Kathleen Raine

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Biographical Information

Kathleen Raine, died aged 95 in 2003. "William Blake was her master, and she shared his belief that "one power alone makes a poet - imagination, the divine vision". As WB Yeats, her other great exemplar, put it, "poetry and religion are the same thing". To this vision she committed not only her poetry and erudition, but her whole life. She stood as a witness to spiritual values in a society that rejected them.

"By the end, she inspired many kindred thinkers, including the Prince of Wales, whom she met through her friend Laurens van der Post. "I thought, that poor young man - anything I can do for him, I will do, because he is very lonely," she said of their first contact. In his turn, Prince Charles gave her vital support through his patronage of the Temenos Academy of Integral Studies, which she founded in London in 1990 as a new "school of wisdom"...

"After Cambridge, Kathleen married: because, as she admitted in her autobiography, she had no idea what else to do. The marriage - to Hugh Sykes Davies - failed; she eloped with Charles Madge (obituary, January 24 1996), who conceived Mass Observation, and with whom she had a son, James, and daughter, Anna. But she left this marriage, too, caught in a sensual passion for a man who did not care for her.

"The love of her life was the homosexual Gavin Maxwell. She believed they shared all she held dearest in life. His grandfather was the Duke of Northumberland; her grandmother had sat behind his in Kielder Kirk, "admiring her coils of shining hair". He and Kathleen were at one in their love for that place, for his hut at Sandaig on the west Highland coast, and for Mijbil, the otter he had brought from the Euphrates. But the relationship was doomed..." [1]

She was an Initiate of Dion Fortune’s Society of the Inner Light. [1]


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  1. guardian.co.uk Kathleen Raine, organizational web page, accessed July 1, 2012.