Adaptation of the FOI Liturgy Ritual
"Flamma Vestae. Initiation into a Fellowship of Isis Iseum"
Written by FOI Co-Founder Olivia Robertson
Initiation into the Priory of the One Tree
Adaptation written by Michael A. Starsheen, OT
Priory of the One Tree, Dunsmuir, California
Invocation: Come to us, oh Holy Flame, Divine Spirit, Who are Brighid of the Everlasting Flame. Without Thee, we are lifeless, devoid of creativity and healing, devoid of true being. We are trapped in a world suffering from diseases of the land, water, air, and the fire of spirit, for which strong healers are needed. Help us find our way toward healing!
Oracle: The Sacred Tree stands at the center of the worlds, linking them together in the many realms of spirit, and giving us an axis mundi upon which to settle our healing energies. For as long as One Tree stands, there is Hope! My flame burns at the base of the Tree in a brazier, an Eternal Flame that gives guidance and insight to the weary traveller who seeks the shade of the tree for rest. Lean against the Tree to draw upon its strength, and my fire will fill you with vigor!
The Earth is suffering now, with pollution, too many people, and not enough resources. My companions in the Noble Order of Tara seek to redress the balance through the use of the powers of the four elemental talismans: the stone, the cauldron, the sword, and the spear. And each of these is a mystery in itself, bringing healing to the Earth through wise use.
The Stone reminds us to take a long-view of the future, that short-term gains do not outweigh the consequences of one’s actions. The Cauldron provides the Plenty of Nature, when we nurture it with love and the Waters of Life. The Sword of Light cuts through the morass of mental illusions and delusions that prevent us from seeing the consequences of our actions, and eliminates short-term thinking. And the Spear of Fire destroys greed and promotes healing. In such a p light the loving help of others is needed: many spiritual rescue workers bring light and warmth from my Flame.
Truly when you give generously to your fellow humans, animals, all earth’s creatures, you suffer no loss, but rather increase! A candle flame is not lessened when a light is taken from it to light many other candles. There is more, not less light. Yet all the candle-flames come from the same source. So it is with the Flame of My Hearth, which gives forth the white Light of Truth and the golden Light of Love to all. And yet, also honor the darkness, for it is from the matrix of night that day comes forth.
All spiritual or physical fires, whether animating the atom, the earth, the sun, or the galaxies emanate from My Eternal Flame, which lies at the base of the One Tree beyond time and space. My Light is expressed individually through each creature, every atom, yet all are One in me. Share your Light and Love with all—and you will gain all.
On a white-draped altar, let there be seven white candles, a vessel of water, a stone, incense, an ankh pendant, and a long red cord by an unlit candle. An open fire or a glowing charcoal in a brazier is in the temple. Priest/ess of Brighid in gold headdress and white gown stands by the fire. Priest/ess of Freya is seated by the altar, dressed in green, and her face is hidden by a long veil. By her stands the Priest/ess of Freyr, dressed in green. Before them stands the Priestesses and Priests of the Hesperides in golden robes. Companions wear green, brown, gold and flame-coloured robes. On a table are: wine, fruit juice, a glass of water, a loaf of bread and a loving cup or glasses.
By the door stands the Priest/ess of Lugh in gold. The Candidate waits outside the door, wearing white with a white veil (woman) or a white hood (man). Companions hold Candidate's gifts of incense, flowers and a work of art.
Priest/ess of Lugh instructs Candidate to knock on the priory door three times.
Priest/ess of Lugh: Honored guardians of our priory, who seeks admission to the Holy Place?
First Companion: Noble Priesthood and Companions of the Priory of the One Tree, the Candidate comes hither. She/he is a member of Aset Shemsu, the Fellowship of Isis, and seeks membership in our Priory of the One Tree.
Priest/ess of Freya: Who stands Sponsor for this Candidate?
Sponsor(s) speaks in favor.
Priest/ess of Freyr: Who would refuse the Candidate membership?
Companions who wish to speak do so.
Priest/ess of Freyr: Let us confer. (Decision is Made.)
Priest/ess of Freyr: The Candidate is admitted!
First Companion admits Candidate and Priest/ess of Lugh.
FACING THE ASSESSORS
Priest/ess of Lugh: The Candidate must now face the Three Assessors.
Leads Candidate before the Priesthood of Brighid, Freya and Freyr.
Priest/ess of Brighid: Harken to the words of the Goddess Brighid, “I hold this my flame before my soul. Each spark responds at once to the breath of the Spirit. Dare you face Truth with honesty, whether it be the soul-shaking winds of new ideas, the ugliness of your own wrongdoing and that of others, and the shock of harsh facts?”
Priest/ess of Freya: Though the mask of Truth may be feared as terrible, when She is faced with courage and faith, perfect beauty and goodness are seen!
Priest/ess of Freyr: Heed the words of the God Freyr, “Compassion is the balance to the harsh reality of Truth. In Compassion and Truth is found the fertile beauty of the Earth. Do you balance Truth with Compassion?”
Priest/ess of Freyr: Those who love, forgive others. Those who face the truth are just. Those with compassion forgive themselves!
Priest/ess of Freya: Harken to the words of the Goddess Freya, “I am the Goddess of Love, who has fled the Earth because of the destruction and hatred mankind shows to its environment. Can you show love to those who destroy? Can you understand the point of view of those with whom you disagree? Are you just to all creatures, humans, animals, and plants?
Priest/ess of Freyr: Learn to recognize the good qualities in every being, including yourself, and you acknowledge that which is real and eternal! Be irritated by others’ shortcomings, and you waste time being angry at fleeting shadows. Be true to your real self!
Priest/ess of Freyr: Has any Companion a question to put to the candidate, before acceptance into our group?
If so, Companions ask their question/s and Candidate replies.
Priest/ess of Brighid: (To Candidate) Do you in mind and heart adore Deity? Do you love Brighid, the Flame of our Priory and the beloved Gods and Goddesses of this holy Temple?
Candidate: I do.
Priest/ess of Freya: May our members signify acceptance of this candidate.
Companions: (In turn) I accept this candidate as a member of our Priory of the One Tree.
Priest/ess of Hesperides: (To Candidate) Which Goddess Name (Woman) or God Name (Man) do you choose, in token of your soul’s birth through the Goddess?
Candidate: To the name(s) given me by my parents, I add the Divine name of ***.
Priest/ess of Brighid: In the Holy Name of *** (Chosen Name) I declare you a member of our Shemsu, the Priory of the One Tree.
Candidate: I offer incense to the Goddess Brighid! (Sprinkles incense on fire.) I offer flowers to the Goddess Freya and the God Freyr! (Presents flowers.) I offer this work made by myself (art, writing, craftwork, etc.) to this Priory of the One Tree. (Presents her/his work.)
Priest/ess of Brighid: I accept these gifts for the Priory, in the name of Brighid, Freya, Freyr, and the Hesperides.
BESTOWAL OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS
Suitable Music is Heard. Priesthood who hide veiled priestess in the center UNVEILS her so CANDIDATE SEES HER FOR THE FIRST TIME.
Priest/ess of Hesperides: O Brighid, grant us Thy Favor! In Thy service I open my lips. I was rapt in prayer; I felt the heavenly Deity, and the cold ground gleamed with a purple light. My ignorance was enlightened and my errors corrected without the help of an earthly instructor. Brighid is the same as the Earth; under both of them is a perpetual fire. The earth is like a ball resting on no prop. Its own power of rotation keeps it balanced. Yet the One Tree stands as the Axis Mundi, around which the Flame of Brighid dances in delight. Conceive of Brighid as a living flame. An undying fire is hidden in Her Temple. Brighid is called as standing by power. The One Tree, Axis Mundi, stands as her sacred charge.
Priest/ess of Brighid: (Gives Candidate a Taper) Light this candle from the hearth of the One Tree. Share your power and your gifts with others and you will suffer no diminution, but rather add to your store of knowledge, power and happiness!
Candidate lights candle. Priest/ess of Brighid lays hands over Candidate’s head and heart. Warm Power may be felt and flame colored lights seen.
Priest/ess of Freyr: Hear the words of a priest of Isis to a candidate, as recounted by the Priest-initiate of Isis and Osiris, Lucius Apuleius: “Now at last you have put into the harbor of peace and stand before the harbor of loving kindness. Rest assured that you are now safe under the protection of the true Fortuna, all-seeing Providence, whose clear Light shines for all the Gods that are! Rejoice now, as becomes a wearer of white linen. Follow triumphantly in the train of the Goddess Isis, Aset Shemsu. As you enroll yourself in her holy order, know that her service is perfect freedom.”
Priest/ess of Hesperides: Let the candidate read to us all the words of Lucius Apuleius, as newly accepted follower of the Shemsu of Isis.
Candidate: (Reads) “The Company accepted me as one of themselves, a loyal devotee of the Great Goddess Isis. Not a single night did I pass, nor even doze off during the day, without some new vision of Her. She always ordered me to be initiated into her sacred mysteries, to which I had long been destined. I frequently spoke of this to the high priest, begging him to initiate me into the Mysteries of the Holy Night. He checked my restlessness, so gently and kindly that I was not in the least discouraged. He explained that the day on which a postulant might be initiated during the Holy Night was always indicated by signs from the Goddess Herself. He said: ‘The gates of the underworld and the guardianship of life are in Her hands. By Her grace the initiates of the Holy Night are born again and restored to new and healthy life.’”
Priest/ess of Freyr: When the time comes, my friend, you will be told by Isis.
Priest/ess of Freya: These are the words of Isis to Lucius Apuleius, as She appeared to him at night, shining over the sea: “I am Nature, the Universal Mother, Mistress of all the elements, Primordial Child of Time, Sovereign of all things spiritual, Queen of departed spirits, Queen also of the Deities, the single manifestation of all Gods and Goddesses that are. Under my protection you shall be happy and glorious, and when at the destined end of your life you attain the Land of Spirits, you shall have frequent occasion to adore Me. From the Elysian Fields you shall see me shining with a Light as kindly and tender as I show you now.”
Priest/ess of Hesperides: (Anoints Candidate's brow with water) May Isis bring you enjoyment of your forgotten immortality! Silver Power may be felt flowing through the head and body of the Candidate and White Light may be seen. Priest/ess of Hesperides presents Candidate with Ankh: Accept this ankh, sign of Life of Isis!
Priest/ess of Lugh: (Presents Candidate with red cord) In the name of the Goddess Brighid of this Priory, accept this cord! The Sacred Cord links mother with her baby, and with it are joined families, lovers, and friends! (Candidate links Ankh on cord and Priest/ess of Lugh puts it around her/his neck.) The cord hangs loosely! Love and friendship must be free.
All hold hands in circle to rhythmic music and circle three times, except veiled priestess of Freya.
MANIFESTATION OF THE GODDESS
Priest/ess of the Goddess Brighid: Companions of this Priory, the Holy time has come! Power fills our temple. Let us invoke the Divine Presence of our Goddess among us.
Curtains are drawn. Only light is from seven candles on the altar. All sit except Priest/ess of Freyr who raises her/his arms and gives an inspired invocation.
The Priest/ess of Freya is in trance and Priest/ess of Freyr protects her aura from interruption. If there is to be no manifestation, the Priestess lifts her veil and gives an address or the given oracle. If a manifestation is to take place Companions will observe a quickening in the air like dancing sum-motes or swirling steam. A sphere of light may appear to clairvoyants or on extremely rare occasions materialize for a short while.
The divine oracle is delivered through the Priest/ess of Freya. When it is finished, and the Priest/ess returns from trance, the Priest/ess of Freyr gives Her/Him a glass of water.
Meditation on oracle and on work of the priory, including the use of talents of the new member. Experiences are shared. Rays of friendship are sent forth to sister priories all over the world.
Companions welcome new member with handshakes and kisses and words of friendship. Wine, fruit-juice are blessed. New member is toasted. Bread is blessed. Love feast is shared.
THANKSGIVING AND BLESSING
Priest/ess of Hesperides: We give thanks to Brighid, Freya, Freyr, Lugh, the Hesperides, and the One Tree, Axis Mundi, known to many as Yggdrasil, the tree that bears both fruit and flowers, and the golden apples of the Sun.
Priest/ess of Lugh: Let us go forth with the Divine Blessing.
Sources: The Golden Ass, Apuleius, trans. Graves, Penguin Books. “Fasti,” Ovid, trans. Frazer, Harvard Heineman. Juno Covella, (Vesta, 9th and 15th June), Durdin-Robertson, Cesara Press.
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