Notes: Samuel Lidell MacGregor Mathers

samuelmathersSamuel Lidell MacGregor Mathers (1854-1918) was the Chief of the Second Order of the Golden Dawn and an author of many books. His book, The Tarot: A Short Treatise on Reading Cards, was essential to our modern understanding of Tarot card meaning. With the help of his wife, Moina, he gave the cards symbolism deeper meanings than what was common at that time. There is some mystery surrounding his death. His wife believed he died of “exhaustion from years of work with the secret Chiefs of the Third Order.” At any rate, his place of burial is unknown.

Selected Bibliography:
The Tarot: A Short Treatise on Reading Cards
The Fall of Granada: A Poem in Six Duans
The Qabbalah Unveiled
Egyptian Symbolism
The Grimoire of Armadel
The Tarot, Its Occult Significance and Methods of Play
The Key of Solomon the King: Clavicula Solomonis
The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage
Astral Projection Ritual Magic and Alchemy

Additional information: Golden Dawn

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Notes: Moina Mathers

moinamathersIn 1922, Dion Fortune left Alpha et Omega claiming to be under Magical attack by Moina Mathers. This rift began when Fortune decided to form her own group, “The Fraternity of the Inner Light.” Mathers worried this would cause others to leave AeO. Mathers was also upset about Fortune revealing group secrets in the fictional stories she was writing. Mathers expelled Fortune for betraying the order.

Moina Mathers/Mina Bergson (1865-1928) was an English occultist and one of the founders of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. She was the Order’s first initiate. In 1890, she married another founder, Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers. They made a unique partnership: he would evoke spirits and she would envision his evocations clairvoyantly and then illustrate what she saw. When he died in 1918, Mathers became the Imperatrix of AeO. Mathers held this position until she died ten years later.

Additional info:

Mysterious People

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Notes: Dr. Theodore Moriarty AKA Dr. Taverner

Dr Taverner RoyalOne of Dion Fortune’s first mentors was Dr. Theodore Moriarty. He was the co-author of the influential books, “The Freemason’s Vade Mecum” and “Notes on Masonic Etiquette and Jurisprudence.”

Born in 1873 in Dublin, Moriarty spent his early adulthood traveling in the merchant services. He eventually settled in Mossel Bay, South Africa. In 1897, he was initiated as a Freemason.

He returned to England in 1916 and became a teacher of “Universal Theosophy.” It is around this time he began to mentor Dion Fortune. She based her practice of trance mediumship on his techniques. Six years later she published fictional stories based on his teachings. The character she based on him was Dr. Taverner. These stories were later collected in “The Secrets of Dr. Taverner,” which is still in print.

More info:

Gareth Knight

Chuck Furnace

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Notes: The Final Years and Beyond (DF)

dionfortune3Dion Fortune remained in Glastonbury after the war. She maintained a residence and a teaching center at the base of the Glastonbury Tor, which is a roofless tower on a hill believed by some to be Avalon from Arthurian legend. It is at this location where she famously channeled information which became known as “The Arthurian Channel.” She died in 1946 from leukemia and is buried in a tomb at Glastonbury cemetery. Her tomb is covered in many types of flowers (depending on the season): violets, celandines, snow-in-summer, and crocuses. Her Society of the Inner Light is still going strong. There is a website where one can apply for membership after following a supervised study course: Society of the Inner Light

Glastonbury cemetery

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Notes: The Magical Battle of Britain

battlebritainDuring the summer and fall of 1940, there was an aerial battle being fought over England. This conflict against the invading Germans has become known historically as “The Battle of Britain.” What many don’t know is that there was also a magical Battle of Britain being fought simultaneously.

From October 1939 to October 1942, Dion Fortune sent weekly letters to her followers thoroughly describing the meditations for them to perform each Sunday. These instructions were based on the Golden Dawn protection and visualization techniques. The goal was to psychically intensify the vortex of psychic imagery from the national spirit which had been around since Arthurian times. Fortune believed that the national spirit originated from Glastonbury where Excalibur had lain.

At first the rituals were purposed for a psychic self-defense, but soon Fortune was leading astral plane battles. Her followers would visualize themselves armed with swords and flaming torches. They would perform magical attacks on Nazi leaders, cursing them to change their bad behavior to good.  It was learned that the Nazis were themselves undertaking black magic rituals to attack Britain. It was believed by many occultists that Hitler had started WWII to get his hands on the Spear of Destiny (the lance that stabbed Jesus Christ while on the cross). It was thought that whoever possessed the Spear of Destiny would have great spiritual powers.

More info:

Fortean Times

Skylight Press

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Notes: DF, Lectures and Writings

chaliceorchardIn 1922, Dion Fortune left Alpha et Omega to form her own group, “Fraternity of the Inner Light” (later known as “The Society of the Inner Light”). This order began in a small hut (pictured) at Chalice Orchard, Glastonbury. Fortune said that her leaving was due to her being under magical attack by Moina Mathers, the head of AeO.  Fortune became an in demand lecturer and devoted much of her energies towards promoting her group. Fortune also became a very prolific writer during this time. She wrote fiction and non-fiction that promoted the different aspects of magic and mysticism. Her books are still very influential in the Goddess Movement and Wicca. Two of her books, The Cosmic Doctrine and Hermetic Qaballah, are often cited as the best books on magic ever written. Her books have been very influential in the fantasy genre (novels, comics, movies, and videogames).

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Notes: By God, Not Fate

Dion Fortune’s pseudonym was DF, inspired not by her initials, but by her family motto: “Deo, non-fortuna.” She was born in Wales and raised in a house where Christian Science was strictly adhered to. At the age of four, she reported having visions of the lost city of Atlantis. At twenty, she claimed to have developed psychic abilities. She joined the Theosophical society and studied at the University of London (psychology and psychoanalysis). She later became a lay psychotherapist at the Medico-Psychological Clinic in Brunswick Square. In 1919, she was initiated into the London Temple of the Alpha et Omega. Her first mentor was Theodore Moriarty, Irish occultist and Freemason. She later switched to the Stella Matutina order.

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