Sometimes I feel a great presence of history, the immensity of the lives, events, loves and losses of those before us. This morning I woke up thinking of Dion Fortune. This is not surprising as last evening I was privileged to assist with an initiation within the excellent Goddess temple, the Servants of Isis, who are consciously inspired by the same Isian contacts Dion worked with.
So this morning I found myself thinking of Dion and history, so I looked up what she may have been doing on this day (April 2) during the all too short years of her life. Sixty-nine years ago today, in 1939, Dion was putting the final touches to another article in her incredible series, ‘the Circuit of Force’, originally published throughout 1939 and 1940 in the Inner Light magazine. This highly constructive and highly instructive work has been collected, edited and very ably commented upon by Gareth Knight, himself something of an inspiration. If you have not read it, really you should as it is simply the best western book on the inner workings of the subtle body published to date.
During much of the time Dion wrote her articles her country was at war and there was a paper shortage. So much of Dion’s wisdom in this book is succinct and careful. And as she explains, while she is revealing some lost secrets, much is there ‘between the lines’ for those initiates who can see. I have often thought of developing a series of lectures and workshops on just these teachings, teasing out and revealing what Dion refers to, almost casually with a flick of the pen, between lines of gold. Really, the whole series is written in a most Qabalistic manner, where secrets of a whole book can be encoded in a single chapter, which itself is encoded in a paragraph, which is finally encoded in a single sentence, word or letter.
Some of what Dion was pondering, editing or writing today, 69 years ago:
“Those who possess fullness of life can mediate to others by means of ritual; but if they themselves suffer from restriction or inhibition of life force, they can no more mediate the cosmic life to those for whose benefit they work a ritual than a starving mother feed her baby.
It is necessary that those who work the rites should themselves know the full function of the Four Quarters, and I write for those who are so fortunately situated as to be able to achieve this, for they are the true priesthood of Nature.
I would say to them that the sacramental attitude is the key to life, a sacrament being the outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual power. Ritual, we know, is action; and action becomes ritual when performed with intention.”
I have often pondered what the western esoteric community and tradition would be like if Dion had lived longer. She died far too early, probably as a result of her magical efforts during the war, at the young age of 55. She could easily have lived into her 70s or 80s, a true wise woman. Her presence during the 60’s and 70’s would have affected the growth of Wicca and the occult revival of the 70’s. All of the esoteric themes explored and perverted by Gardner and others in the creation of Wicca – the Goddess, polarity magic, land and elemental connections, personal empowerment – are present in Dion work’s from the 1920s onward.
Never one to stand behind secrecy for the sake of secrecy, had she lived Dion would have countered much misinformation with truth and clarity, perversion with purity, ego with service. After her death her Society of the Inner Light never again played such a powerful role in the development of western esotericism. This was left to its ‘next generation’ through the likes of Gareth Knight and W.E. Butler. Dion’s presence over those years would surely have resulted in much benefit for us all.
So much for pondering…and perhaps in another universe she did live to a riper age. In ours, though she continues on in her works, dedication, magic and the inspiration she continues to provide.