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Medium Alice Kipling,Alice
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Holland Medium, England and India
Alice K Fleming, Mrs Holland, Trix Fleming,
1868 - 1948
The sister of author Rudyard Kipling,
Alice Kipling, Trix Fleming, or Alice Fleming
the pseudonym “Mrs. Holland” because members of her family were opposed to her
involvement in occult matters. She was also known by the other names but not as
She was one of the seven principal Mediums involved in the
famous cross-correspondences cases.
Alice was the wife of John Fleming, a British Army officer, Mrs. Fleming lived
in India from about 1884 until about 1898, when an illness forced her to return
In 1893, while living in India, she began automatic
writing, often receiving poetry but occasionally letters for friends purportedly
coming from their deceased loved ones. On September 19, 1903, soon after reading
“Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death,” Frederic W. H. Myers’
seminal work completed after his death in 1901, Fleming began receiving messages
purportedly coming from Myers via automatic writing.
The initial messages were short and apparently an attempt
by Myers to convince her of his identity. He told her that much of what he would
write through her was not meant for her, that she was to be the reporter.
She was asked to send the messages to the SPR in London.
Fleming complied by contacting Alice Johnson, then secretary of the SPR.
In a subsequent message, Myers told Fleming not to worry
about being made a fool or dupe. “It’s a form of restless vanity to fear that
your hand is imposing upon yourself, as it were,” Myers communicated to her.
“...If it were possible for the soul to die back into earth life again I should
die from sheer yearning to reach you -- to tell you that all that we imagined is
not half wonderful enough for the truth… If I could only reach you -- if I could
only tell you -- I long for power and all that comes to me is an infinite
yearning -- an infinite pain. Does any of this reach you -- reaching anyone -- or
am I only wailing as the wind wails -- wordless and unheeded?”
On January 5, 1904, Myers wrote that he was in a “bound to
earth condition.” but it was largely of a voluntary choice. “I am, as it were,
actuated by the missionary spirit; and the great longing to speak to the souls
in prison -- still in the prison of flesh -- leads me to ‘absent me from felicity
On another occasion, Myers wrote that “to believe
that the mere act of death enables a Spirit to understand the whole mystery of
death is as absurd as to imagine that the act of birth enables an infant to
understand the whole mystery of life.” He added that he was still groping…
surmising… conjecturing. Fleming also received messages from Edmund Gurney and
Roden Noel, both, according to Sir William Barrett, unknown to her. A message
from Noel said to ask “A.W.” what the date May 26, 1894 meant to him, and if he
could not remember, to ask Nora.
Not knowing what to make of the message, Fleming sent the
message to the SPR in London, where it was recognized that Noel was referring to
his good friends, Dr. A. W. Verrall and Dr. Eleanor (Nora) Sidgwick. May 26 was
the date of Noel’s death. On January 17, 1904, Fleming recorded another message
purportedly coming from Myers. He gave the biblical reference I Cor. xvi, 12. He
told her that he tried to get the entire wording through in Greek but could not
get her hand to form Greek characters, and so he gave only the reference. On the
very same day, thousands of miles away in England, Margaret Verrall also
received the same biblical reference from Myers by means of automatic writing.
The biblical passage, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith,
quit you like men, be strong,” was the wording inscribed in Greek over the
gateway of Selwyn College, Cambridge, under which Myers frequently passed.
This was apparently the first of what came to be known as
the “cross-correspondences” – similar messages through different Mediums around
the world or fragmentary messages sent through different Mediums which in
themselves had no meaning until the SPR linked them up and made a complete
message out of them. Her
contribution was described in several papers by Alice Johnson in the
of the SPR (1908-09).
Fleming continued to do automatic writing until 1910, when
she suffered a nervous breakdown.
Text courtesy of Michael Tymn,
author of The Articulate Dead where
Michael examines several of the best Mediums of yesteryear and the scientific
research surrounding them.
Alice (Trix) Kipling Fleming (1868-1948) and Evelyn
Mor·gan , Augustus
British mathematician and logician who wrote important works on calculus and
with George Boole laid the foundation for modern symbolic logic.
Click the link for more information. (1855-1919)
(Pls 1, 2) were two late-Victorian women with much in common. (2) Both were
well-educated and literate women who inhabited the privileged social and
artistic circles of their day. Evelyn was an ambitious artist and the niece of
the Pre-Raphaelite painter
John Roddam Spencer Stanhope
John Roddam Spencer Stanhope,
of Hillhouse, Cawthorne, laterly of Villa Nuti, Florence, was an exhibitor in
the Royal Academy. He was born Jan. 21st, 1829, and married, Jan. 1859,
Elizabeth, third daughter of John King, of Preston and Andover, Hants.
(1829-1908). Through her marriage to
William De Morgan
William Frend De Morgan
(November 16, 1839 – January 15, 1917) was a British potter and tile designer. A
life-long friend of William Morris, he designed tiles, stained glass and
furniture for Morris & Co. from 1863 to 1872.
(1839-1917), she had become a member of a brilliant and
bohemian family circle. Alice, a talented writer, was the daughter of Alice
John Lockwood KiplingJohn
(1837-1911) was an art teacher, an illustrator, museum curator, and father of
Rudyard Kipling. In 1865, he and his wife Alice moved from London to India,
accepting an appointment as a teacher in the Jeejeebhoy School of Art in Mumbai
Click the link for more information., the
sister of author Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) and niece of Pre-Raphaelite painter
Edward Coley Burne-Jones
(28 August 1833–17 June 1898) was an English artist and designer closely
associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and largely responsible for
bringing the Pre-Raphaelites into the mainstream of the British art world, while
at the same time
Click the link for more information. (1833-98).
That they knew each other socially is not unusual but that they shared a special
bond is evident by the fact that between 1897 and 1901 Fleming wrote verses on
at least four of De Morgan's paintings (Gordon 21). We also know that they
shared an enthusiasm that both women chose to keep private: an interest in
spiritualism: see spiritism.
Belief that the souls of the dead can make contact with the living, usually
through a medium or during abnormal mental states such as trances.
and specifically in automatic writing. In this
essay I will discuss how spiritualism affected the lives of both women and how
a. The belief that the dead communicate with the living, as through a
b. The practices or doctrines of those holding such a belief.
Click the link for more information. beliefs
are reflected in De Morgan's painting The Valley of Shadows (Pl 3) and the
verses that Fleming wrote about that work.
Spiritualism, a popular movement introduced to Britain from America at
mid-century, thrived as an antidote to the materialism and religious uncertainty
that had been caused by the combined influences of
- This article is about the
academic treatment of the bible as a historical document. This is not the
same thing as Criticism of the Bible, which is where criticisms are made
against the Bible as a source of reliable information or ethical guidance.
Click the link for more information.,
philosophical doctrine that denies any validity to speculation or metaphysics.
Sometimes associated with empiricism, positivism maintains that metaphysical
questions are unanswerable and that the only
, and recent geological and evolutionary theories
(Richards 218). It was based upon two fundamental propositions: that human
personality survives bodily death and that it is possible to communicate with
this surviving personality or Spirit through a human Medium (Tuchman and Freeman
384). It was able to do so by utilizing the optimism inherent in the Victorian
belief in progress to construct a metaphysical interpretation of
- ''This article is about the
creole theory. You may be looking for the concept of biological evolution.
For other uses, see Evolution (disambiguation).
The evolutionary perspective
Main article: Creole language
The spread of Spiritualist practices and thought throughout British society was
accomplished in great part by the participation of an extraordinary number of
well-known intellectuals who became involved with psychical experimentation
either as a way to bolster their own flagging faith in an afterlife or because
of a desire to explore
1. psychic phenomena
- phenomena that appear to contradict physical laws and suggest the possibility
of causation by mental processes
parapsychology, psychic phenomenon
(Oppenheim 29-39; Owen 19-21). Artists and writers such as Alfred, Lord
Tennyson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and
may refer to:
Rossetti were just a few of
the well-known Victorians who had a keen interest in the movement. For many of
these writers and artists it was the visionary writings of the Swedish mystic
Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) that helped them to envisage the notion of
spiritual progress (Porter 8-27).
- Dante Gabriel Ramírez Erazo (21st century), Director of Roads in
- Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882), English poet, illustrator, painter,
Furthermore, thanks to recent scholarship, 19th-century women's interest in
spiritualism has been recognized as part of the spirit of reform that was a
hallmark of that age.
Because of; on account of: I couldn't attend, owing
owing to prep → debido a,
por causa de its
lack of dogma and hierarchy, spiritualism became a new source of female
empowerment. Victorians generally perceived women to be better Mediums than men
because of their keen sense of intuition. Consequently, many women played
prominent roles in the movement (Owen 19-40).
While some merely dabbled in such fashionable practices as seances, there were
others who undertook systematic and sustained experimentation into the Spirit
World with the hope of gaining new insight and knowledge. As curious intelligent
Evelyn De MorganEvelyn
De Morgan (30 August, 1855-2
May,1919) was an English Pre-Raphaelite painter.
She was born Evelyn Pickering on 30 August, 1855. Her parents were of upper
middle class. Her father was Percival Pickering QC, the Recorder of Pontefract.
Click the link for more information. and
Trix Fleming were part of the latter group. Because, however, of the widespread
instance of fraud that existed within the more public displays of spiritualist
practice, both women chose to keep their spiritualist practice private.
Today Trix Kipling Fleming is most often remembered as the sister of Rudyard and
like him she was raised in England and India. Like her brother and parents she
was consumed with writing verse, plays, and two novels entitled The Heart of the
Maid (1890) (under the
pseudonympseudonym (s`dənĭm) [Gr.,=false
name], name assumed, particularly by writers, to conceal identity. A writer's
pseudonym is also referred to as a nom de plume (pen name).
Click the link for more information. Beatrice
Grange) and A
1. An alloy of zinc and copper used as imitation gold.
2. A cheap imitation.
1. Made of pinchbeck.
2. Imitation; spurious.
Goddess (1897). She also published a volume of poetry with
her mother entitled Hand in Hand: Verses by a Mother and Daughter (1902). Until
Rudyard Kipling's sister was known less for her accomplishments than for the
bouts of mental instability that marred her life for approximately 20 years.
Biographers of the Kipling family note that her family blamed her psychological
problems on her involvement with spiritualism, which has unwittingly perpetuated
the notion that Trix's curiosity in the supernatural was detrimental to her
mental health (Baldwin 126). (3) It was not until 2004 that Lorna Lee and the
Kipling Society published a biography, aptly entitled Trix: Kipling's Forgotten
Sister, that gives a fuller picture of her life. In it Trix's long-standing
curiosity about the supernatural is recalled by her cousin, Florence Macdonald,
in a quotation from her 1949 remembrance of Trix in the Kipling Journal: [...]
Another gift Trix possessed, and this was a doubtful blessing.
From early girlhood she saw Ghosts or Spirits, and in her later years the gift
developed considerably, so that she was able to converse with many who had
passed into the spirit world. These experiences had no terror for her, but were
only of intense interest, and she wondered why others couldn't see what she saw.
Her cousin's description of Trix's life-long interest in the spiritual realm is
accurate: it became both a blessing and a curse. As a young girl her interest in
the occult was probably considered benign by her creative family and this
eccentricity surely added charm to an already sparkling personality. After her
marriage, however, to Colonel
For other people named John Fleming, see John Fleming (disambiguation).
was a judge in Cumberland County, Virginia and had been in the House of
Burgesses for 10+ years. at the age
of 21 in 1889 it seems that her emotional life entered its long period of
instability. While the nature of her psychological condition cannot be known it
manifested itself with intermittent periods of depression and anxiety (Baldwin
126; Adelson 4-15) Unable to cope with her erratic behavior her husband
institutionalized her for periods of time (Lee 32-40). Rudyard would always
believe spiritualism (4) was to blame for his sister's problems, telling their
Aunt Edith Macdonald:
My own idea is, and always has been, that her being let into the
soul-destroying business of 'Spiritualism' affected her mind much
more profoundly and permanently than anyone dared to say when the
trouble first began. It must have been a terribly serious business:
and it included, I think, all the delusions that attacked her after
my Father's and Mother's death. (5)
Despite these difficult periods in her life Trix seems not to have been deterred
from engaging in her enthusiasm, and Trix has become recognized as one of the
movement's pioneers. She was one of the participants of the
Cross-Correspondences, a well-documented automatic writing experiment conducted
under the auspices of the
Society for Psychical Research
The Society for Psychical Research (SPR) is a non-profit
organization which started in the United Kingdom and later acquired branches in
other countries. Its stated purpose is to understand "events and abilities
commonly described as psychic or paranormal by promoting and
between 1903 and 1910 (Lee 29; Baldwin 125). (6) The
Society for Psychical Research (SPR
SPR Strategic Petroleum Reserve
SPR Surface Plasmon Resonance
SPR Suomen Punainen Risti
SpR Specialist Registrar (UK doctor who supports a
SPR Society for Psychical Research
SPR Stop Prisoner Rape ),
founded in 1882 by a group of prominent intellectuals, was the first learned
society with the purpose of scientifically investigating psychic phenomena. The
Cross-Correspondence experiment was a collaborative venture amongst various
individuals who channelled messages from the dead as well as communicating
telepathically with each other. (7) Trix participated in this series of
experiments under the pseudonym 'Mrs. Holland', for reasons of privacy, but it
must be said that her prolonged involvement in this venture can be taken as
indicating a seriousness of purpose that was not recognized by her family.
The available evidence indicates that it was automatic writing (along with
Divination by gazing into a crystal ball.
2. The making of determinations or predictions using questionable or
crystal gazer n.
) that was Trix's primary form of psychic experimentation.
Many of those Victorian intellectuals who were interested in spiritualism may
have experimented with automatic writing because they felt it could be an aid to
their creativity. Because she was a writer, Trix found that her automatic
writing exercises often took the form of verse. Unlike her usual methodical
approach to composing poems, Trix described her automatic verse as coming very
rapidly and though 'often childishly simple in wording and jingling in rhyme are
rarely trivial in subject' (Johnson 171). From this description of the
difference between her conventional and trance poetry Lorna Lee (Lee 30)
concludes that no specifically designated original copies of Trix's automatic
verses have survived, although it is possible that Trix did not always label her
trance verses as such. She did, however, give examples in her correspondence
with Alice Johnson in 1903 (Johnson 172-3). Also presumed to have been lost are
another series of automatic scripts/letters which Trix described as 'messages
through me to a well-beloved. In every case the communication was utterly
unsought by me, and came as a complete surprise to the recipient, who was always
a recent acquaintance, never one of my friends' (Johnson 123-4).
It may, none the less, have been trance writing and their mutual interest in
Spiritualism that brought Trix together with William and Evelyn De Morgan in the
early 1890s. In her biography William De Morgan and his Wife, A.M.W. Stirling
reprints a trance poem (Stirling 84-5) entitled St George in the Transvaal
inspired by a rare early painting by William De Morgan of St George (untraced).
Trix had first met the irrepressible William De Morgan in 1873 when as a child
of five she spent Christmas with her aunt and uncle Burne-Jones at their home
the Grange (Stirling 84).
TWENTY YEARS. The lapse of twenty years raises a presumption of certain facts,
and after such a time, the party against whom the presumption has been raised,
will be required to prove a negative to establish his rights.
2. later this renewal of a friendship with an
old family friend also brought her together with Evelyn De Morgan whom she could
not have failed to recognize as a
A Kindred Spirit
(真情) was a television drama series that was broadcast on TVB Jade in Hong Kong
from May 15, 1995 to November 11, 1999. It is one of the longest running drama
shows in Hong Kong television history (the longest being the sitcom Hong Kong 81
Indeed, had Trix spent more time in England instead of India and been more a
part of her extended family's bohemian circle it is possible to imagine that her
life may have been more like that of Evelyn. In the early 1880s the young Evelyn
Picketing, as she was before her marriage, raised in an aristocratic
environment, was introduced to the eccentric atmosphere of the De Morgan family
circle where creativity and progressive thought were de rigeur. Evelyn's future
husband William was an accomplished designer and his sister Mary a writer of
fairy tales. It was, however, the family matriarch, Sophia Frend De Morgan
(1809-92), who had most influence upon the young Miss Pickering. (8)
Sophia was one of the pre-eminent figures in modern Spiritualism and the author
of From Matter to Spirit: The Result of Ten Years' Experience in Spirit
Manifestations intended as a Guide to Inquirers (1863), accurately described as
'an adaptation of Emanuel Swedenborg's philosophy to modern Spiritualism'
(Porter 123). This volume served as a chronicle of Sophia's own experiences with
the supernatural and a guide to the various forms of mediumship. Sophia
emphasized in this book how private spiritualist practice could become an aid to
artistic creativity. Automatic writing and drawing were vividly illustrated and
encouraged as means by which individuals with highly developed spiritual natures
could become mediums for the conveyance of spiritual truths.
As stated or indicated by; on the authority of:
according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Sophia, these individuals
entered into a unique collaboration with a spiritual entity that was expressed
A programming language that uses symbols, or mnemonics, for expressing
operations and operands. All modern programming languages are symbolic
(2) A language that manipulates symbols rather than numbers. See list
processing. . For
an idealistic young woman such as Evelyn, who already had a penchant for
symbolism and allegory in her art, her reading of the following passage in From
Matter to Spirit must have been revelatory:
... each Medium is chosen for a special quality, which enables him to transmit
the sentiments required ... In the case of communication from spirit to mortal,
the imagery or ideas contained in the medium's brain takes the place of words.
And each Medium furnishes a different capacity for the transmission of feeling
or thought, and a different vocabulary or series of images in which to embody
it. (Sophia F De Morgan 272-3)
The artist was to take this advice to heart, embarking with William on an
extended period of experimentation with automatic writing. In 1909, they
published their findings anonymously under the title The Result of an
Experiment. This book consisted of over 200 transcripts meant to be messages
from Spiritual Entities. There are striking similarities between the language
used in the automatic scripts and imagery found in De Morgan's paintings. The
primary correspondence between the scripts and the paintings being the parallel
descriptions of Swedenborgian spiritual evolution. Today it is through these
Spiritualist allegories that she has become distinguished from other late
Victorian painters. Clearly, it was within this progressive familial context
that Evelyn was able to utilize spiritualist experimentation as an important
vehicle for her creativity.
It is tempting to speculate how Trix too might have developed as a more mature
writer had her husband and family not felt that her spiritualist experimentation
was detrimental to her well-being. Surrounded by an
tr.v. o·ver·pro·tect·ed, o·ver·pro·tect·ing,
To protect too much; coddle: overprotected their
children. and sceptical family
during periods of
is a term used, both by some mental health practitioners and users of mental
health services, to describe a range of symptoms and experiences of a person's
internal life that are commonly held to be troubling, confusing or out of the
ordinary. , Trix
was not allowed to give full expression to her creativity in the way that Evelyn
was, and most of her verses went unpublished until the 2004 biography compiled
what remained. It must therefore have been very gratifying to find friends like
William and Evelyn De Morgan with whom she could share her curiosity about the
Beginning in 1897 Trix wrote a series of poems inspired by Evelyn's art (see
Gordon). While it is not known whether any of these poems were written as trance
verse, they are Trix's meditations on the subjects of Evelyn's paintings: The
Thorny Path (a painting of 1897, Pietermaritzburg S.A., Tatham Art Gallery)
describes the consequences of choosing a spiritual life; Love's Piping (painting
of 1900, formerly the De Morgan Foundation, destroyed by fire) reflects the
dangers of romantic love; and Victoria Dolorosa (painting of 1901, formerly the
De Morgan Foundation, destroyed by fire) is a response to the consequences of
military victory. Finally, Trix also wrote a poem on Evelyn's sculptural bust of
Medusa (untraced). (9)
It is, however, another painting, The Valley of Shadows (PI 1) that brought
together artist and poet in a collaboration of sorts. The Valley of Shadows is
De Morgan's summary statement of her beliefs about the process of spiritual and
moral development on the physical or earthly plane prior to death. In this work,
figures make their tentative way through the obscured landscape along the rocky
path of life's hardships. As each approaches the crossroads they are met by the
allegorical figure of Fortune who indiscriminately bestows her favours and
cannot be relied upon as a spiritual guide. Moving past her, three individuals
confront moral choices that ultimately determine their fate. The far-right
figure has abandoned all hope and, in an attitude of despair, is led resignedly
into the tomb. On the other hand, the far-left bound figure has pursued earthly
wealth and power and has been crushed in the process. A snake lurks ominously
among the brambles. Finally, only the central figure, who has
tr.v. for·sook , for·sak·en , for·sak·ing,
1. To give up (something formerly held dear); renounce:
2. earthly for spiritual concerns,
perceives the redemptive light shed by the angelic messenger in the distant sky
The Valley of Shadows contrasts those who are morally and spiritually blind with
those who have the faith to perceive the light of salvation. The message that
faith is a critical component of spiritual enlightenment is implied by the
painting's title which takes its inspiration from language found in the
Twenty-Third Psalm and in John Bunyan's The
Bunyan’s allegory of life. [Br. Lit.: Eagle, 458]
See : Journey . (10) A rock in the
foreground reiterates the painting's message in the artist's own verses.
Dark is the Valley of Shadows
Empty the Power of Kings
Blind the Favour of Fortune
Hungry the Caverns of Death
Dim is the Light from Beyond
Unanswered the Riddle of Life.
In addition to this inscription there are passages from Evelyn's own automatic
scripts that parallel the paintings imagery and message:
A mist is round you. Press on, for your time on earth is short. You are in a
dark valley, and round you are mountains that you must scale before you can see
light. The highest peak hides you from Faith. Climb it and trust in God, and the
lesser mountains will crumble before your gaze. (Result of an Experiment, 44)
Trix Kipling's response to her friend's
painting was the following poem:
Dark is the Valley--the Valley of Shadows
Weary of heart and of life is the King--
He sits among ruins, and thorny the meadows,
The meadows unfruitful, forgotten the Spring.
A green snake is keeping the Palace's portal,
The lizard is warder of the desolate halls,
And wine has no savour, and Love the Immortal
Seems fading at even, as fast as the light falls.
O, Dark is the Valley, the Valley at even,
The King's brow is clouded, the King's heart is black,
His down-gazing eyes give no glance to the Heaven,
Where angels are winging their homeward-bound track-
Sure in this dark hour at brink of the grave
The Slave seems the Monarch, the Monarch the Slave
In these verses Trix joins Evelyn in pondering the fate of the soul at death but
her conclusions reveal a significant difference in outlook between the two
women. Trix's emphasis is not on the journey that all souls take and the moral
choices that are possible but rather is narrowly focused on the individual fate
of the male figure. Posed in an attitude of both cruelty and melancholy, this
figure of earthly power, when confronted with his own mortality, finds himself
impotent. Trix's use of
1. The doctrine that all events are predetermined by fate and are
2. Acceptance of the belief that all events are predetermined and
inevitable. imagery to
describe the approach of death for this lost soul is only briefly interrupted by
her mention of the angelic figures who ascend heavenward. Her description of
death as 'this dark hour' rather than the moment of rebirth is in sharp contrast
with Evelyn's more optimistic view. Both women present the consequences of
neglecting the spiritual for the temporal, but in her verses Trix offers little
hope of redemption for this particular earthbound soul.
While Trix would clearly have understood the Spiritualist ideas embodied in her
friend's painting, her own poetic reaction is more cautionary, with its focus on
the passive male figure that represents despair, while ignoring the dynamic
female martyr figure that so clearly symbolizes hope. While we cannot know
whether or not this poem was written at a time of particular mental distress for Trix, we do know that the disapproval of her family of all ideas related to
Spiritualism may have prevented her from adopting it as a belief system as
freely as Evelyn. She revealed her conflict about her
alleged power to perceive, as though visually, objects or persons not
discernible through the ordinary sense channels.
and her automatic writing to Alice
Johnson of the Society for Psychical Research:
I prize my health and strength exceedingly, and it puzzles me a little that with
it, and with no desire to consider myself exceptional, I do sometimes see, hear,
feel, or otherwise become conscious of beings and influences that are not patent
to all. Is this a frame of mind to be checked, or permitted, or encouraged? I
should like so much to know. My own people hate what they call 'uncanniness' so
I am obliged to hide from them the keen interest I cannot help feeling in
psychic matters. (Johnson 174)
This statement makes clear that in spite of disapproval Trix would not be
deterred from pursuing her keen interest in psychical activities. From what we
know, her involvement with Spiritualism was concentrated upon psychic
experimentation that would validate spiritualism's claim of an afterlife rather
than adoption of its Swedenborgian notions of spiritual progress. Indeed, we
have no evidence that she looked to spiritualism as a means of revelation or
belief system. Instead, what appears to have lain beneath this intrepid
experimentation was a great generosity of spirit by which Trix sought to use her
gifts as a medium to help and comfort others. And so in spite of the resistance
that she faced, spiritualism and its practices clearly gave Trix Kipling
Fleming's life meaning and purpose.
Trix clearly valued her friendship with William and Evelyn
De Morgan. In a letter to William in 1908 she speaks freely:
I am as certain of life's continuance as I am that I now live--but nothing
really comforts the present pain of the parting here and now. Do you remember my
automatic script? You and Evelyn are of the few I do venture to talk to about
it. (Stirling 299-300)
Surely the freedom to speak openly with Evelyn must have been a great comfort
and validation to Trix. While she may not have shared Evelyn's depth of belief
in Spiritualism's tenets she must have enjoyed knowing a fellow-artist who had
devoted her career to developing a visual language with which to express Spiritualist beliefs. Because Evelyn also kept private her spiritualist beliefs
she too must have been
tr.v. grat·i·fied, grat·i·fy·ing, grat·i·fies
1. To please or satisfy: His achievement
gratified his father. See Synonyms at please.
2. to find a
friend such as Trix who understood her art in a way many could not One can well
imagine lively conversations about fundamental human questions held in Evelyn's
studio where these two sisters in spirit would have been surrounded by paintings
expressing similar subject-matter.
Through their extensive experimentation with automatic writing both women came
to believe in an afterlife but, more importantly, spiritualism engendered in
both women a desire to promote the greater good. For the fragile Trix Kipling
Fleming, it provided her with the tools with which to be of service to others.
Despite her own personal turmoil during the period of the Cross Correspondence
project, she persevered in order to assist the Society for Psychical Research to
prove the existence of communication between this world and the next. Proof of
an afterlife was a consolation to many during the late 19th century and the
early part of the 20th century at a time when death often took loved ones so
suddenly, whether through illness or war. Consequently, it seems as if Trix was
able to feel great satisfaction in being able to convey personal messages to
others from departed spiritual entities.
For Evelyn De Morgan, Spiritualism provided more than artistic inspiration and a
strong personal faith. Its ideas were also critical to the development of her
keen social conscience. Though never overtly political, Evelyn understood well
the nexus between Spiritualism and other reform movements in the late 19th
century. Thus in addition to spiritualist-inspired paintings Evelyn also
produced moral allegories which show her engagement with the social issues of
her times including poverty, socialism and
The effort to secure equal rights
for women and to remove gender discrimination from laws, institutions, and
The women's rights movement began in the nineteenth century with the demand by
some women reformers for the right to vote, known as suffrage, and
In particular, Trix Kipling Fleming and Evelyn Picketing De Morgan were drawn
together, through their mutual interests, to become artistic collaborators on
The Valley of Shadows. This collaboration may finally have provided Trix with
some compensation for the fact that she was forced by circumstances never to
give full expression to her literary gifts.
Works cited within the text
(abbreviated references in bold)
Adelson Dorothy Adelson, 'Kipling's Sister', Kipling
Society Journal, 44 (1977), pp4-15
Baldwin Arthur Windham Baldwin, The Macdonald Sisters, London, 1960
Mrs JM Fleming (Trix Kipling), A Pinchbeck Goddess, London,
Beatrice Grange (pseud of Trix Kipling), The Heart of a Maid, Allahabad, 1890
and Alice Kipling] Hand in Hand: Verses by a Mother and Daughter, London, 1902
Gordon Catherine Gordon, ed, Evelyn De Mrgan: Oil Paintings, London, 1996
Alice Johnson, 'On the Automatic Writing of Mrs. Holland', Proceedings of the
Society for Psychical Research, 21 (1908)
Alice Johnson, 'Second Report on Mrs. Holland's Scripts', Proceedings of the
Society for Psychical Research, 1910
Alice Johnson, 'Supplementary Notes on Mrs. Holland's Scripts', Proceedings of
the Society for Psychical Research, 1910
Alice Johnson, 'Third Report on Mrs. Holland's Scripts', Proceedings of the
Society for Psychical Research, 1910
Lee Lorna Lee, Trix: Kipling's Forgotten Sister, Peterborough, 2004
Oppenheim Janet Oppenheim, The Other World: Spiritualism and
psychical research: see parapsychology.
in England, 1850-1914, Cambridge,
Owen Alex Owen, The Darkened Room: Women, Power, and Spiritualism in Late
Victorian England, Chicago, 1989
Porter Katherine Porter,
Through a Glass Darkly
Through A Glass Darkly
is an abbreviated form of a much-quoted phrase from the Christian New Testament
in 1 Corinthians 13. The phrase is interpreted to mean that humans have an
imperfect perception of reality. :
Spiritualism in the Browning Circle,
New York, state, United States
New York, Middle
Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts,
Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes
Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
Result Evelyn De Morgan and William De Morgan, The Result of an Experiment,
Richards Bernard Richards,
The history of English poetry stretches from the middle of the 7th
century to the present day. Over this period, English poets have written some of
the most enduring poems in European culture, and the language and its poetry
have spread around the globe.
of the Victorian Period 1830-1890, London, 1988
Sophia F De Morgan Sophia F De Morgan, From Matter to Spirit: The Result of Ten
Years' Experience in Spirit Manifestations. Intended As a Guide to Enquirers. By
C.D. with a Preface by A. B. [Augustus
Augustus De Morgan
(June 27, 1806 – March 18, 1871) was an Indian-born British mathematician and
logician. He formulated De Morgan's laws and was the first to introduce the
term, and make rigorous the idea of mathematical induction.
], London, 1863
America's Most Wanted (TV show)
AMW Air Mobility Wing
AMW Amphibious Warfare
AMW Ask Me Why (Beatles song)
AMW Angewandte Medienwissenschaft (German: Applied
Media Studies) Stirling,
William De Morgan and His Wife, New York, 1922
Tuchman and Freeman Maurice Tuchman, with Judi Freeman, The Abstract in Art:
Abstract Painting 1890-1985, exh cat.,
Los Angeles (lôs
ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'),
city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850.
Museum of Art, 1986
(1) I am grateful to my research partner, Nic Peeters, for his valuable
assistance in preparing this article for publication.
(2) The standard biographies for Fleming and De Morgan are Lorna Lee, Trix:
Kipling's Forgotten Sister, Peterborough, 2004, and AMW Stirling, William De
Morgan and His Wife, New York, 1922. Until Lee's biography most information
about Trix was to be found in Arthur Windham Baldwin, The Macdonald Sisters,
London, 1960; Ina Taylor, Victorian Sisters, London, 1987; Judith Flanders, A
Circle of Sisters: Alice Kipling, Georgiana Burne-Jones, and Agnes Poynter and
Louisa Baldwin, London and New York, 2005; and Dorothy Adelson, 'Kipling's
Sister', Kipling Society Journal, 44 (1977), pp4-15.
(3) It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss the link that Victorian
society made between spiritualism and madness. However, the tendency to
associate spiritualism and madness was commonplace and certainly not confined to
the Kipling family. See Owen (pp139, 140-2, 147-67). Judith Walkowitz discusses
the case of Georgina Weldon who was faced with
lunacy: see insanity.
confinement in 'Science and the Seance: Transgressions of
Gender and Genre', ch 6 (pp171-89), City of Dreadful Delight, Chicago, 1992.
(4) John McGivering has noted Rudyard Kipling's virulent distrust of
Spiritualism in the poem En-Dor. See <http://www.kipling.org.uk/rg_bi saral.htm>
accessed December 30, 2008.
'Behold there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at En-Dor.'
1. I Samuel
- the first of two books in the Old Testament that tell of Saul and David
Old Testament - the collection of books comprising the sacred scripture of the
Hebrews and recording their history as the chosen people; the first half of the
, xxviii, 7.
THE ROAD to En-dor is easy to
For Mother or yearning Wife.
There, it is sure, we shall meet
As they were even in life.
Earth has not dreamed of the
blessing in store
For desolate hearts on the road
Whispers shall comfort us out of
Hands--ah God!--that we knew!
Visions and voices--look and
prove that the tale is true,
An that those who have passed to
the further shore
May' be hailed--at a price--on
the road to En-dor.
But they are so deep in their new
Nothing they say can reach,
Unless it be uttered by alien lips
And framed in a stranger's
The son must send word to the
mother that bore,
'Through an hireling's mouth.
'Tis the rule of En-dor.
And not for nothing these gifts
By such as delight our dead.
They must twitch and stiffen and
slaver and groan
Ere the eyes are set in the head,
And the voice from the belly
We pay them a wage where they
ply at En-dor.
Even so, we have need of faith
And patience to follow the clue.
Often, at first, what the dear one
Is babble, or jest, or untrue.
(Lying spirits perplex us sore
Till our loves--and their lives--
at En-dor) ...
Oh the road to En-dor is the
And the craziest road of all!
Straight it runs to the Witch's
As it did in the days of Saul,
And nothing has changed of the
sorrow in store
For such as go down on the road
(5) Cushing Memorial Library and Archives, Texas A&M University Libraries.
Rudyard Kipling Collection, MS/00076/3-60. Letter from Rudyard Kipling to Edith
Macdonald, 3 June 1927. Quoted with kind permission.
(6) Much of the primary research to be found about Trix Kipling's involvement
with the project is to be found in Alice Johnson's documentation of the project
(which took place 1903-10) in the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical
Research published 1908-10.
(7) For a description of the project see:
<http://www.prairieghosts.com/cross_corr.html> accessed November 23, 2007.
(8) For more information on Sophia De Morgan's influence upon Evelyn De Morgan
see Judy Oberhausen, 'Evelyn De Morgan and Spiritualism' in Gordon, pp32-53.
(9) In the
De Morgan Centre
The De Morgan Centre for the Study of 19th Century Art and Society is a
museum and gallery in the London Borough of Wandsworth, England that houses a
large collection of the work of the Victorian ceramic artist William De Morgan
and his wife, the painter Evelyn De Morgan.
archive there is a
tr.v. hand·wrote , hand·writ·ten , hand·writ·ing,
To write by hand.
[Back-formation from handwritten.]
Adj. 1. poem said to be by
Trix on Evelyn's sculpture Medusa (untraced) an image which is reproduced in
Stirling's biography (p186). It reads as follows:
'Is there no period set: Is pain
Still though the eons must her
For all Eternity the anguish burn?
An endless circle, endless
Beauty has lit heaven, shut deep
I thank Lois Drawmer for this
(10) The Twenty-Third Psalm from the King James Version of the Bible is one of
the most frequently quoted biblical passages. It reads:
'A Psalm of David:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still
He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's
Yea, though I walk through the
valley of the shadow of Death
Valley of the Shadow of Death
life’s gloominess. [O.T.: Psalms 23:4]
See : Melancholy , I will fear
no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest
my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will
dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.'
Likewise, the allegorical story of Christian's journey from the City of
Destruction to the Celestial City, described in The Pilgrim's Progress from This
World to that Which is to Come (1678), was well known and loved by Victorian
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