Dion Fortune: Unlocking the Mysteries & Exploring the Life and her Influential Occult Writings
I was watching Gaia TV the other day. A chaneller mentioned the restrictions placed upon human consciousness and it reminded me of Dion Fortune’s “Ring Pass Not” concept. Some have suggested that the limits on our consciousness are the result of natural evolution, others say it’s imposed by higher beings for our own good, and some even say it’s fixed in place by extraterrestrials or interdimensionals to control us. This post, which contains a list with summaries of all her published works, is the result of that moment.
The “Ring Pass Not”
In Dion Fortune’s writings and broader esoteric thought, the term “Ring Pass Not” is a metaphorical concept used to describe a boundary or limit on spiritual or psychic progress that cannot be crossed until certain conditions are met or certain lessons are learned.
In the spiritual journey or the process of initiation, there are stages of development that require understanding, growth, or spiritual maturity before one can proceed further. The “Ring Pass Not” represents these thresholds. If an individual tries to move beyond their current stage without the necessary preparation or understanding, they would be unable to do so – they would encounter the “Ring Pass Not.”
The concept isn’t unique to Dion Fortune; it’s found in various forms in many different spiritual and esoteric traditions. It serves as a reminder of the importance of patience, humility, and diligent work in spiritual development.
Dion Fortune’s concept of the “Ring Pass Not” and the more contemporary idea of Earth as a “prison planet” both address limitations placed on human spiritual development, but they do so from different perspectives and with different implications.
Fortune’s “Ring Pass Not”
In Fortune’s writings, the “Ring Pass Not” is a spiritual threshold or boundary that one cannot cross until certain spiritual lessons are learned or specific conditions of personal growth are met. This concept is tied to the idea of spiritual progress as a journey or a series of initiations, each with its own challenges and requirements. The “Ring Pass Not” is not necessarily seen as a negative or oppressive limit, but rather as a necessary safeguard or mechanism of spiritual development. It is part of the process of spiritual growth and evolution, ensuring that one does not advance beyond their capacity or understanding.
Earth as a “Prison Planet”
In contrast, the idea of Earth as a “prison planet” posits that human beings are inherently limited or constrained by their incarnation on Earth, often due to the influence or control of more powerful entities. This concept can be seen in various forms in Gnostic thought, conspiracy theories, and some New Age philosophies. The limitations imposed are often seen as unfair or oppressive, and the goal is typically to escape or transcend these restrictions and achieve a higher state of consciousness or freedom. The “prison planet” theory implies a more externally imposed limitation on human spiritual growth, often tied to notions of cosmic power dynamics or control.
Both concepts acknowledge the existence of limitations or constraints on human spiritual development. However, while Fortune’s “Ring Pass Not” emphasizes internal growth and evolution as a prerequisite for overcoming these limitations, the “prison planet” concept focuses more on external forces and structures as the source of these constraints.
The primary contrast between these two ideas lies in their perspective on the nature of these limitations. Fortune’s concept suggests a more organic and necessary part of spiritual progression, while the “prison planet” idea posits a more externally imposed and potentially oppressive limitation. The former implies a spiritual journey or process that each individual must undertake, while the latter often involves a struggle against outside forces or entities.
Dion Fortune Non Fiction Books on Occultism
- The Machinery of the Mind (1922)
- Themes: Psychology, occultism, spiritual growth.
- Key Ideas: This book explains the psychological theories of the time and links them with occult ideas. Fortune discusses the workings of the mind from both a psychological and a mystical perspective.
- Impact: This work served as a bridge between psychology and occultism, showing how the two fields could intersect and enhance one another.
- Psychology of the Servant Problem (1923)
- Themes: Psychology, social issues.
- Key Ideas: In this work, Fortune applies psychological principles to the “servant problem”—the difficulty of managing domestic staff, a common social issue of the time.
- Impact: The book is an example of Fortune’s approach to apply occult and psychological principles to everyday life situations.
- Psychology of the Unconscious (1924)
- Themes: Psychology, the subconscious, and the occult.
- Key Ideas: Fortune discusses the unconscious mind from both a psychological and an occult perspective, including the idea that it can be a source of psychic and mystical experiences.
- Impact: This book contributed to the understanding of the unconscious mind in occultism, linking it to spiritual and mystical experiences.
- The Problem of Purity (1927)
- Themes: Occultism, spiritual growth, and personal purity.
- Key Ideas: Fortune discusses the concept of purity in the context of occult practice, including the need for spiritual and moral cleanliness for successful occult work.
- Impact: This book contributed to discussions around ethics and morality in occult practices.
- Mystical Qabalah (1935)
- Themes: Qabalah, occultism, spiritual growth.
- Key Ideas: This is one of Fortune’s most famous works, where she explores the Qabalah, a system of mystical Jewish thought, from the perspective of a Western occultist.
- Impact: This book has been highly influential in Western esoteric circles and is considered a classic in the field.
- The Training and Work of an Initiate (1930)
- Themes: Initiation, spiritual development, occult practices.
- Key Ideas: Fortune outlines the process of becoming an initiate in an occult order, including the spiritual and practical work involved.
- Impact: This book provides insights into the process of initiation in occult orders and has influenced many people’s understanding of these practices.
- Sane Occultism (1967, posthumous)
- Themes: Occultism, discernment, practical spirituality.
- Key Ideas: Fortune argues for a rational, grounded approach to occultism, warning against sensationalism and the dangers of unbalanced pursuit of the supernatural.
- Impact: The book has been influential in promoting a more grounded and less sensational approach to occult practices.
- Through the Gates of Death (1930)
- Themes: Death, afterlife, reincarnation, spiritualism.
- Key Ideas: Fortune explores concepts of death and the afterlife from an occult perspective, discussing topics like reincarnation and communication with the dead.
- Impact: This book contributed to the occult understanding of death and the afterlife, influencing many spiritualist and occult beliefs.
- Practical Occultism in Daily Life (1935)
- Themes: Occultism, practical spirituality, personal growth.
- Key Ideas: Fortune provides guidance on incorporating occult practices and principles into everyday life to achieve personal growth and better cope with life’s challenges.
- Impact: This book has been instrumental in making occultism more accessible and relevant to everyday life.
- Applied Magic (1962, posthumous)
- Themes: Occultism, magic, practical spirituality.
- Key Ideas: This book is a collection of Fortune’s writings on various aspects of magic and occultism, with a focus on practical application.
- Impact: As a compilation of Fortune’s teachings, it’s been a significant resource for many occult practitioners.
- Psychic Self-Defense (1930)
- Themes: Occultism, psychic phenomena, self-protection.
- Key Ideas: Fortune provides advice on protecting oneself from various psychic and occult threats, based on her own experiences and those of people she knew.
- Impact: This book has been highly influential in the field of psychic self-defense and is often recommended to those experiencing psychic disturbances.
- Spiritualism in the Light of Occult Science (1928)
- Themes: Occultism, spiritualism, psychic phenomena.
- Key Ideas: Fortune discusses spiritualism, the practice of communicating with the spirits of the dead, from an occult perspective.
- Impact: This book contributed to the understanding and practice of spiritualism within the broader field of occultism.
- The Esoteric Orders and Their Work (1928)
- Themes: Occultism, esoteric orders, initiation.
- Key Ideas: Fortune explains the role and function of esoteric orders, their practices, and the process of initiation.
- Impact: This book has been a key resource for understanding the nature and role of esoteric orders in the occult tradition.
- Avalon of the Heart (1934)
- Themes: Spiritualism, mysticism, the Arthurian legend.
- Key Ideas: Fortune writes about the spiritual and mystical significance of Glastonbury, which she considers to be the site of Avalon from the Arthurian legend.
- Impact: This book has contributed to the mystique and spiritual significance of Glastonbury in the minds of many spiritual seekers.
The Mystical Qabalah
The Training & Work of an Initiate
Dion Fortune Fiction Books With Magickal Themes
- The Demon Lover (1927)
- Themes: Occultism, love, reincarnation.
- Key Ideas: The novel explores a romantic relationship that is influenced by occult forces and past life connections.
- Impact: This book is considered one of the first to explore themes of occultism and romance in a fiction setting.
- The Secrets of Dr. Taverner (1928)
- Themes: Occultism, healing, psychic phenomena.
- Key Ideas: This collection of short stories revolves around the character of Dr. Taverner, who runs a nursing home but is also an adept in occult healing.
- Impact: These stories gave readers a window into the use of occult principles in healing and dealing with psychic disturbances.
- The Winged Bull (1935)
- Themes: Occultism, spiritual struggle, redemption.
- Key Ideas: The novel explores the spiritual struggle of its characters, who are beset by both worldly and occult challenges, and their journey towards redemption.
- Impact: This book is often seen as an allegory of spiritual awakening and the struggle involved in it.
- The Goat-Foot God (1936)
- Themes: Occultism, paganism, personal transformation.
- Key Ideas: The novel tells the story of a man’s spiritual transformation through his encounter with the occult and pagan forces represented by the Goat-Foot God.
- Impact: This book introduced many readers to the idea of spiritual transformation through the exploration of pagan and occult themes.
- The Sea Priestess (1938)
- Themes: Occultism, paganism, the divine feminine.
- Key Ideas: This novel explores the power of the divine feminine through the character of the Sea Priestess, who transforms the life of a man she encounters.
- Impact: This book has been particularly influential in neo-pagan circles for its portrayal of the divine feminine and its powerful depiction of pagan ritual.
- Moon Magic (1956, posthumous)
- Themes: Occultism, paganism, the divine feminine.
- Key Ideas: A sequel to “The Sea Priestess,” the novel continues the exploration of the divine feminine and pagan ritual through the further adventures of the Sea Priestess.
- Impact: Like its predecessor, this book has been influential in neo-pagan and Wiccan circles.
Biographies of Dion Fortune
- “Priestess: The Life and Magic of Dion Fortune” by Alan Richardson (2007)
- Themes: Biography, Occultism, Spirituality.
- Key Ideas: Richardson delves into the life and works of Dion Fortune, offering a comprehensive biography that covers her contributions to the world of occultism and her personal spiritual journey. He examines her writings, her magical practices, and the influences that shaped her life and work.
- Impact: This biography provides a deep and well-rounded view of Dion Fortune’s life and work, making it a valuable resource for anyone interested in her contributions to the field of occultism.
- “Dion Fortune and the Inner Light” by Gareth Knight (2000)
- Themes: Biography, Occultism, Hermetic Qabalah.
- Key Ideas: Gareth Knight, a renowned occultist himself, provides an insightful look into Dion Fortune’s life and her contributions to the Western Mystery Tradition, particularly her work with the Hermetic Qabalah. Knight explores Fortune’s experiences, her writings, and her teachings, shedding light on her impact on modern occultism.
- Impact: Knight’s unique perspective as an occultist gives this biography a depth of understanding of Fortune’s work, making it a valuable resource for those studying Western esoteric traditions.