Fellowship of Isis – Manifesto
Fellowship of Isis Manifesto
Clonegal Castle Ireland
Growing numbers of people are rediscovering their love for the Goddess. At first, this love may seem to be no more than an inner feeling. But soon it develops; it becomes a longing to help the Goddess actively in the manifestation of Her divine plan. Thus, one hears such enquiries as, “How can I get initiated into the Mysteries of the Goddess? How can I experience a closer communion with her? Where are her nearest temples and devotees?
“How can I join the priesthood of the Goddess?”, and many other similar questions.
The Fellowship of Isis has been founded to answer these needs. Membership provides means of promoting a closer communion between the Goddess and each member, both singly and as part of a larger group. There are hundreds of Iseums and thousands of members all over the world, since the Fellowship was founded in 1976 by Lawrence, Pamela and Olivia Durdin-Robertson. Love, Beauty and Truth are expressed through a multi-religious, multi-cultural, multi-racial Fellowship. The good in all faiths is honored. The FOI has no particular affiliations.
Lawrence Pamela & Olivia Durdin-Robertson
The Fellowship is organized on a democratic basis. All members have equal privileges within it, whether as a single member or part of an Iseum or Lyceum. This manifesto applies also to the Foundation Center Societies: the College of Isis, the Noble Order of Tara and the Druid Clan of Dana.
The Fellowship respects the freedom of conscience of each member. There are no vows required or commitments to secrecy. All Fellowship activities are optional and members are free to resign without question. Membership is free.
The Fellowship reverences all manifestations of Life. The God also is venerated. The Rites exclude any form of sacrifice, whether actual or symbolic. Nature is revered and conserved. The work of the Order of Tara is for conservation of Nature.
The Fellowship accepts religious toleration, and is not exclusivist. Members are free to maintain other religious allegiances. Membership is open to all of every religion, tradition and race. Children, listed as “Children of Isis”, are welcomed, subject to parental consent.
The Fellowship believes in the promotion of Love, Beauty and Abundance. No encouragement is given to asceticism. The Fellowship seeks to develop friendliness, psychic gifts, happiness, and compassion for all life. The Druid Clan of Dana develops Nature’s psychic gifts.
The College of Isis has been revived after its suppression 1,500 years ago. Like Aset Shemsu, The FOI itself, it has always been alive in the Inner Planes. It is from these Inner Planes that its return has been inspired. Magi degrees may be conferred through Lyceums of the College. Correspondence courses are offered. There are no vows, nor secrecy. FOI Homepage: http://www.fellowshipofisis.com
Iseum’s are the very Hearths of the Goddess, or Goddess and God to Whom they are dedicated. These are listed, along with Lyceums, in every Isian News. Tara Priories and Dana Groves are also listed regularly. All these centers and Isian News are for FOI members only.
Young Lady Olivia
The Archpriesthood Union is over-all Custodian for the Fellowship. The Fellowship of Isis Priesthood is derived from a hereditary line of the Robertson from Ancient Egypt. Priestesses, priests, every member, have equal honor. Priestesses and Priests work with the Goddess – or Goddess and God – of their own Faith. Every human, animal, bird, tree is an eternal offspring of the Mother Goddess’s Divine Family of Life.
Olivia Robertson – Obituary
Olivia Robertson was a daughter of the Ascendancy who ran an order devoted to the ‘Divine Feminine’ from her Irish castle
Olivia Robertson with her brother Lawrence presiding over ceremonies in their temple Photo: ALAMY
Olivia Robertson, who has died aged 96, was the co-founder, archpriestess and hierophant of the Fellowship of Isis, an order devoted to the worship of the “Divine Feminine”, which she ran from her haunted ancestral pile, Huntington Castle (also known as Clonegal Castle), in Co Carlow, Ireland.
A member of an old Irish Ascendancy family, Olivia Robertson had immersed herself in psychic and spiritualist studies from an early age, and had become convinced that God was a “She” after a series of visions.
About the first of these — which occurred when she was 29 – she was evasive, explaining that describing the experience to a non-mystic was like “trying to explain colour to someone born blind or a symphony to someone who’s deaf”. Whatever the details, the experience convinced her that she was “clairaudient, clairvoyant and telepathic” and set her on a religious quest.
Olivia Robertson with acolytes of the Foundation of Isis
She continued to believe in a male God — until the Egyptian fertility goddess Isis paid her a visit. “She seemed to be made of crystallised white light,” she recalled. “Her black hair was parted in the middle and she wore a violet and pale green dress, very modern, I thought. She seemed a cross between a queen, a ballet dancer and a gym mistress… We had a long conversation, but afterwards I couldn’t remember any of it.”
Later she was visited by an Irish goddess called Dana and felt an intense happiness: “Those visions made me realise that patriarchy had taken over religion, once the domain of matriarchs… and patriarchy had led to wars, greed and exploitation of the earth.”
By coincidence, around the same time that Olivia had her realisation, her brother, Lawrence “Derry” Durdin-Robertson, “21st baron of Strathloch”, an ordained clergyman in the Church of Ireland, had also become convinced that God was a woman. An honourable man, he at once proffered his resignation to his bishop, who assured him that “there was no need”.
In 1976 Olivia, Lawrence and Lawrence’s wife, Pamela, set up the Fellowship as a movement to worship “Isis of the 10,000 Names” . “At the end of an Aeon and the beginning of the space age, the Goddess Isis is manifesting as the feminine expression of divinity,” Olivia declared.
Huntington Castle was the ideal headquarters. Built as a garrison in 1625 on the site of a 14th-century abbey, Huntington became the seat of the Esmonde family, ancestors of the Robertsons. A rambling, castellated pile, complete with suits of armour and the heads of an array of wild beasts (including a crocodile shot by Olivia’s mother), it soon attracted a following of what Olivia called “ordinary Irish psychics”. Running out of room upstairs, she and Lawrence created an underground temple in the castle dungeons, with 12 shrines (one for each sign of the zodiac) and five chapels (each consecrated to a different goddess).
Huntington Castle, Co Carlow
There Olivia and her brother would perform elaborate rituals (with an extempore liturgy described by one witness as “the kind of thing you sit through at weddings when couples insist on writing their own vows”), he in blue robes, crook and tall blue hat, she in fetching pink, glittering golden or multicoloured gowns, her wild mane of dyed black hair topped with a brass coronet; she also brandished a sacred “sistrum” — a rattle made of small cymbals set in a wooden frame.
At first locals in the tiny village of Clonegal were horrified. “They thought we were all witches. It absolutely freaked them,” Olivia recalled. “But we left the outside door of the castle open at every ceremony so they could come round and participate. We never had any secrets.”
A painting by Olivia Robertson in the temple at Huntington Castle (DENNIS MURPHY LOGIC REALITY)
It no doubt helped that the strange happenings at the castle began to attract curious tourists to the village, as well as bands of New Age spiritualists who, several times a year, converged on the castle to pray, meditate and perform in pagan dramas and tableaux. Visitors included Van Morrison, Hugh Grant and Mick Jagger, while Brigitte Bardot’s sister made two stuffed canvas dragons for the temple.
The movement did not ask too much of its followers. “Some religions preach poverty, obedience and chastity,” Olivia explained. “We believe in love and beauty and have no truck whatsoever with asceticism.” By last year the group was said to have between 20,000 and 30,000 members in 90 countries, including (surprisingly) 46 Muslim nations. “The point about the Fellowship of Isis is that we don’t interfere with anybody’s religion, they have all got something to offer,” she explained. “The only thing we don’t like is people being boiled alive or burned or having their heads chopped off, that type of thing.”
Trailer for Olivia – Priestess Of Isis, a documentary made in 2010
One of four children, Olivia Melian Robertson was born in London on Friday April 13 1917. Her father, Manning Durdin-Robertson, was an architect and a member of a distinguished Anglo-Irish family with estates in Ireland; her mother, Nora, was the daughter of Lt-Gen Sir Lawrence Parsons, a cadet of the family of the Earls of Rosse who, disappointed that she was not a son, brought her up as a boy; she shot big game, invented a fishing fly known as the Black Maria, and wrote a book of memoirs, Crowned Harp.
Family ancestors were said to include Scota, legendary queen of the Scots, and Cesara (also known as “Mrs Benson”), a niece of Noah who, watching the Ark sail past from the top of Mount Leinster, called to Noah: “It’s a soft day.” Other notables to whom the Robertsons claimed to be related included Grace O’Malley, known in Irish folklore as Grainne Mhaoil, hereditary queen of Connaught; and the Wicked Lord Rosse, founder of the infamous Hellfire Club outside Dublin, where he and his fellow clubpersons were said to have roasted his butler.
Despite these connections, for the first eight years of her life Olivia Robertson led a somewhat humdrum existence in suburban Reigate. This all changed in 1925 when her paternal grandmother died and left Huntington Castle to her father. It was not long after the Civil War — a risky time for an Anglo-Irish family to return to Ireland. “The IRA had occupied the castle, and treated it very well,” she recalled, “although they locked the cook in the dungeon, and court-martialled the butler.”
It was a confusing time for Olivia and her three siblings: “Suddenly you didn’t wear a red poppy and you didn’t do Guy Fawkes. Everything was painted green. But we children didn’t mind a bit. We decided to be Irish!”
Surrounded by literature and paintings, antique-filled interiors, and plenty of parlour spirituality, the children were able to give full vent to their imaginations. Visitors to the house included Robert Graves, WB Yeats and the nationalist mystic George Russell (or, as he liked to be known, “Æ”). Olivia remembered Maud Gonne striding around the castle like “a statue of the goddess Demeter”, but was less impressed by Æ who “just sat there and spoke about skyscrapers”.
Olivia was educated at Heathfield School, Ascot, and the Grosvenor School of Modern Art. Following the outbreak of the Second World War, she served briefly as a VAD nurse in Bedfordshire before returning to Ireland, where she enrolled at University College Dublin to study Art History.
After the war she did social work with families in Dublin tenements, work which inspired her to write her first book, St Malachy’s Court. She went on to write five more books, one of which — a novel, Field Of The Stranger — won the London Book Society Choice award. She also had some success as a painter: she had her first exhibition in 1938, aged 21, and would later adorn the Temple of Isis with her own visionary work.
As an Archpriestess of the Fellowship of Isis, Olivia Robertson travelled to distant temples around the world. In 1993, when the Parliament of World Religions met in Chicago, she was chosen as the representative of “neopagans” and walked in procession at the opening ceremony alongside Chicago’s Roman Catholic Cardinal Joseph Bernardin.
Olivia Robertson never married. Her brother Lawrence made his “transition to spirit” in 1994. Announcing her death, the Fellowship of Isis website enjoined the Goddess Isis of 10,000 Names to “bless and keep her as she makes her journey into the next Spiral of the Cosmic Web”.
Olivia Robertson, born April 13 1917, died November 14 2013
High priestess of Carlow-based ‘Fellowship of Isis’ cult dies, aged 96
Olivia Durdin Robertson lived with her extended family in Huntington Castle in Clonegal, on the Carlow-Wexford border
Olivia Durdin Robertson, who co-founded the Fellowship of Isis with her late brother Lawrence Alexander Durdin Robertson – a former Anglican clergyman – and his wife Pamela
Olivia Durdin Robertson, the self-styled “high priestess” of a Co Carlow-based cult devoted to an ancient Egyptian goddess, has died aged 96.
Ms Durdin Robertson came to international attention in the 1970s when she co-founded the “Fellowship of Isis” with her late brother Lawrence Alexander Durdin Robertson – a former Anglican clergyman – and his wife Pamela.
Her nephew David Durdin Robertson, a craftsman and sculptor who predeceased her in 2009, created an Egyptian temple for her in the dungeons of the castle.
In recent years this has been opened to the public for tours at Halloween.
Alexander Durdin Robertson said his great-aunt had died on Thursday in Wexford General Hospital following a short illness.
Her funeral on Wednesday will begin with “a private ceremony in the temple, organised by the Fellowship of Isis, by invitation only” followed by a public Church of Ireland service at St Fiacc’s in Clonegal.
He said the fellowship had “20,000 to 30,000” members worldwide.
A pre-planned auction of architectural salvage items in Huntington Castle scheduled for Monday will go ahead.
Olivia Robertson Has Died
I’ve just heard that Olivia Durdin-Robertson, who founded the Fellowship of Isis and at 96 was one of the great lights of Goddess spirituality and Druidry, died peacefully in her sleep last night. She was so familiar with the Otherworld, seeming to be often half-immersed in it, that I’m sure her journey to the Summerlands will be a good and peaceful one. She was always so bright and joyful, with a wonderful sense of humour – many blessings to you on your way dear Olivia.
Much Sadness form Daughters of Qetesh Lyceum, but much love and celebration for the great inspirational woman she was. May she rest in the wings of Isis. xx