My letter this Samhain accompanies a painting I have lived with all my life. The final time Olivia stayed here she saw this picture and immediately exclaimed: “Ah yes, the Green Goddess! One of Barbara’s best...”
Barbara, my mother, was Olivia’s older sister by four and a half years. She studied before the war at the Slade in London and had a few exhibitions but sadly did not keep painting after she had her four children. I think she then found her creative spark had broadened and was more about people, relationships and an interest in the afterlife rather than oil paint on canvas. Whenever I hear Olivia’s voice I also hear my mother’s.
My thoughts at this time of growing shadows and darkening nights feel more connected to those who have gone before us; who lead the way. For those recently bereaved where grief is rawest and the remaining gaping hole feels too huge to bear I can but offer my hand of friendship with these thoughts on the “Perennial Tradition” that encompasses the recurring themes in all the world’s religions. It emphasises that there is a Divine Reality underneath and inherent in the world and a deep longing for this...and the final goal of existence, of life, is union with this Divine Reality; bringing the fullness of all things in love. Olivia, Derry and Pamela had the wisdom to emphasise the FOI’s compatibility with other faiths; the primacy of the Perennial Tradition I think colours the ethical background to the Manifesto. An awareness of the Divine at work in all things is the Beauty, Truth and Love we honour and celebrate. My spiritual background also welcomes this peaceful connection within the web of world faith.
As we come together at this time when the veil is at its thinnest we can feel even more this connection to the ancestor’s presence...their guiding hands, their love and sometimes their small nudges encourage our reluctant steps on less lit paths that can lead us on to the greater good.
We are also aware and present to those yet to come and the responsibility of handing over this planet in a fit state for their lives’ fulfilment.
Open our hearts to the cold, damp and fallow.
Allow faith in the doubts that refresh the dark corners,
Blow winds of courage when our spirits waiver.
May the small wisps of your Divine voice be heard
Even when the noise of life bellows;
So we know the fullness of all things in Eternal Love.
With blessings and gratitude,
Cressida, FOI Steward
(photo of painting by B. Robertson, copyright reserved)