Review: The Esoteric Philosophy of Love and Marriage – Dion Fortune

The Esoteric Philosophy of Love and Marriage – Dion Fortune
Weiser. 1930, 2000. 92 pp. 9781578631582.

“This book upon the esoteric teaching concerning sex is addressed primarily to those who have no occult knowledge of the subject” (1). To clarify this introduction Dion Fortune is not talking about sex magick and the procedure of, but rather exactly what the title says the “esoteric philosophy” of it. Now the first sentence is misleading because while it mentions sex, sex itself is rarely mentioned in the text, it is primarily about marriage, which is often referred to as mating to separate it from the legal/religious institution.

So what is this text really about? It’s a spiritual philosophy book on the nature of humanity, how we became matter and more, what makes up our bodies (on various planes), what are sex, love, and marriage. Fortune puts forth the sevenfold model of reality: physical, astrals, mentals, and spiritual planes, and how we operate on them, and more relevant to the theme of the text how we interact with our partner on those various levels. Also how we don’t interact with them, and the problems and benefits of relationships that exist on different levels.

For example she discusses the problem with relationships where one person has “activated” a higher body than their partner (48) which while at first I felt as a bit odd as I read this, but as I thought about it more I could see the problems I just understood it through a different model. She covers how we relate to our partner on each plane in what she sees as alternating patterns of opposites and similarities, again I ended up agreeing with her, after I disagreed with what levels related how. She even discusses Soul Mates and Twin Souls, both in very positive lights, but stressed how exceedingly uncommon they are.

This book was written in the 1930s and it bears a lot of the traits of that time. Fortune mentions the great potential of psychic energy that is an unmarried childless woman (45) after all without a husband or kids women have nothing else to do with their time and energy. The book is written in male pronouns (which I always find odd with female authors) and explicitly about straight married coupled. Sex without marriage isn’t horrible, but not recommended. Masturbation or sex with someone of the same-sex cause great “injury…upon the nervous system” and forms horribly evil and destructive thought forms (87), and between those warnings I’m surprised my house hasn’t burnt down and my brain isn’t fried. She also claimed that “European civilisation has always valued women highly” (63) which is the half-truth of inter-war England with the battle of the babies and racial purity, but hardly the reality.

If you’re looking for a practical book on sex magick (and with a title like this I don’t know why’d you’d expect that) this isn’t it. If you’re looking for an interesting take on the esoteric unpinning of relationships, especially according to the popular models of the early 20th century, and can handle the racial and gender views of the era for what they are then “The Esoteric Philosophy of Love and Marriage” will make for a good read.

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One Response to Review: The Esoteric Philosophy of Love and Marriage – Dion Fortune

  1. As brilliant as Fortune was, she wasn’t immune to the pseudoscience of her time, which had all sorts of ridiculous theories about sex which would have made perfect sense at the time; Gareth Knight goes into a good amount of detail about that in some of his newer books. Still, it’s easily ignored in light of all the other wonderful information in her books.

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