Fortune, Dion (December 6, 1890—January 8, 1946) - Witchcraft Hall of Fame

The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World - Judika Illes 2005

Fortune, Dion (December 6, 1890—January 8, 1946)
Witchcraft Hall of Fame

Dion Fortune was an important British occultist and author whose works continue to influence modern Wicca, witchcraft and Neo-Paganism.

She was born Violet Mary Firth to a wealthy family in the steel business. She later adapted the family motto, “Deo, non Fortuna,” (“God, not fortune”) for her magical name. Her mother was a Christian Scientist and from an early age, Violet was exposed to mystical concepts. She also began experiencing visions as a child, including one of her past incarnation as a priestess in Atlantis.

She was briefly involved with Blavatsky’s Theosophical Society in London. She was initiated into the Golden Dawn in 1919 but allegedly disliked mingling Eastern and British occult traditions. A staunch British nationalist with an intensely Western orientation, she reacted against Eastern influences in Theosophy. She turned instead to mystical Christianity and especially British mythology regarding King Arthur and the Holy Grail.

Fortune was a student of occultist Theodore Moriarty who taught that the Christ Principle was first propounded in Atlantis and manifested through Horus, Mithras, Quetzalcoatl, and Buddha as well as Jesus. Fortune was also influenced by Carl Jung’s ideas, especially his concept of the anima and animus. She studied both Freud and Jung, preferring Jung, but felt both lacked an adequate spiritual element.

Beginning in 1926, she published books on magical cosmology, Kabalah, practical magic and several novels with an occult theme. Fortune wrote before the repeal of the Witchcraft Act and it is thought that, for legal reasons, she obscured instructional material by writing it as fiction. Rituals in her novels have since been incorporated into modern Wiccan and Neo-Pagan rituals.

She left the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in 1927 to found the Fraternity of Inner Light. Fortune died of leukemia at the age of 56.

The Society of the Inner Light continues to teach Western Esoteric traditions. The Society emphasizes that they are not associated with witchcraft in any way and that Fortune was neither a witch nor a member of a coven.

More information on her novels is found in CREATIVE ARTS: Literature. Other books include Applied Magic (1922), Sane Occultism (1926), The Training and Work of an Initiate (1930), Psychic Self-Defence (1930), and The Mystical Qabbalah (1936).