– a Mystical Path to the Land of Heart’s Desire
An overview of the Druid Clan’s history and the goddess Dana
When Olivia Robertson and her brother the Druid Clan of Dana had founded the DCOD in 1992 they did, what they were always doing : they were following their inspiration.
Both were rooted deeply in the mystic tradition of Ireland. The family knew William Russel – AE – the Irish mystic, seer and member of the Celtic Twilight movement.
In a lecture on the DCOD Olivia has written about him: “My family knew AE – the Irish mystic whose gift was that of Direct Revelation. His gift embodies the impetus of the Druid Clan of Dana – to extend one’s pathetically limited five senses into untold realms of wonder and glory! The way of the Mystic is to regard so-called dreams of night as antechamber to reality: and the passing show of waking to be illusory.”
As children Olivia and her brother Lawrence had been guided into the mystic world of the Sidhe by Mr. Fox.
“The Druid Clan of Dana sprang from actual experiences of my brother Lawrence and myself during our summers at Clonegal Castle.”….
Linda Iles, webmaster of the FOI central website, authorised by Olivia, had collected and presented a very informative, unique and the most extensive collection of material in the F.O.I. referring to Mr. Fox, the roots of the Druid Clan of Dana, it’s history, purpose, oracles, rites and coursework. I have used that genius work as a main source for my presentation on the Druid Clan of Dana.
“The “Mr. Hare” of Olivia’s novel “Field of the Stranger” ’is the same person who is named Daniel Fox in the Druid Clan of Dana booklet and other FOI writings and interviews given by Lady Olivia Robertson. He is a descendant of the O’Dorans, and is also referred to as John Doran by Lady Olivia. He came from a long line of famous healers and psychics. He worked with Olivia for many years, and they both experienced visions of the Goddess Dana in the late 1940’s and the 1950’s. Olivia wrote in the FOI liturgy booklet titled “The Rite of Dana”: “The Goddess has also shown herself to our Wicklow neighbour, John Doran the famous Healer, 7th son of a 7th son. As John and I meditated, She gave me this message through him: “Go on. Do well. Preach My Name.”
The DCOD initiation rites are based on Olivia’s own steps of Druid Initiation.
“It was Mr. Fox who introduced me to the magic of the Sidhe – faery folk – …I enjoyed stories about faeries, but it was with some difficulty that I could persuade him to tell me about them. They lived thousands of years ago, he told me, and had used the land outside his cottage as their Holy Place.
Mr. Fox would take to drink from the ancient well, which he said those far-off people would use before their ceremony, when they awoke at dawn. Their rite consisted of honouring the sun as it rose every morning. …
So Mr. Fox would take me through those ancient rites as on a pilgrimage. After drinking from the well we would climb down the winding rough path, through gorse and bracken to the riverbanks. We passed the mighty rock marked with natural mica in the form of a huge cross. Reaching the river’s edge, facing the Faery Seat, he would point out where the people bathed…Then we would turn round and visit the altar. And he would describe the old woman who used to keep it moss-free thousands of years in the past. For to Mr. Fox, past and present merged in a way that transcended change and death. … He is the Merlin of our Clan.”
Philip Ross Nichols, who was the Chosen Chief of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids also visited Clonegal in the 1960’s and joined them in Druid rituals. During this period, he gave both Olivia and Lawrence Druidic initiations. Philip Carr-Gomm, the successor of Philip Ross Nichols, also visited and worked with Olivia and Lawrence at Clonegal Castle during the late 1960’s through the 1970’s. This is the lineage upon which Olivia and Lawrence founded the Druid Clan of Dana within the Fellowship of Isis in 1992.
Rites were performed at the Temple of Dana completely in the Gaelic tongue by Ben McBrady, who also offered a prayer in Gaelic invoking the Goddess Dana and the Tuatha de Danaan, asking them to protect the earth. Ben McBrady was titled Brady (or Chief) of the Name and Herenach of the Two Kilmores. He was Aircinneac and Herenach of a pre-Druid Megalithic Order which was called “The Old Gaelic Order,” often referred to simply as “The Order.”
Olivia had her first vision of the Goddess Dana in 1952. Olivia says “Wherever Dana comes, She brings love, compassion and wisdom.”…
The goddess Dana appeared regularly in spiritual workings of Olivia, her brother and friends between 1960 and 1974.
Well, Dolmen, Spiral – a Druidic path in the New Aeon
The Druids of old had their sacred groves with trees, some of them hundreds, some even thousands of years old.
These highly honoured men and women had been poets and bards, healers and seers. They were teachers of young nobles and advisors for the royalty.
They knew how to brew magical potions, and , as legend tells, they have built Stonehenge and are responsible for several other megalith sites in Britain.
Occasionally they used to stuff some holy sword into some prominent stone ( making sure, that the stone is prominent enough to raise a great amount of attention) and ensure that the sword will be drawn off the stone by the right person. The whole story may end up with lots of trouble and an apparition of the holy grail, the latter seducing a horde of knights to go on a quest for it.
Most of us modern Druids neither stuff swords into stones nor are we advisors of kings or any other policy makers. And what about the quest for the lost grail?
What do modern Druids do, and how does it all fit in the 21rst century?
When the Druid Clan of Dana was founded by Olivia and her brother in 1992, one of the intentions had been to offer a path for those members in the F.O.I., who felt drawn to the mysteries of nature, the Celtic Twilight movement and the myths and legends of Britain.
Soon the number of members worldwide, who were interested in the Druid Clan of Dana grew.
Beside a dedication of groves to the deities of the Celtic pantheon, members often dedicated the newly founded grove to goddesses and gods of their own environment, a choice, which was highly encouraged by Olivia, who encouraged members always to go on their own quest for these. Fairy tales and folklore are signposts in the multidimensional map, that we have for orientation on our vision quest.
Members, who had gone on this journey have found the experience extremely rewarding.
Olivia and her brother did honour the goddesses and gods of Ireland, and had dedicated a spot on the castle’s estate, where one could still see the crumbled walls of a ruined abbey, as a grove of Eithne, a regional goddess of the environment.
In the rituals the whole surrounding had been involved – trees, shrubs and flowers, pets, animals, in short: all living things.
Olivia Robertson and her brother Lawrence, founders of the Druid Clan of Dana, and all the early members and friends of the Clan, who had been mentioned above, have long gone to the Otherworld. The path to the Fairy Seat is blocked, as it is on some farmer’s private estate.
But – nothing is forgotten. With the Druid Clan of Dana Olivia and her brother Lawrence have opened a path to the Land of Heart’s Desire. The key is love. On the spiral path of the Goddess we may dance with the Sidhe and travel to the stars. We may open our senses, experience expansion of consciousness beyond description and realise the true nature of the Danaan treasures.
Trusting in this path and following it with devotion and an open mind, step by step we are safely guided towards the experience of the original condition of the mind and the awakening of our own true and therefore divine self.
“The purpose of the Druid Clan of Dana is to develop psychic gifts. This can be done by attuning to the elemental powers innate in every sacred spot on earth. Druid Clan of Dana centers are called Groves, and the Patron and Patroness Deity of each Grove can be of any pantheon, or cultural heritage.”
The quest for the half forgotten deities of the environment is an extremely deserving adventure, and studying regional mythology, folklore and names may lead to most interesting results, helping us to create the mystic multi-dimensional map of our grove and the surrounding environment. We may find the sacred gateways between the worlds, get a glimpse into the palaces of the fairies and reach the well of healing at the world’s end…
From it we may fill our sacred chalice with the water of life.
The sacred chalice, the grail, Cerridwen’s cauldron, all of them conceal the mystery of transformation. But take care:
“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! “
The spiral path of the Goddess, as presented in the F.O.I. and her sister organisations, the Druid Clan of Dana and the Noble Order of Tara, is a path of love, freedom and uniqueness. It is not anthropocentric. In our rituals in the Druid Clan of Dana all beings are involved.
This is clearly reflected in the Rite of Dana. The candidate is asked, which of the inhabitant of the kingdom of furry animals, birds, reptiles, insects, etc. is her or his spirit companion.
Let us look, what Olivia has to say about that:
“One part of our Initiation ceremony I did not put to paper but now do so: ‘Finding a Soul Friend.’ The basis for the practice is this: if you befriend one especial animal friend, he/she acts as intermediary – like Anubis the jackal – with all his kind. Befriend one snake and the rest won’t bite you. The ‘Choice of Soul Friends’ was always used in our own Grove at Clonegal. …
I would ask the candidate: ‘Who is your soul friend among – plants – trees – insects – reptiles – birds – animals – and so forth, extending to angels and Deities.”
Beside the performance of rites from the liturgy, as they had been recommended for the initiation spiral in the Druid Clan of Dana by Olivia, some groves are offering training courses, based on the liturgy.
The great number of courses, which are offered on several websites may leave the truthful seeker with some confusion, especially when meeting people, who try to rise the impression, that they have some exclusive truth.
What did Olivia say about the value of training courses in the DCD?
“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.”
Two advices may turn out useful: a) follow your heart, and you will find that guidance that is fitting for you, and b) don’t judge your book by cover.
Let us look, what Olivia has written about the modern media and it’s traps.
“Humanity is now venturing upon the no-man’s land of the cyber world. Nothing is what it seems. A hopeful schoolgirl dreams of a perfect lover and finds him on her computer as a noble image. But if she is unwary enough to meet him – he is old and terrifying. A young man is tempted to take a job in a foreign country – and arrives there having sold all his savings. He is trapped into a crime ring, and dares not escape because he is an illegal immigrant.
How can we protect our children and ourselves from a holographic world? We have a choice. We can retreat from the virtual world, and ban all computers and cell phones and ‘twitters’ and ‘facebooks’ and settle in an ideal retreat centre. Or is it?
We face the same problems with people who can present themselves as spiritually fascinating and exciting as any ‘wolves’ in the cyber world. …
The glamour of a temple and it’s rich equipment may turn out to be nothing but a facade to bait the innocent soul into a net of delusion and, being captured, finds itself entangled in a net of “temple politics” and instrumentalized for some most questionable “secret agenda”..
Wherever on this planet we are performing a ritual, the energy of the spot is involved. This is true for the sacred grove as it is true for the pagan temple, the Christian cathedral and even for the building of the most purist reformed Christian sect.
And it is equally true even for the temple room of the farmhouse in the countryside and the small shrine in an apartment in a city. Indeed it is true for any place on earth. Our planet has chakras or nadis, which are radiating. The prehistoric builders of megalith circles knew it; the architects of ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome knew it and took that knowledge into consideration when planning houses, temples and pyramids. The Tibetans have whole rituals in which the lokapalas, the nagas, spirits of places, are invited and blessed. The Chinese have called their ideas about the energies of places Feng Shui; the giant cathedrals of Europe were in most cases build on a spot, that had been sacred to the pagan population before.
The radiation or vibration of a place may be felt at some places very strongly by psychic people. It may be perceived as tingling, like electricity at some places and like a humming as if standing in front of a bass amplifier at other spots.
These energies are part of nature. They are neither good nor evil in itself. The effect, they may have on an individual is dependant from that person’s own mental pattern.
This net of planet nadis is not static. Healing wells may withdraw their power, only to let it flow with renewed strength at another well, as they all are part of the planet’s veins.
Working with the powers of the earth is first of all a question of discipline and regularity. If you want to involve the local spirits / energies, practice daily. Bless them every day. Do your spiritual practice always at the same time and at the same place. Most of them love offerings, something small and compostable as a fruit or a small stone, but never ever plastic.
Giving some lapidary attention to the spirits of the place in the seasonal rites is not enough to stay in a friendly relationship.
The effect of the etherical energy of a place may be benevolent for one individual; but staying at that same place may turn out harmful for another person.
Sometimes people feel uncomfortable in a most lovely house, that has been a beloved home to others, who had lived there.
It even has been reported, that a stay at a place, where some of these nadis of the earth are very active, can have a downright corrosive effect on an individual’s mental health, although those, who had stayed there before, experienced healing and energising effects and even divine inspiration. The vibe of such a nadi may bring out the best in an individual, truly dedicated to good, but just as well it may unleash suppressed negative emotions and open unforeseen abysses of depravity in a mentally fragile person, if staying there too long or too often. The tragedy is, that everybody except themselves realizes their sad condition.
This rather sad, but fortunately rare examples show, how even the essence of the divine may be like poison for the inadequately prepared
For such an individual that place may have the effect of a strong alcoholic beverage: some drunkards rant and rave, show hybris or pugnacity – only to wake up with a hangover and a few friends less….
So a mansion, mentioned on the list of a country’s top ten haunted spots in one generation may become a place of spiritual growth for the following generation and a spooky place again one generation later.
If people without any interest in or sense for the etherical quality of such a place live there, family struggles, even illness may occur.
In Tibetan Buddhism this phenomena is not unknown, and all lineages have a rich treasure of rituals for the pacification of those powers.
Not unlike healing herbs, the chakras of the earth may have healing or compounding effects on an individual, depending on their basic constitution.
Anyway – this shouldn’t discourage us from working in a friendly way with the powers of nature. Trusting in the goddess and in our intuition we may be guided to beautiful places in nature, lovely hidden spots for our daily meditation or some remote meadow, carpeted with flowers, where the fairies are dancing their merry rounds beneath a silent moon, illuminating the scenery with enchanting silvery light.
In our rituals the environment is always involved in our rites. It has been perceived often, that pets and beings of the wilderness feel attracted to our Druid Clan rituals, especially during initiations, when the candidate is asked to mention her or his soul friends in the realm of the several species of animals.
The red deer may be perceived, as he is spying from the forest edge on the merry round of celebrating Danaan Druids. The squirrel is peering down on us from it’s hideaway high up in the old beech. Is it a squirrel, or is it some curious forest elf in a sqirrel’s shape to stay undetected?
The cawing of crow or raven may be heard during the oracle of the Morrigan, and the cry of the hawk, circling high above our heads, accompanies the invocation of the god Lir.
All are part of the rite, part of this wonderful and heart touching celebration of friendship with the inhabitants of the environment.
Blackbird and lark and the burbling brook are the skilful musicians, performing the background music of our meditation.
Those, who have once felt the enchanting atmosphere of a Danaan ritual, have been touched the by the magic of the Siddhe and will look on nature with love and a new understanding of planetary interconnectedness.
In the 21rst century with all it’s modern media some groups prefer online initiations via Skype to an authentic ritual. Members may follow their own preferences here.
But who wants to stare on a screen, when we can look into the sky, where hawk and buzzard are circling above our rite? Who wants to look onto a screen, where blurred faces may appear, their words hardly intelligible, as all the time sizzling noises overlay, what was going to be said?
In the Druid Clan of Dana our senses, not our electronic equipment is the set of magical tools.
In the rites of the Druid Clan we may join in the spiral dance of life to spread the loving and healing energies, accumulated during our rite instead ending it with pressing the switch off button of our computer screen.
In the Druid Clan of Dana we acknowledge both, online and real time initiations, and each individual may follow their own preferences.
From my own experiences from more than 30 years in the Druid Clan I only can say, that during all initiations the furry and feathered inhabitants of the environment joined in.
I remember one occasion, around Lughnasadh: we had chosen a hill, part of the sacred landscape for our ritual. There were about 20 people, and we had chosen this remote spot to prevent meeting tourists or people, who were walking their dogs.
We started at sunset to enjoy the magical twilight. It had been a wonderful and inspiring rite. The meditation was about finding a spirit friend in the realm of animals. When reports were shared, we found out to everybody’s surprise, that each participant had a vision of a different spirit friend animal, but all had the vision of the head of a giant wild boar, popping up for only an instant but nevertheless clear and powerful at the end of the vision. We were happy, that the guardian of the place had appeared in our visions.
We had hold our little meal – apples from the garden and mead from our own bees’ honey.
We gave thanks to the gods, and during our blessing at the end of the rite we heard funny noises like heavy steps coming up the hill, different from human feet, but not like the nimble feet of the deer, who are living in this forest. When the last light of the setting sun disappeared behind the hills, a silvery moon shed silver light, and night spread her starry cloak, we saw clumsy shadows coming up the hill towards the little clearance on the hilltop, where we had performed the ritual. We realised, that a sounder of boars was coming up the hill on one side.
Now a family of wild boars with their children are the only animals in our environment, who could become unfriendly towards humans. But we had blessed them a few minutes earlier, and a blessing that has deserved that name, should have a pacifying effect on all, who are present. So I was not afraid, but thought, that some participants, who spend their life in a more urban surrounding could be. So I asked them to leave the hill on the opposite side from where the boars were coming. After that I put some of the apples were the boars would find them as soon as they had arrived at the hilltop.
On another occasion we performed Druid Clan initiations for two ladies, who lived in one of the big cities and not familiar with any wilderness at one of our favourite spots in our Teutoforest – on a small hill near a wildlife park, where beside other species of the regional environment a small pack of wolves have their spacious home.
It was a beautiful ritual, and both candidates had felt the strong energy during their initiation.
The little celebration after the ritual lasted quite long, and when we decided to leave the place, a radiant full moon was shining down on a merry round of pagans. It should be added that only a tiny and steep hidden ravine lead up that magical place.
Knowing that, we usually brought electric torches with us. But in that night simply everybody had forgotten them, and the only light, that we had now, was a small, dimly burning lantern like the one, the hermit is depicted with in traditional Tarot Decks.
As we locals had met there for many rituals, and each of us had found the hidden ravine even if we had been blindfolded, I gave the lantern to the two freshly initiated ladies.
I had nearly reached the comfortable trail at the foot of the hill, and looked up the hill, when the lady, to whom I had given the light, stumbled. The light went off, and in that same instant the wolves began singing their full moon song. Darkness, wilderness, no path and howling wolves – The poor freshly initiated druidesses had been close to bursting out in tears at that moment. I went up the hill again, took them by the hand and lead them until we were safely back on the comfortable public footpath, it’s white chalky ground shining bright in the lunar silver light.
Having read this, you may think, being initiated by that Druid Clan people is more of a survival training than an initiation. But if you ask, you may easily find out, that for all participants in these rites none would miss that experience of being not only close to but part of nature. For some it had been the most magical experience in their life.
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.
Other drawings are from several books of fairy tales from the 19th century.
Anything else is copyright of author:
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