Higgins, Godfrey (1772–1833)
Godfrey Higgins, a British writer in the Western esoteric tradition,
was born in rural Yorkshire, England. His father, a
country gentleman, owned Skellow Grange, an estate near
Doncaster. He attended Trinity Hall, at Cambridge University
and the Temple in London, but due to a shortage of funds was
unable to complete his course of study at either institution. His
father died in 1799 and he became the squire of Skellow
Grange. He married a short time later. As Napoleon’s power
grew and threatened an invasion of England, Higgins joined
the Yorkshire militia and rose to the rank of major before illness
forced his retirement. He remained active in local affairs,
and joined the campaign for more humane treatment of mental
patients. As he regained his health, he traveled widely, including
several trips to Italy.
Higgins is remembered today primarily for two books he authored.
One, Apolcalypsis is a 1,500 page volume that became
a major source used by Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky,
cofounder of the Theosophical Society, in the preparation of
her early work, Isis Unveiled. The subtitle to Higgins’ book read,
An Attempt to Draw Aside the Veil of the Saitic Isis. An earlier volume,
The Celtic Druids, became a building block of the contemporary
revival of Druidism.
In his magnum opus, Higgins demonstrated his assimilation
of a vast amount of eclectic material assembled through his
Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Higgins, Godfrey
reading and travels. Apocalypsis presents a history of the human
race from a Gnostic esoteric perspective. God, The unknowable
One, produced the universe through a process of emanation.
The One emanates Wisdom, the divine plan of creation. Further
emanations lead to the appearance of a deific Trinity of
Creator, Preserver and Regenerator. Still further emanations
lead to the appearance of lesser deities and humans, all possessed
of a spark of divinity. The earliest race of humans were
a people of one language, one color (black), and one religion.
That religion was Buddhism, which Higgins understood to date
to far ancient times. There was a true Golden Age in these ancient
times. Inherent in the truths known as this time were immortality
of the soul, metempsychosis (reincarnation), the final
reabsorption of all things in the One, and the periodic renewal
of the worlds.
The Golden Age, during which time the earth’s axis was 90
degrees from its orbit was ultimately destroyed by the collision
of the earth with three comets, each of which caused a significant
but partial deluge. The earth’s axis tilted, producing the
present day seasons and 365 day year. Two astrological cycles
have subsequently become important, the astrological age of
2160 years and the Neros cycle marked by the conjunction of
the Sun and moon at the spring equinox that occurs approximately
every 600 years. Changes of cycles are marked by social
disruptions and messianic expectations. A Neros cycle was coming
to an end as Higgins wrote and he noted the existence of
various millennial teachers claiming special insight in his day
such as Joanna Southcott and Richard Brothers. He also set the
beginning of the Piscean Age in 350 B.C.E., thus dating the
emergence of the Aquarian Age in 1801.
Higgins believed that all religions had their bases in solar
worship as the sun was the most universal symbol of The One.
Jesus is seen as a solar Christ and his crucifixion symbolizing
the sun crossing the celestial equator at the vernal equinox, between
two astrological ages. He described himself as a Christian,
but had little attachment to the church and denounced the
teaching of Paul the Apostle.
Higgins completed volume one of Apocalypsis in 1830 and it
was printed in parts over the next three years. While working
on volume two, he died on August 9, 1833; it was published in
1836. The publication was pursued by his son.
Godwin, Joscelyn. The Theosophical Enlightenment. Albany
State University of New York Press, 1995.
Higgins, Godfrey. Apocalypsis, an Attempt to Draw aside the Veil
of the Saitic Isis; or an Inquiry into the Origin of Languages, Nations
and Religions. 2 vols. London, 1933, 1836.
———. The Celtic Druids. London Rowland Hunter, 1829.

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