August 14, 2011

Terrible Magic

With all the strife in the world there’s been a lot of talk about magical workings.  It seems a number of people feel that the world’s ills can be basically attributed to negative magical workings.  On top of natural disasters, geo-political strife, global economic failures, we have rancor and blistering arguments among us causing a great divide. 

Sometimes we feel helpless over such overwhelming events.  Sometimes things seem so out of control it feels as if we are only stopping the gaps in our lives.  Sometimes we feel betrayed and friendless.  It’s no wonder that we feel as if there is a dark force out there and terrible magic has been let loose.

But we are good people right?  We are hard working, sensible, compassionate people who are doing all they can to better our situation.  We’ve looked to ourselves, meditated on our role in “the mess we’re in” and studied all the mundane reasons for our situation.  We’ve done everything we can, so it must be magic.

Well, I’m not here to doubt that.  I believe in magic.  I know it works.  If you say you have done all things possible in the mundane, and have worked hard to strengthen your being, I will not argue that it is magic.

What I’m here to say is “So what?”  Let’s just make that assumption.  Terrible* magic has been unleashed.  It is powerful enough to slowly erode your good life.  Well, what are you going to about it?  Are you powerless?

We are all witches.  We make magic.  We are magical beings.  We are descended of the gods and are Godbeings ourselves.  We are made of power and, whether you realize it or not, every act we make is power.  We are not subject to another, in any way, shape or form.  We are virgin forms, independent, unsullied by an angry hungry touch. 

Terrible magic has been unleashed.  Make some terrible magic of your own.  Rise up and stir the cauldron.  Focus your energies in keeping a cone about you.  Live in that cone.  The Fey are wild beings with great power, use it.  It is within you, it is inherent.  Take control, take it.  It’s already yours, it’s been waiting for you.

Take control.  Make Kala a daily exercise.  Continue to align your soul.  Work the Iron and Pearl.  Terrible magic requires a terrible price.  It requires that your daily “practice” becomes your entire life.  It requires that all you do become a conscious act of magic.  It requires you to transform your existence from the very core.  And it requires that you first know what that core is. 

Understand that your daily practice will not be enough to safely make terrible magic.  But if you want your life back, then take control.  Know who you truly are, know what you want and be clean about it.  Fight power with power.  As Victor would say “Just do it!”

* * terrible defined:  causing awe, or extremely formidable.

June 12, 2011

Are You A Real Feri?

One of the more boring arguments in Feri is the argument that arises over whether or not one is in fact Feri.  Inevitably someone will charge that another is “not really Feri.”  Or at some point in any meeting of Feri folk, one will complain that someone said “I’m not Feri, how dare they?”

Indeed how dare we make judgments on another persons chosen path?  It’s really not up to me to decide whether or not you have actually chosen this path.  If you tell me that you are Feri, who am I to say “No, no you actually haven’t really chosen this path; because I don’t like you, I fear you, you creep me out, I’m mad at you, I disagree with your opinion.” 

I can authenticate your teacher, years of study and practice, or your initiation.  But I cannot absolutely authenticate your choice in a spiritual path.  That is yours to own, to keep precious and to follow.  Not I, nor anyone else, is capable of denying you your willfully chosen path.

But what we can do is decide whether or not an individual is living up to the principles and practices of their path.  Of course that means we have to really understand those principles and practices ourselves.  Not to mention continue to do that work to the best of our ability. 

This sort of thing reminds me of the reaction of, for an example, the Christian community when a proclaimed Christian murders a health care professional because God told him to.  Christians will come out in droves proclaiming this person is not a “real” Christian.  I beg to differ on that. 

If that individual claims to be a Christian, I have to take that individual on their word.  Not a good Christian to be sure, but a Christian nonetheless.  I might doubt this individual understands Christianity, and may even question their sanity.  But I won’t question their chosen (or ill-chosen) path. 

I won’t question who a person is, but I can question what a person does.  Action, not being.  Are you living up to the principles and practices of Feri?  Does your life reflect the work and discipline that’s required in this path?  Does your devotional practice give your life a sense of beauty and awe? 

There are many, far too many, in our communities who behave badly.  There are a number of us whose actions lie well outside the practice of being grounded self-possessed warriors.  Bad behavior, poor practice and anti-social tendencies do not mean you’re chosen path is not Feri.  It simply means you suck at practicing Feri.  

I don’t call that judgment. I call that assessment*.

* BTW, if you’re going to make that assessment, do the communities a favor by making that assessment privately, preferably to the person in question.  Public assessments are rarely necessary.  But if you find that it is, have someone check you first.  Believe me, I’ve been there.  It’s hardly worth it.

April 27, 2011


“Every poem is a love letter to the Goddess”
Victor Anderson

Victor would always ask his students what they thought a particular poem he wrote meant.  If you spent any length of time with him at all, this question would come up.  It could be a hair-raising experience.  One would never get it quite right.  I would often observe students suffering a great anxiety when asked about the meaning of a poem.  That anxiety would soon become disappointment when Victor would say “Not really.”  And he would almost always respond this way.

I often secretly wondered if he enjoyed torturing people this way.  One day he asked me about a certain poem and I was just not in the mood.  I answered with the first thing that popped into my mind: menstruation.  He blurted out  “Hey!  That’s pretty good, you know!”  I actually don’t think I gave the answer he was looking for, but he was genuinely pleased to get an unusual answer.  And he would no longer test me (and make no mistake, it was a test)  on poetry, to which I was very pleased. 

What absolutely wouldn’t work with Victor was interpreting these poems as metaphors for his love, or archetypes of the divine.  It drove him to disgust.  His response was always that the Gods were real, not mere metaphors or archetypes.  God is Self and Self is God, and God is a Person like Myself.  From God Herself came all life, including us.  We are real, not merely metaphors and archetypes, and we are a part of Her so She is real as well.

You see, the theory and form behind poetry didn’t seem to interest him.  Well, perhaps that’s going to far.  To be more accurate, I have never heard him speak much on these matters.  What he wanted to know is whether or not you understood the true meaning.  And he wanted to know if you understood the why of poetry. 

I have said it before and I will say it again and again and yet again.  The language of Feri is the language of poetry, art, and ritual.  Poetry is not merely the product of our devotion to the Gods; it is the very process by which we devote ourselves to Them.  The Gods are real, and poetry is the sexual act of love between Self and God.  Poetry is not merely a verbal expression of love; it is a sexual expression of that very love.

The entirety of the Feri Tradition is contained in the poetry of Victor Anderson.*  All the important lessons in Feri are in his poems.  This is the true core of the tradition.  It is its heart and soul.  Everything you really need to understand about us is held in Thorns of the Blood Rose and Lilith’s Garden. 

With these two books are poems of longing, dread, awe and humor.  There is anger, pain, and laughter.  All presented within an emotional framework of deep and abiding love.  Every one of these poems, no matter the subject, is a lustful cry to the Star Goddess. Every poem presented is a revelation of the great mystery.  If you could manage to truly understand these works, then you have mastered the devotional heart of the Craft.

And now that I have serious students, I will begin to test them on poetry as well.  Though I seriously doubt I could command the same level of anxiety or disappointment. 

* There are other masters of poetry that speak to Feri, of course.  Some not of the tradition at all, working in their own devotion, yet speaking the language of the Fey nonetheless.  Of course, it would be irresponsible of me to not mention a great Feri bard Gwydion Pendderwen.

March 09, 2011

The Great Unfolding

I see it’s been a month since my last post.  I was very busy with PantheaCon and while there I caught the plague.  I must have been burning very hard and fast, because the cold wiped all of my energy stores.  And in recovery, I’ve found it difficult to come up with something interesting.  But I am determined to get back on this horse.

So today, I would like to present to you one of our central myths.  I call it The Great Unfolding because I have never really experienced orgasm as a bang, big or not.  Other than that, this is entirely in Victor’s own words.  I have this written several times, because he repeated this story several times.  Amazingly, each version is no version at all.  They are nearly exact, excepting a single instance, which can be found in the last line of the story.  Every other version I have is word for word exactly the same.

But before I present it, I would like to say that none of the stories I have ever recorded from Victor can match his telling of that story.  When I read his stories, I feel almost disappointed.  His presence and personal cadence was so powerful and entrancing, that the simple words on a screen just doesn’t do justice to the experience of hearing him tell it.  But I give it as it was given to me, because the very simplicity is a beauty in itself.

"Darkness is older than Light.  The Sun and each star is surrounded by a vastness of dark.  The universe began as a very small tiny seed egg.  It was in the womb of the Natural Mother of the Universe.  She is not a necessary cause of creation the Blessed Virgin of the Outer Darkness needed no help.  Creation was natural.  Her companion the God came from Her because the Male is mutated from the Female.  In Her are all the power and potency of nature.  She is Virgin because She needs no others to create.   The Goddess took unto Herself 2 Bright Spirits and perfected them into God with Her birth.  They are identical, either one or both can occupy the place of God.  She is a feminine being, with all the potency of Nature, including the Male.  Star Goddess, Holy Ghost, She is the Aumakua of the Universe so mine is a part of Her.  The first element, Hydrogen, is the breath of the Goddess.  Hydrogen is the element where all life is built on. The Gods are the manifestations of consciousness, just as stars are the manifestations of space."
Victor Anderson

“Gods are the manifestations of consciousness, just as stars are the manifestations of space.”  This last line is found only once in my several versions of the story.  I don’t recall why it might be there.  I imagine that this was in answer to a question and that I added it without a break or note.  If there is anyone out there that has any other additions, feel free to post them.  If you so desire.  

February 08, 2011

Teaching Is Not Training*

I once asked Cora what they did when a student wasn’t right for the Craft. 

She looked me straight in the eye and said, “Eventually they would just leave,” and turned her head.

My experience with the Andersons showed they would teach just about anybody.  Victor often taught through the phone, through written letters and many times cassette tapes of the teachings would be sent.  In fact, my first lessons were through that medium.  I became accustomed to the parade of people passing through the house.  But I also found that at some point the lessons for many of these students would stop and they became mere visitors. 

Teaching and training is not the same thing.  I was reminded of that this very day.  Often in conversations, spoken and written, I will hear the term ‘training’ and continue to think along the lines of ‘teaching’.  I’m sure this has caused a number of confusions, so let’s clear this up on my part.

Teaching can be done in any number of fashions. Benefits and handicaps aside, workshops and small classes are some good examples.  The expectation here is that the student will learn the topic at hand.  The hope is that the student will continue their study in this field.

But training holds a more profound expectation.  Both teacher and student commit to a long term and rigorous study of not only a single topic, but to the entire field of study.  The hope and yes, expectation for both the student and teacher is initiation.

Much has been said lately about training without the expectation of initiation.  Frankly, I don't think you can have any ‘intention’ of initiation. The default position in Feri, no matter what the form of training is, "You will not be initiated."   Decisions like this take time and much consideration. 

During this period of time many things may happen that might cause a teacher to let the student go.  And let us not forget that the student may also choose to leave the training before becoming initiated.  There are questions and issues that come up during training that one cannot know when the training begins.  They can be critical issues regarding integrity, or trivial issues such as interpersonal chemistry.  Honestly, I would never take any students on, if there were some sort of condition that this student must be initiated.

But when I'm asked what is my criteria for initiation I tell them, "I ask myself only one question. I ask myself: Am I willing to live with this person, not only for the rest of this life, but for all of my lives? Can I love this person for that long?"  I would suggest that this is a question a student hoping to be initiated might ask as well. 

I do think that offering (and taking) workshops in Feri is okay.  I feel that you should find one trainer and take as many workshops as possible. It rounds out the student. It offers perspective and exposure to many different ideas.  And I offer this advice to my students of dance and art as well.  This is practical advice for a student of any discipline.

As previously stated, training is a different breed of animal.  One of the primary criteria of initiation is: Can the candidate be brought into the family?  This was a very strong thread in the Anderson home.  Begin training only those who you would want to bring into the family.  Training guarantees nothing and initiation is only the beginning of your studies.

But what of the student who is looking for some training?  How can one begin to search for a reliable and responsible teacher?  I offer up some links that might be useful.  One of these pages links to Isaac Bonewits’ Cult Danger Evaluation Frame.  Mind you, I have been informed that the Lilith’s Lantern web site is undergoing some revisions.  I would check back often for updates.

The CDEF is pretty comprehensive, but I would like to add a few criteria for your search for a Feri teacher:

·      How does your teacher view the tradition?  Or rather how does the teacher’s view mesh with your needs?
·      Who trained/initiated your prospective trainer? 
·      How many years has s/he been an initiate? This goes to general experience. 
·      From what line does s/he descend and what does that line teach? 
·      Does the teacher offer a certain amount of transparency to their general character, rituals and theory? **
·      What is the teacher’s reputation among those you respect and admire? 
·      Does this teacher have a huge entourage of students/initiates?  Or do they have a small but very strong group?
 Finally ask yourself:  Who am I?  What do I want from this?  Why do I want this?  Can this trainer provide the guidance needed to help me realize what I want?

And remember, you can leave your training at any time, for whatever reason.  You may feel obligated to give your trainer a reason, and it is polite to do so, but if you feel this will cause harm to you or to others then just leave.

*I would like to thank K for our rigorous conversation this afternoon.  It was quite helpful, and made this blog a bit more than just a bramble of wandering thoughts.

**I know that this is quite controversial, but a certain amount of transparency is necessary for a healthy cult to flourish.  If only to avoid the very dangers outlined in the introduction to the CDEF.  I am NOT suggesting that all secrets be revealed!

January 24, 2011

The Feri Current and Mana.

Mana takes many forms pervading all things and is generated by the sexual nature of creation Herself. All forms of mana are available for our use, but we Feri tend to work in forms infused with a particular current. This current is as difficult to express as love is, but I like to think of it as an electric awakening.

The Feri current is natural and does not stand above any other current but it is distinctive.  The current is formed by the distinctive secret names of the Gods, distinctive core practices and specific lore. It is this distinctiveness that marks the Feri current as different from the current of other traditions. Practitioners of Feri generate mana for the current, and the current returns it in kind and form.  The more powerful the mana, the greater you tap into the current, the more powerful your craft.

This current is passed nominally through these tools, practices and lore.  But the greatest and fullest transmission and connection to this current is through receiving The Names during the initiation.  Not much can be said of this, it is sacred and not to be lightly discussed. 

The Feri current is wild or better put untamed.   The current stands beside the domestic conventions of expectation.  Feri is fiercely independent in that regard.  The Great Star Goddess is a Virgin because she needed no other to create.  Creation is self-evident, approval is not necessary.

Ecstatic and sensual, the Feri current holds a great respect for the physical world.  When the Feri current courses through the body, it makes clear how wondrous and pleasurable life is.  Life wills itself from the sheer desire to do so.  Desire and will make manifest the physical. 

The current possesses an excitatory nature, regarded as sexual.    It excites the senses and, in a purely energetic form, the frequency is both high and slow.  Feri is deep yet quick. 

Often described as wiry in nature, the current is difficult to grasp and even more difficult to hold.  Practitioners of Feri develop a comfort with the nature of paradox.   Feri is clean and crisp but also dark and musky.  Feri is both studied and experiential.

Well, I could write several more paragraphs on my musings on the nature of this current.  The point I want to make here is that this current is distinctive from the other currents one might walk through, and that it is specific to a certain cultural set.  This set is defined by the lore, The Names, and a specific set of working tools.

As distinctive as this current is, it cannot be described in a linear fashion but can be defined through poesy.  There must be a period of exposure and experience to fully understand the subtle and rich nature of this current.  Finally to make full and true use of this current requires a singular devotion to the unique nature of the Feri tradition. 

Strong deviation from the cultural set is a deviation from the current.  Change The Names and you change the current.  Change the tools of practice and you change the current.  Change the central mysteries as embodied in our lore and you change the current.  Change the current and the mana just tastes different. 


January 13, 2011


Yet another post that is Feri related, but not Feri specific.  Before I begin, I want everyone to know that this post is basically how I currently feel about the topic and that this isn’t a direct transmission from my teachers.  I promise to get back to core topics very soon.

It seems to me that the trouble within the United States is echoed in the troubles that face Feri.  I am speaking of the deep divide in our country and now in Feri.  We have pundits on all sides whipping up our sentiments and throwing cheap shots.  There are many diverse issues facing us, far too many to tackle in one post.  But the focus of this post is on the common thread of danger.

Here are just a few examples:
  • The sexual tradition is dangerous.
  • Initiatory training is dangerous.
  • Distance training is dangerous.
  • Online presence is dangerous.
  • Exchange of money is dangerous.

I could go on and on.  And you know, it’s all true.  But here’s the really hard part.  There is no real protection against danger.  The Craft is dangerous, period.  There are the real and practical dangers, and there are the fantastical ones.  Anyone coming into the Craft must know this first.  If you are a candidate for training, then you are in danger.  And you are in far greater danger of losing your job than in going mad.  The danger is more pervasive than going mad.   Danger is cheap, it lies everywhere like dust in Kansas.  What’s expensive is risk. 

No risk, no glory.  If you want this, you must accept the very real risks.  If you add your name to ours, you must accept the risk of being identified.  If you write about it, you must accept the risk of being read by just about anybody.  If you meet with us, you must accept the risk that some of us are unpleasant.  If you teach it, you must accept the risk of having your student become unstable.  If you go down the deep well, you must accept the risk of not coming back. And with risk follows accountability, another risk.

The question isn’t whether or not the Craft is dangerous, but is it worth it?  Is it worth the danger?  Are you willing to own the risks and be accountable for the danger you face?

I have many good things in my life; I am fortunate.  But all the great things in my life are dangerous.  I fell in love, which is dangerous.  I have two children, that is dangerous.  I have students and initiates and that too is dangerous.  I had a job that was dangerous to the extent that I had to sign a waiver saying I understood that if taken hostage, they would not negotiate for my release.  In all of these risks I have found great reward.

That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take certain precautions or safety measures, that’s just stupid.  Each priest is honor bound to take certain reasonable precautions in all matters regarding not just a student, but to other initiates as well.  We can all stand to take a stronger look at that.  But we just can’t guarantee your safety because that safety doesn’t exist.

I for one want to accept those risks.  I accept that some members of my family are uncomfortable around me.  I accept that this blog might be misunderstood and badly used.  I accept that my next dance might seem ridiculous.  I accept that my disagreements over Feri might cost me friends and lose some respect.  And I accept the risks to win that back.  I accept, I accept, I accept.