FOI Online Liturgy
Booklet: Athena, Arcadian Awakening
By: Olivia Robertson
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Chapter 5: Bohemia
“TO LIGHT THE FLAME WITHIN
WE NEED A SPARK FROM THE STARS.”
HOST IN BOHEMIA, PART NOW OF A MODERN STATE: SOPHIA DOROTHEA. VISITANTS: PATH GUIDE, AIDEN, PRIEST OF ALCHEMY. HELPER, ELAINE, PRIESTESS OF ALCHEMY. DEIRDRE OF THE VISIONS, ORACLE.
TEMPLE OF ARTS THE BOHEMIAN WOODS
AIDEN: We are fascinated, Sophia, that historical Bohemia still exists within this highly technical state! I wish you hadn’t lost your name “Bohemia” which everyone in the world has heard of! “La Boheme” is the most performed of all operas.
SOPHIA: That is not all we have lost. A whole magical tradition has dissipated, only kept alive in various esoteric societies, unknown to the world. I cannot tell you how many of such Orders I have joined – to no avail. The true mystery of “Rosa Alchemica” is kept from me. I am in despair.
ELAINE: Dear Sophia, Take Heart! When the soul is in despair, then the Goddess manifests in all Her Light. Let us invoke the golden beauty of the Goddess Vesta of the Eternal Flame!
DEIRDRE: Already I feel the Presence of Vesta. This is a secret holy place revered in ancient times by the Goddess of the Melusina solar flow of Divine Life.
AIDEN (RAISES STAFF): Holy Goddess Vesta, invisible to the eye of the profane, glorious in beauty to those who seek you, come among us to fill our emptiness!
ORACLE OF THE GODDESS VESTA
You call upon that which you have already! I speak through this visionary, yet I also come to you in silence, in darkness, when you are most in need. For I am the Divine Love that burns in the heart of all beings born of the Mother. And all are so born but are taught to ignore their own Divine nature. Ambitious teachers are possessed by a longing to create, to rule, to possess the souls of their followers. But when divine power is blocked, power diminishes, bringing despair. Then I come. But I must be sought for. It is your will which draws you to my will, in freedom. Unity with my eternal flame from the holy darkness brings you rebirth into your greater Being. Now feel my Presence of Light through your bodies! I come from below with Love, and from above as Wisdom. Where these meet, flowers the Mystic Rose. You are no longer alone. My Rose joins heart to heart with joy, and wisdom brings harmony.
ELAINE: We give thanks to the Goddess Vesta for Her Oracle.
AIDEN: It is customary for us to hear in truth why we have been invited to this beautiful Temple hidden in a wood that has just lost its protective covering of snow. We expect your narration.
SOPHIA: My soul is dry. I ask you to play some music of our Nature composers, Smetana, Dvorak and Sibelius for the trance.
My upbringing had no such romantic emphasis. My mother died giving me birth, and my father named me Sophia Dorothea after an ancestress who had a disastrous love affair. He said from this misfortune I should learn wisdom from my name Sophia – not the name of any Goddess or Saint, but of abstract Wisdom. So I had the most extraordinary upbringing. My father was a Professor of Astrophysics in our local University, and from the age of five I was introduced to spiral galaxies, “Black Holes,” and the folly of astrology. He was an F.R.A.S. My father always got irritated when the words “Astronomy” and “Astrology” were linked. I had no Guardian Angel, as my father explained that to have wings an angel would need a gigantic chest bone to support them. Actually, he gave the number in feet.
His faith lay in the immutable Laws of Physics. Saints could not levitate against the law of gravity – but he had to reconcile Newton and Einstein. One’s only hope of soul survival, after death, lay in Samuel Butler’s offer of vicarious existence. One lived on in people’s memory. This did not appeal to me. Ghosts and such phenomena were due to some energy not yet understood – I gather a sort of television that recorded the passing show. So I had no soul, nor had anyone else. We did or could have a vague God as an hypothesis.
But it was my moral education that he centred on, as I was his only child, and I suppose he loved me, though he never mentioned this. He would give me little lessons as to the proper reaction I should display to show forth my correct attitude. He was by profession a distinguished engineer, and had an immense admiration for the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
I was often told to imagine a bone-idle and drunken illegal immigrant lying by the bridge in a stupor. I held a live bomb. I had the choice. Either I should blow up the useless drunk – or the Golden Gate Bridge! And I invariably gave the wrong answer. I insisted on blowing up the Bridge.
Another query was often repeated. This concerned the Louvre in Paris with its painting of Leonardo’s Mona Lisa and other great works. Again I held a live bomb. I was either to blow up The Louvre – or a beggar boy sitting outside, cap for coins, busily defiling the pavement with graffiti of an objectionable sort. Once more I disappointed my father – I blew up the Louvre. Indeed, I animated both tramp and beggar into lively friends! So you can understand that having gained my degree in University to please him, I then rebelled against my father’s philosophy of the Greater Good – called Fascist, in going against the so-called laws of nature. I joined a group of drop-outs. Among these rebels I found a Lover.
At first he seemed ideal. He had long hair, was unshaved. He taught our group that we should do just what we wanted to. We should make love how and where we chose. He encouraged violent revolution – usually in the form of protests in foreign countries where we could make the most upheaval.
However, things did not go well with our relationship. As I was told I had total control of love making, I refused. I think it was his habit of swallowing poached eggs whole. Like all of our group he had to have his own way. We were like angels when all went well – but demons if we were “crossed”.
When I rejected the Lover he suddenly showed another side to his character. Proudly he told me he was “vengeful.” I soon got to know what that meant. He wished to have his revenge on his parents for being capitalists. He wished to punish the authorities for banning drugs. And above all he wished to punish anyone for offending his vanity. I realised that he was indeed a Lover: A lover of himself.
With difficulty I extricated myself from his group. But now I was completely alone. I was used to being instructed. I had learnt so much from my father that I had a Double First Degree in Physics and Mathematics in our University. And through the riotous years with the Lover and his eccentric friends I had made a reputation as a film maker. I even have my own television programme.
ELAINE: Then you seem to have all you need. You were a follower of Masters – Luciferian of heights and Satanic of the depths – and you come out looking very elegant and competent. Why do you need the Fellowship of Isis?
SOPHIA: You see my persona. I preside over programmes with the knowledge taught from my father, and the passionate feelings introduced by the Lover. But this learning and this passion, are not part of my real self! I feel I am becoming less and less real the more successful I become. My true self has become a shadow banished by a false Sophia forged by teachers.
So I hope to find myself. I do remember being a happy baby – before my education. I’ve had glimpses through music and friendship. But what finally terrified me was what happened to my father and the Lover. I have never told anyone this. But I must. My father has lapsed into deep “clinical melancholia.” He is shut in an icy realm where he is not aware of warmth, friends, even animals.
I did not recognise the Lover when I visited him in a basement flat in a rough part of his town. He was living in a secret world induced by hard drugs. He says he is in an underworld with blazing fires and many people – not beings I would care to meet, judging from his description. He had been so much in control of his followers – but now is dependent on outside help. He certainly needs it, but not from those to whom he turns, who are as ill as he is.
And I cannot help either him or my father. They have taken away my own self with their projections of what they wanted me to be. Perhaps they did love me as they thought I was . . . Then I met one of your members, a Priest of Isis, who said that I had given all I had to these two men and now I was empty of the life flow of the Goddess. They could not help me. Nor can I help them. So I turn to you.
PART TWO: ALCHEMICAL RITE
THE LAND OF MACARIA OF THE MYSTIC ROSE.
“TRUTH RULES ALL: LOVE IS WITHIN ALL.”
HOLY TEMPLE OF ISIS OF THE VESTAL FLAME - BOHEMIA
AIDEN: We are in your Holy Temple of Isis of the Vestal Flame. For us to help you, we have invoked the Goddess Vesta. She has been with you during your Temple sleep during the night. Are you willing to face the maze that brings the Heart’s Desire? It is an ordeal of the soul.
SOPHIA: It is an Initiation that I have been searching for all my life. I am practiced in soul journeys. I am prepared. I have slept with a lighted candle dedicated to Vesta of Enlightenment.
ELAINE: Preparation involves a determination to face the Truth, however painful – the truth facing oneself, without transferring wrong to others! I am here as Helper.
SOPHIA LIES ON A COUCH, ARMS FOLDED, EYES SHUT. SHE IS HERSELF ENTERING TRANCE STATE. SHE GIVES HER REPORT:
The desire of my heart is to find the magical land of Macaria. I have longed to find it since I read of it in Moore’s “Utopia” and Bacon’s “New Atlantis.” I am sure that it exists somewhere in all its perfection of Art and Nature. It may be an astral land – or a secret occult centre – or a retreat of Initiates of a spiritual Order. Or, more marvellous, extra-terrestrial visitants have it as a sane place where they can study and meditate in peace, away from earthly tumult.
AIDEN: You know too clearly what you want – so this blocks your actual adventure! You need the imagination of a child, not the schedule of an alumni! Try not to expect the unexpected. You find yourself before a doorway above which is a symbol of a rampant lion. Try and enter.
SOPHIA: This is quite easy. I go through. Then I hastily turn back. I face a real lion! Aiden, this is pretty obvious. He looks somewhat aggressive . . . did you create him? Or did Elaine? . . . I am shocked. The lion is addressing me in my native tongue. I will translate into English. It’s very clear . . .
LION: I am myself and need no Creator. Nor do you. You are arrogant, to hide your fear of being controlled. You would prefer me to be a lioness – say, Sekhmet!
SOPHIA: I feel annoyed. I say: “I never asked for you so what are you doing here interrupting my trance?” He answers: “Aiden is your earthly Path Guide. I am your Spirit Teacher. Do you accept me, or would you prefer some human Professor?” I say hastily that I do accept him. Otherwise I should have failed in my first test.
* * * Everything goes misty. I experience a change of state. It’s hard to report in English but I’ll try. You see I am in the dreamland of my childhood, where I used to find refuge from my father’s lessons. I found it when I refused to blow up a useless “drop-out” instead of the Golden Gate Bridge. I had pictured the man as a Romany. My father on our Council had just evicted a Romany camp. They were obstructing the building of steel works necessary for our State. They had to move into our forest where I found them – in my dreams. I dreamt I was taught the Bohemian Tarot and how to create animated friends from my toys. I admit I did have a toy lion called Leo. I used to cry into his mane when I found my physics lesson too hard.
The lion is saying that he had come to me as Leo and took me on magical journeys to the gypsy camp. Now he would take me there again. I would meet their King!
I am entering deeper into trance. It is now as real as everyday life . . . I will try and describe this place – I love it! There is a magnificent log fire and I realise it is in our Bohemian Wood. Men and women are busy preparing for some celebration. The women are rolling out some peculiar looking grey flat bread, and the men are decanting what looks like some beer or wine. It is a funny colour – greeny-brown with a strong rather pleasant odour – I wonder what they make it of?
I love the music. It is stringed, with drum beats. Suddenly there is a hush. From a hidden grove a young man is led forward. Despite the cold weather – some snow is still lying on tree branches – he is only wearing a shirt and denims. There are questions and answers from Elders, both men and women, and he appears to have answered successfully. I realise he has passed varied trials for courage and loyalty. * * *
Now I am witnessing a ritual that would have fascinated Queen Marie of Rumania, my ancestor, who honoured Romanies, and wrote a book about them. This was the crowning of their King!
Now the scene is attaining a new depth. The company are not only with their ancestors, who show themselves, but with their descendants, now not born!
What I am witnessing is the ceremonial and spiritual crowning of a King who has been chosen by the ancestors and acclaimed by the people. I won’t describe this . . . it is holy and private. I am in an altered state of consciousness. The lion is shining with golden light. We are surrounded by rainbow colours. My happiness is suddenly interrupted by the lion.
“Sophia,” he says. “Have you any wish?” I was about to say that I wanted for nothing – I was in bliss – when suddenly the image of my father came before me. “I would like my father to be here,” I said. Just for an instant I have a glimpse of my father’s state – melancholia giving way to amazement as he tries to see despite such strong light. He reaches out his hands to the company . . . then I lose the connection. I am in darkness, floating . . . I have never known a trance like this.
AIDEN: That is because you are not in an unreal world but an alternative reality. Do you wish to return or stay?
SOPHIA: I love being here! But where am I? * * * I find myself of all places, in a deserted chapel! There is a stone altar and some broken statues of mediaeval saints. I like the weeds growing through the floor. Outside are the most remarkable gargoyles! Plainly they depict unpopular clerics amidst demons acting as water outlets. Then I observe a heap of black clothing in the porch. To my surprise the heap moves and a human being sits up! She is conventionally dressed and her voluminous black cloak has an Astrakhan collar. She speaks in my native tongue: “So you have come to join me in my protest?”
“I would,” I reply, “if I knew what you were protesting about.” She looks at me with bright grey eyes. “I am protesting against folly,” she says. “I am surrounded by fools in the government, in the church, in my school. I am a headmistress by the way, so I can only get here at weekends and during the holidays. My Inspiration is Erasmus – You know his 'Praise of Folly' illustrated by Holbein?"
I look around. “But where are the others?” I ask. “The press – the police – other protesters?” “They are the fools against whom I protest,” she says. “I am a heretic hermit. Admittedly I have to cook my husband’s lunch shortly, and my children will be back from a nature walk – but I’ve been here for my usual night’s vigil. I feel I am more sane in the peace of nature here. I’ve only got forty minutes for you to join me. It’s cold but you may share my cloak.”
This is the strangest meditation I have ever experienced! This is not for forty minutes. Suddenly I am in a changed state of consciousness. The heavens open to reveal innumerable stars. Above all there is the sound of celestial music that transports my soul. The Light of Vesta is revealed to me. . . I am in the Land of Macaria, and I sit within the cloak of its Queen. But even as I awaken spiritually, the lion draws me back.
“Sophia, have you any request?”
Once more I feel like replying that I am in a state of divine awakening, and need nothing. But suddenly, I think of the Lover with his terrible companions in the wretched basement. I say: “I would like the man I called the Lover to be here.” From far away I see the form of the Lover looking young and cheerful as he used to be. I strain to hear his words. “I learn from you, Sophia Dorothea, I shall be a hermit.”
I try to bring all this beauty with me as I return from my journey. Then I understand. The lion presents me with a Rose, with luminous petals that fly far and wide.
END OF TRANCE.
ALL GIVE THEIR REPORTS AND SEND OUT RAYS OF HARMONY. THANKS ARE GIVEN TO THE DEITIES. A FEAST IS ENJOYED IN A HUT IN THE WOOD WITH A CANDLE LIGHTED TO VESTA.
End of Rite.
SOURCES:“The New Atlantis,” Francis Bacon. “A Description of the Famous Kingdom of Macaria.” Samuel Hartlib, as presented to the Long Parliament during the English Commonwealth. (It was well received, but the ideal State has yet to materialise.) “The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz,” Johann Valentin Andreae. “Viatorium,” Michael Maier. “The Rosicrucian Enlightenment,” Frances A. Yates, pub. by Ark. “The Tempest,” Shakespeare. “The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflote): Libretto,” Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. “Rosa Alchemica,” W.B. Yeats. “Isis in Bohemia,” Annals of the USA political club, 20th Century. “The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus” as found in a vault by Apollonius of Tyana.
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