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This Fellowship of Isis website has been authorized by the FOI Foundation Center: Clonegal Castle, Enniscorthy, Eire

FOI Online Liturgy
Booklet: Ishtar of the Starry Heavens,
Shape-Shifting of the Alchemical Twins
Written by: Olivia Robertson

Printable PDF File

Introduction to Rituals 1 & 2

What was “The Palladium”? Why did its possession mean preserving the land where it was guarded? As a child I was fascinated by a description in “The Iliad” of “The Luck of Troy”, and how the cunning Odysseus - whose father was both thief and king – stole it! And so Troy fell, its people massacred or enslaved – and the Greeks had “The Luck of Troy”. My brother said it was believed to be a figure of The Goddess.

I tracked its magical story. The Trojans, it was said, deceived the Greeks with a false “Luck” – the Goddess Venus Herself gave the true Icon to her lover, Anchises, who in turn gave it to his son Aeneas. And we all know that Aenaes founded Rome, and so the Roman Empire. Then I noticed a parallel history. The Greek hero Theseus solved the Mystery of the Labyrinth of Crete and fled with King Minos’ daughter – and I imagine, the Luck itself, or a sister of the Luck.

What was it like? Venus gave the Icon to Rome; Pallas Athena, Guardian of Odysseus, to Athens. Here it was called “The Palladium” after her Name of Power, Pallas. I think I found my own answer in the British Museum. Here was a drawing of the mighty statue of Pallas Athena, erected to overlook the Bay of Athens. What I noticed was that this was a Cretan statue. It was not in the Greek style but was derived from an earlier Minoan figure. There was a serpent coiled beneath her shield – The Gorgon. But above all she was a fractal. She held a replica of herself, called Nike, Victory. Allow this figure to hold a replica of herself also, and you have a diminishing figure through the spheres of being, reaching atomic level. But, using your imagination, you could see, if you believed in Goddesses and Gods who filled the sky, a mighty Goddess holding Pallas Athena in one hand!

So the figure overlooking the sea could represent evolving life through multi-dimensional existence. We not only evolve physically, but also through the spheres of consciousness. As above, so below. Every human, every insect, every atom is represented through the planes.

What happened to this Fractal Goddess Icon? It had to be a Goddess, whether you call it “The Luck of Troy,” “The Palladium,” or “The Grael,” because only a woman could reproduce herself by giving birth of a daughter. Her fulfillment was to give birth to her polarity, a boy. The goal of the Eleusinian, Sufi and Gnostic paths is to give birth to one’s Inner Self. Maybe Leonardo was painting the mystery of Mona Lisa’s pregnancy – showing her and her future child. I am also reminded of his famous cartoon of the Virgin sitting with her child on the lap of her Divine Mother whose radiant face and raised hand points the inner way to realisation.

Many mystic practitioners, especially alchemists, followed the path of spiritual transformation, not through scientific methods, by enhancing consciousness. Among these were idealists of the 18th century Enlightenment. It was the French who presented their allies the American Republicans with the Statue of Liberty, now dominating New York harbour. They knew what they were doing.

I have painted a five-fold Palladium myself, superimposing it over a silver Piscean Madonna… She has vermilion hair, very long, and she holds her baby girl, also with long red hair. The baby holds a doll with spiky red hair. The doll holds a mini-doll . . .

She is Brigid holding Bride: Magdalene holding Sophia. Something was lacking. Were we only to diminish in consciousness? No! So I painted giant hands coming out of a tumultuous sky, enfolding the figure in a maternal embrace.

How may we explore other realms of consciousness? As I thought this, I realised we in Ireland inherit the gifts of The Sidhe – The “Shee” – a parallel evolution who ascend in consciousness not through biological development but through the sacred elements. For instance the Goddess Cerridwen of Wales offers Inspiration, Prophecy and Shape-shifting through her magical cauldron. In Scotland Pressine gives us knowledge of the past, Melusine of France bestows dragon magic, Kundalini – Palestrine access to the Many-Coloured Land, the astral plane, and Melior gives vitality. The Tuatha De Danann give their four treasures relating to the elements. And every land has its Sidhe – the Gandavas and Apsanas of India, the Valkyrie of the Norse, the Peris of Persia, the peoples of the Elements of all lands, into a rainbow harmony with humans, to save our planet – our mutual home.

To change the lesser, you need to contact the greater. So to form a starry network we need to contact the divine inhabitants of the stars – whether Deities, Angels, The Sidhe. We ourselves are “the Missing Link” between apes and perfected humanity. We can ourselves discover our own fractals, bringing our greater and our lesser selves into conscious relationship. We shall learn to manage our own germs and viruses! Self-heal ourselves, and we heal the world.

Introduction to Rituals 3 & 4

My spiritual adventures began in 1946, with a vision of the Holy Grael of the last supper, man sacrificing himself in the way women do when they give birth. In 1976 my brother and I had great joy in creating a chapel round our Holy Well, which is associated with the Goddess and Saint, Brighid. It has been suggested that a Priory of St. Brighid (associated with Priory O’Neill) once existed on the castle site round the well. We used the water, which never runs dry, for drinking, and in 1976 began using it ceremoniously as part of our Fellowship of Isis ceremonies. It possesses healing power and other virtues.

It happened that a distinguished tapestry worker from Holland presented our Temple of Isis with a giant tapestry roughly woven from Hessian. Some of it with her blood was woven into the pattern. This showed a huge ochre-coloured womb, and round it was depicted an enormous pair of woman’s thighs. The vaginal canal was indicated by the space for a door. My nephew David, a sculptor, was delighted by this gift. The artist chose my drawing-room door as the site for hanging this tapestry.

I was not pleased. During the day I had to enter my beautiful white and blue drawing-room through a giant woman’s legs, beneath her equally giant womb. In the end I endured this no longer. Originally the work had been donated to our temple: it should go there! So I summoned our builder, who did our work for the Temple. I asked him to hang the tapestry behind our well. He pointed out that it was far too long, but I directed that the woman’s legs should be folded back round our dolman altar. He did so.

My nephew was so furious at this desecration of a work of art – worth thousands – that he butted his head against a pillar .  I myself would have preferred a Glastonbury style hanging of “La Dame a la Licorne” – something Camelot.

I also wondered what on earth our neighbours would think. So I went to our Housekeeper, a monument of Catholic propriety, and asked her to come and see the masterpiece in the Temple. Apprehensively, I showed her the work.  ***  She exclaimed in delight: “It is beautiful! It’s the Chalice!” And so it remained ever since. I regarded this as a useful mistake on her part. Only on reading “The Da Vinci Code” did I accept the womb as the Chalice.

One can really regard Dan Brown as a “Parsifal uncovering the Holy Grael” because for millions he has revealed the chalice as a womb. Well and good. But now came a danger. We had escaped “blood lines” through democracy. This revival of “Blood Lines” seemed fascist, a return to “Aryan supremacy” - “the Chosen People” - “the Superman.” Rumours of Indigo Children, superior offspring of extra-terrestrials! Personally I rather preferred the Merovingians: they did not cut their hair, healed by laying on of hands, conversed with beasts, and had the charm of being descended from a Sea Monster. Could one want more?

But we must evolve. We are 2 percent human, we are assured by scientists – 98 percent chimpanzees. How do we know that there are not people walking around like Da Vinci? 98 percent humans, 2 percent extra-terrestrial?

So do we end up as evil-minded as the genocidal racists of the 20th century? Do we develop the paranoia that gives us delusions of DNA stemming from Atlantis – from Christ – from Akhenaton – from Gods – Nephilim – UFOnauts? There must be an answer. Here is mine.

Life is not a Patriarchal hierarchy, mounting a ladder of importance, licking the feet of those above, kicking the noses of those below. Life is not a caste system. Life is bodied forth from the divine womb of the Mother Goddess, inspired by the Father God. From this democratic holy grael of the cosmic womb are birthed every creature, whether Deity or insect, equally loved and cared for. The animals on our earth have their own evolution carried on in the inner planes, whence come the Holy Beasts – the Kerubim, and the divine birds and reptiles of the Ancient Egyptian Pantheon. As for trees – the Monkey Puzzle Tree is a God in its home in South America.

With this new vision I now accept the Grael tapestry behind our well as the womb of the Goddess who brings forth all that is.

Introduction to Rituals 5 & 6

I shall never forget reading an odd item in a magazine. It was the account of a soldier on sentry duty in one of the great western armies:

“I was on sentry duty, Sir, when I observed an Angel coming down from the sky.”
“What did you do?”
“I challenged him, Sir. He did not reply.”
“What did you do then?”
“I shot him, Sir.”
“What happened to him?”
“He went off, Sir, up into the sky.”

Yes, friend or foe? I wonder what message the angel was bringing. Possibly “Peace to men of goodwill.” But it brought to my mind a particular interest I have in the “Yes” or “No” that is within each one of us. I have to regulate my own desire for good manners, with the national attitudes that prevail where I travel.

To give an example: In the United States, when I am asked “How are you doing?” I need to reply, enthusiastically, “Fine.” On being questioned on my air journey, having just been “frisked” for weapons, I have to state that I enjoyed it. If questioned on the success of The Fellowship of Isis, we are, of course, also doing fine.

But on return to Ireland, I have to reverse the procedure. On being asked how I am, I have to say cautiously, “Not so bad.” On the success of my recent book: “Could be worse.” On my air journey, “Terrible. I had a tornado raging under our plane.”

In the USA you may express admiration for a child as “Cute, gorgeous, smart.” But in Ireland this is to incur a psychic threat from the faery folk who may wish to kidnap the child, or awaken the Envious Eye of one’s enemies. One Cork friend told me he could not cross fields in the dark for fear he would be shot - whether as poacher or immigrant. As for my relatives up in the Orkneys off Scotland – not only oneself but our country is hovering on the brink of disaster – only possibly to be alleviated by touching wood.

Ah! I think I have the answer, between Affirmation and Denial. New Agers place their hopes for love, success and happiness on nip-and-tuck surgery for beauty, expensive courses for spirituality (insuring a good life beyond the grave), and therapies to remain young, attractive, healthy and rich. The catch-phrase is: “Use positive will-power and you can achieve anything you want.”

But the superstitious followers of the ancient Gods who touch wood, humble themselves, keep a low profile before Gods and neighbours, are wise to appease the Foe. Attraction and Repulsion are twins. For who can avoid loss, heart-break, illness, old age and death?

My own solution is to accept both good and bad fortune as the light and shade of this earthly school, which is a projection of Divine Reality. The Goddess Devi is both creator and destroyer.

When the Angel brought the soldier’s bullet back with him to heaven, having failed to deliver The Message, he may have commented: “To the soldier I came both as friend and foe; for I gave him the hard choice between his duty and Revelation.”

Introduction to Rituals 7 & 8

My mother frequently quoted to me the punch-line of a vicar during a rousing sermon: “Do you believe in black cats or God?”

My mother reported that the congregation were duly shamed…So much for superstition.

But nowadays, when I contemplated happy children seated round a large statue of the Egyptian Cat Goddess Bast after one of our Goddess ceremonies, I saw truly that God and cat are One: Goddess and God are one: Star and butterfly are One.

The magical harmony of spiritual alchemy evokes recognition of the Divine in all that is. Whether you call this the Holy Spirit, or The Light, or Mother and Father of All, the meaning is clear. Basically there is only God/Goddess. All deviations, sin, suffering, folly, are but transient shadows of the Real, the price paid for experience. The secret of alchemy is that the transformation of basic elements into gold is true literally as well as spiritually. My cousin, the Irish scientist Charles Parsons, could through the use of atoms transmute elements: the price of creating gold in this manner would be prohibitively expensive – but not impossible. So it is with matter into spirit. In essence they are One.

Once a lady wished to win a flower exhibition; so she cut water lilies for a vase, severing their vulgar thick slimy roots and rescued them from their home in the earth.  The flowers reacted at once by closing their petals: plant-protest of a worker’s strike action. But alas, we have treated our children - and ourselves with like folly. To give an example, I was taught when young that the best schools in England – therefore of course in the world – were the triad, Eton, Harrow and Winchester. Maharajas and Sheiks – sundry Royals, were sent to these colleges in order to achieve a superior Western caste. The strangest testimonial I have ever heard was a claim on behalf of Winchester. This was to press its status as superior even to Eton … I was solemnly informed: “Some officers serving in the Far East during the 2nd World War, found themselves in prisoner-of-war camps. Of course among them were Etonians and Harrovians. But it was officers who had been to Winchester who stood up best to torture!” Just the encouragement mothers would need to send their offspring to this establishment.

Discipline of the period, forced on girls, emphasised purity – suitability for a good marriage. For instance, we girls always referred to our monthly periods as ‘The Curse’. We were told by our clergy that any pain was “sent by God as punishment for Eve’s sin.” The same curse also was alleged to have been exacted during the sufferings of child-birth. Hence women having given birth were instructed to undergo a bizarre church ceremony in the Prayer Book, “The Churching of Women”. This rite was to cleanse mothers from the stain of “Original Sin.” My brother Lawrence, when a Rector, had to perform this insulting ceremony for new mothers. Later he deeply regretted this, when he was converted to the Religion of the Goddess.

What is the reason for this Puritanism that still afflicts major world religions? What is the cure? I like the Ancient Egyptians, who thousands of years ago walked naked and unashamed. I found my own answer in the Alchemy of Isis: how She brought through the Isian Mysteries of the Inner Sun of Ra, which is within all that is. Therefore the transcendent Deity, the One, is manifested through the Many – a Pantheon of Deities, every sort of spirit, and all creatures upon the earth – including humans. The Aten, the Inner Sun of Akhenaton, expresses this unity in diversity, by showing a multitude of rays from one central source.

With the development of material science, an unnatural duality took place which cruelly divided man from nature. Patriarchal religion insisted that man had dominion over all lesser creatures, including women.

Darwin was a revolutionary who terrified patriarchs. I offer a ridiculous picture! We can imagine a Royal portrait gallery in a palace, with noble men and women painted wearing ostrich plumes in their hats, their bodies cloaked in ermine skins, and their feet squeezed into leather shoes. But as the gallery reaches its end, behind black curtains are depicted earlier ancestors, including chimpanzees and gorillas, tastefully arrayed with plumed chapeaux, ermine cloaks and leather boots. Puss in Boots? Is he there?

By all means let us ascend to the heights and grow spiritual wings! But let us salvage from the depths of the past our individual souls, wrought courageously through evolving physical matter.

There is no little, no great in Divinity. The cosmic Black Hole and the smallest womb are the nursery of a multitude of beings of every dimension. The eyes of a cat are the Eyes of the Mother Goddess: inscrutable, knowing: beautiful.  

Introduction to Rituals 9 & 10

Wars. Tribal disputes. Anger in families. World conflict. Meditating on these ever increasing perils, through our brilliant but ill-used technology – suddenly it came to me!

One word. Duality. “I am right. You are dead.” “My Truth is THE Truth. Yours is heresy.” Or as a gardener’s boy said to my father two centuries ago: “Everything you say is right, and all I say is either rot or pip!”

Oh yes – there are handy usages to mitigate One Truth: you can put the indefinite article, “A” instead of “The.” Instead of I and Me, you use “You” and change “Them” to “Us.” Instead of saying “Humans are greedy,” you just insert: “We humans are greedy.” Thus we condemn ourselves.

But why are we even more estranged from each other nowadays? Why are our religions born again in dogmatic warfare?

The religion of the Goddess has helped me to understand our terrible problems of child and woman abuse, war atrocities and youthful violence. These at root spring from our babyhood. From the moment we can feel and hear and see, we dwell in a divided world of good and evil. As my brother Lawrence would point out: “Positive, right, correct, straight, white, is called ‘Good’. Negative, left, eccentric, curved, black, is ‘Bad.’ ” Yet everyone is a mixture of both.

In television series, there are “white” witches (good) and “black” witches (bad). Every good witch is provided with a “demon”. Every Buffy has her vampire. This leads to paranoia, even affecting politics. The Twin Towers of the New York catastrophe have, in my hearing, been destroyed not by the usual suspects, but by evil secret governments, cultist rings, shadowy Orders – sinister races – you name it. By the way, recently a family in England, all with ginger hair --- have been forced to leave their home – because of having red hair. The Devil apparently has RED HAIR. Is he also Irish?

I have been forced to discover a personal solution because of the cruel duality introduced to me when, at 8 years old, I left nice safe suburban Reigate in Surrey, to live in Ireland, just after a civil war. My new neighbours called themselves “good,” and their opponents “bad.” My favourite old lady invariably called our Government of the new Irish Free State – “those murderers.” What was a child to make of it? Because my grandmother, Lady Parsons, a British General’s widow, of liberal views, frequently entertained these “murderers,” including the President Cosgrave, to coffee parties - while I handed round coffee and walnuts with cream-cheese, outside the window, detectives were lurking in the shrubbery – ready to arrest would-be “murderers.” The kindly cook declared that the more detectives there were, the greater our prestige. (It was at this time that I learnt never really to believe anything that grown-ups told me.)

To give another example: During the apartheid era in South Africa, one intellectual author told me that in a fruit shop he told the assistant he would not buy oranges from South Africa. “To be sure,” said the assistant sympathetically, “them Blacks is awful.” Oddly, my friend usually very vocal – said he simply lacked the energy to explain the boycott. She would not have agreed.

All right – what is my recipe for winning harmony of opposites? Find out who the murderer, the devil, the traitor, truly is. A German lady came to me some years ago for a course in Witchcraft. Not sure that I was a witch, I was game to try. So I gave her a 3 day crash course, in our Chapel. Things went swimmingly at first, and she entered trance easily. Then I was indignant when she proceeded to see The Devil – and in OUR Chapel. At first I thought of denying the trance vision, or doing exorcism, or giving the Fiend psychic healing. Then I asked Isis for inspiration. It was a simple directive. So I said to her: “Ask! Who is the Devil.” There was a long pause. Finally she replied: “he is my Professor.” So then we could clean up her problem, understanding it.

I practised the same method with a man in trance, who met a Dragon. This Dragon prevented him from reaching his goal. When he tried to pass by the left – the dragon stopped him. He was also barred from the right. Finally, though I suggested an elegant fly-over – he couldn’t rise. So he crawled under the dragon in an undignified, unknightly way…

I said, “Ask the Dragon for his name.” Pause. Then: “The Dragon’s Name is Inertia.”

I have discovered that our fears and phobias derive from a black ocean of terror, passion, desire for survival that exists through the animal evolution of our bodies. We are growing spiritual wings, and are deeply ashamed of our own natural earthly passions. That is why aberrations are covered up – not only for safety but because of shame. Even silly jokes are no cure, but tend to mask this repudiation of a “lower nature.”

The path of alchemy is not to reject the lower, the Underworld ruled by Persephone and Hades, by Queen Allat, but by re-cycling our deeply rooted experience from Mother Earth, and so like plants reach up to the Sun.

How can this help us now, in danger from climatic changes possibly cataclysmic? We are not only a new Atlantis like New Orleans and the Mexico Bay. The whole planet may suffer the Great Deluge once derided as fiction. Where is Noah’s ark? Our Babylonian boat? Where are the safe ports?

If we think in terms of statistics, we fail. It is only through each soul that happiness is discovered. Rebirth comes from the return of the Dove of Spirit – Ishtar – the Divine Sophia. My mind goes back to a tiny rocking boat in a children’s playground, situated in a slum area in Dublin.

I was in charge of about 400 children – in the nineteen forties. I suddenly was drawn to a noisy outbreak. A crowd of small children – with their ginger and blond hair – surrounding a tiny African girl, with very frizzy black hair, a pretty black face, and a silver cross worn over her dress. They had obviously never seen anyone that colour before. They were pointing and some were even crying.

I instantly took charge. I picked up the little girl in my arms and put her in the rocking-boat. Then I told a little fair-haired pink-cheeked boy to get in with her. They gazed at each other amazed. Then they both smiled – then laughed! – and began vigorously sailing up and down in their tiny Ark, in a sea of grey concrete.

Whatever comes, if we can have friends – and no enemies – we will be happy, as we sail through life to the Land of Heart’s Desire.

Introduction to Rituals 11 & 12

How often do we hear the words: “You are a dreamer – you should get into the real world!” Or the abbreviated version: “Get real!”

How depressing. The dream world is beautiful, hopeful, kind, imaginative. “The Real World” is harsh, cruel, stupid and meaningless. But we are told it is the only world that exists! Life after death is a delusion. Life before death is non-existent. Goddesses and Gods, Angels and Nature Spirits, Faeries, Spirits – are hallucinations. No wonder anti-depressive drugs are sold in billions, and suicides increase among young people. How can we live without hope, joy, and eternal love?

For me, space and time exist in total reality. It is all there – NOW . . . Space is a mighty spiral of planetary and stellar scenes that exist in eternity. Time is not a line with a beginning and an end. It is a radiating centre that pierces through all galactic centres – and in every atom, every being.

Fine words? I have discovered this on my own – not out of books or courses! I found my prophetic gift developed when I would say of the future: “What actually did happen?” As a child I regarded myself as “Olivia in History Land.” It was all there and I could act in different chapters. I could come back to the book when I liked, and become a little figure in coloured illustrations. I left the book “through the margin.”

As I grew up, I would know when people were going to die. So when the time came I would turn up during sleep hours, to give a helping hand. I noticed that I would appear as the dying person imagined, “the immortal Beloved.” Only children seemed to like me as me! I could speak what I called “think-thought language.” This came out in the language of the person concerned. When I was visited by Divine Beings, they all spoke with an English accent! There is a psychic translator within the soul.

As I grew older I learnt that what one psychically sees of future events can appear alarming. Yet this is not often the case when they really happen. To give an example, I used to be horrified by psychic visits to future cities that were roofed in with vast halls – giant restaurants – restrooms and long glassy corridors. I felt it was frightening, inhuman. After all, I was living in the deep Irish countryside. Years later on a visit to Dublin, I was amazed to find a huge building complex exactly as I had once seen in vision. This was my first experience of a shopping complex, replete with all the restaurants, shops – roofed in! And I liked it! After all, the people were friendly, not aliens, and the food was good, the shops fun. So much for my prophetic fears!

So which is the Real World – the astral spheres of beauty which we long for – or the material world around us? Before I studied Isian Alchemy I would have believed that Heaven was eternal, real. This world was only an illusion created as a learning experience, preparing us for better things. To despise the world, to seek higher spiritual being, was taught in practically every spiritual book I read.

But as we move away from the Patriarchal intellectual ladder of the philosophical hierarchy – a ladder with GOOD at the top and BAD at the muddy bottom, were all acts of love, eating, drinking, sport, fun, a temporary delusion? Did I need to disappear into some New Age Hermitage? Or could I include the earth, material existence, within The Divine Whole?

Answer for me – yes! You don’t defeat evil by fighting it, ignoring it, hating it. You re-cycle it, much as we re-cycle organic compost! Mother Nature is not profligate as is assumed. Every atom – you name it – is part of the almighty whole, which includes galaxies and the feared Black Holes. After all Black Holes are tunnels between the spheres of being.

I received from the Realm of Spirit a handy method of achieving Harmony with diversity. Take a long strip of paper and write a horizontal line of emblems of religions, political parties, people – species – whatever interests you. They are of course all separate. Now fold the paper in squares, a separate square for each emblem. Take a sharp instrument – and pierce the thickness of the folded paper. Thus each emblem, once separate, are One! You can call the paper, Space or Love: the instrument – Time, or Truth. By identifying with Centre, you can happily travel the Spheres, knowing that Infinite variety is yet linked through Divine Centre.

Reality is where you ARE NOW.

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