The Mermaid's Tale

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Who's who in Esoteric studies


Esoteric studies loosely covers the wide range of mystery traditions within European society which peaked during the Victorian and Edwardian eras, and continues to the modern day. I find that many modern Neo-Paganism groups are inspired by these works to some degree.

Readers of esoteric studies can expect to see Western Mystery traditions such as the OTO, Golden Dawn, and the Theosophical Society.

Below are the esoteric authors to which I tend to look when I need an esoteric fix.

These books can be difficult to find since many are out of print. Some great places to buy used books online include:

Dion Fortune

Dion Fortune was born Violet Mary Firth on 06 December 1890 in Bryn-y-Bia, Wales. From an early age she demonstrated unusual psychic abilities, joining the Theosophical Society in early adulthood. From 1919 on, she wrote a series of fictional works dealing with magickal subjects, many of which have influenced the development of modern Paganism. In additional, she was the author of numerous seminal works of magickal non-fiction.

In time she left her original Order to form the Fraternal Order of Inner Light (now the Society of Inner Light), which is still in existence. She was a participant in the Magical Battle of Britain, which is said to have repelled a German invasion. This effort is believed to have contributed to her early death in 1946 at the age of 54.

Fictional works

the sea priestess The Sea Priestess by Dion Fortune is an introduction to Fortune's strongest character of Vivien Le Fay Morgan who is a Hermetic Path initiate. moon magic Moon Magic by Dion Fortune is the sequel to The Sea Priestess. The storyline is not as developed as The Sea Priestess.
goat food god Goat Foot God: A Novel by Dion Fortune is a work in which the fifteenth century collides into the twentieth century. the demon lover The Demon Lover by Dion Fortune shows how "real" vampires are radically different from the Hollywood version.
the secrets of doctor taverner The Secrets of Doctor Taverner by Dion Fortune feels very Sherlock Holmes-inspired with the good Dr Taverner and his assistant investigating magical cases. the winged bull The Winged Bull by Dion Fortune is a tale of the invocation of the Bull of Babylon, and the ensuing results.

Non-fiction works

an introduction to ritual magic An Introduction to Ritual Magic by Dion Fortune is a guide to magic as a practical spiritual practice.   applied magic Applied Magic by Dion Fortune a collection of Fortune's essays on esoteric techniques which are intended to increase psychic abilities.
cosmic doctrine Cosmic Doctrine by Dion Fortune is a channelled account of communications from the Inner Places, circa 1930s.   esoteric orders and their work Esoteric Orders and Their Work by Dion Fortune is an examination of the necessity of restricted admissions to secret societies.
glastonbury Glastonbury: Avalon of the Heart by Dion Fortune is a history of the island of Glastonbury as a place of power.   mystical qabalah Mystical Qabalah by Dion Fortune explores all aspects of the Qabalah including astrology and Tarot. A very practical guide.
psychic self defense Psychic Self-Defense: The Classic Instruction Manual for Protecting Yourself Against Paranormal Attack by Dion Fortune is a detailed instruction manual for practical protection against paranormal attacks including hauntings and psychic attacks.   sane occultism Sane Occultism by Dion Fortune is indeed a surprisingly sane look at the many "issues" in esoteric groups and orders which tend to be swept under the rug. Fortune drags the issues out into the open to look at them most sternly.
the esoteric philosophy of love and marriage The Esoteric Philosophy of Love and Marriage by Dion Fortune is a handbook on love and relationships as the governing action between the male and female principles of the Universe.   the machinery of the mind The Machinery of the Mind by Dion Fortune is an in-depth look at the metaphysical side of neural functions.
the magical battle of britain The Magical Battle of Britain by Dion Fortune is a collection of letters dealing with Fortune's role in repelling the invasion. Any reader with an interest in such things would find it fascinating.   the problem of purity The Problem of Purity by Dion Fortune (as Violet Firth) is an exploration of techniques of maintaining ritual purity.
the training and work of an initiate The Training & Work of an Initiate by Dion Fortune traces the history of the Western Mystery Traditions to their Greek and Egyptian origins.   through the gates of death Through the Gates of Death by Dion Fortune is an exploration of the process of dying and death, and the afterlife.

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