2008 looks like being an interesting year. The Dion Fortune seminar at Glastonbury seems set to be a regular annual event and I look forward to being there on Saturday September 6th in company with Alan Richardson, Jim McBride and Mike Harris to continue our investigations into the faery tradition, which proved highly popular and evocative at our last meeting, details of which are now posted on the Company of Avalon website, http://www.companyofavalon.net/, where you can also apply for tickets for the 2008 meeting. In keeping with our faery theme we shall also have Wendy Berg on the platform, leader of the Avalon Group, author of the forthcoming Red Tree, White Tree which I have been fortunate enough to have read in manuscript and regard as pretty hot stuff in regard to the faery tradition in Arthurian legend.
I also hope to make a return to old haunts by participating in a residential workshop with R J Stewart and Caitlín Matthews at Hawkwood College on the weekend of 29th/31st August. This is an event limited to those who have already attended a gathering or workshop on the lines of the stellar fire temple work with R J Stewart. For enquiries about course content or student requirements contact Caitlín via firstname.lastname@example.org or for a booking details http://www.hawkwoodcollege.co.uk/ or email@example.com. And whether you can attend or not you can find details of advance reading and supportive material at http://www.rjstewart.org/
By that time what may seem to be a new book of mine should have been published in America by Destiny Books under the title Magic and the Power of the Goddess, subtitled Initiation, Worship, and Ritual in the Western Mystery Tradition. Although it is in fact a re-titled new impression of what may already be familiar to some of you as Evoking the Goddess, Initiation, Worship, and the Eternal Feminine in the Western Mysteries (1993) or even in an earlier incarnation as The Rose Cross and the Goddess (1985). Price of the new edition is announced at $14.95, estimated publication date: 15th April 2008. For more details visit the publisher’s web site http://www.innertraditions.com/
On reading it through again I was agreeably surprised to find that, rather than aging, it seems to have increased in significance with the passing of the years. Most people now realise the great challenge that faces us involving the well-being of the Earth. This is commonly expressed in terms of climate change but this is simply the most materialist way of looking at it – entirely from the outside of things. There is an all important inner side to it all – which is linked to the realisation that our planet behaves like a conscious living being. What some of us call the Planetary Being.
In some ways this has been likened to the ancient Greek goddess of the Earth, Gaia, for there has ever been a recognition of the Divine Feminine Principle throughout the ages under different guises. But the intellectual climate of the past 300 years or so, when science and technology have made such great strides, has tended to drive it underground. Now is surely the time to restore the balance, to rediscover the true nature of things and our relationship to them. Then we might find ourselves ready to enter a New Age rather than worry about whether we are going to survive into it!
We need to see ourselves as allies of creation rather than its exploiters. To choose to work in harmony with the natural world. To realise the Earth to be a great Elemental being who provides the means for the generation of life within and upon herself. The forms of life that she nurtures and nourishes includes not only the human race but the animal kingdom in all its forms. And those with a certain degree of inner awareness may realise it also includes the so-called faery realm.
This is something to challenge us in many different ways. It is not enough to confine our interest to purely intellectual speculation or wishful thinking. We must not only believe in the reality of the Goddess and the forms of elemental and spiritual consciousness that make up Her being; we must come to understand and cooperate with them by means of an active and enlightened imagination.
By creative work with traditional images we can awaken and realign our energies. We can free up our preconditioned energy patterns and begin to work within a framework of realisation that holds great potential for inner transformation. For we literally imagine ourselves into being what we are. And it is through a culture of organised greed, indifference to others, and materialistic blindness, that we have imagined ourselves into a feeling of antagonistic isolation, alone and unloved in an alien universe.
Yet if we use our imagination to open ourselves to the hidden glory that surrounds us we can discover this sense of isolation to be an illusion. We can then discover a world of many beings and many realities. And by working with the light and power within the Earth, which throughout history has typically been revealed in feminine imagery, we may open ourselves to energies inherent in an Otherworld through which remarkable changes can occur. Not only to ourselves but to the world at large. In Magic and the Power of the Goddess I hope to have given various indicators to light your way.
The printed word is however not the only way of spreading light and wisdom and indeed the joy of living. I have mentioned the means of song before by reference to my daughter Rebsie Fairholm and to Magic Folk led by my friends Ben & Michelle Glover. You do not have to take my word entirely for it, for a couple of enthusiastic reviews have recently appeared, which I quote below.
With regard to the Magicfolk debut album, which includes Heliopolis, Persephone and Sea Priestess (based on the Dion Fortune novel), Tim Carroll of FolkWords writes “A raft of magical spells – fantastic flights of musical and lyrical fancy mixed with a touch of pagan lore, medieval storytelling and a gentle otherworldly air. Magicfolk blend tantalisingly delicate music with wistful poetic meandering lyrics. If you want to slide off this planet with all its cares and go somewhere mysterious listen to Magicfolk. Ben and Michelle write music that acts like mental balm – soothing and revitalising.” You can hear sound clips and buy online at http://www.magicfolk.co.uk/
As regards Rebsie Fairholm’s album, Mind the Gap, (the gap referred to exists between the worlds!), the prestigious magazine Organ writes: “An absolutely wonderful album’s worth of entrancing whispered glowing heart-warming Celtic/Old English (pagan?) folk, embroidered with cleverly delicate instrumentation. Lush golden strings and seductive woodwind, haunting glowing beauty and Rebsie has the most beguiling of voices – she really is something special. Just beautiful, uncluttered, refreshing. Delicately arranged folk familiars (and a beautiful version of Pink Floyd’s Julia Dream). Calming, uplifting, ethereal and a slightly new feel on something very traditional and unashamedly rooted in very old ways – for fans, followers and lovers of Fairport Convention, Sandy Denny, the leaves turning golden orange and the Albion spirit that can still be found, (beautiful artwork as well).”
And you can hear sound clips and buy online at http://www.rebsiefairholm.co.uk/
2007 saw the publication of two books that seem likely to mark the close of my literary association with Dion Fortune. One was The Arthurian Formula, an important and challenging text that she channelled in 1941 and which was continued by her successor Margaret Lumley Brown. It was originally intended for her close esoteric associates rather than the general public, so I have provided it with an introductory commentary and reader’s guide to help anyone unfamiliar with some of the concepts that she and they took for granted. There now seems nothing more of her unpublished work left for me to edit - it is all now in the public domain. Probably not before time you may think! But the powers and intelligences behind some of this advanced work tend to play a long game.
However one can still talk about some of her achievements. And my other book, The Occult Fiction of Dion Fortune, is my take on how she provided practical esoteric teaching within her short stories and novels. There is a popular saying that truth is stranger than fiction – but with esoteric authors of Dion Fortune’s calibre fiction can be the best possible way to impart certain elements of truth! This began with an opening up of the Portal of the Mysteries with her short stories The Secrets of Dr Taverner and first novel The Demon Lover, that developed into the Mysteries of Sun and Earth in The Winged Bull and The Goat-foot God followed by the Mysteries of Sea and Moon in The Sea Priestess and Moon Magic. All containing elements of practical Qabalah, the theoretical side of which she expounded in her great classic The Mystical Qabalah which has taught more than one generation of students and has been continuously in print since 1935.
Finally may I wish all readers a bright and transcendental 2008!