Entrance to Temple of Isis, Clonegal Castle. Photo © Barbara Westlake
Fellowship of Isis 20th Birthday
Olivia Robertson Comments
Isian News No. 80, Beltane, 1996
In a retrospective mood, remembering the happiness I shared with Lawrence and Pamela in founding the Fellowship of Isis, I dug up Issue 1 of Isian News, which appeared in July 1976. It began with the oracle of Dana and with attunement times. Our first networking was with Jean Williams, and we printed a notice for Pagan Pathfinders. Among our earliest members were Gerald Gough, Adeptus Minor of Order of the Inner Light; Geoffrey Ashe, distinguished author of The Virgin; Colonel Sean O'Driscoll, (who gave an account of his rebuilding of Castle Matrix, near Limerick, where he deemed Sir Walter Raleigh, Edmund Spencer and the Wizard Earl of Desmond practiced magic! I made the link - as a descendant of Walter by spending the night in his room); Murry Hope; Melita Denning and Osbourne Phillips, who were on the fourth and fifth volume of their great work The Magical Philosophy.
Lois Bourne, author of Witch Amongst Us, helped us with names and addresses; Janet and Stewart Farrar, who had just moved to Ireland (and I note that Stewart had won the Writers Guild of Great Britain on two occasions for the BBC); Maxine Sanders and David Goddard are listed among our first members; Druids were represented by a good friend, Colin Murray, of the Golden Section Order and its magnificent script. His wife Liz continues the Druid tradition and his work is not forgotten.
The first Iseum was founded by Violet and Victor Hillman, and a much loved member was Charles Shepard and his magical mandalas of Glastonbury.
We had our first Isian Wedding, that of Kathy Brown and Mike Griffin on the 24th of June, Old Midsummer's day. And the important event of Kathy's ordination as our first Priestess of Dana was to take place at Lughnasadh, 1976. Between 21st March and early July we gained 130 members in 7 countries. There was a lengthy list of member's publications. Our first ordained priestess was Marian Marshe, followed by Marion Boland. The rainbow network was born.
The Fellowship had its earliest media representation on Irish Television which then only had one channel. Thus our Isian Wedding Rite of my niece Melian and her husband Swadesh Poorun was viewed with astonishment by millions. A seance was also shown, and a pathworking in front of an open fire. A hundred cars were parked in the castle courtyard the following day. An irate nun rang the police from her convent! We also had press coverage in the Irish Times and the Sun. A repeat was shown on Easter Day between the Pope's blessing and the Primate of Ireland's sermon!