The Demon Lover Dion Fortune – A Visionary Fiction Alliance Book Review by Theresa Crater

The Mystical Qabalah gives the theory, but the novels give the practice. Those who study The Mystical Qabalah with the help of the novels get the keys of the Temple put into their hands. – Dion Fortune, Moon Magic

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.

I’m sure many of you already knew about these books, but I hadn’t realized she’d written more, so as soon as I got home, I dove in. I don’t remember the order I read them in, but The Demon Lover was her first novel. Innocent, but psychically sensitive Veronica is hired to be a secretary to a spiritual lodge by Lucas, a dark magician who begins to use her. Lucas puts Veronica in a trance and sends her out to spy for him. He attaches her to him by an ethereal silver chain.

Once discovered by his Order, Lucas tries to do what would save himself, kill her, but finds he cannot. He has fallen for her, so he flees, taking Veronica with him to a country house. Found out, at last, Lucas takes the punishment of death himself. But it turns out he’s not dead after all but in a sort of half-life in which he feeds as a vampire of sorts on Veronica’s vital energy. At last, the true mage arrives, always a high adept belonging to some secret lodge above the more ordinary ones. He is going to set the situation to rights, but he discovers in his investigations that things are more complicated than he thought.

This is not Veronica and Lucas’s first incarnation together as lovers, nor their second. He must redeem the relationship. The Lodge Lucas is a member of is definitely in need of help. They are a group of old, stiff men who have become stuck in their ways. Any magician who is stuck is not able to channel as much energy as he should. Introducing female energy is what is called for, and this Veronica provides.

Fortune lived in a time when women were becoming part of occult lodges. The old, all-male groups were giving way to gender and energy-balanced groups. Fortune portrays this process in her novel, a process that is still on-going, by the way.

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