1890 - 1946
“Deo Non Fortuna," "By God not Fate;"
this was the motto, later the nom dé plume of Dion Fortune. Born
in 1890 in Llandudno, Wales, Violet Mary Firth, Fortune’s birth
name, was raised in a family whose values were rigorously ascribed to
Christian Science. Christian Science is a religious teaching regarding
the efficacy of spiritual healing according to the interpretation of the
Bible by Mary Baker Eddy, in her book Science and Health with Key to the
By the age of four Violet reported having visions of Atlantis. Between
then and the age of twenty her natural psychic abilities began to flourish.
However, in her twentieth year Fortune had a ‘nervous breakdown’
which according to her was a psychic attack brought about by a principal
for whom she worked. This attack led her to practice psychoanalysis and
Initially, she was studying esotericism under a Dr. Timothy Moriarty;
an Irish occultist and Freemason. It was Dr. Moriarty who would introduce
her to both The Theosophical Society and the Hermetic Order of the Golden
Dawn. In the year 1919 Fortune would be initiated into the Alpha et Omega
Lodge in London under the direction of J.W. Brodie Innes. A year later
she would transfer to the Stella Matutina Lodge directed by Moina Mathers.
Here she developed mediumistic capabilities within herself. At this time
she began writing –arguably her greatest contributions to the Western
Mysteries Tradition – The Training and Work of the Initiate, The
Mystical Qabalah, etc.
Due to the aforementioned publications as well as printings in magazines
and other work she had a falling out with Mathers who felt that Fortune
was betraying her oaths of secrecy. Owing to that and the fact that in
1921 Dr. Moriarty died, Fortune became disillusioned with the Hermetic
Order of the Golden Dawn. And so with a few members who followed her from
the Theosophical Society she formed “The Community of Inner Light”
which later came to be known as “The Fraternity of Inner Light”
as is called today “The Society of Inner Light."
In the thirties she penned The Comic Doctrine a text intended for meditation
rather than straightforward teaching. At the height of World War II she
organized what would later be called “The Magical Battle of Britain”:
a contribution of meditations towards the war effort. It was even noted
that she remained at the Lodge on 3 Queensborough Terrace, known as The
Chalice Orchard, meditating during a blitz where bombs actually blew the
roof off of the lodge.
After being admitted to Middlesex Hospital in 1946 for the treatment of
Leukemia Dion Fortune died on January 8th at the age 55. "To say
that a thing is imaginary is not to dispose of it in the realm of mind,
for the imagination, or the image making faculty, is a very important
part of our mental functioning. An image formed by the imagination is
a reality from the point of view of psychology; it is quite true that
it has no physical existence, but are we going to limit reality to that
which is material? We shall be far out of our reckoning if we do, for
mental images are potent things, and although they do not actually exist
on the physical plane, they influence it far more than most people suspect."
--Dion Fortune, Spiritualism and Occultism