Loreon Vigne Biography
June 8, 1932 – July 15, 2014
A biographical sketch of the founder of the Temple of Isis in Geyserville, California
“I know it is my destiny to leave a legacy of bringing the Temple of Isis back into prominence. It is an ancient concept, perhaps older than any other belief system on the planet: the return to the divine feminine and the expansion of freedom of thought, free of dogma. I coined the word “catma” to express the qualities of the Temple of Isis. A cat is independent and balanced, loving and gentle.” - Loreon Vigne, from her autobiography “The Goddess Bade Me Do It!”
Loreon Vigne was born in Manhattan, New York on June 8, 1932. Loreon was the founder of the Temple of Isis, a legal church, headquartered at Isis Oasis in Geyserville, California. Her life was one that is filled with many amazing synchronicities - a series of magical events - that led her to the Goddess Isis.
“Isis, the ancient Egyptian Goddess of Nature, became my mentor, and perhaps even my Mother, at the tender age of six. It was She Who later prompted me to create Isis Oasis and to develop and expand it for twenty-five years. In Her honor I continue to do Her work. I believe the name and spirit of the Goddess Isis must be kept alive in this modern world.” - Loreon Vigne, from her autobiography “The Goddess Bade Me Do It!”
As a girl she studied ballet and showed early signs of being a gifted artist and singer. When she was a teen-ager, her family moved from White Plains New York to Los Angeles, California. After Loreon completed high school she was awarded a scholarship to the Kahn Institute of Art in Beverly Hills. The year following she attended the California School of Art, and it was here that she first met Dion Vigne, whom she eventually married. They mixed in circles of experimental filmmakers, musicians and artists many of whom lived in areas of Topanga Canyon and the Hollywood Hills. Loreon had always been drawn to the creative arts, and it was during these early years at art school that she began to break away from the life she had previously known and began to spread her own wings. She was talented and she met with success in her early ventures, which included a ceramic business she owned with her husband Dion. Their wares sold readily, and soon it was necessary to find a larger workplace to accommodate filling their many orders. Sadly a fire destroyed their business, taking nearly everything they owned, except for one small kiln for enamel work. After settling their affairs, the two moved to San Francisco, where many of their friends had already gone.
It was in the North Beach area of San Francisco that Loreon eventually opened another business, called “The Paint Pot” near Grant and Green Streets. The original location was a few doors away from the famous Bagel Shop, and directly across the street from the Coffee Gallery, a meeting place for those involved in the Beat Movement. Loreon was photographed working in this store and the picture was featured on the cover of a book titled “I am a Lover” by Jerry Stoll and Evan S. Connell Jr. Her enamels began selling very well, and her business steadily grew. Eventually she opened the “Noir Gallery” located at Sutter and Stockton Streets in downtown San Francisco. Her line of enamels was called “Noir Enamelcraft”. Both the gallery and line of art pieces were named after her beloved black cat, Noir.
The people that Loreon and her husband Dion interacted with were influential filmmakers, poets, musicians and artists, who were in the process of creating a legacy through their work that would have an impact on generations to come. Their friends in Los Angeles and San Francisco included experimental filmmakers Jordan and Jane Belson and Jim Whitney, the photographer Edmond Teske, artist Wally Berman and jazz pianist Ed Taylor. Recently Loreon was overheard to say “I had better call Ferlinghetti.”
Loreon and Dion Vigne eventually divorced, and in 1970 Dion passed away. His work, in the form of film reel and audio tapes, was carefully preserved and stored by Loreon. In 1997 Loreon gave these works to David Sherman and his wife Rebecca. They were experts in the experimental film era of the 50’s, especially 16 mm film, and had the equipment to access and preserve these pieces, which included not only films but taped interviews with Alan Watts, Jordan Belson and Alan Ginsburg. Eventually some of this work was featured in a television documentary on experimental film of the 1950’s. Dion’s work is now in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum in New York and the Pacific Film Archive in Berkley.
In the late sixties, Loreon had seen a street called Isis Street while traveling around San Francisco one day with some friends. She wrote: “I had announced, when seeing the street sign, that I would like to have a place on that street.” And eventually that is exactly what happened. In 1970 She found a property on Isis Street containing two flats and a workshop, which was perfect for her growing enamel business. Her land holdings in San Francisco eventually included a property next door to the Isis House, and another property whose backyard adjoined the backyard of the Isis Street property. This house was located on Folsom Street. Loreon had the outside of the Folsom Street house painted in three shades of purple, designed three Egyptian motif stained glass windows for the front of the house and included a large enamel mural with an outer space design to the outer facade between the upper story windows. This purple house was included in the book “Painted Ladies” which featured photos of the colorful houses that began appearing in San Francisco during this time period.
It was while she lived on Isis Street that the Goddess Isis of ancient Egypt began to guide Loreon to a new destiny, as a priestess and founder of a legal church for the clergy of Isis. During the time she lived on Isis Street, she experienced many wonderful and magical things, she changed, her life evolved, and she began to search for a place to live and work outside of the city.
While living on Isis Street, Loreon said she received a song about Isis spontaneously one day. She often had us sing it with her at Isis Oasis over the years:
"Isis is silver,
Isis is gold,
Isis is young,
Isis is old,
All that Isis is,
Is yet to be told,
All that is,
Is what Isis is."
She found a unique property located in Geyserville north of San Francisco in the heart of Sonoma County. After purchasing the land, she named it Isis Oasis. Loreon decided to sell her enamel business and property on Isis Street, but kept the purple house on Folsom Street for many years. It was time to move out of the city. This new land inspired her, seeing myriad possibilities to develop it into a retreat center. The grounds we know today as Isis Oasis have a special history. The land was originally a sacred area to the Pomo Tribe and in the early 20th century, the property was bought and developed to serve as a school for the Bahai by a Mr. and Mrs. John Bosch. The school officially opened August 1, 1927. The Bahai strive for global unity, the Pomo revere the land and nature in all its forms, the two together, brought their own special essence to the land, which can still be felt today. The spiritual energies that exist at Isis Oasis are a blending of the distant past and work done on the property since Loreon purchased it. Years of sacred theatre, concerts, films, ritual, prayers and workshops dedicated to healing work, the arts and to the Goddess have all left their own special imprint in the atmosphere.
The Fellowship of Isis
Upon discovering the Fellowship of Isis, Loreon soon became a member. In 1983 she traveled to Ireland with Paul Ramses to visit the three FOI co-founders at Clonegal Castle. Lawrence Durdin-Robertson took Loreon on a tour of the castle grounds. When she shared with him some of her dreams for Isis Oasis he told her “You just have to meet the Goddess halfway”. A saying that has proven true for Loreon over the years. Not long after this both she and Paul were ordained into the FOI priesthood at the written request of Olivia and her brother Lawrence. The name chosen for their FOI center was the Temple of Isis.
Today, the Temple of Isis conducts spiritually oriented programs at the Oasis throughout the year, including weekly services, which Loreon called Sunday Goddess Salons, or Sunday Services. The Temple of Isis is a recognized legal church offering legal minister status for members of the FOI Priest/esshood. The Temple of Isis was officially inaugurated with the ordination of 5 people. The ceremony included the Revs. Caite Mathis, Daria Romano, Diveena Shapouri, Paul Ramses, PrH and Arisa Victor. The Temple of Isis is also a lyceum of the Fellowship of Isis, and like the Fellowship, it is devoted to the return of Goddess energy to the world.
FOI Co-Founder Olivia Robertson wrote the following in Isian News, issue no. Number 85, Summer, 1997:
"The Land of Isis. Philae is Restored in the New Atlantis!
At the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, Olivia Robertson hopefully prophesied the restoration of the Temple of Isis in Philae from Egypt to America, the new Atlantis - described as such by Francis Bacon. But she had not expected it to happen so quickly! After all, we make a shrine to Isis in our hearts, hearths, and homes. But the religion of Isis was a living manifestation in actual Temples, with land. Now the Rev. Loreon Vigne has donated the Retreat Centre of Isis Oasis to the Temple of Isis. This includes 10 acres with wildlife preserve, a Temple, banqueting hall, a theatre that holds about a hundred and accommodation for about 60 people."
You can read more about the life of Loreon Vigne in her autobiography “The Goddess Bade Me Do It”.
Temple of Isis contact information:
The Temple of Isis
Isis Oasis Sanctuary
20889 Geyserville Avenue
Geyserville, CA 95441 USA
Isis Oasis Sanctuary website: http://www.isisoasis.us/
To learn more about the work of Loreon Vigne, please visit the following pages:
The Founding of the Temple of Isis
The First Fellowship of Isis Convocations
A Visit with the FOI Co-Founders
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