FOI Online Liturgy
Isis of Alchemy, Transformation through the Goddess
By: Olivia Robertson
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II. The Amber Pylon of Venus
ORACLE OF THE GODDESS ATLANTA
INVOCATION. Mysterious Atlanta, Goddess of lost worlds, Who like a comet unites all spheres in glorious harmony, bring us inspiration that we may create beauty around us.
ORACLE. Fly with Me above past, present and future, and gaze down upon the landscape of Eternity! This is the new aeon of cosmic consciousness. Each of you chose to be born at this time of the great awakening. We whom you call the Immortals summon the Divine hidden within each soul. Animals and birds: trees, earth and sea respond.
Through the gateway of dreams you shall reap the harvest of past and future lives, and gain the seeds of your own Divinity. The limitations of the human brain have restricted you from rising above the duality of good and its shadow, evil. Your heritage is love and happiness. Do not fear evil. All that is ugly, cruel and distorted dissipates into nothingness - because it is ignored ... there is no evil in Heaven. Only the Divine belongs there.
You shall with brave hearts explore the spiritual realms of the stars, and dream in black space. You will encircle many-coloured planets and discover the lovers who await you. And when you have had your fill of enjoyment, then is the time for you to join with Us in Our work of creation. You shall help Us weave the tapestry of the stars, and form a dewdrop in one small flower.
On an orange-draped altar let there be lighted candles, burning incense, a bowl of water, an orange, holly, yew berries, a marigold and an amber amulet of Venus. The Alchemists wear saffron robes: the Priestess Alchemists, gold crowns, the Priest Alchemists, gold headdresses. The Practitioners wear gold headbands and sea-green robes.
Pr. Alch. Fellow Practitioners of the sacred art of Alchemy, we gather in this holy Temple to transmute ideal beauty into earthly creativity.
Prs. Alch. (makes sign of Venus with wand) I invoke the Goddess Atlanta, ruler with Her Brother Atlas of the lost continent of Atlantis, Goddess of aerial flight, Bestower of the Golden Apples of creation, inspire us to transform our visions of beauty into earthly reality!
Pr. Alch. (makes sign of Neptune with staff) I invoke the God Poseidon, ruler with the Nymph Cleito of the Atlantic ocean. Teach us to transmute our illusions into works of splendour!
1st Pr. Who is candidate for the Initiation of Venus?
Candidate in white is led forward by Sponsor.
1st Prs. (to Can.) Are you willing to undergo the ordeals of this Initiation, knowing that both your dreams and nightmares will become real?
Can. I accept the challenge. My days and nights are wasted in uncontrolled fantasies. I cannot work, or create, or love a real person.
Sponsor. I stand Sponsor for the Candidate's spiritual aspirations and longing for beauty.
1st Prs. (to Can.) Your first step is to learn from the fate of a noble empire that first flourished and then fell from just such ideals. Let us dream of Atlantis!
Sea-music. Masked dancers as Atlantides mime the narrative.
1st Pr. The philosopher Plato was told by Solon the Wise that thousands of years ago a noble people dwelt on a continent in the Atlantic ocean. For many centuries these beautiful men and women created mighty cities, with splendid Temples, gardens and statues. But in the fullness of time they turned to magic, using inverse alchemy to degrade beauty into decadence.
1st Prs. Their Sea God Poseidon punished them with a well-aimed comet, Phaeton, causing a volcano to erupt, and Atlantis sank beneath the ocean. Yet even to this day the lost island appears upon the horizon off the West coast of Ireland, with violet mountains appearing amidst the ocean. For legend tells that this ghostly island is the domain of the Cailleach, Goddess of Death.
1st Pr. The Cailleach and other Women of The Sidhe lure young men to their doom by their magical singing. Many have perished beneath the cold waves, seeking to reach the land that was and is not.
1st Pr. We Alchemists seek to form a rainbow bridge between the supernatural realm of Atlantis and ourselves. We would rescue Atlantean Spirits trapped in the cage of their own delusions, so may they in turn save us from our nightmare of destroying the earth. (to Can.) What do you make of this legend that persists into our own time?
Can. It holds a mirror to myself. I cannot escape from my dreams, although they are becoming confused and distorted. How may I awaken and yet to keep all that is beautiful in my imagination?
2nd Pr. By balancing the positive and the receptive Rays of Venus. Learn from the ancient Irish Drama, "The Golden Pin of Sleep".
1st Prs. (anoints each brow with water) Receive true vision.
PLAY: THE GOLDEN PIN OF SLEEP.
Enter Cesara. I am Cesara who escaped in a boat from the doom of Atlantis, with many women and three men. I landed at this little cove off Bantry Bay. My descendants, the Gaels, still live here. Harken to the woes of Glas, King of Cork.
Enter King Glas. Our family is indeed cursed by the Sage-Woman Amarach. No woman of our royal house can marry, unless her suitor brings her three treasures from the Black Land, Doon Thir, that lies beyond the great ocean. In that spectral island is the Stone Circle of Power, guarded by the Sidhe of Death, The Cailleach. The suitor must take from the circle the Holly Bough - "craov cuilleann" - the Marigold - "luis bui" - and yew berries, "uhar". Hundreds of heroes on the quest have perished in the waves of the great ocean. No suitor has returned.
Enter Feargal. I present myself for the ordeal. I would marry your daughter, the Princess Finagle of the Fair Cheek.
King. This is madness! To face death for one whom you have not even seen! Finagle, come forth. Persuade this young man to abandon the quest.
Enter Finagle. (her face concealed by a white veil): Noble stranger, I wear this veil that I may not tempt any more young men to a terrible death. Return home and forget me!
Feargal. Never! With my eye of vision I see through your veil. I love you. I shall set sail for the Dark Land of Death.
Finagle. Then go forth with my blessing. Feargal, do not forget me.
Feargal. Impossible. I give my word. (Exit.)
Cesara. So Feargal set forth and at length found his way to the great ocean. But his path was barred by a hideous old woman in a shabby cloak.
Enter Old Woman. (carrying sticks): Young prince, I am a poor old woman shunned by my neighbours. Help me to carry logs to my cabin.
Feargal. Honoured Mother, gladly will I help you. (Does so.)
Old Woman. I am feared as Amarach the Sorceress. Pleasing is it for me to be addressed as Mother, and not as "you hideous old crone", a usual insult from foolish young man. Foolish indeed, for they lie at the bottom of the ocean, drowned in mighty storms. But you, Feargal, I shall help. A crow's flight from here you will find a hidden cove. Moored there is a small leather-covered coracle. This will bring you safely across a calm sea to the Dark Land. Go in peace.
Cesara. And Amarach was as good as her word. Feargal sailed safely across the mighty Atlantic Ocean until he landed on the shore of the Black Land of the Sidhe.
Feargal. (looking around him): This is the land of my heart's desire! Here are singing trees and little white horses with red manes and hounds with red ears. A fleet hare bounds over a crystal stream. But who is this heavenly Apparition? Surely she is a faery Queen, beautiful beyond all others.
Enter Faery. (who dances enchantingly. She gives Feargal a Golden Apple. He tastes it.): Handsome mortal, embrace me and together we shall sink into a sea of delights where all your dreams shall bring you love and joy! Accept my Golden Pin of enchanted sleep.
They embrace. Faery produces a long golden pin from her locks which she slides into Feargal's hair. He falls into a deathly trance. Exit Faery, laughing triumphantly. Enter Atlantean Spirits.
Young Man. (with long hair and gorgeous robes): Fellow Atlanteans, one of our human kind has been bewitched by a Ban-Sidhe. Let us awaken him with magic chanting!
Spirits. (chant): Mortal, awake! Rise from dreams. Death is near: its grim portals rise before you. Sleeper, awake! Enchantment fade. The Evening Star arises.
Feargal. (leaps to his feat in terror and gazes above him): What warning voices call me? Above me rise 8 mighty pylons made of shining jewels, their pinnacles wreathed in dark clouds. I face 2 pylons, one of ruby, the other of amber. Between them is a blood-coloured Western coming night.
Cesara. And Feargal was filled with fear, for he knew he was facing the Gates of Death.
Feargal. If I pass through these pylons, I shall surely die. O Finagle, is this your wish? I forgot you. I broke my word. What greater pain can death hold for me? I shall pass through.
Takes bold steps forward. Enter 3 women concealed in black robes.
1st Woman. Feargal, you passed the first ordeal. You transformed ugliness into beauty: old age into immortality. To mortal eyes I am Amarach. (She unveils) In truth I am Dana, Queen of Heaven. Receive this holly branch, whose red berries gladden the heart in winter. (Gives Feargal holly branch.)
3rd Woman. You have passed the Third Ordeal. I am the Cailleach, Goddess of Death. (She unveils) In verity I am Cleito, Consort of Poseidon, Queen of the Land of Immortality. I give you these yew-berries, bringers of death and rebirth. (Gives yew-berries.)
2nd Woman. Alas, Feargal, you have failed the second Ordeal. You are generous and brave, but where is your fidelity? (She unveils.) Do you know me? I am She who danced for you and gave you my Golden Pin of Dreams. I may not give you my marigold. Instead, I put a charge on you, a "geas", to confess your dealings with me to Finagle.
Feargal (sorrowfully): I give my word.
3 Women veil themselves and depart to solemn music.
Cesara. Full of despair, Feargal set sail for Ireland in his coracle over a still sea, until he reached Bantry Bay. He moored his coracle and with heavy heart made his way to the Dun of King Gas. And the King and Finagle received him with astonishment and joy.
Enter King and Princess.
King. A hundred thousand welcomes to you, Feargal! You have broken the terrible curse of Amarach. Receive my daughter's hand in marriage!
Feargal. No curse but a just test for those who would aspire to marry daughters of the House of Glas. But I am not worthy.
Finagle. Do you refuse my hand?
Feargal. You have my heart. I can only give you this holly-branch and these yew-berries. I have no marigold. I betrayed you for a Maiden of the Sidhe.
Finagle. Tell me true. Was this Ban-Sidhe fair? Did you love her?
Feargal. You are too noble for jealousy. The Sidhe was beautiful. I fell in love with her.
Fin. (laughing) Then I shall marry you! (Faery music. She throws off her veil and dances.) Feargal, do you now know me?
Feargal. Why - you are the Ban-Sidhe!
Fin. And more besides. In truth I am the Goddess Maya of Atlantis. With my Golden Pin, My Comet, I bring visions of worlds in the making. I am Evening Star, Weaver of dreams. You are Cuculcan, Morning Star, the Awakener. We are One.
Music. Dance of Atlantean Spirits, Sidhe and Gaels.
End of Play.
Prs. Alch. (to Can.) How do you interpret this legend?
Can. To dream is not enough. We need the comet of inspiration, from a Goddess, a Lover, or from within ourselves.
Prs. Alch. You have attained the Initiation of Venus. (presents Venus amulet) The Divine Pylons of Power unite the Heavens and Earth.
Magical journey to the Land of Heart's Desire. Reports and Rays of Beauty are sent forth. Thanks are given to the Deities.
End of Rite.
Sources: “Fictions of the Irish Celts" , Kennedy, MacMillan, 1866. "The House of the Titans. Epic Poem", AE, MacMillan. "Lebor Gabala Erenn", trans. MacAlister, Irish Texts Society. "Critias", Plato, Everyman.
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