The Magical Battle of Britain

Dion Fortune

edited by Gareth Knight


Immediately following Britain’s declaration of war in 1939, Dion Fortune began a series of regular letters to members of her magical order, the Fraternity of the Inner Light, who were unable to hold meetings due to wartime travel restrictions. With enemy planes rumbling overhead, she organised a series of visualisations to formulate “seed ideas in the group mind of the race”, archetypal visions to invoke angelic protection and uphold British morale under fire. “The war has to be fought and won on the physical plane,” she wrote, “before physical manifestation can be given to the archetypal ideals. What was sown will grow and bear seed.” As the war developed, this was consolidated with further work for the renewal of national and international accord. For the first time the Fraternity’s doors were opened to anyone who wanted to join in and learn the previously secret methods of esoteric mind-working. With unswerving optimism she guided her fraternity through the dark days of the London Blitz, continuing her weekly letters even when the bombs came through her own roof.


Long out of print and much sought after, Skylight Press is very pleased to re-issue this fascinating and important book. Introduction and commentary by Gareth Knight.


“A compelling portrait of an adept practising the magic of the light for the sake of the nation.”

– Alan Richardson

Review excerpt from Magic of the Ordinary:


Consisting largely of her weekly and monthly letters to members of the Fraternity of the Inner Light during the early and middle stages of World War II, the book is exceptional in many ways. Firstly, the context. What we have in these letters is a evidence, real and concrete, of how a magical fraternity functioned and even thrived under the most onerous and trying circumstances – that of a nation at War. And we must remember this was not a nation going to war on a distant front but rather a war where the distinction between civilian and military effort collapsed and the whole of Britain’s resources were part of the war effort. It is hard to imagine today, just as it is hard to imagine our magical rituals being interrupted by aerial bombardment, as what happened with Dion Fortune. ... In this time of national and world peril, with the group mind of the nation sensitive and open, non-initiates and initiates alike were taught the secret methods of magic and mind working. The book reveals exactly the instructions given, how the magic worked and the results that ensued. Even today with the nuts and bolts of magic plastered over the Internet, these workings and meditations have a potency and presence on the written page. ... The letters here show collective and transpersonal magic in action; the bringing through of spiritual and evolutionary principles into the collective group mind, to produce actual changes in consciousness, religion and even politics. The results of the Fraternity’s efforts are evidentiary as time and time again the principle they worked for found itself manifest very quickly in the actual life of the nation. In addition the book reveals the workings for the Angelic Presences that patrolled the boundaries of Britain on the inner levels, keeping it safe from invasion.


... Of importance also is the glimpses the book shows of Dion Fortune the woman as well as the magician. Revealing a reflective and philosophical side of the author, the letters show a person committed to service and truth, and more than once a countering the oft-repeated views of classism and racism we still hear today. ... The letters in this book reveal an adept of great purpose, power and skill. Each sentence enriches us, as it enriched her pupils, transmitting more than the words and intellectual meaning alone. There is dexterity and fortitude here, and wisdom unlike most of today’s modern works on the same subject. Moreover during this period she also wrote the material collected into The Circuit of Force, the most profound book on the dynamics of the etheric vehicle yet produced. Despite being bombed, despite all the travails of war and the dispersal of her adepts, Dion was clearly still on her contacts, still writing, still training and still serving the tradition that was her life. This was her finest hour.

Dion Fortune was born Violet Mary Firth in Llandudno, North Wales on 6th December 1890, the daughter of parents with an active interest in the Christian Science and Garden City movements and the running of hydro-therapeutic establishments. Her interest in occultism was sparked in 1916 when, as a psychotherapist, she came across the startling work of Dr. Theodore Moriarty, who became her first esoteric teacher and inspired her series of short stories The Secrets of Dr Taverner. Once having embarked upon the occult path she cast her net wide and became a member both of the Theosophical Society and of the Alpha et Omega Temple of the former Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, but becoming discontented with the performance of existing organisations she set about founding her own esoteric group. Working in trance mediumship Dion Fortune made contacts with certain inner plane adepts, or Masters, whose influence on the Western Esoteric Tradition is still vital to this day. She wrote several esoteric novels to illustrate the possible practical application of the content of her textbooks and the articles in her house journal, the Inner Light Magazine. She also pioneered the popular exposition of the Qabalah as a key to the Western Mystery Tradition with her book The Mystical Qabalah, which is still one of the best texts available on the subject.


The Society of the Inner Light continued to operate in much the same way for some years after Dion Fortune’s death, largely under the inspiration of the remarkable mediumship of Margaret Lumley Brown. It continues today as an initiatory school with much the same principles as those upon which it was originally founded.