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

2015 Lughnasad Festival at the Foundation Center
By: Minette Quick

25th July 2015

Much of July has been rather wet and cold, but the Goddess came through for us again with a beautiful sunny day at Huntington last Saturday, and we enjoyed our tea outside in the Yard, with peacock and hens completely unconcerned by our presence, happily fluffing out their feathers and basking on the ground in the warm sunshine around us.

Castle Chickens
Castle chickens, photo © M. Quick

There has been much updating and provision of new facilities for visitors to the Castle this year and the gardens and grounds are being developed on an ongoing basis; so our procession set off through the Orchard to visit the formal Rose Garden which has has recently been replanted and is looking lovely under the benevolent gaze of Olivia’s much beloved Mount Leinster which is exquisitely framed between neighbouring hills in the distance! Here in this special space, surrounded by roses in full bloom, we celebrated the mystical home and heritage of our Co-Founders, and gave thanks for the support and devotion of all the family as they continue to cherish and care for it.

Down in Dana’s Druid Grove we stood, rooted in the deep, enfolding energy of Nature at this time. It was good to see Olivia’s little birch tree flourishing close-by, before setting off again up past the Yew Walk and the manicured lawns to the Abbey, to call upon the Goddess Tara to support all efforts to save the environment upon which our very life on Earth depends. To complete our procession we approached Persephone, Goddess of the Underworld, standing as guardian at the Garden Gate into the Temple of Isis, knocked at the door and sought permission to enter Her Temple at this time of Harvest at Lughnasad. Wonderful ongoing work has been done by our dedicated priesthood caring for each of the many altars in turn, and the energy in each is very much alive and glowing.

Kwan Yin Altar
Kwan Yin altar, photo © M. Quick
As ever we start our ceremonies at Brigid’s Well, where there is always a sense of great beauty as we call upon Deity to be with us, to nourish and inspire us; and everyone present receives an individual Blessing from the Goddess with living water from the Well before we move on to gather round the High Altar for the opening of the main ceremonies. On this occasion a prayer for the healing of the heart was offered before an Oracle from the Goddess Gaia was given by her priestess. Her words clearly reflected the subtle changes in energy during this crucial time so soon after the high point of the Summer Solstice which is, of course, the turning point of the year - onwards towards the reaping of the harvest of the all-important seed but also towards acceptance of the inevitable dying back of all that summer profusion; but within the seed lies the future, for all must change and be renewed – nothing in nature remains the same for ever, and so it is with us, and so a time for reflection to the gentle sound of the harp followed Her final words.

Next we heard of the many roles, including that of ‘minstrel’ which charmed me particularly, all attributed to the Goddess Dana, who is also known as Anu and Aine in Irish mythology. Afterwards everyone joined in a chant to celebrate three of the names by which she is known, ‘Danu, Dane, Dana’ which gradually developed into various strands of harmony! We also enjoyed a beautiful song about the magical ‘Shee’, the fairy people of Ireland!

The time of Lughnasad heralds Anu's labours as she brings Eithne, the kernel, to birth at the time of the Harvest. She is the Goddess of the Harvest, the grain, the land among so many other attributes. On the sacred island within Lough Gur, Eithne is birthed as Anu/Aine sits upon the birthing stone. The kernel is brought to the surface by the chthonic God, Crom Dubh. This was the theme, therefore, of our Mystery Play, and members of the priesthood sought to do justice to the wisdom within the many faceted roles in this ancient tale which has lasted so long. We all need understanding and respect for the deep earth cycles upon which we rely to support life upon our planet.

Shrine of Vesta of the Hearth-Gemini
Shrine of Vesta of the Hearth/Gemini, photo © M. Quick

This was followed by an evocative ‘inner journey’ across just such a lake and sacred island as in our play, and there we were invited to observe the unfolding drama, seeking insight and understanding to bring back with us to help and feed our inner lives. After Feedback and the sending of Healing Prayers for the World, the main programme was complete. Many multi-coloured ribbon requests have already been placed upon the Prayer Tree in the Healing Chapel and members are invited to send their own requests and prayer ribbons - but in order to maintain privacy we ask that these be sent in accordance with the guidelines to the address given in the recent announcement on www.fellowshipofisis.com. (Direct Link to Prayer Tree)

Thanks were given to Deity for their supporting presence throughout, and also for the sense of unity which pervaded the atmosphere throughout our time together. As usual short Healing/Counselling sessions were offered to those who wished to receive them, and as customary afterwards, we repaired to the Village for a bountiful home-made tea and sandwiches to enjoy some time in each other’s company before leaving for home.

Minette Quick – 27th July, 2015

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(Our ongoing gratitude to Minette, the COB Priesthood and the Durdin-Robertson family at the Foundation Center Temple.)

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