Fellowship of Isis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Fellowship of Isis (FOI) is an international spiritual organization devoted to promoting awareness of the Goddess. It is dedicated specifically to the Egyptian goddess Isis because the FOI co-founders believed Isis best represented the energies of the dawning Aquarian Age. The FOI is a multi-faith, multi-racial, and multi-cultural organization, and despite worshipping pagan deities, does not consider itself to be a Neopagan faith, with its co-founder Olivia Robertson stating in 2002:

I would like to correct an inaccuracy in the definition of the Fellowship of Isis as a Pagan organization. We are happy to have thousands of Pagans among our 21,000 members in so many countries. But we also have Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, Spiritualists and Hindus as members. All love and follow the religion of Isis of 10,000 Names. [1]

All members in the Fellowship of Isis have equal privileges within it, and membership is free.[2] Membership is open to anyone who wishes to join – once an individual has read through the Fellowship of Isis Manifesto and finds themselves in agreement with the principles laid out within it. There are no vows of secrecy. Members are free to resign at any time, if they so choose and to rejoin again at a later time.[3]

History[edit]

The FOI was founded at Huntington Castle, Co. Carlow, Ireland at the Vernal Equinox of 1976. The three co-founders were Olivia Robertson[4] and her brother, Lawrence Durdin-Robertson (grandchildren of Thomas Herbert Robertson) and Lawrence's wife Pamela. Their aim was to create a fellowship to "help the Goddess actively in the manifestation of Her divine plan." Olivia has described Isis as "God in female form." The FOI grew out of a "working group" created in 1963 called the Huntington Castle Centre for Meditation and Study. This Centre was active in gathering together various occult and theological figures such as Philip Ross Nichols, Josephine and Mohun Lall, and Gerald Gough. The experiences shared within this group, along with the personal spiritual revelations and experiences of the three FOI co-founders led to the eventual founding of the Fellowship of Isis on the Vernal Equinox, 1976. From 1976 until the early 1990s, the group steadily grew.

In August 1993, the Fellowship of Isis was represented at the Parliament of the World's Religions at Chicago by Olivia Robertson and other member delegates. It is the first time that the Religion of the Goddess has been acknowledged as a world faith at this Parliament.[5] The Parliament "became a showcase for the new religions in America, especially since mainstream Christianity was much underrepresented . . . Two feminist neopagan groups, the Covenant of the Goddess and the Fellowship of Isis, were among the sponsors of the parliament." [6]

Custodianship of the legacy of the Fellowship of Isis has been entrusted to three Foundation Unions known as "The FOI Foundation Union Triad." The first was the Archpriesthood Union, created in January, 1999. It consists of 32 members of the FOI Priesthood, sixteen ArchPriestesses and sixteen ArchPriests. The ArchDruid Union and Grand Commander Union were founded by FOI Co-Founder Olivia Robertson in October, 2009. The ArchDruid Union consists of 32 ArchDruids and ArchDruidesses of the Druid Clan of Dana. The Grand Commander Union consists of 32 Grand Knight Commanders and Grand Dame Commanders of the Noble Order of Tara. These two new unions join the ArchPriesthood Union to form the Fellowship of Isis Foundation Union Triad. Together the three unions act as "Custodians of the Legacy" of the Fellowship of Isis.

A series of advisory boards has also been created by FOI Co-Founder Olivia Robertson to act as consultancies. The Star of Isis-AU consists of ArchPriesthood Union members. It was created by Olivia Robertson in 2003. Owing to the rapid expansion of the Fellowship of Isis over the past several years, the Star of Isis-AU has been joined by the Circle of Brigid (Ireland, 2004), Circle of Isis (USA, UK, Germany, 2004.) Circle of Pelagia (USA, 2006), Nemeton of Dana (for the Druid Clan of Dana, 2006), Round Table of Tara (for the Noble Order of Tara, 2006) and Star of Elen (United Kingdom, USA and Europe, 2008). The authorized central websites for the Fellowship of Isis are: the Circle of Isis (Fellowship of Isis Central), the Star of Elen, FOI Germany and the Fellowship of Isis Homepage Archive. The authorization of 'central' sites around the world is part of the continuing decentralization process initiated by FOI Co-Founder Olivia Robertson. The Fellowship is a good example of a globally organised religion, whose international and Internet presence is very large by comparison with its Irish base.[7]

Practices[edit]

"Over the past 30 years a body of liturgy has developed, detailing how the [Manifesto] principles can be practised by interested members through establishing a relationship between self and deity. Members are encouraged to express this spiritual relationship by enacting rituals, prayers and meditations, as detailed in the liturgy. This liturgy is drawn from the ritual structures of contemporary paganisms, Goddess spirituality and diverse archaeological scholarship into religious experience in the ancient world."[8] The Liturgy of the Fellowship of Isis was written by Olivia Robertson, each ritual honouring different pantheons, and including a divinely channeled oracle encouraging spiritual communion with that Deity. These rites may be used for personal spiritual enhancement or, via instruction from a Fellowship of Isis center, various degrees may be attained.[9]

Focus[edit]

The stated goal of the Fellowship of Isis is to support and promote the idea of the Divine Feminine. The Fellowship of Isis Manifesto sets out the basic principles of this society. The Fellowship accepts religious toleration, and is not exclusivist. Members are free to maintain other religious allegiances. The good in all faiths is honoured. The Fellowship of Isis has no particular affiliations. It practices total religious tolerance, forbids sacrifice of any kind and discourages asceticism. [10]

The Fellowship is dedicated to spreading the religion of all the Goddesses throughout this planet. The Gods are also venerated. The Goddess is seen as Deity, the Divine Mother of all beings, as well as the embodiment of Truth and Beauty. "The ecumenical nature of this nonprofit organization reveals itself in a membership that includes Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Shintoists, Cabalists, Spiritualists, and Wiccan and pagan worshippers of all kinds." [11]

FOI sub-groups, called "FOI Foundation Center Societies" or "Daughter Societies" of the Fellowship of Isis consist of the ‘College of Isis’ (Lyceums), the ‘Spiral of the Adepti’ (Iseums), the ‘Spiral of Alchemy’ (Solar Iseums), the 'Druid Clan of Dana' (Groves) and the 'Noble Order of Tara' (Priories). There are sub-chapters of these societies of the FOI in many major cities and countries around the world.

The Fellowship of Isis claims over 24,000 members in nearly a hundred countries. Members often blend their own traditions and beliefs with those offered by the Fellowship.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Notice". Fellowship of Isis Homepage Archive. 
  2. ^ Adler, Margot. Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today. New York: Penguin Group, 2006.
  3. ^ Robertson, Olivia. The Handbook of the Fellowship of Isis. Enniscorthy: Cesara Publications, 1992.
  4. ^ "Biography". FOI Homepage. 
  5. ^ a b Robertson, Olivia. The Handbook of the Fellowship of Isis. Enniscorthy: Cesara Publications, 1992.
  6. ^ Keller, Rosemary Skinner & Ruether, Rosemary Radford. In Our Own Voices, Four Centuries of American Women's Religious Writings. San Francisco: Westminster John Knox Press, 1995. pg. 428.
  7. ^ Maignant, Catherine, "Irish base, global religion: the Fellowship of Isis". 53 - 73 in Olivia Cosgrove et al. (eds), Ireland's new religious movements. Cambridge Scholars, 2011
  8. ^ Melton, Gordon J., and Partridge, Christopher, New Religions: A Guide: New Religious Movements, Sects and Alternative Spiritualities. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. pg. 300
  9. ^ Robertson, Olivia. The Call of Isis. Neptune Press, London for Cesara Publications: Ireland, 1993.
  10. ^ Olivia Robertson; Lawrence & Pamela Durdin-Robertson (1976). The Fellowship of Isis Manifesto. 
  11. ^ Cott, Jonathan, Isis and Osiris. New York: Doubleday, 1995. pg. 52.

External links[edit]

Officially authorized global F.O.I. websites in alphabetical order: