“Every poem is a love letter to the Goddess”
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.