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Archive for the ‘faery tradition’ Category

a chapter from:
Wicca and Witchcraft For Dummies
Diane Smith
John Wiley & Sons, May 9, 2011
this is not an endorsement or agreement

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I wrote yesterday about the Faery SeedOak-acorn-sprouting and while everything I said is true, that the essence of this lineage can be found within that seed, most of us need help accessing it. I also mentioned one of the possible obscuring layers that can hamper our embodied knowing or realization of the seed. We don’t remember who we are.  Note the verb tense. We “are.”  Not will be or hope to become.  We are, everything is, I am, all things are, divine.  Right now.  But this forgetting piece is deep and often requires assistance and years of practice to unfold.

I’ve talked elsewhere in this blog about the importance of examining cultural and familial beliefs, impressions and world view.  Part of that examination may uncover layers of trauma, pain or energetic adhesions.  This is where a teacher comes in handy.   A teacher can suggest tools or exercises to free up adhesions, and they can see blind spots where we unconsciously hang onto culturally shaped and familially ingrained patterns.  But we don’t all have a teacher.

One of the things we can do on our own is to cultivate the ability to notice our internal landscape.  When I started training in this lineage one of my teachers was a big proponent of sitting meditation for this purpose.  While this is an excellent practice, those of us who have experienced trauma may have a difficult time, especially with mindfulness practice.  One of the tools this teacher used for herself was something called God Soul Listening.  In this exercise you imagine awareness rising up into the god soul above your head and fanning out, like a cobra.  I engaged this practice like an expert, or so I thought.  What I was actually doing was dissociating.  Not only that, but I didn’t have hours per day to sit in front of my altar.  I was the mother of four pre and early teenage children.  I needed a practice that kept me in my body and didn’t take additional time.

This is when Cora Anderson became my hero. Cora was a powerful, insightful practitioner yet she was practical, informal, and above all – engaged in the everyday business of life.   What some traditions call a “householder.”  Her concerns were a clean kitchen, food on the table, and children that were tended to.  So began my journey into myself.

I started to engage with my breath while washing dishes.  This was immensely satisfying because the view from the kitchen window was of the green back garden. I grounded myself as I stood, paying attention to the feel of the water on my hands, the smell of the lavendar scented soap, and the visual field of green trees and plants. I would breathe down the cooling starry energy from above, follow it into my pelvic bowl, and then breathe up the warming energy from the fire in the earth all the way to the outer edge of my energy body.  By incorporating the embodied practice which was practical (washing dishes), with the intention in my breath work,  I began to unfold layers.

There were many other day-to-day activities I eventually stirred my tools into, such as cooking, sweeping, riding my bike to work, and brushing my teeth, to name only a few.  I increased the complexity of the breathing practice adding pauses and patterns, I added other tools for self inquiry into the mix and eventually incorporated what I would consider more advanced energy work – all while doing daily, embodied activity.   The main take-away for me was that all parts of me, no matter what I was thinking, feeling or doing were part of the Star Goddess – there was no part of my Self that needed changing or fixing (a notion I had come into meditation practice with) – and that deep spiritual work, and personal growth, could be integrated into my nuts and bolts life. As I went about my day, internally working my tradition’s tools, I began to feel myself as part of the divine weave of the world.

I did have specific trauma work still to do, in order to calm my central nervous system, as well as other work targeted at the release of energetic adhesions, but this practice took me far. In fact, I still do it.  As I sit here at work I am intentionally running my breath down and up, pause and notice, down and up, pause and notice, grab the phone, pause and notice, down and up, look up that award, pause and notice, grab the budget, down and up.

 

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Faery Seed

There are many articles floating around on the internet that attempt to express what particular Anderson Faery / Feri generated tools or concepts mean and how they are used for practice.  Often these articles are written by non-initiates, and thus a key component of experience is missing.  To complicate matters it is difficult for a non-initiate to know exactly who the initiates in this lineage are (Faery does have a lineage keeper who tracks initiations and maintains the genealogical tree)… but I digress.

The main misconception in many of these attempts is focus. That’s because Faery / Feri is not about the tools or the practices.  It is not about deities or rites or other esoteric components, though these are present.  It is informed by key concepts and a particular view but it isn’t them. What it is about is remembering that you are god.  As Victor Anderson said, “God is Self and Self is God and God is a Person like my Self.”   Yet this remembering is not for grandiose pretentiousness, for as Cora Anderson said “to be Feri is to be a good person.”  So what does it mean to be a  good person and what does it mean to be god?

Some would say that meditation on the pentacles of Iron and Pearl might lead you to an answer. I might say meditation on the Creation Myth would.

One version of this myth was published by Starhawk, an initiate of the Andersons.

Alone, awesome, complete within Herself, the Goddess, She whose name cannot be spoken, floated in the abyss of the outer darkness, before the beginning of all things. As She looked into the curved mirror of black space, She saw by her own light her radiant reflection, and fell in love with it. She drew it forth by the power that was in Her and made love to Herself, and called Her “Miria, the Wonderful”.

Their ecstacy burst forth in the single song of all that is, was, or ever shall be, and with the song came motion, waves that poured outward and became all the spheres and circles of the worlds. The Goddess became filled with love, swollen with love, and She gave birth to a rain of bright spirits that filled the worlds and became all beings.

But in that great movement, Miria was swept away, and as She moved out from the Goddess She became more masculine. First She became the Blue God, the gentle, laughing god of love. Then She became the Green One, vine-covered, rooted in the earth, the spirit of all growing things. At last She became the Horned God, the Hunter whose face is the ruddy sun and yet dark as Death. But always desire draws Him back toward the Goddess, so that He circles Her eternally, seekintg to return in love.

All began in love; all seeks to return to love. Love is the law, the teacher or wisdom, and the great revealer of mysteries.

All comes from her, is her, and then returns to her. As has been said by many throughout the ages:

Holy Mother, in you we live, move, and have our being.  From you all things emerge and unto you all things return.

 

Another version of the Creation Myth, supposedly from Victor himself, was recounted by Anaar in her booklet The White Wand.

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. The seed egg 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 just as natural as bringing forth a child in your womb from a fertilized egg. Only in this case, the Blessed Virgin of the Outer Darkness did not have to have any help, because She was the Natural Mother, the natural extension of the universe, just as we are the natural extension in Nature when we bring forth a child.

She is a feminine being, with all the power and potency of Nature, including the Male. Star Goddess, Holy Ghost. She is the Aumakua of the Universe so mine is a part of Her. She is Virgin because She needed no other to create. Her companion the God is brought forth from Her because the male is mutated out from the female. The Goddess took unto Herself Two Bright Spirits and perfected them into God with Her birth. These Spirits are with Her at all times, but we speak of either one of them as the God because they are exactly alike! Identical Spirit Twins, the Bright Dual Consort of the Blessed Mother.

In Victor’s cosmology this story mirrors our human experience, for in his triple soul model we have a god soul (Aumakua) with twin spirits, our animal self and our human self.

Yet the important question for me is this: if all things, all beings, all worlds are birthed and arise from the one divine Mother / god / awareness, then why don’t we feel it? Why don’t we, at a deep level, remember that we are divine and part of the divinity of all things?

That’s a big question, and at first we might get tripped up on this word divinity.  If you were reared in the United States or perhaps anywhere in the West, you likely have an association between the Christian god and the concept of divinity.  Yet the Christian god is transcendent.  He does not dirty his hands in manifest reality.  In fact, the  lush world of flesh was so tainted, in his view, that it required a blood sacrifice to cleanse it.  The Star Goddess, and those of us who are Faery (however you spell it), hold a very different view.  In our view divinity is imminent. She infuses all.  She is active in the world because the world IS her.  So flesh, bark, worms, clouds, molecules, poop, all of it are the very essence of what it means to be holy, to be divine. This, right now, is as god as it gets.

When and if you truly remember all this – that god is you, that god manifested herself in the world as you for the sake of love, and that all you see, touch, smell, taste and hear are manifestations of god which is you – then you will be a good person, just like Cora said.   And that, my friends, is Faery.

Go and meditate on this.  For this is the purpose of all tools, to help you remember.

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During a recent conversation I said that the Anderson Faery/Feri lineage of witchcraft is helpful for trauma survivors  because it is an embodied lineage with a focus on ecstatic experience – all things that steer us out of over intellectualizing and into body awareness – but only insofar as we work to heal our trauma, else it will retraumatize us.  I’ve been pondering that statement ever since, because while I feel it to be true I have never upacked it.  I’m going to try and do that a bit here.

What is trauma, and what does it mean to be retraumatized?  We often think of trauma as tied to emotional, physical or sexual abuse, war, or natural disasters, but there are a whole range of life experiences that can be traumatizing, like surgery, the loss of a loved one, etc.  Trauma happens when our nervous system is overwhelmed and our coping strategies don’t work.  If the trauma is not processed or if we aren’t able to fight, flee, or in some way manage what is “attacking” us, then we freeze in a way that the unprocessed fear gets locked into our body.

A way some of us deal with the trauma locked in our body is by dissociating –  we try to get away from our body, and thus the traumatic situation — but other expressions of trauma are anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, avoidant behaviors, and addiction.  These expressions of trauma are almost always enveloped by  a sense of shame.  Something happens, we get traumatized and we cope the best we can, then hate ourselves for it because it doesn’t look or feel good.  It’s the shame that binds the entire process together.

Effects of early trauma are a laundry list:  a disrupted sense of self in relation to others, emotional instability, social dysfunction, difficulty recovering from stress, disorganized thinking, a limited window of tolerance, a limited capacity for relationships, poor impulse control, low self-worth, core shame, inability to recognize one’s own needs, a sense of isolation…. Oh, so much!  And oh so many of the very reasons we seek out spirituality, even witchcraft; we are searching for healing.

If that search leads a person to the Anderson Faery/Feri lineage of witchcraft before therapeutic work with a qualified therapist has been done to address past trauma the very tools of the tradition could be dangerously retraumatizing.  In this lineage we are asked to be present in our bodies, to be fully present for Sex, Self, Passion, Pride and Power.  Meditators are now realizing that mindfulness meditation is retraumatizing for the same reason; in mindfulness practice we are asked to be present with the feelings and sensations of the body.  If we have unprocessed trauma fear locked in our body, our own breath and body awareness can be jarring, flooding us and popping us right out of the body.  We feel the trauma all over again and dissociate.  In fact, we will happily watch our body sit and breathe on the cushion – we are well used to dissociating –  thinking we are engaged with the practice, when in actuality we are not experiencing embodiment at all.

Retraumatization is a conscious or unconscious reminder of past trauma that results in re-experiencing of the initial trauma itself.   It can be triggered by a situation, an attitude or expression, or by certain environments that replicate the dynamics (loss of power/control/safety) of the original trauma. – by Patricia Shelly, MSW, Shelley Hitzel, MSW, and Karen Zgoda, MSW, LCSW, Preventing Retraumatization: A Macro Social Work Approach to Trauma-Informed Practices & Policies

For those of us who dissociate, clearing the mind and entering stillness is a familiar state of numbness.  It can be a blissful state, and hard to distinguish from altered states of consciousness.  Yet, it is not the mindfulness taught in yoga, and it is not the embodiment required to engage Faery witchcraft safely.  Embodiment is the beginning and foundation for more advanced practices in Faery.

Dissociation vs presence?
Table
Meditation instructors and health care professionals who work with trauma survivors are taught to use trauma informed practices which focus on a sense of safety and stabilization (it is not in most of our scope of practice to offer trauma-specific work that focuses on processing trauma).  One thing Faery witchcraft is not is safe, and its tools are notoriously destabilizing.  Some do survive the crash course of a Faery induced healing crisis, others do not.  With so many qualified therapists who specialize in integrating trauma, and so many excellent protocols, like EMDR, there is no reason to risk a student, or risk ourselves.

If you are drawn to Faery, but come from a trauma background, seek out a skilled EMDR therapist first.  Give yourself a year of calming the central nervous system and finding safety within your body.  You will be grateful you did.

*I am not a professional therapist.  My insights come from my own experience and what I have found effective. 

incantation

Incantation; Francisco Goya

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The danger in possession is if you let alien beings in to use you — and there are plenty out there that will. They’ll split your personality. They’ll touch certain parts of your personality that you don’t even know you have. And then, you won’t be able to consciously remember when one takes over or when one doesn’t, even though it’s all you. That’s the danger of possession. Another danger is that they can come in with cruel and terrible ideas and infect you with them. Because when someone knocks at your door, and I’m not just speaking about spirits, don’t let them in unless you know who they are. You turn on the light first and that light is right above your head. — Victor Anderson, The Heart of the Initiate: Feri Lessons

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Boston Bloodrose Faery (Feri)

blackgoddess

Quakoralina, the Star Goddess

A lovely black woman is waiting, waiting
In the boundless night.
A river of blackbirds are mating, mating,
In the dim starlight.

Down out of the sky they come winging, winging,
Drawn to Her black flame,
And the melody they are singing, singing,
Is Her holy name.

In the dust of Her feet are the hosts of heaven,
And Her star-sequined hair
Is crowned with a coven of six and seven
Blue suns burning there.

—Victor Anderson

The expression God Herself could be called a Faery koan.  Victor once wrote in a letter that Lilith was honored by the Harpy Coven, to which he belonged in his early life, not as “the Goddess,” but as God Herself.   This is an important distinction.  In a letter to Anaar published in the book, The Heart of the Initiate, Victor clarified:

When we say “Goddess” in my tradition…

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Red Rite

Of all the strange and terrible powers among which we move unknowingly, sex is the most potent. Conceived in the orgasm of birth, we burst forth in agony and ecstasy from the Center of Creation. Time and again we return to that fountain, lose ourselves in the fires of being, unite for a moment with the eternal force and return renewed and refreshed as from a miraculous sacrament. Then, at the last, our life closes in the orgasm of death. Sex, typified as love, is at the heart of every mystery, at the center of every secret. It is this splendid and subtle serpent that twines about the cross and coils in the heart of the mystic rose. -Jack Parsons

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