College of Isis - The Hierophant
FOI Co-Founders Olivia Robertson and her brother Lawrence Durdin-Robertson
Creators and Founders of the College of Isis, Fellowship of Isis
The Hierophant of the College of Isis
by Olivia Robertson
The College of Isis was founded in 1986, ten years after we had originally been inspired to found the Fellowship of Isis. The College, like the Fellowship honored the Divine Mother. It was time to revive Her Mystery Tradition - so we offered the Path of the Magi.
The three of us had for many years been a trio of orthodoxy - my brother, the clergyman, his wife of Quaker background and myself, the writer. We claimed all the benefits of orthodoxy in our work with the Goddess: love of Deity and a beautiful Heaven, communion with Divinity, with angels, with Nature and with the departed. Each of us had experienced altered states of consciousness, though in different ways.
Pamela was sensitive to the workings of Nature, she had, on occasion found herself merging with it. She followed the path of the Mystic. Lecture halls and temple shrines were not for her. Instead she conversed directly with the Sidhe, with animals, birds, trees and plants.
My brother and I, by contrast, were more at home in a library or amongst the shrines of our Temple of Isis. We enjoyed interpreting our spiritual experiences into theological and intellectual terms. Lawrence’s enhanced consciousness, like my own, involved sensitivity to symbolism. We recognised the inner significance of ritual, gesture, sound, colour and image. We discovered a way to reach the Heart of the Mysteries by combining intellectuality with intuition - we had discovered the Wisdom Path of the Mother. This cosmic language of Deity could be encountered by entering a meditative state, where etheric communication through sound, vision, rituals and Mysteries took place. This communication transcended conflict and dogma. The reason? It came from a central divine matrix where conflict could not exist. Communion with Deity brought Paradise to earth through escape of the effects of dogma.
This Cosmic Language of Deity is known to the Hierophancy of the FOI Priesthood. Therefore they are the Preceptors of the College of Isis. The Hierophant, through experience of the Mysteries, has developed the ability to interpret the Cosmic Language of symbol, color and image. The Hierophant acts as Guide and Interpreter - as Preceptor - to bring others through the mysteries of the liturgy.
From the original College of Isis Manual written by Olivia Robertson, Section 5, titled "The Priesthood Hierophancy: The College Preceptors".
“A Hierophant has gained at least four Magi degrees attained through years of spiritual experience working in a Lyceum. The hallmarks of a fine Hierophant are wisdom and humility, love and understanding. The possession of a sense of humour brings the laughter of the Gods!
The Mitre, the Pectoral, Sistrum and Crook represent Divine Gifts bestowed by the Immortal Deities. Immortality is not seen as a distant goal receding into a future of endless hard work and spiritual development. Rather immortality is enjoyed in the “now” or never. So every ritual, every practice may bring a Candidate awareness of the cosmos. Sudden mystical experience brings the thirty-third degree to the veriest beginner on the Path to Deity. Nonetheless, such mystics need the discipline, experience and hard work of fellow students. Mystical experiences are given as encouragement - the carrot - rather than as a reward at school prize giving!
Each Lyceum, through its Dedication, is twinned with an initial Iseum, thus bringing the College into close communion with the wider network of Iseums. The Dedicatory Divine Names of Power of Goddess, or Goddess and God manifest particular attributes of the Deities concerned in the Iseum - Lyceum. Therefore there can be no set curriculum for the College. Deity in its eternal Being contains all aspects mirrored forth through the whole Company of Heaven, from Deities to birds. Thus Hierophants, through inspiration from their particular Deity or Deities, produce their own training Course. This reflects the democratic character of the Fellowship: the Hierophants require consensus from the Priesthood Magi and companions of their Lyceum to bring forth a good harvest. A Dedication to Minerva brings intellectual fruition; to Lakshmi, beauty and abundance; and to Bast, work for animal welfare.
Magi degrees are attained through Communion with the Deities experienced by the Candidate, and the acceptance of this by Hierophant and the Companions of the particular Lyceum. The 33rd degree is conferred directly by Deity and may be kept as a private initiation.
The College of Isis through its Lyceums offers a structured Magi Degree Course in the Fellowship of Isis Liturgy. Tuition is given by the Priesthood Hierophant. There are 32 working degrees, the 33rd relating to spontaneous mystical awakening. Each Lyceum provides its own course culminating in a rite of Liturgy. The rites are based on the 33 intersecting points made by the 8 pointed Star of the Goddess Ishtar bisecting the 4-fold coils of the Dragon Goddess Tiamat.”
Notes taken during a conversation with Olivia Robertson, reviewed and approved by her, in the presence of several FOI members, Nesu House, Isis Oasis, Geyserville, California, October, 2011. Original “College of Isis Manual,” Olivia Robertson, Cesara Publications, Clonegal Castle, Ireland, 1992.
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