Dion Fortune

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Dion Fortune
Dion Fortune.jpg
Fortune as a teenager approx 1905
Born Violet Mary Firth
6 December 1890
Llandudno, Wales
Died 6 January 1946 (aged 55)
Middlesex, London
Occupation Occultist, author

Dion Fortune, born Violet Mary Firth (6 December 1890 – 6 January 1946), was a British occultist, Christian mystic, novelist and author who established the Society of the Inner Light. Schooled in Western esotericism, she was a prolific writer of the supernatural and the occult in both novels and non-fiction works.

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 authored two books of poetry. After studying at a horticultural college she moved to London, where she studied psychology and psychoanalysis at the University of London and worked as a counsellor in a psychotherapy clinic. During the First World War she joined the Women's Land Army. She became interested in esotericism through the teachings of the Theosophical Society, coming to believe that she was being contacted by spiritual entities known as the Ascended Masters, one of whom was "the Master Jesus". In 1919 she was initiated into the Alpha et Omega, an esoteric organisation, within which she embarked on experiments in trance mediumship.

While in Glastonbury in 1922, Fortune and Charles Loveday believed that they had been contacted by the Masters, claiming that the latter provided them with a text, The Cosmic Doctrine. On the basis of the teachings within this book, they founded a ritual group in 1924, basing themselves at Bayswater in London. She became President of the Christian Mystic Lodge of the Theosophical Society, but later split this group from the main Theosophical Society and renamed it the Community of the Inner Light. Fortune died in 1946 from leukemia in Middlesex, London, at the age of 55.

Fortune is recognised as one of the most significant occultists of the 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.


Early life: 1890–1913[edit]

An illustration of Fortune's hometown, Llandudno, in 1860

Fortune was born Violet Mary Firth on 6 December 1890 at her family home on Bryn-y-Bia Road in Llandudno, North Wales.[1] Her background was upper middle-class;[2] the Firths were a wealthy English family who had gained their money through the steel industry in Sheffield, Yorkshire, where they had specialised in the production of guns.[3] Fortune's paternal grandfather John Firth had devised a family motto, "Deo, non Fortuna" ("God, not Luck"), to mark out their nouveau riche status; she would later make use of it in creating her pseudonym.[4] 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.[5] In August 1886 Arthur Firth married Sarah Jane Smith,[6] before they relocated to Llandudno where Arthur established the new Craigside Hydrotherapeutic Establishment.[7]

Little is known about Fortune's time in Wales,[8] in part because throughout her life she was deliberately elusive in providing biographical details about herself.[9] Her mother was keenly interested in Christian Science,[10] and while biographer Gareth Knight suggested that both of Firth's parents were active practitioners of the religion,[11] fellow biographer Alan Richardson argued that there was insufficient evidence to support this latter idea.[12] In later life she reported that from the age of four she had experienced visions of Atlantis, something which she believed were past life memories.[13] The Firths were still in Llandudno in 1900,[14] although by 1904 Fortune was living in Somerset, south-west England.[15] That year, she authored a book of poetry, titled Violets, which was likely published by her family.[16] It was reviewed in the May 1905 volume of The Girls' Room, in which it was accompanied by the only known photograph of Fortune as a girl.[17] In 1906, her second book of poetry, More Violets, was published.[18]

After John Firth's death, Arthur Smith moved with his family to London.[19] According to Richardson they lived in the area around Liverpool Street in the east of the city,[20] while conversely Knight stated that they lived first in Bedford Park and then Kensington, both in the west of the city.[11] From January 1911 to December 1912 Fortune studied at Studley Agricultural College in Warwickshire, a horticultural institution which advertised itself as being ideal for girls with psychological problems. Her proficiency with poultry led her to become a staff member at the college from January to April 1913.[21] She later claimed that at the college she was the victim of mental manipulation from her employer, the college warden Lillias Hamilton, resulting in a mental breakdown that made her abandon the institution and return to her parental home.[22]

Psychotherapy and esotericism: 1913–23[edit]

To recover from this experience, she began studying psychotherapy,[23] and although her initial interest was in the work of Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler, she later moved on to that of Carl Jung.[24] She studied psychology and psychoanalysis under John Flügel at the University of London,[25] before gaining employment at a psychological clinic in London's Brunswick Square, which was likely run under the jurisdiction of the London School of Medicine for Women. Working as a counsellor from 1914 until 1916, most of those she dealt with were coming to terms with sexual urges that were considered taboo in British society.[26] Affiliated with the Society for the Study of Orthopsychics, it was through this that she gave a series of lectures that were later published in 1922 as The Machinery of the Mind.[27] While working here, she developed her interest in esotericism by attending lunchtime lectures organised by the Theosophical Society and reading some of the organisation's literature.[28] With her interest in occultism increasing, Fortune became increasingly dissatisfied with the effectiveness of psychotherapy.[29]

"The Order [of the Golden Dawn] suffered severely during the First World War, and Mathers himself died in Paris from influenza during the epidemic. When I came in touch with his organisation, it was manned mainly by widows and grey-bearded ancients, and did not appear to be a very promising field of occult endeavour. But I had considerable experience of practical occultism before I made its acquaintance, and I immediately recognised power of a degree and kind I had never met before, and had not the slightest doubt but that I was on the trail of the genuine tradition, despites its inadequate exposition."

– Dion Fortune.[30]

After the United Kingdom entered the First World War, Fortune joined the Women's Land Army.[31] She was initially stationed on a farm near to Bishop's Stortford on the borders between Essex and Hertfordshire.[32] She was later stationed at an experimental base for the Food Production Department.[33] She began experimenting with the production of soy milk, subsequently founding the Letchworth-based Garden City Pure Food Company to sell her products and publishing The Soya Bean: An Appeal to Humanitarians in 1925.[34] After a spiritual experience, Fortune began reading further Theosophical literature.[35] After doing so, she became preoccupied by the idea of the Ascended Masters, claiming to have had visions of two such entities, the Master Jesus and the Master Rakoczi.[36]

Her first magical mentor was the Irish occultist and Freemason Theodore Moriarty.[37] She had befriended him while still involved in psychotherapy, believing that he could help one of her patients, a young man who had recently been fighting in the trenches and who claimed to be plagued by unexplained physical phenomena. 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.[38] Fortune became an accolade of Moriarty's Masonic-influenced lodge, which was based in Hammersmith,[39] and also joined his community of followers to live at Gwen Stafford-Allen's home in Bishop Stortford.[40] Moriarty spent much time talking about the lost city of Atlantis, a topic that would also come to be embraced by Fortune.[41] Fortune later fictionalised Moriarty as the character Dr Taverner, who appeared in her later writings.[42] There, she also referred to exorcisms carried out by Moriarty, designed to remove the power of what she portrayed as etheric vampires from attacking humans.[43] Fortune had never been particularly popular among Mortiarty's followers,[44] but after he died in August 1923, she tried to convince them to accept her as their new leader. Although some did, many others instead accepted the leadership of Gwen Stafford-Allen.[45]

In 1919 she was initiated into the London Temple of the Alpha et Omega, a group that had developed from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, where her primary teacher was Maiya Curtis-Webb,[46] a longstanding friend of her family.[47] Fortune was not enamoured with the ceremonial magic system that had developed from the Golden Dawn,[48] later claiming that in the period after the First World War it was "manner mainly by widows and grey-bearded ancients".[49] However, it gave a grounding in the study of the Hermetic Qabalah, which would come to be a great influence over her esoteric world-view,[50] and it was also through her involvement in the group that she embraced her family motto, "Deo, non Fortuna", as her personal magical motto.[51] In January and March 1921 she embarked on a series of trance mediumship with Curtis-Webb,[52] culminating in an instance of trance mediumship that she conducted in the Somerset town of Glastonbury with her mother and Frederick Bligh Bond in which she claimed to have contacted spirit-entities known as "the Watchers of Avalon" who informed her that Glastonbury had once been the site of an ancient druidic college.[53] Bond subsequently commissioned Fortune to author a 1922 article, "Psychology and Occultism", for the published transactions of the College of Psychic Science.[54]

Glastonbury and The Cosmic Doctrine: 1923—[edit]

Glastonbury Tor

In September 1922, Fortune returned to Glastonbury to visit her friend Charles Loveday. Along with an anonymous woman known only as "E. P.", the pair carried out acts of trance mediumship, claiming that in doing so they entered into psychic contact with the Ascended Masters, or Secret Chiefs; Fortune later identified these as Socrates, Thomas Erskine, and a young military officer named David Carstairs who had died at the Battle of Ypres.[55] Fortune and Loveday characterised their method of communication as "inspirational mediumship", believing that in this process the Masters communicated through the medium's subconscious mind; they contrasted this with "automatic mediumship", which they believed involved the medium becoming completely dissociated from their own body.[56]

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 1923 and February 1925.[57] These communications discussed the existence of seven planes of the universe,[58] and were very similar to the ideas promoted in Moriarty's writings, in particular his Aphorism of Creation and Cosmic Principles.[59] In the coming years, Fortune distributed this material among her senior students, then publishing The Cosmic Doctrine in an edited version in 1949.[60]

"The 'Fraternity of Inner Light' was founded by me in agreement with Mrs Mathers, to be an Outer Court to the Golden Dawn system. All went well at first, and I was in high favour; but presently I fell from grace; why I never knew. No specific charges were levelled against me save that of not having the proper symbols in my aura. Finally I was turned out without reason assigned, save the ridiculous one above."

– Dion Fortune.[61]

On 20 August 1924, Fortune, Loveday, and others established themselves as a formal occult group.[62] Fortune appointed herself as the group's "Adeptus", while five accolades also joined.[62] That year, they purchased a house on Queensborough Terrace in Bayswater, Central London to use as a temple and headquarters, renting out some of the rooms to tenants in order to finance their operation.[63] The group soon grew; it admitted four initiates in 1925, six in 1926, and ten in 1927.[64] In November 1926, a second degree was established into which these initiates could progress.[64] In 1924, the group also obtained an old orchard at the foot of Glastonbury Tor, there erecting a hut and eventually a veranda and series of chalets.[65]

In 1922, Firth's parents had relocated to the garden city of Letchworth in Hertfordshire,[66] and it was here that Fortune also carried out what she deemed to be communications with the Masters through trance mediumship between 1923 and 1925.[67] At Whitsun 1926, Fortune and several other members of her group were on Glastonbury Tor when they underwent a spiritual experience that produced a feeling of ecstasy among them. 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.[68]

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 and Omega leader Moina Mathers.[69] After Fortune suggested that her own organisation could serve as a feeder group to Mathers' Alpha and Omega, Mathers expelled her from the order, claiming that this was necessitated by Fortune having the wrong signs in her aura.[70] Fortune later claimed that she subsequently came under psychic attack from Mathers, during which she was confronted and assaulted by both real and etheric cats.[71]

The Christian Mystic Lodge of the Theosophical Society[edit]

Fortune joined the Theosophical Society (logo pictured) but split from them on believing that they undermined the importance of Jesus as an Ascended Master

Later claiming that she was acting under instruction from the Ascended Masters,[72] Fortune and Loveday joined the Christian Mystic Lodge of the Theosophical Society, which was run by Daisy M. Grove.[73] Fortune soon became its president,[74] and under her leadership the group's membership expanded and the readership of its published Transactions also grew.[75] Throughout this period, she emphasised the need for a Christian perspective within the Theosophical movement, emphasising the centrality and importance of the 'Master Jesus' in her various articles.[76] She publicly criticised another Theosophical group, the Liberal Catholic Church founded by J. I. Wedgwood and Charles Webster Leadbeater, alleging that they were not concerned with the Master Jesus and were 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.[77] Amid these arguments with other sectors of the Theosophical movement, she resigned from the Society in October.[78] Her Christian Mystic Lodge abandoned its affiliation with the Theosophical Society and renamed itself the Community of the Inner Light.[79] Within this Community was established a group called the Guild of the Master Jesus, which began holding regular church services on Sundays at their Queensborough Terrace base from 1928 until 1939; in 1936 this group renamed itself the Church of the Graal.[80]

After Krishnamurti abandoned Theosophy, resulting in 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.[81] She then involved herself with Bomanji Wadia and his United Lodge of Theosophists, through which she claimed to have contacted the Himalayan Masters. She nevertheless was cautious about them, relating that although she felt that they were "not evil, it was to me alien and unsympathetic, and it seemed to me that it was hostile to my race".[82] Unhappy with the concept of promoting Indian religious beliefs in Britain, she left the group.[83] Subsequently, she claimed that Wadia had begun to psychically attack her.[84]

In April 1927, Fortune married Tom Penry Evans, a Welsh medical doctor from a working-class background, at Paddington Registry Office,[85] before the couple embarked on a honeymoon in Glastonbury.[86] Their marriage was initially happy, although Evans may have been perturbed at having to immerse himself in occultism to a greater extent than he had planned.[87] He was present throughout a program of trance mediumship in which Fortune claimed to be channelling the messages of a "Master of Medicine". Beginning in August 1927, 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.[88] Some members of Fortune's group believed that the "Master of Medicine" was actually Paracelsus, although a later channelled message claimed that their earthly identity had been Ignaz Semmelweis.[89]

Fortune and her group focused on 'Outer Court' work, which entailed publicity to boost membership.[90] They held regular lectures at their Bayswater premises, with Fortune herself lecturing there twice a week for much of 1928.[91] At their Glastonbury land, which they called the Chalice Orchard, they established a guest house and a social centre which was open in the summer, and where lectures were also carried out.[92] In October 1927 they began producing a magazine, The Inner Light, with the initial print-run of 500 selling out in a fortnight.[93] The magazine gained a wide readership, with many subscribers coming from outside of Britain.[94] Within the group they formulated a three degree system, through which the initiate could progress as they gained a better knowledge and understanding of the group, its teachings, and its rituals.[95] Progress through these degrees could be fairly rapid, with the only requirement being that an individual remain in one degree for at least three months before entering the next.[96] The membership that they attracted was largely female, with 21 women to only 5 men being members in this period.[93] All members, whether male or female, were initially referred to as "Brother", although this system later gave way to the term "Server Brother".[97] At Midwinter 1928, they then ritually established the Fraternity of the Inner Light — a sector of the group concerned with the 'Lesser Mysteries' that they could present to their membership — with Fortune, Evans, and Loveday as its principal officers.[98]

At the vernal equinox of 1930, Fortune declared that she wanted to focus increasingly on personal spiritual work because the 'Lesser Mysteries' and the three degree system had been properly established.[99] At the vernal equinox of 1931, Fortune stepped down as leader of the Fraternity, with Loveday being appointed Magus of the Lodge in her place.[100] During the 1930s, Fortune's emphasis moved away from mediumship and towards ritual, while at the same time other Fraternity members embraced mediumship in order to channel the messages of the Masters.[101]

Fortune obtained a literary agent, Christine Campbell Thomson, who later joined the Fraternity.[102] In 1927 Fortune published her first occult novel, The Demon Lover.[102] The following year she published The Problem of Purity, her final book to appear under the name of "Violet Firth".[102] In 1928 she published a textbook on her esoteric beliefs, The Esoteric Orders and their Work, which she followed with a companion work in 1930, The Training and Work of an Initiate.[103] In 1930 this was followed by Psychic Self-Defense, which contained many autobiographical elements and which was probably her most commercially popular book.[104] Fortune published many articles in Inner Light magazine, a number of which were collected together and published in books.[105] In 1930, this resulted in the appearance of Mystical Meditations upon the Collects, in which Fortune emphasised her Christian commitments.[105] In 1931 a number of her Inner Light articles on Spiritualism appeared as Spiritualism in the Light of Occult Science. In this book Fortune expressed reservations about Spiritualism, claiming that the spirits of the dead should not be contacted without very good reason, and as such it caused controversy. She drew a distinction between normal Spiritualist mediums and 'cosmic mediums' such as herself who contacted the Ascended Masters.[106] In 1934, she assembled a number of her articles on Glastonbury that had been published in The Inner Light magazine for a publication, Avalon of the Heart.[65] A number of Fortune's articles from The Occult Review were also collected to produce the book Sane Occultism.[107]

Later life[edit]

Fortune's grave in Glastonbury

By at least 1942, Fortune corresponded with the prominent occultist and ceremonial magician Aleister Crowley, praising him as "a genuine adept" despite he many differences between their respective occult philosophies.[108] In later life, there were unsubstantiated rumours that Fortune had sexual relationships with both men and women.[49]

Fortune died of leukaemia in January 1946, at the age of 55.[109] She bequeathed most of her money to her Society.[110] Members of the society have alleged that her successor destroyed most of her diaries, correspondences, and photographs.[111]

Books and other writings[edit]

Beginning in 1919,[112] 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, and The Secrets of Dr. Taverner.[113] This latter is a collection of short stories based on her experiences with Theodore Moriarty. Two of her novels, The Sea Priestess and Moon Magic, became influential within the Goddess Movement and Wicca, especially upon Doreen Valiente.[114] Fortune's novels demonstrate the extent to which she is influenced by the Qabalistic Tree of Life, in that the themes of the novels correlate to the different Sephiroth on the Tree of Life. For example, Goat Foot God is in part about a man in need of balancing his psyche by expanding his energy in the Sephira "Netzach," represented by the figure of Pan (god), and the Sea Priestess is in part about assimilating the energy of the Sephira "Yesod," represented by the Moon and its importance throughout the novel.[115]

Of her works on magical subjects, the best remembered of her books are; The Cosmic Doctrine,[116] a summation of her basic teachings on mysticism, Psychic Self-Defense,[117] a manual on how to protect oneself from psychic attacks and the seminal book of knowledge known as The Mystical Qabalah,[118] an introduction to Hermetic Qabalah which was first published in England in 1935, and is regarded as one of the best books on magic ever written.[112]

According to authors Charles and Collins Carr, her writings have the virtue of lucidity[119] and avoid the deliberate obscurity that characterized many of her forerunners and contemporaries in explaining the ancient "Wisdom Teachings".[120]

According to author Diana Paxson, in a letter to Random House regarding her sister-in-law Marion Zimmer Bradley she credits Dion Fortune's Avalon of the Heart and novels as the inspiration for The Mists of Avalon. In the letter, she says "In particular, Mists of Avalon was a story of a woman's spiritual quest. The spirituality of Avalon derives from the British Mystery tradition, especially as it was interpreted by the occult writer Dion Fortune, whose character, Miss LeFay Morgan, is both a progenitor and descendant of Morgaine. In addition, Marion drew upon Dion Fortune's non-fiction book, Avalon of the Heart. For a time, Dion Fortune lived in Glastonbury, in a cottage at the base of the Tor, in the Chalice Orchard, Glastonbury, home of the legendary Glastonbury Tor is still a sacred center of pilgrimage for many."

The work that is considered her masterpiece by occultists and occult sympathizers is The Mystical Qabalah, first published in England in 1935.[114][121][122]

Fortune's occult experiences during WWII are written about in the Magical Battle of Britain, which was an effort by British occultists to instruct their followers in meditation through newsletters during World War II.[123][124][125]

Her Society of the Inner Light continues to function, and has also given rise to other orders, including The London Group, until recently headed by Alan Adams (aka Charles Fielding),[126][127][128] and Servants of the Light, headed by Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki.[112]


There is no evidence that Fortune considered herself to be a "Pagan".[129]

Fortune was particularly concerned with the issue of sex.[108] In her early works she displayed a prudish attitude regarding sexuality, warning her readers about the perceived perils of masturbation, extra-marital sex, same-sex sexual activity, and free love.[108] In her later works she exhibited a more positive attitude toward sexuality, describing the sexual union between a man and woman as the most powerful expression of a "life-force" which flows throughout the universe.[108]

Fortune was among those who took Blavatsky's belief in a division between the left-hand path and right-hand path and popularised it.[130] In doing so she connected her disparaging views on what she considered to be the Left Hand Path to the moral panic surrounding homosexuality in British society.[130] Her works contained commentaries in which she condemned the "homosexual techniques" of malevolent male magicians, and she claimed that the acceptance of homosexuality was the cause of the downfall of the ancient Greek and Roman civilisations.[131] The manner in which she sought to demonise the Left Hand Path has been compared to that found in the work of English novelist Dennis Wheatley.[132]

Writing in The Occult Review, Fortune stated that "Do not let it be forgotten that our traditions are racial. 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."[133] She did not believe in allowing spiritual and magical techniques to transmit between different cultures, believing that to do so caused damage; she for instance cautioned against allowing Western esoteric teachings to be practiced in India because "the Hindu dies readily from shock".[134] Equally she strongly opposed the adoption of Asian religious techniques into Western esotericism.[134]

Personality and personal life[edit]

Richardson characterised Fortune as being "honest, and other ruthless with her honesty".[135] He also described her as being "an essentially good woman who had strands of darkness within".[136] Chapman noted that she "set an example of super-achievement, self-sacrifice, and personal integrity" and that "sexually, she was modest, faithful, and chaste".[137]

The historian Ronald Hutton noted that in her political and social views, Fortune was likely a High Tory.[138]

Reception and legacy[edit]

Richardson noted that she had fallen into "relative obscurity" after her death, having been overshadowed by her more famous contemporary, Aleister Crowley.[139] The historian of esotericism Dave Evans agreed, stating that Fortune had been "somewhat less" influential than Crowley.[140] Hutton nevertheless considered her to be the "foremost female figure" of early 20th century British occultism,[141] while historian Alex Owen referred to her as "one of the most significant clairvoyants and occultists of the postwar period".[142] Similarly, Knight termed her "one of the leading occultists of her generation",[143] while the anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann referred to her as "one of the most influential twentieth-century magicians".[144] The religious studies scholar Stephen Sutcliffe described Fortune as having "played a key role in the cult of Glastonbury in the interwar years".[145]

During the 1970s, a number of fraternities emerged from the Society, all founded by individuals who had been Society members in the 1950s: these were the Gareth Knight group, the Wessex group, the Hornsey group, and the Servants of the Light.[144] In the early 21st century, Evans noted that Fortune's work was "still influential in some magical quarters",[131] 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.[146]

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.[108] The scholar and esotericist Nevill Drury stated that Fortune "in many ways anticipated feminist ideas in contemporary Wicca", particularly through her belief that all goddesses were a manifestation of a single Great Goddess.[147] The Wiccan high priestess Vivianne Crowley characterised Fortune as a "proto-Pagan".[129] In researching ceremonial magic orders and other esoteric groups active in the London area during the 1980s, 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.[148] The Pagan studies scholar Joanne Pearson added that her books, and in particular the novels The Sea Priestess and Moon Magic, were owned by many Wiccans and other Pagans.[129] The religious studies scholar Graham Harvey compared The Sea Priestess to Gerald Gardner's High Magic's Aid, stating that while neither were "great literature", they "evoke Paganism better than later more didactic works".[149] Evans nevertheless believed that her writings were "stuck in their era" in many places; as evidence, he highlighted passages in which Fortune warns her readers that their Indian servants may steal their body waste products for use in the worship of the Hindu goddess Kali.[150]

Fielding and Carr's work was based upon the authors' interactions with older members of the Society,[151] while Richardson's book relied heavily on the recollections of Christine Hartley.[151]



  • The Machinery of the Mind, 1922 (as Violet M. Firth)
  • The Esoteric Philosophy of Love & Marriage, 1924
  • The Psychology of the Servant Problem, 1925 (as Violet M. Firth)
  • The Problem of Purity, 1928 (as Violet M. Firth)
  • The Esoteric Orders and Their Work, 1928
  • Sane Occultism, 1929
  • Mystical Meditations on the Collects, 1930
  • Psychic Self-Defense, 1930
  • The Training & Work of an Initiate, 1930
  • Spiritualism in the Light of Occult Science, 1931
  • Through the Gates of Death, 1932
  • Avalon of the Heart, 1934 (as Violet M. Firth)
  • The Mystical Qabalah, 1935
  • Practical Occultism in Daily Life, 1935
  • The Cosmic Doctrine, 1949
  • Aspects of Occultism, 1962
  • Applied Magic, 1962
  • The Magical Battle of Britain, 1993
  • Principles of Hermetic Philosophy, 1999
  • An Introduction to Ritual Magic (with Gareth Knight), 1997


  • The Secrets of Dr. Taverner, 1926
  • The Demon Lover, 1927
  • The Winged Bull, 1935
  • The Goat-Foot God, 1936
  • The Sea Priestess, 1938
  • Moon Magic, (unfinished in her lifetime, and published posthumously in 1956)



  1. ^ Chapman 1993, p. 3; Knight 2000, p. 13; Richardson 2007, pp. 21, 40.
  2. ^ Chapman 1993, p. 9.
  3. ^ Chapman 1993, p. 3; Richardson 2007, pp. 23, 27–28.
  4. ^ Knight 2000, p. 53; Richardson 2007, p. 28.
  5. ^ Richardson 2007, pp. 30, 33.
  6. ^ Richardson 2007, pp. 36–37.
  7. ^ Chapman 1993, p. 3; Knight 2000, p. 14; Richardson 2007, pp. 43–44.
  8. ^ Richardson 2007, p. 45.
  9. ^ Chapman 1993, p. xvii; Richardson 2007, p. 24.
  10. ^ Hutton 1999, p. 181; Richardson 2007, p. 51.
  11. ^ a b Knight 2000, p. 17.
  12. ^ Richardson 2007, p. 51.
  13. ^ Knight 2000, pp. 14–15; Richardson 2007, p. 47.
  14. ^ Richardson 2007, p. 50.
  15. ^ Knight 2000, p. 15; Richardson 2007, p. 52.
  16. ^ Knight 2000, p. 16; Richardson 2007, pp. 52–53.
  17. ^ Knight 2000, p. 16; Richardson 2007, p. 54.
  18. ^ Knight 2000, p. 16; Richardson 2007, p. 53.
  19. ^ Knight 2000, p. 17; Richardson 2007, p. 59.
  20. ^ Richardson 2007, p. 59.
  21. ^ Chapman 1993, pp. 4–5; Knight 2000, pp. 21, 22, 24; Richardson 2007, p. 65.
  22. ^ Chapman 1993, pp. 3–4; Knight 2000, pp. 21–22, 24–27; Richardson 2007, pp. 63–64.
  23. ^ Knight 2000, p. 29; Richardson 2007, pp. 70–71.
  24. ^ Chapman 1993, p. 5; Richardson 2007, p. 77.
  25. ^ Chapman 1993, p. 5; Richardson 2007, p. 72.
  26. ^ Chapman 1993, p. 6; Knight 2000, pp. 29, 31; Richardson 2007, p. 72.
  27. ^ Knight 2000, p. 30; Richardson 2007, p. 73.
  28. ^ Chapman 1993, p. 6; Knight 2000, p. 33.
  29. ^ Knight 2000, p. 35; Richardson 2007, pp. 72–73.
  30. ^ Knight 2000, p. 56.
  31. ^ Chapman 1993, p. 6; Knight 2000, p. 35; Richardson 2007, p. 93.
  32. ^ Knight 2000, p. 36; Richardson 2007, p. 98.
  33. ^ Chapman 1993, pp. 6–7; Knight 2000, pp. 37–38; Richardson 2007, pp. 93, 100.
  34. ^ Chapman 1993, p. 7; Knight 2000, p. 38; Richardson 2007, p. 100.
  35. ^ Knight 2000, p. 39; Richardson 2007, pp. 93–94.
  36. ^ Knight 2000, pp. 39–40; Richardson 2007, pp. 94–97.
  37. ^ Richardson 2007, pp. 103–110.
  38. ^ Knight 2000, pp. 33–34.
  39. ^ Richardson 2007, pp. 127–128.
  40. ^ Richardson 2007, p. 128.
  41. ^ Knight 2000, p. 44; Richardson 2007, p. 131.
  42. ^ Knight 2000, pp. 42–43.
  43. ^ Richardson 2007, pp. 115–118.
  44. ^ Richardson 2007, p. 155.
  45. ^ Knight 2000, p. 109; Richardson 2007, pp. 139, 153–154.
  46. ^ Knight 2000, pp. 49, 52; Richardson 2007, p. 148.
  47. ^ Knight 2000, p. 19.
  48. ^ Knight 2000, p. 54; Richardson 2007, p. 149.
  49. ^ a b Richardson 2007, p. 149.
  50. ^ Richardson 2007, p. 154.
  51. ^ Chapman 1993, p. 8; Knight 2000, p. 53; Richardson 2007, p. 151.
  52. ^ Knight 2000, p. 57.
  53. ^ Knight 2000, pp. 61–65.
  54. ^ Knight 2000, p. 66.
  55. ^ Knight 2000, pp. 77–90; Richardson 2007, pp. 177, 183.
  56. ^ Knight 2000, p. 105.
  57. ^ Knight 2000, pp. 94–95, 97.
  58. ^ Knight 2000, p. 77.
  59. ^ Knight 2000, p. 94; Richardson 2007, p. 191.
  60. ^ Knight 2000, p. 98; Richardson 2007, p. 191.
  61. ^ Richardson 2007, p. 157.
  62. ^ a b Knight 2000, p. 109.
  63. ^ Knight 2000, p. 106; Richardson 2007, p. 168.
  64. ^ a b Knight 2000, p. 113.
  65. ^ a b Knight 2000, p. 115.
  66. ^ Knight 2000, p. 18; Richardson 2007, p. 80.
  67. ^ Knight 2000, p. 99.
  68. ^ Knight 2000, p. 116.
  69. ^ Knight 2000, p. 123.
  70. ^ Chapman 1993, p. 8; Knight 2000, pp. 123–124; Richardson 2007, p. 155.
  71. ^ Knight 2000, pp. 124–125; Richardson 2007, pp. 158–161.
  72. ^ Chapman 1993, p. 8; Richardson 2007, p. 163.
  73. ^ Knight 2000, p. 130; Richardson 2007, p. 162.
  74. ^ Chapman 1993, p. 8; Knight 2000, p. 132; Richardson 2007, p. 164.
  75. ^ Knight 2000, p. 132.
  76. ^ Knight 2000, pp. 133–134.
  77. ^ Knight 2000, pp. 133–138.
  78. ^ Chapman 1993, p. 8; Knight 2000, p. 138; Richardson 2007, p. 164.
  79. ^ Knight 2000, p. 139.
  80. ^ Knight 2000, p. 141.
  81. ^ Richardson 2007, p. 170.
  82. ^ Richardson 2007, pp. 170–71.
  83. ^ Knight 2000, pp. 46–47; Richardson 2007, p. 171.
  84. ^ Knight 2000, p. 47; Richardson 2007, pp. 171–172.
  85. ^ Chapman 1993, p. 9; Knight 2000, pp. 142–143.
  86. ^ Chapman 1993, p. 10.
  87. ^ Knight 2000, p. 148.
  88. ^ Knight 2000, pp. 149, 157.
  89. ^ Knight 2000, pp. 149–150.
  90. ^ Knight 2000, pp. 158–159.
  91. ^ Knight 2000, pp. 170–171.
  92. ^ Knight 2000, pp. 181–182.
  93. ^ a b Knight 2000, p. 160.
  94. ^ Knight 2000, p. 179.
  95. ^ Knight 2000, p. 161.
  96. ^ Knight 2000, p. 183.
  97. ^ Knight 2000, p. 13.
  98. ^ Knight 2000, p. 167.
  99. ^ Knight 2000, p. 184.
  100. ^ Knight 2000, p. 196.
  101. ^ Knight 2000, pp. 192–193.
  102. ^ a b c Knight 2000, p. 168.
  103. ^ Knight 2000, pp. 168, 169–170.
  104. ^ Knight 2000, pp. 168, 189.
  105. ^ a b Knight 2000, p. 170.
  106. ^ Knight 2000, pp. 191, 194–195.
  107. ^ Knight 2000, p. 182.
  108. ^ a b c d e Urban 2006, p. 167.
  109. ^ Richardson 2007, p. 21.
  110. ^ Richardson 2007, p. 23.
  111. ^ Chapman 1993, p. xvii–xviii; Richardson 2007, p. 19.
  112. ^ a b c Drury, Nevill (1992). Dictionary of Mysticism and the Esoteric Traditions. Bridport, Dorset: Prism Unity. ISBN 1-85327-075-X. 
  113. ^ Fortune's novels are summarized in Sumner, A. (2001) The occult novels of Dion Fortune, Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition, vol. 0, Vernal Equinox, http://www.jwmt.org/v1n0/dfortune.html
  114. ^ a b "Internet Book of Shadows: Dion Fortune & Gardnerian Wicca (C.S. Clifton in W.o.W.)". Sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 2012-09-30. 
  115. ^ This point is highlighted by Paul Clark, Steward of the Fraternity of the Hidden Light, in the podcast on Dion Fortune, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/laughingwomanmedia/2014/06/20/goddess-alive--the-life-legacy-of-dion-fortune-with-dr-paul-clark.
  116. ^ Richardson, Alan, The Magical Life of Dion Fortune, Aquarian Press, 1991, p63, ISBN 1-85538-051-X and Fielding, Charles and Collins, Carr; The Story of Dion Fortune, Thoth Books, 1998, ISBN 1-870450-33-7, p151.
  117. ^ Charles and Collins, Carr, The Story of Dion Fortune, Thoth Books, 1998, ISBN 1-870450-33-7, p150,
  118. ^ Fielding, Charles and Collins, Carr; "The Story of Dion Fortune", Thoth Books, 1998, ISBN 1-870450-33-7, p151 and Richardson, Alan, "The Magical Life of Dion Fortune", Aquarian Press, 1991, p137, ISBN 1-85538-051-X
  119. ^ Charles and Collins, Carr; "The Story of Dion Fortune", Thoth Books, 1998, ISBN 1-870450-33-7,p150.
  120. ^ Fortune, Dion; The Mystical Qabalah, Aquarian Press, 1987, ISBN 0-85030-335-4, p 1. and Fielding, Charles and Collins, Carr; "The Story of Dion Fortune", Thoth Books, 1998, ISBN 1-870450-33-7, p152.
  121. ^ Richardson, Alan, "The Magical Life of Dion Fortune", Aquarian Press, 1991, ISBN 1-85538-051-X, p137
  122. ^ Regardie, Israel, (ed), 777 and other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley, introduction.
  123. ^ Carr; "The Story of Dion Fortune", Thoth Books, 1998, ISBN 1-870450-33-7, p106-109 and Knight, Gareth
  124. ^ Fortune, Dion; The Magical Battle of Britain, Sun Chalice Books, 1993, ISBN 1-928754-21-X
  125. ^ Evans, Dave; David Sutton (September 2010). "The Magical Battle of Britain. Fighting Hitler's Nazis with occult ritual". Fortean Times. Archived from the original on 1 January 1970. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  126. ^ Lamond, F. (2005) Fifty Years of Wicca. pp. 48–50.
  127. ^ "R.A.M.S. Digital Library – Hans Ninztel". Ramsdigital.com. Retrieved 2012-09-30. 
  128. ^ Knight, Gareth; "Dion Fortune and the Inner Light", Thoth Publications, 2000, ISBN 1-870450-45-0.
  129. ^ a b c Pearson 2002, p. 29.
  130. ^ a b Evans 2007, p. 222.
  131. ^ a b Evans 2007, p. 183.
  132. ^ Evans 2007, p. 189.
  133. ^ Richardson 2007, p. 173.
  134. ^ a b Evans 2007, p. 184.
  135. ^ Richardson 2007, p. 74.
  136. ^ Richardson 2007, p. 22.
  137. ^ Chapman 1993, p. xvi.
  138. ^ Hutton 1999, p. 360.
  139. ^ Richardson 2007, p. 17.
  140. ^ Evans 2007, p. 41.
  141. ^ Hutton 1999, p. 181.
  142. ^ Owen 2004, p. 227.
  143. ^ Knight 2000, p. 27.
  144. ^ a b Luhrmann 1989, p. 56.
  145. ^ Sutcliffe 2003, p. 94.
  146. ^ Evans 2007, p. 225.
  147. ^ Drury 2003, p. 179.
  148. ^ Luhrmann 1989, p. 88.
  149. ^ Harvey 2007, p. 179.
  150. ^ Evans 2007, pp. 183–184.
  151. ^ a b Chapman 1993, p. xviii.


Chapman, Janine (1993). Quest for Dion Fortune. York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser. ISBN 978-0877287759. 
Drury, Nevill (2003). Magic and Witchcraft: From Shamanism to the Technopagans. London: Thames and Hudson. ISBN 978-0500511404. 
Evans, Dave (2007). The History of British Magick After Crowley. n.p.: Hidden Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9555237-0-0. 
Graf, Susan Johnston (2007). "The Occult Novels of Dion Fortune". Journal of Gender Studies 16 (1): 47–56. doi:10.1080/09589230601116182. 
Harvey, Graham (2007). Listening People, Speaking Earth: Contemporary Paganism (second ed.). London: Hurst & Company. ISBN 978-1-85065-272-4. 
Hutton, Ronald (1999). The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-820744-1. 
Knight, Gareth (2000). Dion Fortune and the Inner Light. Loughborough: Thoth Publications. ISBN 978-1870450454. 
Luhrmann, Tanya M. (1989). Persuasions of the Witch's Craft: Ritual Magic in England. Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-66324-4. 
Owen, Alex (2004). The Place of Enchantment. 
Pearson, Joanne (2002). "The History and Development of Wicca and Paganism". In Joanne Pearson (ed.). Belief Beyond Boundaries: Wicca, Celtic Spirituality and the New Age. Milton Keynes: Open University. pp. 15–54. ISBN 978-0754608202. 
Richardson, Alan (2007). Priestess: The Life and Magic of Dion Fortune (new and revised ed.). Loughborough: Thoth Publications. ISBN 978-1870450119. 
Sutcliffe, Steven J. (2003). Children of the New Age: A History of Spiritual Practices. London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0415242981. 
Urban, Hugh B. (2006). Magia Sexualis: Sex, Magic and Liberation in Modern Western Esotericism. University of California Press. 

External links[edit]

The Society of the Inner Light operates from its base in London and accepts pupils for training and initiation along the lines of her original teaching at http://www.innerlight.org.uk