Fellowship of Isis - The Founding of the FOI
Spring Equinox, 1976
Two of the FOI Co-Founders: Lawrence Durdin-Robertson and Olivia Robertson
Photo provided by Caroline Wise, used by permission.
FOI Co-Founder Olivia Robertson
Describes the Founding of the Fellowship of Isis
Nesu House, Isis Oasis, FOI Convocation 2006
Transcribed by Linda Iles
The high altar and shrines of the Temple of Isis officially became the spiritual center of the Fellowship of Isis when the FOI was formally created in 1976. Through the use of ritual and a statement of the basic principles, Olivia Robertson said: "The Fellowship of Isis was founded at the exact occurrence of the Vernal Equinox" on Saturday, March 20th, 1976. Before the founding, initially the rites were performed by family members and friends, but it was eventually decided after discussions at the dining room table by family members, to have a formal founding to create the Fellowship of Isis. No one thought the organization would grow and flourish as it did.
The date of the founding was chosen because Lawrence Durdin-Robertson had discovered through his research that Isis "had two great festivals, one in the spring and another in the fall; the former coincided with the Egyptian harvest, and was celebrated on the vernal equinox, March 20th." (* see note, below)
The founders believed Isis best represented the energies of the dawning Aquarian Age, as the sun at the vernal equinox moves from the constellation of Pisces into Aquarius, because of the precession of the Earth’s axis.
Standing before the High Altar, Olivia Robertson said: "My brother and I proclaimed the founding principles of the Fellowship of Isis:
The Fellowship is organized on a democratic basis. All members have equal privileges within it.
The Fellowship respects the freedom of conscience of each member. There are no vows required or commitments to secrecy. All Fellowship activities are optional: and members are free to resign or rejoin at their own choice.
The Fellowship reverences all manifestations of Life. The Rites exclude any form of sacrifice, whether actual or symbolic.
The Fellowship believes in the promotion of Love, Beauty and Abundance. No encouragement is given to asceticism.
The Fellowship seeks to develop knowledge and wisdom.
The Fellowship also aims at informing the public about the Religion of the Goddess; presenting the views of Her followers on current social affairs; working for a fair representation of the religion of the Goddess.
Membership of the Fellowship of Isis is open to all, of every religion, tradition and race ..."
This list of statements is the core of the manifesto that has guided FOI members throughout the history of the Fellowship. Although the manifesto has undergone some changes over the years, Olivia said: "The founding principles have never been changed and they never will be changed." The manifesto along with an application for membership was printed out and presented to all who enquired about joining the FOI through the Founding Center of the Fellowship of Isis, headquartered at Clonegal Castle. It was included on the back or inside back cover of nearly all the books later written by Lawrence and Olivia for the Fellowship of Isis.
After reading these founding principles, Olivia said: "Lawrence and I conducted a simple dedication ceremony before the High Altar." According to Olivia, "this ritual was an early form of a rite we still use today, "Dedication of a Shrine to Isis" from the FOI Liturgy book "Dea, Rites and Mysteries of the Goddess".
Olivia said: "At the time of our simple dedication rite, we had no idea of the future developments ahead, the rapid expansion of membership. Our rainbow network includes today as it did in the beginning, not only humans, but animals, plants, trees, flowers, all creatures who hear the Call of Isis of Ten Thousand Names, Divine Mother of All Beings. Each one is dear to Her for they are all Her Children.
Thirty years have passed [at the time of this interview] since the founding of the Fellowship. Aset Shemsu continues to grow and flourish under the protective, winnowing wings of our Patroness, Isis of Ten Thousand Names, Goddess of the Aquarian Age. She guides the growth of the Fellowship along an ever expanding spiral - moving outwards as we experience the Cosmic Alchemy of the Stars. This is the hallmark of the Goddess, She does not take away, She adds.
The titles of the Isian Priesthood of the Fellowship of Isis are hereditary in origin. The priestly line came to the Fellowship through my family, by direct descent from Princess Scota, daughter of the Pharaoh Cincris. She left Egypt and traveled north to settle in Scotland with her Scythian husband Nels. She became a Queen in Scotland and founded a mystery school there. Her son, whose name was Gaelglas, became father of the Gaelic race.
Since the forming of the Fellowship of Isis and the establishment of the Isian clergy, vocation for the priesthood and direct communion with the Deity are no longer dictated by physical DNA. We are all recipients of “spiritual DNA” which resides within each of us.
Every one responds to Her Call in a unique way. We have heard The Call of Isis and we have answered. The Fellowship has steadily grown because so many have returned to Her, awakening to Her Voice in heart, mind and spirit. More and more people dream dreams, they have visions.
This is an age of those who have the courage to remain young in heart. By this, I mean they remain joyful and positive in the face of adversity, and they continue to believe and work towards the creation of a bright future. Those who remain young in heart enter the portals of the spiritual world of Isis. The veil between the psychic and the earthly has been drawn aside for them. What do they find there? They find that each has within themselves the key to life. True life is of the spirit, it is eternal - it comes from Isis, Who is Mother of All.”
(Olivia Robertson, FOI co-founder, October, 2006)
(*) "The Goddesses of Chaldea, Syria and Egypt", Lawrence Durdin-Robertson, Cesara Publications, Huntington Castle (Clonegal Castle), Enniscorthy, Eire, 1975, p. 300
Back to Fellowship of Isis Introduction
Back to Olivia Robertson
Back to On the Vernal Equinox