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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.
Alfred Accepted Answer
Reminiscent of 'do what thou wilt, but be very sure you will it'!
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Nova Genista Accepted Answer
"The subconscious mind often has a much shrewder notion of what we really want than we are prepared to admit even to ourselves, and like the poacher's dog, responds to the pitch of the voice and not to the actual command, and when bidden to come to heel, dives down a rabbit hole".

An Introduction to Ritual Magic

Concise, witty, and packed with things for further meditation.
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Nova Genista Accepted Answer
You are right, Wendy, that some of the articles in The London Forum and Occult Review did not appear elsewhere. DF contributed quite a few articles between about 1925 and 1935. Some were included in her published books and some in subsequent compilations, and some have popped up on the net, but others never seemed to appear elsewhere.
(Copies of them all, published elsewhere or otherwise, are available in the British Library - apart from 'Ceremonial Magic Unveiled', Occult Review vol 57, Jan 1933, pp13 to 25. At some time between 1933 and 2019 someone tore that paper out of the issue of Occult Review held by library. Takes all sorts!)
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Wendy Accepted Answer
Thank you Nova for posting these DF quotations from The London Forum. Am I right in thinking these essays haven’t been published elsewhere?

This quotation especially appeals to me in the parallels it makes between outerworld and innerworld quests, and the concept of ‘taking bearings’ and ‘reliable landmarks.’ For those on the Occult Path there are few maps, so these bearings and landmarks have to be created by ourselves, in the reality of our own subjective, interior world. One of the best ways of doing this is by keeping a spiritual diary, backed up with a monthly ‘summary of progress’ and maybe a yearly ‘spiritual review.’ There’s nothing like reading something you wrote three years ago as a means of checking your progress - or lack thereof!

Another important point made by DF is the function of the ‘flash of insight or illumination…’ Each time we take a step forward on the Path, our increased knowledge and understanding of the nature of the inner worlds and of our own Self projects a little light onto our next step, so that in fact we are never really stepping out into the complete unknown.

DF also mentions ‘one’s path and one’s goal.’ I think there is a difference between them. Our Path - and as it has been said, you cannot travel the path until you have become the path itself - is discovered step by step, but what propels us along it is our stated goal, our intention and purpose, defined to the best of our ability at the present time. “Energy follows intention.”
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Nova Genista Accepted Answer
"Everyone who sets out upon a quest should pause at intervals to take his bearings. Especially is this the case in such a quest as that of enlightenment; for with each flash of insight or ilumination one receives, one is the better able to see one's path and one's goal. When the path is the Occult Path, which admittedly lies through the realm of illusion, how great is the need for reliable landmarks!"

Occultism from the Inside, The London Forum, Vol 59, April 1934, pp251-257
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Nova Genista Accepted Answer
'I don't think that it will be disputed that certain certain places exert a powerful influence on human beings'.

Aspects of Occultism, Chaoter 2, Sacred Centres

Clear, concise and true.
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Nova Genista Accepted Answer
"When the mind is relatively empty of ideas, it can hear its own machinery working; and it is in the observation of its own reactions that it finds an instrument for measuring the intangible aspects of creation, which form the framework upon which appearances are built up, approximating as they do to the nature of mind rather than the nature of matter".

Occultism from the Inside II, The London Forum, vol 60, July 1934

A reason, if one were needed, to seek out that quiet moment from time to time.
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Nova Genista Accepted Answer
'Occult science presents to its students problems which do not occur in any other science that man studies. In all other branches of knowledge there is free communication between one laboratory and another; there is open publication of results, in which it is expected that there shall be a clear statement of the grounds relied upon and the methods employed. This wholesome state of affairs does not prevail in occult science, where secrecy is the rule of the day, and the whole movement is divided up into innumerable fraternities and societies, each of which guards its secrets jealously as being its chief means of attracting candidates'

'Occultism from the Inside I', The London Forum, vol 59, April 1934, pp251-257
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Nova Genista Accepted Answer
Hello Wendy, and thank you for your questions.

Regarding DF's claim that science is a method of dealing with facts rather than being knowledge, that is not the terminology I would use. I think what she is calling 'science' in this context is what I would call 'scientific method' or 'a scientific approach'. It is unfortunate that 'science' is a word that has been defined and used in many different ways. I suspect that most folk would think of 'science' as physics, chemistry and so on.

I think what DF is trying to do here is to differentiate between a methodical, one might say logical (though I do not think that 'logical' is quite the correct word when considering work in occult fields), approach to any subject, compared with the approach taken by someone who has picked up a few unconnected points and then tries to develop on that - building on sand might be another way to look at it.

[Digging into the Concise OED, in addition to the definitions relating to activities in, and studies of, the physical and natural world, another definition it gives for science is 'a systematically organised body of knowledge on any subject". Another definition it gives is 'knowledge'. This is in direct contradiction to DF's use of the word].

Your next question is an interesting conundrum. Is the essence of magic knowledge, or method? There is surely a raft of information relating to magic that could quite reasonably be identified as 'knowledge'. Is there such a thing as 'magic method'? I suppose the answer here must be yes too. Magic method might include things such as meditation and ritual for example.

I do feel however much of these issues arise because we as humans become bogged down in the use of words to describe things and get worked up about what the 'correct' definition of any word might be.

There is an interesting quote from Gareth Knight 'That the science and art of magic should have become divorced from orthodox science and orthodox religion is, in my view, regrettable. Magic is deprived of some rational discipline and guidance, science loses its soul, and religion much of its vitality' (Gareth Knight, Experience of the Inner Worlds, Skylight Press). I think perhaps here GK is using 'rational discipline and guidance' to indicate that which DF refers to as 'science'.

My own feeling is that there is not such a great gulf between science and magic as some, and the innuendo commonly attached to the words, would lead us to believe. I do not yet have the words to explain that in a concise manner here but hope to be able to expand on it in a rather more coherent manner in the not too distant future.

Thank you again for your questions, there is a great deal to dwell on in them.
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Wendy Accepted Answer
As someone with a poor O-Level (remember those?!) in Physics-with-Chemistry, DF's suggestion that the essence of science is method, not knowledge, comes as a bit of a surprise! Nova, do you agree with what DF says?

And the next question of course concerns the implied comparison between science and magic. Is the essence of magic knowledge, or method? It has often been suggested that the aim of magical work is to achieve knowledge of all planes of existence.
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Nova Genista Accepted Answer
"Science is, after all, not a body of arcana, but a method of dealing with any sorts of facts, from market-gardening to metaphysics. The essence of science does not lie in knowledge, but in method. It is here that the quack differs from the trained man; he may have acquired a liberal proportion of the trained man's knowledge, but he lacks his method and the disciplined mind which is the basis of his method. Consequently his knowledge will always be a rule-of-thumb affair, having no basic principle".

From: Aspects of Occultism, Chapter 8: Pitfalls of Spiritual Healing
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Wendy Accepted Answer
Thank you for this quotation which for me highlights Dion Fortune’s wonderful ability to speak with good old fashioned, down-to-earth common sense. I sometimes find the same antagonism between the “materialist and mystic” attitudes towards the Covid pandemic. Those of a mystical or spiritual disposition may indeed be able to see the greater picture and to place the current situation as an apparent ‘blip’ within the overall movement of evolutionary progress and human development over millions of years. But on the mundane level, you still need to wear a face-mask. "Repair is never a process of one plane only."
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Nova Genista Accepted Answer
"It is this unhappy antagonism between the materialist and mystic exponents of the healing art that is to be deplored. The patient needs both, for it is not possible for any level of the composite man to be afflicted without the disturbance spreading up and down the planes, and repair is never a process of one plane only".

From: Aspects of Occultism, Chapter 8: Pitfalls of Spiritual Healing
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Peter Nascien Accepted Answer
"If we realise clearly that the forms seen by psychic vision on the astral plane are, without exception, thought-forms constructed by the visual imagination; are, in fact, 'the creations of the created,' we have the clue to the nature of Maya, illusion.".......The astral plane is the plane of emotion, and emotion is the only reality thereon existing."

Spiritualism and Occultism, page 163
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Nova Genista Accepted Answer
"The occultist carries his deduction a step further, and says "Detach mind from matter and you have free-moving force; it is matter, and matter alone that imposes any degree of fixity upon mind." Now this is an important point in the occult hypothesis - the freedom of mind apart from matter, and the fixation of mind by means of matter. It should be carefully noted, for upon it the whole occult technique is based".

An Introduction to Ritual Magic, Chapter 10a The Purpose of Magic
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Peter Nascien Accepted Answer
The Ancient Wisdom teaches that all things issue from a single source, are ruled by a common law, and are of such undivided substance that what affects a part inevitably affects the whole, spreading through it like ripples over water.......If this knowledge be realised and not merely apprehended, it must of necessity modify our attitude towards our fellow beings....."

Spiritualism and Occultism: Who are the Masters? page 130
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Nova Genista Accepted Answer
"There is nothing in human nature which is intrinsically unclean, St Augustine notwithstanding, but there is a very great amount which will go septic and putrefy if we thrust it below the level of consciousness and sit upon the lid. It is a false concept of human nature which has developed so much that is worst in human nature".

Aspects of Occultism, Chapter 1
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MargaretB Accepted Answer
If she had omitted the words 'four', 'seven' and 'twelve' then the connection of the elements, planets and signs of the zodiac would perhaps fit comfortably with many folk's impressions of pagan ideas. The introduction of the numbers, as you say, fits more readily with folk's ideas of formal ritual magic. Is it perhaps an indication of the similarities in, rather than the division between, the two disciplines, the pagan being more spontaneous and practical, working with things such as the elements, planets and signs (putting the moon in with the planets of course), irrespective of any numbers connected with them, and the ritual being more intellectual (and by intellectual I do not mean to imply anything superior).
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Wendy Accepted Answer
This is a very interesting quotation, particularly in relation to the current thread regarding DF and Paganism. She is making a specific link between the ‘prime factors of the cosmos’ (ie 4 Elements, 7 planets, 12 Zodiacal signs) and the rites of paganism and nature worship.

This comes as quite a surprise to me! My experience is that these universal principles of number are almost always observed in the structure of formal ritual magic - such as DF’s own ritual magic - but very rarely in pagan rites. The pagan rites of ‘adoration of God made manifest in nature’ surely do not require any reference to the background of cosmic principles but are simple, immediate and spontaneous?
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Nova Genista Accepted Answer
"The Four Elements, the seven planets, and the twelve signs of the Zodiac are prime factors of the cosmos. Each of these have their tides and seasons of ascendency, and each have their appropriate symbols and rites developed in one or another of the great pagan systems of nature worship. Nature worship be it noted, is not idolatry, but an adoration of God made manifest in nature, and is an exceedingly important aspect of both our faith and our psychology, though one but little understood in the Christian system and Western countries".

Aspects of Occultism, Chapter 1
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