Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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

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