“Well now, there’s legends and then there’s
secrets that the legends hide.”
~The Singing Stones
Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki and T.L. Ashcroft-Nowicki, mother and daughter, have both written new takes on the Arthurian legends in the last few years. Dolores wrote The Singing Stones for her grandson and she plans to write more. T.L.’s first novel of a planned trilogy is entitled Merlin’s Daughter. In each novel, we get a glimpse into the spiritual traditions and teachings behind the Arthurian legends from one of England’s foremost magical families. Dolores studied with W. Earnest Butler, and is the head of the Servants of the Light, the organization founded (now renamed) by Western Mystery Tradition Occultist, Dion Fortune. T.L. grew up in her mother’s magical household, and I’ll just bet learned a couple of things here and there.
In The Singing Stones, the main character, Thomas Greystone, learns about his life’s destiny to sing awake the standing stones in his ancestral homeland and allow the Once and Future King to return. His mentor, Bald Bessie, an apparently homeless woman who lives in a cave with a Jack Russel terrier, turns out to be no less a personage than—but wait. Should I tell you? Let’s just say she’s a major player in this myth’s cast of characters.
We follow Thomas as he discovers his true heritage, regains his lost manor, evades the Others in the nearby village who are trying to stop him from coming to full consciousness of himself and his role, finds the circle of singing stones that move about from hilltop to hilltop (a portal to other worlds and … Continue reading
Jodine Turner’s Visionary Fiction series traces the reincarnations of a priestess specially called to do the work of the Goddess of the Stars and the Sea, an Ancient One who reawakens when humanity is ready for a dramatic shift in consciousness. The first novel in the series shows us the fall of Atlantis and the rise of Avalon. In The Awakening: Rebirth of Atlantis, Geodran is promised to this special Goddess even before her birth. Her mother, High Priestess Jaquine, has lost babies to miscarriages and does not want a repeat performance. The Goddess of the Stars and the Sea claims Geodran as her own in return for bringing her to term.
Many of us have written about Atlantis and grab up books that reimagine or remember those times as soon as we find them. Turner spends a good deal of time in this civilization, showing us the capitol city with its looming pyramid, and taking us into the countryside where we see the fishing and farming villages, as well as the spreading forests. We get to watch Geodran grow up, be accepted into the temple, and go through some training. The High Priestess, rigid with tradition, has trouble allowing Geodran to meet her Goddess each full moon on the beach. Geodran succeeds. She learns sacred sexual ritual with none other than the son of the Goddess.
But paradise is already falling. The priesthood is corrupt, trying to gain the immortal body of light through force and dark magic, dulling the pyramid’s beacon light and endangering the island. Geodran … Continue reading
Read Part 1 and Part 2 of Theresa Crater’s review of Dion Fortune’s Visionary Fiction novels.
“The Mystical Qabalah gives the theory, but the novels give the practice . . .
[T]hose who study The Mystical Qabalah with the help of the novels
get the keys of the Temple put into their hands.”
~ from Moon Magic, by Dion Fortune
I was browsing in the Theosophical bookstore tucked in a small street off Broadway in Seattle’s Capital Hill neighborhood, just a block away from an apartment I inhabited in my twenties. Feeling nostalgic, I remembered the times I’d dropped into this very same bookstore years ago, on my way back and forth to work or to taste the free samples on the counter at Dilettante Chocolates, dashing in dressed in blue jeans and t-shirt amongst the more elegant diners. On this visit, over in the corner, I found the Dion Fortune section. I held up the two novels and her short story collection I knew already and showed them to my companion, recommending them to him. Reshelving them, I discovered, much to my delight, more novels! I never knew Fortune had written more fiction, but there they were: The Demon Lover, The Winged Bull, and The Goat Foot God. With delicious anticipation, I pulled them from the shelf, took them to the counter, and handed over my credit card. What a wonderful find.
(You can read Part 1 of Theresa Crater’s series on Visionary Fiction author Dion Fortune here.)
“He thought less of death than most people think of emigration; in fact, he seemed to regard it in exactly that light.”
In The Secrets of Dr. Taverner, Dion Fortune’s short story collection featuring the magical adept and psychiatrist by the same name, we met many interesting characters in the throes of mental crisis that have a spiritual cause, or the families of seekers who want to throw their relative who is not behaving according to social norms into an asylum so they can take control of their money. It makes for delightful reading. I can attest to that. I was going to thumb through the book to refresh my memory because I am quite busy these days with my own writing and teaching, but from the first story, I couldn’t stop reading.
Fortune explains in her preface that the character of Dr. Taverner is based on the real-life Dr. Moriarty, with whom she studied analysis and most likely magic. She says, “To ‘Dr. Taverner’ I owe the greatest debt of my life; without ‘Dr. Taverner’ there would have been no ‘Dion Fortune,’ and to him I offer the tribute of these pages.”
The nursing home depicted, where all manner of magical events occur, was a real place. I’m sure out there in the magical world there are people who could tell us stories about this man and the place. Sometimes one has to suffer a certain amount of smugness to extract such stories (not always), but it’s always well worth it. Fortune … Continue reading
Many people are familiar with Dion Fortune as a spiritual teacher in the Western Metaphysical Tradition, the founder of Fraternity of the Inner Light (later re-named the Society of the Inner Light). She was born Violet Mary Firth in Wales in December of 1890.
Dion Fortune showed psychic abilities as a child, and later reported a life in Atlantis as a priestess. She became interested in the occult when studying with a Freudian lay analyst. She pursued both esoteric and psychiatric study in her life, joining the Golden Dawn when she moved to London, then beginning her own group at the foot of Glastonbury Tor in 1924. Before leaving the Golden Dawn, Fortune studied psychiatry with Dr. Moriarty (it looks like Arthur Conan Doyle may have known him, too). She wrote many nonfiction titles on magic and occultism; many have become standard references in the serious study of esotericism. She wrote under the pseudonym Dion Fortune, most likely taken from her family moto Deo Non Fortuna, ‘God not luck’. She is buried in Glastonbury, England.
Two of Fortune’s novels focus on tantric ritual or sacred sexuality, The Sea Priestess (1935) and Moon Magic (1956). Some claim that Fortune included spiritual principles in her novels that were too secret to be published in her nonfiction, and perhaps it was this sexual content that the time period could not handle being discussed more openly.
However, the head of her branch of the Golden Dawn, Moina Mathers, objected strenuously to Fortune’s writing at first, fearing she was sharing secrets not meant for the general public. In her fiction, it seems Fortune … Continue reading