Anna Bonus Kingsford, the Woman Clothed with the Sun
Anna Kingsford was a female MD, a vegetarian, an anti-vivisectionist, a perfect example of the ‘new woman’ of the late 19th Century. She was also a Spiritualist, a follower of Éliphas Lévi, and the first female President of the London branch of the Theosophical Society, before leaving to found the highly influential Hermetic Society. She taught the Hermetic arts and advanced the cause of the Divine Feminine in her writings and in her lectures. She was the inspiration for the founding of the Golden Dawn, and ‘Fräulein Sprengel’ was in fact Wynn Westcott’s touching memorial to her adept status. In her teachings it is Spirit as the feminine principle that is the highest state of godhead, as Anna reveals in her reversed Hexagram, and her novel interpretation of the Tree of Life.
Following an abbreviated biography of Anna Bonus Kingsford this short talk will examine who Anna, herself, thought she was. She believed in reincarnation and had revisited some of her past lives as: Anne Boleyn, Joan of Arc, the Roman Empress Faustine, and Mary Magdalene, but this talk will concentrate on her messianic mission to reveal the feminine side of the Divine and her visions as ‘the Woman Clothed with the Sun’. Anna felt she was the seeress of her time, here to help usher in the ‘new age of Michael’ which was to begin, in 1881, under ‘the kingdom of the mother of God’. Her radical and revolutionary ideas on the feminine Spirit were that, when combined with the male risen Sun (Christ), this completed the androgynous Divine. She also believed that when one had direct communion to the Divine within oneself this would achieve unity with one’s own personal guardian angel.
Anna Kingsford started out as a Christian mystic but ended up as a practicing pantheist magician, she was tutored by Samuel Mathers in the use of ‘Will’, magical intent manifested, and she has been labelled by some as a black magician for this use of Magickal Will. Her esoteric teachings were adopted by the Golden Dawn; she influenced the worship of female deities, as for example the goddess Isis by Samuel and Moina Mathers, the equal role played by women in the Golden Dawn was inspired by her. Indeed the whole goddess movement today can be traced back to Anna Kingsford’s teachings and visions.
Elaine Bailey is married, with two grown up children; they have long flown the nest but one very large Labradoodle has recently taken up their space. For many years she lived in Germany and taught English there, but returned to England just over ten years ago. She is retired and has an MA in Western Esotericism from the University of Exeter. She is a practicing magician and has given quite a few different lectures, talks, and workshops on Anna Bonus Kingsford, Nineteenth Century Occultism, the revival of Isis veneration, and the Golden Dawn system of magic at various occult conferences in Glastonbury, the Theosophical Society in London, Treadwell’s Bookshop, and the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle. She recently moved from Devon to Norfolk and much of her time at the moment is being spent redecorating, but she is supposed to be collating all of her Anna Bonus Kingsford writings to produce a book, which should happen sometime in late 2019.