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

Written by: Tom Joseph Swinburne
Photos by: Katheriona Doyle
22nd June 2019

With many people moving to and fro in the courtyard of Huntington Castle, members of the Fellowship and invited guests gathered outside the Tea Rooms, to celebrate the Summer Solstice. A number of groups had arrived to enjoy the splendour of the Castle and the beautifully kept grounds which surround it. It was gratifying to witness so many bright and happy faces, as they admired a structure with such a rich cultural heritage. The warm sunshine filled the hearts and minds of all those who assembled in the courtyard at this special time of year.

Our presiding Priestess beautifully clothed in robes of blue and white, addressed our particular ensemble. She welcomed all who came to celebrate the Summer Solstice and invited us to walk in procession towards the Rose Garden. As we made our way along a dry earthen path, the glory of the natural world lay before us. Plants, shrubs and trees all responded to the strength of the sun at the height of its power. In the Rose Garden a circle was formed, and a Priestess invoked “the Rosa Mundi”, the eternal Rose of the World. With her invocation still rising through the ether, another Priestess stepped forward to sweetly sing . Before we departed our Presiding Priestess invited us to smell the many roses, whose colours marvelled in the brightness of the golden sun. We proceeded back on a gravel path past the apple trees and into the shade of the Yew Walk. This way brought us to the Sacred Grove of Danu and to an encounter with the tallest beings on the planet.

Standing within a circle of Redwood Trees, a Priestess informed us of the planting of these living giants in 1905. Today they form a Sacred Grove dedicated to the Goddess Danu. In silence we watched how they majestically swayed in a soft breeze, while they witness the circle of the seasons continuing in the passage of time. Our presiding Priestess spoke of how everything an Oak Tree needs to grow is contained in a small acorn. As in humans too, all life has an Inner Fire which the Goddess births in each and every one of us. Moving with the flow of the Earth’s natural energy, we walked in single file back through the two mighty Redwoods, who mark the entrance to our Sacred Grove.

To the sound of drums and sweet singing of songs to the Goddess, we were led to the enchantment of the Abbey. A Grand Dame Commander of the Noble Order of Tara greeted us and spoke of the importance of protecting the environment. Caring for a simple potted plant within a household will, she said, will make a difference in how we connect with the natural world which surrounds us all. Our presiding Priestess next invited us all to make our way to the Temple beneath Huntington Castle. Gathered outside the entrance to another realm, a member of the Fellowship asked the Goddess Persephone, for permission to proceed. With our request granted, we now entered a hidden World far from the one we know, which we are about to leave behind us. The loud pealing of a bell alerted the Gods to the knowledge that we were coming to them.

At the Chapel Well the assembled Priesthood invoked the Goddess in her many forms. A noble Priestess recited an Oracle from the work of Lady Olivia Robertson. Inspired by the West African Mother Goddess Nana Buluku, she tells us to develop our sun bodies in order to experience a separate space and time. This Sacred Fire inside allows us to “Hold sway over those planets that are the spiritual centres within your soul bodies”. Olivia’s written words are always delivered by this Priestess in such a perfect love of the spirit. Our attention was next drawn to yet another Priestess of Divine Inspiration.

Seated motionless on the High Altar in trance, this veiled Priestess awaited the Goddess to speak through her . In the stillness of the Temple we witnessed an Oracle from the Goddess Yemaya, a water deity from the religion of the Yoruba people in West Africa. Such a wonder of Blessings from two major Goddesses joined in the same Spiritual cultural traditions. Yemaya asked that we discover pleasure and to surrender ourselves to love. As a Goddess of rivers, springs and lakes, she tells us of the force and the power of water which emanates from her womb. We should use such a similar force in finding our voice and the voices of everyone in order to empower ourselves to heal and to love. As we contemplated the subtle effects of the Oracle, a Priest gently played the Gaelic tune ”Ar Éireann Ní Neosainn Cé HÍ”, on a stringed instrument called a mandola.

We then sat comfortably and listened as an eminent Priestess who has served the Goddess for many years, invited all assembled in the Temple to join in a visualised journey. The Priestess created a beautiful sunny image in our imagination. Walking through a field of giant sun flowers, we are cleansed in a stream and make an offering of wilde flowers to a mighty Oak Tree, which stands like a God in the centre of a Sacred Grove. The oak helps us to ground ourselves with its deep roots in the earth, as the Goddess appears to speak with us. She asks that we choose freedom, feel love and share goodwill. We are to transform our world and leave behind a reality that no longer serves humanity. In our hearts we felt a blessing from the Goddess of the Scared Grove. Feeling centred and calm our Good Priestess returned our awareness to our physical bodies in the Temple.

In a change to how we conduct our ceremony, Blessings with water from the Temple’s Holy Well now proceeded. Our presiding Priestess invited anyone present who wished to be Blessed, to make their way to The Chapel of the Mothers, to the Star Chapel, and to the Prayer Tree. Priestesses stood waiting in each of these Holy places. To the sublime voice of a Priestess singing a Hindu hymn to the Divine Mother, all and everyone experienced a much deeper connection with the compassion of the Great Goddess Isis. Guests and Priesthood alike also called out names of those not present but are in need of healing. It truly was a magnificent event to have witnessed.

The Priesthood moved forward to the High Altar to offer thanks and farewell to the Goddess. In concluding our ceremony, fruits of the earth were shared among us on a platter. Notices were read out along with the date for our next gathering.

Rev. Tom Joseph Swinburne

© Katheriona Doyle

© Katheriona Doyle

© Katheriona Doyle

© Katheriona Doyle

© Katheriona Doyle

© Katheriona Doyle

© Katheriona Doyle

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(Much appreciation to Tom and Katheriona for the report and photos!)

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