She was a co-founder of the Fraternity of the Inner Light , an occult organisation that promoted philosophies which she claimed had been taught to her by spiritual entities known as the Ascended Masters. A prolific writer, she produced a large number of articles and books on her occult ideas and also authored seven novels, several of which expound occult themes. Fortune was born in Llandudno , North Wales, to a wealthy upper middle-class English family, although little is known of her early life. By her teenage years she was living in England's West Country , where she wrote two books of poetry.
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She was a co-founder of the Fraternity of the Inner Light , an occult organisation that promoted philosophies which she claimed had been taught to her by spiritual entities known as the Ascended Masters. A prolific writer, she produced a large number of articles and books on her occult ideas and also authored seven novels, several of which expound occult themes. Fortune was born in Llandudno , North Wales, to a wealthy upper middle-class English family, although little is known of her early life.
By her teenage years she was living in England's West Country , where she wrote two books of poetry. After time spent at a horticultural college she began studying psychology and psychoanalysis at the University of London before working as a counsellor in a psychotherapy clinic.
She became interested in esotericism through the teachings of the Theosophical Society , before joining an occult lodge led by Theodore Moriarty and then the Alpha et Omega occult organisation. She came to believe that she was being contacted by the Ascended Masters, including " the Master Jesus ", and underwent trance mediumship to channel the Masters' messages.
In Fortune and Charles Loveday claimed that during one of these ceremonies they were contacted by Masters who provided them with a text, The Cosmic Doctrine. Although she became the president of the Christian Mystic Lodge of the Theosophical Society, she believed the society to be uninterested in Christianity, and split from it to form the Community of the Inner Light, a group later renamed the Fraternity of the Inner Light.
With Loveday she established bases in both Glastonbury and Bayswater , London, began issuing a magazine, gave public lectures, and promoted the growth of their society.
During the Second World War she organised a project of meditations and visualisations designed to protect Britain. She began planning for what she believed was a coming post-war Age of Aquarius , although she died of leukemia shortly after the war's end.
Fortune is recognised as one of the most significant occultists and ceremonial magicians of the early 20th century. The Fraternity she founded survived her and in later decades spawned a variety of related groups based upon her teachings. Her novels in particular proved an influence on later occult and modern Pagan groups such as Wicca. One of John's sons — and Fortune's uncle — was the historian Charles Harding Firth , while her father, Arthur, had run a Sheffield law firm prior to establishing a hydropathic establishment in Limpley Stoke , Wiltshire.
Little is known about Fortune's time in Wales,  in part because throughout her life she was deliberately elusive when providing biographical details about herself. After John Firth's death, Arthur moved with his family to London. Her proficiency with poultry led her to become a staff member at the college from January to April To recover from her experience at Studley, Fortune began studying psychotherapy.
Her first magical mentor was the Irish occultist and Freemason Theodore Moriarty. Moriarty performed an exorcism , claiming that the young man was the victim of the soul of a deceased East European soldier which had latched onto him as a parasite. Taverner, who appeared in a number of short stories first published in , later assembled in a collected volume as The Secrets of Dr. Taverner in Taverner was portrayed as carrying out exorcisms to protect humans from the attacks of etheric vampires.
In tandem with her studies under Moriarty, in Fortune had been initiated into the London Temple of the Alpha et Omega , an occult group that had developed from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Here, her primary teacher was Maiya Curtis-Webb ,  a longstanding friend of the Firth family. She claimed that in doing so, she had contacted spirit-entities known as "the Watchers of Avalon" who informed her that Glastonbury had once been the site of an ancient druidic college.
Along with an anonymous woman known only as "E. It was in this manner that Fortune and Loveday claimed that they received a text, The Cosmic Doctrine , which was dictated to them in segments by the Masters between July and February In August Moriarty died, and Fortune—who had never been particularly popular among his followers  —tried to convince them that she should be their new leader. A few accepted her offer, but many others instead accepted the leadership of Stafford-Allen.
On 20 August , Fortune, Loveday, and others established themselves as a formal occult group. They later came to believe that this experience was a result of a messenger from the Elemental Kingdoms, and it greatly influenced their developing beliefs. Fortune's activities—including her leadership of the new group and a series of articles that she wrote for The Occult Review —raised concerns for Alpha et Omega leader Moina Mathers. Wedgwood and Charles Webster Leadbeater , alleging that it was not concerned with the Master Jesus and was instead preoccupied with the Master Maitreya.
One of the prominent figures in the Church, Bishop Piggott, accused her of attributing false claims to him in The Occult Review. Amid these arguments with other sectors of the Theosophical movement, she resigned from the Theosophical Society in October. When Jiddu Krishnamurti abandoned Theosophy, causing problems for the Theosophical movement, Fortune endorsed the 'Back to Blavatsky' faction, attacking Leadbeater in print by accusing him of being a practitioner of black magic.
She nevertheless was cautious about these Himalayan adepts, relating that although she felt that they were "not evil", she thought them "alien and unsympathetic" and "hostile to my race". In April , Fortune married Tom Penry Evans—a Welsh medical doctor from a working-class background—at Paddington Registry Office ,  before the couple embarked on a honeymoon in Glastonbury. Beginning in August , the channelled messages focused around issues of alternative medicine and diagnostics and were later assembled as The Principles of Esoteric Medicine , which was privately circulated among Fortune's senior students.
Fortune and her group focused on 'Outer Court' work, which entailed engaging in publicity to boost membership. At the vernal equinox of , Fortune declared that—with the 'Lesser Mysteries' and three degree system now properly established—she wanted to turn away from public work and focus on personal spiritual development.
Seymour, in By , tensions in Fortune's marriage were tearing it apart. Fortune published many articles in Inner Light magazine, a number of which were collected together and published in books. In this book Fortune expressed reservations about Spiritualism.
She drew a distinction between normal Spiritualist mediums and 'cosmic mediums' such as herself who contacted the Ascended Masters, also arguing that the spirits of the dead should not be contacted without good reason, a view that generated controversy among the occult milieu.
Over four years, Fortune also published a number of articles in Inner Light that discussed the Hermetic Qabalah. These articles were then assembled as the book The Mystical Qabalah , which is widely perceived as a milestone in her esoteric career. Fortune corresponded with a number of prominent occultists in this period.
One of these was Israel Regardie , whose book The Tree of Life was regarded by Fortune as "quite the best book on magic" that she had read. The outbreak of the Second World War in September saw some of the Fraternity's members enlist in the armed forces, putting a stop to many of the group's activities.
After the United States entered the conflict in December , Fortune began assembling plans for the post-war period, believing it would mark the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. In August , Fortune embarked on a further project of trance mediumship, this time with her Alpha et Omega mentor, Curtis-Webb now renamed Maiya Tranchall-Hayes , in the hope of contacting the same Masters who they believed had aided the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
In late , Fortune fell ill, and was unable to give her scheduled address to the Fraternity on that year's winter solstice. Lewis, vicar of St. John's Church. Fortune completed seven novels during her lifetime. The literary scholar Susan Johnson Graf categorises these alongside the work of H. Fortune saw her occult novels as an important part of her Fraternity work, initiating readers into the realms of occultism by speaking to their subconscious, even when their conscious mind rejects occult teachings.
Fortune's first novel was The Demon Lover , which tells the story of Veronica Mainwaring, a young virgin woman who becomes the secretary to a malevolent magician, Justin Lucas, who seeks to exploit her latent mediumistic powers for his own purposes.
Although she falls in love with him, she eventually escapes his entrapments through her devotion to Christianity. The Goat-Foot God revolves around a wealthy widower, Hugh Patson, who teams up with an esoteric bookseller to seek out the ancient Greek god Pan.
They achieve this with the aid of a poverty-stricken artist, Mona Wilton, who becomes close to Patson as the novel progresses. He meets with Le Fay Morgan, a spiritual adept, and together they enter an obsessive on Wilfred's part but platonic relationship while establishing a temple to the sea gods. Fortune's novels all follow the same basic theme: a heroine — a priestess and initiatrix who is magically experienced and assertive — who meets a man and saves him from himself. In her discussion of Fortune's work, Sonja Sadovsky stated that the "unique element" of Fortune's fiction was "the recurring plotline of esoteric romance told from the priestess's viewpoint", suggesting that her female characters provided a template from which female readers could build upon in their own spiritual practice.
According to Sadovsky, this is a celibate figure who concentrates her creative powers on training priestesses and dealing with occult matters. Fortune identified her beliefs as being part of what she termed "the Western Mystery Tradition". There is no evidence that Fortune considered herself to be a "Pagan". Lawrence 's The Rainbow , of which she was a fan. Fortune believed in the existence of an underlying commonality between the teachings of Western esoteric orders and Asian religious traditions.
What that great initiate Rudolf Steiner did for the German-speaking races someone must do for those who use a Latin-root language and the Anglo-Saxon tongue. Fortune was a ceremonial magician.
The Fraternity's rituals at their Bayswater temple were carried out under a dim light, with Fortune claiming that bright light disperses etheric forces. A light was placed on the altar while incense, usually frankincense , was burned. The lodge was opened by walking around the room in a circle chanting, with the intent of building a psychic force up as a wall.
Fortune was particularly concerned with the issue of sex. Fortune was among those who popularised the idea of a division between the left-hand path and right-hand path which had been introduced to Western esotericism by the Theosophist Helena Blavatsky.
The historian Claire Fanger noted that Fortune exhibited a "dynamic personality and confident leadership". Richardson believed that while "sex was all important to Dion, there is the constant impression that actual coitus was distasteful" to her. Fortune did not involve herself or her group in any explicitly political movement or party. According to Richardson, Fortune fell into "relative obscurity" after her death, having been overshadowed by her more famous contemporary, Aleister Crowley.
Fortune's Fraternity survived her, and was renamed the Society of the Inner Light in ;  the change was a legal refinement to help the group achieve charitable status. At various points it has been heavily influenced by Alice Bailey 's ideas about the Ascended Masters, the ideas of Subud , and the use of Scientology 's E-meters. This generated controversy in the group, with Gareth Knight leaving to form his own lodge based on Fortune's teachings, known as the Gareth Knight Group.
Butler , likewise split with the Fraternity to found his own group in Jersey , the Servants of the Light , which would later be taken over by Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki and remains one of the world's largest esoteric organizations in the early 21st century maintaining about active students.
By the late s the Society's membership had dropped to a few dozen, and under the control of a new warden it invited Knight to return to the group in order to help promote it. Knight agreed, leaving his own lodge to publish two works by Fortune based on her material in the Society's archive, and authoring a biography of her.
In the early 21st century, Evans noted that Fortune's work was "still influential in some magical quarters",  highlighting that in his experience she was one of only three female ceremonial magicians—alongside Leah Hirsig and Jaq Hawkins —that modern esotericists could readily name. The religious studies scholar Hugh Urban noted that Fortune was "one of the key links" between early twentieth-century ceremonial magic and the developing Pagan religion of Wicca. In researching ceremonial magic orders and other esoteric groups active in the London area during the s, Luhrmann found that within them, Fortune's novels were treated as "fictionalized ideals" and that they were recommended to newcomers as the best way to understand magic.
Fortune's priestesses were an influence on the characters of Marion Zimmer Bradley 's The Mists of Avalon ,  and her ideas were adopted as the basis for the Aquarian Order of the Restoration , a ceremonial magic group led by Bradley.
A list of Fortune's fiction works was provided by Knight: . From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Dion Fortune. Llandudno , Wales.
Book Review: The Sea Priestess, by Dion Fortune
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The Sea Priestess
Vivien has the ability to transform herself into magical images, and here she becomes Morgan Le Fay, sea priestess of Atlantis and foster daughter to Merlin! Desperately in love with Vivien, Wilfred Maxwell works by her side at an isolated seaside retreat, investigating these occult mysteries. They soon find themselves inextricably drawn to an ancient cult through which they learn the esoteric significance of the magnetic ebb and flow of the moontides. The publisher put almost no effort into producing this, which is a shame and disrespectful to the author.
In esoteric work for the healing of nations, there are at least two main streams — the path of the Lineages and the path of the Hearth-fire. She also wrote novels and books on the theory of The Mystic Qabalah , and did astral-plane police work. We may visualise — as if from an aeroplane at night — a pattern of sacred fires placed here and there on earth, where the Companions of the Light are gathered and keep watch. We may approach and join them.