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" Seek the truth and run from

those who claim to have found it "

after André Gide

The Return of the Feminine

February 25th, 2011

When I was studying Druidry with Ross Nichols as a teenager, he introduced me to Olivia Durdin-Robertson – I think it was at an Imbolc ceremony at his flat in London in the 1970s. Olivia exerted the most profound influence on me with her encyclopedic knowledge of world religions and occult philosophy and her warm, generous and eccentric personality. As a result of that meeting my life changed completely. She invited me to visit her at her family’s castle in Ireland and on my second visit I was invited to live there. I dropped out of university and the adventure began! I have just received a message from a film-maker who has made a 70 minute documentary on Olivia and her work with the Fellowship of Isis. Never have I ordered a DVD with such speed! Here is a trailer for his film. It’s beautifully produced. I hope you enjoy it! The film’s website with ordering information is here.

11 Responses to “The Return of the Feminine”

  1. I remember seeing this extraordinary lady in one episode of the series ‘Desperately Seeking Something’ shown on Channel 4 in the 90s. It was made by the late lamented Pete McCarthy – a wonderfully warm and witty writer and presenter. I managed to get hold of the entire series a while back and I’m pretty sure that he did a druidry episode featuring Emma Restall Orr. Time to watch them again I think!

  2. This film was available via the FOI website for pre-order so I ordered it and have viewed it 2 or 3 times now.
    A most remarkable document about a most remarkable woman.
    Lady Olivia really shines.
    I envy you, Philip, that you have been able to live (and train, I guess) with such a beautiful spirit.

  3. Hi Monocle,
    Yes I remember the Pete McCarthy series – I know it featured Ema but not sure about Philip Shallcrass – I think it probably did too. OBOD wasn’t involved in that McCarthy production as far as I know.
    Hi Hennie,
    It was a wonderful period of my life. Olivia had developed a particular method of meditation which was very powerful and she trained me in it at the Castle and then later in London (she used to winter in London). She is a truly gifted and wonderful soul!

  4. This is inspiring! Yes, Olivia is extraordinary. And thanks v. much, Philip, for sharing with us re: your own life story, too; ( i.e., it’s equally fascinating re: the earlier years!) – will order right away. Blessings and light

    Karen /|

  5. I enjoyed seeing that clip. A direct link to Yeats! Was that the place where the soup tureen also contained the pepperpot? (A tale I have never forgotten)

  6. Yes Liz that’s right. The ancient Miss Fitz lived in the lodge house and every afternoon would walk up the avenue to the castle to prepare soup for all of us. When Derry turned to the Goddess he decided to chop down the crucifix from the roof of the castle chapel. It thudded down to the ground just as Miss Fitz walked past, but mercifully the Goddess protected her, and since she was deaf she didn’t even hear the karumph of the cross hitting the ground behind her. She then prepared the soup and perhaps due to some delayed and unconscious shock reaction added the entire pepperpot into the soup. Olivia’s sister-in-law Poppy fished it out as she served it from the tureen.

  7. Back in 1991, I contacted the FOI for information, and received an info packet with a brief but very kind handwritten letter, explaining that it was a good idea to look at lots of spiritual paths to see if any chimed with me, and that the FOI welcomed people of good will from all faiths.

    The same year, I got an OBOD pamphlet. Both sat in a case under my bed at college. I was too scared of “coming out” to my parents, and too mistrustful of any religious organisation, at the time to take it further.

    Reading through OBOD and the FOI’s sites now, they seem such friendly and sane organisations that it’s hard to see what all that inner fuss was about.

  8. Hi Philip I ordered the DVD of Olivia Durden-robertson, I have never met her, I have watched the dvd about five times now, she really touched my heart, what a wonderful lady, I felt love pour out towards her as I watched the documentary, she is quite special. blessings, Rowan Duir.

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