Olivia Robertson - The Call of Isis Three
Illustration by Olivia Robertson, Chapter Three
"Made of crystallised white light"
The Call of Isis
3. Inhabitants of the Psychic Sphere.
A woman stood before me. I was wide awake. Her body seemed to be made of crystallized white light. Her hair was raven-black and pulled neatly into small dark curls. About it was tied a white veil, the ends hanging loosely. Her form was smooth, and her arms bare and roundly shaped. As for her dress, this intrigued me, for it appeared to be without any seams, although it was made up of strips of pale green and lilac material. I noticed the strong white shoulders. In fact shoulder, neck and arms gave an impression of concealed strength. But what struck me most forcibly was her way of speaking, which was through thought, but as clear as a musical instrument. What she said was:
'It is customary to stand in my presence.'
Whereupon, rather crossly because it was snowy weather and night-time, I got out of bed and pulled on my red cardigan. Afterwards, when trying to describe The Lady, I said that she was a mixture of a Queen and a dancer and a gym mistress! I had seen television pictures of an earthly Queen's way of walking. But also this lady had the movement of a ballet dancer, as if she were balancing on a tightrope. But there was beneath the smooth silvery skin the feeling of the strength of an athlete. This reminded me of photographs of a Yogini.
Above all I instantly knew that I was in the presence of a goddess or an Angel, because of the power of her concentrated thought. Miserably I tried to control my own thoughts, which, at this important moment, out of sheer nerves came out with a stupid joke. But the Lady took no notice of this. It was some silly joke about her smile, which I vaguely gathered was famous. She sat down on a chair facing my bed, her arms folded. And I sat facing her on the edge of my bed. And this lasted in total physical silence for at least half an hour. In her presence at last I was able to control my irrelevant thoughts. But the strange thing was that though I remember she spoke to me, I cannot recollect one word of what she said. And still, try as I may, there is nothing remaining that I can recollect. Finally, at the end of our interview, the Lady rose to her feet. Again I noticed the curious powerful yet beautiful way in which she moved. Shakespeare in The Tempest mentions Juno's majestic gait. This walk was unearthly, beyond human. Yet I felt that the Lady had once been human and had transcended this state.
Now comes a puzzling part. With spirits it is generally inferred that they appear, and then their visitation concluded, dematerialize. But I gathered from telepathy that this Lady had to wait for what I gathered was some sort of aeroplane. I remember vaguely wondering was it an Aer Lingus plane? Why should a Spirit need a vehicle? Stranger still, I had a very strong impression that this aeroplane would take her to a huge ship as big as the Queen Mary or bigger, that sailed high in the sky.
Anyway the Lady turned her back on me, and, curiously, as she moved away, her powerful neck muscles and her way of walking, rather like a lioness, reminded me of my childhood dream of the young man by the mosaic-paved fountain. She left through the window. I looked up at the dark sky but saw no aeroplane. The Lady, Goddess though she might be, appeared to have to wait! She was below me in the garden and sat on a parapet waiting, in the same attitude in which she had spoken with me, hands folded on her lap. She sat, a silvery figure surrounded by snow that gleamed in moonlight. I thought she must be feeling very cold in her evening dress. I waited for a long time, walking round and round my room. Each time I looked out, that still figure was seated in the garden, white veil over her black wavy hair. There was no sign of an aeroplane. Finally when I looked out, she had disappeared. I assumed she was travelling to her mysterious destination; so I took off my jersey, climbed into bed and, strangely enough in the circumstances, fell heavily asleep.
Such an experience brings one over the threshold of belief into knowledge. Yet the knowledge that beings exist beyond the physical world is not as yet provable in a scientific manner. At the time I realized this, for I myself was of a sceptical turn of mind, and knew well how deceptive the psychic sense can be. I can only say, as so many thousands of other people do, that I knew that the Lady was as real as myself and not an hallucination. I longed to tell people about her, and wondered how to do so.
The only way I hoped to achieve this without being laughed at or called deluded was to weave the experience into one of my novels. So I described a similar visitation in my fantastic novel: 'The Golden Eye'. But even so, I made it a dream, and because I thought the aeroplane and great sky ship too extraordinary, I left that part out. One of my friends said she always knew when I was introducing a psychic experience into one of my novels by my embarrassed way of writing.
It was only when I was in a railway carriage reading a copy of the now defunct magazine 'Everybody's', that I was amazed to see an artist's impression of a giant spaceship that had been seen by someone else. Up to then I had not paid much heed to Flying Saucer reports. Even so, I left the magazine behind me in the carriage, as I felt I was quite eccentric enough already, without believing in Flying Saucers! I notice this attitude among other pioneers of strange levels of consciousness. When at last I did join an Unidentified Flying Object Association, I was amused to observe that those who believed in physical spaceships from other planets did not care for their movement to be associated with 'the psychic lunatic fringe'. And psychics regarded the physical spaceship believers as naive materialists, bent on transforming psychic phenomena into schoolboy science fiction.
For myself, I have learnt to treat other people's experiences with respect, however unlike my own. No visionary can demand belief, but he can ask that his ultra-mundane reports be regarded as hypotheses. For it is unscientific to deny the existence of that which up to now is merely unproven.
Scientists and others who have all their knowledge from the realm of day, have only one key to the mystery of the Universe. But there are those who have earned the black key of the sphere of the night. And they too have their occult knowledge. To hold the keys of heaven and hell is not to bind and loose other souls: it is to control one's own consciousness not only in the material world; but also, like Psyche, to penetrate safely 'the Unconscious'.
To Psyche, guided by divine love, both realms became open. The Goddess Persephone is Daughter of Heaven and Queen of Hades. She combines the Outer and Inner, and holds the Crossed Keys on her breast.
Control then is the watchword of the lunar sphere. Emotional control. So may one successfully carry a cup of the Water of Life from the Well at the World's End, and bring it to those who need soul healing. Therefore sporadic spirit visitations are not enough. In such cases the inhabitants of other spheres visit us. But we ourselves must, if we wish to follow the path of the Mysteries, ourselves learn how to use our innate gifts.
In my case I decided to study the matter systematically. I had received visitations in full consciousness, that had convinced me that there were beings other than humans in the cosmos. And that we ourselves survived bodily death. But naturally I wanted to understand with my intellect, and also to control psychic manifestations. I did not want to be merely passive, relying solely on aspiration and prayer. In that way I was purely a receiver, a passive medium, however exalted might be visitors from spheres of light. Besides, I wanted to help those spirits whom I knew to be in trouble. So I went to the London College of Psychic Studies and started in a beginner's class with a famous medium, who specialized in working with scientists in England and the United States.
Here I discovered that, as in learning to drive a car, one is taught to stop the car first! People with psychic gifts frequently imagine that they should be opened up to the other world at any time. Also that they must receive any messages given and act on them! And many have the dangerous delusion that a mentor from the next world must, if he says so, be a Master, and so should be implicitly obeyed. Even in mediumistic circles, where control of the right of entry is understood, and the psychic beginners are taught to tune in and off at their own choice, Guides have possibly too much influence. I suppose this springs from centuries of religious faith, where faith accepts nor questions how. I think faith might well ask 'why?' For in this age of higher education and freedom of thought, the reign of the autocratic Master, whether Western Adept or Eastern Guru, is waning. The time of group participation, of spiritual democracy, is dawning.
The word for God in the beginning of the Bible is translated from the Hebrew word 'Elohim', a plural word that should therefore be correctly translated in the plural. It is not a masculine word either. The Pantheon of Heaven is beginning to be reflected on a worldwide scale by the springing up of meditation and psychic groups that work with blended group consciousness. It is humanity's first tentative step towards regulated telepathic communication.
The method follows much the same pattern, whatever the religious background of the group. Some form of invocation is used to deity whether called God, The Great Spirit or The Truth. In circles using Eastern practice the 'tuning in' is brought about by the use of sound, or mantra. The group focuses its awareness by intoning some specific note. In Western circles, colour visualization is often used. The participants of the circle are asked to imagine a colour, or simply Light. This stills the restless mind, and also acts as a protection against unwanted thought-forms. One can pick up telepathically another person's worry just as easily as one can contract influenza!
Communication with a spirit in a very real way is still rare. As the teacher of our class would say, if this were so there would be no dubiety about proof, or difficulty of identification. The spirit could appear, say who it was, give all necessary information, including its previous earth address, and also easily satisfy a scientific researcher as to its objective reality.
As far as I know - and I have not as yet, alas, met a circle of illuminati who really can perform miracles on demand - we humans are at the very beginning of the development of our psychic faculties. Although Masters and Saints of our various religions so often had theurgic powers, their followers not only seem unable to do such miracles themselves, but, like the fox and the grapes, solemnly warn the faith to avoid those very wonders which they themselves are incapable of doing.
As far as I know - and I have not as yet, alas, met a circle of illuminati who really can perform miracles on demand - we humans are at the very beginning of the development of our psychic faculties. Although Masters and Saints of our various religions so often had theurgic powers, their followers not only seem unable to do such miracles themselves, but, like the fox and the grapes, solemnly warn the faithful to avoid those very wonders which they themselves are incapable of doing.
So I found, studying in various classes, spiritualist and esoteric, that the most reliable method for contacting the unseen was by using symbols through eidetic imagery. Putting it simply, in one's mind's eye trained for the purpose, one saw projected a series of images connected with a chosen subject. In spiritualist circles, one usually had one's own alphabet of symbols - a ring for a marriage, a cake for a birthday - a series of associated images familiar to one's Guide and oneself.
As my sister-in-law, Valentine, complained, mediums saw things in bits; Aunt Betsy showing her umbrella, Uncle Tim his clerical collar, and the Guide, a pair of moccasins!
Occultists, I found, had their own group series of symbols banded down traditionally. Join an occult group, and you may learn to visualize the symbolism of the Tree of Life with its vividly coloured spheres, You can learn to visualize alchemical symbols, zodiacal signs and the incredibly complex Enochian hieroglyphs. This forms a language of communication for an Order and its guardian angels. The tattvic symbols of the elements do the same service for Eastern Oriented groups. Symbols am the language of the Unconscious.
In this way I leamt to use my own system of mental impressions well enough to demonstrate clairvoyance on television. This happened ten years after I had begun studying these subjects in London, and eleven years after we had opened the Castle as a semi-private Centre for Meditation and Study. A girl rang me up from Dublin and asked would I demonstrate as a medium on Irish television. I answered at once, no. One did not do that sort of thing publicly. "Why not?" asked the girl.
I could not give a satisfactory reply. I knew that professional mediums were willing to demonstrate publicly; but I still had a feeling that one must be private in one's psychic studies. Still, I was not a member of any secret society. Did I not want to share the good news that there was no death? I thought of a more cogent objection.
"They make such fools of spiritualists and psychic workers on television," I said. "You know, witches skipping around naked with background music of Teddy-bears' picnic! And the medium giving a sitting, and a patronizing announcer making fun - and a psychiatrist explaining that she is deluded, and a clergyman explaining that this sort of thing is un-Christian. Though why I don't know, considering the amount of spirits of various sorts that are described in the Bible. Anyway, what would our neighbours think?"
But the girl said that Irish Television was unbiased, and that they would not 'send us up'; and that anyway she would be the interviewer. I thought she would be fair, and agreed, having asked the rest of the family, as they sat, arguing as usual, round the lunch table!
We had a glorious time when the television crew arrived. It was very sunny. Valentine would not join in, but sat on the window-sill watching, while we had lunch in the glare of lights while we were filmed. She said she had the eerie feeling that we ourselves were spirits, lighted into an unnatural whiteness. We were meant to be eating lunch in a usual way, discussing the family ghosts. It was hard to appear simple and natural with cameras focussed upon us, but after a few minutes it became natural. And I thought represented ordinary humanity eating lunch. Yet to Valentine, out of the picture, we looked like ghosts. We were deliberately ignoring the camera men, who in their turn were directing our behaviour, like guides or gods. And all this show was being done for nonexistent beings hoped for yet not yet manifest, called The Viewers. Surely the Viewers were real? As Viewers, no, not yet. The film might not prove acceptable; we might not appear.
Added to this over-lapping of spheres were the ancestors. They were being filmed, or rather their portraits, in old gilded frames. Two hundred years ago a lady with thick auburn hair and deep blue eyes, Barbara St. Leger, sat for her portrait in white fichu and blue gown. A short while ago a medium in London had described her, as still interested in us, her descendants.
And now we were trying to bring through our impressions of these spirit people whom we believed still existed on another level, to the attention of possible future Viewers. And we were being aided by the camera men and the interviewer. My nephew Finn was describing his experience of etheric projection ...
'I was sleeping on the library couch,' he said, 'I woke up - I was completely awake, and I saw a monk, a handsome man, in dark robes standing at the foot of the couch. There was an elderly woman whom I could not see that I felt was behind me. They pulled me out of my body. It felt completely real. I really was outside my body which was lying beneath me. Then I came back and the monk and the lady had gone.'
After this my brother Alexander was shown by the cameras playing on the organ in his Temple of Isis. They showed Finn's carved wooden figure of the Madonna of the Aquarian Age.
As an odd link with my interview with the Silver Lady, I had an impression of a lesser sort when I gave my clairvoyant demonstration to the interviewer. I chose our ruined abbey open to the evening sky, and filled with flowering shrubs. I had intended to stick to a simple demonstration of survival - but instead something else occurred. This was not a full psychic experience, but only a mental impression.
'I feel a presence', I said. "Now this figure is robed in white. She has got the most beautiful face. And, oddly enough, she is smaller than life-size. I see her like that, as if she were a little bit smaller, and yet real. Like a real statue. And she's holding - I'm getting shivers - you know the shivers one gets - She's holding a lovely golden cross. Now she is moving behind you. I feel she is guide and helper, that is, those people who come to us ... now I mustn't talk too much - I must tune in again.
She says that we have been drawn together here, that in the country of Ireland there has always been a beautiful relationship with the world of spirit, that has never been blasphemed by killing people. That is, people didn't bum people for seeing nature spirits, and that the Angels are nearer here because Ireland has been cut off through misfortune, which is really a blessing. I am given to understand that you have been thinking about this - why misfortunes happen. And I am to tell you that life is like a school. People learn from experience."
I gave some personal messages and ended by saying: "There has been a lovely atmosphere of harmony: especially as this particular evening is Midsummer's Eve."
As I spoke these words, the camera photographed the ruined abbey window with its ivy and small statuette of Demeter. And the birds obligingly were singing. And I felt happy that at last, though feeling very shy and inadequate, I had given people even a fleeting impression that had the beauty of my experience many years before of the Silver Lady, whom I associated with the moon. As for that small white-robed figure, I have no name to give her. But I rather hope she was a woman of the Sidhe - our Irish Faery People.
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Text presented on this site as it appears in the 1975 edition.