Guest Post: Henry Buchy responds to the Feri schism

Editor’s Note: This post is in response to The Sundering of Feri by T. Thorn Coyle.

My sister Thorn makes some good points, and very convincing too. I will offer my own ideas of the sundering or schism, because it is similar to the schisms which occurred in Buddhism or Christianity, or even Islam. Yet this division, this sundering is in no way about claiming a one true way, that one approach to Feri is the only correct one. It’s more about demonstrating that there is another approach aside from two year intensives, weekend seminars and workshops, or ‘mail order’ correspondence courses via web groups and distance learning ensembles. That there are other avenues to learn this craft in which the fee is hard work, dedication and personal commitment, that the relationship isn’t one of teacher among many students, but as among brothers and sisters, parent and child, even lover to lover. Where the seeker/student is given the undivided attention of ones mentor/teacher/guide.

“Witchcraft is witchcraft, not witch dogma. It is a science, the oldest form of science. And it is time for us to go back and treat it that way. It’s not how many times you dance around the circle or get down on the floor and say this is for a point on the pentagram,this foot is for the other, and all that nonsense. It’s time to get down and think rightly. We should get together to discuss what we have learned, about each other, about medicine, about whatever it is we’re interested in. We should pool that knowledge together and keep it. That’s what we’re supposed to do.”

It would appear, we’re reduced to expressing the differences through ‘Dogma’, each of us bound to cite the teachings of the Andersons to support our positions, our views. But it is ‘Anderson Feri’, after all, and the Andersons were the main expounders of the tradition, it’s practices and it’s doctrines.

And yes,those teachings which Thorn cites are indeed a call to teach the people how to connect to the Gods, through connecting to themselves. and indeed Victor did say ‘All gods are Feri gods.” When told: “Today many Feris seem to focus on the cycle of the Gods.” His reply:

“Well, I think that it’s one of the signs that the religion has gone to pot. We don’t have a set pantheon, but we do deal with groups of gods. It depends on who we need to deal with. We deal with the gods of the trees, the gods of the rivers, the gods of the rocks, our own personal god. If we forget all that and stick our heads up in the sky we’re just going to get confused. The thing is that “pantheon” means many or all of the gods, from the Greek.

Ah yes, the nature of the Gods of Feri. These Gods, these beings are not metaphors. They are not archetypes. They are very real. They are not limited by Human understandings of what is ‘okay’, of Human morals or ethics. They will indeed take you, if you do not have a strong individuality, a strong and healthy ego, a strong sense of self. They are dangerous. Victor often compared our tradition to Voudon, and other African diasporic traditions, drawing close parallels to the nature of our ‘Gods’ to those of The Loa. Perhaps we might hear from a practitioner of those traditions, as to approaching such beings unprepared.

Victor also related that he was concerned about folks approaching the gods in the intimate relationship which is a hallmark of the tradition, without the preparation needed. part of that preparation is the rite of initiation. He observed that those who hadn’t received the mystery “don’t even know the nature of the deity, the nature of the gods. It is only a peculiar speculation.”

Victor considered this tradition, as a science and also a religion:

“I would like to see it practiced as the religion of the people, the religion of the soil that comes up through your feet and through your genitals. Through your feelings, through all three parts of the soul. From the center of the earth to the heights of heaven. To be very natural, very normal, and very respectful and reverent.”

Melding the two together and within the Feri context, Feri is a science of connection, of re-connection. It is also the science of life and of living people and beings. And the “laboratory” as it were are living breathing beings.

Consider a standard definition of science:

  1. The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation and theoretical explanation of natural phenomena.
  2. Any methodological activity, discipline, or study.
  3. Any activity that appears to require study and method.
  4. Knowledge, esp. knowledge gained through experience.

Again, from Victor:

“One of the central teachings of real witchcraft is the nature of the human soul. But now it is being put down as mere id, ego and superego. Those are only three aspects of the personality. People disregard the fact that there are three entities that make up the human spirit. Each one of us is a trinity.”
and
One of the grave things that is really needed is to return to the nature of the human soul, how we are put together. The etheric anatomy of the human being is very important……….We’ve got to quit that kind of thinking, this pop psychology. It has got to be set aside, because it is not witchcraft. Witchcraft is to get in there and discern what the other person feels and feel with it with them, to know with them what they know. The discernment of spirits, as Jewish wisdom calls it. We have to understand this, because otherwise we are just practicing a form. People do a lot of things to do some spell, whatever they think that is,and that’s like going into a laboratory and messing with Chemistry when you don’t know anything about it.

One can’t do “discernment” one can’t really feel what another feels or know with them what they know without shared experience. That involves a closer relationship with folks that just doesn’t happen without a lot of face to face time. Nor can one observe, identify or explain phenomena without experiencing the phenomena( which happens to be in some cases “Students”) Nor as Victor mentions is it about ‘dancing around in a circle or which foot is what point, and all that ‘nonsense‘. That is just practicing a ‘Form’.

Either the self improvement aspect can stand alone from the religious aspects of Feri, or they depend on introduction to the “Feri Gods” et al. If the latter, then really one is approaching declaring Feri a ‘one true
religion
‘. I mean for me I am perfectly fine with folks saying they are teaching the tools of Feri, as they see them being a benefit to others in their practice. Teaching the tools of Feri is different from teaching the religion of Feri.
I also see it as treating the tradition as a commodity, a product, with all the hype and advertising to create a demand, that then ‘needs’ to be filled. It’s pop spirituality. It’s evangelism, it’s proselytism as long as it continues to be connected to the ‘religion’ part.

Concerning the ‘Blames’, this sundering has been ongoing for decades before I received initiation into the tradition. I would add ‘not listening to the counsel of peers’, as one of these ‘Blames’. Concerns about this issue and all of the ramifications and possibilities have been continuously put forth over the years, and went unheeded. Those who have decided for themselves to teach Feri publicly, to teach it enmasse, to make Feri practices available to the public indiscriminately decided on their own to withdraw from discussions. Some few claimed autonomy. Some few claimed they as initiates had the right to do whatever they saw fit to do in regards to teaching, to materials held in common, and that any criticisms to the contrary were simply attempts for power over or control.

And yes, there were heated exchanges and impassioned discussions and things were said on both sides that were regrettable, but there were also attempts to reconcile which were refused out of hand, that were taken into the public arena well before this, and mischaracterized to support claims that initiates on the whole were dysfunctional and irrational in their disagreement and sought only power over and elitism.

And yes, Thorn is right. There are a combination of precipitating events, most of them are rooted in the tensions surrounding the ideas around autonomy in relation to community: i.e. the idea of a tradition with lore and liturgy held in common, and whether any single person has the right to do as they please with that commonly held material.

Cora wrote in Fifty Years:

The real craft is a democracy, a religion of the common working people and not a set of beliefs dictated by a ruling class
and
Our tradition is a martial art as deadly as any taught in Japan. Our tradition is not made up of people who keep secrets because we think we are better than others, but because our knowledge is real and dangerous if gone beyond a certain point.

I think that suffices to explain why there is a deep concern among some of us as to the idea of Feri becoming an open source tradition. It also suffices to demonstrate that the motives of those who wished to keep certain practices out of the public venues for unguided, indiscriminate use were not ‘power over’ or ‘egotism’, but for concern about safety.

Victor reports in People of the Earth, New Pagans speak out:

“People are always hollering about witchcraft is not a hierarchy and so on, but it is also not just a “dog eat dog” thing where everyone has the right to their own opinion, in the most pseudo-democratic way possible. That’s anarchy, it isn’t the Craft.”

There were a few attempts to come to an agreement, a consensus about materials, but some few chaffed at the idea, and later went back on their agreements. Some others appealed only to Victor or Cora as authority, for approval for what they wished to do, rather than advice and consent of their peers. Rather foisting a ‘ruling class’ position upon the Andersons, and also creating the appearance of one now. There’s so much more to the story than is related here.

I can’t claim the same credentials as Thorn or some others. I am a plain ordinary witch. I have studied the Craft and things occult and mysterious for some 35 years. Western Hermeticism, Kabbalah, Sanatana Dharma, Theosophy, much of the same things Thorn has studied and perhaps more indepth in some. I can only give you my word as an experienced witch, once that would have sufficed. I came to Feri after having studied within those paradigms. I find that they all fit into the ‘Feri Container’. Where Thorn finds a limit as it were, I found Feri as the distilled essence of them all. Solve et Coagula! “separate the subtle from the dross” as Trimegestus declared. Cora rightly considered her husband ‘The Einstein of the Craft’.

*Quotes from ‘Speak of the Devil’, an interview with Victor Anderson,in two parts from Witcheye Magazine vol.#2&#3. unless otherwise attributed.

Henry resides in the Cape May area. He an old craft witch, Feri Initiate, and a member of Covenant of Rhiannon, one of the oldest continually practicing covens in New Jersey.  www.covenantofrhiannon.org He will also be a contributor to Dead, Mad or Poet, an electronic journal and e-zine. http://www.deadmadorpoet.com/

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=847300286 Shimmer Leaf

    Yay! It’s great to see a space for Henry to share his thoughts and wisdom.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=847300286 Shimmer Leaf

    Yay! It’s great to see a space for Henry to share his thoughts and wisdom.

  • kenneth

    I can’t speak to the merits of any sides of the schism whatsoever, but it greatly reinforces my complete lack of interest in initiatory traditions which claim to be the guardians of some powerful secrets. I’d much rather work from primary sources: nature itself and my gods.

    • Hbuchy

      Hiya Kenneth,
      That’s what I think one should do, work directly with nature and ones own gods. I’d rather see experienced folks teaching others the ways to make that connection to nature and the gods, but not which gods to work with.
      Real and dangerous beyond a certain point doesn’t necessarily equate to powerful.

    • http://www.patheos.com/ Star Foster

      I think there’s a difference in being initiated into a group of “secret-keepers” and into an interactive community. I think that initiatory Craft exists all along the spectrum between those two poles, regardless of tradition.

      • Hbuchy

        Hiya Star,
        yeah another long one:-)
        A respected elder witch pointed out to me a rather significant difference in terminology which may serve to benefit.
        “the tradition is witchcraft, within which are order of the craft.”
        Feri, Alexandrian, Gardnerian, etc are all orders, and initiatory orders.
        Feri stands out now because of it’s non use of a degree system. It has a very long training period compared to other orders, and this has become problematic and the reason for concern about present approaches to teaching. At one time, initiation came very early, and then the practices were taught. Folks don’t mention it much but there were enough ‘casualities’ in regards to after effects of initiation, to make that change.
        I would suggest a reading of the introductory parts to Francesca De Grandis’ ‘Be a Goddess’. She knows from experience about the dangers folks are so eager to scoff at.
        By far her approach is the safest, and more in keeping with Victors ideas regarding what should be taught in general i.e. religious practices not religion itself.
        Feri initiation is primarily types two and three of Thorns list. The type four aspect is secondary but important in the sphere of humans.
        My first craft initiation some 35 years ago was of type one and four. I was simply recognised as a witch and as a member of that particular coven. A very simple affair, oath, measure, cord and blade. That was it. It signified I was accepted into the tradition of witchcraft, trustworthy enough not to reveal what transpires in circle,except to other witches so prepared. To protect and defend brothers and sisters of the craft, and to protect and defend the craft itself.
        Simple yet momential. I still carry it today.
        This aspect is lost to a whole generation of witches, this sense of being welcomed into the tradition of the craft, with love and trust, by my elders and my peers. It’s a bond, obligation and commitment.
        It’s only then that my instruction began towards my second initiation, that as ‘priest’.
        And yet I still extend that commitment even to the modern witches, and part of that obligation is to warn of the dangers.
        I might draw the analogy of prescription drugs. Watch the ‘advertisements’, and how the drug is touted to relieve ones suffering from the mentioned condition and improve ones life, but also listen closely to the side effects, which in many cases are far worse the the mentioned condition IF they manifest.
        And sure 80 of 100 persons may use the drug with no ill effect, but what of the other 20?
        Of course it is their risk, their choice to use the drug. I see no one complaining to drug manufacturers, about trying to ‘scare’ people off, or exaggerating the dangers. heh. Wonder what folks would do if the pharms didn’t include a warning when they knew the dangers.

      • Sara A.

        Right. And keeping secrets (as magical tools) doesn’t mean you never ever talk to anybody. I write stuff all the time, sometimes about how my practice affects my life…I just don’t TEACH my religion over the Internet, because I don’t think you can, and that it’s a bad idea to try.

  • kenneth

    I can’t speak to the merits of any sides of the schism whatsoever, but it greatly reinforces my complete lack of interest in initiatory traditions which claim to be the guardians of some powerful secrets. I’d much rather work from primary sources: nature itself and my gods.

    • Hbuchy

      Hiya Kenneth,
      That’s what I think one should do, work directly with nature and ones own gods. I’d rather see experienced folks teaching others the ways to make that connection to nature and the gods, but not which gods to work with.
      Real and dangerous beyond a certain point doesn’t necessarily equate to powerful.

    • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

      I think there’s a difference in being initiated into a group of “secret-keepers” and into an interactive community. I think that initiatory Craft exists all along the spectrum between those two poles, regardless of tradition.

      • Hbuchy

        Hiya Star,
        yeah another long one:-)
        A respected elder witch pointed out to me a rather significant difference in terminology which may serve to benefit.
        “the tradition is witchcraft, within which are order of the craft.”
        Feri, Alexandrian, Gardnerian, etc are all orders, and initiatory orders.
        Feri stands out now because of it’s non use of a degree system. It has a very long training period compared to other orders, and this has become problematic and the reason for concern about present approaches to teaching. At one time, initiation came very early, and then the practices were taught. Folks don’t mention it much but there were enough ‘casualities’ in regards to after effects of initiation, to make that change.
        I would suggest a reading of the introductory parts to Francesca De Grandis’ ‘Be a Goddess’. She knows from experience about the dangers folks are so eager to scoff at.
        By far her approach is the safest, and more in keeping with Victors ideas regarding what should be taught in general i.e. religious practices not religion itself.
        Feri initiation is primarily types two and three of Thorns list. The type four aspect is secondary but important in the sphere of humans.
        My first craft initiation some 35 years ago was of type one and four. I was simply recognised as a witch and as a member of that particular coven. A very simple affair, oath, measure, cord and blade. That was it. It signified I was accepted into the tradition of witchcraft, trustworthy enough not to reveal what transpires in circle,except to other witches so prepared. To protect and defend brothers and sisters of the craft, and to protect and defend the craft itself.
        Simple yet momential. I still carry it today.
        This aspect is lost to a whole generation of witches, this sense of being welcomed into the tradition of the craft, with love and trust, by my elders and my peers. It’s a bond, obligation and commitment.
        It’s only then that my instruction began towards my second initiation, that as ‘priest’.
        And yet I still extend that commitment even to the modern witches, and part of that obligation is to warn of the dangers.
        I might draw the analogy of prescription drugs. Watch the ‘advertisements’, and how the drug is touted to relieve ones suffering from the mentioned condition and improve ones life, but also listen closely to the side effects, which in many cases are far worse the the mentioned condition IF they manifest.
        And sure 80 of 100 persons may use the drug with no ill effect, but what of the other 20?
        Of course it is their risk, their choice to use the drug. I see no one complaining to drug manufacturers, about trying to ‘scare’ people off, or exaggerating the dangers. heh. Wonder what folks would do if the pharms didn’t include a warning when they knew the dangers.

      • Sara A.

        Right. And keeping secrets (as magical tools) doesn’t mean you never ever talk to anybody. I write stuff all the time, sometimes about how my practice affects my life…I just don’t TEACH my religion over the Internet, because I don’t think you can, and that it’s a bad idea to try.

  • Cigfran

    Why would a Tradition committed to its secrets and boundaries – convinced of its own specialness, and the dangerous power of its own truths – need or want a e-zine?

    • Hbuchy

      Hiya Cigfran,
      What gives you the impression the e-zine is Anderson Feri specific?

      “Dead, Mad, or a Poet: A Journal to Faerie is a biannual magazine devoted primarily to poetry, fiction, articles, and art by Pagans, especially those of a witchy or fey nature. Check the submissions page for our guidelines and editorial policies.”

      Evidently the Feri order of the craft as a whole is not commited to ‘secrets or boundaries’, if it were, would we be discussing a sundering?
      I’m surely not touting it’s ‘specialness’. Some do seem to be, as I mentioned above and it’s evident folks are buying into that idea, since there’s such a clamor to associate with Feri.

      • Cigfran

        I gathered the impression from your own participation, from its title, which struck me as clearly referential, and from its opening statement.

        Taking Thorn as an example, the sundering seems to me to be a willingness on the part of some to have less to do with Feri as a closed system… and perhaps even relinquish the label ‘Feri’ as a consequence.

        Clamor? I hadn’t noticed it. It does appear to me, though, that Feri has claimed for itself a worldview and experience that is shared by many, who might then be seen by a controlling order as potential initiates.

        • Hbuchy

          Hiya Cigfran,
          If you mean my participation inthe e-zine, I was asked, and it was already in the planning stages before this sundering was finally recognised and named.
          Also, one can be a public witch and still keep ones practices private. I am surely not advocating witches can’t be publicly known, nor that they shouldn’t publicy express their art i.e poetry, painting, sculpture, music, etc or their skills I.E. healing, divination,magic work etc. or teaching such skills as are common to the craft in general, herbology, astrology, oils and potions, amulets and talismans, drumming, sacred dance, etc.

          I would say that the sundering has less to do with Thorn as an example, but yes there are some who do feel Feri should be more open source than others. I wouldn’t put Thorn in quite that same catagory.
          What she wrote in Evolutionary Witchcraft had nothing which one couldn’t have found on the web prior to it’s publishing, except for her own creative expressions and interpretations. Initiates like any other persons have full control of their own original material.

          Some of the material that is being diseminated isn’t the original work of those diseminating it. That’s where one of the concerns are.
          So part of it is copyright and plagiarism. More importantly to me is the safety factor, as I’ve already mentioned.
          I do feel an obligation as an Initiate to express my concerns as to the wisdom in making our practices so readily accessible indiscriminately, without the safe guards of support from those experienced with the work being close by and readily accessable.
          If one wishes to buy into the ideas that my motives are other than concern, well, there isn’t much I can do about that.

          I don’t know to what extent your familiarity is with Feri, but the ‘worldview’ it claims wasn’t known to the public in general until the last decade or two. I would be interested in what you see that Feri worldview as?

          • Cigfran

            Let me ask you in turn whether you see Feri as being actually based on anything that precedes its institutionalization, or as purely synthetic?

          • Hbuchy

            Hiya Cigfran,
            ah a question answered with a question. I know Feri is based on something that precedes it’s ‘institutionalisation’.
            It would be closer to syncretic than synthetic. It’s foundation stems from craft practices found in this country(usa) at least a decade before Gardner put pen to paper. Each initiate may add a “layer” as a form of expression, but the substance remains the same.
            Your turn:-)

          • Cigfran

            In all honesty it appears to me that – while Feri may have cobbled together an exceptionally syncretic carpetbag of ideas and forms that, taken together, constitute a new thing with its own merits – it was at the start deliberately conflated with and reliant on the mystique of traditional folk belief. It could hardly be an expression of any Old Religion, after all, if this were not the case.

            And that Old Religion is a folkway, not a closed system.

          • Hbuchy

            Hiya Cigfran,
            I suppose that is how it appears to you, but by Victors own admission it didn’t start with him, nor did the appellation of fairy/faery which was bestowed upon it.
            And only parts of that old religion are an open system.
            But such is the old craft, one will be given what one thinks one knows already, but not what one doesn’t know, until one asks the right questions.
            So I’ll just smile and say “yep, it is as you think it is”

          • Cigfran

            It’s insufferably smug closing statements like that that make the idea of initiatory traditions so repellent to me, and I suspect to others.

            Which is probably the point.

          • Hbuchy

            Hiya Cigfran,
            Not a closing statement, if you see Feri that way, then that is fine with me.
            I suppose I could consider someone outside of my order seemingly correcting my own knowledge of it as somewhat smug as well.

            I was hoping you’d answer my original question. what do you see as the feri world view? That which you say it claims?
            You’ve only given how you view it, and not how you think feri views the “world”.

          • Cigfran

            If I had made such a claim then I might even agree with you.
            But I have not.
            However, since you seem determined to belabor the point, I will amend my comment to “the apparent worldview of Feri (from available evidence of its interests and manner, inadequate and inconsistent as it may be).”

            I think that people may *hope* that they share a worldview.

            I also think that some may be drawn who are attracted to the idea of yet another set of initiatory secrets and esoteric priesthood… who think themselves poets, or who might wish a touch of madness… who may be confused by the conflation with faerie faith or actual indigenous British folk belief… or who simply feel that namedropping Yeats denotes some special sensibility.

            Who know?

            I do know that, as this exchange has progressed, I have gone through several phases of thought, inquiry and feeling on the subject. It’s been useful.

            But by this point, my main question is just how narrow this nested reply column will go.

          • Cigfran

            But!
            Thanks for the informative exchange.

    • Sara A.

      As the editor of said magazine, I have to ask….Did you read the website? The home page? The submissions page, which contains our editorial policies?

      It’s not a mouthpiece for Faery; that indeed is not something we need. It’s not the forty gazillionth publication about being a witch or Pagan; that’s been done. It’s a Pagan literary magazine primarily run by Faery witches (and our students).

      Consider that the members of the Order of the Golden Dawn were part of some of the great political and artistic revolutions of their time…but they never, ever let on that the order even existed. You don’t have to share everything in order to work change in the world; teaching witchcraft is not the only way to let it shine. If you doubt me, go read some Yeats.

      Anyway, we’re a trad full of bards, poets, and other artsy types. You can hardly throw a rock among a group of any stripe of Feri/Faery without hitting an artist, musician, dancer, or writer. OF COURSE we want a lit mag.

      • Cigfran

        Of course I read the website. You refer to Victor Anderson and “faery witchcraft” right up front. I’m surprised that you would seek to softpedal the obvious implications, since they fairly represent your perspective.

        And in the final paragraph of your response you pretty much support my own observation, that it is a Feri-centric affair.

  • Cigfran

    Why would a Tradition committed to its secrets and boundaries – convinced of its own specialness, and the dangerous power of its own truths – need or want a e-zine?

    • Hbuchy

      Hiya Cigfran,
      What gives you the impression the e-zine is Anderson Feri specific?

      “Dead, Mad, or a Poet: A Journal to Faerie is a biannual magazine devoted primarily to poetry, fiction, articles, and art by Pagans, especially those of a witchy or fey nature. Check the submissions page for our guidelines and editorial policies.”

      Evidently the Feri order of the craft as a whole is not commited to ‘secrets or boundaries’, if it were, would we be discussing a sundering?
      I’m surely not touting it’s ‘specialness’. Some do seem to be, as I mentioned above and it’s evident folks are buying into that idea, since there’s such a clamor to associate with Feri.

      • Cigfran

        I gathered the impression from your own participation, from its title, which struck me as clearly referential, and from its opening statement.

        Taking Thorn as an example, the sundering seems to me to be a willingness on the part of some to have less to do with Feri as a closed system… and perhaps even relinquish the label ‘Feri’ as a consequence.

        Clamor? I hadn’t noticed it. It does appear to me, though, that Feri has claimed for itself a worldview and experience that is shared by many, who might then be seen by a controlling order as potential initiates.

        • Hbuchy

          Hiya Cigfran,
          If you mean my participation inthe e-zine, I was asked, and it was already in the planning stages before this sundering was finally recognised and named.
          Also, one can be a public witch and still keep ones practices private. I am surely not advocating witches can’t be publicly known, nor that they shouldn’t publicy express their art i.e poetry, painting, sculpture, music, etc or their skills I.E. healing, divination,magic work etc. or teaching such skills as are common to the craft in general, herbology, astrology, oils and potions, amulets and talismans, drumming, sacred dance, etc.

          I would say that the sundering has less to do with Thorn as an example, but yes there are some who do feel Feri should be more open source than others. I wouldn’t put Thorn in quite that same catagory.
          What she wrote in Evolutionary Witchcraft had nothing which one couldn’t have found on the web prior to it’s publishing, except for her own creative expressions and interpretations. Initiates like any other persons have full control of their own original material.

          Some of the material that is being diseminated isn’t the original work of those diseminating it. That’s where one of the concerns are.
          So part of it is copyright and plagiarism. More importantly to me is the safety factor, as I’ve already mentioned.
          I do feel an obligation as an Initiate to express my concerns as to the wisdom in making our practices so readily accessible indiscriminately, without the safe guards of support from those experienced with the work being close by and readily accessable.
          If one wishes to buy into the ideas that my motives are other than concern, well, there isn’t much I can do about that.

          I don’t know to what extent your familiarity is with Feri, but the ‘worldview’ it claims wasn’t known to the public in general until the last decade or two. I would be interested in what you see that Feri worldview as?

          • Cigfran

            Let me ask you in turn whether you see Feri as being actually based on anything that precedes its institutionalization, or as purely synthetic?

          • Hbuchy

            Hiya Cigfran,
            ah a question answered with a question. I know Feri is based on something that precedes it’s ‘institutionalisation’.
            It would be closer to syncretic than synthetic. It’s foundation stems from craft practices found in this country(usa) at least a decade before Gardner put pen to paper. Each initiate may add a “layer” as a form of expression, but the substance remains the same.
            Your turn:-)

          • Cigfran

            In all honesty it appears to me that – while Feri may have cobbled together an exceptionally syncretic carpetbag of ideas and forms that, taken together, constitute a new thing with its own merits – it was at the start deliberately conflated with and reliant on the mystique of traditional folk belief. It could hardly be an expression of any Old Religion, after all, if this were not the case.

            And that Old Religion is a folkway, not a closed system.

          • Hbuchy

            Hiya Cigfran,
            I suppose that is how it appears to you, but by Victors own admission it didn’t start with him, nor did the appellation of fairy/faery which was bestowed upon it.
            And only parts of that old religion are an open system.
            But such is the old craft, one will be given what one thinks one knows already, but not what one doesn’t know, until one asks the right questions.
            So I’ll just smile and say “yep, it is as you think it is”

          • Cigfran

            It’s insufferably smug closing statements like that that make the idea of initiatory traditions so repellent to me, and I suspect to others.

            Which is probably the point.

          • Hbuchy

            Hiya Cigfran,
            Not a closing statement, if you see Feri that way, then that is fine with me.
            I suppose I could consider someone outside of my order seemingly correcting my own knowledge of it as somewhat smug as well.

            I was hoping you’d answer my original question. what do you see as the feri world view? That which you say it claims?
            You’ve only given how you view it, and not how you think feri views the “world”.

          • Cigfran

            If I had made such a claim then I might even agree with you.
            But I have not.
            However, since you seem determined to belabor the point, I will amend my comment to “the apparent worldview of Feri (from available evidence of its interests and manner, inadequate and inconsistent as it may be).”

            I think that people may *hope* that they share a worldview.

            I also think that some may be drawn who are attracted to the idea of yet another set of initiatory secrets and esoteric priesthood… who think themselves poets, or who might wish a touch of madness… who may be confused by the conflation with faerie faith or actual indigenous British folk belief… or who simply feel that namedropping Yeats denotes some special sensibility.

            Who know?

            I do know that, as this exchange has progressed, I have gone through several phases of thought, inquiry and feeling on the subject. It’s been useful.

            But by this point, my main question is just how narrow this nested reply column will go.

          • Cigfran

            But!
            Thanks for the informative exchange.

    • Sara A.

      As the editor of said magazine, I have to ask….Did you read the website? The home page? The submissions page, which contains our editorial policies?

      It’s not a mouthpiece for Faery; that indeed is not something we need. It’s not the forty gazillionth publication about being a witch or Pagan; that’s been done. It’s a Pagan literary magazine primarily run by Faery witches (and our students).

      Consider that the members of the Order of the Golden Dawn were part of some of the great political and artistic revolutions of their time…but they never, ever let on that the order even existed. You don’t have to share everything in order to work change in the world; teaching witchcraft is not the only way to let it shine. If you doubt me, go read some Yeats.

      Anyway, we’re a trad full of bards, poets, and other artsy types. You can hardly throw a rock among a group of any stripe of Feri/Faery without hitting an artist, musician, dancer, or writer. OF COURSE we want a lit mag.

      • Cigfran

        Of course I read the website. You refer to Victor Anderson and “faery witchcraft” right up front. I’m surprised that you would seek to softpedal the obvious implications, since they fairly represent your perspective.

        And in the final paragraph of your response you pretty much support my own observation, that it is a Feri-centric affair.

  • Hbuchy

    Hiya Cigfran,
    Yes it does seem to narrow like an old shabriri spell lol, but that can be remedied. You wrote:
    “I hadn’t noticed it. It does appear to me, though, that Feri has claimed for itself a worldview and experience that is shared by many, who might then be seen by a controlling order as potential initiates. ”
    And I asked ” I would be interested in what you see that Feri worldview as?
    That which you say it claims?

  • Hbuchy

    Hiya Cigfran,
    Yes it does seem to narrow like an old shabriri spell lol, but that can be remedied. You wrote:
    “I hadn’t noticed it. It does appear to me, though, that Feri has claimed for itself a worldview and experience that is shared by many, who might then be seen by a controlling order as potential initiates. ”
    And I asked ” I would be interested in what you see that Feri worldview as?
    That which you say it claims?


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