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Life’s Greatest Mystery: Victorian Theosophist Anna Kingsford’s Vision Teachings on Satan

Anna Kingsford, Prominent Theosophist.


H.P.B. STATES THAT “THE TRUE ESOTERIC VIEW ABOUT “SATAN,” the opinion held on this subject by the whole philosophic antiquity, is admirably brought out in an appendix, entitled “The Secret of Satan,” to the second edition of Dr. A. Kingsford’s “Perfect Way.” No better and clearer indication of the truth could be offered to the intelligent reader, and it is therefore quoted here at some length.”

This is the original source of the misquote, ‘It is “Satan who is the god of our planet and the only god,’ attributed to H.P. Blavatsky, but as we see, in the Introduction: The Jewish and Theosophical Position, and Devil-Worship, it was written by Dr. A. Kingsford (1846-1888), The Victorian Occultist Accused of Killing Men With Her Mind. She was also one of the first women in England to be granted a medical degree, founded the Hermetic Society, and served as onetime president of the Theosophical Society.

Providing some key passages from Anna Kingsford’s visions in The Perfect Way, or The Finding of Christ we must explore:

“[1] And on the seventh day (seventh creation of the Hindus),* there went forth from the presence of God a mighty Angel, full of wrath and consuming, and God gave him the dominion of the outermost sphere.†

[2] “Eternity brought forth Time; the Boundless gave birth to Limit; Being descended into generation.”‡

[4] “Among the Gods is none like unto him, into whose hands are committed the kingdoms, the power and the glory of the worlds:”

[5] “Thrones and empires, the dynasties of kings,§ the fall of nations, the birth of churches, the triumph of Time.”

For, as is said in Hermes, “Satan is the door-keeper of the Temple of the King; he standeth in Solomon’s porch; he holdeth the key of the Sanctuary, that no man enter therein, save the Anointed having the arcanum of Hermes” (v. 20 and 21).

These suggestive and majestic verses had reference with the ancient Egyptians and other civilized peoples of antiquity to the creative and generative light of the Logos (Horus, Brahma, Ahura-Mazda, etc., etc., as primeval manifestations of the ever-unmanifested Principle, e.g., Ain-Soph, Parabrahm, or Zeruana Akerne — Boundless Time — Kala), but the 12. “Many names hath God given him (Satan), names of mystery, secret and terrible.”

[13] “The Adversary, because matter opposeth Spirit. Time accuseth even the Saints of the Lord.”

[28, 29, 31] “Stand in awe of him, and sin not; speak his name with trembling . . . . For Satan is the magistrate of the justice of God (Karma); he beareth the balance and the sword . . . . For to him are committed Weight and Measure and Number.

Compare the last sentence with what the Rabbi, who explains the Kabala to Prince Al-Chazari in the Book of that name, says; and it will be found that the Weight and Measure and Number are, in Sepher Jezirah, the attributes of the Sephiroth (the three Sephrim, or figures, ciphers) covering the whole collective number of 10; and that the Sephiroth are the collective Adam Kadmon, the “Heavenly Man” or the Logos. Thus Satan and the anointed were identified in ancient thought. Therefore,

[33] “Satan is the minister of God, Lord of the seven mansions of Hades” . . .

The seven or Saptaloka of the Earth with the Hindus; for Hades, or the Limbo of Illusion, of which theology makes a region bordering on Hell, is simply our globe, the Earth, and thus Satan is called —

[33] “. . . . the angel of the manifest Worlds.

It is “Satan who is the god of our planet and the only god,” and this without any allusive metaphor to its wickedness and depravity. For he is one with the Logos, “the first son, eldest of the gods,” [34.] “And God hath put a girdle about his loins (the rings of Saturn), and the name of the girdle is Death.”

In anthropogony this “girdle” is the human body with its two lower principles, which three die, while the innermost man is immortal. And now we approach the “Secret of Satan.”

[37, 38, 39] “ . . . Upon Satan only is the shame of generation. He hath lost his virginal estate (so hath the Kumara by incarnating): uncovering heavenly secrets, he hath entered into bondage . . . . He compasseth with bonds and limits all things. . . .”

[42, 43, 44] “Twain are the armies of God: in heaven the hosts of Michael; in the abyss (the manifested world) the legions of Satan. These are the unmanifest and the manifest; the free and the bound (in matter): the virginal and the fallen. And both are the Ministers of the Father, fulfilling the word Divine. . . .” Therefore —

[55] “Holy is the Sabbath of god: blessed and sanctified is the name of the Angel of Havas” — Satan.

For, “The glory of Satan is the shadow of the Lord”: God in the manifested world; “the throne of Satan is the footstool of Adonai” — that footstool being the whole Kosmos. (Vide Part II., “Is Pleroma Satans Lair?”)

When the Church, therefore, curses Satan, it curses the cosmic reflection of God; it anathematizes God made manifest in matter or in the objective; it maledicts God, or the ever-incomprehensible Wisdom, revealing itself as Light and Shadow, good and evil in nature, in the only manner comprehensible to the limited intellect of Man.

This is the true philosophical and metaphysical interpretation of Samael, or Satan, the adversary in the Kabala; the same tenets and spirit being found in the allegorical interpretations of every other ancient religion.” (Helena P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 2., pp. 233-35)

Helena P. Blavatsky argues in The Secret Doctrine (1888) from a philosophical view on the mythology of Satan, Lucifer, the Devil, and “God.” Kingsford’s meaning becomes very simple to understand by reading closely.

What Kingsford meant, was that the physical matter and MATTER in general holds sway over the terrestrial plane and mind. Anna Kingsford and H.P. Blavatsky are therefore not praising Satan, a myth, as the “idea of God and Devil would make any chela (disciple) of six months smile in pity. Theosophists do not believe either in the one or in the other…” H.P. Blavatsky explains.

The position is not comprehended, because its explanation conflicts with Christian theology and the beliefs underlying the polemics against other religions. Theosophy not only negates the Christian concept of Satan, but aims to demonstrate the futility and unphilosophical basis of the doctrine itself. Blavatsky remarked, that such beliefs, e.g., the doctrine of atonement and original sin are illogical, and drove Europe roads knee-deep in blood.

“When the Church, therefore, curses Satan, it curses the cosmic reflection of God; it anathematizes God made manifest in matter or in the objective; it maledicts God, or the ever-incomprehensible Wisdom, revealing itself as Light and Shadow, good and evil in nature, in the only manner comprehensible to the limited intellect of Man. This is the true philosophical and metaphysical interpretation of Samael, or Satan, the adversary in the Kabala; the same tenets and spirit being found in the allegorical interpretations of every other ancient religion.”

Helena P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 2., pp. 233-35

Anna Kingsford’s meaning, is that Satan is the Great Illusion. It is Polarity inherent in the Manifested World (MATTER).

This is the meaning of that often quoted passage. It does not take a thousand-page book to elaborate upon something that could be said in a few words. Yet, we find ourselves having to explain such simple things to those who want to see evil in the good.

The idea in the Torah is also strung throughout the Zoroastrian tradition, regarding the dual gods and the rebellious daivas, H.P.B. tells us. 

On the spirit of duality in man and matter in Zoroastrianism and Christianity:

“The holy “Airyaman,” “the bestower of weal,” invoked in the prayer called Airyama-ishyo, is the divine aspect of Ahriman, “the deadly, the Dae of the Daevas” (Farg. xx., 43), and Angra Mainyu is the dark material aspect of the former. “Keep us from the Hater, O Mazda and Armaita Spenta” (Vendidad Sadah), has, as a prayer and invocation, an identical meaning with “Lead us not into temptation,” and is addressed by man to the terrible Spirit of duality in man himself. (…)”

The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1, pg. 517

This duality is inherent in the order, due to the presence of MATTER.

Likewise, Anna Kingsford teaches, that the whole Kingdom of Nature is pervaded by MATTER, hence, is the Kingdom of Satan, the Universal Daimōn (or SPIRIT). Wherever there is MATTER, there is duality, the cycles of birth and death, growth and decay, the struggle of life, and conflict. All this is under the administration of Nature’s brute force and laws. The manifested world is inherently pervaded by polarity. Consider the polarity in molecules, and the theories of “anti-matter” and dark matter. Every atom is susceptible to polarization, and polarity is in all matter, pre-eminently in man. Spirit and matter we say has its basis in the same phenomena, and though through the manifestations of Force, Matter, Spirit, etc., things appear as opposite poles, are in essence, as we are with it, one movement and element — an ever-changing, omnipresent Proteus, whether resting, latent, or dynamic.

“Antiquity knew of no isolated, thoroughly and absolutely bad “god of evil.” Pagan thought represented good and evil as twin brothers, born from the same mother — Nature.”


Tracing the origin of the idea is key to the mystery. Satan represents metaphysically, the reverse or polar opposite of everything in nature, as Abstract Evil. “Demon est Deus inversus” is the old adage. It is in this adage, Blavatsky argues, that what this principle represents in metaphysics is the reverse of the same coin, “required by the equilibrium and harmony of things in Nature — like Shadow to throw off still brighter the Light, like Night to bring into greater relief the Day, and like cold to make one appreciate the more the comfort of heat…” (Blavatsky, SD, Vol. 1, 411).

In this manner as an “adversary” she says, Satan has ever existed. The idea that evil originated from Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God can hardly satisfy humanity, and there is countless lore about the origins of evil, solar and lunar deities, and sets of primal twins.

“Satan represents metaphysically simply the reverse or the polar opposite of everything in nature. He is the “adversary,” allegorically, the “murderer,” and the great Enemy of all, because there is nothing in the whole universe that has not two sides — the reverses of the same medal. But in that case, light, goodness, beauty, etc., may be called Satan with as much propriety as the Devil, since they are the adversaries of darkness, badness, and ugliness. And now the philosophy and the rationale of certain early Christian sects — called heretical and viewed as the abomination of the times — will become more comprehensible.”

“For over sixteen centuries the new masks, forced on the faces of the old gods, have screened them from public curiosity, but they have finally proved a misfit. Yet the metaphorical Fall, and as metaphorical atonement and crucifixion, led Western Humanity through roads knee-deep in blood. Worse than all, they led it to believe in the dogma of the evil spirit distinct from the spirit of all good, whereas the former lives in all matter and pre-eminently in man. Finally it created the God-slandering dogma of Hell and eternal perdition; it spread a thick film between the higher intuitions of man and divine verities; and, most pernicious result of all, it made people remain ignorant of the fact that there were no fiends, no dark demons in the Universe before man’s own appearance on this, and probably on other earths. Henceforth the people were led to accept, as the problematical consolation for this world’s sorrows, the thought of original sin.”

Helena P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 2, p. 484.


Let us consider WISDOM under two categories, Holy WISDOM and the Lower (“terrestrial, psychic, devilish”) WISDOM. Blavatsky states in the very book she has been accused of Satanism on the Pentagram:

“The esoteric symbol of Kali Yuga [the Dark Age] is the five-pointed star reversed, thus — the sign of human sorcery, with its two points (horns) turned heavenward, a position every Occultist will recognise as one of the “left-hand,” and used in ceremonial magic. It is hoped that during the perusal of this work the erroneous ideas of the public in general with regard to Pantheism will be modified” (Helena P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1., pg. 5).

The highest knowledge H.P.B. and the adepts are concerned with is the knowledge of the Real, not focusing on desires to communicate with the dead, or asking the universe for money. The former is Wisdom, and the latter are traps, distractions and illusions. In prior times, when Occultism and Alternative Spirituality were seen as a fad, more gravitated to, or were pre-occupied with the latter, than with the former.

In the view of Anna Kingsford expressed in her visions and by H.P. Blavatsky, the rulers of nations, as is given in the Appendix of Kingsford’s work cited, engage in all things contrary to the WISDOM, because engaged in the struggle for life (maya). 

From the view of Physics, Biology and Chemistry, we live in a world pervaded by MATTER, in which that interminable and cyclical struggle of birth, death and transition occurs between all living things.

“The “dynasties of the kings” who all regard themselves as the “anointed,” reigning “by the Grace of God,” whereas in truth, they reign by the grace of matter, the great Illusion, the Deceiver.”


While American and worldly politicians say, “God Bless our country,” in the name of Christianity, Hinduism or Islam, they war against one another in the next breath. They cannot escape this conundrum. In the early Jewish conceptions of Satan, this god is employed by their chief God as an attorney to test humanity. Humans are rather good at failing the tests, therefore the chain of causality (karma, providence, nemesis, etc) — the fates of nations, and dynasties of royals, etc., are not in the good graces of God, but in the graces of matter (the illusion, or illusory world). It is through this, that our divisiveness is born from our thought, which we stir and war against or for (God-concept as an idol) cyclically and repeatedly, each in the name of the jealous gods created by us. This as you will find also explains the other misquoted line from Blavatsky, that Lucifer (our egotism) lives in us, in our mind, which is also represented as dual (higher and lower manas).

The attributes SATAN is referred to or believed to be within cultures and theology is conceived as being the inverse nature of the Deity, hence being known as the adversary, i.e., the deceiver, which is the “illusion.” It is God inversed, and manifested in the World.

Christians also teach that SATAN rules this world, however, through their theology, and anthropomorphic dualism. Theosophy however explains, that the Creator (elohim) is in one sense, actually a collective of MASONS (builders), the many from the One Element. Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine elaborates, that the classical Védic atomic theory is inseparable from this position. Many scholars have shown that in Bere’shith (Genesis), it can be demonstrated in the Jewish tradition prior to the construction of monotheism, that a committee of gods are involved in Creation, as in the Enūma Eliš.

“The “Builders” are a class called, as I already explained, Cosmocratores, or the invisible but intelligent Masons, who fashion matter according to the ideal plan ready for them in that which we call Divine and Cosmic ideation. They were called by the early Masons the “Grand Architect of the Universe” collectively: but now the modern Masons make of their G.A.O.T.U. a personal and singular Deity.”


This conception is found throughout the cosmogonies of the ancient world.


The secret god of the Mysteries, the G.A.O.T.U. of the Masons is not the Devil, or Satan though the explanation of Theosophy about Satan is very related to the positions of the Occult Philosophy on the nature of matter. The mystery of the secret god is expressed for example through the mathematical idea that “God geometrizes.” This could hardly refer to a malignant supernatural creature, or better yet any Hellraiser of Dante’s Inferno or Faustian conception. The propensity towards evil originates from the thought of man, which is vaguely associated with what Lucifer and Satan is. This is the blessing and curse of consciousness. The mind and conscience is constantly struggling between its celestial and terrestrial nature entangled in MATTER

Blavatsky explains, that the “secret god” is also described in the classical Indian philosophy as the Aniyamsan aniyasam, meaning “the most atomic of the atomic,” a term that applies to Paramatman, the state of unconscious immateriality variously called Parabrahm, Parameshvar, or Nirvana. “This teaching is the highest stage of Philosophical ultra-Spiritual Pantheism and Buddhism” (H.P. Blavatsky, Notes on Dharma and Paramatma, Theosophist, May, 1881).

In the same article Vishnu Bawa Brahmachari (1825-1871) is quoted from an article titled “True Religion Defined” where he explains, that “every rational being’s dharma or natural duty and Religion is first to acquire the jñāna (knowledge) or vidya of its real Self, the Paramatma, and then by the annihilation of its atma, or worldly self or soul to experience the infinity of Happiness prevalent in its unconscious Immateriality.”

The Kosmos is always depicted in the old cosmogonies as being pervaded by Fire or WATER; and Water is symbolic for a protean principle generically termed Substance, Element, MATTER, even since the times of the Presocratic philosophers. Modern physics suggests a theory of superfluid spacetime, while in Occult Philosophy, the dark dregs of the universal substance is referred to as the Astral element, believed to both interpenetrate and be more tenuous than physical matter. It was Eliphas Levi, that called this element Lucifer using Christian terminology, which led to H.P. Blavatsky’s critique of Levi.

The explanations H.P.B. dives into in connection to classical Indian philosophy afterwards seems entirely out of the depth of typical Christian theology and Biblical literalism.

Another example can be clearly given:

“Modern science is secure only in its own domain and region, within the physical boundaries of our solar system, beyond which everything, every particle of matter, is different from the matter it knows; which matter exists in states of which science can form no idea. That matter, which is truly homogeneous, is beyond human perceptions, if perception is tied down merely to the five senses. (…) The Worlds, including our own, were of course, as germs, primarily evolved from the ONE Element, in its second stage— (“Father-Mother,” the differentiated World’s Soul, not what is termed the “Over-Soul” by Emerson), whether we call it, with modern science, Cosmic dust and Fire Mist, or with Occultism — Akasha, Jivatma, divine Astral Light, or the “Soul of the World.” No world, as no heavenly body, could be constructed on the objective plane, had not the Elements been sufficiently differentiated already from their primeval Ilus, resting in Laya.

As H.P.B. states regarding matter, modern science has no real idea of the fullness of its nature, and the conflict between theology and science is leading humanity into materialism and a merely animal existence. Blavatsky explains that humanity can overpower the effects of evil by practicing and living holy lives. She cannot therefore be ignorant of the dangers of the lower nature or in the material world, nor can she hardly be accused of condoning malignant behaviors and evil practices. Demonizing Helena Blavatsky, therefore appears quite un-Christian, if not dishonest.

Here is the thing about secrecy. You want to know what are the secrets of the Initiates and the Mysteries? It has been explained many times, and for centuries spread throughout many books openly, freely and publicly, but people have scorned, twisted, misunderstood, and feared what they claim or wish to understand, but do not put in the effort to learn, or ask those that study these things, whether as scholars or students of a particular faith, that embraces esotericism and eclecticism.

Secrets are inherent in Nature, not just governments and “secret societies.” Almost all of Nature’s frightening conditions, life and depths are hidden from us at all times of the day. Our brains could not handle such stimuli. So, in a sense, Nature hides secrets itself from us. The Mysteries are those secrets, open yet veiled. To come upon them, our most treasured beliefs may be discovered to be illusions. All through our lives we walk we must discover things not known, or hidden from us before. We only see what we are allowed to, and capable of seeing due to the elements and conditions surrounding our planet, including the very nerves and organs evolved by nature and subject to those conditions. There are many limitations put before us. Secrecy is built in Nature. It is why, the saying goes, that no man has ever pierced the Veil of Isis.

To pierce even the veils we are capable of, to find the Light, we must burrow through the Darkness holding to our light (that first self-conscious god). Darkness is not only the pavilion of God. Absolute Light is Darkness to our finite minds, and that which is Darkness to us is Absoluteness itself.

“Even in the mind-baffling and science-harassing Genesis, light is created out of darkness “and darkness was upon the face of the deep” (ch. i. v. 2.) – and not vice versa. “In him (in darkness) was life; and the life was the light of men” (John i. 4). A day may come when the eyes of men will be opened; and then they may comprehend better than they do now, that verse in the Gospel of John that says “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehendeth it not.” They will see then that the word “darkness” does not apply to man’s spiritual eyesight, but indeed to “Darkness,” the absolute, that comprehendeth not (cannot cognize) transient light, however transcendent to human eyes.”


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