The First Official Public FOI Gatherings
The First FOI World Convention
London, September, 1990
Caroline Wise, AU, of London created the first official FOI London Convention, as directly requested by Lady Olivia Robertson. The name "Convocation" was never used in association with the official FOI London gathering. Later the name was changed to FOI London World Conference. The organizers felt that "Conference" captured the spirit of what they were creating more accurately. Caroline and the other members of her Lyceum, Isis of the Thames organized and hosted the event.
Caroline wrote in a private message: “I put on the first Fellowship of Isis World Conference in September 1990. I did it on my own mainly, with huge help from Karl Duncan, Priest Hierophant of Sekhmet and Bridgit. 420 attended and monies raised went to save Oxleas Wood, the last bit of London's remaining prehistoric forest.”
Steve Wilson, AU, also of London participated in the event. He writes: “By 1990 the Goddess movement in general was growing apace. In this year Olivia asked members of a London Lyceum to organize a Fellowship of Isis event. This became the first Fellowship of Isis World Convention, when for the first time members and groups came together under the FOI banner. At the end there was a massive circle dance, where the elders of groups which themselves had world-wide memberships were literally joined together. This seemed the high point in Olivia’s, Lawrence’s and the late Pamela’s dream of reviving the world-wide religion of the Goddess.”
Olivia and Loreon beneath the Great Fir Tree, FOI Convocation, Isis Oasis, 2003. Photo, Linda Iles.
The First FOI Convocation in the USA
Temple of Isis, California, October, 1990
The very first Convocation of the Fellowship of Isis held at Isis Oasis occurred in October of 1990. It was a small affair. The featured guest speaker was FOI Priestess Morgan le Fey of Georgia. Loreon writes of Morgan: "She was very knowledgable and well-versed in all the liturgy of the Fellowship, having spent a lot of time at Clonegal Castle."
Photos of this first convocation at Isis Oasis were featured on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle. Staff members from this newspaper happened to be doing a story about Isis Oasis that weekend.
Although Lady Olivia was invited to the 1990 event, she did not attend. She told Loreon at that time she would not come to the USA because she “did not care to fly.” Undeterred, Loreon continued to send an invitation to Olivia every year. Needless to say, Loreon and others were all very happy that Olivia eventually changed her mind!
In 1995 Olivia Robertson attended the FOI Convocation at Isis Oasis for the very first time. Arisa Victor writes: “I was thrilled when Lady Olivia came that first year to the Convocation. The thing I remember most is that Lady Olivia knew deTraci and I immediately. She was especially delighted to meet deTraci in person; I suppose they had corresponded a lot. A thrill went through me as I witnessed their strong connection. It has been deeply moving to witness all the glorious people, events, and magical happenings at the Temple of Isis over the years.”
The annual FOI Convocations at Isis Oasis have continued to grow since 1990. Olivia Robertson is a regularly featured speaker, providing a lovely and vital presence each year. The event includes guest speakers and talks, workshops, rituals, plays, and sacred dance offered by FOI priestesses, priests and members.
The First FOI Chicago Goddess Festival,
Chicago, Illinois, USA, November, 1994
One year after the Second Parliament of World Religions, which took place in Chicago in 1993, Deena Butta, AU of FOI Chicago hosted the first official FOI event attended by FOI co-founder Olivia Robertson in the United States. The FOI Chicago Goddess Festival has been a featured destination in Lady Olivia's travels ever since.
Deena is hostess to a Champagne and Chocolates Reception in Olivia's honor every year just before the Goddess Festival. One of the regular offerings at the Festival is an enactment of one of the Mystery Dramas from the FOI Liturgy. Participants work on this presentation for a whole year, memorizing their lines and creating costumes for their parts. These ritual enactments are well known in the FOI community for the beauty of their production and their power. Deena writes: "Our first Goddess Festival was November 15 of 1994. We used to be Olivia's only destination on the Autumn Tour. Olivia always wants us to be her first stop."
The FOI Chicago Goddess Festival is attended by a loyal following of Fellowship of Isis members. Guest speakers come from many parts of the USA to take part in this lovely gathering.
Since the premiere of these first FOI events, other priestesses and priests have worked hard to provide a venue for annual FOI gatherings which coincide with Olivia's fall tour of the USA. FOI members across the United States now have the opportunity to see Olivia at the many stops she makes across the USA from September through November.
Thanks to Loreon Vigne, AU, Caroline Wise, AU, Steve Wilson, AU and Deena Butta, AU for sharing information and allowing their quotes to be placed on the COI website. Loreon's quotes come from her autobiography "The Goddess Bade Me Do It." Special thanks to FOI and TOI Priestess Arisa Victor for her sharing her wonderful memories and insights.
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