Monday, August 20, 2007

The "Magical Battle of Britain"

I was doing a little research on author Dion Fortune (writer of many occult textbooks and novels back in the 20’s and 30’s) and read this about her at Wikipedia: Dion Fortune participated in the "Magical Battle of Britain," which was an attempt by British occultists to magically aid the war effort and which aimed to forestall the impending German invasion during the darkest days of World War II. Her efforts in regard to this are recorded in a series of letters she wrote at the time. The effort involved in this endeavour is said to have contributed to her death shortly after the war ended. (Ms. Fortune died of leukemia in 1946). What is this "Magical Battle of Britain?" Never heard of it – does it mean what I think it means? That a group of people got together and tried to influence the course of WWII using MAGIC? Well – sure enough! In fact, Dion Fortune wrote about it, and a book was put together by the organization she founded "The Society of Inner Light" many years after her death, in 1993. I’m not going to buy and read the book to get more information. Under a quick search of "Magical Battle of Britain" on the internet I found some interesting tidbits about this "magical battle" that took place more than 60 years ago:
  • This review of a television program from The London Independent on July 26, 1999: Far Out (Sun C4), a series that sets out to recast British history in the 20th century in New Age form. Most of the time, the programme's uncritical endorsement of loopy claims is simply irritating - as this week, when we were told that "As the men went off to war in 1939, some of the women they left behind began to discover they had special powers of premonition..." When the story moved on to the so-called "Magical Battle of Britain", it overstepped the mark. One woman remembered trying to combat Nazism's psychic assault by projecting loving thoughts, while a witch talked of dancing round bonfires (smouldering, so as to abide by black-out regulations), chanting "Can't cross the sea, can't cross the sea". And hey, the Germans didn't invade: coincidence - or something far stranger? Illustrating this deluded, self- aggrandising nonsense with footage of the real Battle of Britain, the one in which people were killed and maimed, lifted it beyond mere stupidity into downright tastelessness.
  • This website entry at Llewellyn Encyclopedia: It was the goal of the occultists [Note: more than Fortune and her group were involved, evidently] to prevent a Nazi invasion of England.
  • And then I found this from The Cabinet of Wonders blog, a recent entry, from May 16, 2007: We have previously looked at Ian Fleming and his involvement in the psychic defence of Britain, but was he responsible for clamping down on other magical activity during the war?

Yes, it’s that Ian Fleming, the guy who wrote the James Bond novels! Good Goddess! There’s lots of interesting links and information in this particular blog post, and the comments are educational in and of themselves.

Evidently Fortune, Fleming and Aleister Crowley, the infamous occultist, had acquaintance with each other and may perhaps have collaborated at times during WWII in performing magical - well, experiments I guess I'd call them to try and stop or at least slow down the Nazis. And – brace yourselves – Ron Hubbard fits into this too – you know, the "L. Ron Hubbard" of scientology fame.

Well! One could get lost in such research, but in the end, it doesn’t have anything to do with regular chess (although there's always Enochian Chess that was played by the Golden Dawn people) and so I’m dropping it, but I thought it was interesting. We’ve all heard the old chestnut about the truth sometimes being stranger than fiction, and in this case, I’d say that’s the truth!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Magic is a fringe interest, and not generally taken seriously. However, it is important in this particular context to realize that by 1939, when the "Magical Battle of Britain" was begun, Britain had been home to an active and serious - if secretive - magical community for more than sixty years.

Working with archetypal imagery of national identity, such as the Arthurian Cycle, the legends of Drake's Drum, and the angelic visions of John Dee, numerous members of Britain's magical community coopertated with the intention of bolstering national morale and preventing an invasion of their shores.

This effort was the impetus for the creation (or, if you prefer, revival) of the Wiccan religion - a highly fictionalized account of which appears in the children's book (and Disney film), Bedknobs and Broomsticks. This treats the entire matter as a laughable, childish fantasy - although given the indomitable spirit of the British during the Blitz, one wonders.

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