Olivia Robertson - Druidic Initiation in Brigid's Well
Photo by Olivia Robertson. Olivia writes: "Entrance to Well. Isis and Osiris at Gate."
"To the Three Global Circles, from the Central Circle of Brigid"
Olivia Robertson's Druidic Initiation in Brigid's Well
Sent July 21, 2008
Well of Brigid, Shrine of Capricorn, Chapel of the Well
Temple of Isis, Clonegal Castle
Dear Caroline, Connia and Linda,
Yesterday Olivia and I sat together in the sunshine down by the river in Bunclody behind one of her favourite restaurants, having spent a splendid day with the camera crew who had come over from Liverpool a second time to film her for a documentary they are doing at present. Together we ruminated over the events of the weekend, starting with the marvellous time we had at our Festival of the Twin Stars of Sirius, Isis the Bright Star, Osiris the Dark Star, the Union of Binary Energies - Activities and Stillness, Day and Night - the Uachat and the Horus. I began to doubt my ability to remember all this and asked her please to jot it down on a little notepad I usually keep with me. We also had an Investment of a Knight of the Noble Order of Tara, one of the earliest members of the Fellowship, who wished to keep his identity private.
Olivia was delighted at her latest artwork in the Temple, she had painted the figures of Isis and Osiris, in profile, in white, with blue blue eyes, on the windows on either side of Dana in the Star Chapel, which of course can be seen just as clearly, from the High Altar, on either side of the Mother Isis - Hathor, who is twinned now with the Father Osiris in the Healing Chapel where Olivia prays every day for those in trouble. The profiles are exquisite - she had already painted Isis and Osiris, a little smaller, on the window which lights the stairs down to the Temple. Somehow, I had thought that they also looked like Olivia and Derry (her brother Lawrence, of course)! I loved them too! She is so brilliant at this, isn't she?
Anyway, suddenly Olivia announced that now was the time to let you all know about something which happened to her at the end of March, shortly before her 91st Birthday. I happened to phone her niece one morning to be told that Olivia had had an 'accident', she had been down in the Temple, arranging things, as she so loves to do, and she had stepped back onto the wooden cover over the well, only to have it completely give way under her ... The wood was quite rotten ... and crashed below her, lodging far down. The well is 17 feet deep and she plunged right in - the water was well up over her chest and she could barely reach the upper rim with the tips of her fingers, and she hung on there in shock, alone in the underground level of the castle, for about ten minutes before deciding what she could do. She knew that she would have to get herself out, nobody would even hear her shout. And she did it!!
Olivia has made the new well cover into a piece of functional art. She calls it "The Eye of Vision".
Photo by Olivia Robertson. Olivia writes: "The Goddess Brigid's Well, pre-Druid, with new cover."
Her nephew had always said that if anybody were to fall in, they could never get themselves out, but Olivia did it. It was quite extraordinary. She was shaken obviously, and the family certainly gave her brandy and hot drinks and helped her up to a hot bath and bed when she finally appeared in their quarters. But Olivia says now that amongst her family, local friends and neighbours, it has turned out to be the most 'popular', if you can call it that, of all her exploits over the years, and the story has been told and retold with amazement. They just cannot imagine how she did it. Can you? She says actually that even she doesn't know quite how she did it, but as she 'clung on', she says that the Goddess Statue gazed down with 'stone-cold eyes', reminding her in those immortal words of the Liturgy, that "We are with you, but cannot help you."
She says: "I gather the message is that the Inner Sun helps you to help yourself ..."
She naturally did not want to worry you about all this, and indeed she has totally recovered and is in terrific form and full of life as ever. However, as the story has been spreading like wildfire and she will be travelling to the U.S. before too long, she felt it would be good to let you know all about it. And, as her niece said to me when first she told me, "You'll never believe what Olivia said when she had got out and came in to us ... (Honestly in my heart, for an instant before she told me, I knew what it would be!!!) "I had always been told that you cannot be a true Druid, unless you have been initiated by total immersion in a well!!!"
Additional Note - From Olivia Robertson
Olivia has assured several FOI members that pulling herself out of the well was an act of sheer will. She said that she just managed to catch hold along the edge of the opening as she fell in, and that she found a slight foothold, with one foot on a piece of stone that jutted out about one inch.
"Isis of the Inner Sun," original drawing by Olivia Robertson
Olivia writes: "I hung there for what seemed eternity - about half an hour. I realized that I either had to pull myself out or accept that I was going to die - let go of the rim and allow myself to drown. I didn't wish to die just then, so I gathered all my will - and managed to pull myself out. It took all I had.
Everything I used to find engrossing of an earthly nature ceased to interest in those moments, save for one. Here was Choice. I could choose Death or I could take a greater but more dangerous step. I could choose Life! It is all very interesting on the Other Side and even happy - but in this world, I still have things to do. The idea of death was thrown off by the idea of living.
Oisin, back from the Land of Youth, viewed the world with melancholy and despair. He lost the joy of life and could not embrace the brightness of the sun. I had received the Inner Sun of Isis in the summer of 2000. Only by being personally happy and tranquil can one ever help ones self or anyone else. Well being can only be attained through serenity.”
Additional Note sent by Olivia - transcript of a conversation with Olivia at Isis Oasis at the Nesu House, October, 2008:
The Goddess Brigid has given Her Name to the well in our Chapel. The waters that feed our well flow into an outlet beyond castle walls, by the Bullawn Stone. This stone has a central depression which collects rainwater - said to be curative - long known to heal warts. Water from our Well of Brigid has long been used for healing and ritual. My brother Derry and I used well water for ritual, and I still do. When anointing the brow, participants find it opens their third eye - the new well cover is named “Eye of Vision”. I did write of a similar experience of the Alchemical Twin Elaine in a previous issue of Isian News [Issue 127, Brigantia] “Why not stop thinking, shut your eyes and walk backwards?” How absurd! I burst out laughing, yet without thinking I shut my eyes and walk backwards ... I fall heavily and hit my head on the ground. But there is no ground. I am falling down a shaft. I scream and struggle. It is hopeless. So I let it happen ..." I go to the Temple and meditate before writing articles and rites for Isian News - often seated by the well. The water of Brigid's Well had given me a glimpse of something yet to come - although I didn’t realize it at the time!
Photos provided by FOI co-founder Rt. Rev. Olivia Robertson for inclusion on Fellowship of Isis Central website. Photos are copyrighted and used by permission. Original art "Isis of the Inner Sun" by Olivia Robertson. The drawing and excerpt from a letter (in italics above) are reproduced on the Circle of Isis website with permission from Olivia Robertson.
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