The magical name of a woman called Violet Mary Firth, considered
by some to be one of the most important occultist of the twentieth
Born in Llandudno, Wales, on 6 December 1890. Her mother was
a Christian Scientist and her father a solicitor, and the
family motto, which Fortune later used as her magical motto
and the inspiration for her magical name, was 'Deon non Fortuna',
meaning, 'By God, not by chance'.
Fortune was an independent child and showed early signs of
the psychic abilities that were to shape the rest of her life.
Her interest in magic and occult, however, was not sparked
until the age of 20, when she went to work in an educational
institution and was under the supervision of a woman who had
studied occultism in India. According to Fortune this woman
was a bully with a foul temper, who used hypnotism and the
projection of negative thoughts, called psychic attack, to
get her own way and destroy Fortune's self confidence. Fortune
managed to survive these attacks but experienced a three year
long nervous breakdown.
The experience stimulated Fortunes interest in the human mind,
and whilst she was recovering, she began to study psychology
and Freudian analysis, even though she never totally believed
his theories. By the age of 23 she became a lay psychoanalyst
and was convinced that many of her patients were not mentally
ill but victims of psychic attack. At the same time she also
began to experience visions and memories of past lives, and
in one extremely powerful vision she was accepted as a follower
of Jesus Christ.
At the end of the Great War, after serving in the women's
land army, Fortune met Theodore Moriarty, an Irishman, occultist
and freemason, who gave her training in the occult. Her learning
experiences with Moriarty are featured in her occult autobiography,
Psychic Self Defense .
In 1919, Fortune was initiated into the greatest magical order
of its day, the Order of the Golden Dawn. Fortune progressed
rapidly through the ranks of the order, but she did not get
along with Moina Mathers, the wife of one of the Golden Dawn
founders. Fortune believed that Monia was subjecting her to
psychic attack so she established her own independent order,
called the Fraternity of the Inner Light. [The Fraternity
now called The Society of Inner Light, is still based in London
offering teachings in Western occultism, and over the years
it has profoundly influenced the development of esoteric tradition
in the West.] In addition, Fortune also founded the Belfry,
a temple in west London dedicated to the Mysteries of Isis.
In the winter of 1923/4 Fortune travelled to Glastonbury where
she allegedly made spirit contact with three great masters,
the Greek philosopher Socrates, Lord Eskine, Lord chancellor
of England and a World War I officer, David Carstairs. According
to Fortune these masters dictated her magical writings to
her and Socrates was responsible for her essential work 'The
Throughout the rest of her life Fortune was to return periodically
to Glastonbury to resume her writing and make contact with
another master, Merlin, the great magician of English myth.
She founded the Chalice Orchard Club there, a pilgrim centre.
Her experiences are recorded in 'Glastonbury: Avalon of the
Heart' and the house she lived and worked in while at Glastonbury
is thought to be haunted.
Dion Fortune was well known in her day and attracted a large
following of devoted followers. Fortune was a prolific author.
Her most famous works are 'Psychic Self Defence', considered
by many to be the definitive text on the subject, and 'The
Mystical Qubalah', in which she outlines how the kabbalah
can be used by Western students. She also wrote a number of
novels and her last two - 'The Sea Priestess' and 'Moon Magic'
- are considered by many to be fine examples of magical fiction.
Fortune never recovered physically or spiritually from her
divorce from Penry Evans in 1939 and she died of leukemia
on 8 January 1946. For several years after her death she was
said to still run the Fraternity through mediums, but eventually
was no longer needed and a magical banishing ceremony was
Physician and writer who is often referred to as the father
of psychoanalysis and universally acknowledged to be one of
the most influential thinkers of all time. He coined many
of the phrases we still use today to describe human behaviour
and his ideas about the mind and the personality have become
the foundation for nearly all schools of psychology.
Born in 1856 in Moravia, Freud spent most of his life in Vienna
but died in London in 1939. His career began in Vienna at
the General Hospital where he first became interested in psychology
and began to treat patients using hypnosis. By researching
into his patient's thoughts and behaviour he developed psychoanalysis.
Central to Freud's work is the idea that most of our behaviours
can be explained as motivations we are unaware of. We are
driven by basic desires - sex, power, anger, pleasure [which
actually means avoiding pain] - by the id or primitive part
of our mind. The part of our mind we call the ego is the part
that attempts to control these primitive forces, but when
it comes to making decisions about what is good or bad, right
or wrong our superego takes over. All three parts of our mind
- the id, the ego and the superego - are constantly at war
and which part of our personality dominates depends on our
According to Freud there are fives stages of psychosexual
development; oral [birth to age one], where the mouth is the
source of pleasure; anal [one to three years], when the act
of eliminating it our main focus; switches to the genitals;
latency [five to puberty], a period of rest; and genital [puberty
onwards]. Getting developmentally stuck in any of these stages
when growing up can explain any neurosis you have as an adult.
Freud was convinced that through psychoanalysis, i.e. analysing
a persons behaviour, investigating their dreams and current
problems, you could discover what the cause of any neurosis
was and help them heal wounds from the past. In 1900 Freud's
seminal work 'The Interpretation of Dreams' was published,
followed by 'The Psychopathology of Everyday Life' in 1904
and 'The Theory of Sex' in 1905.
During his life Freud's theories dominated psychotherapy and
psychiatric treatment and he influenced several generations
of great psychologists, in particular Carl Jung. However,
his emphasis on sexual repression and infantile sexual trauma
as the cause of all neuroses created conflict and some of
his key supporters, including Alfred Adler and Jung, eventually
broke with him. Today his theories have fallen into disfavour
for the same reason.
Even though he had a skeptical view of occult phenomena throughout
his career; Freud was deeply interested in the paranormal.
He visited a psychic on at last one occasion, and although
he was amazed at the psychic's ability to pick up personal
information he attributed it to telepathy.
In his casework with clients he often confronted occult phenomena
such as telepathy, premonitions and the evil eye and this
may have prompted his membership of both the American and
British Society for Psychical Research. He was a frequent
guest at lectures sponsored by the Society for Psychical research
in London and he was know to visit allegedly haunted locations
in search of greater understand of the supernatural.
Freud wrote a number of papers and books on psychoanalysis
and the occult, including 'Dreams and Telepathy' , 'The
Occult Significance of Dreams'  and 'Premonitions and
Chance' . In his writings he equated the occult with
superstition, which he believed originated from repressed
urges, and suggested alternative explanations for many paranormal
phenomena. Telepathy, however, was one phenomenon he found
impossible to explain, even though he did believe it to be
a psychological and not a psychic occurrence. Later he confessed
that it was a mystery to him.
Freud and Jung met in Vienna for the first time in 1907. Jung
was greatly impressed by Freud's theories but found he could
not agree with Freud's belief that psychical research should
be abandoned because it made psychoanalysis appear ridiculous
to scientists. The two men drifted apart when Jung began to
investigate what mysticism, religion, the paranormal and philosophy
could reveal about human behaviour and psychology.
In 1921 Freud won an invitation to join the Advisory Council
of the American Psychical Institute. In a letter to the director
of the Advisory Council dated 24 July 1924, Freud said he
did no dismiss completely the study of occult phenomena as
'unscientific, discreditable or dangerous' - and if he was
at the beginning of his career rather than at the end he might
have chosen it as a field of research - but as far as he was
concerned psychoanalysis had nothing to do with the occult.
He went on to say that he had certain prejudices against the
occult and rejected completely the idea of life after death.