– The Noble Order of Tara –
By Hamsadevi Claudia, GLC Noble Order of Tara, Priory of Rainbow Tara, Ardbandroi Druid Clan of Dana, Grove of Dana, Archpriestess Fellowship of Isis, Temple, Lyceum, Iseum of Dana
The stately old vile of our local castle, the Sparrenburg, had never before or after seen such colourful folks as those, who had assembled there for the first F.O.I. Convention in Germany in July 2000.
The mystery drama of The Judgement from the manual “Gaia” had been performed, and Olivia has been delighted to meet so many creative and inspired members for the first time, as this had been the 1rst international Fellowship of Isis meeting in Continental Europe. It had been inspired by the F.O.I. Conventions in London, organised by Caroline Wise.
Caroline had also been a guest at the “millennium” convention in Germany; and members enjoyed a lot her talk and her workshop on the second day of the event, which had been dedicated to the Deities of the environment. So a little valley in the lovely hills of TeutoForest had been the fitting place for a day, dedicated to Dana and Tara; and participants of the rites and workshops reported of having felt intensely the presence of the deities of the land / environment and of the local spirits – genii loci.
On that occasion Olivia had asked me about the name of the local goddess, and I answered that I had the inspiration that it was one of the goddesses, once worshipped by the pagan tribes in our region: Eostre or Ostara. For Olivia the name Ostara made perfect sense, as she knew that Osning is the old name for TeutoForest, hence Ostara is Os-Tara – Tara of the Osning.
“As an bhean o Tara” – “for the glory of Tara” is part of the motto of the Noble Order of Tara.
These few words say a lot about the idea behind he order: that part of the motto is in Irish Gaelic, such relating the order to the spiritual tradition of the seers and artists of the Celtic revival in the 19th century, when visionary artists and writers as AE – William Russell, James Stephens, W. B. Yeats, Lady Gregory, Ella Young and William Sharp – Fiona Macleod shared in their works the visions and inspirations, which they had received from the deities.
A great achievement of these authors has been to re- open the doors of perception for the Land of Heart’s Desire – TirNanOg – which is existing in the spiritual traditions of nearly all cultures.
The dedication of the order to Tara reflects the idea of a multi cultural order, as Tara is a name of the Goddess in Eastern and Western traditions: she is worshipped in Hinduism and Buddhism. In Hinduism she is Tarini, the Guiding Star on the spiritual path, such resembling Isis Navigides. Buddhists know Her as Tara, embodiment of all encompassing compassion. In the Tibetan Buddhist communities Her mantra is the most pronounced after Om Mani Padme Hum, and people turn to her for support, comfort, protection and encouragement in all matters of life.
In the Irish Gaelic pantheon Her name Tara is derived from the ” Irish goddess Tea or Tephi, who presides over Ireland’s royal mount and her Stone of Destiny”, Sir Derry pointed out during the preparation of the order’s first ritual.
The foundation of the order of Tara at Beltaine 1989 fell into a time, when the Green movement has been flourishing, and people were realising the importance of involving ecological insights into politics. This is reflected in the order’s motto “pro Dea et natura”.
In the Noble Order Tara is the synonym for the goddess of the land, the environment, as ” all nature is her robe of green and gold”.
The humblest ecological project requires divine guidance and the co- operation with nature spirits. Therefore we need telepathic communion with the deities. This is exactly what is happening to the properly prepared pilgrim during the process of initiation into the mysteries of Tara. We may become aware of the presence of the nature spirits of the environment and involve them into our spiritual practice. They happily enjoy the divine blessing after having been abandoned for a long time. …Nothing is forgotten…
Those, who travel on the path of Tara may experience an expansion of consciousness and a new perception of the environment, a realisation of the interconnectedness of all beings.
“Tara is the Goddess of mountains and hills all over the world. A hill, whether Nun of Egypt, Mount Meru, Olympus, Mount Leinster, Mount Shasta, Glastonbury Tor, is based on earth, and is the place of Tara where earth meets sky. We need to climb our own hill to the sky; yet not forgetting where we came from – the earth.”
The diagram of the path of initiation had been received by inspiration and drawn by Chesca Potter many years ago. It is identical for the Fellowship of Isis and her sister organisations, the Druid Clan of Dana and the Noble Order of Tara.
This diagram shows a spiral, it’s three and a half coils permeated by the rays of an eight rayed star. We may associate the coils of the heavenly dragon Tiamat and the eight rayed star with the goddess Ishtar from Babylon. The points, where the rays of the star meet with the windings of the spiral, signify the rites, which may be performed during the process of initiation into each of the spirals.
A brilliant explanation of the diagram and detailed information on the initiation paths in the F.O.I. and her sister organisations may be found on the central website.
Diagram courtesy of Linda Iles, F.O.I. Central website
Now try to visualise this diagram as three-dimensional (at least three dimensional, you may add more dimensions).
Well, for the moment three dimensions will suffice.
Look, there is a hill rising from the middle of the diagram. A path is winding it’s way three and a half times around and up the hill. Above the hill is shining the eight rayed star of the goddess.
If you ask an alpinist about his or her feelings after they had reached the top of a mountain, an answer, which is given often, is the description of a feeling of humility when facing all this greatness from above.
Following the law of correspondences the same is true for the spiritual mountaineer:
The winding path up the hill is a fitting image for the path of initiation. If we follow the windings and look down after each coiling we will see the same landscape, the same environment, but from a different perspective.
With each new level we may get a wider sight. Even change of paradigm may take place during the course of initiation.
As a consequence of progress our view may become more and more holistic. Now we may realise ourselves as a part of and in this wonderful creation.
Western tradition links the idea of knighthood to the Middle Ages. Images of tournaments, castles and a giant round table may rise in one’s mind.
We all are familiar with tales about helpless virgins being kept hostage by ghastly dragons or by equally ghastly giants and being rescued by helpful heroes.
The legends about Finn MacCumhail and his Fianna, about King Arthur, his knights and the Quest for the grail are part of the mythological heritage of Europe. Everybody knows the tale about Percival, the only member of King Arthur’s Round Table, who finally found the grail.
For Olivia the grail was the cup of tea offered in hospitality to a stranger and also the cauldron of the goddess Cerridwen.
“Remove from My Cauldron of Creation the three magical drops of Inspiration, Originality and Imagination – and you are left with a poisonous residue of stale thought, soulless regulations and death-bringing orthodoxy. Return to the Matrix which is greater than the limited world about you! “
In the symbology of the Noble Order of Tara we concentrate on the four mystical treasures, which were brought to Ireland by the Tuatha de Danaan, the people of the Goddess Dana.
These are Lias Fail – the Stone of Destiny, the sword of light, the cauldron of plenty and the spear of destiny.
Their mystical meaning is explained to the candidate during the initiation rite from Gaia.
In October 2011 Olivia wrote about coursework in the Noble Order of Tara:
“There are those who founded teaching centres within the Fellowship of Isis before coursework, guidelines and regulations were implemented. In those years between their founding and the production of guidelines, regulations and courses, these centres have brought through others, who have founded their own centres, and in turn, teach in the same format. The question arose – are they valid? ALL training courses are valid. ALL centres have autonomy. Regulations and procedures are provided as guidelines, they are meant as suggestions. The ONLY basic requirements are teaching centres base their work on the F.O.I. Manifesto and the F.O.I. Liturgy. The Candidate using rites suggested in the coursework most helpful to his or her own chosen Path.”
The four treasures of the Tuatha de Danaan appear all over medieval literature in one or the other way.
King Arthur had to draw his sword Excalibur – the sword of light – from a stone, which such became a stone of destiny.
The cauldron of plenty appears as the vision of the grail to the knights of King Arthur’s Round Table.
But what about the spear? It is made of meteorite – metal from outer space.
“The Spear of Destiny the Danaans brought from the starry Finias. First it was wielded by Lugh and then by Nuadh of the silver arm, but now it is with the Father God the Dagda and not for humans. It is represented by all meteors; and here we show it forth through the fire of this bonfire/these candles and by the smoke of incense that reaches on high, yet brings its warmth, light and fragrance to all.”
To find out more about the symbolic meaning of the spear of destiny in the myths of Western Europe we may have a look on Wolfram von Eschenbach’s medieval novel about Parzifal.
The knight comes to the castle of Montsalvat, where the grail king is residing. He is suffering from a painful wound, that does not heal.
The spear, which had caused the wound is carried by young ladies of heavenly beauty into the banquet hall. The same young ladies bring in the grail. Later Parzifal is presented by Anfortas, the wounded grail king with his sword.
Although Parzifal had been treated with all possible hospitality, he never asked any questions – neither about the king’s suffering nor about any of the marvels he had witnessed during his stay. The reason for that behaviour had been the young man’s teacher’s rebuke not to be curious.
When Parzifal woke up in the morning, the castle and all within had disappeared.
The young man returns to the court of King Arthur, where later Kundrie, messenger of the Grail appears to taunt Parzifal in front of his king and the knights of the Round Table.
She let reproaches hail down on him, accusing him for not having asked the king about his suffering. He could have delivered the king of Montsalvat from his sufferings, if he had only asked him about his sickness…
The myth of Parzifal’s quest is a mystery in itself, and even the above summarised piece of it contains a treasure of spiritual wisdom.
How does this fit in the spiritual insights, which may be found on the spiral path of Tara?
Parzifal hadn’t asked any questions, as he had been taught that curiosity is not knightly, and he was so eager to become a knight.
What can we as ladies and knights of Tara learn from this? A lot!
First: if conditioning – the behaviour, which we have learnt to be “good” and “fitting”, and empathy – true and active compassion, become opposites, we need to choose compassion. To follow ideas, rules or codes of behaviour, which are not based on compassion may not only cause harm in the material realm, it will for sure lead the soul astray for a long time.
Second: there is no ignorant question. It is ignorant, not to ask questions and to fancy oneself of knowing things without any experience or proof for that “knowledge”. A manifestation of that form of ignorance is prejudice. Ignorance is a big obstacle on the spiritual path.
Third: Parzifal wants nothing more than becoming a knight, a hero at King Arthur’s court. The knightly ideal of medieval literature is a person, who is fighting injustice, protecting the weak and giving alms to the poor – in short an individual aspiring to help overcoming suffering and the causes for suffering. But when Parzifal had been staying in the castle of the grail he has omitted to do exactly that: asking his host for the cause of his suffering to show his compassion and find a way of healing.
A legend about the Buddhist goddess Tara tells, that before she had become a goddess she had been a Boddhisattva, an individual, who has made an oath to incarnate in the material realm until all beings are liberated from suffering and the causes of suffering.
How can we as ladies and knights of Tara participate in Her divine plan? Here the oracle of Tara offers clarification:
“Humans are, through trial and error, learning to act as mediators between the Creators, Goddesses and Gods, and those Spirits who are animating evolving life on earth. For you cannot make anything, whether computer or clone, without some spirit animating it, with its own agenda! Observe the evolving intelligence of the common virus. You cannot call your children your own. Each has an individual destiny of which earth experience forms a part.
To fulfil your hopes to create a better world, you need to consult the wishes of your fellows! Many are learning through cruel warfare: others experiment with the passions. And this is their right.
You need to attune to the Creators, the Bodhisattvas, in celestial spheres. So you may achieve the wisdom to give help effectively. Be hopeful! The world has not grown worse. Possibly you have grown better!”
We see, that in attunement to the Divine lies our chance to create a better world.
What about involving the virtual world? Olivia writes:
“The truly enlightened individual could use telepathy rather than a computer. Using the more developed spiral of the etheric realm, so-called miracles could be accomplished. Why fight the big corporations, though this my often be praiseworthy, when you could change the minds of those active within these organizations? To do so would be to honour the spirit within all of us, including business-men and women. Those in an army can long for peace. Through telepathy, harmony may be brought to warring factions in equitable settlement. Telepathy is a modern word for prayer.
Even a few individuals dedicated to the work can bring change. My attention was drawn to the effect brought to us by a carpenter’s son in Nazareth, with a few fishermen as followers: to an Indian Prince traveling as a beggar in India: to Gandhi in his loincloth: to a man with no possessions befriending a wolf, and preaching to birds.
Spiritual awareness has every relevance because without it banners, protest marches, hunger strikes, have no lasting efficacy. That which is done on a materialistic footing will affect matter only for a brief time – you cannot force people to be “good.” Real change is brought by recognizing one’s own divinity and honoring this in others. Then you have collaboration, not confrontation.
The emergence of the Goddesses is the greatest change that can happen to the human psyche. Nature is not seen as an enemy to be conquered: the passions, as evil to be suppressed. Earth is enjoyed as part of the cosmic whole: not an embarrassing mistake, caused by the original sin. Deities are Beings from divine spheres, who can help to transform our earth into its true likeness. Earth is not a disgrace which we have to rectify. It is a living Being that is evolving as we are.”
The honouring of the spirits of the environment, of local and elemental spirits is part of the ritualistic practice in most religions and should be an important part of or own spiritual practice in our priories of Tara. Research and intuition, both are helpful to find out more about sacred spots of our local environment, about deities of the land, about ancient, natural trackways and ridgeways, about old crossroads and prehistoric settlements.
A multi-dimensional map of the sacred landscape is coming into being; the nadis or chakras of the earth become visible and perceptible, and the mythical secrets of the land emerge from oblivion.
The Goddess Tara
by Olivia Robertson
“The canopy of the stars are Mine,
Bright eyes of the Black Mothers.
I draw the starlight through the spirals of space
To the dark earth’s mountains and little hills,
So stars and earth are one.
See Me in the mirror of the moon
Reflecting the Inner Sun.
I am with every being that is
For I am within you all.”
What does it mean to be a member in the Noble Order of Tara? Answers on this question may be different for different individuals.
Olivia writes: “ So to me, being Chancellor of the Noble Order of Tara means keeping my hand on the hilt of my spiritual sword. I shall not be deluded but keep active to save our earth from pollution both ethical and environmental – from anyone, stellar or earthly. But I have complete faith in the deities I have encountered: Dana, Tara and Brighid – also the Archangel Michael. An Order of Chivalry defends the weak, women and children and suffering animals and trees and plants, threatened by our own greed and folly. I was inspired to choose Tara as our guiding Sister because she approximates to Hera, Artemis and the human Bodhisattva Tara. Tara will not cease from Her benign activity until all beings are saved. Yet the Divine Tara the Goddess smiles. For we are all saved already! We just need to wake up to this reality!”
Copyright of quotes and paintings from Olivia Robertson and photo of Olivia Robertson and her brother Lawrence is courtesy of Linda Iles, Fellowship of Isis authorized website as in links mentioned after each quote.
As that artwork is by permission of FOI central please do not copy.
In our grove / temple / lyceum we offer spiritual support on the spiral path of Tara.
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