Noble Order of Tara - Admission, Coursework, Rites, Grades
The Star of Ishtar
This spiral of 32 degrees is the basis for coursework which centers on the Fellowship of Isis liturgy. For more information please visit the Star of Ishtar Origin and Creation page featured in the navigation bar. Each numbered circle on the Star of Ishtar diagram corresponds to a point on the diagram which intersects time and space, corresponding to the position of an FOI liturgy ritual.
Within the Noble Order of Tara, the four levels of consciousness formed by the coils of the Goddess Tiamat are corresponded to Goddesses, as outlined in "Tara and Lugh: Ordeal of the Danaan Treasures":
Level 1. Tara, corresponds to Alma Mater (Lia Fail, the Stone of Destiny. Earth)
Level 2. Morrigan, corresponds to Flamma Vestae (The Sword of Light. Air)
Level 3. Dana, corresponds to Porta Mystica (The Cauldron of Plenty. Water)
Level 4. Brighid, corresponds to Dulce Domum (The Spear of Destiny. Fire)
Coursework: A Note from Olivia Robertson
“Our Initiation system consists of initiations based upon our four Treasures of cauldron, stone, spear and sword. We use the rites in ‘Melusina’ to strengthen our chakric centres. What does the development of our psychic chakras have to do with environmental work? Our own Bodies of Light link us with the sphere of Nature Spirits. This on an ascending scale, will draw us up the spiral of Bring, to Divine Source. When we develop our own spirit bodies, we can commune with animals, plants, trees - all nature. And this includes those humans who in ignorance are destroying their own habitat. We see in the listing of Diophenes - we start off as nature spirits: the faery realm of salamanders - fire, undines - water, sylphs - air, and gnomes - earth. Nature Spirits evolve into angels, archangels, Principalities, Powers and Virtues. These evolve into Thrones, Kerubin and Seraphim - the “Suns of God.” Finally we have the Goddesses and Gods. All emanate from Divine Source.
An outline of coursework as a guide has been provided. Heads of priories have autonomy to create their own coursework within their centres. Presiding Dame/Knight Commanders may use their own Oracles instead, or that of a member of their priory, if a member has the oracular gift. Alternative readings may be given relative to the Priory’s Dedication.
I have issued the 'Oracle of Tara' and to accompany the two oracles, ‘Oracle of Isis’ and the ‘Oracle of Osiris’ which have been published in our booklet "Gaea, Initiations of the Earth" since 1991. These may be used separately in creating original rites within the priory."
"Degrees are acquired under the tutelage of a Hierophant of the College of Isis. Hierophants are the College Preceptors. All degrees within every system of study - Iseums, Lyceums, Groves and Priories must be directed by a teacher who is first consecrated as a Hierophant in the College of Isis." - Olivia Robertson, FOI Co-Founder, College of Isis Co-Founder
Admission, Rites and Grades of a Noble Order of Tara Priory
The Noble Order of Tara of the Fellowship of Isis was founded Beltane, 1989. The first Priories of the Noble Order of Tara were founded immediately after and started teaching immediately. “Tara and Lugh: Ordeal of the Danaan Treasures” was published in “Gaea, Initiations of the Earth” in 1991. Many FOI Noble Order of Tara Priories were in operation for several years before any guidelines for coursework structure were introduced.
FOI Co-Founder Olivia Robertson has stated that the work of all FOI centres, including their individual coursework, ordinations, consecrations and certification of degrees is honored. There can be no ‘rigid laws’ as exist in hierarchic Churches and Orders. Heads of centers rely on psychic consensus of the group and guidance through intuition and the manifestation of particular attributes of the Deity or Deities concerned in their centre, therefore there can be no set curriculum. Thus, heads of centres, through inspiration from their particular Deity or Deities, produce their own training course, which is based on the principles of the Fellowship of Isis Manifesto and the oracles and/or rituals of the FOI liturgy.
Olivia writes: "Centres are not run as automatons. A spiral of rites can be created by each teaching centre, even customized to each student. We must respect the individuality and unique gifts of every member. Nothing was ever meant to be written in stone."
"Many heads of centres have had long experience in the spiritual field and choose to create their own course. The following is intended as a suggestion for those others, who desire guidelines for the forming of a course." - Olivia Robertson, original College of Isis Manual
(*) Sources: Original Fellowship of Isis Handbook (1992). Original College of Isis Manual (1992).
Olivia writes: “Lawrence’s enhanced consciousness, like my own, involved sensitivity to symbolism. We recognised the inner significance of ritual, gesture, sound, colour and image. We discovered a way to reach the Heart of the Mysteries by combining intellectuality with intuition - we had discovered the Wisdom Path of the Mother. This cosmic language of Deity could be encountered by entering a meditative state, where etheric communication through sound, vision, rituals and Mysteries took place. This communication transcended conflict and dogma. The reason? It came from a central divine matrix where conflict could not exist. Communion with Deity brought Paradise to earth through escape of the effects of dogma.
Members of priories are actively involved in environmental concerns to help save the earth. Many priory members also wish to participate in a structured course that includes initiations of the Mysteries through study of the Fellowship of Isis liturgy.
Grand Knight/Dame Commanders of the Noble Order of Tara are familiar with the Cosmic Language of Deity. Therefore, they are Preceptors of study of the liturgy within the Noble Order of Tara. The Grand Knight/Dame Commander, through experience of the Mysteries, has developed the ability to interpret the Cosmic Language of symbol, color and image. The Grand Knight/Dame Commander acts as Guide and Interpreter - as Preceptor - to bring others through the mysteries of the liturgy.”
ADMISSION INTO A PRIORY
FOI Co-Founder Olivia Robertson suggests NOT Priories use an adaptation of "Flamma Vestae" for Admission into a Priory, as this is the basic initiation rite into an FOI center.
“Tara and Lugh: Ordeal of the Danaan Treasures” is used for initiation for the grade of Dame/Knight into a Priory and bestows the accolade of Dame/Knight Commander at the end of the ritual. Heads of priories may base their coursework on any number of rites.
The ritual used for Initial Admission into a Noble Order of Tara Priory confers the designation of Priory Companion upon an individual who is willing to commit to the work of the Priory.
Preparation for Admittance
Candidates for Admission into a Priory must be members of the Fellowship of Isis and agree to the principles of the Fellowship of Isis Manifesto. If the Candidate has not previously done so, the Candidate should undergo the “Rite of Rebirth” which is the basic initiation rite of the Fellowship of Isis. It is suggested that anyone seeking admittance into a Priory is prepared for the rite of admittance by study of the origins of the Noble Order of Tara and it’s history, along with the origins and history of the Fellowship of Isis and the work of the Priory.
Rite of Admission
The Candidate is admitted into a Priory through a Rite of Admittance. After undergoing the Rite of Admittance the Candidate is deemed a “Companion”. The Rite of Admittance may be adapted from “Flamma Vestae” to honor the pantheon and tradition of the Deities and work of the Priory. Or, an Oracle of Tara written by FOI Co-Founder Olivia Robertson may be used in a Rite of Admittance written by the Grand Dame Commander or Grand Knight Commander of the Priory.
The term “Companion” refers to individuals who are members of a Fellowship of Isis centre (Iseum, Grove, Lyceum, Priory) who have undergone a Rite of Admission. Afterward, the Companion may or may not choose to undergo earning of degrees in a course of study. Companions may undergo admission into a centre simply because they wish to be part of the group. Companions may take part in all activities of the centre as a member, including participation in rituals. They are of equal importance and valued members of any center. The term “Companion” may be used as a general term in various instances to refer collectively to all members of a Fellowship of Isis centre.
Further Course of Study: Becoming a Dame/Knight Commander
Those Companions who choose to embark on a further course of study to become a Dame/Knight Commander in a Priory will be prepared for the following four trials of “Tara and Lugh: Ordeal of the Danaan Treasures”:
1. Lia Fail, the Stone of Destiny. (Brought by the Danaans from Falias) Priory Companion.
When the Companion has completed this course of study, a rite based on the Oracle of Tara written by FOI Co-Founder Olivia Robertson may be written by the Grand Dame Commander or Grand Knight Commander of the Priory. Or, the rite “Earth Magic of Transformation” may be enacted. The head of the Priory may choose the preferred designation for this level of work in their Priory. This level of study corresponds to earth.
2. The Sword of Light. (Brought by the Danaans from Gorias) Lady/Lord.
When the Companion has been completed this course of study, a rite based on an Oracle of the Morrigan written by FOI Co-Founder Olivia Robertson may be written by the Grand Dame Commander or Grand Knight Commander of the Priory. Or, the rite “Sun Magic of the Life Force” may be enacted. The head of the Priory may choose the preferred designation for this level of work in their Priory. This level of study corresponds to air.
3. The Cauldron of Plenty. (Brought by the Danaans from Murias) Dame/Knight.
When the Companion has completed this course of study, a rite based on the Oracle of Brighid written by FOI Co-Founder Olivia Robertson may be written by the Grand Dame Commander or Grand Knight Commander of the Priory. Or, the rite “Lunar Magic of the Tides” may be enacted. The head of the Priory may choose the preferred designation for this level of work in their Priory. This level of study corresponds to water.
4. The Spear of Destiny. (Brought by the Danaans from starry Finias) Dame/Knight Commander
When the Companion has completed this course of study, a rite based on the Oracle of Dana written by FOI Co-Founder Olivia Robertson may be written by the Grand Dame Commander or Grand Knight Commander of the Priory. Or, the rite “Isis and Osiris: The Judgment” may be enacted. This level of study corresponds to fire.
Consecration as a Dame/Knight Commander
Tara and Lugh: Ordeal of the Danaan Treasures
After the Companion of the Priory has undergone this final period of study and preparation for these four trials, the Companion is ready to undergo “Tara and Lugh: Ordeal of the Danaan Treasures.”
The night before enacting “Tara and Lugh: Ordeal of the Danaan Treasures” the Companion will be asked to perform a vigil at the altar. FOI Co-Founder Olivia Robertson writes: “This dates from the founding. Douglas Reagan, first member or our Order, held vigil with the sword before his consecration at the High Altar. It follows a long standing mystery tradition connected with Knighthood.”
Just as with the choosing of a soul friend in the Druid Clan of Dana, Olivia and her brother Lawrence felt it was important to act upon the psychic impressions received at that time.
Anointing of the Sword, Investiture with Sash, Garter, Cloak, Chapeau and Amethyst Ring
The Companion undergoes the “Tara and Lugh: Ordeal of the Danaan Treasures”. The sword of the Companion is anointed during the ritual and the Companion is invested with Sash, Garter, Cloak, Chapeau and Amethyst Ring. The Companion is now a Dame/Knight Commander in the Noble Order of Tara.
This completes a course of study and initiation as a Dame/Knight Commander into the Noble Order of Tara, which has taken the Companion through the four levels of the Star of Ishtar for the Noble Order of Tara as created by FOI Co-Founder Olivia Robertson:
Level 1. Tara: Physical - Alma Mater. Awakening to our true relationship to the physical world. Corresponds to earth.
Level 2. Morrigan: Astral or Psychic - Flamma Vestae. Awakening our psychic gifts. Corresponds to air.
Level 3. Dana: Spiritual - Porta Mystica. Awakening to our true spiritual path. Corresponds to water.
Level 4. Brigid: Land of Heart’s Desire: Divine - Dulce Domum (receiving communion directly from the Divine Source. Corresponds to fire.
Grand Dame Commmander/Grand Knight Commander
After this, the new Dame/Knight Commander may choose to embark on further courses of study offered within the Priory. These include the art of story-telling and poetry; the preserving of an oral tradition within the Priory (Bard); and study of the principles and moral and ethical guidelines of the Priory (Herald). The new Dame/Knight Commander shall follow a path of work dedicated to preserving and conserving nature, the earth and all creatures.
After a significant period of study, the Priory Members and presiding Grand Dame Commander or Grand Knight Commander of the Priory may reach consensus that a particular Dame/Knight Commander of the Priory is prepared to found her/his own Priory. This particular Dame/Knight Commander will then be eligible to undergo a rite of Consecration written by the presiding Grand Dame Commander or Grand Knight Commander of the Priory. Upon undergoing this rite, the Dame/Knight Commander is now a Grand Dame/Knight Commander in the Noble Order of Tara and may found their own Priory in the Noble Order of Tara.
The following rituals from the Fellowship of Isis liturgy are suggested:
The two rites found in “Gaea: Initiations of the Earth”
Tara and Lugh: The Ordeal of the Danaan Treasures (Consecration Rite)
Isis and Osiris: The Judgment - Planetary Initiation
Twelve rituals in “Melusina: Life Centres of the Goddess” are used to strengthen the chakras.
The Eight Alchemical Rites in “Brigid of the Rainbow Planets” to activate the inner alchemical process of the refinement of the soul, necessary to attain the grael.
Elemental Magic rites in “Urania, Ceremonial Magic of the Goddess”
To attune to the magic of the elements.
Sun Magic of the Life Force (harmony, illumination, infusion of energy)
Lunar Magic of the Tides (strengthen psychic vision)
Earth Magic of Transformation (activation of the Tree of Life)
The Eight Seasonal Rituals from “Panthea, Initiations and Festivals of the Goddess” To attune to the seasonal energies of the Goddess.
Festival of the Hydrophoria, 1st - 2nd February
The Athenaea, 21st - 24th March
Festival of Wesak, 1st - 2nd May
Festival of Astarte and Adonia, 21st - 24th June
Festival of Opet, 23rd July - 3rd August
The Eleusinian Mysteries, 22nd September - 1st October
Communion with the World of Spirits, 31st October - 2nd November
The Tree of Life, 21st - 25th December
Priories may provide ritual initiations based on oracles written by Olivia Robertson and FOI Liturgy or on oracles and rituals written by the presiding Grand Dame Commander or Grand Knight Commander of the Priory. Olivia has stated that any head of a Priory that possesses the oracular gift may substitute their own oracles during a rite. Or their oracles may be added as complementary to Olivia’s provided oracle during the rite. Heads of Priories are encouraged to develop and write their own rituals.
Titles for grades may include Bard, Herald, Dame or Knight, Dame Commander or Knight Commander and Grand Dame Commander or Grand Knight Commander as provided by FOI Co-Founder Olivia Robertson in "Tara and Lugh: Ordeal of the Danaan Treasures." (Chancellor, Dame Chancellor and Count are hereditary titles of three of the original participants and cannot be conferred.) Titles for grades may be adjusted to complement the course of study within the Priory. Within the Noble Order of Tara, a Priory may be dedicated to Deities of any pantheon or tradition. Rites may be adjusted to honor the Deities of the Priory.
This guideline was reviewed and adjusted by Olivia Robertson in the presence of several FOI members at the Nesu House, Isis Oasis, Geyserville, California, Tuesday, October 11, 2011. It is a suggested guideline only. All heads of Priories have full autonomy within their own centres and may structure their coursework as inspired by their tutelary Deity or Deities.
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