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

Winter Solstice Festival
December 21, 2013
By: Minette Quick


The day of the Solstice dawned with the crash of thunder and lightning and downpours of rain…..

Then it cleared for several hours and reports were heard that the annual gathering at Newgrange in Co. Meath of those fortunate enough to have won tickets in the national draw to greet the long-awaited dawn were treated to the rare and magnificent sight of the light pouring down the central passage in which they stood right inside Ireland’s ancient and world-famous passage grave.

By the time our Fellowship members had gathered at the Castle later in the day, several further waves of wild, windy and wet weather had swept the country and there was certainly no possibility of processing round the grounds, so we entered the Temple of Isis by Persephone’s Shrine and Garden Gate and all Invocations were made at Brigid’s Well of Truth. The atmosphere shone most beautifully and Lady Olivia’s presence could be felt in her beloved Temple throughout the Ceremony which had been planned, coordinated and led by the Rev. Cait Branigan at the request of Olivia’s chosen successor Rev. Cressida Pryor, who of course lives in the United Kingdom. Most beautiful live harp music and song was interspersed by various members throughout our time together, which deepened and enhanced the sense of purity and harmony already present. Olivia would have loved this!

Gathered round the High Altar, we first received a most beautiful and encouraging Oracle from the Goddess of Wisdom, Sophia. Then several members stood forward to take the main parts of an insightful Mystery Play based on the story of Newgrange. Various ideas had been offered by members for inclusion, such as the clarity and brilliance of Arianrhod and the winter constellations, the opposing forces (i.e. the baddies, in Olivia’s traditional and much-beloved format for improvised drama); the Deity bringing the message of the Gods (Arianrhod), the message of Boand (the Modron/Mother) and Oenghus the younger, the Divine Child of Light (the Mabon) at this sacred time, and Oenghus the older, God of Love.

Much could be said of the wisdom offered by each but suffice it to say that the opposing and inner nature of the forces of the ‘baddie’ within us expressed as greed and selfishness, was met by the inspired words of the Goddess, seemingly stern and unbending at times but ultimately working through the cycles of the seasons of life to bring back harmony, the love of the Mother for all and the Birth of the Light and Inner Sun which lies within each one of us ready to burst into new life.

The remainder of this inspiring ceremony was focused on providing and encouraging everyone present to take this opportunity to contribute their personal memories of Olivia. Strands of many coloured wools had been given out to everyone and then collected and braided together as a symbol of the joining of our hearts into a beautiful rainbow rope to grace the High Altar as the stories were told. The fun, the wisdom, the astonishing foresight, the adventures, in short the real, irrepressible phenomenon of nature and the divine that was Olivia came forth in abundance!!! The winter’s cold was more than offset by the warmth of our hearts.

We all retired to Osborne’s famous ‘coaching inn’ in the Village afterwards for hot tea and our traditional informal time together and for many more happy memories of a great lady whom so many met and were inspired by during her long and fruitful life. Her influence will last in the lives of us all for many years yet.

Much happiness to everyone throughout the Fellowship at this special time, and every blessing for the coming New Year in 2014.

Minette Quick

Warm thanks to Minette for sharing her beautiful accounts with FOI members and gratitude to all members of the Circle of Brigid for continuing the tradition of the festivals at Clonegal Castle.

Well of Truth
© M.Q.

Brigid's Well of Truth
Presided over by Child Figure of Bride to the left.
The notice on the wall represents the
All-Seeing Eye of the Deities, Angels & Star Children, Above Brigid's Well,
Of The Tears of Truth & The White Dove
Of the Holy Spirit descending into the Grail

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