I started reading Psychic Self-Defense by Dion Fortune and you know what?
Motta’s Astral Attack and Defense reads almost word-for-word in several places. Note that in Motta’s book he only states that the identities have been changed for privacy reasons. But in the cases talked about, the things changed are the locations, sexes and “who knows who.” In Fortune’s book however it is clear that SHE was the one psychically attacked in one such case and SHE knew the other people who were attacked. For example, there is a case of a teacher at a school which Motta said was in Brazil. The head was a male and involved in an order of Rosicrucians, adept in hypnotism. In Fortune’s book what happened was that she had gone to work for a woman who had spent time in India and did the same things described, to her.
Okay, so maybe some of that can be excused to changing the information for privacy reasons. After all, Motta did write,”…we took the freedom to change names or places, to protect serious and dedicated people against the persecution of fanatics or the idle curiosity of false enthusiasts.” But to say that the teacher was “our colleague”? That’s misleading. It gives the impression that Motta had close contact with the people whose cases he is writing about. That would have been called, what, secondhand experience? But he doesn’t even have that. He’s bullshitting the readers with false pretenses. And it seems everyone else who has read the book and thinks it’s just peachy is perfectly willing to overlook the fact.
That’s not all, however. Besides the cases, he also blatantly plagiarizes her thoughts on many other topics like the etheric planes and symptoms of psychic attacks, etc. Also annoying is his use of the royal “we.” Who is we? Certainly not just himself, given the above. Keep in mind Motta and Fortune lived in two different places and time periods: Fortune lived until 1946 in Victorian England and Motta until 1987 in Brazil. But if they did, you can bet your ass men would be claiming it was Fortune plagiarizing Motta and not the other way around. Because there are still men who believe women can’t write. Or something. That, or males on the same subject matter are superior in knowledge and authority.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that Motta copied most of her Psychic Self-Defense and just added some other topics on top of that. If that’s even his writing.
To give you all some background on my gripe with Motta, I translated Motta’s work from Portuguese into English with Paul Rovelli (now an ex-friend). Rovelli never told me about the plagiarism. Looking at what he had written about Motta’s book he does not even acknowledge there is plagiarism going on, either:
From his page “The Motta System of Thelema” he writes:
“From this and combined with some of the writings of Dion Fortune, Motta delineates the nature and methods of psychic attack and protection from psychic attack.”
Some of her writings?! That’s an understatement! Why not just go ahead and admit he copied her writings? SAY IT!!
And on his editor preface on Astral Attack and Defense:
“While not everything he ever wrote may stand the test of time; especially some more controversial ideas on sexuality amongst other topics, Astral Attack and Defense easily stands as an iconic example of his brilliant insight and experience. Motta himself dismissed the value of the work as he felt Dion Fortune’s book, Psychic Self-Defense, provided everything the English speaking world needed to know; negating the value of translating his Portuguese work into English. For one with a familiarity of both Motta’s and Ms. Fortune’s work, it is easy to find her stamp all through Motta’s writing on this subject.”
Excuse me, her fucking stamp? Like a little reminder of her, and that’s it?! He ripped her off! The “brilliant insight” is Fortune’s, not his! Contemporary magicians agree that Motta had an exaggerated claim to spiritual development so why wouldn’t he go another step and put his name to Fortune’s work? Yeah, copying is such a compliment when first of all it’s not even acknowledged, second, it turns people away from the original writer *rolls eyes*
See, Rovelli had told me Motta’s book was so much better, more thorough etc. that I didn’t even need to read Fortune’s. So I didn’t think much of it and had no idea until recently. I know now that the reason why Rovelli never told me was because I would have taken it to task right then and there and probably wouldn’t have agreed to translate Motta’s book to begin with. Because according to him, translating the book was such a big deal and so revolutionary due to HOOR attempting to prevent the availability of a free English version, and not at all part of a tradition of unoriginal plagiarists and copyright enforcers, further aided by cowards in “the greater Thelemic community” who are unwilling to acknowledge the occurrence of plagiarism.
That’s what I call ironic.
So to anyone reading this: I feel like the wool had been pulled over my eyes, and I find Fortune’s book to be very important. For one thing, it’s original. For another, it includes actual cases such as her accidentally creating a were-wolf, or how the negative energy of certain atmospheres can psychically affect people. Hence I have edited any book list here by putting in Fortune’s book, but also listing it above Motta’s. I highly recommend reading it for anyone interested in psychic/astral attack and self-defense.