Difference between revisions of "Dion Fortune"

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Certainly there is very little sense in modern American culture that sex is in any way sacred. To Dion Fortune, however, sex was a completely sacred act, a very powerful form of magic about which most people were clueless. She talks about male-female polarity, of course, a concept that is still valid although no longer confined to one’s physical gender. She also discusses the  idea that marriage partners need to be compatible on all levels, not just the physical. From the esoteric point of view, “love” that is based on physical attraction and personality traits alone is likely to be problematic; a lasting union requires deeper ties. We need to seek partners who are attuned to us on the astral (emotional), intellectual, and spiritual levels as well as the physical. This idea is not exclusively esoteric, of course; many people do seek partners with whom they are attuned on some or all of these levels. People with higher educational and income levels are less likely to divorce than those without college degrees,<ref> https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/living-single/201702/what-is-the-divorce-rate-really; accessed 16 December 2021</ref> although whether this reflects conscious attention to their partner’s spiritual evolution is not clear. It may also be a reflection of economic uncertainty putting greater stress on a marriage.
 
Certainly there is very little sense in modern American culture that sex is in any way sacred. To Dion Fortune, however, sex was a completely sacred act, a very powerful form of magic about which most people were clueless. She talks about male-female polarity, of course, a concept that is still valid although no longer confined to one’s physical gender. She also discusses the  idea that marriage partners need to be compatible on all levels, not just the physical. From the esoteric point of view, “love” that is based on physical attraction and personality traits alone is likely to be problematic; a lasting union requires deeper ties. We need to seek partners who are attuned to us on the astral (emotional), intellectual, and spiritual levels as well as the physical. This idea is not exclusively esoteric, of course; many people do seek partners with whom they are attuned on some or all of these levels. People with higher educational and income levels are less likely to divorce than those without college degrees,<ref> https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/living-single/201702/what-is-the-divorce-rate-really; accessed 16 December 2021</ref> although whether this reflects conscious attention to their partner’s spiritual evolution is not clear. It may also be a reflection of economic uncertainty putting greater stress on a marriage.
  
In any case, her book on the esoteric side of love and marriage, dated as it may seem to modern sensibilities, contains much that could help those modern, sensible people navigate the often turbulent waters of romantic love.  
+
In any case, her book on the esoteric side of love and marriage, dated as it may seem to modern sensibilities, contains much that could help modern, sensible people navigate the often turbulent waters of romantic love.  
  
 
=== Fiction ===
 
=== Fiction ===

Revision as of 18:07, 20 January 2022

THIS ARTICLE UNDER CONSTRUCTION
THIS ARTICLE UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Dion Fortune was a prominent British Occultist and author who founded the Society of the Inner Light.


Early Years

The magician, occultist, and prolific author known as Dion Fortune was born Violet Mary Firth on 6 December 1890, in the town of Llandudno, county Caernarvonshire, Wales. The Firth family in a previous generation were well-to-do steel manufacturers whose wealth derived largely from weaponry and the business of war.[1] Dion’s paternal grandfather, John Firth, devised the family motto: Deo, non Fortuna, or “God, not Luck,” which apparently summed up his viewpoint on the vagaries of life and which was, obviously, the source of her nom de plume. In 1890 her parents were operating a spa, the Craigside Hydrotherapeutic Establishment, which had heated pools and a medical practitioner on staff. [2] By the time she was a young teen her mother had become a registered Christian Science healer,[3] which would have introduced Violet to ideas about health and wellness that were quite out of the mainstream.

Like many highly sensitive children, Violet Firth was aware of much more than the world visible to the adults around her. As an adult herself, she reported having had visions as a four-year-old, which –- as an adult -- she believed to be past-life memories of Atlantis.[4]

Not much else is known about her childhood. Although well known in her day, she valued her privacy and never sought the limelight or encouraged personal questions. We do know she wrote two books of poetry as a teenager, both of which were likely published (in the early 1900s) by her family. The first was titled Violets; the second, More Violets.

When she was about 20, her parents enrolled her at a horticultural college for women, where she joined the staff after her student days were concluded. The “Warden” of the place was a woman medical doctor – highly unusual at the time. While Dr. Hamilton was obviously a strong and independent woman, she seems to have had what today we would call “issues.” Violet and other students and staff reported her to be both powerful and very, very controlling. While one of Violet’s biographers voices quite some approval of Dr. Hamilton – apparently the college was in crisis when she was hired, and she improved its fortunes[5] – other authors are not so sympathetic.[6] It has been suggested that the woman may have been a hypnotist; she was certainly capable of emotional abuse, and Violet suffered a nervous breakdown after a prolonged attempt to leave the woman’s employ. This was not the last time Violet would feel psychically attacked by other people. Her book Psychic Self Defense (originally published in 1930), on how to protect oneself from the negative energy of others, came out of these experiences.

She mentions in the book Psychic Self Defense that her experience with Dr. Hamilton and its aftermath led to her interest in psychology. [7] Before the advent of World War I she studied psychology at the University of London, in particular the works of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.[8] She found Jung’s theories regarding archetypes and the collective unconscious highly significant.

During the War she worked as a lay counselor in a psychotherapy clinic that was probably associated with the London School of Medicine for Women.[9] She found --- as have countless others --- that occultism and psychology, particularly Carl Jung’s approach, were highly compatible. According to Gareth Knight, she once stated that “she began by trying to explain occultism in terms of psychology but ended by having to explain psychology in terms of occultism. …[S]he strove to … persuade occultists and psychologists to abandon their mutual suspicion and enter some meaningful dialogue.”[10]

Eventually she found that occultism answered far more questions than did the field of psychoanalysis. She wrote that “A number of threads were placed in my hands … but the ends … disappeared into the darkness, and those threads were human lives.” Given the “poor percentage of success” with her clients, she couldn’t justify continuing with the work. However, “ … when the doctrines of occultism were brought to my notice … I could trace the run of the threads; I could see whence they came and whither they were tending, and from the segment could calculate the circle.”[11]

The town of Glastonbury, in Somerset County, England, is one of several places on the planet that is reputed to be a powerful spiritual center. The Historic UK website states: “In Glastonbury, history, myth and legend combine in such a way that most visitors cannot fail to feel the “vibes” and powerful atmosphere of the town.”[12] Dion Fortune stated that the information in her books on occultism was obtained from inner plane masters. It was in Glastonbury that she first felt their presence. Still known as Violet Firth, she was visiting the Chalice Well at the foot of Glastonbury Tor when she met Charles Loveday, who would become a lifelong friend and fellow student of occultism. In August of 1922, “through Violet Firth’s mediumship,” they received the first teachings from an inner plane group they knew as the Company of Avalon.[13]

Theosophical Connections

Miss Firth became a member-at-large of the Theosophical Society on January 12, 1924 in London.[14]

Occult work in WWII

Writings

Perhaps we really know Dion Fortune through her writings. She was quite practical and down to earth in her approach to occultism, and it’s clear that she has a background in psychology.

In the 1988 edition of Dion Fortune's The Esoteric Philosophy of Love and Marriage --- and the Problem of Purity (published by the Society of the Inner Light), this note appears following the Preface:

In December 1942 Dion Fortune wrote:
There are things I wrote of Spiritualism twenty years ago which, in the light of wider experience, I would not write today, and to cite these as evidence against me is to deny the possibility of human progress.

This particular book was first published in1924. We can’t know whether she would have revised it in the 1960s — or the 2000s — but it is certain that nearly 100 years later it reads as very dated, if not nearly obsolete. Her views on purity, in particular, would cause a fair amount of angst and outrage among the LGBTQ community and its supporters (although it’s not likely many of them will ever read it). Humanity has a long history of swinging from one extreme to the other: after hundreds of years of stringent repression, the boundaries of sexual behavior have been smashed up and blown away. Graphic novels in high school libraries are considered pornography by some; from another point of view, they just depict the way some teens live in the 21st century.

Certainly there is very little sense in modern American culture that sex is in any way sacred. To Dion Fortune, however, sex was a completely sacred act, a very powerful form of magic about which most people were clueless. She talks about male-female polarity, of course, a concept that is still valid although no longer confined to one’s physical gender. She also discusses the idea that marriage partners need to be compatible on all levels, not just the physical. From the esoteric point of view, “love” that is based on physical attraction and personality traits alone is likely to be problematic; a lasting union requires deeper ties. We need to seek partners who are attuned to us on the astral (emotional), intellectual, and spiritual levels as well as the physical. This idea is not exclusively esoteric, of course; many people do seek partners with whom they are attuned on some or all of these levels. People with higher educational and income levels are less likely to divorce than those without college degrees,[15] although whether this reflects conscious attention to their partner’s spiritual evolution is not clear. It may also be a reflection of economic uncertainty putting greater stress on a marriage.

In any case, her book on the esoteric side of love and marriage, dated as it may seem to modern sensibilities, contains much that could help modern, sensible people navigate the often turbulent waters of romantic love.

Fiction

Non-fiction

The Union Index of Theosophical Periodicals lists over 80 articles by or about Dion Fortune. She wrote dozens of articles for The Occult Review.

Society of the Inner Light

Later years

Notes

  1. Richardson, Alan (1991): The Magical Life of Dion Fortune, Priestess of the 20th Century. London: Aquarian Press (division of HarperCollins)
  2. Knight, Gareth (2000). Dion Fortune and the Inner Light. Loughborough: Thoth Publications, p. 14
  3. ibid., p.17
  4. Richardson, pp 31-32; & Knight, pp 14-15
  5. Knight, pp 21-23
  6. Richardson, pp 50 ff
  7. Need cite & pg #
  8. https://www.encyclopedia.com/people/literature-and-arts/french-literature-biographies/dion-fortune
  9. Richardson, pp 52–53
  10. Knight, p. 66
  11. Knight, p. 71
  12. https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryMagazine/DestinationsUK/Glastonbury/
  13. Knight, pp. 73–76
  14. Theosophical Society General Membership Register, 1875-1942 at http://tsmembers.org/. See book 10, entry 109399 (website file: 10B/17).
  15. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/living-single/201702/what-is-the-divorce-rate-really; accessed 16 December 2021