I became a member of the Fellowship of Isis a couple of years ago, when I turned 18 and instantly fell in love with its openness, freedom and all-embracing Goddess devotion! Unlike other groups I'd seen, the God was not disrespected or ignored, despite the feminine focus; its members were not criticised for their individual beliefs and all were united under one cause, the Goddess.
I began searching for training courses available under them, wanting to explore the mysteries of the Goddess and build upon my understanding and connection to Her. I'm not sure what I had expected from it but I think I recall expecting the usual from training: A set organised course structure, set information to learn, certain rituals to perform on certain dates... ticking the boxes and then being awarded the title Priestess for all the hard work.
This is not exactly what I experienced and because of that, it has been more beneficial to me than the aforementioned could ever have been. Within my training, which is completely free and set by long-distance correspondence with a FOI Priestess, I am simply asked to set up a FOI shrine to Isis and to perform FOI liturgy when the time suits me. Due to my busy schedule and dualistic lifestyle ritual can only be done effectively when I have time for it and the motivation, otherwise things fall flat, so this is useful to me already.
The liturgy itself is collections of beautiful writing's, oracles and theatrical performances. I usually stick to the 'script' but I can add my own personality and flavour to it still. After reciting the rite, there is time for meditation on the lessons of the Goddess and here is the crux of my experience under this training:
I report my experiences to the Priestess guiding me and she gives me advice and encouragement and in particular instances of significant Divine revelation I am awarded a Magi degree (four is needed to complete the training. She is so helpful to me and I'm very greatful for her patience and support for me. Beyond that The Goddess Herself is the One training me. In other training degrees the Priest or Priestess may teach you many fantastic things and chose to initiate you at the end of it; however, in this training it is the Goddess Herself Who teaches me all I need to know.
It means that I get to make my own mind up about things, learn what is important to me upon my own initiative and communicate with the Goddess directly - which is what a Priestess does! It does not mean that the structure and content of other courses are not valuable though! I spent 4 years prior to this training soaking up as much information as I could about it; now I have began to really spiral into the core of what this path is all about.
I wanted to share this with you because I hear many people asking to become Priests and Priestesses the moment they find out they can. I hear many people being told what to do and what to believe in, even if the teacher is just guiding them, they often just follow (as I did starting out, we do need that at first).
The FOI may not appeal to everyone but I hope this post at least gave you something to think about :)
Image by Olivia Robertson