The Feri Tradition (referred to also as Vicia, Faery, or Anderson Feri) is an initiatory tradition of modern traditional witchcraft. It is an ecstatic, rather than a fertility, tradition stemming from the experience of Cora and Victor Anderson . Strong emphasis is placed on sensual experience and awareness, including sexual mysticism, which is not limited to heterosexual expression.
Among the distinguishing features of the Feri tradition is the use of a specific Feri power or energetic current. Feri witches often see themselves as “fey”: outside social definitions, on the road to Faeryland. They believe that much of reality is unseen, or at least has uncertain boundaries. Within the tradition there is a deep respect for the wisdom of nature, a love of beauty, and an appreciation of bardic and mantic creativity.
Core teachings acknowledged by most branches of the tradition include the concepts of the Three Souls and the Black Heart of Innocence, the tools of Iron and Pearl Pentacle, as well as an awareness of “energy ecology”, which admonishes practitioners to never give away or waste their personal power. Trance experiences and personal connection to the Divine are at the heart of this path, leading to a wide variety of practices throughout the larger body of the tradition.
Early in 2011, a schism became visible around philosophical differences between those who wish to teach the religion publicly and for pay and those who prefer the more personal, one-on-one methods traditional to religious witchcraft. Some of the “old Craft” adherents have gone back to the older “Faery” spelling of the tradition in order to distinguish themselves from the more public faction, while others have not.
Feri is not a tradition of Wicca; there are Wiccan groups and traditions sometimes calling themselves “Fairy” (Faerie, Faery, etc.), but these are distinct from the Feri Tradition.
Deities of the Feri Tradition
While some lines place a special emphasis on certain deities or pantheons, there is no one pantheon that is universal among Feri. However, certain deities are given special importance in most lines of the tradition:
- The Goddess is the central deity of Feri. Sometimes referred to as “God Herself”, s/he is the androgynous point of all creation, the primal darkness of deep space, the intelligence of the great Void.
- The Blue God is frequently said to be the first born of the Goddess. S/he is the spirit of youth and of eroticism and often appears as an androgynous male figure with blue skin and peacock feathers in his hair. S/he is related to the Yazidi angel and indeed some lines of Feri see the two as a single being.
Some practitioners use the lemniscate (infinity symbol) as a cosmological glyph to describe main deities of the tradition, sometimes called The Infinitum. In this system, all gods and goddesses can be placed somewhere on the glyph.
Practices and beliefs
There are several practices and beliefs in the larger body of the Feri tradition that are almost universal:
- The Three Souls. As in Huna, partly from which this concept is derived (other traditions such as Mystical Judaism also have a concept of the three souls), Feri postulates the existence of three separate yet interdependent souls as a part of the natural psychic structure of the human being. Although a multitude of different names are used to describe them, they are sometimes called the fetch, the talker, and the Godself. The talker is that part of humans which is self-aware and deals with language, rational thought, and the gathering and dissemination of knowledge. A central practice of Feri concerns bringing these souls into alignment so they may communicate freely, granting the practitioner a deeper awareness of their own personal Godself and the Goddess.
- The Iron Pentacle. A symbolic and energetic tool that is used to help realign and purify the practitioner. It is meditated on in various ways.
Founders and major figures of the Feri Tradition
- Victor Anderson was a blind poet and shaman who began teaching the Feri Tradition (then reportedly known variously as Vicia or simply “The Craft”) more or less in its modern form in the 1940s. He began initiating people into the tradition on an individual basis before the 1950s. According to Cora Anderson, Victor received a letter in 1960 from several witches in Italy, among them Leo Martello, asking him to form a coven in California. Victor taught openly for several decades before dying in 2001.
- Cora Anderson met Victor in Bend, Oregon in 1944. By her account, they had met many times before on the Astral Planes, so upon meeting on the earthly plane recognized each other instantly and married after only three days. Cora was an Appalachian kitchen witch whose folk magic has been credited with helping many. She was best known for her teachings on putting magic into food, her Pagan Rosary, and her books on her life and the Feri Tradition. Cora died on May 1, 2008, 64 years to the day after meeting Victor in person.
- Gwydion Pendderwen, (Top Picture) Anderson’s Craft “foster son”, worked with him during the 1950s and ’60s, helping to edit and publish Victor’s book, Thorns of the Blood Rose. Gwydion brought in the name “Faery” (later changed to “Feri” to avoid confusion with other groups using similar terms), emphasized Celtic origins almost exclusively in his own practice, with a smattering of Vodou; other teachers have emphasized the Hawaiian, the African-diaspora, or even traced the lineage back to the Attacotti, who were small, dark, possibly southernEuropean settlers in Scotland thousands of years ago. Gwydion later purchased and moved to Annwfn, 55 acres (223,000 m²) of land in Mendocino county he later deeded to theChurch of All Worlds as a gift, and worked psychedelic group shamanic and Vodou rituals. Gwydion produced a large number of articles, rituals, poems, and songs before his death in 1982.