Collins, Mabel (Mrs. Keningale Cook)
An important but shadowy figure in the Theosophical Society
during the latter part of the nineteenth century. Although
her influential book Light on the Path (first published anonymously
in 1885) is a classic work in the theosophical movement,
Collins has received only scant biographical notice.
A daughter of Mortimer Collins, she became a prolific author
of novels and other works, including Princess Clarice A
Story of 1871 (2 vols., 1872), Blacksmith and Scholar (3 vols.,
1875), An Innocent Sinner (3 vols., 1877), In the World (2 vols.,
1878), Our Bohemia (3 vols., 1879), Too Red a Dawn (3 vols.,
1881), Cobwebs (3 vols., 1882), The Story of Helen Modjeska
(1883), In the Flower of Her Youth (3 vols., 1883), Violet Fanshawe
(2 vols., 1884), The Prettiest Woman in Warsaw (3 vols., 1885),
and Lord Vanecourts Daughter (3 vols., 1885).
Her later books, The Idyll of the White Lotus (1885), Through
the Gates of Gold (1887), and The Blossom and the Fruit The True
Story of a Black Magician (1888), strongly manifested her growing
interest in metaphysics and the occult. The Blossom and the
Fruit was included by occultist Aleister Crowley as recommended
reading for neophytes in working with magic, and it
seems possible that the author had some inside knowledge of
secret occult organizations.
Collinss husband, Dr. Keningale Cook, was also a writer, author
of The Fathers of Jesus A Study of the Lineage of the Christian
Doctrine and Traditions (2 vols., 1886).
Collins became an active worker in the movement for
womens suffrage in Britain and collaborated with suffragette
Charlotte Despard on a novel, Outlawed (1908) dealing with the
subject of womens rights.
She was an early member of the London Lodge of the Theosophical
Society, which she joined in 1884. In the same year,
she wrote The Idyll of the White Lotus, followed by Light on the
Path, subtitled A Treatise written for the personal use of those
who are ignorant of the Eastern Wisdom, and who desire to
enter within its influence. Written down by M.C., Fellow of The
Theosophical Society. In 1887, after publication of Through the
Gates of Gold, Collins became coeditor with Helena Petrovna
Blavatsky of the societys journal Lucifer, but ceased editing it
two years later as a result of a controversy in the movement connected
with the authorship of her books. The ambiguous ascription
on the title page of Light on the Path suggested to some
that the work was inspired by an adept, and for some time it
was implied that the source was Mahatma Koot Hoomi, one of
Madame Blavatskys mysterious Masters. After fierce controversy
over the source of the books inspiration, Collins was expelled
from the society. Later she was permitted to rejoin.
Whatever the true source of the book, it seems that Collins sustained
a claim to have traveled on the astral plane and encountered
Another strange episode in her life revolves around allegations
that in 1888 she was closely associated with the notorious
murderer Jack the Ripper. According to Aleister Crowley in his
Confessions, Collins had a lover who was a doctor and later evidence
strongly suggested he was the infamous Ripper.
Collins, Mabel. The Awakening. London Theosophical Publishing
. The Blossom and the Fruit The True Story of a Black
Magician. New York Theosophical Publishing Society, 1888.
. A Cry from Afar. London Theosophical Publishing
. The Idyll of the White Lotus. Adyar, Madras, India
Theosophical Publishing House, 1885.
. Light on the Path. Boston Occult Publishing, 1884.
. Through the Gates of Gold. London J. M. Watkins,
Colley, Thomas Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology 5th Ed.
Crowley, Aleister. The Confessions of Aleister Crowley. Edited by
John Symnonds and Kenneth Grant. New York Hill and
Fuller, Jean Overton. The Magical Dilemma of Victor Neuburg.
London W. H. Allen, 1965.
Collins, Mabel (Mrs. Keningale Cook)