Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Lughnasadh 2014 - Cover

Issue No. 153, Lughnasadh 2014

Published Quarterly Since 1976

Aset Shemsu - "The Retinue of Isis"

Lughnasadh 2014 - Oracle and Editorial


Oracle of the Goddess Isis of Ten Thousand Names
Goddess of the Aquarian Age
Through Her Priestess, Olivia Robertson
Transcription dated October, 9, 2011, Nesu House, Isis Oasis
My New Aeon is the age of the Temple of the Stars. To enter, you must give up the idea of ladders! My starry path is not for those who love status or competitions. The Universe is a spiral, therefore, let the microcosm mirror the macrocosm! All beings are not the same, yet all emanate from the same Source. My Divine Spark resides within each one – whether human or sidhe, angel or animal, tree or plant, stone or star. All were given birth through Me! Leave behind the idea that you are “created” - you were not created - you were born! You are the offspring of My Body. Open your hearts and My Divine Spark will shine forth in each of you. Honor the Divinity in All and you honor Me.

Editorial by Cressida Pryor

Leading on from the last Isian News:

‘Broader structures within the FOI are also going to be ‘spring cleaned’ so we meet the anniversary with fresh energy and purpose. One of these areas is the basic priesthood training and another will be the rites of passage liturgies. More of this in the next Isian News’:

My, what an interesting few months we have had since the last Isian News...Isis’s name, blessings be upon her and all of us, or rather the acronym ISIS has been in the news for far from divine reasons...Is this phenomena a manifestation of the dark side of our humanness? I am reading a fascinating book rooted in the psychology and science of human nature by Graham Music called ‘the Good Life’...the cover shows a drawing of a smiling brain reaching down to grasp ‘the hand’ of a warm heart...an image of cooperation between these two vital organs. His work in forensic settings brings him to meet those where this crucial alliance is severed and wider society suffers as a result.

Mystics and sensitives throughout history have pointed the way to a life that is light filled; where there is an open heart capable of linking and thinking with truth and compassion fostering parity between all.

My vision for the FOI also encompasses a movement away from the gradual developments in past decades of complex hierarchical structures of ‘adepti’; the arch priesthood, the grand orders with Knights and Dames Commanders to something simpler and more transparent ...I discovered that the names of many on these lists are a surprise; not least to those who are named there! There is, of course a need for groupings, which allow those with particular vocations to have support, training, encourage development and friendship. I don’t think such groups need to contain a certain number of people (currently 33 seems to be the chosen quantity) so the ‘gaps’ have been filled with likely names...now I can feel collective gasps coming maybe from certain quarters as I write this. Next to me lies Olivia’s Compendium of manuals kindly sent to me from America where it was recently updated after her death. I know her huge well of creativity and love of drama fostered the development of these colourful and elaborate structures. My fear is that this complexity; imbued with heraldic and Masonic overtones flatter our all too easily fed ego. Who wouldn’t feel bolstered by being initiated as 4th Grade Grand Dame~Knight Commander of the xxxx Noble Order? Turning to the compendium for guidance I find Olivia used a term I feel is more congruent with the non-hierarchical ethos of the manifesto:

To become Companions ... someone we share bread with, someone we walk alongside on the same path; deepening relationship through conversation and dream sharing... Now this is more ‘my cup of tea’ and not to forget the slice of cake; paying homage to Olivia’s more earthly sacraments!

What about priest/ess training? ... the first task is to know the ‘look’ of what the FOI comprises because this then influences what training needs to happen. There is a working party in Ireland, close to the Foundation Centre and the Circle of Brigid that is currently exploring a possible broad training curriculum. This task is time consuming and gruelling; I bow down to those involved in this work and when we have more definite ideas will communicate these to you.

For the FOI to recharge after Olivia’s passing, to fresh vibrancy and relevance, requires certain developments, which will emerge after discussion and consultation. My fear is we remain in ‘Olivia Aspic’, which she herself would decry and warn against. Stepping into our own glory perhaps feels disrespectful at present only nine months since her death. The right time will emerge and Isis’s wings will protect and refresh these developments.

I hold these words of John O’Donohue close to my thoughts and heart:

“May the gift of leadership awaken in you as a vocation,
Keep you mindful of the providence that calls you to serve.

As high over the mountains the eagle spreads its wings,
May your perspective be larger than the view from the foothills....”

I have just heard of Loreon Vigne’s passing, she was one who had the broad view from the mountain top; may her soul soar.

May we all, dear companions, gather strength at this time of first harvest as the wings of Isis spread wide in protection and gratitude.

With Love and the Blessings.


If you have any feedback or ideas for Cressida as we approach the 40th anniversary of the Fellowship of Isis in 2016, please contact her by email: zenziallink@hotmail.com 

Tribute to Loreon Vigne

From Cressida Pryor

I was sorry to hear of Loreon's death and know Olivia was fond of her. My thoughts and sympathies are with those who mourn her passing.

With the blessings of Isis


Loreon Vigne: Priestess of Isis
June 8, 1932 – July 15, 2014
By Linda Iles
There simply is no way to write about the life of Loreon Vigne without writing about the Temple of Isis in Geyserville, California at Isis Oasis. She purchased the property and moved onto it in 1978. Once there, she began to envision a future for the land, which involved creating a sanctuary for the Goddess. When she and her husband Paul Ramses visited the three FOI Co-Founders in Ireland in 1983, Loreon had a long talk with Lawrence Durdin-Robertson about her hopes for Isis Oasis. Lawrence took Loreon on a walking tour of the castle and the grounds. He told her “You just have to meet the Goddess halfway.” Shortly after returning to her home at Isis Oasis, she received a letter signed by both Lawrence and his sister Olivia asking if Loreon and Paul would like to become part of the Isian clergy of the Fellowship of Isis. The rite took place by attunement not long after.

I first met Loreon in person during the FOI Convocation in October of 1997, though I had heard of Isis Oasis and spoken to Loreon on the phone before then. Over the years, I became aware of the huge amount of time the day-to-day running of this property entailed. It had become the focus of Loreon’s work as a priestess, it was her life’s work and her legacy, Isis Oasis changed her life. Not many outside of those who were her friends can ever guess what a huge undertaking it was to preserve the land and the temple. It was a responsibility not many would have been able to perform. But Isis knew the heart of Her Daughter Loreon, and Isis chose well.

Loreon wrote these words, taken from a conversation she had with Paul during a getaway weekend in December of 2004:

“We spoke of the Temple of Isis and the reason for its existence. Was it an important entity to maintain in the world? Yes … there is a reason for keeping the Goddess Isis alive today. She is there to wake humankind up to the essence of the Feminine Principle.
If humans could incorporate this concept they might see the uselessness of war and destruction and concentrate more on working hand in hand with nature, to enhance her in all her glory. They would become as nurturing mothers to each other and the whole world would change.”

Caroline Wise sponsored the first FOI Convention in London in 1990. Caroline and several others in London offered meetings of iseums and lyceums, which served as a springboard for future growth of the Fellowship of Isis. Over the years, members have offered their private homes for FOI events. The late Deena Butta facilitated FOI meetings and events in her home for members of FOI Chicago for decades. She also orchestrated annual events, which took place in a local hall.

It has been the vocation of some members to manifest land, which serves as a permanent meeting place for honoring the Sacred Feminine. There are two notable examples within the Fellowship of Isis. The three FOI Co-Founders created the Temple of Isis, the Old Abbey and the Druid Grove on the grounds of Clonegal Castle; in the United States, Loreon created Isis Oasis, home of the Temple of Isis in Geyserville, with a plot of land featuring an Isis Chapel, a theatre which doubles as the Main Temple, a Dining Pavilion and buildings, which offer accommodations to guests.

While the theme of Isis Oasis is predominately ancient Egyptian, deities from other pantheons are honored too. There is an outdoor shrine to Kwan Yin by the tree next to Loreon’s gallery, which was planted in memory of Paul Rameses. Diveena Shapouri, who has Native American ancestry, honored the local spirits and deities on the grounds in ritual work for a decade. Brigid has been honored at Imbolc and the Goddesses Ngame and Yemaya have been honored, to name a few.

To have an actual physical area to gather together away from our homes, to share in fellowship our adventures in life and on our spiritual path is a great blessing. It is a ‘joining of individual hearths’ for a space in time, which proves life changing. Individuals join in ritual, prayer and meditation, and receive confirmation of their experiences from others; and life-long friendships are formed. So many of us have said to each other since the passing of Loreon, how else would we have ever met? For many of us the answer is this – it is unlikely that we would have!

Does the existence of these physical temples take away from the importance of the individual “hearths of the Goddess” within our hearts and homes? No it does not. It adds to the whole experience! What we all bring away from these places we share with others. This demonstrates a favorite saying of Olivia’s “The Goddess adds, She does not subtract.” And that is the mark of a true Goddess devotee, and by extension a true priestess or priest. They do not detract from the work of another, which is a kind of subtraction, instead, they rejoice in the good that others do in the Name of the Goddess.

I would like to close with these words written by Loreon Vigne:

“We all know the saying ‘The Goddess changes everything She touches and everything She touches changes.’ We have been granted so much beauty, love and abundance. Let each of us look inside to see where we can improve and help others to do so as well. Little by little we can help change things and begin to create a world that is truly worth living within.
Let us find a way to bring harmony into our lives through our families, friends and acquaintances. Let us have compassion for those who have little and help them on their way as much as we can. Let us see humanity as one entity, each of us connected to the other. Let peace prevail on earth.

This year is a seven (2014). Like our own bodies we renew all our cells every seven years. Seven was a very magical number in ancient Egypt. Let us circle our altars seven times in silence while contemplating how we are going to make changes in our lives. Think of what it is you want most to be happening for you this year. Give it a form allowing it to manifest into actuality. You too have the power as a Child of Isis to create great changes.”

Evohe, Isis!

Report: Memorial of Loreon Vigne at Isis Oasis
By Rain Graves

July 20th, 2014, began as all other days have been at Isis Oasis, missing our Great Lady Loreon Vigne's physical presence. We were in the middle of a drought-ridden summer with little breeze and great abundance of heat. There were some clouds, we noticed, and as we took our lunch in the pavilion, and a light drizzle occurred only for a moment, to echo our somber thoughts. This was highly unusual. "Rain in July? In Geyserville?" People wondered if it wasn't a little gift from Loreon to help along the plants and ease our water usage. As we saw to all the animals, we were sensitive to their own special grieving; every staff member had been giving them extra love and attention to ease their sadness.

The altar in the small temple was pregnant with bright flowers, little trinkets and stones offered to the Goddess in remembering Lady Loreon. They lay next to or in front of her photo, and all around the feet of Isis. More purple flowers and photos adorned the entryway to the pavilion, where a basket of chocolates had been set for everyone to enjoy in her honor.

The grand temple was alive with her spirit; pink rose petals and Marigolds lined the long stairway up to the mouth of it, where a standing Anubis statue, candle lit in hand, greeted people. A grand and beautiful altar with plenty of purple, Loreon's favorite color, was posed with a large photo of her, and a small one of Loreon and Lady Olivia Robertson at the top. Offerings to Bast, Anubis, Isis and Osiris together, and Isis at the top had been gracefully made. The smell of Frankincense and Myrrh was uplifting and cleansing. Pieces of her enamel craftwork, specifically rainbows, had been placed appropriately there, too. White and red rose petals were scattered at the feet of the Goddess Isis, and then again at the foot of Lady Loreon's favorite throne. Upon the seat cushion, her purple stole was laid, with her sistrum, circlets, and wand.  Her spirit was there, too.

At 3pm, the usual Sunday Scrolls ceremony was presided over by Rev. Marilyn Motherbear, assisted by Priestess Rain Graves. Lady Loreon's "Singing Scroll" was read, as the one she had been working on and planning to read herself that Sunday. Poems and words were shared by Leslie Campbell, Loreon's niece, and deTraci Regula, Loreon's long devoted friend and fellow priestess, and Temple of Isis Board Member. More words from others not present followed, sent in loving memory, and then the full temple of people came up, one by one, and offered their poem or short speech. As her list of admirers is long, the ceremony lasted three full hours. Miguel Elliott shared a beautiful video montage of Loreon's photos and videos, singing and speaking. Many in the audience commented that they could see Lady Loreon's spirit throughout the ceremony up on stage, in various places. It was a healing and cathartic experience for many grieving locals to be able to express their love for her in their own way.

Directly after, we proceeded down the stairs again, under the grey clouds with the sunshine playing peek-a-boo. A wonderful potluck dinner was waiting, and Miguel had wheeled the portable cob wood-fired pizza oven over, and was making personal pizzas for all to enjoy. Suddenly, as if on queue, when all had gathered and were enjoying themselves and telling stories about our Great Lady inside and out of doors, a large rainbow appeared in an arc across the sky above the small temple, stretching over the pavilion, and beyond. The earlier raindrops had been very strange weather for Geyserville, but to have a rainbow such as this after no rain for hours, was a tremendous gift of the Goddess. We all gathered outside, marveling and taking photos, as a group began singing, "Somewhere Over The Rainbow," in honor of Lady Loreon. We genuinely felt this was Loreon's way of letting us know she was pleased with this memorial, which was the first of several to be had in future on a larger scale.
Her prismatic spirit is felt, seen, heard and sometimes even repeated by the birds ("Hi there, Loreon!") here at Isis Oasis, Temple of Isis HQ. We grieve her loss greatly, but celebrate her life and are preserving her legacy just as greatly. 

Announcement from Isis Oasis
Received July 17, 2014

The Isis Oasis Sanctuary and Temple of Isis are continuing on the lines that Loreon Vigné established. Her family and the Temple of Isis are working together to ensure her legacy will go on to inspire and enlighten all those drawn to Isis Oasis and the Goddess. Events will continue as scheduled and new bookings will be accepted for weddings, workshops, and other purposes. The Inner Sanctum Symposium on August 22-24 will feature a special honoring of Loreon, as well as the annual FOI Convocation in October. We invite you wholeheartedly to attend these events and join us in celebrating Loreon's life and legacy.

Photo of Loreon Vigne by Tim Laughrin. Photos of Altar, Loreon's Chair and rainbow arching over the grounds of Isis Oasis by Rain Graves.


Upcoming Events

“This August, Isis Oasis will be hosting the Inner Sanctum Symposium on Infinite Possibilities, a knowledge-sharing event within the Egyptian Pantheon Mysteries, and would like to invite you to participate. It is a scholarly weekend that is meant to be a playground of interesting ideas, practices, ritual, and learning. Anyone and everyone is welcome to attend.

As a community, we have so many wonderful practitioners that have very specific skills that many others would like to learn. Have you ever seen a ritual or event and wondered, "How does she do that? Where can I learn to do it?" These and other questions will be answered throughout our programming tract. At a time when Isis is making herself more known than ever in the modern past, achieving our goals in seeking her wisdom often lies within the wisdom of others.

We will have a special High Holy Ceremony honoring the life and work of our Great Lady Loreon Vigne, celebrating her life and artistry. This formal ceremony will be a precursor to a second honoring at our Annual Convocation, where new Priestesses and Priests are ordained into the Temple of Isis and Fellowship of Isis. The Convocation ceremony will be open to the greater public.” Rain Graves, ISIS Symposim Facilitator

Isis Symposium, Geyserville, California, USA: Friday, August 22- Monday, October 24, 2014. Isis Oasis will be hosting the Inner Sanctum Symposium on Infinite Possibilities, a knowledge-sharing event within the Egyptian Pantheon Mysteries, and would like to invite you to participate. It is a scholarly weekend that is meant to be a playground of interesting ideas, practices, ritual, and learning. Anyone and everyone is welcome to attend. You do not have to be a priestess or priest. You simply must have a healthy curiosity. Accommodations are below regular cost, per-person, and very affordable. Dorm Room rates ($65/night) and Lodge Room rates ($80/night) are available, and include meals. For a list of details, pricing, presenters, and our preliminary programming schedule, please visit the Symposium Website at: http://isissymposium.blogspot.com/  Call Isis Oasis and mention the Isis Symposium to Book your stay: 707-857-4747. E-mail: isis@isisoasis.org Address: 20889 Geyserville Ave, Geyserville CA 95441. Single Day Passes from 11am to 11pm are also available for $50, and include two meals. We are also looking for dedicated volunteers for a work exchange. Please feel free to share this event with others in your community who may be interested. We look forward to seeing you in August!

21st Goddess Festival, Chicago, Ilinois, USA: Saturday, October 4, 2014. Registration 9 – 10 AM. Festival 10 AM – 7 PM The FOI liturgy rite “The Awakening of the Golden Phoenix” from “Melusina, Life Centres of the Goddess” will be enacted. Location: MKP Chicago Lodge / Kuempel Men's Center
1900 W Fulton Street, Chicago, IL, 60612.
The price of the festival is $40 per person.  Early registration price is $30 per person, all funds to be received by Sept. 10, 2014, and cleared by Sept. 15, 2014. This includes coffee, tea, and light snacks.  It does not include lunch. We will offer a catered lunch for $10 per person, with vegetarian, chicken, or beef options. Contact Demetria Nanos for more details: hail_isis@yahoo.com The Fellowship of Isis community in Chicago has been hosting Goddess Festivals since 1994. Chicago was the scene of the Parliament of World’s Religions in 1993, and Olivia Robertson’s first visit to the United States.  Isian News Editor’s Note: We honor the work of the FOI Chicago Community to continue on the legacy of Deena Butta.

25th FOI Convocation, Temple of Isis, Geyserville, California, USA: Friday, October 10 – Monday, October 13. Deities to be honored this year are Mafdet and Anubis. Call Isis Oasis and mention the Convocation to book your stay: 707-857-4747. E-mail: isis@isisoasis.org Address: 20889 Geyserville Ave, Geyserville CA 95441. Single Day Passes are also available. FOI Co-Founder Olivia Robertson attended convocation at Isis Oasis in Geyserville every year from 1995 – 2011, after which she no longer traveled to the United States. The first convocation for the Fellowship of Isis at Isis Oasis was held in October of 1990.

Photo of the Great Tree at Isis Oasis and Photo of the Main Temple at Isis Oasis by Rain Graves.

Remembering Olivia Robertson

Olivia’s Last Visit
By Rev. Celia Thomas, Isis of Avalon Iseum

The last time Olivia came to stay with me was at Samhain 2012. She would come to Glastonbury each Lughnasadh, but was unable to make it last year, so it was a pleasant surprise when she made an unexpected visit here at the end of October. I had noticed over the years that Olivia would often present me with a particular experience of which she was trying to decipher the correct meaning. It may have been a dream, a vision or some other sort of psychic phenomena, but it would always become a topic of conversation and inspired ideas from whoever she was with whilst here. I’m sure that other members would be familiar with this facet of Olivia. On this, her final visit, she had one such experience to share, which was a recent vision of a woman who was surrounded by spinning golden discs. She drew pictures of this and there was much debate and discussions with others, but we failed to come up with a clear solution as to what it meant.

On her last day, we were at my home waiting for her niece to collect her, when my eyes fell upon a golden platter which has always served as a sun disc positioned behind my statue of Sekhmet. I suddenly saw it in a different light and said to Olivia that here was a golden disc! I gave it to her and she was excited and happy to pose for a photo, then waved at her niece with it as she came up the path. This was the last picture I took of her in my home.

Pilgrimages with Olivia

Over the years, Olivia and I enjoyed many magical, mystical pilgrimages out into the landscape. Quite often they would unfold with no destination in mind, guided by the moment; however, some journeys were 'as we always do'. These would include the Saturday afternoon trip to Wells Cathedral followed by tea in the restaurant there. Then onto Cheddar Gorge for a spectacular slow drive through the steep windy natural cathedral of towering rocks, driving to the accompaniment of resonant music to accentuate this truly exulting experience. She told me how she'd cycled there herself during the war when she was staying in Ashwick, a small village in the Mendip Hills some miles away. We went back to this village a few times to see the Rectory where she’d stayed and she reminisced of magical country walks down the local lanes, and of seeing Glastonbury Tor in the distance. She also remembered the night that Bristol, 20 miles north of there, was bombed.

One year she wanted me to take her to see Brean Down, the mile long peninsula jutting out into the Bristol Channel, which was the setting of Dion Fortune’s novel The Sea Priestess. This was a favourite book she would often pick up during her stays at my home. This always felt special to me, as it’s a First Edition copy I have, that was once owned Mary Long. Mary had been a member of The Society of Inner Light in the 1940’s and had told me that Dion Fortune once touched her forehead informing her that she ‘bore the mark.’ Mary had corresponded with Olivia for many years and it was she who ordained me in ’92. She passed away 4 years later, but that link to FOI was anchored in me and led to my connection with Olivia.

Another place Olivia would sometimes ask to go to was Cadbury Castle, a legendary Arthurian site which lies some miles S. East of Glastonbury. She would have a very powerful feeling come over her as we approached a certain area in the landscape. This was one of the places we went during her last visit.

The very last pilgrimage we did was on a still, damp afternoon before Samhain. Olivia said she’d like to go to Wookey Hole, a village nestled in the craggy Mendip Hills near Wells. This is an atmospheric place, famous for the legendary ‘Witch of Wookey’ who was said to have inhabited the caves there. We visited the pub in the village, which bears the name of ‘The Angel’, then ventured into the church which was next door. Having never visited it before, we were delighted to see that it was dedicated to Mary Magdalene. With the spirit of the Magdalene quietly evoked, we said prayers, and spent time in silence before ‘going forth’ with the spirit of Isis truly with us.

In retrospect, that last journey with Olivia seems very poignant, because in that village which she remembered from wartime, the elements of deep earth magic represented by the Witch of Wookey, The Magdalene current which is so Isian, and the heavenly frequency of The Angel were all represented!

I’m so grateful for the treasured memories, sacred journeys and time spent with Olivia over the years and the inspiration she continues to give. Hail to Isis!

Reports and News from Members and Centers


Bealtaine Festival 3rd May 2014
By Maire Doyle, Circle of Brigid, Ireland

My day began when I woke at 9.15. Today's Festival would be different for me as I had elected to preside over the proceedings and I felt somewhat anxious, never having done so before. As I drove I considered my feelings and gradually began to feel more relaxed about what I had to do. The Goddess Sophia had more than a little to do with this.

It was about 2pm when I got to Clonegal and some of the priesthood had already arrived. Several weeks ago I had helped Pamela with some cleaning in the Temple and today I brought some washed hangings down to Pamela who was making sure the Temple was ready. Back in the tearoom more people had arrived and everyone was greeting each other and greeting those who were new visitors or relatively new. To begin the proceedings we followed Priestess Marian into the Theatre where she lead us on a short meditation and spoke about Ra and his connection to the Earth. It was very relaxing for me and, with my eyes closed, I felt myself moving clockwise with the energy. Priestess Sara chanted as Priestess Eimear and Priest David lead the procession along the Yew Walk to the Sacred Grove where David opened the Portals and Deity was invoked. The earth was soft and pebbles crunched beneath our feet as we made our way to the Abbey where members of the Noble Order of Tara made invocation. When we arrived at the Shrine to Persephone, who now gazes out over the grounds and yews, Priestess Maureen asked Her to bring justice and harmony to us all. When David opened the Portals we entered the Temple to the sound of the bell being rung by our gatekeeper Andrew.

At the Sacred Well of Brigid the Priesthood invoked Deity. Priestess Cáit sang while blessings were offered to the congregation with water taken from the Well. I received a beautiful Blessing from Priestess Monica. Thank you Monica. At this time Eimear was in trance at the High Altar ready to give forth the Oracle which came from the Goddess Danu. Now that I am writing about it I realise that I must have sensed the Oracle rather than heard it, for I find it difficult to put it into words now. It is as if I wasn't in the physical. Following on from the Oracle, Priest Luke guided us on a magical journey from the earth to the realms of the Moon and on to the Sun. After a poem from Sara we came to the Mystery Play, the Sacred Marriage of the Sun and the Earth, and the bringing forth of the fruits of their union. David and Deirdre had the leading roles in this marriage and David commented that they had both been 'married' to each other several times before. 'Yes, and we're still talking' was Deirdre's response which sent laughter through the Temple. They spoke about birth and the fruits and harvest of their union and the death and rebirth of the land. I then performed the marriage ceremony after which Deirdre presented a very dramatic poem about the God and Goddess of the Land. Deirdre is a wonderful storyteller. And last but not least Minette gave us a poem about Daffodils.
Notices about upcoming events were then given, together with the date of our next Festival, which will be on 21st June 2014, and healings offered. The Priesthood then gave thanks before we made out way to Osbornes for the wonderful fare Mrs. Osborne always has to offer us. Although the Ceremony was complete in the Temple we continued our chatter and discussions in Osbornes until people began to head home, having partaken of Food for the Soul and food for our stomachs, well and truly satisfied.

Summer Solstice Festival 2014
By Maire Doyle, Circle of Brigid, Ireland

I woke to the beautiful sights and sounds of another glorious day, which bode well for the Summer Solstice Festival in Clonegal. I ate a hearty breakfast and then set out with 2 young women, a mother, Lisa, and her 17 year old daughter, Lauren, who were coming for their first visit to Huntington Castle. My journey along the N81 takes me through the beautiful verdant countryside of Wicklow and Carlow, which for me is always as much a part of the celebrations as the Festival itself.
The sight of the Castle as we drove up the avenue drew ‘Oohs’ and ‘Ahhs’ from my companions when we arrived about 2pm. I parked the car amidst the many already there, donned my robes and headed for the tea-rooms where I got a delicious hot scone with butter and jam which I ate al fresco.
Greetings were exchanged as “the usual suspects” arrived and with the new visitors. I was entrusted with the visitors’ signing-in book and given the job of “Chancellor of the Exchequer”!
Soon it was time to begin and we processed down to the Sacred Grove led by Priestesses Cáit and Eimear. Our brother Priest David was not with us in body but I feel sure he was with us in spirit. My companions were impressed by the sight and energy of the ancient trees. Cáit asked permission for us to pass through the Portal to the Grove, where Eimear invoked deity. On our way towards the Abbey of the Noble Order of Tara we were delighted to see our esteemed Priestess Pat Griffin who has attended the Festivals for many years, though unfortunately we do not see her so much lately. In the Abbey Priestess Maureen invoked Goddess Tara and she later invoked the Goddess Persephone, at her Shrine at the entrance to the Temple, and spoke of her desire for Justice. We entered the Temple where Priestess Deirdre was in trace at the High Altar. At the Well of Brigid the Priesthood invoked deity and Blessings were then given to all with water from the Sacred Well.
Our Oracle was from the “Unnamed One” and was quietly profound. On our magical journey we were taken beyond the mists to a woodland where an Ancient Oak stood. Priestess Marian was mistress of the ceremony of our Mystery play, which featured Goddess Áine as the faery Queen and the Dágda Mor. A gift of jelly sweets were distributed, notices of upcoming events were given and a request for healings. Then Eimear stood forth in her role as ‘housekeeper’, armed with her chart and asked for volunteers to assist Pamela, Olivia’s Great niece, with the upkeep of the Temple between Festivals. That done Eimear stepped forward with a ‘Hail the Goddess Hygia’ which brought as ripple of laughter. Methinks the Goddess Hygia will take a more active role among the deities from now on. It was time to give thanks for what we had experienced and had received.
We made our way to Osborne’s for a welcome cup of tea and sustenance and for the animated voices and laughter that filled the newly renovated lounge after a wonderful day of upliftment.

Lughnasadh Festival 26th July 2014, at Foundation Centre
Presented by Members of the Priesthood and Circle of Brigid
A lovely programme had been planned and we were delighted to welcome
Cressida Pryor, the Fellowship’s Steward to be with us again.

By Minette Quick, Hon. Sec. Circle of Brigid, Ireland

We also had some special visitors from Sweden who brought great joy to the occasion as they had asked a member of the priesthood to celebrate a hand-fasting ceremony for them in the Temple before the main ceremony, which I was privileged to witness and found very moving.

The weather which had been extremely hot and humid during the week was cool and inviting and though showers had been forecast, we were able to sing and process the familiar route beneath the famous Yew Walk, on down through the grounds invoking first Dana in the Druid’s Grove, then Tara in Her Abbey, followed by an invocation by her priestess of Persephone - who guards the Garden Gate to the Temple, but now looks out over the gardens from her tall and secure plinth from inside her shrine.  Perhaps she is determined to stay in our hearts with us throughout the whole year from now on!

Entering the Temple the atmosphere was most beautiful due to the dedicated work of members of the priesthood who have loved giving it care over these past months. We are committed to continue with this work which will offer welcome and blessing to all who come to Huntington to visit it during the year and enjoy the tours of the Castle and grounds, which are offered in both summer and winter months now.  For information see the website www.huntingtoncastle.com

Invocations to Deity and the Blessings of the Goddess were given to all who were gathered at Brigid’s Well; and there was a natural focus upon the riches of the ripening time of Lughnasad in this hemisphere.  It was good to see some of our Irish members back home for a brief visit from abroad or from important ventures elsewhere in Ireland.

A heart-rending Oracle from the Goddess Isis was given in Her Temple by her priestess. “You are all Gods” she cried and begged us to be aware of where thinking ill of others in our daily lives can lead.  It is a source of great sorrow to her that so many of her children’s lives, both young and old, are being destroyed in the world at this time.  She asked that we step back and realise that all conflict is essentially illusion and has no meaning from where she stands, and that peace is really possible when it starts in our own hearts.

This was quite a wake-up call, and it was clearly true, and during a most beautiful Journey offered by David de Roeck to the sounds of an enchanting oriental piece of music, we all entered a most peaceful and rich inner world and realised how blessed we were to be able to experience it in such a protective and supportive atmosphere together.

Amongst other gentle and delightful offerings was an Eastern Chant in which those who knew it could join, and Monica and Anna read us some of their beautiful and evocative poetry. This led us to the Mystery Play as it was also the time of Opet, celebrated in the Ancient Egyptian calendar by the Pharaoh and his Queen accompanying the statue of the Sun God in a barge on the Nile to Karnak and back to ensure a good harvest.  This was played out under the direction of Anna by Luke and Alison, and was very much enjoyed by all.

I had been in touch with Linda Iles to send our condolences to the Circle of Isis on the loss of their much loved Arch-Priestess Loreon Vigne of Isis Oasis in California on July 17th; and she sent me a delightful little poem by Loreon, which plays on the name of Isis with a great sense of fun.  So I took the liberty of sharing it.  We are glad to hear that our sister centre, Isis Oasis, will continue to serve their community and indeed the whole region as both Loreon had hoped for the future, with the blessing and involvement of her family in the inspiring programme of events which are held there on a regular basis.

After the usual announcements, thanks were given to Deity, and healing/counselling sessions offered by the priesthood to those who wished to receive them, and the company repaired as usual to the newly-refurbished Osborne’s in the Village for our customary spread to enjoy each other’s company and rest awhile before setting off home.

From Rt. Rev. Anniitra Ravenmoon, Lyceum of the Nubian Moon, Circle of the Sacred Cauldron, Temple of Isis Long Beach: Blessings Dear Ones, Our New/Dark/Black Moon Mother sends us passion, and energy! The "turmoils" that our universe and we face need All of our strength. Our Sacred cauldron burns for Peace, Health, and prosperity for All! Blessed Be! Mer Aa"

Long Beach Woman Spirit Solstice Faire
Saturday, June 7, 2014
Report by Kat Robb

After not having a Winter Solstice Faire we had a great reboot. It was the best Faire we’ve had in a long time. We had a lot fewer vendors but I’ve thought for a long time that we had too many and they weren’t pagan enough. All the vendors wanted to be there and we had a lot of different readers and energy workers as well as several pagan authors including myself.

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect. It started with the usual June gloom and then the sun came out and as the Faire opened a Great Blue Heron flew low over the Faire - a blessing from Laura Janesdaughter’s favourite bird. It was the perfect amount of warmth with just enough breeze.

I shared a table with fellow Fellowship of Isis Arch Priestesses and Arch Druidesses, Linda Iles and deTraci Regula and Linda’s husband Jeff.

Linda had brought copies of her book “Bast, Cat Goddess of Ancient Egypt” and deTraci had her “Sounding the Sistrum” book and Olivia Robertsons “Isis is for All” which are all available through Isis-House Publishing. She had a lot of really cool sistra.

We also had pagan authors, Karen Tate, Denise Dumars, Ruth Barrett, MaryScarlett Amaris, Maria Cartier and attending were Tony Mierzwicki, author of books on Greek and Egyptian craft and my photography buddy at these events and Barbara Ardinger who has a great book called Secret Lives. Check them out if you need something to read. It was kind of LA Pagan authors day. Ruth Barrett also did a wonderful set of her music and other traditional pieces in the morning.

We were afraid we wouldn’t have a lot of turnout because of the hiatus but we had lots of people in the afternoon. It was nice to see everyone. I had a great time collecting hugs from people I hadn’t seen in ages. It helped calm down the stage fright to a manageable level that and a bff arriving with her two boys. It’s easier to read the stories when there are kids there because then I can read to them and not worry about the adults. Kids like the stories or not but they don’t judge the storyteller just the story. I read a Druid Prayer and Twas the night before Beltane and three Littlest Druid stories. I have to admit much as I love BunniHoTep, the Littlest Druid is the closest to my heart. She is the most like me. And I have to admit some of my experiences sneak into her stories and they don’t in any of the others.

I took lots of pictures but I got home and I had missed several people I wanted to get pictures of, hopefully they will be at Winter Faire.

I’ve said it before Faire always seems to be a place of truce and between the worlds. People that have active disagreements seem to drop them at faire and sometimes even mend them. It’s a happy place.

Anyway, I had a wonderful time and it looked like other people were too.

Kat Robb is an author and an Archdruidess in the Fellowship of Isis. Her books are available here:  http://elfkat.wordpress.com/

Special Thanks to Joanne Astraea, Anniitra Ravenmoon, Pat Taylor, Carla and Randy Alt, and Joanne’s daughter Bethany for their assistance in putting on the faire.

News from Members and Centers

Iseums – Hearths of the Goddess

Lady Haight-Ashton of Iseum of the Graceful Goddess sent these two lovely pieces honoring FOI Co-Founder Olivia Robertson:

Olivia’s Fable
By Lady Haight-Ashton

Olivia always knew that she had a special skill. In fact ever since she was a little bit of a girl she knew. For you see Olivia was a dear child who felt great empathy for the sick and touched the hearts of the helpless with her smile. But though wonderful as it was to help others, her real talents lay in a very different area. For you see from her very first spoken word as a curly haired toddler Olivia could speak the language of the faerie realm.

They whispered in her ear and tickled her neck. They pinched her when she was bad and they rewarded her with soft butterfly kisses when she was good. The faerie with green wings whose gown was of spun gold told her about her past. The faerie with pink hair and whose gown was made of stardust told her the future. And the faerie with the yellow crown and gown of silken thread kept her company. For you see Olivia lived in a big stone castle high upon the mountain and though she had a darling older brother and a kind Mother and Father it was lonely for a little bit of a girl with her special skill. The faeries language is a secret dialect known to only a special few. With this knowledge Olivia felt alone for she never met anyone else who had this ability. Her parents taught her well the teachings of the world, but it was the faeries that brought her knowledge from beyond our world…knowledge from the realm of the mysteries. They taught her to see and sense with her third eye to behold a person’s future and to understand the cosmos.

With this knowledge growing year and year in her soul Olivia grew into a remarkable young woman. All who met her were astounded at her insight and perception. Then one day Olivia asked her long time companion, the yellow faerie, for a special favor. Olivia loved her brother dearly and wished he too could hear the faeries. So the yellow faerie pondered this way and pondered that way and here and there, inside and out until the she beheld an idea. The yellow faerie gave Olivia a vision. Olivia saw the Great Goddess Isis spread her golden wings with lapis blue and crimson red feathers and felt her embrace. She then saw the Earth Goddess Gaia with the creatures of the world at her feet and felt her gentle touch. So strong were these visions and so excited was Olivia to have them that she ran all the way to where her brother was tending his garden. Olivia shared her experience and with the sunlight sparkling down upon her brother and her, Olivia knew that they shared an understanding. Her bother too felt the Goddess in his soul. So from that moment on Olivia never felt lonely again and in fact a new world of discovery awaited her. For Olivia realized that the Goddess Herself spoke though her very own lips. And these words were meant to be spread throughout the world. 

So brother helped his sister embark upon a journey of awakening the Goddess within all those who would listen.  Year after year they spread the word of the Divine Feminine in beauty, love and peace until they had gone full circle around the world.

Though the years keep adding up, Olivia was as spry as a youth. Then one day the faeries made her one of them and away they danced into the night.

Memories of my friend Lady Olivia
By Lady Haight-Ashton

I wrote this fable for Olivia as a gift because she was my friend. And as a Sacred Dancer I shared with Olivia the essence of dance as ritual and divine union with the Goddess and God. We danced the spiritual and lyrical together. Whenever we met she wanted me to bring forth my Sacred Dance choreography. She would then Dance and let her spirit soar with inspiration and abandon.

Thus I created a little fairy tale booklet around this little fable and gave it to Olivia during one of her last visits to the US in New York State. One remarkable memory of that visit was her choice of clothing. Though I had always seen her during past visits in pastel colors, during this visit Olivia wore black. When I commented upon her change in color…she laughed and gestured with her hands around the room in a sweeping motion. Olivia said “look around Lady, we are all in black”. And indeed most of the women were in flowing black garments. And Olivia said “Lady we are all Witches today”!! My lighthearted response was “well…we shall all be Dancing Witches”!! Of course my strongest connection to Olivia was through Sacred Dance, but she was very aware that I was a practicing Witch with a strong connection to Isis and the FOI through my chartered Iseum of the Graceful Goddess and as High Priestess of Sacred Moon Coven. The Wings of Isis spread out to embrace both my Iseum and Coven.

In the spirit of Isis I arranged for Olivia to reunite with Laurie Cabot at an earlier visit to New York State. Olivia and Laurie had met 30 years ago in Ireland when Laurie became a member of the FOI. Their reunion was heartwarming to both and Laurie made Olivia an honorary Cabot Witch in The Cabot Kent Hermetic Temple. Isis brought them together and they maintained a mutual respect and a special kinship.

I have so many wonderful memories of Lady Olivia that I could go on and on. Her Fable will enchant me always… but there is one last memory that I hold in my heart. Olivia and I corresponded through letters frequently and one year (the last time I saw her) she wrote me to “meet her in Chicago”. So off I went to Chicago, traveling for two days with my friend, harpist and fellow FOI member, Richard to see Olivia at the FOI Chicago, Goddess Festival where I taught a “Dancing with the Goddess” workshop. I gave Olivia a gift of a “dancer’s chiffon” which she immediately wore. Olivia danced each step that I taught and my dearest memory was of her looking down at my feet and copying so very carefully my every nuance and expression. As I said at the end of Olivia’s Fable…”Then one day the faeries made her one of them and away they danced into the night”.

From David Quintero of Iseum Isis Golden Obelisk: The iseum now has a website! Link: http://iseumobeliscodoradodeisis.wordpress.com/

From James Jacob Pierri: At the very heart and inner sanctum of our Iseum of the Sacred Lotus burns a perpetual flame. This sacred flame burns 24/7 so that light pierces darkness always, a beacon of hope to light out way when we can't see. This flame is maintained always on this shrine and burns for all members of the Iseum, family, friends, loved ones and especially for those feel they do not have a candle lit for them. May The light of Isis pervade our darkest times and as Isis-Pharia lead us safely to our destiny. Amma Iset.  (The chant playing in the back ground is a beautiful recording found on a cd of modern compiled ancient music, the lector is chanting in Egyptian and it is a prayer to Isis.)  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10152605352094245&set=o.361723650498&type=2&theater

Lyceums – College of the Magi

From Sarah Rooke, Prs. H. of Lyceum of Isis and Sekhmet of the Stars, Portsmouth, Hants, UK: I am pleased to report that the Rev. Govindacharya Ramanuja Dasan (Govinda Dasan) of the Iseum of the Iseum of the Ancient Mysteries and the Goddess in Los Angeles, California has gained his fourth magi degree of Sun Magic in the College of Isis, Fellowship of Isis. An excerpt from his report below for Isian News: “I just finished the Sun-Magic degree. I did the usual fasted, ritual bath, donned on my ritual regalia. I did breathing exercises and meditated beforehand. I did all the parts myself. While listening to the Degree, I saw the symbols of the planets and the planets themselves. They then formed into a nine-pointed star that shined bright with gold light when they aligned. Then I saw all of this within me. …”

Also from Sarah Rooke of Lyceum of Isis and Sekhmet of the Stars:
I have also done a magi degree over the Summer Solstice, my 27th magi degree of Gemini, Artemis and Apollo. Here is an excerpt from Sarah’s report: “I anointed my brow with holy water from Lourdes and lit an incense stick, Lying down on my bed, I listened to the voice of Lady Olivia beckoning me to Clonegal Castle.; I saw the two rivers flow like the legs of the Goddess out to the Sea. Coming into the Temple of Isis, a priestess drew water from the well and anointed the brows of those present, so they could receive true vision. The priest invoked Artemis, and I saw silvery like arrows of light descend on the priestess as she gave the Oracle. Some of the silvery arrows also fell like gentle rain on the company, which made your spine tingle. …”

Rev. Julie Weltch of the Lyceum of the Circle of Spirits, Earth and the Elements in Drayton, Portsmouth, has gained her sixth magi degree of Sun Magic in the College of Isis, Fellowship of Isis.

Groves – Druid Clan of Dana

From Sarah Rooke, Archdrs. Grove of Cerridwen and the Grael, Portsmouth, Hants, UK: “I am pleased to announce that the Rev. Govinda Dasan has been consecrated as Archdruid in the Druid Clan of Dana by attunement over the Summer Solstice. His new grove is called Grove of the Holy Oak and is based in Los Angeles. I give his report below for Isian News: “I fasted the day and the night before. Took a ritual bath, donned on my Druid regalia. I meditated for one hour the ritual took place. I performed all the parts of the ritual. For the Oracle, I saw a beautiful woman with a cloak, holding in Her hand gold fire, with ladybirds flying around her. For the Oracle of Manannan, I saw a fountain within in me, with golden light gushing from the water...”

Photo of Dark Moon Mother Altar by Anniitra Ravenmoon, Photos from WomanSpirit Solstice Faire by Jeff Iles