Mabel Collins

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Mabel Collins is the name under which Mrs. Keningale Cook published her writings. She was an English Theosophist, and author of at least 46 books, including Light on the Path, a perennial favorit among Theosophists.

Early life and education

Minna Mabel Collins on September 9, 1851 at St Peters Port, Guernsey. Her parents were Edward James Mortimer Collins, a self-taught poet and journalist, and Susanna Hubbard, a merchant's daughter. When they married, Mortimer was nineteen years younger than his wife, who already had six children. The family moved frequently, as Mortimer repeatedly overspent and landed in debtors' prisons. "By the time she was twelve years old Minna had begun to write romances and verse herself. She had never attended school – what education she had was from her father. Poetry and philosophy formed the main content of her lessons." [1]


Young Minna began a new life when she married Keningale Robert Cook on August 3, 1971 at St. Peters Church in Knowl Hill. He was six years older than she, and was well educated at Rugby and Trinity College in Dublin. He earned several degrees culminating in a Doctorate in Laws in 1875. During the years at Trinity College he was employed by the Post Office dealing with money orders, but by 1875 he had become a stockbroker in London. He published a book of poetry and numerous articles for the magazine Woman. This same magazine began to publish Minna's writings as well. "Almost every issue contained Minna’s or Robert’s writings. They covered a range of subjects but were primarily concerned with education, the role of women and the arts."[2]


Mabel Collins wrote at least 46 books. These are some of the most significant, listed by publication date:

  • The Story of Helena Modjeska, (Madame Chlapowska). London: W. H. Allen, 1883. Second edition, 1885.
  • Light on the Path (1885). Chicago, Published by the Yogi Publication Society, 1880 with subtitle "a treatise written for the personal use of those who are ignorant of the eastern wisdom, and who desire to enter within its influence."
  • The Prettiest Woman in Warsaw (1885)
  • 'Through the Gates of Gold. London: Ward and Downey, 1887 and Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1887. Also, Chicago: Donohue, Henneberry, 1890; London: Theosophical Publishing Society, 1913. Also included in Rab and His Friends, and Other Sketches by John Brown, New York: Home Book Co., New Beverly ed., 1890-1899?. The Greatest Thing in the World: and Other Addresses by
  • The Blossom and the Fruit (1887). Reprinted New York, J.W. Lovell Co., 1889. A tale of mystery and adventure. Subtitle: "a true story of a black magician." London: Published by the authors [sic], 1888.
  • Idyll of the White Lotus (1890). An occult story. Numerouse reprintings, including London, Theosophical Publishing Society, 1896.
  • Morial the Mahatma (1892).
  • Suggestion. New York: Lovell, Gestefeld & Co., 1892.
  • Juliet’s Lovers. London: Ward & Downey, 1893.
  • The Story of the Year. London: George Redway, 1895. Subtitle: "a record of feasts and ceremonies."
  • The Star Sapphire. Boston: Roberts Bros., 1896.
  • A Cry from Afar (1905). Subtitle: "to students of Light on the Path.'" London: Theosophical Publishing Society; Percy Lund, Humphries and Co., 1905Reprinted New York, Theosophical Publishing Company, 1907 and London, Theosophical Publishing Society, 1913.
  • Fragments of Thought and Life The Thesophical Publishing Society, 1908. Subtitle: "being seven essays, and seven fables in illustration of the essays."
  • The Builders. London: The Thesophical Publishing Society, 1910. An essay on builders, destroyers, and dwellers.
  • The Transparent Jewel. London: Rider, 1912.
  • When the Sun Moves Northward The Thesophical Publishing Society, 1912. Subtitle: "being a treatise on the six sacred months : containing the mystic ritual from the Story of the year and the teaching concerning the resurrection from Green leaves." Wheaton, Ill., Theosophical Press, 1963. Chicago, Ill.: Theosophical Press, 1923.
  • The Story of Sensa. New York: J.W. Lovelle, 1913 and Los Angeles: Theosophical Publishing House, 1913.London : Theosophical Pub. Society 1911. Subtitle: "an interpretation of the idyll of the white lotus."
  • The Crucible. London: The Theosophical Publishing Society, 1914. In September-October 1914, MC wrote her prediction that World War I, which had commenced the previous month, would turn into a crucible for humanity. She wrote of her experiences visiting wounded soldiers, and of talking with members of "Kitchener's Army."
  • As the Flower Grows. London: The Theosophical Publishing Society, 1915. Also, London: Theosophical Publishing House, 1919. Subtitle: "some visions and an interpretation, in two parts.
  • Love's Chaplet. A short treatise on the inner life.
  • The Awakening. London: The Theosophical Publishing Society, 1906. An account of how Light on the Path came to be.
  • Illusions. London: The Thesophical Publishing Society, ????.Essays on the inner side of nature, illustrated by actual psychic experiences.
  • One Life One Law. London: The Theosophical Publishing Society, 1909. Subtitle: "Thou shall not kill."
  • The Scroll of the Disembodied Man. London: John M. Watkins, 1904.
  • Our Glorious Future Subtitle: the Interpretation of "Light on the Path". Edinburgh, Theosophical Book Shop, 1917 (2nd edition).

Impact of her writings

Translated into numerous languages. Dutch, Slovenian

Idyll of the White Lotus was adapted into a play by Maud Hoffman Sensa, a Mystery Play in Three Acts.[3]


  1. Kim Farnell, "The Many Lives of Mabel Collins," Theosophical History Conference 2003, available at [1]
  2. Kim Farnell, "The Many Lives of Mabel Collins," Theosophical History Conference 2003, available at [2]
  3. Published in 1950 by Theosophical University Press in Covina, California.

Additional resources