From time to time I add the names of people who may be of great value to you. Some are dead, some are living but reclusive, and some have websites and blogs of their own, and welcome interaction. It was said somewhere that authors write their books thinking that the reader will dwell in them forever, as in a palace — and the reader instead spends the night, as in a tent. How much more so for websites and blogs! Nonetheless it is true, as Henry Thoreau said many years ago, that many a person has dated a new era in his life from reading a book.

Dion Fortune (Violet Firth) was a 20th-century English woman who was a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn and founder of the Society of the Inner Light. She was a serious occultist, apparently a great teacher, and a continuing influence on our society, although not particularly well-known outside of metaphysical circles. She was the author of many valuable nonfiction books, but here I want to call your attention to her six novels. I will never forget the impact of beginning to read The Secrets of Dr. Taverner. I was in awe. I had had no idea that anyone could write this way. Reading it was like eavesdropping as one initiate spoke to another. Of her novels, I like The Sea Priestess best, and its sequel, Moon Magic. but The Goat-foot God, and The Demon Lover, and The Winged Bull are equally good. She uses the novel as a teaching tool, and does it superbly.

Michael Ventura, author of Letters at 3 a.m., and Shadow Dancing in the USA (which is where I first found him) and, with co-author James Hillman, We’ve Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy and the World’s Getting Worse, as well as several novels of which The Death of Frank Sinatra is my favorite. His long-running column “Letters at 3 a.m.” may be found online at http://www.austinchronicle.com. Search the archives.

John Anthony West, author of Serpent in the Sky among other books. You might try, too, The Case for Astrology. What’s the importance of Serpent in the Sky? It will introduce you, perhaps, to another way of seeing the world. Might that be worth your time?

Colin Wilson, author of more books than you will ever be able to read. Start with The Outsider, though it is 50(!) years old. Or perhaps Beyond the Occult, or The Afterlife, or Mysteries. In science-fiction, perhaps The Philosopher’s Stone. His biography of Bernard Shaw is one of the best I’ve eve read. This ought to be enough to get you started!

2 thoughts on “Travelers, Mapmakers

  1. I have read Dion Fortune’s Psychic Self-Defense – totally mesmerizing manual on the evil that lurks in the non-physical dimensions! I look forward to reading The Secrets of Dr. Taverner – thanks for the recommendation!

  2. W.E. Butler was a wonderful student of hers whose books (esecially “Lords of Light”) are worth reading for those intested in the Wester Magical Tradition.
    Michael -from Bonnie Scotland

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