Fellowship of Isis - The Writing of Lawrence Durdin-Robertson
Presented below is a catalogue of the Goddess based literary work of Lawrence Durdin-Robertson, co-founder of the Fellowship of Isis.
Any Fellowship of Isis member who would like to develope a better understanding of the scholarly foundation of the Fellowship of Isis will benefit greatly from reading these publications. Rt. Rev. Lawrence Durdin-Robertson, Baron of Strathloch was very well respected in the academic field. His works are considered staples by many researchers and scholars, particularly in Goddess oriented studies.
The Cult of the Goddess
This book contains the transcript of a lecture given by Lawrence Durdin-Robertson in the Assembly Room, Wexford, on October 26th, 1974. The lecture was a featured event for the opening of the Wexford Arts Centre during the Wexford Festival. The book also contains an introduction by Nicola Gordon Bowe and two illustrations that were shown during the lecture, drawn by Anna Durdin-Robertson. It was published by Cesara Publications in book form in 1975.
A brief excerpt from the text follows here:
There now remains to be considered the ethical effects of the Cult of the Goddess on her devotees.
This can be summarized very briefly in those words of Apuleius, whose life was dedicated to Isis: "For her service is perfect freedom."
I should like to give a few examples of the way in which this freedom manifests.
First, there is freedom of Conscience (I am using conscience in the sense of a Divine guide in all matters concerning ethics).
Now one of the great hindrances to conscience are those rigid codes of duties and prohibitions claiming universal obedience. These codes are by no means wrong in their contents - part of them may be good; they become wrong when they claim greater authority than conscience.
In Matriarchal religion, and indeed in Polytheism generally, we find few if any hard and fast rules. Guidance is given, as it were, empirically; it is given in each particular case as it occurs."
The Goddesses of Chaldea, Syria and Egypt
An in depth study of Goddesses of the Middle East. There are encyclopedic style entries for hundreds of goddesses, listing etymology of their name, offices and titles and associated places, plus extensive materials based on the mythology of each particular deity. The inside cover reads: "The cover, design by the author, is based on a figure carved by David Durdin-Robertson, in the Temple of Isis, Huntington Castle." "This series of books is written in honour of The Irish Great Mother, Cesara and The Four Guardian Goddesses of Ireland, Dana, Banba, Fodhla and Eire. It is dedicated to my wife, Pamela." This book was issued by Cesara Publications in 1975, and contains cover art and illustrations by Anna Durdin-Robertson.
An excerpt from the entry for the goddess Inanna: "Uruk or Erech, the modern Warka, described as Inanna's own city, lies in Southern Mesopotamia and was a place of importance; here the goddess had her chief temple...Inanna, as well as being Goddess of the fertile Earth, of grain and of date clusters, is also goddess of wine... Some of the special insignia and prerogatives of Inanna are thus enumerated by Enki; "the crook, staff, and ward of shepherdship". Kramer also includes in Enki's list: "oracular responses in regard to war and battle; the weaving and fashioning of garments, the power to destroy 'the indestructible' and to make perish 'the imperishable' ".
The Goddesses of India, Tibet, China and Japan
This book has the same format that was utilized in "The Goddesses of Chaldea, Syria and Egypt", along with the same honors to the Goddess Cesara, Dana, Banba, Fodhla and Eire of Ireland, and dedication to his wife, Pamela. It contains cover art and interior illustrations by Anna Durdin-Robertson, published in 1976 by Cesara Publications.
An excerpt from the entry for Kwan Yin: "The role of Kwan Yin as Saviouress is particularly emphasized in the Buddhist traditions, where she is regarded as "she who hears the cry of the world"... Kwan Yin is closely associated with sound... as a manifestation of the occult potency of sound in Aether and Nature; she is called "The Melodious Voice"... As giver of oracles, Kwan Yin appears in the sagas connected with the magician Aunt Piety... Kwan Yin is also a magician and a teacher of magic. In "Monkey" Vaisravana says to Kwan Yin's disciple Hui-yen, "you cannot have studied with the Bodhisattva for so many years without having learnt some form of magic"... A summary of the position which Kwan Yin holds in China is given by Green, as follows: "Kwan Yin is the favourite deity all over China and Japan and a hundred legends of salvation by her from sickness and storm, from perils by land and by water, attest that the quality of her mercy is never strained".
The Religion of the Goddess
A re-published version of the earlier work "The Cult of the Goddess" under the new title "The Religion of the Goddess". This later edition includes cover art by Lady Olivia Robertson. The contents are the same as the previous edition, which include the introduction by Ms. Bowe and the two illustrations by Anna Durdin-Robertson. It was first published through Cesara Publications in July,1982 with this new title and cover.
The inside front cover of this edition states: "The cover design, by Olivia Robertson, represents the Goddess sitting on the Holy Table. It is based on the High Altar of the Temple of Isis, Clonegal Castle."
Juno Covella, Perpetual Calendar of the Fellowship of Isis
Published in October,1982, "Juno Covella, Perpetual Calendar of the Fellowship of Isis" contains the following dedication: "This book is written in honour of the Goddesses of all nationalities and traditions. It is dedicated to my wife, Pamela, and my sister, Olivia."
This Calendar is named after the goddess Juno, who was invoked as Juno Covella, of the New Moon, when the Nones of each month were announced (calantur) by the Roman Pontiff.
The Calendar gives details of the Goddesses presiding over, or connected with, the various divisions of time. Sections are divided into Goddesses that correspond to Chronological Eras, The Year, The Fixed Calendar, The Moveable Calendar, The Days of the Month, The Days of the Week, The Hours of the Day, and The Signs of the Zodiac.
Materials for the entries are drawn from a variety of sources and many seasonal rites are given in detail. Emphasis is laid on the fact that the Church calendars are based on the Old Religions.
Excerpt from May 1st for the goddess Dana: "Of her (i.e. Danann) are named the three gods of Dana, and the Tuatha De Danann". The Tuatha De Dananns continued seven years in the north of Scotland, and then they removed to Ireland. They arrived... on Monday, the first of May."
An entry for the goddess Flora (describing customs for May Day): "Sometimes two circles, intersecting and bound with blossom, were fixed to the top of a staff, wound spirally with flowers in the manner of the classical thyrsus... The same device may have been used at the Floralia in Roman Britain, the festival of Flora, goddess of flowers... For Roman remains have been found in the neighbourhood of King's Lynn, and here, in the last century, these formal emblems were carried about the town with a great deal of... hooting of cow's horns. The two hoops were crossed on the point of a staff, and bound with bunches of flowers interspersed with evergreens... (on top) were bright-coloured flying ribbons. Below, on the centre of the globe, was a doll fixed to the top of the staff, her name being long since forgotten. It may have been Flora herself. It was certainly the local goddess of flowers."
Mélusina on May 1st reads: "Mélusina. The most famous of the fées of France... Mélusines. Gingerbread cakes bearing the impress of a beautiful woman 'bien coiffée", with a serpents' tail; made by confectioners for the May Fair in the neighbourhood of Lusignan near Poitiers. The allusion is to the transformation of the fairy Mélusina every Saturday."
God The Mother, The Creatress and Giver of Life
This work presents a theology based on the Goddess having the power to create form and to transmit life. The first part of the book 'The Maternal Source' shows the Female as the Original First Cause of the cosmos. The second part, 'The Generation of the Mother' describes the various ways in which the Female reproduces herself to form the Cosmos. Examples of these concepts are presented from many different religious traditions. This book was published by Cesara Publications on November 9, 1984. It was dedicated by Lawrence to his wife, Pamela Durdin-Robertson.
Excerpt from text: "Matriarchal religion is based on personal experience, the experience resulting from the impacts which the female makes on our lives. These impacts are classified by Jung under three headings. Writing on the maternal archetype he describes "the three essential aspects of the mother, her cherishing and nourishing goodness, her orgiastic emotionality and her Stygian depths". Those who will allow themselves to accept these as divine revelations have the basis of a natural theology."
Life in the Next World
Materials presented are drawn from many ancient cultures throughout the world, from northern Europe to Africa, Asia and the Northern and Southern American continents. It consists of accounts taken from recorded personal experiences, religious texts and poetry offering a glimpse of waits beyond. The selection of passages chosen by Lawrence Durdin-Robertson are beautiful and well assembled, the texts are interspersed with his insightful commentary. The Goddess lore presented within the pages of this book make it a valuable addition to the personal library of Fellowship of Isis members. This book was published in 1989 through Cesara Publications.
Here is an excerpt: "Michael put his gaze at her. It was no woman now he saw nor ever a Bandia (goddess), but a power or dominion, he thought. She had her feet far down among the roots of the sky on a night of frost.
'Are you death?' Michael sobbed, his knees shaking with the awe that was on him.
'I am older than Death,' she said. Her voice was beyond and above and below; but it put him in mind of a low wind in the dark.
And the words that he heard were somewhat as these words, but remembered dimly they were, as in a dream:
"I am she who loveth loneliness
And Solitude is my breath.
I have the resurrection of the dead as my food.
And the dead rise as a vapour
And I breathe it as mist
As mist that is licked up of the wind.
I am she who stands at the pools:
I stand at the meeting of roads.
The little roads of the world
And the dark roads of life and death.
My lover is Immortality
For I am Queen
Queen of all things on earth and in the sea
And in the white palaces of the stars
Built on the dark walls of time
Above the Abyss." - (Fiona MacLeod, 'Winged Destiny')
And an Ancient Irish text reads:
"Delightful is the land beyond all dreams,
Fairer than aught thine eyes have ever seen,
There all the year the fruit is on the tree,
And all the year the bloom is on the flower.
There with wild honey drip the forest trees,
The stores of mead and wine shall never fail.
Nor pain nor sickness knows the dweller there.
Death and decay come near him never more.
The feast shall cloy not, nor the dance shall tire,
Nor music cease forever through the hall.
The gold and jewels of the Land of Youth
Outshine all splendours ever dreamed of man."
The Year of the Goddess, A Perpetual Calendar of Festivals
This book provides entries of Goddess lore in the form of a day by day account. It is divided into Signs of the Zodiac and months of the year. In the Introduction Lawrence writes: "This book is a perpetual calendar of the main feasts and rituals held in honour of the Great Mother of the universe under myriad names, as gathered from the earliest records of history, and perpetuated into early Christianity and village folklore.
To perceive the overall pattern that lies behind Her forms, one need look no further than the dome of the starry heavens that forms the backdrop for the revolving earth against which the changes of the year and its seasons are measured. The Goddess is the heavens, and She is the year, controlling the northward and southward paths of the sun, the two solstitial colures represented by two lions.
According to the mood of the progress of the year, so is She appropriately named and mythologized. The key feasts fall at eight equal dividing points of the year, at the equinoxes and solstices (named the cross-quarter feasts by the Celts), and the quarter feasts of Samhain, Oimelc, Beltane and Lughnasadh. This means that the cross-quarter feasts, when first the zodiac came into being at least 5000 years ago, are marked by the ingress of the Sun into one of the fixed zodiacal signs of Taurus, Leo, Scorpio or Aquarius. The correlation of our present-day order of months with that arrangement is therefore made for 'The First Time', as the Ancient Egyptians would have called it. Hence there is a slippage of over a month from our present alignment of months and signs. Only in this way does the sense of what the goddesses stand for emerge."
The Manual of the Fellowship of Isis - Communion with the Goddess
Beginning in 1976 Lawrence Durdin-Robertson began writing a series he termed "The Manual of the Fellowship of Isis". All of these books were titled "Communion with the Goddess” and given subtitles according to subject. Their purpose was to provide a literary source which accurately presented facts, etymology, correspondences and mythic references to Goddesses from many cultures. These books provide a sound foundation for anyone who is interested in learning more about the place of the Goddess in world culture, for researching the FOI Liturgy, for teaching, and for ritual.
Part I. The Vital Elements
Part II. Initiation and the Mysteries
Part III. The Occasional Rites
Idols, Images and Symbols of the Goddesses: India
The Temples of Asia Minor and Greece, First Part
The Temples of Greece, Second Part
The Temples of Italy
Temples of the Near and Far East
Temples of the West
The Symbolism of Temple Architecture
Idols, Images and Symbols: Chaldea and Syria
Idols, Images and Symbols of the Goddesses: Egypt Part I: Isis
Idols, Images and Symbols of the Goddesses: Egypt Part II
Idols, Images and Symbols of the Goddesses: Egypt Part III
Idols, Images and Symbols of the Goddesses: China and Japan
Idols, Images and Symbols of the Goddesses: Southeast Asia and Tibet
Other works by Lawrence Durdin-Robertson
Women in the Arts, Crafts and Professions
Another carefully researched reference book honoring the contributions of women throughout history in the arts and sciences.
Guide to Clonegal Castle
The author outlines a history of his ancestral home, including the ruins of the abbey that is situated on the castle grounds, the neolithic well, development of the famous gardens, accounts of the spirits who reside in the castle and it's grounds, interspersed with items of local history and folklore. It is divided into the following sections: 'The History of Clonegal Castle', 'Tour of The Castle' which includes descriptions of rooms within the castle and the Temple of Isis shrines, plus two more sections titled 'Trees' and 'Fields'. This guide was published in 1990 by Cesara Publications.