My Problems with Feri (Community)

OK… I really feel the need to vent about something and since this is my personal journal it feels like the best place to do it. I realize that many (most) of you are not familiar with the Feri tradition. For my Feri students… well, maybe after reading this rant (yes, a rant) you will decide that I’m not as enlightened as you thought I was. That’s OK. I have never claimed to be anything other than human (and right now I am a royally pissed-off one.) For those of you NOT affiliated in any way with Feri, then this might shed a little light on what I have been dealing with lately. Of course you’ll probably just think I’m stupid for having put up with people like this for so long…

All comments will be screened… I just don’t want to deal with the crazy element.

But first a little history…

I have been practicing Feri tradition Witchcraft since my first “official” exposure in 1992. What originally drew me to this wildly varied path was a brief mention of the Blue God in Starhawk’s book, The Spiral Dance. Later I would find that this path was based upon an actual inner practice, something that the other forms of Witchcraft I had been exposed to were severely lacking. After my first few months of classes I retreated into solitary practice, born more out of circumstance than anything else. Later I would find my teacher and once again begin the formal training, this time determined to see it through. After several years of training I was initiated and in 2005 I began teaching using the classroom style in which I was taught. I love the Feri tradition, and the tools that I have learned from it. I have found it to be a powerful catalyst for growth and healing, for (re)claiming my power and communing with the Divine. So if I feel that the Feri tradition is such a positive and powerful thing, why do I feel it is necessary to warn my potential students about the Feri community?

Interestingly (perhaps paradoxically) the very diversity that I believe to be at the heart of Feri’s power also serves to be a source of much toxicity within the community. Some people, such as myself, were trained with the idea that Feri could be a powerful practice toward the goal of one’s spiritual evolution. By using these tools, and forming a relationship with these spirits and powers, one could tap into a greater source of Divine energy and channel it toward personal growth, as well as to mediate this power into the world at large. My personal belief is that if I have found these tools and powers to be helpful, then it is my responsibility to provide them to a wider audience in the hopes that others will find them similar. If more people aligned their Three Souls, and made Kala everyday, then the world would be a better place. It is from this space that I offer Feri training. But others see this as a threat to how they relate to the tradition…

Feri, traditionally, has certain secrets. But this changes from line to line. It is pretty much agreed that the initiatory material is secret, but after that all bets are off. Some lines feel that it is ALL secret, and because of this actively attack or condemn those who feel differently. Not much different than other religious communities, I guess.

Another (major) problem with the Feri community that I have seen is the inability to confront abuse within our ranks. One elder priest has been a sexual predator for over 30 years and very little has been done about it. When this person perpetuated sexual coercion upon my partner and myself I eventually came forward with it only to be shot down by a good number of ‘the on-line Feri initiates community’. So two years ago I went public with it. The fallout is still being felt.

Recently another conflict has been brought to light (or at least to my attention.) Whereas I paid for my Feri training, there is a group that feels that this is wrong. While I can respect different takes on the subject what I do not appreciate is being judged for it. What I appreciate even less is being told that because I offer classes for pay that I am somehow “abusing” my students by doing so. Let me clarify…

In an initiates only space the idea was posed that charging for classes was forbidden because we have a rule about taking advantage of ‘brothers and sisters of the Craft’. I pointed out that I paid for my Feri training and never felt taken advantage of and (I thought rhetorically) posed the question, “Was I somehow taken advantage of because of this?” I received the following answer from a woman who has been a Feri initiate since the early 70’s (her quotes are bold italic, my replies are italicized.):

Yes, Storm, *I* think you were Abused. (not just taken advantage of)

And, Just like kids who are Beaten in a culture where beating is ‘Normal’ and Even a sign of ‘Love’, you see nothing wrong with your abuse.—-and fully intend to perpetuate it. Its how You were taught, after all.

When I pointed out that this was actually condescending I was simply told it wasn’t. Apparently the fact that it is how she honestly feels alleviates the fact that it is actually a condescending judgment. Um… OK.

She went on to tell me to ‘get a job’ to which I replied that I HAVE one… I’m a caretaker, an artist, a writer, and a teacher. My magick is practical… I do not expect that money will just appear in my mailbox without me working for it. But that wasn’t enough for her.

OK, then write, that Will make the money magically appear in your mail box–or paint  or go out there and Sell Magic—tarot or  herb lore, love spells, what ever–but, please, don’t sell Sacraments for Cheap! I have no respect for Cheap Whores!   Get ALL you are worth, or don’t sell it!

My exact response to her on this was, “Wow. Can you even imagine how little I respect you or your opinion right about now? A cheap whore, huh? Take your whackidoodle self-righteousness and shove it up your ass.”

Again, Very hostile, Storm

I tend to get that way when called a ‘Cheap Whore’ you patronizing, arrogant bitch.

Can you tell I’m simply done with this?

Another aspect to this particular conflict is that I see a definite need for some people to have access to the spiritual tools of Feri tradition as a separate thing from Feri initiation. In fact I actually feel that very few people are compatible with Feri initiation. I think we have more than our fair share of dangerously insane people. One conclusion is that since Feri is geared toward helping people develop, then those who have had really fucked-up lives tend to credit the Feri tradition (the version that they were taught, mind you) as the be all and end all of their existence. Another is that it is the current of power passed at initiation that is to blame. If people are not properly prepared for it then it simply drives them crazy (if they weren’t to begin with). And I’m not talking eccentric-happy-fruit-loop-necklace wearing crazy. I’m talking religious zealot will-curse-you-for-religious-differences or promise-to-kill-for-others-in-the-cult crazy. Eeek. No thank you. Check, please.

So now what I am teaching is being called into question by some. (I’m sure there’s more than just this woman, she’s just the only one stupid enough to pick a fight with me about it.)

If you want to start some feri-flavored something ,  go ahead , just call it something else Please–  If you like –I’ll hand you a black wand!

What is the most condescending about this is that she assumes that her Feri is somehow “more right” than other takes on it. As I told her:

Oh, fuck off, [her name]. What I do *is* Feri tradition. I have worked with (and continue to work with) initiates from many different lines. I incorporate exercises and ideas from many different strands of the Feri web. What I do is Feri, so no… I wont call it anything else just to please you and your fundamentalist views. You don’t own Feri. And you certainly don’t own me.

If I am a ‘Cheap Whore’ in your eyes, why are you offering me what some lines of the tradition consider to be the mark of a Grandmaster? No thank you, [her name]. If I were ever to receive the Black Wand I would want it to come from someone whom I honor and respect. I wouldn’t touch your supposed Black Wand with a ten foot pole.

Of course, she is also the person who gave the Black Wand to the aforementioned abusive priest, in an act that was “marketed” to the Feri initiates community as having been “blessed by Cora Anderson”. When I went to visit Cora recently and we asked her about it she said that she wasn’t told that the wand was for this priest until the end of her visit with this woman and was quite clear that she would NOT have blessed it for him. Yo! Crazy Feri woman! You just manipulated an elderly woman in her sick bed! Have you no shame? I guess that’s rhetorical… your actions speak loud enough for themselves.  

In the end of my email I told her to ‘go to hell’. I am so done with her and people like her. Over the years I have heard similar stories… people who are doing their work being driven away from Feri community by the crazies. The thing for me, though, is that I will not stand for it. So let this be a lesson for you, crazy woman (and for all those in your one-true-path camp): Every nasty thing you say to me will be made public. I took an Oath to protect initiatory secrets. Fucked-up behavior was not a part of that. I do not accept your narrow cult-like view. In fact, I oppose it. If anything I think that it is YOU who represent what is wrong with the Feri community. I don’t care that you were initiated when I was a child. I don’t care what things you have done in the past. I don’t care how respectful you are to people who agree with your take on things. I see you. I see your toxicity. I see your manipulation and your fundamentalist dogma. And I oppose it. Joyously, unabashedly, and completely. With anger when necessary, and with laughter when that feels right too. Why would you expect any less of me? I am Feri.


51 responses to “My Problems with Feri (Community)

  1. Gah.
    I wonder sometimes why it is that I feel so called to continue persuing this path.. and then i get into ritual space.. touch the godsoul.. and i Remember.
    Its not about *them*.. its about *me*.. its about *my* relationship with the *divine*..
    Thank you for being you.. for your voice and your courage.. for your outrage and your power..
    Ive been honored to know you and Chas, and to continue to come to know you.

  2. DAMN. (that’s a good “damn,” not a bad one. This one is pronounced “Daaayumm!”)
    I can tell you were hot when you wrote this, but I think you definitely have one, if not several, points here. I am not an initiate but I have been learning in this tradition for some time now and you hit on some things that have resonance and relevance to me – even more so when I went back to the backstory link and started reading some of the comments there.
    Personally, I have to point out: Thorn did not, as far as I know, do her book for free, and I know for sure her classes aren’t free. Now I think that what Thorn has done and is doing is positive, and I think people are getting a lot of good out of it. So does the fact that people have to pay for her book – and her classes – invalidate what she does?
    I appreciate your posting this in many ways. For one thing it brought me out of my funk and gave me something to chew on mentally. For another thing, I am encouraged when I see people being out-front about these issues.

    Wow. You know, I have heard rumblings about this in the past. I am grateful to you for bringing it to light. I am not even sure I want to pursue initiation, even though I am a very emotionally and psychologically stable person and could probably handle it. It simply breaks my heart when things like this happen in a community that I deeply respect, especially when it is related to a spiritual tradition that speaks so strongly to my heart and soul.
    I guess the best we can do is carry on with the strength and conviction of the Gods. Thank you so much for all that you do for us. I am proud and honored to be your student.
    PS: I started a new journal just for my Pagan/Witchy/Goddess/Feri-type musings:

  4. Ye Gods, Storm, why can’t people tell the difference between:
    1. simony (the buying and selling of church offices, or here, initiations) as in “All right, bucko, here’s the deal: $15K cash on the barrel head, and I’ll empower you as a Feri initiate.” and
    2. work as in “the laborer’s time and their materials are worth paying for!”?
    I do not see that you, Thorn, or Chas have anything to apologize for.
    A hundred thousand blessings on your heads both great and small, Storm.

  5. There is a thought in the greater Pagan community so it doesn’t surprise me that it is in Feri as well, that money is bad and teachers and clergy shouldn’t charge it. I’m not sure how it started but it feels like it came from some cheap ass bastard that didn’t feel like paying someone.
    If you have something I want, desire, need I have some obligation to give you something for it, I’m asking for your time, skills and knowledge and I believe that sets us up for a trade of some sort. If we talk about money before hand and both agree there is an openness and honesty involved as opposed to what I have seen or heard about in this community and others. A teacher is less likely to feel taken advantage of if there is compensation discussed and enacted upon, less likely to manipulate whether it’s sex that is forced, babysitting kids or parents, cleaning the house, or borrowing money that is never going to be paid back.
    I also believe that there are expectations put upon by students of teachers and community leaders. To be there when needed and not expect payment of any sort is ludicrous. I have had people call me at work wanting me to drop everything to help them with whatever the current crisis was and be pissed off because I wouldn’t come right then. These same people would never ever consider compensating my partner and I for lost time off of work. There is a reason that the general Pagan community is losing good people, and I would hate to see that in Feri.

  6. Some things about teaching Feri tools but not aiming at initiation Bother me…also what I said elsewhere about, if you’re teaching long-distance, you don’t have to deal with that person and what they may do in your own community.
    I think initiation places some obligation on the person, and as we all know THAT doesn’t keep them from abusing what they’ve got. I see people having the tools but not having been introduced to the Gods at initiation as less of an obligation on their part to be responsible with the tools.
    I also don’t think that the tools are necessarily Good For Everybody, either. I think they are good for the people who are meant to use them. And again, I think we can both name some people who ARE initiates and who HAVE used those tools (presumably) who didn’t seem to get a whole hell of a lot out of it in terms of becoming less screwed up. So if that’s true, why the assumption that the tools will necessarily help a wider audience, and that you’re therefore under any obligation to teach them? I’m also not so sure that it’s the Feri current or initation that creates the craziness. Why, really, do you think that the end result of teaching any given group of people is going to look very different from the bunch of Feri initiates we’ve got? do you think you can do a better job of limiting the undeniable craziness factor?
    (I’m not saying that’s not possible. I just think that’s worth taking into consideration.)
    All that isn’t meant to detract from your point that people shouldn’t talk down to you or tell you what you should be doing. One of the things I got from is that, as an initiate, I’m now answerable to MYSELF, and if I want to teach seminars or snag people off a street corner and initiate them, that’s my own lookout. There’s some territory between telling people what to do, and discussing it, however. I’m a bit over being talked down to myself; I just don’t know that it’s worth barking up that particular tree any more.

    • What I love about this is that we can have different opinions of a subject but it needn’t come to judgemental name-calling. (In short, thanks for not calling me a whore.) πŸ˜‰
      If you are ever interested in talking more about my particular approach (offering Feri tools separately from initiation) I would be most happy to discuss it with you. Maybe even outside the cyber-realm.

      • Any old time we’re in the same place at the same time, sure πŸ™‚
        I remember an ex (he didn’t last long, for some reason) essentially calling me a whore for being a Tarot reader at Underground Atlanta. My response was, “I do what I love and make a living at it and get by, while you do what you hate because it brings you the amount of money you think you have to have. Which one of us is the whore?” I don’t, in principle, object to charging money for “spiritual” things. I just think that there are problems with it that it doesn’t serve anyone to gloss over….Reclaiming charges money for classes. It’s true this has allowed Witch Camps to spread all over the globe; in that sense, it’s a successful model. But there’s lots of ugly shadow stuff that goes along with that; who is a teacher, who has status, the whole shadow hierarchy that exists in Reclaiming, other problems. And, hmm, other people I could mention charge money for classes, and while it’s not a source of his toxicity and behavior, it’s definitely a contributing factor to his desire to undermine everyone else as “not Feri enough”…he’s protecting his product, don’t you know. It’s not that I think that you, or any given person, is automatically going to run afoul of those problems. But it’s difficult and fraught enough that I have this “watch out for the alligators” kind of response when people start talking about charging money for teaching.
        I think lots of people believe firmly in their own autonomy, but not sufficiently in other people’s. They trust themselves with the Feri energy, but not other people (or maybe the real problem is that they don’t trust themselves.) But that’s not how it works.

      • I don’t, in principle, object to charging money for “spiritual” things. I just think that there are problems with it that it doesn’t serve anyone to gloss over….
        Totally. I think it’s definitely a subject that should be examined and re-examined no matter what “side” you may personally find yourself on.
        It’s not that I think that you, or any given person, is automatically going to run afoul of those problems. But it’s difficult and fraught enough that I have this “watch out for the alligators” kind of response when people start talking about charging money for teaching.
        Thank you. And I agree with you about the alligators. πŸ™‚ I certainly sat down and thought hard about what potential dangers were involved in charging money, and how my personal rules would address those dangers.
        This also points out to me a particular way of viewing power. It has been my observation that some people, upon seeing the potential for the abuse of power, tend to then reject whatever power they see as being dangerous. This seems shortsighted, to me. Just because somethingcan be bad doesn’t mean that it has to be. “Be aware!” is what it says. “Be careful!”

      • My 2 cents for now:
        If I was teaching for the money, it would be a huge problem – that twists the energy. If I was not attempting to make training available to those with limited funds, it would be a problem. Neither of these is true. I teach because I love to teach and I believe in the work. I asked for money in the past, because I wanted some sort of exchange. And at this point, so many people want this teaching, that I couldn’t hold down a day job and offer the amount of teaching that I do. There simply isn’t time. My choice? Yes. But also *not* something I sought out. The work came to me, building slowly over the last dozen years.
        Victor said to me that charging a fee for public classes was fine, and charging for initiation was not. I abide by this, because it makes sense to me.

      • I think it goes both ways as well. I feel as one of your students that the energy is much cleaner between us than it would if you’d not been charging. I’m not sure what else I would have done to set up an equal exchange, and it would have felt frankly ugly and weird to me to have it not equal.
        And – how glad are your students that you’re able to do this work full time? Would we be better off if you weren’t able to? Doubtful.
        I understand that you’re not teaching ‘for’ the money. But I’d be far more concerned about the energetics if you weren’t keeping it an exchange.
        On another tangent getting back to the original post, I have to wonder why anyone feels they have the right to get between my fully consented exchange with my chosen teachers. Whoever this woman thinks she’s protecting, it’s not me.

  7. I really appreciate the honesty of your post and the willingness to take a broader view of your community. I’ve been hanging around the edges of Feri for a few years, after being exposed to some of the ideas by Thorn in a Reclaiming class. I see so much that I want to know more about, to dig the deep well, I guess, but then I also see the rest of this stuff and it keeps me hanging back. I guess the bottom line is choose the teacher well. Thanks so much for speaking to something I’ve been wondering about for quite some time.

  8. For crying out loud.
    I just don’t get the whole “selling sacraments/sacred knowledge is wrong” thing. People should be paid for their work, and students shouldn’t expect to receive their training for free. I would no more expect to write a novel and sell it for nothing, or expect to acquire someone else’s art or work for nothing.
    I’m glad you’re openly posting about this person’s (and others’) fucked up behavior, and like other folks who are pursuing Feri training and/or initiation it gives me great pause about what sort of community I’m signing up for.

    • and like other folks who are pursuing Feri training and/or initiation it gives me great pause about what sort of community I’m signing up for.
      Good. Then I am doing my job. Take the time to meditate on it. But also know that it is possible to practice the tradition, while having little or nothing to do with the community. Your Feri practice should be about YOU. If you want to share that with others whom you love and respect, more power to you.

      • The trouble is, *all* human communities have these sorts of issues (or ones just like them – pick your flavor). You’ll find them with the Sufis, with the Catholics, with the Buddhists. We cannot escape the petty bullshit, we just have to learn to deal with it gracefully and not get too enmeshed in it.

      • I do agree that all communities have these problems. It actually reassures me because it is a reminder that we are no different than anyone else.
        But I do not think that it is always good to rise above the given situation… obviously my first stance is one of negotiation and diplomacy. But sometimes there comes a time when I think the most helpful and powerful act is to finally put my foot down and say “no more”… Swear words, anger and all.

      • I hear you on that, and I’ve had my moments of anger in the past – and directed that at one of the the parties in question more than once, as you know. This latest round, though, I really just needed to say my two pieces and then back off. I haven’t even been reading posts for the last four days – and didn’t even bother to answer the one early one that pushed my buttons. It was too loaded and I just didn’t feel like it.
        I just have to deal when issues arise, and step aside when it seems like things are getting too entrenched in battles that I don’t even care about. I guess that is our difference in this latest round, which is fine. You were diplomatic, and kept engaging until you couldn’t be anymore. I needed to state my positions, for which I recieved some feedback, but after that, I just wasn’t interested in hashing it out anymore.
        I have too much work that I want to do, that I *am* invested in, to put up with what ends up being so much petty squabbling.
        I’m glad we are peers, and can continue to work together.

      • I am honestly and deeply touched. Thank you so much just for being who you are.
        I needed to state my positions, for which I received some feedback, but after that, I just wasn’t interested in hashing it out anymore.
        I hear you. It’s what made me decide to leave that initiates’ list the other day. I’m free to work on good stuff now. πŸ˜‰

      • Thanks for doing your job, Storm. πŸ™‚ Good food for thought and focus:
        As it turns out, most of the Feri folk I know are folks I met via Reclaiming, and Reclaiming is greatly about community. And (obviously) Reclaiming is not Feri.
        The Feri work and practice I did with Thorn in her 2-year apprenticeship and the work and practice I’ve done since have not been for me about community, but rather about my own growth and my relationships with the gods and guardians. And I’m content with that.

  9. As the great author William S. Burroughs put it succinctly:
    “Do not proffer sympathy to the mentally ill, it is a bottomless pit! Tell them firmly: “I am not paid to listen to this drivel and you’re a TERMINAL FOOL!” Otherwise, they’ll make you as crazy as they are!”
    I think the Work you do is Good.
    And who cares if you charge money? That’s up to you! Many people charge! Why single you out? Really, a brother’s gotta eat! It seems presumptuous of that lady to assume that you shouldn’t charge, and that you should just simply “get a job.” Because I’m sure you have the luxury of a disposable income and can afford to teach just for fun and the sheer pleasure of it! *laughs till she pukes* Fuck that. Teaching is a full time thing. I was a once a full time teacher and I took it home with me every day. I didn’t have time or energy anymore to be artist or witch! Throw your other work in there: artist and caretaker and then see if there’s any time left for you yourself. There usually isn’t. Besides, when you offer stuff for free, people become less accountable. Maybe its because our culture is so $$ based, but once someones cash is on the table, you can almost guarantee their ass will be in the chair.
    I know its hard to not let ignorant fucks get under the skin, especially when they feel free to spew at will, but at the end of the day, it really comes down to you, the gods and the ones you love and that matter to you.
    Hope this makes sense. I just woke up! πŸ™‚
    Keep on keepin’ on, Storm. I’ll channel some Kali energy. I got your back! πŸ™‚

  10. Ah, this saddens me. You have been touched by the same ilk that cause me to have no affiliation with any singular tradition or religion. Unfortunately there seem to be people in all traditions and religions that believe that only “they” see the truth or know the “way”, and anyone deviating from those truths or ways is wrong. Fundamentalists are universal, much to my dismay. If this is any consolation, this type of behavior has occurred before (the witch wars are one example).
    From my limited research on the Feri tradition, I find that it is a very powerful tradition, both through empowerment and fulfillment. This will attract persons not yet ready for that new level or vision, although I think they could become addicted to the headiness of that feeling without a true understanding of what or why. This is why teaching is so important. Your passion in this matter shows that you want to teach others to understand, not just experience. And I also think you are not interested in “leeching” or manipulating your students. I have seen many teachers that were only interested in pulling power from their students and not empowering the student.
    You have found your path; your actions will lead others to follow you.

  11. Continue to stand up for what you beleive in. Do not be forced away from something you know to be true.
    Also.. the money. What exactly is so evil about money? Why is it that so many people feel that money “taints” things? Money is an *idea*. When giving anything spiritual, there is an exchange, *always*. Using money just means you know what the exchange was.
    Also, don’t feel bad about the whore thing. Remember the origins or whores. They certainly had an understanding of the money/spiritual exchange.
    Much better to be a sacred whore than to sanctify predatory insanity.

  12. Integrity is worth so much more than drama any day.
    Besides, teachers and students have announced and accepted their intention to recieve monetary compensation for the sharing of Feri knowledge. If a student doesn’t feel that it is fair for a teacher to ask for compensation then they probably won’t enter into that kind of an agreement.
    In my mind, part of being a feri practitioner means expanding our minds to broader possibilities than the rigid view of right or wrong, evil or good or dark or light…

    • Storm,
      You don’t have to post this messafe if you don’t like.
      I just removed myself from the Faery list on which it was said that Anaar was irrelevant when someone asked what she thought of a teacher recieving the black wand from his students.
      I don’t feel that Anaar is irrelevant at all. I also don’t think that is a healthy view for a Feri teacher and initiate to take.
      I no longer wished to participate.

      • Well, I hope I’m not entirely irrelevant! (grins)
        Perhaps what this person meant was, the passing of a black wand within a coven is, basically, coven business. For, the sorcery done within a coven setting is not announced to others. At least, not if you want it to work! The black wand, as I hope I stated in Witch Eye, is basically a job description, nothing more. That’s the “go to” guy for most of the black magical operations. (Victor says that black magic is anything that works!) So the opinion of any other outside of the coven, including grandmaster, is probably secondary. I’m not really interested in most coven business, saving where it may cause harm to others. Micro-management is not really my thing, can’t stand it.
        I find myself deleting much of what I had just written. Perhaps this is enough.

      • Anaar,
        Thank you. Is the relationship between teachers and students considered to be that of a coven? I don’t know. I am a student of Thorn’s but I don’t consider myself to be in a coven with her.
        I honor what you wrote but do not know if I agree with your interpretation.
        The message I saw seemed so blatantly disrespectful to me. Of course, I cannot really speak for the author of the message.
        However, I feel that my actions were the most appropiate for me.

      • Yikes, no!!! A coven should be made of initiates. There may be students in training who would naturally circle with the initiates, but in my view, covens are sort of initiates only. There are training covens, hmmmm, yes there are training covens, but due to their inexperience I doubt that they could make a decision about such things as a black wand. Covens are comprised of exceptionally close relationships that are akin to family. Victor would say they are family. A decision to enter into a coven, or to accept a new member is never taken lightly.
        Agreement with my interpretation is not necessary. I failed to express that I have not seen this message at all. I just thought of it and it seemed like it could be important. Sort of a training thing, to try to see everything. Of course, that’s not really possible, but just to try. and I could be totally wrong.
        I wonder if you thought I might have been trying to talk you out of your decision? I’m really into autonomy, and trust that most people can make their own decisions.
        Something about seeing my name pop up the way it did. Kinda drew me into this.

  13. No Bullshit shall be the whole of the Law
    she’s totally out of line.
    i disagree with you about charging money, but that’s hardly the essential point, is it? it just means that i choose to do things differently from you. and both views are correct, depending on circumstances. and i disagree with her about despising the classroom model of teaching as somehow un-Feri. it depends on the teacher, the students, and a lot of other things, which change continually. i’ve been teaching a classroom-style class for almost two years now, and am ready for a change to simple open circles with lore being passed ad lib. but that’s simply me wanting a change, not a political/spiritual stance. there are teachers who look with absolute horror at online teaching, and others who revel in it. big fucking deal, say i. the most important thing is for people to get out of other people’s faces.
    “Do what Thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the Law, Love under Will.”
    ya know, sometimes uncle al had the right end of the stick….

    • Re: No Bullshit shall be the whole of the Law
      Again, I love that we can disagree on stuff but that we both understand that it means little outside ourselves. You do it your way… I do it mine. We both try to play nice. We’re both still Feri. If it’s so easy for us, why is it so hard for them?

  14. hey Storm,
    first, let me say that i support you. i support your truth, your ability to hear, your ability to act. i remember the fire storm around your brave stand to ‘out’ the actions of this “priest”…not pretty. folks don’t like their secrets made visible. (i’ve had a bit of this recently with a reclaiming person. not fun.) who in the world gave him a Black Wand???? i would really like to know this woman’s name.
    i can’t speak to whether i think it’s right or wrong to charge for Feri training. i don’t view the world in black and white anyway. besides, i paid Thorn for a two year class!
    but i have been thinking about Feri Community, and what that means. i only know a handful of Feri Initiates and i wouldn’t say any of them are my chums…i mean, i don’t spend time just hang’en with them, ya know. Though I respect them and feel a loose connection through my practice. is it necessary to claim every Feri as part of your community? Can your magical community be self-selected? i know that Feri Initiates have the oatht, but what does the oath mean exactly?

    • Can your magical community be self-selected?
      Gods, I hope so! πŸ˜‰
      It’s my goal, actually. Healthy community is based on the convergence of healthy individuals. There needs to be more to go on besides simply initiatory status. Ones status says nothing of their ability to play well with others. That needs to be the first criteria, I think.

      • πŸ™‚
        here’s to hoping!
        so, what your saying is that in your dream the first criteria for Feri community (self-selected – the one you claim as your own) would be the ability to play well with others? how would that ability be judged? would it be on an individual basis, as actions or words were made visible? what would the measure be?
        i would like to see at least a forum for grievances to be aired. like a convulcation of Feri’s…at Samhain. At least then if one Feri had aught against another, they could air it publicly, in PERSON, (instead of email, which is a poor communication medium in my opinion) and make public statements, if no resolution were found, that they would not affiliate with that person.

      • My model for this community is how I see Witch Eye… Good stuff gets printed… abusive stuff does not. It’s easy for me, though, because I own the zine and get to make the decisions myself. πŸ˜‰ In a larger community we would need to have set guidelines that would address behavior that is harmful to the group. They would need to be developed by said group and there would need to be some way to bring up grievances (like you mentioned) in order to make it work, but I do not think it should just be an in-person thing. Not everyone will be able to attend, first off. Some people can communicate better via the written word while being in a room with other people might make them silent. But yes, there should be something. Or several (perhaps connected) somethings. Right now there is nothing. The closest thing is an initiates-only email list but it is apparent that particular social organism is not interested in taking on that job. So I left it. As my vision of community develops I hope that others will join in who can contribute to the overall vision. If not, my community will be quite small. (But I think I’m OK with that right about now.) πŸ˜‰

      • Storm! I am so sorry you left Silvercord!! I understand, you probably felt attacked by Eldri(which was really painful for me to read because I really care about her and was shocked at her anger) at the very least. I meant to respond to your post about talking with Cora and have been pretty swamped til now. My feeling is that Cora is an honored Elder as well as Victor was and I truly value her insight with regard to teaching and charging. I also think she has a keen sense of character and probably saw your devotion to the Gods right away. Myself, I think that times have changed and while I may choose not to charge if I ever decide to teach, I really believe in your integrity and support you in however you choose to serve the Gods of Feri.

  15. We sold a black wand at the yard sale this weekend. Another Feri person bought it. I said, “I bet you never knew it could be so easy to get one of those.”
    It was beautiful. I should have taken it myself. I think she got it for a few dollars.

  16. Holy shit batman. I wonder what else I’ve missed. Apparently it isn’t only my stuff that’s been disappearing, because I never saw the “Cheap Whore” bit!
    You know, that insinuation that you’re after a black wand just like ‘Lord Vader’ got, when I consider that it’s YOU in particular she’s insinuating it about with your history as the recipient of his abuse, that seems like a finely calculated bit of sly viciousness. Or something. Maybe she’s just a ranting sweaty lunatic. If she feels that way about paid teaching, why isn’t she attacking him? Or maybe… maybe that’s what this black wand business is after all! A hidden curse! Bizarre theories bloom like mushrooms! WTF! o.O
    She also echoes the excommunication trip I got from mister Vader himself, ‘if you don’t follow my line, I move that you shouldn’t be considered part of this tradition’. I didn’t know how much of an alliance there was between them. I’ll be filing that one away.
    Yeah. Growing ill and nauseated with the whole processing session, myself. I am getting hard pressed to keep resisting the feeling that the ‘community’ is more parasitic on my spiritual life than beneficial.

    • I wonder what else I’ve missed. Apparently it isn’t only my stuff that’s been disappearing, because I never saw the “Cheap Whore” bit!
      That part was in her 2nd response to the thread, only it was sent to me privately. Actually everything of hers that I quoted came form a private email she sent to me. I decided it was far too succulent to keep it all to myself. There’s even more juicy bits of crazy dripping in there, but my post here was long enough. πŸ˜‰
      She also echoes the excommunication trip I got from mister Vader himself, ‘if you don’t follow my line, I move that you shouldn’t be considered part of this tradition’.
      It’s such a narrow view that I feel it betrays the very fundamentals of the Feri tradition as I know it. And yet, I would not argue that they are somehow ‘not Feri’. I will argue, however, that they have become twisted and threaten to taint anything and anyone around them. They have a particular type of negative elitism that attracts individuals looking for acceptance. Usually these people pay for it by providing blind loyalty and “buying in” to a cult-mindset. I consider it to be a type of ‘thought virus’. It is infectious. It is the main reason that I think Witch Eye is so important… it enables us to present our art, stories, and different ideas to each other. Only then can we be true to the bardic nature of Feri and allow it to take what form the Gods and Power wills. Anything less is descending into dogma, which is the death of Feri.
      I didn’t know how much of an alliance there was between them. I’ll be filing that one away.
      Interesting, isn’t it?

      • I’ve just finally written a lengthy response to this and several things on “That List” Thought you should know. I finally just got to the point where I was too fed up with so much ranting on about power and the fear of its abuse. And that is what it is, fear of power. I just can’t fathom the idea that a Witch would fear power, taking it for themself and worrying that someone else might have some…blah!

  17. *chuckles*
    You know, I hesitated to post about this, because I felt like it would be presumptous of me to even slightly criticize a community I haven’t yet really become a part of…
    But I just have to say… It’s really strange. Why does everyone direct this crap at you? Surely there are others who are standing up for their rights, and saying this stuff is wrong when they see it.
    Are you just the loudest? Or am I wrong, and there really aren’t others who were saying it then?
    That was one of the most powerful and freeing things I gained from using the Feri tools. Say what you mean, believe in yourself, and don’t coddle morons or bigots!
    “When I went to visit Cora recently and we asked her about it she said that she wasn’t told that the wand was for this priest until the end of her visit with this woman and was quite clear that she would NOT have blessed it for him.”
    I am deeply saddened to hear that particular part of the story. I suspected as much, so I can’t say I’m surprised, but it really offends me to know that someone could do something so… underhanded. I don’t think it’s a question at this point of whether that woman is Feri or not. It’s a question of whether or not she’s even human.
    Fucked up. Totally fucked up.
    Storm, you know you have support where it counts, and I doubt mine does much for you, but it’s there. I will say this though. In my tradition, we believe in putting our magic where our mouth is. I believe in value, and in my ability to know it when I see it. If I cannot meet the price, so be it. Your classes are not unreasonable, I’ve seen your prices. Rather, I think they’re a bit low, for the kind of art and power you give just by inspiring your students. I know teachers who charge more, and teach less.
    You honor your tradition, and you honor your students by being honest, and ethical.
    Perhaps that’s why she and people like her act so stupidly. How can they top that with an illegitimate black wand and a few smoke screens?
    Blessed be.

  18. I’ve been reading Faerywolf’s livejournal for a while now, and I have to say, you’re one of the most wonderful people I know (even though I don’t know you personally, per se … just in the “online” world).
    At any rate, to me, the whole “don’t charge” thing is a leftover of Christian Fundamentalism, which most of the Pagan community in general come to us from. I had to face the challenge myself in teaching the tradition that I teach. The problem with all the old arguments against it is that none of them are sound anymore. They are critical of one or two people who charge and leave out a huge chunk of the Pagan community – for example: store owners, authors, tarot readers, people who make ritual tools and garments, et cetera.
    My point is this: to me, to pay for teaching puts me and my teacher on an equal ground. To not pay for the service would make me feel awkward, as though I were cheating my teacher out of compensation for a job well done. After all, we pay our Philosophy, Trig, Economics and English-Lit teachers, don’t we!?
    In the light and love of Oneness,

  19. My Problems with Feri (Community)
    Thank you, Dearest, for speaking your truths. The ‘loud’ is sometimes needed and you do it well. Your courage inspires me and i **am** a Feri Priestess, the last initiate of Alison Harlow and her co-priestess for 13 years. Hooray for you, Storm!!!
    J’tΓ© Argent

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