Lawrence Durdin-Robertson - Floralia Memorial
FOI co-founder Rt. Rev. Lawrence Durdin-Robertson.
A Memorial Ceremony in Honour of Lawrence Durdin-Robertson
London, May 3, 1995
On the Festival of Floralia, Wednesday, 3rd of May, as taken from Lawrence's book the “The Year Of The Goddess, A Perpetual Calendar of Festivals”, Rt. Rev. Caroline Wise, AU, of London, produced this evening Rite as a joyful remembrance. There were Mayday games, beautifully organised by the late Rick Gibson, including a tug-of-war with the rope garlanded with flowers. The Goddess was invoked and carried in, throwing flowers, in her flower-strewn bier. She gave an Oracle of Flora through a priestess. There was a tribute to Derry, a reading from “The Year of the Goddess, A Perpetual Calendar of Festivals” and songs from professional musicians. Around 100 Fellowship of Isis members attended, including Lawrence Durdin-Robertson’s niece Cressida. Monies raised went to a wolf sanctuary.
Olivia wrote the following:
“I am delighted that The Floralia is being revived. I am happy that you are dedicating it to Derry, as it was one of his favourites. He would tell me that when Flora was neglected, She withdrew.”
A portion of the reading from “The Year of the Goddess, A Perpetual Calendar of Festivals” for May 3rd used for this occasion follows:
Floralia - Day Six of Six Days
"Come, Mother of Flowers, that we may honour thee with marry games; last month I put off giving thee thy due. Thou dost begin in April and passest into the time of May …” So I spoke, and the goddess answered my questions thus, and while she spoke, her lips breathed vernal roses: “I who now am called Flora was formerly Chloris: a Greek letter of my name is corrupted in the Latin speech. Chloris I was, a nymph of the happy fields where, as you have heard, dwelt fortunate men of old. Modesty shrinks from describing my figure .. I enjoy perpetual spring; most buxom is the Year ever; ever the tree is clothed with leaves, the ground with pasture. In the fields that are my dower, I have a fruitful garden, fanned by the breeze and watered by a spring of running water. This garden my husband filled with noble flowers and said, “Goddess, be Queen of Flowers’. Oft did I wish to count the colours in the beds … Soon as the dewy rime is shaken from the leaves, and the varied foliage is warmed by the sunbeams, the Hours assemble, clad in dappled garments, and cull my gifts in light baskets. Straightway the Graces draw near, and twine garlands and wreaths to bind their heavenly hair. I was the first to scatter new seeds among the countless peoples ... Perhaps you may think that I am queen only of dainty garlands; but my divinity has to do also with the tilled fields. If the crops have blossomed well, the threshing-floor will be piled high; if the vines have blossomed well, there will be wine; if the olive-trees have blossomed well, most bounteous will be the Year … Honey is my gift. It is I who called the winged insects, which yield honey, to the violet, and the clover, and the grey thyme … We delight in festivals and altars … if we are neglected, we avenge the wrong … I myself was once neglected by the Roman Senate. What was I to do? By what could I show my resentment? What punishment exact for the slight put on me? In my gloom I relinquished my office. I guarded not the countryside and the fruitful garden was naught to me. The lilies had dropped; you might see the violets withering, and the tendrils of the crimson saffron languishing … I did not will it so, nor am I cruel in my anger, but I did not care to ward off these ills. The senate assembled and voted an annual festival to my divinity if the Year should prove fruitful. I accepted the vow. The consuls Laenas and Pstumius celebrated the games which had been vowed to me.”
‘But why is it that whereas white robes are given out at the festival of Ceres, Flora is neatly clad in attire of many colours? Is it because the harvest whitens when the ears are ripe, but flowers are of every hue and every shape? She nodded assent, and at the motion of her tresses the flowers dropped down, as falls the rose cast by a hand upon a table … She vanished into thin air. A fragrance lingered; you could know a goddess had been there.’ (Ovid, Fasti, V, 183.)
The page is dedicated to the work and the memory of Rt. Rev. Lawrence Durdin-Robertson, AU, co-founder of the Fellowship of Isis.
To Lawrence Durdin-Robertson
As the fragrance that lingered evidenced the presence of a goddess, so the work you left behind, and a life time of service to others has left evidence that a true Priest has been here. You are held in high esteem, you are loved and you are remembered.
Painting, above "Saskia as Flora" by Rembrandt.
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