Olivia Robertson - The Call of Isis Five
Illustration by Olivia Robertson, Chapter Five
"Two candlesticks and a golden chalice"
The Call of Isis
5. Uranus the Magician.
I was standing in the doorway of the Cafe of the Victoria and Albert Museum, looking around for a young man whom I had not met. Owen, having heard that I worked with people in trance, had asked to meet me. At first I had refused. Trance sessions took up so much of my time and energy, that I would only undertake them if I felt that there was genuine need, or some gift that needed developing. Owen, his friend had told me, wished to study the Western Tradition of the Mysteries, particularly the Arthurian Quest for the Holy Grael. She herself was following an Indian method of meditation with a group. She knew that I was willing to help people find their own particular path, as long as I felt it led to good. I was myself attracted to the Grael legend, so finally I agreed to meet Owen. I knew he was nineteen, but had no other description.
I chose my plates of food on a tray, and then examined the people at the various tables. My attention was attracted to one particular young man sitting bolt upright with a brief case by his side. He had neat short black hair, a white collar and dark suit. He seemed to be the only person waiting for someone. I thought, 'Oh no! Not him!' But put my tray down at his table.
Then I became aware of another young man approaching the table. He was slim and dark; he had the air of a gypsy, combined with that of a medieval troubadour. Yet there was nothing unusual about his clothes. We acknowledged each other at once.
I liked Owen. He had a pleasant personality, warm-hearted and romantic. In my mind I classified him according to the Knights of the Round Table. This was not Percival, nor Kay nor Galahad. Something about him reminded me of a musical film 'Camelot'. He was Sir Lancelot! Owen was half French, half Welsh.
We arranged to do a series of sessions, beginning in our friend's flat in London and, if the preliminary efforts were promising, to continue them in Ireland.
During the first session I found that Owen could enter trance easily, though he had not done this sort of work before. His gift lay in seeing an astonishing range of symbols, expressed in colourful scenes. His weakness lay in his inability to hear or receive any telepathic thoughts. His mind was like a coloured film without a sound track. I noticed that this correlated with his personality. For Owen loved the world of nature, of visual impact; but found self-expression through thought and speech extremely difficult. In fact he told me that he had only read about two books on mysticism and the occult. He preferred to understand directly through symbols, without words. And, like Valentine, in consequence he had brilliant clairvoyance.
His two opening trance adventures showed me what his line of development was. And it was not Arthurian. It was Arabic. What interested me was that it seemed to be a pure and mysterious Arabic knowledge, that concerned itself with the cult of the Dove and the White Rose. In his early trance experiences he identified himself with a small dirty Arab boy with bare feet, though his earthly personality rejected this. He wished to be a Knight. Nor were his instructors those that he thought he wanted. Here were no Ladies with white pointed head-dresses, nor did the Sage who finally came to him have much resemblance to Merlin, though he hoped that this was so. And the teachings brought through were new for both of us. I had that glorious feeling 'the Operator' has when suddenly psychic contact with some hierarchy is established. We were 'through to our contacts', as occultists would put it.
Here one must examine what these contacts mean. For psychotherapy used to develop creative imagination may be acceptable to modem science, but not the existence of paranormal Teachers. This usually is regarded as unproven; at worst, hallucinatory. Nor can one prove the Great Ones' reality. One knows it oneself, and one shares the knowledge with others. One tries to work with the Great Ones. This is all one can do.
However there are certain pointers that enable one to check on the external validity of a Teacher. For one thing, someone in trance will answer from the subconscious a question put to him. Usually a hypnotized subject is asked the routine question: 'Were you happy at school?' 'What do you feel about your mother?' And the subject will try to answer truthfully. Psychiatrists don't usually ask questions such as: 'Have you a soul that survives death?' 'Do Angels exist?' 'Is there a God?' If they did, they might get surprising answers.
So I ask a person in trance questions about Teachers, and get what I feel to be a reasonable reply. And, when trance is finished, 'the percipient' is perfectly capable of giving a rational assessment of the degree of reality of the experience. Instead of the doctor and patient relationship, of hypnotist and subject, there is in the method I use, collaboration between two equals in a mutual experiment. The telepathic rapport of 'Operator' and 'Percipient' extends also to the Spirit Guide, whose mind blends with that of Operator and Percipient, each with individual choice and responsibility for the work in hand.
I have found that usually there is not one teacher, but a group. This gives a balanced scheme of teachings to those on earth receiving the messages; and a feeling of safety in numbers. The group teaching given to Owen and myself during these sessions were led by one calling himself 'The Sage'. As described by Owen, he was a white bearded man, wearing a purple cloak fastened by a crescent moon brooch. He bore a staff which he used in a curious way as a wand. With him were associated the Three Ladies. They first showed themselves to Owen separately; finally together in a cave.
The first was the Lady with red hair. Owen saw her in a woodland scene, wearing fifteenth-century costume. Her hair was bound with pearls, and her gown was full, and coloured yellow and blue. Owen's task was, with the aid of a gypsy, to bring her a bundle from a Roman villa with a mosaic patio. The symbolic head delineated in the centre of the mosiac pavement was that of a helmeted warrior. The bundle was given to the gypsy by an old woman. Owen finally brought it to the Lady in the wood.
The focal part of this experience was the nature of the contents of the bundle. Owen realized that this belonged to the Lady of the wood: not to the warrior. And when he untied the bundle he found two candlesticks, and a golden chalice with rubies. So his first session brought at once the Grael which he sought. And he had to give it away, though he had been tempted to keep it. The teaching given was thus conveyed, not in words, but in symbols.
The Grael he sought was not, as he has thought, within the jurisdiction of the Warrior King. Rather was he to seek for it among humble peasant women and gypsies, in the depths of woodlands. It seemed quite a good indication that he should come to Ireland!
The second Lady who instructed him was the Woman at the Well. She appeared when we began our Irish sessions in the library. She appeared to him as Moorish, her face veiled; and she gave him a drink of well-water in a pitcher. Her teachings concerned the alchemical transmutation of metals, and the animation of amulets through the co-operation of elemental spirits.
In a series of vivid dramas, she showed him the history of a scarab amulet from its creation by a goldsmith in Hittite times, through battles, sieges and robbery and recovery, to its present day hiding place in a cave, dusty and without its green stone. Again I felt that underlying the interest of the story and its alchemical implications, lay the philosophical point that Nature, represented by the emerald, had been trampled upon by armed men.
His third Lady was the most exalted. She was the Lady of the Doves. She appeared to him as a white-robed figure with great white wings, surrounded by doves. She presided over the Home of the doves. To her belonged the area of purification through the element of water.
But undoubtedly the dominating figure in all Owen's trance experiences was The Sage. The Sage's method of teaching was to use his staff and other 'physical' objects, and through them to convey his teachings. Indeed I wondered if this was how Teachers taught their disciples in the days when few could read or write. For the Sage's staff could obligingly become a serpent, a pointer, or a wand; his moon brooch the moon itself! It was hard work for us to get through these teachings. They would come during heaviest trance. Trances deepen through clearly defined stages. Owen's preliminary experience, Stage One, would begin in country surroundings, sometimes in France. The first Helper, whom Spiritualists call the Gate-Keeper, would show himself in the guise of a Carter, a Horseman, or possibly a peasant gathering sticks. This reminded me of a fairy-tale etiquette, when the youngest prince treats a hunchback or an old crone with respect, and so is guided in his own quest. Owen's first guide would point the way silently down the path he was expected to follow.
Stage Two led to a deepening trance. The way of entry to the next scene was usually through darkness and limitation - and I was amused at the various ways in which Owen found his doorway! The doorway could be a tunnel, a pool, a dolmen, a looking-glass; and, once when he was in a room and I could see no way out for him - he went up the chimney!
It was in Stage Two world that he met the Ladies and had adventures set in historical periods and places - in medieval castles and forests. This was a world of emotional experiences of love and adventure, like a Walter Scott novel.
Stage Three was entered through still deeper trance, and it is here with many people that memory cannot be brought back. But Owen could remember. Stage Three was entered through the coming of light. Owen could see a star high in the sky, or simply light. He would ascend into this - and it was in this sphere of consciousness that he would meet the Sage. For this was a world of symbols, of fluctuating forms that each carried their enigmatic meaning. Here he learnt of suns and worlds.
The Sage's teachings about the lunar sphere were of great fascination for us, and I had not read of anything like these before.
He would use ordinary objects to illustrate great meanings. On one occasion he laid seven small stones on the desert sand. They were coloured red, yellow, green, blue, black, white and purple. The Sage pointed with his staff at the yellow stone and the white one. These became Sun and Moon in the sky, and the Sage's Violet mantle became Space. The point of the teaching was that them was an etheric 'rope' of connecting radiations linking earth to moon. This, Owen said, looked like a luminous white twisted rope from the outside, but was rainbow coloured within. He said that there were also these connecting 'ropes' of radiations connecting sun and earth, and sun and moon. In fact, seen in this psychic way, each coloured stone became a planet with connecting radiations, like a Maypole, with the planets merrily dancing round the central sun, linked with differing coloured ribbons!
But in the story we were given the situation was hardly merry. Repeatedly Owen was shown black clouds, presumably of pollution - either psychic or physical - upsetting the earth's balance. He was shown the 'rope' between the earth and the moon break. What was interesting was that finally it was the earth and not the moon that broke its connection with the sun, and flew off into outer space! The little moon took its place and took its turn as an independent planet, joining the maypole dance in orbit round the sun.
I notice that young people are quite happy about thoughts of a coming cataclysm. They like drama; and coping with cosmic disasters seems to promise more excitement than spending an incarnation working in an office! In this case I said that possibly these visions need not contain a physical prophecy, but might convey a symbolic meaning. Rejecting his soul sphere - the moon - man might also lose connection with the Spiritual Sun. Or, putting it personally, like most of us Owen needed to cope successfully with his emotional problems before he took on deeper esoteric work.
In these sessions I always brought Owen back slowly, stage by stage, in the way he had come. We would end with sending out Healing, then we would give our reports of what had happened, and our opinion as to what the visions were about.
When dealing with the subject of hypnotism, one is generally brought up against a very natural prejudice. There is the fear that 'the subject' is put under the will of some Svengali-like operator and, even if the subject cannot be made to do something against his spiritual will, still there is the suspicion that he has been subject to brain-washing, called politely 'suggestion'. After all, in other fields the same relationship applies: the teacher instructs the pupil, the priest teaches the faithful. How alarming is the thought of subjecting oneself to the influence of another human while one is in trance! It brings thoughts of interrogation by intelligence officers as depicted in television plays. As for a woman Operator, such Ladies are shown as very powerful - and therefore alarming, as in Bulwer Lytton's 'The Coming Race'. In this novel female 'Gy-ei' are portrayed as sending men into deep trance by a mere pointing of the finger at the gentlemen's brows!
Therefore in my work of inducing trance I do not use the word 'hypnotism'. 'Hypnos' means sleep, and the percipient in my method does not sleep. Next, I keep 'suggestion' to a minimum, and only give advice when asked. I start usually with 'building' an imaginary temple as safety precaution, for this temple gives the percipient a place of refuge that yet forms part of his trance. For the dreamer finds it hard to wake up at once in earth conditions. I bring him back to the temple at the end, and from there we send our thoughts of healing for others. But the intervening dreams are the individual choice of the percipient, who decides what to do, what to accept, and what to reject. Learning to do so in trance experience, he hopes to control his waking life in the same way. If in trance he can face a dragon with equanimity - even establish a friendly relationship with it; he hopes to cope more successfully with his employer, who has an odd dream resemblance to the dragon ...
The most dramatic proof of one's own psychic development and control is the recognition in earthly flesh of the Spirit Master. Of course this Master may be a man or a woman. The pupil has been taught during sleep and trance state by a Master. He remembers these lessons. He knows the appearance of his Teacher perfectly. Then one day he goes to a meeting, or a dinner party, and, suddenly, in walks his Teacher in the flesh! And he knows that he is passing from the lunar sphere of psychism into the orbit of the Spiritual Sun. There is a change in his consciousness. He may expect to face his Initiation of the Purification of the Moon, before he can start again in a new school of undreamt of activity.
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Text presented on this site as it appears in the 1975 edition.