A leading contemporary authority
on the magical applications of the Kabbalah, Gareth Knight was
born in Colchester, England, in 1930. He had an interest in psychic
matters from early childhood, and in 1953 he enrolled on the study
course of the Society of the Inner Light, the London-based esoteric
school founded by Dion Fortune.
Working his way quickly through the grades, he was initiated into
the Greater Mysteries in 1959 and became the Society's librarian.
During this time he undertook the research which led to the publication
of A Practical Guide to Qabalistic Symbolism in 1965, drawn mainly
from unpublished material in the Society's archives.
In 1962 he began editing an occult
magazine, New Dimensions, which published his own articles and
archive material by Dion Fortune.
He was becoming increasingly unhappy with the direction the Society
of the Inner Light was taking at that time, and resigned in 1965.
He moved to Gloucestershire and co-founded a small publishing
venture, Helios Books, and together with W.E. Butler founded a
correspondence course in Qabalah which in 1973 was relaunched
as the Servants of the Light. Within a very short time he met
Anthony Duncan, a young Christian priest, whose ideas on Christian
spirituality were to cross-fertilise with Knight's ideas on Qabalah
and magic. This resulted in two significant books - The Christ,
Psychotherapy and Magic by Anthony Duncan and Experience of the
Inner Worlds by Gareth Knight.
His two-volume work A Practical
Guide to Qabalistic Symbolism is a standard work in the occult
field and is used as a text book in the SOL
First Degree Correspondence Course.
In 1973 Gareth Knight founded
a new esoteric school, based on the original principles of the
Society of the Inner Light. Its members were gleaned from the
regular attenders of Knight's lectures at Hawkwood College in
Gloucestershire, and it quickly became a firmly established and
fully contacted Order. The lectures and private Group meetings
continued to gather pace throughout the 1970s, with prospective
new members being trained by correspondence course. New Dimensions
magazine was relaunched in 1973 and ran for a further three years,
after which it was replaced by a new magazine, Quadriga, which
was circulated to students on the course. In 1976 Knight was awarded
an honorary Humanities Doctorate by the Sangreal Foundation, Dallas,
Texas, "in recognition of distinguished attainments",
and the award of Outstanding Humanitarian for 1976. At the same
time he was appointed Consultant in Archetypal Symbolism to the
C.G.Jung Institute, Dallas.
As the Gareth Knight Group began
to work at progressively higher levels, the decision was taken
to close the teaching aspect and concentrate on becoming a working
unit. Annual 'public' meetings continued to be held at Hawkwood
College, and Knight began lecturing further afield in France,
Greece and the USA. He set up a Tarot correspondence course in
1987, which was later published as The Magical World of the Tarot.
An invitation came from the Society of the Inner Light in 1991
to edit Dion Fortune's war letters for publication, and this sparked
off some ground-breaking new work in the mediation of inner plane
More of Dion Fortune's unpublished
material (An Introduction to Ritual Magic) was released from the
Society's archive in 1997, and this time Knight was asked to write
a companion chapter for each of Dion Fortune's own chapters --
constituting a unique collaboration between two of the leading
esoteric authorities of the 20th century. The following year he
was invited to re-join the Society of the Inner Light, to assist
with internal restructuring. In 1999 the Gareth Knight Group split
into two separate groups: the Avalon Group and the Companions
of the Inner Abbey.