“I am the soundless, boundless, bitter sea;
All things in the end shall come to me.”
Violet Mary Firth Evans was born on December 6, 1890 in Llandadno, Wales. At four years -old, she reported experiencing visions of the lost city of Atlantis. These visions, and the blossoming of psychic abilities, drew her to the occult studies when she was in her twenties. After becoming a member of both The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and the Theosophical Society, she formed her own esoteric group: Society of the Inner Light.
Born to a family of Christian Scientists whose motto was, “Deo, non Fortuna” (God not chance), Miss Evans chose the pseudonym, Dion Fortune, and set out to transcribe her spiritual beliefs down on paper. Since witchcraft was still illegal in Great Britain, Ms. Fortune hid her magical teachings in the guise of novels. Her most famous, The Sea Priestess, was self-published in 1938.
Covering the themes of Hermeticism, reincarnation, and Atlantis, – it concerns Wilfred Maxwell, a bachelor, who is bored of his life tending to the family business and to his interfering mother and sister. Upon becoming afflicted with asthma, Wilfred takes to long bouts in bed. “As I lay there, doped and exhausted and half hypnotized by the moon, I let my mind range beyond time to the beginning. I saw the vast sea of infinite space, indigo-dark in the Night of the Gods; and it seemed to me that in the darkness and silence must be the seed of all being.” Wilfred spends his nights staring down at the moon and discerning, “I found that the more I dwelt on her, the more I became conscious of her tides, and all my life began to move with them.”
Soon after, Wilfred meets the cold and mysterious Vivien Le Fay Morgan, who claims to be a Priestess of Isis. “Little by little, she learnt and built, always handicapped by the fact that the moon-magic requires a partner, and partners were hard to find.“ With the warning that she can never give herself to one man, Vivien enlists Wilfred to help her develop her magical image as a sea-priestess.
Months are spent at an isolated seaside retreat, communing with the sea and the moon. Discovering the hidden works of nature. Isis Veiled and Isis Unveiled.
At one point, Vivien stands looking out over the moonlit sea. Raising her arms, she sings:
“Oh Isis, veiled on earth, but shining clear
In the high heaven now the full moon draws near,
Hear the invoking words, hear and appear-
Shaddai el Chai, and Ea, Binah, Ge.”
Just when Wilfred is coming out of his shell, Vivien disappears, leaving him shattered. Time passes and Wilfred begins a tentative romantic relationship with the reserved Molly. He teaches her the rituals, and she blooms, finding her personal power, not as a sea-priestess, but as one of the earth. “There was awakening in her something of the primordial woman, and it was beginning to answer to the need in me.”
Molly discovers that “All Women are Isis”;Wilfred begins his own relationship with the Priest of the Moon. As a couple, Wilfred and Molly play out the themes of Hermeticism, and help bring forth each other’s magical abilities.
Through destruction and sacrifice they are reborn.