Founder of the internationally renowned Fellowship of Isis, and long standing elder of the world wide Goddess community, Lady Olivia was born on Friday April 13th 1917, in London. Of Irish descent Olivia studied at the Grovesnor School of Modern Art in London before embarking on a very creative career as a novelist and artist before deciding to found the Fellowship of Isis in 1976. Now in her 90th year, she still tours all over the world and attends the Glastonbury Goddess conference each year. Lady Olivia Robertson has inspired countless millions of people to get in touch with their own personal goddess-centred spirituality.Please bear in mind that the interview was held 15 years ago in 1992, so some questions and answers may seem a little out of context now. Enjoy!
Lady Olivia Robertson
On April 29th 1993 I found myself sitting in the offices of Psychic News in central London. I was there to interview Olivia Robertson, co founder of the Fellowship of Isis. She had flown into London for the re launch of her book The Call of Isis, which had been re published by Neptune Press. I took the opportunity to speak with her before the party began.Alex: Your book The Call of Isis has been described as a psychic autobiography. When did you first hear this call?
Olivia: I would say ever since I was born. You might say that going to the pantomime to see Cinderella, and seeing the fairy godmother throw off her black cloak and revealing herself was my first call, but it is always a secret call, you don't realise it is there. I really didn't think I would be doing all of this. I was a perfectly respectable Anglo-Irish writer. People used to ask if I was writing any more books, and I used to reply, yes I'm doing the Fellowship of Isis, and they used to reply, no, your books! They wouldn't accept it. When I first saw the goddess, or rather, when I use the word Goddess I mean there is a whole hierarchy of beings more evolved than we are, She was made of pure white light. I think in some ways they are connected to ancient chariots that go across the sky. People don't seem to like this idea, but why not? Then I saw the gold lady. She is the one you see when you go to sleep. She had long gold hair and a turquoise blue robe. I believe in the god as well, and i have seen male beings. I just feel that humanity at the moment needs the female aspect.
Alex: The FOI states that anyone can join no matter what ones other religion, creed or background, and more importantly, that they can retain their other allegiances and be a full and active member of the fellowship. How compatible is, lets say mainstream Christianity to the FOI?
Olivia: Well we do have a lot of mainstream Christians as members. We have Tony Grist, the clergyman who writes for the guardian and we have two Roman Catholic monks, one who works in the Vatican, he's a Jesuit, and a Benedictine monk, who actually got us into the Parliament of World Religions. We are the first goddess based religion that has been acknowledged. They have been all men up to now, nothing but long beards, bald heads and dog collars could be seen. We are going to give them a bit of a surprise I think!
Alex: (Laughing) What made you decide to initially set up th FOI?
Olivia: Looking back I am the most unorganized person. I am an author and a painter. I love solitary meditation. I love parties too, but I do like being on my own. I was guided by the goddess to do it, along with my (late) brother Lawrence who is an ordained clergy man and his late wife Pamela.
Alex: The FOI manifesto states that you have no rules. There are no vows of secrecy or regulations. In fact the FOI is probably the worlds only open occult society. Why did you decide to have this policy?
Olivia: Well we were and still are living in Ireland where Catholics and Protestants are still shooting at each other. This made us feel that we should have an organisation where people could find their own spirituality, there own path. You see people who join seem to have all there own ideas and backgrounds; a Jesuit is going to have all his own ideas, rules and regulations just as a member of an occult order has theirs. Therefore we couldn't have any rules because everyone else has there own! For instance the Nigerian members each have many wives. I got a bit puzzled when I got a letter saying Mr. this and Mrs. that and then a whole lot more Mrs!
(At this point the Tea arrives, and we take a welcome slurp or two...)
Alex: So why do you think the FOI has so many members in Nigeria?
Olivia: Well I think that perhaps Nigeria is more untouched than some other African countries, for instance there are less white settlers, therefore less missionaries to stamp out native traditions. I have no idea where they heard about us, word of mouth I suppose.
Alex: Why did you set up a priesthood in an organisation which appears to be non-hierarchical?
Olivia: We were asked by a lady who wanted to be a priestess. Nearly everything we do is because someone asks us to do it. The FOI is non-hierarchical because we are modern. I mean all this prostrating and bowing and occult orders bossing people around. We just don't like that.
Alex: The Druid Clan of Dana is one of the more recent formations of the fellowship. Why another Druid order when there are so many already?
Olivia: Because the poor Irish druids who are among the oldest seemed to be totally ignored. So we thought we could do something about this. We felt that although there are druids in Ireland anyway, we could enable something to manifest. My brother and I were initiated by an aged hermit called Mr. Fox. He actually saw the ancient race of Ireland in vision. He introduced me to the Sidhe. I was given an initiation by this holy man who lived by the river Slaney at an ancient site. It was totally overgrown and people wouldn't go there because they were afraid.
Alex: When was this?
Olivia: When I was a child of about 10, during the 1930s. Later on I began to see a white lady who told me that her name was Dana. At the time I didn't want to give her a name but she told me three times, so I had to accept it! She is queen of the whole earth. I am very against the racism of the Celts. I have a theory that the white race is going downhill rapidly, and feels it's being submerged. People actually pay Americans to adopt Irish children because they are not black. They actually try to bribe Irish mothers because there children are regarded as white Celts. Neo-Nazis no longer call themselves Arian or Nordic, instead they decide to be Celtic! Therefore Celtic racism can be a sort of gentile way, (rather like talking about the bog, instead you refer to the loo or the comfort station). The only sort of people who can be used as a subterfuge for racism is the Celt! Therefore we particularly want to say that Dana is queen of the whole earth, and we have no racism in the FOI. Anyone can join and use the holy spirits of their own lands. Do you know I have had people say to me that you cannot practice Druidry unless you are Celtic, and you cannot enter the Isles of the Blessed unless you are born of our sacred race. This is serious, just look at Bosnia.
Alex: Yes exactly! Racism has no place at all, ever in any religion or indeed anywhere! People need to become more tolerant and inclusive. On a lighter note my last question is this: what would you say a typical day at Clonegal Castle would be?
Clonegal Castle, foundation centre for the Fellowship of Isis
Olivia: Well I get up at 5.30 am every day and at 6.30 I go into the Temple of Isis and anoint my brow. Here I meditate until 8.30. Then in the evenings, again from 6.30 until 8.30 we have mediation in the temple. I feel these attunement times are important. Many people attune with us from all over the world at these times.
Alex: Thank you Olivia, it has been a joy to meet you.
Special thanks to Ronnie Hudson, priestess of Isis, for encouraging me to re-publish this long out of print interview.
Photographs taken from authors private collection, donated by Olivia in 1994.
For further information on the FOI click here: www.fellowshipofisis.com