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The Magickal Battle of Britain

This post was written by Donald Michael Kraig
on November 27, 2010 | Comments (9)

It seems like wars today change little except names. They still cause massive death and destruction, most often to people who wanted nothing to do with such wars. One set of leaders is ousted and another put in power. They often turn out not much better or even worse than those who came before them.

This was not always the case. The Western world was dramatically changed by WWI and much of the entire world was changed by WWII. After the attack on Pearl Harbor at the end of 1941, there were only a few minor attacks on 48 U.S. states during WWII. As a result, the knowledge of what war is like for Americans tends to be quite different than for people of Europe. For the past century, to the people of the U.S., war has been an experience of “we have lots of power and we send it over there to help people out.”

Starting in 1939, Germany was changing the face of Europe. They took over Poland, Finland, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, France. Germany’s allies took over more countries. The German navy was destroying all sorts of shipping trying to get to England. Although England and their new Prime Minister, Winston Churchill talked big, they were basically alone against the largest set of combined forces in history. And then, Germany began “The Blitz.”

While there are many areas of England that were not physically harmed by bombing during WWII, the Blitz bombing of England (from September 6, 1940–May 10, 1941), sometimes called “The Battle of Britain,” was horrible, destroying over a million homes and killing 43,000 civilians, half of whom had lived in London. To give Americans an idea of the extent of the destruction, imagine the loss of life of more than 16 Twin Towers! That is what happened to England.

There were three major purposes for the raids. The first, to terrify the British, didn’t succeed. The second purpose was to intimidate England into an armistice or even an outright surrender. This, too, failed. The third was to weaken the British defenses so that Germany could invade, turning all of Europe into parts of an empire ruled by a Greater Germany. The plans for the invasion, known as Unternehmen Seelöwe (Operation Sea Lion) were all worked out. This included plans for how to administer the country after they took over.

England waited for even more massive death and destruction and the end to their way of life.

But the expected invasion never came. Why not?

Some point to the failure of the Battle of Britain. Operation Sea Lion depended upon German air superiority, and they failed to achieve this thanks to the bravery of the British RAF pilots and development of RADAR that allowed the British to meet and effectively fight the German bombers. But Hitler desperately wanted England and his lack of understanding battle plans and his micromanagement of the German armies was one of the causes of Germany’s eventual collapse. If he wanted England—and he did—nothing would stop him.

But something did.

The Magickal Battle of Britain

The occultists of England took part in the battle to stop Hitler. Aleister Crowley had written outrageously over-the-top pro-German articles during WWI, but more recent scholarship indicates that during WWII he may have worked for the British Secret Service.

Gerald Gardner, responsible for the modern growth of Wicca, claimed that on July 31, 1940, as Germany was set to invade England, Covens from all over southern England came together to perform a massive ritual to stop Hitler. The energy was so intense that five of the participants died shortly thereafter. Some have claimed that the elderly people who died knew this would happen and willingly sacrificed their lives in defense of England.

Starting in October of 1939, Dion Fortune sent out a series of at first weekly letters to her followers. She told them to do practices (based on techniques of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn) that would form part of the training of her psychic army. It began with meditations and then moved on to astral battles.

We do know that Fortune sent out the letters, but how effective were her results? I don’t know. Crowley, always a trickster, did claim to be the source of Hitler’s outstretched hand salute, but that was after the fact, so who knows? And while several people have repeated Gardner’s claims, I’ve seen little to substantiate the ritual and its results.

That’s why I was fascinated by what seems to have been actual photos of a magickal ritual, held with the explicit purpose of defeating Hitler.

The ritual took place on January 22, 1941. It was set up by William Seabrook (1884–1945). Seabrook was a true adventurer. He had fought with the French during WWI. He traveled to Africa, lived with a tribe, and as an author became infamous when he wrote about eating human meat with the tribe. He traveled to Arabia and Haiti. A visitor, one Aleister Crowley, spent a week with him on Seabrook’s farm. Some of Seabrook’s more famous writings include: Adventures in Arabia Among the Bedouins, Druses, Whirling Dervishes, & Yezidee Devil Worshipers (1928), Witchcraft: Its Power in the World Today (1940, wherein he talks about his time with Crowley) and This Magic Island (1929, a discussion of Voodoo in Haiti).

The ritual appears to have been a form of Voodoo rite. One of the participants was Florence Birdseye, heir to the Birdseye frozen foods fortune. They used rum and had an effigy of Hitler. They equated the real Hitler to their manikin. The designer and leader of the rite, Seabrook, led a call-and-response part of the ritual:

Hitler! You are the enemy of man and of the world; therefore we curse you.
We curse you by every tear and drop of blood you have caused to flow.
We curse you with the curses of all who have cursed you …!

After each line, the group responded with “We curse you.” Later, they drove nails and needles into the effigy’s throat and heart, chanting, We are driving nails and needles into Adolf Hitler’s heart! They also worked with the deity “Istan,” who appears to have been a Sumerian Sun goddess.

Did this ritual actually take place? Judge for yourself. You can see the photos by clicking HERE. Did any of these rituals prevent Hitler from invading England? You’ll also have to decide that for yourself.

Reader Comments

Written By Kyle
on November 28th, 2010 @ 1:53 pm

I’ve heard about this. Thanks for fleshing out more of the details. If there ever were a good excuse to perform black magick on someone, Hitler would be it.
“[Crowley] did claim to be the source of Hitler’s outstretched hand salute” – hmmmm, I always thought that he had gotten this from Mussolini (whom he idolized), who in turn got it from both antiquity (the Romans were thought to have done this, though there is little evidence they did) and from contemporary usage. Did you know that prior to WW2, American schoolchildren, in lieu of putting their hands over their hearts as they do today, used to raise their arms in what today we see as the fascist salute? We stopped that after the imagery and symbolism of it became too connected with atrocities committed in Europe in WW2. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellamy_salute)

Written By Douglas J Gueydan
on November 28th, 2010 @ 2:05 pm

From what I remember reading Crowley had suggested that Churchill use the V for Victory sign as a method to counter Hitler’s magickal practices with the Thule Society. It was to be a pysch out method at making Hitler paranoid. Nice article.

Written By Apollonius Dionysius
on November 28th, 2010 @ 3:05 pm

I note one misstatement of fact in your article. You state, “The occultists of England took part in the battle to stop Hitler. Aleister Crowley, living in the U.S. wrote outrageously over-the-top articles to make the Nazis sound silly. Some have claimed that this showed his support of Hitler, but more recent scholarship indicates that indeed, he may have worked for the British Secret Service.”

Crowley was never in America during WWII, and never published articles, over-the-top or otherwise, on the Nazis. I believe you are confusing his wartime activities during WWI as editor of The International, his intent being to make the Kaiser look silly. Crowley was ambivalent about Hitler up until the war, when his default position of English patriotism kicked in.

Written By Donald Michael Kraig
on November 28th, 2010 @ 6:22 pm

Apollonius, I actually made a couple of misstatements that have now been corrected. Thanks for pointing them out.
Douglas and Kyle, yes, Crowley did also claim to be the source of Churchill’s “V” sign and Hitler’s salute. One of Crowley’s followers tried to get Crowley to acknowledge Hitler as a new messiah and tried to introduce Crowley’s work to Hitler. As I remember, she was unsuccessful in this, but that’s what led to Crowley’s claim.
As to the use of the Nazi salute by American schoolchildren, it may shock many people to know that not only are you correct, but that this was the proper way to salute during the Pledge of Allegiance! This was later changed to placing your hand of your heart. I discuss this at greater length in the new edition of Modern Magick. http://www.llewellyn.com/product.php?ean=9780738715780

Written By dave
on December 2nd, 2010 @ 6:14 pm

A recent edition of
Fortean Times has much
More on this.

Written By Pndrgn99
on February 23rd, 2017 @ 8:52 pm

Croley’s book Moonchild touches on these rituals and is an interesting read .

Written By Moopy
on February 24th, 2017 @ 3:47 am

What about operation cone of power?

Written By Stephen Taylor
on February 24th, 2017 @ 5:43 pm

The 1940 blitzkrieg attack that seized France could have destroyed the BEF at Dunkirk, but Hitler ordered Guderian’s tanks to hold back. Historians claim he expected Britain to come to terms, and thought a successful evacuation would help. The Wehrmacht did assemble barges in Normandy, but the navy and army made it crystal clear invasion required air superiority. Goering promised it, and the Luftwaffe came within a fortnight of overwhelming Fighter Command. But they can’t have known it, for in Oct 1940 the bombers switched from RAF fighter bases to the London docks. By 1941 the threat of invasion was over.

But if the Nazi core was riddled with occultists, why not SIS? In “Declare” Tim Powers gives a vivid account of a century-long magical operation against Russia, involving wartime SOE operators, desert djinns, special forces on Mt Ararat, and Kim Philby at the finish. Fiction, but at least as plausible as this!

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