Fellowship of Isis - The Writing of Olivia Robertson
"I think, therefore I am. No! I already am. I imagine, therefore I create."
- Olivia Robertson, during a talk given in London on visualization and magic.
Olivia Robertson, author, artist, FOI Co-Founder (1917 - 2013)
Presented below is a catalogue of literary works by Lady Olivia Robertson, ArchPriestess and co-founder of the Fellowship of Isis.
Any Fellowship of Isis member who would like to develope a better understanding of the foundation of the Fellowship of Isis will benefit greatly from reading these publications. Lady Olivia Robertson is very well respected in the psychic, artistic and literary fields. Her writing forms a unique body of work, both in the form of novels and spiritual mystery dramas. Her novels provide a glimpse into experiences that shaped her participation in the founding of the Fellowship of Isis. The spiritual awakening she experienced during the earlier part of her life led to the creation of the Fellowship of Isis Liturgy.
Novels written by Lady Olivia Robertson
St. Malachy's Court
An account of life in one of the poorer districts of Dublin. This book introduces characters that will appear in Olivia's later novels about life in the Dublin during the early 1940's. The book is filled with beautiful, descriptive passages such as this one: "The children's playground is placed in the middle of St. Malachy's Court flats ... Radiating round the playground are the washing lines... transformed by light and movement into beauty. The color is fresh and pure, with the tints of Fra Angelico; a patchwork of mauve, primrose and white against the shabby Court buildings..." Published in 1946 by Peter Davies Ltd., in Kingswood, Surrey, UK and in 1947 by Odyssey Press in New York, USA
Field of the StrangerThis book was begun in Dublin in 1946 and completed at Olivia's ancestral home, Clonegal Castle. It offers an early glimpse of the land and people that influenced her early years. Although accounts provided in this book are fictionalized, they provide an important overview to her later work - especially in the Druid Clan of Dana.
"The valley of the Slaney near our home is enclosed by gently curved hills with patchwork of green, orange and brown; the pale blue of Mount Leinster fading against the sky behind them. Our part of the bank is enlivened by gorse, smooth grass and wild flowers ..." Published in 1948 by Peter Davies Ltd., in Kingswood, Surrey, UK and by Random House, New York, USA
The Golden EyeThe novel begins with this fragment of a song sung by children on the streets of Dublin during the period that Lady Olivia worked as a supervisor of play activities:
"The Wind, the Wind, the Wind blew high,
The rain came tumbling from the sky:
Eva Tracey said she'd die
For the Want of the Golden eye."
The locations in Dublin and characters previously introduced in St. Malachy's Court are revisited. The publisher summarized the book this way: "There is much fun and a great deal of shrewdness in this highly original and superlatively Irish exposition of some of the vagaries of human nature." Published in 1949 by Peter Davies Ltd., in Kingswood, Surrey, UK.
Miranda SpeaksThis novel, like the Golden Eye, begins with a fragment from a song sung by children on the streets of Dublin:
"Stand the lady on the mountain,
Who she is we cannot tell you:
All she loves is gold and silver
And a nice young man to love her."
The contents of this novel display the same sharply honed skill at description and insight into the human condition as previous works - brilliant wit combined with real feeling. Published in 1950 by Peter Davies Ltd., London, UK.
It's An Old Irish Custom"Someone once declared that Irish songs are the map of Ireland set to music ... Perhaps one of the reasons that the Irish landscape appeals so much to the imagination is that there is so much variety in such a small island. Hence each inhabitant feels that his little corner is unique, and that unless its beauties are sung about, other people will never hear about Bunclody or Coleraine or Mullinacruff."
Unlike the other books, this one does not contain original artwork by the author, but the contents are fascinating, offering a wide scope of vignettes of Irish life. Among the entry titles: "to sing of country places; to give and expect hospitality; to love the harp; to believe in the miraculous; to be original..." Published in 1953 by Denis Dobson, London, UK, and by Vanguard Press, New York, USA, re-printed by Vanguard Press in 1960.
Dublin PhoenixThis book outlines the author's observances and hopes for the city of Dublin. Many passages have proven prophetic, for this city is now one of the most popular destinations in Europe.
"Of course Phoenix Park does not refer to a bird at all," said a friend of mine. "You know that, naturally. The word derives from the Irish word "Fionn-Uisce", or "Clear Water." None the less, people will always think of the Arabian red and gold bird and remember all the times that Dublin has arisen reborn from her ashes." Published in 1957 by Jonathan Cape, London, UK.
Olivia Robertson is included in the Author's List of the Princess Grace Irish Library in Monaco, which lists not only her novels but later published works for the Fellowship of Isis. Two of her novels "It's An Old Irish Custom" and "Miranda Speaks" are part of the literary holdings of the Belfast Library in Ireland.
Work Published Through Cesara Publications
Cesara Publications was the private press of Lady Olivia Robertson and Lawrence Durdin-Robertson. It was created to publish written materials for the Fellowship of Isis. Cesara Publications was located at their ancestral home, Huntington Castle (later changed to Clonegal Castle), Clonegal, Enniscorthy, Ireland.
Olivia Robertson states: "These Rites were inspired directly by Isis between 1976 and 1994, and contain the sacred teaching received and presented in close collaboration by the Co-Founders of the Fellowship of Isis, The Rt. Rev. Olivia Robertson and her brother Rt. Rev. Lawrence Durdin-Robertson who passed into Spirit World in 1994."
Cover, first edition of "The Call of Isis"The Call of Isis
Lady Olivia refers to The Call of Isis as her spiritual biography. First published January 1, 1975 by Cesara Publications, a second edition was issued through Cesara in 1990. The outer back cover states: "In The Call of Isis Olivia Robertson vividly describes her adventures in the psychic, occult and mystical fields. She has worked for eleven years with groups in South Ireland and London, and has specialized in inducing psychic projection through trance.
Cover art, second edition of "The Call of Isis"Readers will find much to interest, stimulate and amuse them in an original account that starts with the experiments involving artists, musicians, dancers, craftsmen and writers inspired by the divinity within Nature Herself.The book is divided into three parts. The first, The Temple of the Moon deals with psychic development and the control of the emotions through the use of trance.The second part, The Temple of the Sun introduces ways of using vital force for healing and creativity.The third part, Temple of the Stars deals with mystical experiences, and the safe development of cosmic consciousness.
The book has brush illustrations by the author."
The Call of Isis - Neptune Press Edition
A later edition was offered by Neptune Press, London for Cesara Publications. It is listed as the 2nd revised edition published in December 1993.
The edition published for Cesara Publications through Neptune Press included previously unpublished contributions by AU members Caroline Wise, Steve Wilson and Johnny Merron and other FOI members. An excerpt about the painting used for the cover reads: "Isis is shown on the cover walking forward through time, into the future. She is painted in a naturalistic way, and not in the stylised Ancient Egyptian manner because although we honour the Ancient Egyptian Gods, we live in a different time, and are bringing the ancient mysteries into the present and on to the twenty-first century."
The First FOI Rituals To Be Published
Cover, first edition of "The Isis Wedding Rite" published in 1976.The first enactment of the Isis Wedding Rite in the form we know it today took place June 28, 1975. The Isis Wedding Rite was initially published in a booklet by Cesara Publications in February of 1976, prior to the formal founding of the Fellowship of Isis on Spring Equinox of 1976, Sunday, March 21st of that year.
Cover, second edition "The Isis Wedding Rite" "Each age calls for its particular need. In our time we need to bring to flower soul qualities trampled upon by our rush into technological involvement. Over-emphasis on material conditions leaves the soul starved. Hence, although true priests and priestesses live their devoted lives often disguised in every-day dress, as doctor, nurse, welfare worker, psychiatrist; there is need for beauty, for an outer acknowledgement of innate divinity, expressed through the symbols of art and ritual." (excerpt from the introduction to Ordination of Priestesses and Priests)The Isis Wedding Rite was first published by Cesara Publications in February of 1976.Ordination of a Priestess (Ordination of Priestesses and Priests)
The ordination rite was enacted August 1, 1976. The first published edition of this ritual was titled "Ordination of a Priestess", published by Cesara Publication in February of 1977. The title was subsequently changed to "Ordination of Priestesses and Priests" and re-published as a 2nd revised edition in July of 1983."Each age calls for its particular need. In our time we need to bring to flower soul qualities trampled upon by our rush into technological involvement. Over-emphasis on material conditions leaves the soul starved. Hence, although true priests and priestesses live their devoted lives often disguised in every-day dress, as doctor, nurse, welfare worker, psychiatrist; there is need for beauty, for an outer acknowledgement of innate divinity, expressed through the symbols of art and ritual." (excerpt from the introduction to Ordination of Priestesses and Priests)The Rite of Rebirth
The first enactment of this ritual took place on Samhain, October 31, 1976. The Rite of Rebirth was published by Cesara Publications in September of 1977. This initial ritual enactment involved the blessing of four month old Elinor Currey, daughter of Anna (Lawrence and Pamela Durdin-Robertson’s daughter) and Robert Currey.
A short time later, a second performance of this Rite, with Lucy Durdin-Robertson (daughter of Lawrence and Pamela Durdin-Robertson) as Initiate, was filmed for a wide television audience. An interview with the Robertsons was also conducted for the programme. It was syndicated for viewing in the United States, in Great Britain and other countries. The enactment and interview were televised as a half hour show for Telefis Eireann.
Left: Second edition cover for the Rite of Rebirth
Left: Third edition cover for Rite of RebirthSubsequent Fellowship of Isis Ritual Drama Publications
"... Olivia had been receiving a series of rituals during her daily meditations in the Temple. These had first been published in the FOI newsletter and were then collated into booklets ... they worked extremely well and had a profound and beneficial effect on the practitioners." - Steve Wilson, AU
Dea: Rites and Mysteries of the Goddess (Nov 1979) Contains a 'Dedication of a Shrine to Isis' rite, rituals for dawn and evening, rituals for the four seasons and five mystery dramas. Reprinted in 1996 by Neptune Press of London for Cesara Publications.
The first two editions of Dea, Rites and Mysteries of the Goddess did not have cover art.
The first Cesara edition of Dea that featured cover art by Olivia, was the third edition, published in 1988.
Left: Edition published by Neptune Press, 1996
FOI Liturgy Books Reproduced by Neptune Press for Cesara Publications
In addition to the revised edition of "The Call of Isis" in 1993, Neptune Press reproduced several liturgy books for Cesara Publications. The Neptune Press edition of "Dea: Rites and Mysteries of the Goddess" (cover art to the left) was the first of three liturgy books that would be reprinted by Neptune Press for Cesara Publications. "Dea" was followed by "Urania: Ceremonial Magic of the Goddess" and "Panthea: Initiations and Festivals of the Goddess." All three reprinted editions were published in 1996.
Three new liturgy books (not reprints) were subsequently produced by Neptune Press for Cesara Publications. They are "Fortuna: Creation Through the Goddess" (1998); "Sphinx: Goddess Myths and Mysteries" (2000); and "Isis of Alchemy: Transformation Through the Goddess" (2002). More information about these liturgy books is listed directly below.
Urania: Ceremonial Magic of the Goddess (May 1983) Rituals for space, time, sun, moon, earth, and seven planetary rites. Reprinted in 1996 by Neptune Press of London for Cesara Publications.
Sophia: Cosmic Consciousness of the Goddess (Dec. 1986) Each of these rites pairs the energies of a particular sign of the zodiac with a Goddess, or in the case of Gemini with a Goddess and a God. These rites attune the practitioner to higher wisdom of the stellar energies.
Panthea: Initiations and Festivals of the Goddess (1988) Four rituals based on the four basic initiations of life - birth into the physical world, admittance into an iseum for spiritual growth and companionship with other spiritual seekers, initiation into a new level of consciousness and the fourth and final mystery, returning home to the eternal source. Eight seasonal mysteries dedicated to the Goddess are also included. Reprinted in 1996 by Neptune Press of London for Cesara Publications.
Sybil: Oracles of the Goddess (1989) Invocations and the resulting Oracles that were channeled by Lady Olivia up until the date of this publication are included, many in their original form as published in earlier editions of Isian News.
Psyche: Magical Journeys of the Goddess (1991) The rituals in this book are geared to take the practitioner through the four levels of consciousness of The Spiral of Tiamat and the eight rays of the Star of Ishtar. The eight rays are corresponded in the rituals with a star or a constellation. Each rite centers around a trance journey which creates a vehicle of light to travel through other spheres.
Gaea: Initiations of the Earth (1991) The original materials and rituals written for the Noble Order of Tara, including initiation of the elements and planetary initiation.
The Rite of Dana: Druid Initiation (1992) The original background materials which present Lady Olivia's early introductory experiences to Druidry and her visions of the Goddess Dana. A ritual, "Druid Initiation" written for the Druid Clan of Dana is included.
Melusina: Life Centres of the Goddess (1994) This book contains twelve rituals designed to awaken, develope and strengthen the chakras. The rites are designed to bring the polar energies called yin and yang, male and female, light and dark, ida and pingala into harmony within the practitioner.
Maya: Goddess Rites for Solo Use (1994) Five rituals created for the sole practitioner. These are invaluable for those FOI members who are unable to participate in a group. They include simple rites for good health, vitality, abundance, harmony of the spiritual elements within and attainment of spiritual vision.
Fortuna: Creation Through the Goddess (1999) Mystery dramas based on modern problems and situations, with solutions illustrated through use of the tarot and the zodiac. Olivia writes: "The author combines the use of the Marseilles Tarot Pack with the zodiac to unravel the future. Fortuna is daughter of Themis, Goddess of Wisdom. So the Soul's experience is illustrated by the fact that we create our own destiny, taught to do so by the Fates. This is illustrated in the inclusion of Mystery Plays related to modern times, and how we may affect them. Some of the prophecies seem to be happening!" Printed for Cesara Publications by Neptune Press of London.
Sphinx: Goddess Myths and Mysteries (2000) Eight mysteries developed from various myths of the Goddess are presented, and corresponded with a planetary ray of the Star of Ishtar diagram. Printed for Cesara Publications by Neptune Press of London.
Isis of Alchemy: Transformation Through the Goddess (Summer Solstice, 2002) Printed for Cesara Publications by Neptune Press of London. Earth energies in the form of semi-precious stone pylons, corresponding to the Eight Rays of the Star of Ishtar diagram, and planetary energies. That which is below is harmonized with that which is above.
Nuit of the Milky Way: The Alchemical Journey of the Questing Twins (2004) Directional gateways for north, east, south and west are utilized in these trance journeys that are corresponded to the energies of the twelve signs of the zodiac. The esoteric elements corresponded to each zodiacal sign are combined to achieve union of opposites.
Brigid of the Rainbow Planets: Adventures of the Alchemical Twins (2006) Eight planetary trance journeys combined with mysteries of myth to produce inner harmony. Exploration of the psychic centres to foster spiritual awareness, and a relationship with our planets within (chakras). Each of these centers reflects a harmonic ray that radiates from the Central Sun.
Ishtar of the Starry Heavens: Shape-shifting of the Alchemical Twins (2008) Spiritual evolution in consciousness not through biological development but through the sacred elements. As with the two prior publications listed immediately above ("Nuit ..." and "Brigid ..."), the book consists of trance journeys of spiritual alchemy, designed to bring about inner harmony.
Tara of the Oracles: The Alchemical Twins Face the Fates (2011) Olivia takes "the twins on a zodiac pilgrimage through the Tarot, because this brings them into contact with fellow pilgrims. They start off alone and end as part of a spiritual family." Tara of the Oracles consists of trance journeys of spiritual alchemy, designed to encourage spiritual growth, insight and inner harmony.
Athena: Arcadian Awakening (last work) The Alchemical Twins Aidan and Elaine now guide others through trance journeys. The introductions and rites continue to foster spiritual insight and inner balance and harmony. Olivia finished rite eleven, published Samhain 2013 in Isian News. Due to her final illness she was unable to finish rite twelve.
Other FOI materials written by Lady Olivia Robertson and published by Cesara Publications
The Fellowship of Isis Handbook (1992)
Published as a companion booklet to the College of Isis Manual, the FOI handbook offered information about how to apply for admittance into an iseum, coursework for iseums and application for the priesthood, introductory materials on the College of Isis, Druid Clan of Dana and the Noble Order of Tara, attunement times for the Fellowship of Isis and plans made for the future of the Fellowship of Isis by the FOI co-founders. This booklet was based on information published formerly in the Isian News prior to 1992 and the Fellowship of Isis Directories prior to 1992.
The College of Isis Manual (1992)Published after the creation of the College of Isis in 1986, this was the first FOI publication to give detailed information on the College of Isis - including lyceum coursework guidelines, an illustration of the Star of Ishtar diagram drawn by Chesca Potter, the key to ritual correspondences, "Flamma Vestae", ritual of initiation into a Fellowship of Isis lyceum and the Consecration of a Hierophant, "Flamma Sacerdotae" into the FOI/College of Isis.