A Short Article on
William Sharp/Fiona Macleod
William Sharp And The Esoteric Orders
Fiona Macleod/William Sharp was one of the early exponents of some of our inner work. He/she was a member of an esoteric group along with Frederick Bligh Bond (the man who excavated Glastonbury Abbey according to spirit instructions...but that is another story), John Foulds (a remarkable composer), Maud McCarthy (married to Foulds, and protege of Annie Besant) and others. It seems likely that J.A. Goodchild, an expert on British manuscripts and traditions, was a mentor of Bligh Bond, and also involved in magical work.
It is likely, but not proven by "official" records, that William Sharp was also a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and was certainly in some similar group involving Golden Dawn members, but it is his link to this more obscure esoteric group (dedicated to the goddess Brigit), based in Glastonbury and London, that passes down to our work.
Lest anyone scream for evidence, I have Bligh Bond's private notes describing several visionary events involving Sharp and others, and I also have the original documents describing some of the work done by the group or order in Glastonbury and London, around 1911. (I have also lodged some of these papers with the musicologist and composer Malcolm MacDonald, who is the biographer of John Foulds).
The group members were involved with spiritual music, the faery realm, the idea of the divine feminine, and work with sacred space and sacred geometry.
None of this evidence has passed into the hands of popular biographers or journalists, thus it does not appear in the endless trendy re-hashing books on magical groups such as the Golden Dawn.
William Sharp and Celtic Tradition
I do not think that Sharp worked with Celtic tradition in a folkloric sense. Thus, he is not a good exponent of tradition if you are looking for root information and source material. Instead he took material from his sources, both inner and outer, within Gaelic consciousness, and he then transformed this into a literary vehicle for his time and place. Nowadays we may find some of his work overblown or dull, yet in places it shines with a profound inspiration and beauty. I think that his time has come again as a writer and prophet, and there are some extract reprints of his work available, as well as original editions.
William and Fiona
William Sharp was inspired by an inner feminine consciousness, Fiona Macleod. He described her sometimes as an ancestral seeress. Today we would call her, perhaps, an inner contact, and at a deeper level, the goddess within. In this sense he embodied in person many of the deep changes of sexuality towards androgyny that are occurring today. It was not an easy embodiment for him, in the repressed 19th century. For a time the book-buying public thought that William Sharp and Fiona Macleod were separate persons. When he came out and admitted to being both, there was a scandal.
The Green Life
The Green Life was his/her term for the faery realm and planetary spirit: as Wilfion (his/her secret name for their true union and spiritual identity) lay dying to the human world, he/she spoke aloud of returning at last to the Green Life.
To me Sharp is an example of someone living their vision, and in a small way, he/she is a forerunner and prophet for some of our work today.
--R J Stewart
(Note: I hope to put a longer version of this article on our Web Pages soon)
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