Wednesday, November 30, 2005
You will be sucked dry by a leech. I'd stay away
from swimming holes, and stick to good old
cement. Even if it does hurt like hell when
your toe scrapes the bottom.
What horrible Edward Gorey Death will you die?
brought to you by Quizilla
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
If it wasn't for the fact that my Feri teacher was and is a wonderful and balanced person I seriously think I would have left a long time ago. When dealing with factions of the community I have seen such ugliness, and yet I knew what these tools did for me, and I saw how my own teacher embodied them. If nothing else this alone has given me hope that Feri tradition, when practiced correctly, can be a source of much power and growth.
I received the following email from my Feri teacher about this recent conflict and I am presenting it here in its entirety because I think it addresses quite nicely the issues that are at play here.
Perhaps you can hear me sighing, my heart heavy with a disappointment
that, by now, I should no longer experience, after all I've seen. Yet there it is.
Thank you for letting me in on this. It means a lot to me that you
include me when things come up--though I'm sorry they are such idiotic
things! I wanted to get back to you sooner, but first I needed to
think about this, and then the rain (I guess) knocked out our power.
But here I am now.
Your response to *****--who, by the way, has never met me and probably
does not even know my name--is rather hot, but, I think, justifiably
so. You are correct, I think, that the issue is not about payment, but
about imbalance and fundamentalism. I have only the quotes you
provided in your excerpt, but these strongly suggest to me that *****
is yet one more practitioner whose practice has plateaued out and
become the nucleus around which a new identity has formed. How often
have we seen this: "I'm Feri, I know more than you, my tradition is so
badass. I did the Iron Pentacle (back in the '70's) and corrected some
of my gross imbalances, and now I'm perfect." The reason Feri is
dangerous is because, _like magic in general_, it can provide deep
insight into the personality while simultaneously allowing the
formation of a new identity around these insights. It must be stated
again and again that attachment to personality is attachment to the
temporal, to the conditioned, and will act to prevent one from truly
knowing the Unknown, i.e. the Star Goddess. In my experience, Feri
teachers (in general) still hold to form in their practice (deities,
guardians, etc.) and cannot speak of the place of Silence and the
Unknown. Coincident with this, as both cause and consequence, is
attachment to personality, the adherence to an identity about who "I
So what you say about ***** does not surprise me, but does sadden me.
She theocratically enunciates a version of Feri that simply reflects
her own biases, but fails to see that her vision of Feri is a creation
of her personality. She then imposes it upon others, and, in true
fundamentalist fashion, condemns any who see things otherwise. So much
for openness and acceptance of difference.
I am also struck by her fallacious use of "abuse," as if paying for
classes, and not very much, at that! is the same as abuse the of
spiritual authority for purposes of personal sexual gratification. If
she honestly believes these are equivalent, then she seems to have
lost touch with consensus reality. The fact that she considers you and
I "abusers" is both staggering and laughable. I wonder if ***** is
aware that Gabriel, to whom she just gave a black wand, charged me for
classes! That must be the source of my abuse of you! There are issues
to be discussed regarding the question of money and teaching, but I
haven't seen anyone talking about them in a serious way, by which I
mean that it is not actually about money per se. Essentially, these
issues come down to the fact that money is a condition placed upon
teaching--but it is only one of many, and far less serious than the
questions of teacher-student sex or kicking out students who don't
You are taking the right attitude toward all this, I think. Namely:
don't waste time with bozos.
Move on to what's important. Much worthwhile discussion could come
from this, and I'm open to more.
Also, if you want to put any on this on your livejournal, go ahead.
You can use my name and email to, if you want. Fine by me, I have
loads of opinions.
Be well, Mitchell
My own teacher did not engage the Feri community pretty much as a matter of principal. Now I am beginning to see why.
I have some more thoughts about the issues that are a part of this particular conflict. I think those issues are worthy ones to address. I will likely post to that end later. For now I'm just feeling rather free.
**EDIT: It looks like I jumped to an erroneous conclusion about her motivations for asking for the mediation. Thank you Elfwreck for pointing that out to me. It doesn't change my mind about it, but it is nice to know that it wasn't a manipulative ploy.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
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.):
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.
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.
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.
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."
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!
Again, Very hostile, StormI 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.)
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:
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!
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.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
I offer another poem...
Within my Chest, This Fire
When rapture formed within my heart
like shining diamonds made of fire
and the blackness receded like the night at dawn
and a spring rain fell gently
upon my face
and I was nourished by the touch of it
by the touch of you.
I am alive! Now and forever...
I dance and dance and sway to the beat
of your heart against my chest
our lips pressed together... so soft...
Your skin bathed in moonlight
a secret radiance and I bear witness
to the handiwork of the Gods
within your smiling eyes.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Monday, November 14, 2005
Here is my main altar:
Here it is close-up and lit:
With stars overhead!:
Here it is open:
Here's the inside:
And since Earth is in the north, it is a part of my main altar:
My Peacock Lord altar:
And finally, my ancestor altar:
Sunday, November 13, 2005
The Satyr and the Angel
At summer's end, the sabbat night
when spirits walk this ancient earth
through the host of souls we met,
a satyr and an angel.
His horns were red and earthen black
My feathers green and blue
His touch Promethean, his kiss so sweet.
My yearning heart is set aflame.
To see him is to know desire
His skin like cream
His eyes like jewels
His heart, so soft to beg caress.
He smiles and he shines like fire
and I the helpless moth.
Hand in hand he led me down
into the hallowed dance
with thrusting hips and passion's kiss
the world did melt away.
As we danced amongst the throng
so too we danced alone
And looking deep within his eyes
my own were filled with longing.
Beyond all thought I moved to touch
my hands upon his flesh
and lip to lip, two flames in one
as earth unto the heavens.
Too early came the sabbat's end
to our worlds we did return
but shall we meet and dance again?
The answer's in the stars.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
the trickster and the medicine man and the drunk man with a gun
So, last night we ventured out to the opening night of The Obscure Curio, a new once-a-month Goth/Industrial/80's club in San Francisco, put together by DJs DOMGDOMG, and Orko. I had a really wonderful time. I got to see Fredo, which always makes my heart skip a beat. We danced, and talked, and generally enjoyed each others company. I also got to watch him dance all sexy on the dance floor with some hot guys which I am embarrassed to admit made me feel the tiniest bit jealous. Not enough to be weird, mind you... just enough to make me want to grab him and pull him toward me. OK.. OK... so I always want to pull him toward me. So sue me.
I got to talk a bit more with the charming Philip, who gave me his blessing to be dating his partner. (Isn't polyamory fun?) It was weird at first (not exactly the kind of situation that you get prepared for in school) but it was actually very good to hear that from him, as I like him and wouldn't want to be doing anything that he wasn't comfortable with. Yay for communication!
Rachel and Star where there too, which is always a treat! I always love dancing with them. Star got tired and left early, but it really wasn't all that early. We, of course, stayed to the bitter end, Chas helping Daniel carry his CD books back to the car... me slightly staggering in the lead. Hey... I'm an Irishman, what can I say? Well, other than "Thank you barkeep, I'll have another..." ;)
I recently descended back into smoking cigarettes (after having quit for seven years! Eeek!) and last night I had too many. I am putting a cap on it right here and now. I'm not saying that I wont ever do it at all, but I am certainly not going to be doing it everyday, even if only a few as I have been doing for the last couple of weeks. I think I shall limit my smoking to when I go out, which isn't all that often, and then we shall take it from there.
All in all a very wonderful time was had by all. I am looking forward to seeing the club grow. The music rocked and the crowd was mixed and got along nicely. I think this might be the new place to go.
Friday, November 11, 2005
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Grabbed from the journal of plaidder:
First Thing You Ate Today: Goldfish Crackers (Cheddar)
First Best Friend: Billy, from Kindergarten
First Screen Name: Elderwolf
First Pet: Goblin (cat)
First Piercing: right ear (twice)
First Crush: some jock guy in Jr. High
First CD: CD? How about LP? Madonna: Like a Virgin
First Car I Drove: Pontiac Lemans
First Stuffed Animal: teddy bear given to me when I was born
First Concert: Um... John Denver (Hey, I was seven!)
Last Alcoholic Beverage: Wine
Last Car Ride: just now to go and vote!
Last Movie Seen: Serenity
Last Phone Call: my mom
Last CD Played: October Project
Last Bubble Bath: um... a month ago?
Last time you Cried: can't remember
Last concert seen: Dead Can Dance
EIGHT HAVE YOU EVERS
Have you ever dated one of your best friends: yes
Have you ever been arrested? No. Almost, but no.
Have you ever skinny dipped? yes
Have you ever been on TV? Yes, briefly. Twice.
Have you ever kissed someone, and then regretted it? Yes
Have you ever had a sex dream about someone? Yes
Have you ever cheated? No
SEVEN THINGS YOU ARE WEARING
SIX THINGS YOU'VE DONE TODAY
2. checked email
3. drank coffee
5. smoked a cigarette
FIVE FAVORITE THINGS IN NO ORDER
FOUR PEOPLE YOU CAN TELL ALMOST ANYTHING TO
2. my sister
3. my mom
1. Change political party from "Green" to "Democrat"?
2. Start another painting?
3. Print more Witch Eye's today?
TWO THINGS YOU WANT TO DO BEFORE YOU DIE
1. Get my work published by an actual publisher
2. Master Astral Projection
ONE THING YOU REGRET
1. My recent relapse into cigarettes
Monday, November 07, 2005
On this cold day I offer a warm poem.
My Sacred Lover
Long ago on moonlit night
standing naked on the earth
I called to Pan with open heart
and so he came with pleasure's touch.
From wooded darkness he did come
from fervent rut and primal throb
and horned he stood like blackened flame
to touch my skin and warm my blood.
My hands were his and so they worked
with fevered pitch and soft caress
and as our bodies writhed as one
a moonlit river...
deluge of stars.
As seed was spilled upon the earth
as lightning flashed across my mind
the chill of sweat upon my flesh
so marked as his was I that night.
IAO! Pan! My sacred lover,
Who warms my bed on winter's night,
I bow before your starry rise
And rest within your starry fall.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Thursday, November 03, 2005
For those of you who are interested in Feri tradition material, I have added my piece from Witch Eye #10: The Gods of Infinity: The Lemniscate and its Presence in Feri Magick.
I also have made available my recent art piece that I posted here the other day, "The Return of the Peacock Angel" as well as a new piece that will be used for the cover of Witch Eye #12. I present, "Rapture in Full Bloom":
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Dressed in black leather, a purple shirt and a peacock feather, I completed this homage to the Blue God and went out dancing, thus connecting what are usually two very different experiences for me... a secular Halloween, and a religious Samhain. Doing my best to embody the qualities of my favorite Deity, I had the good fortune to run into a hot little satyr with whom I shared the dance floor for most of the evening. Today, still basking in the glow of the previous night, I created the following art piece: