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Dion Fortune

From Thelemapedia

Dion Fortune (1891-1946 EV), born Violet Mary Firth, British magician and author.

She was introduced to the occult by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and after its break up she launched her own occult society, the Society of the Inner Light. She remained active in the occult for the rest of her life.

She wrote a number of novels and short stories that explored various aspects of magic and mysticism, including The Demon Lover, The Winged Bull, The Goat-Foot God, The Sea Priestess, and The Secrets of Dr. Taverner. This latter is a collection of her short stories, and contains perhaps her most successful efforts at fiction.

Of her non-fictional works on magical subjects, the best remembered of her books are The Cosmic Doctrine, meant as a summation of her basic teachings on mysticism; and The Mystical Qabalah, an introduction to the Kabbalah, at least as practiced by those Western adepts of hermeticism who have borrowed from it. Though some of her writings may seem dated to contemporary readers, they have the virtue of lucidity, and the avoidance of the deliberate obscurity that characterised many of her forerunners.

Dion Fortune allegedly participated in the magical Battle of Britain, which was supposed to have been a gathering of British magicians for the purpose of hexing Adolf Hitler and forestalling a German invasion during the darkest days of World War II. The effort involved in casting these spells is said to have contributed to her death shortly after the war ended, although the Society for the Inner Light website states that she died of leukemia. Her Society for the Inner Light continues to function, as do other organizations descended from her students.

Fortune and Crowley

Fortune, in her The Mystical Qabala, clearly stated that she depended on Crowley's reprinting of S.L. MacGregor Mathers' notes on Qabalah:

The Unwritten Qabalah ... concerning which MacGregor Mathers says, "I may say no more on this point. ..." [I]t may be justifiable to say that if he did receive the Unwritten Qabalah it has for some years ceased to be unwritten, for after a quarrel with MacGregor Mathers, Aleister Crowley, the well known author and scholor, published the lot. ...
In these pages it is the system given by Crowley of which I shall avail myself to supplement the points upon which Macgregor Mathers, Wynn Westcott, and A.E. Waite, the principal modern authorites upon the qabalah, are silent.

In her preface, however, she clarified that she was not personally acquainted with Crowley:

As I have frequently referred to the authority of MacGregor Mathers and Aleister Crowley in matters of Qabalistic mysticism, it may be as well to explain my position in relation to these two writers. I was at one time a member of the organisation founded by the former, but have never been associated with the latter. I have never known either of these gentlemen personally, MacGregor Mathers having died before I joined his organisatrion, and Aleister Crowley having then ceased to be associated with it.

Nevertheless, as one reads The Mystical Qabalah it is clear that Fortune owes much to Crowley's The Temple of Solomon the King and Liber 777.


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