Dulce Domum: Loreon Vigne
Loreon Vigne standing in front of the Isis Chapel at Isis Oasis
On the Wings of Isis
Dulce Domum: Loreon Vigne
by Caroline Wise
June 8, 1932 - July 15, 2014
In the 1960s, artist Lorien Vigne heard the flower power call, and also, un-beknown to her at the time, the Call of the Goddess. She arrived in San Francisco with $20 in her pocket, and found herself a home on Isis Street. She worked as a stained glass and emamel artist. But the call of the goddess grew louder, in signs and synchronicities everywhere she turned.
She went on to risk the little hard-earned money she had and bought and developed a wonderful centre for goddess devotes which became the fabulous Isis Oasis centre and the Temple of Isis, an hour outside San Francisco, in the beautiful wine country by the Russian River with some delightful little towns nearby. She developed an ordained priesthood to the Goddess.
I know how hard it was to keep such a place going, and I became aware also of the usual jealousies and trouble making she had to contend with from certain ‘goddess women’ and other pagans, - you know, the usual suspects, as all doers do! But she never gave up her dream, and provided acres of land for goddess events, with a huge and beautiful theatre, dining pavillion, lakes, swimming pool and great accomodation. The upkeep, maintainance and insurance costs of such land and buildings must have been daunting. I know those from the Fellowship of Isis who attended form all over the world each year were very grateful that such a place existed. Many enduring friendships were formed among fellowship members thanks to Loroen’s dream!
In California, legal status can be granted to priests of religions other than the ‘orthodox’ ones. In 1991, Lawrence Durdin-Robertson asked Loreon if the Fellowship of Isis priesthood in the USA could be granted this status through the Temple of Isis, which he made an extension of the Fellowship of Isis, and the main central physical home for the FOI in the USA, where records of the priesthood were kept.
Olivia Roberton visited every year from 1991 until 2011, for the annual Fellowship of Isis Convovcation which she said was the highlight of her year.
Loreon and I were like chalk and cheese on a personal level, but I am someone who repects those that give rather than those who take, and we had mutual respect. She invited me to take part in the FOI convorcations and celebrations as her guest twice in the 1990s, and she was a generous host. She had invited me to go out for the convocation this autumn. Once convocation and all the intense organsiation was over, she would relax and have fun. She was erudute, well read, well-travelled. She could be obstinate and infuriating too, as I am sure we all can be, but was very much her own person, true to her vision, and all that land was a vast responsibility.
Starting out with nothing but a dedication to the sacred ferminine and a dream, and the will to see it manifest, and the heart to pour all her resources into it, I can think of no one who has given so much to the Goddess as Loreon Vigne.
Loreon tried to live her life by the 42 ideals of Maat.
I always saw Loreon with Isis wings, I think she has them now!
May her Great Work continue with her trustees, and if so, let us support it.
Note: Loreon Vigne passed away quietly in her sleep, in her own bed at her home on the property of Isis Oasis, on the evening of Tuesday, July 15, 2014.
For more information on the work of Loreon Vigne you may wish to visit The Founding of the Temple of Isis page in our Fellowship of Isis History Archive section.
Loreon Vigne: Priestess of Isis
June 8, 1932 – July 15, 2014
By Linda Iles
There simply is no way to write about the life of Loreon Vigne without writing about the Temple of Isis in Geyserville, California at Isis Oasis. She purchased the property and moved onto it in 1978. Once there, she began to envision a future for the land, which involved creating a sanctuary for the Goddess. When she and her husband Paul Ramses visited the three FOI Co-Founders in Ireland in 1983, Loreon had a long talk with Lawrence Durdin-Robertson about her hopes for Isis Oasis. Lawrence took Loreon on a walking tour of the castle and the grounds. He told her “You just have to meet the Goddess halfway.” Shortly after returning to her home at Isis Oasis, she received a letter signed by both Lawrence and his sister Olivia asking if Loreon and Paul would like to become part of the Isian clergy of the Fellowship of Isis. The rite took place by attunement not long after.
I first met Loreon in person during the FOI Convocation in October of 1997, though I had heard of Isis Oasis and spoken to Loreon on the phone before then. Over the years, I became aware of the huge amount of time the day-to-day running of this property entailed. It had become the focus of Loreon’s work as a priestess, it was her life’s work and her legacy, Isis Oasis changed her life. Not many outside of those who were her friends can ever guess what a huge undertaking it was to preserve the land and the temple. It was a responsibility not many would have been able to perform. But Isis knew the heart of Her Daughter Loreon, and Isis chose well.
Loreon wrote these words, taken from a conversation she had with Paul during a getaway weekend in December of 2004:
“We spoke of the Temple of Isis and the reason for its existence. Was it an important entity to maintain in the world? Yes … there is a reason for keeping the Goddess Isis alive today. She is there to wake humankind up to the essence of the Feminine Principle.
If humans could incorporate this concept they might see the uselessness of war and destruction and concentrate more on working hand in hand with nature, to enhance her in all her glory. They would become as nurturing mothers to each other and the whole world would change.”
Caroline Wise sponsored the first FOI Convention in London in 1990. Caroline and several others in London offered meetings of iseums and lyceums, which served as a springboard for future growth of the Fellowship of Isis. Over the years, members have offered their private homes for FOI events. The late Deena Butta facilitated FOI meetings and events in her home for members of FOI Chicago for decades. She also orchestrated annual events, which took place in a local hall.
It has been the vocation of some members to manifest land, which serves as a permanent meeting place for honoring the Sacred Feminine. There are two notable examples within the Fellowship of Isis. The three FOI Co-Founders created the Temple of Isis, the Old Abbey and the Druid Grove on the grounds of Clonegal Castle; in the United States, Loreon created Isis Oasis, home of the Temple of Isis in Geyserville, with a plot of land featuring an Isis Chapel, a theatre which doubles as the Main Temple, a Dining Pavilion and buildings, which offer accommodations to guests.
While the theme of Isis Oasis is predominately ancient Egyptian, deities from other pantheons are honored too. There is an outdoor shrine to Kwan Yin by the tree next to Loreon’s gallery, which was planted in memory of Paul Rameses. Diveena Shapouri, who has Native American ancestry, honored the local spirits and deities on the grounds in ritual work for a decade. Brigid has been honored at Imbolc and the Goddesses Ngame and Yemaya have been honored, to name a few.
To have an actual physical area to gather together away from our homes, to share in fellowship our adventures in life and on our spiritual path is a great blessing. It is a ‘joining of individual hearths’ for a space in time, which proves life changing. Individuals join in ritual, prayer and meditation, and receive confirmation of their experiences from others; and life-long friendships are formed. So many of us have said to each other since the passing of Loreon, how else would we have ever met? For many of us the answer is this – it is unlikely that we would have!
Does the existence of these physical temples take away from the importance of the individual “hearths of the Goddess” within our hearts and homes? No it does not. It adds to the whole experience! What we all bring away from these places we share with others. This demonstrates a favorite saying of Olivia’s “The Goddess adds, She does not subtract.” And that is the mark of a true Goddess devotee, and by extension a true priestess or priest. They do not detract from the work of another, which is a kind of subtraction, instead, they rejoice in the good that others do in the Name of the Goddess.
I would like to close with these words written by Loreon Vigne:
“We all know the saying ‘The Goddess changes everything She touches and everything She touches changes.’ We have been granted so much beauty, love and abundance. Let each of us look inside to see where we can improve and help others to do so as well. Little by little we can help change things and begin to create a world that is truly worth living within.
Let us find a way to bring harmony into our lives through our families, friends and acquaintances. Let us have compassion for those who have little and help them on their way as much as we can. Let us see humanity as one entity, each of us connected to the other. Let peace prevail on earth.
This year is a seven (2014). Like our own bodies we renew all our cells every seven years. Seven was a very magical number in ancient Egypt. Let us circle our altars seven times in silence while contemplating how we are going to make changes in our lives. Think of what it is you want most to be happening for you this year. Give it a form allowing it to manifest into actuality. You too have the power as a Child of Isis to create great changes.”
Report: Memorial of Loreon Vigne at Isis Oasis
By Rain Graves
July 20th, 2014, began as all other days have been at Isis Oasis, missing our Great Lady Loreon Vigne's physical presence. We were in the middle of a drought-ridden summer with little breeze and great abundance of heat. There were some clouds, we noticed, and as we took our lunch in the pavilion, and a light drizzle occurred only for a moment, to echo our somber thoughts. This was highly unusual. "Rain in July? In Geyserville?" People wondered if it wasn't a little gift from Loreon to help along the plants and ease our water usage. As we saw to all the animals, we were sensitive to their own special grieving; every staff member had been giving them extra love and attention to ease their sadness.
The altar in the small temple was pregnant with bright flowers, little trinkets and stones offered to the Goddess in remembering Lady Loreon. They lay next to or in front of her photo, and all around the feet of Isis. More purple flowers and photos adorned the entryway to the pavilion, where a basket of chocolates had been set for everyone to enjoy in her honor.
The grand temple was alive with her spirit; pink rose petals and Marigolds lined the long stairway up to the mouth of it, where a standing Anubis statue, candle lit in hand, greeted people. A grand and beautiful altar with plenty of purple, Loreon's favorite color, was posed with a large photo of her, and a small one of Loreon and Lady Olivia Robertson at the top. Offerings to Bast, Anubis, Isis and Osiris together, and Isis at the top had been gracefully made. The smell of Frankincense and Myrrh was uplifting and cleansing. Pieces of her enamel craftwork, specifically rainbows, had been placed appropriately there, too. White and red rose petals were scattered at the feet of the Goddess Isis, and then again at the foot of Lady Loreon's favorite throne. Upon the seat cushion, her purple stole was laid, with her sistrum, circlets, and wand. Her spirit was there, too.
At 3pm, the usual Sunday Scrolls ceremony was presided over by Rev. Marilyn Motherbear, assisted by Priestess Rain Graves. Lady Loreon's "Singing Scroll" was read, as the one she had been working on and planning to read herself that Sunday. Poems and words were shared by Leslie Campbell, Loreon's niece, and deTraci Regula, Loreon's long devoted friend and fellow priestess, and Temple of Isis Board Member. More words from others not present followed, sent in loving memory, and then the full temple of people came up, one by one, and offered their poem or short speech. As her list of admirers is long, the ceremony lasted three full hours. Miguel Elliott shared a beautiful video montage of Loreon's photos and videos, singing and speaking. Many in the audience commented that they could see Lady Loreon's spirit throughout the ceremony up on stage, in various places. It was a healing and cathartic experience for many grieving locals to be able to express their love for her in their own way.
Directly after, we proceeded down the stairs again, under the grey clouds with the sunshine playing peek-a-boo. A wonderful potluck dinner was waiting, and Miguel had wheeled the portable cob wood-fired pizza oven over, and was making personal pizzas for all to enjoy. Suddenly, as if on queue, when all had gathered and were enjoying themselves and telling stories about our Great Lady inside and out of doors, a large rainbow appeared in an arc across the sky above the small temple, stretching over the pavilion, and beyond. The earlier raindrops had been very strange weather for Geyserville, but to have a rainbow such as this after no rain for hours, was a tremendous gift of the Goddess. We all gathered outside, marveling and taking photos, as a group began singing, "Somewhere Over The Rainbow," in honor of Lady Loreon. We genuinely felt this was Loreon's way of letting us know she was pleased with this memorial, which was the first of several to be had in future on a larger scale.
Her prismatic spirit is felt, seen, heard and sometimes even repeated by the birds ("Hi there, Loreon!") here at Isis Oasis, Temple of Isis HQ. We grieve her loss greatly, but celebrate her life and are preserving her legacy just as greatly.