Olivia Robertson: Vernal Equinox

FOI Co-Founder Olivia Robertson, 1976

On the Vernal Equinox

Nesu House, Isis Oasis

October, 12, 2003

By Olivia Robertson

In the 1960s, my brother Lawrence and I separately experienced revelations of the Goddess. My brother was first to come to this realization. By 1973 we realized there was a need to address the imbalance in the world caused by lack of awareness of the Divine Feminine, or matriarchy, with the more prevalent patriarchal view. After a period of reflection and planning, we began to take action. My brother sent notices; we printed our manifesto, and things developed very quickly!

I’ve often been asked why we chose the vernal equinox as our founding date. Isis, to whom we are dedicated, has The Pelusia - the opening of the way of ships - after winter storms. Spring marked the time of ancient Egyptian harvest. My brother, through his studies, discovered the four faces of Khufu’s pyramid are slightly concave - as commented upon by Petrie; the intent of this construction may have marked advent of the equinoxes. Lawrence discovered the pillar of Osiris, known as the djed, was used as a kind of celestial measuring-pole. The djed, when shown tilted, symbolised the Autumn Equinox and the confinement of Osiris within the coffin; whereas the djed when upright, denotes the Spring Equinox and the recovery of Osiris by Isis. Orientation of temples and monuments in ancient Egypt was determined by astronomical events – either the rising of a star, or group of stars, the solstices, or the equinoxes.

FOI Co-Founder Lawrence Durdin-Robertson, 1976

In India, images of Siva and Parvati were placed upon green branches, while in Greece the ancients honored Demeter. It was said the sun danced at sunset in Japan! The ancients lit the sacred fire of Tara on this day, and the Mysteries of Cybele and Attis culminated with divine resurrection. In Rome as the breath of the Goddess brought the first flowers; a festival was held to honor Minerva.

The Fellowship grew quickly, with the festivals well attended. Members traveled to our centre from around the world to join in ritual, honoring the Seasons of the Goddess. My brother and I celebrated the Athenaea of Pallas Athena, Goddess of Wisdom and the Arts, with our friends Loreon [Vigne] and Paul [Rameses]. Lawrence counseled Loreon to found a Goddess Centre in the USA.

Lawrence and Loreon in the Temple of Dana (Old Abbey), Spring, 1983

The forces of the Divine Feminine rise strongest from September through February – the season of the dark womb – for hidden within the earth the Goddess generates a new cycle of life. It is a time of promise, of things yet to come, veiled beauty, mystery. The advent of spring marks the emptying of the Great Mother’s womb – when it becomes nought … zero. This fallowness is “generation completed”. The womb of the Goddess links earth to heaven. It is the birth chamber, the canal, the black tunnel, which leads to Illumination and rebirth. Seeds sprout; grow; blossom; these blooms wither and drop seeds to the earth - a circle of life repeated through years uncounted. All must return to the Divine Matrix to be reborn. Enclosed within the Womb of the Mother, the cycle begins again – Her Sacred Fire is ever renewing, ever renewed. She is all that was, all that is and all that is yet to be.

Transcribed from notes taken by Linda Iles during a discourse offered by Olivia Robertson in the Queen Tiye room, Nesu House, Isis Oasis.

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