Thursday, October 30, 2014

Oracle and Reflections on the Fellowship of Isis - Samhain 2014

Shrine of Dana, Temple of Isis, Clonegal Castle

By Olivia Robertson

Panthea, Initations and Festivals of the Goddess
Ritual no. 3.

Porta Mystica. The Soul Enters New Spheres

Priestess: (Invocation) Beautiful Dana, bring to us a glimpse of wonder beyond the known! However satisfied we are with our existence on earth, sometimes a longing comes upon us for a light through a mysterious passage.

Oracle: I am the Voice that calls you from afar, I am the blackbird that sings in the morning, and lures you back from wandering from the trodden path, I am the gleam of sunshine that speckles the hilly grove, and casts fitful shadows upon the wild flowers of the heath. It is the incense from My raiment that brings with it the scent of hyacinths and bluebells and wild lilies. When you seek Me without My calling you, I am not to be found. Yet I may manifest unexpectedly, in the heedless moment, as you put a foot into a fast flowing stream, or climb to pick red apples. My sigh is in the breeze that so tenderly moves your light hair, and I am the wild swan that with its mate flies high over the treetops beyond the river.

Yet also am I the darkness that enshrouds familiar forms, and makes sinister the commonplace things of day. Through the half-opened door am I sensed, and in the creaking of a gate leading into the wilderness: and I am heard in the hooting of the owl. I dignify with My moon-beams the ugly town: but I am also the shadow of the earth that falls upon Her in Her obscurity.

For it is in My mystery that lies My enchantment. To live perpetually in the daylight, boxed in a room, a house, a tamed garden and town is to lose your birthright of ever increasing adventure into knowledge and love and glory! And that may only come to you when you recover the adventurous spirit of the questing child, the curiosity of the cat, the courage of the wild beast. I am no Inspirer of coward souls! My wisdom and joy is gained through a generous acceptance of new understanding. Come with Me and I will show you the abyss, and you will befriend the dwellers in the hollow hills who are also My dear children! I will dance with you in the Many-Coloured Land of Youth, and study with you in the Solar Halls of Learning.

But when you raise your eyes to the star, I shall lift you aloft with Me to celestial realms, and with wings outspread you shall be transformed into shining swans! Yet within you always shall be your past, and from that you shall gain sustenance for your future growth into conscious Immortality.

We are nearing the anniversary of Olivia's passing, and this will be our first Samhain season without her. As a retrospective, this announcement written by Olivia Robertson in October 2009, followed by an article written by Olivia and the late Deena Hartray Butta of FOI Chicago in 2010, is featured in this issue of Isian News.

FOI Foundation Union Triad
By FOI Co-Founder Olivia Robertson
October 9, 2009
As the Goddess Isis inspired the ArchPriesthood Union, so the Goddess Dana and the Goddess Tara have inspired the foundation of the ArchDruid Union of the Druid Clan of Dana and the Grand Commander Union of the Noble Order of Tara. This triad brings into harmony the Priesthood, the Mysteries and Philosophy, and Environmental Activity. The inspired guidance came through Rt. Rev. Olivia Robertson at Isis Oasis, USA. The three Unions form a triad of equal importance, they are on the same level, share the same format and same scope of work. All three Foundation Unions are protected by the Wings of Isis, inspired by the Holy Grael of Dana and strengthened by the Sacred Mounds of Tara.

 Olivia Robertson as oracle in Chicago, touching hands with Deena Butta

FOI Triad Structure: Contemplation
by Olivia Robertson and Deena Hartray Butta

Isis-Seshat Journal, #28, 2010

More About the FOI Triads

Structure has meaning. And lingering over cups of Earl Grey tea with Lady Olivia can open doorways into many things.

One day last October, (2009) Lady Olivia immersed herself in a contemplation of the FOI Triads. Here is what she wrote about the Triads last Autumn in issue #24 of Isis Seshat Journal, titled "The Triad of Isis": 

“What we in the Fellowship of Isis believe in, is the ethical reality of the Goddess Faith. We have a Triad of centres which embody the 3 primal Ethics listed in the Manifesto - Love, Beauty and Truth. These are shown forth through the Priesthood, The Druid Clan of Dana, and the Order of Tara."

This Autumn, she thought some more about this, and we had some conversations about the Triads; and this article, which builds on ideas from last year, is the result. From this structure, which is based on the FOI values of love, beauty and truth, here are some understandings and insights about the roles and purpose of the societies comprising the Triad.

ArchPriest/ess Union
College of Isis
The Priesthood
Divine Communion
Compassion For All

ArchDruid/ess Union
Druid Clan of Dana
Psychic Ability
Psychic Development
Spiritual Vision
Sacred Arts & Science

Grand Commander Union
Noble Order of Tara
The Protectors
Environmental Activism
Moral Courage
Active Service for the Earth

The ArchPriest/ess Union embodies the principle of Love. Its acronym, AU, is the symbol for the chemical element Gold. The priests, priestesses, hierophants, ArchPriests, and ArchPriestesses comprise the College of Isis, which is dedicated to serving members of the Fellowship of Isis, and providing caring and guidance of different kinds. The service offered by FOI priests and priestesses is characterized by devotion: to their matron goddess, to a social or spiritual cause or ideal, and to their fellow beings on this planet. They offer their hearts to others; and this can take the form of teaching and guidance. The service of hierophants additionally takes the form of structured studies offered by their lyceums, which is based on FOI liturgies and other writings. As hierophants, they "show the way," guided by the ways of their matron goddess. ArchPriest/esses serve everyone: priests, priestesses, hierophants, and general members. They have been described as being the overall custodians of FOI, who put the wellbeing of FOI above all else. All these kinds of service reflect the Love of the Goddess. The person attracted to the College of Isis is someone who is a teacher, healer, or other kind of helper. They offer their hearts in service to Goddess and mortal alike.

The ArchDruid/ess Union embodies the principle of Beauty. The Druid Clan of Dana and its Groves are dedicated to the development of psychic abilities. This kind of inner knowing is related to the kind of knowing that expresses itself through the arts. Traditionally, bards spoke poetically in order to give voice to their deity. Plato had more respect for this kind of art that does not involve manual effort. But in ages succeeding Plato, and in the FOI Groves, all the arts are understood as a vehicle for oracular communications from deity. Whether by words, images, movement, or the physical arrangement and manipulation of surroundings, inspired and intuitive expressions come through the Druid from the Goddess. Beauty is the harmony and balance found in nature throughout the cosmos, and the ArchDruid/ess Union gives expression to that Beauty on many levels. The person who is attracted to the Druid Clan of Dana might be someone who is a seer, a poet, or another kind of artist. They offer their minds and intellects to the Goddess in her service.

The Grand Commander Union embodies the principle of Truth. The Noble Order of Tara and its Priories are dedicated to nature in an active, energetic way. The knights, dames, and commanders of the Noble Order of Tara actively work on behalf of the goddess as expressed through the natural environment. They are her knights and ladies, they carry out her missions and directives, and go on her quests. They "walk their talk." Words can be misleading but our bodies never lie. The person attracted to the Noble Order of Tara might prefer action to speech, and wants to offer physical labor work for a cause. They offer their strength and energy to the Goddess in her service.

Acronyms also have meaning; and Lady Olivia enjoys discovering their hidden meanings. The names of the deities to whom the branches of the FOI Triads are dedicated, are Isis, Dana, and Tara. The name of Isis can be made into the acronym ISIS, which might stand for Isis Social Immune System. The name Dana is close to the acronym DNA. The name Tara can stand for Truth, Awareness, Recognition, and Action. The acronym for the Fellowship of Isis, FOI, is the same as the French word foi, which means faith. What all of this might communicate can be summarized as Faith and Well Being Through Loving, Knowing, and Being Our True Selves."

 Deena Butta and Olivia Robertson preparing for ritual

The FOI as a Spherical Organization

By Rt. Rev. Michael A. Starsheen
Lyceum of Isis of the Stars
Dunsmuir, California

In her book “The System Made Me Do It”, Dr. Susan M. Osborne categorizes organizations into five basic structures: Pyramid, Arrow, Web, Mosaic, and Sphere. Each type has its strengths and weaknesses, and its reason for existence.

A Pyramid organization is the familiar hierarchy, with few people at the top and larger and larger groups below; all interactions are primarily contract-based. Most major companies in our current world are based on the Pyramid model.

An Arrow organization is more market-driven, with each activity evaluated as to how it forwards the bottom line and market share. Companies that primarily deal in sales or in e-business tend to follow the Arrow model.

A Web organization is information-driven; the most important purpose is the exchange of data between loosely connected members. An example of a Web would be a computer interest group where members gather to exchange data on the latest technology.

A Mosaic is a community-oriented organization that draws people together in a bonded community to forward the interests of the members. Most traditional churches are modeled on the Mosaic form, with a strong sense of boundaries between members and non-members.

A Spherical organization is similar to a Mosaic, with its shared values and beliefs, but it behaves more like a living organism. In particular, a Spherical organization tends to be very flexible, held together by worldwide partnerships that transcend political boundaries. They encourage their members to remember their sense of connection with all living creatures. Each member looks upon the center as the source of all life, and asks not “What are we going to do?” but “How can we make the world a better place.” Connections and networking between members is the main method of working out issues and problems, and of finding new solutions. Tolerance is encouraged, and exclusion is discouraged.

When one examines the Fellowship of Isis manifesto, we see “that this sense of spherical connection” is what we are all about. For example, we were founded to promote “a closer communion between the Goddess and each member, both singly and as part of a larger group.” This identifies the Goddess, in her many faces and names, as the center from which we derive our purpose. We venerate all Goddesses as the Feminine Face of the Divine, manifestations of a deeper truth.

The Fellowship is completely democratic and respects the freedom of conscience of each member, with members free to resign or rejoin at any time. This demolishes the sense of boundaries, of limits to what each member can do or be. Indeed, the Fellowship maintains religious toleration and is “open to all of every religion, tradition, and race.”

Unlike most other forms of organization in our society, the Fellowship promotes toleration and helps us to learn to value the insights that may be gained by others on different paths than our own. Even more important, the Fellowship “reveres all manifestations of Life … Nature is revered and conserved.” This is an essential element of a Spherical organization, that it treasures and interacts with the Earth and its creatures, believing them to be just as important as any human member.

Each member is an important part of the whole, and has insights to contribute. Loss of any one is a loss of the whole. Where there is disrespect, or internal politics, we need to step back and ask ourselves if this is really what we want to do. Our Manifesto is the tenet of belief that we agree to share when we join, and such actions do not accord with its spirit.

In the new millennium, we are challenged to grow beyond the selfish personal and the need to rank ourselves over one another. Many of us have learned to change what we have been taught by our society and to work together to find harmonious solutions. To grow within, the members of the Fellowship need to begin dialoging and examining ways to live and respect each other as equals. From this base we can then help our cultures and our world to become more respectful of its members and the Earth we share. Let us use the Spherical model we have developed so well over the last thirty-eight years to help ourselves and others learn better ways to live with the Earth.

Thank you for these wise words, Michael Starsheen.

 The Hawthorne Fairy Tree, photo sent by Minette Quick

From Minette Quick
Samhain Reflections

Just as a Multitude of Forms
Quicken and appear in time
And like the spiral grow
According to
Their own unique design
So the cycle
Of the breath begins
Upon an urgent impulse from within,
And so continues ‘til its work is done
And spirit calls an end
To this short chapter
Of Eternity
Upon this earth
That it may merge once more
With the Divine!

At Samhain we must finally surrender those last fair vestiges of summer into winter. The great creative thrust has died right down - and life returns to rest, until it’s time again to throw up shoots and grow anew in fresh green verdure, perfect for each passing season. There is no shame in life’s decay, though ‘man proud man’ - too like the rose - ‘holds in perfection but a little moment.’ It is the natural order and even lives life of great and potent effect are not immune, except upon the inner planes of being, of which we can say no more.

“Watch and wait” is the imperative for now – rest, doze, sleep and wake. The globe turns and returns – the spirals reverse from north to south, and each enjoys its summer and winter in rotation. The Sun gives balance and light according as the planet presents her inclined face upon her spinning path. The Sun shines constantly upon our ever varying levels of perception, regardless of the atmospheric interventions of the weather here on Earth. 

It is we who change and fluctuate according to the play we set ourselves to act within. Our interactions spin an endless drama, which we enshrine within our personal beliefs, honed to our satisfaction, be they even painfully created pearls. And “thereby hangs a tale” or two, as we all know!

What if we could turn for comfort to an overarching and more merciful script, to release us from our fears of ultimate despair? Might we not choose it? The choices that we make through life need not become a tragic waste of infinite potential, if we but choose to be and live the freer and far better ways which our Great Mother’s pathways offer us.

Minette and Olivia, photo courtesy of Logic Reality

Dated 2nd November – Samhain 2013

The original version of this reflection was written shortly before Olivia’s passing on 14th November 2013. On coming across it again this Summer 2014, I decided to edit it with the first few lines in the form of a poem which I lovingly dedicate to her memory. 

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