One of my goals here on MotherHouse blog is not only discussing Goddess practices and Goddess Living Mythology, but also revealing the previously tread paths by women of power, magic and esoteric study – Esoteric Women. Much of my personal study and direction has been influenced by Dion Fortune, British Occultist, Author, Priestess, and Mystic.
Dion Fortune lived from December 1890 to January 1946 and spent much of her time in London and in Glastonbury. She was an initiate in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and later formed her own esoteric order, The Fraternity of the Inner Light (later to become the Society of the Inner Light). The influence of her work is present through many modern day esoteric orders who can trace back that influence. Her non-fiction and fiction books, penned in the early 20th century, carry potent magic, esoteric information, and initiate-level lessons for those who (as she said) have the eyes to see and the ears to hear. Magic did not mean personal power to her. She believed that undertaking the path of the initiate and dedicating to the Gods was service – service to the world and the universal light.
One article cannot even start to encompass all of her work, ideas, thoughts and influences. One book barely begins to give a proper overview of this powerful and humble woman. The best way to “know” Dion Fortune is to read her work; to allow it to soak into your psyche, and, potentially, light up your soul and inform your mission as a Goddess Woman on this Earth.
In his book, Priestess: The Life and Magic of Dion Fortune, Alan Richardson says that “there is a lively company of us who can also swap memories of the exact moment when we first stumbled upon the name ‘Dion Fortune’ and felt a curious frisson that was almost like recognition.” I can confirm that and many delightful conversations have been initiated over the years with that exact subject as the focus. That topic is also what brought me to do this article on Dion Fortune and to share some of my favorite books written by her.
The fascinating power of Dion Fortune’s writings is that they do not fade. They are as relevant and efficacious to those seeking a mystical, spiritual path today as they were when they were written and, perhaps, even more so.
I was handed the book “Mystical Qabalah” almost 20 years ago and it has remained a well-worn, treasured part of my library. Hint for the “Mystical Qabalah” s to approach backwards – as in begin with the chapter of the sephiroth of Malkuth and work to Kether. It helped tremendously in the first few readings of the book.
“A religion without a goddess is halfway to atheism.” ― Dion Fortune
From Mystical Qabalah, I began reading Dion Fortune’s fiction novels which contain a bounty of esoteric and magical information. The three standout fiction books for me are: The Sea Priestess, Moon Magic, and The Secrets of Doctor Taverner.
When interviewing the author, deTraci Regula, on Goddess Alive Radio, she revealed that her gateway to the Goddess Isis was Dion Fortune.
In The Sea Priestess, Dion Fortune introduces us to Vivien Le Fay Morgan who is a reincarnation of an Atlantean Sea Priestess. She meets a man who becomes a magical partner and leads us through their ritual workings in the name of Goddess and God.
“I am that soundless, boundless, bitter sea.
All tides are mine, and answer unto me.
Tides of the airs, tides of the inner earth;
The secret, silent tides of death and birth.
Tides of men’s souls, and dreams, and destiny.
Isis veiled, and Ea, Binah, Ge.”
Dion Fortune – The Sea Priestess
In Moon Magic, the story of Vivien Le Fay Morgan continues. Dion Fortune explains in the beginning of Moon Magic that the character, Vivien Le Fay Morgan, would not rest and wanted to continue her story.
Through her writing, Dion Fortune provides a powerful gateway to the Goddess and offers up lessons for seekers and women pursuing the Priestess path. There are rich and vibrant tellings of ritual practice, astral experiences, and visions. For those who are looking for connection to the Goddess, these books are virtually a how-to in ritual practice and also demonstrate the practice and fortitude required on the magical path.
The life of Dion Fortune gives us a front row seat to the practice of a woman who heeded the call to the Goddess within a Western Esoteric practice. It is invaluable information and imagery. If you are interested in further reading about Dion Fortune and her life, I also recommend Priestess: The Life and Magic of Dion Fortune by Alan Richardson.
Ellen Randolph and I were honored to interview Dr. Paul Clark, Outer Head of the the Fraternity of Hidden Light, about the life and legacy of Dion Fortune and how her work has influenced modern day esoteric orders. You can listen to the interview archive here.
I cannot recommend all of Dion Fortune’s books enough.
Happy reading and I would love to hear about the first time you encountered Dion Fortune and what are your favorite books!
List of Dion Fortune’s Books (starred are my faves):
- The Machinery of the Mind, 1922 [as Violet M. Firth]
- The Esoteric Philosophy of Love and Marriage, 1924
- **The Secrets of Dr. Taverner, 1926
- The Demon Lover, 1927
- **Esoteric Orders and Their Work, 1928 (with Training and Work of an Initiate)
- **The Mystical Qabalah, 1935
- The Winged Bull, 1935
- The Goat-Foot God, 1936
- **The Sea Priestess, 1938
- The Cosmic Doctrine, 1949
- **Moon Magic, (unfinished in her lifetime, and published posthumously in 1956)
- Applied Magic, 1962
- **Psychic Self-Defense, 1971
- Glastonbury: Avalon of the Heart, 1986
- The Circuit of Force (with Gareth Knight)
- **The Training and Work of an Initiate (with Gareth Knight)
- An Introduction to Ritual Magic (with Gareth Knight), 1997
- Practical Occultism (with Gareth Knight)
- **The Magical Battle of Britain