Title: From India to the Planet Marts
Author: Theodore Flournoy, Daniel B. Vermilye (trans)
Publisher: Harper & Brothers, 1900. 1st English edition.
Condition: Hardcover, decorative cloth. Some wear to cover, especially spine. Interior good. Book plate on fly pages – this book belonged to P.F. McClure, former commissioner of Dakota, who subsequently donated the book to the AFAM Grand Lodge of South Dakota.
About the book (from Princeton.edu):
A classic in the field of psychology, From India to the Planet Mars (1900) depicts the remarkable multiple existence of the medium Hélène Smith, who claimed to be the reincarnation of Marie Antoinette, of a Hindu princess from fifteenth-century India, and of a regular visitor to Mars, whose landscapes she painted and whose language she appeared to speak fluently. Through a psychological interpretation of these fantasies, which consisted in the subliminal elaboration of forgotten memories, Théodore Flournoy vastly extended the scope and understanding of the unconscious, and in particular, of its creative and mythopoetic capacities.
About Hélène Smith (from Wikipedia):
Hélène Smith was a famous late-19th century French psychic. She was known as “the Muse of Automatic Writing” by the Surrealists, who viewed Smith as evidence of the power of the surreal, and a symbol of surrealist knowledge. Late in life, Smith claimed to communicate with Martians, and to be a reincarnation of a Hindu princess and Marie Antoinette.
She became well-known in Geneva, and it was there that Flournoy made her acquaintance. Her channeling evolved from the usual raps and table-tipping to somnambulatory trances, of which she remembered nothing. While in this state she experienced clear images of faraway places such as a civilization on Mars, and of her own former lives. She would write out the Martian communications on paper and translate them into French, popularizing automatic writing.
In 1900, she became famous with the publication of Des Indes à la Planete Mars (“From India to the Planet Mars”) by Théodore Flournoy, Professor of Psychology at the University of Geneva. The medium and the psychologist remained very close until 1899, when “Des Indes à la planète Mars” was first published. The book documented her various series of experiences in terms of romantic cycles: the “Martian” cycle, “Ultramartian” cycle, “Hindu”, “Oriental”, and “royal” cycles.
The book was very well received, but Müller felt that she had been misunderstood and she would no longer work with Flournoy, who had portrayed her various “cycles” as the products of what he judged to be infantile imaginings and her Martian language as a mere constructed language. Ferdinand de Saussure studied Smith’s Martian language as well as Flournoy, and judged it to be “a genuine (if childish) language.”
In 1900, a certain Mrs. Jackson, a rich American spiritualist who was impressed by Müller, offered her a salary which would permit her to quit her job and dedicate herself to pursuing and documenting her experiences. Müller accepted and was able to continue with further cycles. She also began to paint her visions and particular religious images of Christ.