Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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!

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