Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:01 am

Oxford Movement
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/2/19



The Community of the Resurrection (CR) is an Anglican religious community for men in England. It is based in Mirfield, West Yorkshire, and has 14 members as of April 2019....

CR is dedicated to the mystery of Christ's resurrection...

The community has a long-standing covenant relationship with the Roman Catholic Benedictine St. Matthias' Abbey in Trier, Germany...

The Community of the Resurrection (CR) is a child of the Oxford Movement, the Catholic Revival in the Church of England in the 19th century...They were all Christian Socialists...

-- Community of the Resurrection, by Wikipedia

Felkin and the Temple

In 1910 the Community of the Resurrection at Mirfield sent a mission of help to New Zealand, preaching and conducting retreats. One of the visiting priests was a Father Fitzgerald, whom Miss McLean had met in Britain, and she arranged for him to meet members of the Havelock prayer group. He agreed to be the director of their spiritual work from Britain. After a period of instruction, focussing on an esoteric approach to Christianity, Father Fitzgerald told the group that they had reached a level where personal instruction would be necessary, and he recommended a Dr. Robert Felkin for the task, who was the head of the Stella Matutina. Within a week the group had cabled £300 passage, supplied by Maurice Chambers and his father, Mason, and his uncle John, for Felkin and his family to visit New Zealand for three months. During this visit in 1912 Dr Felkin established the Smaragdum Thalasses Temple of the Stella Matutina, and later emigrated permanently to NZ in 1916, when he took up the day-to-day running of the Temple until his death in 1926.

-- Havelock Work, by Wikipedia

Edward Bouverie Pusey

John Henry Newman

The Oxford Movement was a movement of High Church members of the Church of England which eventually developed into Anglo-Catholicism. The movement, whose original devotees were mostly associated with the University of Oxford, argued for the reinstatement of some older Christian traditions of faith and their inclusion into Anglican liturgy and theology. They thought of Anglicanism as one of three branches of the "one holy, catholic, and apostolic" Christian church. By the 1840s many participants decided that the Anglican Church lacked grace, and converted to Roman Catholicism.

The movement's philosophy was known as Tractarianism after its series of publications, the Tracts for the Times, published from 1833 to 1841. Tractarians were also disparagingly referred to as "Newmanites" (before 1845) and "Puseyites" (after 1845) after two prominent Tractarians, John Henry Newman and Edward Bouverie Pusey.
Other well-known Tractarians included John Keble, Charles Marriott, Richard Froude, Robert Wilberforce, Isaac Williams and William Palmer.

Origins and early period

In the early nineteenth century, different groups were present in the Church of England. Many, particularly in high office, saw themselves as latitudinarian (liberal) in an attempt to broaden the Church's appeal. Conversely, many clergy in the parishes were Evangelicals, as a result of the revival led by John Wesley. Alongside this, the universities became the breeding ground for a movement to restore liturgical and devotional customs which borrowed heavily from traditions before the English Reformation as well as contemporary Roman Catholic traditions.[1]

The immediate impetus for the Tractarian movement was a perceived attack by the reforming Whig administration on the structure and revenues of the Church of Ireland (the established church in Ireland), with the Irish Church Temporalities Bill (1833). This bill not only legislated administrative changes of the hierarchy of the church (for example, with a reduction of bishoprics and archbishoprics) but also made changes to the leasing of church lands, which some (including a number of Whigs) feared would result in a secular appropriation of ecclesiastical property. John Keble criticised these proposals as "National Apostasy" in his Assize Sermon in Oxford in 1833. The Tractarians criticised theological liberalism. Their interest in Christian origins caused some of them to reconsider the relationship of the Church of England with the Roman Catholic Church.

The Tractarians postulated the Branch Theory, which states that Anglicanism along with Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism form three "branches" of the historic Catholic Church. Tractarians argued for the inclusion of traditional aspects of liturgy from medieval religious practice, as they believed the church had become too "plain". In the final tract, "Tract 90", Newman argued that the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, as defined by the Council of Trent, were compatible with the Thirty-Nine Articles of the 16th-century Church of England. Newman's eventual reception into the Roman Catholic Church in 1845, followed by Henry Edward Manning in 1851, had a profound effect upon the movement.[2]


Apart from the Tracts for the Times, the group began a collection of translations of the Church Fathers, which they termed the Library of the Fathers. The collection eventually comprised 48 volumes, the last published three years after Pusey's death. They were issued through Rivington's company with the imprint of the Holyrood Press. The main editor for many of these was Charles Marriott. A number of volumes of original Greek and Latin texts was also published. One of the main contributions that resulted from Tractarianism is the hymnbook entitled Hymns Ancient and Modern which was published in 1861.

Influence and criticism

Keble College, Oxford, founded in 1870, was named after John Keble, a Tractarian, by the influence of Edward Pusey, another Tractarian

The Oxford Movement was criticised for being a mere "Romanising" tendency, but it began to influence the theory and practice of Anglicanism more broadly. Paradoxically, the Oxford Movement was also criticised for being both secretive and collusive.[3]

The Oxford Movement resulted in the establishment of Anglican religious orders, both of men and of women. It incorporated ideas and practices related to the practice of liturgy and ceremony to incorporate more powerful emotional symbolism in the church. In particular it brought the insights of the Liturgical Movement into the life of the church. Its effects were so widespread that the Eucharist gradually became more central to worship, vestments became common, and numerous Roman Catholic practices were re-introduced into worship. This led to controversies within churches that resulted in court cases, as in the dispute about ritualism.

Partly because bishops refused to give livings to Tractarian priests, many of them began working in slums. From their new ministries, they developed a critique of British social policy, both local and national. One of the results was the establishment of the Christian Social Union, of which a number of bishops were members, where issues such as the just wage, the system of property renting, infant mortality and industrial conditions were debated. The more radical Catholic Crusade was a much smaller organisation than the Oxford Movement. Anglo-Catholicism – as this complex of ideas, styles and organisations became known – had a significant influence on global Anglicanism.

End of Newman's involvement and receptions into Roman Catholicism

One of the principal writers and proponents of Tractarianism was John Henry Newman, a popular Oxford priest who, after writing his final tract, "Tract 90", became convinced that the Branch Theory was inadequate. Concerns that Tractarianism was a disguised Roman Catholic movement were not unfounded; Newman believed that the Roman and Anglican churches were wholly compatible. He was received into the Roman Catholic Church in 1845 and was ordained a priest of the Church the same year. He later became a cardinal (but not a bishop). Writing on the end of Tractarianism as a movement, Newman stated:

I saw indeed clearly that my place in the Movement was lost; public confidence was at an end; my occupation was gone. It was simply an impossibility that I could say any thing henceforth to good effect, when I had been posted up by the marshal on the buttery-hatch of every College of my University, after the manner of discommoned pastry-cooks, and when in every part of the country and every class of society, through every organ and opportunity of opinion, in newspapers, in periodicals, at meetings, in pulpits, at dinner-tables, in coffee-rooms, in railway carriages, I was denounced as a traitor who had laid his train and was detected in the very act of firing it against the time-honoured Establishment.[4]

Newman was one of a number of Anglican clergy who were received into the Roman Catholic Church during the 1840s who were either members of, or were influenced by, Tractarianism.

Other people influenced by Tractarianism who became Roman Catholics included:

• Thomas William Allies, ecclesiastical historian and Anglican priest.
• Edward Badeley, ecclesiastical lawyer.
• Robert Hugh Benson, son of the Archbishop of Canterbury, novelist and monsignor.
• John Chapman, patristic scholar and Roman Catholic priest.
• Augusta Theodosia Drane, writer and Dominican prioress.
• Frederick William Faber, theologian, hymn writer, Oratorian and Roman Catholic priest.
• Robert Stephen Hawker, poet and Anglican priest (became a Roman Catholic on his deathbed).
• James Hope-Scott, barrister and Tractarian (received with Manning).
• Gerard Manley Hopkins, poet and Jesuit priest.
• Ronald Knox, Biblical text translator and Anglican priest.
• Thomas Cooper Makinson, Anglican priest.
• Henry Edward Manning, later Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster.
• St. George Jackson Mivart, biologist (later interdicted by Cardinal Herbert Vaughan).
• John Brande Morris, Orientalist, eccentric and Roman Catholic priest.
• Augustus Pugin, architect.
• Richard Sibthorp, Anglican (and sometime Roman Catholic) priest (the first to convert; later reconverted)
• William George Ward, theologian.

Others associated with Tractarianism

• Edward Burne-Jones
• Richard William Church
• William Coope
• Margaret Anna Cusack
• George Anthony Denison
• Philip Egerton
• Alexander Penrose Forbes
• William Ewart Gladstone
• George Cornelius Gorham
• Renn Dickson Hampden
• Walter Farquhar Hook
• William Lockhart
• John Medley
• James Bowling Mozley
• Thomas Mozley
• John Mason Neale
• William Upton Richards
• Christina Rossetti
Lord Salisbury
• Nathaniel Woodard

See also

• Christianity portal
• Oxfordshire portal
• Anglican Breviary
• Anglican Communion
• Cambridge Camden Society
• Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament
• Guild of All Souls
• Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology
• Neo-Lutheranism
• Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham
• Society of the Holy Cross
• Society of King Charles the Martyr
• Society of Mary (Anglican)
• Crypto-papism


1. "The Church of England (the Anglican Church)". Retrieved 7 December 2015.
2. "A Short History of the Oxford Movement". Mocavo.
3. Walsh, Walter The Secret History of the Oxford Movement, with a New Preface Containing a Reply to Critics, London Church Association, 1899.
4. "The Tractarian Movement". Retrieved 7 December 2015.

Further reading

• Bexell, Oloph, "The Oxford Movement as received in Sweden." Kyrkohistorisk årsskrift. Publications of the Swedish Society of Church History 1:106 (2006).
• Brown, Stewart J. & Nockles, Peter B. ed. The Oxford Movement: Europe and the Wider World 1830–1930, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
• Burgon, John, Lives of Twelve Good Men. Includes biography of Charles Marriott.
• Chadwick, Owen. Mind of the Oxford Movement, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1960.
• Church, R. W., The Oxford Movement: Twelve Years, 1835–1845, ed. and with an introd. by Geoffrey Best, in series, Classics of British Historical Literature, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970. xxxii, [2], 280 p. ISBN 0-226-10619-5 (pbk.)
• Church, R. W. The Oxford Movement: Twelve Years, 1833–1845, London: Macmillan & Co., 1891.
• Crumb, Lawrence N. The Oxford Movement and Its Leaders: a bibliography of secondary and lesser primary sources. (ATLA Bibliography Series, 56). Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2009.
• Dearing, Trevor Wesleyan and Tractarian Worship. London: Epworth Press, 1966.
• Dilworth-Harrison, T. Every Man's Story of the Oxford Movement. London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., 1932.
• Faught, C. Brad. The Oxford Movement: a thematic history of the Tractarians and their times, University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003, ISBN 978-0-271-02249-9
• Halifax, Charles Lindley Wood, Viscount, The Agitation Against the Oxford Movement, Office of the English Church Union, 1899.
• Hall, Samuel. A Short History of the Oxford Movement, London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1906.
• Herring, George (2016) The Oxford Movement in Practice. Oxford University Press (based on the author's D.Phil. thesis; it examines the Tractarian parochial world from the 1830s to the 1870s)
• Hutchison, William G. The Oxford Movement, being a Selection from Tracts for the Times, London: Walter Scott Pub. Co., 1906.
• Kelway, Clifton (1915) The Story of the Catholic Revival. London: Cope & Fenwick
• Kendall, James. "A New Oxford Movement in England," The American Catholic Quarterly Review, Vol. XXII, 1897.
• Leech, Kenneth & Williams, Rowan (eds) Essays Catholic and Radical: a jubilee group symposium for the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Oxford Movement 1833–1983, London : Bowerdean, 1983ISBN 0-906097-10-X
• Liddon, Henry Parry, Life of E. B. Pusey, 4 vols. London, 1893. The standard history of the Oxford Movement, which quotes extensively from their correspondence, and the source for much written subsequently. The Library of the Fathers is discussed in vol. 1 pp. 420–440. Available on
• Norman, Edward R. Church and Society in England 1770–1970: a historical study. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976, ISBN 0-19-826435-6.
• Nockles, Peter B. The Oxford Movement in Context: Anglican High Churchmanship 1760–1857. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
• Nockles, Peter B., "The Oxford Movement and its historiographers. Brilioth's 'Anglican Revival' and 'Three Lectures on Evangelicalism and The Oxford Movement' revisited." Kyrkohistorisk årsskrift. Publications of the Swedish Society of Church History 1:106 (2006).
• Nye, George Henry Frederick. The Story of the Oxford Movement: A Book for the Times, Bemrose, 1899.
• Ollard, S. L. A Short History of the Oxford Movement, A. R. Mowbray & Co., 1915.
• Pereiro, J. 'Ethos' and the Oxford Movement: At the Heart of Tractarianism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.
• Pfaff, Richard W. "The Library of the Fathers: the Tractarians as Patristic translators," Studies in Philology; 70 (1973), p. 333ff.
• Skinner, S. A. Tractarians and the Condition of England: the social and political thought of the Oxford Movement. (Oxford Historical Monographs.) Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2004.
• Wakeling, G. The Oxford Church Movement: Sketches and Recollections, Swan Sonnenschein & Co., 1895.
• Walworth, Clarence A. The Oxford Movement in America. New York: United States Catholic Historical Society, 1974 (Reprint of the 1895 ed. published by the Catholic Book Exchange, New York).
• Ward, Wilfrid. The Oxford Movement, T. C. & E. C. Jack, 1912.
• Webb, Clement Charles Julian. Religious Thought in the Oxford Movement, London: Macmillan, 1928.

External links

• Tractarianism (Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge)
• The Oxford Movement. BBC Radio 4 discussion with Sheridan Gilley, Frances Knight & Simon Skinner (In Our Time, Apr 13, 2006)
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:06 am

Anna Sprengel
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/2/19



Anna Sprengel (allegedly died in 1891), countess of Landsfeldt, love-child of Ludwig I of Bavaria and Lola Montez, is a person whose existence was never proven, and who it now seems was invented by William Wynn Westcott to confer legitimacy on the Golden Dawn. In 1901 Mathers, leader of the Golden Dawn, briefly supported the claim of Swami Laura Horos, who had long campaigned for recognition as that countess, to have written Westcott as Anna Sprengel.

Westcott's anecdote

According to William Wynn Westcott, with whom he claimed she entered into voluminous correspondence, Anna Sprengel was born in Nuremberg and was responsible for the foundation of the Golden Dawn around 1886. She is supposed to have held a Rosicrucian ritual and to have nominated Westcott as the head of the Golden Dawn in Britain.

One of Westcott's friends had decoded a series of manuscripts which the occultist Fred Hockley had brought from Germany which were given to him by a German Rosicrucian secret society. The address which was encoded there was that of a certain Anna Sprengel, countess of Landsfeldt, near Nuremberg. It was thus that Westcott is supposed to have been put into contact with Anna Sprengel.

By 1886, Anna Sprengel is supposed to have already established contact with the person who would become the main leader of the Golden Dawn in Britain, Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers (1854–1918). Anna Sprengel is supposed to have given Mathers a charter authorising him to found lodges of the Golden Dawn in Britain. Westcott and Mathers henceforth collaborated to develop the Golden Dawn, notably in France and in the United States.


• Riffard Pierre, L'Ésotérisme - Qu'est que l'ésotérisme ? - Anthologie de l'ésotérisme occidental, Ed. Robert Laffont, 1990 - p.878
• Serge Hutin, Aleister Crowley, Ed. Marabout, Verviers 1973 (chapitre sur la Golden Dawn).
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:11 am

Ann O'Delia Diss Debar [Swami Laura Horos/Ann O'Delia Salomon/Della Ann O'Sullivan/Vera Ava/Editha Lola Montez/Madame Messant (or McGonn)/Swami Viva Ananda/Laura Horos/Laura Jackson/Princess Editha Lolita/Helena Horos]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/2/19



Ann O'Delia Diss Debar
A portrait of Ann O'Delia Diss Debar
Born: Editha Salomen (probable)[1], 1849
Died: 1909 (aged 59–60)
Nationality: American
Other names: Ann O'Delia Salomon[2], Della Ann O'Sullivan, Vera Ava, Editha Lola Montez, Madame Messant (or McGonn), Swami Viva Ananda, Laura Horos[3], Laura Jackson[3]
Occupation: Medium

Ann O'Delia Diss Debar (probably born Editha Salomen,[1] c. 1849 – 1909 or later) was a late 19th and early 20th century medium and criminal. She was convicted of fraud several times in the US, and was tried for rape and fraud in London in 1901. She was described by Harry Houdini as "one of the most extraordinary fake mediums and mystery swindlers the world has ever known".[1]


Although many sources claim that Ann O'Delia Diss Debar was born as Editha Salomen in Kentucky in 1849, no documentary proof exists.[1] Another commonly reported birth name is Ann O'Delia Salomon.[2] She herself claimed to have been born in Italy in 1854, the daughter of King Ludwig I of Bavaria and his notorious mistress, the dancer Lola Montez[4], and that she was raised by foster parents from a young age.[5] Her actual father, Prof. John C.F. Salomon, was a Professor of Music at Greenville Female Institute, also known as Daughters' College and now exists as the Beaumont Inn in Harrodsburg, Kentucky.

Ann O'Delia Diss Debar (also spelled Ann O'Delia Dis Debar[3]) is the most frequently referenced of the many names used by her in her lifetime, including Editha Lola Montez, Della Ann O'Sullivan, Vera Ava, Madame Messant (or McGoon), Swami Viva Ananda, Laura Horos (or Swami Laura Horos) and Laura Jackson.[3][6] British occultist Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers (1854–1918) briefly believed that she was Anna Sprengel.

She apparently became involved with Victoria Claflin and Tennessee Claflin, popular exponents of spiritualism, in the 1860s and 1870s, and was a disciple of Madame Blavatsky. She claimed to be the wife of West Virginia statesman Joseph H. Diss Debar, and produced "spirit paintings" by Old Masters. She was prosecuted several times for fraud [wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain.].[7] One notable example was the case of Luther R. Marsh, a wealthy and distinguished lawyer who had studied in the law office of Daniel Webster. Diss Debar persuaded the elderly Marsh to give her his townhouse on New York's Madison Avenue[4][5]; for this she was imprisoned for 6 months in June 1888 on Blackwell's Island.[4] The magician Carl Hertz appeared at the prosecution for the Horos trial in New York. Hertz helped send Horos to jail by duplicating in court the tricks she had used in her séances.[8]

Under the name Vera P. Ava, she was convicted of larceny [theft of personal property] in Illinois and sentenced March 24, 1893 to the Joliet Correctional Center (then Joliet Penitentiary) for two years.[9][4][5] According to the New York Times, during the trial she claimed not to be the "famous spook priestess" though the article continues to say, "that she is Dis Debar (sic) no one doubts."[9] Soon after she emerged from prison, she married William J. McGowan, who, "had considerable money. He died soon afterward."[4]

She married Frank Dutton Jackson in Louisiana in 1899[5], calling herself Princess Editha Lolita. As Editha Loleta Jackson, she was expelled from New Orleans in May 1899 as a swindler [a person who uses deception to deprive someone of money or possessions.] [5]. She was imprisoned for 30 days later that month.[10] After 1899, she spent some time in South Africa, calling herself Helena Horos of the College of Occult Sciences.[4]

Diss Debar and Jackson went to England, calling themselves "Swami Laura Horos" and "Theodore Horos."[11] They set up a "Purity League" at the Theocratic Unity Temple, near Regent's Park in London, and worked as fortune tellers and diviners, advertising their services in newspapers, such as The People and the now defunct Western Morning Advertiser[5]. They were arrested in Birkenhead in September 1901, and charged with obtaining property by false pretenses, rape and buggery. The charges seem to have arisen from decadent sexual practices at their temple in London. The couple defended themselves,[9] but Diss Debar was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment, and her husband to 15 years.[4] She was held in the prison in Aylesbury,[5] released on parole in July 1906 and immediately went missing,[4] apparently leaving England for the United States. Thereafter, she was wanted by Scotland Yard.

Rape and Rhabdomancy

In 1901 an American medium named Ann O'Delia Diss Debar was sentenced in London for 'aiding and abetting' her paramour to rape a young girl at their 'Theocratic Unity' temple in Park Road, Regent's Park.

-- Fifty Years of Psychical Research, by Harry Price

She was next found in Cincinnati in 1909, under the name Vera Ava.[5]

In August 1909, Diss Deber attempted to start a new religious cult called the New Revelation in New York City, but abandoned the plan at the School of Mahatmas on 32nd Street one week before it was to open after journalists revealed her true identity.[4]

A biography is included in the 1938 book Beware Familiar Spirits by the American magician John Mulholland (reprinted in 1979).[10]

See also

Fortune telling fraud


1. Harry Houdini. (1924). A Magician Among the Spirits (via
2. Michael Cantor. (2015). Herrmann the Great - A Journey through Media. USB 978-1329084834
3. "GRAVE CHARGES AGAINST ANN O'DELIA DIS DEBAR.; English Government Officials Expect that She and the Man Jackson Will Get Life Sentences". New York Times. 1901.
4. "DIS DEBAR FOUNDS A NEW CULT HERE; Ex-Priestess of Fake Spiritualism Returns as Teacher in a "School of Mahatmas." SNARED LUTHER R. MARSH Got Lawyer's Property Years Ago, but Had to Disgorge -- She Quits City When Identity Becomes Known". Retrieved 2019-04-16.
5. December 2004, 3. "Fraudulent fortunes | News". Law Society Gazette. Retrieved 2019-04-17.
6. Lewis Spence. (2003). Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology. Kessinger Publishing. p. 439. ISBN 978-0766128156
7. "He Is Still Her Friend.; Mr. Marsh". The New York Times. 1888-12-25. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
8. Milbourne Christopher. (1969). Houdini: The Untold Story. Crowell. p. 160. ISBN 978-0891909811
9. "Dis Debar Found Guilty; and Sentenced to Two Years in the Penitentiary". The New York Times. 1893-03-25. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
10. John Mulholland (1938). Beware Familiar Spirits. Scribner. pp. 251-260. ISBN 0-684-16181-8
11. "GRAVE CHARGES AGAINST ANN O'DELIA DIS DEBAR.; English Government Officials Expect that She and the Man Jackson Will Get Life Sentences". The New York Times. 1901-10-11. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-04-16.


• Harry Price. (1939). Rape and Rhabdomancy, The Law and the Medium. In Fifty Years of Psychical Research. Longmans, Green and Company.

External links

•, Paducah sun., October 16, 1901, Weekly Edition, Image 3.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Dec 03, 2019 3:49 am

Part 1 of 3

Florence Farr [Mary Lester]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/2/19



Florence Farr
Born: Florence Beatrice Farr, 7 July 1860, Bickley, Kent, UK
Died: 29 April 1917 (aged 56), Colombo, Ceylon (Sri Lanka)
Other names: Mary Lester

Florence Beatrice Emery (née) Farr (7 July 1860 – 29 April 1917)[1] was a British West End leading actress, composer and director. She was also a women's rights activist, journalist, educator, singer, novelist, and leader of the occult order, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.[2] She was a friend and collaborator of Nobel laureate William Butler Yeats, poet Ezra Pound, playwright Oscar Wilde, artists Aubrey Beardsley and Pamela Colman Smith, Masonic scholar Arthur Edward Waite, theatrical producer Annie Horniman, and many other literati of London's Fin de siècle era, and even by their standards she was "the bohemian's bohemian".[3] Though not as well known as some of her contemporaries and successors, Farr was a "First Wave" Feminist of the late 19th and early 20th centuries; she publicly advocated for suffrage, workplace equality, and equal protection under the law for women, writing a book and many articles in intellectual journals on the rights of "the modern woman".

Early life

Florence Beatrice Farr was born in Bickley, Kent, England (nowadays a suburb of London) in 1860, the youngest of the eight children of Mary Elizabeth Whittal and Dr. William Farr. She was named after nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale by her father, a physician and hygienist who was a friend and colleague of Nightingale's. Dr. Farr was known as an advocate of equal education and professional rights for women,[4] who doubtlessly influenced his daughters' attitudes in their later lives.

"The Golden Stairs" by Burne-Jones

Her family sent her to school at Cheltenham Ladies' College in 1873. One of her childhood friends was May Morris, the daughter of Jane Morris, the renowned Pre-Raphaelite artist's model, who introduced her to the artistic and intellectual circles of London society. Farr, May Morris and other friends posed for Sir Edward Burne-Jones' Pre-Raphaelite painting "The Golden Stairs" when she was 19 years old. The painting is exhibited at the Tate Gallery in London.[3] From 1877 to 1880, Farr attended Queen's College, the first women's college in England. After leaving college, she took a teaching position, but soon her aspirations turned to theatre.

Theatrical career

Farr's first acting experience was in amateur productions with the Bedford Park Dramatics Club, in which her sister Henrietta and brother-in-law Henry were active members. Beginning in 1882, Farr served an eight-month apprenticeship under actor-manager J. L. Toole at the Folly Theatre on King William IV Street near Charing Cross. She adopted the stage name Mary Lester in deference to her father's wishes, who did not want the Farr name associated with the theatre. Her first professional stage appearance was as "Kate Renshaw", a schoolgirl, in Henry J. Byron's Uncle Dick’s Darling.[5]

Farr at the Folly Theatre

In 1883 her father died, leaving her a modest inheritance to live on.[4] She continued taking minor roles at the Folly, but changed her stage name back to Florence Farr when she began performing at the Gaiety Theatre in May. Her commanding presence and beautiful speaking voice were noted by George Bernard Shaw. She soon attained modest success on London's West End stages. In 1884 she married fellow actor Edward Emery. It turned out to be a disastrous marriage, and she chafed under the restrictions expected of a Victorian wife.[5] In 1888, her husband left for an extended tour of America, and they never saw each other again. She eventually obtained a divorce in 1895 on the grounds of abandonment and never remarried.[3]

In early 1890, Farr moved in with her sister, Henrietta, and brother-in-law, painter and stage designer Henry Marriott Paget, to Bedford Park, a bohemian London enclave of intellectuals, artists and writers. Bedford Park was known for its "free thinkers" and the "New Woman"(a term coined by Sarah Grand), where women participated in discussions on politics, art, literature and philosophy on an equal basis with men.[6] An early feminist, Farr was known for advocating equality for women in politics, employment, wages, etc., amongst her intellectual circle of acquaintances.[4] Yeats also lived in Bedford Park, and it's likely she first made his acquaintance when her brother-in-law was painting Yeats' portrait.[3]

While in Bedford Park, Farr starred in the play A Sicilian Idyll: A Pastoral Play in Two Scenes by John Todhunter (an associate of Yeats and fellow member of the Golden Dawn) in the part of "Priestess Amaryllis", who summons the Goddess Selene to wreak revenge on her unfaithful lover. Shaw was in the audience to review the play, which he called "an hour's transparent Arcadian make-believe",[7] but was greatly impressed with Farr's performance, as well as her "startling beauty, large expressive eyes, crescent eyebrows, and luminous smile."[6]

H. M. Paget's illustration of Florence Farr as Rebecca West in Ibsen's Rosmersholm

Shaw wished to mold her into his idealized vision of "The New Woman" and be the star of his plays. Shaw wrote that she reacted vehemently against Victorian sexual and domestic morality and was dauntless in publicly championing unpopular causes such as campaigning for the welfare of prostitutes.[4] In a letter to Shaw she wrote, "…a race is likely to become degenerate so long as the sex question resolves itself ultimately into the question of how women can make the best bargain and, in so doing, deny themselves the liberty of free choice."[8]

ANN. I love my mother, Jack.

TANNER. [working himself up into a sociological rage] Is that any reason why you are not to call your soul your own? Oh, I protest against this vile abjection of youth to age! look at fashionable society as you know it. What does it pretend to be? An exquisite dance of nymphs. What is it? A horrible procession of wretched girls, each in the claws of a cynical, cunning, avaricious, disillusioned, ignorantly experienced, foul-minded old woman whom she calls mother, and whose duty it is to corrupt her mind and sell her to the highest bidder. Why do these unhappy slaves marry anybody, however old and vile, sooner than not marry at all? Because marriage is their only means of escape from these decrepit fiends who hide their selfish ambitions, their jealous hatreds of the young rivals who have supplanted them, under the mask of maternal duty and family affection. Such things are abominable: the voice of nature proclaims for the daughter a father's care and for the son a mother's. The law for father and son and mother and daughter is not the law of love: it is the law of revolution, of emancipation, of final supersession of the old and worn-out by the young and capable. I tell you, the first duty of manhood and womanhood is a Declaration of Independence: the man who pleads his father's authority is no man: the woman who pleads her mother's authority is unfit to bear citizens to a free people....

ANA. You see you have to confess that marriage is necessary, though, according to you, love is the slightest of all the relations.

DON JUAN. How do you know that it is not the greatest of all the relations? far too great to be a personal matter. Could your father have served his country if he had refused to kill any enemy of Spain unless he personally hated him? Can a woman serve her country if she refuses to marry any man she does not personally love? You know it is not so: the woman of noble birth marries as the man of noble birth fights, on political and family grounds, not on personal ones....

And so, if the Superman is to come, he must be born of Woman by Man’s intentional and well-considered contrivance. Conviction of this will smash everything that opposes it. Even Property and Marriage, which laugh at the laborer’s petty complaint that he is defrauded of “surplus value,” and at the domestic miseries of the slaves of the wedding ring, will themselves be laughed aside as the lightest of trifles if they cross this conception when it becomes a fully realized vital purpose of the race....

One fact must be faced resolutely, in spite of the shrieks of the romantic. There is no evidence that the best citizens are the offspring of congenial marriages, or that a conflict of temperament is not a highly important part of what breeders call crossing....But mating such couples must clearly not involve marrying them. But mating such couples must clearly not involve marrying them. In conjugation two complementary persons may supply one another’s deficiencies: in the domestic partnership of marriage they only feel them and suffer from them. Thus the son of a robust, cheerful, eupeptic British country squire, with the tastes and range of his class, and of a clever, imaginative, intellectual, highly civilized Jewess, might be very superior to both his parents; but it is not likely that the Jewess would find the squire an interesting companion, or his habits, his friends, his place and mode of life congenial to her. Therefore marriage, whilst it is made an indispensable condition of mating, will delay the advent of the Superman as effectually as Property, and will be modified by the impulse towards him just as effectually....

The only fundamental and possible Socialism is the socialization of the selective breeding of Man: in other terms, of human evolution. We must eliminate the Yahoo, or his vote will wreck the commonwealth....

That may mean that we must establish a State Department of Evolution, with a seat in the Cabinet for its chief, and a revenue to defray the cost of direct State experiments, and provide inducements to private persons to achieve successful results. It may mean a private society or a chartered company for the improvement of human live stock. But for the present it is far more likely to mean a blatant repudiation of such proposals as indecent and immoral, with, nevertheless, a general secret pushing of the human will in the repudiated direction; so that all sorts of institutions and public authorities will under some pretext or other feel their way furtively towards the Superman. Mr. Graham Wallas has already ventured to suggest, as Chairman of the School Management Committee of the London School Board, that the accepted policy of the Sterilization of the Schoolmistress, however administratively convenient, is open to criticism from the national stock-breeding point of view; and this is as good an example as any of the way in which the drift towards the Superman may operate in spite of all our hypocrisies....

Let those who think the whole conception of intelligent breeding absurd and scandalous ask themselves why George IV was not allowed to choose his own wife whilst any tinker could marry whom he pleased? Simply because it did not matter a rap politically whom the tinker married, whereas it mattered very much whom the king married. The way in which all considerations of the king’s personal rights, of the claims of the heart, of the sanctity of the marriage oath, and of romantic morality crumpled up before this political need shews how negligible all these apparently irresistible prejudices are when they come into conflict with the demand for quality in our rulers. We learn the same lesson from the case of the soldier, whose marriage, when it is permitted at all, is despotically controlled with a view solely to military efficiency....

On the other hand a sense of the social importance of the tinker’s marriage has been steadily growing. We have made a public matter of his wife’s health in the month after her confinement. We have taken the minds of his children out of his hands and put them into those of our State schoolmaster. We shall presently make their bodily nourishment independent of him. But they are still riff-raff; and to hand the country over to riff-raff is national suicide, since riff-raff can neither govern nor will let anyone else govern except the highest bidder of bread and circuses. There is no public enthusiast alive of twenty years’ practical democratic experience who believes in the political adequacy of the electorate or of the bodies it elects. The overthrow of the aristocrat has created the necessity for the Superman. Englishmen hate Liberty and Equality too much to understand them. But every Englishman loves and desires a pedigree....

-- Man and Superman: A Comedy and a Philosophy, by George Bernard Shaw

For Yeats she was, like Maud Gonne, a poetic muse, whose resonate voice was perfect for reciting his poetry. He found in her "a tranquil beauty like that of Demeter's image near the British Museum reading-room door, and an incomparable sense of rhythm and a beautiful voice, the seeming natural expression of the image."[9] In his review of A Sicilian Idyll, Yeats wrote, "Mrs. Edward Emery (Florence Farr) …won universal praise with her striking beauty and subtle gesture and fine delivery of the verse. Indeed her acting was the feature of the whole performance that struck one most, after the verse itself. I do not know that I have any word too strong to express my admiration for its grace and power…I have never heard verse better spoken."[5] Both men wrote leading parts in their plays for Farr, who used her influence with Annie Horniman to have them produced.

Annie Elizabeth Fredericka Horniman CH (3 October 1860 – 6 August 1937) was an English theatre patron and manager. She established the Abbey Theatre in Dublin and founded the first regional repertory theatre company in Britain at the Gaiety Theatre in Manchester. She encouraged the work of new writers and playwrights, including W. B. Yeats, George Bernard Shaw and members of what became known as the Manchester School of dramatists.

-- Annie Horniman, by Wikipedia

Farr was also the first woman in England to perform in Ibsen's plays, in particular the role of Rebecca West in the first English production of Rosmersholm, at the Vaudeville Theatre in 1891, which gained her critical acclaim.[7] The character of Rebecca West is a 'New Woman' who rejects the ethical systems of Victorian Era Christianity, which for Florence Farr was a virtual typecast role.

As in Ibsen ego-mania has found its poet, so in Nietzsche it has found its philosopher. The deification of filth by the Parnassians with ink, paint, and clay; the censing among the Diabolists and Decadents of licentiousness, disease, and corruption; the glorification, by Ibsen, of the person who ‘wills,’ is ‘free’ and ‘wholly himself’—of all this Nietzsche supplies the theory, or something which proclaims itself as such....

Hence the real source of Nietzsche’s doctrine is his Sadism. And I will here make a general remark on which I do not desire to linger, but which I should like to recommend to the particular attention of the reader. In the success of unhealthy tendencies in art and literature, no quality of their authors has so large and determining a share as their sexual psychopathy. All persons of unbalanced minds—the neurasthenic, the hysteric, the degenerate, the insane—have the keenest scent for perversions of a sexual kind, and perceive them under all disguises. As a rule, indeed, they are ignorant of what it is in certain works and artists which pleases them, but investigation always reveals in the object of their predilection a veiled manifestation of some Psychopathia sexualis. The masochism of Wagner and Ibsen, the Skoptzism of Tolstoi, the erotomania (folie amoureuse chaste) of the Diabolists, the Decadents, and of Nietzsche, unquestionably obtain for[452] these authors and tendencies a large, and, at all events, the most sincere and fanatical fraction of their partisans. Works of a sexually psychopathic nature excite in abnormal subjects the corresponding perversion (till then slumbering and unconscious, perhaps also undeveloped, although present in the germ), and give them lively feelings of pleasure, which they, usually in good faith, regard as purely æsthetic or intellectual, whereas they are actually sexual. Only in the light of this explanation do the characteristic artistic tendencies of the abnormals, of which we have proof,[413] become wholly intelligible.

-- Degeneration, by Max Nordau

Producer and director

In 1893, Horniman anonymously financed Farr's first venture as a director, a series of plays at the Avenue Theatre on the Embankment. She commissioned her friend, artist Aubrey Beardsley, to create the poster for the season. Farr had starred as Blanche, a slumlord's daughter, in Shaw's first play, Widowers' Houses, and she approached both Shaw and Yeats to write plays for her production at the Avenue. Yeats delivered the short play The Land of Heart’s Desire, but Shaw had not finished his play in time for the series opening. A Comedy of Sighs by John Todhunter was quickly substituted, with Farr in the leading role, but the play was badly received and the entire venture was nearly a disaster.[3]

Production photograph of Farr for Shaw's Arms and the Man

After receiving a desperate cable from Farr, Shaw delivered his Arms and the Man. With only one week of rehearsal, Farr originated the supporting soubrette role of Louka, the vivacious and insolent servant girl who steals the affections of the hero from the play's lead ingenue, which Farr had conceded to the well-known actress Alma Murray. A bold satire of romantic idealism, the play was a great success with both audiences and critics, and still stands as one of Shaw's greatest works.[3] But Farr was growing closer to Yeats (that they became lovers is speculated but not proven) and distancing herself from Shaw, so Arms was the last play by Shaw she ever performed in.[3]

Throughout the 1890s, Yeats used Farr's 'golden voice' as part of his quest to encourage the rebirth of spoken poetry. In 1898, in Yeats' The Countess Cathleen, she played Aleel, a bard and seer who could see into the spirit realm, and sang all of her lines in verse while accompanying herself on the psaltery. Farr became a regular contributor to the performance of Yeats' metrical plays, and in 1898 he made her the stage manager for his Irish Literary Theatre.[3] But during that same period of her life Farr was sidetracked from her theatrical career, much to the chagrin of Shaw ("...and now you think to undo the work of all these years by a phrase and a shilling's worth of esoteric Egyptology," he wrote her in 1896)[10] by her involvement with Yeats in the secret occult society The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
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Part 2 of 3

Golden Dawn

Main article: Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn

Farr as "Aleel" in Yeats' play The Countess Cathleen

The Golden Dawn is based on an initiated lodge system similar to that of Freemasonry; however women are admitted on an equal basis with men. Farr was initiated into the Isis-Urania Temple of the Order of the Golden Dawn in London by Yeats in July 1890[11] taking the magical motto Sapientia Sapienti Dona Data (Latin: "Wisdom is a gift given to the wise"). Annie Horniman was also a member of Isis-Urania Temple, which led to Farr's theatrical collaborations with her and Yeats. Farr became Praemonstratrix of the temple in 1894,[12] taking charge of the educational system, and giving classes in tarot divination, scrying and Enochian magic.[3] Spiritualism and Theosophy were very popular in the late Victorian Era, but unlike some of her contemporaries Farr practiced magic, including the classic mystical techniques of invocation and evocation.[13] She published her first philosophical paper, A Short Inquiry concerning the Hermetic Art by a Lover of Philalethes in 1894[4] and wrote several of the Order's secret instruction papers, called the "Flying Rolls". With the resignation in 1897 of William Wynn Westcott, one of the co-founders of the Order, Farr replaced him as "Chief Adept in Anglia", becoming the leader of the English lodges, and the official representative of Samuel MacGregor-Mathers, the only remaining founder, who lived in Paris.[3]

By the end of 1899, personal disputes arose within the Golden Dawn, which Farr described as an 'astral jar' between other senior members (Adepts), and a secret society within the Isis-Urania Lodge called The Sphere Group, created by Farr in 1896.[14] There were also factions within the Order that resented a woman having authority as Chief Adept.[3]

Throughout the history of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn there were a number of sub-ceremonial groups who functioned within the egregor of the Order. One of these such groups was called the Sphere Group. It was founded in 1898 by Florence Emery Farr and other Zelator Adeptus Minors who were sometimes referred to as 'Zelators'.

In the initiation, AMORC makes the claim that their order is empowered by an egregore, or group consciousness, consisting of both incarnated beings and non-incarnate spiritual masters. The sincere members, who study and practice the teachings of the monographs, receive a spiritual energy or influx from the egregore, which provides the student with regenerative energy and a sense of direction.

-- The Prisoner of San Jose: How I Escaped From Rosicrucian Mind Control, by Pierre S. Freeman

The Sphere Group went through two incarnations. The first incarnation of the Sphere Group (No. 1) was founded in the summer of 1898 and was closed in 1901. The Sphere Group was opened to Zelator Adeptus Minors, but was later changed to Theoricus Adeptus Minors and higher. The Sphere Group (No. 1) was controlled by 'a certain Egyptian astral form' who occupied the centre of the Sphere, see Appendix III. The Egyptian Adept was 'first contacted through a piece of his mummy case -- or so F.L. [Frederick Leigh] Gardner ('De Profundis Ad Lucem'), who was a member of her group for a time' had told Gerald Yorke. [175.xviii].

In R.W. Felkin's paper called 'The Group as I knew it, and Fortiter [Annie Horniman]' he listed the original twelve members as 'Miss [Ada] Waters [Recta Pete], Mrs. [Cecilia] Macrae [Vincit Qui Se Vincit], Mr. [Marcus Worsley] Blackden [Ma Wahanu Thesi], Mrs. [Helen] Rand [Vigilate], Mr. [Edmund] Hunter [Hora et Semper], Mrs. [Florence] Kennedy [Volo], Mrs. [Henrietta] Paget [Dum Spiro Spero], Mr. [Robert] Palmer Thomas [Lucem Spero], Mrs. [Fanny Beatrice] Hunter [Beata est Veritas], Mrs. [Florence] Emery [Sapientia Sapienti Dono Data], Miss [Harrietta Dorothea] Butler [Deo Date] and myself [i.e., Robert Felkin (Aur Mem Mearab)]. Our Order names were never used and an Egyptian Figure occupied the centre of the Sphere'....

Now the original Egyptian Group only lasted from the summer of 1898 to 1901, when we had a meeting and we were told that the Egyptian had retired from the Group and the Group as it was then constituted was brought to an end, the reason being that he was changing his place on the higher planes and could no longer work with us ... so the second Group was formed having the Holy Grail on the central pillar.' [175.251].

The second incarnation of the Sphere Group (No. 2) only lasted from 1901 to 1902. In the Sphere Workings the Egyptian Adept was replaced with an image of the Holy Grail on the central pillar which was called 'The Cup of the Stolistes', see Appendix III.

From the papers in R.A. Gilbert's collection the reconstituted group consisted of Mrs. Florence Emery Farr (Sapientia Sapienti Dono Data), Mr. Marcus Worsley Blackden (Ma Wahanu Thesi), Mrs. Helen Rand (Vigilate), Mr. Edmund Hunter (Hora et Semper), Mrs. Henrietta Paget (Dum Spiro Spero), Mr. Robert Palmer Thomas (Lucem Spero), Mrs. Harrietta Dorothea Hunter [nee Butler] (Deo Date), Robert Felkin (Aur Mem Mearab), Miss Maud Cracknell (Tempus Omnia Revelat), Mrs. Helen (sometimes called Reena) Fulham-Hughes (Silentio), Henry Edward Colvile (Tenax Propositi), Colonel Webber-Smith (Non Sine Numine) and possibly Miss Ada Waters (Recta Pete), Mrs. Cecilia Macrae (Vincit Qui Se Vincit), Mrs. Fanny Beatrice Hunter (Beata est Veritas) and Lady Zeli Isabelle Colvile (Semper).

The Sphere Group had encountered opposition to a greater extent from Annie Horniman (Fortiter et Recte) and to a minor extent from W.B. Yeats (Demon est Deus Inversus), Ellic Howe wrote that 'Annie Horniman's original opposition to the Groups, which was shared by Yeats, was because she supposed they represented alien and magically suspect activities. By the end of 1902 the Groups had long since ceased to function and yet she was still obsessed by the memory of this awful heresy.' In Felkin's paper on the Sphere Group he suggested that Annie Horniman's constant nagging because 'She takes up the position that she is the Senior Adept; she believes that she is in touch with the Third Order, i.e., the Purple Adept, and that she, although not recognised, is really the Chief of the Order.' [175.251]. The opposition to the Sphere Group has been covered in Ellic Howe's Magician of the Golden Dawn [175.233-251] and in Mary Greer's Women of the Golden Dawn [151.251-264].

In the summer of 1901, the Sphere Group (No. 2) began to clairvoyantly or astrally examine the Enochian Alphabet.
Greer wrote that 'Florence attended occasionally, as she found the proceedings disappointing. Writing for guidance in her journal [dated 16 April 1901], she asked, 'Why does Miss O not get a correct key to the Enochian tablets?' The response was that Miss O was uninitiated and that neither Florence nor Humphries could properly consecrate her for the work.' [151.260].

The Sphere Workings contained in this book took place from 21 July to 20 August 1901 and were held at W.E.H. Humphreys' (Gnothi Seauton) home. He had controlled the Sphere Workings and recorded the results in three notebooks. These note-books are located in the Gerald Yorke Collection at the Warburg Institute (New Folder 100). The notes that are identified as 'G.J.Y.' were made by Gerald Yorke. The seer or medium was I.O., but I have been unable to determine who she was.

These Sphere Workings, titled 'The Sphere Workings: The Enochian Alphabet Clairvoyantly Examined', were also printed in The Monolith, Vol. II, No. 2. Introductory Notes by Robert Turner. Wolverhampton: The Order of the Cubic Stone, Winter Solstice, 1977. pp. 15-44.

Darcy Kuntz (Frater D.E.U.)
Calgary, Canada, 1996....

The Enochian Experiments of the Golden Dawn
The Enochian Alphabet Clairvoyantly Examined

Sunday, 21 July, 1901.

Vision of Sigillum [x] [AEmeth] in [the] Temple in [a] Cave. Got copy of marks from window in V[alet Anchora Virtus]’s bedroom.

Monday, 22 July 1901.

S[apientia] S[apienti] D[ono] D[ata, Florence Farr] present. Vision continued. But difficulties at first owing to hostile influences w[hi]ch I.O. said were due to the day being anniversary of a suicide in my [i.e., Humphreys’] rooms.

Vision: Rows of columns leading to [the] Temple and stated, re[garding] worship of 5 pointed star, that of the four great symbols one was absent; [the] symbol of [the] Tablet of Union [?[x]]. Also stated that the Enochian letters referred to Intelligences as well as Letters and the Centre seems not [to be] the N[orth] Pole but the Magnetic Pole.

Tuesday, July 23, 1901.

In Chamber of Initiation are 5 brethren. One speaks of the 5 sigils of the 5 Elements --- 5 below and 5 above.

There is an altar sometimes transparent, sometimes opaque, under it is a luminosity from no visible source.

The brethren had on yellow robes with engraved band round waist and the front ornament of each was an eye. Round the neck the Enochian letters seemed woven in the garment. In their hands they held a curious serpent twisted up and back again upon itself. This seemed to have the power of giving transparency.

I hear, “For all that is contains all.” [x]

The symbol on the altar changes – and instead of warmth, there is now a rushing wind. The altar, now no longer transparent seems to float and ascend to blue space, and return with yet another symbol. Altar and symbol seem effulgent. There is light present – but beyond it is sensation and Harmony. Everything seems green. (On handling [I.O. the] bI6/4Ib symbol this turned to blue). An idea of a principle of Force.

Now I am in a bare white chamber, and I feel a sensation of great warmth – the white light seems to glow.

On the walls seem the double triangles which seem to grow and diminish on looking at it. Each of the … [illegible word] points has its own angels. The use of this symbol brings six powers.

24 July 1901.

Scene, the original chamber. The Magus directs the clairvoyant to take up position on cross in centre of circle w[hi]ch is in a square. This in turn is a pentagram at each angle of which stands a figure: the walls recede. At the N[orth] point which gives forth a golden light is a winged figure, on his breast [is] the [x] [Mals]. The clairvoyant [is] drawn towards him (away from the centre). He seems [to be] the source of all vitality and more, and of all Light and more. In his hand he holds the Lotus w[hi]ch has 7 leaves (corrected later) [Note: the sketch in MS. shows 6 leaves only. G.J.Y.] and a curved stem with only one leaf and that [is] pointing to the West. The Lotus half in shade suggesting day and night and more. The stamens seem to be a crown of gold. The petals seem to multiply as one looks [at it]. There are 30 of them. The petals are half white and half black and yet not black for a kind of blue permeates everything. As I look the petals seem to expand and become globular and separate from the main stem, part light and part dark, individualize and float away from E[ast] to W[est] and dissolve.

Curled round the stamens with [its] tail touching (not inside) [its] mouth is the Serpent of Wisdom. It lies in the heart of the Lotus – and was therefore visible through the petals, etc. The head of the Serpent was Gold, the body of iridescent and glittering material.

I pluck the single leaf [as] above mentioned. It is striated and on it is the symbol of Jupiter [x].

Now I seem to retire again to [the] centre of [the] Pentagram, and then out (or in) through the corner of [the] Temple through [an] aperture over which is [the] Symbol [x] [Mals] representing Spirit [x]. I seem to be at the beginning of things and to descend down, down to darkness and yet not altogether darkness. The path at the angle of the Temple seemed to turn down and it was along this I went, till I seemed to leave the earth above and so was outside the earth. After great descent came to still water and yet not ordinary water. No light upon it. I go through the water – a deepish purpose changing to red; and then to yellow w[hi]ch in turn changes to bright light. This seems [to be] the circle of the Rainbow, “Eternity surrounds the Finite” I hear.

Now I stand back at the Circle and facing S[outh]. Guide says vision was of Water of Spirit, inexpressible, Absolute, all pervading. The Lotus is the Symbol of Being and the Serpent in the heart of the Lotus symbolized Wisdom and Knowing. The [x] [Mals] represents Spirit [x].

25 July 1901.

The Temple seems Astral, i.e. Transparent and the building is self luminous. The walls of the chamber form the circle and the points of the Pentagram touch them. I face the [E]ast, (i.e., the Eastern point, the water angle). On [the] Eastern Point of [the] Pentagram I see a downward pointing triangle with [a] dot in the centre (apex of triangle down). The triangle expands into a luminous Angelic figure with the sign of the triangle upon its forehead (The part of the walls appears to have dissolves or become transparent as the vision proceeded.) Two sides of the triangle seem to be produced to the two corners of Heaven in two luminous rays which seem to embrace a fourth part of the Universe including the Astral and regions above it. The Rays become wider as they ascend. Influences like waves of light, which form Angels, descend to the point and then ascend from the apex up [as] waves of light. The Angle which stands on the point is the personification of the Influences and Lord of that Quarter of the Universe. The Influences descend from the point in the Heavens as wings and the undulating waves ascend – the latter are in 3 bands coloured Rose, White and Golden. The waves seem subdivided to 7 by bands of colours which intermingle. Starting from the foot of the Angel (where [the] apex now is) and forming itself inside the large triangle is a circle. I hear the words, “Raphael, Giver of Light.” Symbols of the nature of Libra [x] are round the triangle. One seems like a horse shoe thus. [x] [Mals] a horseshoe also with a bar across the horse. The symbols are in light in [the] centre of [the] circle just above the heads of the Angels.

I go up left hand ray of triangle, the undulations [are] forming transparent steps, curved. I am told that each planet has a dual nature. A peculiar and unusual symbol of Jupiter [x] held out. The Planetary natures are light and dark. The vision is for Wisdom and Concealed Knowledge.

From [the] summit of [the] undulations, spheres seem to rise and in each sphere appears a figure or symbol (afterwards suggested that these spheres might be tops of pillars). There are 9 spheres on either side. Three more appear and form themselves (larger) across the rays. They are bluish, and the nearer to the East they are, the lighter in shade. The Centre has [the] symbol [x] [Ceph]. The r[igh]t hand side [has a] [x] [which is] like [the] upper part of eye, or perhaps [x]. The symbol seems to vary. The left hand has a 4 pointed star perhaps [x] [Na-hath]. The vision fades from blue into green, first blue then green: first experiment, then knowledge. The blue and green meet at the point where the Angel stands. The 9 globes are the 9 aeons; there are yet three more to be fulfilled. One aeon = a thousand thousand years. The 3 in the centre [are] not now explained.

26 July 1901.

Sitting began between 9 and 10 p.m. Medium on couch. Firstly a sensation of cold and I leave the body entirely. The guides saying they [will] take me to (a wonderful and far distant) place. They make the sign [x] which means ‘that which is enclosed.’ (=’S’, Fam) We do not go to the Temple – but to a new plane – not the Earth or the Astral but the place above – the Devachanic. Here mind is all. It seems [to be] a region of space which is filled with undulations sufficiently solid to see through down to the Astral, but not to pass through. The Astral light from here is very dim.

The prevailing colour, I can only explain by a kind of violet – violet rays – beyond the violent end of the spectrum. The symbol of this region, and that which will call up its influences is the double horseshoe [x] [Na]hath]. It is also one of the symbols which guard and rule over the North side of this region.

These are: On the North: [x] (The Enochian Letter: ‘H’ [Na-hath]).
On the South: [x] (The Enochian Letter: ‘T’ [Gisa]).
On the East: [x] (The Enochian Letter: ‘C’ [Veh]).
On the West: [x] (The Enochian Letter: ‘O’ [Med]).

To these symbols all influences on the 4 sides respectively are obediently. The region extends everywhere.

The influences seem to work on waves within the region. These waves are of mighty strength and each undulation has a dark line running through its centre. The motion is perpetual in slightly flattened concentric circles – each one is complete in its self and forms a beginning of another. So by influencing any one part you equally influence all parts.

This is the region which rules the minds of men. Note that the colour is not exactly violent, but beyond violet and indescribable. My guides, I see, are gradually rising to the surface of the region and I am met by an influence that is like the Wind – having no tangible form and coming in a kind of breeze.

The symbol of this influence is absolutely the Symbol of one of the Northern influences, i.e., the Being symbolizing the N[orth].

The [x] [Na-hath] now seems like the entrance, the double entrance or beginning to two worlds. It appears to be the Symbol of a new Force, sweeping, relentless and eternal, but which can be used and manipulated by him who understands. It is absolutely a mind force; not a material force.

(The vision now begins to face. I handed I.O. [x] Gimel symbol to hold, and the vision glowed – but a voice said, “Enough for a time.” Medium was rather long getting back.) Vision occupied an hour.


I see now a sea, absolutely light. It is the region [where] the Astral and Devachanic Planes do not touch. Between these is a transparent region and influences there are mixed, being partly Astral and partly Devachanic. They are less material than the Astral, but not so powerful as the Devachanic. They function at different periods and not always as the other two do. But the [Blank in MS.] of their functioning adds greatly to their power of manifestation on Astral lines. And this is the reason why [the] Astral manifestations are so much more powerful at some times than at others. On this Intermediate Plane, water becomes space. I see now a Mighty, Restless, Overwhelming Force – a black rolling Mass – gathering on one quarter of the Horizon and sweeping towards me. (Medium became faint and was restored.)

Seemingly behind all that one sees is the vision of this Resistless Force that sweeps the Sphere and everything. It is symbolized by [x] (Enochian Letter: ‘A’ [Un]). It does not undulate like the others, but moves in a much wider curve and seems to symbolize Destruction. It is the Qliphoth and is always in motion – and breaks all barriers. (I told I.O. to hold up Astral White Cross and the Force departed and calm reigned.).

Regarding the Plane, one of the Symbols: [x] (Enochian ‘M’) [was] interchanging with: [x] (Enochian ‘R’) [which] symbolizes water in every manifestation [on the] Astral and Material. It is [x] (= ‘M’, title, Tal), but there is a nature symbolized by ‘R’ as well as [x] (= ‘R’, title Don) and under these symbols all Astral influences are ruled. (I enquired re[garding] reason for two symbols.)

There are two symbols because water is dual in nature. They represent the ebbing and flowing of the tide. The influences on this Plane are very jealous. (In reply to another question): Yes, the two symbols represent the eternal conflict, Saturn [x] and Jupiter [x], Cambiel and Amnyxiel, the ebb and flow and much more.

(On looking [at] the [x] Gimel [symbol the] waves become translucent. There seems [to be] no movement and conflict ceases. Now I am simply floating and all around is green.)

(Some difficulty in bringing medium back.)


The Quadrangles are the Key by which these forces can be controlled. The Quadrangles may themselves be combined. The combinations are endless. The forces seem to be controllable through the Quadrangles.

A symbol should be placed within the Quadrangle – depending according to which influence it is required to control. All power on the Earth, the Astral, the Intermediate and the Devachanic Plane is in the hands of him who knows the symbols and their combinations.

Singly they influence, but [when] combined the influences are stupendous.

The Calls are all powerful on the Astral Plane. Combined they are all powerful on the Devachanic, Astral and Intermediate Plane, except those parts of the Devachanic Plane which seem beyond their influences, that is in their entirety. By [the] Table of Union Call, the Master can control a 4th part of the Astral Forces. (Here I repeated first 3 words of Call and asked what happened. Medium at once went into deeper trance and said, “I come. The Master calls me.” Seemingly a “Great Angle” was speaking through her. He held a Wand upon the end of which was the symbol: [x] (= ‘F’ [Orth]).

The Symbols are controllable, and have power on all Planes. The combinations are as important to control as the Creation of the Combined Force which will move at the bidding of the Magician.

It went well to test the influences of the North as they appear. They will respond to these Symbols if they are used with purity of intention. First there should be 30 Symbols (i.e., one for each Aethyr or Call). (Medium stated that in paper, shown her, the Symbols had been written wrong end first – which I had done intentionally.)

The first seven from the other end if used aright and at the proper hour, draw all the influences from the Southern Quarter of the Astral, Intermediate and Devachanic. They are all Manifestations of one force in different aspects.

From all three Planes the 7 Symbols drawn in a circle and placed [Blank in MS.] with the mind quite clear and pure and free, will draw all those influences in one mighty Wave of Energy. The force is that of the fluidic part of the Ether. I see a vast plane of Blue Ether, the region controlled by the 7 Letters. It is Life. Creation is Combination. Suddenly it is getting cold. (Medium was told to come back, but was unwilling and prevented, she said, and was only brought back with considerable difficulty.) 11:50 p.m.

27 July 1901.

(Room previously purified with [the] Lesser Banishing Rituals of Pentagram and Hexagram.)

I am on the edge of the Intermediate Sphere looking down upon the Astral. Far below I see a river which changes into a Dragon – the symbol of Water as an Elemental Force. It is the [x] = R = Don. The Dragon seems to encircle the world round the Astral, but not nearly so high as last night: it symbolizes also the Materiality of the Astral Plane and its limitations. The light is generally green changing to violet and yellow.

The Intermediate Plane seems limitless. I stand on the top edge looking down through space on to the Astral where there seems to be waves that move not like our Earth waves – they seem to move from a centre. It is the symbol of generative force and is: [x] [Veh]. (“To [the] left [is] a perpendicular – [to the] right [is] a half curve from right towards the line, a third line drops earthward from the point of junction resembling in some ways a ‘K’. It is [x] = ‘C’, title, Veh.)

It is the symbol of generative force. The waves come from a common centre, but now there comes an opposing force like a black border which seems to prevent the outcoming of the waves. The force of the waves [is] interrupted and prevented by the black rim which also prevents breathing. (Told to hold up Cross and repeat [x] [Adonai]). Now the ridge goes back for a time and progress continues. The waves are much lighter and brighter and are more like tongues than waves and are curved and short. They seem to flow out to where the Dragon encircles the Astral Plane and become merged in it.

Now I advance and become merged in a sort of haze, but quite clear and above the Astral and the Force here is shewn [to] me in a different figure: [x] [Ur]. The waves are rather undulating and lie more in parallel lines – they undulate but do not touch: there is incessant motion in the strata.

I go further in and see that the force is that of: [x] (‘L’, Ur) and seems to symbolize length.

The breathing becomes difficult owing to the contracting force, but this is not evil only opposed to length – it seems to come [from] the other way. i.e., cross-current. I can’t move in it just at first. (I gave [I.O. the]: [x] [Ur] Symbol to hold and improvement took place.)

Now I pass through the region and through a black veil and come to a new region where the light seems red and vision seems to be a space of conflicting forces not evil but different.

The light seems red, a very clear yellow red. The vision of the force on this side is one of incessant repetition of the symbol: [x] [Na-hath]. (The [x] [Na-hath] enables [me] to pass through.)

This internal sphere is a region where personification comes to an end.

I see through this red sea golden streams of life. It seems to be the visible principle of life. Life and (orange) light are in their natures the same. In the Intermediate Plane one sees water in different symbols – and in a more material manifestation to that where I was just now. Last night I was much higher: tonight I shall not be allowed to go to those regions.

The symbol: [x] [Na-hath] appears to be knowledge. To know is everlasting life that is the meaning of the symbol. (All [is] still peaceful: I still see this red crystal sea of undulating wave, a sort of sunset colour, amber leading into pink and a colour I cannot tell. The lesson is that the beginning is the end and vice versa.

(Retraced steps and got back 9:15 p.m.)

Notes: The difficulty in the Intermediate Plane is the difference in the forms and flows of the waves and in their tangibility. It seems a region of strata: strata of different colours not all flowing the same way.

There was first a flowing motion and then in the space where breathing was difficult there were extremely rapid vibrations in several directions and these again seemed to settle in the [x] [Na-hath] form of beautiful rose colour and regularizing to two sorts of peaks while through the whole one sees the sunset colours: [x] Egyptian Horizon. [This latter clearly a note added in pencil. G.J.Y.]


10:50 p.m.

I am being drawn up and am now in a region of wind. I seem to have passed through the Astral and am in the Air of the Intermediate Plane. It is very cold.

“These symbols bind the Eternities.”

“There are 5 greater symbols.”

I am standing in light above the Astral and a guide is showing me a huge circle set in the heavens and round it are placed symbols. (Re[garding] one symbol): It is a personal letter and the Symbol which rules the Individual life. To each life a Symbol. It is the Symbol of individuality on planes above and below.

It is the Symbol: [x] (‘Q’ [Ger]).

The symbol in the centre of the wheel has the sun [x] for its material symbol, and it is the force behind the Sun. Symbol: a parallel line to the left – and curve to the right. [Not one of the letters of the Enochian Alphabet. G.J.Y.]

Each symbol seems to be one of 4 in a block and so to show 4 sides of the same thing. The [forces] seem to be in different strata and the symbols take the 4 sides, and when you have the four together you can control the whole strata.

Each has a regular sequence, but they have got displaced. Each symbol has 4 sides.

The symbol in the centre glows as one.

In each side of the block there is a different symbol, but one signifies the whole and includes the rest.

The centre symbol is: [x] (Enochian: ‘D’ = Gal); but seems formed of twisted serpents. (Here [the] region became so cold that [the] Medium had to be brought back. Ended about 11.45.)

Notes: Each block or cube of 4 squares seemed to elongate into a pillar. They seemed to bear the signatures of the very highest. I mean, they would draw down influences of the very highest force sfor the circle. The circle suggests that the force of the symbol never fades. There are 32 rather than 28. The number will be explained later. There are 7 groups of 4 each. we shall see them or part of them next time. Thus is there a column and ¾ missing from the list I have and without them the key to the cipher cannot be obtained. The blocks group the manifestations of the same force which might easily be mistaken for other forces.

28 July 1901.

On an edge of the wheel which seems [to be] the edge of a world, perhaps a planet [? Moon [x]], it is the wheel of another aspect. The symbols are there: they now seem portions of districts mapped out.

I see symbols as last night, Cubes, but now they seem apices of a tremendous building: towers not pillars.

The building seems [to be] a temple. Before me is a wide gateway: it is the symbol: [x] [Na-hath].

At the entrance [there] seems [to be] a curious cloud not dark, but light. I am passing through ice and it is very cold. Now I come to a dark barrier (I gave symbol: [x] [Na-hath]). The symbol is reflected in brilliancy on the barrier and I pass through. I see a long avenue which seems to reach the setting sun. On either side is an avenue or gallery formed of 4 square pillars. The pillars themselves form symbols. The symbol of the place is: [x] (= ‘C’ [Veh]). This is the first symbol – complete in itself. By it the influences of the district are enclosed and their forces increased. The symbol is a sickle. It stands on edge – where the hand would be is a crown: [x]. The blade has 7 sides and the edges appear curved into waves or wings, undulating. The crown that forms the handle rests on a block of black marble, apparently. It is 4 square, and there are symbols or dots or squares arranged in some sort or order upon it. Yes, they are Geomantic Figures.

The symbol seems to symbolize June. The Crown is the Consummation. On the block in Geomantic Figures is read the limitations of the age.

The blade is in constant movement and seems to represent the swaying of human life. It is 7 sided and of many colours – to represent time in life. The dots form themselves into [x] [Adonai] (Lord) of Time. There are two square dots on top of the last letter. The symbol seems to grow into a huge standing figure crowned. The black square becomes his girdle and the lines of the sickle become his robes … (10:40. Medium brought back here as warned.)


I seem [to be] standing behind the sickle and the sickle is behind me. I see wheels – rushing, whirling wheels of fire. They are the symbols of [x] (= ‘L’ [Ur]) in groups of 3 making a sort of circle that whirls. They are the spirits of time for an appointed end.

The symbol is like the ‘U’ inverted or like the horseshoe with one side elongated and seems [to] = Th. [x] [Mals]. [Note: Not in Enochian Alphabet. [x] = ‘P’.] I pass through the Symbol. Every Symbol has a different atmosphere. It is very warm and I seem [to be] carried along by the fiery force which seems to rush me round in a stream of yellow light. (I repeated the word: [x] [Tetragrammaton].) The guide takes my hand and pulls me into a kind of shelter and the rushing whirling wheels go past. They are the primeval fires. They seem now to rush along towards a kind of loop where they circulate and form the symbol: [x] [Ceph].

I seem to be coming to a country and am carrying the symbol: [x] (Ceph). The atmosphere is brighter and clearing. The [x] becomes very large and seems to fill heaven and earth. It seems to be forming into a road or path leading to a new region. I have passed through the symbol and I see three rays that are the paths of three planets. That on the right as I approach is of [x] [Uranus] that on the left has not yet been named, it is beyond the path of Neptune [x]. In the middle is the path of Saturn [x]. The [Blank in MS.] seems connected with Uranus [x] and is a form of Higher Fire, a kind little understood. Herschel [or Uranus [x]] is cold above, but has latent fire within. Mars [x] typifies ordinary energy.

(Medium came back without much trouble, but had great difficulty in awaking. Said to be owing to the Fire and to the fact all the symbols had not been given.) The sickle was more thus: The blade was of seven layers parallel varying from rose to yellow –

DISK [x]

30 July 1901.

(Previous to sitting the Medium was nervous and I felt resistance in purifying the room. Medium’s guides throughout seemed to expect difficulty.)

5:30 p.m. Started through window. Passed through golden clouds and atmosphere became very cold. Now on edge of great covered abyss – suggests the other side of the Moon [x]. Below is a great black lake. On holding up the [x] Moon symbol the crescent is reflected in [the] lake and becomes a boat into which [the] Medium gets and sits in [the] middle, a guide at the helm and a guide behind her.

In the sky appears the sign Venus [x] like a star in the heavens and the boat becomes a platform and ascends to it, becoming a shining luminous platform. The cross of the sign becomes a doorway above – the disc becomes a revolving sphere: [x].

Above doorway are 2 symbols – no. 5. On holding up [x] Venus symbol, they glow red and seem to form a motto or name. It is one of the key words. Query word ‘Astarte’ or something of the same meaning.

There are 7 characters and they are from the so-called Theban Alphabet. (Self walking Medium down shining corridor with square pillars on either side. As we pass square columns they seem to become transparent and glow with bluish light and each bears a symbol.)

I am looking at a square transparent block of blue bearing the symbol: [x] (= Pal, ‘X’) on r[igh]t hand side. With it is [the] sign [x] – no, simply ‘X’ English ([x] [Gal]). The symbol is a name of – Symbolises breath – it is also a symbol of division. As I hold up [ b] Beth [symbol]: the ‘X’ divides into two crescents: [x]. I am at a cloud which by holding up [x] [Gal] allows me to pass through. It is the region of Duality and is very full of shifting clouds. (Medium told to return w[hi]ch she does with bad grace and on being shown [the] Theban Alphabet thinks she identifies inscription letters:

? Could it be [x] [Shaddai El Chai]: [x]

Guides were rather against her going again and said they were powerless. There was also written: ‘Nahusa calls” and N[ahusa] – was afterwards said to be a “Daemon”).


The scene was now laid in the Pentagram room of the Temple and I stand at the Western angle. (She says and maintained she faced South but this is unlikely and she corrected on seeing [the] diagram.)

I stand at centre from which 3 paths run to the Air angle which seems symbolized by: [x] [Ceph]. On the point is a star of 5 points. (Voice says “Look again.”) No, on 7 points and each seems to radiate to 7 paths “so 3 leads to 7.”

In the middle of the Star shiens: [x] (= ‘B’ [Pe]). The 3 straight lines from the Pentagram are the 3 strata, the 3 angels or the 3 divisions of the Air. (Voice says “Look to the right.” On [the] right hand side is a flame of perhaps Air or Fire. No, it is Spirit [x] undulating wide and it rises upwards. The colour is clear white. (“Look to left”.) On left I see a green globe revolving in two halves or hemispheres and held by an Angel. I hear the words “The Eighth.” It rolls incessantly. Now it reflects all colours as it passes blue, green and white. It is the power of invisibility – and assimilation from the Highest.

It represents one of the Air symbols, namely: [x] (Enochian ‘U’ [Vau]) and this character confers invisibility – Yet, it is of an Akashic character.

The Angels hold out their hands [x] and voice says “Look above”. I see above white wings and hear a rushing, it is the wings.

The walls of the chamber fade and the Pentagram becomes projected in[to] space as a solid, and becomes rose coloured.

(Advised to bring Medium back and she came but not entirely as guides told her. She was somewhat wild-looking and not quite herself. She was under [the] impression she had been talking all the time to me, but it was not so, and several times she thought she heard my voice, but it was not.)

1 August 1891.

Passed up and am in midst of white light with sort of Golden colour beneath it. It seems to permeate everything and I seem part of it. I am not alone. Two figures are with me. One on the right unusually tall, seems an Astral form. He has on a long robe, the edge of which is marked with curious symbols and repeated over and over again is the symbol: [x]. “I am a Guide” he says, and he holds up in his hand a symbol or emblem or shape somewhat similar to the [x]. It is a disc with a cross in the centre like a St. Andrew’s Cross. Disc has a silver border with figures in it. The X is blue – the blue of the sky with the light shining through. It seems large and has a circular handle like a scepter.

He shows the other side and it seems to have the same sigil but instead of flat [it] is hemispherical. There are curved symbols like serpents or sign of [Blank in MS.] which pass along the edge of the bar. As he holds it, it becomes part of the mist and the disc begins to revolve and I am drawn towards it. It is the sigil of the Moon. Four letters are connected with it. One thus: [x] (Enochian ‘U’ [Vau]) and [x] (‘G’ [Ged]) and two others. I am approaching Jupiter [x]. On saying ABA [x], the light concentrates to a dark spot. (The … [illegible word] seems to have passed – now after a few minutes).

The control of these regions is under 12 symbols – of which 12 [only] 9 are known and 3 [are] lost. They are the sigils of the planet [x] [Uranus]. Everything now turns to the blackest violet with a green light.

I am in the midst of the light and the region of Jupiter [x] had revolved past, and now this curious darkness seems to shadow the place. I see the symbol: [x] (‘A’ [Un]) in combination with [x] (= ‘E’ [Graph]). This means apparently that [x] [Uranus] is represented first by one symbol then by the other, according to the points of his path. They are destructive symbols but all destruction is not bad. To destroy is to re-create.

The temperature is extremely hot, yet a cold wind is blowing. One comes and stands between me and the disc and holds in his hand a symbol like a diamond. Like a solid diamond and it has 5 sides and becomes a Pentagram and I pass through the symbol of the Sun [x].


I am on Earth and I see a square building and three terraces leading up to it. It looks like a Jewish Temple, but not on Earth. There seems to be a great deal of incense about. The sign: [x] [Na-hath] is present. I am in a small square chamber and from the centre of the beams directed to the centre I look up and see the [x] [Na-hath] glow with a luminous golden light and in each side or half circle of the sign I see Geomantic Figures. I hear, “For this vision the end is not yet. There is no end.” Air very oppressive. A wind sweeps through and the glow fades. On the East is a purple veil. At the 4 corners are 4 characters. “Count from lower right hand corner.” (I see a table of squares.) Then to lower left hand corner and finish up at the right hand. I count 5 squares along bottom and 7 up each side. It is the Tablet of Re.

It is the power of 9 and controls the angles. Part of the Tablet controls the influences of the Upper Air.

7 August 1901. (S.S.D.D. [Florence Farr] present at this sitting.)

I am on a plain flooded with the golden light of sunrise. The atmosphere is very clear, but violet. There are 9 spheres. One in centre and 8 revolving round. Each one revolves itself and also keeps the circle. They revolve round a centre of light which makes them very bright. The centre glows and forms into [x] (= ‘X’ [Pal]), the sign of Dual qualities.

I am still on the same sphere but a Guide is with me – the atmosphere is green. A ray passes from my sphere to the centre and now rays pass and make as the huge spokes of a wheel. (Note well.)

The Guide says, “Watch the letter.” It seems to form itself into a pathway. “This,” he says, “is the influence of the 9th circle and the power of 9.” The spheres appear now as circles rather than as spheres. The power of 3 is the keynote of the Universe, it is the one with the dual.

What appeared as [x] [Pal] looks now as a pathway turning to the right. I get the word ‘Gabriel.’ Atmosphere [is] still green, now red, now yellow, and now I observe the sea. It is, I fancy, really air.

I pass over vast stretches of water and the globes are far above me, but it is not material water. I am now in the plain where the Temple was, but it is replaced by an interminable river. I follow it and come to some high rocks on which [an] inscription is in Theban Characters. Letters in groups of 2. 6 in groups of 2 – no, 7 or 8. Inscription means destiny, begins on Theban with a ‘K’ (? Karma). I approach the rocks which now have more inscriptions. It is a place of Tombs. I go up steps cut in the rocks. Each step on approach becomes a transparent block containing a red character. On the first [x] (‘U’ [Vau]), on the second [x] (‘F’ [Orth]). I have risen. The circles are the synthesis of Azoth of the Powers.


Eastern symbols have a personality which cannot be caught if translated.

The 9 Gods in the Boat of Ra = the 9 Powers. There seems 3 plains each ruled by 3 powers. The Material, the Astral and the Higher than the Astral, but the first two are almost interchangeable. (?) Dual: Ptah and Set.

I am now on the edge of a huge disc with all the colours of the rainbow, 9 colours, 9 powers. Earth [x] is the visible expression of Air [x], Fire [x], Water [x], [x] Salt seems the Life-principle, not quite Khepera, for that has a wider significance. I now go up higher to a clear atmosphere and I am looking at great blue waves that look more like flames – and possess a two-fold motion, along, upwards, and across, and each as it crosses seems to form a figure.

There are five points connected with the lines and they form: [x] (‘D; [Gal’). These [x]’s form themselves and I count 9.... i.e., 4 figures of 5 points each – and begin to revolve and become a sphere. It refers to water. Water here on Earth apparently. Light above. There are 9 Angels.

This has to do with: [x] (‘B’ [Pe]), for it is the controller of the rivers, the smaller waters and not the huge masses which are apparently a combination. [x] [Pe] is the water of life, the guardian of Life. It is the water on the Material Plane, for without water man cannot live.

The third alchemical symbol [x] [Sulphur] is fire which manifests as a surrounding light and seems to permeate. It is [x] [Gal] [whose] colour [is] scarlet not red. It is material fire.

The [x] [Ceph] is the Planetary Fire, answering to the Astral.

And there is yet a third symbol signifying fire, namely [x] (= ‘L’ [Ur]), the inner spirit of fire, the vitalizing principle of fire.

Yes, there are 9 Syziges, 9 principles.

8 August 1901.

There are not only 21 letters; 28 is the proper number. [Note: the normal number in the Enochian Alphabet.] I am standing in the midst of green and see two symbols which represent the whole alphabet. These two in addition make 30. The guide shows a huge world of green transparent – like marble with veins running through it. I stand upon it. Guide takes Wand and the pavement seems to glow with innumerable stars which group themselves in the form of letters of the Cypher. They form in 4 groups representing 4 Elements and then 2 which make the 30 represented. The 2 Elements are unknown to us at present. The other elements are Air [x], Fire [x], Water [x], and not exactly Earth [x]. The Earth here is a mingling of Air with Fire. Water [is] to have no representation here. I see represented a medium which encloses everything. It is Ether, but it seems more. I stand and the letters group themselves from a circle midway between Earth and Heaven, and I am told to count 4 from the order of the letters shown.

This is the order and form shown:


The missing ones refer to the Astral Ether. The Trinity controls the angle. Each corner of 3 letters represents an Archangel or ruler of a 4th part of the Heaven. The lost letters partly belong to the dominion of Lucifer and cannot all be given – not in this dispensation – nor to a human being. His Kingdom is waiting for his restoration


Lucifer, Son of the Morning [Stella Matutina]; his was the region of the Higher Ether.

I am passing up through clear air. On taking [x] (‘O’ [Med’) the whole atmosphere seems agitated and shakes and quivers in huge undulations. I seem to be floating, the light grows dim. The upper Ether represents the higher development of the … [illegible word] the mystery of the Divine Being. The letters represent the 30 Ethers or rather 28 plus 2.

9 August 1901.

I ascend a green shaft of light. All around is lightish green. A guide not known before, comes dressed in white garment and he holds twisted serpents, a Caduceus Wand. They are the symbols of Mercurius. Air is Ether. He says, “Take my hand” and we stand together and pass down a road. On each side are two roads – like a cross. We leave these and pass on to a great revolving disc of greenish colour.

Different shaped waves then to those on the sphere yesterday culminating here on the top or North. We stand on the apex of the North and the light flows from us into wide horn-like rays curved towards the North.

[Note: Here the inked fair copy breaks off. Remainder of this and following visions [were] copied from the rough pencil notes taken at the actual sittings. G.J.Y.]

Guide holds his wand and serpents become luminous and I seem to breathe a kind of Fire, and as the serpents wind the atmosphere, ground and even the light seems to become like glass of transparency due to diffuse radiance. My number is 5, the power of 5, the Pentagram [x], starting here, but [I am] looking [at it the] wrong way and [should be looking at it] from [the] left hand thus: [x]. On [the] right hand [at the] top corner they made: [x] (‘G’). They say that 9 (i.e., God) is our limit and the boundary of our influence.

The Pentagram appears suspended and is now lying parallel with us or rather it seems that the top of our sphere lies in its centre. It is glowing with golden light but with a greenish metallic luster and blue flames play under it. The blue flame is Salt [x], the inner significance, the golden glow is Sulphur [x].

The yellow flames on surface of [the] Pentagram seem [to be] intersecting triangles, the white light plays about it in tongues of very finely pointed light: the 2 diagonal lines have yellow trans[aren’t] and white light [an [x]) along the bisecting lines, they glow blue turning to purple – this is the energy of Mercury [x]. ‘Culminates on the 5 points.’ The bisecting lines are those which form an angle with the diagonals, and each point has an Angel or Spirit in connection with it. Yet only 3 symbols to Mercury [x]. 2 are dual. These are the centre 3 on [the] left hand side of square that actually belong to Mercury [x], but these symbols in each instance have a character of their own but share certain characteristics. Hence difficult to place what actually belongs to each because the manifestations appear so similar to the researcher tho’ in the upper air vast differences are easily ascertained.

All the elements have common qualities, this Spirit [x] – Air [x], Sun [x], Water [x]. Different forms of energy controlled by the Spirit of the Elements. Earth [x] is a manifestation on a lower plane of what Ether is on the upper.


Up shaft of light [is] white. The square now appears like constellations spanning the Heavens and each symbol becomes a sun, ruled by an Angel of its own, but at the corners stand 4 resplendent spirits. I have a guide. He holds in [his] hand a circle or disc.

Disc in 2 metals but appears to have no inscription. Metals pure white, one a transparent yellow.

Raphael seems to rule the right hand [or] N]orth]-E[ast] angle, Michael left [or] Western angle, Gabriel lower East angle, and Auriel at bottom lower angle to it. Each is an embodied essence of a manifestation of the Deity.

All the symbols of the globes seem scintillating. Their spirits seem to hold or show each letter, but for the angles, the Archangels stands on one and holds one in each hand. They glance on the 2 below and the one above crowns them and radiating shafts appear to form a pentagram at each angle.

Faintly glowing in centre there is a new symbol. A symbol of absolute balance and appears to be formed by the 3 sides of an equilateral triangle in a circle or disc. It is translucent and absolutely white. It seems to advance. A name of 3 letters, begins in centre, not I.A.O. There is a second symbol but not to be given tonight. I think second guide was Enoch.

11 August 1901.

Ask for guide. Name ADAN, [x] = He who reveals. He stands wearing straight purple garment, on his breast hangs a large circle enclosing a Pentagram of which the centre appears to be sunk. Pentagram glows with yellow light – a blue jewel in centre, and on it I see marks like small squares, one square at the top, then 4, two on each side:


They seem to glow red through the blue jewel. The squares represent the secret sign. Those who would enquire we give this proof. Unity. Unity. Trinity again. The 7 includes all. Now stay not to enquire what is not entirely necessary to the question.

Letters now arranged in a triangle.

I am on a grassy plain. Sun is setting and there seems no one in the world. Guide ADANNI, [x]. Behind a small tent of goat’s hair hung with skins. On the ground in front of us the grass has been cleared by fire [and] there is a plain black space. On the space which measures 10 ft. square is drawn, in red, a triangle apex pointing to the East and I face East. The sun sets immediately behind and the lines and sign on the triangle seem to become illuminated. Behold the key to all the great mysteries. Letters seem to begin in the centre of the base line.


Only the present High Priest of the Jews holds the Key in Jerusalem – to one in each generation is it given. Specious reason why at a time to Dee was given. Dee was a Jew.

12 August 1901.

Guide was same. Holds 7 pointed star. The purple robe is an over robe and he wears a white robe underneath. Headdress sort of shield with curving horn. We are in mist, the wall of mist parts and I see the triangle. Connected with building in this Cypher, seems to be [x] (= ‘T’ [Gisa]).

13 August 1901.

We ascend and are in a place where everything [is] very light. Guide ADAN [x] takes [my] hand. We stand with triangle as an arch and we both stand on [x] (‘B’ [Pe]) on base. That signs may be comprehended we will take them in order. The 3 angular and one in centre.

[x] (‘B’ [Pe]) is Light, the sign of illumination. Above it stands the double arches, they represent a city. To it came the Illuminati. It also signifies the Presence. Through its archways none but the chosen ones may pass. It is the entrance to a city and there is no exit.

Take angle to left at [the] point = Tau [x], not the extreme base universe. It is [x] (‘T’ [Gisa]) and is surrounded by luminous waves, it is a water symbol – the water of existence. Gimel [x] makes waves red as if by setting sun. It typifies water of existence, of Life. [An illegible line here. G.J.Y.] Fire of Water interchangeable with Water of Life. Am standing in this Sign and angle is S[outh]-E[ast].

[x] [Pe] = fire of Ether.


The upper [x] [Na-hath] and lower [x] [Pe].

I stand at lower angle, its two arms stretch up like pathways to the Heavens and glows with dazzling bright blue. [x] [Pe]; what you thought was water was the Ether of Fire. It represents the Sun [x], also symbol of all life and is all embracing and occupies a 4th part of existence.

The great arms have 7 divisions, meaning the 7-fold manifestation of power because 7 represents 2 … [illegible word] and unity. Each step is a progression. I pass from base of [x] [Pe] to [the] top where 2 points terminate at lower corners of the 2 arches. Triangle divided into 4 parts and 4 Archangels hold dominion over them.

We pass to the colonnades of the city that typifies Eternal Wisdom and the Eternal Wisdom illuminates all as far as the points of light reach.

On [the] point is [an] inscription or symbol like ‘H’ not Enochian. This is part of the power of [x] [Uranus].

16 August 1901. S.S.D.D. [Florence Farr] present.

Going up a rainbow. Prismatic colours broaden to strips taking whole angle of horizon. The curve is together over water – over the Crescent Moon [x]. Reach summit – everything very bright – white prism underneath. With me is 7 and 7 and 7 too visible for Spirits in appearance beyond average height. Garments mingle into surrounding light. Serpent emblem everywhere. On translucent golden pavements [with] red waves beneath. Some force drawing us forward. The twisted serpents change and grow. Nothing but twisted serpents. Asked what they mean. Guide writes with serpent caduceus. These are the beginning of wisdom … Now [we] ascend 12 steps. On 1st everything very cold. 2nd step difficult. Guide takes hand [and] he holds a Wand.

Everything green and transparent. Round Wand letters – on steps, Hebrew the oldest. First step ‘F’, second ‘Y’, third ‘G’. We pass onward and I see every step has symbol. I am on fourth step, light dark, a dark green, the letters form the markings as marble. This ‘Y’. Now changes to vivid rose. A saying “HVH’. Cloud comes and shuts off vision. Comes from above. Not a cloud, a Presence. R.A. waits. A revelation will be given.

Tablet stands upright like a pillar. Divisions illuminated. 4 above the top. 5 down in each division stands.

Top has 2 parallel perp[endicular] strokes and then short bar lines. KALDC [x]. R.A. waits.

To read the tables would release those confined within, which would be calamitous. How to work will be given in this hour yet will interpretation be withheld. Hanoch [x] walked with the All-wise. To him was given much wisdom. That released some but some are still held, to all the time is not yet. “They are the Elemental Powers.” Interpretation not given to man in this age.

[Note: Drawing of an eye in a circle and the letters: WIR, UR, AR-UGH]

20 August 1901.

Guide: “I am ZARAN [x] from …”

Pass through deep blue to yellow and then radiant light. Presence holds in hand a circle with a pentagram. On his head a double crown, in his hand a roll. It unfolds in two parts. “Are these what ye come to hear? They are revelations given to Hanoch [x] by him ascribed on the stone, within the symbols all is found of Wisdom and Knowledge. Yet it is given only to those to whom it can be given. Can be given in part.” They are the summons to bring the powers, the greater cube is ruled by a greater. The second Call, the water. By it rain will be brought, the rivers planted, these are arrested.

Letters are symbols given to bring the concealed knowledge to this age – meditate on and use the groups, [it] will to the future bring true happiness. Letters not conventional, but part of a priestly code. They were part of [the] secrets of priesthood, but since Hanoch’s time to all save only a few.

Presence takes my hand, on the hand is a large signet, the Sun [x], rays interlaced form a circle.

Call ARDOTH [x]. To me the letter [x] [Gal] refers. I bind, I also loose.

Place me on the N[orth]-E[ast]. (I hear rushing of many waters) of the line, the first line of the Tablet. Dee did not understand their use. The spirit that answered to the control gave him no clue to the real power of the Letters. They have a two-fold quality. Next symbol to look at [is] [x] [Pe]. He openeth and no man can shut.


With right use of the tables one can divine the thoughts of the Elements. 9 along top, 13 down. No, 10 along top.

Tables suspended.

XRVVAEHEOR. [Note: light pencil line through EOR. (?) G.J.Y.]

Holy is Eloi. Great is the Elohim.

I see blood falling. It is the beginning of the Invocation, also symmetrically law. On reading Call, Tablet became illuminated and a wind rushes. Guide appears holding Wand, indicates letters in diagonal manner from top right hand corner to left. In the centre of these Tablets in midst of letters is a Hexagram.
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Part 3 of 3

Appendix I

[After the completion of the Enochian Experiments there was an attempt to summarize the visions of the Enochian Alphabet from the three note-books. On a unsigned sheet of paper the following was written. – D.K.]

[x]: Spirit.
[x]: The 3 globes.
[x]: (?) Raphael. Air.
[x]: That w[hi]ch is enclosed. Cold
[x]: North – also knowledge and cold.
[x]: South. E[arth] and Water of Existence.
[x]: East.
[x]: West.
[x]: Mighty resistless force.
[x]: Water.
[x]: Water as Elemental Force.
[x]: Angel held Wand with this on it.
[x]: Generative Force.
[x]: Fire … and Water(?)
[x]: Fire.
[x]: Fire(?) Also Air.
[x]: A personal letter ruling the individual.
[x]: Sign of division.
[x]: Middle of Pentagram, and the ruler of rivers and small masses of water. Sun and Ether of Fire.
[x]: Gives invisibility and belongs to Air(?) Also connected with Moon.
[x]: Also connected with Moon(?)

Appendix II

[In 1901, Florence Farr did some investigations on the Lunar aspect of the Enochian Tablets which she recorded in her journal. Mary Greer [151.442] gives the date of Farr’s journal entry as 16 April, 1901. The investigations that are printed below are dated 17 August 1901. It would seem that Farr had transcribed her journal entry on the 17 August 1901 and sent them along with a letter to an unknown person. The letter has been printed below, but is missing the beginning. The journal entry which Greer prints is slightly different and has been acknowledged as footnotes. – D.K.]

As I am working almost exclusively with Solar symbolism I am afraid I shan’t be able to get anything further with regard to these Luna Tablets because the 3 forces counteract each other & the other work is very important in my estimation. However here is a certain amount of light on the subject I think which you’ll be able to develop.

No wonder Ra said he was waiting last night!!

Yours in haste,

Florence Emery

17th Aug[ust] 1901.

As I got with the Ave Enoch[ian] current last night I thought I might as well make use of the opportunity to find out the real state of the case with the following result.

[The] Enochian Tablets are a conglomeration made by a man in the reign of Henry VII in England. He had some Kabalistic knowledge.1 The letters are the cipher of a secret society which he got hold of illegally. He adapted them to the Tablets which were founded on [the] Kabalistic [x] [Tetragrammaton].2

The Tablets are purely Luna as is [x] [Tetragrammaton] representing Luna quarters. The 21 [Enochian] letters represent the 19 years of [x] [North Nodal] revolution in [the] zodiac plus 2 aspects [x] [head (Caput Draconis) and tail (Cauda Draconis) of Dragon].3 p.q., [x] = [x] [Caput Draconis] & [x] [Cauda Draconis united]. 19 x 19 = 361. Each [“19” crossed-out] letter value nearly 19 degrees of 360 degrees of zodiac [“or rather have” crossed out] (a slight abatement on each).

4 Tablets = 4 quarters of Moon but in connection with the [x] [North Node] & [x] [South Node]. They move around the zodiac.

Favourable place for Western Tablets is West but it moves with [x] [tail] of Dragon. It is favourable to [the] New Moon.

East moves with [x] [head of Dragon]; favourable to [the] Full Moon.

South is favourable to increasing & is Southern declination.

North is favourable to decreasing & is Northern declination.

Tablet of Union = 19 year cycle & 1 for whole.

4 great crosses are 4 x 9 months = 3 years x 4 = 12 fortunate & fruitful years mixed with 7 barren years.

Their influences are those which govern the 7 days of the week, the 12 months or the year as in 36 decans & [“the” crossed out] it appears that if the 7 influences predominates, it is barren; it not, it is fruitful. So I suppose that the houses of the Planets are the houses which can overcome the planetary influences best.

The Tablets are only slightly connected with solar influence through the great crosses & their names of [the Great kings of the] East & West Tablets in [the] centre (Bataivah & Raagiol).

They have no eternal value but are useful in time until the luna forces & planetary influences – acting through [the] Moon – are disintegrated. The God of the Jews is a Luna God. People have tried to Solarise Luna symbolism by calling these quarters & [x] [North Node] & [x] [South Node], etc., Seasons of [the] year, etc., but the Sun forces do not care for the names, etc., that appeal to the Luna forces.

At times of [the] Eclipse, the Sun force is like St. George & spears the Dragon & a new sub-cycle is initiated. One fort night4 the [x] [Moon] tries to obscure [the] [x] [Sun] & vise versa [for the] next fort night. At [the] time of [x] with [x] [North Node] & [x] [South Node] it appears as a kind of cyclic generation.5

The 19 letters have to do with the degrees of [the] zodiac & the order of the Linea Spiritus Sancti in a regulation. Those are the most important words [“ORD IBAH” crossed out] (viz. ORO IBAH, etc.).6 10 lunations = 9 solar months = 40 weeks – period of prenatal life = 10 squares of small crosses result in Tablet in 40 luna forces. 9 [squares] of great crosses = 360 [“solar” crossed out] forces related slightly to solar forces. The 30 squares of lesser angles = days of [the] month.


1. ‘He had some outside Kabalistic knowledge.’ – F.F. diary.

2. ‘The letters are a cipher of a secret society which he got hold of illegally & adapted them to the Tablets which were founded on the Kabalistic Tetragrammaton [x] [in the] form of [[x] = Henoch].’ – F.F. diary.

3. ‘[These Tablets] represent the days of the Lunar month – the 21 [Enochian] letters represent the 19 years of [the nodal] period + the two letters representing head and tail of Dragon, which must be united with each letter to show its 2 aspects.’ – F.F. diary.

4. One fort night is equivalent to two weeks. – D.K.

5. ‘At the time of the degree of the zodiac represented by the letter [x] is in conjunction with [North and South Node].’ – F.F. diary.

6. The ‘Three Great Secret Holy Names of God”, i.e., ORO IBAH AOZPI are found on the central cross of the Enochian Air Tablet, called Linea Spiritus Sancti, reading left to right. – D.K.

Appendix III

The Workings of the Sphere Group

[On 17 January 1901, Florence Farr issued a ‘semi-official statement’ of the workings of the Sphere Group to its Theoricus Adeptus Minor members. A copy of the statement was sent to Frater Sub Spe [J.W. Brodie-Innes] and is printed below from Harper, [158.221-223]. The first incarnation of the Sphere Group (No. 1) used the figure of an Egyptian Adept in the centre of the Sphere, but was later changed to an image of the Holy Grail in the second incarnation of the Group.

In Annie Horniman’s [Fortiter et Recte) critical petition against the Sphere Group to the Chiefs of the Second Order (Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis [Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis] ) she wrote that the ‘group consisted of 12 members and the symbols were adapted from the Star maps and Tree of Life projected on a sphere, whence they were sometimes called the Sphere Group. The twelve members had astral stations assigned to them around this sphere and a certain Egyptian astral form was supposed to occupy the centre.’ [175.247].

In R.W. Felkin’s paper called ‘The Group as I knew it, and Fortiter [Annie Horniman]’ he wrote that the objects of the Sphere Group ‘were: to concentrate forces of growth, progress and purification, every Sunday at noon, and the progress was 1st, the formation of the twelve workers near but not in 35 [Blythe Road]; 2nd Formulation round London; 3rd, Formulation round the Earth; 4th, Formulation among the Constellations. Then gradually reverse the process, bringing the quintessence of the greater forces to the lesser. The process was to take about an hour.’ [175.250].

Robert Turner described the Workings of the Sphere Group as a group which ‘consisted of twelve members [who] each held to represent an individual Zodiacal potency – it seems likely that an unmentioned thirteenth member acted as Seer. During the Sphere ceremonies (which took place every Sunday at noon), the Adepti positioned themselves at equal distances around an Astrally constructed spherical image and invoked the presence of an Egyptian Spirit-form which manifested at the exact centre of their magical structure. As the ceremony progressed the ‘Sphere’ was gradually expanded (Astrally) until by degrees it encompassed: the place of Working, the City of London, the Earth, and finally the entire Solar System. After the required Astral communication has been received at a Super-Celestial level the ‘Sphere’ was caused to slowly contract, in an effort to draw the power back to the Earth Plane.’ [144.II:ii.17]. – D.K.]

The Sphere Group (No. 1)

87 the Grove Hammersmith W.
17 January, 1901

Care V[ery] H[onoured] Fra[ter] Sub Spe,

It seems necessary for me to make a semi-official statement of the Theorici regarding my work in the Order during the last 3 years in order to account for the present state of feeling of which naturally you became aware on your visit to London.

You may remember at the end of the year 1895 I came across an Egyptian Adept in the British Museum and freely told other members of the possibilities opened out. On Jan. 27th 1896 I received a long letter from D[eo] D[uce] C[omite] F[error, S.L. MacGregor Mathers] in reply to a letter of mine sending a charged drawing of the Egyptian and asking him if I were not grossly deceived by her claiming to be equal in rank to an 8 degree = 3 degree of our Order at the same time giving me numbers which I afterwards calculated to be correct for that grade. I still possess his letter approving altogether of my working with her, and saying it was necessary to make offerings & then all would be well - &c &c. I soon found there was a considerable prejudice against Egyptian Symbolism amongst the members of the Order and I began to hold my tongue after having recommended the various clearly marked groups of thinkers (such as Indian, Christian and son on) to work steadily and regularly by themselves each under some more advanced person. To you and to those who were not antipathetic I spoke more freely. When the splits in the Order itself became more and more pronounced my work with 3 others having become extremely interesting we resolved to carry out a plan suggested by an Egyptian for the holding together of a strong nucleus on purely Order lines. This was done by using the symbol of the globular Sephiroth: formulating it regularly once a week, each of us formulating the whole symbol, so that the strong should counterbalance the weak, placing it over the Order, the planet, then gradually increasing in size and imagining the symbols disposed as in the star maps in the visible universe. Here we invoked the light from the true Kether that the spirit of life and growth might be evoked by that light and that the great guardian wall of the Sephiroth might shed its influence upon the planet and the Order. This being done the Light was carefully concentrated upon the earth and upon the Sphere of the Order and upon our own spheres. This was done regularly once a week, and members were warned it was to be used for no purposes of personal desire, but for all. If we invoked the light upon the evil that was as yet unfitted for transmutation it was to be prevented from operating by the Great Guardian of the formula and not one of us has been allowed to work for our own selfish aims by means of the formula. It is quite true that in my experience of the working of the Order I have found several very capable persons who cannot interest themselves in many of the Order formulas of clairvoyance and divination yet who were intensely interested in the end I had in view and which is expressed above, the late Soror Volo [Florence Kennedy] being one of them. Others were interested in the study of the Egyptian religion but did not take interest in mediaeval symbolism. The Order passed into an apparently more and more hopeless state. There appeared no possible way in which it could emerge from the dishonesties which desecrated its symbols. Endless divisions, bickering, and scandals choked its activity. In the mean time the group I had founded and the groups you and others founded continued their work and at last in 1899 the time came. In the early months of 1900 matters were so arranged by the eternal powers that we were freed from the load of dishonesty under which we had been struggling.

All went well until September 1900 when I found everything I proposed was objected to. After a few weeks I discovered that my group which had been working quietly for 3 years was being violently attacked. First on the ground that we used the Order Rooms. It was then arranged that on Mondays and Wednesdays Members should by giving a weeks notice have the right to engage the rooms for 2 hours at a time. I was very glad of this as I had frequently been unable to go into the rooms myself when other Members were using them and it was a convenience all round to know when this was likely to be the case. I was then accused of keeping valuable information to myself. You will understand I think that with the anti-Egyptian Feeling about I shall still refuse to discuss Egyptian formulae with anyone not specially in sympathy with the ancient Egyptians. As for the working of my group we each sit at home and go through the stages of the invocation, we each simply invoke light upon the perfectly balanced symbol of the Tree of Life projected on a sphere, we do not work at clairvoyance or divination in any special way and I do not admit that we are concealing knowledge from anyone seeing that the whole of the symbol is explained in the Star maps lecture. I have written to you at great length because you are in the country and I have no opportunity of speaking to you. Would you kindly send this letter to Soror Veritas Vincit [Mrs. Agnes Cathcart]. I have recently put up the following notice at 36 B[lythe] R[oad].

S[apientia] S[apienti] D[ono] D[ate, Florence Farr] wishes to say that any Member of the Order who feels sympathy either for the study of the Egyptian Book of the Dead or for the symbolism of the Tree of Life projected on a Sphere will be very welcome to join her group on their attainment of the grade of Theoricus.

Yours under the wings of the eternal O,

Sapientia Sapienti Dono Date 5 degree = 6 degree T[heoricus] A[deptus] M[inor].

[In March 1901, Florence Farr issued another statement of the ‘semi-official workings’ of the Sphere Group to its Theoricus Adeptus Minor members which was an attempt to clarify the workings of the Group. In this document Farr stated that the Sphere Group no longer had any connection to the Egyptian Adept of the first incarnation of the Sphere Group. According to R.W. Felkin the members of the Sphere Group were informed at a meeting that the Egyptian Adept ‘was changing his place on the higher planes and could no longer work with us.’ [175.251]. A second incarnation of the Sphere Group was formed having replaced the Egyptian Adept with an image of the Holy Grail on the central pillar which was called ‘The Cup of the Stolistes’. The Sphere Group (No. 2) is printed below from Greer, [151.257]. – D.K.]

The Cup of the Stolistes within the Sephiroth as projected on a sphere.

The Sphere Group (No. 2)

There were twelve people in the ‘Sphere Working,’ evenly divided into six women and six men. Every Sunday from noon to 1 p.m., in their own separate homes but working simultaneously they began by creating an image of the Cup of the Stolistes (Holy Grail) containing a burning heart that represented Tiphareth. The Sephiroth of the ‘middle pillar’ (Kether, Daath, Tiphareth, Yesod, and Malkuth) were aligned on a central column, with Kether envisioned as a flame arising from the top of the Cup and Malkuth forming its base. The remaining six Sephiroth were doubled (to form twelve) and arched toward the four directions, creating a sphere around Tiphareth. Each person took one of the twelve sphere positions, envisioning themselves not only as the corresponding Sephirah but as an entire Tree of Life within that sephirah. They saw themselves clothed in the colour of the planet, bathed in an aura the colour of the Sephirah, and they consciously projected appropriately coloured rays of light to the nearest Sephiroth on the central column and to the Sephiroth above and below them. This was a feat of tremendous concentration and visualization ability in itself, but the work was only beginning.

First they imagined that the Sephiroth projected on the sphere were each approximately ten feet in diameter. This image was projected astrally over the Second Order headquarters at 36 Blythe Road. Then they imagined a larger sphere formed over all of London, with each Sephirah one mile in diameter. Next they formed an even larger sphere, 2,700 miles in diameter, over Europe. Fourth, they formed a sphere around the Earth, with Kether over the North Pole and Malkuth over the South Pole. In the fifth operation, the complete solar system (Sun, Moon, and Planets) was placed in the centre Sephirah of Tiphareth and the other Sephiroth, each 900 miles in diameter, were placed in the starry universe and aligned with specific constellations.

Each individual then linked him or herself from their own Kether to the sphere’s Kether via a cord of diamond light through which they travelled to the flaming Crown at the top of the Grail. From Kether they all sent rays of light into the whole universe, the planet, the Order, and themselves. Each individual then returned to his or her own Sephirah and began the journey back to earth, deliberately treading underfoot the shadows known as qliphoth that could potentially generate evil. Thus they transmuted evil into good through the actions of the greater forces on the lesser.

-- The Enochian Experiments of the Golden Dawn, Enochian Alphabet Clairvoyantly Examined (Golden Dawn Studies No. 7

Farr eventually believed that the temple should be closed down,[15] writing to Mathers in January 1900 and offering her resignation as his representative,[16] but that she was willing to carry on until a successor was found.[15] Mathers' reply shocked and amazed her,[15] for it claimed that Westcott had committed fraud and forged some of the foundational documents and charters of the Order. After waiting a few days she consulted with Yeats, and they jointly wrote to Westcott requesting an explanation of, and a reply to, Mathers' charges.[17] Westcott denied the charges, and a seven-member committee of Adepts was formed to further investigate Mathers, asking for proof. Mathers sent a belligerent reply, refusing to produce proof, asserting his authority and dismissing Farr from her position as his representative on 23 March.[18] The Adepts in London continued their investigation, and subsequently expelled Mathers in 1901. Farr, Yeats and Horniman (who returned after having been expelled earlier by Mathers) attempted to reorganize the Order, but met with limited success. Farr remained in her Chief Adept position for a time, but resigned in January 1902 in the wake of a fraud scandal concerning associates of Mathers that exposed the once secret society to public ridicule.[19]

Later life

Farr with her psaltery harp in 1903

After Farr severed her association with the Golden Dawn she joined the Theosophical Society of London,[3] and went on to write and produce (with Olivia Shakespear) two Egyptian-themed plays, The Shrine of the Golden Hawk and The Beloved of Hathor. Farr was also involved in the performance, direction and musical composition of a number of plays for the Lyceum, Court and New Century Theatres in London, between 1902 and 1906.[6] Besides collaborating with Yeats and his Abbey Theatre, Farr gave frequent performances of his poetry, which she set to the music of her psaltery. Farr toured in Great Britain, Europe and America in 1906 and 1907 to take the 'new art' of Irish literary theatre to wider audiences. While in America she met and collaborated with scenic painter and Tarot card artist Pamela Colman Smith, who worked as Farr's stage manager.[3]

Farr also wrote regular articles during this time, particularly about women's rights, theatre and ancient Egyptian religion, in the British journal of art and politics, The New Age, and for Theosophical journals, some of which have been anthologized into books. In her essay "Our Evil Stars" (New Age, October 1907), Farr writes that reformation of public health and marriage laws are not enough to liberate women. "We must kill the force in us that says we cannot become all we desire, for that force is our evil star that turns all opportunity into grotesque failure....So let us each recognise the truth that our first business is to change ourselves, and then we shall know how to change our circumstances."[8]

Through the Theosophical Society she had met Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan, a spiritual teacher and future member of the Tamil parliament in Ceylon. Farr was greatly impressed by his plans for the education of young women in his native country, and she committed herself to helping him when he was ready.

In 1912, Farr learned that Ramanathan had established his Uduvil Ramanathan Girls College, and at the age of fifty-two, she sold all her possessions and moved to Ceylon, returning to her first vocation, that of a teacher. Farr was appointed Lady Principal by Ramanathan and the administration of the school was turned over to her. Certainly the organizational skills she learned as the Praemonstratrix of the Golden Dawn served Farr in her new position, and due to her tolerance and respect for the Tamil traditions, the school thrived under her administration. Farr also kept up her correspondences with Yeats, and sent him her translations of Tamil poetry.[3]

Then in 1916, a lump in her breast was diagnosed as cancer, and she underwent a mastectomy. In Farr's final letter to Yeats, she included a humorous drawing of herself with her mastectomy scar, and wrote: "Last December I became an Amazon and my left breast and pectoral muscle were removed. Now my left side is a beautiful slab of flesh adorned with a handsome fern pattern made by a cut and 30 stitches." But the cancer had spread, and Florence Farr died a few months later at the age of 56 in a hospital in Colombo, in April 1917. In accordance with her wishes, her body was cremated and the ashes scattered by Ramanathan in the sacred Kalyaani River.[6]

Farr's last letter to Yeats

In his poem "All Souls' Night", Yeats wrote:

"On Florence Emery I call the next,
Who finding the first wrinkles on a face
Admired and beautiful,
And by the foreknowledge of the future vexed;
Diminished beauty, multiplied commonplace;
Preferred to teach a school
Away from neighbor or friend,
Among dark skins, permit foul years to wear
Hidden from eyesight to the unnoticed end."[20]


• Florence Farr. The Dancing Faun. Elkin Mathews. ISBN 978-1-872189-76-5.
• Florence Farr. Egyptian Magic: Occult Mysteries in Ancient Egypt. Kessinger. ISBN 978-1-56459-322-1.
• "The Mystery of Time: A Masque". Theosophical Review. 36 (211): 9–19. 1905.
• "A Dialogue of Vision". Theosophical Review. 39 (229): 77–84. 1906.
• "The Tetrad, or Structure of the Mind". Occult Review. 8 (1): 34–40. 1908.
• "Egyptian Use of Symbols". Occult Review. 7 (3): 46–149. 1908.
• "On the Kabalah". Occult Review. 7 (4): 213–218. 1908.
• "On the Play of the Image-Maker". Occult Review. 8 (2): 87–91. 1908.
• "The Philosophy Called Vedanta". Occult Review. 7 (6): 333–338. 1908.
• "The Rosicrucians and Alchemists". Occult Review. 7 (5): 259–264. 1908.
• The Music of Speech. London: Elkin Mathews. 1909. OCLC 11703141.
• Modern Woman: Her Intentions. Frank Palmer. 1910.
• The Solemnization of Jacklin: Some Adventures on the Search for Reality. London: A.C. Fifeld. 1912.
• Darcy Kuntz, ed. (April 1996). The Enochian Experiments of the Golden Dawn. Golden Dawn Studies. Holmes. ISBN 978-1-55818-340-7.
• The Way of Wisdom: An Investigation of the Meanings of the Letters of the Hebrew Alphabet Considered As a Remnant of the Chaldean Wisdom. Holmes. 2001. ISBN 978-1-55818-290-5.
• Florence Farr ; edited by Darcy Küntz. (2001). The Magic of a Symbol. Holmes. ISBN 978-1-55818-337-7.
• Florence Farr, Olivia Shakespear (September 2002). The Serpent's Path: The Magical Plays of Florence Farr. Holmes. ISBN 978-1-55818-414-5.
• Florence Farr. (March 2005). La Magia Egipcia (in Spanish). Obelisco. ISBN 978-84-7720-911-9.
• The Book of the Grand Words of Each Mystery in Egyptian Magic. Kessinger. 2005. ISBN 978-1-4253-0233-7.
• The Gnostic Magic Of Egypt. Kessinger. 2005. ISBN 978-1-4253-0232-0.
• The Legend of Ra and Isis. Kessinger. 2005. ISBN 978-1-4253-0231-3.



1. Kiberd, declan (9 November 2018). "Sodom and Begorrah". Times Literary Supplement. 6032: 32.
2. King 1989, page 41
3. Greer (1994)
4. University College of London bio
5. Boisseau (2004)
6. Johnson (1974)
7. Jayawardena (1995)
8. Litz (1996)
9. Peters (1980)
10. Bax (1971)
11. King 1978, page 24
12. F.King, 1989, page 51-52
13. King, 1989, page 52
14. King, 1989, page 66
15. King 1989 page 67
16. Wilson, page 54
17. King 1989 page 68
18. King 1989 page 69
19. Gilbert (1998)
20. Yeats, The Collected Poems


• Boisseau, Robin Jackson (5 May 2004). "The Women of the Abbey Theatre, 1879-1925". University of Maryland. Archived from the original on 13 June 2007. Retrieved 16 August 2007.
• Farr, Florence (c1863-1916). "Farr, Florence". Administrative/Biographical History, Reference code(s): GB 0096 MS 982. University of London, Senate House Library Collection. Retrieved 2007-08-31. Check date values in: |date= (help)
• Farr, Florence; Yeats, W. B.; Shaw, G.B. (1971). Clifford Bax (ed.). Florence Farr, Bernard Shaw and W. B. Yeats. (Letters). Shannon, Irish University Press. ISBN 978-0-7165-1394-0. OCLC 148919.
• Gilbert, R. A. (September 1998). The Golden Dawn Scrapbook: The Rise and Fall of a Magical Order. Weiser Books. ISBN 978-1-57863-037-0.
• Greer, Mary K. (1996). Women of the Golden Dawn: Rebels and Priestesses. Park Street Press. ISBN 978-0-89281-607-1.
• Howe, Ellic (1972). Magicians of the Golden Dawn: A Documentary History of a Magical Order, 1887-1923. Red Wheel Weiser. ISBN 978-0-87728-369-0.
• Jayawardena, Kumari (1995). The White Woman's Other Burden: Western Women and South Asia During British Rule. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-91105-4.
• Johnson, Josephine (1975). Florence Farr: Bernard Shaw's New Woman. Colin Smythe. ISBN 978-0-901072-15-3.
• King, Francis (1989). Modern Ritual Magic: The Rise of Western Occultism. Avery Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1-85327-032-1.
• King, Francis (1977). The Magical World of Aleister Crowley. Weidenfeld and Nicolson. ISBN 978-0-297-77423-5.
• Litz, A. Walton (1996). "Florence Farr: A Transitional Woman". In Maria DiBattista and Lucy McDiarmid (ed.). High and Low Moderns: Literature and Culture, 1889-1939. Oxford University Press, USA. ISBN 978-0-19-508266-1.
• Peters, Margot (1980). Bernard Shaw and the Actresses. Doubleday & Co. ISBN 0-385-12051-6.
• Tully, Caroline (2009). "Florence and the Mummy". Women's Voices in Magic. Megalithica Books. pp. 15–243.
• Wilson, Colin (2005). Aleister Crowley: The Nature of the Beast. Aeon Books. ISBN 978-1-904658-27-6.
• Yeats, William Butler (1996). "All Souls' Night". In Richard J. Finneran (ed.). The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats (2nd ed.). Scribner. p. 132. ISBN 978-0-684-80731-7.

External links

• Works by or about Florence Farr at Internet Archive
• Florence Farr's papers at Senate House Library, University of London
• Excerpts from M.K. Greer's Women of the Golden Dawn
• The National Library of Ireland's exhibition on Yeats features much about their collaboration and Farr's own Psaltery.
• Biography at the Golden Dawn
• Works by or about Florence Farr in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
• Florence Farr: The scattered ashes of sacred wisdom
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:37 am

Part 1 of 2

Lea Terhune: About The Author
by Simon & Schuster
Accessed: 11/30/19



[Lea] Terhune is the long-time secretary of Tai Situ Rinpoche, the major supporter of would-be Karmapa Orgyen Trinley.

-- Karmapa Issue, by Mick Brown, ... -17-lives/



Chief minister of India's northeastern state of Sikkim during the years 1979-84 and 1985-1994…..

The day after the Search Committee session, Sikkim Chief Minister Bhandari made the Karmapa search into official state government business. At his office in Gangtok, he organized a commission of four state government officials to "oversee" the search for the Karmapa conducted by the rinpoches at Rumtek. The four went straight to Rumtek and asked to speak to the rinpoches on the search committee. The officials began to inquire about the process for finding the Karmapa.

"We told them that Jamgon Rinpoche would go to look for the boy and that it would take about eight months to announce the result," Shamar told me. "But I asked them why state government people were showing interest in finding the Karmapa. These were lay people and should have been the last to know about a high religious matter like this. In Tibet, this never would have happened. Even in exile, the Constitution of India prohibited the government from interfering with religion. But in Mr. Bhandari's Sikkim, it seemed that his officials were among the first to get religious news from Rumtek. Things in exile had really gotten turned upside down."….

Shamar remained vigilant. After receiving word that Situ and Gyaltsab had started a search for the seventeenth Karmapa in Tibet, Shamar cut short a trip to the United States. He feared trouble at Rumtek and quickly returned to India. When he arrived at Bagdogra airport outside of Siliguri on his way back to Rumtek, by coincidence, he ran into Sikkim Chief Minister Bhandari. "I thanked Mr. Bhandari for having arranged for the prediction letter to be kept at Rumtek monastery," Shamar said. Earlier, at Shamar's request, Bhandari had been obliged to post guards outside the relic room at Rumtek where Situ's letter was stored. "Perhaps Mr. Bhandari would have liked Situ's prediction letter to disappear. But we made this request officially, and given the lively interest among Gangtok society in the Karmapa problems, he had to agree.

"I also informed him that I would need to borrow the letter to have a forensic test carried out. Mr. Bhandari just smiled and said that it wouldn't be possible, because he had already handed over responsibility for the 'prediction letter' to Mr. Karma Topden, a member of the Indian Parliament in New Delhi. This was a strong indication that Mr. Bhandari was himself involved. Why else would he turn down my request?"….

Later in the day, a contingent of the elite paramilitary force founded by Sikkim Chief Minister Bhandari, the Sikkim Armed Police, joined the regular police at the monastery. Given India's constitutional separation of church and state, it was unusual to see dozens of local police and security forces in a monastery. But Chief Minister Bhandari said he expected a law-and-order problem, and he claimed the police and troops were needed to maintain peace at the cloister.

Over the protests of the Rumtek monks, Situ and Gyaltsab gathered their guests and the police in the monastery's courtyard for a public meeting. Its purpose: to demand that the Rumtek administration support Ogyen Trinley. The Rumtek monks were frightened by this development and they were unprepared to respond to this unauthorized gathering. Situ and Gyaltsab were visitors at Rumtek, with no administrative authority over the Karmapa's labrang or his monastery. But they did have the eighty tough new monks and hundreds of lay followers to back them up. Even more confusing, public meetings about choosing a Karmapa were never held back in Tibet.

By this time, Shamar had arrived at his house down the road from Rumtek, but he was not planning to be at Rumtek that day. When the meeting started, the monks in charge of the monastery phoned Shamar at his bungalow, ten minutes away. They begged him to come quickly. If he did not arrive, they told him they feared that Situ and Gyaltsab would take over the monastery, using their hundreds of followers as muscle. In response to the call, Shamar left immediately for the monastery. As it happened, about twenty troops of the Indian Army's Kumaon Regiment had arrived at his house the previous day. In response to reports from the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation that Situ and Gyaltsab had bussed hundreds of followers over the Sikkim state line, including illegal immigrants from China, Indian Army command in New Delhi had ordered the troops to deploy to Shamar's house and provide him a security escort. The problems at Rumtek had now become an open issue of Indian national security.

When he left for Rumtek, the ranking officer, a captain, insisted on accompanying Shamar with five or six of his men. After the threat to the sixteenth Karmapa's life was revealed in 1977, he often entered Rumtek with a similar security detail (as we saw in chapter 6), so Shamar's having a small escort was no surprise to the monks at Rumtek, especially since the atmosphere had gotten so tense at the cloister.

But Situ's supporters have claimed that Shamar entered the monastery with the escort to intimidate Situ and Gyaltsab. Indeed, once Shamar arrived and broke up Situ and Gyaltsab's unauthorized meeting, a violent confrontation resulted between supporters of each party that took nearly an hour to pacify. Lea Terhune wrote that "the incident was strongly denounced by then Chief Minister Nar Bahadur Bhandari, who pointed out that it was the state's prerogative to call in the army, and the central government must be involved." [1] Bhandari demanded an investigation of this alleged misuse of Indian troops in his jurisdiction.

In The Dance of 17 Lives, Mick Brown describes this episode dramatically.

Inside the shrine room, Shamar jumped on to a wooden table and shouted, "Soldiers and rinpoches to stay. Everybody else, leave!" An alarmed Gyaltsab turned to Situ Rinpoche and whispered, "Do you suppose they intend to kill us? Outside, scuffles had broken out, as monks attempted to prevent the armed soldiers entering the shrine room. "The old monks were saying, 'This is why we came out of Tibet,' remembers one onlooker, 'this is exactly what happened in 1959."' [2]

"This story is a grain of sand that Situ Rinpoche's people have built into a mountain," Shamar told me. "Six Indian soldiers and I were no match for Situ and Gyaltsab with more than five hundred followers and maybe fifty soldiers and police officers of Chief Minister Bhandari." It turned out that the situation was indeed dangerous -- but it was dangerous for Shamar, not for Situ and Gyaltsab. On his way to the monastery, Khampas and Sikkimese that Situ had bussed in to Rumtek assembled in front of the monastery and jeered at Shamar as he entered. The Indian captain feared a violent incident and ordered his troops to stand between the crowd and Shamar.

Shamar indignantly strode into the courtyard and saw Situ and Gyaltsab holding their meeting. "Nobody had told me about this meeting," Shamar explained. "It seemed that they were trying to do it without me." Shamar was followed by the security detail. When the two rinpoches caught sight of Shamar and his escort, they unceremoniously broke from their positions in front of the crowd. According to one observer, like commanders out of a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, the two high rinpoches abandoned their followers in the courtyard, and beat a quick retreat to their guest rooms at the monastery. Once inside, they resolutely locked their doors and refused to come out and speak to Shamar.

"I didn't ask for the bodyguards," Shamar told me. "They insisted on following me into the monastery. I just wanted to talk with the two rinpoches. Why did they have a meeting without calling me? I was only a few minutes away. But when I arrived, they would not come out of their rooms. Did they think I was going to line them up against a wall in the courtyard and have them shot?

"I had no authority to order the Indian captain to make his troops kick the rinpoches out of Rumtek. This wasn't even in our plan. Though we feared trouble of some kind, we didn't know that Situ and Gyaltsab Rinpoches were trying to take over the monastery at that time. But looking back, perhaps it would have been better if I had requested the soldiers to remove the two rinpoches and their guests. It might have prevented worse trouble later on."

The Rumtek monks were relieved that Shamar had arrived when he did. They thought he had saved the monastery from a violent coup.

"After that, we Rumtek monks were stuck in the middle," Khenpo Ngawang, the teacher at Rumtek at the time, told me. "We were quite confused. We didn't belong to Shamar Rinpoche or Situ Rinpoche, but only to the sixteenth Karmapa. The three rinpoches were all recognized by the sixteenth Karmapa, and each was supposed to have served as head of Rumtek turn by turn. It was really confusing at that time. So we decided that we should only follow the Karmapa Charitable Trust founded by the sixteenth Karmapa.

"Then we requested Situ Rinpoche, please, because he kept trying to force us to sign a letter that Ogyen Trinley was the right Karmapa, and also another one that said if Shamar Rinpoche ever brings a Karmapa, you should not sign for him. We refused to sign these letters, we said that we didn't have the authority to decide who should be the Karmapa or not. We could not say yes or no. We only wanted to follow whichever Karmapa was the right one.

"We then asked Situ Rinpoche, since all the problems seemed to be coming from the prediction letter: Now the technology is quite good, if you put it to a forensic science test, then a hundred percent of us will all follow you. Situ Rinpoche said no. The reason was that never was a prediction done by a previous Karmapa treated like this. Also, he said that it was a very precious letter and that we could not expose it to electronic machines. He would not do the forensic science test.

"That made us more doubtful. Later, Situ Rinpoche then brought more unusual things into Rumtek -- more signs of support from the Dalai Lama. Also, he and Gyaltsab Rinpoche started collecting a lot of signatures. We found it very doubtful. Whenever Situ Rinpoche came to Rumtek he always gave a speech. But each time, there would always be some bad signs, like rain, thunder, or the Karmapa's flag blowing down from its pole.

"We asked him to let us stay in the middle of the two groups disagreeing, but he said no, you have to support Ogyen Trinley, you have to choose. We then asked Shamar Rinpoche if we could stay in the middle. He said yes and told us, 'This is not your problem; this is mine and Situ's problem. One day, I will give you my evidence and then you'll have a choice whom to follow.' That was convincing to us, and helped us decide who was right and who was wrong. Shamar Rinpoche seemed more reasonable. He gave us the choice so we could analyze for ourselves."

Curiously, to the further relief of the monks who lived at Rumtek, the eighty monks from Himachal Pradesh vanished as quickly as they had arrived. "We later found out that these young men had illegally crossed into India from Tibet and that they were hiding at the refugee camp near Situ's monastery," Shamar said. If the Indian central government discovered that the Sikkim authorities had let eighty undocumented immigrants from China cross the tightly controlled. state line into restricted Sikkim, then Chief Minister Bhandari might have faced sanctions from New Delhi. On local issues, Bhandari could usually do what he wanted, but when the Indian government feared that he was endangering Indian control over Sikkim, Bhandari faced tight scrutiny. "So he wouldn't get in trouble, Bhandari must have arranged for the eighty monks to leave Rumtek fast."….

A Himalayan Party Boss

Without the help of Sikkim Chief Minister Bhandari, Situ and Gyaltsab Rinpoches would probably never have been able to take over Rumtek monastery. Bhandari provided the state police and special forces troops to back up Situ and Gyaltsab throughout 1992 and 1993 and also prevented Shamar from getting access to Situ's prediction letter for testing. Along with Bhandari, Sikkim Chief Secretary K. Sreedhar Rao faulted Tai Situ's allies: "It is due primarily to the Joint Action Committee that an ugly situation was created in the monastery itself, as a consequence of which two groups fought each other and the group of lamas owing allegiance to Shamar Rinpoche was physically thrown out of the Rumtek monastery." [8]

From 1979 until he was ousted amidst widespread charges of corruption in 1994, Nar Bahadur Bhandari served as chief minister of Sikkim. An ethnic Nepali, Bhandari was a product of the unique politics of India's second-smallest state.

Sikkim was settled by people ethnically related to the Tibetans and ruled since the thirteenth century by the Namgyal dynasty, kings descended from the noble Minyak clan of eastern Tibet. In the seventeenth century, the Namgyal kings upgraded themselves to Chogyals, or dharma-kings, of Sikkim. The British established a protectorate over the kingdom in 1890. Afterwards, British and Sikkimese landlords from the aristocratic Kazi caste began importing migrant laborers from Nepal to work their large tea estates. In the following decades, immigrants continued to pour in, and by the 1960s Nepalis had become the majority, outnumbering native Sikkimese.

Nepali leaders in Sikkim began to clamor for more representation in the government along with new rights to promote their culture. Tensions between the Nepali and ethnic Sikkimese communities threatened to erupt into violence. Many in the Kazi ruling caste feared that within a generation native Sikkimese would become powerless in their own country unless they got help from India before then to protect their traditional culture.

For years, with covert support from New Delhi, Kazi Lhendup Dorje had led a movement of Sikkimese who wanted to join India. By the mid-seventies, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was ready to annex Sikkim. After a referendum where ninety-seven percent of voters favored union with India, Kazi Lhendup concluded an agreement with New Delhi to convert the kingdom into an Indian state. The last Chogyal, a tragic figure with an American socialite wife, abdicated. On July 23, 1975, Kazi Lhendup became the first elected chief executive of Sikkim, taking office as chief minister of the new state government.

Lhendup's deal with India reserved thirteen seats in the thirty-two-seat state legislature for ethnic Sikkimese including a couple seats representing the Buddhist sangha, but there were no seats reserved for Nepalis. This angered the Nepali majority, who denounced the agreement with India and called for Kazi Lhendup's ouster.

Nepalis revolted and Nar Bahadur Bhandari led them to power in Gangtok while also garnering the support of middle-class Sikkimese. These included the Topdens, whose resentment of the Rumtek administration that refused their son's claim to be the reincarnation of the disgraced Gyathon Tulku would lead them to back Situ's plan to take over Rumtek. To assert their rights against their traditional overlords the Kazis and in exchange for patronage from the new government, like many middle-class Sikkimese, the Topdens became strong supporters of N.B. Bhandari.

Born in 1940, Bhandari taught primary school before entering politics during the anti-Chogyal demonstrations of 1974 as a champion of Nepali rights. He formed his first government in 1977. In May 1984 Bhandari's government was dismissed amidst corruption charges. But in Sikkim, such charges usually did not mean the end of a political career, and Bhandari soon bounced back, stronger than ever. After only a year out of office, in 1985 his party won thirty out of thirty-two seats in the assembly, giving its leader unparalleled power in the state. In the next elections, held four years later in 1989, Bhandari won all thirty-two scats. With no opposition to keep him honest, the chief minister began to run Sikkim like a Himalayan Tammany Hall. He openly steered government contracts and appointments to family members and allies, especially the Topdens and other families who would later form Situ's Joint Action Committee.

Bhandari also started to employ gangs of toughs -- drawn from the unemployed youth of the Tibetan exile community who loitered around the Lal Bazaar market in the state capital Gangtok -- as enforcers for his political machine. Despite his Nepali background, Bhandari became successful at delivering spoils to the leaders of both the ethnic Sikkimese and Nepali communities. This made him popular among ethnic leaders, who were willing to overlook the chief minister's growing reputation for corruption and violence, especially since Bhandari's dirty tricks often helped them. But Bhandari took no chances, and made sure to quickly silence any opposition.

Throughout Sikkim, stories of intimidation against those bold enough to risk Bhandari's wrath during this period abound. The head of an opposition party, Madan Tamang, circulated pamphlets accusing Bhandari of corruption and womanizing. In response, Madan was arrested and died in police custody. His body was later found in bushes alongside the Rongpo River.

Shortly after this R.K. Baid, a reporter in Siliguri, located in the state of West Bengal adjacent to Sikkim, published a story detailing recent examples of corruption in Bhandari's administration. In response, Bhandari sent undercover police into West Bengal -- outside of their legal jurisdiction -- to kidnap Baid and bring him secretly to Gangtok. Police held the reporter in prison and subjected him to beatings and threats. When Baid was released, Bhandari's party offered him a payment said to be as high as five million rupees (nearly three hundred thousand dollars) to sign a statement denying that he was kidnapped or mistreated. Baid later opened a hotel in Siliguri with these funds.

Hamelal Bhandari (no relation to the chief minister) was a young attorney in Gangtok who later filed the first case in 1998 for the Karmapa Charitable Trust to try to regain control of Rumtek monastery, as we will see in chapter 13. In the mid-eighties, attorney Bhandari circulated posters around town criticizing Chief-Minister Bhandari for corruption. Afterwards, ruling party bullies abducted him and handed him over to the police, who threw him into prison. Jailers tortured the attorney and then threw him naked off a truck onto the main street of Gangtok. Observers in Gangtok at the time say he was lucky to escape with his life.

Stories of Chief Minister Bhandari's brutality helped silence potential critics his his rule. It was given that the police were his personal enforcers and that they or the Lal Bazaar toughs would punish anyone who criticized Bhandari in public. Yet, no matter how much control Bhandari had over the executive and legislative branches of the state government (along with law enforcement), in the best tradition of Indian jurisprudence the local courts remained independent. It was known that judges with integrity in Sikkim were ready to hear cases against Bhandari. However, no resident of the state dared file such a case, for it was equally well known that this would bring down the wrath of Bhandari's party bullies or the state police.

In her book on the Karmapa, Lea Terhune has written indulgently about Bhandari and brightly about his relationship with Rumtek. "Bhandari was a controversial figure in Sikkim," Terhune admitted, "often criticized for corruption. However, he respected the sixteenth Karmapa and frequently assisted Rumtek Monastery while he was in power." [9] Needless to say, since Bhandari was responsible for transferring possession of Rumtek from Shamar and General Secretary Topga (acting for the Karmapa Charitable Trust) to Situ and Gyaltsab, Shamar and his supporters view the former chief minister much more negatively.

Bhandari was skillful at running Sikkim as he liked without attracting too much attention from New Delhi. But more than once he risked sanctions for violating India's constitution. The remarkable Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, a former Dalit (Hindu "Untouchable") who converted to Buddhism weeks before his death and brought his new faith to millions of other Dalits, wrote much of India's 1949 constitution. This document guarantees freedom of worship to all and prohibits government from interfering in religious affairs. In particular, Part III lists Freedom of Religion as among the Fundamental Rights of Indians, and it strictly prohibits the national government or state administrations from interfering in religious matters. [10]

Bhandari treated the constitutional separation of church and state with contempt. Under his rule in the 1980s and 1990s, Sikkim's citizens were consistently denied the full protection of Indian law, whether freedom of religion or basic civil rights like freedom of speech. Many Gangtok officials, starting with Bhandari, were lukewarm about rule from New Delhi and not eager to enforce Indian law when it was inconvenient for their plans. It was said in Gangtok that the leading middle-class families of Sikkim such as the Topdens yearned to regain the state's independence and that Bhandari himself dreamed of becoming king of a new Sikkim free of Indian control. It was not surprising then that Bhandari's state government regularly overstepped its authority and trampled on the fundamental rights of those who were not under the chief minister's personal protection.

Indian intelligence suspected that Sikkim politicians were pursuing their own private diplomacy by trying to cultivate friendly relations with China, which did not recognize India's annexation of the kingdom until 2005. Representing Ogyen Trinley, a tulku sanctioned by the Chinese government and a Chinese citizen, it would have been easy for Situ and Gyaltsab to purchase the cooperation of Bhandari's government through substantial bribes in order to put pressure on Shamar and the administration of Rumtek. In 2002 the High Court in Gangtok decided that the state government was indeed bribed to interfere at Rumtek, but the amount of the payment and the individuals involved are still under investigation.

A Second Coup Attempt

By the fall of 1992, Situ and Gyaltsab, working with Bhandari. were ready to make their second attempt to take over Rumtek….

Just as Situ had brought in eighty young monks from his monastery, Sherab Ling, before his and Gyaltsab's abortive first attempt to take Rumtek in June 1992, five months later in the autumn he brought in thirty-two young men from Bhutan to make another attempt.

Ostensibly, these young men, also wearing monk's robes, came to enroll as students at the Nalanda Institute. But the school's administration found these young men to have little interest in study. The resident monks complained that the newcomers began to pressure them into switching their allegiance from the Rumtek administration to Situ and Gyaltsab and into accepting Ogyen Trinley as the seventeenth Karmapa. "The Rumtek monks were neutral on the Karmapa reincarnation at this time," Khenpo Ngawang told me. "It was the job of the high rinpoches to find the Karmapa, not us. It was our job to run the monastery. We tried to stay out of the arguments."

The new arrivals did not get along with the monks already living at Rumtek any better than the earlier monks from Situ's monastery did. "Some of the monks and individuals brought into the monastery from outside by Tai Situ Rinpoche and Gyaltsab Rinpoche tried virtually to rake over the monastery administration by resorting to violence and strong-arm tactics," said Chultrimpa Lungtog Dawa, one of the top monk-officials at Rumtek during the tense months leading up to the takeover.

"The two rinpoches, it later became evident, were in fact inciting and abetting this handful of their supporters gradually to wrest power from our hands and thus to take over the entire administration of the monastery with all its precious relics," Chultrimpa Lungrog said. The resident monks, who deferred to the judgment of their spiritual superiors, the high rinpoches, tried to tolerate the newcomers as best they could and to avoid confrontation in the interest of unity at Rumtek. "We also decided that we would not become involved in the trouble and that we would support neither Situ Rinpoche nor Shamar Rinpoche."

Around this time, the Joint Action Committee, Situ's political action committee in Sikkim, commandeered the Kunga Delek Guest House across from the monastery in Rumtek village. Here they set up a kind of campaign office and free snack bar for the monks of Rumtek and the families in the village. They served meals and gave out literature supporting Situ and Gyaltsab. Handouts criticized the Rumtek administration of Shamar and Topga as corrupt and urged guest house visitors to support the effort to convince or pressure all leading Karma Kagyu lamas to accept Ogyen Trinley as the Karmapa.

Guest house visitors could also receive payments from Akong Rinpoche's Rokpa Trust, which, as we have seen, were given to those who pledged their support to Situ. The foundation was supported by hundreds of individual donors in Europe to provide food, clothing, and education to deserving Tibetan refugees. Donors in Zurich or Vienna probably would have been surprised to learn that frequent recipients of Rokpa largesse included the thirty-two new Nalanda Institute students that Situ had brought in from Bhutan.

"Even though we tried to do our best, the Institute wasn't running as successfully as before," said Khenpo Chodrak, abbot of Rumtek until August 1991. "One reason was that some of the students were receiving money from the other side, with the result that they didn't attend the classes any more, didn't keep proper discipline, and didn't listen when we tried to talk to them."

Worried by the rising tension at the monastery, in mid-November 1992, Shamar asked Chief Minister Bhandari for a meeting at his office in Gangtok, Accompanied by senior staff and monks from Rumtek, Shamar requested the state government's protection. He informed Bhandari that, according to talk around Gangtok, a large group supporting Tai Situ was planning to try to take over Rumtek. Shamar asked Bhandari for state police to protect the monks' community and requested a letter to the effect that the state government would uphold law and order at the monastery.

"I still hoped that the chief minister would enforce the law," Shamar said. "But there had been enough reasons to doubt his sincerity. So we also hoped that this meeting might force the issue of state interference in religious affairs." If Shamar was able to get hard evidence that Bhandari was planning to help overthrow the Rumtek administration, he could seek assistance from officials in New Delhi to prevent the coup. In any event, Bhandari avoided incriminating himself and did agree to protect the Rumtek monks, but he never put this commitment in writing.

After meeting Bhandari, Shamar left Rumtek for Bangkok, to visit the grandmother of the King of Bhutan who was hospitalized there. Since the first time that the sixteenth Karmapa had taken Shamar to Bhutan as a boy in the sixties, Shamar had maintained good relations with the royal family of the Himalayan kingdom.

Just as before, Situ saw Shamar's absence from Runnek as an opportunity to take action and the dynamic rinpoche did not waste any time to use this chance to sideline Shamar. The day after Shamar's departure, Situ arrived at Rumtek accompanied by an official of the Sikkim state Department of Ecclesiastical Affairs, a police escort, and a crowd of a couple dozen Khampas from his political action committee in Kathmandu, the Derge Association. Situ had arrived to move into Rumtek. In addition, he wanted to hold a meeting of his followers there the next day, while Shamar would be away.

Rump Parliament

When Situ and his group arrived at Rumtek, they found the monastery office closed. The government official forced Lekshe Drayan, the assistant secretary at Rumtek who had helped the sixteenth Karmapa to pack the Black Crown before fleeing Tsurphu for exile in 1959, to open the office for him. The official demanded to know why the office and other rooms at the monastery were locked when Situ Rinpoche was planning to come to Rumtek. Lekshe asked what business this was of the official's, since Rumtek was a private religious institution. The official threatened Lekshe, saying he was sent by the Sikkim state government and the monk should obey or face jail time.

The Sikkim official insisted that Situ should have access to any room in the monastery. Lekshe replied that Situ already had a guest room there and was able to use it any time he visited Rumtek. The official became impatient, and lectured Lekshe. "No, Situ Rinpoche must be given Gyalwa Karmapa's own room next to where the Black Crown is," the official said, according to Lekshe. Then, to underline the importance of this order, the official added, "These are the direct orders of the chief minister of Sikkim, Nar Bahadur Bhandari."

The official told Lekshe that he had ten minutes to think about it or face the consequences. Lekshe decided that he had little choice but to comply. He led the official, followed by his police escort, up to the sixteenth Karmapa's suite above the main temple, opened the rooms and gave the keys to the official, who in turn passed them on to Situ, who moved in later the same day. For the next year Situ would make the Karmapa's private rooms his own.

The next day, November 27, Gyaltsab joined Situ at Rumtek, accompanied by more lay people from the Derge Association in Nepal and Situ's other political action groups. Without gaining permission from Topga Rinpoche or the Rumtek administration, the two rinpoches convened a six-day meeting of their supporters. "A large number of people from outside Sikkim were brought into the monastery by the two rinpoches, apparently to demonstrate their numerical strength," Rumtek monk-official Chultrimpa Lungtog said. "This meeting was organized without consulting us and against our wishes and consent, with the sale intention of illegally taking over the Dharma Chakra Center and the powers and privileges vested in the monastic community by H.H. the sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa."

"When we learned that they were about to convene the so-called 'International Meeting' we, the original staff members and Rumtek monks, wrote a letter to those who were organizing this meeting," said Omze Yeshey, another monk-official at Rumtek before August 1993. "We made it clear that we, the Rumtek monks, were in charge of the monastery and that we would accept this meeting and its resolutions only if it was held in cooperation with the trustees of the Karmapa Charitable Trust." But Situ and Gyaltsab ignored this letter and proceeded with their gathering.

The rinpoches dubbed their group the "Kagyu International Assembly." In The Dance of 17 Lives Mick Brown wrote that in attendance were "representatives from KTD at Woodstock, from Samye Ling, Australia, Tibet, India, Nepal, and Bhutan. Also present were representatives of the five Kagyu monasteries, six Buddhist organizations and eight Tibetan organizations in Sikkim." [11]

But to the monks at Rumtek the group was little more than a lynch mob made up of followers of Situ, Gyaltsab, and their ally, former Rumtek Abbot Thrangu. "These people seemed excited, impatient, and angry. We were scared that they would take over the monastery," Khenpo Ngawang told me. The chairman of the meeting, Kunga Yonten, a Sakya lama -- whose school, of course, had no connection to Rumtek -- led the excited crowd in throaty support for one demand after another. These included a request to the Dalai Lama to restore the defunct Lhasa government's old ban on Shamar Rinpoche, as well a denunciation of Shamar and Topga for ordering, earlier in the year, that the valuables at Rumtek be locked away for safekeeping. This demand only made the monks more afraid that Situ and Gyaltsab's true interest in Rumtek was its valuables.

The day's main goal was to grant Situ and Gyaltsab legal control over Rumtek. And that meant trying again to take control of the Karmapa Charitable Trust. The meeting voted to dissolve the board of the trust and constitute a new board stacked with Situ's supporters. Then, this new would-be trust tried to dismiss Topga Rinpoche as general secretary and replace him with Tenzin Namgyal, the brother-in-law of former Abbot Thrangu. Both men were staunch allies of Tai Situ. Though the Rumtek administration did not recognize the authority of this meeting or its decisions, from November 1992 until his death in 2005, Tenzin claimed to be the general secretary of the Karmapa's labrang.

Halfway through the week of meetings, on November 30, Tai Situ submitted a request to the Sikkim Land Revenue Department, where the Karmapa Trust charter was filed, to change the membership of the board as his meeting had decided. On the following day, December I, Land Revenue Commissioner T. W. Barphungpa Kazi released an official letter in response. He rejected Situ's request and ruled that his "delegates" had no right to make decisions concerning the Karmapa Trust; that the actions of the Kagyu International Assembly relating to the trust were illegal; and that, accordingly, the trustees would remain as before. Situ and Gyaltsab filed an appeal to this decision, but later withdrew their request.

Thus, after the conclusion of the Kagyu International Assembly, Situ and Gyaltsab had failed a second time to take over Rumtek. If they wanted to gain control of the cloister, they would have to try a different approach. Chultrimpa Lungtog said that soon after the meeting, Situ and Gyaltsab asked for help from Chief Minister Bhandari. They wanted him to expel Rumtek General Secretary Topga from Sikkim. Bhandari agreed, and in February 1993 the East District Magistrate issued an order banning Topga Rinpoche from entering the eastern part of Sikkim, where Rumtek was located.

With its general secretary prohibited from entering the state, Rumtek became more vulnerable than ever. According to Chultrimpa Lungtog, the monks at Rumtek learned through sources in Gangtok that Bhandari also told Situ and Gyaltsab that he was ready to help them take over Rumtek, but that he would need a pretext to send in police officers. Reportedly, the chief minister advised the two rinpoches to create a scuffle or fight inside the monastery that would require the police to intervene.

"By June or July 1993, the situation in the monastery had already become very tense," Chultrimpa Llingtog explained. "Supporters of Situ Rinpoche and Gyaltsab Rinpoche indulged in reckless violence within the monastery premises." In May 1991, Rumtek guests vandalized a jeep belonging to the cloister. The next month, a student named Trinley Dorje from Sonada Monastery stabbed Sonam Tsering, one of the teachers at the Nalanda Institute. Sonam and the Rumtek administration filed a criminal complaint with the police, who arrested the stabber. But he was soon out on bail provided by Kunzang Sherab, the president of the Joint Action Committee in Gangtok. The police took no further action against the stabber. Minor scuffles became commonplace at Rumtek, and with Topga unable to enter Sikkim to reassume the helm at the cloister, it was clear that management of the monastery was slipping out of the hands of the Karmapa's labrang.

Chultrimpa Lungtog said that the Rumtek monks "found it impossible to control the criminal elements brought into the monastery by the two rinpoches." As with the stabbing incident, when the Rumtek administration reported other problems with the new students to the police, nothing happened. "We never realized that Situ Rinpoche and Gyaltsab Rinpoche had successfully bribed the police officials and state government civil servants concerned in order to take over the monastery administration through acts of violence and criminal intimidation."

We have seen how Situ and Gyaltsab appeared to take advantage of any time that Shamar was absent from Rumtek to make a move. In June 1992, they announced the Dalai Lama's support for Ogyen Trinley when Shamar was off-site, at his residence near Rumtek village. five months later, in November of that year, when Shamar was in Thailand, Situ and Gyaltsab held the so-called Kagyu International Assembly.

Following this pattern, on June 26, 1991, to celebrate Ogyen Trinley's birthday, Gyaltsab came to the shedra and organized a party. Shamar was also away from Rumtek at the time, again at his residence.
According to Khenpo Chodrak, the school's head teacher, on this occasion Gyaltsab told the students that. from now on it would be sufficient for them to just wear their monks' robes, they didn't have to attend classes or complete coursework. "From that point on, discipline at the Institute collapsed. Many of the students didn't study anymore and didn't abide by the rules," Chodrak said. In The Dance of 17 Lives Mick Brown wrote that a rainbow appeared over Rumtek on the day of this birthday party, an auspicious sign. But birthday parties, even for realized masters, were not prescribed in the Vinaya, the Buddha's rules for monks and nuns, and the Rumtek administration watched helplessly as discipline eroded at the school.

The next day, Shamar called the police and brought an officer with him to Rumtek to lecture the students. "I reminded them that they were only guests at Rumtek and should follow the rules and not try to interfere in the monastery's affairs. Otherwise, they were free to study and enjoy the facilities that we provided to them free of charge." Officer Sundar, the policeman who had accompanied Shamar, told the students to follow the school's rules in the future. Apparently, the officer had not received clear enough instructions from his superiors in Gangtok on how to behave at Rumtek. Soon after this incident, his superior lectured Officer Sundar, demoted him in rank, and then transferred Sundar away from the area.

At the end of this meeting, Shamar asked the monks to sign one of two lists. One list was for those who would obey the school rules, the other was for those who refused to do so. "Most of Situ's followers signed the second list, including the thirty-two monks Situ had brought in from Bhutan," Shamar told me. "This might sound like bold and shocking behavior for students who were Buddhist monks, but actually I was not surprised. I think that most of these young men had not taken monk's vows, but they simply pretended to be monks. They did not respect the Rumtek administration; they seemed to be loyal only to Situ Rinpoche."

A few days later, the Rumtek office forwarded the names of the monks on the "disobey" list to the minister of education in Bhutan with a request for information about their background. In response, the Bhutanese government confirmed that many had been convicted of theft or violent crimes, and some had even escaped from Bhutanese jails. But without the help of the Sikkim police, the Rumtek administration was powerless to expel these young men from the monastery or send them back to Bhutan.
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Part 2 of 2

Now or Never

By the late summer of 1993. Situ and Gyaltsab acted as if they were under pressure from their allies and supporters to launch their coup at Rumtek soon….

Back in Sikkim, Situ and Gyaltsab leveraged the Dalai Lama's support to help put pressure on the monks and lamas at Rumtek. In July, Shamar and the Rumtek administration feared that Situ and Gyaltsab would try to take over the monastery at the upcoming Yarney retreat due to begin August 2. "The Yarney summer retreat is supposed to be a very peaceful period where the monks focus on studies and meditation," said monk-official Omze Yeshey. "In fact, the responsibility is always with us, the monks of the monastery." The Buddha himself began the tradition of holding a retreat during the subcontinent's rainy season, a traditional retreat that came to be known in Tibet as the Yarney. In all Buddhist countries, nuns and monks continue to observe this retreat according to the rules set down by the Buddha 2500 years ago in the Vinaya.

In the opening ceremony for the Yarney retreat, known in Tibetan as the Sojong -- which must be completed by noon -- four monks at a time take oaths from the abbot of the monastery. A time of introspection and monastic renewal, according to the rules laid down in the Vinaya, the ceremonies are held in closed sections of a monastery and lay people are not permitted to be present.

The pressure at Rumtek had grown to such proportions that the administration feared disruption during Yarney. They tried to prevent any problems in advance. As principal of the Nalanda Institute, in mid-July Shamar declared a school vacation, and instructed the monk-students to leave Rumtek for their homes by August 1, 1993. Then, the Rumtek monks decided not to perform the Yarney pujas that year. Having done everything he could think of to prevent problems, Shamar reluctantly left Rumtek to visit his ailing mother at a hospital in Germany on July 22.

As soon as Shamar was gone, following the pattern of the previous year, Situ and Gyaltsab went into action. First, they declared that they would proceed with the Sojong, despite the decision of Shamar and the Rumtek monks to cancel that year's retreat. Meanwhile, the shedra students ignored Shamar's instructions to go home, and remained at Rumtek, preparing to perform the Yarney pujas under the direction of Situ and Gyaltsab.
The resident monks had to abide [by] the decrees of the two high rinpoches because of their authority in the Karma Kagyu hierarchy, if not in the Karmapa labrang or at Rumtek itself. But perhaps even more compelling than protocol, the monks feared that the hundreds of followers that Situ and Gyaltsab had imported into Rumtek would support the two rinpoches' will with violence, if necessary….

After dozens of local lay people had arrived for the supposedly closed event, just as the monks had predicted, the tension at Rumtek threatened to break out into open violence. "Then these people started abusing us, saying that we were the ones who wouldn't accept the Karmapa. They kept calling us 'samaya breakers'," said Omze Yeshey. Samaya is a sacred oath taken by advanced Vajrayana practitioners to obey their teachers in their roles as tantric masters; a follower who breaks samaya risks rebirth in the Buddhist hell realms.

The resident monks now feared the worst. "While these two rinpoches and their supporters prepared themselves for the Yarney ceremonies, we, the legitimate and genuine monks of Karmapa, resolved to guard the monastery and to prevent the innumerable movable possessions of Karmapa from falling into the hands of outsiders and known smugglers," said Chultrimpa Lungtog. "We never dreamed that Situ Rinpoche and Gyaltsab Rinpoche had meticulously planned to take over the monastery illegally by joining forces with the local politicians."
By nine o'clock in the morning, fifty young men employed by Chief Minister Bhandari as party workers from the Lal Bazaar in Gangtok had joined the crowd of shedra students and lay people from Situ's Derge Association…..

By mid-morning, a total crowd of more than a thousand of Tai Situ's supporters had assembled in the monastery's courtyard. A tense standoff began outside the main temple. The Rumtek monks responsible for the shrine room locked the entrance and refused to hand over the keys. Situ and Gyaltsab led a crowd to the temple, and sat down in front of the locked doors. They held incense and chanted Karmapa chenno (Karmapa hear me), the mantra of the Karmapas. Their followers clamored for action from behind them.

The Rumtek monks began to lose control over the situation.
Soon, officers sent by the Sikkim chief of police began to intervene on the side of the aggressors. "This was crossing the line between church and state, which broke India's constitution," Shamar said. "We can only guess that Mr. Bhandari must have had a very strong incentive to take such a risk." Bhandari knew that New Delhi could have taken strong measures against him for breaching the constitutional wall between church and state, up to dissolving his government and putting him in prison. As it turned out, after the Rumtek takeover, the central government did initiate an investigation into Bhandari's role to determine if his Sikkim administration had unlawfully interfered in religious affairs.

Shamar's supporters have claimed that Bhandari probably received a payment as high as one million dollars from Situ and Gyaltsab, to send state police and security forces into Rumtek in response to an incident that the two rinpoches would provoke. The money came, allegedly, from Situ's Taiwanese supporter, former government official Chen Lu An. But the only evidence for this payment, aside from hearsay, is inferential: Shamar's followers theorize that for Bhandari to openly defy India's constitution by invading a religious center, and thus risk punishment from New Delhi, the chief minister must have been well rewarded. However, both newspaper reports and government investigators have documented that Chen Lu An delivered a payment of $1.5 million to Bhandari a few weeks after the Rumtek takeover.

According to Indian journalist Anil Maheshwari, Chen visited India between November 28 and December 4, 1993 to attend a meeting organized by Karma Topden. As we have seen Topden was a leader of Situ's Joint Action Committee in Sikkim and the father of the would-be Gyathon Tulku, rejected by the Rumtek administration in the eighties. Situ Rinpoche was also present at this meeting, and Shamar's supporters claim that this meeting was connected to Bhandari receiving a second payment from Chen for the chief minister's role in the takeover of Rumtek four months earlier, in August. [2] The Indian government launched an investigation, and in January 1994, the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi banned Chen from re-entering India. [3]

Whether he was paid or not, Bhandari's intervention made the difference at Rumtek on the day of the Sojong. When the police arrived, the Rumtek monks finally lost control over the monastery. "Then tension mounted and we were completely helpless," said Omze Yeshey. "The people started to throw stones; and a number of monks were injured. The police also started to beat the monks of the monastery. They put a great deal of pressure on us, telling us for instance that we would be thrown in jail if we didn't cooperate and that what we were doing was illegal."
As the lay people and the policemen beat the Rumtek monks, Situ and Gyaltsab remained seated facing the shrine room doors, serenely leading the seated crowd in the chanting of the mantra Karmapa chenno.

The monks still refused to hand over the keys to the shrine room. The crowd grew angry and the police again stepped in. "Finally, with the help of the police officers, a few state government officials and the public, we were forced to hand over the key to the main temple," said Omze Yeshey, the monk-official who was one of Rumtek's omzes, or chant-masters.

Another omze, Ngedon Tenzin, told the police officers that he could get the keys but would have to go through the crowd to do so, which he was hesitant to do, since several men had threatened to beat him. "But Suren Pradhan and the other policemen assured me it would be all right and that they would protect me," Omze Ngedon said. Suren Pradhan, well known in the local area as a bully with no respect for civil rights, was rumored to have several murders to his credit. "They insisted that I go. When I started walking towards the dining hall behind the monastery, some of the lay men and women began abusing me and beating me. They took my yellow dharma robe, tied it around my neck, threw me on the ground and dragged me along the whole way from the office outside, through the courtyard to the corner of the dining hall. While they were dragging me along, they continued to beat me."

This was humiliating for the whole monks' community, since Ngedon was one of the highest officials of Rumtek.
Indeed, in recognition of his ability, the Karmapa Trust would appoint him general secretary of Thaye Dorje's labrang in 2004, making him the successor of Topga Rinpoche.

Back at Rumtek in August 1993, monks came out to rescue Ngedon, but the crowd started throwing stones and breaking windows. Finally the police put an end to the fighting.
Then the Sikkim Home Secretary Sonam Wangdi ordered the monks to deliver the keys within five minutes or face arrest. The monks complied, and the government official unlocked the shrine room doors. The crowd erupted in cheers. Holding incense and chanting, with folded hands and teary eyes, Situ and Gyaltsab led their followers into the temple to pay obeisance to the sacred images of Buddhas and bodhisattvas within.

Then the police began to attend to the injured monks. "The police officers told the monks that they would take them to hospital for medical treatment, but instead they threw these monks into jail" in Ranipool, a suburb of Gangtok, said Omze Yeshey. Interestingly, many of the policemen were Buddhists, and these officers carried out their orders at Rumtek apologetically, approaching the monks with the respect normally due from lay people to members of the monastic sangha in Himalayan countries. That night, in the lockup at Ranipool, Officer Suren Pradhan, who was not a Buddhist, dragged two thieves out of their cells and started beating them savagely in front of the arrested monks, with no provocation but apparently as a warning.

Sign or Leave

During the next three days, the new Rumtek administration of Situ and Gyaltsab pressured the monks who had not fled or been arrested to sign a document affirming that they accepted Ogyen Trinley as the seventeenth Karmapa. On August 5, the police returned, again accompanied by Bhandari's party toughs from the Gangtok market. While the monks were assembled in the dining hall, the bullies and police entered. A group of the street toughs pulled the cook out of the kitchen and smeared chili powder over his face. They told him never to cook for the monks again. Then they put up a large framed photo of Ogyen Trinley and addressed the monks.

The leaders of the gang of toughs told the monks to perform prostrations in front of the photo as police looked on. "At gunpoint we were forced to accept Ogyen Trinley of Tibet as the one and only Karmapa," said Omze Yeshey. "We had to swear an oath on our acceptance. We were told that anybody who dared to say otherwise would face legal consequences." The intruders brought tape recorders to capture each oath. Then, the gang leaders drove the young monks into the kitchen and made them pick up the kitchen knives. They had to pose in menacing positions while the police snapped photographs, apparently to allege later that they were fighting. The police would create bogus criminal files for each monk.

Several of the street toughs carried knives and demanded keys to the monastery's prayer rooms and shrines. Just as they had refused to surrender the main temple keys three days before, so now the Rumtek monks would not yield the keys. This led to another stand-off. for six nerve-racking hours, the monks stood shoulder-to-shoulder in front of the door to the main shrine room, while Bhandari's bullies took up positions several feet opposite them, taunting the monks and periodically threatening to attack. The Sikkim police looked on without trying to stop the bullies or defuse the situation.

The stand-off was broken only by the appearance of more police officers at about five o'clock in the afternoon, this time elite security forces of the Sikkim Armed Police. With Situ and Gyaltsab leading the way, the soldiers chased the Rumtek monks to the back of the monastery. The monks locked themselves in a small storeroom. The soldiers and street toughs together broke down the locked door and began beating the monks, injuring twenty in the process.

Three Sikkim government officials -- Police Inspector General Tenzing, the fearsome Officer Suren Pradhan, and another policeman known as Kharel -- made a speech to the monks. They warned that unless all the keys were handed over, anything could happen. In response. the monks insisted that a monastery was a private religious institution protected by India's constitution from state interference. The government officials were not impressed with this argument, and they insisted on the keys. Finally, seeing that it was the only way to avoid further bloodshed, the monks handed over the keys to the police officers.

Officer Kharel then unlocked the main temple door and announced that from now on, Situ Rinpoche would control Rumtek. Later, the Sikkim home secretary handed over all the keys to Gyaltsab Rinpoche in exchange for a signed receipt.

Finally, the police arrested more monks. "A considerable number of our monks was illegally detained and locked up in police custody for several days," said Chultrirnpa Lungtog. Monks who were not arrested fled the monastery to take refuge in the surrounding forest. After the week was out, about a hundred monks, or ninety percent of Rumtek's original monks before Situ started bringing in outsiders in 1992, left Rumtek rather than accept Ogyen Trinley as the seventeenth Karmapa.

"We were no longer allowed to enter the monastery, so we had to find somewhere else to stay," said Omze Yeshey.


Nuns under Threat

After expelling the monks from Rumtek, the new Rumtek administration next rook aim at the sixteenth Karmapa's nuns. Ani Chotso, who established a convent near Rumtek on the instructions of the sixteenth Karmapa, said that her thirty nuns had practiced at Rumtek for many years until the takeover. Then, "after Situ Rinpoche caused all these problems, some of the nuns were beaten up very badly by his people, and they were forced to follow Situpa and his party." [2]

Citing decorum, the abbess declined to provide detail, but she implied that Situ's followers sexually harassed, assaulted, and even raped the nuns. "Furthermore, some nuns were bribed, some gave up their vows and got married." When Ani Chorso would not accept Ogyen Trinley as the reincarnation of the Karmapa, Situ sent hired toughs to pressure her and her nuns to proclaim their support. "The people from the other side came to the convent and made all kinds of accusations. They said that in my function as a teacher I had beaten up the young nuns, that I had torn off their clothes and kicked them out of the windows naked. I never did this."

Situ's followers then leveled charges of "samaya-breaking" against the abbess and her nuns. As we have seen, to break a samaya is considered a cardinal sin in Vajrayana Buddhism and a charge of samaya-breaking is not supposed to be made lightly. Yet, such charges became increasingly common after the Rumtek takeover- in 1993. "It seems that in their view those people who maintain unbroken loyalty to H.H. the sixteenth Karmapa are all samaya-breakers," Ani Chotso said.

She then related the story of her own teacher on the serious subject of samaya. An extraordinary woman, Khandro Chemno was the tantric consort of the fifteenth Karmapa, one of the two Karmapas who did not take monks' vows but remained as householder yogis. "Khandro Chemno used to tell us that we should never even use the words 'samaya- breaker,' but these people used the words just as often as we recite the mantra 'Om mani padme hung.' I sincerely asked myself whether I had broken my samayas or not, but I came to the conclusion that I hadn't broken my samayas. So I can only think that they call people with faith in the Karmapa 'samaya-breakers.'''

Continuing to visit Rumtek even after the takeover for more than' a year, the nuns eventually found their visits to the cloister too awkward and dangerous. The nuns filed a criminal complaint against twenty of the new Rumtek monks for threatening the nuns with beatings if they ever returned to Rumtek. The complaint also alleged that one of the leaders, a monk named Dorji, had beaten one of the nuns with a bat and that only the intervention of onlookers from the village had prevented the monks from molesting and raping the nuns. To the nuns' frustration, the police never acted on their complaint, and they made no arrests, even against the group leaders that the nuns named. After this incident, the nuns stopped their visits to Rumtek.

Other acts of violence occurred at Rumtek after the takeover, probably perpetrated by Situ and Gyaltsab's monks. According to witnesses, on May 4, 1994, a group including students at the Nalanda Institute began digging up the private garden originally planted for the sixteenth Karmapa and tended since his death by the caretaker of his residence, Benza Guru. A man in his seventies, Benza remained at Rumtek even after the takeover and quietly went about his gardening. But when he saw the young men destroying his work, he sharply scolded the group and ordered them away. The angry students left, but promised revenge.

That night, a young tough employed by Gyalrsab, Tashi Wangdi, appeared at Benza's room with a larger group of angry young men, ready to thrash the old caretaker. This time, a sympathetic senior monk prevented the assault. But early the next morning, monks discovered the mangled body of Benza Guru on one of the pathways that led to the Karmapa's residence.

Gyaltsab said that Benza must have fallen from the roof, even though the old caretaker's body was found ninety feet from the building. The police did not open an investigation of this incident and the new Rumtek monks refused to perform the customary funeral ceremony for the old man, an attendant to the sixteenth Karmapa for twenty-five years. Ten days later, six young roughs working for Gyaltsab led by a bully named Batruk surrounded Benza Guru's grand nephew, Sherab Namgyal, at the main gate of the monastery. The gang beat him severely. Shortly afterwards, bullies beat up another elderly man, Apa Tsewang, a former attendant of Rumtek's first General Secretary Damchoe Yongdu.


Under Bhandari's protection, Situ and Gyaltsab enjoyed a de facto protection from prosecution.

As an example, according to Khenpo Ngawang Gelek, one of the teachers at Rumtek before the takeover in August 1993, Karma Gunbo, a former member of the Sikkim parliament and a devotee of the sixteenth Karmapa, filed a case in Gangtok District Court in 1993 against Situ Rinpoche charging that he had forged his Karmapa prediction letter. Once Chief Minister Bhandari was informed of this, he arrested Karma Gunbo's family, including wife and children, and held them in prison for two weeks during which guards taunted, threatened, and administered numerous beatings to Karma Gunbo and his wife.

Meanwhile, perhaps to ensure that they would not make trouble for Situ and Gyaltsab Rinpoches, Bhandari initiated an intimidation campaign against the board members of the Karmapa Charitable Trust. He had already expelled Topga Rinpoche, so he added a ban on Shamar entering Sikkim. And against the two trustees who were residents of Sikkim, T.S. Gyaltshen and J.D. Densapa, both formerly high officials in the state government, Bhandari sent his party bullies to stone their houses and cars.

Bhandari's threats against the trustees were successful....

For the hundred monks who were evicted from Rumtek, things never looked bleaker than during the ten months in 1993 and 1994 that Situ and Gyaltsab ruled the monastery under the protection of Chief Minister Bhandari. Under his strong-arm rule, open opposition to Situ and Gyaltsab was impossible. Through kickbacks to his allies and intimidation of his rivals and critics, Bhandari appeared to have a grip on power strong enough to last for years.

But behind the scenes, Bhandari was in trouble. Even before the Rumtek takeover, the chief minister's position started to weaken. Word got out in Sikkim that the Government of India had expanded its ongoing investigation of Bhandari for corruption. Heartened by increased scrutiny of Sikkim's boss from New Delhi, Bhandari's opponents started to actively work against him. In June 1992 Pawan Kumar Chamling, one of Bhandari's ministers, began to plan a campaign to replace the chief minister. He publicly accused Bhandari of corruption and began to refer to him as a "dictator." In response, Bhandari arrested Chamling's assistants and tortured them in prison. Chamling himself escaped and went into hiding until the situation cooled down....

Still holding his seat in the legislature despite his falling out with Bhandari, in September 1992 Chamling pulled a publicity stunt that turned out to be a dangerous act of defiance against Bhandari. During an open session of the state legislature, he entered the State Assembly hall in Gangtok carrying a lighted candle, and announced that he was "searching for Democracy." He then stopped in front of the podium, where Bhandari was speaking, and posed a sardonic question, "Is not Democracy inside the chief minister's pocket?" After this, the threats on Chamling's life increased.

In March 1993 Chamling formed a new party, the Sikkim Democratic Front, to contest Bhandari's rule. This move brought down the wrath of Bhandari's political machine and Chamling became a target of intimidation by party bullies and harassment by the state police. In June 1993, after numerous threats to his life, Chamling went into hiding again. For three months, he waged a war of words with Bhandari from underground in Sikkim, an act of boldness that earned him the admiration of much of the electorate.

When Chamling emerged from hiding in September, he rode a wave of popularity that Bhandari could not resist. Still confident, Bhandari predicted that he would win the November 1994 general elections. After the polls closed, perhaps ironically, he told a press conference "that he would rule like Adolf Hitler if he was returned to power," and keep better control over his potential opposition. [3] Nonetheless, Sikkim voters brought in Chamling by an overwhelming margin. The fifteen-year rule of Bhandari in Sikkim was over and an anxious calm settled over the tiny Indian state.

Situ Rinpoche under Investigation

Meanwhile, the central government's investigation of Tai Situ had also advanced. Officials in New Delhi were convinced that Situ's dealings with the Chinese government and his attempt to hand over Rumtek to Beijing's choice for Karmapa all represented a threat to Indian control over the state of Sikkim. China would not recognize the state as part of India until 2005, and in the mid-1990s officials in New Delhi remained nervous that the Chinese were using Tibetan lamas in the state to increase their influence in Sikkim.

The Indians did not want a Chinese-supported tulku to gain control over Rumtek and it, movable valuables since they were afraid that this would open the door to Chinese claims on Sikkim itself. "Given the fact that Sikkim occupies a strategic position," Sikkim Chief Secretary K. Sreedhar Rao advised the government in New Delhi, "it would be most undesirable to have a situation where a Tibetan reincarnation, who is basically a Chinese National recognized by the Chinese, formally occupies a position in a monastery in Sikkim." [4]

Situ made further trips to China that may have been unauthorized -- he held a Tibetan Refugee Certificate which required him to seek permission from the Indian government for all foreign travel. Then, the government also suspected the rinpoche of smuggling people and goods from Tibet into India. In August 1994, while he was away on an international teaching tour, the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs banned Situ from returning to the country.

Supporters of Tai Situ dispute the validity of this ban. In Karmapa: The Politics of Reincarnation Lea Terhune has written that Shamar may have bribed officials in New Delhi to ban Situ from returning to the country. She paraphrased "members of Sikkim's Joint Action Committee," who "feel that the ban order against Tai Situpa came from greasing the palms of susceptible bureaucrats and agents in the intelligence bureau," though she has admitted that "hard evidence of this kind of activity is difficult to come by, of course, especially if the recipients of the largesse are in Indian intelligence, where Shamarpa is said to have his strongest allies." [5]

The Indian government had other charges against Tai Situ. New Delhi was investigating Situ's followers for organizing smuggling rings throughout India, Nepal, and China. Indian intelligence was particularly interested in a group of Khampa businessmen in Lhasa associated with Situ and headed by Bhu Chung Chung, a member of the Chinese Bureau of Public Security. New Delhi police found that Chung and his associate Ogyen smuggled $2.5 million worth of shahtoosh wool into India for sale in the city. The endangered Tibetan antelope must be killed to yield the wool. Therefore an international treaty banned all trade in shahtoosh in the 1970s. Possession of shahtoosh is a crime in India, China, and other countries, and those who try to move it across international frontiers to meet the demand of unscrupulous dealers face stiff penalties. Police arrested Ogyen, but Bhu Chung Chung escaped. [6]

With Situ gone and Bhandari forced to resign both in the space of a couple months, Gyaltsab became increasingly isolated at Rumtek. No longer enjoying the active protection of the Sikkim state government, he had to rely on the support of the Joint Action Committee and its powerful local families.


Chapter 15: The Return of the King

An Angry Welcome

On March 16, 1994, at about 9:30 in the morning, a car delivered eleven-year-old Tenzin Khyentse to the gate of the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute (KIBI) in New Delhi. Like Rumtek but smaller, the school is constructed on the plan of a Tibetan monastery, with a wall of student rooms forming a courtyard around a temple in the center.

Quietly, attendants took the youngster through the main courtyard, and then led him upstairs to a room on the third floor of the main temple building. There, the boy rested for a few hours, received instructions about the events of the next day and met with various lamas. Khenpo Ngawang Gelek, one of the teachers at the monk's school at Rumtek before the takeover in 1993, was one of these lamas. "I went to see His Holiness Karmapa to drop off a damaru (a ritual drum), and a bell, with Khenpo Chodrak's brother, Tashi. We entered his room and we bowed. Tashi then said we had brought very special toys today. But the Karmapa replied 'No, they are not toys.' That was the first time I met him."

Then, the boy was put to bed. None of the nearly one hundred students and staff of the school knew that the child who would be officially welcomed the next day as the seventeenth Karmapa was already on the premises.

Around seven o'clock the next morning, a large crowd assembled in front of the institute's main gate awaiting entrance to the festive event. Security guards frisked arrivals and searched their bags before allowing them inside. About five hundred guests were seated in the main temple for the ceremony. Most were monks and lay people from Rumtek and around the Himalayan area, but nearly two hundred Westerners, including about eighty students at KIBI, were in attendance as well.

Lea Terhune, who would write her book Karmapa: The Politics of Reincarnation ten years later, also came to attend the ceremony, in her capacity as a freelance correspondent for the Voice of America. Interestingly, Terhune had worked at KIBI several years earlier, during the eighties, before leaving to work exclusively with Tai Situ. On the morning of Tenzin Khyentse's welcome ceremony, Terhune arrived at KIBI with Tim McGirk, the writer for the London Independent who accused the tenth Shamarpa of starting the Tibet-Gorkha War of the eighteenth century, as we saw in chapter 7. Flashing press credentials, Terhune and McGirk managed to make it past the guards at the gate. But a KIBI staff member recognized Terhune as Situ's secretary, and asked her and McGirk to leave the premises. They were ushered past the main gate, and waited outside.

Inside the main temple, the guests were seated and the puja was ready to begin. At about eight o'clock in the morning, Shamar gave the word for the welcome ceremony to proceed. In procession under a traditional yellow umbrella, Shamar led Tenzin Khyentse into the temple, giving his eager followers their first glimpse of the boy they believed to be the seventeenth Karmapa. The boy wore glasses and walked between the two halves of the crowd as if he was used to appearing before hundreds of people on a regular basis. To the blare of gyaling horns and the rattling of cymbals Tenzin Khyentse walked slowly into the shrine room, moving with quiet confidence towards the oversized Buddha statue in the back of the room.

Under the gaze of the eyes of devotees who had come from around the Himalayas and around the world to welcome the new Karma Kagyu leader, the child stopped in front of the Buddha statue and performed three prostrations. Then, he mounted the throne reserved for the Karmapa, a seat that had sat empty from the day it was installed a decade earlier. The ritual master of the shrine, Nendo Tulku, handed the boy a replica of the Vajra Mukut, the Black Crown of the Karmapas, and placed a brocade robe around his shoulders. Horns, drums, and cymbals sounded. In a state of meditative concentration, the new Karmapa placed the Black Crown on his head and the puja began.

Barbarians at the Gate

The ceremony continued for more than an hour. Inside the temple, there were monks and devotees chanting, musical instruments playing, and sticks of incense and butter lamps burning. At about 9:30 a.m., the ceremony drew to a close.

Meanwhile, outside the shrine room and across the street from KIBI, seven vans pulled up, bringing more than a hundred monks from Tai Situ's monastery Sherab Ling and dozens of lay people from Sikkim to begin a protest demonstration. A total of about two hundred protesters massed in front of the institute's gate and unfurled cloth banners with slogans written in English including "The Dalai Lama's word is our word," "Topga Yugyal [general secretary at Rumtek before the 1993 takeover] don't hide behind Shamarpa," "Joint Action Committee, All Buddhist Organizations of Sikkim," and "Stop using the boy." The demonstrators chanted slogans denouncing Shamar and Topga and promising to expose their "fake Karmapa." The KIBI management identified some of the monks as the same shedra students who had overwhelmed the sixteenth Karmapa's monks at Rumtek and had helped expel them when Situ and Gyaltsab took over the monastery in August 1993.

According to Indian journalist Anil Maheshwari, "Shamar Rinpoche was aware that the following day Situ's men would try, at all costs, to stage a demonstration in front of KIBI." [1] But Khenpo Chodrak Tenphel, the abbot of Rumtek before August 1993 and the director of KIBI at the time of Tenzin Khyentse's welcome ceremony, denies any advance knowledge about or planning to respond to a protest.

"We did not expect any kind of demonstration and certainly not the attack that did happen," Khenpo Chodrak said.
"That's why we did not try to keep the welcome ceremony a secret, but we announced it a month in advance, so that our guests could attend. KIBI is located in a development in New Delhi with business schools, a hospital, and a Hindu ashram, but no other Tibetan centers of any kind, so we thought there would be no trouble from our neighbors. Also, there are more observers in a city like New Delhi. We had invited journalists from the Times of India and the Indian Express. Troublemakers can't get away with so much in a big city. The situation was different than at Rumtek, which is in Sikkim, a far-off state that could be dominated by a corrupt little regime like Bhandari's. If we had expected a problem at KIBI, we would have simply asked the New Delhi police for protection."

Writer Terhune witnessed the fight from outside the gates of KIBI: "Outside, a contingent of monks from Delhi and Himachal Pradesh were assembled to demonstrate against Shamarpa and what they saw as a sacrilegious introduction of a fake Karmapa. It was meant to be a silent protest. It was unclear who cast the first stone." [2] But for the five hundred guests at the ceremony and the KIBI staff, it was clear that Tai Situ's supporters launched an unprovoked attack on KIBI to disrupt the welcome ceremony for Shamar's "Karmapa candidate. This version of events is backed up by dozens of eyewitness accounts and fourteen minutes of video footage shot by an Austrian filmmaker who had come to New Delhi to record the ceremony. [3]

The protesters were apparently disappointed to find that they had missed nearly the whole welcome ceremony. Just as the puja was concluding inside the temple, outside the monks started picking up stones and bricks from the street. Then they charged the institute's locked gate. The three or four private security guards inside panicked and then fled. Though a couple of KIBI monks tried to hold the gate, a surge of protesting monks pushed through and flooded into the courtyard. Once inside the KIBI gates, the protesters began throwing their stones and bricks at the main temple, aiming at any windows they could reach.

As glass started to shatter, the monks and guests in the temple exchanged looks and then sprang to their feet. Bricks and stones began to crash through the windows onto the heads of the crowd inside.
The puja finished just at this point. A KIBI official signaled the ritual master to conclude the ceremony. Then, he asked the crowd to remain calm and urged everyone to take cover, assuring visitors that the police had already been called and would arrive soon. KIBI monks and staff ran outside and tried to push back the invaders.

"One journalist who wasn't thrown out reported that projectiles such as coke bottles and bricks were stockpiled on the roof of the monastery, apparently for just such an eventuality," Lea Terhune wrote. [4] But KIBI staff members tell a different story. According to Khenpo Ngawang Gelek, after the protesters began to throw stones and bricks at the temple windows, on their own initiative, the mostly-Nepali kitchen staff began collecting bottles that they normally saved to return for a deposit. They ran the racks of bottles upstairs to the roof. From there, they rained down bottles on the courtyard to try to scare off the attackers. They had no bricks. Dropping bottles helped to contain the fighting, and later the KIBI management paid each kitchen staff member a bonus for his or her role in the institute's defense.

Meanwhile, attendants brought Tenzin Khyentse down from the throne and waited with him on the stage at the back of the main shrine room for ten minutes until the fighting subsided. Thaye Dorje described his own impressions of the attack to me. "I simply didn't know what was going on. I just thought there were so many visitors that they were trying to crowd in to see me. It's like that in Tibet. People see a rinpoche once or twice in their lifetimes and they just have to push their way in to get a blessing, it's their only chance. So there are many crowds like this at special ceremonies, people just barge in. Later, when the lamas put me behind the throne, I didn't really understand why."

Once it was safe to leave the shrine room, his attendants took Tenzin Khyenrse upstairs to his room on the third floor. From his window there the boy looked down at the fight below as it was winding down. He said that he still wasn't scared for himself, but that he was concerned that others might get hurt. "When we went upstairs and looked out the window, I suggested that we bring out big water hoses to push the crowd away without hurting them," Thaye Dorje told me.

Khenpo Ngawang Gelek was with the young lama. "The protesters came into the courtyard, just at the end of the ceremony," he said. "They kept shouting and throwing stones. Karmapa went to his room and was watching from a window to see what they were doing. He wasn't scared at all."

During the melee, a young Polish student of the Danish Lama Ole Nydahl managed to close the main gates but was badly injured in the process by monks from Situ's group. Blood from a head wound that the young man had sustained splattered onto the shirt of Tim McGirk, the London Independent reporter who came with Lea Terhune. During the fighting, the KIBI monks invited McGirk into the facility to make sure he was not injured. They washed his shirt. This gave him a chance to ask questions of Shamar Rinpoche. McGirk told Shamar that he had somehow gotten the idea that Shamar's monks were the aggressors, and that they were trying to take over the monastery.

"I think the reporter got things backwards," Shamar said. "As the fighting went on outside, I talked with Mr. McGirk. When he saw that the stones were actually coming from outside the gates, he asked me 'Shouldn't you be throwing the stones?' Then, I said to him 'Why would I want to injure my own monks?' He looked puzzled. Then he said 'But you're supposed to be taking over the monastery.' I explained that KIBI was already under my management and that it was Situ Rinpoche's monks who had come to disrupt the ceremony. The reporter looked at me again and then he looked down at the ground. He obviously thought that Situ's monks were already inside KIBI and that our monks were attacking. Maybe it was too big a change from what he had come to expect and he couldn't understand the true situation."

Despite what he must have seen for himself, McGirk later published his article blaming the fight on Shamar and his monks. Though he admitted that the protesters threw the bricks, McGirk implied that they had good reason to do so. "The tale took a more sinister twist when, in Delhi yesterday, Shamar Rinpoche unveiled his candidate for 17th Karmapa, a shy, rather scared 11-year-old Tibetan. Three coach loads of Tibetan monks and students arrived and waged a fierce battle with Shamar's renegade followers. 'Shamar's manipulating this boy for money and power,' shouted one protesting monk as he threw a brick."[5]

The Indian press would have less trouble understanding the situation at KIBI. One national paper in New Delhi wrote: "A ceremony to crown a 10-year-oid [sic] Tibetan boy as the one chosen to be Karmapa, head of the prestigious Rumtek monastery in Sikkim, ended on a violent note Thursday morning when members of rival Buddhist group, who plan to install another boy living in Tibet as Rumtek chief, reached the scene and indulged in heavy brickbatting." [6]

While Shamar was talking to McGirk at KIBI, the battle in the courtyard went on for about five more minutes, until the New Delhi police arrived. Once on the scene, police officers arrested nine protesters for inciting violence and committing assault. About twenty people were injured, including monks who had been violently expelled from Rumtek just seven months earlier. The institute sustained several thousand dollars in property damage. While the main shrine room had largely been spared, nearly every window on the premises was broken, a walkway had been ripped up, the rails and posts of a protective fence had been torn out, and the guardhouse at the front gate had been sacked. "The KIBI courtyard was covered with bricks, stones, and broken glass and stained with spots of blood. It looked like the scene of a big riot," Khenpo Ngawang Gelek told me.

-- Buddha's Not Smiling: Uncovering Corruption at the Heart of Tibetan Buddhism Today, by Erik D. Curren

An agent provocateur (French for "inciting agent") is a person who commits or who acts to entice another person to commit an illegal or rash act or falsely implicate them in partaking in an illegal act, so as to ruin the reputation or entice legal action against the target or a group they belong to. An agent provocateur may be a member of a law enforcement agency acting out of their own sense of duty or under orders, or other entity. They may target any group, such as a peaceful protest or demonstration, a union, a political party or a company....

An agent provocateur may be a police officer or a secret agent of police who encourages suspects to carry out a crime under conditions where evidence can be obtained; or who suggests the commission of a crime to another, in hopes they will go along with the suggestion and be convicted of the crime.

A political organization or government may use agents provocateurs against political opponents. The provocateurs try to incite the opponent to do counter-productive or ineffective acts to foster public disdain or provide a pretext for aggression against the opponent.

-- Agent Provocateur, by Wikipedia


Lea Terhune is a professional writer and journalist based in India, where she has lived since 1982. Currently editor of SPAN (a magazine of the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi), she has also worked as a correspondent and producer for CNN International, ABC News Radio, and Voice of America. Her work has appeared in The Far-Eastern Economic Review, Asiaweek, International Herald Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Yoga Journal, and She lives in New Delhi.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Part 1 of 3

John Ruskin
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/3/19



John Ruskin
Ruskin in 1863
Born: 8 February 1819, 54 Hunter Street, Brunswick Square, London, England
Died: 20 January 1900 (aged 80), Brantwood, Coniston, Lancashire, England
Occupation: Writer, art critic, draughtsman, watercolourist, social thinker
Nationality: English
Alma mater: Christ Church, Oxford, King's College, London
Period: Victorian era
Notable works: Modern Painters 5 vols. (1843–1860), The Seven Lamps of Architecture (1849), The Stones of Venice 3 vols. (1851–1853), Unto This Last (1860, 1862), Fors Clavigera (1871–1884), Praeterita 3 vols. (1885–1889).
Spouse: Effie Gray, (m. 1848; ann. 1854)

John Ruskin (8 February 1819 – 20 January 1900) was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, as well as an art patron, draughtsman, watercolourist, a prominent social thinker and philanthropist. He wrote on subjects as varied as geology, architecture, myth, ornithology, literature, education, botany and political economy.

His writing styles and literary forms were equally varied. He penned essays and treatises, poetry and lectures, travel guides and manuals, letters and even a fairy tale. He also made detailed sketches and paintings of rocks, plants, birds, landscapes, and architectural structures and ornamentation.

The elaborate style that characterised his earliest writing on art gave way in time to plainer language designed to communicate his ideas more effectively. In all of his writing, he emphasised the connections between nature, art and society.

He was hugely influential in the latter half of the 19th century and up to the First World War. After a period of relative decline, his reputation has steadily improved since the 1960s with the publication of numerous academic studies of his work. Today, his ideas and concerns are widely recognised as having anticipated interest in environmentalism, sustainability and craft.

Ruskin first came to widespread attention with the first volume of Modern Painters (1843), an extended essay in defence of the work of J. M. W. Turner in which he argued that the principal role of the artist is "truth to nature." From the 1850s, he championed the Pre-Raphaelites, who were influenced by his ideas. His work increasingly focused on social and political issues. Unto This Last (1860, 1862) marked the shift in emphasis. In 1869, Ruskin became the first Slade Professor of Fine Art at the University of Oxford, where he established the Ruskin School of Drawing. In 1871, he began his monthly "letters to the workmen and labourers of Great Britain", published under the title Fors Clavigera (1871–1884). In the course of this complex and deeply personal work, he developed the principles underlying his ideal society. As a result, he founded the Guild of St George, an organisation that endures today.

Early life (1819–1846)


Ruskin was the only child of first cousins.[1] His father, John James Ruskin, (1785–1864), was a sherry and wine importer,[1] founding partner and de facto business manager of Ruskin, Telford and Domecq (see Allied Domecq). John James was born and brought up in Edinburgh, Scotland, to a mother from Glenluce and a father originally from Hertfordshire.[1][2] His wife, Margaret Cock (1781–1871), was the daughter of a publican in Croydon.[1] She had joined the Ruskin household when she became companion to John James's mother, Catherine.[1]

John James had hoped to practice law, and was articled as a clerk in London.[1] His father, John Thomas Ruskin, described as a grocer (but apparently an ambitious wholesale merchant), was an incompetent businessman. To save the family from bankruptcy, John James, whose prudence and success were in stark contrast to his father, took on all debts, settling the last of them in 1832.[1] John James and Margaret were engaged in 1809, but opposition to the union from John Thomas, and the problem of his debts, delayed the couple's wedding. They finally married, without celebration, in 1818.[3] John James died on 3 March 1864 and is buried in the churchyard of St John the Evangelist, Shirley, Croydon.

The grave of John James Ruskin in the churchyard of St John the Evangelist, Shirley, Croydon

Childhood and education

Ruskin as a young child, painted by James Northcote.

Ruskin was born on 8 February 1819 at 54 Hunter Street, Brunswick Square, London (demolished 1969), south of St Pancras railway station.[4] His childhood was shaped by the contrasting influences of his father and mother, both of whom were fiercely ambitious for him. John James Ruskin helped to develop his son's Romanticism. They shared a passion for the works of Byron, Shakespeare and especially Walter Scott. They visited Scott's home, Abbotsford, in 1838, but Ruskin was disappointed by its appearance.[5] Margaret Ruskin, an evangelical Christian, more cautious and restrained than her husband, taught young John to read the Bible from beginning to end, and then to start all over again, committing large portions to memory. Its language, imagery and parables had a profound and lasting effect on his writing.[6] He later wrote:

She read alternate verses with me, watching at first, every intonation of my voice, and correcting the false ones, till she made me understand the verse, if within my reach, rightly and energetically.

— Praeterita, XXXV, 40

Ruskin's childhood was spent from 1823 at 28 Herne Hill (demolished c. 1912), near the village of Camberwell in South London.[7] He had few friends of his own age, but it was not the friendless and toyless experience he later claimed it was in his autobiography, Praeterita (1885–89).[4] He was educated at home by his parents and private tutors, and from 1834 to 1835 he attended the school in Peckham run by the progressive evangelical, Thomas Dale (1797–1870).[8] Ruskin heard Dale lecture in 1836 at King's College, London, where Dale was the first Professor of English Literature.[4] Ruskin went on to enroll and complete his studies at King's College, where he prepared for Oxford under Dale's tutelage.[9][10]


10 Rose Terrace, Perth (on the right), where Ruskin spent boyhood holidays with Scottish relatives

Ruskin was greatly influenced by the extensive and privileged travels he enjoyed in his childhood. It helped to establish his taste and augmented his education. He sometimes accompanied his father on visits to business clients at their country houses, exposing him to English landscapes, architecture and paintings. Family tours took them to the Lake District (his first long poem, Iteriad, was an account of his tour in 1830)[11] and to relatives in Perth, Scotland. As early as 1825, the family visited France and Belgium. Their continental tours became increasingly ambitious in scope, so that in 1833 they visited Strasbourg, Schaffhausen, Milan, Genoa and Turin, places to which Ruskin frequently returned. He developed his lifelong love of the Alps, and in 1835 he first visited Venice,[12] that 'Paradise of cities' that provided the subject and symbolism of much of his later work.[13]

The tours provided Ruskin with the opportunity to observe and to record his impressions of nature. He composed elegant if largely conventional poetry, some of which was published in Friendship's Offering.[14] His early notebooks and sketchbooks are full of visually sophisticated and technically accomplished drawings of maps, landscapes and buildings, remarkable for a boy of his age. He was profoundly affected by Samuel Rogers's poem, Italy (1830), a copy of which was given to him as a 13th birthday present. In particular, he admired deeply the accompanying illustrations by J. M. W. Turner, and much of Ruskin's art in the 1830s was in imitation of Turner, and Samuel Prout whose Sketches Made in Flanders and Germany (1833) he also admired. His artistic skills were refined under the tutelage of Charles Runciman, Copley Fielding and J. D. Harding.

First publications

Ruskin's journeys also provided inspiration for writing. His first publication was the poem "On Skiddaw and Derwent Water" (originally entitled "Lines written at the Lakes in Cumberland: Derwentwater" and published in the Spiritual Times) (August 1829).[15] In 1834, three short articles for Loudon's Magazine of Natural History were published. They show early signs of his skill as a close "scientific" observer of nature, especially its geology.[16]

From September 1837 to December 1838, Ruskin's The Poetry of Architecture was serialised in Loudon's Architectural Magazine, under the pen name "Kata Phusin" (Greek for "According to Nature").[17] It was a study of cottages, villas, and other dwellings centred on a Wordsworthian argument that buildings should be sympathetic to their immediate environment and use local materials. It anticipated key themes in his later writings. In 1839, Ruskin's 'Remarks on the Present State of Meteorological Science' was published in Transactions of the Meteorological Society.[18]


In Michaelmas 1836, Ruskin matriculated at the University of Oxford, taking up residence at Christ Church in January of the following year.[19] Enrolled as a gentleman-commoner, he enjoyed equal status with his aristocratic peers. Ruskin was generally uninspired by Oxford and suffered bouts of illness. Perhaps the keenest advantage of his time in residence was found in the few, close friendships he made. His tutor, the Rev Walter Lucas Brown, was always encouraging, as were a young senior tutor, Henry Liddell (later the father of Alice Liddell) and a private tutor, the Rev Osborne Gordon.[20] He became close to the geologist and natural theologian, William Buckland. Among Ruskin's fellow undergraduates, the most important friends were Charles Thomas Newton and Henry Acland.

His biggest success came in 1839 when at the third attempt he won the prestigious Newdigate Prize for poetry (Arthur Hugh Clough came second).[21] He met William Wordsworth, who was receiving an honorary degree, at the ceremony.

Ruskin never achieved independence at Oxford. His mother lodged on High Street and his father joined them at weekends. His health was poor and he was devastated to hear that his first love, Adèle Domecq, second daughter of his father's business partner, was engaged to a French nobleman. In the midst of exam revision, in April 1840, Ruskin coughed blood, raising fears of consumption, and leading to a long break from Oxford.[22]

Before he returned, Ruskin answered a challenge set down by Effie Gray, whom he later married. The twelve-year-old Effie had asked him to write a fairy story. During a six-week break at Leamington Spa to undergo Dr Jephson's (1798–1878) celebrated salt-water cure, Ruskin wrote his only work of fiction, the fable, The King of the Golden River (not published until December 1850 (but imprinted 1851) with illustrations by Richard Doyle).[23] A work of Christian sacrificial morality and charity, it is set in the Alpine landscape Ruskin loved and knew so well. It remains the most translated of all his works.[24] Back at Oxford, in 1842 Ruskin sat for a pass degree, and was awarded an uncommon honorary double fourth-class degree in recognition of his achievements.

Modern Painters I (1843)

Engraving of John Ruskin by Henry Sigismund Uhlrich

For much of the period from late 1840 to autumn 1842, Ruskin was abroad with his parents, mainly in Italy. His studies of Italian art were chiefly guided by George Richmond, to whom the Ruskins were introduced by Joseph Severn, a friend of Keats (whose son, Arthur Severn, later married Ruskin's cousin, Joan). He was galvanised into writing a defence of J. M. W. Turner when he read an attack on several of Turner's pictures exhibited at the Royal Academy. It recalled an attack by the critic Rev John Eagles in Blackwood's Magazine in 1836, which had prompted Ruskin to write a long essay. John James had sent the piece to Turner who did not wish it to be published. It finally appeared in 1903.[25]

Before Ruskin began Modern Painters, John James Ruskin had begun collecting watercolours, including works by Samuel Prout and Turner. Both painters were among occasional guests of the Ruskins at Herne Hill, and 163 Denmark Hill (demolished 1947) to which the family moved in 1842.

What became the first volume of Modern Painters (1843), published by Smith, Elder & Co. under the anonymous authority of "A Graduate of Oxford," was Ruskin's answer to Turner's critics.[26] Ruskin controversially argued that modern landscape painters—and in particular Turner—were superior to the so-called "Old Masters" of the post-Renaissance period. Ruskin maintained that, unlike Turner, Old Masters such as Gaspard Dughet (Gaspar Poussin), Claude, and Salvator Rosa favoured pictorial convention, and not "truth to nature". He explained that he meant "moral as well as material truth".[27] The job of the artist is to observe the reality of nature and not to invent it in a studio—to render imaginatively on canvas what he has seen and understood, free of any rules of composition. For Ruskin, modern landscapists demonstrated superior understanding of the "truths" of water, air, clouds, stones, and vegetation, a profound appreciation of which Ruskin demonstrated in his own prose. He described works he had seen at the National Gallery and Dulwich Picture Gallery with extraordinary verbal felicity.

Although critics were slow to react and the reviews were mixed, many notable literary and artistic figures were impressed with the young man's work, including Charlotte Brontë and Elizabeth Gaskell.[28] Suddenly Ruskin had found his métier, and in one leap helped redefine the genre of art criticism, mixing a discourse of polemic with aesthetics, scientific observation and ethics. It cemented Ruskin's relationship with Turner. After the artist died in 1851, Ruskin catalogued nearly 20,000 sketches that Turner gave to the British nation.

1845 tour and Modern Painters II (1846)

Ruskin toured the continent with his parents again in 1844, visiting Chamonix and Paris, studying the geology of the Alps and the paintings of Titian, Veronese and Perugino among others at the Louvre. In 1845, at the age of 26, he undertook to travel without his parents for the first time. It provided him with an opportunity to study medieval art and architecture in France, Switzerland and especially Italy. In Lucca he saw the Tomb of Ilaria del Carretto by Jacopo della Quercia, which Ruskin considered the exemplar of Christian sculpture (he later associated it with the then object of his love, Rose La Touche). He drew inspiration from what he saw at the Campo Santo in Pisa, and in Florence. In Venice, he was particularly impressed by the works of Fra Angelico and Giotto in St Mark's Cathedral, and Tintoretto in the Scuola di San Rocco, but he was alarmed by the combined effects of decay and modernisation on the city: "Venice is lost to me," he wrote.[29] It finally convinced him that architectural restoration was destruction, and that the only true and faithful action was preservation and conservation.

Drawing on his travels, he wrote the second volume of Modern Painters (published April 1846).[30] The volume concentrated on Renaissance and pre-Renaissance artists rather than on Turner. It was a more theoretical work than its predecessor. Ruskin explicitly linked the aesthetic and the divine, arguing that truth, beauty and religion are inextricably bound together: "the Beautiful as a gift of God".[31] In defining categories of beauty and imagination, Ruskin argued that all great artists must perceive beauty and, with their imagination, communicate it creatively by means of symbolic representation. Generally, critics gave this second volume a warmer reception although many found the attack on the aesthetic orthodoxy associated with Sir Joshua Reynolds difficult to accept.[32] In the summer, Ruskin was abroad again with his father, who still hoped his son might become a poet, even poet laureate, just one among many factors increasing the tension between them.

Middle life (1847–1869)

Effie Gray painted by Thomas Richmond. She thought the portrait made her look like "a graceful Doll".[33]

Marriage to Effie Gray

During 1847, Ruskin became closer to Effie Gray, the daughter of family friends. It was for Effie that Ruskin had written The King of the Golden River. The couple were engaged in October. They married on 10 April 1848 at her home, Bowerswell, in Perth, once the residence of the Ruskin family.[34] It was the site of the suicide of John Thomas Ruskin (Ruskin's grandfather). Owing to this association and other complications, Ruskin's parents did not attend. The European Revolutions of 1848 meant that the newlyweds' earliest travels together were restricted, but they were able to visit Normandy, where Ruskin admired the Gothic architecture.

Their early life together was spent at 31 Park Street, Mayfair secured for them by Ruskin's father (later addresses included nearby 6 Charles Street, and 30 Herne Hill). Effie was too unwell to undertake the European tour of 1849, so Ruskin visited the Alps with his parents, gathering material for the third and fourth volumes of Modern Painters. He was struck by the contrast between the Alpine beauty and the poverty of Alpine peasants, stirring his increasingly sensitive social conscience.

The marriage was unhappy, with John's reportedly cruel and distrustful behaviour towards Effie the cause. The marriage was never consummated and was annulled in 1854.[35]


Ruskin's developing interest in architecture, and particularly in the Gothic, led to the first work to bear his name, The Seven Lamps of Architecture (1849).[36] It contained 14 plates etched by the author. The title refers to seven moral categories that Ruskin considered vital to and inseparable from all architecture: sacrifice, truth, power, beauty, life, memory and obedience. All would provide recurring themes in his work.

Seven Lamps promoted the virtues of a secular and Protestant form of Gothic. It was a challenge to the Catholic influence of A. W. N. Pugin

The Stones of Venice

In November 1849, Effie and John Ruskin visited Venice, staying at the Hotel Danieli.[37] Their different personalities are thrown into sharp relief by their contrasting priorities. For Effie, Venice provided an opportunity to socialise, while Ruskin was engaged in solitary studies. In particular, he made a point of drawing the Ca' d'Oro and the Doge's Palace, or Palazzo Ducale, because he feared that they would be destroyed by the occupying Austrian troops. One of these troops, Lieutenant Charles Paulizza, became friendly with Effie, apparently with Ruskin's consent. Her brother, among others, later claimed that Ruskin was deliberately encouraging the friendship to compromise her, as an excuse to separate.

Meanwhile, Ruskin was making the extensive sketches and notes that he used for his three-volume work, The Stones of Venice (1851–53).[38][39] Developing from a technical history of Venetian architecture from the Romanesque to the Renaissance, into a broad cultural history, Stones reflected Ruskin's view of contemporary England. It served as a warning about the moral and spiritual health of society. Ruskin argued that Venice had slowly degenerated. Its cultural achievements had been compromised, and its society corrupted, by the decline of true Christian faith. Instead of revering the divine, Renaissance artists honoured themselves, arrogantly celebrating human sensuousness.

The chapter, "The Nature of Gothic" appeared in the second volume of Stones.[40] Praising Gothic ornament, Ruskin argued that it was an expression of the artisan's joy in free, creative work. The worker must be allowed to think and to express his own personality and ideas, ideally using his own hands, rather than machinery.

We want one man to be always thinking, and another to be always working, and we call one a gentleman, and the other an operative; whereas the workman ought often to be thinking, and the thinker often to be working, and both should be gentlemen, in the best sense. As it is, we make both ungentle, the one envying, the other despising, his brother; and the mass of society is made up of morbid thinkers and miserable workers. Now it is only by labour that thought can be made healthy, and only by thought that labour can be made happy, and the two cannot be separated with impunity.

— John Ruskin, The Stones of Venice vol. II: Cook and Wedderburn 10.201.

This was both an aesthetic attack on, and a social critique of, the division of labour in particular, and industrial capitalism in general. This chapter had a profound impact, and was reprinted both by the Christian socialist founders of the Working Men's College and later by the Arts and Crafts pioneer and socialist, William Morris.[41]


John Ruskin painted by the Pre-Raphaelite artist John Everett Millais standing at Glenfinlas, Scotland, (1853–54)[42]

John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti had established the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848. The Pre-Raphaelite commitment to 'naturalism' – "paint[ing] from nature only",[43] depicting nature in fine detail, had been influenced by Ruskin.

Ruskin came into contact with Millais after the artists made an approach to Ruskin through their mutual friend Coventry Patmore.[44] Initially, Ruskin had not been impressed by Millais's Christ in the House of His Parents (1849–50), a painting that was considered blasphemous at the time, but Ruskin wrote letters defending the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood to The Times in May 1851.[45] Providing Millais with artistic patronage and encouragement, in the summer of 1853 the artist (and his brother) travelled to Scotland with Ruskin and Effie where, at Glenfinlas, he painted the closely observed landscape background of gneiss rock to which, as had always been intended, he later added Ruskin's portrait.

Millais had painted Effie for The Order of Release, 1746, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1852. Suffering increasingly from physical illness and acute mental anxiety, Effie was arguing fiercely with her husband and his intense and overly protective parents, and sought solace with her own parents in Scotland. The Ruskin marriage was already fatally undermined as she and Millais fell in love, and Effie left Ruskin, causing a public scandal.

In April 1854, Effie filed her suit of nullity, on grounds of "non-consummation" owing to his "incurable impotency,"[46][47] a charge Ruskin later disputed.[48] Ruskin wrote, "I can prove my virility at once."[49] The annulment was granted in July. Ruskin did not even mention it in his diary. Effie married Millais the following year. The complex reasons for the non-consummation and ultimate failure of the Ruskin marriage are a matter of enduring speculation and debate.

Ruskin continued to support Hunt and Rossetti. He also provided an annuity of £150 in 1855–57 to Elizabeth Siddal, Rossetti's wife, to encourage her art (and paid for the services of Henry Acland for her medical care).[50] Other artists influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites also received both critical and financial support from Ruskin, including John Brett, John William Inchbold, and Edward Burne-Jones, who became a good friend (he called him "Brother Ned").[51] His father's disapproval of such friends was a further cause of considerable tension between them.

During this period Ruskin wrote regular reviews of the annual exhibitions at the Royal Academy under the title Academy Notes (1855–59, 1875).[52] They were highly influential, capable of making or breaking reputations. The satirical magazine Punch published the lines (24 May 1856), "I paints and paints,/hears no complaints/And sells before I'm dry,/Till savage Ruskin/He sticks his tusk in/Then nobody will buy."[53]

Ruskin was an art-philanthropist: in March 1861 he gave 48 Turner drawings to the Ashmolean in Oxford, and a further 25 to the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge in May.[54] Ruskin's own work was very distinctive, and he occasionally exhibited his watercolours: in the United States in 1857–58 and 1879, for example; and in England, at the Fine Art Society in 1878, and at the Royal Society of Painters in Watercolour (of which he was an honorary member) in 1879. He created many careful studies of natural forms, based on his detailed botanical, geological and architectural observations.[55] Examples of his work include a painted, floral pilaster decoration in the central room of Wallington Hall in Northumberland, home of his friend Pauline Trevelyan. The stained glass window in the Little Church of St Francis Funtley, Fareham, Hampshire is reputed to have been designed by him. Originally placed in the St. Peter's Church Duntisbourne Abbots near Cirencester, the window depicts the Ascension and the Nativity.[56]

Ruskin's theories also inspired some architects to adapt the Gothic style. Such buildings created what has been called a distinctive "Ruskinian Gothic".[57] Through his friendship with Sir Henry Acland, Ruskin supported attempts to establish what became the Oxford University Museum of Natural History (designed by Benjamin Woodward)—which is the closest thing to a model of this style, but still failed to satisfy Ruskin completely. The many twists and turns in the Museum's development, not least its increasing cost, and the University authorities' less than enthusiastic attitude towards it, proved increasingly frustrating for Ruskin.[58]

Ruskin and education

The Museum was part of a wider plan to improve science provision at Oxford, something the University initially resisted. Ruskin's first formal teaching role came about in the mid-1850s,[59] when he taught drawing classes (assisted by Dante Gabriel Rossetti) at the Working Men's College, established by the Christian socialists, Frederick James Furnivall and Frederick Denison Maurice.[60] Although Ruskin did not share the founders' politics, he strongly supported the idea that through education workers could achieve a crucially important sense of (self-)fulfilment.[61] One result of this involvement was Ruskin's Elements of Drawing (1857).[62] He had taught several women drawing, by means of correspondence, and his book represented both a response and a challenge to contemporary drawing manuals.[63] The WMC was also a useful recruiting ground for assistants, on some of whom Ruskin would later come to rely, such as his future publisher, George Allen.[64]

From 1859 until 1868, Ruskin was involved with the progressive school for girls at Winnington Hall in Cheshire. A frequent visitor, letter-writer, and donor of pictures and geological specimens to the school, Ruskin approved of the mixture of sports, handicrafts, music and dancing encouraged by its principal, Miss Bell.[65] The association led to Ruskin's sub-Socratic work, The Ethics of the Dust (1866), an imagined conversation with Winnington's girls in which he cast himself as the "Old Lecturer".[66] On the surface a discourse on crystallography, it is a metaphorical exploration of social and political ideals. In the 1880s, Ruskin became involved with another educational institution, Whitelands College, a training college for teachers, where he instituted a May Queen festival that endures today.[67] (It was also replicated in the 19th century at the Cork High School for Girls.) Ruskin also bestowed books and gemstones upon Somerville College, one of Oxford's first two women's colleges, which he visited regularly, and was similarly generous to other educational institutions for women.[68][69]

Modern Painters III and IV

Both volumes III and IV of Modern Painters were published in 1856.[70] In MP III Ruskin argued that all great art is "the expression of the spirits of great men".[71] Only the morally and spiritually healthy are capable of admiring the noble and the beautiful, and transforming them into great art by imaginatively penetrating their essence. MP IV presents the geology of the Alps in terms of landscape painting, and their moral and spiritual influence on those living nearby. The contrasting final chapters, "The Mountain Glory" and "The Mountain Gloom"[72] provide an early example of Ruskin's social analysis, highlighting the poverty of the peasants living in the lower Alps.[73][74]

Public lecturer

In addition to leading more formal teaching classes, from the 1850s Ruskin became an increasingly popular public lecturer. His first public lectures were given in Edinburgh, in November 1853, on architecture and painting. His lectures at the Art Treasures Exhibition, Manchester in 1857, were collected as The Political Economy of Art and later under Keats's phrase, A Joy For Ever.[75] In these lectures, Ruskin spoke about how to acquire art, and how to use it, arguing that England had forgotten that true wealth is virtue, and that art is an index of a nation's well-being. Individuals have a responsibility to consume wisely, stimulating beneficent demand. The increasingly critical tone and political nature of Ruskin's interventions outraged his father and the "Manchester School" of economists, as represented by a hostile review in the Manchester Examiner and Times.[76] As the Ruskin scholar Helen Gill Viljoen noted, Ruskin was increasingly critical of his father, especially in letters written by Ruskin directly to him, many of them still unpublished.[77]

Ruskin gave the inaugural address at the Cambridge School of Art in 1858, an institution from which the modern-day Anglia Ruskin University has grown.[78] In The Two Paths (1859), five lectures given in London, Manchester, Bradford and Tunbridge Wells,[79] Ruskin argued that a 'vital law' underpins art and architecture, drawing on the labour theory of value.[80] (For other addresses and letters, Cook and Wedderburn, vol. 16, pp. 427–87.) The year 1859 also marked his last tour of Europe with his ageing parents, during which they visited Germany and Switzerland.

Turner Bequest

Ruskin had been in Venice when he heard about Turner's death in 1851. Being named an executor to Turner's will was an honour that Ruskin respectfully declined, but later took up. Ruskin's book in celebration of the sea, The Harbours of England, revolving around Turner's drawings, was published in 1856.[81] In January 1857, Ruskin's Notes on the Turner Gallery at Marlborough House, 1856 was published.[82] He persuaded the National Gallery to allow him to work on the Turner Bequest of nearly 20,000 individual artworks left to the nation by the artist. This involved Ruskin in an enormous amount of work, completed in May 1858, and involved cataloguing, framing and conserving.[83] 400 watercolours were displayed in cabinets of Ruskin's own design.[50] Recent scholarship has argued that Ruskin did not, as previously thought, collude in the destruction of Turner's erotic drawings,[84] but his work on the Bequest did modify his attitude towards Turner.[85] (See below, Controversies: Turner's Erotic Drawings)

Religious "unconversion"

In 1858, Ruskin was again travelling in Europe. The tour took him from Switzerland to Turin where he saw Paolo Veronese's Presentation of the Queen of Sheba. He would later claim (in April 1877) that the discovery of this painting, contrasting starkly with a particularly dull sermon, led to his "unconversion" from Evangelical Christianity.[86] He had, however, doubted his Evangelical Christian faith for some time, shaken by Biblical and geological scholarship that had undermined the literal truth and absolute authority of the Bible:[87] "those dreadful hammers!" he wrote to Henry Acland, "I hear the chink of them at the end of every cadence of the Bible verses."[88] This "loss of faith" precipitated a considerable personal crisis. His confidence undermined, he believed that much of his writing to date had been founded on a bed of lies and half-truths.[89] He later returned to Christianity.[90]

Social critic and reformer: Unto This Last

Whenever I look or travel in England or abroad, I see that men, wherever they can reach, destroy all beauty.

-- John Ruskin, Modern Painters V (1860): Ruskin, Cook and Wedderburn, 7.422–423.

Although in 1877 Ruskin said that in 1860, "I gave up my art work and wrote Unto This Last ... the central work of my life" the break was not so dramatic or final.[91] Following his crisis of faith, and influenced in part by his friend, Thomas Carlyle (whom he had first met in 1850), Ruskin shifted his emphasis in the late 1850s from art towards social issues. Nevertheless, he continued to lecture on and write about a wide range of subjects including art and, among many other things, geology (in June 1863 he lectured on the Alps), art practice and judgement (The Cestus of Aglaia), botany and mythology (Proserpina and The Queen of the Air). He continued to draw and paint in watercolours, and to travel extensively across Europe with servants and friends. In 1868, his tour took him to Abbeville, and in the following year he was in Verona (studying tombs for the Arundel Society) and Venice (where he was joined by William Holman Hunt). Yet increasingly Ruskin concentrated his energies on fiercely attacking industrial capitalism, and the utilitarian theories of political economy underpinning it. He repudiated his sometimes grandiloquent style, writing now in plainer, simpler language, to communicate his message straightforwardly.[92]

There is no wealth but life. Life, including all its powers of love, of joy, and of admiration. That country is the richest which nourishes the greatest number of noble and happy human beings; that man is richest who, having perfected the function of his own life to the utmost, has always the widest helpful influence, both personal, and by means of his possessions, over the lives of others.

-- John Ruskin, Unto This Last: Cook and Wedderburn, 17.105

Ruskin's social view broadened from concerns about the dignity of labour to consider issues of citizenship and notions of the ideal community. Just as he had questioned aesthetic orthodoxy in his earliest writings, he now dissected the orthodox political economy espoused by John Stuart Mill, based on theories of laissez-faire and competition drawn from the work of Adam Smith, David Ricardo and Thomas Malthus. In his four essays, Unto This Last, Ruskin rejected the division of labour as dehumanising (separating the labourer from the product of his work), and argued that the false "science" of political economy failed to consider the social affections that bind communities together. Ruskin articulated an extended metaphor of household and family, drawing on Plato and Xenophon to demonstrate the communal and sometimes sacrificial nature of true economics.[93] For Ruskin, all economies and societies are ideally founded on a politics of social justice. Ruskin's ideas influenced the concept of the "social economy" characterised by networks of charitable, co-operative and other non-governmental organisations.

The essays were originally published in consecutive monthly instalments of the new Cornhill Magazine between August and November 1860 (and published in a single volume in 1862).[94] However, the Cornhill's editor, William Makepeace Thackeray, was forced to abandon the series by the outcry of the magazine's largely conservative readership and the fears of a nervous publisher (Smith, Elder & Co.). The reaction of the national press was hostile, and Ruskin was, he claimed, "reprobated in a violent manner".[95] Ruskin's father also strongly disapproved.[96] Others were enthusiastic, including Ruskin's friend, Thomas Carlyle, who wrote, "I have read your paper with exhilaration... such a thing flung suddenly into half a million dull British heads... will do a great deal of good."[97]

Ruskin's political ideas, and Unto This Last in particular, later proved highly influential. The essays were praised and paraphrased in Gujarati by Mohandas Gandhi, a wide range of autodidacts cited their positive impact, the economist John A. Hobson and many of the founders of the British Labour party credited them as an influence.[98]

Ruskin believed in a hierarchical social structure. He wrote "I was, and my father was before me, a violent Tory of the old school."[99] He believed in man's duty to God, and while he sought to improve the conditions of the poor, he opposed attempts to level social differences and sought to resolve social inequalities by abandoning capitalism in favour of a co-operative structure of society based on obedience and benevolent philanthropy, rooted in the agricultural economy.

If there be any one point insisted on throughout my works more frequently than another, that one point is the impossibility of Equality. My continual aim has been to show the eternal superiority of some men to others, sometimes even of one man to all others; and to show also the advisability of appointing such persons or person to guide, to lead, or on occasion even to compel and subdue, their inferiors, according to their own better knowledge and wiser will.

— John Ruskin, Unto This Last: Cook and Wedderburn 17.34

Ruskin's explorations of nature and aesthetics in the fifth and final volume of Modern Painters focused on Giorgione, Paolo Veronese, Titian and Turner. Ruskin asserted that the components of the greatest artworks are held together, like human communities, in a quasi-organic unity. Competitive struggle is destructive. Uniting Modern Painters V and Unto This Last is Ruskin's "Law of Help":[100]

Government and cooperation are in all things and eternally the laws of life. Anarchy and competition, eternally, and in all things, the laws of death.

— John Ruskin, Modern Painters V and Unto This Last: Cook and Wedderburn 7.207 and 17.25.

Ruskin's next work on political economy, redefining some of the basic terms of the discipline, also ended prematurely, when Fraser's Magazine, under the editorship of James Anthony Froude, cut short his Essays on Political Economy (1862–63) (later collected as Munera Pulveris (1872)).[101] Ruskin further explored political themes in Time and Tide (1867),[102] his letters to Thomas Dixon, the cork-cutter in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear who had a well-established interest in literary and artistic matters. In these letters, Ruskin promoted honesty in work and exchange, just relations in employment and the need for co-operation.

Ruskin's sense of politics was not confined to theory. On his father's death in 1864, Ruskin inherited a considerable fortune of between £120,000 and £157,000 (the exact figure is disputed).[103] This considerable fortune inherited from the father he described on his tombstone as "an entirely honest merchant"[104] gave him the means to engage in personal philanthropy and practical schemes of social amelioration. One of his first actions was to support the housing work of Octavia Hill (originally one of his art pupils): he bought property in Marylebone to aid her philanthropic housing scheme.[105] But Ruskin's endeavours extended to the establishment of a shop selling pure tea in any quantity desired at 29 Paddington Street, Paddington (giving employment to two former Ruskin family servants) and crossing-sweepings to keep the area around the British Museum clean and tidy. Modest as these practical schemes were, they represented a symbolic challenge to the existing state of society. Yet his greatest practical experiments would come in his later years.
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Part 2 of 3

Lectures in the 1860s

Ruskin lectured widely in the 1860s, giving the Rede lecture at the University of Cambridge in 1867, for example.[106] He spoke at the British Institution on 'Modern Art', the Working Men's Institute, Camberwell on "Work" and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich on 'War'. Ruskin's widely admired lecture, Traffic, on the relation between taste and morality, was delivered in April 1864 at Bradford Town Hall, to which he had been invited because of a local debate about the style of a new Exchange building.[107] "I do not care about this Exchange," Ruskin told his audience, "because you don't!"[108] These last three lectures were published in The Crown of Wild Olive (1866).[109]

"For all books are divisible into two classes: the books of the hour, and the books of all time" – Sesame and Lilies

The lectures that comprised Sesame and Lilies (published 1865), delivered in December 1864 at the town halls at Rusholme and Manchester, are essentially concerned with education and ideal conduct. "Of Kings' Treasuries" (in support of a library fund) explored issues of reading practice, literature (books of the hour vs. books of all time), cultural value and public education. "Of Queens' Gardens" (supporting a school fund) focused on the role of women, asserting their rights and duties in education, according them responsibility for the household and, by extension, for providing the human compassion that must balance a social order dominated by men. This book proved to be one of Ruskin's most popular books, and was regularly awarded as a Sunday School prize.[110] The book's reception over time, however, has been more mixed, and twentieth-century feminists have taken aim at "Of Queens' Gardens" in particular, as an attempt to "subvert the new heresy" of women's rights by confining women to the domestic sphere.[111] Although indeed subscribing to the Victorian belief in "separate spheres" for men and women, Ruskin was however unusual in arguing for parity of esteem, a case based on his philosophy that a nation's political economy should be modelled on that of the ideal household.

Later life (1869–1900)

Oxford's first Slade Professor of Fine Art

Caricature by Adriano Cecioni published in Vanity Fair in 1872

Ruskin was unanimously appointed the first Slade Professor of Fine Art at Oxford University in August 1869, largely through the offices of his friend, Henry Acland.[112] He delivered his inaugural lecture on his 51st birthday in 1870, at the Sheldonian Theatre to a larger-than-expected audience. It was here that he said, "The art of any country is the exponent of its social and political virtues.". It has been claimed that Cecil Rhodes cherished a long-hand copy of the lecture, believing that it supported his own view of the British Empire.[113]

In 1871, John Ruskin founded his own art school at Oxford, The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art.[114] It was originally accommodated within the Ashmolean Museum but now occupies premises on High Street. Ruskin endowed the drawing mastership with £5000 of his own money. He also established a large collection of drawings, watercolours and other materials (over 800 frames) that he used to illustrate his lectures. The School challenged the orthodox, mechanical methodology of the government art schools (the "South Kensington System").[115]

Ruskin's lectures were often so popular that they had to be given twice—once for the students, and again for the public. Most of them were eventually published (see Select Bibliography). He lectured on a wide range of subjects at Oxford, his interpretation of "Art" encompassing almost every conceivable area of study, including wood and metal engraving (Ariadne Florentina), the relation of science to art (The Eagle's Nest) and sculpture (Aratra Pentelici). His lectures ranged through myth, ornithology, geology, nature-study and literature. "The teaching of Art...," Ruskin wrote, "is the teaching of all things."[116] Ruskin was never careful about offending his employer. When he criticised Michelangelo in a lecture in June 1871 it was seen as an attack on the large collection of that artist's work in the Ashmolean Museum.[117]

Most controversial, from the point of view of the University authorities, spectators and the national press, was the digging scheme on Ferry Hinksey Road at North Hinksey, near Oxford, instigated by Ruskin in 1874, and continuing into 1875, which involved undergraduates in a road-mending scheme.[118] The scheme was motivated in part by a desire to teach the virtues of wholesome manual labour. Some of the diggers, which included Oscar Wilde, Alfred Milner and Ruskin's future secretary and biographer, W. G. Collingwood, were profoundly influenced by the experience: notably Arnold Toynbee, Leonard Montefiore and Alexander Robertson MacEwen. It helped to foster a public service ethic that was later given expression in the university settlements,[119] and was keenly celebrated by the founders of Ruskin Hall, Oxford.[120]

In 1879, Ruskin resigned from Oxford, but resumed his Professorship in 1883, only to resign again in 1884.[121] He gave his reason as opposition to vivisection,[122] but he had increasingly been in conflict with the University authorities, who refused to expand his Drawing School.[115] He was also suffering increasingly poor health.

Fors Clavigera and the Whistler libel case

In January 1871, the month before Ruskin started to lecture the wealthy undergraduates at Oxford University, he began his series of 96 (monthly) "letters to the workmen and labourers of Great Britain" under the title Fors Clavigera (1871–84). (The letters were published irregularly after the 87th instalment in March 1878.) These letters were personal, dealt with every subject in his oeuvre, and were written in a variety of styles, reflecting his mood and circumstances. From 1873, Ruskin had full control over all his publications, having established George Allen as his sole publisher (see Allen & Unwin).

In the July 1877 letter of Fors Clavigera, Ruskin launched a scathing attack on paintings by James McNeill Whistler exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery. He found particular fault with Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket, and accused Whistler of "ask[ing] two hundred guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public's face".[123][124] Whistler filed a libel suit against Ruskin. Whistler won the case, which went to trial in Ruskin's absence in 1878 (he was ill), but the jury awarded damages of only one farthing to the artist. Court costs were split between the two parties. Ruskin's were paid by public subscription, but Whistler was bankrupt within six months. The episode tarnished Ruskin's reputation, however, and may have accelerated his mental decline.[125] It did nothing to mitigate Ruskin's exaggerated sense of failure in persuading his readers to share in his own keenly felt priorities.[126]

Guild of St George

Ruskin founded his utopian society, the Guild of St George, in 1871 (although originally it was called St George's Fund, and then St George's Company, before becoming the Guild in 1878). Its aims and objectives were articulated in Fors Clavigera.[127] A communitarian protest against nineteenth-century industrial capitalism, it had a hierarchical structure, with Ruskin as its Master, and dedicated members called "Companions".[128] Ruskin wished to show that contemporary life could still be enjoyed in the countryside, with land being farmed by traditional means, in harmony with the environment, and with the minimum of mechanical assistance.[129] He also sought to educate and enrich the lives of industrial workers by inspiring them with beautiful objects. As such, with a tithe (or personal donation) of £7,000, Ruskin acquired land and a collection of art treasures.[130]

Ruskin purchased land initially in Totley, near Sheffield, but the agricultural scheme established there by local communists met with only modest success after many difficulties.[131] Donations of land from wealthy and dedicated Companions eventually placed land and property in the Guild's care: in the Wyre Forest, near Bewdley, Worcestershire, called Ruskin Land today;[132] Barmouth, in Gwynedd, north-west Wales; Cloughton, in North Yorkshire; Westmill in Hertfordshire;[133] and Sheepscombe, Gloucestershire.[134][135]

In principle, Ruskin worked out a scheme for different grades of "Companion", wrote codes of practice, described styles of dress and even designed the Guild's own coins.[136] Ruskin wished to see St George's Schools established, and published various volumes to aid its teaching (his Bibliotheca Pastorum or Shepherd's Library), but the schools themselves were never established.[137] (In the 1880s, in a venture loosely related to the Bibliotheca, he supported Francesca Alexander, publishing some of her tales of peasant life.) In reality, the Guild, which still exists today as a charitable education trust, has only ever operated on a small scale.[138]

Ruskin also wished to see traditional rural handicrafts revived. St. George's Mill was established at Laxey, on the Isle of Man producing cloth goods. The Guild also encouraged independent, but allied, efforts in spinning and weaving at Langdale, in other parts of the Lake District and elsewhere, producing linen and other goods exhibited by the Home Arts and Industries Association and similar organisations.[139]

The Guild's most conspicuous and enduring achievement was the creation of a remarkable collection of art, minerals, books, medieval manuscripts, architectural casts, coins and other precious and beautiful objects. Housed in a cottage museum high on the hill in the Sheffield district of Walkley, it opened in 1875, and was curated by Henry and Emily Swan.[140] Ruskin had written in Modern Painters III (1856) that, "the greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something, and to tell what it saw in a plain way."[141] Through the Museum, Ruskin aimed to bring to the eyes of the working man many of the sights and experiences otherwise reserved for the wealthy who could afford to travel across Europe. The original Museum has been digitally recreated online.[142] In 1890, the Museum relocated to Meersbrook Park. The collection is now on display at Sheffield's Millennium Gallery.[143]

Rose La Touche

Rose La Touche, as sketched by Ruskin

Ruskin had been introduced to the wealthy Irish La Touche family by Louisa, Marchioness of Waterford. Maria La Touche, a minor Irish poet and novelist, asked Ruskin to teach her daughters drawing and painting in 1858. Rose La Touche was ten, Ruskin nearly 39. Ruskin gradually fell in love with her. Their first meeting came at a time when Ruskin's own religious faith was under strain. This always caused difficulties for the staunchly Protestant La Touche family who at various times prevented the two from meeting.[144] Ruskin's love for Rose was a cause alternately of great joy and deep depression for him, and always a source of anxiety.[145] Ruskin proposed to her on or near her eighteenth birthday in 1867, but she asked him to wait three years for an answer, until she was 21. A chance meeting at the Royal Academy in 1869 was one of the few occasions they came into personal contact thereafter. She finally rejected him in 1872, but they still occasionally met, for the final time on 15 February 1875. After a long illness, she died on 25 May 1875, at the age of 27. These events plunged Ruskin into despair and led to increasingly severe bouts of mental illness involving a number of breakdowns and delirious visions. The first of these had occurred in 1871 at Matlock, Derbyshire, a town and a county that he knew from his boyhood travels, whose flora, fauna, and minerals helped to form and reinforce his appreciation and understanding of nature.

Ruskin turned to spiritualism. He attended seances at Broadlands, which he believed gave him the ability to communicate with the dead Rose, which, in turns, both comforted and disturbed him. Ruskin's increasing need to believe in a meaningful universe and a life after death, both for himself and his loved ones, helped to revive his Christian faith in the 1870s.

Travel guides

Ruskin continued to travel, studying the landscapes, buildings and art of Europe. In May 1870 and June 1872 he admired Carpaccio's St Ursula in Venice, a vision of which, associated with Rose La Touche would haunt him, described in the pages of Fors.[146] In 1874, on his tour of Italy, Ruskin visited Sicily, the furthest he ever travelled.

Ruskin embraced the emerging literary forms, the travel guide (and gallery guide), writing new works, and adapting old ones "to give," he said, "what guidance I may to travallers..."[147] The Stones of Venice was revised, edited and issued in a new "Travellers' Edition" in 1879. Ruskin directed his readers, the would-be traveller, to look with his cultural gaze at the landscapes, buildings and art of France and Italy: Mornings in Florence (1875–77), The Bible of Amiens (1880–85) (a close study of its sculpture and a wider history), St Mark's Rest (1877–84) and A Guide to the Principal Pictures in ... Venice (1877).

Final writings

John Ruskin in 1882

In the 1880s, Ruskin returned to some literature and themes that had been among his favourites since childhood. He wrote about Walter Scott, Byron and Wordsworth in Fiction, Fair and Foul (1880)[148] and returned to meteorological observations in his lectures, The Storm-Cloud of the Nineteenth-Century (1884),[149] describing the apparent effects of industrialisation on weather patterns. Ruskin's Storm-Cloud has been seen as foreshadowing environmentalism and related concerns in the 20th and 21st centuries.[150] Ruskin's prophetic writings were also tied to his emotions, and his more general (ethical) dissatisfaction with the modern world with which he now felt almost completely out of sympathy.

His last great work was his autobiography, Praeterita (1885–89)[151] (meaning, 'Of Past Things'), a highly personalised, selective, eloquent but incomplete account of aspects of his life, the preface of which was written in his childhood nursery at Herne Hill.

The period from the late 1880s was one of steady and inexorable decline. Gradually it became too difficult for him to travel to Europe. He suffered a complete mental collapse on his final tour, which included Beauvais, Sallanches and Venice, in 1888. The emergence and dominance of the Aesthetic movement and Impressionism distanced Ruskin from the modern art world, his ideas on the social utility of art contrasting with the doctrine of "l'art pour l'art" or "art for art's sake" that was beginning to dominate. His later writings were increasingly seen as irrelevant, especially as he seemed to be more interested in book illustrators such as Kate Greenaway than in modern art. He also attacked aspects of Darwinian theory with increasing violence, although he knew and respected Darwin personally.

Brantwood and final years

Grave of John Ruskin, in Coniston churchyard

In August 1871, Ruskin purchased, from W. J. Linton, the then somewhat dilapidated Brantwood house, on the shores of Coniston Water, in the English Lake District, paying £1500 for it. Brantwood was Ruskin's main home from 1872 until his death. His estate provided a site for more of his practical schemes and experiments: he had an ice house built, and the gardens comprehensively rearranged. He oversaw the construction of a larger harbour (from where he rowed his boat, the Jumping Jenny), and he altered the house (adding a dining room, a turret to his bedroom to give him a panoramic view of the lake, and he later extended the property to accommodate his relatives). He built a reservoir, and redirected the waterfall down the hills, adding a slate seat that faced the tumbling stream and craggy rocks rather than the lake, so that he could closely observe the fauna and flora of the hillside.[152]

Although Ruskin's 80th birthday was widely celebrated in 1899 (various Ruskin societies presenting him with an elaborately illuminated congratulatory address), Ruskin was scarcely aware of it.[153] He died at Brantwood from influenza on 20 January 1900 at the age of 80. He was buried five days later in the churchyard at Coniston, according to his wishes.[154] As he had grown weaker, suffering prolonged bouts of mental illness, he had been looked after by his second cousin, Joan(na) Severn (formerly "companion" to Ruskin's mother) and she and her family inherited his estate. Joanna's Care was the eloquent final chapter of Ruskin's memoir, which he dedicated to her as a fitting tribute.[155]

Joan Severn, together with Ruskin's secretary, W. G. Collingwood, and his eminent American friend, Charles Eliot Norton, were executors to his Will. E. T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn edited the monumental 39-volume Library Edition of Ruskin's Works, the last volume of which, an index, attempts to demonstrate the complex interconnectedness of Ruskin's thought. They all acted together to guard, and even control, Ruskin's public and personal reputation.[156]

The centenary of Ruskin's birth was keenly celebrated in 1919, but his reputation was already in decline and sank further in the fifty years that followed.[157] The contents of Ruskin's home were dispersed in a series of sales at auction, and Brantwood itself was bought in 1932 by the educationist and Ruskin enthusiast, collector and memorialist, John Howard Whitehouse.[158]

Brantwood was opened in 1934 as a memorial to Ruskin and remains open to the public today.[159] The Guild of St George continues to thrive as an educational charity, and enjoys an international membership.[160] The Ruskin Society organises events throughout the year.[161] A series of public celebrations of Ruskin's multiple legacies took place in 2000, on the centenary of his death, and events are planned throughout 2019, to mark the bicentenary of his birth.[162]

Note on Ruskin's personal appearance

In middle age, and at his prime as a lecturer, Ruskin was described as slim, perhaps a little short,[163] with an aquiline nose and brilliant, piercing blue eyes. Often sporting a double-breasted waistcoat, a high collar and, when necessary, a frock coat, he also wore his trademark blue neckcloth.[164] From 1878 he cultivated an increasingly long beard, and took on the appearance of an "Old Testament" prophet.

Ruskin in the eyes of a student

The following description of Ruskin as a lecturer was written by an eyewitness, who was a student at the time (1884):

[Ruskin’s] election to the second term of the Slade professorship took place in 1884, and he was announced to lecture at the Science Schools, by the park. I went off, never dreaming of difficulty about getting into any professorial lecture; but all the accesses were blocked, and finally I squeezed in between the Vice-Chancellor and his attendants as they forced a passage. All the young women in Oxford and all the girls’ schools had got in before us and filled the semi-circular auditorium. Every inch was crowded, and still no lecturer; and it was not apparent how he could arrive. Presently there was a commotion in the doorway, and over the heads and shoulders of tightly packed young men, a loose bundle was handed in and down the steps, till on the floor a small figure was deposited, which stood up and shook itself out, amused and good humoured, climbed on to the dais, spread out papers and began to read in a pleasant though fluting voice. Long hair, brown with grey through it; a soft brown beard, also streaked with grey; some loose kind of black garment (possibly to be described as a frock coat) with a master’s gown over it; loose baggy trousers, a thin gold chain round his neck with glass suspended, a lump of soft tie of some finely spun blue silk; and eyes much bluer than the tie: that was Ruskin as he came back to Oxford.

— Stephen Gwynn, Experiences of a Literary Man (1926)[165]

An incident where the Arts and Crafts guru William Morris had aroused the ire of Dr William Bright, Master of University College, Oxford served to demonstrate Ruskin's charisma:

William Morris had come to lecture on “Art and plutocracy” in the hall of University College. The title did not suggest an exhortation to join a Socialist alliance, but that was what we got. When he ended, the Master of University, Dr Bright, stood up and instead of returning thanks, protested that the hall had been lent for a lecture on art and would certainly not have been made available for preaching Socialism. He stammered a little at all times, and now, finding the ungracious words literally stick in his throat, sat down, leaving the remonstrance incomplete but clearly indicated. The situation was most unpleasant. Morris at any time was choleric and his face flamed red over his white shirt front: he probably thought he had conceded enough by assuming against his usage a conventional garb. There was a hubbub, and then from the audience Ruskin rose and instantly there was quiet. With a few courteous well chosen sentences he made everybody feel that we were an assembly of gentlemen, that Morris was not only an artist but a gentleman and an Oxford man, and had said or done nothing which gentlemen in Oxford should resent; and the whole storm subsided before that gentle authority.

— Stephen Gwynn, Experiences of a Literary Man (1926)[165]



Ruskin's influence reached across the world. Tolstoy described him as "one of the most remarkable men not only of England and of our generation, but of all countries and times" and quoted extensively from him, rendering his thoughts into Russian.[166] Proust not only admired Ruskin but helped translate his works into French.[167] Gandhi wrote of the "magic spell" cast on him by Unto This Last and paraphrased the work in Gujarati, calling it Sarvodaya, "The Advancement of All".[citation needed] In Japan, Ryuzo Mikimoto actively collaborated in Ruskin's translation. He commissioned sculptures and sundry commemorative items, and incorporated Ruskinian rose motifs in the jewellery produced by his cultured pearl empire. He established the Ruskin Society of Tokyo and his children built a dedicated library to house his Ruskin collection.[168][169]

Cannery operation in the Ruskin Cooperative, 1896

A number of utopian socialist Ruskin Colonies attempted to put his political ideals into practice. These communities included Ruskin, Florida, Ruskin, British Columbia and the Ruskin Commonwealth Association, a colony in Dickson County, Tennessee in existence from 1894 to 1899.

Ruskin's work has been translated into numerous languages including, in addition to those already mentioned (Russian, French, Japanese): German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Hungarian, Polish, Romanian, Swedish, Danish, Dutch, Czech, Chinese, Welsh, several Indian dialects, and even Esperanto and Gikuyu.

Art, architecture and literature

Theorists and practitioners in a broad range of disciplines acknowledged their debt to Ruskin. Architects including Le Corbusier, Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright and Walter Gropius incorporated Ruskin's ideas in their work.[170] Writers as diverse as Oscar Wilde, G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc, T. S. Eliot, W. B. Yeats and Ezra Pound felt Ruskin's influence.[171] The American poet Marianne Moore was an enthusiastic Ruskin reader. Art historians and critics, among them Herbert Read, Roger Fry and Wilhelm Worringer knew Ruskin's work well.[172] Admirers ranged from the British-born American watercolourist and engraver, John William Hill to the sculptor-designer, printmaker and utopianist, Eric Gill. Aside from E. T. Cook, Ruskin's editor and biographer, other leading British journalists influenced by Ruskin include J. A. Spender, and the war correspondent, H. W. Nevinson.

No true disciple of mine will ever be a "Ruskinian"! – he will follow, not me, but the instincts of his own soul, and the guidance of its Creator.

-- Cook and Wedderburn, 24.357.

Craft and conservation

William Morris and C. R. Ashbee (of the Guild of Handicraft) were keen disciples, and through them Ruskin's legacy can be traced in the arts and crafts movement. Ruskin's ideas on the preservation of open spaces and the conservation of historic buildings and places inspired his friends, Octavia Hill and Hardwicke Rawnsley, to help found the National Trust.[173]

Society, education and sport

Pioneers of town planning, such as Thomas Coglan Horsfall and Patrick Geddes called Ruskin an inspiration and invoked his ideas in justification of their own social interventions. The same is true for the founders of the garden city movement, Ebenezer Howard and Raymond Unwin.[174]

Edward Carpenter's community in Millthorpe, Derbyshire was partly inspired by Ruskin, and John Kenworthy's colony at Purleigh, Essex, which was briefly a refuge for the Doukhobors, combined Ruskin's ideas and Tolstoy's.

The most prolific collector of Ruskiniana was John Howard Whitehouse, who saved Ruskin's home, Brantwood, and opened it as a permanent Ruskin memorial. Inspired by Ruskin's educational ideals, Whitehouse established Bembridge School, on the Isle of Wight, and ran it along Ruskinian lines. Educationists from William Jolly to Michael Ernest Sadler wrote about and appreciated Ruskin's ideas.[175] Ruskin College, an educational establishment in Oxford originally intended for working men, was named after him by its American founders, Walter Vrooman and Charles A. Beard.

Ruskin's innovative publishing experiment, conducted by his one-time Working Men's College pupil, George Allen, whose business was eventually merged to become Allen & Unwin, anticipated the establishment of the Net Book Agreement.

Ruskin's Drawing Collection, a collection of 1470 works of art he gathered as learning aids for the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, which he founded at Oxford, is at the Ashmolean Museum. The Museum has promoted Ruskin's art teaching, utilising the collection for in-person and online drawing courses.[176]

Pierre de Coubertin, the innovator of the modern Olympic Games, cited Ruskin's principles of beautification, asserting that the games should be "Ruskinized" to create an aesthetic identity that transcended mere championship competitions.[177]

Politics and economics

Ruskin was an inspiration for many Christian socialists, and his ideas informed the work of economists such as William Smart and J. A. Hobson, and the positivist, Frederic Harrison.[178] Ruskin was discussed in university extension classes, and in reading circles and societies formed in his name. He helped to inspire the settlement movement in Britain and the United States. Resident workers at Toynbee Hall such as the future civil servants Hubert Llewellyn Smith and William Beveridge (author of the Report ... on Social Insurance and Allied Services), and the future Prime Minister Clement Attlee acknowledged their debt to Ruskin as they helped to found the British welfare state. More of the British Labour Party's earliest MPs acknowledged Ruskin's influence than mentioned Karl Marx or the Bible.[179] More recently, Ruskin's works have also influenced Phillip Blond and the Red Tory movement.[180]

Ruskin in the 21st century

In 2019, Ruskin200 was inaugurated as a year-long celebration marking the bicentenary of Ruskin's birth.[181]

Admirers and scholars of Ruskin can visit the Ruskin Library at Lancaster University, also Ruskin's home, Brantwood, and the Ruskin Museum, both in Coniston in the English Lake District. All three mount regular exhibitions open to the public all the year round.[182][183][184] Barony House in Edinburgh is home to a descendant of John Ruskin. She has designed and hand painted various friezes in honour of her ancestor and it is open to the public.[185][186][187][188][189] Ruskin's Guild of St George continues his work today, in the fields of education, the arts, crafts, and the rural economy.

John Ruskin Street in Walworth, London

Many streets, buildings, organisations and institutions bear his name: The Priory Ruskin Academy in Grantham, Lincolnshire; John Ruskin College, South Croydon; and Anglia Ruskin University in Chelmsford and Cambridge, which traces its origins to the Cambridge School of Art, at the foundation of which Ruskin spoke in 1858. Also, the Ruskin Literary and Debating Society, (founded in 1900 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada), the oldest surviving club of its type, and still promoting the development of literary knowledge and public speaking today; and the Ruskin Art Club in Los Angeles, which still exists. In addition, there is the Ruskin Pottery, Ruskin House, Croydon and Ruskin Hall at the University of Pittsburgh.

Ruskin, Florida, United States—site of one of the short-lived American Ruskin Colleges—is named after John Ruskin. There is a mural of Ruskin titled, "Head, Heart And Hands" on a building across from the Ruskin Post Office.[190]

Since 2000, scholarly research has focused on aspects of Ruskin's legacy, including his impact on the sciences; John Lubbock and Oliver Lodge admired him. Two major academic projects have looked at Ruskin and cultural tourism (investigating, for example, Ruskin's links with Thomas Cook);[191] the other focuses on Ruskin and the theatre.[192] The sociologist and media theorist, David Gauntlett, argues that Ruskin's notions of craft can be felt today in online communities such as YouTube and throughout Web 2.0.[193] Similarly, architectural theorist Lars Spuybroek has argued that Ruskin's understanding of the Gothic as a combination of two types of variation, rough savageness and smooth changefulness, opens up a new way of thinking leading to digital and so-called parametric design.[194]

Notable Ruskin enthusiasts include the writers Geoffrey Hill and Charles Tomlinson, and the politicians, Patrick Cormack, Frank Judd,[195] Frank Field[196] and Tony Benn.[197] In 2006, Chris Smith, Baron Smith of Finsbury, Raficq Abdulla, Jonathon Porritt and Nicholas Wright were among those to contribute to the symposium, There is no wealth but life: Ruskin in the 21st Century.[198] Jonathan Glancey at The Guardian and Andrew Hill at the Financial Times have both written about Ruskin,[199] as has the broadcaster Melvyn Bragg.[200]

Theory and criticism

Steel-plate engraving of Ruskin as a young man, c. 1845, print made c. 1895.

Ruskin in middle-age, as Slade Professor of Art at Oxford (1869–1879). From 1879 book.

John Ruskin in old age by Frederick Hollyer. 1894 print.

Ruskin wrote over 250 works, initially art criticism and history, but expanding to cover topics ranging over science, geology, ornithology, literary criticism, the environmental effects of pollution, mythology, travel, political economy and social reform. After his death Ruskin's works were collected in the 39-volume "Library Edition", completed in 1912 by his friends Edward Tyas Cook and Alexander Wedderburn.[201] The range and quantity of Ruskin's writing, and its complex, allusive and associative method of expression, causes certain difficulties. In 1898, John A. Hobson observed that in attempting to summarise Ruskin's thought, and by extracting passages from across his work, "the spell of his eloquence is broken".[202] Clive Wilmer has written, further, that, "The anthologizing of short purple passages, removed from their intended contexts..." is "...something which Ruskin himself detested and which has bedevilled his reputation from the start."[203] Nevertheless, some aspects of Ruskin's theory and criticism require further consideration.

Art and design criticism

Ruskin's early work defended the reputation of J. M. W. Turner.[204] He believed that all great art should communicate an understanding and appreciation of nature. Accordingly, inherited artistic conventions should be rejected. Only by means of direct observation can an artist, through form and colour, represent nature in art. He advised artists in Modern Painters I to: "go to Nature in all singleness of heart... rejecting nothing, selecting nothing and scorning nothing."[205] By the 1850s. Ruskin was celebrating the Pre-Raphaelites whose members, he said, had formed "a new and noble school" of art that would provide a basis for a thoroughgoing reform of the art world.[206] For Ruskin, art should communicate truth above all things. However, this could not be revealed by mere display of skill, and must be an expression of the artist's whole moral outlook. Ruskin rejected the work of Whistler because he considered it to epitomise a reductive mechanisation of art.[citation needed]

Ruskin's strong rejection of Classical tradition in The Stones of Venice typifies the inextricable mix of aesthetics and morality in his thought: "Pagan in its origin, proud and unholy in its revival, paralysed in its old age... an architecture invented, as it seems, to make plagiarists of its architects, slaves of its workmen, and sybarites of its inhabitants; an architecture in which intellect is idle, invention impossible, but in which all luxury is gratified and all insolence fortified."[207] Rejection of mechanisation and standardisation informed Ruskin's theories of architecture, and his emphasis on the importance of the Medieval Gothic style. He praised the Gothic for what he saw as its reverence for nature and natural forms; the free, unfettered expression of artisans constructing and decorating buildings; and for the organic relationship he perceived between worker and guild, worker and community, worker and natural environment, and between worker and God. Attempts in the 19th century, to reproduce Gothic forms (such as pointed arches), attempts he had helped inspire, were not enough to make these buildings expressions of what Ruskin saw as true Gothic feeling, faith, and organicism.

For Ruskin, the Gothic style in architecture embodied the same moral truths he sought to promote in the visual arts. It expressed the 'meaning' of architecture—as a combination of the values of strength, solidity and aspiration—all written, as it were, in stone. For Ruskin, creating true Gothic architecture involved the whole community, and expressed the full range of human emotions, from the sublime effects of soaring spires to the comically ridiculous carved grotesques and gargoyles. Even its crude and "savage" aspects were proof of "the liberty of every workman who struck the stone; a freedom of thought, and rank in scale of being, such as no laws, no charters, no charities can secure."[208] Classical architecture, in contrast, expressed a morally vacuous and repressive standardisation. Ruskin associated Classical values with modern developments, in particular with the demoralising consequences of the industrial revolution, resulting in buildings such as The Crystal Palace, which he criticised.[209] Although Ruskin wrote about architecture in many works over the course of his career, his much-anthologised essay "The Nature of Gothic" from the second volume of The Stones of Venice (1853) is widely considered to be one of his most important and evocative discussions of his central argument.

Ruskin's theories indirectly encouraged a revival of Gothic styles, but Ruskin himself was often dissatisfied with the results. He objected that forms of mass-produced faux Gothic did not exemplify his principles, but showed disregard for the true meaning of the style. Even the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, a building designed with Ruskin's collaboration, met with his disapproval. The O'Shea brothers, freehand stone carvers chosen to revive the creative "freedom of thought" of Gothic craftsmen, disappointed him by their lack of reverence for the task.

Ruskin's distaste for oppressive standardisation led to later works in which he attacked Laissez-faire capitalism, which he thought was at the root of it. His ideas provided inspiration for the Arts and Crafts Movement, the founders of the National Trust, the National Art Collections Fund, and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.

John Ruskin's Study of Gneiss Rock, Glenfinlas, 1853. Pen and ink and wash with Chinese ink on paper, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, England.

Ruskin's views on art, wrote Kenneth Clark, "cannot be made to form a logical system, and perhaps owe to this fact a part of their value." Ruskin's accounts of art are descriptions of a superior type that conjure images vividly in the mind's eye.[210] Clark neatly summarises the key features of Ruskin's writing on art and architecture:

1. Art is not a matter of taste, but involves the whole man. Whether in making or perceiving a work of art, we bring to bear on it feeling, intellect, morals, knowledge, memory, and every other human capacity, all focused in a flash on a single point. Aesthetic man is a concept as false and dehumanising as economic man.

2. Even the most superior mind and the most powerful imagination must found itself on facts, which must be recognised for what they are. The imagination will often reshape them in a way which the prosaic mind cannot understand; but this recreation will be based on facts, not on formulas or illusions.

3. These facts must be perceived by the senses, or felt; not learnt.

4. The greatest artists and schools of art have believed it their duty to impart vital truths, not only about the facts of vision, but about religion and the conduct of life.

5. Beauty of form is revealed in organisms which have developed perfectly according to their laws of growth, and so give, in his own words, 'the appearance of felicitous fulfilment of function.'

6. This fulfilment of function depends on all parts of an organism cohering and co-operating. This was what he called the 'Law of Help,' one of Ruskin's fundamental beliefs, extending from nature and art to society.

7. Good art is done with enjoyment. The artist must feel that, within certain reasonable limits, he is free, that he is wanted by society, and that the ideas he is asked to express are true and important.

8. Great art is the expression of epochs where people are united by a common faith and a common purpose, accept their laws, believe in their leaders, and take a serious view of human destiny.[211]

Historic preservation

Ruskin's belief in preservation of ancient buildings had a significant influence on later thinking about the distinction between conservation and restoration. Ruskin was a strong proponent of the former, while his contemporary, Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, promoted the latter. In The Seven Lamps of Architecture, (1849) Ruskin wrote:

Neither by the public, nor by those who have the care of public monuments, is the true meaning of the word restoration understood. It means the most total destruction which a building can suffer: a destruction out of which no remnants can be gathered: a destruction accompanied with false description of the thing destroyed. Do not let us deceive ourselves in this important matter; it is impossible, as impossible as to raise the dead, to restore anything that has ever been great or beautiful in architecture.

— Seven Lamps ("The Lamp of Memory") c. 6; Cook and Wedderburn 8.242.

This abhorrence of restoration is in marked contrast to Viollet-le-Duc, who wrote that restoration is a "means to reestablish [a building] to a finished state, which may in fact never have actually existed at any given time."[212]

For Ruskin, the "age" of a building was crucially significant as an aspect in its preservation: "For, indeed, the greatest glory of a building is not in its stones, not in its gold. Its glory is in its Age, and in that deep sense of voicefulness, of stern watching, of mysterious sympathy, nay, even of approval or condemnation, which we feel in walls that have long been washed by the passing waves of humanity."[213]

Social theory

Ruskin attacked orthodox, 19th-century political economy principally on the grounds that it failed to acknowledge complexities of human desires and motivations (broadly, "social affections"). He began to express such ideas in The Stones of Venice, and increasingly in works of the later 1850s, such as The Political Economy of Art (A Joy For Ever), but he gave them full expression in the influential essays, Unto This Last.

Nay, but I choose my physician and my clergyman, thus indicating my sense of the quality of their work. By all means, also, choose your bricklayer; that is the proper reward of the good workman, to be "chosen." The natural and right system respecting all labour is, that it should be paid at a fixed rate, but the good workman employed, and the bad workman unemployed. The false, unnatural, and destructive system is when the bad workman is allowed to offer his work at half-price, and either take the place of the good, or force him by his competition to work for an inadequate sum.

-- Cook and Wedderburn, 17.V.34 (1860).

At the root of his theory, was Ruskin's dissatisfaction with the role and position of the worker, and especially the artisan or craftsman, in modern industrial capitalist society. Ruskin believed that the economic theories of Adam Smith, expressed in The Wealth of Nations had led, through the division of labour to the alienation of the worker not merely from the process of work itself, but from his fellow workmen and other classes, causing increasing resentment. (See section, "Stones of Venice", above.)

He argued that one remedy would be to pay work at a fixed rate of wages, because human need is consistent and a given quantity of work justly demands a certain return. The best workmen would remain in employment because of the quality of their work (a focus on quality growing out of his writings on art and architecture). The best workmen could not, in a fixed-wage economy, be undercut by an inferior worker or product.

In the preface to Unto This Last (1862), Ruskin recommended that the state should underwrite standards of service and production to guarantee social justice. This included the recommendation of government youth-training schools promoting employment, health, and 'gentleness and justice'; government manufactories and workshops; government schools for the employment at fixed wages of the unemployed, with idlers compelled to toil; and pensions provided for the elderly and the destitute, as a matter of right, received honourably and not in shame.[214] Many of these ideas were later incorporated into the welfare state.[215]


Turner's erotic drawings

Until 2005, biographies of both J. M. W. Turner and Ruskin had claimed that in 1858 Ruskin burned bundles of erotic paintings and drawings by Turner to protect Turner's posthumous reputation. Ruskin's friend Ralph Nicholson Wornum, who was Keeper of the National Gallery, was said to have colluded in the alleged destruction of Turner's works. In 2005, these works, which form part of the Turner Bequest held at Tate Britain, were re-appraised by Turner Curator Ian Warrell, who concluded that Ruskin and Wornum had not destroyed them.[216][217]


Ruskin's sexuality has been the subject of a great deal of speculation and critical comment. His one marriage, to Effie Gray, was annulled after six years owing to non-consummation. Effie, in a letter to her parents, claimed that Ruskin found her "person" repugnant.

He alleged various reasons, hatred of children, religious motives, a desire to preserve my beauty, and finally this last year he told me his true reason... that he had imagined women were quite different to what he saw I was, and that the reason he did not make me his Wife was because he was disgusted with my person the first evening 10th April [1848].

Ruskin told his lawyer during the annulment proceedings.

It may be thought strange that I could abstain from a woman who to most people was so attractive. But though her face was beautiful, her person was not formed to excite passion. On the contrary, there were certain circumstances in her person which completely checked it.[218]

The cause of Ruskin's "disgust" has led to much conjecture. Mary Lutyens speculated that he rejected Effie because he was horrified by the sight of her pubic hair. Lutyens argued that Ruskin must have known the female form only through Greek statues and paintings of nudes which lacked pubic hair.[219] However, Peter Fuller in his book Theoria: Art and the Absence of Grace wrote, "It has been said that he was frightened on the wedding night by the sight of his wife's pubic hair; more probably, he was perturbed by her menstrual blood."[220] Ruskin's biographers Tim Hilton and John Batchelor also took the view that menstruation was the more likely explanation, though Batchelor also suggests that body-odour may have been the problem. There is no evidence to support any of these theories. William Ewart Gladstone said to his daughter, Mary, "should you ever hear anyone blame Millais or his wife, or Mr. Ruskin [for the breakdown of the marriage], remember that there is no fault; there was misfortune, even tragedy. All three were perfectly blameless."[221] The fullest story of the Ruskins' marriage to date has been told by the scholar, Robert Brownell.[222]

Ruskin's later relationship with Rose La Touche has led to claims that he was a paedophile, on the grounds that he stated that he fell in love with her when he met her at the age of nine.[223] In fact, he did not approach her as a suitor until on or near her eighteenth birthday. She asked him to wait for her until she was 21. Receiving no answer, he repeated his proposal.

Ruskin is not known to have had any sexually intimate relationships. During an episode of mental derangement after Rose died, he wrote a letter in which he insisted that Rose's spirit had instructed him to marry a girl who was visiting him at the time.[224] It is also true that in letters from Ruskin to Kate Greenaway he asked her to draw her "girlies" (as he called her child figures) without clothing:

Will you – (it's all for your own good – !) make her stand up and then draw her for me without a cap – and, without her shoes, – (because of the heels) and without her mittens, and without her – frock and frills? And let me see exactly how tall she is – and – how – round. It will be so good of and for you – And to and for me.[225]

In a letter to his physician John Simon on 15 May 1886, Ruskin wrote:

I like my girls from ten to sixteen—allowing of 17 or 18 as long as they're not in love with anybody but me.—I've got some darlings of 8—12—14—just now, and my Pigwiggina here—12—who fetches my wood and is learning to play my bells.[226][227]

Ruskin's biographers disagree about the allegation of "paedophilia". Tim Hilton, in his two-volume biography, boldly asserts that Ruskin "was a paedophile" but leaves the claim unexplained, while John Batchelor argues that the term is inappropriate because Ruskin's behaviour does not "fit the profile".[228] Others point to a definite pattern of "nympholeptic" behaviour with regard to his interactions with girls at a Winnington school.[229] However, there is no evidence that Ruskin ever engaged in any sexual activity with anyone at all. According to one interpretation, what Ruskin valued most in pre-pubescent girls was their innocence; the fact that they were not (yet) fully developed sexual beings is what attracted him.[230] The most complete exploration of this topic is that by James L. Spates, who concludes that "whatever idiosyncratic qualities his erotic expressions may have possessed, when it comes to matters of sexual capability and interest, there is every reason to conclude that John Ruskin was physically and emotionally normal.".[231]

Common law of business balance

Ruskin is frequently identified as the originator of the "common law of business balance"—a statement about the relationships of price and quality as they pertain to manufactured goods, and often summarised as: "The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot." This is the core of a longer statement usually attributed to Ruskin, although Ruskin's authorship is disputed among Ruskin scholars. Shapiro maintains that the statement does not appear anywhere in Ruskin's works,[232] and Landow is likewise sceptical of the claim of Ruskin's authorship.[233] In a posting of the Ruskin Library News, a blog associated with the Ruskin Library (a major collection of Ruskiniana located at Lancaster University), an anonymous library staff member briefly mentions the statement and its widespread use, saying that, "This is one of many quotations ascribed to Ruskin, without there being any trace of them in his writings – although someone, somewhere, thought they sounded like Ruskin."[234] In an issue of the journal, Heat Transfer Engineering, Bell quotes the statement and mentions that it has been attributed to Ruskin. While Bell believes in the veracity of the content of the statement, he adds that the statement does not appear in Ruskin's published works.[235]

Early in the 20th century, this statement appeared—without any authorship attribution—in magazine advertisements,[236][237][238][239] in a business catalogue,[240] in student publications,[241] and, occasionally, in editorial columns.[242][243] Later in the 20th century, however, magazine advertisements, student publications, business books, technical publications, scholarly journals, and business catalogues often included the statement with attribution to Ruskin.[232][244][245][246][247][248][249][250][251]

Now in the 21st century, and based upon the statement's applicability of the issues of quality and price, the statement continues to be used and attributed to Ruskin -- despite the questionable nature of the attribution.[252][253][254][255]

For many years, various Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlours prominently displayed a section of the statement in framed signs. ("There is hardly anything in the world that someone cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price alone are that man's lawful prey.") [233][256][257][258][259][234] The signs listed Ruskin as the author of the statement, but the signs gave no information on where or when Ruskin was supposed to have written, spoken, or published the statement. Due to the statement's widespread use as a promotional slogan, and despite questions of Ruskin's authorship, it is likely that many people who are otherwise unfamiliar with Ruskin now associate him with this statement.
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