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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The Winged Bull by Dion Fortune. A wise magician wants to free his sister from an obscene and dangerous ritual.
He summons the ancient cult of the Winged Bull to infiltrate the Black Mass in which she faces the ordeal which will be literally worse than death.
Magical practices and esoteric laws are described in dramatic form. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published by SIL Trading first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions 8. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Winged Bull , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4.
Rating details. Sort order. Start your review of The Winged Bull. My bad. I thought I was picking up a pulp-type novel, not a fiction designed to lead people into mystery cults. I am not interested in worshiping Pan no offense, Pan, you're awesome, I'm just not a joiner but even if I were I don't think I'd enjoy this book.
I'd recommend this for people who have a particular interest in occult novels and practices rath My bad. I'd recommend this for people who have a particular interest in occult novels and practices rather than casual readers.
The author seems to have been a member of some of these groups, so that aspect is probably accurate. I mean, if you can't rely on the information passed on by the Ascended Masters, whom can you trust, right? Actually, their complaints are almost amusing because they gripe about things like how women nag if you don't pay the rent on time. I was mildly surprised that the author was a women. Dagos are servile and badly dressed.
Kids need to be spanked more. That kind of dated stuff that you're probably familiar with if you read much Brit Lit from this period. View all 10 comments. Aug 08, Tim Pendry rated it really liked it Shelves: esoteric , literature-general , sexuality-erotica , twentieth-century , british , cultural-studies , religion-spiritual.
Published in , this straddles the territory between popular and serious fiction or an attempt at it at least. It is best given its rating as the former because this is not great literature but rather a fascinating insight into the sexual attitudes of a long-gone era. Put to one side the casual racism and sexism and the very binary view of what it is to be a man and a woman and enjoy a romantic adventure, albeit one built on the somewhat simple sub-Lawrentian and post-Freudian theories of it Published in , this straddles the territory between popular and serious fiction or an attempt at it at least.
Put to one side the casual racism and sexism and the very binary view of what it is to be a man and a woman and enjoy a romantic adventure, albeit one built on the somewhat simple sub-Lawrentian and post-Freudian theories of its occultist psychologist author. There is an erotic charge in at least the first third of the book and, although the romance does not quite ring true, it contains nuggets of well observed psychology some of which applies today as much to the s. But it is the down-at-heel soldier Murchison who interests most.
This is a picture of a thirty-something who has been given a taste of life as a berserker soldier in the Great War and been disappointed ever since, finding not a 'land fit for heroes' but submission to harsh economic reality and a culture of sexual repression. This is the sort of man who would have swelled the ranks of national socialism if he had been born a German but he is born a Briton instead and so into a very different set of class, emotional and sexual constraints.
The characters of Murchison, his slightly effeminate and manipulative boss Alick Brangwyn and the confused and passive half-sister Ursula Brangwyn create a sexual dynamic offset against the manipulations of darker forces. The criminal is always just below the surface. Murchison could turn to crime out of economic desperation. He makes clear that he would do so to survive but his opponents are criminal by their very nature. Love redeems, of course, but he has to have the basic character for it.
Murchison is saved rather too obviously in the final symbolism by a form of gnostic Christanity rather than the socially dominant Christianity of his contemporary culture because he is taken in hand by Brangwyn the manipulative occultist and therapist. On the other side is a sinister and evil character, Astley, no more nor less than a satirised Aleister Crowley.
The attempt at a Black Mass ritual is the seedy ancestor of Dennis Wheatley's horrors - not true esotericism but mere psychic and physical thuggery. For Fortune, the occult was just hidden spirituality of a gnostic type in which magic was a matter of the manipulation of the psychological dynamic in a sexual situation. The cause of change would be spiritual in the classic sense.
Evil magicians could use that same dynamic. The underlying theme is one of sex magick and, though never explicit and clearly undertaken within the bounds of matrimony, there is an ambiguity about whether the matrimony may actually require a church service if it is a magically charged spiritual encounter.
As you would expect in a published book of the era, the sexual magick is ritualised in the abstract and largely alluded to rather than directly presented but it is there. The theme is clear - sex is a positive force for spiritual change. The theory is not going to persuade many twenty-first century readers - too much intellectual and social change took place in the intervening eight or so decades but it remains an interesting contribution to the occult thriller genre and still reads well.
Jul 11, Calvin rated it liked it. This was a romance novel that touched on some esoteric lore. I had expected rather more esoteric lore and less romance novel. However, the story was charming, and the characters were wonderful.
I especially liked the Yorkshire man main character, and the scenes in the Welsh countryside. I think insofar as I was expecting more weirdness, perhaps Robert Anton Wilson's fantastic novels have spoiled me. But this was a good read, if a tad anachronistic with regard to speech patterns and attitudes tow This was a romance novel that touched on some esoteric lore.
But this was a good read, if a tad anachronistic with regard to speech patterns and attitudes toward race and gender. Mar 01, Kylie rated it it was ok. Way too much emphasis on the romance, but I still enjoyed reading it. Not so much the plot, but the almost arcane style and language. I snagged myself a beautiful 's hardback of this and will be pleased to add it to my collection. None of her fiction has beat the Sea Priestess so far for me. May 30, Carmilla Voiez rated it liked it Shelves: magic.
It is also a decent suspense story. In spite of this, the novel is deeply flawed. Sadly, the narrative style is far from polished.
The author simply tells her story rather than showing it to us through action and dialogue, which would allow the reader to feel part of the world. The villain, Astley, reputably based on Crowley, is mixed race, although Fortune uses a racial slur to describe him.
His butler too is described with Enid Blyton style overt racism. I am not one of those readers who attempts to justify this as a product of its time. While the book is ok, it didn't live up to my expectations. Jul 21, David rated it liked it. The very beginning scenes at the British Museum are probably the best part of the whole book, sadly. After that, there is never again as much mythologising, if one should use such a word, again.
The so called rituals propposed get talked about but not many get performed and while the book is free of much spiritualist jargon, it's a bit light on anyting else. A kind of love story, with a rather weak antagonist thwarted pathetically easily a bit of a ways before the book's end, after most of the n The very beginning scenes at the British Museum are probably the best part of the whole book, sadly. A kind of love story, with a rather weak antagonist thwarted pathetically easily a bit of a ways before the book's end, after most of the novel is spent on people sitting around and discussing what to do about him.
I tried but I only got through a third of the book before giving up. I was confused and couldn't get a handle on what was going on.
The Winged Bull
Ted Murchison, ex-army officer, down on his luck, unemployed, disillusioned with God, finds himself communing wordlessly with the great winged bull in the British Museum. Outside again, the fog as thick as ever, Murchison first cries aloud in his imagination to the winged bull. Io Pan, Pan! Io Pan! One of my favourite first chapters of all time! The novel and writing feel quite dated now; these were the days before political correctness was thought of it was first published in , but if you can cope with that aspect, which seems to touch on so many parts of the life between these covers, especially the roles designated to male and female, the book is revealing and informative. Lawrence in Women In Love; ie the right of a woman to choose her mate , slightly annoying at times, and — for me at least — stretched a little too far.
It is interesting to note that it is only the main female character and two sheepdogs that are referred to by their first names. It is also interesting that Branwyn is shown in a very positive light compared to his sister even though it was his use of her as a guinea pig in his magical experiments that led to her breakdown and loss of any agency. This is a damsel in distress story full of villains. Perhaps Fortune saw in Wuthering Heights a great romance between Heathcliff and Cathy, where the rest of us saw a dangerous and violent obsession. I am fascinated with occult magic. My take on rituals like that of the winged bull is that they allow people to communicate with a part of their own minds, which is usually inaccessible.