Frederic_Leighton, ‘The Return of Persephone‘(1891).
This sharing from the Blue House of HYGEIA is an excerpt from Edward Maitland, ‘Anna Kingsford – Her Life, Letters, Diary and Work.’ Two volumes. 3rd Edition, edited by Samuel Hopgood Hart. John M. Watkins, London, 1913. Vol. II. From the Chapter XXIX, LETTERS AND ILLUMINATIONS. This is the main biography of Anna Kingsford. It is written in two big volumes. The 1st Edition is from January 1896; the “2nd Edition”, actually a reprint, was done in the same year of 1896; the 3rd Edition, edited by Samuel Hopgood Hart is from 1913.
To Baron Spedalieri
May 24, 1885.
“As your letter to Mr. Maitland chiefly concerns my paper, I have undertaken to reply to it, seeing that you misapprehend the doctrine I had intended to set forth. I assumed at the outset that my hearers and readers would understand Plato and the Kabala, when speaking of the soul’s descent, to speak – after their manner – by means of a personification. The soul indeed descends; but both the words ‘soul’ and ‘descends’ are, in this connection, used figuratively. For our language requires that we should speak of ‘descent’ when we infer a passage from Being into Existence; although, of course, transference from one locality to another is not intended, but only change of condition. And the ‘soul’ that so descends is the soul of the world – Persephone – not a number of individual souls. For the evolution and elaboration of individual souls is accomplished by means of development in material conditions; therefore soul is already individualised before assuming those conditions. That which ‘descends’ into generative states is the Monad, or Divine Substance vivified by the Divine Life. And its first appearance in the sphere of Matter and Time is not as individual, but as diffuse existence; not as self-conscious, but as simply conscious. But the potentiality of all higher existences is contained and slumbers within it; it is the efficient cause of all subsequent developments.
‘Persephone’ passes through seven stations, or ‘houses,’ in the course of her unfoldment; and the first of these is wholly rudimentary and diffuse, being the etheric and elemental states of existence. But I affirm further that the soul ‘descends’ by free-will, because, as a Pantheist, I hold that the worlds are not created by God in the popular sense, but that God is immanent in the very substance of the worlds. Wherefore this descent, or putting forth of subjective Deity into objective conditions, is obviously an act of free-will. The Monad – Persephone – is the true Daughter of Zeus, the very substance of God. Her descent is not accident, blunder, or fault, for it occurs with the cognition and express will of Zeus – as we learn from the Platonic mysteries. Therefore creation – or generation – occurs by the free-will of the soul – or Divine Substance – actuated by the Divine Life.
“If we should suppose any other origin for ‘creation’ than this, we should find ourselves placed in a theological dilemma; for we should be obliged to admit either that the Divine intention was frustrated by a catastrophe – which is absurd – or that prior to Creation something was wanting to God – which is no less absurd – to supply which want God created the worlds, and this would be to argue imperfection in the Divine Nature. But the scientific and theosophic explanation is, that Manifestation, or Activity (Creation), is a state of God, during which God becomes Multiple. Not that the other state of Passivity is suspended or interrupted thereby, for both states co-subsist. Time is a fiction, not a reality; and consequently Creation is a Divine state, which Being assumes by means of what the Hindoos call Maya. Waking is not imperfect or wanting in anything because sleeping is absent; nor is sleep wanting or imperfect because waking is absent. Both states are perfect in their own order and quality; and so also are the states of Divine Activity and Passivity. They are simply two states of God, eternally ebbing and flowing, and of them Passivity represents the ‘Night of Brahm,’ – the Nirvânic condition during which consciousness pulsates, so to speak, within itself, undifferentiate and indrawn: a Force potential and unmanifest, reposing in the Pleromic Darkness. In the state of Action, or ‘Day of Brahm,’ the Force becomes creative, and the Dark becomes the Light. This state of activity is the state of the soul in generation.
“There is nothing in this at variance with Hermetic doctrine. All the various forms of the Mysteries – Hellenic, Kabalistic, Neo-Platonic, Buddhist – teach the same doctrine, although variously expressed. And we find the allegory of Persephone, of the Descent of the Souls, the Fall, and Evolution all one and identical, perfectly harmonious and self-evident, when the key which opens all their locks is applied.”