J.W. Brodie- Innes was born at Downe in Kent, where his Scottish born father Rev. John Brodie Innes ( 1815-1894 ) had been Vicar from 1846. His father was a friend and confidant of a neighbour at Downe, Charles Darwin. A lawyer by profession, he was a member of the Sette of Odde Volumes ( a London bibliophile society ), and was its president in 1911. He wrote several novels on witchcraft and magic and is believed to have been one of Dion Fortune's occult teachers. (Fortune was also taught by such occult practitioners as Moina Mathers and Dr Theodore Moriarty).
Throughout the dissensions of the Golden Dawn, Brodie-Innes remained loyal to MacGregor Mathers, and on the death of his chief in 1918 published an affectionate obituary titled "MacGregor Mathers - Some Personal Reminiscences" in the May 1919 issue of The Occult Review.