1. Alfred
  2. General Talk
  3. Sunday, 31 January 2021
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DNF placed great importance on Atlantis as a cornerstone of the Western Mysteries. She reported visions of Atlantis at the age of four and her mentor, Moriarty, lectured on the subject. She also referred to the lost continent in her writing, and its influence on the magical side of the Arthuriad is canon for most people who continue in the traditions she established or popularised.

However, students and teachers of the mysteries remain divided on whether Atlantis was ever more than a morality tale by Plato or a memory of Crete, or a lost continent and body of esoteric knowledge that will one day rise again.

Amid the controversy of Atlantis and the practices attributed to it, there is perhaps a more fundamental question that is central to the Western Mysteries:

Is Atlantis still relevant to magic today?

Every occult writer and teacher is inevitably of their time (or perhaps a little ahead of it), so do we need to revisit, review and reconsider Atlantis from a 21st century perspective?

Let the debate begin!
Peter Nascien Accepted Answer
Thank you Alfred for setting out this very important question so clearly. As you say, the influence of Atlantis continues to be upheld by those whose magical work is based on the traditions Dion Fortune established.

There is much that I could say in response but for the moment I will confine myself to a question which has just come to mind. Assuming that Atlantis existed, would not all humanity have once been 'in Atlantis' irrespective of whether or not we remember it?' Or should we regard the possibility of a former life in Atlantis as something special?
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Alfred Accepted Answer
An follow-on interesting question, that presupposes Atlantis was the only civilisation on terra firma at that time. I wonder if there's a distinction to be drawn between what many consider to be the Atlantean influence and the relevance of specific Atlantean past lives - for specific individuals.

That said, if someone was unaware of Atlantis there is still a solid (arguably more solid) foundation in the magical traditions and practices of the Celtic, Saxon, Egyptian, Greek, Norse, et al.
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Wendy Accepted Answer
As I understand it, it is generally supposed that Atlantis was the only civilisation on terra firma at that time.....whenever 'that time' actually was. That it was not a local or national culture, or confined to one civilisation, but was once the state of being of the entire world, even though a number of localities across several continents have been identified as the Atlantean 'centre.' One might even argue that 'terra firma' is perhaps not quite the right term because the Atlantean period occurred before the Earth's final descent ("the Fall) into physicality. I think that's worth keeping in mind when considering some of the detailed 'physical' descriptions of those who believe they lived there.

I have been looking through a very useful piece of writing on DF, a thesis by John Selby who obviously knows what he is talking about, entitled "Dion Fortune and her Inner Plane contacts." It's available online at 'https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/handle/10036/41936 and putting in the search word 'Atlantis' brings up some interesting comments of which I'll quote just one:

"We are in no position to determine whether Fortune's childhood experience was a genuine memory of the past or a disturbance in Rupert Sheldrake's 'morphogenic field', the intrusion of an ‘alternate personality’, or just a childhood fantasy. (page 129.)
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Wendy Accepted Answer
Regarding Dion Fortune and her early dreams of Atlantis, I think it’s worth keeping in mind a later dream that she describes in some detail, and which in effect became the catalyst that initiated her entry into the Mysteries. She dreamt that she was in the library of the Theosophical Society in Tavistock Square. From there, she was caught up in space and transported to a plateau among great snow-covered mountains which she knew to be the Himalayas. She found herself kneeling at the feet of two great spiritual beings or Masters, and realised that she had been accepted as a pupil by one of them, the Master of Compassion. From that moment, her magical path rapidly unfolded.

The setting of this dream doesn't sound like Atlantis, and it is hard to perceive this spiritual centre in the Himalayan mountains as anything but Shamballa. But from then on, all DF’s contacts were very much of the Western Mystery tradition and had no apparent connection with the ‘Theosophical’ Masters' and the Himalayas, nor with Shamballa. It was clear that her role in the Mysteries was to be firmly within the Western tradition, and this perhaps created something of a dilemma for her. Western esoteric traditions do not particularly recognise Shamballa as the one, global spiritual centre but as having relevance mostly within Eastern traditions. This begs the question of the location of an equivalent spiritual centre in the West.

In order to fill this 'gap' and because she needed to identify the ‘magical roots’ of her Fraternity, DF identified Atlantis as the Western equivalent of Shamballa. She based the magical work of her Fraternity on an imaginative reconstruction of Atlantis and its ‘sacred mountain.’ I think this is unfortunate, because it promotes Atlantis as a source of wisdom, enlightened thinking and something to aspire to rather than recognising that it represents a stage of human development that we hope to have put behind us. In the ‘seven stages’ of humanity Atlantis represents the past: it represents adolescence, a period of experimentation, emotional imbalance and pursuit of excitement.

But this leaves us with the same dilemma. For those of us working in the Western Mysteries, unless we think of Shamballa as the spiritual centre for the whole world, what is the Western equivalent of Shamballa, a spiritual location that embodies the ideals of the future rather than glorifies the past? Do we have one?
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Peter Nascien Accepted Answer
Might we perhaps think of Jerusalem - in the sense of the ideal, the perfect, the 'The New Jerusalem' - as the equivalent of Shamballa within the Western Mysteries? The word Jerusalem means 'peace,' I believe.
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