Fellowship of Isis History Archive - Founding of the Temple of Isis
"It is important that our priesthood should obtain legal recognition in as many countries as possible, and this should be won through the initiative of those who undertake such a task for our 6000 years old religion of Isis."
- Olivia Robertson, Isian News No. 82, Samhain, 1996
Photo, left: Arisa Victor, founder of the Union Temple of IsisThe Temple of Isis
A Timeline of Events
“The Temple was originally conceived, founded and dedicated with a deep desire to serve the Goddess, and assist humanity's awakening into the Golden Age of Peace. It continues to assist spiritual aspirants on the Path of Light. May it continue to flourish!” - Arisa Victor
1981 - 1982
The Union Temple of Isis
The legal church that would later become the Temple of Isis in Geyserville was originally founded by Arisa Victor, who writes: “I was ordained in the Sunrise Church of the Golden Age in Berkeley in 1977. Started teaching more, in the Sunrise Bookshop and in night school. A nice group of people were coming to classes and ceremonies - Dark Moon Circles for women, and Full Moon Circles for men and women, as well as solstices and equinoxes. Every Thanksgiving we would be the ‘Pagan Contingent’ at the Berkeley Area Interfaith Council's “Thanksgiving Service”. That went on for years, and was lots of fun. We were always the most colorful!
I was inspired and advised by my partner to make what I had created into a legal church or legal religious non-profit corporation. I called it the Union Temple of Isis, the idea being the coming together of male and female as One. This was due in large part to the Tarot card entitled “The Lovers” Card, Key 6, being my life card. The symbolism and energies of this card have been an ongoing inspiration ever since I made this discovery.
It really took some doing to get the OK from the IRS. They made it quite a grueling process, but I was determined. After some months, I finally made two phone calls to an obscure number (found on one of the endless forms) in Washington, DC, and convinced a male agent that I was legitimate and would not abuse the non-profit status. The clearance came soon afterwards. I remember the day because it was St. Patrick's Day.” (March 17, 1982)
Shortly afterwards, Arisa met Loreon and Paul during a meeting for her Union Temple of Isis in Oakland. Loreon had been intrigued and wanted to meet Arisa because of the similarity of the names of their respective Goddess centers. Loreon had founded her own FOI Iseum (later to become a lyceum) in 1981 when she joined the Fellowship of Isis - her Hearth of the Goddess was named the Temple of Isis. They had a deep connection right from the start. Arisa writes: “I joined the FOI right after the first time I met Loreon, who told me about the Fellowship. I was very excited by the Manifesto (of the Fellowship of Isis) that outlines what it means to be a member.”
Photo, above, 1983: Olivia Robertson, left, seated in oracle chair, Loreon Vigne bowing to gaze into a crystal ball on the altar of the Shrine of Ishtar
A Visit to Clonegal Castle
In March of 1983, Loreon Vigne and her partner Paul Ramses paid a visit to Clonegal Castle in Ireland. There they met with the three founders of the Fellowship of Isis, Lady Olivia Robertson, Lawrence Durdin-Robertson, Baron of Strathloch, and his wife Pamela (Barclay) Durdin-Robertson.
On March 24 Loreon and Paul were granted an audience for filming a video with Lawrence and Olivia and participated in a celebration of the Vernal Equinox. The ritual performed that day was “The Athenaea” which would later become one of the liturgy rites included in “Panthea, Initiations and Festivals of the Goddess” a series of rituals first published in book form in 1988 by Olivia through the private publishing company, Cesara Publications, that she and her brother had created at Clonegal Castle.
Loreon Vigne and Paul Ramses standing in front of the Isis Chapel at Isis Oasis
Ordination as FOI Priestess and Priest
After this visit, Olivia Robertson, co-founder of the Fellowship of Isis wrote to ask if Loreon and Paul would like to become priestess and priest within the FOI. Olivia Robertson and her brother Lawrence Durdin-Robertson jointly certified both Loreon Vigne and Paul Ramses as priestess and priest within the Fellowship of Isis.
The ritual was performed by attunement on July 19,1983, to coincide with the historical date of the marriage of Isis and Osiris. Lawrence and Olivia performing the rite in the Temple of Isis at Clonegal Castle, and Paul and Loreon in the theatre (which later became the main temple) of Isis Oasis in Geyserville.
Arisa Victor, founder of the newly created and legal Union Temple of Isis, and her partner Dave, who by this time were both FOI members, assisted in the ordination ceremony. Arisa writes: “We were the couple that Loreon and Paul asked to be the long-distance receivers for their own ordination ceremony in the Theater at Isis Oasis. Lady Olivia and her dear brother were the senders of empowerment, while I laid hands on Loreon’s head, and Dave on Paul’s. It felt amazing, a very beautiful ceremony.”
1995 - 1996
The Temple of Isis in Geyserville
Loreon and Arisa share their memories of the transference of the Union Temple of Isis, originally founded in Oakland, over to the Temple of Isis in Geyserville.
Loreon writes: “One day Arisa, who had the Union Temple of Isis, visited and told me her life had changed a great deal. She and her partner had separated and she no longer had time to keep up her church, but she kept it alive on paper. I asked her, “How would you like to move it to Isis Oasis? We could take over and really work on keeping it alive.”
Arisa writes: “We had been referring to the “Temple of Isis in Geyserville” long before it was a legal entity. So it was very pleasing to contribute legal status to the Temple. When Dave and I split up after twelve years, I moved into one room in the woods of Marin County. My church became inactive. Ideas about giving the 501C-3 to Loreon's happening Temple were dancing around in my brain - at the same time they were dancing in hers. When she asked me what my plans for my church were, I told her I had been thinking of giving it to her ... So the deal was sealed in about three minutes.
All my hard labor to establish a religious non-profit corporation paid off, and a Temple of Isis was born in Oakland, later transferred to Geyserville. I am extremely grateful that it has blossomed so beautifully under the guidance of our High Priestess, Lady Loreon.”
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