Blessings of Isis upon Loreon Vigne!

Devotees of Isis, take note. If our Elders are any indication, you will lead long, adventuresome lives. Consider two of paganism's most well-known priestesses of Isis: Olivia Robertson and Loreon Vigne. Lady Olivia, founder of the Fellowship of Isis, recently celebrated her 95th birthday on Apr 13, and still travels all over the world to visit members of her extended community. And our local doyenne of all things Isis, Lady Loreon Vigne, who will turn 80 on June 8, presides over the beautiful Temple of Isis at Isis Oasis sancturary in Geyserville, CA.

I had the pleasure of first meeting Lady Loreon six years ago, on a visit to Isis Oasis with Z Budapest. Z was planning to go chat with Lady Loreon about an upcoming event, and I tagged along for the ride to see the place. If you have never visited Isis Oasis, or met Loreon, the entire affair is quite visually stunning. Imagine yourself standing on a gracious, expansive lawn under the shade of a 500-year -old fir tree, as a glorious woman with soft white hair, adorned in lush velvet or silk, chunky jewelry, and her trademark dramatic black kohl eyeliner, makes her way to greet you...with a great big turkey at her heels amidst the chattering of exotic birds and the low growling/purring/rumbling of ocelots.

Isis Oasis is a beautiful place that is always in the process of growth and development. I have a special fondness for the place, having been ordained there and having ordained my first group of Initiates there. It is a place of respite and comfort and joy for many in our local community. Lady Loreon is committed to the preservation of ocelots, an endangered species, and several ocelots and servals live with her, companions of generations. In her autobiography, The Goddess Bade Me Do It, she recounts stories of her animals companions over the years, as well as many other important details about her fascinating life. For example, moving in to Isis street in San Francisco in the 70s, she found that someone who lived there before her had planted papyrus in the garden. She founded Isis Oasis in 1978, after purchasing the property from a Baha'i group. Moving her life from San Francisco up to Geyserville, leaving behind her home/studio on Isis street, she found a home in this otherwise conservative community. The creative magical coincidences of Loreon's life, as well as the hardships that have tempered her, the innovative spark that she brings to all her many artistic projects, and the loves that have marked her journey are featured in the pages of this easy-to-read, lyrical work. I'll let you read her autobio for yourself, and would like to share a personal anecdote about Loreon.

One winter, a few years ago, I was worked to the bone from the first two years of getting my store up and running. Exhausted, depleted, cranky, and overwhelmed, I took three days off and headed up to Isis Oasis to get some peace and quiet. When I arrived, I was only one of two off-season guests at the sanctuary, and Loreon invited me to have tea with her. Our tea date turned out to be a fun game with a deck of cards Loreon had designed herself. The name of the game? Isis, of course. As we sat at the table in the big industrial kitchen (where you place your perishable food in the "Isis Box"), there must have been a dozen students, friends, resident artists, and other fanciful characters who formed a lively queue for questions, compliments, and assignments over the two or so hours we sat together. Loreon greeted each one with patience, sweetness, and a slightly bemused air when it came to their deferential treatment of her. She is quite a benevolent Queen. She holds her position graciously as Lady of the Sanctuary, but is also approachable, real and personable.

That night, she invited me to dinner at a local Thai restaurant with some of the sanctuary staff and we enjoyed a conversation filled with wine and laughter. She and I ended the evening with a nightcap in her private living room, where an ocelot/serval kitten named Miracle purred and preened on the couch next to Loreon. This cat, even as a kitten, could have easily killed either of us. Make no mistake, these cats are wild within even though they are currently living in a domestic situation. But you wouldn't know it to watch Loreon fondle and scratch Miracle under the chin. The cats are so comfortable with her- her energy sedates and hypnotizes them. They adore her. Any time I moved, Miracle's eyes would snap toward me, daring me to come closer, and Loreon would just ruffle her hand across Miracle's head and smile. Over a conversation about her life and history that went long into the night, I got to know more about Loreon as a person than as an icon, and I am glad to call her friend. She gifted me with a rare, limited-edition, out-of-print Egyptian tarot deck, which I treasure as one of the jewels of my collection. I returned from my weekend uplifted, refreshed, and grateful. 

I occasionally see Lady Loreon at various events and festivals, and she always shines, but do yourself a favor and go see her on her own turf. For her birthday, she is celebrating with a party called "Goddess Groove." The event promises to be a fun event celebrating the sacred energy of Isis embodied in her devoted priestess on the occasion of her 80th birthday. June 9th and 10th there will be vendors, performers, dancing, and (if my suspicions prove correct) Lady Loreon is bound to wow us with some kind of theatrical pageant. (Yes, spontaneous sacred theatre happens at Isis Oasis with GREAT regularity.) For more information about the event, click here or visit the Facebook event page.

Goddess Groove
Sat June 9th 11am-1am
Sun June 10th 11am-7pm
Sat. admission $25, Sun. admission $15

Weekend Headliners include: Druid Sisters, Pamela Parker, Cave Women, Lois Flood, Eostar Kamala, Heather Salmon. Priestess offerings include Linda Illes (Archdruidess in Fellowship of Isis), DeTraci Regula (of Mysteries of Isis), Le'ema (snake priestess), and events held by many others (Dailey is doing a red tent!)

I will be out of town that weekend, sadly, or else I'd love to attend this event! Instead, I send my homage to Lady Loreon in the form of this blog post, and my warm wishes that the Temple of Isis stand proudly in service to the Great Goddess for many years to come! Blessings of Isis upon you, Lady Loreon!