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Letter from Cressida Pryor
August 6, 2017

Cressida Pryor

Lughnasadh Letter 2017

Dear Friends,

I write with my head bowed with apology for this late missive...I have the equivalent of a Doctor’s note in explanation. Mine is Wiltshire police’s incident number for July 28th 541700....

Let me explain:

Up until the very last years of Olivia’s life she took an annual Lughnasadh trip to the UK. First she’d stay in London for a week or so and enjoy the metropolis’s esoteric mysteries and delights with Caroline as host and arranger. She would then travel west for a few days with me in Winchcombe to draw breath and reflect on the previous busy week. I then took her onto my cousin Anna’s in Corsham for a week of crop circling in and around the Wiltshire downs and home to many ancient wonders. At this point most would need to lie down in a dark room to recover...Not Olivia! She then stayed with Celia in Glastonbury presiding with aplomb at August’s Goddess Conference.

This became Olivia’s UK pilgrimage ritual and our’s too...her death inevitably brought the crop circle visits to an end and we allowed the custom to lie fallow until this year. Anna and I meeting in June on Iona felt the time was ripe for another crop circle gathering...so the two of us met with my older sister Caroline and travelled to the beautiful vale of Pewsey to remember Olivia and find a crop circle or two to connect with...

It was while we slowly and ceremonially walked the pattern of the first one that we had our three handbags stolen from the locked boot of Anna’s car. We were in the field for about twenty minutes max. The location remote, our concentration total.

The police said we would have been watched from afar as we stowed our bags ‘safely’ away; we were targeted for a quick snatch and escape. This is what I found to be so disturbing. The clinical precision of the offence, and of course the many losses that were incurred. I think the most enduring effect for me is my loss of trust in people’s general goodness...since the offence I have become just a little paranoid about leaving stuff, mobile phone, purse etc etc ‘around’. I need only think of the kindness of those who helped after the events as a balance and the many worse horrors in this world to know how minor the theft was in comparison. But it is still extremely galling.

It also is a sad reminder that even when occasions are ceremonial, sacred or involving faith in some capacity there might be an abuse of trust or some sort of stolen innocence by someone watching on or more actively involved...which is where I will now mention the FOI’s new Safeguarding Policy that will be circulated shortly. Please watch for these notices and discuss the local practical implications and appropriate responses in your Iseum or Lyceum.

In a nut shell the policy reminds all of us of our individual responsibility as FOI members to report any suspicious actions or abusive developments (e.g. grooming behaviour) involving children or vulnerable adults in our festivals or gatherings to the relevant authorities, which in most countries is the local statutory social service department. Most places have opportunities of an anonymous ‘reporting a concern’ if things are more vague. Within an Iseum or Lyceum the Priestess in charge should also be kept informed...

Within the FOI there is no code of secrecy. The founders were clear on this and in my role as successor I endorse this founding principal. If something feels dodgy or is taking advantage of any vulnerable person’s trust this must be spoken about in the wider community. I felt vulnerable and my property violated after the car theft incident; reporting it was the right thing to do.

Whilst it is lovely to think and feel that ‘that’ sort of thing doesn’t happen in the FOI...as we learned on July 28th none of us are invulnerable at times to the duplicity of our fellows.

This time is our celebration of harvest...and maybe the personal harvest for me this year is one I earlier would not have predicted...that reminder ultimately of being able to let things go and not harbour malice after all that can be done is done. The only person who really suffers is myself as any residual fury curdles the stomach and breaks into sleep at three in the morning.

Divine Mother of us all, may we all find stillness of mind in these often busy and confusing times.

And allow the kindness of strangers to fill our hearts with hope and so embrace the spirit and re-kindle it with love...and give freedom to the soul.

In the words of Teresa of Avila:
Do what most kindles love in you, do what most kindles love....
and your harvest will be the peace of the Eternal Now that is One with All.


Yours in Fellowship,
Cressida
FOI Steward


Olivia walking a crop circle in with her niece
Olivia walking a crop circle with her niece in 2003
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