The Magical Battle of Britain and Haj Amin al-Husseini

Recently I’ve been reading Alan Richardson‘s Aleister Crowley and Dion Fortune: The Logos of the Aeon and the Shakti of the Age, which focuses on the relationship between these two giants of British occultism. The book itself is quite interesting and I warmly recommend it to anyone interested in these two fascinating figures.

While browsing through the book a few days ago I came across an interesting addition to the discourse on the ‘Magical Battle of Britain‘, which has been maintained for decades by British occultists and Pagans alike. WWII was of course fought in the real world, with real bombs, rifles and ammunition, but according to members of the occult milieu, it was fought on the astral plane as well. Immediately after the declaration of war, Dion Fortune began issuing a series of letters to members of her magical order, the Fraternity of the Inner Light, and organised a series of visualisations to formulate “seed ideas in the group mind of the race,” archetypal visions to invoke angelic protection and uphold British morale under fire. These letters have been edited into a volume and presented by Gareth Knight as The Magical Battle of Britain: The War Letters of Dion Fortune.

Gerald Garnder, propagator of Wicca – the religion of pagan witchcraft – wrote about an event that became an important part of the craft’s foundation myth, which he termed ‘Operation Cone of power’. According to Gardner, in 1940 a group of witches, which he was part of, gathered at night in the New Forest and carried out a ritual designed to ward off the Nazis from invading Britain by magical means. This supposedly included the casting of a ritual circle and the raising of a great ‘cone of power’ – a form of magical energy – at the direction of Hitler and his generals with the command of “you cannot cross the sea, you cannot cross the sea, you cannot come, you cannot come”.

Richardson’s book adds another name to the mix of illustrious occult names who aided in the Magical Battle of Britain – Christine Hartley, who was a member of Fortune’s Fraternity of the Inner Light. according to Richardson, Hartley told him “a lot about her experiences fighting the Nazis on the inner plane on a one-to-one basis, going ‘into the crystal’ and seeking out those foes threatening Britain on magical levels.” While Hartley claimed to “cope with German magicians”, she experienced “real trouble” with a man who “lay behind Hitler on the inner planes”. According to her, this was Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. You can see a photograph of his December 1941 meeting with Hitler here.

Al-Husseini’s opposition to the British peaked during the 1936-1939 Arab revolt in British Mandate Palestine, set against the background of the recommendation of the Peel Commission for a partition of Palestine into a small Jewish state (based on Jewish land ownership and population at the time), a residual Mandatory area, and a larger Arab state linked to Jordan. Al-Husseini then exiled to Beirut, Lebanon, and allied with the Axis powersNazi Germany and Fascist Italy – in the hope that their victory would drive the British and the Jews out of the area.

Returning to the issue at hand, Richardson recalls that Hartley said that al-Husseini’s mindset “was so alien to anything she had yet encountered, and was so personally inimical to things Western – especially British – that she sometimes feared for more than her life”. Al-Husseini eventually died in Beirut in 1974, and Hartley passed in 1985.

Now, putting the issue of ‘astral travels’ and ‘inner plane battles’ aside, I think this story provides a fascinating prelude into a somewhat neglected subject I hope to write about here very soon – Visits of early British Wiccans in the Holy land. So stay tuned if you fancy hearing more about it 🙂

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