Today is the day Madria Olga marked on her calendars as Rosa Mystica, the feast of Our Lady of Fátima (no doubt because it is the anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun). No other Madrian source at my disposal deals directly with Fátima (apart from Prologue 10, of course), and so I fear I have nothing very clever to say about it. I would love to hear what may come from all of your contemplations on that vision today.

I did observe something interesting, however, in another Madrian account of a prophetic message. In TCA 7:17, an anonymous author recounts a series of communications reported to have been received by an American woman from the spirit of Sappho. The article seems to take a cautious stance, but it clearly entertains the idea that these communications may have been legitimate, and it quotes from selections that indicate that “a return to matriarchy would begin in forty years” following “a period of change and upheaval” involving “intense chaos”.

Following Sr Sophia Ruth’s very handy chart, TCA 7 was published in the summer of 1978. We all know, of course, that the Aquarian Age did not arrive in 2008 in the sense we normally imagine it, but Madrian publications often seem to intimate a kind of cusp period between the end of the Kali Yuga and the beginning of the next Golden Age (see TCA 10:6–8, for example, TCA 18:20, or TCA 5:30). It could well be that the return has begun but we are still in very early stages of it. It is worth asking, then… did anything notable happen in 2008?

As it happens, 2008 is the date that I have been using since assembling the “Brief History of Filianism” (ECE Appendix C) to mark the end of what I have been calling “the Matristic Period”. I chose this date as a key cutoff for three reasons:

  1. It was the year Madria Olga died.
  2. It was the year the Chapel went online.
  3. It was the year that the first (mostly) complete compilations of the Scriptures were published (both Sarah Morrigan’s NCUV and Philip Jackson’s Sacred Myths and Rites of the Madrians).

I cannot help but wonder, then, if the predictions of “upheaval” and “chaos” don’t refer not only to larger world events (which certainly offered enough instances), but specifically to ekklesial ones as well. Were these intimations of the calamity at Burtonport, the abuse of the priestesshood, the dispersal of the Madrian households, and the end of the initiatic lineage? I do not know the answer, but that the priestesshood as it had been held by Lux Madriana should pass away in precisely the year marked out as culminating a time of great tribulation and inaugurating a new phase in the unfolding of Providence seems more than coincidental.

If that is the case, what happens in the new phase? That I don’t know either, but I did run across another interesting observation in TCA the other day. TCA 4:27–8 contains a book review of Olivia Robertson’s Ordination of a Priestess. The Madrian reviewer comments that:

The title in some ways may seem misleading, for what the Rite creates is not a full vocational priestess, but what may be called a lay-priestess. The rite is not a Sacrament, but a ‘symbiosis of religion and the arts’. But the idea is very much in keeping with such practices as the Cult Domestic, which makes every mother a sort of quasi-priestess in her own home. In this Rite candidates dedicated themselves to a particular Genia [Janya] or aspect of the Goddess each choosing according to her own calling to service in life. They also offered their own votive gifts, ranging from craft-work to a pilgrimage to Nepal. The Rite itself, in ancient style, complete with temple-maidens, is both elaborate and beautiful, and it is to be hoped, such Rites of personal dedication become more widespread.

It is not my place, for obvious reasons, to draft the organizational future of the Ekklesia or to dictate what anyone should or should not call themselves, but this lovely idea of the ‘lay-priestess’ as the valid product of a self-dedication to Dea and the community, realized non-sacramentally through sacred art, did seize me with a hope that it might offer a path forward that both honours and validates the seriousness of the calling that some of our sisters have felt (and that the Madrians continually expressed their hope more maids would feel) and, at the same time, recognizes and respects the legitimate concerns raised by the Aristasians and others about both the initiatic validity of future spiritual leaders for the community and the propriety of any sacerdotal order after the abuses that occurred at Burtonport. Those tensions are for others than myself to resolve, but I would like to think that perhaps, in their engagement with Lady Olivia’s work, the Madrians left some encouragement and inspiration for those whose challenge it shall be.