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