If you are one of those who is concerned with the ‘purity’ of Feri and the need to ‘protect’ the tradition from becoming ‘diluted’, then you will likely wish to skip this rant although it might do you some good.
There is no way to dilute Feri. Nor can you protect it. Feri is not a collection of techniques that can be codified and shared. Feri is a personal relationship with the Omniverse. Sure certain techniques have been seen to be effective and so have been handed down, but the second that we think that these things are Feri means we have missed the point.
The time for blindly accepting what our teachers hand us (no matter how popular they may be, or how eloquent they are, or even how long they have been in the tradition) is long past. I know it’s tempting, but none of us can really afford that. I have a deep respect for my teacher, but I do not idolize him, and if I notice that a student of mine is looking at me with that starry-eyed wonder particular to potential cult-members then I will quietly usher them off into the world of freedom to find someone else to play with… I just don’t have the time nor energy to foster those kinds of negative relationships and wish to stay way clear of Nikes and Kool-Aid, thank you very much. I often tell my students that, ultimately, my way is only right for me… what I teach is a way of figuring it all out for yourself. In the end your practice will look different than mine, because you are, in fact, a different person. “If you’re doing it my way, then you’re doing it wrong!” (No, really! It’s true!) 😉
It’s extra frustrating because some adherents of Feri cite certain “truths” about our path, but when we look at those statements in relation to the various claims being made then we see how something just doesn’t jibe up.
“Feri is a primal, wild path focused on achieving states of ecstasy.“
OK… I rather like this one. This is one of the reasons that brought me into Feri in the first place. The statement, unfortunately, begins to break-down when you hang out long enough with a large group of Feri practitioners as there always seems to be a faction that is more concerned with “the TRUE Feri tradition” as opposed to what you can actually do with it. How can you simultaneously praise the form-dissolving nature of ecstasy, and then turn around and disparage others for not adhering to the same forms as you? And don’t hand me that “Feri is paradox” bullshit, because that’s a cop-out. (Yes, I know… Feri is paradox… but I really think many of us are abusing that term in order to not have to deal with the glaring logic-hole staring us in the face.)
“Feri rituals are often spontaneous and diverse” and “Feri has no pantheon.”
Really? Then why are there people arguing over whether or not the use of particular Guardian names are an indicator as to whether or not someone is ‘really Feri’. Why then do some people seem to freak out when you say that you might have a different relationship with a Deity/exercise/symbol/tool/fill-in-the-blank, than they do? (“What? You don’t work with __________? How can you call yourself Feri?”)
The sad thing is that it’s all been done before. Every religious group breaks into factions that start warring with each other at some point; leveling the charge of being “impure”, “misguided”, or simply “not correct”. In my naivety I had thought that perhaps with all of the emphasis on diversity and spontaneity that we would be less likely to have to suffer from that particular mindset. But, no. Apparently spontaneity has its limits… and those limits are usually defined by the opinions of ones’ teachers. So much for thinking for ourselves, I guess.
But let’s not throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater… There is a lot in Feri that when used consciously will serve to allow the practitioner a space in which to evolve and to touch the deeper powers, and there are a lot of people doing just that. Let’s all just try to remember that if we are busy poking our noses into other peoples practices, then it likely means that we are not spending enough time on our own.
‘Real Feri’ has nothing to do with what names you call, what gestures you use, or which tools inspire your work. On one level it is the same as what has been called ‘the Sabbatic Craft’; ‘the Nameless Arte”. It is that immanently transcendent experience of communing wholly with the ‘Other’ and allowing that communication to inform your unique and growing practice. Victor reportedly said, “Perceive first, then determine what is to be believed”. Good advice!
On another level Feri is chaos magick. We can adopt different ritual modalities on a whim depending on the needs of the moment. If Mari comes to me and I have a relationship with her then I will invoke her in my rites. Later, if it is Hecate who comes through then it is certainly no less Feri for me to be working with her. Likewise if I use techniques from Thelema, Qabbalah, Hermeticism, or any other set of magickal technologies. Feri embraces them all because Feri is magick.
In the spirit of your unique and growing practices, I ask, “What does your practice lead you toward? Why Feri?”