Temple of Love Beauty Truth ~
A Report on the 40th Anniversary Celebration
Fellowship of Isis ~
Vernal Equinox 2016
Photograph courtesy ©Caitlín Matthews
I would first like to give many thanks to all involved in the preparation, and organisation of this weekend long event.
Gratitude wings its way out to:
- Hon. Lady Olivia Robertson, Lawrence Durdin-Robertson, and his wife Pamela,(R.I.P) for founding the Fellowship of Isis
- All their extended Family Members; Pamela Currey, Elinor Currey, Melian Robertson, Alexander Durdin-Robertson
- Circle of Brigid Members; Minette Quick, Caít Branigan, Deirdre Wadding, Eimear Burke, Alison Shelly, Monica Costello, ,Marian Smiles, Andrew Smith
- Huntington Castle and Gardens
- Sugar & Spice, Bunclody for catering the weekend
- Caitlín Matthews, Philip Carr-Gomm, and Vivianne Crowley, for their amazingly educational, entertaining, and articulate Talks
- The Foundation Centre Priesthood for their roles in the Vernal Equinox Ceremony, and the Inauguration of the Oak Grove
- The Priesthood from across the pond, who graced us with their visit, adding their energies to this wonderful weekend
- Lastly, yet not least, to our appointed Steward of the Fellowship of Isis, Cressida Pryor, for your continued dedication, through thick and thin!
This report shall be Three-fold; first being that of an overall detailed report of the weekend’s proceedings; second, that of my personal reflections, and experience of attending and taking part thereof; thirdly, a copy of my Hymn to Ἑκατη, which was the Creative Offering during the main Temple Ceremony.
Happy 40th Anniversary! (Part I)
Saturday 19th March 2016
After a rare week of sunshine here in Ireland, the start of this anticipated weekend, was rather on the chilly side, with a neutral shade of grey above and around.
Yet, once in the Castle grounds, the yellows of the Daffodils, the white of the spring Lambs, and the royal electric blue, with green hues, of the male Peacock greeted us, colours and warming scents, grace of energies continued as one walked into the Café/Theatre, adorned with Artwork from Lady Olivia Robertson, and Anna Currey, with a podium honouring the Spirit of the Fellowship Founders.
One was instantly met, embraced, and welcomed.
From the very moment of arrival, one could not want for anything, as provisions were on hand consistently throughout the entire weekend, with hot coffee, tea, herbal teas, cakes, buns, biscuits, and this was in-between the set meals; the shop offering copies of the Founders written works, artwork prints, and the Fellowship of Isis Liturgy booklets, with glorious Postcards specially created from photographs of the High Altar in the Temple, and Rare photographs of Lawrence Durdin-Robertson, and Olivia Robertson, which could be taken home.
Program laminates were available on all tables laid out, with a Catalogue of the Artworks opened on display in the Exhibition, shown along the Theatre walls.
Members gathered, were deep in conversation, those who knew each other well, side by side with those just met, yet all in communion, smiling, laughing, if as old friends.
On registration, Minette Quick takes sign in, to record the gathering numbers/attendee’s, across from her, there was Cressida Pryor sat in a cosy corner, with a huge basket of glittering healing beads afore her, with ribbons; it was a Greeting Gift of Blessing, we each chose a bead, then have the cord and bead placed upon our wrists, with a Blessing from the Goddess, a most welcome gesture for all, so much so, one was astounded at how much these ribbons/beads had touched the recipients, when the odd person did lose, or misplace theirs, as they sought to seek them out!
In this foyer, was a computer image display for visitors and members to click through, for a taste of times past, present and future of the Fellowship of Isis.
Inside the Theatre again, we all begin to be seated at the outer circle of chairs, it is time for the Opening Ceremony.
It began with a huge welcome, and note of necessities, such as, where the loo was, and to be pointed to the items that shall be available during the weekend.
Cressida spoke, of giving thanks for those attending, and those who were unable to attend, going on to announce the Circle of Brigid members, and have a cheer for all the preparation and organisation work that had been taking place for many months to achieve this event, including the last minute (yet one wouldn’t think so), creation of our Winged Isis Banner that hung proudly atop the top balcony, by Pamela Currey.
Cressida went on to announce the Opening of the Art Exhibition.
On with the Opening Ceremony, an inner circle was formed with members of the Priesthood, who called the Elements/Quarters, invoked Deity, and gave thanks to, with invitation of the Spirit of our Founders to be with us all during the weekend full of celebratory Ceremonies; at which Olivia most obliged, made her presence known as she flitted into the space in Butterfly form!
A quick move of tables, as one could quickly grab a cuppa, or use the restroom, and we have our first Speaker of the weekend, Caitlín Matthews, who immediately opened in song, a rendition such of that of a Kings Court. Caitlín went on to engage us in an interesting, dedicated, and educational talk entitled ‘The Love of the Goddess and the Worship of the Gods’, which was well articulated, impressively so. You can read her transcript on her website/blog.
Next we were invited to take the hour to engage in Temple Reflection, or walk the grounds; many were delighted to experience the Temple with enough room to view each and every Shrine, to meditate in front of the Main High Altar, to say Prayer/set intentions with placing a ribbon upon the Prayer Tree within the Temple.
Back in the Theatre for Lunch, we are greeted with tables set, and were served fresh bread baguette, a variety of sandwiches to choose from, tea, coffee, bottled water, jugs of water, and served a delicious and most warming welcome of carrot and coriander soup! With refills of warm beverages inside the foyer and nibbles remaining for those not full.
After lunch where many mingled and worked the tables in a spiral fashion of meet and greets, we headed into our afternoon program.
Vernal Equinox Ceremony in the Temple
The guests and Priesthood gathered in the Castle Courtyard, to begin the Procession to the Sacred Spaces in the grounds; as singing with drumming led the Procession, a walk Olivia loved to lead, we headed through the Yew Walk down across the stream to the Rose Garden, In Memoriam words were spoken.
Walking now to the giant tree Grove of the DCD (Druid Clan of Dana), which was planted, some 90 years ago by Olivia’s Father; near where the recent Birch was also planted riverside in memory of Olivia last year; for Invocations, and honouring the Druids.
Now the Procession walks back towards the Castle, to go to the Ancient Abbey, for the NOT (Noble Order of Tara) to Invoke Deity, of which a stone inset plaque of a Winged Isis has been added.
It is time now to address Persephone, to ask for admittance to the Temple porch-way, then to be granted permission to enter therein the Temple itself.
Andrew Smith rings the Temple Bell as all enter in, making their way down through the Temple to the Well of Brigid, for Invocations, Libation, and Blessing of the water shortly used to Bless each attendee present.
Song oft sings out of the Priesthood during the Blessings.
Procession to the High Altar, to open the Ceremony, where attendees now find a space to get comfortable, as we receive an Oracle from the Goddess in which the Temple is dedicated, Isis (Aset).
Divine Musical Harp, played by Eimear Burke, sprinkled a magickal atmosphere as we reflected upon the Oracle we have just been given.
Healing intentions were sent out with the energies of all present, in form, and in spirit.
A Creative Offering was presented by me, a Hymn I had written, entitled ABC Hymn to Hekate, a rendering inclusive of her many epithets in ancient Greek.
An in-depth Journeying was guided for us by Deirdre Wadding, which brought us to the performance of the Mystery Play, of Athena and Arachne.
We shared a feast of Jelly’s, and gave thanks to Deity, Spirit, Priesthood and the Attendee’s, and the Ceremony was closed, with Healing offered if one wished to get a healing, before leaving the Temple.
Much laughter, photographs ensued after leaving Temple, as a precursor to Dinner.
Dinner was served, and a choice was available for Vegetarians and meat eaters alike, and was as plentiful as was delicious, even more so when a Dessert was also served, we were all well fed.
Onwards to the Night Court in Osbornes, where Poetry, Singing, Tales were shared, though I cannot write on that experience.
End of Day One.
Happy 40th Anniversary!
Sunday 20th March 2016
Arrival was met by joyful hopping Lambs, a colourful, seductive display from the male Peacock, then amongst the Member’s, greeted with smiles, hot beverages, and apple tart or biscuits.
All gathered to join a long Procession to the further afield new Oak Grove for its Inauguration, in honour of the Founders on this the 40th Anniversary.
A twenty minute, most nature filled walk was had to reach the Grove, deep in the wilderness, with sheep manure, trickling brook, a Goddess tree, all along the route.
A Stone Commemoration Marker has been placed at the entrance of the newly established Oak Grove; each attending walked the circle of the Grove, and then joined in Sacred Circle casting, calling the Elements, Invoking Deity, of which I myself invoked Demeter to join us.
We all infused the Grove with our energies, and intentions, as we remembered our Founders, Loved Ones, and set the future of the Grove with visions of how these trees will remain for hundreds of years after we cross the veil.
It being a most humbling experience, one which I shall write an account of in my personal reflections in Part II.
Once we closed the Circle, all made their way back to the Castle Theatre to hear a most entertaining talk, of personal experience with the Founder’s, by Philip Carr-Gomm.
His talk gave us much laughter, inter-connectedness, both with the Fellowship of Isis, and our Founder’s vision, told from the perspective of someone who witnessed the daily life of Olivia and Family, at the Castle, in 1971 when he took residence himself, Philip relaying the story told to him, of the birth seed, from the Founder’s mouths, of how it started at a kitchen table with 7 seated around it, in 1976.
As the talk was closing, two longest term Members, Pat and Padraig arrived, to everyone’s delight, it added an air to the gathering to see faces we most resonate with, as standing with Olivia.
Temple Reflection time was offered once more, to which many took time to visit the Temple Shrines, or meditate afore the High Altar.
Lunch was served, it being more of a King’s Feast!
Salads, Turkey, Ham, Vegetable Quiche, and Couscous, just some of what appeared on the plates, followed by fresh gooey centred Meringue for an unexpected Dessert. Again, well fed, yet, again, there were still hot beverages, cakes, biscuits, Black Forest Gateau available in the foyer!
We then had our third Speaker of the weekend, in Vivianne Crowley, presenting an educational talk, one most close to Olivia’s heart, on the Black Madonna’s.
A highly anticipated showing of the Documentary filmed so long ago, in 2009/10, followed, entitled Olivia: Priestess of Isis; it was so well received, as we each had experiences, that were reflected in the watching of this wonderful close work, as it truly funnelled in, to capture the pure essence, that was Olivia Robertson.
So much laughter did this bring, with so many memories, as herself, was again flitting around happy in Butterfly form.
A short Interview film finished the showing.
With time forging ahead this second day, the Closing Ceremony was quickly performed, a moment of thanks and gratitude to those instrumental in this successful, warm, and memorable event.
As Farewells began, we were Blessed, and Honoured, as each were gifted with one of the works of Art, of Olivia’s creation, that had been on exhibit during the weekend, as a Farewell Offering, a loving gesture, in Fellowship.
End of Day Two.