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

Summer Solstice Celebration
at Clonegal Castle, 2004
By: Olivia Robertson

         This celebration meant a lot to us all, because we were putting into motion the workings of our new Circle of Brigid. We began in the Old Mill Theatre where as a child I remember the huge old mill wheel resting outside - the remnants of the water now a pool for fat ducks. It looked suitably ancient with a jigsaw of deers’ antlers (not my choosing. . .) animal heads and a gigantic tapestry of two lovers – presumably illicit – the man in armour, the lady with flowing hair and gown, falling into each others arms, watched on by a somewhat sinister Pan statue. What is the legend? We don’t know. The hall is lighted by huge Chinese lanterns and has Chinese flags put in by an erstwhile resident of Hong Kong.

Theatre Tapestry
Theatre Tapestry

         Equally Chinese was the display of Martial Arts performed as a gift to F.O.I. by the Grand Master Sid Sofas and his team. He and Brian and others assisted in being dramatically thrown into the air – as in a favourite film of mine – “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” We were given a talk on the therapeutic, spiritual and peace-bringing value of Martial Arts. The Arts release “Chi” – Kundalini – Melusina – Mana – the psychic lightening in our bodies.

         However, the focus of our Solstice celebration was the Midsummer Alchemical Marriage. One of its names in the mysteries is “Hieros Gamos”, but the very down-to–earth tantric practice of this as described in the best-seller “The Da Vinci Code” is not our way.

         The Bride and Bridegroom preferably have not met each other before, and after the alchemical use of “chi” may never meet again. FOI presented this Isian practice at the Centennial Parliament of the Parliament of World Religions, and many Sufi and Hindu practitioners use the same non-tactile method. The Bride and Bridegroom, having stepped forward, tell the company what Intentions they wish to fulfil through the alchemical union of man and woman. The Priestesses and Priests bless two scarves, one for the Bride and one for the Groom. The Bridal scarf is the Veil: the Groom’s, his sword-sash. On occasion the pair may walk 3 times round the ever-living Vestal Flame. On this occasion there were far too many present in the Temple of Isis to use a fire.

         As Archpriestess, I tied the Eternal Knot, held by Bride and Groom at each end. Then I instructed them to hold the palms of their hands together and feel a flow of power. I told them to visualise a small sun between their hands and as the sun grew, slowly to withdraw their hands until the sun could gain its maximum size. I asked them to put their Intentions within the sun. When this was completed, they were to turn away from each other, and send forth rays of Love, Beauty and Truth to all assembled. The company could add names and wishes for healing for others not present, and causes they had at heart. As always afterwards, we gave thanks to the Deities, who to us are not “thought-forms” but living Beings more advanced than ourselves but of the same Divine Family of life born of the Cosmic Mother, the Matrix.

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