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Dion Fortune's "Mystical Meditations on the Collects"

The following posts offer a weekly resumé of Dion Fortune's interpretation of the 'Collects.' The Collects 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 which she hoped would speak to those of many faiths. Her comments bring out the universal spiritual truths behind the prayers and reveal how they contain words of wisdom for all seekers.

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 on this subject. They make a fascinating addition to her better-known and more 'occult' 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 'Churchianity' in tone and will therefore have little to do with magic. In fact the book is very much to do with magic as the art of "causing changes in consciousness according to will." It 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 rather than the orthodox interpretation of Christianity. She writes: "The presentation adopted in these pages may not only cause scandal to the orthodox, but also to the heterodox…”

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 very similar to 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 and blessing 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 to reach a greater knowledge of ourselves and increased clarity as to the choices we should make in the challenges that face us. 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 wish to substitute alternatives such as Goddess, or Spirit.


01 Thought for the week beginning 2nd January 2022: The Epiphany
Keynote: Seeing with the eyes of the spirit

The meaning of the word 'Epiphany' is "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' saw much that others did not see, such as the symbolism of the star in the East and the spiritual significance of the new-born babe in the stable.

This Collect asks for the ability to see beyond the outer form of things, to perceive and attune to the energy that causes their outward appearance.

Developing the ability to see the world with the eyes of the spirit can take a lifetime of trying, but we can make a start simply by wanting to do it. "Energy follows thought."

And it makes the perfect New Year's Resolution!


02 Week beginning 9th January 2022
Keynotes: Wisdom, Courage

The Collect for this week asks for the ability to "perceive and know what things we ought to do..... "

Dion Fortune's interpretation of this Collect is that In situations of uncertainty it is best to pause for a while in order to contact a higher source of Wisdom. With the benefit of a more insightful perception, we can then begin to make appropriate changes - not forgetting to ask for courage in carrying them through.
Peter Nascien Accepted Answer
03 Week beginning 16th January 2022
Keynote: Peace

“Grant us thy peace all the days of our life……”

When we wish for peace within ourselves, our first thoughts often tend towards the stress, anxiety and internal conflict that we would like to get rid of. When our thoughts turn to peace in the word, we also tend to think of this in terms of the removal 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 simply by removing stress or 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 and how things are as they are, then we can reach a place of acceptance and understanding - which ultimately becomes a deeper and lasting peace.
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