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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 133

Olivia Robertson
photo © 2009 M.Q.

Click on the blue speaker to hear Olivia read this article:
(mp3 / 11:00 min / 2.6 mb) Listen to this article


Curious. To use the word “Love” is respectable, invoking the blessing of the clergy. They promulgate the concept of the Love of God. This in my dear land of Ireland suggests at once the Alchemy of the Phoenix. On this spiritual path, in the dying Piscean age of Buddhism, the Bible faiths, this Divine Love, all other loves excelling, involves self-purification. The Righteous had to destroy Old Adam, the sin of Eve, “The Wrathful Deities” of Buddhism, and plenty of Devils. “The devils” try to persuade the spiritual practitioner to be tempted away from the need to destroy earthly temptations.

I have in our Temple a statue of the Hindu Goddess Gandarvi in a Yogic posture. It came from the ancient ruined Temple of Angkor Vat. When Buddhist monks later moved in, they said this merry lady tempted them to Sin. Since I was a small girl the whole problem of Sin has puzzled me, because nobody would tell me exactly what Sin was: I mean the worst Sin of all, the Original Sin that drove Adam and Eve out of Paradise. I gathered they had to put on clothes and have children who all inherited Sin.

In a way my glorious ignorance – not innocence – of what were mysteriously called The Facts of Life, helped my journey of discovery. Nobody would tell me what the Facts were, until my elder sister Barbara declared, when I was Seventeen, “Oh, I suppose I must tell you.” I saw she was embarrassed, as we sat in a dusty ditch by a dusty road bordering the river Slaney. She chose, rather than use words, to illustrate the Facts of Life with a stick, and drew a diagram in the dust. And I was totally astonished!

However, this did not entirely explain the terrible nature of the sin of my outcast uncle. Our Original Sin could be cleansed by baptism. What HAD my uncle done? He was surely bound for Hell.

He looked such a beautiful little boy with blue eyes and golden hair, in a Scotch kilt, in his photo in the old Family Album. All my mother would say evasively, when I inquired, was: “If anyone mentions your uncle, say it was Shell Shock!” I gathered he had committed three offences: The first one was that he had become a Roman Catholic. The second was that he openly admitted voting for De Valera (Republican). The third could not be mentioned at all, as it was wicked. Oscar Wilde had done it. So my uncle was forbidden ever to come home to the Castle. His own mother, my grandmother, repudiated him. She was a very religious Anglican.

How did my rejected uncle cope? And he did manage to get back to his beloved home. How? He became a ghost. No, he did not kill himself. He was still alive. But he used to come for lengthy periods to live in hiding in the Wing. I had heard of the Monster of Glamis and “Jane Eyre,” but my uncle looked all right – good-looking and normal in fact. Our family did not ever enter the Wing; but it was next to the staff quarters. Our good-hearted butler used to keep my uncle alive with trayfuls of food. Exercise? That was taken care of. He used to come out at night and glide through our Wilderness and by the river. And this was where he became the Castle Ghost. For many a brave citizen of Clonegal would spy him amidst the trees at night. They would return and tell fascinated listeners: “I saw the ghost of the poor gentleman by the lake, all pale and thin.” He would sometimes be sighted by the river Derry, once used by the Druids, or making his ghostly way down the haunted Yew Walk, where monks made phantom procession. May he now find happiness – in the next World.

Not all the disgraceful secrets of our family dealt with the hidden sin of my uncle (not the clergyman, by the way – he was “Good” and wanted therefore to put his brother in a Home.)

One evening I was poking around in my beloved library… when I discovered two books hidden behind the Barchester Towers series. They looked very intriguing. Both were in yellowed paper-back and were very worn. One was called “Life in a German Garrison Town”. The cover depicted a burly officer with cropped fair hair and blue uniform, hiding behind a bush. He was spying on a lady with hair piled up in a bun, wearing a long white dress. She was in happy intimacy with another officer. But the other book had my hair on end! It showed a woman – also with 1900 style hair – SCREAMING. And no wonder – for she was wriggling helplessly within a gigantic man’s hand. The title was “In the Hands of the White Slave Traffic.”

I determined to investigate further. So I went down to the hall, where we used to sit reading after dinner, and – naively – put my new books by me on the floor – covers up. My mother at once observed them – and seizing them – exclaimed! “These must have been left by the Major – your father’s cousin.” Forthwith they were put in the heart of the huge log fire – and made a merry blaze.

The fire cure for Sin was quite frequently used. My mother was no bigot – a Liberal – but was a strong upholder of Decency. I still feel that historians may regret what she did to her Grandfather’s letters.

This Grandfather was a famous Physician, Dr. Robert Graves. He made a death mask of Napoleon. However, he had one flaw. My mother said it ran in that branch of the family. He had had a MISTRESS. Now all that I knew of Mistresses was that they were evil, glamorous, and that Charles II had a lot of them, and turned them into Duchesses. It seemed preferable than being a respectable wife of Henry VIII and having your head cut off. I gathered that Mistresses were bad anyway – but wives were expected to be submissive – and Good – or else ***

One day I came into the library and found my mother busy burning a pile of letters. “They are from Dr. Robert Graves,” she explained. They were about his Mistress and her children. These historic documents went up in smoke.

What are my conclusions – now I DO know the Facts of Life which are the fundamental source of the universe. Alchemically speaking, we all emerge from the Flame of the Goddess Vesta. As AE put it, “We must live within the Spirit’s Fire or pass like smoke.” During the past Piscean Age – The Path of the Phoenix was usual – the sole Arabian bird that renews itself from its own ashes and ascends into sun-like glory. It is a dangerous path, that of asceticism, and there are those who achieve enlightenment. But alas, watching its effects on my own land of Ireland, our poor Irish Phoenix, in self-sacrifice for Purity, has burnt itself and lies on its back, with useless burnt wings, and its poor emaciated legs sticking upwards at that sun it could not reach.

But what of our future in the Aquarian Age? Who are our successors? Even as a child the main puzzling problem was “Illegitimate Children.” How could a baby be unlawful? Those whom God had joined – father’s nose, mother’s mouth – could not be cut in half or ignored. I thought of the judgement of Solomon. But this was the case. I was told that the Poor dropped Illegitimate Babies down wells. The rich denied them inheritance. They could not become priests. Therefore, it was for mothers to be married to anyone – even if a drunkard or cruel, or mad.

Many years ago, a young man – actually a nice young man – had presented his girl friend with a baby. So – from their point of view correctly – the Clonegal matrons decided he must marry the girl.

I was never told anything directly, being unmarried – but I got all my information from my sister-in-law Pamela. She told me that the Matrons were dragging the man in a dog-cart to the church to be married. But he broke free and was last seen haring across a field, leaping over a hedge.

Yes, this is ridiculous – funny, old-fashioned. But what became of the baby? Was he or she handed over to a Care Home – a horrifying fate that had befallen thousands of abused children?

So, why we need to find a new way for a New Aeon, is that we must not divide humans, animals, plants, all creation, into higher or lower categories – whether through a caste system – religion – a snobbish class hierarchy – or racial grouping. As I see it, evolution is not a straight line, leading from fungi to animal to us – “Lords of Creation.” No, like everything in our cosmos, it is a spiral. So, each spiral ring is of equal value.

Deity divides itself into two, Goddess and God. This is spread through the cosmos until all separate entities know themselves as divine, from the Vestal Flame – the Divine Mother. Every creature, every crystal, each atom is original. Yet all belong to the Cosmic Web. Thus Isis and Osiris are One. Space and Time are One. Deity with all its offspring is One. As Above so Below. Also as Below so Above. This is the Alchemy of Lovers.

(Our thanks to Minette Quick for forwarding this from Olivia.)

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