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.”
Report: Memorial of Loreon Vigne at Isis Oasis
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.
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.