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  3. Monday, 11 February 2019
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Welcome to our new thread: Dion Fortune's Quote of the Week.' Each week, we will present a quotation from Dion Fortune's writing followed by comment, discussion or ideas that it has inspired. We hope that you will find this of interest, and that you will join us in an appreciation of her wisdom.
Nova Genista Accepted Answer
Hello Alfred. Yes, indeed, alignment with higher forces is a worthy aim. Interestingly, DF continues in the same publication to speak of the use of occult powers for more mundane personal aims/gains:
"Naturally, no initiate worthy of the name would use his powers to amass a large fortune, because he is not interested in the things for which large fortunes are desired - power, luxury, and such like; but I can see no reason why he should not make use of his knowledge to draw to himself a modest competency and the means necessary to enable him to pursue his work". Later she says "it seems to me that it is a poor sort of initiate who cannot put his powers to the practical test when a legitimate need arises".
I suppose what DF is saying is still in relation to striving for the alignment with higher forces but in terms of using occult powers to remove mundane difficulties that might otherwise get in the way of that work.
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Alfred Accepted Answer
It's an interesting challenge for magicians. Do we use mundane powers to solve mundane problems (that jar of elbow grease!) or do we approach those problems from a higher point on the Tree? As you say, when it's in relation to 'the work' then I think a magical approach seems applicable.
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Nova Genista Accepted Answer
Magic is: "the art of causing changes to take place in consciousness in accordance with will".

From: 'The Rationale of Magic', London Forum, Vol 60, September 1934, pages 175 to 181 (publisher: Ralph Shirley, London)

Oh no, we hear you cry, not that quote again. Yes, that quote again, but here we are pleased to provide it along with the correct citation (which, as far as we are aware, is not readily available elsewhere) so that all may source and read the original paper. It is an interesting publication and shows that DF does not mean her definition to cover all that others may call 'magic'. She notes that she has "never seen direct and immediate objective results from magic", hence her definition of magic is not intended to cover that. She discusses Crowley's definition and that of Levi. A paper well worth reading, especially for those who intend to quote or who have quoted her definition.

Take a look at http://www.dionfortune.co.uk/articles/the-rationale-of-magic
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Nova Genista Accepted Answer
"The modern occultist makes two mistakes, in my experience. He retains the philosophy of primitive thought in his theory, and uses the methods of modern thought in his practice. Consequently his theory is barren of sense, and his practice is barren of results. He is obliged to keep things dark, because if he let in the light of common day upon them, all men would see the nakedness of the land.
If occultism is to be reinstated to its position of the science of kings and the king of sciences, we must reverse our position; we must apply the methods of modern thought to its philosophy, and the methods of primitive thought to its practice. In other words, we must give ear to the teaching of psychology on the subject".

From: 'Occultism from the Inside (Part II)', London Forum, Vol 60, July 1934, pages 38 to 44

This appears to be a swingeing criticism of her fellow occultists by DF. We can perhaps claim that it is an area where large strides have been made in the intervening period, it being common for occultists to take notice of psychology in relation to the philosophy of occultism. I wonder who has learnt more of the other's area in the interim, the psychologist or the occultist.
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Psyche Accepted Answer
"Whoever attempts to work with the positive aspect of a Sephirah must remember that it also has a negative aspect, and unless he can maintain the necessary equilibrium of forces, that negative aspect is liable to come uppermost and swamp the operation. There is a point in every magical operation when the negative aspect of the force comes up to be dealt with, and unless dealt with will lure the experimenter into the pit which he has digged. It is a sound magical maxim not to invoke any force unless you are equipped to deal with its averse aspect."

From: The Mystical Qabalah, Chapter XXVI.

Good plain, sound advice, as usual, for the avoidance of burned fingers.
It is not for me to teach the Psychologists their business, however great the need.
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Nova Genista Accepted Answer
'The landmarks which guide a man at the end of his journey are not the same as those by which he directs his steps at the beginning. There may be some peak in a range that he takes for his landmark, but when he comes to it; it may be that he leaves it upon the one hand or the other and follows the pass that skirts its shoulder. To him the peak was a means to an end and not a goal'.

From: 'Stages on the Path', Occult Review, Volume 54, December 1931, pages 389 to 393

A clear and concise observation that needs no explanation, yet is relevant on so many levels and has the potential to feed a lifetime of meditations.
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Psyche Accepted Answer
"When, in order to concentrate exclusively on God, we cut ourselves off from nature, we destroy our own roots. There must be in us a circuit between heaven and earth, not a one-way flow, draining us of all vitality...Equally, it is not enough for our mental health and spiritual development that we draw down the Divine Light, we must also draw up the earth forces. Only too often mental health is sacrificed to spiritual development through ignorance of, of denial of this fact. Nature is God made manifest, and we blaspheme her at our peril."

The Circuit of Force.

An important reminder not to neglect the earth forces, for our own sake, let alone hers.
It is not for me to teach the Psychologists their business, however great the need.
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Peter Nascien Accepted Answer
Thank you Psyche for posting this quotation. Dion Fortune's explanation of why it is vital for us to retain our contact with nature - 'God made manifest' - makes perfect sense. What good reason could we possibly have for ignoring the natural world about us? But so often, time spent in contact with nature gets relegated to the bottom of our list of things to do, so that going for a ramble or spending half an hour sitting under a tree in the park, seems lazy or a waste of valuable time.
So far as I know, DF is the only occultist who recognises that deliberate, mindful time spent in 'drawing up the earth forces' is as important in our overall development as our approach to God.
Perhaps for every hour we spend in meditation we should also put aside an hour for contact with nature?
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Nova Genista Accepted Answer
'Now comes the point when we definitely leave the psychological sphere and enter the occult: when we change over from the subjective to the objective. The reader will recall what has previously been said concerning the importance of the Astral Aether in occult hypothesis. As was freely admitted, the existence of the Astral Aether cannot be conclusively demonstrated; nevertheless, if we act "as if" it existed and possessed certain qualities, we obtain results which we do not obtain by other methods. By accepting thought as substantial, we find that it is rendered powerful, for "as a man thinks in his heart, so is he" in the Astral Realm'.

From: 'How Ritual Works', The London Forum, Volume 62, July 1935, pp30-36

The importance of acting 'as if' is critical to the effectiveness of magic. If we act 'as if' and believe that to be true then it is true. We tend to think of that being applied only in the present and for the future. However, if the same hypothesis is applied to the past, when acting 'as if' the past were so, and believing in the fact of that possibility, the consequence is that the relevant past is reality. If folk would accept that, it would render nugatory disputes such as those that occur from time to time about the evolution of root races, Lemuria, Atlanta, the lives and reincarnations of priests and priestesses and all the other related issues for all views could be correct.
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Wendy Accepted Answer
I agree, DF is pointing us to one of the 'secrets' of magical work when she describes the effectiveness of thinking and acting 'as if.' I would say that much (all?) magical ritual contains a significant element of visionary, imaginative, acting 'as if' something is true. In this context, it is the invisible, unseen, spiritual worlds of higher realities that we give shape and form to, bringing them down to earth through the carefully chosen words and images of the ritual 'as if' these spiritual truths were part of the here and now.

Can this principle also be applied to the past? I find myself hesitating at this. I understand what you mean: if we acted 'as if' Atlantis was real, or, conversely, not real, then in a sense it wouldn't much matter either way!

My thinking, though, is that our best approach to `Atlantis' or to conjectured past lives as Very Special High Priestess of You Name It etc. etc is more discretion. So if Atlantis existed - (and really I can't see how it can ever be proved one way or the other) do we want to turn back to something which, according to esoteric theory, has been superseded, grown-out-of, been there, learnt the lessons and moved on?

To my mind, the Golden Age is yet to come.
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Peter Nascien Accepted Answer
I was fascinated to hear on the news recently of the discovery that regular positive, optimistic thinking can increase your life expectancy by 10%. I offer Dion Fortune's observations on this same idea......

"Never suffer yourself or others to dwell upon negative images. Dwell upon the positive - the constructive, that you may build up. For when you dwell upon the negative, you destroy.

Principles of Esoteric Healing, edited Gareth Knight, page 36
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Nova Genista Accepted Answer
'Occult science, both theory and practice, is essential to those who wish to dedicate themselves to the task of lifting the burden of world-karma. Unless they know what they are doing, they cannot hope to do so very effectively. In the background of world-events subtle mental forces of great magnitude are at work and great spiritual tides bear forward and backward the affairs of nations. The occultist studies these, and by his knowledge is able to use his powers for the healing of both nations and individuals in a way that no one else can'.

From: Stages on the Path, Occult Review, Vol 54, December 1931, pp389 to 393

Some may take this as an excuse for using occult methods to achieve political ends, or to exhort others to do so. However, DF was clear on this point: 'It may be argued that the occultist with his deeper insight is the natural leader of reform and should bear his part in social movements. I reply, let him be active in humanitarian effort by all means, but let him flee any interference in politics as he would the devil, for the experience of centuries has shown that it leads to nothing but trouble' (Sane Occultism and Practical Occultism in Daily Life, Aquarian, 1987, page 67).
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Psyche Accepted Answer
"Nations must not be looked upon, nor think of themselves, as self-contained units; they are simply sub-sections of human society thus divided up for convenience of organisation. Co-ordination between sub-sections is essential if the life of the planet earth is to be organised on any other than a predatory basis. The only basis for co-ordination is a spirit of mutual goodwill. Goodwill breeds goodwill, and someone has to make a start in this seething mass of human misunderstanding and misery. No nation can do it in the first instance, because the mass mind always functions at a lower level than the minds of individuals. It is the men and women of the New Age in all nations who must make contact across the national barriers as soon as the fighting is over, and they must meet as Aquarians, not as English, French or Germans. They must bring in the New Age for all men, not for their own people only, because the New Age is an age of co-ordination of the whole earth, and it cannot be brought in piecemeal. Those who share our ideals are on our side, whatever language they speak."

The Magical Battle of Britain.

To follow this advice brings hope for our times and is DF's usual good common sense.
It is not for me to teach the Psychologists their business, however great the need.
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Nova Genista Accepted Answer
"There is an immensely interesting task that is crying out to be undertaken. It is the charting of the power-centres and holy places of Britain. It is a vast task, however - so vast that it is beyond the unaided scope of a single pair of hands. I am therefore appealing for help to all who are interested in our native esoteric tradition.
...
And not only are these things of antiquarian interest, but they are of immediate importance to whosoever wants to experiment with out native esoteric tradition. There is much that could be devised in the way of research and experiment when once we have begun to to locate these power-centres; for not only are the centres themselves of importance, but there are lines of magnetic force stretching between them. These lines form curious patterns upon the map when they are drawn out with ruler and compass, but we only know a few of them".

From: Power Centres of Britain, Occult Review, Vol 53, Feb 1931, pp 106-110

This task is still crying out to be done. As the shades of autumn start to show in Britain, it is a good time to explore the land and contribute to this worthy task which, so far as we are aware, was never pursued. Should you have any experiences from power-centres you have found that you would be prepared to share, we would be most pleased if you would share them with us here.
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Wendy Accepted Answer
When I think of power centres in Britain my thoughts always turn to the small islands that surround us - Lindisfarne, the Isles of Scilly, Orkney, the Isle of Man..... I think this is the especial and possibly unique characteristic of Britain: that it is a small island(s) surrounded by many smaller islands, and that these may constitute our centres of power. I'm mindful that Orkney, for example, seems once to have been an important and well developed sacred site which must surely have held significance for the whole of Britain.
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MargaretB Accepted Answer
I agree with Wendy that there is something different about our islands, not least by virtue of the very fact that Britain is comprised of an island surrounded by islands (it puts me in mind of the old orbit image of atoms, the large nucleus [neutrons/protons] being positively charged and surrounded by the smaller negatively charged electrons, different from the nucleus but bound to it by their balancing natures and all making a coherent whole). I also agree about Orkney, though I have not been there (the Ring of Brodgar beckons). A fairly recent visit to Staple Island, off the Northumbrian coast, resulted in some unsought, unexpected and surprisingly powerful energies/contacts. There is just so much to explore, contact, understand and develop here.
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Psyche Accepted Answer
"Curiously enough, my best work is done with a 'mixed bag' of Inner Group students of all grades. No strangers being present, we are all of one mind in one place; and at the same time the introduction of 'fresh blood' produces a vitality of atmosphere which serves as a magnetic stimulus...It seems as if, when people join a group for occult work, they bring with them a reserve of accumulated magnetism for which life has supplied no outlet."

From: The Circuit of Force. Chapter- Polarisation in Practice.

An interesting observation about the enhanced polarisation that occurs when new people, even inexperienced people join a group. Whilst we might (rightly) consider the potential risks to new people who join groups and may be unused to the work, and indeed conversely the potential risks to a group from the 'unknown quantity' that is the new person, we might also consider the rich 'new blood' that they bring, and the subsequent benefit to the work.
It is not for me to teach the Psychologists their business, however great the need.
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Peter Nascien Accepted Answer
This comment of DF’s is quite remarkable….’my BEST WORK is done with a ‘mixed bag’ of students of all grades” ! I think the type of work she describes is based on the concept of the Round Table where all are regarded and respected as equal, each bringing their own unique qualities to the magic irrespective of their official rank as ‘1st Degree’, ‘Adeptus Supremus’ or what have you.
As you say, there is a potential risk for all concerned in this way of doing things, but there is so much to be gained from the vitality and renewal that it brings, not least through our understanding and acceptance of the unique contribution to the whole that is made by each individual. Our magical temple should reflect the structure of the universe, and we have only to look at the diversity of qualities manifested by each of the 12 signs of the zodiac - a perfect example of the ‘Round Table’ - to see how this works at a universal level.
An interesting question is whether the method of magical working DF describes in this quotation was actually adopted in her Fraternity/Society of the Inner Light? Or whether the customary format was an hierarchical, patriarchal, authoritarian system of rank and conformity to an imposed norm?
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Nova Genista Accepted Answer
"... it may be that the crest of the peak is indeed his goal; nevertheless, he will not be climbing the steep gradients all the time. There may be a wide plain to cross and broken foothills through which he must find his way before he comes out on to the steep slopes. He would look very foolish if, as soon as he sets out on his march, he were to put on the rope of the Alpinist".

From: Stages on the Path, Occult Review, Vol 54, December 1931, pp 389-393

This could be applied to almost anything that anyone might aim to achieve. That is perhaps why it has so many variations - don't try to run before you can walk, don't bite off more than you can chew. It may, however, be more appropriate in the field of occult studies than other areas as there could be two quite different outcomes. Nothing might happen - in which case the student may give up in despair thinking the whole thing futile, or there could be a very bad case of burnt fingers.
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Psyche Accepted Answer
"The capacity to co-operate depends on type, not on personal sympathy or even agreement of viewpoint...The people with whom I thus co-operated were never those who sat at my feet, but, on the contrary, those who were critical because they themselves were creative. On the other hand, those who were critical in the 'sea lawyer' manner, simply because they enjoyed the sense of power that comes from picking things to pieces, were quite useless to me as a source of stimulus."

From: The Circuit of Force. Polarisation in practice.


This is another interesting comment which reminds me of her remark in the Magical Battle regarding the need for people to be able to 'stand alone' in order to work with power. Those who are too fixated on the 'other', either in critical terms, or adulation, struggle to find their own balance and thus work effectively.
It is not for me to teach the Psychologists their business, however great the need.
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