"He wrote: "....practically no one ever bothered to buy a copy.""
DR. SEUSS'S GIFT OF GOD
By Daniel D. Ziegler
With the death of Dr. Seuss (Theodore S. Geisel) in September of 1991, the
world lost a brilliant writer; and, many of us feel that we also lost a good friend.
Best known for his 41 children's books, he also wrote three adult books, two of
those his final years--You're Only Old Once and Oh, the Places You'll Go!. But
few know that his first adult book, The Seven Lady Godivas,* was published way
back in 1939. It was not a success, however. It was reprinted in 1987 but failed
again. In a letter to me, Dr. Seuss referred to it as a "failed publication." He wrote,
"...practically no one ever bothered to buy a copy."
Today it is no longer in print and is only available through the rare book market.
This article is an attempt to revive interest in the book by sharing an astonishing
discovery about it.
In 1976, thirty-seven years after the publication of The Seven Lady Godivas, a
work appeared on the market entitled, A Course in Miracles,** Published by the
Foundation for Inner Peace, it had been written, or more appropriately, taken
down through dictation of an inner voice heard by a professor of psychology, Dr.
Helen Schucman. The voice claimed to be Jesus.
A Course in Miracles has been translated into a number of languages and has
become the foundation for spiritual growth for many people around the world. It
aims, in its own words, "...at removing the barriers to the awareness of love's
In 1990, I discovered The Seven Lady Godivas. At the time, I had been working
with A Course in Miracles for almost three years. I found The Seven Lady
Godivas to be a delightfully humorous work that expressed a strong sense of
physical self-acceptance and freedom to which I, as a nudist, easily related.
But there seemed to be more. From the very beginning, one phrase seemed to
grab my attention. The words were, "Follow me." Dr. Seuss writes:
"Then she knocked at her sister's door. ‘Follow me,' said Hedwig. Just that and
In his brilliance, Dr. Seuss seems to deliberately draw attention to the words
‘Follow me' by adding, "Just that and nothing more." ‘Follow me' jumped out at me
and I immediately thought of the references in the New Testament (KJV) in which
Jesus used those words to call his disciples.
By this time, the book itself was beckoning me to follow it. After a number of
readings, other passages caught my attention as well; one, in particular, seemed
to correspond to a passage from A Course in Miracles and another to a passage
from the Bible. Upon closer examination, I was startled to discover that what was
being revealed was that The Seven Lady Godivas contains a very profound
spiritual message, and that the Bible, and more particularly, A Course in
Miracles, are the keys to unlocking that message. The story seems to be a
metaphor for our own spiritual journey.
This was an astonishing revelation to me, and I felt both a sense of elation and
disbelief. Wondering, in fact, if what I was seeing was real or a product of my
imagination, I shared my insight with a friend who was familiar with both works.
She too was deeply moved by the uncanny connection.
Since that time, I have not been able to completely set The Seven Lady Godivas
aside. The profundity of the message and the clarity with which A Course in
Miracles reveals it still seems uncanny to me. And, since few copies of The
Seven Lady Godivas have been purchased and obviously fewer by people
familiar with A Course in Miracles, it has also occurred to me that perhaps I am
the only one to have made this discovery. Thus, I feel compelled to write about it.
The following is an attempt to share, as I see it, the spiritual message within The
Seven Lady Godivas.
The tale begins as Lord Godiva announces to his seven daughters that he is
leaving for the Battle of Hastings--by horseback. It is important to know that in 11th
century Coventry, according to Dr. Seuss, the horse was still "experimental" and
basically "remained a mystery." Lord Godiva doesn't even make it to the
drawbridge before Nathan, his war horse, throws him "spurs over breastplate off
on his helm." By the time his daughters get to him, Lord Godiva is dead.
Saddened by their loss but recognizing their "grim obligation" to mankind to shed
some light on the horse and make it "safe for posterity," each Godiva sister
swears that she will not marry until she has discovered a Horse Truth. Peeping
Tom and his six brothers, to whom the Godiva sisters are engaged, await
patiently as each girl pursues her Horse Truth Quest. As each discovers her
Horse Truth, she is free, once again, to be reunited with her Peeping.
Through clever illustrations and witty writing, Dr. Seuss leads his readers through
some hilarious experiences as each of the seven Lady Godivas follows her path
toward discovery of a Horse Truth.
Laughing, the reader will relate to each of the girls as she is followed through her
adventure. From one who says, "I want another horse," we realize that we must
deal with our issues as we have created them. From another we learn that being
kicked in the rear can put us right where we need to be at times.
There could be much speculation about hidden meaning in this wonderful tale, but
to me the real significance of the story lies in its message of self-acceptance and
freedom. Dr. Seuss describes the Godiva sisters' attitude as he writes:
"And their nakedness was not a thing of shame."
A sense of self-acceptance and it's related freedom, at the physical level, is
conveyed with these words.
But a strong sense of self-acceptance at the mental and emotional levels is also
obvious. Each girl follows her own path and pursues her Horse Truth in her own
way. One sister, analytical in her approach uses research to find her Horse Truth.
Another says, "I shall go at the horse from a nautical angle."
That the book contains a spiritual message of self-acceptance is not quite so
obvious, but never-the-less, it is there. To unlock the message required me to
allow my mind, in Dr. Seuss's words, "to gallop wild along the most amazing
thought lanes." Doing so was quite an adventure for me.
As I stated, the words "Follow me" were the first hint I had of a spiritual quality to
this book and they invited me to look closer at other passages that might contain
spiritual implications. I began thinking Dr. Seuss's beautiful words expressing
Lord Godiva's thoughts as he observed his daughters. The words themselves
seem to want special attention. Dr. Seuss writes:
"No where, he thought with satisfaction, could there be a group of young ladies
that wasted less time upon frivol and froth. No fluffy duff primping, no feather, no
fuss. They were simply themselves and chose not to disguise it."
That description, especially the last sentence, reminded me of the words from A
Course in Miracles:
"I am as God created me." (Lessons 94, 110, 162).
Although these words in A Course in Miracles refer to our higher self--our spirit--
they aptly describe how the Godiva sisters must have felt about their bodies. It
was possible, I thought, that the self-acceptance the girls felt about their physicality
could be viewed as symbolic of how we are to view our spirituality. But yet that did
not seem like enough evidence to conclude that the book carried a specific and
intentional spiritual message.
The next passage to attract my attention first did so because it appears in italics.
They are words spoken by Hedwig, the eldest daughter, as she instructs her
sisters. As each discovers her Horse Truth, she is to inscribe it on a page in a
special Oath Book, which Hedwig has prepared. Dr. Seuss writes:
"So long as your page remains empty of Horse Truth, so shall your life remain
empty of love."
After reading the book several times, these words seemed to inscribe themselves
on my mind, demanding to be understood. At one point, as I was playing with
them, I rephrased them to read, ‘Find your Horse Truth and you will be free to
love.' Then it hit my like a flash of light--they were similar to words from the Bible
and I clearly saw them in front of me:
"And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free," (John 8, 32)
The tingling that went through body and the tears that flooded my eyes told me that
I had been given an important revelation. There was no doubt now that this book
contained some very profound spiritual information.
But it still seemed to be in bits and pieces. Was this all there was--two seemingly
unrelated passages? Or was there more? Did this book only contain fragments of
spiritual teachings? Were the pieces ever going to fit together?
This is what I had so far: One passage that seemed similar to, "I am as God
created me," from A Course in Miracles and another that seemed similar to,
"And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free," from the Bible. If
there was a spiritual message of some sort, what was it saying? What is the truth
that makes us free? Free to do what? Was it trying to say that if we discover our
Truth, then we will be able to experience love,just as when the Godiva sisters
discovered their Horse Truths, they were free to be reunited with their lovers?
Whose love would we experience? These were all questions that were "galloping
wild though my mind."
Several weeks later, I had the answers to these questions. One day, as I was
cross-referencing between the Bible and A Course in Miracles, I was led to the
explanation of Lesson 110 of A Course in Miracles in the Workbook for Students.
I could hardly believe what I was reading. At the top of the page read the words, "I
am as God created me," and toward the bottom of the page, as part of the
explanation, "This is the truth that comes to set you free."
As I read the words, I was overwhelmed with a sense of elation and tears once
again flooded my eyes. Not only was I totally convinced that the story contained a
very definite and clear message, but here it was in front of me, explained in A
Course in Miracles. What is the truth that makes us free, and what are we free to
do? What is our Truth or Highest?
According to A Course in Miracles, our Highest Truth is that, in spirit, we remain
as God created us--perfect in His image; and it is with this realization that we are
free to experience God's perfect love. It is the highest level of self-acceptance and
freedom. It is also the end of our Horse Truth Quest--the end of our spiritual
journey. We have arrived.
Here then, totally expose, standing in all its glory, is the message contained within
The Seven Lady Godivas: ‘I AM AS GOD CREATED ME'.
Although many spiritual works convey that ultimately self-acceptance and freedom
occur at the spiritual level, The Seven Lady Godivas is unique in its approach in
that it deals with all levels of self-acceptance, beginning with the physical. It serves
as an important reminder that we must accept our physicality before we can
accept our spirituality. Self-awareness and self-acceptance at the spiritual level
are not possible until we have removed all the blocks and barriers that stand in our
way at lower levels. Even negative feelings about our bodies, are judgments that
block our progress of spiritual growth. The Godiva sisters seem to be inviting all of
us to reclaim acceptance of our original state--beginning with our bodies.
The Seven Lady Godivas is special to me. I wrote to Dr. Seuss several times,
both to express my appreciation for the book and to offer my thoughts on it; and
though he avoided answering any of my questions pertaining to the source of
inspiration for the book, I'm so glad I took the time to write while he was still alive.
In his letter to me he wrote:
Letter From Dr. Seuss
"Thank you, Dan Ziegler...For finding qualities in The Seven Lady Godivas that
are not apparent to the average reader.
"There are, of course no average readers of this book because practically no
one ever bothered to buy a copy.
"Your letter and your review were greatly appreciated. They made me feel that
maybe this failed publication wasn't a complete failure after all.
Was this beautiful metaphor divinely inspired, thirty-seven years earlier, by that
same author as A Course in Miracles? Was Dr. Seuss aware that he was writing
about our spiritual journey and expressing our ultimate Truth? What was going on
in his mind as he wrote it?
Perhaps we will never know the answer to these questions and others, but that is
not important. The importance lies with the message itself--with the fact that we
once again have been reminded of our Highest Truth. Throughout history, mankind
has been given this message often--often misunderstood, often misinterpreted,
often forgotten--only to be revealed again. When we seem to have forgotten, we
are once again reminded.
It is my hope that enough interest can be stimulated to revive this book and
warrant a reprinting. After all, it wasn't written to be "a failed publication."
Translated, ‘Godiva' means ‘gift of God'. This book is a 'Godiva.' * * *
* Seuss, Dr., The Seven Lady Godivas, Random House Publishing Company, 201 E. 50th
Street, New York, NY 10032, 1987, ISBN 0-394-56269-0. (For possible availability call 1-
** A Course in Miracles, Foundation for Inner Peace, P.O.B. 1104 Glen Ellen, CA 95442.
Portions reprinted by permission from A Course in Miracles, Copyright 1975, Foundation
for Inner Peace.
Copyright 2008 Daniel D. Ziegler
LESS-ONS FOR TRUTH
Reclaiming Acceptance of our Original State