Last year at about this time, I wrote about Isis’ connection (or not) with Halloween. What I’d like to ponder this time in relation to All-Hallows is the question of Dion Fortune—and whether I have any right to call upon her as an Ancestress-in-Isis and, if I do, would an evocation be so wrong?
I have been thinking about this for years; so apparently I have some apprehension—like not disturbing poor Dion’s spirit, which is probably off happily reincarnated or ascended or whatever and really does not need some 21st century Isiac bothering her just to say, “hi, loved your work.” Which I did. And do. Love her work, I mean.
You see, Dion Fortune was one of the few 19th-20th century magician-priestesses who told us what real magic was like. And she specifically told us what real magic with Isis was like. Her two novels that deal with Isis as THE Goddess are Sea Priestess and Moon Magic (published posthumously). She herself said that it was in her novels that she wrote about magical practice, while books like The Mystical Qabalah provided the theory. (If you are interested in these books, they are well worth the small price you will pay to have an actual copy of your very own rather than downloading from internet pirates. You can often get used copies for very little; and used copies sometimes come with the bonus of interesting inscriptions.)
Both novels are about the initiation of a man into the Mysteries of the Goddess—specifically as Isis—through the medium of Her priestess, Vivien Le Fay Morgan (the name’s kind of a hoot, I know, but just go with it). In the novels, Dion describes the Isis rites performed by the priestess and her initiate, as well as the psychospiritual effects they have upon both man and woman. This is the real thing, ladies and gentlemen. This is not Harry Potter magic with flashy lights and whizzing. This is inner planes magic, otherworld magic—adept heka. Dion tells us what can happen when we truly connect with the energy of Isis. Here’s an example:
As I watched, it seemed to me that mist was rising from the surface of the water [which as in a bowl upon the altar] and floating upwards like smoke in still air, and that within the mist there was a Light. Then I knew that all was well, for the power had come down; Isis was indwelling the temple I had prepared for Her, and in the language of the initiates, I was on my contact.
She describes the influx of energy produced as the Goddess indwells the priestess:
Then behind me, there began to be a warmth and a power. Isis was formulating. Above my head I saw Hers. I was no longer conscious of the agony in my hands [they were being gripped tightly by the Priest] or the strain on my body. All I felt was the power flowing through me in electric heat.
Ah, Dion. She was real—real enough to have significant character flaws, real enough to be part of the occult infighting of her day…and real enough to record her experiences with Isis so others could learn from her. I was one of those who did. Offhand, I can think of about a half-dozen modern priestesses of Isis who were likewise inspired by her. I suspect there are many more.
So, Dion, this All-Hallows I shall indeed honor you as an Ancestress-in-Isis. I shall invite you as one of my Honored Dead. I shall offer wine and bread and honey for you. But as far as an evocation, this year—once again—I think I shall not disturb you as you lie enfolded in the wings of Isis.