‘Let us meditate upon angelic Presences, red-robed and armed, patrolling the length and breadth of our land. Visualise a map of Great Britain and picture these great Presences moving as a vast shadowy form along the coasts, and backwards and forwards from north to south and east to west, keeping watch and ward so that nothing alien can move unobserved.’ Dione Fortune.
1940 was a bleak time in Britain. France had been overcome by the Nazis, as had Norway and Denmark. Hitler wanted Britain to surrender, but Churchill refused and so Hitler devised a plan to invade Britain. In 1940 the Battle of Britain raged in the air and the German air force attempted to destroy British cities and the people’s morale during the Blitz by bombing raids which destroyed their cities. The Nazi plan was called Operation Sea Lion and involved German air, sea and land forces taking the ports and then the country.
At the outbreak of the war, Dion Fortune, the co-founder of the Fraternity of the Inner Light an esoteric order, held a group meditation for peace every Sunday, from October 1939 to October 1942. Dion opened up the Fraternity to non-members to widen their reach and influence. Fortune sent out letters to her students on a weekly and monthly basis to keep moral high and inspire their magical work. Fraternity members recited a mantra every time a bomber flew overhead and invoked help from those on the Inner Planes to protect the country. The Nazis were using their own occultists to spread propaganda in Britain to lower morale, and British occultists reciprocated.
In February 1940 Dion was part of a ritual where angelic forces or egregors were summoned to protect the borders of the country. She joined with other magicians to banish and repel the Nazi invasion.
I don’t have the time or place of the ritual but being an occultist Fortune would have picked the best time astrologically for her magical work (an election). The other participants would have had to agree. Aleister Crowley, who was involved, was an expert astrologer and so together would have chosen the most auspicious time. The first thing they would have done was to consult the chart for Great Britain (when the Union with Scotland was signed) to see the planetary energies they were dealing with.
Clearly, an invasion would be something that would annihilate the country. So how would you go about electing a time for such a ritual? Firstly, you would isolate the parts of the chart relevent to the magical operation.
In any chart, the 7th house is the house of open enemies, those you know about, (the 12th is for enemies you don’t know about). In the 1801 chart the seventh house is ruled by Libra and so Venus in the chart shows the UK’s enemies, Venus is at 17’ Aquarius. The February New Moon in 1940 fell at 18’ Aquarius. I believe Dion would have chosen this time to perform the ritual. A New Moon falling on the significator of open enemies in the 1801 showed the crucial issue for that period of time. New Moons are when the moon is dark in the sky, and so banishing magic can be done then, the crescent moon is for new beginnings.
Notice in the New Moon chart, Mars is applying to a conjunction with Saturn in Aries, having just separated from the South Node. The Ascendant of the 1801 chart is 25’ Aries, the Mars in the New Moon chart is at 24’ degrees and Saturn is at 26’. Mars is exalted in Aries and Saturn in detriment. In Astro-speak the New Moon chart would be radical, in that it relates directly back to the 1801 chart. Mars rules the 9th house in the New Moon chart (foreigners, Astrology) and both Saturn and Mars are in the 2nd house of moveable goods, which Lilly also gives to, ‘Ammunition, Allies and Support of the Commonwealth.’ Mars rules the 2nd house. So the issue of survival (1801 Ascendant) concerns moveable good, allies and weaponry, and this turns out to be the case.
Where would we find Magicians in the 1801 chart? In the eighth house of the occult. The ruler of the 8th is Jupiter at 1’48 Leo. In the New Moon chart we find Pluto at 1’25 Leo. Perhaps suggesting that Magicians working for the State are involved in a struggle to the death (Pluto) with foreigners (Pluto ruling the 9th house) using astrology (9th house).
Mercury in the 1801 chart is at 18’ Sagittarius which is conjunct the MC of the New Moon chart at 14’40 Sagittarius. Mercury in the 1801 chart rules the second house of allies and ammunition, which I take to show the strong Navy and Airforce and the numerous Commonwealth pilots who volunteered to join the Royal Air Force.
Mercury is conjunct the Ascendant of the New Moon chart, drawing our attention to the planet. Mercury rules the 4th house of the end of the matter, suggesting a resolution is near. Although the war did not end for another five years, this was a pivotal moment which, as the expression goes, changed the course of history.
And finally, in the 1801 chart Neptune is at 18’ Scorpio, in 1940 Uranus was at 18’ Taurus, making an opposition to the 1801 Neptune, which is found in the 7th house, of open enemies. Uranus rules violent overthrow, which again, describes the struggle in 1940. Remember these degrees of Taurus as later on they become pivotal.
Of course, the details about magical operations and rituals are secret, but we are led to believe that these rituals were held simultaneously in Glastonbury, where the Fraternity had land, and is described by some as the heart of England, on the cliffs at Dover, the frontier between England and Europe and the New Forest, ancient lands which have age-old magical connections. If you look on a map these three places are more or less in a line across the south of England. It is also said, that so great was the energy raised in the ritual that several of the participants died soon afterwards.
So what happened? The first planned invasion of Operation Sea Lion was set for 25th of July 1940. It was aborted as it was decided the Royal Navy and Air Force would overpower the German invaders (remember that 2nd house). Several more invasion plans were made but came to nothing, because transporting tanks across the channel was proving to be impossible, and the German air force was still outnumbered because of the large numbers of Commonwealth volunteers who replaced British pilots who had died. Allies, arms and the Commonwealth to paraphrase Lilly, Logistics, in other words.
What was happening astrologically in those months? The most important astrological event was a Jupiter Saturn conjunction in Taurus, between 13’ and 15’ degrees. Remember the Neptune of the 1801 chart was at 18’ Taurus and the Mars was at 11’ degrees. The Jupiter Saturn conjunction, especially as both plants are peregrine (have no dignity) show a miscalculation of the material world. In this case we can give it to the transport of equipment, men and supplies (Taurus) and a back and forth of expansion (Jupiter) and withdrawal (Saturn).
This is exactly what happened. Hitler was keen to invade, (Jupiter, over confidence) while his generals knew they did not have the navy or air force to win (Saturn, cold, hard, facts and denial). Plans were made and then abandoned several times, until eventually, on the evening of the 17th of September, Operation Sea Lion was mothballed. Instead, Germany decided to invade Russia, which, as Napoleon discovered, was an impossible task. Germany’s defeat in Russia and the US joining the war in 1941 turned the tide in the Allies favour.
Again, we don’t have an exact time for when the judgement was made, so I have cast a chart for 7pm as the decision was said to have been taken in the evening. Notice the Jupiter, Saturn conjunction, they are both retrograding onto the opposition of the 1801 Mars in Taurus at 11’ degrees. Jupiter gets there on October 28th, incidentally the day the Greeks call Oxi day, when their leader Metaxas said ‘No!’ (oxi) to Mussolini entering Greece, effectively declaring war. The Greek resistance slowed down the Italian and German advance and gave hope to the British. Churchill said of the Greeks,
‘…we will not say the Greeks fight like heroes, but that heroes fight like the Greeks.’
Saturn moved to conjunct the Mars on the 2nd of November. November 3rd was the first night there were no bombing raids in Britain after 57 days of continual bombardment. Mars, as ruler of the Ascendant is chart ruler of the 1801 horoscope. Saturn retrograding onto the Mars showed a temporary pause in the bombardment,
What I really like about this chart, is the Sun, Neptune conjunction in Virgo. Virgo is the sign of ritual magic, Neptune is illusion, spellcasting and deceit and they are both trine Uranus in Taurus at 26’ signifying violent endings and splitting apart.
Clearly, it was not just magic that won out, but Dion Fortune and her colleagues worked on the psyche of the whole nation. They invoked the egregors, or Watchers on the Inner Planes to create a group-think of victory, steadfastness and courage (a little like Churchill in his rousing speeches). Egregors were used by the Fellowship to form images and thoughtforms of helpful British archetypes such as King Arthur, red-robbed angelic beings patrolling Britain’s borders, Albion and so on. As we know, images and the group mind are an incredibly powerful force, for good or evil. By opening the Fellowship to a wider audience, Fortune created a network of light workers all over the country and perhaps the world, who could perform simple rituals and meditations, all sharing a common purpose with the wider population, to repel the Nazis and save the country.
Arguably, we could use a little of her magic today.