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Olivia Barclay, 1919 - 2001

By Rohana Darlington

Rohana Darlington remembers Olivia Barclay, who died in earlier this year.

It was with great sadness but not surprise that I heard of Olivia's death last month. As her homeopath, I'd been treating her during her final illness; I loved her feisty, formidable personality and respected her courage at this time.

Olivia and I both followed the same spiritual path: we practiced the Subud latihan, a way of spiritual development that Olivia had begun in the 1960s. Members of her local Subud group in Canterbury used to visit her regularly at her home to join her in this way of mystical worship, to give her support at the end of her life. When she needed it, Olivia and I both used to time our spiritual training sessions simultaneously even though I lived 200 miles away from her, and she always found the practice uplifting. Distance has no meaning to the power of the spirit.

I was also linked to Olivia in another way - as her astrology student. It was with great trepidation that I awaited the return of my work for her Qualifying Horary Practitioner course, which I am now only half-way through. It was invariably marked in red ink with vehement comments explaining my shortcomings as an astrologer! As a graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies, I'd decided to undertake further training with Olivia, as part of research work for a book I'm writing set in 17th century England during the Civil War. To help me, she lent me a priceless antique astrology book by George Wharton from her private collection, all parcelled and posted to me in a biscuit tin. She introduced me to the annual History of Astrology Seminar at the Astrological Lodge in London, and whatever obscure questions I asked her, as for example on the difference in rulerships of the herbs cited by Culpeper and Lilly, she was always able to anwer me with complete conviction based on her wonderful scholarship.

Olivia, you were a one-off, it was so interesting knowing you. I hope to continue your course with your tutors when everything has been sorted out.

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