Dora Marsden and the Power of Thought


1845-1945, Dora Marsden, Freewoman, Trevor Blake / Wednesday, October 24th, 2018
The Flaming Sword was the magazine of the Koreshan Unity, an organization founded by Cyrus R. Teed (1839 – 1908). The Koreshan Unity held that the surface of the Earth was the inside of a spherical hollow space embedded in an infinite block. They also worshiped a God with male and female manifestations while practicing complete sexual abstinence. They named themselves after the angel Koresh, who guarded the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve were expelled. The Koreshan Unity made the mystical reading of Dora Marsden‘s work years before Dora herself turned to the esoteric. This excerpt from “The Power of Thought” by N. C. Critcher appears in The Flaming Sword Volume XXVII Number 1 (January 1913), page 25. – Trevor Blake

THERE could be no more forcible illustration of the power of thought than is to be so clearly seen in the wonderful change in the last few years, in the position of woman and her relation to the economic world. Not so very many years ago she was considered necessary, indeed, to the life of the world, as its reproducer, and as wife, mother, housekeeper, etc., but as completely subservient to man. This condition she almost universally accepted as her normal position. To be a good and faithful wife and mother; to be a good and obedient servant, if such were her lot, (when she happened to be a God-fearing woman,) she considered her highest duty and pleasure.

When her married life proved unfortunate, and her trials more than she could endure, divorce was open to her, to be sure, but with the penalty of social ostracism, added to the loss of her children, usually. […]

The “new” woman is found in Turkey, in Persia, India, and Egypt, playing her part in politics in a way that would surprise American men; the coup d’etat by which Abdul Hamid was removed, and Mehmet V. elevated in his place, having owed much to her cooperation. And “today members of the fair sex belonging to the most exclusive families in Constantinople, are selling flowers on the street to raise money for the sufferers from the earthquake which a short time ago devastated the eastern portion of the Ottoman Empire.” They are conspicuous as authors as well. In Persia’s recent crisis women aided materially, as shown by Morgan Shuster, in his bock, “The Strangling of Persia.”

To gain an adequate idea of the progress made by Mohammedan women, one should read the article in the December Review of Reviews, by Saint Nihal Singh. In the same magazine is another article entitled “Feminism’s New Prophetess;” in which Dora Marsden, editress of the Freewoman, is presented in that role. She does, indeed, take a step farther into the future than even the suffragists, insisting that woman shall free herself from all traditional relations, and take her position as an “individual;” as absolutely “free spiritual entities.” How far she carries her argument is not shown, but so far as stated there is nothing to startle Koreshans, whose education on those lines is far in advance of the world’s present standpoint.