Druid Clan of Dana - Overview

Glimpse of Clonegal Castle through Old Abbey ruins. Photo © Fellowship of Isis Central Website

Interior of Old Abbey ruins. Photo © Fellowship of Isis Central Website

The Druid Clan of Dana is a "Fellowship of Isis Foundation Centre Society", otherwise known as a "Daughter Society" or "Founders' Society" of the Fellowship of Isis. It was created by two of the FOI co-founders, Lady Olivia Robertson and her brother Lawrence Durdin-Robertson in 1992.

For Nature's Magic

The emphasis of the Druid Clan of Dana, based on the elemental powers innate in every sacred spot on earth, is to develop psychic gifts. Companions of the Groves within the Druid Clan of Dana see through the worldly veil and discover the ever living earth, Body of the Goddess.

An Clann Draoidheachta Danann

The Druid Clan of Dana

(Development of Psychic Gifts)

"The Druid Clan of Dana focuses on the development of telepathy, spirit communication and awareness of other spheres." - From the "Handbook of the Fellowship of Isis", edited by Olivia Robertson, Cesara Publications, quote used by permission.

"The emphasis of the Clan, based on the elemental powers innate in every sacred spot on earth, is to develop psychic gifts." - From the "Handbook of the Fellowship of Isis", edited by Olivia Robertson, Cesara Publications, quote used by permission.

"Nature is restoring the psychic faculties, which are part of the endowment of Homo Sapiens. Here, then is a tentative theory which might explain the loss and also the return of the Cult of the Goddess." - From "The Religion of the Goddess" previously published as "The Cult of the Goddess", Lawrence Durdin-Robertson, from a lecture given at the Wexford Arts Centre, October 26th, 1974.

A Foundation Center Society within the Fellowship of Isis, the Druid Clan of Dana was founded in 1992. After moving to Ireland as children to live in their ancestral home, Clonegal Castle, Olivia and Lawrence became fascinated with the local history, legends and the old ruins of the locale. The village of Cluain na nGall, or in English, "the Meadow of the Stranger" is set in a valley between the Blackstairs and Wicklow Mountains. Another form of this name is Claun i Gabhla, named after Eithne of the Long Fork. It is situated where the rivers Slaney (or Slainte, River of Healing) and Derry (or Doire, meaning Grove of the Oak) meet near the boundaries of the counties Carlow, Wicklow and Wexford. Locally this area was known as the foot of the Macha, one of the many aspects of the Irish Mother Goddess, and tradition holds this location to be an ancient matriarchal center for the mysteries. This is also the site of Cluain na nGall, or Clonegal Castle, the hereditary home of the founders of the Fellowship of Isis.

The Robertson branch of Olivia and Lawrence’s family is descended from the 17th century Lord Esmonde who built Clonegal Castle in 1625, and married Ellice O’Flaherty, grand-daughter of Grace O’Malley, hereditary Queen of Connaught. This castle is one of the few remaining 17th century castles still in private ownership, and still in ownership by the founding family. The ancestral lines of the Durdin-Robertson family go back even further than that, to the Clann Donnachaidh of Ireland, which emigrated to Scotland around 1,500 years ago. Donnachaidh, or Duncan, was later changed to Robertson to honour Robert the Bruce. Herbert Robertson, M.P. who was the grandfather of Lawrence and Olivia returned to Ireland when he married Helen Durdin, the owner of Clonegal Castle. Herbert Robertson work the book "Stemmata Robertson" which traces the family’s ancestral roots deep into Irish history. The author Robert Graves, a cousin of the Durdin-Robertsons, included in his work "The White Goddess", the Druid Tree Alphabet.

When she was a young girl, Olivia, accompanied by her brother, would visit an elderly hermit who was a Druid, named Daniel Fox. He was the one who first taught them about the Old Druidic Ways. Philip Ross Nichols, who was the Chosen Chief of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids also visited Clonegal in the 1960’s and joined them in Druid rituals. During this period, he gave both Olivia and Lawrence Druidic initiations. Philip Carr-Gomm, the successor of Philip Ross Nichols, also visited and worked with Olivia and Lawrence at Clonegal Castle during the late 1960’s through the 1970’s. This is the lineage upon which Olivia and Lawrence founded the Druid Clan of Dana within the Fellowship of Isis in 1992.

Rites were performed at the Temple of Dana completely in the Gaelic tongue by Ben McBrady, who also offered a prayer in Gaelic invoking the Goddess Dana and the Tuatha de Danaan, asking them to protect the earth. Ben McBrady was titled Brady (or Chief) of the Name and Herenach of the Two Kilmores. He was Aircinneac and Herenach of a pre-Druid Megalithic Order which was called “The Old Gaelic Order,” often referred to simply as “The Order.” (*see Note, below)

Olivia had her first vision of the Goddess Dana in 1952. Olivia says "Wherever Dana comes, She brings love, compassion and wisdom." Olivia, worked regularly with the medium Dorothy Ryan, and sometimes with John Doran, a famous Healer, seventh son of a seventh son. Between 1960 to 1974 the Goddess Dana appeared to them regularly in a series of visions.

Olivia and Lawrence began using the ruins of the Old Abbey as a Temple of Dana and the Bullawn Stone for Druidic rites in 1963 with Philip Ross Nichols. During this period, Olivia and Lawrence founded their own Grove of Eithne at Clonegal Castle. Druidic rituals are still practiced within the ruins of the Old Abbey, parts of which date to the 14th century. The Old Abbey ruins are situated on the property of their ancestral home. The Old Abbey was referred to as the Temple of Dana by FOI co-founder Lawrence Durdin-Robertson, and it is still known as such to members even today. A dolmen altar and two marble vessels containing rain water and a plaque of Isis can be found within it, the entrance is wreathed in rambling pink roses in spring and summer. Also near the castle in a field is the ancient Bullawn Stone, used thousands of years ago for grinding corn, the depression in it holds rainwater still used for purposes of healing by the local people. At the turn of the century a meteorite landed near the castle avenue and glowed for two years and provided a warm perch for crows, the birds of Morrigan. A meteorite is a legendary marker for a holy place.

The purpose of the Druid Clan of Dana is to develop psychic gifts. This can be done by attuning to the elemental powers innate in every sacred spot on earth. Druid Clan of Dana centers are called Groves, and the Patron and Patroness Deity of each Grove can be of any pantheon, or cultural heritage.

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