College of Isis - Difference Between Iseums and Lyceums

Lawrence Durdin-Robertson and Olivia Robertson with a new Hierophant. Photo © John Merron.

The Difference Between Iseums and Lyceums

One of the questions most frequently asked is in regard to the difference between Iseums and Lyceums. These two terms, of all in the Fellowship of Isis become confused one with the other because of the similarity of the sound of their names, and some similarities in function.


Iseums are also called "Hearths of the Goddess". An Iseum is founded in a home where the Goddess is honored. “Iseum” literally translates as “Home of Isis” - in this case Isis of Ten Thousand Names, the patroness Deity of the Fellowship of Isis. Iseums may be founded by any member within the Fellowship.

The member may be solitary and found an Iseum with a membership of one.

An Iseum may be founded by an FOI member who has formed a local group, and offer gatherings or seasonal rituals, meditations or classes.

An Iseum may offer Priestess/Priest Training, but only if the head of the Iseum is an ordained Priestess or Priest.

Iseums are not required to offer coursework. They may operate purely as devotional centers.

There is a coursework guideline called The “Spiral of the Adepti” that lists FOI rituals that may be used toward eventual Initiation as an Adept. An Adept within the Fellowship of Isis offers a specific Specialty to the Goddess, such as herbalism, holistic therapy, etc. An Adepti has earned at least four Initiations from the Spiral of Adepti rites through study within an Iseum that is headed by an Adepti. Once an Adepti has gained four Initiations and been consecrated by the Consecration of an Adepti rite, they are qualified to teach the Adepti system within their own Iseum. This coursework may be taught by the head of an Iseum only if they are an Adept. Becoming an Adept does not make someone a member of the FOI Priesthood. Those offering training for Adepts do not have to be members of the FOI Priesthood. Members may join more than one Iseum. Members need to study adepti degree training with only one Iseum at a time.


The word "Lyceum" is an archaic name for a place of learning. The original Lyceum stood on a site near Athens and was the home of a philosophical school founded by Aristotle. A Lyceum is founded after a FOI Priestess/Priesthood member has attained four Magi degrees through a Lyceum of the College of Isis. The purpose of a Lyceum is to provide a structured course of study based on the FOI Liturgy rituals listed within the guidelines created by FOI Co-Founders Olivia Robertson and her brother Lawrence Durdin-Robertson, as inspired by Isis at the time of the founding of the College of Isis. Lyceums are only founded by a Hierophant of the FOI Priestess/Priesthood. A Hierophant is someone who has attained four magi degrees and has been certified through a Lyceum. A Hierophant is someone who has undergone much preparation and study. "Hierophant" literally means "one who shows forth." The purpose of a Lyceum is much more focused and specialized when compared to the work of Iseums. A Lyceum may also offer training towards ordination into the FOI Priestess/Priesthood as well as magi degree training. A person may belong to more than one Lyceum, but members need to study magi degree training with only one Lyceum at a time.

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