1. Nova Genista
  2. General Talk
  3. Monday, 11 February 2019
  4.  Subscribe via email
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
"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
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Talk
  3. # 81
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.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Talk
  3. # 82
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.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Talk
  3. # 83
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
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Talk
  3. # 84
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.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Talk
  3. # 85
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.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Talk
  3. # 86
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
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Talk
  3. # 87
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.”
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Talk
  3. # 88
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!)
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Talk
  3. # 89
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.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Talk
  3. # 90
Alfred Accepted Answer
Reminiscent of 'do what thou wilt, but be very sure you will it'!
  1. more than a month ago
  2. General Talk
  3. # 91


There are no replies made for this post yet.
However, you are not allowed to reply to this post.