Kingsford, Anna Bonus (1846–1888)
Founder of Esoteric Christianity, which combined insights
from Gnosticism, the Sufis, and proponents of spiritual alchemy.
She was born Anna Bonus at Stratford, Essex, England,
September 16, 1846. Even as a child, she displayed unusual
psychic gifts and claimed kinship with fairies, who were said to
visit her during sleep. She told fortunes at school and seems to
have been something of a seeress.
After her marriage in 1867 to the Reverend Algernon G.
Kingsford, an Anglican clergyman, she edited a ladies’ journal
and conducted a feminist campaign with special emphasis on
womanly attributes. She considered masculinity in women degrading.
In 1870 she became a Roman Catholic, and ten years
later took her medical degree in Paris.
Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Kingsford, Anna Bonus
863
About this time she discovered in Edward Maitland a ‘‘twin
soul’’ for her mystical mission. Although platonic, their association
resulted in some mischievous gossip. In fact the Maitland
and Kingsford families were related by marriage. In 1883,
Kingsford became president of the Theosopical Society, and in
1884 Kingsford and Maitland founded the Hermetic Society
in Britain for the study of mystical Christianity. While they were
innovators in the field of mystical Christianity, their society was
largely ineffectual. However, many of their inspired teachings
were eventually included in the broad conspectus of Theosophy.
Kingsford and Maitland placed a strong emphasis on vegetarianism
and opposed experimentation on animals.
It was Kingsford who introduced the magician S. L. MacGregor
Mathers to Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. Mathers sympathized
with the campaign against vivisection, although his
occult interests were wider than those of the Theosophical Society.
He eventually became a leading figure in the Hermetic
Order of the Golden Dawn.
Sources
Kingsford, Anna Bonus. Clothed with the Sun. London John
M. Watkins, 1889.
Kingsford, Anna, and Edward Maitland. The Perfect Way or,
The Finding of Christ. London, 1882. Rev. ed. London, 1887.
Reprint, Boston Esoteric Book Co., 1988. Reprint, Mokelumne
Hill, Calif. Health Research, 1972.
———. The Virgin of the World. 1885. Reprint, Minneapolis
Wizard’s Bookshelf, 1977.
Maitland, Edward. Anna Kingsford Her Life, Letters, Diary.
London, 1896.
———. The Story of Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland and
of the New Gospel of Interpretation. Birmingham, England Ruskin
Press, 1905.

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