The Divine Image,
the Vision of Adonai
A waking vision, Paris, 1877/7/23, by Anna Kingsford, transcribed by her friend Edward Maitland ("Caro").
The access came upon her while standing by the open window, gazing at the moon, then close upon the full. The first effect... was to cause her to kneel and pray, in a rapt attitude, with her arms extended towards the sky. It appeared afterwards, that under an access of spiritual exaltation, she had yielded to a sudden and uncontrollable impulse to pray that she might be taken to the stars, and all the glory of the universe. Presently she rose, and after gazing upwards in ecstasy for a few moments, lowered her eyes, and, clamping her arms around her head as if to shut out the view, uttered in tones of wonder, mingled with moans and cries of anguish, the, following tokens of the intolerable splendour of the vision she had unwittingly invited:--
"Oh, I see masses, masses of stars! It makes me giddy to look at them. O my God, what masses! Millions and millions! Wheels of planets! O my God, my God, why didst Thou create? It was by Will, all Will, that Thou didst it. Oh! what might, what might of Will! Oh, what gulfs! what gulfs! Millions and millions of miles broad and deep! Hold me--hold me up! I shall sink--I shall sink into the gulfs. I am sick and giddy, as on a billowy sea. I am on a sea, an ocean--the ocean of infinite space. Oh, what depths! what depths! I sink--I fail! I cannot, cannot bear it!--Anna Kingsford--
"I shall never come back. I have left my body forever. I am dying; I believe I am dead. Impossible to return from such a distance! Oh, what colossal forms! They are the angels of the planets. Every planet has its angel standing erect above it. And what beauty--what marvelous beauty! I see Raphael. I see the angel of the earth. He has six wings. He is a god--the god of our planet. I see my genius who called himself A.Z.; but his name is Salathiel ["Lent of God"]. Oh, how surpassingly beautiful he is! My genius is a male, and his colour is ruby. Yours, Caro, is a female, and sapphire. They are friends--they are the same--not two, but one; and for that reason they have associated us together, and speak of themselves sometimes as I, sometimes as We. It is the angel of the earth himself that is your genius and mine, Caro. He it was who inspired you, who spoke to you. And they call me Bitterness. And I see sorrow--oh, what unending sorrow do I behold! Sorrow, always sorrow, but never without love. I shall always have love. How dim is this sphere! Oh, save me--save me! It is my demon that I am approaching. It is Paris--Paris himself, once of Troy, now of the city that bears his name. He is floating recumbent. He turns his face towards me. How beautiful and dark he is! Oh, he has goat's horns--he has goat's horns! Save me, save me from him! Ah, he sees me not. I forgot I am invisible. Now I have passed him.
"I am entering a brighter region now. What glorious form of womanhood is that, so queenly, so serene, and endowed with all wisdom? It is Pallas Athena--a real personage in the spiritual world! And yonder is one of whom I have no need to ask. I am passing through the circle of the Olympians. It is Aphrodite, mother of love and beauty. O Aphrodite, spirit of the waters, firstborn of God, how could I adore thee! And men on earth now deem the gods and goddesses of Greece mere fables! And I behold them living and moving in strength and beauty before me! I see also the genii of all the nations dwelling serenely in heavenly circles, What crowds and crowds of gods from India and Egypt!
"Who are those with the giant muscles? They are Odin and Thor, and their fellow-gods of Scandinavia. Not dead and lost; only withdrawn from the world whereon they sought in vain to stamp their images for ever.
"Oh, the dazzling, dazzling brightness! Hide me, hide me from it! I cannot, cannot bear it! It is agony supreme to look upon. O God! O God! Thou art slaying me with Thy light. It is the throne itself, the great white throne of God that I behold! Oh, what light! what light! It is like an emerald? a sapphire? No; a diamond. In its midst stands Deity erect, His right hand raised aloft, and from Him pours the light of light. Forth from His right hand streams the universe, projected by the omnipotent repulsion of His will. Back to His left, which is depressed and set backwards, returns the universe, drawn by the attraction of His love. Repulsion and attraction, will and love, right and left, these are the forces, centrifugal and centripetal, male and female whereby God creates and redeems. Adonai! O Adonai! Lord God of life, made of the substance of light, how beautiful art Thou in Thine everlasting youth! with Thy glowing golden locks, how adorable! And I had thought of God as elderly and venerable! As if the Eternal could grow old! And now not as Man only do I behold Thee! For now Thou art to me as Woman. Lo, Thou art both. One, and Two also. And thereby dost Thou produce creation. O God, O God! why didst Thou create this stupendous existence? Surely, surely, it had been better in love to have restrained Thy will. It was by will that Thou createdst, by will alone, not by love, was it not?--was it not? I cannot see clearly. A cloud has come between.
"I see Thee now as Woman. Maria is next beside Thee. Thou art Maria. Maria is God. O Maria! God as Woman! Thee, Thee I adore! Maria-Aphrodite! Mother! Mother-God!
"They are returning with me now, I think. But I shall never get back. What strange forms! How huge they are! All angels and archangels. Human in form, yet some with eagles' heads. All the planets are inhabited! how innumerable is the variety of forms! O universe of existence, how stupendous is existence! Oh! take me not near the sun; I cannot bear its heat. Already do I feel myself burning.
"Here is Jupiter! It has nine moons! Yes, nine. Some are exceedingly small. And, oh, how red it is! It has so much iron. And what enormous men and women! There is evil there too. For evil is wherever are matter and limitation. But the people of Jupiter are far better than we on earth. They know much more; they are much wiser. There is less of evil in their planet. Ah! and they have another sense. What is it? No, I cannot describe it. I cannot tell what it is. It differs from any of the others. We have nothing like it.
"I cannot get back yet. I believe I shall never get back. I believe I am dead. It is only my body you are holding. It has grown cold for want of me. Yet I must be approaching. It is growing shallower. We are passing out of the depths. But I can never wholly return--never--never."
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