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Madeline Montalban (1910–1982) was an English astrologer and ceremonial magician who co-founded the esoteric organisation known as the Order of the Morning Star (OMS), through which she propagated her own form of Luciferianism. After moving to London in the early 1930s and immersing herself in its esoteric subculture, she taught herself ceremonial magic and associated with significant occultists, including Aleister Crowley and Kenneth Grant, and Wiccans like Gerald Gardner and Alex Sanders. From 1933 until her death she wrote magazine articles on astrology and other esoteric topics. In 1952 she met Nicholas Heron, with whom she entered into a relationship, and they founded the OMS as a correspondence course in 1956, teaching subscribers their own magical rites. Viewing Lucifer as a benevolent angelic deity, she believed Luciferianism had its origins in ancient Babylon, and encouraged her followers to contact angelic beings associated with the planetary bodies to aid their spiritual development. Having refused to publish her ideas in books, Montalban became largely forgotten following her death, although the OMS continued under new leadership. (Full article...)

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Today's featured picture

A Midsummer Night's Dream

A Midsummer Night's Dream is a comedy play by William Shakespeare, probably written between 1590 and 1596, about events surrounding the marriage of Theseus, the Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the Queen of the Amazons. This scene shows two victims of mischievous fairies: the fairy queen Titania and the human weaver Bottom. She is smitten with him due to Oberon's love potion, while his head was changed to an ass's by Puck.

This Edwin Landseer painting, Scene from A Midsummer Night's Dream, was commissioned by the engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel to hang on his dining room wall as part of a series of Shakespeare-themed works. The painting, its subject likely selected by Landseer for its close ties to animals, was popular from its first exhibition; the future Queen Victoria described it as "a gem, beautifully fairy-like and graceful".

Painting: Edwin Landseer

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