Quotations from Dion Fortune’s writings


The following is a compilation of quotations taken from Dion Fortune’s own writings, and from books of her essays compiled and edited by Gareth Knight.  The quotations are grouped under various headings such as ‘Magic’, ‘Esoteric Practice’ and ‘The Green Ray’ and the list will be added to from time to time.

Book titles, Chapter, and page numbers are given where possible. When various different editions have been published, page numbers usually vary and are therefore not included.


Dion Fortune on Magic


" I define magic as the art of causing changes to take place in consciousness in accordance with will..."

This famous definition first appeared in Dion Fortune's essay 'The Rationale of Magic' which was printed in London Forum Volume 60, September 1934, pages 175 - 181

The complete essay can be found on this website under the 'Articles' section of the main menu.



The works of magic could theoretically be done by the power of the mind alone, without the use of any ritual form…

The Training and Work of an Initiate, Chapter Nine


Magic….is a technique for the utilisation and direction of the astral forces, which are the immediate causes behind the world of appearances. 

Spiritualism and Occultism page 133


It is the knowledge of the method of manipulating these - the elemental essences of each kingdom - which is the basis of practical magic.

The Cosmic Doctrine, Weiser edition 2000, page 126


The rituals of the Church are, of course, ceremonial magic….

Psychic Self-Defence Chapter Six


Hod is the sphere of ‘magic’ and Michael is its Archangel because he holds in control the various evil influences which might escape into the world of Humanity.

The Cosmic Doctrine Weiser edition page 206


The deepest natural magic is to be found in Egypt, and the highest metaphysics in India.

The Training and Work of an Initiate, Chapter Twelve


One cannot divide magic into white and black by a clear-cut dividing line; there is what may be described as grey magic, which people embark upon out of ignorance or love of sensation.

Applied Magic, Chapter Eight


White Magic aims at reinforcing and concentrating the process of evolution and redemption, and Black Magic seeks to employ the same powers to manipulate causation for selfish ends regardless of cosmic law. 

The Training and Work of an Initiate, Chapter Eight 


Ritual magic may well be defined as the therapeutics of the subtle planes.

The Training and Work of an Initiate, Chapter Eight


White Magic seeks to reach upwards and draw down power from above. Black Magic seeks to reach backwards into an outgrown phase of evolution and release forces which have long since been equilibrated into a static form.

The Training and Work of an Initiate, Chapter Eight 


….the temptation of black magic (is that) evolution is illegitimately hastened…

The Cosmic Doctrine, Weiser edition page 137 


 Dion Fortune on Esoteric Practice


Symbols are to the mind what tools are to the hand--an extended application of its powers. 

The Mystical Qabalah, Chapter 5.3, p.28


We live in the midst of invisible forces whose effects alone we perceive. We move among invisible forms whose actions we very often do not perceive at all, though we may be profoundly affected by them.

Psychic Self-Defence, Part 1, Chapter 1, p.10


A chain is no stronger than its weakest link, and if one of the team cannot handle the forces, everybody is going to suffer. A ritual lodge is no place for the well-meaning ineffectual.

Psychic Self-Defence, Part 1, Chapter VIII, p.44


The driving forces of the universe, the framework upon which it is built up in all its parts, belong to another phase of manifestation than our physical plane, having other dimensions than the three to which we are habituated, and perceived by other modes of consciousness than those to which we are accustomed.

Psychic Self-Defence, Part 1, Chapter 1, p.10


It is one of the strictest conditions of initiation that occult knowledge may never be sold or used for gain.

Psychic Self-Defence, Part 1, Chapter X, p.55


An ounce of experience is worth a pound of theory.

Psychic Self-Defence, Preface, p.8


We should therefore train the imagination not to dwell upon things we fear, but rather to picture a happy issue out of all our afflictions and ourselves sailing triumphantly into the port of our desires” 

Practical Occultism Chapter 2


Dion Fortune on the Green Ray


A weekly contact with nature has an important part to play. It feeds a certain aspect of your nature, a higher aspect of the second plane….you will find you get a lot out of nature – especially trees.

Practical Occultism Chapter 7


To commune with the creatures of the Elements you must understand and share their nature. 

Practical Occultism Chapter 7


Oh great god Pan, return to earth again;

O come at my call, and show yourself to men.

Shepherd of goats, upon the wild hill’s way,

Lead thy lost flock from darkness unto day.

Moon Magic Chapter 13


For in the great moments of life we cross the threshold in a kind of trance that has been described by those who have known it as a lesser death ….when the Vikings leapt baresark into battle, they knew that lesser death and its illumination.

Moon Magic final page


Sink down, sink down, sink deeper and more  deep

Into eternal and primordial sleep,

Sink down, be still, forget and draw apart

Sink into the inner earth’s most secret heart.

From The Rite of Isis


The elemental energy which feeds the etheric double is picked up from the Earth aura through the Malkuth Centre just as definitely as the food that feeds the physical body is taken in by the mouth. 

The Circuit of Force – The Psychic Centres and their Use, page 69


With the eyes of vision I saw the stars moving in the heavenly spaces and tides in the earth-soul following them as the tidal wave of the early seas follows after the Moon. 

The Sea Priestess Chapter 24


There I saw that in the utter darkness light moved like a tide, and knew that even death has a manner of life of its own.

The Sea Priestess Chapter 25


We see then, that every celestial being conceived by the mind of man has as its basis a natural force, but that upon the basis of this natural force is built up a symbolic image representative thereof which is ensouled and rendered active by the force it represents.

The Mystical Qabalah – Netzach


There are all manner of very lofty spiritual beings whose mode of manifestation is in nature.

Applied Magic Chapter 7


 …although the ultimate product of the evolution of the angelic, the human and the elemental kingdom is to produce consciousness and intelligence, the origin of the three types of beings is entirely different, and so also is their destiny”

Applied Magic Chapter 6


 Dion Fortune on The Way Forward


The prophet may announce what will happen if nothing occurs to prevent it, but out of such a multiplicity of factors, anything may occur to modify the course of events…….…Victory has many times been snatched out of the jaws of defeat by a courage that would not accept the inevitable…….…..He can, who thinks he can.

Sane Occultism, Chapter 8, Numerology and Prophecy, page 56


Those of us who take up these ancient studies should pursue them as scientists, not as mystery-mongers and exploiters of human credulity.

Sane Occultism, Chapter 8, Numerology and Prophecy, page 57


It is useless to complain of the lack of signposts; the signposts are there for those who can read.

Sane Occultism, Chapter 11, Secrecy in Occult Fraternities, page 74


It is a refusal to react that is the strongest armour.

Sane Occultism, Chapter 9, Group Karma in Occult Societies, page 61


In considering all practical problems, especially those which have to be worked out on a large scale, it is not possible always to find out the abstract right, and then go and do it.

Sane Occultism, Chapter 16, Occultism and Vegetarianism, page 98