Secrecy, Copyrights, and What’s Underneath

Recently I was fool enough to enter into an online discussion regarding material used within the Feri tradition. To the casual observer it would appear that this discussion centers around copyrights of said material, and the moral implications of ignoring them, but as I have been in other venues where different manifestations of this discussion have arisen, my perception is somewhat different.

What follows, is basically a rant. All comments will be screened because this is my journal, and I shouldn’t have to deal with people yelling at me here, or otherwise being rude… if you don’t like what I have to say then don’t read my journal. Simple, yes? πŸ˜‰

While it would appear on the surface that her “request” is a politely worded one, it comes with some insidious “malware”. There has consistently been the expectation that others tow the line in terms of what material is secret and what is not. (This is actually where the conversation began, on the Feri initiate’s list, when she brought it up in regards to Chas’ request for material that he and I are planning to put up on FeriTradition.com regarding the Goddesses of the Elements.) You see, Chas had posted a link to the site in question (“The Land of the Feri“, sometimes called “The Road to Faery”) as a means to inspire people who might decide they wanted to contribute. She posted a polite comment in Chas’ LiveJournal post (which I now see has been quietly deleted by the moderator of ) asking people to not link to that site as it contained copyrighted material from her teacher.

Sometime after that, veedub posted a link to her Dustbunnies Big Damn Handout Book, vol. 1, which is a collection of her Feri training handouts. This immediately caused a stir amongst the online initiate’s surrounding issues of secrecy and “respect”. (i.e. ‘if you are not as secret with the material as we are, then you are “disrespecting” us’.) Immediately people started rallying around the idea of shared secrecy as a common Feri value (which it is not) and making demands in the guise of requests that everyone else treat Feri material in the same way as they do, or else be considered disrespectful by the “community”. This conversation quickly turned to Chas and myself because of our plans to provide more art and information around our work with the Goddesses of the Elements. Suddenly we were the bad guys because we were about to post “secret” (sic) information and it will “ruin” future initiations. I have now been told that I am doing this to “spite the community”. (!)

**sigh**

Now here’s the thing… “community” is a tricky thing. I remember this issue being brought up when I went through all of that stress several years ago with Gabriel. Here we had a sexual predator priest and very few people did anything about it and you want to know what reason I was given? That we weren’t a community and so we couldn’t do anything. We were powerless, it seemed.

And now some of these same people are invoking the word community because they believe it will serve them in keeping everyone else in line. Oh sure, it all sounds nice and polite on the surface, “Out of respect I request that you not go public with that information.” And that would be fine… if it were actually a request. But it’s not. Because to make a REQUEST means that you are willing to accept “no” as an answer. If you are NOT in a space to accept anything but compliance then what you are actually making is a DEMAND, which is also fine, but let’s not hide behind false niceties, OK? And don’t expect that everyone is just going to roll over and go your way, either.

Just to be clear: The Goddesses of the Elements are not secret in my line. They were passed to us before (WELL before) initiation, and recently I even went back to my teacher to ask his opinion on it, just to make sure that I hadn’t gone crazy and mis-remembered anything important. He confirmed that they were not secret, that he learned them very early on in his training with Gabriel and he was surprised to learn that anyone else considered them to be secret. (Especially since they appear in The Spiral Dance and have for almost 30 years now.)

I was using these Goddess names for years before I came to Feri. I had been teaching Witchcraft 101 classes and a series on the Elements using those names precisely because they had been made public. I developed  a relationship with them, and one that certainly grew in new directions when I was properly introduced to them in a Feri context. But to assume that’s it’s anything short of egotistical to passive-aggressively demand that others not use them publicly just to suit their own comfort zones is absurd in my eyes.

It should go without saying but I feel compelled to spell it out: I have never –nor do I have any plans to ever– post or write about any of the information or experiences that I have had that were passed to me as secret within Feri. I have also received some lore from other initiates outside of my training and after my initiation that was also passed to me as secret. I will continue to honor the agreements that I have made in relation to that material.

OK… back to the issue at hand: About three-weeks after Chas’ call for submissions, she brings it up on the initiate’s list, saying that she had already given Chas ample time to “respond” (um… there was no question to respond to) and what happened was pretty much more of them same: A select group of people rallies together to decide what is secret and should be secret! “Let’s all take new Oaths to make SURE it stays secret!” (Ahem… not all Feri take Oaths to begin with… Cora said there are NO Oaths in Feri which should give us at least a moment’s worth of pause before we start ranting about the universality of them). Oh, let’s form committees, and sign contracts, and throw initiate autonomy out the window… because, dammit, people are DISRESPECTING our secrets and therefore DISRESPECTING US!! Let’s act like bureaucrats and Christian prudes instead of the wild Feri witches that we claim to be! No, thank you. Not today, please.

As for the copyright issue: I’ve been told that it plagiarizes “some material”, but that’s as much as anyone will say. One of the tricky problems, however, is that I remember Gabriel himself trying to claim that every exercise that had to do with Blue Fire in connection to Feri was under his copyright, whether or not he had actually written it. (He claimed ownership of a lot of material, actually, that has been found in published writings that pre-dated him, according to a couple of my sources.) Up until recently I honestly thought that this was the only problem, but am now told that indeed there is material there by Steve Hewell that he would like removed. OK… but here’s the thing… I’m not in charge of that website. I did not post it. I certainly can’t take it down. I do not post or reprint other people’s material without their permission.  I DO honor people’s copyrights. But I am not interested in joining a boycott because quite honestly it would appear to me that the copyright issue is merely a convenient foot-hold for those who would prefer that less information about Feri be publicly available. People are always upset when Feri stuff is “out there”. People were up-in-arms about Thorn’s book, for Gods sakes… “How DARE you put the Guardians in there?!” I also hear they were upset about The Spiral Dance, back in the day… “How DARE you put the Pentacles in there?!” I’m so over that argument. Be secretive if you want, but the second you start telling others that they need to be as secretive as you are then you have fallen off your self-made pedestal and fallen into dogma. All I can say is I hope you’re happy there. I’m certainly quite happy where I am.

I’m an artist. And an author. And I run a magazine. I have a lot of work that is copyrighted. I have even seen some of my work used without my permission and so I have worked to get it removed or credited. (It’s actually REALLY EASY to get stuff taken down from a Yahoo site… I’m just sayin’.) That is my right as the holder of the copyright. But I do not feel that it is my right to expect that others will stop linking to websites that might be using said material. That is between me and the violator and it would be inappropriate for me to try and coerce others into taking up my cause. I would feel that to do so would be a form of censorship. Your mileage may vary… but that’s where I am coming from. (So hopefully it tells you a little bit more about my position on the subject.)

Incidentally, that website is a piece of Feri history at this point, as it’s been online for almost 10 years, and so I feel it is relevant to the overall community, whether you agree with it or not. It causes discussion. It’s relevant. It’s news. Much in the same vein as we carry books in our store, or allow fliers to be posted for groups that we do not necessarily agree with, but they are part of the overall spiritual movement, and so we feel that it is important to make them available. People should have all of the information available to them and be able to make their own decisions about it.

Steve is apparently taking legal steps to have his alleged material removed. Good! I hope he succeeds, if indeed it is his material. I really only have the ranting insistence of one of his students to back that up, and based on how she has conducted herself (and been unwilling to talk about any specifics) I just don’t believe her at this point. No… I’m not calling her a liar… but I think that people who are that zealous can easily be mistaken. Either way we will see what happens.

I’m going to keep doing my own thing, which includes practicing and teaching Feri as I learned it: a path of individual spiritual evolution and personal power. Real community will happen organically around that path. False community, based on ego and initiatory status will inevitably breed more of the same venom and I just don’t have time for it anymore. It’s old. It’s tired. And it bores me.

In other news, Chas and I would like to invite anyone who wishes to engage in respectful Feri-related discussion to check-out our LiveJournal community: . Not much has been posted there yet, but we’re hoping to start discussions beginning with the various Gods, Goddesses, and Spirits that populate the Feri continuum. We’ve begun with a post about Nimue. I’d like to get people actually talking about how they work and practice Feri… not just in abstract or theoretical ways… but in how we are actually doing the work that we are called to do. Then we can see where it goes from there. We are planning on embedding it on FeriTradition.com since we get about 10,000 visits per month and this might make a good place for a wider discussion and certainly a good way to promote the various classes and happenings that are cropping up in various places.

**EDIT: As of a couple days ago the copyrighted material has successfully been removed from the website and contrary to popular belief I am glad for it. πŸ™‚

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42 responses to “Secrecy, Copyrights, and What’s Underneath

  1. thank you for this. i for one am getting very tired of all this “respect” that is talked about but never truly exercised. at this point, when i see an email or a post that starts out “with respect,” i am immediately on the alert for personal insults and accusations of everything from oathbreaking to being insensitive to the feelings of “the feri community.” and for some reason, when these approaches don’t serve to make me change my behavior, of hurt surprise that i am such a Bad Feri.
    well, the hells with that. i follow the light i am given, and intend to continue doing so. cora told me that there are a thousand ways of doing feri; i’m simply following the one that fits me best. as should every feri, and in fact, every human being with any desire for enlightenment. letting each other alone to best pursue our own way of doing feri is the most respectful thing i can think of.

    • Storm and VeeDub, thank you thank you thank you for your role in standing against the rampant toxicity I’m seeing online in the Feri tradition. At least, assuming I am allowed an opinion about the tradition, which, from plenty of initiates’ posts online isn’t true, since as a student I must be less than a troglodyte. When I see well-meaning students post to lists, it’s like watching someone with a bleeding cut climb into a pool of sharks. (And as I’m seeing now, it’s not just the students that get attacked.) Both of you have consistently been a voice of reason in all of this.

  2. Please feel free to moderate this comment right out of existence. I just want to thank you for this post. I’m a mere student (and not active at this point – I was studying with Michele, but my husband’s job has me moving away), but I’m very interested in the community aspect of this religion. Frankly, all the fuss I see on the various lists and LJ communities bring up a lot of questions that I never really see addressed.
    Then here’s this post, plus a response from Veedub. You guys rock. In fact, I think I ❀ y'all. πŸ˜‰
    Thanks not only for making me think but also for providing an awesome service for those who want to study and learn and experience, even if we don’t have access to an initiate.

    • I agree with my friend misericorde, here. When my interest in Feri was first piqued, I was so excited – not just because of the lore that resonated with me, or the rituals that knocked me on my ass and stood me back up again. Mostly I was excited to find a community that seemed really invested in the work of self-transformation and individual gnosis, to a level I hadn’t found elsewhere.
      Since that time, I’ve grown to love Feri the religion much more deeply. I’ve also grown wary of Feri the community as I stand on the sidelines and see it (apparently) turn on itself in ways I wouldn’t expect from people who are truly involved in the work of self-possession.
      Perhaps my view is skewed, seeing as I feel *so* blessed to be studying with such a public teacher who I may never have found had she been secretive… and I’ve purposefully avoided a lot of the conflict and kept my nose out of the initiates’ business, so maybe I don’t have the whole story… but, from where I’m standing, the same few people always come out on top in terms of showing respect without acquiescing, walking their talk, and coming off as all-around decent human beings (which isn’t to say that anyone else is indecent or inhuman by any means). Those are the people who I want to learn from, because those are the people who I want to emulate.

  3. One of the more common themes in spirituality seems to be this mystifying of formally open information and practices. All I can make of it, and ever have, is that the less power one has, the more one must make it appear and feel (both to oneself and others).
    From my own experiences and learnings – one knows when one has been given or taught information that is private and must be earned. There’s no ambiguity. None.* Anything beyond that that people attempt to cloak in secrecy and veils seems to myself to be an attempt at exclusivity.
    *Now I real really do believe that the same information can be given to two different people with two different levels of privacy. Each person has a path that is walked by them, and none other. To those who are so convinced that they must police the traditions they are a part of, I would remind them to keep an eye on their own path, especially as it seems likely they are missing a step somewhere….
    This might all be too inflammatory, sorry. Your call.

  4. not being involved in this at all, and looking at what you wrote as an outsider, I think you’re doing all you can. I agree, if it’s something you published (print, web, etc) and you later find out that it was copyrighted material, credit it (assuming it’s only a small chunk of text) or remove it completely (assuming it’s not a small chunk). That is standard scholarly procedure, and most people are fine with that. You are not responsible though for what is up on websites that are not under your control. How people got that idea, I have no idea.
    As for the publishing of “secrets”. There are no secrets in this world. I’d be willing to bet that someone, somewhere has written about their initiation(s) and the secrets that have been passed to them. The Reiki community had the same attitude and issues years ago when the “secret” symbols were being published on web sites and in books. I heard that took some flack for publishing them in his book. In this day and age, there are no secrets.
    Also, it sounds like there is a community, but it’s nothing organized. I know full well how that works, I was part of one myself. This kind of situation only leads to more and more bickering until someone decides to leave. Usually the one that is being sensible leaves for their own piece of mind. Remember, it’s often the vocal minority that speaks up. They are just that though, the minority. The majority rarely will ever step up and defend someone unless they are very close to them. It’s just community dynamics at play. I’d say ignore the vocal people.
    Good luck with your book, and don’t let that vocal minority stop you. Just make sure you have the copyright permissions you need.

  5. Thanks for this. I have two comments.
    1) While anyone can request anything, the only person who can make a legal challenge to copyright violation is the owner of the original copyright. I am glad to see that more people seem to be catching on to that.
    2) I have had disagreements with the individual to whom you refer as well, as have many other people. The disagreements are never pretty, and usually the individual in question escalates them into fights, resorts to name-calling, and then acts like a victim. I watched this discussion as it happened, and I was accurately predicting how it would go: “Now **** will call people names, now ***** will claim to be a victim…” I think that individual is unstable, at least when s/he is on-line. Perhaps that individual is a wonderful person in the flesh. But for my own sanity, I have nothing to do with this person electronically. I know more than a few other people who have reached the same conclusion.

  6. i wanted to comment on the community element, as i am not an initiate and the secrecy stuff is something i feel it is not appropriate to comment on at this time.
    you said: “Now here’s the thing… “community” is a tricky thing. I remember this issue being brought up when I went through all of that stress several years ago with Gabriel. Here we had a sexual predator priest and very few people did anything about it and you want to know what reason I was given? That we weren’t a community and so we couldn’t do anything. We were powerless, it seemed.”
    i reply: i believe that the Feri community has learned a bit from that situation. while no one can be uninitiated, there are several initiates willing to take that bull by the horns if it should ever arise again. i have seen that with my own eyes and for that i am glad. accountability is any community is important, in all respects.
    the Feri community, in the sense that i understand the word, is really in its infancy, delayed by rifts that have happened in the past. and i love the fact that there are more purely social events, more friendships forming, more informal circles, and community projects. we NEED more things to bring us together, rather than looking for reasons to drive us apart.
    if we are to be a genuine community (one that looks out for one another in all ways), that indeed means compromise, mutual respect, and sometimes, a forgoing of individual wants for the greater good. (this is not personal commentary on this specific situation- this is general commentary on what community must do…) we all compromise when we are in relationship with another(s).
    that need not always equate to “censorship” (on the one hand) or “bullying” (on the other). but sometimes people need to think before doing something “in public”, as it will impact others “in private”. i urge everyone involved in this dispute to put aside human ego and motive and think about the community first, rather than individual wants or needs, or rather think of the trad over your specific line.
    i am still formulating where i stand on the secrecy issue, specifically as it applies to lore. some secrets are bad, like the one you mentioned with gabriel. but not all secrets are bad. and i struggle with how you equate sexual predators with secret lore of the tradition. they are not the same to me at all. not all secrets are bad, is all i am saying. what should be kept secret? i leave that now to initiates to discuss and agree upon (hopefully, one day). in the meantime, i hope everyone will realize what they have in common and play nice.

    • i struggle with how you equate sexual predators with secret lore of the tradition.
      I am not equating these things. I am pointing out that there has been a double standard amongst some people who would feel it appropriate to invoke the banner of community who have previously denied its very existence when it served them politically, and gave two (extreme) examples to illustrate that.
      And I’m not saying that all secrets are bad. I think there is real value in keeping certain things secret that were passed to you as such in a traditional sense. (This is one way to honor the thread of traditional lineage.) But I also do not feel that it is appropriate for X to tell Y that Y needs to be as secretive as X in order to be respectful or even to be “allowed” to continue using the name “Feri”. (This is something I have been told a couple times now by a couple individuals who are in the more secretive side of things, and this is exactly where I see parts of the community falling into dogma.) We were all trained differently in Feri. If we cannot respect each other’s differences then “community” has no hope of ever being a healthy one.
      I have certain things that I have pledged to keep secret, and so I will keep them so. I have also only presented information about Feri that I felt that there was a real need for, which is why the Goddesses of the Elements have not been of interest to me before now: While Chas has always had a pull to present them, I personally saw no need for it. It wasn’t until I attended this last Feri Camp that an amazing resonance of events showed me that these beings wanted more people to work with them, and since this was at the same time as (and independent of) Chas asking for submissions for his project about them, I realized that now was the time to move forward with it, as they themselves were calling for this work to be done. This is based on personal gnosis, something that Feri strongly encourages. For the vocal minority (or even a majority) of Feri initiates to insist that one must subvert the momentum of one’s personal gnosis seems very UN-Feri, to me. It is certainly a slap in the face to how I was taught the tradition.
      i leave that now to initiates to discuss and agree upon (hopefully, one day).
      Not only do I think that this is impossible, I also do not find it to be of any value. I think one of the very real powers in the Feri tradition is the fierce autonomy that is granted to each and every initiate. It’s the work of self-possession (to use the new buzz-word) that is now taught in the public classes and some private ones. Whenever “the initiates” (i.e. whatever small group actually gets together who is interested in such things) it generally descends into suggestions of a bureaucratic nature that can never be enforced in any real way precisely because of initiate autonomy and the fact that a majority of the initiates do not find value in the discussions of shared secrecy.
      I applaud your efforts at creating shared community. I think that shared in-person experiences are exactly that sort of thing that is needed. We need dinners, and lunches, and potlucks, and rituals… and above all else, we need pie. πŸ˜‰ What we don’t need is a handful of self-absorbed fundamentalists deciding how everyone else should conduct themselves when it is based on nothing more than their own comfort zones (i.e. how THEY were trained.) We are all different. I think we should be able to celebrate that instead of making attempts at homogenization.

      • quote unquote
        I’ve been away from LJ and all lists for a while, and justy catching up (or at least, making some small attempts to:) now; so, I know almost nothing of what’s been going on, but reading your words reinforces my conviction that Feri is the path I chose to be on and want to be on also because of people like you.
        That’s just the spirit! Thank you.

  7. Since you are screening the comments I will be honest. I feel like I am in a “third place” WRT the recent arguments over secrecy and copyrighting and stuff like that. I came from a peculiar clan in Feri that was very secretive about some things, but totally disregarded things other lines hold highly secret. And since then I have shifted my perspective a lot over the years and come to my own notions about the issue. So it’s not from a place of allegiance to anyone’s POV that I am speaking.
    I love you and I think the work you do is great, and I think of you as one of the people in the Feri community that I can trust. Now I haven’t been following the other discussions in panferi or wherever so I don’t see the whole picture. But I did see some of your responses to the initiate discussion as dismissive and disrespectful and it made me a little sad because for the most part, I agree with you about the substance of the debate. You seem defensive in a way that I don’t think you have to be, and I think that defensiveness actually weakens your position. I have friends on both sides of the argument, including you and the person you mentioned (who was posting about the Fairy Roads site), and from my perspective it looks like everyone has indulged in some unnecessary drama, and has misperceived the other’s motives. I also notice that once that misperception occurs, it’s really easy to start interpreting what people say in the light of our assumptions instead of taking it at face value. We can get entrenched in our assumptions of what people “really” mean and what their motives are, and we can be wrong but we’ll never know it. I see a lot of that happening around this issue, on all sides actually.
    I wish everyone could come to the initiate gatherings. I have noticed that the same people will often be much more open and flexible to discussing and negotiating an issue in person, than they will be in online discussions. I remember an early initiate meeting at Max’s house where I asked for respect of a sensitive secrecy issue, and many people in the room were moved to reach out and respond — even though they had no obligation to do so — just by virtue of the connection we had made between us that made them *want* to be kind in that way. I wonder if that would ever have happened if I’d posted the request to the list instead. I really suspect not. Or if JL had brought up her concerns in a meeting or gathering, I’ll bet she wouldn’t have framed them with so much drama and accusation. It isn’t just a question of sugar-coating the request, it’s the substantive difference that personal connection makes, in creating a context in which people feel free to *choose* to accomodate someone, not because they have to, but out of greatness of spirit, magnanimity. I wish we could approach the issue that way more often.
    Well anyway, those are some of my thoughts, for whatever they’re worth, which might be nada. πŸ™‚

    • I want to thank you for being honest here. I’m sad that both you and JL have felt that I was being dismissive and disrespectful in at least some portion of the discussion on the initiate’s list. It was certainly not my intention. You’re right, that I have felt defensive and so I have been doing extra kala lately. πŸ™‚ I love you… you are one of my favorite people in Feri, so I am really taking what you say here to heart. I have gone back and re-read all of my posts there and I honestly cannot find anything in which I was intending to be dismissive or disrespectful, so I am reminded how things can come across differently for each reader over the internet. It certainly doesn’t help my cause any if some are going to perceive my words as overly harsh, and so I will endeavor to be even nicer in future posts. πŸ™‚
      What I did find were a couple instances in which I made it clear that at some point I was no longer willing to engage in the process of debate. Perhaps this is the dismissive part? Between the public and the private condescension that I perceived coming my way I just found no value in perpetuating discussion that really seemed more aimed at “keeping us public folk in line” rather than a sharing of one’s personal feelings, as you have described above.
      I now know that some people are going to be uncomfortable when Chas and I go forward with our Goddesses of the Elements project. I’m not sure what else I can say to that, honestly. It’s the work we are both called to do, and it doesn’t violate our Oaths, and we find value in it. Quite honestly there is ALWAYS someone who speaks up and says “this makes me uncomfortable” in regards to every aspect of Feri tradition being “out there”. I hear that. And I respect that. But it doesn’t end there. I don’t believe that the only real answer is to simply remain silent and abandon any ideas of sharing things publicly. I don’t find that a viable option in every case, and certainly not in this one. I can respect someone’s feelings and still do what I feel called to do. The argument that I have tried to make is that my going forward need not be interpreted as a “slap in the face” to the community, because it has nothing to do with that. But also I understand that if people are wanting to see it that way then there’s really nothing I can do about that.
      People have mis-characterized my position… They have twisted my words to make them sound like I am saying that all who disagree with me are “wrong”, or fundamentalist, or dinosaurs. This is certainly NOT what I have said. I think that secrecy in Feri can be a beautiful thing. I just think that at the core of Feri beats the heart of paradox; one can keep things secret while another can share them and I do not see why we cannot allow them both to have their place. And better yet, why can we not celebrate these differences in each other? Is it possible that you can be secret and I can be public and that we both can still work together? That’s what I would call real magic.

  8. It never changes.
    FWIW I totally agree with you.
    What saddens me is that these arguments have been going in circles, first one way then another then back again, since I first got involved in paganism. It doesn’t change. This is why my faith is private and I rarely get involved in public at all — allows me to ignore all this junk.

  9. Not to change the subject when you are up to your ass in alligators and all, but how about you come over to my LJ and give me some feedback on my Tarot cards for a Feri Tarot Deck. The break might do you some good and I’d like your feedback as an artist. Be gentle – these are just first passes.
    Love Michele

  10. i am still chewing on your answers. i may comment again later, after i think a bit more. can i ask a clarifying question, so that i understand you better?
    you said, “I think there is real value in keeping certain things secret that were passed to you as such in a traditional sense.”
    that seems to value your personal line/lineage over the trad as a whole, am i reading what you meant correctly?
    i mean, since different lines value keeping different things secret that may not be secret in another. in this specific case, you would not respect both (by publishing secrets of another line), but rather only one over another?
    there is more than one option- you could respect both the secrets of your line AND the secrets of other lines in the trad, even though they are not yours. or you could publish secrets of others simply because they are not yours.
    if that is where you are indeed coming from, may i ask why? what is the benefit to the trad as a whole by doing so?

    • that seems to value your personal line/lineage over the trad as a whole, am i reading what you meant correctly?
      You seem to be conflating ‘traditon’ with ‘community’.
      There are many different approaches to the Feri tradition… if there was one unified Feri approach then there would never be any argument about whether or not there is a Grandmaster, or if there is a Wand System, or any of the other numerous topics that abound to cause strife within our midst.
      The core of the tradition really only consists of a scant bit of initiatory lore. All else is gravy. πŸ™‚ To honor this is honoring the ‘tradition’ as a whole.
      Some lineages emphasize coven and community… others focus solely on personal development… how I was trained was geared toward the latter.
      The community as a whole needs to come to terms with the fact that each of our lineages have different values. We are only getting larger which means that we need to be prepared for change. Things will not stay the same way. They shouldn’t stay the same. Changelessness was not a Feri value as I was taught.
      what is the benefit to the trad as a whole by doing so?
      The immediate answer is that more useful information will me made available to those who wish to have access to it. There will be further opportunities for others to become inspired which may take them a bit further down their own paths.
      You also seem to be saying that I am publishing someone else’s secrets, as if I have no personal relationship to this on my own. My personal relationship with this particular material spans over 20 years. I do not think that it is appropriate or healthy or even kind to expect anyone to go against their own personal work. As I have said before: There are certain things that I have pledged to keep secret, but that I have seen others use more publicly. My response has been to keep those secrets that I have pledged and to find the space to honor and encourage my brothers and sisters who feel differently about the material than I do. If others are not prepared to do the same for me then it is a decision that they are making. Either way I do not feel that curtailing the work I am called to do is a viable option, for myself or the community in the long run.

  11. That’s Wash TWICE
    Excuse Me, Storm? I have to say that I have real issues with you saying “Wash Once, Rinse Twice.” I was given, “Wash TWICE, rinse ONCE.” I am alarmed, ALARMED I tell you, by your lack of disrepect for this important peice of Lore. Renumerations, aplogies, restitution and recompense must be made at once. There is a special jail for people like you!
    And me.
    And I love you.
    I don’t agree with all you do…but I don’t have to. I trust you are doing what is right, true and correct for you and those who need to learn from you. And I trust you trust me to do the same. Funny thing . . . that line about Perfect Love and Perfect Trust. Keeps coming around doesn’t it?
    Be Well, Brother.
    Karina

    • Re: That’s Wash TWICE
      Heresy!
      But yup… that trust issue seems to be a common theme. I’ve come to the conclusion that my job is to encourage others to find and to follow their own Divine Will. If others don’t want to do the same for me, that okay. I don’t need validation in order to do what I know is my work. (But it’s extra nice when I get it… so, thank you.) πŸ™‚
      To me it’s actually really simple. I think that others are putting layers of “disrespect” into the mix when it needn’t be there. I may have been short toward to the end of one particular discussion, but I think that’s understandable given that I have been dealing with this nonsense for YEARS now, and even the recent manifestation of the discussion quickly turned ugly when directed at me and what I value. But I learned from the discussion and would not deal with it the same way again. NEXT time I simply won’t engage the larger initiate’s community in a discussion at all. I have my peers and friends whom I can bounce ideas off of, and while we don’t all necessarily agree with each other we all actually respect each other, rather just give lip-service to that particular value. The combination of the two makes for discussion that’s actually fruitful, thought-provoking, and real.
      I love you, sister. (But you really should be rinsing twice, you know.) πŸ˜‰

      • Re: That’s Wash TWICE
        This has almost nothing to do with the subject, but I just had to say, ICON LOVE!!! Beautiful!
        Anyway, like , I don’t agree with quite a bit of what you are doing, and we have wildly varying viewpoints on a lot of issues. But, as I posted in my LJ today, “If there’s one thing I’m learning of value [in Feri], it’s how to completely not like how someone does a certain thing, or their side/perspective/thoughts on an issue, and still be friends with them. Just so long as that issue doesn’t come up or we agree to disagree, it’s all good.”

      • Re: That’s Wash TWICE
        I agree with you wholeheartedly, and that is where the issue lies. I would never expect anyone to adopt my viewpoint if it was different from theirs, what I expect is a common respect and an agreement to disagree. The problems stem from those who *demand* another to conform to fit their viewpoint, which is exactly what has happened.

      • Re: That’s Wash TWICE
        What is this hairdo above me?
        And what is the work of this Conditioner?
        I would know my roots in all their colors.
        Now.. off to worship Clairol, Avon, Purell & Mac.
        Chant it with me people.. “Cover Girl Doesn’t Cover Boy.”
        *wink*

    • Re: That’s Wash TWICE
      *giggles helplessly*
      DANGER, WILL ROBINSON, DANGER! Someone is passing on shampooing instructions without proper consent and knowledge!
      Go get the pitchforks and fire torches immediately!

  12. ” NEXT time I simply won’t engage the larger initiate’s community in a discussion at all.”
    This is what I think is so sad, because I really dont think its the larger initiates community that is the problem. I think that a good chunk of initiates are actually respectful toward the differences in between lines. I really think it is a very vocal minority who ruins it for the rest of us. We have some very off balance folks in Feri, and they yell, kick, scream and shout so much that it makes it look like all of us.
    But its not.
    It’s sad though that we as a community enable these people and allow them to make us toxic. I am sad that I allowed those people to make the environment so poisoned for me that I had to leave.

  13. Due to an editing error, this comment is going to probably appear out of order of it’s original thread. Dangit! Oh well…read on. πŸ™‚
    I have been thinking about this for days now. I read it when you first posted it, and while I have been busy, I feel it’s a good time to respond now that I have had some time to think about it. You can go ahead and screen this if you’d like, it’s your LJ. πŸ™‚
    Personally I have come to a decision that some of the lists are toxic to my mental health. I have not joined several of the online email groups, and from what I hear from my teacher and initiator, this is a good thing. I guess a huge debate is raging on some of those lists. I for one, am thankful I don’t have to engage in it. I got to the point on the initiates list when every time I saw this person you have mentioned making a post, I actually got up and went to get a glass of water to make Kala before I even read what she had to say. How crazy-making is that?! Finally I just said to myself: “To hell with that! I’ll just skip it!”
    Because (as I posted once) there is NO WAY to make everyone happy. No matter what you do, SOMEONE is going to get their panties in a twist. Someone is going to disagree with you, and in some cases, carry said disagreement to the top of the tallest mountain and scream it to the winds. I cannot blame you for being frustrated and defensive about what has been going on lately. And yet, I understand that you have been called to do this work, Storm! I mean….just pause for a second and look at the magical name you chose. Storm. You are creating a storm! I think that your part in this web of Feri “”community”” (flying, flashing, neon quotation marks) is to shake things up, to push people out of their comfort zones and to make them realize that the world is changing.
    And I strongly believe that all this stuff about secrecy is very deeply personal for every Feri initiate and student, and that no matter what, there is no way we’re all going to agree on what is or isn’t SECRET. Obviously, the Quarter Goddesses are rising up, calling out to us, energizing our blood and calling our names! They want to be heard and seen and felt! If some lines of Feri want to keep them close, then so be it. Hell, I wasn’t told of them until my initiation, but obviously, that’s how choses to run her line, and that is how I will follow.
    I guess I will stop rambling but I wanted to tell you that I believe in you, Peter Pan. I think the work you do is important and wonderful and I know you are following your bliss, and no matter what anyone says, I hope you continue to do so.
    Amy

  14. Akolouthos
    Greetings,
    I have read the post, as well as the resulting.. fmeh. *sad sigh*
    In some parts, I do agree with the con, but not in others. My mother is an artist, and I too know and understand about copyrights. But I also understand that keeping things secret, gives oportunity for misunderstanding, and an over abundant oportunity for people to twist things for their own purposes. I am refering to the predator priest there.
    I myself am a student. Though she is not quite ready on a personal basis for the title of teacher. *chuckling smile*
    I am also comming from a background of learning where nothing is secret. There are so many different styles and takes on how to get something done that any information you can get, mearly broadens the pallet of colors you can use to create your own specific picture. And.. it will change the longer you study and practice.
    For my own part, I will not be speaking of any of the spacifics of Feri. As I am only now an Akolouthos (Acolyte) I haven’t enough foundational knowledge to speak.
    I will say this though.. the moment I start seeing the majority of Feri going the twisted way of Orthodoxy.. I am history. Dogma I can do well without.
    All paths are one, Light up the Dark!
    Ego nihil addo vos, Domina, salvifico is armo is gladius quod votum honoro vos.

    • Re: Akolouthos
      If you haven’t heard yet, the copyrighted material has been removed. (See edit above.)
      It was tricky because I do want to support copyrights, which is why I never copied any of that material and presented it on my own. But linking to a site is not a copyright infringement. FeriTradition.com is a nexus point for all things related to Feri, which is why it links to the website in question. In some respects it is a journalistic entity and makes no judgments about the entities, people, and projects that it links to. It is designed to allow the reader to have as many choices as possible and then to make decisions on their own.
      There are quite a number of Feries who already are following the way of Orthodoxy. Just keep your eyes open and they will reveal themselves.
      Thank you for your words…

      • Re: Akolouthos
        Quite a number already?
        Then I shall be a Heratic, *mischevious grin* and follow my own truth.
        In the mean time, I will learn all I can from my teacher, Honor those things she calls secret simply because I may not be ready to learn them. *shrugs*
        But when all is said and done, I must decide what to do with that knowledge, while honoring the heritage I am given.

      • Re: Akolouthos
        The main difference is in how we might relate to each other: In one scenario we encourage our brothers and sisters to develop their own relationship with spirit. In another we attempt to squelch that individual connection in favor of a communally approved one. That these need to be mutually exclusive is really simply a trick of the ego. I’m perfectly happy letting the more orthodox of our numbers practice as they wish, and in fact I encourage it. I ask the same courtesy.

      • Re: Akolouthos
        that’s it. you got it.
        *gestures mutely at screen*
        done.
        love you when you’re defending freedoms. it is so right on to witness.
        i am putting my hands on the monitor, hallelujah!!
        i appreciate your taking time to slowly and carefully articulate for the 100000000000000000000th time something that i, at least, need to remember. Thank you brother.

  15. Yes, real community is the people around you who show up for you. Sounds like you got plenty of that, Storm!!! What’s clear to me from watching/reading this on the lists is that there is absolutely no desire on the other side to be in a place of agreeing to disagree. And that phrase…”the other side” is problematic. There’s a strong paradigm of sides…of right and wrong. As long as that paradigm is held…there can be no peace.
    As Rumi said….”beyond right and wrong, there is a field. I’ll meet you there”
    That’s the place I’m most interested in. And I think more and more of us find that more interesting than these battles….thanks.

    • Thank you for sharing your insight. I will say that something very valuable has come out of this for me, however: It has shown me where I need to continue doing my own work… both in the sense of my work with sharing Feri, as well as my own cleansing.
      It has also given me an opportunity to share with my students just how things play out in me so that perhaps they can look at it and see all of me, and not just the airbrushed me with the best lighting. πŸ˜‰
      I really like the Rumi quote that you have shared here. I think that will be my meditation theme for the day.

  16. As a former barber in direct lineage to renowned barber witches and wizards of Europe, I must tell you: It is wash TWICE, rinse TWICE (and don’t forget, once a week, condition and rinse a third time–everyone knows 3 is a magic number). This is really very logical when you think about it. It is unwise to leave shampoo in your hair unless you’re highly trained, and the secret technique is guarded by a few (although it was leaked in a book 30 years ago *wink*). Some conditioners may be left in, in which case the final rinse may be omitted if desired. However, there is no such thing as a shampoo-&-conditioner-in-one! They perform two separate functions, as any chemist can tell you. It is simply non-traditional. And while we’re at it, Prowl is dangerous; you can perm horse hair with it! However, if you’re going for the split-end, dry, brittle-hair look, then knock yourself out!
    ;D LMAO

  17. Yeah…
    I had a LOT to say about this. I’ve been hearing about it from all over the place. But, since it was too much, I posted it on my journal instead.
    End result? I think you’re very brave, honey. You’re willing to say things that other people are scared of, and you’re not afraid to speak your opinions and defend them.
    AND you’re not an asshole about it.
    More to the point, however, what you do works, and I’ve yet to see anyone who can successfully gainsay you in matters of Craft.
    You’re kind to give allowances to those others in your tradition who are antithetical to you. I’m never that nice; I make people earn their privileges with me.
    But then, I’m only concerned with the opinions and feelings of those I actually like. *laughs*
    In the end, just know that it’s things like this that make me respect you as much as I do. You rule, babe!
    Hug Chas for me, and write me sometime, k?

  18. Hi there. I’m a distant mentee of ‘s and a student of ‘s. This ‘thing’ is interesting for me, as I was completely unaware of this bust up until I read about it first in your journal, second in the other party’s journal. I have a couple of things to say, which I would be pleased for you to ignore if you find them irrelevant πŸ™‚
    1. I really appreciate feritradition.org and I’m glad you have a link to the Feri Roads site there – I received my invitation to Feri / intimation that I’d already had one standing for almost a decade by reading that site.
    2. I would appreciate a little intro with the link to the Feri Roads site at feritradition.org to indicate that it a) holds material that some lines of Feri hold secret and oathbound, and b) holds plagiarised material (if it still does).
    As it stands, it appears to the world at large that the entire Feri tradition endorses the link (feritradition.org does imply that). Also, some seekers might want to take the most secret-holding route to Feri, and be ‘spoiled’ by reading that site. It’s not my path, but horses for courses, you know.
    3. Actually, I would appreciate a little intro with all the links at feritradition.org – who holds them, what their focus is, etc. I’d offer to do it myself, but I don’t think I’m the right person for the job, not knowing all the ins and outs of Feri history and not being an initiate. (If you agree that’s a good idea for the site and you think I am the person for the job, let me know and I’ll get on it!)
    4. In my book, not to respond to emails is rude. Was a polite, “we got your email, we disagree, we’re keeping things as they are,” not an option? Or have I misread things and you did that to start with?
    Um… that’s it, I think. When I’m ready to engage more widely on LJ again, I shall be over at .

    • Hi, Elinor. I’ll respond numbers to numbers. πŸ˜‰
      1. Thank you.
      2. As I put in my edit from a few days ago: there is no longer any plagiarized material up on that website. (Hooray!)
      3. I don’t think that individual intros will be a good thing, as they will only represent one person’s idea about said website, and as such will be potentially misleading. If the goal is to respond to what may be secret and what may not be, then it should be understood that it is quite variable when you take into consideration all the various lines of the tradition, some of which would prefer that we not speak of the tradition at all in public, let alone on the web. (The only point of consensus –and even this is up for some debate, in places– is what is considered core initiatory material, and it should go without saying that this bit of lore will never appear on FeriTradition.com.)
      The point of FeriTradition.com is to give the reader some quality information about the tradition, contacts for Feri teachers, and serve as a nexus to all of the other Feri places on the web so that the individual can make their own choices. What I have been thinking about doing, however, is posting an overall disclaimer on the site letting the casual reader know that some of the information there, as well as some of the links, may be considered more intimate by some lines than by others.
      Also, some seekers might want to take the most secret-holding route to Feri, and be ‘spoiled’ by reading that site.
      Then quite honestly they probably shouldn’t be looking for Feri information on the web in the first place! πŸ™‚ Consider that to some people even the Iron and Pearl Pentacles are preferred to be kept ‘secret’. So where does it end? I shall have a disclaimer up there in the next couple of days as that is how I think this particular issue can be best addressed.
      It is impossible to ‘spoil’ someone’s initiation. (A charge I have heard before and I soundly and respectfully reject it). The point of Feri –initiation or training– is the experience, not the information, which many Feri are quite fond of saying. I think if they really believed that then there wouldn’t be as much of an issue….
      4. I don’t know what you’re referring to unless it is about “the other party’s” comment to Chas’ LJ post in which there wasn’t anything to respond to. I have deleted two comments to this rant which were just someone picking a fight with me, but I have answered all emails that I have received, and probably if anything participated too much on the various lists in regards to this issue. I made myself clear, politely (at least at first!) and that wasn’t enough. I’ve been around “the” Feri community long enough to know that it doesn’t help to continue to beat the horse that is quite obviously dead. I’ve said my piece on the subject and now choose to get back to work.
      Thank you for sharing your perspective on this! If anything it’s lit a fire under me to get that disclaimer finished.

      • And thank you for your response πŸ™‚
        I don’t think that individual intros will be a good thing, as they will only represent one person’s idea about said website, and as such will be potentially misleading. [snip] I shall have a disclaimer up there in the next couple of days as that is how I think this particular issue can be best addressed.
        ::nods:: I can see that.
        It is impossible to ‘spoil’ someone’s initiation.
        I’m really glad to hear that πŸ™‚
        The point of FeriTradition.com is to give the reader some quality information about the tradition, contacts for Feri teachers, and serve as a nexus to all of the other Feri places on the web so that the individual can make their own choices.
        And I love it for that. When I first caught the scent of Feri back in 2000 (or at least learned that the name of the scent I’d been following for years was ‘Feri’), the only sources of information I had were ‘Spiral Dance’, the Feri Roads site, ferigold and Francesca de Grandis’ site, and I knew enough about magic to know that this wasn’t a path I wanted to start down without a flesh and blood guide.
        Fortunately for me, email lists began shortly after that, and people I liked the online ‘feel’ of began to teach long-distance. But it was the Feri Roads site that gave me flashing neon signs that this was, indeed, the path for me to start down.
        The only other thing that strikes me is, I’ve been catching up on threads at the community, and I’ve noticed some people saying that, aside from the copyright issues, the quality of information at the Feri Roads side is not good – that some things it states as basic to all Feri lines are plain wrong. Is this a ‘depends on your perspective’ kind of thing, or is it something that could be assessed objectively? (Not that objectivity seems to be in any great supply when Feri initiates disagree… and, as you say, big stick, dead horse – no point?)
        Lastly:
        I have answered all emails that I have received
        I apologise, I got the wrong impression.
        Back to work: now there’s a good idea πŸ™‚

      • I’ve noticed some people saying that, aside from the copyright issues, the quality of information at the Feri Roads side is not good – that some things it states as basic to all Feri lines are plain wrong.
        There are certainly things on that site that I do not agree with. (There are plenty of things that people put forward about their Feri practice that I do not agree with, but I would be hard-pressed to call them ‘wrong’).
        Specifically there are some things said there about the Goddesses of the Elements that do not match up with either how I was taught or how I have experienced them directly, which is one reason why Chas and I will be posting more about them on FeriTradition.com. There also may be some details about Victor’s life that are incorrect (I’m not sure).
        There are also certain other statements which are put forward as if fact, when they are perhaps just one particular line’s version (such as the part about receiving a cord of a particular color). I know that there was some discussion about the statement that the Iron and Pearl Pentacles were used to help one work with and strengthen the Feri current, which I know that some initiates say is false, but I can certainly see where this can be true. (I don’t think that this is the ONLY or even most important part of pentacle work, but I do think that it does assist in working with the Feri current, as can most of the exercises that we work with in Feri.)
        In the end I think it’s one big YMMV… and perhaps wanting the cat to go back in the bag.

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