Letter from Cressida Pryor
December 20, 2015
Winter Solstice letter
As the dark Solstice beckons through this strange season of ‘non-winter’ with folk outside in tee shirts and shorts and daffodils flowering I am reminded of the topsy-turvy world of Twelfth Night gatherings when the normal order, the expected status relationships are stood on their head.
So now we are being shaken away from the expected norm and the comfort of being able to predict the future. Olivia’s lyrical oracle that was part of our early autumn gathering at Hawkwood seems especially relevant now: ‘When you seek me without my calling you, I am not to be found. Yet I may manifest unexpectedly, in the heedless moment, as you put a foot into a fast flowing stream, or climb to pick red apples....’
As we move now from Samhain’s thinning of divisions to the culmination of the mysterious manifestation hinted at in Olivia’s writings...what is it that we await? The sombre Advent of the Christian cycle of the year, the defiant yet welcoming lights of Hanukah and the return of the Sun?...What is hidden in the bright red apple, the black bird’s song, the fast flowing stream where we can never step into the same place again...?
My growing awareness as I read, study and contemplate is the call of non-duality, of divine union and I feel this is what we endeavour to move towards...the FOI, now in human terms is developing beyond the tasks of the ‘first half of life’ so is able to move from the ‘setting up’ phase where the new identity needs to be strongly demarcated. In the ‘youth’ stage there is a need to make clear comparisons; an awareness of the ‘other’ and how we differ from them.
Derry and Olivia in devising the manifesto had the wisdom to see beyond this inevitable start up phase’s duality; through their emphasis on the interfaith aspects of membership. They stressed that members did not need to reject their ‘home’ faith, if you had one...acknowledgement of and inspiration through the divine feminine could be subsumed into your faith practice as a Catholic, Jew, Muslim, Hindu or whatever you were. What a huge strength and generosity of spirit...a weaving of peace and understanding through love of the Goddess, the Divine Mother, between the world faiths.
Thinking about the 1970’s when I was studying Speech Therapy and setting up my career in the NHS I remember it was a time, in the UK at least, of huge demarcation between different classes, the unions and management...the three day week emerged with rampant inflation and we were about to tumble into the dismantling of nationalised industry with Margaret Thatcher’s years as Prime Minister in the 1980s. This is the context for the start of the FOI. The three founders saw how division and the patriarchy, especially within the established churches were not connecting with what many needed and wanted spiritually. The feminine aspects of the Divine had been denied and neglected for so long that many felt their experience of spirit was not acknowledged or honoured in the modern world. The very place of the FOI’s inception offered a flow of energy that spoke to this need, as Pamela, now living in Clonegal, one of Derry’s granddaughters has described so beautifully:
‘Here at Huntington the well of knowledge burst forth from the land itself. Finding willing recipients, the waters flowed freely spreading to all quarters of the globe.’
Water too becomes subsumed into the very being of whatever or whoever absorbs its life giving molecules to foster continued vibrancy and growth. It merges with and becomes intimately part of that organism, be it animal or plant. A real wholeness of existence.
I think and feel that this is what we truly acknowledge and prepare for at this time; a joyful connection with the wholeness of existence not just on the physical levels but also through mind and spirit...so many people of the world’s faiths at this dark time, feel this need to come together and affirm this ‘one-ness’ of light, of spirit, of connection that is in the Divine Mother’s eternal embrace. A flow of energy that connects and is part of us all.
FOI Letters & Correspondence
(Many thanks to Cressida for sharing her seasonal letters.)
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