LONDON — On April 29, The Theosophical Society in London hosted a memorial day to honour the late 19th century occultist Florence Farr. For years, Farr has been seen merely as an adjunct of the men of the period due to her being the mistress of George Bernard Shaw and a friend of W B Yeats, among others. But Farr is now taking her place in academic study, as well as occult history, as a polymath in her own right. Actress, magician, novelist, composer, musician, director and teacher, Farr was an instrumental part of the esoteric society of the Golden Dawn. Born in 1860, Farr was initiated into the Isis-Urania temple in 1890 under the motto Sapientia Sapienti Dono Data, or “Wisdom is a gift given to the wise”, and she remained an integral part of the organization for some years. During that time, she also continued with her acting career and was well known in her day; she was the first actress to perform in Ibsen’s plays in Britain.
UNITED KINGDOM — Over the past month, there have been a number of memorial celebrations dedicated to Olivia Melian Robertson, one of British and Irish Paganism’s most enduring figures and the head of the long-standing Fellowship of Isis (FOI). Olivia was often seen around and about in London and Glastonbury, as well as in her native Ireland and the US. The recent celebrations were held around the world in British, Irish, German and American locations. Born April 13, 1917 in Reigate, Surrey, Olivia and her clergyman brother Lawrence moved to the 400 year old Huntington Castle, also known as Clonegal Castle, in Ireland when her father inherited it from a relative. “The IRA had occupied the castle, and treated it very well,” Olivia recalled, “although they locked the cook in the dungeon, and court-martialled the butler.”
Olivia’s childhood was spent at the castle where her family entertained a number of early 20th century luminaries, including Robert Graves and W B Yeats.
Over the week, there have been online rumblings that the American Council of Witches is trying, once again, to form. A Facebook page was opened on Sept. 11 and has remained fairly quiet until the past two months. And, it wasn’t until two weeks ago that the page began to receive significant attention, both for and against the council. The American Council of Witches (ACOW) was originally created in 1973 by an eclectic group of practitioners, many of whom are no longer living.