- Written by Peter Nascien
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Dion Fortune and the Soul
A talk presented to the Dion Fortune Seminar, September 2019, by Wendy Berg
I’m going to speak today about Dion Fortune and the Soul. This is perhaps one of the more rarefied topics we have discussed in these Seminars, but I think it’s time we had a look at it because the Soul - what it is, what it does, why we have one (if we have one!) and our relationship with it - is an important element in Dion Fortune’s work.
The Soul is variously referred to by a number of names such as the Holy Guardian Angel, the Solar Angel and the Evolutionary Personality, but I prefer the more commonly used alternative ‘Higher Self.' The advantage of this term is that it distinguishes it from our Lower Self or Personality. Our Lower Self is a combination of our physical and etheric bodies, our feelings or emotional body, and that part of our mind generally called our lower mind or concrete mind, which is responsible for acquiring and retaining information, making judgements and decisions and generally getting us in organised fashion through the day. Our Higher Self or Soul is therefore not any of these, but something else.
If you think now about your Soul, where would you locate it? Take a moment to locate where your Soul might have its correspondence in your body or subtle bodies…..
If you try to visualise your Soul, what does it look like? Does it have an appearance? And more importantly, where is your sense of who you are, your real identity, your true Self, located? When you think of yourself, of your sense of ‘I’, do you mean your everyday character and personality, or something else? And if we have a Lower Self and a Higher Self or Soul, does this mean there two of us? How do we bring them together?
Scientific opinion is that there is no such thing as the Soul, because its existence can’t be proved or tested. And who knows but that may be true! But I think most folk here today would acknowledge that there is at least some truth in the concept.
A good place to start in our quest for the Soul is to look at how we use the word, and it’s interesting to discover that the word ‘Soul’ is a familiar part of our language - we use the word almost without thinking about it. I believe the way we use it reveals that we do know what the Soul is, even if we don’t always know that we know. For example we use the term ‘Soul Mates’ when we are aware of a relationship between two people that seems to have a special or deeper meaning to it, something more than physical attraction or good companionship and which suggests the presence of a higher purpose being worked out, perhaps an important task to be achieved together, or maybe even the resumption of a partnership that began in a previous lifetime.
And we say, particularly of children, ‘they are an old Soul’ meaning that they appear to possess a wisdom which is over and above what we would expect for their years. They seem to know more than they could have learnt in this lifetime. And when someone is really involved in a task or project we say ‘they are putting their heart and Soul into it.’ That’s an interesting phrase - heart and Soul - because it recognises that the heart and the Soul work naturally together, and that they are both called into action when we want to achieve something that holds especial meaning for us.
So it seems from our language that we often refer to the Soul almost without thinking about it, and that we quite naturally acknowledge it as a source of wisdom, as loving, linked with our present purpose and destiny but also immortal, and somehow linked to our heart while being more than the heart.
Dion Fortune frequently uses the word Soul, and often quite loosely in the phrase ‘a questing soul,’ meaning someone who is following a particular spiritual or magical path that leads them from the everyday world into the spiritual worlds. It suggests that our search for wisdom and for a greater understanding of our Self and the Inner worlds is inspired and encouraged by our Soul or Higher Self.
Here is a quotation from Dion Fortune’s The Mystical Qabalah which describes in more detail her understanding of the Soul. “It is this which endures and builds up throughout an evolution; (by this she means an entire cosmic Age, from the dawn of time to the end of time as we know it) “it is from this that the successive personalities, the units of incarnation, are emanated; it is into this that the active essence of experience is absorbed at the end of each incarnation when the incarnating unit dissolves into dust and ether.” (The Mystical Qabalah: Chapter XX: 29)
So, in other words, the Soul or Higher Self is the essence of all that we have learnt and experienced in each incarnation, over billions of years, from our first experiences as a blip in the primeval slime onwards. (Not all theories regarding the stages of evolution of the Soul agree with this.) It is also a significant factor in bringing about the characteristics or tendencies of our present personality. Therefore, the better contact we can make with our Soul, the better we will be able to do what we need to do, and learn what we need to learn in the greater scheme of things, because our Soul or Higher Self knows better than our Lower Self what those things are. This philosophy of course falls into line with many other interpretations of the soul, mostly deriving from Eastern religions and philosophies.
Dion Fortune makes a number other interesting comments on the nature of the Soul. Here’s one regarding the question of past lives and as to whether we should believe anyone who claims they were once a High Priest of Atlantis or the Queen of Sheba. “This lower self is not immortal. No one who is adequately instructed in esoteric philosophy believes in the reincarnation of any historic personality from the past. It is the Higher Self alone which is immortal and which survives bodily death …”. (Aspects of Occultism, Chapter III) And another interesting comment - which is obvious when you think about it - “….how many people realise that their own souls are literally bi-sexual within themselves….”. (The Mystical Qabalah, Chapter XV11: 37)
That was something of the theory, and now let us have a look at how Dion Fortune taught, through her magical training and magical ritual, the ways in which we can gain knowledge of and contact with our Soul. In The Training and Work of an Initiate (Chapter III) she makes an explicit link between the very purpose of magical training and our contact with our Higher Self. She writes: “The word Initiate…means one in whom the Higher Self….has coalesced with the personality and actually entered into incarnation in the physical body.” In other words, in a magical Initiate the Higher Self has become entirely integrated with the Lower Self. When this integration has occurred, we no longer experience any separation between our sense of ‘I’ as our everyday personality and ‘I’ as our Soul because the two are now restored as one. The light of the Soul has irradiated the personality so that the Initiate, in effect, is the Soul even while in physical incarnation.
This is quite challenging, because Dion Fortune is stating that this complete integration of the Higher and Lower Self applies, or should apply, to all of us who think of ourselves as Initiates or who claim that we have received initiation into the Mysteries. I’m not sure that many people can really make this claim apart from Jesus (for whom the integration seems to have occurred during the episode described in the Bible as the Transfiguration) and one or two others of equal spiritual stature such as the Buddha. A more realistic approach is to realise that this process of integration between the Higher and Lower Self is gradual, and that we can bring down a great deal of Soul Light into our personality even though we may not yet be a fully enlightened or Transfigured being.
Let us bring to mind some of the qualities of the Soul. A description I particularly like comes from the texts of Raja Yoga, where the Soul is described as having seven qualities: peace, joy, love, bliss, purity, power and wisdom. That’s what the Soul is. Our Soul, all Souls, exist entirely in this state; the Soul is all these qualities; this is its natural state of being. This is our essential Self. So the Soul’s work is to demonstrate and make available these qualities to us during incarnation, and its purpose is to achieve what is wholly good, wholly healthy, wholly loving and wholly beneficial for us. It guides us towards discovering why we don’t experience all these qualities all the time, and what we are doing that might be preventing it. It’s these qualities of being that the Soul is concerned with, not with providing specific advice as to what we should be doing or not doing at any point in our lives.
So, what magical techniques did Dion Fortune suggest would help us to make better contact with our Soul? Our main tool is regular meditation. This is essential, because it helps us to recognise and move away from the demands of our Lower Self. She also focusses on study of the Qabalah and the Tree of Life. She calls the Tree of Life “A glyph of the soul of man and the universe.” The Tree represents both of these: our Soul, and the universe, at one and the same time. She writes: “The aspirant who uses the Tree as his meditation symbol establishes point by point the union between his soul and the world-soul.” (The Mystical Qabalah Chapter III: 16)
What DF is saying is that if we use the Tree of Life to learn about the created universe which appears to be ‘out there’ we are also, at the same time, learning about our own, whole Self, which is ‘in here.’ This isn’t achieved by learning rules and symbols and correspondences or comparing esoteric systems but by raising our level of consciousness from one sphere on the Tree to the next, so that rather than, for example, standing in the lowest sphere of Malkuth and learning about the symbols associated with the sphere of Tiphareth, we raise our level of consciousness so that it is functioning objectively at the level of Tiphareth; we have become Tiphareth. When we can do this, we realise that the created universe which appears to be ‘out there’ and our own Soul ‘in here’ in effect are one and the same. And this, of course, is what Dion Fortune is referring to when she describes what happens, or should happen, in magical Initiates.
She describes how we will know when we have ‘become Tiphareth’ or ‘become’ our Higher Self: “The prime characteristic of this higher mode of being is that it consists neither in voices nor visions, but is pure consciousness; it is an intensification of awareness, and from this quickening of the mind comes a peculiar power of insight and penetration which is of the nature of hyper-developed intuition. The higher consciousness is never psychic, but always intuitive, containing no sensory imagery. It is this absence of sensory imagery which tells the experienced initiate that he is on the level of the higher consciousness. (The Mystical Qabalah, Chapter XX: 33)
However, if the Qabalah and the Tree of Life aren’t your cup of tea, there are many other ways of reaching the qualities of your Soul and bringing them through into your personality. For example, as Dion Fortune suggests in the phrase I mentioned earlier, we can become the ‘questing soul.’ If we set out on our quest for mystery, for awe and wonder, for radiance, for holiness in unexpected places, we will find the Soul. In the Western Mystery tradition we have a perfect example of this in the stories of the Quest of the Holy Grail. You can quite easily see how this works if instead of the word ‘Grail’ you simply substitute the word ‘Soul.’ The Quest for the Soul.
By way of example I’m going to quote a passage from the poetry of Alfred Lord Tennyson who is not at all fashionable nowadays but who wrote some beautiful descriptions of the Grail. This excerpt is taken from his long poem The Idylls of the King and describes how one of the knights of the Round Table experienced contact with the Grail - aka the Soul - while he was in what we might call a raised state of consciousness or meditation. Instead of ‘Grail’, substitute the word ‘Soul.’
I have seen the Holy Grail:
For, waked at dead of night, I heard a sound
As of a silver horn from o'er the hills
Blown, and I thought, "It is not Arthur's use
To hunt by moonlight;" and the slender sound
As from a distance beyond distance grew
Coming upon me – O never harp nor horn,
Nor aught we blow with breath, or touch with hand,
Was like that music as it came; and then
Streamed through my cell a cold and silver beam,
And down the long beam stole the Holy Grail,
Rose-red with beatings in it, as if alive,
Till all the white walls of my cell were dyed
With rosy colours leaping on the wall;
And then the music faded, and the Grail
Past, and the beam decayed, and from the walls
The rosy quiverings died into the night.
I don’t mean to suggest that this is the only way to interpret the Grail legends or that this is the only symbolic meaning of the Grail, but it certainly does work, and in a very inspiring and practical sort of way. It also, as it happens, sidesteps the pitfall of regarding the Grail as something inherently ‘holy,’ which is a kind of superstition.
Here’s another description of the Grail, and again it’s one which I think serves well as a description of the Soul as it might appear to our imagination. It’s taken from The Secret Glory, a book written in 1922 by Arthur Machen who was a friend of A.E. Waite and a member of the Golden Dawn. He writes of the Grail: “All the hues of the world were mingled on it, all the jewels of the regions seemed to shine from it…. strange and magical colours that shone and dimmed with alternating radiance, that glowed with red fires and pale glories, with the blue of the far sky, the green of the faery seas, and the argent gleam of the evening star.” For me, that really works as an image of the Soul!
Finally, here is a short extract from Dion Fortune’s most developed account of the Soul and of how we can contact it. It is taken from the letters of instruction in group meditation that she wrote and distributed during the war, now published by Skylight Press: The Magical Battle of Britain: The War Letters of Dion Fortune (pages 90 - 91) These letters contain some of her most explicit magical instruction. She also mentions the concept of the Divine Spark, the unique spark of Life within us which is beyond and above the light of the Soul.
“First, then, realise that your being is divided into two parts - the Higher Self and the Lower Self; the Higher Self building around the nucleus of the Divine Spark evolving throughout evolution….. When, upon the Path, you are striving after that state which shall enable you to give expression to your Higher Self through your Personality, by means of a certain technique you can aid the process. Firstly, realise this, that while in incarnation your consciousness is focused in the Personality by means of sensation and emotion. Consequently, if you desire to alter the focus of consciousness, you must acquire control of sensation and emotion, and learn at will to reduce them to a minimum……
To achieve control of these you imagine yourself to be your Individuality. You raise consciousness to that level by meditating upon the evolution of your Divine Spark which is the nucleus of your being. You realise it as emerging from the dark light of the unmanifest into manifestation, where it is a light in darkness. You conceive of your experiences as that Spark through the earlier phases of evolution, circling with the Rings and the Rays in limitless space. You imagine the formulation of Form and the great Tides moving in the Cosmos.
You picture to yourself the dim soul asleep in unconsciousness, overshadowing its shadowy vehicle…. And so you conceive of the rise of consciousness from the primordial slime, up through the bestiality of the primaeval human into the slow dawn of culture: the rise of the ancient civilisations - the great Pagan cults close to nature, that train your soul with human sacrifice and orgy: the steady progression of humanity from culture to culture: the refining away of the brute; the manifesting of the human; the overshadowing of the angelic. So does man rise; coming from God, and returning to God as a god.”
Wendy Berg, September 2019
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THE SEVEN PLANES OF CONSCIOUSNESS (parts 2 and 3)
by ALAN ROBINSON
A note to readers:
This article forms the sequel to Alan Robinson's "The Seven Planes of Consciousness Part One' which is published in 'Sparks from the Cosmic Flame,' a collection of essays about Dion Fortune's The Cosmic Doctrine.
You may wish to refer to the initial essay if you have not already done so. Sparks from the Cosmic Flame is published by Skylight Press.
It is now time to move on to the second part of this work.
If you have followed the exercises previously described, you should have come to a realization of the seven planes of manifestation; if you have not, then what is to follow will be of no use to you other than perhaps quelling an interest. Once again exercises shall be described, for these are the basis of this work and it is from the performance of these exercises that any real benefit is obtained. However whereas before these exercises were set in an ordered manner, you are now expected to utilize the following exercises as you see fit, for what we aim at, is for you to start developing your own way of working with the ‘cosmic doctrine’ and the seven planes of consciousness; thus is this system developed. Also, one exercise can lead back to a revaluation of a previous exercise calling for more work to be done on the former.
We shall start with considering those beings that are termed within the Cosmic Doctrine, the Lords of Flame, Form and Mind. We have already considered the three rings in relation to ourselves under the terms of the rings of time, space and event in exercises one, two and three. Now we shall consider them in terms of the manifest universe and the great powers that lie behind it and indeed manifest within it.
Firstly we shall consider the Lords of Flame which evolve during the great cycles and revolutions of the first ring.
Exercise – the foundation behind the Lords of Flame.
Therefore the first exercise we can utilize, once settled in meditation is to consider ourselves travelling along the first great ring through an area of darkness or vacuum or even starless space. As we travel we can feel ourselves slowly moving around this ring and our attention is taken towards the centre. As you continue your journey around this completed circle, notice how your attention is taken to the centre within, for the circle marks out a space with a centre. From time to time though, feel your attention drawn back to the unmanifest without the ring and see, while your attention was drawn towards the centre within, that a pattern has been drawn within the plane of this ring similar to a radio wave pattern, travelling from the outer ring to the centre and back again. The longer our attention span was within the ring the longer was the wave length and the bigger the gap from start to finish around the outer edge and the shorter time, before our attention was taken to the unmanifest, the shorter the length of this radio wave pattern joining the inner centre to the outer ring. Continue your journey around this ring many times and consider the effect and length of all these waves. Now as we move around the ring become aware of the present wave created by our attention moving over (or through) previous waves created on previous cycles and consider the term ‘The lords of Flame’ and this is the basis of the first exercise in this sequence.
From this we should come to an understanding of the conditions affecting the Lords of Flame and how these great Regents are concerned with the dynamic of what can be termed ‘celestial friction’ or the generation of energy.
These exercises are not designed to put us in direct contact with these great Regents, for the Lords of Flame, Form and Mind are so immense in being, that an analogy would be like a human soul becoming aware of one microbe or particle. However it is possible at times to ‘touch the threads of their robes’. Therefore, what we seek now, is an understanding of the conditions operating behind them and in another sense you are already in contact with the Lords of Flame, Form and Mind in that they create the conditions for your being both in form – the life that indwells that form and the basic structure of your thought process! Once this is realised, we can then move on to other levels of creation, particularly in regards to our own ‘aura’ or sphere of sensation.
Exercise – the foundation behind the Lords of Form.
Having completed the previous exercise to the point where we have achieved an understanding of the factors behind the Lords of Flame, we can once more build the first great ring in meditation and now add to it the second great ring.
Travelling around the second ring, notice how your attention is taken by the ‘radio wave like patterns’ of the first ring. Notice how you move above and below the first ring and realize that from your present view point you give the patterns of the first ring position. Notice how what ever position you occupy on this ring gives two positions, one above the first ring and one below, almost as if the plane of the first ring cuts the second in half. Reflect on the terms ‘active and reflective’ and also the terms ‘past and present’ as you complete these circular journeys around this ring. Finally consider the term ‘the Lords of Form’ and continue with this exercise until you feel that you have gained the greatest insight from this exercise.
You should notice while completing these exercises that the mind is becoming informed and there is much in these simple exercises that will instruct you more than you may immediately be aware of. This is because there are realizations that take place at a very deep level of consciousness and these can take some time to immerge at the surface into everyday consciousness.
Exercise – the foundation behind the Lords of Mind.
Once again visualize the first and second ring, but now add the third great ring and it is around this ring that we shall now travel in meditation. However, whereas before there is a very harmonious experience in the first two exercises, here we must visualize the effects of energy in the first ring, position and past and present in the second ring, interacting with each other. Now we have to come to terms with the question of the unknown, for it will soon become obvious that we can not comprehend which factors the second ring is operating on ie. from the view point of above and below its circular plane and which energies of the first ring are interacting with it and from this we start to comprehend the unknown and this we can term ‘future’. Now meditate on the phrase ‘The Lords of Mind’ and see how all these factors interact down the planes and even in your own consciousness. If you find the positioning of the rings awkward, remember that you can twist the whole system, so that what ever Ring you are working on can be visualized as horizontal which helps when dealing with the third ring
As stated, this third exercise can be rather unsettling, for we think of ourselves in terms of mind, but we must realize that we are so much more than mind or thought, as we encapsulate the principle of Spirit which transcends all, for it has its basis within creation linked to the centre and also (in potential) without in the great Sea of all being.
Having completed these meditations of the Lords of Flame, Form and Mind there is a few more series of meditations that will prove useful and that is having previously meditated on the foundations behind the Lords of Flame, Form and Mind, you may now find it very instructive to follow the Lords of Flame, Form and Mind as they process down the planes of manifestation at the start of creation (taking each group of Lords in turn). Therefore meditate on the principles you have learned from the initial meditations on the seven planes and see how these principles of 1.awarness 2. self awareness 3. knowledge of action and reaction. 4. knowledge of form 5. knowledge of separation 6. knowledge of attraction and rejection or discrimination and finally 7. physical manifestation - instruct the development of these great Lords as they involve and evolve down the planes and how they interact with these principles, thus setting up the basis of manifest creation. Once again set a time for each meditation cycle and continue with each cycle until you reach the end that you have set, for there is much that will come through and this is a meditation that has to be persevered with for there is much that will come through even after the meditation cycle has finished. See how the influence of force generated by the Lords of Flame energises the work of the Lords of Form and how their structures pass through the waves of energy created by the Lords of Flame and contemplate life and death. Contemplate the Lords of Mind and their connection to the works of the Lords of Flame and Form and finally see how all these factors are revealed in yourself and when you are satisfied that you have made progress in this work we will move onto the final series of work wherein (if you have worked through all the preceding exercises) dwells responsibility that some may call power.
Now it is time to talk about manifest creation that is subject to the laws set up by the Lords of Flame, Form and Mind. It has been said that there is nothing within the inner side of creation that does not create a manifestation in that which we can call the physical world, and this is because everything affects that which comes after it. In the original Cosmic Doctrine we are told that we can think of what is described, in terms of interstellar space / planets / suns etc but we are also told that the principles stated are not interstellar space / planets or suns, which is imagery that is very hard to get away from when once used. Thus the CD talks of various star Logi, giving rise to the thought of different universes with their own Gods but what is being stated is more after the nature of different possibilities. We have already talked about the great sea of all being having the potential for every-thing and no-thing and this is important for there is a multitude of ways that creation can manifest and this is reflected in the physical universe we inhabit. It is perhaps better to consider the planet earth, being the centre of everything and what we see manifest around it in terms of stars and galaxies being a reflection in creation of the various possibilities that can arise from the great unmanifest.
Now we know that our central sun is not God, it is a burning ball of gas but it is also a representation of an inner reality expressing its effects in the outer physical world. That there are many of these representations throughout the universe is a testament to the numerous possibilities present down the planes of manifestation all arising from the expression of inner possibilities arising from the great sea of all being or the absolute. All that matters are the ones that affect us now at this point in time and therefore in these terms the earth is truly the centre of our universe. Everything else is a factor that could have happened or an outer expression of an inner possibility and when this is truly realised we make a great step in our personal development; so that from this point onwards, when we talk about the planes of manifestation it will be from the view point that the planet earth is the most efficient manifestation of the seventh plane we can comprehend and also that although it is subject to the effects of the Lords of Flame form and Mind, it has for its being planes four, five, six and seven.
Thus, we have meditated on the three ring system and the spaces within earlier in part one of this work, all revolving around a central point where we have placed what could be called ‘solar heroes’ in this case the Christ. At other times this position could be filled by a female figure to account for the religious view point prevailing at the time, for the proper Christ figure can arise for the correct era and in dealing with the cosmic doctrine we must be aware that it deals with involution and evolution which includes our present age understanding of god. For an important point is that our understanding of god evolves just as religion should, as our understanding develops. Ultimately we will come to an understanding of the great unmanifest without the three ring system with the potential for everything and nothing and then we may possibly be coming nearer to divine truth. Therefore when we contemplate the physical sphere or plane seven of manifestation we should try to come to terms with the earth encompassing the whole and everything else present around it as factors that bring influences and potentials. Thus the zodiac represents influences arising from the quadrants of the three rings conjoined – the physical sun as the representation of influences from the central point but ultimately as the ‘Earth’ embodying in a very mystical way – the whole, and it can be instructive to meditate on the Earth picturing the physical sun to one side of it and the moon to the other and considering these as an active and reflective principle within the Aura of the earth, deriving from inner principles.
Now we shall return to discussing the ‘sphere of sensation’ and start by considering the physical world under the term of Earth, for if we can not understand how we operate in the physical world, we certainly will struggle when considering the inner worlds of which we have much less experience of.
If you walk down a street in a city with people about you, passing architectural buildings, shops etc. and then reach the end of the road, accompanied by someone else walking beside you, will you share the same experience – and the answer is no! You could say that you have seen the same physical things and experienced the same temperature and passed the same people etc but at the end of the day you would have had two completely different experiences. This depends on many factors, for firstly you will not share the same interests and whereas one of you will notice people, the other persons attention may have been drawn to the buildings and this is just the start, for you will not look at things in the same way. If you both looked at the same things your reaction to them would have been completely different due to life experience let alone the chemical make up of your body which will effect how you see things and how you react to them and this is important. We could say that no two things are alike and this is a great truth. The observer creates his or hers own universe and no two universes are alike and this is all part of how the sphere of sensation works. You could say that your chemical (including brain chemistry) and physiological make up is projected forth into your universe and colours that which you see and all this is part of the working of that which we term ‘the Aura’, thus we all live in multi universes, with our ‘Aura’ reflecting that which we see, back to us coloured by ourselves. However, it is not quite as simple as this for we are also composed of an etheric level which can be seen by the inner sight as a grid pattern of lines which are behind the physical aspects of the body and these are linked to both those of the physical earth (in this case our surroundings) and also to our fellow traveller as we walk down the road contemplating that which we see, and so no soul is truly an island. Now we have stated that our physical environment is the product of that which we shall term the earth and that the earth has its own sphere of sensation and so in considering our own aura there are more than just personal aspects that affect it. In a cosmic sense we started this work discussing the great sea of all being without the three ring system and talked about how it had the potential for everything or nothing and this is reflected in the physical universe for there is nothing in a sense that happens on the inner planes that is not reflected out into the physical world including our own inner being and this is the basis to understanding our ‘Aura’ or sphere of sensation in regards to how it functions in the physical world.
Now we did state that we would consider the planet earth as the centre of our physical universe and also that it is composed of planes four, five, six, and seven and here when considering the experience of two people walking down a road, we come across an important fact, which is that when considering the different experiences of each individual that are the result of his or her sphere of sensation linked with their aura, they are passing through a physical world and this is linked to the sphere of sensation or aura of the Earth and it is from the interaction of our own aura and that of the Earth that progress is made as well as our interaction with our fellow travellers.
It will do well to meditate on that which we call the ‘aura of the earth’ which when understood will give an insight to that which we can call ‘physical manifestation’!
This interaction is much more pronounced than many people realize and even effects our work on the inner planes and our perceptions there, for we are dealing with structures of our own perception that have arisen from undergoing existence within the aura of the Earth or fourth to seventh plane of manifestation.
This has relevance to what follows. This concerns three ways of working on the inner planes taken from my own experience and then examining them to see what they reveal.
Firstly we shall consider what is usually called astral projection as apposed to working with the creative imagination. This is not the same as an outer-body experience, in that an outer-body experience is usually in the physical realm and you are conscious of your physical surroundings whilst leaving the physical body. Whereas what we seek is an experience of what can be called ‘the astral light’. The way this is done can be quite arduous and takes the form of obsessing the consciousness with an image. To do this we can use the pentagram and a good way to start, is to draw a pentagram on plain paper then stare at it for a while, before closing the eyes. It is a property of the visual senses that you should see an after image on the inside of your eyelids so that the white paper will appear black and the black lines of the pentagram white, which will fade. This should be repeated often and thought about during daily life for what we are doing is obsessing the consciousness. Then after a couple of weeks, at night, in a dark room (and you can recline on a bed to do this) you should stare at a blank wall or space and try to repeat the image of the pentagram to your sight following the lines of the pentagram as if endowing it with force, copying what you saw on your inner eyelids. Now what you are doing is building a construct on the astral plane and this can take some nights to achieve, but eventually the construct will become so strong that it will become energised with force and at this point your consciousness will pass through the pentagram into the ‘astral realm’. For the sake of example I will give an account of the first time I accomplished this and evaluate the results.
Upon the pentagram becoming energised my consciousness immediately left my body and I found my consciousness travelling through what was a black open space (think along the lines of travelling through interstellar space but with no stars) with the exception that things were visible here and this is possibly why it is called the ‘astral light’. I found my consciousness (and there is no awareness of the body, for it has been completely left behind) passing geometric shapes but where as in the physical world these have three dimensions, here they were multi dimensional (and I later discovered that this is because the laws of time are different here). As to the way my consciousness worked, it seemed to be at the instinctual level and this is one important point which we can examine later. After this journey I came to another portal looking out to a physical space and saw someone physical who looked at me. Such was my surprise that my consciousness travelled back at great speed to my own physical body and the pentagram had dispersed. This example shows an experience of the inner planes when consciousness has escaped what we can call ‘the sphere of sensation or Aura of the earth’ and this is another important point of which we shall discuss later. Now there are many occultist who will say that this is an experience of travelling through Yesod but here they are wrong, the ‘space’ through which I travelled is the menstrum behind creation and the seven planes and reaches to the heights as well as the lows. It is the medium through which force draws it paths before becoming manifest as the physical world we know, whether in plane 1 to plane 7 and experiencing it in this way is just as real as travelling in the physical world except that your physical body is left quite literally behind and the medium through which you pass is nothing like anything you will have experienced before.
As a method of inner working, although it will utterly convince you that consciousness can operate outside of a physical body, it is quite limiting in that while you are undertaking this experience, the whole range of the human thought processes are not available to you, rather just instinctual reactionary levels - although you can still think! Also it has the effect of thinning your sphere of sensation (or Aura) which can lead to oversensatising yourself which is something that we really want to avoid. Also I personally found it a hard method to employ and although you can come across that which the ancients referred to as Gods travelling here, which will appear to ‘sight’ in a manner quite unexplainable to anyone who has not experienced it. How do you describe a figure whos robes are composed of leaves of living green flame and face of a peculiar light for this is not even starting to describe one of these figure’s accurately and although this can be an astounding experience you are still very limited as an operator when situated outside of the ‘sphere of sensation’ and within the sphere of ‘astral light’ using this method. Still, it is an experience which everyone should try to achieve once, although there are some inherent dangers in travelling thus in that you are acting directly with the inner forces of the universe and although there is nothing here that will intentionally hurt you, if you wander around the inside of a car engine, that engine can unintentionally catch you in its gears if you are not careful.
The second method is using the creative imagination or visualization, as discussed earlier in this work and this is achieved by quieting the mind in meditation and undertaking a pictorial journey. I do not intend to give one of my first experiences of this here for this method has been well documented elsewhere by numerous people and my first attempts would be so long ago that I cannot remember – also this method improves through usage and I am sure that my first attempts would give any insight into this methods worth. The success of this method will depend on both your inner state and also the aid of inner beings who will help ‘key’ you in to the right forces – also practice! For what we are doing is linking vibrations within the ‘sphere of sensation’ to vibrations of things on the inner planes of the same vibration This method is akin to using the forces within the aura as a means of ‘skrying’ on the inner plane and as such will be coloured by your sphere of sensation or Aura. It is a peculiarity of the Aura that what is viewed through it (as is the physical world) will nearly always be translated in terms the conscious physical mind can accept and as such will humanize things into people and places that when entering on the inner unencumbered by the sphere of sensation, can appear completely different. There are angelic beings who when viewed on the inner from the right level will appear as shapes of linear force and this is where the ancient sigils arose from and although it is translating multidimensional lines of force into three dimensional diagrams it is still probably quite a good representation of what people have seen. But to return to this method of working, it is usually the safest method and can achieve good results, although the effects on the individual are not as lasting as direct inner contact discussed in the first part, for the aura or sphere of sensation through which this takes place is a great force for protection. I once asked one of the masters where they were situated, as after all they had died and the answer given was that they were still within the bounds of creation but whereas when you are alive creation acts on you positively, when you are dead creation acts upon you negatively and when you understand what had been said correctly it will explain a lot about the aura or sphere of sensation and its relationship to the physical!
However to return to discussing how to act on the inner or with the inner planes there remains a third method and this is achieved by creating a body of light to travel in. What you are really doing is stretching part of the sphere of sensation into a vehicle for travel and this gives the protection of the sphere of sensation or aura while thinning part of it to make what you see and experience more in the line of seeing correctly rather than ‘translated through the sphere of sensation or Aura’ which is very much linked to the aura or sphere of sensation of the earth. The process can be pictured in the imagination as a sphere of light surrounding the physical body connected to a sphere of light surrounding this imaginary body that is projected forth onto the inner, both connected by a ‘tunnel of light’ and the way to do this is thus. Firstly sitting comfortably in meditation reflect on the Aura or sphere of light surrounding your body both before and behind you, then start to feel and create an imaginative body within your aura, you can start by feeling your head and imagining it turning from one side to the other and feeling plays a big part in this process. Feel your imaginary eyes travelling round your physical head until they are looking out of the physical point of your ear then turn the head to face the other way. Next concentrate on your right hand and as you do, visualize an arm where your physical arm is, draw it back and feel your hand and especially your elbow move back with it, so that you hand travels back down your forearm, then stretch this imaginary arm out and feel your hand inside it. Concentrate and feel this hand and arm and then grip this hand, then next repeat the exercise with you left arm until you can feel both arms stretched out in front of you. At first you may feel your physical arms have gone numb and the shock usually brings your sensation back into your physical arms but this is something that you have to persevere with and takes some degree of will and also a long time to perfect. The next step is to feel this imaginary body turn to your physical left or right and you should feel aware of your head swinging round until it is facing the wall behind you, then as you swing round stand up in this imaginary body and step back. At first you may find that this body floats and is a bit hard to control but the secret is in understanding that it goes where you ‘will’ it to go and is controlled by will. Once you feel comfortable in this body you can then undertake the chalice working using this method. If while undertaking the exercise you find your consciousness shooting back into your physical body do not panic for all that will happen is that the imaginary structure you have created (or body) will just disperse and be reabsorbed into you and some times you may be aware of being in two places at the same time but this all takes practice and time to perfect.
Using this method will help you to establish more of an inner presence and will also make contact with inner beings slightly easier, also it will help you work on the inner planes without some of the distractions or disruptions that can arise from your sphere of sensation or aura, especially in regards to the way the sphere of sensation ‘colours’ things, whilst keeping within a thinner version of the sphere of sensation with all the natural protection that the sphere of sensation contains. You will find that the main difference between this and using the creative imagination is that with the creative visualization method, you rely on relaxation, in this method you rely on will.
So we have now discussed three methods of working on the inner planes but what is important in the present work is to consider the implications of them in relation to the seven planes of consciousness.
What is most noticeable in the first method of projection is that you are not in possession of all the abilities you have in the second method and this is because your consciousness has moved out of the vehicle of normal everyday life, or the vehicle projected into physical manifestation linked to the aura of the earth, this we termed the ‘sphere of sensation’ earlier. Therefore it cannot avail itself of those structures that have been developed through your interaction with physical manifestation or the aura of the earth, for you have not taken these structures with you but have left them behind (if you do take these structures with you, it probably means that you have died). If you meet beings in this way that do seem to have an ‘Earth’ type shape it is usually a good indication that these beings themselves have descended down the planes before returning and can now avail themselves of the structures built up during this process. Thus we can see that the Earth does truly initiate us. Another important point is that the ‘finer’ structures that we develop are not developed on the ‘higher planes’ but need the more complicated structures of the lower planes to develop. Therefore we see that whereas the kabbalah will usually assign the base emotions to the ‘lowest’ level and higher emotions to ‘higher’ planes, when considered from the point of view of the seven planes of manifestation we find that this is actually reversed and this is because the stresses behind these base emotions are usually developed in ‘earlier’ planes for the more complicated the structure the more complicated must be the conditions of manifestation.
Next we will examine the workings of those beings whom we refer to as ‘the masters of the great white lodge’. There is no need to go into an explanation of what they are, other than to say that they are human beings who have evolved to the point where they do not need to incarnate anymore; or in other words, they have reaped all the knowledge that is accessible while in incarnate form. There have been many instances where what they have been documented, from Madam Blavatsky to Dion Fortune and many others indeed, who all state that they are ‘perfected human beings’ who now guide evolution and the development of others.
To say that they guide evolution is perhaps pushing things too far and the proper term should be to state that they ‘work with evolution’ which is a more correct phrase. But the object of this part of this work is to try to explain the work of the Masters of the great white lodge, rather than restate what they are.
Firstly, contact with such can take the imagery of being contacted by a figure on the inner planes, be it man or woman but with the difference that a true master (rather than an inner contact) has the ability to bring things to pass in the physical world, which is usually a good sign that the contact is indeed of the quality of a ‘Master’ of the great white lodge rather than an inner contact (and please note that although we are here referring to the word ‘Master’ which is masculine, there are indeed those who incarnated as female and have achieved this status).
But firstly let us consider what the masters do.
The principle amongst their tasks could be said to deal with the evolution of consciousness and emotion and these we can term under the title of the evolution of mind. From here we can next consider them dealing with space and events, past and future.
Under the term space, we can consider them as dealing with present evolutionary forces which they observe and try to ease the progress of whilst these events affect humanity, so that there is a smooth transgression from one phase of evolution to the next.
If we wish to use an image to represent this, we can visualize the upper round table or rim of our chalice that we have worked with situated at the point of chesed and geburah (composed of the two ‘spheres’ to use kabbalistic terms, although the two spheres are one and we divide it into two to probably account for how we react to and how the sphere act on us) and around its edge a round table where sits the masters. Above this table, through daath are transmitted the evolutionary forces arising from Kether, Chockmah and Binah and we could visualize these forces reflected in the chalice/bowl within the floor of the round table rather like looking into a reflective pool of water or perhaps a mirror. It is these forces that the masters watch and than work with so that the evolutionary direction comes about in as stable manner as possible. If we are imaginative, seeing ourselves standing in the centre, looking beyond to the outside of this table we could see scenes of landscapes, for this point is also related to the perfected earth. If we pass in vision above the table we would see it surrounded by the Zodiacal forces, which is a fair reflection of this round table of the ‘Masters’ and so this we can refer to as their work with evolution in space.
We have already stated that the Masters are concerned with the evolution of thought and emotion and having considered their involvement with time, will now move on to events past and future. Under the title of ‘past’ we can consider past evolutionary directions and events that have now come to an end. However, in an imperfect world there resides currents and forces set up during these era’s that may for some reason have not been successfully integrated into the next current of evolution. This can be seen in some of the major historical events where have been set up two opposing forces, whose influence reaches into the present where it has no place and these are worked with through ritual by groups under the direction of the Masters to realign the national current so that they no longer prove a distraction for the future direction of nations.
Which leaves us to consider the term future. If we once more return to the imagery of the round table of the Masters we can see that by watching past and present evolutionary forces, it should be possible to come to an understanding of what the future evolutionary force is going to be and the Masters are much concerned with this matter so that they can help in bringing about a state where this is achieved without to much upheaval.
If we now return to the imagery of the upper round table of our chalice, we can visualize force or an evolutionary impulse coming down through the sphere of Daath as a Spiral force shaped like a cone with the largest end above us and like a spring, if there is opposition at the bottom end which represents the ‘physical sphere’, we can visualize this ‘spring of force’ tightening. Now the evolutionary current cannot be stopped and if there is opposition at the incarnationary end, we can visualize this coiled spring of force tightening, increasing the tension. Eventually the pressure that builds up will release this spring of force in a very disruptive fashion in the physically manifest universe and it is to stop this happening, so that the evolutionary forces manifest in as easy fashion as possible that the Masters are concerned.
There are probably other ‘concerns’ with which the ‘Masters’ are involved, but so far I have tried to use that which has been experienced so that it may be of help for those who seek to serve.
As there may be those reading this who are starting out on the ‘path’, it may be a good idea to give a brief example of one method of how the ‘Masters’ may be contacted through the use of the creative imagination which at first will prove the easiest. Therefore sitting in meditation, we can use the method of ‘path working’ or going on an imaginary journey, or we may just see a character arising in our mind as opposed to meeting them on our ‘inner journey’ alternatively we can use the round tables of our chalice construct. Now a principle characteristic of humanity is that we communicate and there is no difference now and so we should endeavour to engage the figure in conversation. If we seek great knowledge to be imparted immediately, we are using expectation which can be a hindrance in first establishing contact with these inner beings and so the best attitude is to expect nothing and see how the conversation flows. The character may appear in historical clothes or in robes or in normal clothing and this does not matter too much other than to give a feeling for the nature of the character (It may be important here to state that this should only be attempted during meditation and not to let a habit develop in everyday life which would be unhealthy and lead to poor health in one state or another) During the conversation we may find that the experience starts to develop a life of its own and this is usually a good indication that contact with an inner being is under way. If fact the communication can come at such a fast rate that it is hard to take in all that is being said and in such cases it is best to just go with the ‘flow’ as it where, so that the contact isn’t broken. Those whom we meet will probably not be of the grade that we term ‘Masters’ at first, but there does seem to be a hierarchy involved and so those we meet may be representatives of someone more advanced and discrimination in this is everything. No matter how well the ‘conversation’ goes, afterwards everything should be inspected in the clear light of day and evaluated as to its worth. I have had conversations with inner beings that have gone on for some length of time that really have not giving any indication of being fruitful and then in the middle will come one sentence that I know does not arise from myself and that has made the whole exercise worth while, whilst other times I have had communications that have been fruitful from beginning to end. Then again I have had others that have gone nowhere. Once again, discrimination is essential in all of this, although it should not be exercised till after the meditation has finished. One of the good things about training in an established ‘contacted’ group is that most groups will reveal their inner contacts, when they think the pupil is ready to use this knowledge. These are usually related to historical figures and there is one used frequently that I know of, whom seem to be used by many people of the same inner order i.e. all using the same inner characters image, but what is important is the quality of the information or instruction that is given not the person that the contact appears as. The use of historical figures can be something of a bind if the person meditating is of the nature to research the contacts physical life for then they will build up an expectation of how the figure should act which is possibly not helpful. I once stopped a contact with a female figure who was quite well known in esoteric circles, for when I stated something about where she was born, the reply that was given was far from where everyone thought and what I expected and so I stopped the contact thinking I was going astray only to find out later from someone who actually researched the place of her birth through birth records, that what she said was correct. Therefore I personally would not expend to much time finding out (or building expectations) about the person concerned. Eventually the initial contacts will usually lead to those whom we term ‘Masters of the great white lodge’ if we seek with the correct attitude and as stated at the beginning of this work these will be able to bring things to pass in the physical world and bring a speeding up in the development of the student and this is no understatement. But when the student is ready for contact with them he or she will find that these two points have no longer any importance which is something to ponder! What we seek in contact with the masters should be in the spirit of selflessness. A lot of what is received is mediated through what we can term or own ‘sphere of consciousness or sensation’ and a certain ‘colouring’ will take place due to this medium, but if we approach this type of work in the right attitude ie stepping out of ourselves in the spirit of selflessness we will rise above colouring what we receive through the intervention of our own sphere of sensation and then we may find that the communication will come out with things that are not what our mental mind set would expect them to be, thus we may get a communication at odds to our initial beliefs and when we exercise discrimination afterwards, we may find that what has been imparted is true and then we have to change ourselves and thoughts, thus true growth takes place.
At the end of the day we are not aiming at developing an oversensitive psychic ability through these contacts, for we have to operate in the physical world and an oversensitive psychic ability makes working in the physical world and interacting with our fellow incarnating people very hard, but with practice we will develop an ability to strengthen or contacts with those on the inner and this is always to the advantage of the work.
Now in this part of the work, we discussed the Masters situated at the point of Chesed / Geburah below the sphere’s of Kether, Chockmah and Binah and these three prime Spheres we can link to the first three rings or planes of manifestation wherein act the Lords of Flame, Form and Mind. Chesed / Geburah we can link to plane four and remember that Chesed can be taken as how this sphere or plane acts on us and Geburah as how we react to this plane. Tiphareph we have considered as representing plane five, Netzach and Hod to plane six (again, how it acts on us and how we react to it) and finally Yesod and Malkuth to plane seven. We have also stated the positions of these within the aura and how they circulate, although it may be well to point out that plane seven circulates in a turning motion from the groin centre to the feet and it may well be that it is in the direction of this turning that the main difference between the Aura of men and women takes place, which is not as different as you would suspect!
The remainder of this work concerns planes four to seven. So far we have investigated the seven planes of consciousness, have given a way of working with them with the chalice imagery and described the Masters who are available to help anyone who wishes to progress with this work. I have tried to give an account to the best of my limited literary ability of ways of working on the inner and pointers regarding the ‘Aura’ or sphere of sensation. However, it is not for me to walk this path for you if you feel it calling. There are numerous ways to develop this work which we will look at in part three but ultimately you should forge your own contact with the Masters of the great white lodge whom I am sure will not lead you astray and whereas there are mistakes in the original Cosmic Doctrine book I am sure that some future person will hopefully find mistakes in that which I have wrote here. If they do I hope that they will correct them for everything should evolve and most importantly, in the world of ‘Occult philosophy’ which seems at times to have give up on experience and what it reveals and relies instead on outdated thought patterns that need to be re-examined. Therefore we should be brave and dare to find out, also to examine things in terms of physical science for Quantum mathematics, string theory and such reveals so much about the inner worlds that we have to find our way back to reconciling the two. It is no good relying on the Qaballah or any other mystery thought system when it does not evolve, for if it does not evolve, neither will we. There are those who says that universal truth does not change, then all I can say is forget universal truth – dare to find out – have the will to change - and then take part in that great dance of evolution.
My very best wishes to one and all.
In the final part of this work we shall examine structure – this is not as simple as it may at first appear! We have discussed the cosmic doctrine and the seven planes of consciousness and have given what we hope are pointers on the way, but now must describe something of the life and energy within it. A problem with the cosmic doctrine material is that it reduces everything to a structure with which we communicate ideas and thus can take the life out of creation if we lose sight of the greater picture. Earlier in this work we stated that wherever two lines of force cross, then consciousness arises and this is very important and must be remembered through out this work no matter how abstract it can become. It is of no worth reducing things to their basic principles if we leave behind an understanding of consciousness and indeed life.
Now we shall step backwards for a moment and contemplate the three rings system of the cosmic doctrine. We have placed our solar figure at the centre – that point of perfection and central stillness - have considered the ‘Great Absolute’ without the three ring system, but shall now move onto the Great Absolute’s actions within – that which fills the spaces of the void!
To do this we shall employ a creation myth! A magical image!
It is first of great worth contemplating what a structure is. These are many and varied, but the structures we are going to deal with concern those of the mind and soul. To those of the mind we can consider social and environmental structures which form to quite a great extent – that which we are as physical human beings. Then we can contemplate what could be termed religious structures and these inform the soul. That they change down the ages makes no difference, for each religious view point or structure determines that which the soul has to learn in its development. But all are structures, whether of a religious nature or physical. However structures are useful in that they give us a means to educate ourselves or in other words - grow
In our three ring system we could use the traditional Christian mythos with god the creator stating ‘let there be light’ and go on to fill the spaces of our three ring system with the image of the holy ghost or spirit but can find it lacking in imagery and it is through imagery that we need to get a grip on that which we want to convey. Thus we shall use a pre-Greek image of creation. The reason for this is that the imagery used gives a good insight into the ‘Absolutes’ actions within creation and brings this system to life. It is possibly no small thing that one of the principle contacts behind the cosmic doctrine was an ancient Greek who would have been conversant with this imagery.
It is a fact that much of what could be termed ‘the golden age’ was at the hands of these noble fathers of civilization and one factor could be that they considered the gods as beings within creation which they thought was created by the titan powers behind creation (or natural powers), which freed their mind up to marvel on what they could observe in creation rather than seeing creation as the works of god and so philosophising about god instead. This gave rise to such greats as Socrates, Plato, Democritus and many, many more that advanced science and culture to such an extent that even Einstein was carrying on from their initial work as was Newton before him. As religious view points developed so does the stress on what it teaches, thus in the dark ages, people philosophised more on matters such as could the soul reach its own salvation or was salvation mediated, is there original sin etc and such, and although these are also noble questions, the structures that people attach to certain spiritual teaching usually lead to terrible blood shed when one side refuse to believe what the other did and so noble objectives decay into fear and intolerance of other peoples belief. This mainly stems from physical objectives or structures being tacked onto spiritual matters and also certain people fearing that the reason for their social position would become unnecessary if people believed other dogma, thus a spiritual structure becomes perverted from its original intention, wherein we think that the spiritual serves us and not visa versa, but here we are digressing down an avenue which is not the subject of the final part of this work. However, these are all points to be considered in regards to structure.
The imagery or structure which we can use with the three ring system is called the Palasgian myth and concerns the figure of ‘Euronome’. That she is later relegated from a principle creator figure in Greek mythology to that of the daughter of Oceanus and Tethys, via being an early Titan queen who ruled Olympus as wife of Ophion is all part of the evolution of Greek culture where they moved from a matriarchal to patriarchal society and reflected this change in their religious view points. However the story that we shall use to contemplate, is the version taken from Robert Graves ‘the Greek myths’. It is possible that he may have embellished this early creation myth slightly but never the less, as a magical image it works very fine and puts us into contact with that which we seek to understand. You may find it hard to work with the concept of gods actions being more easily understood using female imagery but this is usually because you are limiting yourself to the structures both physical and religious that you have grown up with. Such greats as Julian of Norwich had no problem in considering god as female in her contemplations with great result.
However, the Palasgian era was pre Greek and so far back in time that not much is known about these people, save it to say that they spoke a pre-Greek language and were associated with great maritime skills. To save you time in searching for this story I shall give this version here.
The Pelasgian creation myth
In the beginning Euronome, Goddess of all things rose naked out of Chaos and divided the sea from the sky, resting her feet upon the surface she then began to dance upon the waves and dancing south set a wind in motion with which she started the work of creation. Turning and catching hold of this north wind she rubbed it between her hands and created the great serpent Ophion. Then while she was dancing wildly Ophion coiled about her and she became impregnated. Next Euronome assumed the form of a dove and in due time laid the universal egg and at her bidding Ophion coiled seven times about this egg until it hatched and split in two. From the egg emerged all things that exist, her children, the sun, moon, planets, stars, the earth with its mountains and rivers, trees vegetation and all living animals. Euronome and ophion then made their home on mount Olympus where he vexed her by claiming to be the creator of the universe so Euronome bruised his head with her heel, kicked out his teeth and banished him to the dark caves below the earth. Next Euronome created the seven planetary powers and set a Titaness and Titan over each, these being Theia and Hyperion for the sun, Phoebe and Atlas for the moon, Dione and Crius for the planet Mars; Metis and Coeus for Mercury; Themis and Eorymedon for the planet Jupiter; Tethys and Oceanus for Venus; Rhea and Cronus for the planet Saturn.
The first part of this creation myth we have set in italics and this is because this is the principle imagery with which we shall work. It is just as possible to work with the imagery of the Holy Spirit if you wish for all religious imagery and practice instructs the soul or teaches the soul, but we are reaching for imagery with which we can make a tentative contact with the power of the ‘Absolute’s work in creation and in regards to the Cosmic Doctrine, this ancient myth seems to work well.
It could be said of religious structures, that as they develop they take something of that which precedes them and this is usually because what they take is usually a subject that has not been fully understood or learned from in its original state, or setting, or religious context. Therefore, as a lesson which the former religion sought to teach the soul has not been fully learned or absorbed, it travels over into the next religious phase to hopefully be fully realised there. Thus we see that the Hebrew philosophy borrowed the image of the serpent and translated it into their own image of creation, also this female imagery also turns up in Christian myth as that which is called ‘The blessed shekinah’ or the female actions of God working in creation. It is also possible when visiting Mediterranean countries to find the image of Christ and the Virgin Mary being supported by another female figure which they state is an aspect of the Virgin but possibly harks back to incorporating something of this previous religious structure into the present which is all something to consider.
This is not to say that you should use such imagery as the Pelasgian creation myth just as a simple tool for then it will not work for you, what we are contemplating is the ‘Absolutes’ actions within creation or the seven planes and so we should adopt due reverence and I cannot stress this enough, for the inner planes do not suffer intentional fools however forgiving those there can be. The way that we can do this is through a simple path working utilizing our chalice meditation that we may see the result or experience the results, for this can be much more effectual than words and contribute to the growth of your soul and of your understanding of the cosmic doctrine. Or if working with a group, this type of working is easily adapted into a ritual (shown later) with the purpose to participate in the great dance of creation and devising it into a ritual will be instructive in itself. However it is a case of letting your soul or spiritual aspect teach you and following where it leads. Therefore at first you should familiarize yourself with this myth and then use it in contemplation or meditation with our three ring system, thus are we building a structure which should inform us. Then it is a case of seeing how this develops and following the leads for this is the way to understanding. At this point if you have followed the exercises described, you should now be in a position to work and develop this type of work for yourself, for we are now at the point of contemplating Gods actions in creation and the only person who can lead you here is yourself.
In the course of this undertaking you may have found that the colours described when bringing force down in the chalice working changed from black and white into personal colours and this will tell you a lot about the spiritual nature of your self. Also other variations may have taken place for it is you who are working with this material and you are the one travelling this path so be prepared to follow your own leads. How much further this work can develop is down to you and I know that my own personal journey in working with this material has been very beneficial and I am sure that it will be for you. Where this path will finally end remains to be seen but what better adventure can there be than travelling into that great unknown. The third and final part of this work is the shortest in length and this is because, really it has to be written by you – However the concept of structure is all important to all types of work and must be fully understood especially in relation to your own being. If you work with the Qabalah you most probably will find that you externalize the spheres or sephirah and relate them to certain inner areas, however when you fully realise how much structure makes up your own being, you will discover that the sephirah represent aspects of yourself. If you wish to meditate on the sephiroph chesed for one instance (or the sphiroph of justice), look within yourself and see how the images of justice work within you and first meditate on this, for then you will truly make progress and learn about yourself and probably learn more than through working with the sephiroth as a path working or such and this goes for all the sephiroth. It is the same with the seven planes of consciousness, for all of these planes are manifest within you - you yourself, here and now, for they truly make up that which we call the physical. If you seek to work with them on the innerplanes, first see how they work within that structure that is yourself for all seven planes are manifest there – it is just a case of being able to discern them and this leads to true personal growth.
Once you fully realise this you will perhaps be ready to work with other concepts of the chalice and that is that the chalice imagery is an archetypal Grail. This has not been mentioned until now, to prevent you from not following the exercises given and branching off into other avenues before you are ready. Therein we see that the grail is emblematical of that which contains creation – that which even the central point of perfection, or the Christ centre had to manifest within, to receive instruction. Now you may be able to ask the all important grail questions and get the correct answers, for the answers given will correspond to your own state of spiritual development and in such respect all are valid, but the answer we should seek to the three questions are what is the Grail – the archetypal image of creation – what is its purpose – to instruct the spirit – who does it serve – it serves itself, and when you fully understand the third answer you will have travelled far so travel well.
Finally we shall go on to discuss the planetary being. We have already stated that the planetary being occupies planes four to seven and perhaps now is the time to work with the different aspects that are represented there. The Cosmic doctrine divides the planetary being into three aspects which it terms the planetary Entity, the planetary Intelligence and the planetary Being. With the planetary Intelligence things get slightly confusing, in that the Cosmic Doctrine contact then talks about the guiding angelic intelligence rather than the planetary Intelligence and this is possibly because the subject is very hard to put across due to the esoteric planetary philosophy that was prevalent at the time proving something of a barrier in the receiver’s consciousness. Therefore we shall use imagery and build this imagery up in a circular sequence creating a ‘mandala’ or magical circle that we can work on.
So firstly we shall consider what a magical circle is and at its most basic level it is a clearing in the psychic structure of the environment wherein we then create a model of the universe, this can be done in many ways but the most traditional method is to assign the traditional element of Air to the eastern quarter, Fire to the south, Water to the west and Earth to the North. Thus working from the highest point first, we would invoke the angelic intelligence assigned to each quarter then the traditional elemental ruler before invoking the element itself. After this point we would then invoke the powers we wish to work with and conduct the rite along the lines of the aim we have in view. However we are working with the planetary being and the seven planes of consciousness and so shall construct our magical circle along these lines, firstly investigating the planetary being or that which we wish to contact at the four stations of east, south, west and north.
Thus these meditations shall take a directional emphases and the first meditation should be conducted facing east. To do this we can first use the method of creating a sphere of light as described earlier in this work and then meditate on the images that will here after be described before utilizing the sequence in a ritual fashion. Also you have already worked on a lot of the basis to ritual magic when meditating on the rings of time, space and event, even if you have perhaps not realised it!
So from now on, to delineate the differences between the planetary being in its entirety, we shall term it as the planetary totality rather than the planetary being so that the different aspects do not become confusing.
Therefore, we shall build up four different forms in each of the four traditional quarters of East, South, West and North. Although you may well find that the forms that appear to your inner perceptions may vary from those described here, these given may prove a fruitful place to start.
Exercises concerning the Planetary totality.
So sitting facing East, start with visualizing this image as a robed female figure standing before you. She is dressed in Gold robes for she is dressed in the light of the stars and visualize a very heavy veil covering the top half of her face as she stands before you. Contemplate this figure as representing the planetary Spirit (or Entity). Meditate on the fact that this aspect of the planetary totality belongs to the forth plane of manifestation and is to the planetary totality, that which your own Spirit, (that we contemplated at the highest level of the Chalice working) is to you! Realize it as the highest aspect of the planetary totality but also as a part that goes to make up the whole and reflect on its relationship to the fourth plane of manifestation and see what if anything the image has to reveal to you. Consider its relationship to the element of air in its highest sense although it is also the root of all four of the elements.
This is a hard image to work with and contains many great mysteries.
Not least of all in that it contains the archetypal structure of all life (including group souls of the animal kingdom) on earth – be that the vegetable kingdom wherein we can see a reflection of the manifestation of the four elements or the animal kingdom wherein we can see a reflection of the movement of the great powers throughout the planes which manifest in expression as the animal life that is manifest on the physical level. And also not least of all in that it contains the highest aspects of those structures that make up a part of our own physical manifestation from planes four to seven. Do not be over concerned if you do not get too many realizations from the Eastern quarter for these will not be revealed in their entirety until much further down the path of manifestation and represent some parts of the supreme mysteries yet to be revealed, for there is a lot represented herein that concerns the future as well as a type of redemption that is relevant to planetary life. Finally meditate on the planetary Spirits relationship with the Lords of Mind
Once this mediation has been completed for a satisfactory period we can then move on to the next figure. This can be done by once more creating the sphere of light and then after briefly creating the eastern figure moving on to the southern quarter. At this point you may find it easier to briefly pause your meditation and move your chair (if seated) round to face the southern quarter before continuing.
Therefore, next in the south, visualize a very heavily pregnant women seated on a throne. See her robed in the colours of red, green, olive, russet and black and contemplate this figure as representing the manifestation of the planetary totality at plane five and representing the planetary mind (or intelligence). Meditate on its relationship with the element of fire. We have mentioned plane five and its relationship to separation and herein can be seen the organizing force inherent here, sorting the myriad of consciousness present into different band lengths. You could dwell on a centre of heat radiating out and dispersing into cooler regions and the vibrational rate of each region attracting forms of consciousness that vibrate at the same rate for all this comes under the jurisdiction of the planetary mind. Try to feel the great magnetic force inherent in this image as well as order being brought into what could be possible called chaos. Finally mediate on the planetary minds relationship with the Lords of Flame and once more make a note of all that comes to mind.
Following the meditation sequence as before, briefly create the figure in the east then the one in the south before moving round to the west. If you find it helps, once more move your seat at this point so that you are facing west
Now in the west visualize a maiden in light silk robes dancing before you.
See her emerging from the Sea to Earth or Land and where ever she places a foot in her dance, see flowers and greenery appear, also animals that spring into life and contemplate this aspect of the planet totality as representing the planetary being which occupies plane six. Consider the relationship of this image to the element of Water in its highest sense and this aspect of the planetary totalities relationship to the Lords of Form. It would be easy to adopt a sentimental view point of nature at this point but here we would be digressing for we are trying to work with reality wherein everything is interrelated and relies on everything else for survival on the physical plane (truly nature red in tooth and claw). Therefore consider your meditations on the Lords of Flame, Form and Mind, particularly those relating to the Lords of Flame and Form. See how the patterns of the rings of form moves through the patterns created by the Lords of flame giving life and even death for this will reveal much about the planetary being and how the planetary ‘totality’ operates on the sixth plane level. Meditate on animal and plant life and learn to see the great rhythms involved within the planetary being and if you feel so inclined, consider that which we could cal the ‘Elves’ manifest on the sixth plane for you will find much revealed here concerning the structure of ‘Elven’ life and hierarchy as well as the way they interact with and upon the physical plane. Eventually these great rhythms and cycles can you lead you on to the stars and the planetary being is a good aspect of the planetary totality to lead on to this, but this aspect can be worked through later. Finally consider the planetary being relationship to that which would term the ‘Aura’ just as the planetary mind or intelligence has a relationship to that which we could call the ‘etheric’. Once more make a note of any realizations that you may have through this meditational sequence.
Finally in the North using the same meditational sequence of briefly building up the preceding images, visualize a seated female figure with a cauldron before her. This figure represents the physical manifestation of the planetary totality and as such you may find that the figure in the North changes as viewed from the original described to a standing stone and even a female figure spinning thread at a spinning wheel. This is the planetary totality manifesting in the physical at plane seven and just as you have many levels to your being that manifest in the physical so does this great planetary consciousness. Consider this figures relationship with the element of Earth (although to a certain extent they are all represented here) but especially with physical manifestation and also with past, present and future. Meditate on its relationship to the other aspects that we have already worked through and learn to see that it is all part of one whole as indeed you are with the many levels that make up your individual being and once more make a note of anything that you may learn from this sequence.
Finally build these four images up around you with yourself in the centre in a ritualized fashion and you should find that the Lords of Flame start to manifest in the South, the Lords of Form in the West and the Lords of Mind in the East. That the Lords of Mind do not manifest in the South which corresponds with the planetary mind will reveal much about the planetary autonomy! So once more contemplate the relationship between the Lords of Flame, Form and Mind with the aspect of the planetary totality that we term the planetary Spirit, planetary Mind and planetary Being ie. the Lords of Mind corresponding with the Planetary Spirit, the Lords of Flame corresponding with the planetary Mind and the Lords of Form corresponding with the planetary Being. You may also find that it is more than possible to see the actions and interactions of all three of the Lords of Flame, Form and Mind at each quarter, but the principle relationship should be with the Lords of Flame in the south, the Lords of Form in the West and the Lords of Mind in the East and this will all become clearer later on in this work when we start to create or own magical ritual.
Now moving on, we shall see that within our ‘mandala’ or magic circle are being created three triangular vortices of power 1. composed of the Lords of Flame, Form and Mind. 2. composed of the planetary Spirit, planetary Mind and Planetary Being and 3. a triangle of power with the North as its base and composed of Past, Present and Future as physical manifestation interacts with the other two triangles of power and here we have evoked in our magic circle the influences of planes one to seven in the Lords of Flame, Form and Mind representing planes one, two and three, - then the aspects of the planetary totality representing planes four, five and six, as well as plane seven represented, creating a run through of power.
As well as this you may have noticed, (which is important,) that the conditions of plane six which we visualized as three triangles when meditating on it earlier in this work is also represented here and this is the basis for any ritual magical work that we wish to accomplish with this work, for by working on plane six in a ritual fashion we should see results on plane seven (or the physical level) as each plane is effected by the preceding!
Therefore, when you are familiar with all aspects working in this magic circle, it is now possible to invoke them ritually.
This can naturally be done on either a group or single basis. I cannot write this ritual for you and record it here for there is a great law of limitation utilized in all ritual work and to publish a ritual of this nature here would greatly lessen its effectiveness before we start, but I can make some basic suggestions which may help you in creating your own seven plane ritual.
Firstly, I personally would employ the banishing ritual of the pentagram as used by the Golden Dawn group which is effective to clear the area for the Magic circle. The reason for this is that there are quite a lot of forms present in the planetary totality (as well as within your-self) that need dispersing before any work should commence. These include planetary forms that have completed there purpose and which need dispelling. On a technical note there is a greater banishing ritual recorded by the Golden dawn and a lesser banishing ritual and I have found that the lesser banishing ritual is more than effective as what seems important is the direction of the current that is set up both on the inner and within your aura as you draw it out before you (please see appendix 1.). Also intention plays a great part in this. However bear in mind that there are elemental beings who will be employed in any ritual that is to be commenced so that you could use the phrase ‘I salute the powers of the Earth and cleanse the Northern quarter’, following anti clockwise round to the East with similar phrasing appropriate to each quarter ie. the element of Earth in the north, Water in the west, Fire in the south and Air in the east using the banishing pentagram ritual which should not disturb these inner plane entities. Once this is achieved you can now use the invoking ritual of the pentagram and create your magic circle commencing from the east round to the south – west then north using the phrase ‘In the name of the Most High I open the east’ etc as you create the invoking pentagrams. Now you can invoke the planetary totality in the east, south, west and north. This can be done by visualizing the forms that we have meditated on in each quarter and using a descriptive phrase deriving from anything you have learned whilst meditating on these four quarters. Naturally, if working on a group basis you would place an officer in the East, South, West and North representing the different aspects of the Planetary totality who would describe the different functions and what they represent. Next invoke the Lords of Flame in the South the Lords of Form in the West and the Lords of Mind in the East. Normally you would start with the highest point of these Lords before the planetary totality and work down the planes but they are much easier to contact once the planetary totality has been invoked. Also the triad of the Lords of Flame, Form and Mind materializes starting from a point above this circle and makes first contact in ritual starting in the South, also there is an interesting point in the directional power flow they create and its relationship with the power flow around the stations of the planetary totality as well as the link set up in the North.
Having invoked these powers, now you could perhaps undergo the Chalice work in a path working and bring through the higher vibrational aspects of the spirit and ritually earth them, for you will have a great effect on the elemental beings that will work with you on this rite from the inner, as well as both yourself and the planetary totality of which you are a part! If working on your own, this will be achieved through yourself at the centre of this magic circle and if working with a group you could utilize an Alter at the centre of the circle and earth the power through a talismanic item to be placed here. However, this ritual should be written by you even if using these basic guide lines shown here.
It should go without saying that after this ritualised work you should close the circle using the banishing ritual of the pentagram to close the four quarters.
This may seem quite a simple working but you will be surprised at just how much the vibrational rates of the Spirit can affect both yourself, your environment and the planetary totality especially when working with the run through of power from plane one to seven and also in regards to the forces of the sixth plane wherein the structure of the working will be set. Also you will find that from such a simple initial ritual, much more work will emerge along these lines, but this is to be discovered by you.
Meditate on the set up of this ritual and the way the forces ‘run’, try to get a feel for the inner side of this structure for knowing how a ritual works will lift any enterprise of this nature from ritualized theatre to ritual magic. Contemplate how the seven planes are represented here and the flow of energy down the planes and also how the inner structure of this circle is setting up the power by utilizing a six plane structure to effect plane seven. Also remember that the inner side of this working will be aided by inner plane beings not all of whom will be immediately obvious, for all work of this nature falls under the supervision of inner plane Adepti who will aid in this work. However, do not forget that you are also working with the planetary being (or totality) and as such remember that herein lies great responsibility for all consciousness that it contains is so very, very precious!
If you have followed all the meditations through and completed the ritual, I hope that you will testify to the benefit of this work if only within your own heart. Also I am sure that you need to read no more written by me for the rest is waiting to be discovered by you. There is so much more to be discovered, not least in working with the planetary totality and going on to discover its relationship to the stars. However you must now find your own two feet and see where it leads you. I am sure that the journey will lead you far.
May the light shine through you and guide you!
- Written by Psyche
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Dion Fortune and the Other Arthuriad: Dion Fortune Seminar September 2017.
This piece is about Tolkien’s Mythology, and I propose that for Tolkien, as for Dion Fortune, a key role was to help the National mind of England during the transition to the Age of Aquarius, and to set the tone for the new Age. This followed by a pathworking to Rivendell, to meet Arwen Undómiel. I am not alone in having worked with this Mythology for a long time, but I clearly recall my first steps in the Mysteries when I attended a work shop where we were taken on an inner journey to the top of a tower to contact one’s spirit guide. As I entered the room there was a figure with his back to me. He turned around, laughing: It was Gandalf the Grey. I thought to myself- ‘why on Earth am I meeting a fictional character, better get back to the day job.’ I’ve learned a lot since then, but I know that the (supposedly) fictional and recent nature of the mythology is an obstacle for some and I want to give those of you who haven’t yet worked with the material an opportunity to do so. As Dion Fortune said: an ounce of practice is worth a pound of theory!
Tolkien and Dion Fortune came into this world around the same time: she was born in 1890, he in 1892. She left it earlier than he did in 1946 whereas he died in 1973. But they worked contemporaneously: he completed Lord of the Rings in 1948 and was bringing Frodo and Sam to Mount Doom as the Second World War was coming to its end. This is the same period during which Dion Fortune was writing her War Letters. The significant work underpinning both endeavours had been undertaken in the previous decades, but arguably the War Letters and Lord of the Rings are the most practical and accessible culmination of what had gone before. Both Dion Fortune and Tolkien were influenced by the three strands of the Arthurian Legends, Christian Mysticism, and the Elemental significance of the Earth. Both were perfectly conscious of a spiritual task: Tolkien said that he wanted to be a great instrument in God’s hands: “to be granted a spark of fire to rekindle an old light in the world.”
In her War letters Dion Fortune’s purpose was to strengthen the National Mind to withstand the assault of Hitler’s Germany, but also to re-stimulate the archetypes that were to shape post-war social change and reconstruction, what she called: “…a new spirit in the heart of the race.” A phrase very close to Tolkien’s. She describes the link between the deeper, stable Group Soul and the more superficial Group Mind which is more easily influenced by outer circumstance, and set out to open the channel between the spiritual influences governing our land and the Group Mind of the race. She explicitly linked this with the turbulence associated with the change from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius. Now, these transitions do not complete in a short few years, and we can safely say that this turbulence is still with us. And that is one of the reasons I think, that Dion Fortune is still so active from the inner. The War Letters are packed with gems that help us address the challenges of our time. One such gem leapt out at me when I was preparing this piece: “The Aquarian Age develops in the element of Air. It is in the air that the keys are to be sought...The war will be fought and won in the realms of the air and of the mind – that meaning in the sphere of morale.”
Morale. Where would we say our morale is right now? I would suggest that the current battleground, if I might use such a phrase, does seem to be largely in the sphere of the mind and of morale. Consider the weapons of terrorism: fear. Consider the influence of marketing, the internet and social media. Consider the influence of all these things on truth, and on morale. Dion Fortune advises us to study the characteristics of Aquarius to help us find a way forward. Aquarius is a sign of truth, idealism, individuality, and vision. It is a sign of optimism and hope. Aquarius acts for the collective, but does so in its own individual way. Any turbulence opposing these values would impact on the sphere of the mind, of truth, hope and morale. One might also expect tensions between authenticity, and the kind of malignant conformity which requires the sacrifice of truth.
Dion Fortune asks: “How then can we prevent our morale from being undermined, our will from being deflected from its purpose, our inertia encouraged, our selfishness stimulated?” She suggests that we should reactivate the Arthurian legends to stimulate the best morale, idealism and hope of the Nation. She likens the National Mind to our bloodstream. This bloodstream is extremely effective at fending off ‘infection’ in the form of negativity, but can become overwhelmed in the face of a massive attack, or if its own internal strength is compromised. Her recommended remedy is to strengthen the best qualities of the National Mind as opposed to the psychic equivalent to a large dose of antibiotics. The National Mind strengthens itself through the stimulation of archetypes in accord with its deeper spiritual ideals.
There is a natural relationship between stories and myths and the cycles of the ages. Just as the Individuality is the meeting point between spirit and body, so is Mythology the meeting point between the cosmos and both individual and group consciousness. Or as Dion Fortune puts it, the link between the soul of man, which she likens to a land-locked lagoon, and the cosmic sea. Tolkien too knew that certain archetypes come to the surface at just the right time, just as the Ring was meant to be found; at an apparently random moment, by Bilbo. He said that things ‘bubble up’ in the universal Cauldron of Story in due course. In the Cauldron, things cook until they emerge anew. It is a matter of some importance, as to what makes any particular figure or version of a story appear at any one time. One might usefully reflect on the stories of any given time and what they tell us about a civilisation. He goes on to say that the cooks too, matter, as they do not dip the ladle into the cauldron blindly, and this sort of cooking is the task both of Storytellers and Occultists.
Anne Petty, who was a scholar both of Tolkien and Mythology, in accord with Joseph Campbell believed that: “…the critical mythogenetic zone for our times is the individual human heart and psyche, that interior world of the individual where he confronts his own spirit…” In other words, it is time to closely link the stories of the Cosmos with the small stories of individuals. It is, perhaps, time for us to carefully consider, and work with, the link between the personal and the transpersonal; that is, the nature of individuality and its relationship to the Cosmos. This will be enabled by mythological material that rings true to readers of our time. Tolkien’s mythology is particularly accessible because it was written recently, and so speaks to the modern mind. It has accessible personal resonance, largely because of how he uses the Hobbits. Through his use of the Hobbits we learn about universal principles and how they impact on individuals. Their experiences illuminate ideas, most particularly around consciousness, and in understanding the nature of the Self. We can identify with the Hobbits; they are funny, they are afraid, at times inept, and they possess good old-fashioned grit. They have no real idea what they are getting into, they ‘do not know the way,’ and yet they go along anyway, mainly for the sake of each other, until they gradually become aware of the bigger picture.
Tolkien has had an impact on enormous numbers of people. One might go so far as to say he is a source of inspiration for our Western World. He is the father of the modern fantasy genre. A quite startling number of disciplines study his work; which has also captured the popular imagination through the films of Peter Jackson. This effect is comparable to the impact of the Arthurian stories told by storytellers in the Age of Pisces. One could say that he has struck the same chord, but in the new key of the Aquarian Age. Now, it is said that there are no new stories. Tolkien says that this is both true and untrue. Tolkien’s Gods and Goddesses, or Angelic Beings are easily interpreted as being based on those of other pantheons. However, Tolkien makes the point that this misses the point. He says: “It is precisely the colouring, the atmosphere, the unclassifiable individual details of a story, and above all the general purport…that really count.” Therefore, though Arwen might be like Gwenevere, and in some respects the Lady of the Lake, she is not Gwenevere. Though Aragorn might be akin to Arthur, he is not Arthur. Arwen is Arwen and Aragorn is Aragorn. The ingredients in the Universal Cauldron may be the same, but their expression is varied, as anyone who can tell the difference between chocolate cake and chocolate biscuits will know.
Tolkien consciously re-wrote the Arthurian legends and said: “I was from an early age grieved by the poverty of my own beloved country: It had no stories of its own…the Arthurian world…is imperfectly naturalized, associated with the soil of Britain but not with the English…” Imperfectly naturalized, and not associated with the English. Tolkien thought that the Arthurian Myths need to be more realised and internalised, more owned and expressed by people: that a more personal connection should made with Myth. To achieve this, it needs to be of its time, and to appeal to large numbers of people. This is not, of course, to say that the Arthurian legends have no personal resonance, and I do not wish to imply this in any way: this is about evolution, and nuances of expression. It is really that in Tolkien’s work, the macrocosm is individualised, personalised, and explicitly realised. Small stories; inextricably linked to large stories.
Let’s briefly consider the concept of the Round Table. At the end of the Arthurian cycle, from one perspective, things end in disaster. The Kingdom is in tatters, Arthur and Gwenevere have no heir, and the Round Table and the Grail are dispersed. But as Dion Fortune says, this gives us critical information about what can go wrong, and why. In a Fallen and imperfect world, it is absolutely essential that we understand this. The Arthurian tales warn us against identifying with our shadow self, or conversely, projecting it onto others. Seen from this perspective, Arthur did not fail. Tolkien’s tales, however, tell us how to succeed, perfectly following on from the foundations laid by Arthur. The other reason Arthur and Gwenevere did not fail, is that the Grail and the Round Table must be dispersed if they are to be realised by individuals. You might be forgiven at this point for wondering why I am making this comparison, as surely there is no Round Table in Tolkien’s stories.
Well, I think there is. It is not a literal table, but the pattern is there. For me, the Round Table is the Fellowship of the Ring, which serves the function of realising the dispersed Table. We already know that the Round Table functions as a symbol of the Self, and of groups, and their cycle of development and growth. The Fellowship of the Ring is true to the ideals of the Table Round, of equality, harmony, unity and wholeness. Ordinary hobbits, even the immature Merry and Pippin take their place. There is nothing apparently special about the Hobbits: this Round Table is open to all. You do not have to be a Knight. You do not actually take a seat: each individual and their place in the group is the table pattern. It is a personification of pattern realisation and allows it to manifest in a new way. It tells us that in the Aquarian Age the key is the realisation of the pattern in people and the collective.
It is also a process of becoming. One does not have to be a Knight at the beginning, but through committing to the Fellowship, one journeys towards a shift in consciousness and functioning. Each member chose to join out of friendship or love, but also with a shared goal: to put the Ring into the fire to save Middle Earth. Of course, I do not mean to imply that the Arthurian Round Table is a mere physical table: that would be quite wrong. I am saying that the subtle differences of expression in the stories tells us something significant.
Another key message is that one does not actually have to be Human to be part of this Table. In the Arthurian stories Gwenevere is a faery who takes on human form to wed Arthur, and thus build bridges between the human and faery worlds. In Tolkien, Arwen is Elvish, but already part-human, and through her fore-mother Melian, she is part Angelic too. The consciousness of each member of the Fellowship, who are Angelic, Elvish, and Human (given that Hobbits and Dwarves are aspects of humanity) are reflections of Arwen’s consciousness. She has already harmonised these forces within herself and stimulates the Fellowship to evolve their own consciousness. Arwen’s dowry, and her promise to us, is an inner harmonisation of forces and consciousness. The pathworking which follows offers the opportunity to connect with Arwen. Arwen and Aragorn model the successful faery/human partnership in which both already carry faery and human consciousness. Her Father, Elrond, renews Aragorn’s sword so he can achieve his inheritance. Arwen is Queen, but she is also a Priestess.
There is a certain fluidity to consciousness in Tolkien’s stories. Beings can be Part-Elven, and Part-Angelic. Others can choose whether to be Elvish or Mortal. Others still shift consciousness through the achievement of a state of Grace. In the Arthurian tales, Joseph of Arimathea is locked into a dungeon for 40 years and survives purely by the spiritual sustenance provided by the Grail. As a consequence, he becomes a shining being of light, and Wendy Berg’s suggestion is that he is thus comparable to a faery. Tolkien is in accord with this: In his tales Sam and Frodo, on their journey up Mount Doom survive solely on Faery food: the bread called Lembas, which has Eucharistic significance. At the end of the story they both board ship to Valinor, which is something of a puzzle, because Mortals are banned from the Lost Road. There is some debate as to whether they are granted a special ‘pass’ because of their deeds, but for me, this theory does not hold water. This is because it is actually impossible for mortals to travel along the Lost Road because Valinor has been removed from the physical world.
My Tolkien Society friends say that Frodo and Sam did not actually travel to Valinor, but instead were dropped off en route at Tol Eressëa, whilst Gandalf, Galadriel and the others went on to Valinor. I find it absolutely incredible that anyone could think this. I suggest that the consumption of Elvish food, alongside their dedication and their faith has transformed them so that they become as Elves, just like Joseph of Arimathea. This perfectly attunes to folklore regarding faery food. Sam even comes back to the Shire and plants the Mallorn on the Hill. It is said that his daughter Elanor, conceived at the end of the Quest, was frequently mistaken for an Elf. Her name literally means Sun-Star, which in Tolkien’s stories, symbolises both faery and human consciousness. There is no evidence of faery in this blood line so the implication is that her Father was transformed, and that this has been passed down through the bloodline. The other name for the Hobbits is Halfling, and I would suggest this transformation enables them to achieve wholeness: to be both human and faery. As Gandalf says: “You are not the Hobbit you were.”
CS Lewis called Mythology ‘lies breathed through silver.’ Tolkien’s reply was that anyone can say ‘the green sun.’ But to make it believable is another matter entirely. He believed that he was writing the truth, and whether that truth is literal or metaphorical is to be discovered. He said that we should not confuse the Flight of the Deserter with the Escape of the Prisoner. The former is essentially denial of a difficult reality; the latter is the use of imagination to go beyond the confines of matter to reveal the truth, or what he called the ‘underlying gleam of the cosmos’. He wanted to write a story of hope, consolation and recovery. But it can only be consoling if it rings true. He even invented a new word for this: the ‘eucatastrophe’ by which he meant the unexpected, redemptive and joyous ‘turn’ of the story. To paraphrase Sam: ‘everything sad becomes untrue’. And he does this without denying darkness and shadow, as anyone who has ever met an Orc, or walked up the slopes of Mount Doom will know. Dion Fortune said that the war would be won in the sphere of the mind and morale. Tolkien brought through beings, I believe, from the cauldron of story, that connect our National Mind with our Soul and who convey much needed hope that we will successfully navigate the turbulent seas of our time.
Now, in the following pathworking we will travel into Rivendell to meet Arwen Evenstar, we will connect with the stellar patterns and bring them to Earth; in effect initiating, or continuing, our own steps to realise the Round Table.
A Journey into Rivendell.
We are come to the very edge of the Wild. Somewhere ahead is the fair valley of Rivendell where Elrond Halfelven lives; but it is not so easy as it sounds to find Rivendell. For Rivendell is the First Homely House West of the Misty Mountains and the Last Homely House East of the Sea: it lies between the worlds. We are tired, and the day, slips towards twilight. A pale sliver of silver moon shines through the veil of clouds, and in the far West, the sky is pure, clear violet, and high above us blazes Helluin (1), the Ice Blue. We have left our home in the Shire, and doubt that we will find what we seek, or accomplish what we must, or that we will ever return. The tidings of the world are mostly sad and ominous: of gathering darkness, of the wars of Men, and of the flight of the Elves.
We are not alone, for a Guide accompanies us on the road. His name is Aragorn, and he is known by the Elves as Dunadan, Man of the West, for he will redeem the errors of Númenor. He comes of a long line of Kings and Rangers, wandering in the wild, and for many years Rivendell was his home, for he is foster-son of Elrond. His presence inspires confidence, and our errand now takes us on, though we cannot say where our path will lead at its end. After a moment we step out, into the Blue…
Ahead now, a grey river gleams pale silver in the fading light. This is the River Hoarwell, that the Elves call Mitheithel. The only way to cross is by the Last Bridge towards which our road runs. As we approach the Bridge we notice, in the road, a single pale-green jewel. It is a beryl, an elf-stone. We do not know whether it was set there, or let fall by chance, but we take it as a sign that we may pass the narrow Bridge.
We are swept off our feet at last and the way is now clear. We pass swiftly under the shadow of tall pine trees, then plunge into a deep cutting within steep moist walls of red stone. All at once, as if through a gate of light, the road runs out again from the end of the tunnel into the open. There, at the bottom of a sharp incline is a long flat mile, and beyond that the Ford of Rivendell. An Eagle circles high above us. Behind it, shady mountains climb, shoulder above shoulder, and peak beyond peak, into the deepening sky. There is a roaring and a rushing: a noise of loud waters from the Misty Mountains. We reach the Ford and step into the River Bruinen: a wholesome peace lies on the land. The last green has faded from the grass, and we walk past Beech and Oak. Ahead is the house of Elrond: the last light flits across its white walls and we walk eagerly towards it, all weariness forgotten. We have entered Imladris: the deep valley of the cleft.
Of the three Rings that the Elves had preserved unsullied no open word was ever spoken among the wise, and few even of the Eldar knew where they were bestowed. Yet their power was ever at work and where they abode all things were unstained by the griefs of time. Vilya, the Ring of Sapphire was with Elrond, in the fair valley of Rivendell, upon whose house the stars of Elbereth most brightly shone. Master Elrond founded this place in the Second Age as a refuge from Sauron. He gathered in Rivendell many Elves, and other folk of wisdom and power from among all the Kindreds of Middle Earth; and the house of Elrond was a haven, and a treasury of good counsel and wise lore. His house is perfect: merely to be here is a cure for weariness, fear and sadness. We enter the front door into his wide, welcoming Hall and note that it is filled with folk of many sorts: do not be surprised, for Rivendell is between the worlds. Until this moment we had not thought beyond reaching the shelter of Rivendell. But now ask yourself: why are you here? (pause).
After a moment, we pass into a further Hall where a warm fire glows in a great hearth between carven pillars. This is the Hall of Fire: there is always a fire lit here and you can hear many songs and tales, if you can keep awake. For it is difficult to stay awake here, until you get used to it: but nonetheless, this is a place of awakening. Aragorn walks towards the fire and stands next to its bright glow: for a moment, it seems to our eyes that he is bathed in brilliant sunlight, and then we blink, and he is just standing by the fire again. Elvish minstrels play sweet music and the golden firelight plays upon them and shimmers in their hair. Your mind is filled with the light upon the Elf faces; so beautiful that you feel in a waking dream. The beauty of the melodies and of the interwoven words holds you in a spell. The words of the songs take shape, and visions of far lands and bright things open out before you. Then the enchantment becomes more and more dreamlike, until an eternal river of swelling gold and silver flows over you. You sink into a deep realm of sleep where you wander in a dream of music. Finally, the last note is struck: both deep and high, and with a shiver, you are fully awake.
Up a short flight of steps, a further doorway opens to the outer terrace. Indigo shades of misty Twilight steal through the door, and beyond, a quick flash of Fëanor’s fire: the mingled light of Sun and Moon and Stars. Aragorn leads the way through the doorway and we follow him if we will. We step out onto a high garden above the steep bank of the River Bruinen. There is a faint scent of trees and flowers in the evening air. From the far West sounds the faint note of a trumpet. The shadow of a large bird flits across our path, and behind we hear a soft splash as of a fish jumping. But when we look, there is only river spray, swiftly dispersed. By some shift of airs all mist is drawn aside like a veil; twilight has turned to deepest indigo. Away high in the sky swings Remmirath (2) the Netted stars, and their subtle song stirs the air. Then leans up, as he climbs over the rim of the world, the Swordsman of the Sky, Menelmacar (3) with his shining belt. As we gaze about us silver cobwebs thread bright beads along the grass. Then they seem to coalesce, as though to form a pool, smooth as glass, which mirrors the bright black sky.
As our eyes adjust to the darkness we notice a figure standing beside Aragorn, in the centre of the pool. She is young and yet not so. Her white arms and clear face are flawless and smooth, and the light of stars is in her bright eyes, grey as a cloudless night; yet Queenly she looks. Above her brow her head is covered with a cap of silver lace netted with small gems, glittering white. She wears a soft raiment that deepens into Indigo, then blooms into Violet. She bears no ornament save a girdle of leaves wrought in silver. Her dark hair strays in the breeze and flows down, sinking into the deep pool on which she stands.
She is daughter of Elrond Halfelven, Arwen Undómiel, the Evenstar of her people. She is of the line of Melian and Thingol; of Luthien Tinúviel and Beren one-hand, and of Elwing and Eärendil. Aragorn stands tall beside her, and a star now shines on his breast. He holds a Sword, reforged in Rivendell: this sword is ever renewed in the cycle of the ages. For just as the Table Round was Gwenevere’s dowry, so is the formation and the realisation of the Fellowship of the Ring Arwen’s dowry. She is Mortal, and she is Immortal: she is Human, she is Faery and she is Maiar. Aquarius is the breaker of barriers, the bringer of new influences and impulses and Arwen is the promise of consciousness to come. Arwen Undómiel is revealed as Priestess of Rivendell and of this Age of Aquarius, and she is Queen of the Reunited Kingdom.
As we gaze at Arwen, we become aware that each one of us forms part of a greater whole, seen here as the star-spray of Elbereth captured in her hair. We find ourselves standing around her, in a circle around the edge of the pool, and many more bright souls join us. We recognise that each one can capture and respond to the message of the stars. So be aware of the silver net in her hair. See it in its bright and silver gossamer beauty and attune your inner perceptions to the eternal possibilities beyond. The air settles, and stills, and we seem to stand outside our own time, outside of Time itself maybe. All at once it seems, Arwen Undómiel tilts her sultry head towards you. She will speak no words, but nonetheless she conveys her message to you. The light of her eyes falls upon you as though from afar and pierces your heart. You stand still enchanted. (Pause).
And now we find ourselves standing in the Vale of Avalon of today. Notice for the first time a bright star in the west: it is Gil-Estel, star of high hope. Then above us we see once more the Eagle, which wheels about and veers off towards the West, taking news of our journey to Manwe and Varda.
Berg, Wendy: Red Tree, White Tree. Cheltenham, Skylight Press 2010.
Carter, Humphrey (Editor): The Letters of JRR Tolkien. London, Allen & Unwin 1981.
Fortune, Dion: The Cosmic Doctrine.
Fortune, Dion: The Magical Battle of Britain. Cheltenham, Skylight Press 2012.
Petty, Anne: One Ring to Bind them All. Tolkien’s Mythology. Tuscaloosa & London, The University of Alabama Press 2002.
Tolkien, JRR: On Fairy Stories.
Tolkien, JRR: The Lord of the Rings.
2 The Pleiades.
- Written by Peter Nascien
- Category: Authored Articles
- Hits: 4046
Dion Fortune and Merlin
A talk given by Wendy Berg to the Dion Fortune Seminar 2018, held in Glastonbury Town Hall on Saturday 22nd September
I’d like to speak today about Dion Fortune and Merlin.
There has to be a Merlin with Dion Fortune! We know that this must be so. There is no way that the most influential and forward-looking occultist of the 20th century would not have had a connection with Merlin and would not have been guided by him in some shape or form. We know that Merlin was there with her, just as he is always here, somewhere, in the background to our magical work. Just as we know that of course there must be a Gandalf to guide the Fellowship of the Ring, or a Dumbledore to guide Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, or a Yoda to guide the Jedi Knights.
When we think about the connection between Merlin and Dion Fortune, it’s important though to bear in mind that in the 1930s very little had been published about Merlin other than a few versions of the Arthurian and Grail legends and academic studies of mediaeval literature. It’s only in the last 30 years or so that a great deal of new information has come to light, pioneered by folk such as R.J. Stewart, John and Caitlin Matthews and Mike Harris. Their research and perception of Merlin brings to light much that is contained in for example the writings of Geoffrey of Monmouth in his History of the Kings of Britain in which Merlin is depicted as a wild man of the woods, living alone, half mad, having been much affected by witnessing the death of his friends in battle, and at the same time inspired with visions and given to prophecy. Similar but earlier material is found for example in The Black Book of Carmarthen.
There’s a great deal in these stories of Merlin that we can relate to. They provide readable descriptions of his appearance and his life in the wilds which makes it easy for us to visualise him. He appears quite close to our own lives because he is dealing with recognisable human problems in a recognisable human world. But of course none of this more recently discovered material was available to Dion Fortune, so we can only look to her own writings for information on how she perceived Merlin, and how he appeared to her. And this is where it becomes a little more difficult because, surprisingly, she has left almost no written reference to how she was influenced by him or what her method of contact was with him, and although there are many word for word written accounts of her conversations with numerous other Inner plane guides, none refer to Merlin. Which came as a bit of a shock to me when I began to write this talk!
We find her fullest commentary on Merlin in her ‘Avalon of the Heart,’ which was first published in 1934. In this book, Merlin is very tentatively described as a possible guide who might have come from Atlantis and who might possibly have brought the magical powers of especially bred Atlantean priesthood, to Britain. It does sound as if she is quite hesitant to put these ideas into writing, perhaps because they were so new and so revolutionary at the time.
“Is there any possibility that in the legends of Merlin and the drowned lands of Lyonesse we are touching the history of Lost Atlantis? Is there any possibility that Avalon, with its undercurrent of pagan legend, was originally an Atlantean colony? Is it possible that Merlin was an Atlantean - a priest-initiate; and in presiding at the birth of Arthur he was carrying out the Atlantean custom of kings bred for wisdom? In order to bring the higher consciousness of the evolved Atlantean race into the Celtic tribes of the colonized island, did Merlin in defiance of the strict laws of the sacred clan, and in pursuit of ends of his own, cross the Atlantean stock on the Celt, and so breed Arthur?”
In the early 1930s there was nothing untoward with these views but there is much here that we might now feel uneasy about. And I must say that it does provide us with a very positive affirmation of how we have changed over the last 80 years or so regarding these ‘Atlantean’ ideas of elitism, special breeding, forced marriages, segregation, privilege and a caste system which were thought of quite differently in the 1930s.
Now wouldn’t it have been interesting if someone had said to Dion Fortune: “No, sorry, no possibility whatsoever, silly idea, just forget it.” Wouldn’t the course of 20th century magic have been so very different if we hadn’t had these ideas of Atlantis, with its sacred clans, special breeding, forced marriages, segregation, superior blood-lines and elitism conveyed to us? Later, in 1940, she wrote: “Merlin was unquestionably a druid priest and tradition declares him to be an Atlantean.” A tradition which she had just invented of course. (quoted in The Magical Battle of Britain ed Gareth Knight, published by Skylight Press, page 46)
However, it’s important to place these ideas within the context of Dion Fortune’s magical environment at the time. She was establishing a new, different, forward-looking, expansive and inclusive magical fraternity that would be based on the best of what was already in place, but would also speak to people who had just come through the 1st World War and were looking forwards to a new order of things; the new generation of the 20th century who were beginning to set the pattern for the coming of the Aquarian Age. So she needed on the one hand to emphasise the magical tradition in which she and her group could claim authenticity, while on the other hand she needed to find something new, some new way of thinking, some new magical impulse, on which to carry things forward.
As we know, all this is very necessary for anyone starting a new esoteric school - or a new school of anything, come to that - and a method which we all adopt when needs be. We claim our tradition and we name - or at least mysteriously hint at - our Inner plane teachers, and the longer and older that tradition, and the more exalted the teachers, the better.
So Dion Fortune’s position was that while she acknowledged the influence of those who had immediately preceded her: the Theosophists such as Blavatsky and Besant, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Masonry, spiritualism and so on, the something new and different was Merlin, and Atlantis. She herself believed that she was a Priestess from Atlantis. But up until then, although the concept of Atlantis was beginning to appear in esoteric theory, it was certainly not a name that was generally known and recognised as it is today.
However, no sooner had she introduced the possibility of recalling your past life in Atlantis and had given it some authority and credence, than everyone wanted to do it, so that it became, it seems to me, almost the pre-requisite of any magical priest or priestess worth their salt. It does seem to have created quite a pressure on the members of her Fraternity to recall the details of their life in Atlantis in order to be taken seriously. Some of their descriptions are interesting to read; others are a little less convincing.
So, for example, if we read some of the descriptions written by her and members of her magical Fraternity of the sacred mountain of Atlantis with its three levels of existence we find that although life for the priests sounds fine in their comfortable and privileged existence on the top level, conditions further down the mountain were not so good. “All slaves were branded on the chest with a hot iron; their skin was like leather and they made no fuss. They ate their dead, and in their little wattle hovels their pickled joints could be seen hanging about.” And it gets worse…. “There was no drainage system. Garbage was thrown over the side of the mountain and the lower population lived on it….much was left uncleared but in those days the sense of smell was not much developed.” Well, thank goodness for that. (quoted from The Arthurian Formula, ed Gareth Knight, published by Skylight Press, page 161)
Now I’m in no position to say whether or not this is a true and accurate description of life at the foot of the sacred mountain, or even if there was a sacred mountain, or even if there was an Atlantis. I don’t think any of us are, although the idea became thoroughly embedded in the magical beliefs of Dion Fortune's Fraternity, now the Society of the Inner Light, whose magical practice at all levels is based on these 'memories' of Atlantis. To my mind, the point is not that we should become embroiled in Atlantean garbage disposal systems but look a little higher.
As I mentioned, one of the threads of the magical tradition DF aligned herself and her group with, was that of the Theosophists such as Blavatsky, not least in Blavatsky’s description of what she called the seven root races of humanity. She named the first five of these root races as the Arctic, Hyperborean, Lemurian, Atlantean, the so-called Aryan root race of the present, and there are still two more to come. In this overview of the entire cycle of human history, the ‘root race’ acts as a sort of essential representative or central focus from which all else develops during that Age. As with any group or organisation, in accordance with natural law and the inevitable progress of evolution, each of these Ages, and each Root Race, eventually comes to a natural end but the best of their knowledge, achievements and wisdom are transmitted to the next Age in a series of evolutionary waves, so that each new human civilisation builds on the progress of the previous ages. This might all sound like remote and obscure occult theory but if we apply the same ideas to our own lives as a general principle of how things work, it makes common sense - which is what we want.
Another way of thinking about this seven-fold progression of humanity is to consider each Age as a stage in the gradual unfolding and development of our consciousness, both in the very general terms of the entire history of humanity’s life on earth, but also in the way in which we are each progressing during our own present lives. It is generally said in this vast overall view of history that the Atlanteans had reached the stage in human development where they possessed strongly developed natural instincts, so they were psychically well attuned to natural energies and were very sensitive to sound, colour and light. On the other hand what was just beginning to develop for them was the gradual opening up and exploration of their emotional bodies, perhaps as we tend to do in our youth, with all the turbulent upheavals that entails. Their emotional stage, according to this theory, was at what is now sometimes called the lower emotional body in which the instincts of fight or flight are the most pronounced.
What the Atlanteans hadn’t really developed at all, according to this scheme, was the use of the so-called concrete mind or lower mind: the rational, reasoning part of our consciousness that allows us to acquire knowledge, to learn, to make rational, logical and objective decisions - a faculty that we have now developed to a considerable extent. This means that although the Atlanteans were good at tuning in to, and using, the psychic energies and were effective in the practice of a type of instinctual magic, they lacked the higher understanding of what they were doing and why.
It’s often said that magically, things didn’t always go too well in Atlantis; that inevitably their instinctual powers were not always used for the general good but for individual ego, power and advancement so that things could get out of hand, and that there was conflict between the so-called ‘white’ magicians and the ‘black’ magicians which is said to have been in part responsible for the end of that Age.
Following this line of thought through to ourselves as the fifth ‘wave’ of humanity, and the future sixth and seventh root races, it seems that what humanity still has to develop is to gain understanding and control over our emotional bodies, to learn to become less ruled by our instincts towards fight or flight, and to develop our higher emotions of love, tolerance and compassion. Also to become less reliant on our so-called lower minds that acquire knowledge, until we relate to life purely through our higher minds which bring us the ability to intuitively understand the whole picture of things and to understand how everything is related to everything else - until ultimately we evolve into entirely spiritual beings. Still a little way to go yet, but I think we’re getting there.
I’ve emphasised this connection between Dion Fortune, Merlin and Atlantis for two reasons. First, that it’s easy to focus on the apparently glamorous ‘magic’ side of Atlantis - which I think DF is a little guilty of encouraging in novels such as The Sea Priestess - rather than get to the point of the exercise. Which is to consider that if indeed Merlin is bringing us the wisdom of the highest achievement of sacred and magical work practiced in Atlantis, what is that wisdom? What is the message that Merlin conveyed to Dion Fortune, and conveys now to us, regarding our magical and spiritual progress and our work on the evolutionary path for the benefit of all humanity? And how can we pass that on to those who follow us?
In this regard, we find that Dion Fortune does make one specific comment which wonderfully defines Merlin’s teaching as: “Knowledge of the use of the invisible forces for the Group Mind and racial consciousness.” (The Arthurian Formula page 72)
What she’s telling us here is that although what we think of as magical work might be traced back to Atlantis, we now need to apply our knowledge of what these invisible energies or forces are, which will lead us to understand what we’re doing, and how, and why. In other words, we need to apply the ability of our rational, so-called lower or concrete mind which brings discretion. Although the Atlanteans may have been adept in instinctively tuning in to the unseen energies, we need to learn about what they are rather than rely on instinct or gut feeling.
The second point DF is makes in this statement is we should now, under Merlin’s guidance, think in terms of the group rather than our individual needs. By Group Mind, she means any group which we work in or identify with, from this temporary group gathered here today, to the esoteric groups we work in, to the land and nation we identify with and indeed to the group which is the whole of humanity.
And by ‘racial consciousness’ - not a term we would use nowadays - she’s referring to the way in which new ideas, or trends, or movements suddenly seem to take hold in many people’s minds simultaneously across the world. Movements such as the Arab Spring, or Populism, or the ‘Not in my name’ movement, or ‘Me Too.’
The Group Mind now, is moving towards thinking in Aquarian rather than Piscean terms. We are moving towards thinking in terms of synthesis rather than segregation, inclusiveness rather than hierarchy, individual gnosis rather than restrictive authority, and in terms of diversity, equality, good will and compassion. None of these qualities, it seems, were present in Atlantis. So again it’s encouraging to realise that we are moving forward.
But this presents us with quite a challenge if we try to identify anything specific that Merlin taught Dion Fortune, and which he is teaching us, because it means that Merlin is working at a higher level than we might suppose. It means that he has no concern for our individual lives, nor with providing us with specific information. It means that he doesn’t offer us personal guidance, or help us in making decisions as to whether to do this, or that. And even if it makes sense to us that Merlin was once in Atlantis, he certainly isn’t going to teach us about Atlantis! He’s going to teach us about how to develop the mental and spiritual capacities that we already possess in order to achieve a greater understanding of the Inner causes behind outward appearances. How to achieve a better understand the energies of the universe in which we live, how to develop a higher, more abstract, more universal sense of understanding of why things are as they are - and how to use them for the greater good.
And to all that, I would like to add something that I’m sure DF was aware of: the idea of Britain as Merlin’s Enclosure. That the very land and surrounding islands of Britain are somehow particular and essential to Merlin’s work. Another of her Inner plane contacts, some time in the early 1930s, told her that Merlin was the ‘Logos of the Green Ray in these Islands.’ And there is much in this statement that we can relate to. This places Merlin behind the inspiration and power that reaches us through the elemental contacts, through the Faery tradition, through the appreciation of the Earth as a living organism whose energy can be contacted through its sacred sites, standing stones and circles, ley lines and especially through the sacred landscapes of Britain.
So what can we say with certainty about Merlin? We can say that he Merlin is an initiator. He begins work which will some time later bring something new to birth. He directs that first spark of inspiration and illumination from which new ventures and new projects take shape. This type of guidance will usually come through as a faintly perceived impulse, an intuitively grasped concept or idea which may take time to bring down into full waking consciousness. He indicates the way forward for humanity, he indicates the way things are moving and the way in which we can align ourselves with each new impetus, and he does that through a particular connection with the land and landscape of Britain: “Merlin’s Enclosure.”
We can see how he did exactly this for Dion Fortune. In the 1920s she founded what was then a new, different, progressive, radical thinking, inclusive, wide-ranging, broad-based, magical Fraternity. She took the best that had been achieved at her time, developed it in leaps and bounds, made its wisdom more accessible to more people and moved us all forward on the path, even though that flame has now largely passed elsewhere. What Merlin didn’t do was to provide her, or us, with specific or detailed advice which can easily be put into words.
Here’s a suggestion of how we might put this into practice. In Glastonbury Tor, we have the perfect example of a sacred ‘mountain’. And, in whatever way we understand this, it is somehow connected to the whole of Britain. At the back of all magical work is our ability to make the connection in our own awareness between above and below, or between spirit and earth, or between within and without. A good way of doing this is to use the power of seven! We can make a connection between the seven centres of energy or chakras of our bodies, the seven levels of our aura or subtle bodies, the seven levels of our awareness - etheric, lower and upper emotional, lower and upper intellectual, lower and upper spiritual, the seven planes of manifestation through which spirit descends to physical matter - and even the seven Ages of humanity.
This sounds like an awful lot to keep in mind at one time, but it is possible to ‘just do it,’ by using the ‘as if’ technique. If we believe and act ‘as if’ it’s perfectly possible, it can become so.
So here’s a short meditation in which we can try this. If you like, close your eyes, or if you prefer, just listen with your eyes open.
Imagine yourself standing at the foot of Glastonbury Tor. And when you look up at it, it is transformed. It is no longer a physical hill of grass and earth, but a shining, crystalline hill which appears to have a golden spire rising from its summit. To rise the top will require no physical effort but can be achieved purely in your own consciousness. Be aware first of your physical body and ensure that it is quiet and still. Now move your awareness to your etheric body…. and you might like to take a deep breath as you connect with it.
Now, move your focus to your lower emotional body of instincts and passions. Ensure that it is at peace. Now, move your awareness upwards into your higher emotions of love, compassion and creativity. Ensure that they are awake.
Now move your awareness up into your lower mind with its qualities of reasoning, learning, knowledge, logic and deduction, and appreciate how you benefit from these abilities.
Now move your awareness up into your higher mind which shines with spiritual intuition, with faith and with wisdom.
And you find that you are standing on the summit of the shining, crystalline hill - although above you still, like a golden tower stretching upwards into the heavens, are the two remaining levels which represent your spiritual bodies.
From here, you can see all around you in a complete circle of the landscape. And you also have inner vision of the past, present and future. Where you stand, you become aware of a voice of guidance which is Merlin. Let us stay here, for a minute or two………..
When you are ready, visualise yourself returning back down into your physical body, and return to this place and time.
- Written by Wendy Berg
- Category: Authored Articles
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Dion Fortune and Egyptian Magic
A talk presented by Wendy Berg at the Dion Fortune Seminar, Glastonbury, September 2015
Almost everything that we know of Dion Fortune’s interpretation of ancient Egyptian magic can be found in her novel ‘Moon Magic.’ The type of magical work she describes in this novel has had quite an influence on how we tend to think of Egyptian magic, perhaps more than we realise.
In ‘Moon Magic,’ the character we have seen previously as the Sea Priestess appears again, but this time as a priestess of the Egyptian goddess Isis. She is now called Lilith le Fay, and clearly represents an aspect of Dion Fortune’s own thoughts and magical experiences. Lilith describes how she has been sent to that present time and place - London of the 1930s/40s - “…..to bring certain new concepts to the mind of the race; not to its conscious mind, but to its subconscious mind.” More specifically, her aim was to help break down the old order of what was still quite a repressive morality, in many ways the legacy of the Victorian era, particularly in the restrictive attitudes towards the emotions and towards love and sex. These attitudes were exemplified by the man who became Lilith’s magical partner: Dr Rupert Malcolm, a brilliant doctor who had loyally remained in a loveless and sterile marriage to an invalid for twenty years.
In order to achieve her purpose, Lilith le Fay constructs and dedicates a temple to the goddess Isis in an abandoned church in London. She dedicates her temple by evoking and bringing down the astral form of an Egyptian temple of Isis to empower her physical temple, which is all very sound and effective magical practice. This Egyptian temple of Isis is described in detail in the novel: the temple, she says, has a long approach through an avenue of ram-headed sphinxes, then the great entrance into the temple itself through the pylon gateway in the vast walls of the temple’s outer enclosure, then a pillared courtyard with a lotus pool, rows of shadowed columns and finally a great pillared hall, at the end of which, behind a curtain, is the inner sanctum.
This is where the novel begins to part company with historical accuracy. The 'Temple of Isis' she describes is in fact the great temple of Karnak in the ancient city of Thebes which was dedicated to the god Amun and his wife Mut and had very little to do with the goddess Isis. In fact so far as we know, almost no temples in ancient Egypt were dedicated to the goddess Isis. The Egyptian civilisation dates back to at least 3200 B.C but it was only when the Greeks occupied Egypt from c 330 B.C, and after the Greeks the Romans (from c 30 B.C.) that newly built temples were dedicated to Isis. Naturally enough the Greeks and Romans brought their own pantheon of deities with them and their concept of Isis was strongly influenced by their own goddesses Athene and Hera.
Anyway, having consecrated her temple, Lilith’s magical work takes place in two phases. First, she invokes the dark, negative potency of the aspect of the goddess whom Dion Fortune calls ‘the Black Isis’ and whom she associates with the powers of the dark moon, in order to bring about the breaking down of the old restrictive patterns within her priest, Rupert Malcolm. In the magical rituals they undertake together, he stands for all men while Lilith represents all women. Having achieved this stage of the work she invokes the new patterns of life and light and liberty onto her priest by calling down the regenerative power of the Bright Isis of the Moon. They work in close partnership in a magical ritual that depends primarily on the invocation of the etheric energy of the moon which is then raised to a higher level. Through their work together, these new patterns of behaviour are initiated and made available to the 'Group Mind' of the nation.
So this was her magical purpose; it’s very clearly described, and I have no doubt that Dion Fortune performed it herself. It was a successful piece of magical ritual which undoubtedly had an effect, and continues to have an effect, far beyond the confines of the novel.
But, bearing in mind that this is described as 'Egyptian Magic' there is very little in this that the ancient Egyptians would have recognised. They didn’t practice this type of intense, exclusive priest/priestess relationship in their magical work. They weren’t concerned with introducing new concepts into the mind of the race but with protecting, conserving and maintaining an existing harmonious balance of form and energy between the starry heavens and the physical land of Egypt. This concept could be summarised in the single word Maat, which means ‘balance, order, harmony;’ a name which was also ascribed to a goddess. And they didn’t practice ‘moon magic’ at all, at least not in the sense described in the novel. They didn’t think of the moon as a source of etheric power as is it is described in the novel and in any case they regarded the moon as male, not female, so they made no link at all between the moon and the goddess Isis. This connection was only made much later in the Greco/Roman reinterpretation of Isis and of course by Dion Fortune herself.
I'm sure that Dion Fortune did not deliberately set out to mislead her readers or to misrepresent the magical work of the ancient Egyptians. The problem was that very little was known about Egyptian magic in her time, as has been the case for most of the last 2000 years. The ancient Egyptians didn’t write down much of their magical belief and what they did record was of course in the sacred language of the hieroglyphs. Unfortunately from about 300 A.D. until the early 19th century nobody knew how to read the hieroglyphs, so almost all information about ancient Egypt was lost. This meant that what the ancient Egyptians actually got up to, apart from building colossal temples and pyramids with their bare hands, was a mystery for nearly 2000 years until the Frenchman Champollion famously rediscovered how to translate the hieroglyphs in the early 19th century - and even then it was quite a while before the ancient texts could be properly understood.
The aspect of Egyptian magic that came through the most strongly in Dion Fortune’s time - as it still does today - was of the striking images of the gods and goddesses which are so evident in the ancient temples: the colossal statues, the engravings, the wall paintings which still retain some of their bright colours. If you stand in an Egyptian temple you can’t help but think that Egyptian magic is all about gods and goddesses and it can quite naturally seem as if Egyptian magic is based upon their invocation and presence.
My own understanding of Egyptian magic is that in addition to - or perhaps together with - the preservation of the balanced harmonious state of Maat and the relationship between the stars and the earth, it was concerned with the opening up the immense potential of human consciousness, through the development of the higher powers of the mind and imagination. Their ultimate aim was that each individual should achieve a level of consciousness which has progressed up through the Inner levels of the earth and to the sun, then to function eventually at a level which is the equivalent of the stars, to reach a state of spiritual being that we might call ‘stellar consciousness.’ When the ancient Egyptians looked at the night sky they saw an individual soul in each star, just as Osiris had become transformed into the constellation of Orion or 'Sahu.' They believed that each star in the sky was quite literally the shining light of an individual spirit, and that in a very real sense what we see ‘out there’ when we look at the night sky is as it were a projected image of the spiritual light we contain within us, ‘in here.’ But very little of this was known or understood in Dion Fortune’s time, so she focussed, necessarily, on what was known then - and perhaps also on what she conjectured.
The question of course is: “does it matter?” Does it matter that Dion Fortune’s interpretation of Egyptian magic is not accurate. Well, no, because the magic described in Moon Magic is comprehensible, it can be replicated, and it works. But, on the other hand, yes, because it’s best to have the facts about anything that we undertake, especially in magical work, so that we can make a clear choice as to the best and most appropriate way forward. Dion Fortune's understandable emphasis in the novel on the invocation of goddess Isis, on the moon, and on the concept of magic worked between a priest and priestess can prevent us from looking further when we seek to understand the real magic of ancient Egypt.
And yet there are aspects of Moon Magic that are extraordinarily ahead of her time. For example, as I mentioned earlier, an aspect of the goddess Isis which is emphasised in the novel is the aspect Dion Fortune calls “the Black Isis,” a term which so far as I know she invented although I’m very happy to be corrected on this! I’ll quote from Moon Magic again - and we must bear in mind that this was written some eighty years ago and therefore not in the language we would use today: “At the far end of the long pillared temple…...was a sloping passageway that led underground from this temple to another, a temple in the distant hills. ….It was a temple of a more ancient faith, being predynastic. It must, I think, have belonged to the black Hamitic people who preceded the red Egyptian stock, for its goddess was of black basalt and Her features were negroid.” So Dion Fortune is saying that this temple in the desert hills that can be accessed from the main temple dates from before the documented reigns of the first Egyptian Pharaohs, i.e. before c 3200 B.C.
This passage is surprising in a number of ways. First, she was extraordinarily ahead of her time in her recognition that what we think of as the ancient Egyptian civilisation was possibly the descendant of a black African culture that had existed thousands of years previously. This culture, as we now know, had existed in what is now the Sahara desert but which until around 3,500 B.C. had received plenty of rain and was fertile savannah. But when Dion Fortune described this Black African people as the predecessors of the ancient Egyptians there was very little available evidence of it; it has really only been brought into the public eye in the last 20 years or so. What she accurately recognises as the Black origin of the Egyptian civilisation was strongly resisted in academic circles for many years and I can only imagine the ruffling of feathers that this paragraph might have caused at the time if it had been read by the academic community.
But there is no evidence, either physical, written or mythological, that such a temple to a 'black' goddess actually existed in the desert hills as an extension of any Egyptian temple. It certainly wouldn’t have existed as an extension to the temple of Karnak as she suggests, as this would have involved digging a tunnel for many miles under the soft mud of the Nile valley.
Dion Fortune also says that this temple of the Black Isis was used for human sacrifice, and I have to say that I think she is wrong in this statement: there is no evidence that human sacrifice was ever practised by the ancient Egyptians and I think the very idea would have been anathema to them. Whether or not it was practiced by their remote ancestors - well, we don’t know that either.
So having seemingly dismissed much of Moon Magic as having nothing to do with Egyptian magic, what are we left with? Well, quite a lot!
An important element in Egyptian magic was that it was founded on certain qualities and features which are inherent within the land of Egypt itself, as if the very land is a mirror of the heavens. This means that the actual land of Egypt can function as an archetype or template of universal patterns which can be transferred to other lands and times. Dion Fortune’s remarkable achievement was to transfer these features to central London and the River Thames so that in effect she brings the essence of ancient Egypt into the heart of London.
For example, a unique feature of the Egyptian landscape is that the River Nile travels more or less due North through the entire length of Egypt - and it is the only major river in the world to do this. So there is the constant impression in Egypt of a perpetual movement of energy flowing into the North. And the North, to the ancient Egyptians, was the region of their ultimate goal in the stars, particularly the circumpolar stars which they called the Imperishable Stars - because they never set below the horizon and therefore represent the imperishable spirit. Together with Orion and Sirius, these groups of stars were the goal of the deceased in the after-life - and the goal of magical initiates in their journeys into the Inner worlds.
There’s another important element of Egyptian element in Moon Magic which I don’t think has been noticed before. We tend to think of Egypt as consisting of the River Nile and the temples and cities along the Nile valley. But 96% of Egypt is desert, and Egyptian magic is equally based on the symbolic powers of the desert. It has to be. The desert is of equal importance to the Nile because the juxtaposition of desert and river forms the primary expression of the polar opposites of spirit and matter which underpin the whole of creation and which underpinned the whole of Egyptian magical thought. The desert is intensely hot, arid, sterile, prone to strong winds and a fiercely hostile environment; it is the earth at its most raw, powerful and intense. It is an embodiment of a type of energy that has sometimes been called ‘chaotic’ or even ‘evil’ but in magical terms its energy is equal and ‘opposite’ to that of the Nile: it represents the essential ‘resistance’ or ‘negativity’ to the ‘positive’ force of the Nile. So on an inner level we can think of the desert as the ‘thrust-block’ which provides the necessary resistance to the energy represented by the Nile and enables impetus to be achieved and maintained.
The desert isn’t mentioned as such in Moon Magic but it is certainly present in the novel. The Egyptian god of the desert was Set, who embodied the raw and fierce qualities of the red desert sands and was described as having red hair. Dr Rupert Malcolm embodies these qualities of raw, fierce strength and power, and also has red hair. I don’t know if Dion Fortune gives him red hair coincidentally, intuitively or as a deliberate but veiled reference to the god Set, but in the novel he certainly represents the magical qualities of the desert. If we think of Dr Malcolm in this way, this transforms the novel into something quite different and much more relevant to our present understanding. It is empowering and magically more effective to think of Rupert Malcolm as representing the power of the desert in his Egyptian partnership with Lilith le Fay rather than seeing him as a 1930s version of the hapless sacrificial priest.
There is also a fundamental distinction in Egyptian magic between the East bank of the River Nile which is the land of the living and symbolic of the outerworld, and the West bank of the Nile which was where the tombs were located and which was symbolic of the Inner worlds. Dion Fortune beautifully recreates this in Moon Magic by setting the novel in the small area of central London in which the Thames runs due North: the section between Vauxhall Bridge and Waterloo Bridge which, as it happens, is marked in the North by the Egyptian obelisk known as ‘Cleopatra’s Needle.’ Rupert Malcolm lives in Pimlico which, if we mentally superimpose a map of Egypt onto this small section of London, coincides with the southwestern part of Egypt that was once home to a major group of their remote ancestors. When you read the novel it’s good to get these directions clear in your mind’s eye. The Nile, and this section of the Thames, run from South to North. Rupert Malcolm lives on the ‘West’ bank of the river. The disused church which Lilith le Fay transforms into a temple of Isis is on the ‘East’ bank, which is the side of the river on which almost all the Egyptian temples were built. It is the light from the setting sun which catches the West-facing window of this temple which initially attracts Rupert Malcom’s eye. Later in the evening he watches the lights shining through the window from the candles that have been lit inside, as Lilith opens her temple to ancient Egypt.
We too can stand in vision in the West and look over the river towards the temple on the East bank, and see lights shining from within the building, as if the window is a gateway to another brighter, sunlit land of ancient wisdom. We may find that images or symbols appear in this window, as if it was a great lens or magnifying glass that brings images from ancient Egypt into our own land and time.