Dion Fortune (1890 - 1946)
and compiled by George Knowles.
Behind the shadows of Gerald B. Gardner, lurks Dion Fortune. Unappreciated during her own time she was perhaps his lesser-known equal, working quietly behind the scenes she developed her own tradition and was unconcerned with the need for publicity. Dion was a respected psychiatrist, occultist and author who approached magick and hermetic concepts from the perspectives of Jung and Freud. She was a prolific occult writer of novels and non-fiction books, an adept in ceremonial magick and a pioneer psychiatrist on religious thought in occultism.
Dion was the daughter of a solicitor and born “Violet Mary Firth” on the 6th January 1890 in Bryn-y-Bia, Llandudno, Wales. She showed mediumistic abilities at an early age and was reputed to have had visions and dreams of “Atlantis” as early as four years old. Later she claimed to have been a priestess there in a past life. She was a bright and intelligent child who wrote her first book at the age of 13, a book of poems entitled Violets in 1904.
Her family were fair to do Christian Scientists with a family motto that reads: “Deo, non Fortuna”, meaning “By God, not by chance”. In 1906 after the death of her grandfather, the family moved to London and lived on they’re inheritance. There she joined the local Theosophical Society and in 1908 had another poem published called Angels. In 1910 she started work at St Georges Secretarial Collage, while continuing her studies in psychology. She worked as an assistant to the collage principal, a strong minded and domineering woman with a violent temper.
Dion Fortune circa 1911
After a number of clashes with the woman, Dion decided to leave. Reporting her intentions to leave, the woman subjected her to a diatribe of incompetence and lack of self-confidence, that she later suffered a near mental breakdown. She later attributed this to the principal, believing she had used “psychic attacks” to try and control her, a technique allegedly learned on visits to India.
As a result of these attacks and during the following three years it took to recover, Dion delved deeper into Psychology, focussing her studies on the theories of Freud and Jung. In 1913 she took up a position as a lay-psychoanalyst at the Medico-Psychological Clinic in London. There she concluded that neither Freud nor Jung adequately addressed the subtleties and complexities of the mind. There was something they had missed, and she felt the answers might lie in occultism.
Through the war years 1914-1918 Dion joined the “Women’s Land Army”, during which time she maintained her links with the “Theosophical Society”. Towards the end of the war she met with and worked with the head of the society “Theodore Moriarty”, an occultist and freemason. Moriarty encouraged her interest in the occult, and in 1919 after the war, she was initiated into the “Alpha and Omega Lodge of Stella Matutina”, an outer order of the hermetic “Order of the Golden Dawn” situated in London.
She studied under “J.W.Brodie-Innes” but came under conflict with “Moina Mathers” the wife of S.L. MacGregor-Mathers, one of the original founders of the Golden Dawn. Feeling symptoms of “psychic attack” similar to her past experience, she later quit and formed her own order “the Fraternity of the Inner Light”. Initially the order was part of the Golden Dawn, but based on esoteric Christianity. It later separated and distanced itself, removing all connections with witchcraft.
After the death of her friend and mentor Theodore Moriarty in 1923, Dion took over the Theosophical Society and renamed it the “Christian Mystic Lodge”. In 1924 she bought a property in Glastonbury called the Chalice Orchard. This she would use as a retreat from the pressures of work and living in the city. While visiting at Glastonbury, Dion became deeply interested in Arthurian legends and the magical-mystical folklore centred on the area. She later formed a pilgrim centre there known as the “Chalice Orchard Club”, which she dedicated to the “Mysteries of Isis”.
In 1937 she met and married a medical doctor “Thomas Penry Evans”. Due to his own occult interests, different from Dion’s, he became known as Merlin or Merle by many of her followers. They worked together magically as Priest and Priestess of her order, the “Fraternity of the Inner Light”, but argued constantly over their differences. In 1939 Evans left her for another lover and they divorced. Dion continued to head the order renaming it the “Society of the Inner Light”.
Dion Fortune with her husband
Later that same year she leased a property in West London known as “The Belfry”, and turned it into a temple for her followers. Like Glastonbury it was dedicated to the “Mysteries of Isis”. During the rest of her lifetime and indeed since she passed away, her societies continue to grow and attract new followers. Just after the Second World War, Dion contracted Leukaemia and in 1946 on the 8th January, she departed this world for the next.
Dion Fortune (her pen name) was a prolific writer. She derived her pen name
from her family motto, “Deo, non Fortuna”, meaning “By God, not by chance”
which she shortened to Dion Fortune. She writes of her many personal experiences
as a practising occultist and psychiatrist, and pours out her knowledge of the
occult in both fiction and non-fiction books, some of which have now reached
classical status.Three of her non-fiction books were written
using another pseudonym
- V M Steele, which included:
Scarred Wrists (1935), Hunters Of Humans (1936) and Beloved Of
Today the “Society of the Inner Light” is still practising and still based in London, but they maintain that Dion was not a witch, and was not involved in any coven? They stress that the present day society is not connected with witchcraft in any way. A sad tribute to a writer whose books did so much to influence, and continues to influence the thoughts of many practitioners in the Wicca/Witchcraft movement.
Problem Of Purity (1928)
Of Ishmael (as V M
Magic (published posthumously in 1956)
Of Occultism (published posthumously in 1962)
Encyclopedia of Witches & Witchcraft - By Rosemary Ellen Guiley
Psychic Self-Defence - By Dion Fortune
First published on the 24th November 2004, 15:09:40 © George Knowles
This article is now showing with permission at
Lady Dark Fortress the owner of these sites also has a monthly newsletter with archived back issues, the current one can be seen at:
Well worth a visit :-)
Best wishes and Blessed Be
Site Contents - Links to all Pages
A Universal Message:
Let there be peace in the world - Where have all the flowers gone?
Wicca & Witchcraft
Wiccan Rede / Charge of the Goddess / Charge of the God / The Three-Fold Law (includes The Law of Power and The Four Powers of the Magus) / The Witches Chant / The Witches Creed / Descent of the Goddess / Drawing Down the Moon / The Great Rite Invocation / Invocation of the Horned God / The 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief / The Witches Rede of Chivalry / A Pledge to Pagan Spirituality
Traditions Part 1 - Alexandrian Wicca / Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC) / Ár Ndraíocht Féin (ADF) / Blue Star Wicca / British Traditional (Druidic Witchcraft) / Celtic Wicca / Ceremonial Magic / Chaos Magic / Church and School of Wicca / Circle Sanctuary / Covenant of the Goddess (COG) / Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) / Cyber Wicca / Dianic Wicca / Eclectic Wicca / Feri Wicca /
Traditions Part 2 - Gardnerian Wicca / Georgian Tradition / Henge of Keltria / Hereditary Witchcraft / Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (H.O.G.D.) / Kitchen Witch (Hedge Witch) / Minoan Brotherhood and Minoan Sisterhood Tradition / Nordic Paganism / Pagan Federation / Pectic-Wita / Seax-Wica / Shamanism / Solitary / Strega / Sylvan Tradition / Vodoun or Voodoo / Witches League of Public Awareness (WLPA) /
Other things of interest:
Gods and Goddesses (Greek
Mythology) / Esbats &
Full Moons / Links
to Personal Friends & Resources / Wicca/Witchcraft
Resources / What's a spell? /
Circle Casting and
Sacred Space / Pentagram
- Pentacle / Marks
of a Witch / The Witches
Power / The Witches Hat
esoteric guide to visiting London / Satanism
Unitarian Universalist Association / Numerology: Part 1
/ Part 2 / Part
3 / A
history of the Malleus Maleficarum: includes: Pope
Innocent VIII /
papal Bull /
Malleus Maleficarum /
An extract from the Malleus Maleficarum
/ The letter of approbation
Nider’s Formicarius /
Heinrich Kramer /
/ Montague Summers /
/ The Albigenses
The Hussites / The
/ Shielding (Occult
and Psychic Protection) /
Sabbats and Rituals:
Sabbats in History and Mythology / Samhain (October 31st) / Yule (December 21st) / Imbolc (February 2nd) / Ostara (March 21st) / Beltane (April 30th) / Litha (June 21st) / Lughnasadh (August 1st) / Mabon (September 21st)
Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar) / Antelope / Bats / Crow / Fox / Frog and Toads / Goat / Honeybee / Kangaroo / Lion / Owl / Phoenix / Rabbits and Hares / Raven / Robin Redbreast / Sheep / Spider / Squirrel / Swans / Wild Boar / Wolf / Serpent / Pig / Stag / Horse / Mouse / Cat
In Worship of Trees - Myths, Lore and the Celtic Tree Calendar. For descriptions and correspondences of the thirteen sacred trees of Wicca/Witchcraft see the following: Birch / Rowan / Ash / Alder / Willow / Hawthorn / Oak / Holly / Hazel / Vine / Ivy / Reed / Elder. Also see: The Willow Tree (Folk Music)
Rocks and Stones:
Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin: / Apophyllite / Amber / Amethyst / Aquamarine / Aragonite / Aventurine / Black Tourmaline / Bloodstone / Calcite / Carnelian / Celestite / Citrine / Chrysanthemum Stone / Diamond / Emerald / Fluorite / Garnet / Hematite / Herkimer Diamond / Labradorite / Lapis Lazuli / Malachite / Moonstone / Obsidian / Opal / Pyrite / Quartz (Rock Crystal) / Rose Quartz / Ruby / Selenite / Seraphinite / Silver and Gold / Smoky Quartz / Sodalite / Sunstone / Thunderegg / Tree Agate / Zebra Marble
Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:
Murder by Witchcraft / The Fairy Witch of Clonmel / A Battleship, U-boat, and a Witch / The Troll-Tear (A story for Children) / Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife / The Story of Jack-O-Lantern / The Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost / Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) / The Two Brothers - Light and Dark
Old Masters of Academia:
(Ancient, Past and Present)
(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders and Others)
Abramelin the Mage / Agrippa / Aidan A. Kelly / Albertus Magnus “Albert the Great” / Aleister Crowley “The Great Beast” / Alex Sanders "the King of the Witches” / Alison Harlow / Amber K / Anna Franklin / Anodea Judith / Anton Szandor LaVey / Arnold Crowther / Arthur Edward Waite / Austin Osman Spare / Biddy Early / Bridget Cleary / Carl Llewellyn Weschcke / Cecil Hugh Williamson / Charles Godfrey Leland / Charles Walton / Christina Oakley Harrington / Damh the Bard (Dave Smith) / Dion Fortune / Dolores Aschroft-Nowicki / Dorothy Morrison / Doreen Valiente / Edward Fitch / Eleanor Ray Bone “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” / Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelly / Dr. Leo Louis Martello / Eliphas Levi / Ernest Thompson Seton / Ernest Westlake and the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry / Fiona Horne / Friedrich von Spee / Francis Barrett / Gerald B. Gardner / Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca / Gwydion Pendderwen / Hans Holzer / Helen Duncan / Herman Slater "Horrible Herman" / Israel Regardie / James "Cunning" Murrell / Janet Farrar & Gavin Bone / Jessie Wicker Bell “Lady Sheba” / John Belham-Payne / John George Hohman / John Gerard / John Gordon Hargrave (the White Fox) / John Michael Greer / John Score / Johannes Junius the Burgomaster of Bamberg / Joseph John Campbell / Karl von Eckartshausen / Laurie Cabot "the Official Witch of Salem" / Lewis Spence / Margaret Alice Murray / Margot Adler / Marie Laveau the " Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" / Marion Weinstein / Matthew Hopkins “The Witch-Finder General” / Max Ehrmann and the Desiderata / Monique Wilson the “Queen of the Witches” / Montague Summers / Nicholas Culpeper / Nicholas Remy / M. R. Sellers / Mrs. Grieve "A Modern Herbal" / Oberon and Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart / Old Dorothy Clutterbuck / Old George Pickingill / Paddy Slade / Pamela Colman-Smith / Paracelsus / Patricia Crowther / Patricia Monaghan / Patricia “Trish” Telesco / Philip Emmons Isaac Bonewits / Philip Heselton / Raymond Buckland / Reginald Scot / Robert Cochrane / Robert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and "The White Goddess" /Rudolf Steiner / Rosaleen Norton “The Witch of Kings Cross” / Ross Nichols and The Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids / Sabrina - The Ink Witch / Scott Cunningham / Selena Fox / Silver Ravenwolf / Sir Francis Dashwood / Sir James George Frazer / S.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” / Starhawk / Stewart Farrar / Sybil Leek / Ted Andrews / The Mather Family - includes: Richard Mather, Increase Mather, Cotton Mather / Thomas Ady / Vera Chapman / Victor Henry Anderson / Vivianne Crowley / Walter Brown Gibson / William Butler Yeats / Zsuzsanna Budapest
Many of the above biographies are brief and far from complete. If you know about any of these individuals and can help with aditional information, please cantact me privately at my email address below. Many thanks for reading :-)
"FAIR USE NOTICE"
While I have taken due care and dilligence to credit all sources where possible, this website may contain copyrighted material which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. My use of making such material available here is done so in my efforts to advance our understanding of religious discrimination, the environmental and social justice issues etc. I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the information for research and educational purposes. For more information about 'fair use' see: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this wedsite for purposes of your own that goes beyond this 'fair use' statement, you must obtain permission from the relevant copyright owner yourself.
My online email discussion group:
Dove of Peace
Help send a message of peace around the world! The Dove of Peace flies from site to site, through as many countries as possible. It does not belong to ANY belief system. Please help make a line around the globe by taking it with you to your site, by giving it to someone for their site, by passing it on to another continent or to the conflict areas of the world. May trouble and strife be vanquished in it's path.
Please take time to sign my Guest Book.