Introduction to the Goddess



Dea, Rites and Mysteries of the Goddess

by Olivia Robertson



The religion of the Goddess centres around the Hearth. Whether this be the inner sun flaming within the matrix of our earth, or the sun itself, this is the source of manifested life. Within the body of all mothers, whether Goddesses, women, female creatures that give birth to egg or seed, the inner fire is the Divine Centre. In this nucleus is our own heart's life, that heart whose rhythmic beating keeps us alive and sets moving the rhythmic Dance of Creation. This Heart-beat of the Cosmos sets moving all heart-beats, even the tiny pulse within a blade of grass. On the earthly level the heart brings life. On other levels it is Love. For the Heart exists on all levels.

Woman is natural Priestess to the Great Goddess, and so presides over the hearth. Wherever any living flame bums, there is the Vestal Fire guarded by Hestia. The tradition in Ireland, and in many countries, is that the hearth fire must never die. At the time of the winter solstice the fire is renewed with embers from the dying fire of Yule. It is woman's task to keep this fire alight. It is man's task to bring her fuel for her task.


To create a shrine to the Goddess there needs to be this matriarchal flame. In any impersonal hotel room, in a town flat, in a small garden, the vestal flame is the same, and gives the same power as that bestowed by the Goddess in the mighty temples of antiquity. This sacred flame may be represented by a lighted candle, an incense stick, a resinous torch or small fire. The smoke represents Air, the holy breath which keeps the fire alive, as does our breath combine with our heart-beats. By the divine law of correspondences, everything material in this world is a symbol for some reality in another sphere. When a fire, candles or incense are burnt with the intention of honouring Deity, a communication centre is created, which forms a link in a golden chain that brings through the fiery power of the Deity invoked.


Having made the centre of our shrine, we need a shell, a Matrix to protect it. In the past this was the duty of the man who built the home or the temple. This Matrix in greater form may be understood to be the darkness of Outer Space which holds galaxies in its embracing blackness. It is the blue atmosphere with fleecy clouds which protects our earthly vegetation as a robe: it is the crust of the earth, a chrysalis that conceals the mystery within. Beneath this rocky shell of earth are two lava flows of magma which, like fiery dragons rotating in contrary directions, protect the golden apples that shine in the glowing heart of our planet. And so also is the Matrix the protecting womb that enfolds the unborn child and small animal: the snake that conceals her eggs within her: the nut shell and husk that guard the living kernel and seed within.

Though we respect great temples, a simple room or grove of trees form a Matrix that protects our altar fire. A shrine may be a psychic temple not made with hands. The Devotee, sitting in silent contemplation, even in a crowded room, may yet build in creative imagination a shrine that guards the privacy of the soul. For the Matrix is not only a womb or shell: it is also the individual aura. We carry our temples about us.


Within the shrine is the resting place of Deity, the Altar. Made of stone or wood, the altar is the throne of Isis, Aset; and the Palladium, the casket of Athena. Here is the meeting place of Deity and Devotee. Here the Goddess or God manifest either through the Hierophant or through all the participants. The elements placed on the altar are an earthly focus where Deity may materialise through earth, air, fire and water; and through oil which represents the blending of the primal four. Any shelf or table in a room may be the altar, and any quarter or place between the compass points may be used. For each compass point is relevant to the Goddess. On the altar may be offered a stone, a pot plant, incense sticks and a cup of water. Through their hallowing by the Devotee, these are used as a focus for their own true being. The gem of life is in a stone: the divine breath is within smoke: the elixir of life shines through water. Every element, every atom, contains the spark needful for its transmutation.


Through this realisation, the Devotee invokes Deity and through a simple touching of the hands, may awaken the life spark within each object. Earth protects: on another level it represents strength and stability. Fire brings vitality: it also in a greater sphere of being, typifies Love. Air symbolises Mind and Spirit and so must be free to move. Water is so receptive that it must be kept pure and calm, yet flowing. Otherwise, like unhealthy emotions, it may either rage in a storm, or stagnate. Though occult symbolism varies in different systems, yet the principle remains the same. Any object, however humble, is a key to its essential reality in greater spheres. The purpose of ritual is to strike a note on one level - even with bell, gong or sistrum, and so to awaken the same note on other octaves of being.

When a shrine is awakened through its true keynote and colour, it begins as it were to hum like a well-tuned harp. It is the awareness of the Devotee that brings about this transformation. For the Deities respond to those who knock. They answer those seekers who are ready for expansion of consciousness and may case the way to initiation. The Elemental Spirits, the Sidhe, Devis and Devas, will walk in harmony with those who treat the elements with respect. No Spirits should be commanded even if this is possible: they come joyfully to those who do the Mothers' work.


Thousands of men and women feel lonely within themselves because they are aware of the psychic sphere, which they long to enjoy - yet dare not, because they fear ridicule or contempt. No one likes to be thought either absurd or mad. The creation of a shrine helps a lonely Devotee to make a stronghold for the soul, where psychic development may take place without disturbance from unsympathetic family or neighbours. This stronghold may be in a small bedroom or garden. All that is essential is the power to make images with the eyes shut, or imagine beautiful words and music, through the creative imagination.

However, actual representations are an aid. A postcard of a Goddess cannot excite comment as can the smell of incense: and who will object to a box of matches and a glass of water? One match flame is sufficient to invoke the element of fire though care is needed when this is done in every sphere. Recorded music also gives wings to the soul, and the reading of written rituals stimulates the spirit.


When regular use of the shrine becomes established, the Devotee experiences the kindness and aid of Spirit Guides and Guardian Angels: Communion with Deity is no longer only a promise: it becomes fact. Now comes a choice. There are those who prefer to follow the solitary path. This is one much prized in Eastern schools. After initial sponsorship by the Guru, the aspirant meditates in solitude. However, it is assumed in these rites of the Fellowship of Isis that our solitary Devotee may want companionship on the Path. Two or three friends gather together, and discover enhanced joy and power through human communion. Experience is gained through discussion and practice. Wider visions are obtained through group meditation and when reports from meditation are shared, a multi-coloured pattern is brought forth, with some strands similar, some differing, but all forming a beautiful and meaningful picture. Guides may vary, nationalities, and even Deities: some participants receive Chinese influence, others are guided from Ancient Egypt or the Devic realms. And as participation continues, the discovery is made that the wiser the Teachers, the more they work in harmony with other Teachers to aid humanity and all life. As greater Teachers make themselves known, they reveal the essential Truths in all religions and philosophies. With them the worth of every path is acknowledged.


In these Rites, however, we have used one common factor to give integration: Matriarchal Source, the Mother Goddesses. There is a good reason for this dedication. The Gods or God have been invoked, more and more excluding the Goddesses, during the Iron Age, which has lasted for about three thousand five hundred years. Now this technological analytical period is being replaced by the Sub-atomic or Space Age. And this more and more involves the apparently supernatural "aether", only now being photographed by particularly refined instruments. To protect life on this planet, it is essential that balance be restored to our world, particularly in the West, where there is the most dangerous concentration on Mars-Saturn or male aggressive power. The psychic and emotional attractiveness of the Goddesses is needed to quieten Mars and make Saturn gentle. When a species is in danger of annihilation, meaningful mutation may take place. This transformation is voluntarily being undertaken by those who follow the occult path. To hasten this process, activity is enjoyed that blends the psychic with the physical: ritual movement which uses all the arts may achieve this new mystical awareness.


In Rites and Ceremonies, the Deities bestow food and drink, blessings and aid. These are for all. But the Mysteries go further. These are for those who are ready for a greater development in true Being. And such a development cannot be brought about by any ceremony: but a ceremony prepares the soul and personality for that which may come about. This can be in the flash of a second: as one foot is lifted to take a step: between two words: it comes as unexpectedly as death: as swiftly as love: and is as fruitful.