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This Fellowship of Isis website has been authorized by the FOI Foundation Center: Clonegal Castle, Enniscorthy, Eire

Reflections by: Olivia Robertson

Isian News Issue 128
Olivia Robertson
photo © 2009 M.Q.

Click on the blue speaker to hear Olivia read this article:
(mp3 / 8:29 min / 1.9 mb) Listen to this article


At one of our Lyceums I was told that a young girl there was an “Indigo”…spiritually different from most of her companions. One morning she walked into my room and said she wanted to talk.

“What about?”

“I see things differently from other people…”

“You mean you have an original point of view?”

“No – no. I see streams of coloured energy around everything – people, objects – all that is.”

I made a point of reassuring her that many throughout the ages have had unusual faculties. These people were sometimes deified – often burnt at the stake or put in monasteries. Nowadays some are slowly poisoned by medication prescribed by well-meaning experts who believe that all visions are hallucinations. So even despite side effects of drugs – at least they think that sufferers may decline in health – but die sane!

I remember during the war I used to go round art galleries and heard the lamentations of the uniformed attendants who missed the works of art hidden for safety. Why? They would give remarkable reasons. They explained that – seen from a particular spot on the floor – the pictures became alive! At Hampton Court Palace one enthusiastic attendant made me stand at an uncomfortable angle, head strained backwards, to enjoy the spectacle of a Greek God driving his chariot across the ceiling. But what the attendant admired was a chariot with turning wheels driven across the sky by galloping horses, manes flying. To him it was living!

I never forgot this. And one happy night it happened to me. In London I was dutifully gazing at Bonnard seascapes. I had won a University scholarship in European Art – so I thought I knew about art appreciation. I saw with my mind. I had always disagreed with those who said that in the Spirit World artists could create more wonderfully. How could they show in “impasto” - rough lumps of paint – the tactile solidity of matter?

That night it happened. I was in the etheric realm and saw the Bonnard seascapes not as paintings alone, but as an extraordinary fusion of spirit and matter. There were the sensuous brush-strokes – but the sea was actually moving in waves! Trees, beach, earth, were livid with life – I could have walked into the painting. I remember a Chinese artist who, when he had completed his landscape, invited his friends to say goodbye. They watched him walk into the landscape getting smaller and smaller – until he vanished. Now I knew that it is possible for us to experience the two spheres of spirit and matter at the same time.

I did discover that well educated people had none of this faculty. But so-called uneducated folk had this adorable gift. Does education of the mind inhibit the psyche? An amazing example occurred at Stonehenge some years ago. I was admiring the mighty dolmens, wishing the ordinary tourists were not there… A very ordinary tourist, a nice little woman, seemed fascinated by the stones. She said to me: “The pictures are so nice!”

“Pictures? What pictures?”

She pointed to the stones. “They are so real and bright!”

The bus driver of a group joined us. He too commended the paintings on the stones. I was forced to confess that I was short-sighted – I couldn’t see them…

“Are they like Egyptian pictures,” I asked.

“Oh no,” said the woman. “They look very real…The people are wearing such nice coloured clothes.” The bus-driver inspected the pictures on the dolmens more closely, and agreed. They were more real like people than Egyptian pictures. “Very nice and real looking.”

I thought of the white horses and male figures on the hills nearby – certainly the Long Man of Wilmington was extremely real.

I did have one treasured glimpse of what Ancient Egyptian Temples really did look like. I had thought that the painted cathedrals of Europe and temples of Egypt and Greece must have looked rather garish when they were decorated – they were better as ruins! Not so. In vision I saw a great pillar in Karnak, absolutely clearly. The pillars were painted in exactly the same colour as the local stone in the sun’s glow. On this ochre background the hieroglyphs were exquisitely decorated in brilliant jewel-like colours. The walls looked alive with scenes from another sphere.

Sculptures? They used to be coloured too, and I was taught one should not paint marble or any stone. It was bad art. Greek statues were best chalky white.

Ah – but I had a vision of an actual Greek man painted in his death as a God. He had been elevated to Godhead by the Emperor Hadrian. He was Antinuous, and I had expressed curiosity as to the appearance of this man regarded as a perfect God image. He himself showed me this vision. His body was lying flat in a fine woollen white toga draped across the shoulders. His face was not made-up as we do with greasy colours. His face was painted like a picture. His features were classical, save for high cheek-bones. But what shocked me was his expression of utter bitterness and despair. He had committed suicide by drowning.

He wished me to know that he was a lover of peace and goodwill, against wars, and admired Quakers. He said he liked the simplicity of our ritual, of our ceremonies.

So the walls of our prison-house of the senses are beginning to dissolve. Those we thought dead – live! The beauties of the ancient world reveal themselves. As we centre ourselves in divine reality we may explore the cosmos, and yet never lose our own originality, while we honour that of others.

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