Dion Fortune's "Mystical Meditations on the Collects"
The following posts offer a resumé of Dion Fortune's interpretation and comments on the 'Collects.' These are a series of Christian prayers and invocations, one for each week of the year, but DF's interpretation of them comes from a more inclusive spiritual understanding than purely Christian, and which speaks to those of all faiths and of none. Her comments highlight the universal spiritual truths behind the prayers and reveal how they contain words of wisdom for everyone.
Dion Fortune's full commentary on the Collects can be found in her book 'Mystical Meditations on the Collects.' but we hope that these excerpts will provide a useful summary of her thoughts, and in a context that is quite different from her other work.
A Brief Introduction to 'Mystical Meditations on the Collects.
The title of Dion Fortune's book: ‘Mystical Meditations on the Collects’ gives the impression that it is likely to be rather 'Churchianity' in tone and probably has nothing to do with magic. This was certainly my own view until I actually read it. In fact the book is very much to do with magic as the art of ‘causing changes in consciousness according to will’ - and might more accurately be entitled 'Magical Meditations on the Collects.'
As DF explains in her preface, her purpose is to demonstrate how the underlying wisdom of 'The Collects’ is based on universal spiritual truths. She writes: "The presentation adopted in these pages may not only cause scandal to the orthodox, but also to the heterodox…” She was probably right!
Briefly, a ‘Collect’ is a short invocation which gathers together the intentions of a group of people. Although the Collects are usually associated with the Church, their structure is based on the magical practice of invocation which traditionally is made in five stages:
The first stage identifies the god or goddess whose help is requested
The second stage describes the particular quality or aspect of that god or goddess which is relevant to the present invocation
The third stage defines as precisely as possible the nature of the request
The fourth stage describes the hoped for outcome
The fifth stage asks for the compassion of the god or goddess thus invoked
We might for example invoke Athene, focus on her aspect of wisdom, and ask for her help in understanding an aspect of esoteric teaching. Our goal is acquire greater knowledge of ourselves and of what choices we should make in a current problem. Holding this in mind, we invoke Athene and attune our minds to her wisdom.
N.B. The time and tradition in which these Collects were written means that they use only the term 'God' in reference to the Deity. Readers may prefer to substitute alternatives such as Goddess, Deity, Divinity or Spirit.
01 Message for the week beginning 30th December 2019: The Sunday after Christmas Day
In her commentary on this Collect, Dion Fortune observes:' We need help, and if we are wise, we will try not to go in our own strength but admit our need...."
This suggests a very different approach to our usual New Year's Resolutions in which we resolve to do better this year through our own efforts! But perhaps in this period immediately following the New Birth at Christmas/Yule/Winter Solstice, now is the best time of the year to 'admit our need' and 'lift our eyes to the hills' rather than bashing on with our heads down.
02 Message for the week beginning 6th January 2019: The Epiphany
Keynote: Seeing with the eyes of the spirit
The word 'Epiphany' is often used nowadays, and it is worth bringing to mind its original meaning of "a sudden perception of the essential nature or meaning of something; an illuminating discovery or realisation; an intuitive grasp of reality through something apparently simple."
As Dion Fortune reminds us in her commentary on this Collect, the Wise Men in whose name we celebrate 'The Epiphany' on 6th January saw much that others did not see, such as the real meaning of the star over Bethlehem, and the spiritual and universal significance of the tiny babe in the stable..
This Collect invokes for the ability to see beyond the outer form and discern what lies behind it; the qualities and spiritual energies that ensoul it, its real meaning, its real significance for our present lives and for the future.
Developing this perception can take a lifetime of trying, but we can make a start simply by wanting to do it. And it makes the perfect New Year's Resolution.
03 Week beginning 13th January 2019
Keynotes: Wisdom, Courage
This Collect asks for the ability to ‘perceive and know what things we ought to do..... '
When we are unsure of our way forward, rather than make hasty or arbitrary decisions it can be useful to pause awhile and contact Spirit to help us get a clearer perception of what is causing our present situation. With the benefit of a more insightful perception, we can begin to make appropriate changes, not forgetting to also ask for courage to enable us to make them.
Dion Fortune reminds us in her commentary that "God does not lead us into the wilderness to perish." Our gods and goddesses do not set us insoluble problems.
04 Week beginning 20th January 2019
“Grant us thy peace all the days of our life……”
When we desire peace, our first thoughts often tend towards what we want to get rid of: stress, anxiety, demands on our time, people who cause us undue problems. When our thoughts turn to peace in the word, it is natural to think of this in terms of the removal or absence of conflict.
Dion Fortune reminds us that the invocation in this Collect is made to the ultimate source of all Life, the One Deity of "all things in heaven and earth." She suggests that real peace is not achieved by getting rid of demands and stresses, nor by avoiding or removing conflict , but through our understanding of how all things in the universe are interconnected. She suggests that when we have a better knowledge of the CAUSE of things, of why things are as they are, then we will find acceptance and understanding, which ultimately brings deep and lasting peace.
05 Message for the week beginning 27th January 2019
"Almighty and Everlasting God, look mercifully upon our infirmities….."
During this season of colds and flu, 'Infirmity' is certainly in our minds. Dion Fortune’s keynote for this Collect is ‘Look within.’ What should we understand by the word ‘infirmity?’ Physical disease or disability? Emotional imbalances? Or mental challenges - which are now, at last, being acknowledged and openly discussed.
As was once so memorably said: ‘Nobody’s perfect,’ and during our life on earth our ‘infirmities’ are one of the signs that can tell us so much about ourselves. We should certainly pray for Divine mercy, but equally we must regard our own selves with mercy and compassion. If we can accept with open eyes where we are now, at this very moment, then we have taken a step towards healing - even if that means switching off the computer and having an early night!
06 Message for the week beginning 3rd February 2019
Keynote: Protection from evil
This Collect asks for strength and protection "in the midst of so many and great dangers" because "by reason of the frailty of our nature we cannot always stand upright."
There is rarely a time when we are not aware of 'dangers' of some sort or other, whether in the world about us or, as the Collect suggests, in the many temptations we experience in daily life when we realise that we have acted in a way which was perhaps not the best choice!
The key to understanding this Collect lies in the image of ‘standing upright.’ If we imagine ourselves standing in this posture it can evoke an image of a clear flow of energy channelled through our entire selves, integrating body mind and spirit, and connecting heaven with earth.
It's a simple image, easily visualised, but remarkably effective.
07 Message for week beginning 10 February 2019
Keynote: True religion
The Collect for this week asks: “Oh Lord, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion…..”
Rather than becoming distracted by debate as to what constitutes ‘true’ religion,' in her commentary on this Collect Dion Fortune emphasises the importance of the word CONTINUALLY. The Collect asks for help in our continued perception and understanding of spiritual truth, not least by acknowledging that our perception needs continual revision! As we progress along the Path, what we thought to be true yesterday, may not seem so today.
The secret, she reminds us, is to become still...and to adopt a 'humbleness of mind.'
08 Message for week beginning 17th February 2019
This Collect asks that we may purify ourselves even as Christ was pure.
"How is this to be achieved?" Dion Fortune asks, with good reason! How can we achieve 'purity' not only of our deliberate and conscious thoughts but also of the "imaginations which rise from the depths of our hearts."
She tells us that constant vigilance alone will not suffice. What works, is to resolutely set aside a few minutes each day in order to enter the Silence. When we listen to the Silence we can reconnect with the spirit. And then, purity begins to happen.
09 Message for the week beginning 24th February 2019
Keynote: Forgiveness of Sins
This Collect observes that we are ‘justly punished for our offences’ and asks that we should be ‘mercifully delivered by thy goodness….’
Our concept of what constitutes an 'offence' has changed rapidly over the last few years, reflecting a change in our understanding and respect for others, and an increase in our ability to make a compassionate response.
Dion Fortune seems to have anticipated this change of attitude. She says: "If we applied to our spiritual life some of the knowledge which a deeper understanding of the human mind is bringing to light, we might get an insight into the nature of much suffering which we fondly believe to be vicarious."
08 Message for the week beginning 3rd March 2019
Keynote: Be still, and know that I am God
Achieving 'stillness' can be a challenge. Continuous activity, whirling thoughts and overwhelming feelings are all familiar, each in their own way producing the opposite of 'stillness.' Lots of Doing, not much Being.
Dion Fortune comments on a realisation that can emerge when we do achieve stillness. She writes: " Let us remember that we live in this One Life and not in any separate struggling existence of our own; it is only a delusion of the senses to think that we have to maintain our separate existences; we simply have to Be still, and ‘know that I am God."
09 Message for the week beginning 10th March 2019
The Collect for this week asks: ‘…..pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of Charity…’
Dion Fortune comments that the word 'Charity' is translated as 'Love' in the Revised version of the New Testament. Perhaps, though, a better translation of Charity is 'Compassion.' The word 'Passion' is used everywhere these days to indicate fervour, excitement, single-mindedness, zeal and maybe even fanaticism - and behind all of these is the implication that we are pursuing our 'passion' irrespective of others.
But Compassion is very different. It suggests empathy, understanding, care and concern for others, kindness, fellow-feeling, tolerance. Just suppose that instead of saying: "My Passion is......" we said: 'My Compassion is......"
10 Message for the week beginning 17th March 2019
Keynote: We shine with reflected light
The Collect for this week begins: “ Almighty God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves….”
Surely, the opposite is true? Dion Fortune observes, with good reason, that many folk are likely to take exception to this statement!
But she explains...."We do not live with our own Life, but because there is at the heart of each one of us a Divine Spark from the Central Fire which is God. It is by this one Divine Spark that we live." Ultimately, we have to realise the truth of this....and then, the potential of unlimited spiritual power can begin to flow through us.
11 Message for the week beginning 24h March 2019
Keynote: Cast out the beam that is in thine own eye…
Dion Fortune observes: “If we remain steadfastly within our fortress of uplifted spiritual consciousness...no-one can penetrate into our city. If, on the other hand, being attacked with malice we respond with malice, we have opened the gates to our enemies…..”
The words of this week's Collect ask us to think about the energy that develops in our habitual way of responding to those about us. Do we tend to stay aloof in our 'glass castles,' or on the other hand do we habitually find ourselves in emotional conflict with others, whether deliberately or unconsciously.
'Don't re-act, act' is the simple answer. Simple, but not easy.
12 Message for the week beginning 1st April 2019
Keynote: Atonement through realisation
The Collect for this week deals with the difficult concept of forgiveness - not only of others, but also of ourselves.
Dion Fortune comments: “ When we realise that we do not live by any separate existence of our own, but as part of the One Life which is God:………...we shall learn that our own character and its reactions are the only problems we have to contend with…."
13 Message for the week beginning 7th April 2019
Keynote: What is meant by ‘prayer?’
The Collect for this week relates to the purpose of prayer, and poses the question of who is responsible for the answers to our prayers. Are they answered by the deity to whom we pray, or by our own realisations?
If we pray, and if our prayers lead us to a better understanding of ourselves, then we have achieved something of great value irrespective of who or what has helped us.
Dion Fortune relates this to the true meaning of peace. She writes: “If we understand prayer aright we shall know that God does not give us peace in answer to our prayer, but that by our prayer we bring ourselves into harmony with God, and then the "peace of God which passeth all understanding" fills our hearts.’
How wonderful to realise 'peace' as a concept so profound that it is infinitely beyond our own understanding! How fortunate we are that this is so.
14 Message for the week beginning 14th April 2019
Keynote: Patience and humility
The Collect for this week leading up to Easter naturally places emphasis on the more conventional Christian interpretation of the meaning of the crucifixion and resurrection. But it also describes the crucifixion as a perfect example of 'patience' and 'humility.'
The power of these two qualities to cause change can be sensed as soon as they are held in mind.
15 Message for the week beginning 21st April 2019 (Easter Sunday)
The Collect for this week focusses on the Christian message that Christ's death and resurrection has 'opened unto us the gate of everlasting life.'
Dion Fortune emphasises that for us, 'overcoming death' can only be achieved when we are able to lift our consciousness to a realisation of spiritual existence - or in other words eternal life - here and now, on earth, in each moment.
16 Message for the week beginning 28th April 2019
The Collect for this first Sunday after Easter asks that we should "..put away the leaven of malice and wickedness...."
The use of the word 'leaven' in this context is worth thinking about. The dictionary defines leaven as: 'to make rise, puff up, expand,' and yes, this is what happens to us when we work ourselves up with gossip, spreading bad feeling and negativity.
The Collect continues: "....that we may always serve Thee in pureness of living, and truth;....."
Dion Fortune comments on these two spiritual qualities - pureness and truth - in her usual matter-of-fact style. She writes that purity (of life) does not mean the "emasculation of the instinctive impulses, but their right use."
She later observes that just as 'dirt' may be defined as misplaced matter, so 'Evil' may be defined as misplaced force. Something else worth thinking about.
17 Message for the week beginning 5th May 2019
Dion Fortune asks us to think about what is meant by 'Grace.' We rarely use the word nowadays. It has gone out of circulation except as a girl's name, and perhaps we have forgotten what it means?
DF suggests a definition of Grace as the "energising of the spiritual nature" and "the filling of our whole being with light and enlightenment."
In her typical practical way, she adds: "If we prayed for grace instead of specific benefits, we should not find that our prayers so often had no apparent answer. "
18 Message for the week beginning 12th May 2019
Keynote: The enlightened understanding
Dion Fortune observes: "The Collect for this week emphasises a vital point in the life of the Path - the power to know right from wrong."
How often do we protest: 'I'm not arguing, I'm just explaining why I'm right!"
A better approach, DF suggests, is to practice humility and remember that even our highest ideals may be misplaced. "For this week, let us set ourselves the task of sacrificing upon the altar of Truth our self-esteem......"
19 Message for the week beginning 19th May 2019
Dion Fortune observes that there is a deep psychology contained in the Collect for this week, which describes how attempting to use will-power alone to over-rule our desires does not lead us to the state of joy that we hope for; rather, it produces a house divided against itself.
She comments that our own inner harmony and sense of serenity and joy is dependent upon our adjustment to the laws of the Cosmos. “Let us accept and adjust, and then we shall be at peace.
20 Message for the week beginning 26th May 2019
Keynote: Divine guidance
The Collect for this week asks that “….by thy holy inspiration we may think those things that are good, and by Thy merciful guidance may perform the same….”
If only we knew what was ‘good!’
This simple prayer is so profound. Dion Fortune warns us not to assume that what we personally believe to be good is the whole picture, or to delude ourselves that "the circle of our vision circumscribes the universe.’ Instead, she suggests, we would do better to try to lift our consciousness to the highest spiritual level that we can attain. Then, we will gain some better understanding of what is really meant by 'good' in a way that transcends our own needs and personal vision.
21 Message for the week beginning 2nd June 2019 (Sunday after Ascension Day)
Keynote: The Holy Spirit
The Collect for this week refers to the quality of the Holy Spirit. As Dion Fortune remarks, there is little guidance concerning the nature and function of the Holy Spirit in conventional Christianity. She suggests that we might think of it as that aspect of the Deity which relates to the things of the mind. ".....through the work of the Holy Spirit we find understanding and illumination."
By way of example, she points to the special Wisdom and possible Initiation given by Christ to his disciples in the Upper Room. She contrasts His teaching of the secrets of the Mysteries to this small group with the more readily accessible message he preached to all followers.
22 Message for the week beginning 9th June 2019
Keynote: The descent of power
This is Whitsunday, or Pentecost, which Dion Fortune describes as one of the most powerful and positive times of the year. "......when the great Power-tides descend upon the world, we shall receive of the spiritual forces according to our utmost need and capacity."
23 Message for the week beginning 16th June 2019
Keynote: Mystical Understanding
This Collect refers to Trinity Sunday, and while in the Christian Church the Trinity is identified as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, many will recognise the essential three-fold nature of Deity in other names and forms, such as Energy, Substance and Consciousness. Or Life, Love and Wisdom.
Dion Fortune discusses the difference between faith, intuition and reasoning. Faith, she says, is 'an opinion which is based on intuition rather than upon logical grounds.' But, she adds, this intuition allows us to gain a realisation of the triune nature of Deity. And once we have made this realisation of the triple nature of God or Goddess we are no longer dependent upon 'blind faith' but have achieved a truly mystical understanding.
24 Message for the week beginning 23rd June 2019
Keynote: “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal”
In her interpretation of this phrase (2 Corinthians, 10: 4-6) Dion Fortune suggests that the scene of our struggles must shift from the outer world to the Inner planes. "Those who understand the significance of the Inner Life keep still upon the mundane plane when great events are toward, for they know that the mundane plane is the plane of effects, and that all causation is in the unseen.”
If we each can find that place of stillness upon the mundane plane, even if only momentarily, then we shall have taken a step towards creating a real and lasting peace.
25 Message for the week beginning 30th June 2019
Keynote: The Good Law
The Collect for this week refers to the complex topic of 'law.' Dion Fortune comments on the nature of 'natural law' and writes: “If no law ordered the universe it must long ago have shaken itself to pieces from sheer friction.” She asks why we tend to believe that ‘natural law’ stops short with the animals and does not equally apply to us, even to our own spiritual natures. “If every single human being were pure, and compassionate, the world’s misery would be wiped out in one generation.”
26 Message for the week beginning 7th July 2019
Keynote: The Power of Prayer
Dion Fortune observes that we tend to only to pray - if indeed we pray at all - for moments of extreme need, or when everything else appears to have failed. But, as she says: “Who has not known the need for comfort in the hour of anxiety before the dawn?”
Her sensible advice is that we should aim to learn about how prayer works, how it feels, and what power it has, when our souls are at peace! So that in our hour of need we are better able to reach out to the wisdom and comfort of the Divine.
27 Message for the week beginning 14th July 2019
Keynote: The Two Standpoints
Regarding this Collect, Dion Fortune describes how there are two viewpoints from which we can look at life. There is the viewpoint of the lower self or personality with its background of the desires and senses; and the standpoint of the higher self, with its background of Spirit.
But this is a two-way process, and she suggests that the higher self or soul develops by means of the experiences we gain in our daily lives.
“...The purpose of life is the evolution of the soul….”
28 Message for the week beginning 21st July 2019
Keynote: Thy Kingdom Come
This phrase is well known to us from The Lord's Prayer, but DF's comment is, as always, straightforward and to the point:
"It is only through a change of individual consciousness that the kingdom of heaven will come on earth."
We might also say that the bringing of Heaven ('Thy Kingdom') to earth is the sole purpose of magical work.
29 Message for the week beginning 28th July 2019
Keynote: The Love of God
The love of God for us, or our love for God?
Dion Fortune observes that when we seek to know God only by the power of our understanding, “we can rise no higher than a knowledge of the manner in which the Divine Light shines through the prism of forms.”
We must seek God through the power of our own love. “ There is but one thing which will draw the soul across the great gulf which is fixed between matter and spirit, and that is an outgoing of strong love towards That which is on the farther side of the gulf.”
30 Message for the week beginning 4th August 2019
The Collect for this week asks that we should learn how to serve in ‘in all godly quietness.’
It can seem strange to associate god with ‘quietness!’ Yet it is only when we are quiet that we can begin to find god - or goddess, or Spirit. For most of us, moments of true quiet are so rare that we have almost forgotten what the experience is like. Our lives are filled with noise, both in the world about us and inside our own heads. But to find ‘quiet’ for a minute, once or twice a day, can be transformational.
31 Message for the week beginning 11th August 2019
Dion Fortune makes the perceptive comment that “ Desire is prayer. When we desire a thing, we are invoking it as far as lies within our power…” Something worth keeping in mind, I think.
The Collect for this week asks that we should be given only those things “that are profitable to us.” The catch, of course, is that we may really be asking for those things that are comfortable for us and will make our lives easier on an immediate level, without any regard for their long-term effect on our development.
How to tell the difference? How to see the bigger picture?
32 Message for the week beginning 25th August 2019
Keynote: Right Understanding
The Collect for this week asks for ‘the spirit to think and do always such things as be rightful…..’
Dion Fortune asks: how do we know what is ‘right?’ If we all thought and acted 'rightly' then the world would be filled with spiritual peace and harmony. But it is easy to be misled by our personal desires and our ability to rationalise them as being for the greater good. To think and act ‘rightly’ depends on our understanding of the spiritual principles that govern a situation, and these are not easy to grasp.
Perhaps unexpectedly, DF suggests that an important first step in 'seeing the bigger picture' is regularly to read some inspired Spiritual writings. The inspiration offered by such writings will, she says, guide us with wisdom, and support us with their invisible companionship.
33 Message for the week beginning 1st September 2019
Keynote: Right Praying
The Collect for this week again addresses the topic of prayer. As Dion Fortune points out in her usual common-sense approach: “ God does not give us things because we ask for them, and withhold them because we have not asked for them."
She continues: "Do we ask to be relieved from suffering, to be spared the fulfillment of our fears, to be saved from the consequences of our errors?”
Most of us would answer ‘yes’ to all of these. But, DF says, in our prayers or aspirations we are often like children “asking for pennies.” If, instead, we ask for “courage and understanding, love and patience, light to illumine our darkness and Divine love to comfort our sorrow….then we shall not be denied.”
34 Message for the week beginning 8th September 2019
The idea of ‘power’ is often addressed in the Collects, where a number of interpretations are offered as to the meaning of this difficult concept.
The Collect for this week suggests that Divine or spiritual power is revealed primarily through the qualities of mercy and pity. Our immediate reaction might well be that these qualities show a lack of power! But further reflection suggests that this is not so…..
35 Message for the week beginning 15th September 2019
Keynote: Beyond our grasp
Dion Fortune comments that Life, Love, Power and Wisdom are all around us like the air we breathe. But sometimes we are reluctant to open ourselves freely to the tides of spirit "lest our small securities be swept away in the great tides of Cosmic Life."
I think most of us would probably agree with that!
36 Message for the week beginning 22nd September 2019
The Collect for this week asks for help in maintaining our ‘fidelity’ or faith. Dion Fortune’s comments on the word 'faith' are worth quoting in full:
“We cannot now believe that God would require us to massacre the little children of those who believed wrongly (she is referring here to the Biblical King Herod) yet men have been found, not once but many times, to do this in a spirit of unfaltering fidelity. How are we to avoid making like errors? We cannot do it by the light of human reason and expediency….but only by lifting our eyes to the highest ideal we can conceive.”
This ideal, DF suggests, is found in the life of Jesus of Nazareth.
Some may agree with this, but many may not. How can we envisage our highest ideal which is over and above even the apparent requirements of our 'faith?'
37 Message for the week beginning 29th September 2019
Keynote: Divine Law
The tone and content of the Collect for this week isn't easy to relate to. It describes God in terms of rules and commandments, advising that our well-being depends on our obedience to these ‘laws.’
But in her commentary on this Collect, Dion Fortune reminds us that ‘God’s Law’ might be better understood as ‘the music of the spheres’ or as the essential wholeness, unity and harmony of all creation. If we are able to realise and understand something of this infinite beauty and harmony, then this is the way in which we can begin to love God’s ‘law’ - and 'dare to leap into the ocean of Cosmic Life. '
38 Message for the week beginning 7th October 2019
Keynote: Divine Guidance
Dion Fortune comments on the difficult concept of Divine Guidance and our inclination - or disinclination - to ask for it:
"Like water, human consciousness forever seeks its own level...It is only the pressure of Divine Life which can bring human life to higher levels…..It is only when we make contact with the Divine that we are lifted above the endless circle of the human."
39 Message for the week beginning 13th October 2019
The Collect for this week asks that the Church should be ‘cleansed and defended.’ Throughout her commentary on these prayers, Dion Fortune looks beyond the orthodox understanding of what is meant by ‘the Church’ and interprets their weekly message with reference to our own individual spiritual path and gnosis. She defines the Church as “the company of souls, living, unborn or born into the life beyond the grave, who acknowledge its discipline.”
We can apply her definition to any magical group to which we belong. The process of ‘cleansing,’ whether on a physical, psychic or emotional level, must first be applied to ourselves and not directed at the outer form of the group or to its members.
When we are able to do this, the spiritual strength of the group will naturally increase.
40 Message for the week beginning 20th October 2019
The Collect for this week is a prayer that ‘….thy grace may always prevent and follow us….’
What a strange phrase this seems to be! How does grace ‘prevent’ us, and what does it prevent us from doing?
If nowadays we think at all about the idea of ‘grace,’ it is perhaps to imagine it as a Divine forgiveness, an unconditional blessing, a bestowal of love and beneficence which is perhaps unexpected, and probably over and above what we believe we deserve?
Somehow we do believe in the existence of 'grace,' even if we rarely put it into words.
41 Message for the week beginning 27th October 2019
The Collect for this week again explores the elusive concept of ‘grace,’ asking for grace to help us deal with our tendency to live our lives through our Lower Self or Personality, reacting with our instincts rather than from our Higher Self. (Or, in the words of the Collect, the "temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil"!)
Dion Fortune comments that the best means of changing our ways, is that rather than obsessing with our problems and going round in circles of denial and repression, we should simply ‘bring ourselves in touch with a spiritual influence’ - even if this is nothing more than five minutes a day spent on reading a spiritual text.
This Collect highlights one of the main contrasts between the two different approaches of psychotherapeutic work and spiritual/magical work. The former focusses on the shadow, the latter focusses on the light which disperses the shadow.
42 Message for the week beginning 3rd November 2019: All Saints' Day
Keynote: The Comradeship of the Path
The Collect for this week prays for grace to follow in the footsteps of the blessed Saints who have confronted the challenges of the spiritual Path that lies before us.
Dion Fortune comments that this sense of Comradeship upon the Path is a precious gift. It gives us assurance that our efforts are not in vain, and the realisation that we are supported and encouraged by our invisible companions. It tells us that "We have dreamed no idea dream, for upon the summit we can see the figures of those who have gone before us."
This sense of comradeship with those who have gone before us yet are still a living part of our spiritual tradition is indeed one of the strengths and joys of our magical work. And, in the future, it is one which we will offer to those who follow in our own footsteps.
45 Message for the week beginning 10th November 2019
Keynote: Pardon, Peace and a Quiet Mind
The prayer of this week's collect will ring true for many folk. It asks for pardon and peace, the taking away of sin, and the ability to serve with "a quiet mind."
‘Forgiveness’ is perhaps a more difficult concept to grasp than we may initially realise. If we forgive someone, is it they or we who are affected by our thoughts or actions? How does forgiveness change things - on either the physical or Inner planes?
The Collect suggests that practising forgiveness will bring a ‘quiet mind’ - and this is surely something we all hope for. Dion Fortune adds that ‘sin’ of whatever nature is overcome by 'a change of heart' - and there is a profound truth in her words.
46 Message for the week beginning 17th November 2019
Keynote: A sacred household
The Collect for this week speaks of ‘the household of the Church’ although, as Dion Fortune observes, it can be more helpful to think of it as an Inner group rather than a mundane organisation.
Thinking in wider terms of magical and spiritual groups, what constitutes a ‘sacred’ household?' DF says: “Such a family has many members; each with their own character and viewpoint, each with their duties to the household and their work to do in the outside world, and each is entitled to individual freedom of character-development.”
Wise words, and useful to keep in mind during the periods of tension that inevitably arise within magical groups.
47 Message for the week beginning 24th November 2019
Keynote: Belief and Faith
The Collect for this week contains the request that ‘those things which we ask faithfully we may obtain effectually…..”
Dion Fortune suggests that we think about whether ‘faith’ is the same as ‘belief,’ and asks which word we would use to describe our own approach to our Deity. She observes that “blind belief often meets with disappointment, or has to be content to rationalise what an unprejudiced observer would consider to be failure.”
But the word ‘faith,’ she points out, can also mean ‘loyal, true to fact, accurate.’ Her own preference is clear, although perhaps not everyone would agree with her interpretation.
48 Message for the week beginning 1st December 2019
The Collect for this week asks for the grace that we should “cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light….”
The image of “the armour of light” is so strong and clear that no further comment seems to be necessary.