Members of this site will be aware of Aleister Crowley’s The Rites of Eleusis, published by Mandrake Press, with an introduction by Keith Richmond. A lovely book…
Well, this edition was illustrated by Dwina Murphy-Gibb, a prominent Druid.
Now, Dwina Murphy-Gibb is married to Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb – and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie have been staying with Dwina and Robin at their Miami mansion.
According to The Times: “The riddle over Tony Blair’s controversial winter vacation deepened yesterday as Downing Street tried to fight off accusations that the Prime Minister had accepted a free holiday at the palatial Miami home of the pop star Robin Gibb… Mr Blair’s predilection for staying at the homes of the rich and glamorous has turned his holidays into an annual set-piece controversy. But this holiday promises to be more colourful than most. The villa, built in 1948, has become famous as a venue for decadent parties.”
I didn’t say it was a strong link!
Having said that, a glance at the This Is London website raises some interesting questions on the influence of cults on senior politicians and those close to them:
It was Rights and Humanity, led by Julia Hauserman, that hosted the meeting Mrs Blair addressed last January. It describes itself as a multi-faith international movement that aims to protect human rights and dignity. Mrs Blair is its Women’s Human Rights and Empowerment Network Patron.
Lynne Franks, the former PR queen on whom the Bollinger-swigging Absolutely Fabulous character Edina is based, also has close ties to both Brahma Kumaris and Rights and Humanity.
Now a self-styled lifestyle guru and ‘visionary’, she is the founder of a network called SEED, which runs ’empowerment programmes’ for women. On at least one occasion SEED has jointly staged an event with Brahma Kumaris, which Dwina attended.
Asked exactly what Mrs Blair and Dwina have ‘in common’, Mrs Hauserman explained: “They are both very committed to the rights of women and empowering women. They have since become good friends and both have spoken at a number of our events.
“Dwina has even read some of her poetry, which has been much appreciated by our audiences. Mrs Blair, as our chief patron, has also hosted a number of meetings in Downing Street.”
The most recent, classed as a private discussion, took place in December and 53-year-old Dwina was one of the guests.
“They really do have a lot in common, and as friends they speak to each other often,’ said Mrs Hauserman, who founded Rights and Humanity 20 years ago.
She knew in advance of the Blairs’ controversial stay at the Gibbs’ £5.2million beach house. And she confided that the arrangements had been made by Mrs Blair and Dwina, making it clear it was not the Prime Minister’s friendship with Robin Gibb that brought the Blairs to Miami.
The Bee Gee is also a follower of Dadi Janki and credits her with helping him overcome the death of his twin brother Maurice in 2003. Both he and Dwina wear red lapel pins with a tiny diamond to represent the point of light Brahma Kumaris members use as a focus for meditation. Once asked what she thought of the “BKs’, Dwina replied: “They are living, walking angels on this earth. They can help us become angels too.”
A spokeswoman for Dadi Janki confirmed that Dwina had been a regular visitor to the Brahma Kumaris global retreat in Oxfordshire, but was unaware of her ever being joined by Mrs Blair. Speaking from India, the spokeswoman added: “Dadi Janki briefly met Mrs Blair at a function organised by Rights and Humanity, but as far as we are aware Mrs Blair has not expressed an interest in meditation.
“Mrs Gibb, however, does. She has met Dadi Janki on a number of occasions.”
Is Mrs Blair, perhaps under the influence of her exotic friend, in danger of being drawn into the world of Brahma Kumaris?
It does not require a great leap of imagination to see this as a possibility: her fascination with alternative therapies such as crystal healing and ‘thought field therapy’ is well documented, as is her interest in India, particularly its female population.
No doubt Dwina would be delighted to recruit her. And if Dwina has been successful in displacing Martha Greene, it would represent another remarkable milestone in her life.
She has come a long way from the modest bungalow in a remote Northern Irish village where she was born and raised. Her elderly widowed mother Sarah still lives in the house in Kilskeery, County Tyrone.
Undoubtedly, the more outrageous aspects of Dwina’s lifestyle would raise eyebrows among the strict Catholic community.
“I’m not going to talk about her – I’m not that kind of person at all, at all,’ said her mother with a chuckle. Asked about her daughter’s association with Cherie Blair, she would say only: “They’re just friendly, that’s all. They do charity work together.”
Dwina left Kilskeery in the early Seventies, moving to London where she was free to indulge her outlandish tastes. By the mid-Seventies, she was an established fixture on the capital’s ‘alternative’ scene.
Gillian Lee, a friend from this period, told The Mail on Sunday: “I first met Dwina at the flat of an accountant called David in Belsize Park. David was teaching people Kabbalah, and Dwina was interested in learning as much as she could. She used to wear her hair dyed all the colours of the rainbow in concentric rings.
“I was given the impression that she was having a sexual relationship with David. At the time I was also studying Kabbalah. Together with David and a number of other people we frequently met for Kabbalistic study and the practice of magical ceremonies.
“Later she moved to a house in Plumstead which she shared with a man called Andrew, who was also into Kabbalah. He grew Psilocybe magic mushrooms and believed he was the anti-Christ. He also built a dome inside his house in which he and Dwina inhaled oxygen.
“At the time her cousin was working as a bodyguard for Robin Gibb, and he arranged a meeting for her.”
According to Dwina, who was then trying to make it as an artist, she impressed Robin with her drawings.