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Glossary of Wiccan, Neo-Pagan and Occult Terminology

ROBERTSON, Olivia Durdin (1917-1979)

Co-founder with her brother, Lawrence ('Denny') Durdin-Robertson, and his wife, Pamela, of the Fellowship of Isis at Clonegal Castle in the Republic of Ireland where she and Denny had lived since childhood.   She claims that at the age of eleven she was already involved in spiritualistic matters aiding the transition of recently deceased from one world to the next and was developing psychic and visionary powers.

During the years of World War II she abandoned some of her pacifist principles and worked for the Red Cross in England but returned to Ireland after the cessation of hostilities to become a successful novelist.   She was converted to the worship of the Goddess in about 1956 following in the footsteps of her brother who had, until sometime during the 1950s, been a vicar of the Anglican Church but, through his Theosophical studies, had become convinced of the paramount existence of the Divine Mother.

Between 1963 and 1974, Olivia trained in London as a medium and healer.   There she pursued a strong interest in the religion of the Egyptian Goddess, Isis, and in 1975 this translated into the publication of her theosophical work, The Call of Isis.   Olivia, Denny and Pamela, herself an accomplished mystic, founded the Fellowship of Isis at the Vernal Equinox in the following year, creating a worship and study centre with an Isis temple as its religious core.

In 1990 she was instrumental in bringing about the first Fellowship of Isis World Convention in London whilst her brother founded the chivalrous Noble Order of Tara, followed in 1992 by the Druid Clan of Diana.   She continues to work actively in the promotion of the Fellowship of Isis.

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One of the major problems with 'defining' Paganism and/or its beliefs and practices is that it is an 'organic' movement, in that it is undergoing constant change and re-evaluation from within, and as such any 'one-size-fits-all' approach to understanding Paganism will be found wanting.

Due to the very 'organic' nature of Paganism, and the many differing Paths and Traditions within it, in many cases no one definition may be universally accepted by all Pagans.   Therefore, where such cases of possible conflicting and/or contradictory meanings of certain terms occur I have endevoured to give not only the generally accepted meaning, but also any major 'variations' in belief and/or practice.

Christians who believe this difference in meaning of certain key terms, beliefs and practices to be unique to Paganism need to remember that such conflicts also arise within the Body of Christ - the Church.   Take for instance the differing practices amongst Christians concerning Baptism and the different attitudes towards women in the clergy.

- Jean-Luc
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