Bibliotherapy

Anna Kingsford-At The Feet of the Goddess Athena

Athena, statue by Carlos Sarrabezolles

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Today’s sharing from the Blue House of HYGEIA is a quote, from Edward Maitland’s biography of Anna Bonus Kingsford, evocating one of the last dreams received before she died. It was with Pallas Athena, her life-long spiritual guidance, together with Hermes- Wisdom-Athena & Hermes-Understanding.

Here she lives a kind of APOTHEOSIS and arrives in a place greeted by her celestial protector and mentor. Did you know that alongside of Her many names and attributes, there is also the ‘Cosmic Dancer’ and that She is always close to the nine Muses in that function? Plato in the ‘Timaeus’, has Socrates describe Athena as the Leader of the Curetes. The Curetes or Korybantes, were the dancing attendants of Rhea in Greek mythology. It echoes India and the cosmic dances of the gods, and here matching that of the Maha (Great) Kali. Also, Anna Kingsford talks about the Goddess’ feet like in the flourishing Hindu devotional poetry celebrating the feet of the gods and goddesses.

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‘I dreamt that I had died while quite unconscious, as if in a swoon from want of breath. And I recovered consciousness to find myself in the presence of a great light like that of a flame, such as to suggest the thought that the Christians were after all correct in their belief about hell, and I had gone to the place to which they would doubtless assign me. But presently I discovered that I was lying in a lovely green meadow, among long grasses and white flowers, which I recognize as Asphodel. And a while wondering where I was, I was accosted by a radiant female figure very heavily draped in a white stuff like the finest cashmere, folds upon folds, having only the face visible. I knew her for Pallas Athena. And She said to me joyously: ‘-My true Greek Child! So, you have come to me through the fire!’ by which I remembered that I had been cremated, and this was the cause of my impression about fire. And I bethought me of the verses given me a few weeks before my death:

Sweet lengths of shore with white sea between;

Sweet gleams of tender blue and green;

Sweet wind caressive and unseen,

Soft breathing from the deep;

What a Joy have I in all sweet things!

How clear and wild my spirit sings,

Rising aloft on mystic wings

While sense and body sleep!

In some such dream of grace and light

My soul shall pass into the sight

Of the dear Gods who in the heights

Of Inward Being dwell;

And Joyful at Her perfect feet,

Whom most of all I long to greet,

My soul shall lie in the meadows sweet

All White with Asphodel.

And I said to myself, ‘then that was a prophecy, and this is the realisation’. We had a long conversation together, which I cannot recall, and then She intimated to me that I was to rest, and bade me lie down again on the grass, and then She glided away like a mist and disappeared from my sight’.

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Note by Edward Maitland: ‘The last reference in the poem is to Pallas Athena, as the representative of the Divine Wisdom, one of her two chief-instructors.’

Maha Kali, as seen in Wikimedia Commons
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