College of Isis - Training of Priestesses and Priests

Featured on this page:
Priest/Priestess Training
The Line of Priest/Priestesshood within the FOI
Rites of Ordination and Consecration
Titles within the FOI
Vocation - FOI Co-Founder Olivia Robertson


Lawrence Durdin-Robertson, John Matthews, Caitlin Matthews and Olivia Robertson
Ordination of John Matthews and Caitlin Matthews, early 1980s, portico, Temple of Isis, Clonegal Castle.



Olivia Robertson ordaining Catherine Farah.
Photo by Barbara Lee Westlake.



PRIEST/PRIESTESS TRAINING IN THE FELLOWSHIP OF ISIS

Introduction

The Fellowship of Isis recognizes that all beings are born of the Mother Goddess and that every FOI member offers a unique contribution. By extension all FOI members bring something of Divinity through themselves into the every day world by honoring Her. This serves as part of Her Divine Plan. Being a part of the Divine Plan of the Great Mother can sometimes include a voluntary acceptance of vocation in answer to a call to the service of a particular Goddess or Goddess and God. When vocation is experienced, the would be candidate may apply to an FOI center for Priest/Priestesshood training.

Olivia Robertson writes: “Each age calls for its particular need. In our time we need to bring to flower soul qualities trampled upon by our rush into technological involvement … priests and priestesses live their devoted lives often disguised in every-day dress, as doctor, nurse, welfare worker, psychiatrist: there is need for beauty, for an outer acknowledgment of innate divinity, expressed through the symbols of art and ritual.”

The Priest and Priestess within the Fellowship of Isis experiences awareness of his/her tutelary Deity/Deities which often helps to determine the direction of his/her spiritual path and the form their service will take. The keys to the path of a Priest or Priestess within the Fellowship of Isis are dedication, psychic receptivity and the harmonizing of the various elements of their inner being. These qualities, and the gifts resulting from them are shared with others in contributions which can take many forms. A Priest or Priestess can work for example as a teacher, a healer, a writer, an artist, as an activist for human or animal rights, or for the protection of the environment. Priest/Priestesshood within the Fellowship of Isis involves daily commitment and daily service.

Training within an Iseum

Provided the head of an Iseum is an ordained member of the Isian Clergy, an Iseum may offer FOI Priest/ess Training within the Fellowship of Isis and training within the Spiral of Alchemy.  FOI members may participate in more than one Iseum - but only undertake study for the Priestess/Priesthood in one Iseum. All courses offered may be taught in person or through correspondence, via snail mail or the Internet. Training may be conducted by members of the FOI Priestess/Priesthood, but the ordination ceremony should be conducted under the tutelage of a Hierophant, who is Preceptor of the College of Isis. According to Olivia Robertson, training toward ordination should span a time period of at least nine months.

Training within a Lyceum

Lyceums may offer Priest/ess training in the Fellowship of Isis as well as Magi Degree Training. These are the two areas of study that are offered in a Lyceum. Priest/ess training within a Lyceum should include the Magi Degree system, if it does not, Priest/ess training should be conducted within its twin Iseum. Although FOI members may participate in more than one Iseum, they may only study with one Lyceum at any particular time. All courses offered may be taught in person, or through correspondence, via snail mail or the Internet. Olivia Robertson has stated that training toward ordination should span a time period of at least nine months.

For more information on coursework structure please click here.

THE LINE OF PRIESTHOOD WITHIN THE FELLOWSHIP OF ISIS

A true vocation to the Priesthood within the Fellowship of Isis requires acceptance of voluntary work undertaken to assist the unfoldment of the Divine Plan of the Deities. Each person who is a member of the Clergy of the Fellowship of Isis is free to serve the Goddess according to intuitive awareness of Deity and the dictates of heart and conscience to uphold the principles outlined within the Manifesto of the Fellowship of Isis. Priesthood in the Fellowship of Isis was first established in the mid 1970’s. The Priesthood of the Fellowship of Isis is hereditary. It comes through the family of two of the co-founders of the Fellowship of Isis, Olivia Durdin-Robertson and her late brother, Lawrence Durdin-Robertson. Lawrence held the hereditary title Baron of Strathloch. The right to establish a line of Isian priests and priestesses comes to Lawrence and Olivia Durdin-Robertson through their direct descent from the St. Legers, a family who can claim descent from the Egyptian Princess Scota, the daughter of the Pharaoh Cincris and legendary Queen of the Scots. Scota as the daughter of Pharaoh Cincris held the hereditary title Daughter of Isis, the royal line of the kings of Egypt always claiming descent through Horus, the son of Isis and Osiris. Princess Scota’s arrival and subsequent settlement in Scotland (Scota’s Land) is referenced in the "Chronicle of Scotland" by Hector Boethus, published in Edinburgh, and dated 1540. The Robertson family tree has been matriculated not only by Gerard Slevin, the Chief Herald of Ireland, but also earlier by their grandfather, Herbert Robertson, through the office of Lord Lyon in Scotland.

RITES OF ORDINATION AND CONSECRATION

The right of Priesthood and Priestesshood is passed to Priests and Priestesses of the Fellowship of Isis through the Rite of Ordination, which includes within it the anointing with oil. Oil blessed through ritual is an essential part of the ordination rite. The ordination ceremony may be performed in person or by telepathic attunement on a specific date and time, as agreed upon by the Officiate and the Ordinate. Rite by attunement is as effective as partaking in a physical rite in person. When performing an ordination rite by attunement, FOI members bless the oil themselves, by holding their hands over the oil and blessing it in the name of the Dedicatory Deity of their Priest/esshood. During the Fellowship of Isis Rite of Ordination the Ordinate is asked to state the name of their Dedicatory Deity, and also three other Deities for service as a Priest/ess on the threefold path of Wisdom, Beauty and Compassion. The Deities of this threefold path may be three separate Deities or aspects of their Dedicatory Deity.  The Ordination Rite can be adjusted to accommodate any number of aspects that are pertinent to the path of the one being ordained, such as the holy Seven, or the Ten or the Twelve. A rite involving Deity or Deities should take the appropriate form.

All rites for consecration or ordination in the various branches of the Fellowship of Isis may be conducted either by attunement or in person.

TITLES WITHIN THE FELLOWSHIP OF ISIS

"Isis...is wise,...and discloses the divine mysteries to those who truly and justly have the name of "bearers of the sacred vessels" and "wearers of the sacred robes." These are they who within their own soul, as though within a casket, bear the sacred writings about the gods clear of all superstition and pedantry..."  - Plutarch, Moralia, Book V, Isis and Osiris, section 3

There are a number of titles and designations used within the Fellowship of Isis. These are used to describe work voluntarily taken within the Fellowship of Isis, and the various levels of initiations within the branches of study. None of these titles are ever meant to be construed as giving one member authority over another within the Fellowship. All members are equally valued, all members have equal privilege for we are all children of the Great Mother. This is illustrated in two quotes taken from the Handbook of the Fellowship of Isis, edited by Olivia Robertson, Cesara Publications:

"Status" means "standing still" and can lead to stagnation. Hence any superiority induced through obtaining an honorific title is not relevant to such a creative movement as our Fellowship! The wider the horizon that can be seen, the greater is the extent of the unknown." *

"All members of the Fellowship of Isis, whether Priestesses, Priests or Hierophants, Founders, Elders or new members, work on equal footing. Titles are descriptions of the work and responsibilities which their bearers undertake. The F.O.I. Priesthood involves acceptance of special work undertaken for the Divine Plan of a particular Goddess - or Goddess and God. This can involve the dedication of one’s own daily work." *

VOCATION TO THE FELLOWSHIP OF ISIS
FOI Co-Founder Olivia Robertson
(Isian News Issue no. 103, Brigantia, 2003)

All living things are born of the cosmic Mother Goddess: so each creature, great or small, partake of Her divinity. All of us are daughters and sons of the Goddess, not by creation from an outside Deity, but through birth.

However, to become a Priestess or Priest in the Fellowship of Isis involves agreeing to work with Isis in Her divine Plan for this earth. This may take myriad forms -Isis has 10,000 manifestations through as many Goddesses, and Osiris manifests through Gods.

Who are these Deities? As Hesiod wrote, “The gods and men are of the same race.” Translating this liberally, we may regard ourselves as  essentially equal with deities - but need not get arrogant! We share this distinction with leopards and rabbits and hawks …

The Egyptians recognized this innate animism in their deification of the ungainly hippo and the elegant crocodile.

Thus, devoid of self-pride and arrogance, we can learn to listen to the Deities as their priesthood - and in turn listen to those who come to us! A true member of the priesthood of Isis follows “She Who Listens.” So understanding and loving with wisdom, we can truly heal, help, counsel and create.

We Her Priesthood claim no power over others. When we are called, we come, where there is suffering, we are here. When help is needed, whether for human, animal or plant, we give it. So we show forth Isis and Osiris in our unique way. We bring heaven down to earth.


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