Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-55597f9d44-xbgml Total loading time: 0.371 Render date: 2022-08-13T00:44:42.895Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

6 - Emanations of Albion

Politics and the Occult in Modern Britain

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 February 2022

Get access

Summary

The connection between politics and magic largely faded from view in eighteenth-century Britain, as it became socially unacceptable in elite circles to show interest in the supernatural. However, the apparent support of some mystical prophets for the French Revolution re-engaged the government’s interest, and a tradition of ‘mystical nationalism’ was born at this time (influenced by William Blake) that would go on to influence British politics to the present day. Elite interest in ritual magic returned at the end of the nineteenth century, sometimes connected with traditionalist and ultra-conservative political views. In the Second World War notorious magician Aleister Crowley attempted to offer magical advice to Winston Churchill, and magicians claimed to have performed rites against the enemy, while the politically motivated conviction of the Spiritualist medium Helen Duncan resurrected the 1736 Witchcraft Act. By the 1980s extreme politics in Britain had a magical fringe. The British far right, in particular, drew on earlier traditions of ‘mystical nationalism’. British royalty’s fascination with magic likewise continued in the twentieth century. Belief in magic remains an undercurrent in British political life to the present day, far less prominent than it was four centuries ago but nevertheless present, and sometimes influential in unexpected ways.

Type
Chapter
Information
Magic in Merlin's Realm
A History of Occult Politics in Britain
, pp. 278 - 325
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×