Numinous and Concrete
The Sundering of Feri
And then . . . there is still the merging of those four types of initiation, the power of which requires a very strong container indeed, which is why most of my initiates trained for many years before me, many years with me, and many years after me.
There are still others who say the split is about the charging of money for teaching, to which we can also say that Victor himself had no problem with the concept of charging the public for Craft services, or for teaching, as long as these people were not training toward the intimate act of initiation, and that regardless of what Victor or Cora said, did, or taught, each priest has her own autonomy and must choose how to walk this path. Yes, abuse can happen, but that is always the case.
Still others worry about forming a Feri priesthood separate from a Feri laity, or about commercialization, or . . . I cannot answer all of these concerns with the depth and respect that they warrant. That would require another book, and one likely written with the help of an anthropologist. The truth is that there is crossover between the sides of "mystery" and "openness" on almost every point.
All I can say is this: there has been regrettable behavior on both sides of the split, as well as heartfelt expression, poetry, pain, and hope. There are also many people who are not on any side at all, but who are, to paraphrase Rumi, "meeting in the field beyond right and wrong." This split feels painful, and yet also, in a strange way, right. It is another sign of the times.
At core, I feel the sundering of the Feri Tradition is a reflection of the tension seen all over the world right now, which is the tension felt in ages of transition. It has been said that we are moving from the Piscean to the Aquarian Age. Pisces wants to hold things close and in reclusion, within existing structures, striving for a beautiful purity. Aquarius wants to open up the windows of the Witch's hut—or sometimes bust down the walls - and let in some fresh air, while figuring out how to build something new. While I have great sympathy for the Pisceans, and think that likely there will always be those needed to hold that polarity, my work is firmly on the side of the non-conforming Aquarians, even when we vehemently disagree. The world needs us. The world is in trouble. We must bring the souls of body, culture, and spirit back together, or we shall surely perish, whether alone or together. To do this requires stepping out of the nurturing cave, and into the light.
My work is clear, and is as it has always been: To spread the Promethean fire of liberation to those who can see it, feel it, touch it, and taste it. My mandate is to offer as many people as possible what small things I can pass on that will be of help in changing their relationships to their lives, their work, their Gods, and the cosmos. Simultaneously, I do and will train smaller and smaller groups of people in deeper and deeper expressions of the unfolding Mystery. Why will these groups grow smaller? They will self-select, because hard, daily work is required and most people are not ready or willing to put in that sort of effort and self-scrutiny, and maintaining continuous connection to the Mystery requires all of those, and more. Perhaps it is in this latter statement that those I am placing in the Piscean camp—and who would call themselves "the Mystery tradition"—share common ground with me.
The way I teach and practice is not for everyone, nor should it be. We live in a cosmos of great variety for a reason. Multiplicity is both a challenge and a blessing. In the end, I am Feri—though I no longer teach within the tradition—and also I am of this changing world. To those who need to retreat under the mound, you may do so, and I will strive to respect your choices. Meanwhile, you will find me standing out in the bracing winds of change. May the way be open!
T. Thorn Coyle is an internationally respected visionary and teacher of the magical and esoteric arts. The author of Make Magic of Your Life, Kissing the Limitless, and Evolutionary Witchcraft, she hosts the Elemental Castings podcast series, writes the blog Know Thyself, and has produced several CDs of sacred music. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook!