Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Fortune, Dion

Working name of UK writer and occultist Violet Mary Firth Evans (1890-1946), who also published as Violet M Firth and as V M Steele; the pseudonym is derived from her family motto, "Deo, Non Fortuna". She became a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn in 1919, and from 1923 was a central figure in the Theosophical Society (> Theosophy), from which she spun off her own independent order, the Fraternity of the Inner Light, in 1922. Her main aim in these endeavours was to Westernize the societies' cod Orientalism, specializing in her nonfiction on relating Alchemy and hermeticism to modern concerns. Much of her fiction can be understood as the sort of Supernatural Fiction designed to convey concealed truths to the mundane world, and to convert that world.

The Secrets of Dr Taverner (coll 1926; exp 1979), is a set of Occult-Detective tales facing the eponymous doctor with various cases involving the supernatural. The Watson narrator – a fellow doctor – has himself been affected by the estranging trauma of World War I, and several of the stories are charged by a sense of profound dislocations stemming from that war; in "Blood-Lust" (1922 Royal), which is typical, an ex-soldier is haunted by the Ghost of a German sorcerer whose demands for energy turn his victim into a Vampire. In the end, the Watson figure has a Vision of the essential aliveness of every aspect of the world, and wakes from the dead post-war world into a new life in a manner evocative of hermetic doctrine. In The Demon Lover (1927) a young woman is manoeuvred into the Astral Plane, where she spies on a cadre of hopeful Secret Masters and becomes involved with a psychic Vampire who is also a Werewolf. The Winged Bull (1935) again focuses on a protagonist whose life has been derailed by WWI, but is redeemed through proper understanding of the Rite of the Winged Bull. Similar arguments infuse The Goat-Foot God (1936), whose title refers directly to Pan.

DF's last two novels, the Le Fay Morgan sequence – The Sea Priestess (1938) and Moon Magic (1956) – are an early attempt in popular fiction to depict a Goddess figure who is autonomous, not a consort or nagging Shadow of a patriarchal God. A 20th-century worshipper, Miss Le Fay Morgan, a Reincarnation of Morgan Le Fay, engages a half-willing male in a spiritual analogue of the Year-King ritual celebrated in Atlantis by followers of Ishtar.

The nonfiction Avalon of the Heart (1934 as by Violet M Firth; exp by other hands vt Glastonbury: Avalon of the Heart 1986 as DF) presents arguments for the spiritual centrality of Glastonbury. [JC]

other works (nonfiction): The Esoteric Philosophy of Love and Marriage (1923); Esoteric Orders and their Work (1928); Sane Occultism (1929); The Training and Work of an Initiate (1930); Spiritualism in the Light of Occult Science (1931); Psychic Self-Defence (1931), about psychic vampirism; Through the Gates of Death (1932); The Mystical Qabalah (1935); Practical Occultism in Daily Life (1935); The Cosmic Doctrine (1949); Applied Magic (1962); Aspects of Occultism (1962); The Magical Battle of Britain (coll 1984), articles written during WWII calling upon occultists to attempt to evoke the ancient guardians of Britain in order to fight off the psychic assaults of the Nazis.

as Violet M. Firth: Violets (coll 1904 chap) and More Violets (coll 1906 chap), poetry; Machinery of the Mind (1922).

as V.M. Steele: The Scarred Wrists (1935); Hunters of Humans (1936); Beloved of Ishmael (1937).

Violet Mary Firth Evans

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This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.