The past few weeks I’ve been knee-deep in studying the history of occultism in the 20th century and it’s been quite an interesting and eye-opening read.
Egregores and Psychic Warfare
Much of what we know and see today as either the New Age scene and the conspiracy theory scene actually have their roots in the various occult movements which were sweeping across Europe during the 1910s, 20s and 30s.
Aleister Crowley is probably the best-known example of one of these occultists from this period but I don’t want to focus on him too much since he belonged to a Black Lodge and that’s not something I dig.
Rather I want to focus on the White Lodges.
My own theory is that after the horrors of WWI, interest in occultism literally exploded all over Europe because people couldn’t make sense of the violence they had witnessed or experienced and needed something which could help them come to terms with it. Europe was at the height of its culture, how could something so barbaric take place?
This was a time when people did not understand mental illness as we do today, did not understand things like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and simply dismissed people as “mad” or shell-shocked. Groups like the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the Rosicrucians, the Theosophical Society, the Anthroposophical Society, the Thule Society, the Vril Society sprung up and blossomed all over the continent and by extension, in their colonies as well. Not that it helped very much because barely 30 years later, WWII broke out with even more horrific consequences but it definitely laid the theoretical groundwork for New Agers, hippies, occultists (both black and white) later on.
One occultist and psychic who interests me immensely is Dion Fortune.
Born Violet Mary Firth, Fortune was a pre-eminent occultist, writer, psychologist, teacher and mystic who established the Society for Inner Light. She was also quite a pioneer in trans-personal psychology and was one of the first persons to introduce psycho-therapy and the teachings of Carl Jung and of the collective unconscious to Britain. She also incorporated these teachings with occultism, how certain personality types were susceptible to certain forms of hypnotism or psychic influence, something which was unheard of before.
Fortune had quite a storied life but one of the things which intrigues me most about her is how she lived at the bottom of Glastonbury Tor for many years. Her old house is now a magical bed and breakfast. Fortune was quite a prolific writer and for many years her books were out of print particularly her classic “Psychic Self-Defense” (a must-read in my humble opinion for anyone who is interested in the unseen world).Thankfully, her books are now being republished and there has been a resurgence of interest in her work, mostly because, I think, the stuff she wrote about are now being experienced by more and more people.
Because she lived at the base of the Tor for many years, the influence of that magical area no doubt exerted an influence on her. Fortune was convinced that the Tor and the Glastonbury area and countryside were intimately linked to the Arthurian legends, Merlin, the Holy Grail, the vale of Avalon, and that the Tor was the real, true heart of Britain and NOT the City of London, as the British Royal Family and British Establishment would like you to believe. Fortune also led an extraordinary early effort in mass psychic defense against psychic warfare.
The idea of the Egregore in occult literature is one which seems to have fallen out of fashion in the English-speaking world, but when I plow through some of the French occult writers like René Guénon or the Marquis Alexandre Saint-Yves d’Alveydre and even in Aivanhov, it’s still something quite current in their esoteric literature. The Egregore, put simply is a thought-form,
” It is a symbolic, collective entity formed in the Invisible World by the collective thoughts and feelings of a country, religion or group representing the sum total of the will of the community. It is an autonomous psychic entity made up of, and influencing, the thoughts of a group of people. The symbiotic relationship between an egregore and its group has been compared to the more recent, non-occult concepts of the corporation (as a legal entity) and the meme.(Wikipedia).
Nations and culture have specific Egregores (don’t ask me how they come up with it and who is on the selection committee because I don’t know) though I imagine they are not all that different from totem animals which Native tribes use to identify their various sub-tribes and clans. Russia’s Egregore is identified as a great Bear, India with the Bengal tiger, Japan with the Dragon, the US and Germany with the Eagle, Canada with the Beaver, France with the Rooster, Spain with the Bull, Turkey with the Wolf and Britain with the Lion. Each Egregore protects and helps the aggregate it belongs to and may even fight other Egregores. Aivanhov has written that the Egregore of the coming age will be one of peace, the Dove.
I bring up the topic of Egregores because they played quite a key role in the Magical Battle of Britain and in no small part due to Dion Fortune. It’s a fascinating chapter in occult history and documented quite well in her book, “The Magical Battle for Britain”. Fortune knew on a psychic level that the Nazis were using black magick. The Rhineland was (and still is) full of occult groups and the stuff you saw in the early Indiana Jones films was not complete fiction and not entirely baseless. It would explain their meteoric rise and militaristic success in a mere 30 years from hyper-inflation, financial ruin and national shame right after defeat in WWI to suddenly becoming one of the most formidable armies in the world at the time.
German secret societies were able to utilize German folk culture and mythology and have it as something the general German population could strongly identify with and rally around. This energized the German population immensely on many different levels, especially on the psychic one. Many upper level Nazi SS officers were deeply involved in these groups, particularly Heinrich Himmler and Hitler was not dismissive of them in the least. Fortune was convinced after watching newsreels of the Nuremberg rallies and his various speeches that Hitler had some mediumship capacity, that he wasn’t completely clueless on these matters. Fortune also understood that Britain and in particular, the Glastonbury area had to be protected at all costs psychically during the air bombings since it was (and still is) considered by many following the Western esoteric tradition to be an area representing the heart chakra of this Earth.
To do so, she sent out weekly newsletters detailing a mass meditation of the week, with particular visualizations, particular prayers which were do take place at a particular time and apparently hundreds if not thousands of people volunteered to be a part of it. She led a cadre of meditators at the Society for Inner Light’s headquarters. The visualizations became more complicated over time but one of them was where she asked people to envisage giant, red-robed benevolent entities/beings along the coast of Britain, traversing across the land, giant Egregores of protection. Another visualization involved King Arthur and Glastonbury Tor. The German Luftwaffe never conquered Britain.
People might say that repeated experiments in mass meditation are flukes at best and delusions at worst but I would respectfully disagree. Fortune’s campaign was highly organized, focused, efficiently executed and methodically thought through. Most mass meditations I’ve seen or read about are nowhere nearly as organized, it’s usually willy-nilly all over the place, not disciplined in the least and quite disjointed and that’s why I think many of them don’t work. Targeted and aggressive marketing campaigns, cultural memes, clichés are all forms of repeating a certain idea over and over again until they become internalized. True, they exist in 3D reality, you can see it, touch it, point at it, but once it’s in your head, it’s in your head. So why can’t we create targeted aggressive marketing campaigns of our own with visuals and meanings and symbols of our own choosing towards positive and collective ends of our choice?