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Letter from Cressida Pryor
December 17, 2017

Cressida Pryor

Winter Solstice 2017 Letter

Dear Friends,

I have had a particularly strong sense of waiting and preparing for this Solstice, this mid winter time...it is a really busy season for many. This is a time to prepare for the gathering together of family and friends with food, drink and gifts. Other more daunting tasks may be the year end accounts for those with businesses and with all this comes a time of reflection on that which has been and that yet to come...much busyness of many kinds.

And yet within many faiths the rituals that have developed witness the return of the light, perhaps also symbolising the return of hope in more eternal dimensions. In Earth Spirit faiths the ‘return’ of the sun at the Solstice maybe celebrated with candles, bonfires or witnessing the sunlight itself as it transects ancient portals built for such a task many thousands of years ago. In Judaism the Hanukkah menorah candles are lit, one a night over a period of eight days. Christianity has the advent candles which are lit on the four Sundays leading up to Christmas day itself. Within these festivals there is the business of preparation, there is the waiting, the reflection, and patience is needed too. Especially for children eager to receive gifts...

It too is a time of spiritual rebirth, the seed of the divine’s light is planted in the rich ground of our hearts...but we must tend it, create space so it is not crowded out by weeds; the unnecessary clutter of our lives...we can also recognise with humility that the seed is not of our human making...it is the divine spark of the Goddess deep within us that is the energy of the universe; to be witnessed with awe, wonder and deep gratitude.

Our task in this life is to take this divinely inspired and created energy out into the world for the good of all.

Within the FOI at Foundation Centre there are two developments that are at the point of broader communication too, out to the wider world. The first is to communicate the importance of supporting a robust safeguarding culture within our trainings, festivals and gatherings. Safeguarding is complex, it is not a simple black and white issue...yes, all members and guests at our meetings should feel welcome and safe, that is without question...there are however complicated human situations that develop where there are ‘grey’ areas and this is where an open attitude is important to allows free and fair reporting to other members, to outside agencies if necessary...

We will be distributing on the homepage website clear broad guidelines for every FOI ‘hosting’ body, where members meet, have festivals, rites of passages, or other occasions so everyone is aware of this development. These are to ensure that we recognise that we all have a responsibility to help prevent the physical, sexual, psychological, financial and discriminatory abuse and neglect of children, young people and vulnerable adults and to report any such abuse that we discover or suspect. Safeguarding is everybody’s responsibility.

The second development is that of Isian New’s collation and distribution. There was a time when Olivia’s hand roneoed paper copies of this newsletter were sent by snail mail all around the world. Welcomed by many but both costly in terms of time, energy and money to produce and distribute. More recently there were hopes to create an Isian News magazine, financed by advertising that would serve the function of disseminating news, articles, poetry, images, letters and other items. We then realised that our busy lives did not have the capacity to produce such a thing consistently several times a year. Then many of us realised that we already have an organ of communication...our homepage website and we could include news and articles there on a particular webpage for that purpose... No trees destroyed in the process and less anxiety and stress needed to coordinate it.

We are now at the stage of putting the intention of this ‘out there’ to you...we will need copy, articles, poems, news and photos and art work. We want to launch this at the next Spring Equinox of 2018. We are aware that this will create extra work for our already busy web manager so are asking for committed volunteers to help share this load...to help collate, edit and coordinate. We envisage this could also have a letter and reply function to encourage debate too...but with the proviso of the Buddhist ‘right communication’ ethos; so none of the attack or bullying that can be Facebook’s fate. Over to you kind readers...we need your interest, input and offers of help.

As this letter draws to an end I want to mention with huge gratitude the gift of time and energy that the Circle of Brigid’s members give to the FOI and myself and how appreciated it is. Regular meetings are held that take hours of travel, discussion and debate; actions are agreed to that are followed through with diligence and enthusiasm. The FOI is lucky to have this dedicated team that keeps the Foundation Centre vibrant and the eight festival’s beacons of truth, beauty and spiritual energy and also, with the Circle of Elder’s support, has a broader fellowship wide policy remit. So thank you for your energy and friendship too...much appreciated.

May the light of the Goddess shine through our hearts at this time.
May we receive the gifts that we need and those that weigh the least:
The gifts of love, hope and peace.

With blessings of abundance and joy,
Cressida
FOI Steward



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