Anna Kingsford on the Esotericist’s View of Satan in The Secret Doctrine

Revised. August, 2017.

“The idea of God and Devil would make any chela [disciple] of six months smile in pity. Theosophists do not believe either in the one or in the other…”—H.P. Blavatsky

This passage in The Secret Doctrine (1888) is oft used by those who are ignorant to accuse us theosophians of being luciferians and satanists:

“It is “Satan who is the god of our planet and the only god,”† and this without any allusive metaphor to its wickedness and depravity. For he is one with the Logos, “the first son, eldest of the gods,” in the order of microcosmic (divine) evolution; Saturn (Satan), astronomically, “is the seventh and last in the order of macrocosmic emanation, being the circumference of the kingdom of which Phoebus (the light of wisdom, also the Sun) is the centre”.” (see The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 2., pp. 234-35).

Satan who is the god of our planet and the only god,” wasn’t written by H.P.B., but theosophist, Anna Kingsford, MD. We will explain it very simply by first observing the passage Helena Blavatsky is referencing from the elegantly poetic Dr. Kingford’s Perfect Way, keeping in mind the elaboration on what Satan is considered to be by her. 

[Anna Kingsford expounded a kind of Christian Hermeticism]


The true esoteric view about “Satan,” the opinion held on this subject by the whole philosophic antiquity, is admirably brought out in an appendix, entitled “The Secret of Satan,” to the second edition of Dr. A. Kingsford’s “Perfect Way.” No better and clearer indication of the truth could be offered to the intelligent reader, and it is therefore quoted here at some length: —

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


She wrote that herself. Hades could be replaced wholly by Satan.

What she explains is exactly the role of Hades and Pluto.

Anna Kingsford did state:

“Satan…is the god of our planet and the only god.”

In full context of this esotericist’s view, you get the point.

Helena P. Blavatsky argues in The Secret Doctrine (1888), from a philosophical view on the mythology of Satan, Lucifer, the Devil, and “God.” Kingsford’s meaning is simple to understand. It is meant, that the physical matter and MATTER in general holds sway over the terrestrial plane and mind. Answer ourselves, is this not so though?

Behold Kingsford’s meaning—

It is the Great Illusion.

It is Polarity inherent to the Manifested World.

Anna Kingsford teaches, that the whole Kingdom of Nature is pervaded by MATTER, hence, is the Kingdom of Satan, the Universal Daimōn [or Spirit]. Wherever there is MATTER, there is duality, the cycles of birth and death, growth and decay, the struggle of life, and conflict. All this is under the administration of Nature’s brute force and laws. The manifested world is inherently pervaded by polarity. Polarity is in all matter, and pre-eminently in man. Think of “anti-matter,” dark matter, the polarity in molecules, &c.

This is elaborated further, when H.P.B. mentions in the S.D. that Satan represents metaphysically, the reverse or polar opposite of everything in nature, and to mortals, Abstract Evil. She argues, that this principle in Nature is the reverse of the same coin, or natural law:

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

“For over sixteen centuries the new masks, forced on the faces of the old gods, have screened them from public curiosity, but they have finally proved a misfit. Yet the metaphorical Fall, and as metaphorical atonement and crucifixion, led Western Humanity through roads knee-deep in blood. Worse than all, they led it to believe in the dogma of the evil spirit distinct from the spirit of all good, whereas the former lives in all matter and pre-eminently in man. Finally it created the God-slandering dogma of Hell and eternal perdition; it spread a thick film between the higher intuitions of man and divine verities; and, most pernicious result of all, it made people remain ignorant of the fact that there were no fiends, no dark demons in the Universe before man’s own appearance on this, and probably on other earths. Henceforth the people were led to accept, as the problematical consolation for this world’s sorrows, the thought of original sin.” (Helena P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 2, p. 484)

The Kosmos is always depicted in ancient cosmogony as being pervaded by WATER, symbolically meaning a protean Sub-stance, generically termed MATTER. Modern physics suggests a theory of superfluid spacetime. The dark dregs of the Aithēr is the Astral element, which is believed to both interpenetrate and be more tenuous than physical matter, and Eliphas Levi called this Lucifer.

As H.P.B. states her terms:

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

Christianity does teach that SATAN rules this world, however, through an anthropomorphic dualism. There is actually no difference from what Anna Kingsford is saying, when explaining matter and polarity, except in a more significant way. The secret doctrine however, explains that the Creator (elohim) is in one sense, actually a collective of MASONS (builders), and classical Védic atomic theory is inseparable from this position. This can be demonstrated in the Jewish tradition also, prior to the construction of monotheism (paradoxical concept).

“The “Builders” are a class called, as I already explained, Cosmocratores, or the invisible but intelligent Masons, who fashion matter according to the ideal plan ready for them in that which we call Divine and Cosmic ideation. They were called by the early Masons the “Grand Architect of the Universe” collectively: but now the modern Masons make of their G.A.O.T.U. a personal and singular Deity.”—Helena P. Blavatsky, Collected Writings, Vol. 10, pg. 341.

This conception is throughout the Cosmogonies of the ancient world.

It is because the “high Initiates and Adepts (…) know no “God,” but one Universal unrelated and unconditioned Deity.”—The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1, p. 295. “The idea of God and Devil would make any chela of six months smile in pity. Theosophists do not believe either in the one or in the other…”—H.P. Blavatsky, Misconceptions: Reply to the Article “Révolution.” “The God of the Theologians is simply an imaginary power (…) Our chief aim is to deliver humanity of this nightmare, and to teach man virtue for its own sake, and to walk in life relying on himself instead of leaning on a theological crutch, that for countless ages was the direct cause of nearly all human misery. (…) Who but a Theologian nursed on mystery and the most absurd supernaturalism can imagine a self-existent being of necessity infinite and omnipresent outside the manifested boundless universe? (…) The One Life (…) is the essence of every atom of matter (…).’—K.H. The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, Letter no. 10. “Theosophists (…) They preach against every dogmatic and infallible religion and recognize no other deity, which dispenses suffering and recompense, than Karma [Causality], an arbiter created by their own actions. The only God they worship is TRUTH; the only devil which they recognize and which they fight against (… ) is the Satan of egotism and human passions.” (Helena P. Blavatsky, CW, Vol. 8, pg. 79-80)

The Role of Pluto, and Satan as Tempter and God’s Attorney§

People make a dummy of their god. People curse Satan, and scapegoat Satan, then go and pray before their GOD. For all the times the religious, or the “faithful” speak of the ills of Satan, whether at the ramī al-jamarāt throwing stones at the three pillars and cursing Satan, or blaming natural disasters on the absence of God (the anger of God) — it never seems to bring any good. From the standpoint of the HELLENISTIC MYSTERIES and Literature, they explain the role and nature of Pluto, god of Hades in Greek Mythology, or Sat’an. SAT’AN is the name humans have given to personify abstract evil, and centrifugal force in Nature. Satan is seen as Darkness and the cause of Evil, but Darkness is an aspect of Nature, of Wisdom, the JUST ONE (the one law). What people attribute to Nature (P a n) as evil is a necessity, for it balances out things, allowing for new growth. The SUN e.g., brings life, but also destroys it. It is absolute Just Law. The propensity towards evil (centrifugal. “away from the centre”) exists in the mind or thought, and in action. Concentrative practices in the ancient schools turn unconscious action into spiritualized will to deter this, and bring its practitioner “toward the centre.”

This centre, being the point of equilibrium between matter and spirit, and the polar differentiation ceases; so H.P.B. coins, or utilizes the term “zero-point” (from the Sanskrit laya, i.e., laya state) to elucidate.

It would be unthinkable for many of the faithful to believe, the “Lord God” could be itself the tempter, or the “agent provocateur” in the creative story of Bere’shith in the Garden of Eden, and yet we find discrepancies such as:

“And Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel.” (Chron. 21.1.)

Then, ‘the anger of the Lord Jehovah was kindled against Israel,’ and he moved David to say: “Go, number Israel.” (2 Samuel, 24.1)

Jehovah is also the name of mankind — of Epigeios and Eua, or Adam-Eve (Jah-Hovah). The Secret Doctrine states, that these different names are but permutations of the name IHVH. Jehovah is identified, e.g., with the moon (Lunus), which was believed to effect a vitalising power on the sidereal realm and earth. However, the Hebrews used the moon to derive their lunar calculations, and thus for agriculture. The observance of the seventh day (Jehovah-Sabbath) is the day of the new moon (Jehovah), as in 2 Kings 4, 23. More on Satan’s origin —

“The reading of the Chaldeo-Assyrian tiles has now demonstrated it beyond a shadow of doubt. We find the same idea in the Zohar. Satan was a Son, and an Angel of God. With all the Semitic nations, the Spirit of the Earth was as much the Creator in his own realm as the Spirit of the Heavens. They were twin brothers and interchangeable in their functions, when not two in one. Nothing of that which we find in Genesis is absent from the Chaldeo-Assyrian religious beliefs, even in the little that has hitherto been deciphered. The great “Face of the Deep” of Genesis is traced in the Tohu-bohu, “Deep,” “Primeval Space,” or Chaos of the Babylonians. Wisdom (the Great Unseen God) — called in Genesis chap. i. the “Spirit of God” — lived, for the older Babylonians as for the Akkadians, in the Sea of Space. Toward the days described by Berosus, this sea became the visible waters on the face of the Earth — the crystalline abode of the great mother, the mother of Ea and all the gods, which became, still later, the great Dragon Tiamat, the Sea Serpent. Its last stage of development was the great struggle of Bel with the Dragon — the Devil!

Whence the Christian idea that God cursed the Devil? The God of the Jews, whomsoever he was, forbids cursing Satan. Philo Judaeus and Josephus both state that the Law (the Pentateuch and the Talmud) undeviatingly forbid one to curse the adversary, as also the gods of the gentiles. “Thou shalt not revile the gods,” quoth the god of Moses (Exodus xxii. 28), for it is God who “hath divided (them) unto all nations” (Deut. iv. 19); and those who speak evil of “Dignities” (gods) are called “filthy dreamers” by Jude (8). For even Michael the Archangel durst not bring against him (the devil) a railing accusation, but said: “The Lord rebuke thee” (ibid 9). Finally the same is repeated in the Talmud.* “Satan appeared one day to a man who used to curse him daily, and said to him: ‘Why dost thou this?’ Consider that God himself would not curse me, but merely said: ‘The Lord rebuke thee, Satan’ (see Talmudic Studies in the Kiddushin Tract 81b§).” (see The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 2., pg. 477-78)

Modern Theosophy // Practical Occultism // Greek Esotericism

The Buddhists and Gnostics perfectly understand what is meant. Anyone tells you differently, are liars. Here are some pointers on mythology and practical occultism to take with us moving forward:

  • “The mystery of SATAN or Hades hides the key to the spiritual (or divine) origin, and the successive conquering of our fears, the unknown, and limitations are vital for any student, of either side of practice (good or malevolent);
  • In every mythology, the candidates for Initiation all go to the depths of the Nether world and retrieve their maidens (the Soul);
  • Every Man who entered HADES and out the other-side was crowned a Hero — an Initiate of the Mysteries (even the New Testament character Jesus does it);
  • If the candidate conquers the trials, they become a sōter or sōteria;
  • Kundalini has been equated with Satan and Lucifer by Christians in the past in attempts to demonize Indian culture and religion. This concept exists in the Mysteries of Old Europe as well. The Parakletōs used in the New Testament, e.g., originally a fire-god, a psycho-somatic principle in ancient Greek conception, has a vital role in the psychology of Initiation, or the purificatory rites.

None of the above pointers are abstract and subjective concepts, but was understood to be apart of the practices of sage-philosophers, or initiates in Europe, just as enamored Westerners dimly know existed in our stereotypes of East Asia. These are vital and integral parts (or steps) of spiritual practice in the purification process, that no longer even exist, and in Christianity barely has any practical meaning, like the mocking physical ritual of baptism (a caricature of the second-birth — a real process). Old superstitions do not help us understand.


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