Welcome to the Fellowship of Isis: Rediscovering the Love and Compassion of the Goddess! The FOI is an international society founded in 1976 by Olivia, Lawrence and Pamela Durdin-Robertson. Societies include: the College of Isis, Spirals of the Adepti & Alchemy, Druid Clan of Dana, Noble Order of Tara & the Muses Symposium. The purpose of this blog is for sharing general FOI information, website updates and announcements sent directly from the central FOI Foundation Center in Ireland.
"The Twin Mothers", illustration by Olivia Robertson. Here are some quotes from the book, "Juno Covella" by Lawrence Durdin-Robertson:
Anglo-Saxon: THE MOTHERS; Modraniht, Night of the Mothers. (Hislop, The Two
Babylons, p.93): "As the 25th of December was called by our Pagan Anglo-Saxon ancestors,
'Yuleday', or the 'Child's day', and the night that preceded it, 'MotherNight' "
(Hilda Davidson, Gods, Myths, N. Europe, p.112). . . "Bede mentions them in De
Temporum Ratione (13), where he tells us that the night before Christmas was
known in heathen times as Modraniht, 'The Night of the Mothers'. There seems
little doubt that they were closely connected with the birth of children".
Babylonian: THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN. (Hislop, The Two Babylons, p. 93) on the
festivals held on December 25th: "Long before the fourth century, and long before the Christian era itself,
a festival was celebrated among the heathen, at that precise time of the year,
in honour of the birth of the son of the Babylonian queen of heaven. . The same
festival was adopted by the Roman Church . . This tendency on the part of
Christians to meet Paganism half-way was very early developed."
Semitic (General): THE HEAVENLY VIRGIN, THE HEAVENLY GODDESS; ASTARTE.
(Frazer, Golden Bough abgd. p. 358): "No doubt the Virgin who thus conceived and bore a son on the twenty-fifth
of December was the great Oriental goddess whom the Semites called the Heavenly
Virgin or simply the Heavenly Goddess; in Semitic lands she was a form of
Egyptian: ISIS, NUT. (Eisler, Royal Art of Astrol. p. 270): "The goddess Isis, the Virgo Caelestis, the Egyptian sky-goddess Nut [was]
believed to give birth to the Sun on the 25th of December". (Fell. of Isis Dir.)
"December 25th: ISIS AND HER SON HORUS. Festival of children and young animals
and birds and other creatures".
Persian: SPENTA ARMAITI. (Frazer, Golden Bough abgd. p. 358): "Mithra . . his nativity also fell on the twenty-fifth of December". For
Spenta Armaiti as the mother of Mithra see Days of the Month: 25th.
Cyprian: MYRRHA. (Hislop, The Two Babylons, p. 97): "The mother of Adonis . . was mystically said to have been changed into a
tree, and when in that state to have brought forth her divine son (Ovid, Metam.
lib. x. v. 500-513) . - And this entirely accounts for the putting of the Yule
Log into the fire on Christmas-Eve . . As Zero-Ashta, 'the seed of the woman',
which name also signifies Ignigena, or 'born of the fire', he has to enter the
fire on 'Mothernight', that he may be born the next day out of it".
Foundation Centre Winter Solstice Festival 20th December
We were blessed with a crisp dry day as we met for
our last ceremony of the year. As ever in addition to our regular membership we
welcomed one or two members and their guests who had travelled to be with us for
the first time, and there was an air of spiritual warmth amongst us as we set
off singing to the Druid’s Grove. Here members of the priesthood invoked Deity
in both Irish and English as we stood within its sacred circle, drawn to look up
in amazement at the sheer height and majesty of these mighty trees - towering
above us and reminding us again that Nature is our Mother, who meets our every
On this occasion it wasn’t possible to visit the ancient Abbey in
the grounds, so we paused at Persephone’s Shrine, to invoke her permission to
enter the Temple with pure hearts, before filing quietly into the beautiful
atmosphere which awaited us within. As we gathered for invocations and
individual blessings beside Brigid’s Well of Truth, the powerful energy of the
sacred water rose up to inspire and welcome everyone to the hearth of the
Goddess where all hearts are known.
During the blessings a beautiful
Solstice version of Silent Night was sung and all was wrapped in magical peace
as we proceeded to our seats around the High Altar, where a silver-veiled figure
awaited our arrival to give us an Oracle from the Cailleach, the ancient Irish
Goddess of Winter. Quiet yet clear as a distant bell on a frosty morning, she
spoke from the perennial wisdom of the ages.
2014 has been a hard time
for many of our members, a time of death and yet renewal, of coping with
personal loss, yet continuing to seek to draw upon deep wells of connection to
the divine for comfort and understanding. So we were invited to enter a space of
rest and reflection for a while to the beautiful strains of the harp played live
beside the Altar.
This was followed by a sharing of the deep inner
release which may be evoked by connecting with the Dark Goddess such as the
Welsh Goddess Ceridwen and Nepthys the sister of Isis. To provide balance we
were reminded of working with the Divine Masculine in the form of Aengus Og, the
Celtic God of Love. All revelation comes through devotion and entails inner work
on ourselves, and each of us comes to it and expresses the fruits of it in
different and uniquely valuable ways – so many thanks to the members of the
priesthood who took part in this, and to everyone who joined in with the
spirited chant which was offered to lift up our hearts in preparation for the
truly inspiring Seasonal Story-telling treat which came next!
Spell-bound we listened to the telling of the wonders surrounding the
conception and birth of a son - ‘achieved within the span of one full day only
while the Sun stood still’ - of Aengus Og himself, the magical love child of the
Ancient Irish God the Dagda Mor and the Goddess Boann. Told in tones of wonder,
using her ‘bohran’ (the traditional Irish hand drum) to perfection, our powerful
story-teller held us in the palm of her hand.
The main proceedings were
completed with a quiet inner journey, offered by yet another member of the
priesthood, and the golden and silvered energies of her gentle steadying voice
brought inner peace and returned us safely back to ourselves in the Temple.
(photo of belvedere on Castle grounds, copyright reserved)
"At Clonegal Castle in Ireland, it is Winter in the constellation of
Capricorn. Let us contemplate this mystery of the humble Earth at the far
distant stars of Capricorn, which some saw as a sea goat. Teachings given to us
by the Magi. For they would ask a simple person: "my friend what is that in the
sky?" They would say: 'it's goat's horns.' And the Magus would say, 'I will tell
you concerning that goat.' And so the starry book revealed myths not known to
astronomers, yet written in the Book of Fate. Despise not the myths of the
stars, for they were linked to the simple imagination of humble fellow friends
who gazed at the sky and called them names, and the teachings were given. And so
their souls were brought nourishment. Let us contemplate the Earth and the
constellation of Capricorn. . ."
(Cropped photo by Minette Quick of the Well Chapel of Brigid, Foundation Center
Temple, Ireland. This north-east corner is also the Shrine of Capricorn. The well cover
was painted by Olivia Robertson and represents the Sidhe of Water and
Earth. Audio and photo copyright protected.)
"In a Seasonal Rite, the invocation is connected with a special time of year,
with the cyclic movements of the celestial bodies and with the climatic changes
of the earth. For those living in a town, cut off from nature in her wild form,
even the visualising of Stonehenge and the Polar stars at the Winter Solstice
brings food for the soul, a reminder of past incarnations, a harmony with nature
spirits. When a group gathers for a seasonal festival, even in a small room,
affinity is realised with the cosmos. Above is not a mere plaster ceiling with
an electric light bulb suspended from it - but the starry glory of the heavens.
Behind the television set is the mystery of the setting sun: beyond the radiator
is the radiance of the circumpolar stars: by the door may be felt the influence
of the centre of our galaxy, near Vega, the Weaver Maid. And mighty Orion is
rising below the sitting-room carpet, as he chases Taurus, and in turn is
followed by the Star of Isis now below the earth." (Olivia Robertson from
the book, "Dea.")
(The Inner Sun painting by Olivia Robertson, Foundation Center Temple, Ireland.)
Blessings to all Aset Shemsu. The FOI's funeral rite, the Dulce Domum, will be held
for Dr. Jocelyn Almond on Friday, the 19th of December at 12:20pm GMT. (7:20am
EST). Those who wish to attune are invited, and you may download a copy of the
ritual from her memorial page here:
"A spiral procession slowly and surely winding its way through a garden inwards
towards a temple blends two spheres, the earthly and the psychic. After such a
ceremony, the garden or field has a different, more psychically alive
atmosphere, which may be felt even by those unacquainted with the occult. The
wearing of robes and regalia, the playing of musical instruments, enhance the
effect. However, if neighbours may wonder when they hear chanting, the clash of
symbols, the eerie notes of the flute and the rattle of the sistrum, all that is
needed is a quiet walk around the garden in everyday clothes. During this silent
walk, thoughts are sent forth to bless plants and the earth. The procession then
winds inwards to the hall door and so within to the shrine. So is the outer
acknowledged and blended with the inner. After the Rite within the shrine, which
brings through the Power needed for the good purpose of the ceremony, it is
needful that the procession should return out-of-doors, preferably in a contrary
spiral movement. This return is not to inhibit the Power, nor to dispense with
the aid of those elemental and other Beings who have chosen to join in the
ceremony. It is to disperse the power outwards so that it may radiate blessing
to the whole neighbourhood and the surrounding plants, earth and streams." (Olivia Robertson, "Dea: Rites and Mysteries of the Goddess")
(photo of the doors to the Foundation Center Temple, painted by Olivia Robertson.)