Olivia Robertson - Open Letters 2003
From Olivia Robertson
Isian News 110, Samhain 2003
Self & Shadow
How bizarre, how magical are our shadows! They are us – each individual – quirky – ridiculous, both a caricature and comment on all that is. For every creature upon this earth has a shadow. There are many legends about shadows taking possession of their “owner”, of shadows getting up to every sort of mischief, unregulated by master or mistress. What child has not played with its shadow – pathetically stunted and fat at midday, but elongated across a field in the evening.
Are shadows evil because they are dark and mobile? Should respectable people have shadows? It is said that a Master of Wisdom casts no shadow. In that case, he cannot be self-luminous, because the greatest creator of all shadows is the sovereign sun! The moon does her best and Sirius can do so on occasion – but it is our sun, revered as being solemn, accurate ruler of chaos – that yet parodies itself in innumerable comical, frightening, absurd parodies of any solid object, rivaling water in reflection.
I have been pondering as to how we can reconcile our idealism, our spiritual pretensions and creeds – with the apparent duality that surrounds us! We have a noble meeting of philosophers, yet shattering jealousies and spite manifest afterwards. Charming women do not always appreciate each other: even Priestesses and Priests can manifest terrifying envy and jealousy that can be very disillusioning to their loyal disciples who are forced to “take sides.” As for politicians – one need not amplify.
Curiously enough it is the Jester in the Tarot pack that helps me cope and laugh, rather than give up and weep. One can forgive other people for gossiping after a spiritual gathering – but not oneself. Worst of all, one can enjoy slander, criticism, tabloid newspapers, and clever radio presenters turning an interview into an interrogation. Why? Does one go on retreat? Is that the answer?
I remember I decided to speak no harm about anybody for a week – when I was very young – and wore a ring to remind me. I was wonderful, spiritual, a kind if not very interesting companion. I really felt, along with my pacifism and vegetarianism, that I was joining the ranks of the Blessed. Then a brilliant woman author called. . . and we began talking about fellow authors. At first I held out and was a cream and goodness. But suddenly the floodgates opened and all the unpleasing knowledge I possesses poured forth. It was true too. We spent an entertaining evening and I “took alcohol” – i.e. a glass of sherry.
The North American Indians have the Shadow God, the Heyoehkah, who acts in the role of “grounding.” This extraordinary character keeps the tribe sane through burlesque, wild humour – the Clown. Such a genius was Charlie Chaplin, who under the mask of humour revealed the ugliness in the “Modern Times” film. I remember a machine that fed the workers at top speed so that they could put in more work on machines. The God Logi enacts the same fiery role in Wagner’s “Ring Cycle.” When the Gods and Goddesses are making a stately progression over a Rainbow Bridge to a mighty white palace in the sky, Valhalla, Logi informs the audience: “what a pompous shower they are! They have created this Heaven from stolen gold taken from the Rhine Maidens.” (Nature) Does this ring a bell?
We, twentieth century non-gods dwell in tall buildings using up nature’s resources, especially with artificial air. I remember being in ideal weather in a New Orleans University and would escape under a tree, where I would read in soft shadow – while a typhoon blast of air-conditioning was freezing those in the main hall, waving witches’ robes around in a surrealist manner. We grow some obese people so fat they need two or three seats in a plane, while others in “the Third World” often look like living skeletons. We try to emulate them by slimming, using every sort of strange diet that sometimes kills.
Is this criticism? No. Not at all. It is laughter. What is the difference between laughter and anger? It is spiritual recycling. I know loved ones who have banners “Down With”, and a space for insertion as to what they are wishing to remove. This is a healthy outlet, to walk in processions waving a banner. It is the suppressed rage that is a killer both of body and soul. I have known fine people with lofty idealism give themselves strokes and heart attacks from fury at the evils they see in the world. But do the Deities emulate them and kill themselves? The angels weep – The Gods laugh.
My own method of dealing with the horrors one reads about in newspapers or sees on television is to centre myself in Divine Reality, where evil does not exist. Evil is the shadow of the real. Even with those apparently completely wicked, one is not seeing them at all. One is not seeing them as God/Goddess see them – as their own loved children. One only sees the monster, while poor Dr. Frankenstein has vanished. When the shadow becomes completely evil, the true self is pushed aside and withdraws to an astral haven, where only a strange absent-mindedness marks out the casting of a monstrous shadow. Such a person complains to fellow spirits of occasional nightmares – of loss of memory, of a nagging feeling that something must be put right. In response, the Divine Self will send forth another incarnation, so that the inquisitor of one life becomes a red-cross doctor in the next.
But how can we bridge the gap? My way is always to accept the divine in all that is: but find this difficult when I think of child-abusers and boa-constrictors. And it is precisely in this area that the Jester can help! For the Jester has a godlike source, Hermes, Messenger of the Gods. Hermes has the ability of travelling through all spheres, because he has that everyday aspect of wisdom – understanding. He is the Bard feared by kings, the journalist who probes, the author who makes us laugh – like Mark Twain – the illustrator like Max Beerbohm and James Thurber. They have a magical mirror which shows us the Truth even while we laugh. Hermes-Mercury brings down the mighty from their seat and restores the humble and meek – words first used by the Goddess Beltis and later given to the Virgin Mary.
Why don’t we have feminine Heyoehkahs? I was as a girl always warned to avoid wit and “cleverness” because men did not like being laughed at by women. Women comedians are still rare. For humour is a styptic, a slayer of passion. One humourous word out-of-place, and bang goes the balloon of passion! Do you want to get rid of fundamentalism, fanaticism, that passion that leads to “stalking” and rape? The sure way is by the mirror of truth, whose rays bring laughter. For this is the Gorgon’s Head so dreaded by all. It is held aloft by Mercury the magician – but used over the heart as a shield by Minerva, Goddess of Wisdom. Combined with compassion, humour may save our world.
by Olivia Robertson
28th August 2003
A tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales,
on the occasion of a memorial fountain being unveiled.
At last a fountain commemorating the life and work of Diana is being unveiled in England six years after her tragic death. This has come about despite every sort of opposition. The best way I can express my own feelings and pay tribute is by a story – an Olympian one as suitable for royalty!
“There was an island that had once been very great and often bad, which now had lost greatness but also confidence. So the people decided, as they were no longer great, they would be good instead. Their Government enacted a system called 'Political Correctness,' which embodied all goodness. Anyone not politically correct was punished by ostracism.
However, the common people become more and more bored by having to pretend to be good. So they took refuge in gambling, illegal substances, shop-lifting, lots of scandal and above all, secret sex, which they still thought as wrongful activity, except when sanctioned by the Government. Their plight was piteous. They become envious of jollier countries, and were becoming a race of complainers dominated by the Righteous, who also had most of the money – as is usual.
The Olympian Gods in charge of the world conferred. Jupiter had a brilliant idea. Why not send an Emissary to stir up the islanders, some sort of demi-God like Bacchus?
‘They follow Him already,’ said Mars, Who enjoyed a good fight. ‘How about Erys, Goddess of discord? They are so complacent they will only go to war in self defence – and this from My own favourite island!’
Mercury declared: ‘They are grown used to Discord through their media. You can only give an effective “Wake-Up Call” through what the people most dread. I know these islanders. What they dread most is Love. How about sending Venus along?’
‘Her Power might provoke a world war,’ said Jupiter. ‘We want to keep a world in existence, even this one. How about what I did before? It worked then. I pride Myself that My love affair with Queen Leda brought about the glory of Greek culture. I propose we send Helen of Troy. That should sort out these islanders, She always does.’
Venus spoke. ‘Although Helen is My Emissary, she is not popular. She was the cause of the Trojan war and the fall of the city, the Trojan women were killed or enslaved. Helen landed up in her palace, her crown restored.’
‘Simple,’ said Mercury. ‘We’ll save the island’s women and kill Helen.’
And so it came about. And like Leda, her mother, who loved Jupiter as a swan, the new Helen is commemorated by a pool and a fountain for a task well done.”
From Olivia Robertson
Isian News 109, Lughnasad 2003
Flying with the Swans
How we long to fly! Not with the sound of ugly machinery, pretence at flight, but with the rise and fall of the bird. And we dream of our heritage. But this destiny is not of the human body, evolved for more prosaic occupations. The soaring wings of birds remind us of what we forget every morning: our night adventures out of our bodies.
It is ironical that our very intellectual progress has enforced the very gate keepers in the brain that prohibit our seven sleepers within us to awaken! For each of us has dormant the divine potential of immortal gifts, extension of our five senses. These operate in a limited fashion with simple tribal peoples and in children especially in those once stigmatized as "wanting." Yes, wanting in practical uses of the brain but in compensation, the ability to see and hear the hidden life of Nature.
Plato has described our predicament in his famous allegory of the cave, when humans can only know of the divine world of reality through looking at shadows. And how we measure, criticise, theorise, dogmatize on the meaning of these shadows! We are as a deaf man trying to learn of music through studying the mathematical differentials of a score. We are like the blind men in the Hindu story trying to determine the appearance of an elephant through touch. One declared an elephant was a rope, feeling the tail: another felt four columns, and a third thought the trunk was a snake. We laugh, yet we are in the same situation. In the Koran the Seven Sleepers lie in their cave, and would appear to typify the seven hidden power centres, the chakras within each of us and within our fellow animals and plants in various configurations.
We will never attain divine awareness through measuring the immeasurable. Can we give statistics explaining love, joy, response to beauty? Yet we need to calculate, to measure, to examine with our minds. This is the particular ability of human evolution. In fact we have become so skilled in “conquering nature", as some scientists put it, that we have conquered every other creature on the planet assessing whether they shall live or die: be used as a genetic pool for us to use to cure our diseases: to act as our nourishment and to provide information as to the nature of life. It is curious that we place "mentally deficient" people in mental institutions, yet fail to lock up those very scientists and politicians who threaten to transform our beautiful planet into a bare, crater marked globe like a golf ball. They can do it. Is this just a matter of time?
When a species is faced with anhilation meaningful mutation may occur. This is a natural happening, but it stems from the so called supernatural. Experts worry about two opposing trends: population increase, and the rapidly sliding proportion of male fertility. What is actually happening, even before our very eyes, is a change in men and women that tends towards The Sidhe. What are or is The Sidhe? In India the word “siddhes" describes miraculous gifts. In Ireland, people of the Sidhe can still be seen and be communed with ... There is little information, certainly none from orthodox science, as to the nature of men and women Sidhe. I had the privilege of meeting AE George Russell the Sage, a friend of our family. Curiously enough, his accounts of Beings of Light were accepted in Dublin, because of his shining integrity – and intelligence. A friend of W.B. Yeats and James Stephens, he enriched the whole generation of Irish who formed the Order of the Golden Dawn with actual paintings and descriptions of The Sidhe.
Now nothing is more annoying than to be an occultist with no occult gifts! Eminent theosophists were restricted to psychic accounts by the clairvoyant Leadbeater. Madame Blavatski provided mediumship. The Master Dr. Dee relied on Kelly, the medium, in the age of Queen Elizabeth. There is a very curious relationship with noble Masters of the Wisdom like Bacon and the reputation of Dee, who was pursuaded by Kelly to do wife swapping so jettisoning their reputation. For people with psychic gifts belong to the family of Mercury the Magician, and don't give a fig for their Good Name and, like Crowley, enjoy pulling people's legs. They are like a leprechaun with his hidden crock of gold. When a human gold seeker grabs a leprechaun to get his gold he is not lucky...I used to be told of the Leprechaun of our neighbouring Kilcarry Wood: "the farmer Mr. Rice got hold of the leprechaun and he squeezed him tight and he shook him hard and he said: "tell me where the gold is hid!" So the leprechaun took him to a hole in the ground and told Mr. Rice to dig. But the moment he let go of the leprechaun to dig, he vanished, and the gold was only a pile of old leaves and sticks.
So it always is with faery jewels, crowns, wands and swords. They vanish like their lovely wearers in the cold light of the mundane. So how can we reach these wonders and enjoy them? The only way is to know that we have these treasures within our own selves! It is true that humans evolve through physical, biological evolution, whereas Nature Spirits develop through the etheric essences of earth, air, fire and water, beyond our physical elements. But a five element Sidhe becomes an angel, and a seven element Sidhe is Goddess or God, in a seventh dimension. Let us cease from abusing humble nature spirits by destroying the etheric and physical earth which we share. They have Mighty Relatives, the Deities, Who shall defend them with love and power. Let us join Them.
Note: Issue 108 was the last issue published as a printed newsletter, ink on paper. After this issue, Isian News was presented online.
From Olivia Robertson
Isian News 108, Beltaine 2003
Re: Return to the Source of the Druid Clan of Dana
I was sitting meditating on a ghastly menu offered to us on the radio, of possible happenings for which the British Government were preparing for. We in Ireland are next door ... a smallpox bomb, an ordinary bomb, anthrax. It sounded like the book of revelations which my father and I used to study during the Second World War. I was sending a friend for a visit to his mother in England and I told him "people create havoc during threats of war and disasters. That which is hidden in the murky recesses of our consciousness surfaces. We go slightly mad with conspiracy theories, suspicion of our neighbour and xenophobia."
So how was I to bring faith of the Goddess to bear on our present global situation? It is true that what we call the "real world" is a hologram of cosmic reality: dreams, projections of spirits trying out experiments in evolution. Our planet is a kindergarten, a remand centre, a school where we learn from experience that which only experience can give. Some have recourse to that still centre within and withdraw from this world - the illusory world of which is not the living earth but a compost of dreams, evil or good. There are millions of monks and nuns. However, the way of the world is to accept our worldly dramas, works of art which we ourselves help create! Our growing minds need stimulation, challenges, discovery. Our bodies want a full earthly experience. In fact, we presume to draw stars down from the mountains of earth - as does the incarnate Goddess Tara. I wished to bring the very best help I could these days and I was unexpectedly helped by a French camera crew. Now the BBC crews are conscientious, serious, do every scene over and over again. The USA crews are sharp, rapid and technically efficient. The Irish are cheery and convivial. But the French have the culture, that they bring to a modern media. And it was their delving into what we actually do in the Druid Clan of Dana, what we really believe in, what we genuinely felt, that meant something to all of us Irish who worked with them. For without deep understanding, true art does not really exist. And true art brings us by the route of the Muses to the still centre which our unique innate Deity. The effect when they departed was to face the problem of human suffering, evil, greed, violence and fear, by returning to my roots.
Curiously, the ancient site which had been shown to me by the mentor of my brother and myself, Daniel Fox, had been barred to me for forty years. Yet hidden from me was the faery seat, the Bees Rock, the micro cross on a boulder, the altar, the well. The impenetrable barrier of briars, undergrowth and barbed wire. Although the path by the River Slaney should have been right of way, the local farmer thought otherwise, but the day after the French crew left, my friend Michael suggested we should try and get to the source of our Druid Clan. I said we must not return for boots, just go! So off we went, me in a long purple cloak. The going was hard, we climbed over a padlocked gate. There was a steep fall into the river. On and on we went. I felt I was on a vision quest. Suddenly we were there, seventy-five years ago it was yesterday. The water rushed over the weir. In the River the faery seat was rich with plants. Huge rocks overshadowed our precarious path. But what finally gave my sense of fulfilled adventure - a cave which I had never seen before. Someone had been up before clearing out the area, leaving behind a rake. The cave was naturally formed by a gigantic rock split down the middle in a chasm. Rain had formed a deep stream that emerged from a black tunnel. Michael went to explore and I leaned on a rock covered with brilliant green moss. I looked into the dark tunnel and knew there was a faery portal to the underworld.
The answer to our worldly problems need not be to free ourselves from the world. The world is the spider's web that conceals the earth mother from us all.
Eternity is now.
Fellowship of Isis attunement times for harmony, hope and joy, 6:30 - 8:30, mornings and evenings at local centres or the Temple of Isis, Clonegal Castle.
The Goddess of Nature Calls US. Dana Reveals Herself To John Doran and Olivia Robertson, Giving Her Name as Dana, Queen of the Whole Earth.
We grow from the earth and we share her fruits.
We fly with bright wings
And we reach the stars,
We are immortal with all that is.
The New Protestors
What is hopeful for the future of the earth cleansing of the earth of the elements, is the enthusiastic participation of a new generation. Lawrence and Olivia’s great nephew, son of Melian, also an environmentalist, is Storm Poorun. Storm is a family name from the storm tossed Orkneys. At an FOI meeting at Atlantis Bookshop in London, November 2002, Storm wrote about his work on a scrap of paper. “Fighting legal campaigns and protesting to protect wildlife and landscape and to encourage sustainable living. Buying a land in Kent (The Brickhurst Trust) to promote sustainable farming (permaculture) and environmental education. Campaigning against new roads such as the South Coast highway. Protection of parks and public land and commons. E.g. Crystal Palace Protest. Working with the Green Party to promote sustainable policies and fight capitalism and corruption.
The Holiest Earth in the Whole of England
Every year I make the pilgrimage to wonder at the yearly exposition of crop mandlebrots, codes, oscillations, diatonic ratios, fractals and fusion reactions which form an eiderdown of enigmas on the southern English harvests fields. These are delightfully threaded between indigenous white horses carved in the chalk, Long Barrows, Avebury monoliths and Silbury Hill.
To reap the harvest of Gaia’s hidden secrets we need to dig deep, and not only into our mother earth, but also ourselves. SO fortunately we have two groves of Tara and Dana in the Glastonbury area, and other more private groups. The presiding goddess appears to be no less than Brigid. And just think what effect that warrior queen, goddess of the holy wells and abbess has had over our British Isles. Her name vibrates through Britain - Britain, Britannia, Brigantes, Bridles and brightness.
From Olivia Robertson
Isian News 107, Brigantia 2003
Imbolc, the Ascent from the Underworld
To ascend from the underworld of the Matrix, domain of the Mother, is naturally to have descended there in the first place. And this we are reluctant to do, fearing the fate of the many who are trapped, in realms of delusion and fear.
In most rites, death is presented in a horrifying aspect. The name of the god Hades was no red by ancient Greeks. He was revered and dreaded as pale, melancholy, with never a smile...
The ancient Chinese had the unwelcoming habit of blocking the home door of the recently dead after the funeral, so that they could not come back. Worst of all, the holy goddess had been put aside - she who is mother - and been replaced by the Christian "devil" complete with horns and hoofs, sovereign over the fiery domain of torture, Hell.
So it was incredulous joy that I myself, brought by my friend Cathryn Rogers, actually met the King of the Dead, and liked him! In fact his devotees adore him! He cracks ribald jokes with them, as he possesses a medium, accepts cigars and rum and actually likes people.
How did I make this splendid discovery so late in my life? I was brought by Cathryn and Maury and Daniel Campbell to the Voodoo Festival of the Dead on November the First in -where else - New Orleans. I admired the ornate alters decorated with skeletons - the dead welcomed home. I had gone reluctantly, not being partial to skeletons, spirit possessions or cemeteries. But I underwent a transformation of mind and heart, and this is a very good awakening at any age. So I am deeply grateful to the presiding Sally- Anne Glassman, Voodoo Priestess, for organising the event, attended by over a hundred people of all sorts. I made up the following story about the God of the Dead, Ge De, drawn from seeing his insignia, a top hat and miniature frock coat, rum and cigar, on his altar, and his attributes healing, counselling and kindness. I observed him taking possession of a very tall Frenchman, and I watched the expression of the girls surrounding him! They plainly adored him - his jokes and his bonhomie. What a change from 'the Devil. " There was no duality here. Ge De was a god, like those Egyptian pharaohs who would return their temples as God, and help those who came to them.
My story is this: Hundreds of thousands of Africans were transported to America. Many went to New Orleans, during the last few centuries. However, these victims of exploitation had comfort. They brought their Gods and Goddesses with them - Oshun of love, joy and beauty, Nazna Buluka the Great Mother, and many more.
But sometimes the "bad guys", the white people themselves, produced deities-loas. The gods were typified by top hats, the Saints, "Barons", by bowler hats, and the greatest of these, because the most powerful, was the white god of the dead, Ge De. He would have been canonised by the Roman Catholic Church for his good work as Doctor, but was rejected because of his enjoyment of girls, rum and cigars. His unhappy patients, the Africans, could only repay him with said rum and cigars. Followers still do - I put a cigar on his altar. Why god of the Dead? This was obvious to his thousands of clients. When they became corpses through over-work and disease, the Africans were offloaded into pit-graves in unconsecrated ground. The French Doctor proved his divine status by issuing the all important death certificates, mysterious documents as important for those who longed for suitable burial, as passports for refugees in our day.
This is a god I like. Hades has chosen well his Vice-Roy. When Ge De blessed me, his hand on my head, I accepted it as an honour.