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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 140
Olivia Robertson
photo © 2009 M.Q.

Click on the blue speaker to hear Olivia read this article:
(mp3 / 9:53 min / 2.3 mb) Listen to this article


So often I have wondered why mystical awakenings, direct revelation from Deities and Prophets, Divine Guidance, have led enthusiasts to burn, torture, blow up, brain-wash their fellows in religious fervour. I should know. I was brought to Ireland aged eight in 1925 and found religion flourished here. I had never met religious people before.

In Reigate, England, we casually attended St. Peter’s Church and sang Victorian Hymns without fervour. Admittedly, my Nanny informed me that if I wriggled in the pew the white-robed vicar would put me in a fiery pit. But my father, when I queried this, assured me that as Nanny thought the moon was made of green cheese, I could ignore her information. Anyway, she showed no sign of attacking non-believers. Really, there were no obvious non-believers, as we all were. We attended Christmas children’s plays, vaguely thought that the Church of England was like a nice safe pair of carpet slippers, a “just in case” scenario in case there was a hell. You were expected to be nice, and good to the poor and not steal and usually speak the truth. Life was so benign and easy in Reigate – like my favourite “Just William” stories: like my beloved Tiger Tim’s Weekly. Georgie Giraffe and Joey the Parrot and others were so jolly. So was Mrs. Bruin, whose only punishment was to put the eight of the boys in one bed and give them ‘Gruel’.

So I was totally taken aback to find myself in a land where religion really mattered. In Reigate I had liked Poppy Day and wore a poppy on 11th November, Armistice Day. But here some people put razors behind their poppies to cut off the fingers of enemies who tried to tear them off. The Others were Roman Catholics and Irish and some wore Easter Lilies in Easter week

When they had got rid of the British (Us), I learnt fairly soon that our country had been cut in half. The top bit was Protestant and British with some who planted bombs. Where I lived was Roman Catholic and Irish. We Protestants did not need to plant bombs because we had most of the money, and big houses, though some of our houses were blackened shells, burnt by the Others.

I had always hoped we in the island could stop being religious. We could give up patriotism as well and turn into socialists. Instead, from the ‘sixties’ onwards we had a thirty-year cruel, civil war. The hatred still smoulders.

In 1976 my brother, a Rector, and my sister-in-law of Quaker family, initiated the Fellowship of Isis. This we did not because of theology, or politics. We had Divine Inspiration. And awakening was happening all over the world. It was after the Second World War. The awakening was accelerated through millions of young people the world over. Later a fundamentalist return to main-stream religions was spreading with startling fanaticism. So what was happening, and what should we do about it?

I had myself gained the 3 drops of Cerridwen, Welsh Goddess of the Cauldron of Inspiration, Prophecy, and Shape-shifting. So have thousands. Empathy is our word for Shape-shifting, coming through Omnipresence.

We who have in some degree experienced the Awakening, whatever we call it – Satori, Samadhi, Ecstasis, The Tao - can no longer just be happy ourselves, and run Courses for enquirers. The danger of introverted living as a mystic loner is that one can develop paranoia – conspiracy terrors. It is a vagary of the psychic sense. In the Centre of the Labyrinth of Life is a Monster, the Minotaur – a sinister Conspirator, a black magician – what people most fear.

It was in Clonegal that I received revelation about the Labyrinth of Life. A woman from Europe came up to the Castle and asked for a Course in Witchcraft. She had inquired as to my whereabouts to an ancient inhabitant, who said: “I wouldn’t go the Castle. Miss Olivia is a Witch!” She replied: “I wish to learn to be a witch.” And found her way to me.

Now I am not a professional witch, but I will take on anything. I said I’d give her a weekend course. This took place in our Church of England chapel within the Castle. We had not yet developed a Temple of Isis. At first things went swimmingly. I got her into light trance. She was extremely intelligent – naturally. She was a University lecturer. Then came challenge! Suddenly she announced: “I see the Devil!”

I felt insulted. How dare she introduce the Devil into our chapel! I asked Isis for guidance. I received an unexpected instruction. “Ask her, who is the devil!” I asked. She replied with venom: “He is my professor!” At once I understood the meaning of the monster in the labyrinth. Within the heart of the Labyrinth is the Mirror of the Gorgon. The Monster is – yourself. The soul creates its projections, bad or good.

When you realise this, you learn to recognise the Divine in others, and honour it in yourself. Evil is only a shadow in our transient world, a reflection. We are all born of the Divine Mother, from atom to Deity.

The encouragement is that only the Divine is real. Our terrors, hatred, jealousy, ambition are nightmares that vanish when we see with the light of Truth, and feel in the darkness the heart of love.

The first revelation of great religions came with Glory, Salvation, Heaven. I notice there is a second flow of revelation that brings a return to nature. Physical being is honoured not despised. It is the difference between the philosopher Montaigne, who wondered what his cat was thinking – and Descartes who thought all progress came from the human mind. Hence cats had no souls. This became doctrine!

So I asked for guidance as to what to do next. My formula is simple: “Oh Isis, I am empty. Fill my emptiness.” You do need to specify the Deity invoked – or you might get filled by someone you do not want…..

I thought of all practitioners of The Arts. The Impressionists did not blow up the Academy nor writers shoot their critics, much as they may have wished to do so. Sir Christopher Wren did not burn down the old Gothic St. Paul’s. So these were the people I thought sane.

Ah – where are the Companions? Where did they live? I realised that was simple. Wherever the eccentric animal-lover, Elizabeth of Bohemia dwelt, there was Bohemia. Bohemia started as her own country, and spread all over the world. “La Boheme” is the world’s most loved opera – about artists. The heroes were artists pawning their coats to eat, burning their epic poems to keep warm. Yes, Bohemia is all over the western world, and similar places may be found in Tokyo, Peking, Moscow, Port Harcourt in Nigeria, Seattle, USA, and Big Island, Hawaii. They are Oases for eccentrics.

I like the tale of Quan Yin, Goddess of Compassion, who, when invoked by a sufferer, was in such a hurry to help that she even neglected to put on her make-up. Now I call that dedication.

My new book concerns Spiritual Awakening through the Arts. We learn of the work of Elaine and Aiden, now qualified Alchemists in the FOI Priesthood. I found I could not part with their doings! They run gatherings of Arcadians in many countries. It is very simple. No subscriptions, no rules, no dogma, no personal probings – just expenses covered and exchange of art gifts. “Be yourself,” they declare. “You are free to find your Divinity.”

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(Reflections articles are included here at the request of Olivia Robertson. Our thanks to Minette Quick for forwarding these.)

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