‘The Magical Battle of Britain’

“The Battle of Britain” usually refers to the German bombing campaign during the summer of 1940, planned to lead into a seaborne invasion across the English Channel.

Gerald Gardner claimed that the “Southern Coven”  performed a ritual in the New Forest at Lammas 1940 against the threatened invasion. Based on my reading of the evidence, or lack thereof, I don’t think that this ritual took place as he described it.

Nevertheless, telling about the ritual fifteen years after it supposedly happened was part of his claim that Wicca was an indigenous British religion  that could repel the “foreign invader,” Christianity. (And if alive today, Gardner would probably add Islam as well to the list of invaders.)

Whereas we have only Gardner’s after-the-fact claim that the Lammas 1940 ritual occurred, another esoteric group was indeed fighting Nazi Germany on the astral plane—Dion Fortune’s Fraternity of the Inner Light.

“The Magical Battle of Britain,” by Dave Evans and David Sutton, is available at The Fortean Times.

The authors describe how Fortune’s group conceived of their magical battle, designed to strengthen British will power and stop the invasion, even if its effects are hard to quantify compared to those of the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force, and the Army.

Some of her followers believe that the workings ruined her health, leading to her death a few years later.

And they quote a well-known scholar of esotericsm who comes to this conclusion:

Possibly such tales of magical warfare are simply one of the ways, as esoteric scholar Professor Wouter Hanegraaff describes, in “which magic­ians seek to legitimate magic to the wider society as well as to themselves” in the modern era.

The Dream Philosophical Academy

Three night ago, I was dreaming that someone was lecturing on some sort of gnostic philosophy. “Gnostic” was the term used in the dream, although it might not have been appropriate.

The lecturer drew a distinction between the Pagan view of “remembering” the soul’s perfection, versus a Christian approach of attempting to become more and more perfect.

The former, at least, seems like fairly mainstream Platonic teaching.

All this was followed by a very cinematic dream about a young man returning by train to his home town in Wyoming. Since Amtrak does not serve Wyoming, and since it seemed that through CGI that the Wind River Range had been moved closer to the town, it was clear that I was dreaming.

The way I figure it, I had just joined the Association for the Study of Esotericism because of some new projects that I am pursuing, and they were just getting my coordinates into their dream-projector.

Esoteric Poetry Competition Announced

News release:


YOU ARE INVITED TO SEND short poems of up to eight lines (not including the title) on an esoteric subject. These may refer in a general sense to ‘inner’ knowledge, this may be esoteric in the sense of inner knowledge as in:





but may also be understood in relation to the experience of seeking an understanding of an unending number of life’s challenges or disciplines: justice, plumbing, child rearing and the perfect omelette spring to mind.

Poems may for example reveal hitherto unknown secrets, conceal them, or relate to the subject matter in another way. All poems will be judged solely on literary merit

Competition sponsored by
The Cambridge Centre for the study of Western Esotericism

In conjunction with Heffers Bookshop, Cambridge, UK
and Waterloo Press www.waterloopresshove.co.uk

1st £300
2nd £150
3rd £75

SEE www.ccwe.wordpress.com
ENTRY PAGE for details of terms and conditions and how to enter.

Prize winners will be announced at Heffers Bookshop, Cambridge, UK Thursday 18th November 2010 and on this website later that evening and by email the following day. Winners unable to attend the heffers prize-giving evening at heffers will be sent their prizes via paypal in GBP. CLOSING DATE FOR ONLINE ENTRIES: 15 SEPTEMBER, 2010 midnight GMT

see JUDGES PAGE for details of the judges
Daniel Healy
Helen Ivory
Jon Woodson
contact: Sophia Wellbeloved: esotericpoetry@googlemail.com

Dr Sophia Wellbeloved
Director, Lighthouse Editions

Director, The Cambridge Centre for the study of Western Esotericism www.ccwe.wordpress.com

CCWE is  independent of any academic or esoteric communities, the co-ordinators share an interest in the need for a wider dialogue between scholars and practitioners in the field of Western Esotericism and in the establishment of a secular space in which an interdisciplinary network can thrive.   From 2009 CCWE has operated within Lighthouse editions Limited, a small publishing company Directors: Dr Sophia Wellbeloved, Jeremy Cranswick – see http://gurdjieffbooks.wordpress.com

The World of Esotericism

The University of Amsterdam has one of just a few graduate programs in the study of Western Esotericism, which is often contrasted with Christianity as follows (from a lecture handout based on work of Antoine Faivre).


Personal deity                              
                         Impersonal deity
Creation of the world by fiat        
                       Emanation of world in stages
Material and evil are real             
                      Material and evil ultimately unreal
Humans as creatures                  
                      Humans as divine sparks
                       Entrapped souls
                       Ignorance, forgetfulness
                      spiritual disciplines/exercises
Afterlife in heaven or hell             
                      Afterlife in new learning situation

(Note, I do not consider Paganism and esotericism to be identical, although many esoteric elements show up in contemporary Paganisms.)

All of this is a lead up to a fascinating web page put by the esotericism program at the University of Amsterdam, showing relationships between esoteric thought, music, art, and philosophy.

Magical Women

A series of portraits by British Columbia artist Linda Macfarlane, some of individuals in the Western occult tradition (e.g. Maud Gonne), others of representative types. (The Wikipedia entry, however, skips over Gonne’s involvement with ceremonial magic.)

Via The Galloway Chronicles.

UPDATE: As discussed in the comments, Geocities is gone, and so is this site.

All Great Men Were … Rosicrucians?

It’s the 100th anniversary of modern Rosicrucianism.

For all their concern about tracing lineage, however, it is possible to find beneath the umbrella of modern Rosicrucianism just about any belief, philosophy or superstition you might care to name – pantheism, reincarnation, alchemy, psychic power, astral out-of-body travel, telepathy. There are Cosmic Ray Coincidence Counters and Sympathetic Vibration Harps. And you can corral just about any historic hero – Plato, Dante, Descartes, Newton – into secret membership of the movement (unbeknown, of course, to the dull minds of conventional historians).

For all the snarkiness, at least one serious historian of esoteric movements is quoted in the article.