Order of the Shining Helmet of Athena: The Owl by Linda Iles

I dedicate this work to my friend Arthur Freeheart of Heart Beats Drum Lyceum and to Caroline Wise, Priestess of the Goddess and to the native homeland of my Ancestors.

Owl Nebula

Olivia Robertson and her brother Lawrence Durdin-Robertson included a great deal of stellar imagery into their temple and into the liturgy of the Fellowship of Isis. So I was intrigued to find that there is an Owl Nebula in the constellation of Ursa Major.

The Owl Nebula is one of the more complex planetary nebulae. It is designated as M97. It was discovered by the French astronomer Pierre Méchain on February 16, 1781. An ancestor of Olivia Robertson and Lawrence Durdin-Robertson, William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse (1800 – 1867) observed the nebula in 1848, his hand-drawn illustration resembled an owl's head, which subsequently helped give rise to its name. The expanding bubble is confined by the interstellar medium, the bubble slows down and the outflow of gas builds up at the leading edge producing the bright reddish rim that surrounds the bluish core of the nebula. The red rim is in turn enveloped by a round halo that is about 10,000 times fainter than the core of the nebula – which doesn’t always appear in most images. This shining halo is reminiscent of the shining helmet of Athena as perceived by mystics and occultists.

Olivia was aware of this nebula and sent a sketch of an owl with starry eyes for a meditation for the end of the year in 2010.

The Starry Owl of the Goddess Blodeuwedd

(Owl Nebula in Ursa Major)


I want to take you now on a magical journey; we are to undergo a rite of passage, searching for Inner Truth and Balance. We must begin at the beginning of all things, and enter that dark and silent place within, that depth of being that is the Heart of the Mothers. Feel the beat, echoing within you and outside of you, it is the rhythm of life, it echoes the pulsing of blood in your veins, it draws you to it, let the sound guide you to the portal. Ahead you see a point of light. It grows larger as you walk towards it. The beating of the heart drum of the Mothers continues, beating with every step you take. You approach the threshold and step through.

You stand in a sunny meadow, fragrant with summer flowers. This is a solitary and wild place, the realm of deer and foxes, bears and badgers. Ahead you see a pair of ancient standing stones. You approach and pass through the dolmens, and as you come out the other side, suddenly you find yourself beneath an evening sky, with a new moon. Everything is still and silent. You have entered another time and place. Before you instead of a meadow, you see a dark forest. The sky above is clear as the dusk deepens, bright with moonlight and stars. The air is heavy with the scent of pale blooms that open to the night.

A lone owl catches your attention, gliding above, it circles over you and then flies on towards the forest. It lands on the bough of a tree, turning to look directly at you, there is something in its eyes that beckons. The owl waits until you walk forward, then silently it again takes wing. You follow a short distance behind, entering the wood. You find yourself in a place of shadows, the realm of bats and toads, and snakes.

The owl flies overhead, leading you onward on a narrow pathway, which takes you deeper into the wood. Every blade of grass, every fern, every blossom and leaf is bathed in the light of the new moon. The deep night sky and the dark earth are tinged in violet. The owl above seems fashioned from the Moon's own heart, it’s eyes filled with stars.

Suddenly, a fair voice sings in the distance:

“Nine powers of nine flowers,

Nine powers in me combined:

Nine buds of plant and tree.

Long and white are my fingers

As the ninth wave of the sea.”

Energy shoots through your body and you rise, silent and strong, keen-eyed as the owl, you continue to rise up and up, high over the boughs of the greenwood, up into the starry sky. You see a spiraling nebula, whose hub provides a place of stillness within the wheel of time and space. A pathway opens to it … and as you enter, the stars begin to take the form of white flowers. You find yourself in the star realm of Blodeuwedd, She Who was fashioned of the trees of wisdom and desire; and of those flowers whose blooms bring healing and renewal: She Who is the Ninefold Goddess of Mysteries and Initiation.

The perfume of the flowers of earth and the purity of the starflowers of the sky join within you in perfect harmony, aligning, energizing your centers, from root to throat, upward to your third eye. These forces of creativity, perfect will, compassion and psychism bring clear sight, healing, and renewal. The Mystery of Blodeuwedd, Lady of Earthly Delight is - She is also Lady of Shamanic Flight, activated through the Hidden Rose.

She stands before you, white and shining, her cloak emblazoned with flowers and trees. The Goddess Blodeuwedd looks deep into your heart, which speaks to Her. She listens, She understands, She heals. Quietly, She speaks: “Be not divided within yourself. Light does not war with Night. Earth is a reflection of Heaven. Be Whole. Be at peace.” The Goddess extends Her Hands towards you, bearing gifts. You receive a sign, a symbol that will aid your journeys on earth and in the Otherworld. You will see and understand not only with the aid of your physical eyes, but with your “inner eye.” This “psychic sight”, or “inner eye” is that of the Goddess, known to Welsh Mystics as the Owl Eyes of the Goddess Blodeuwedd.

There is more She has to say, more She has to give. What are these gifts, what truths does She offer?

A period of silent contemplation follows. (faint drumming in the distance)

Flying on silent wings, you once more descend, leaving the starry pathways behind, leaving the forest behind, you alight once more on earth in front of the standing stones. Again, you enter the gateway, returning to the sunny meadow. You sit in the sweet grasses and flowers and close your eyes, leaving the astral behind. Guided by the sound of your own heartbeat, full awareness of your physical surroundings, of the world around you returns. Faint, soft, in the distance, you hear the hooting of an owl - a sign of assurance. For, once the path is known it is always open to travel again.

Rays of Love, Joy and Wisdom are sent forth to all Beings. Thanks are given to the Goddess Blodeuwedd for Her Gifts.

Notes on the Pathworking

Attributes of the Star of Ishtar:

Ray of the Star of Ishtar: Ray V

Color Associated with This Ray: Blue

Planetary Body: Saturn

Starry Pathway: Ursa Major is associated with the Vth Ray of the Star of Ishtar in “Psyche, Magical Journeys of the Goddess”.

Season: Lughnasadh

Work of the Vth Ray: Opens Pathways to Inner Knowledge

Element: Ether

Method of Working: Science and Occultism


Totem Animal: Owl

Time of Day: Dusk

Intention: Casting out into gateway between worlds, flying in silence, eyes focused on revealing the truth of the two worlds.

Cailleach-Oidhche - Owl - Detachment, wisdom, change; instead of being grounded during the night, an owl can fly – for unlike all other birds, an owl can see in the darkness.

Goddess: Blodeuwedd (blod-EYE-weth (o is short, "eye" as in the word “eye”; the "th" like in "the" or “bathe”), Her name is a combination of Welsh “blodau” meaning ‘flowers’ and “gwedd” meaning ‘image’.

Keywords: Initiation, Transformation, Healing, casting off the expectations, which may distort true perception, finding inner truth.

The Hidden Rose

From the Introduction to "Urania: Ceremonial Magic of the Goddess" by Olivia Robertson

" ... C. W. Leadbeater of the Theosophical Society published coloured pictures with descriptions of this Centre, which he presented as being the receiver and giver of seven channels of “Pranas”, of power streams. He was laughed at by critics for introducing this “unknown” Chakra, and for substituting it for the Sex Centre. The latter was regarded as Victorian prudery. But Leadbeater was a remarkable clairvoyant. This Chakra is obviously connected with the throat and Sex centres. It produces creativity of every sort: psychic projection, healing, artistic expression and healthy childbearing. Spiritual re-birth through the Mother Goddess is activated through Her Hidden Rose.

There is another significant change in magical practice. It concerns two Centres in the brain, connected with the pineal and the pituitary glands. They are mental and psychic centres, respectively, the Third Eye and the Inner Eye. The Outer Eye is that of Horus the Hawk, Uatchat. The Inner eye is that of the Goddess, which Welsh Magicians know as the Owl’s Eyes of the Goddess Blodeuwedd."

Sources for the Pathworking

Carr-Gomm, Philip and Stephanie "Druid Animal Oracle" (Book first published 1995, Deck first published 2006)

Clark, Roger Nelson, “Visual Knowledge of the Deep Sky”, Cambridge University Press, 1991

Graves, Robert, “The White Goddess”, Farrar Straus Giroux, New York, 1997, his translation of a poem from the Mabinogian, “Hanes Blodeuwedd”

Robertson, Olivia, ““College of Isis Manual”, Cesara Publications, 1992

Robertson, Olivia, “Sybil, Oracles of the Goddess”, Cesara Publications, 1989

Robertson, Olivia, “Urania, Ceremonial Magic of the Goddess”, Cesara Publications, 1983

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