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The Sea Priestess

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  810 ratings  ·  62 reviews
Sea Priestess is the highly acclaimed novel in which Dion Fortune introduces her most powerful fictional character, Vivien Le Fay Morgan - a practising initiate of the Hermetic Path. Vivien has the ability to transform herself into magical images, and here she becomes Morgan Le Fay, sea priestess of Atlantis and foster daughter to Merlin! Inextricably drawn to an ancient c ...more
Kindle Edition, 260 pages
Published June 1st 2003 by Weiser Books (first published 1935)
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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 ·  810 ratings  ·  62 reviews

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T.D. Whittle
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dion-fortune, reviews
NB: Should you choose to read this book, I do not recommend the Kindle version pictured here (published June 1st 2003 by Weiser Books). The publisher put almost no effort into producing this, which is a shame and disrespectful to the author. Judging by the outcome, I assume a manuscript was scanned and then word-recognition software was used to translate it. The formatting is a muddle and it's full of typos, some of which are so mutilated that I struggled to figure out what the words should have ...more
Aug 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I wouldn't say this book is a page-turner or the best literature, it's an enjoyable book to read, especially for those interested in the occult and the western magickal tradition. It was originally published in 1935, so you're not going to find any sultry sex magick here, but the gender dynamics are n't as heavy handed as they could be--Fortune talks about dynamics, rather than totally essentializing--so that's nice. Also, Fortune is a female author, and therefore, respects women--somethin ...more
K.J. Charles
Dec 14, 2020 marked it as pass  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1930s, occult
Had to give up on Dion Fortune at this point. The narrator is an epic bore, the heroine is a lot too much Eternal Feminine for tolerability. Also, the edition I got (with the big wave on the cover, Youcanprint Kindle ed) is unreadable as there are no paragraph breaks at all. Annoyingly, I got this one because the Weiser editions of Fortune are so appallingly, sloppily OCR'd as to be unreadable. If I were Dion Fortune, I'd haunt people. ...more
Judy Croome
Jul 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally written (and self-published) in 1938, this novel is filled with wonder and wisdom. Wilfred Maxwell as a character is a superb representation of human nature at its most paradoxical. From his on-going battle with his narrow minded, domineering sister, to his passion for the mysterious Vivien Le Fay Morgan and his tenderness for the young Molly, Wilfred’s spiritual growth is as fascinating as his sly wit is hilarious.

The style of the novel is a free-flowing and deep as the sea itself.
Aug 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: magic
the old ways were passed on in stories such as these. a woman, a man, a temple, the sea, the moon: nothing more is needed, but more can always be said, and the added details are specific to an age and its people, and make the deeper truths the more real--the more useful, the more applicable to their own lives--for them. evoking a series of vivid images that bring to life the workings of a particular sort of magic, this book accomplishes for the reader what its characters, in its pages, set out t ...more
Althea Ann
This 1938 'novel of the occult' by the well-known psychic Dion Fortune (born Violet Firth), was initially self-published, which, I have to admit, gave me some serious doubts about its quality - but after reading it, I would have to say that her difficulty in finding a publisher was probably indeed due to its subject matter, not her ability as a literary stylist (the book has stayed in print, posthumously, until the present day.)
This however, is not to say that a modern reader will find any of th
I had to read this for a Seminar "The Occult in modern literature" and therefor it was interesting, no doubt, but in the reading it wasn't much fun. So, if you are interested in the Tradition of Western Occultism this is an interesting lecture, but if you are searching for a good novel - choose something else. ...more
See the full review here--

Review: I loved this book. After thinking of my feelings of this beautiful novel I kept having trouble in a way I hadn't before. This novel causes a lot of introspection and it's very spiritual and New Age. I had to continually remind myself it was written in the 1930s. So if I were to write a review about how this book made me feel and what it did to me-- I'd be revealing the most intimate aspects of my soul. And well, I love yo
SE Martens
This is a hard one to rate. There were times where I thought it was one of the most beautiful books I’d ever read. But there were other times where it dragged, notably the overlong denouement that was less enjoyable. Worse, the main character, Wilfred Maxwell, is stuck in the time period it was written (1930s) so some of his actions/attitudes prove problematic to a modern reader - weirdly, it is as the novel progresses that he gets harder to take.

Dion Fortune was a British occultist who’s writin
Bart Everson
I’ve long had an interest, however weak, in esoteric matters. Since the birth of my daughter I’ve been particularly interested in goddess worship, or more specifically the modern revival of ancient goddess religion. That interest led me to this novel by Dion Fortune.

This is the tale of a bored British real estate broker who gets involved with a seemingly ageless woman who may just happen to be the reincarnation of a priestess from ancient Atlantis. They get up to some pretty occult stuff togethe
May 22, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with occult interests
Although this book is a "classic" in spiritual novels and I was spellbound by the description of moon magic, mythology, rituals and the great occult wisdom by Dion Fortune I found it sometimes.. long-winded. But if you have made it through the boring description of Wilfrid´s life and the mysterious Vivien arrives it gets better and more interesting. The writing style of the author and the way of thinking and the behaviour of the characters appear often antiquated to me (it was written around 193 ...more
Manfred Manfred
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book a long time ago and really loved it.
Dion Fortune was a famous occultist from the 1930s and learnt all that Qabalistic stuff from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn so all of that ritual and Philosophy is in her novels.

I prefer her last book Moon Magic but this book also provides many of the keys to the Hermetic arts.
Apart from the Hermetic side, the novel hasa very strong female protagonist in the Sea Priestess Lilith Le Fey.

Its main strentgh is that the book bridges the worl
Mar 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yes, the book is about Morgan, but it's really about Wilfred, our narrarator, who starts off the book as a self-described "mother's boy", directionless and hating his life. Morgan turns his life around completely. The book features some gorgeous poetry and ritual centered around the Great Goddess Isis. I had to keep reminding myself this book was written in the 1930's because so much of it has influenced contemporary writing on Magick, Witchcraft, and the Occult! ...more
Apr 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: heroine, novel, sea, spititual
Fun read for a lark. I like this sort of stuff.
This book spells out some of Fortune's thinking and beliefs. Fortune reported visions of Atlantis at a very early age and later developed psychic abilities. Drawn to the occult, she joined the Theosophical Society. Sea Priestess and another book Moon Magic, became influential within Wicca.
Carolina Montague
Oct 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Carolina by: Deborah Bennett
Estate agent Wilfred Maxwell, stricken with asthma, assists mysterious Le Fay Morgan by transforming an old fort by the sea into a villa for her to inhabit. As he bumbles through this task, he is assaulted with memories of being drowned in a sea cave underneath the fort and agrees to revive occult the practices of Atlantis with her.
Dec 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Haunting. I am new to Dion Fortune. Her books were recommended to me by a tarot reader on a forum. I am also a tarot reader & I can't believe that it's only now that I have discovered her. So interesting to hear her language from the time. Very quaint. But also interesting to see how she inserts magical instruction in the framework of a story. ...more
Taryn Stroud
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I rarely give books five stars (at least mentally, this is my first official review on the site), but the Sea Priestess warrants it. It left a lasting impression on me, and one so rarely comes across such books in one's lifetime more than a couple of times - if you're lucky! The quality of the book I'd say overall is a 4/5 stars, but I felt it deserved the extra star.

There is a lot of talk in the book about the duality of male/female or giving/receiving forces, but there is another dualism prese
This is an interesting book and worth a read for those interested and/or invested in the occult. There were things that dampened the experience for me, however. I want to acknowledge that a lot of this is explainable by norms of the time period but because it still persists in occult and pagan circles it still irks me.

There has been a lot of criticism about archetypes in pagan paradigms that may seem empowering but on further inspection are actually quite rigid/strict gender roles, and this book
Rhiannon Grant
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, paganism
This is one of Fortune's classic teaching novels, in which some of the key ideas of her NeoPagan faith are explored through narrative. I'd read some of her non-fiction work before, but not any of her novels, and it seems to me that this is a very effective way of handling the material. Although partially imposed by the legal situation at the time (this was first published in 1935; the practice of witchcraft was illegal in England until 1951, hampering the writing of Fortune, Gardner and others o ...more
Aug 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An entertaining, well written read but I couldn't find as much wisdom here as I could in other works (e.g. Carlos Castenada). There is a good bit of goddess worship in the story, but nothing that I felt I could put into practice in my life. This book might inspire someone to start goddess worship, but my guess is that they'd need another resource to tell them how (I don't know how so I could be wrong). ...more
Riley Hill
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I lucked across a first-edition hard copy of this book and, tattered as it was, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Violet/Dion was masterful at evoking imagery of the locale, complete with in depth senses and dimensions; and her descriptions of the characters were flawless, with foibles, desires, and period clothing. If a reader doesn't get a few deep laughs from the wit and some eyebrow raising enlightenment, s/he just isn't paying attention. ...more
Olivia Church
This is one of those books where not that much happens, but you are very intrigued to continue nonetheless. Fortune creates exquistite imagery and presents a world of magic that is tangible, rather than fantastical.
If you are interested in the mystical, or key texts in contemporary Paganism and Goddess worship - this is a must read.
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked the story - all the magical and mysterious qualities, but it was longer than it should've been imo. I lost a lot of my interest about halfway through and struggled to finish it. I think it would be a better book at half the length. ...more
Suzanne Pritchard
Sep 14, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Kindle version unreadable

Don't get me wrong, this is a great book - in physical form.
The kindle version is not worth purchasing, too many errors on every page make it impossible to read in any way fluently.
Such a shame, as it really is a good book
It started off great and was a page turner. The end was quite rushed as if a quick ending was needed. It didn’t make any sense anymore. That is why I took two stars off.
Theresa W.
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was so amazing on so many levels. I have read her non-fiction for years, but was quite enchanted with this lovely novel. I only wish Violet Firth (her real name) had composed many, many more!
Tara Sanchez
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably my most favourite Dion Fortune book, although in fairness once you get used to her style they are all excellent.
Tony Ring
endlessly fascinating
Feb 10, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall I enjoyed it but I did find it challenging to read.
Dawn Graham
Mar 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Being a follower of a Nature religion, and because the book was written by Dion Fortune, I almost felt an obligation to read this. I believe I am quite knowledgeable in the occult but so much of this novel left me lost and confused. I struggled through it, but even enjoyed small portions of it. I found myself anxious and impatient to finish it near the end. I give credit to Ms Fortune, having written it in 1938, long before the Women's Movement, or even man's walk upon the Moon (which is a chara ...more
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Violet Mary Firth Evans (better known as Dion Fortune), was a British occultist and author. Her pseudonym was inspired by her family motto "Deo, non fortuna" (Latin for "by God, not fate").

From 1919 she began writing a number of novels and short stories that explored various aspects of magic and mysticism, including The Demon Lover, The Winged Bull, The Goat-Foot God, and The Secrets of Dr. Tavern

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