragmentary impression on the brain and baffled all waking endeavor to recall their missing passages. These imperfect experiences have not, however, been numerous; on the contrary, it is a perpetual marvel to me to find with what ease and certainty I can, as a rule, on recovering ordinary consciousness, recall the picture witnessed in my sleep, and reproduce the words I have heard spoken or seen written. Sometimes several interims of months occur during which none of these exceptional visions visit me, but only ordinary dreams, incongruous and insignificant after their kind. Observation, based on an experience of considerable length, justifies me, I think, in saying that climate, altitude, and electrical conditions are not without their influence in the production of the cerebral state necessary to the exercise of the faculty I have described. Dry air, high levels, and a crisp, calm, exhilarating atmosphere favor its activity; while, on the other hand, moisture, proximity to rivers, cloudy skies, and a depressing, heavy climate, will, for an indefinite period, suffice to repress it altogether. It is not, therefore, surprising that the greater number of these dreams, and, especially, the most vivid, detailed and idyllic, have occurred to me while on the continent. At my own residence on the banks of the Severn, in a humid, low-lying tract of country, I very seldom experience such manifestations, and sometimes, after a prolonged sojourn at home, am tempted to fancy that the dreaming gift has left me never to return. But the results of a visit to Paris or to Switzerland always speedily reassure me; the necessary magnetic or psychic tension never fails to reassert itself; and before many weeks have elapsed my Diary is once more rich with the record of my nightly visions. Some of these phantasmagoria have furnished me with the framework, and even details, of stories which from time to time I have contributed to various magazines. A ghost story,* published some years ago in a London magazine, and much commented on because of its peculiarly weird and startling character, had this origin; so had a fairy tale,** which appeared in a Christmas Annual last year, and which has recently been re-issued in German by the editor of a foreign periodical. Many of my more
———————- * "Steepside" ** "Beyond the Sunset" ————————
serious contributions to literature have been similarly initiated; and, more than once, fragments of poems, both in English and other languages, have been heard or read by me in dreams. I regret much that I have not yet been able to recover any one entire poem. My memory always failed before I could finish writing out the lines, no matter how luminous and recent the impressions made by them on my mind.* However, even as regards verses, my experience has been far richer and more successful than that of Coleridge, the only product of whose faculty in this direction was the poetical fragment Kubla Khan, and there was no scenic dreaming on the occasion, only the verses were thus obtained; and I am not without hope that at some future time, under more favorable conditions than those I now enjoy, the broken threads may be resumed and these chapters of dream verse perfected and made complete. It may, perhaps, be worthy of remark that by far the larger number of the dreams set down in this volume, occurred towards dawn; sometimes even, after sunrise, during a "second sleep." A condition of fasting, united possibly, with some subtle magnetic or other atmospheric state, seems therefore to be that most open to impressions of the kind. And, in this connection, I think it right to add that for the past fifteen years I have been an abstainer from flesh-meats; not a "Vegetarian," because during the whole of that period I have used such
—————- * The poem entitled "A Discourse on the Communion of Souls; or, the Uses of Love between Creature and Creature, Being a part of the Golden Book of Venus," which forms one of the appendices to "The Perfect Way," would be an exception to this rule but that it was necessary for the dream to be repeated before the whole poem could be recalled. (Ed.) ———————
animal produce as butter, cheese, eggs, and milk. That the influence of fasting and of sober fare upon the perspicacity of the sleeping brain was known to the ancients in times when dreams were far more highly esteemed than they now are, appears evident from various passages in the records of theurgy and mysticism. Philostratus, in his "Life of Apollonius Tyaneus," represents the latter as informing King Phraotes that "the Oneiropolists, or Interpreters of Visions, are wont never to interpret any vision till they have first inquired the time at which it befell; for, if it were early, and of the morning sleep, they then thought that they might make a good interpretation thereof (that is, that it might be worth the interpreting), in that the soul was then fitted for divination, and disencumbered. But if in the first sleep, or near midnight, while the soul was as yet clouded and drowned in libations, they, being wise, refused to give any interpretation. Moreover, the gods themselves are of this opinion, and send their oracles only into abstinent minds. For the priests, taking him who doth so consult, keep him one day from meat and three days from wine, that he may in a clear soul receive the oracles." And again, Iamblichus, writing to Agathocles, says:—"There is nothing unworthy of belief in what you have been told concerning the sacred sleep, and seeing by means of dreams. I explain it thus:—The soul has a twofold life, a lower and a higher. In sleep the soul is liberated from the constraint of the body, and enters, as an emancipated being, on its divine life of intelligence. Then, as the noble faculty which beholds objects that truly are—the objects in the world of intelligence— stirs within, and awakens to its power, who can be astonished that the mind which contains in itself the principles of all events, should, in this its state of liberation, discern the future in those antecedent principles which will constitute that future? The nobler part of the mind is thus united by abstraction to higher natures, and becomes a participant in the wisdom and foreknowledge of the gods . . . . The night-time of the body is the day-time of the soul." But I have no desire to multiply citations, nor to vex the reader with hypotheses inappropriate to the design of this little work. Having, therefore, briefly recounted the facts and circumstances of my experience so far as they are known to myself, I proceed, without further commentary, to unroll my chart of dream-pictures, and leave them to tell their own tale.
I. The Doomed Train*
I was visited last night by a dream of so strange and vivid a kind that I feel impelled to communicate it to you, not only to relieve my own mind of the impression which the recollection of it causes me, but also to give you an opportunity of finding the meaning, which I am sill far too much shaken and terrified to seek for myself. It seemed to me that you and I were two of a vast company of men and women, upon all of whom, with the exception of myself—for I was there voluntarily—sentence of death had been passed. I was sensible of the knowledge—how obtained I know not—that this terrible doom had been pronounced by the official agents of some new reign of terror. Certain I was that none of the party had really been guilty of any crime deserving of death; but that the penalty had been incurred through
————————— * This narrative was addressed to the friend particularly referred to in it. The dream occurred near the close of 1876, and on the eve, therefore, of the Russo-Turkish war, and was regarded by us both as having relation to a national crisis, of a moral and spiritual character, our interest in which was so profound as to be destined to dominate all our subsequent lives and work. (Author's Note.) ———————-
their connection with some regime, political, social or religious, which was doomed to utter destruction. It became known among us that the sentence was about to be carried out on a colossal scale; but we remained in absolute ignorance as to the place and method of the intended execution. Thus far my dream gave me no intimation of the horrible scene which next burst on me,—a scene which strained to their utmost tension every sense of sight, hearing and touch, in a manner unprecedented in any dream I have previously had. It was night, dark and starless, and I found myself, together with the whole company of doomed men and women who knew that they were soon to die, but not how or where, in a railway train hurrying through the darkness to some unknown destination. I sat in a carriage quite at the rear end of the train, in a corner seat, and was leaning out of the open window, peering into the darkness, when, suddenly, a voice, which seemed to speak out of the air, said to me in a low, distinct, in-tense tone, the mere recollection of which makes me shudder,—"The sentence is being carried out even now. You are all of you lost. Ahead of the train is a frightful precipice of monstrous height, and at its base beats a fathomless sea. The railway ends only with the abyss, Over that will the train hurl itself into annihilation, There Is No One On The Engine!" At this I sprang from my seat in horror, and looked round at the faces of the persons in the carriage with me. No one of them had spoken, or had heard those awful words. The lamplight from the dome of the carriage flickered on the forms, about me. I looked from one to the other, but saw no sign of alarm given by any of them. Then again the voice out of the air spoke to me,—"There is but one way to be saved. You must leap out of the train!" In frantic haste I pushed open the carriage door and stepped out on the footboard. The train was going at a terrific pace, swaying to and fro as with the passion of its speed; and the mighty wind of its passage beat my hair about my face and tore at my garments. Until this moment I had not thought of you, or even seemed conscious of your presence in the train. Holding tightly on to the rail by the carriage door, I began to creep along the footboard towards the engine, hoping to find a chance of dropping safely down on the line. Hand over hand I passed along in this way from one carriage to another; and as I did so I saw by the light within each carriage that the passengers had no idea of the fate upon which they were being hurried. At length, in one of the compartments, I saw you. "Come out!" I cried; "come out! Save yourself! In another minute we shall be dashed to pieces!" You rose instantly, wrenched open the door, and stood beside me outside on the footboard. The rapidity at which we were going was now more fearful than ever. The train rocked as it fled onwards. The wind shrieked as we were carried through it. "Leap down," I cried to you; "save yourself! It is certain death to stay here. Before us is an abyss; and there is no one on the engine!" At this you turned your face full upon me with a look of intense earnestness, and said, "No, we will not leap down. We will stop the train." With these words you left me, and crept along the foot-board towards the front of the train. Full of half angry anxiety at what seemed to me a Quixotic act, I followed. In one of the carriages we passed I saw my mother and eldest brother, unconscious as the rest. Presently we reached the last carriage, and saw by the lurid light of the furnace that the voice had spoken truly, and that there was no one on the engine. You continued to move onwards. "Impossible! Impossible!" I cried; "It cannot be done. O, pray, come away." Then you knelt upon the footboard, and said,—"You are right. It cannot be done in that way; but we can save the train. Help me to get these irons asunder." The engine was connected with the train by two great iron hooks and staples. By a tremendous effort, in making which I almost lost my balance, we unhooked the irons and detached the train; when, with a mighty leap as of some mad supernatural monster, the engine sped on its way alone, shooting back as it went a great flaming trail of sparks, and was lost in the darkness. We stood together on the footboard, watching in silence the gradual slackening of the speed. When at length the train had come to a standstill, we cried to the passengers, "Saved! Saved!" and then amid the confusion of opening the doors and descending and eager talking, my dream ended, leaving me shattered and palpitating with the horror of it. —London, Nov. 1876.
II. The Wonderful Spectacles*
I was walking alone on the seashore. 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 glittering snows. Along the sands by the sea came towards me a man accoutred as a postman. He gave me a letter. It was from you. It ran thus:— "I have got hold of the earliest 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 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." When I looked up after reading this letter, I saw the postman hastening away across the sands, and I cried out to him, "Stop! how am I to send the answer? Will you not wait for it?" 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." ——————- * From another letter to the friend mentioned in the note appended to the "Doomed Train."—(Author's Note.) ——————-
"How can you have the answer before I have written it?" I asked. "You are making a mistake." "No," he said." 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 London. But you will not be able to use them at once, for they have not been worn for many years, and they sadly want cleaning. This you will not be able to do yourself in London, because it is too dark there to see well, and because your fingers are not small enough to clean them properly. Bring them here to me, and I will do it for you." I gave this letter back to the postman. He smiled and nodded at me; and I then perceived 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 he must be John the Baptist; and in my fright at having spoken with so great a saint, I awoke!
—London, Jan. 31, 1877
———————————— * The dreamer knew nothing of Spinoza at this time, and was quite 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. (Ed.) —————————-
III. The Counsel of Perfection
I dreamed that I was in a large room, and there were in it seven persons, all men, sitting at one long table; and each of them had before him a scroll, some having books also; and all were greyheaded and bent with age save one, and this was a youth of about twenty without hair on his face. One of the aged men, who had his finger on a place in a book open before him, said: "This spirit, who is of our order, writes in this book,—'Be ye perfect, therefore, as your Father in heaven is perfect.' How shall we understand this word 'perfection'?" And another, of the old men, looking up, answered, "It must mean wisdom, for wisdom is the sum of perfection." And another old man said, "That cannot be; for no creature can be wise as God is wise. Where is he among us who could attain to such a state? That which is part only, cannot comprehend the whole. To bid a creature to be wise as God is wise would be mockery." Then a fourth old man said:—"It must be Truth that is intended. For truth only is perfection." But he who sat next the last speaker answered, "Truth also is partial; for where is he among us who shall be able to see as God sees?" And the sixth said, "It must surely be justice; for this is the whole of righteousness." And the old man who had spoken first, answered him: "Not so; for justice comprehends vengeance, and it is written that vengeance is the Lord's alone." Then the young man stood up with an open book in his hand and said: —"I have here another record of one who likewise heard these words. Let us see whether his rendering of them can help us to the knowledge we seek." And he found a place in the book and read aloud:— "Be ye merciful, even as your Father is merciful." And all of them closed their books and fixed their eyes upon me.
—London, April 9, 1877
IV. The City of Blood
I dreamed that I was wandering along a narrow street of vast length, upon either hand of which was an unbroken line of high straight houses, their walls and doors resembling those of a prison. The atmosphere was dense and obscure, and the time seemed that of twilight; in the narrow line of sky visible far overhead between the two rows of house-roofs, I could not discern sun, moon, or stars, or color of any kind. All was grey, impenetrable, and dim. Underfoot, between the paving-stones of the street, grass was springing. Nowhere was the least sign of life: the place seemed utterly deserted. I stood alone in the midst of profound silence and desolation. Silence? No! As I listened, there came to my ears from all sides, dully at first and almost imperceptibly, a low creeping sound like subdued moaning; a sound that never ceased, and that was so native to the place, I had at first been unaware of it. But now I clearly gathered in the sound and recognised it as expressive of the intensest physical suffering. Looking steadfastly towards one of the houses from which the most distinct of these sounds issued, I perceived a stream of blood slowly oozing out from beneath the door and trickling down into the street, staining the tufts of grass red here and there, as it wound its way towards me. I glanced up and saw that the glass in the closed and barred windows of the house was flecked and splashed with the same horrible dye. "Some one has been murdered in this place!" I cried, and flew towards the door. Then, for the first time, I perceived that the door had neither lock nor handle on the outside, but could be opened only from within. It had, indeed, the form and appearance of a door, but in every other respect it was solid and impassable as the walls themselves. In vain I searched for bell or knocker, or for some means of making entry into the house. I found only a scroll fastened with nails upon a crossbeam over the door, and upon it I read the words:—"This is the Laboratory of a Vivisector." As I read, the wailing sound redoubled in intensity, and a noise as of struggling made itself audible within, as though some new victim had been added to the first. I beat madly against the door with my hands and shrieked for help; but in vain. My dress was reddened with the blood upon the door step. In horror I looked down upon it, then turned and fled. As I passed along the street, the sounds around me grew and gathered volume, formulating themselves into distinct cries and bursts of frenzied sobbing. Upon the door of every house some scroll was attached, similar to that I had already seen. Upon one was inscribed:—"Here is a husband murdering his wife:" upon another:—"Here is a mother beating her child to death:" upon a third: "This is a slaughter-house." Every door was impassable; every window was barred. The idea of interference from without was futile. Vainly I lifted my voice and cried for aid. The street was desolate as a graveyard; the only thing that moved about me was the stealthy blood that came creeping out from beneath the doors of these awful dwellings. Wild with horror I fled along the street, seeking some outlet, the cries and moans pursuing me as I ran. At length the street abruptly ended in a high dead wall, the top of which was not discernible; it seemed, indeed, to be limitless in height. Upon this wall was written in great black letters— "There is no way out." Overwhelmed with despair and anguish, I fell upon the stones of the street, repeating aloud "There is no way out."
- Hinton, Jan. 1877
V. The Bird and the Cat *
I dreamt that I had a beautiful bird in a cage, and that the cage was placed on a table in a room where there was a cat. I took the bird out of the cage and put him on the table. Instantly the cat sprang upon
————————- * This dream and the next occurred at a moment when it had almost been decided to relax the rule of privacy until then observed in regard to our psychological experiences, among other ways, by submitting them to some of the savants of the Paris Faculty,—a project of which these dreams at once caused the abandonment. This was not the only occasion on which a dream bore a twofold aspect, being a warning or a prediction, according to the heed given to it. (Ed.) —————————
him and seized him in her mouth. I threw myself upon her and strove to wrest away her prey, loading her with reproaches and bewailing the fate of my beautiful bird. Then suddenly some one said to me, "You have only yourself to blame for this misfortune. While the bird remained in his cage he was safe. Why should you have taken him out before the eyes of the cat?"
VI. The Treasure in the Lighted House
A second time I dreamt, and saw a house built in the midst of a forest. It was night, and all the rooms of the house were brilliantly illuminated by lamps. But the strange thing was that the windows were without shutters, and reached to the ground. In one of the rooms sat an old man counting money and jewels on a table before him. I stood in the spirit beside him, and presently heard outside the windows a sound of footsteps and of men's voices talking together in hushed tones. Then a face peered in at the lighted room, and I became aware that there were many persons assembled without in the darkness, watching the old man and his treasure. He also heard them, and rose from his seat in alarm, clutching his gold and gems and endeavoring to hide them. "Who are they?" I asked him. He answered, his face white with terror; "They are robbers and assassins. This forest is their haunt. They will murder me, and seize my treasure." "If this be so," said I, "why did you build your house in the midst of this forest, and why are there no shutters to the windows? Are you mad, or a fool, that you do not know every one can see from without into your lighted rooms?" He looked at me with stupid despair. "I never thought of the shutters," said he. As we stood talking, the robbers outside congregated in great numbers, and the old man fled from the room with his treasure bags into another apartment. But this also was brilliantly illuminated within, and the windows were shutterless. The robbers followed his movements easily, and so pursued him from room to room all round the house. Nowhere had he any shelter. Then came the sound of gouge and mallet and saw, and I knew the assassins were breaking into the house, and that before long, the owner would have met the death his folly had invited, and his treasure would pass into the hands of the robbers. —Paris, Aug. 3, 1877
VII. The Forest Cathedral
I found myself—accompanied by a guide, a young man of Oriental aspect and habit—passing through long vistas of trees which, as we advanced, continually changed in character. Thus we threaded avenues of English oaks and elms, the foliage of which gave way as we proceeded to that of warmer and moister climes, and we saw overhead the hanging masses of broad-leaved palms, and enormous trees whose names I do not know, spreading their fingered leaves over us like great green hands in a manner that frightened me. Here also I saw huge grasses which rose over my shoulders, and through which I had at times to beat my way as through a sea; and ferns of colossal proportions; with every possible variety and mode of tree-life and every conceivable shade of green, from the faintest and clearest yellow to the densest blue-green. One wood in particular I stopped to admire. It seemed as though every leaf of its trees were of gold, so intensely yellow was the tint of the foliage. In these forests and thickets were numerous shrines of gods such as the Hindus worship. Every now and then we came upon them in open spaces. They were uncouth and rudely painted; but they all were profusely adorned with gems, chiefly turquoises, and they all had many arms and hands, in which they held lotus flowers, sprays of palms, and colored berries. Passing by these strange figures, we came to a darker part of our course, where the character of the trees changed and the air felt colder. I perceived that a shadow had fallen on the way; and looking upwards I found we were passing beneath a massive roof of dark indigo-colored pines, which here and there were positively black in their intensity and depth. Intermingled with them were firs, whose great, straight stems were covered with lichen and mosses of beautiful variety, and some looking strangely like green ice-crystals. Presently we came to a little broken-down rude kind of chapel in the midst of the wood. It was built of stone; and masses of stone, shapeless and moss-grown, were lying scattered about on the ground around it. At a little rough-hewn altar within it stood a Christian priest, blessing the elements. Overhead, the great dark sprays of the larches and cone-laden firs swept its roof. I sat down to rest on one of the stones, and looked upwards a while at the foliage. Then turning my gaze again towards the earth, I saw a vast circle of stones, moss-grown like that on which I sat, and ranged in a circle such as that of Stonehenge. It occupied an open space in the midst of the forest; and the grasses and climbing plants of the place had fastened on the crevices of the stones. One stone, larger and taller than the rest, stood at the junction of the circle, in a place of honor, as though it had stood for a symbol of divinity. I looked at my guide, and said, " Here, at least, is an idol whose semblance belongs to another type than that of the Hindus." He smiled, and turning from me to the Christian priest at the altar, said aloud, "Priest, why do your people receive from sacerdotal hands the bread only, while you yourselves receive both bread and wine?" And the priest answered, "We receive no more than they. Yes, though under another form, the people are partakers with us of the sacred wine with its particle. The blood is the life of the flesh, and of it the flesh is formed, and without it the flesh could not consist. The communion is the same." Then the young man my guide turned again to me and waved his hand towards the stone before me. And as I looked the stone opened from its summit to its base; and I saw that the strata within had the form of a tree, and that every minute crystal of which it was formed, —particles so fine that grains of sand would have been coarse in comparison with, them,—and every atom composing its mass, were stamped with this same tree-image, and bore the shape of the ice-crystals, of the ferns and of the colossal palm-leaves I had seen. And my guide said, "Before these stones were, the Tree of Life stood in the midst of the Universe." And again we passed on, leaving behind us the chapel and the circle of stones, the pines and the firs: and as we went the foliage around us grew more and more stunted and like that at home. We traveled quickly; but now and then, through breaks and openings in the woods, I saw solitary oaks standing in the midst of green spaces, and beneath them kings giving judgment to their peoples, and magistrates administering laws. At last we came to a forest of trees so enormous that they made me tremble to look at them. The hugeness of their stems gave them an unearthly appearance; for they rose hundreds of feet from the ground before they burst out far, far above us, into colossal masses of vast-leaved foliage. I cannot sufficiently convey the impressions of awe with which the sight of these monster trees inspired me. There seemed to me something pitiless and phantom-like in the severity of their enormous bare trunks, stretching on without break or branch into the distance—overhead, and there at length giving birth to a sea of dark waving plumes, the rustle of which reached my ears as the sound of tossing waves. Passing beneath these vast trees we came to others of smaller growth, but still of the same type,—straight-stemmed, with branching foliage at their summit. Here we stood to rest, and as we paused I became aware that the trees around me were losing their color, and turning by imperceptible degrees into stone. In nothing was their form or position altered; only a cold, grey hue overspread them, and the intervening spaces between their stems became filled up, as though by a cloud which gradually grew substantial. Presently I raised my eyes, and lo! overhead were the arches of a vast cathedral, spanning the sky and hiding it from my sight. The tree stems had become tall columns of grey stone; and their plumed tops, the carven architraves and branching spines of Gothic sculpture. The incense rolled in great dense clouds to their outstretching arms, and, breaking against them, hung in floating, fragrant wreaths about their carven sprays. Looking downwards to the altar, I found it covered with flowers and plants and garlands, in the midst of which stood a great golden crucifix, and I turned to my guide wishing to question him, but he had disappeared, and I could not find him. Then a vast crowd of worshipers surrounded me, a priest before the altar raised the pyx and the patten in his hands. The people fell on their knees, and bent their heads, as a great field of corn over which a strong wind passes. I knelt with the rest, and adored with them in silence.
—Paris, July 1877
VIII. The Enchanted Woman*
The first consciousness which broke my sleep last night was one of floating, of being carried swiftly by some invisible force through a vast space; then, of being gently lowered; then of light, until, gradually, I found myself on
———————- * On the night previous to this dream, Mrs Kingsford was awoke by a bright light, and beheld a hand holding out towards her a glass of foaming ale, the action being accompanied by the words, spoken with strong emphasis,—" You must not drink this." It was not her usual beverage, but she occasionally yielded to pressure and took it when at home. In consequence of the above prohibition she abstained for that day, and on the following night received this vision, in order to fit her for which the prohibition had apparently been imposed. It was originally entitled a Vision of the World's Fall, on the supposition that it represented the loss of the Intuition, mystically called the "Fall of the Woman," through the sorceries of priestcraft. (Ed.) ————————— my feet in a broad noon-day brightness, and before me an open country. Hills, hills, as far as the eye could reach,—hills with snow on their tops, and mists around their gorges. This was the first thing I saw distinctly. Then, casting my eyes towards the ground, I perceived that all about me lay huge masses of grey material which, at first, I took for blocks of stone, having the form of lions; but as I looked at them more intently, my sight grew clearer, and I saw, to my horror, that they were really alive. A panic seized me, and I tried to run away; but on turning, I became suddenly aware that the whole country was filled with these awful shapes; and the faces of those nearest to me were most dreadful, for their eyes, and something in the expression, though not in the form, of their faces, were human. I was absolutely alone in a terrible world peopled with lions, too, of a monstrous kind. Recovering myself with an effort, I resumed my flight, but, as I passed through the midst of this concourse of monsters, it suddenly struck me that they were perfectly unconscious of my presence. I even laid my hands, in passing, on the heads and manes of several, but they gave no sign of seeing me or of knowing that I touched them. At last I gained the threshold of a great pavilion, not, apparently, built by hands, but formed by Nature. The walls were solid, yet they were composed of huge trees standing close together, like columns; and the roof of the pavilion was formed by their massive foliage, through which not a ray of outer light penetrated. Such light as there was seemed nebulous, and appeared to rise out of the ground. In the centre of this pavilion I stood alone, happy to have got clear away from those terrible beasts and the gaze of their steadfast eyes. As I stood there, I became conscious of the fact that the nebulous light of the place was concentrating itself into a focus on the columned wall opposite to me. It grew there, became intenser, and then spread, revealing, as it spread, a series of moving pictures that appeared to be scenes actually enacted before me. For the figures in the pictures were living, and they moved before my eyes, though I heard neither word nor sound. And this is what I saw. First there came a writing on the wall of the pavilion:—" This is the History of our World." These words, as I looked at them, appeared to sink into the wall as they had risen out of it, and to yield place to the pictures which then began to come out in succession, dimly at first, then strong and clear as actual scenes. First I beheld a beautiful woman, with the sweetest face and most perfect form conceivable. She was dwelling in a cave among the hills with her husband, and he, too, was beautiful, more like an angel than a man. They seemed perfectly happy together; and their dwelling was like Paradise. On every side was beauty, sunlight, and repose. This picture sank into the wall as the writing had done. And then came out another; the same man and woman driving together in a sleigh drawn by reindeer over fields of ice; with all about them glaciers and snow, and great mountains veiled in wreaths of slowly moving mist. The sleigh went at a rapid pace, and its occupants talked gaily to each other, so far as I could judge by their smiles and the movement of their lips. But, what caused me much surprise was that they carried between them, and actually in their hands, a glowing flame, the fervor of which I felt reflected from the picture upon my own cheeks. The ice around shone with its brightness. The mists upon the snow mountains caught its gleam. Yet, strong as were its light and heat, neither the man nor the woman seemed to be burned or dazzled by it. This picture, too, the beauty and brilliancy of which greatly impressed me, sank and disappeared as the former. Next, I saw a terrible looking man clad in an enchanter's robe, standing alone upon an ice-crag. In the air above him, poised like a dragonfly, was an evil spirit, having a head and face like that of a human being. The rest of it resembled the tail of a comet, and seemed made of a green fire, which flickered in and out as though swayed by a wind. And as I looked, suddenly, through an opening among the hills, I saw the sleigh pass, carrying the beautiful woman and her husband; and in the same instant the enchanter also saw it, and his face contracted, and the evil spirit lowered itself and came between me and him. Then this picture sank and vanished. I next beheld the same cave in the mountains which I had before seen; and the beautiful couple together in it. Then a shadow darkened the door of the cave; and the enchanter was there, asking admittance; cheerfully they bade him enter, and, as he came forward with his snake-like eyes fixed on the fair woman, I understood that he wished to have her for his own, and was even then devising how to bear her away. And the spirit in the air beside him seemed busy suggesting schemes to this end. Then this picture melted and became confused, giving place for but a brief moment to another, in which I saw the enchanter carrying the woman away in his arms, she struggling and lamenting, her long bright hair streaming behind her. This scene passed from the wall as though a wind had swept over it, and there rose up in its place a picture, which impressed me with a more vivid sense of reality than all the rest. It represented a market place, in the midst of which was a pile of faggots and a stake, such as were used formerly for the burning of heretics and witches. The market place, round which were rows of seats as though for a concourse of spectators, yet appeared quite deserted. I saw only three living beings present,—the beautiful woman, the enchanter, and the evil spirit. Nevertheless, I thought that the seats were really occupied by invisible tenants, for every now and then there seemed to be a stir in the atmosphere as of a great multitude; and I had, moreover, a strange sense of facing many witnesses. The enchanter led the woman to the stake, fastened her there with iron chains, lit the faggots about her feet and withdrew to a short distance, where he stood with his arms folded, looking on as the flames rose about her. I understood that she had refused his love, and that in his fury he had denounced her as a sorceress. Then in the fire, above the pile, I saw the evil spirit poising itself like a fly, and rising and sinking and fluttering in the thick smoke. While I wondered what this meant, the flames which had concealed the beautiful woman, parted in their midst, and disclosed a sight so horrible and unexpected as to thrill me from head to foot, and curdle my blood. Chained to the stake there stood, not the fair woman I had seen there a moment before, but a hideous monster,—a woman still, but a woman with three heads, and three bodies linked in one. Each of her long arms ended, not in a hand, but in a claw like that of a bird of rapine. Her hair resembled the locks of the classic Medusa, and her faces were inexpressibly loathsome. She seemed, with all her dreadful heads and limbs, to writhe in the flames and yet not to be consumed by them. She gathered them in to herself; her claws caught them and drew them down; her triple body appeared to suck the fire into itself, as though a blast drove it. The sight appalled me. I covered my face and dared look no more. When at length I again turned my eyes upon the wall, the picture that had so terrified me was gone, and instead of it, I saw the enchanter flying through the world, pursued by the evil spirit and that dreadful woman. Through all the world they seemed to go. The scenes changed with marvellous rapidity. Now the picture glowed with the wealth and gorgeousness of the torrid zone; now the ice-fields of the North rose into view; anon a pine-forest; then a wild seashore; but always the same three flying figures; always the horrible three-formed harpy pursuing the enchanter, and beside her the evil spirit with the dragonfly wings. At last this succession of images ceased, and I beheld a desolate region, in the midst of which sat the woman with the enchanter beside her, his head reposing in her lap. Either the sight of her must have become familiar to him and, so, less horrible, or she had subjugated him by some spell. At all events, they were mated at last, and their offspring lay around them on the stony ground, or moved to and fro. These were lions,—monsters with human faces, such as I had seen in the beginning of my dream. Their jaws dripped blood; they paced backwards and forwards, lashing their tails. Then too, this picture faded and sank into the wall as the others had done. And through its melting outlines came out again the words I had first seen: "This is the History of our World," only they seemed to me in some way changed, but how; I cannot tell. The horror of the whole thing was too strong upon me to let me dare look longer at the wall. And I awoke, repeating to myself the question, "How could one woman become three?"
—Hinton, Feb. 1877
IX. 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. 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 noonday 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 fall I awoke. —Hinton, Sept. 1877
————————- * 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.) ———————————-
X. The Difficult Path
Having fallen asleep last night while in a state of great perplexity about the care and education of my daughter, I dreamt as follows. I was walking with the child along the border of a high cliff, at the foot of which was the sea. The path was exceedingly narrow, and on the inner side was flanked by a line of rocks and stones. The outer side was so close to the edge of the cliff that she was compelled to walk either before or behind me, or else on the stones. And, as it was unsafe to let go her hand, it was on the stones that she had to walk, much to her distress. I was in male attire, and carried a staff in my hand. She wore skirts and had no staff; and every moment she stumbled or her dress caught and was torn by some jutting crag or bramble. In this way our progress was being continually interrupted and rendered almost impossible, when suddenly we came upon a sharp declivity leading to a steep path which wound down the side of the precipice to the beach below. Looking down, I saw on the shore beneath the cliff a collection of fishermen's huts, and groups of men and women on the shingle, mending nets, hauling up boats, and sorting fish of various kinds. In the midst of the little village stood a great crucifix of lead, so cast in a mould as to allow me from the elevated position I occupied behind it, to see that though in front it looked solid, it was in reality hollow. As I was noting this, a voice of some one close at hand suddenly addressed me; and on turning my head I found standing before me a man in the garb of a fisherman, who evidently had just scaled the steep path leading from the beach. He stretched out his hand to take the child, saying he bad come to fetch her, for that in the path I was following there was room only for one. "Let her come to us," he added; "she will do very well as a fisherman's daughter." Being reluctant to part with her, and not perceiving then the significance of his garb and vocation, I objected that the calling was a dirty and unsavoury one, and would soil her hands and dress. Whereupon the man became severe, and seemed to insist with a kind of authority upon my acceptance of his proposition. The child, too, was taken with him, and was moreover anxious to leave the rough and dangerous path; and she accordingly went to him of her own will and, placing her hand in his, left me without any sign of regret, and I went on my way alone. Then lifting my eyes to see whither my path led, I beheld it winding along the edge of the cliff to an apparently endless distance, until, as I gazed steadily on the extreme limit of my view, I saw the grey mist from the sea here and there break and roll up into great masses of slow-drifting cloud, in the intervals of which I caught the white gleam of sunlit snow. And these intervals continually closed up to open again in fresh places higher up, disclosing peak upon peak of a range of mountains of enormous altitude.*
By a curious coincidence, the very morning after this dream, a friend, who knew of my perplexity, called to
————— * Always the symbol of high mystical insight and spiritual attainment— Biblically called "the Hill of the Lord" and "Mount of God. " (Ed.) ————— recommend a school in a certain convent as one suitable for my child. There were, however, insuperable objections to the scheme.
—Paris, Nov. 3, 1877
XI. A Lion In the Way
Owing to the many and great difficulties thrown in my way, I had been seriously considering the advisability of withdrawing, if only for a time, from my course of medical study, when I received the following dream, which determined me to persevere:— I found myself on the same narrow, rugged, and precipitous path described in my last dream, and confronted by a lion. Afraid to pass him I turned and fled. On this the beast gave chase, when, finding escape by flight hopeless, I turned and boldly faced him. Whereupon the lion at once stopped and slunk to the side of the path, and suffered me to pass unmolested, though I was so close to him that I could not avoid touching him with my garments in passing. —Paris, Nov. 15, 1877
—————— * The prognostic was fully justified by the event.—(Ed.) ——————-
XII. A Dream of Disembodiment
I dreamt that I was dead, and wanted to take form and appear to C. in order to converse with him. And it was suggested by those about me— spirits like myself I suppose—that I might materialise myself through the medium of some man whom they indicated to me. Coming to the place where he was, I was directed to throw myself out forward towards him by an intense concentration of will; which I accordingly tried to do, but without success, though the effort I made was enormous. I can only compare it to the attempt made by a person unable to swim, to fling himself off a platform into deep water. Do all I would, I could not gather myself up for it; and although encouraged and stimulated, and assured I had only to let myself go, my attempts were ineffectual. Even when I had sufficiently collected and prepared myself in one part of my system, the other part failed me. At length it was suggested to me that I should find it easier if I first took on me the form of the medium. This I at length succeeded in doing, and, to my annoyance, so completely that I materialised myself into the shape not only of his features, but of his clothing also. The effort requisite for this exhausted me to the utmost, so that I was unable to keep up the apparition for more than a few minutes, when I had no choice but to yield to the strain and let myself go again, only in the opposite way. So I went out, and mounted like a sudden flame, and saw myself for a moment like a thin streak of white mist rising in the air; while the comfort and relief I experienced by regaining my light spirit-condition, were indescribable. It was because I had, for want of skill, dematerialised myself without sufficient deliberation, that I had thus rapidly mounted in the air. After an interval I dreamt that, wishing to see what A. would do in case I appeared to him after my death, I went to him as a spirit and called him by his name. Upon hearing my voice he rose and went to the window and looked out uneasily. On my going close to him and speaking in his ear, he was much disturbed, and ran his hand through his hair and rubbed his head in a puzzled and by no means pleased manner. At the third attempt to attract his attention he rushed to the door, and, calling for a glass, poured out some wine, which he drank. On seeing this, and finding him inaccessible, I desisted, thinking it must often happen to the departed to be distressed by the inability or unwillingness of those they love to receive and recognise them.
—Paris, Jan. 1878
XIII. The Perfect Way with Animals
I saw in my sleep a cart-horse who, coming to me, conversed with me in what seemed a perfectly simple and natural manner, for it caused me no surprise that he should speak. And this is what he said:— "Kindness to animals of the gentler orders is the very foundation of civilisation. For it is the cruelty and harshness of men towards the animals under their protection which is the cause of the present low standard of humanity itself. Brutal usage creates brutes; and the ranks of mankind are constantly recruited from spirits already hardened and depraved by a long course of ill-treatment. Nothing developes the spirit so much as sympathy. Nothing cultivates, refines, and aids it in its progress towards perfection so much as kind and gentle treatment. On the contrary, the brutal usage and want of sympathy with which we meet at the hands of men, stunt our development and reverse all the currents of a our nature. We grow coarse with coarseness, vile with reviling, and brutal with the brutality of those who surround us. And when we pass out of this stage we enter on the next depraved and hardened, and with the bent of our dispositions such that we are ready by our nature to do in our turn that which has been done to us. The greater number of us, indeed, know no other or better way. For the spirit learns by experience and imitation, and inclines necessarily to do those things which it has been in the habit of seeing done. Humanity will never become perfected until this doctrine is understood and received and made the rule of conduct."
—Paris, Oct. 28, 1879
XIV. The Laboratory Underground
I dreamed that I found myself underground in a vault artificially lighted. Tables were ranged along the walls of the vault, and upon these tables were bound down the living bodies of half-dissected and mutilated animals. Scientific experts were busy at work on their victims with scalpel, hot iron and forceps. But, as I looked at the creatures lying bound before them, they no longer appeared to be mere rabbits, or hounds, for in each I saw a human shape, the shape of a man, with limbs and lineaments resembling those of their torturers, hidden within the outward form. And when they led into the place an old worn-out horse, crippled with age and long toil in the service of man, and bound him down, and lacerated his flesh with their knives, I saw the human form within him stir and writhe as though it were an unborn babe moving in its mother's womb. And I cried aloud—"Wretches! you are tormenting an unborn man!" But they heard not, nor could they see what I saw. Then they brought in a white rabbit, and thrust its eyes through with heated irons. And as I gazed, the rabbit seemed to me like a tiny infant, with human face, and hands which stretched themselves towards me in appeal, and lips which sought to cry for help in human accents. And I could bear no more, but broke forth into a bitter rain of tears, exclaiming—"O blind! blind! not to see that you torture a child, the youngest of your own flesh and blood!" And with that I woke, sobbing vehemently.
—Paris, Feb. 2, 1880
XV. The Old Young Man
I dreamed that I was in Rome with C., and a friend of his called on us there, and asked leave to introduce to us a young man, a student of art, whose history and condition were singular. They came together in the evening. In the room where we sat was a kind of telephonic tube, through which, at intervals, a voice spoke to me. When the young man entered, these words were spoken in my ear through the tube:— "You have made a good many diagnoses lately of cases of physical disease; here is a curious and interesting type of spiritual pathology, the like of which is rarely met with. Question this young man." Accordingly I did so, and drew from him that about a year ago he had been seriously ill of Roman fever; but as he hesitated, and seemed unwilling to speak on the subject, I questioned the friend. From him I learnt that the young man had formerly been a very proficient pupil in one of the best-known studios in Rome, but that a year ago he had suffered from a most terrible attack of malaria, in consequence of his remaining in Rome to work after others had found it necessary to go into the country, and that the malady had so affected the nervous system that since his recovery he had been wholly unlike his former self. His great aptitude for artistic work, from which so much had been expected, seemed to have entirely left him; he was no longer master of his pencil; his former faculty and promise of excellence had vanished. The physician who had attended him during his illness affirmed that all this was readily accounted for by the assumption that the malaria had affected the cerebral centres, and in particular, the nerve-cells of the memory; that such consequences of severe continuous fever were by no means uncommon, and might last for an indefinite period. Meanwhile the young man was now, by slow and painful application, doing his utmost to recover his lost power and skill. Naturally, the subject was distasteful to him, and he shrank from discussing it. Here the voice again spoke to me through the tube, telling me to observe the young man, and especially his face. On this I scanned his countenance with attention, and remarked that it wore a singularly odd look,—the look of a man advanced in years and experience. But that I surmised to be a not unusual effect of severe fever. "How old do you suppose the patient to be?" asked the interrogative voice. "About twenty years old, I suppose," said I. "He is a year old," rejoined the voice. "A year! How can that be?" "If you will not allow that he is only a year old, then you must admit that he is sixty-five, for he is certainly either one or the other." This enigma so perplexed me, that I begged my invisible informant for a solution of the difficulty, which was at once vouchsafed in the following terms:— "Here is the history of your patient. The youth who was the proficient and gifted student, who astonished his masters, and gave such brilliant indications of future greatness, is dead. The malaria killed him. But he had a father, who, while alive, had loved his son as the apple of his eye, and whose whole being and desire centred in the boy. This father died some six years ago, about the age of sixty. After his death his devotion to the youth continued, and as a "spirit," he followed him everywhere, never quitting his side. So entirely was he absorbed in the lad and in his career, that he made no advance in his own spiritual life, nor, indeed, was he fully aware of the fact that he had himself quitted the earthly plane. For there are souls which, having been obtuse and dull in their apprehension of spiritual things during their existence in the flesh, and having neither hopes nor aims beyond the body, are very slow to realise the fact of their dissolution, and remain, therefore, chained to the earth by earthly affections and interests, haunting the places or persons they have most affected. But the young artist was not of this order. Idealist and genius, he was already highly spiritualised and vitalised even upon earth, and when death rent the bond between him and his body, he passed at once from the atmosphere of carnal things into a loftier sphere. But at the moment of his death, the phantom father was watching beside the son's sick-bed, and filled with agony at beholding the wreck of all the brilliant hopes he had cherished for the boy, thought only of preserving the physical life of that dear body, since the death of the outward form was still for him the death of all he had loved. He would cling to it, preserve it, re-animate it at any cost. The spirit had quitted it; it lay before him a corpse. What, then, did the father do? With a supreme effort of desire, ineffectual indeed to recall the departed ghost, but potent in its reaction upon himself, he projected his own vitality into his son's dead body, re-animated it with his own soul, and thus effected the resuscitation for which he had so ardently longed. So the body you now behold is, indeed, the son's body, but the soul which animates it is that of the father. And it is a year since this event occurred. Such is the real solution of the problem, whose natural effects the physician attributes to the result of disease. The spirit which now tenants this young man's form had no knowledge of art when he was so strangely reborn into the world, beyond the mere rudiments of drawing which he had learned while watching his son at work during the previous six years. What, therefore, seems to the physician to be a painful recovery of previous aptitude, is, in fact, the imperfect endeavour of a novice entering a new and unsuitable career. "For the father the experience is by no means an unprofitable one. He would certainly, sooner or later, have resumed existence upon earth in the flesh, and it is as well that his return should be under the actual circumstances. The study of art upon which he has thus entered is likely to prove to him an excellent means of spiritual education. By means of it his soul may ascend as it has never yet done; while the habits of the body he now possesses, trained as it is to refined and gentle modes of life, may do much to accomplish the purgation and redemption of its new tenant. It is far better for the father that this strange event should have occurred, than that he should have remained an earth-bound phantom, unable to realise his own position, or to rise above the affection which chained him to merely worldly things."
—Paris, Feb. 21, 1880
XVI. The Metempsychosis
I was visited last night in my sleep by one whom I presently recognised as the famous Adept and Mystic of the first century of our era, Apollonius of Tyana, called the " Pagan Christ." He was clad in a grey linen robe with a hood, like that of a monk, and had a smooth, beardless face, and seemed to be between forty and fifty years of age. He made himself known to me by asking if I had heard of his lion.* He commenced by speaking of Metempsychosis, concerning which he informed
————- * This was a tame captive lion, in whom Apollonius is said to have recognised the soul of the Egyptian King Amasis, who had lived 500 years previously. The lion burst into tears at the recognition, and showed much misery. (Author's Note.) ————— me as follows:—"There are two streams or currents, an upward and a downward one, by which souls are continually passing and repassing as on a ladder. The carnivorous animals are souls undergoing penance by being imprisoned for a time in such forms on account of their misdeeds. Have you not heard the story of my lion?" I said yes, but that I did not understand it, because I thought it impossible for a human soul to suffer the degradation of returning into the body of a lower creature after once attaining humanity. At this he laughed out, and said that the real degradation was not in the penance but in the sin. "It is not by the penance, but by incurring the need of the penance, that the soul is degraded. The man who sullies his humanity by cruelty or lust, is already degraded thereby below humanity; and the form which his soul afterwards assumes is the mere natural consequence of that degradation. He may again recover humanity, but only by means of passing through another form than that of the carnivora. When you were told * that certain creatures were redeemable or not redeemable, the meaning was this: They who are redeemable may, on leaving their present form, return directly into humanity. Their penance is accomplished in that form, and in it, therefore, they are redeemed. But they who are not redeemable, are they whose sin has been too deep or too ingrained to suffer them to return until they have passed through other lower forms. They are not redeemable therein, but will be on ascending again. Others, altogether vile and past redemption, sink continually lower and lower down the stream, until at length they burn out. They shall neither be redeemed in the form they now occupy, nor in any other."
—Paris, May 11, 1880
————— * The reference is to an instruction received by her four years previously, but not in sleep, and not from Apollonius, though from a source no less transcendental. (Ed.) *** Remembering, on being told this dream, that "Eliphas Levi," in his Haute Magic, had described an interview with the phantom of Apollonius, which he had evoked, I referred to the book, and found that he also saw him with a smooth-shaven face, but wearing a shroud (linceul). (Ed.)
XVII. The Three Kings
The time was drawing towards dawn in a wild and desolate region. And I stood with my genius at the foot of a mountain the summit of which was hidden in mist. At a few paces from me stood three persons, clad in splendid robes and wearing crowns on their heads. Each personage carried a casket and a key: the three caskets differed from one another, but the keys were all alike. And my genius said to me, "These are the three kings of the East, and they journey hither over the river that is dried up, to go up into the mountain of Sion and rebuild the Temple of the Lord God." Then I looked more closely at the three royalties, and I saw that the one who stood nearest to me on the left hand was a man, and the color of his skin was dark like that of an Indian. And the second was in form like a woman, and her complexion was fair: and the third had the wings of an Angel, and carried a staff of gold. And I heard them say one to another, "Brother, what hast thou in thy casket?" And the first answered, " I am the Stonelayer, and I carry the implements of my craft; also a bundle of myrrh for thee and for me." And the king who bore the aspect of a woman, answered, "I am the Carpenter, and I bear the instruments of my craft; also a box of frankincense for thee and for me." And the Angel-king answered, "I am the Measurer, and I carry the secrets of the living God, and the rod of gold to measure your work withal." Then the first said, "Therefore let us go up into the hill of the Lord and build the walls of Jerusalem. And they turned to ascend the mountain. But they had not taken the first step when the king, whose name was Stonelayer, said to him who was called the Carpenter, "Give me first the implements of thy craft, and the plan of thy building, that I may know after what sort thou buildest, and may fashion thereto my masonry." And the other asked him, "What buildest thou, brother?" And he answered, "I build the Outer Court." Then the Carpenter unlocked his casket and gave him a scroll written over in silver, and a crystal rule, and a carpenter's plane and a saw. And the other took them and put them into his casket. Then the Carpenter said to the Stonelayer, "Brother, give me also the plan of thy building, and the tools of thy craft. For I build the Inner Place, and must needs fit my designing to thy foundation." But the other answered, "Nay, my brother, for I have promised the laborers. Build thou alone. It is enough that I know thy secrets; ask not mine of me." And the Carpenter answered, "How then shall the Temple of the Lord be builded? Are we not of three Ages, and is the temple yet perfected?" Then the Angel spoke, and said to the Stonelayer, "Fear not, brother: freely hast thou received; freely give. For except thine elder brother had been first a Stonelayer, he could not now be a Carpenter. Art thou not of Solomon, and he of Christ? Therefore he hath already handled thy tools, and is of thy craft. And I also, the Measurer, I know the work of both. But now is that time when the end cometh, and that which hath been spoken in the ear in closets, the same shall be proclaimed on the housetops." Then the first king unlocked his casket, and gave to the Carpenter a scroll written in red, and a compass and a trowel. But the Carpenter answered him: "It is enough. I have seen, and I remember. For this is the writing King Solomon gave into my hands when I also was a Stonelayer, and when thou wert of the company of them that labor. For I also am thy Brother, and that thou knowest I know also." Then the third king, the Angel, spoke again and said, "Now is the knowledge perfected and the bond fulfilled. For neither can the Stonelayer build alone, nor the Carpenter construct apart. Therefore, until this day, is the Temple of the Lord unbuilt. But now is the time come, and Salem shall have her habitation on the Hill of the Lord." And there came down a mist from the mountain, and out of the mist a star. And my Genius said, "Thou shalt yet see more on this wise." But I saw then only the mist, which filled the valley, and moistened my hair and my dress; and so I awoke.
—London, April 30, 1882
————— ** For the full comprehension of the above dream, it is necessary to be profoundly versed at once in the esoteric signification of the Scriptures and in the mysteries of Freemasonry. It was the dreamer's great regret that she neither knew, nor could know, the latter, women being excluded from initiation. (Ed.)
XVIII. The Armed Goddess
I dreamed that I sat reading in my study, with books lying about all round me. Suddenly a voice, marvellously clear and silvery, called me by name. Starting up and turning, I saw behind me a long vista of white marble columns, Greek in architecture, flanking on either side a gallery of white marble. At the end of this gallery stood a shape of exceeding brilliancy, the shape of a woman above mortal height, clad from head to foot in shining mail armour. In her right hand was a spear, on her left arm a shield. Her brow was hidden by a helmet, and the aspect of her face was stern,— severe even, I thought. I approached her, and as I went, my body was lifted up from the earth, and I was aware of that strange sensation of floating above the surface of the ground, which is so common with me in sleep that at times I can scarce persuade myself after waking that it has not been a real experience. When I alighted at the end of the long gallery before the armed woman, she said to me: "Take off the night-dress thou wearest." I looked at my attire and was about to answer— "This is not a night-dress," when she added, as though perceiving my thought:— "The woman's garb is a night-dress; it is a garment made to sleep in. The man's garb is the dress for the day. Look eastward!" I raised my eyes and, behind the mail-clad shape, I saw the dawn breaking, blood-red, and with great clouds like pillars of smoke rolling up on either side of the place where the sun was about to rise. But as yet the sun was not visible. And as I looked, she cried aloud, and her voice rang through the air like the clash of steel:— "Listen!" And she struck her spear on the marble pavement. At the same moment there came from afar off, a confused sound of battle. Cries, and human voices in conflict, and the stir as of a vast multitude, the distant clang of arms and a noise of the galloping of many horses rushing furiously over the ground. And then, sudden silence. Again she smote the pavement, and again the sounds arose, nearer now, and more tumultuous. Once more they ceased, and a third time she struck the marble with her spear. Then the noises arose all about and around the very spot where we stood, and the clang of the arms was so close that it shook and thrilled the very columns beside me. And the neighing and snorting of horses, and the thud of their ponderous hoofs flying over the earth made, as it were, a wind in my ears, so that it seemed as though a furious battle were raging all around us. But I could see nothing. Only the sounds increased, and became so violent that they awoke me, and even after waking I still seemed to catch the commotion of them in the air. *
—Paris, February 15, 1883.
————— * This dream was shortly followed by Mrs Kingsford's antivivisection expedition to Switzerland, the fierce conflict of which amply fulfilled any predictive significance it may have had. —————-
XIX. The Game of Cards: A Parable
I dreamed I was playing at cards with three persons, the two opposed to me being a man and a woman with hoods pulled over their heads, and cloaks covering their persons. I did not particularly observe them. My partner was an old man without hood or cloak, and there was about him this peculiarity, that he did not from one minute to another appear to remain the same. Sometimes he looked like a very young man, the features not appearing to change in order to produce this effect, but an aspect of youth and even of mirth coming into the face as though the features were lighted up from within. Behind me stood a personage whom I could not see, for his hand and arm only appeared, handing me a pack of cards. So far as I discerned, it was a man's figure, habited in black. Shortly after the dream began, my partner addressed me, saying, "Do you play by luck or by skill?" I answered: "I play by luck chiefly; I don't know how to play by skill. But I have generally been lucky." In fact, I had already, lying by me, several "tricks" I had taken. He answered me:— "To play by luck is to trust to without; to play by skill is to trust to within. In this game, Within goes further than Without." "What are trumps?" I asked. "Diamonds are trumps," he answered. I looked at the cards in my hand and said to him:—"I have more clubs than anything else." At this he laughed, and seemed all at once quite a youth. "Clubs are strong cards, after all," he said. "Don't despise the black suits. I have known some of the best games ever played won by players holding more clubs than you have." I examined the cards and found something very odd about them. There were the four suits, diamonds, hearts, clubs, and spades. But the picture cards in my hand seemed different altogether from any I had ever seen before. One was queen of Clubs, and her face altered as I looked at it. First it was dark,—almost dusky,—with the imperial crown on the head; then it seemed quite fair, the crown changing to a smaller one of English aspect, and the dress also transforming itself. There was a queen of Hearts, too, in an antique peasant's gown, with brown hair, and presently this melted into a suit of armor which shone as if reflecting firelight in its burnished scales. The other cards seemed alive likewise, even the ordinary ones, just like the court-cards. There seemed to be pictures moving inside the emblems on their faces. The clubs in my hand ran into higher figures than the spades; these came next in number, and diamonds next. I had no picture-cards of diamonds, but I had the Ace. And this was so bright I could not look at it. Except the two queens of Clubs and Hearts I think I had no picture-cards in my hand, and very few red cards of any kind. There were high figures in the spades. It was the personage behind my chair who dealt the cards always. I said to my partner:—"It is difficult to play at all, whether by luck or by skill, for I get such a bad hand dealt me each time." "That is your fault," he said. "Play your best with what you have, and next time you will get better cards." "How can that be?" I asked. "Because after each game, the 'tricks' you take are added to the bottom of the pack which the dealer holds, and you get the 'honors' you have taken up from the table. Play well and take all you can. But you must put more head into it. You trust too much to fortune. Don't blame the dealer; he can't see." "I shall lose this game," I said presently, for the two persons playing against us seemed to be taking up all the cards quickly, and the "lead" never came to my turn. "It is because you don't count your points before putting down a card," my partner said. "If they play high numbers, you must play higher." "But they have all the trumps," I said. "No," he answered, "you have the highest trump of all in your own hand. It is the first and the last. You may take every card they have with that, for it is the chief of the whole series. But you have spades too, and high ones." (He seemed to know what I had.) "Diamonds are better than spades," I answered. "And nearly all my cards are black ones. Besides, I can't count, it wants so much thinking. Can't you come over here and play for me?" He shook his head, and I thought that again he laughed." No," he replied, "that is against the law of the game. You must play for yourself. Think it out." He uttered these words very emphatically and with so strange an intonation that they dissipated the rest of the dream, and I remember no more of it. But I did "think it out;" and I found it was a parable; of Karma.
—Atcham, Dec. 7, 1883
XX. The Panic-Struck Pack-Horse
Out of a veil of palpitating mist there arose before me in my sleep the image of a colossal and precipitous cliff; standing sheer up against a sky of cloud and sea-mist, the tops of the granite peaks being merged and hidden in the vapor. At the foot of the precipice beat a wild sea, tossing and flecked with foam; and out of the flying spray rose sharp splinters of granite, standing like spearheads about the base of the solid rock. As I looked, something stirred far off in the distance, like a fly crawling over the smooth crag. Fixing my gaze upon it I became aware that there was at a great height above the sea, midway between sky and water, a narrow unprotected footpath winding up and down irregularly along the side of the mighty cliff;—a slender, sloping path, horrible to look at, like a rope or a thread stretched mid-air, hanging between heaven and the hungry foam. One by one, came towards me along this awful path a procession of horses, drawing tall narrow carts filled with bales of merchandise. The horses moved along the edge of the crag as though they clung to it, their bodies aslant towards the wall of granite on their right, their legs moving with the precision of creatures feeling and grasping every step. Like deer they moved,— not like horses, and as they advanced, the carts they drew swayed behind them, and I thought every jolt would hurl them over the precipice. Fascinated I watched,—I could not choose but watch. At length came a grey horse, not drawing a cart, but carrying something on his back,—on a pack-saddle apparently. Like the rest he came on stealthily, sniffing every inch of the terrible way, until, just at the worst and giddiest point he paused, hesitated, and seemed about to turn.—-I saw him back himself in a crouching attitude against the wall of rock behind him, lowering his haunches, and rearing his head in a strange manner. The idea flashed on me that he would certainly turn, and then—what could happen? More horses were advancing, and two beasts could not possibly pass each other on that narrow ledge! But I was totally unprepared for the ghastly thing that actually did happen. The miserable horse had been seized with the awful mountain-madness that sometimes overtakes men on stupendous heights,—the madness of suicide. With a frightful scream, that sounded partly like a cry of supreme desperation, partly like one of furious and frenzied joy, the horse reared himself to his full height on the horrible ledge, shook his head wildly, and— leaped with a frantic spring into the air, sheer over the precipice, and into the foam beneath. His eyes glared as he shot into the void, a great dark living mass against the white mist. Was he speared on those terrible shafts of rock below, or was his life dashed out in horrible crimson splashes against the cliffside? Or did he sink into the reeling swirl of the foaming waters, and die more mercifully in their steel-dark depths? I could not see. I saw only the flying form dart through the mist like an arrow from a bow. I heard only the appalling cry, like nothing earthly ever heard before; and I woke in a panic, with hands tightly clasped, and my body damp with moisture. It was but a dream—this awful picture; it was gone as an image from a mirror, and I was awake, and gazing only upon blank darkness.