Principles of Esoteric Healing. Front Cover. Dion Fortune. Sun Chalice Books, Sep 1, – Body, Mind & Spirit – pages. Title, Principles of Esoteric Healing. Author, Dion Fortune. Editor, Gareth Knight. Contributor, Gareth Knight. Edition, 2, illustrated. Publisher, Thoth Publications. Principles of Esoteric Healing by Dion Fortune, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide.
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When the dust had settled, in the inter-war period, we were left with four discernible GD-lineage groups with recognisable differences. This included aspects of theosophy, Christian occultism, and certain craft magic notions, including feminist ‘Goddess’ theology [from the ‘Elohim’ and the ‘Shekinah’ or ‘Bride of Christ’], and spiritual ecology.
The real impetus to ‘Christian occultism’ seems to me to have been an astonishing coalescing of four strands: Is this approximately correct? Kind regards, Alexander C-W [ps. I sometimes had the impression that he never quite got over the fact that as a Christian occultist I would deign to talk to a Pagan one.
However, whatever part of duon spiritual spectrum we come from, we all have to make the best of how others choose to see us, and I do not lack, among the righteous, a fair number who regard me as somewhat to the nether side of a Dennis Wheatley villain. With this in mind I append a lightly edited article I wrote for the Inner Light Journal in after I had rejoined the Society after a lapse of 33 years doing my own thing.
The Green Ray consists of the nature contacts in the broadest sense, and encapsulates most mythopoeic formulations relating to nature and to the Earth, including Elemental and Faery traditions. The Orange Ray describes the study of symbolism and its manipulation in ceremonial or visualised forms, frequently in terms of the Tree of Life of the Qabalah.
The Purple Ray denotes religious mysticism, a direct approach to the spirit, and the devotional way usually expressed in the West in Christian terms. These three Ways can be equated with the three Paths that esooteric from Malkuth as we leave earth consciousness on the Tree of Life and visualise the three immediate Sephiroth in their Queen Scale of colours: I was recently reminded of this when approached by someone seeking information about her, and whose preconceptions were so inaccurate as to be bizarre.
In colour terms I suppose this might have been expressed in terms of watery violet, turning bright green before relapsing into rather murky grey. Taking this scenario for granted the question put to me was, had she lived longer, what direction would her next work have taken?
The answer to this question was simple. She would have gone on writing in much the same way that she always had – by a balanced exposition of the three fold way. As in any practical occult work, there is always a certain cyclic action forgune work, based upon inner tides of one sort and another. One aspect may come more to fore at any particular time, but overall the balanced picture will be seen.
To appreciate the full picture of a great occultist we have to take account of the many other books she wrote and their principlss nature. Together with The Secrets of Dr. Taverner they reveal her early interest in psychoanalysis and in the medical applications of esoteric knowledge. She was married to a doctor with esoteric interests inand her principal teacher in the Golden Dawn, from onwards, was the wife princjples an eminent head of a large psychiatric hospital.
During the same period she wrote a number of articles on the nature of the esoteric tradition as it was currently being practised. The major event of this decade however is her pioneering textbook The Mystical Qabalahthat spelt out the theory of occultism in readable and commonsense terms.
Whether they were altogether successful in this respect is a matter dioj informed debate, part of which she initiated in a series of articles in the Inner Light Magazine. She was not an advocate of working directly upon the side Sephiroth, at any rate in her public works. With their commercial requirement to entertain as well as instruct it is arguable whether the full demonstration of any particular Sephirah of the Tree of Life is attained by any of the novels, or even whether fprtune aspiration is possible in works of popular fiction.
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However they may rate in terms of esoteric or commercial success or failure, the novels were an interesting and courageous literary experiment and have proved to be a lasting monument in genre fiction. To appreciate some of the thinking behind the experiment fortuhe have to cast our minds back to the general atmosphere of secrecy that was very much a part of the Western Esoteric Tradition in those days.
Israel Regardie, as he later confessed to me, was distinctly nervous at the time and for some time afterwards, of what might happen to him as a consequence of publishing principoes Knowledge Papers of the Golden Dawn. There is also evidence to suggest that Dion Fortune had a qualm or two as to whether she had gone too far in revealing esoteric secrets in The Mystical Qabalah.
Such fears over such an innocuous book may seem little short of ludicrous today, but only a few years previously she had been bitterly attacked for allegedly revealing secrets in some of her early works.
The pearls of wisdom are quite safely rolled before the snouts of the porcine fraternity. The outbreak of war in put a sudden stop to the flow of publications, fictional or otherwise.
The reason is rather more prosaic, that is to say – paper rationing. Even the Inner Light Magazine had to fold for lack of paper in May but Dion Fortune still kept writing away in open letters for students and associates, first on a weekly basis until and then, rather more expansively, every month. It has been my privilege to sort through much of this recently with a view to book publication.
One can only say, as one who still remembers those times, that being machine gunned, bombed and threatened with invasion puts a rather princip,es emphasis upon what may be deemed to be politically correct, whatever the long term merits of universal pacifism.
Most of this work, it should be said, is of a more practical nature than the pre-war material. She discusses in some detail the circulation of force within the human aura, comparing western methods with those of the east, including tantrik yoga and the raising of kundalini. Another initiative she pursued of a practical nature inevidently under inner plane direction, was an approach to the spiritualist movement, seeking common ground.
She gave lectures at the Princpiles Spiritualist Association and wrote some articles for Light a weekly newspaper of the spiritualist movement since that is still published as a quarterly journal by the College of Psychic Studies.
It also appears that C. Cammell, then editor of Lightwas given the highly unusual privilege of being invited to vion headquarters of the Society to attend trances at which Dion Fortune was the medium.
Her mediumistic skills were announced in the Monthly Letters in although there had always been a series of articles called Words of the Masters in the Inner Light Magazineand in an article of April entitled How Communication is Made she quite openly describes the technique of trance mediumship and what it feels like to the medium concerned, which is obviously herself. The Editor of Light was not the only outsider to be allowed into the inner recesses principlee the Society however, for there are scripts surviving of medical doctors being invited in for trance interviews with one known as the Master of Medicine through the mediumship of Dion Fortune.
Esooteric were of variable success. One early attempt shows the doctor concerned peinciples to trip up the communicator with technical questions and the atmosphere is plainly sceptical.
Later interviews with a more open minded medical practitioner seem more promising and useful to all concerned however.
Some of these scripts circulated privately to those sufficiently discrete or qualified and the earliest date from and have since been included in Principles of Esoteric Healing. This regrettably did not last much beyond but it is an interesting synchronicity that in the immediate post-war years a very bright young medical student was generally regarded as likely to be her eventual successor as Warden in the years to come.
That this did not come to pass is another matter. This is a far cry from the mysterious correspondence with Aleister Crowley in early and the last year of her life.
He did send her a fulsomely autographed copy of The Book of Thoth upon its publication but whether she returned the compliment with copies of her own books is open to question.
The resemblance of the villainous Hugo Astley in The Winged Bull to the Mega Therion suggests that she was not entirely impressed by Crowley as a person but if he was aware of the parallel it would probably have amused rather than irritated him. There is evidence to suggest that a rather sinister oriental group was flinging its inner weight about in the disturbed political conditions of and this may have led her to seek some advice from one who was certainly familiar in one way or another with various kinds of occult unpleasantness.
There has even been speculation that an occult attack of some sort may have led to her death. Unexpected as this event was, it is not a theory I subscribe to, nor is it confirmed in the esoteric diaries of those actively involved at the time. Indeed, by some accounts she seems to have been quite a bouncy inner plane presence very shortly after her physical demise, even becoming involved in helping to finish writing the incomplete Moon Magic. Some intermittent inner unpleasantness from an oriental source certainly went on for those sensitive enough to receive it, of which Margaret Lumley Brown bore the brunt, but it seems that all was satisfactorily resolved by August of Contrary to popular fiction and film that sees occultism in terms of cops and robbers there is a very much more weighty and metaphysical side to it, which because of its abstruse nature, tends not to attract the public eye.
Central to this is one of the first books that Dion Fortune wrote, on a high cosmic trance contact, The Cosmic Doctrine dating from July to February Until its publication in it was a text reserved as a senior study course, and was only published in full in a new edition of The problem that one finds with outsiders trying to assess the work of any occultist is that most of the important work goes on behind the scenes, that is to say upon the inner planes, where few commentators have the ability to operate.
Even if they have a certain facility in this respect they tend to be limited by their own esoteric horizons. Thus those not capable of appreciating the three-fold nature of the Mysteries, as expressed by Dion Fortune, will ever be lumbered with somewhat dim and distorting spectacles, only able to register the limited wavelengths to which they happen to be focused.
There is nothing that tends to throw this problem into glaring light as the so-called purple ray of devotional mysticism. Time and again one sees problems being thrown up by individual occultists or schools trying to come to terms with the Christ force.
However, in metaphysical and personal terms it is also a very potent force – and one that is not easy to deal with, by virtue of two millennia of historical presence in the west with many misapplications and distortions of it upon the way, by those who have sought to bend its power to their own institutional devices or dogmatic preferences.
The history of modern esoteric movements is becoming a fashionable subject in academic circles these days and I recommend to some aspiring PhD to attempt a thesis upon this particular subject. I have no time to develop it in depth but can give a few pointers to crisis points in the past where one can see the sparks fly.
Principles Of Esoteric Healing
The electrical analogy is appropriate for such crises are just like a lightning flash – complete with rumbling thunder. They are caused by the same kind of hidden conditions, a difference of potential electrical or spiritual between the above and the below.
An early thunderclap and pyrotechnic display was to be witnessed at the foundation of the London Lodge of the Theosophical Society in Sinnett the recipient of most of the Mahatma letters or the photogenic and charismatic Christian hermeticist Anna Kingsford.
Waite to form his own more mystical group, the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross. One of the more distinguished members of this was Charles Williams, who went on to write some profoundly occult novels shortly before Dion Fortune was writing her own.
I have analysed his fiction at some length in The Magical World of the Inklings Element Books together with that of his friends C. Tolkien and the anthroposophist Owen Barfield. We find Dion Fortune herself involved with the self same spark generating problem when she had a profound vision involving the Christ and the Lord of Civilisation that propelled her in the direction of the Theosophical Society in and its Christian Mystic Lodge, despite already being a member of the Golden Dawn and having her own small informal but very active group.
So hot and fast did the sparks fly that little documentary information has survived to tell the story.
Principles of Esoteric Healing
Suffice to say that the official Theosophical line at the time remained with a largely Hindu perspective of the Christian dynamic as interpreted by Besant and Leadbeater, and the Christian Mystic Lodge, of which Dion Fortune was then President, relaunched itself as the Community of the Inner Light.
The Christian element continued to be nurtured by a regular Sunday performance of a Grail related communion rite under the banner of the Guild of the Master Jesus. Dion Fortune herself also published a series of mystical meditations upon the Collects of the Anglican church. So things continued in the three fold strand of Hermetic, Pagan and Christian Mystical celebration until the outbreak of war.
It is true that for a number of members, any one of these three strands might esoterjc the preferred option.
One of her stalwarts, an ex-military gentleman who wrote some fine pagan articles in the magazine under the pen name of F. The post-war Society of the Inner Light as I knew it no longer operated the Guild although there was a genuine mystical religious strand within its workings, as one might expect under a Warden who had been educated by the Jesuits and whom some even suspected of being an under cover Jesuit himself!
I had a very powerful experience of this myself whilst by myself in the Library.
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Suddenly, out of thin air, it seemed that Jesus, the Risen Christ, simply walked into the room. He did not do fortjne or say anything, and the experience lasted but a few seconds, but it was sufficiently powerful for me to go straight out and buy a devotional book to mark the occasion. I have it before me now: The fortne as a whole took a new turn as a consequence of all this. The old graded structure was abandoned and all reverted to the 1 st Degree again. Members were encouraged to wear plain clothes or ecclesiastical cassocks instead of magical robes.
I was prepared to accept all this as a necessary cleansing period prior to building up the structure of the lodge again. However after four years of things, according to my lights, remaining much the same almost exclusive emphasis on the purple ray, I felt a yearning for the orange and the green and came to the conclusion I would have to seek elsewhere to find it.
So reluctantly I resigned.