|"The Wild and Grassy Slope of Bank" illustration by Olivia Robertson, from "The Golden Eye".
The Wild and Grassy Slope
By Olivia Robertson
Note: Olivia was a successful novelist in the 1940s - 1950s. She included accounts of her earlier psychic experiences
in her books attributing them to characters in the stories. Below is one, extracted from her novel “The Golden Eye”
published in 1949 by Peter Davies Ltd., Surrey, UK. You can probably guess who "Eva" is!
Her knowledge of the river Slaney, of the wood, of the mountain, Mount Leinster,
and its foot-ills, of the local fields, was crystallized in one focal dream adventure that happened to her on a Thursday afternoon,
when she had decided to have a stroll up the river bank. The rain had gone for the first time since her arrival two days ago
and a fine sun was now chequering the wild and grassy slope of the bank with gold, and with peacock-blue shadow. Eva had found
a little hollow of grass dry enough to lie on. She wished that time might stop and that she could stay here forever and never
return to Dublin. She lay stretched on the grass, the long blades intersecting above her eyes. She watched for a very long
time the ridiculous busy appearance of a beetle with a ruby transparent body and hour-glass waist, as it hurried to and fro
as if it had no time to dawdle. It casually walked over her leg, stopped, and then crawled into the grass and disappeared
beneath a brier ornamented with red and sour blackberries.
felt sleepy and she crossed her ankles and put her hands behind her head. She breathed gloriously and slowly, because the
air had an attractive green Irish smell to it, half honey, half wet, half lemon, and reminder her of Cork. She could hear
the distant sound of the weir near Mount Granite house. She had the most vivid dream that she had ever known and it was so
real that it was more real to her than he ordinary life.
seemed as if there were the prick of a point from a pair of compasses inside her heart, so that the rest of her was not a
straight line going from past to present, but a circle around her dream.
she dreamt that she was looking at an enormous spiral in blackness, and when she looked closer she saw that it was entirely
made up of shapes like curls, two and two together. Nearby was a star, or a circle of lights. She watched with great interest
as one light fro the circle slowly made its way down the spiral like a red light and unwound the spiral the other way, which
looked rather difficult. She was aware that this spiral and star were enormously big, so what was her astonishment when suddenly
the spiral in space became a perfectly ordinary real corkscrew. The romantic star changed into the lights round a bottle of
wine. She watched someone push the corkscrew into the neck and open a bottle. She became aware of the man and the bottle getting
smaller and smaller, until she saw that they were on the earth and the earth got smaller and this went on for a very long
time, until once more the whole process was repeated: she was left with a spiral and a star. This time she decided that they
certainly were extremely large. Once again the joke happened, and the spiral became an ordinary corkscrew and the star the
top of bottle. When this had happened seven times the corkscrew shut up, into a black port-hole, completely pushed in
and flat, and Eva was left with the star.
dream changed. She decided to investigate this star and get nearer. Now she found herself in a dark, very large hall, and
she saw the star slowly change into a straight line, into seven stars of different colours. She carefully memorized them,
but afterwards, she could only recollect that they were not the lights of the rainbow, in that order, but that the extreme
one on her right was purple, and the two middle were white and green, and red and gold. As interested as she had been when
watching the beetle, Eva gazed and gazed at these stars. Suddenly, with an extraordinary effect of drama, she felt that something
was going to happen. Any music that she had been aware of stopped and all light except that of the stars vanished. The stars
began blazing. There was absolute silence. The golden and red star began very slowly to enlarge and it became a cross. Very,
very slowly, the white and green one changed, lengthening, and it began slowly to move towards the other until it rested against
it, at right angles. Beyond the silver and green one, the blue star lengthened until it also had a tail like a comet, and
it too moved, with awful majestic certainty.
whole time was extremely awed because of the size of what she was watching. Each in turn the stars grew a comet-like tail
and moved and fastened themselves to the central star until they formed a complete circle of rays, the purple one being the
least important and therefore the last to move. Eva then felt herself overcome with incredulity, she did not know why, but
she saw these gigantic shapes now all were one. They slowly began to move round to the right. The movement was like when you
twirl a daisy round in your fingers, to the right. The movement became a spin, faster and faster, until there was nothing
but a stationary blaze of one huge white star. This remained in silence for about half-an-hour while Eva felt that she had
lost consciousness. Then slowly the whole affair began to unwind the other way, to the left. It was at this point that Eva
began to wonder what the stars were, and were they alive! Once more they were no longer one but seven. Each in turn, beginning
this time with the purple, they moved in turn back to their place.
felt that she could not endure to see everything get smaller and smaller again and the corkscrew to reappear, un-telescope
itself, because she was alarmed. So she shut her eyes. She knew the whole process was going on the other way, getting smaller
and smaller and finally, very cautiously, she opened one eye. She saw the blaze of the white star. She eyed it uncertainly,
wondering what its size was. It looked now like the moon and was slowly revolving. She saw what she thought were the craters
and mountains on the moon and then she saw that it was no such thing, but just a white circle blotched with something like
mould, and outlined round it was a metal cup with no handles. It was now, she felt with relief, her own size, so she held
out her hands to hold it, and woke up violently.
now saw, although she was awake, a shabby dinted cup before her. She jumped to her feet and saw the cup, now with no blotched
disk, in clear detail, against a thorn tree. The only unusual thing about it was that it was surrounded by what looked a cobweb
speckled with rain, iridescent, like a rainbow. She could not see what it rested on. Eva, determined to keep her dream at
any cost, uttered a cry and ran forwards, but when she got to the tree she grazed her hands against the bark and nothing at
all was there. ‘It is pewter,’ she thought, ‘ and very pretty, but dinted of course and needs cleaning.’
She began searching among the briars and her hands got wet and scratched. A rabbit suddenly darted out and disappeared down
a burrow. Eva was bitterly disappointed and went on searching until she gave up hopelessly. The rooks began their evening
wheel against the sky, the sunlight began to melt and it looked once more rain.
‘The dream has gone,’ thought Eva sadly, ‘and there is nothing here at all.
Goodness me, fancy telescoping in size like that! It is very bewildering ...'
About the Author: The Hon. Olivia Robertson studied at Heathfield
School, Ascot, and later at the Grosvenor School of Modern Art in London. During her years of study she was awarded the Purser-Griffith
Scholarship and received her Diploma as a graduate in the study of European Art History from the National University of Dublin.
The first exhibition of her art was held when she was only 21 years old. During the 1940s and 1950s she enjoyed a very successful
career as a novelist. In 1976 Olivia co-founded the Fellowship of Isis along with her brother Lawrence Durdin-Robertson and
his wife Pamela Durdin-Robertson. She still travels extensively, and provides lectures, rituals, and oracles that enrich the
Goddess Community. She is very active as FOI co-founder, Global Advisor and Overseeing Consultant to the many branches of
the Fellowship of Isis. Olivia celebrated her 93nd birthday on April 13, 2010.