Friday, May 31, 2013

What is Power?

Feriesy alert!

Lately I have been thinking a lot on the Feri phrase that we all pass along and say, “We don’t give away our power.”  On the surface, this sounds great; of course we don’t want to give away our power, and our culture has trained us since birth to do just that.  But the problem is when something becomes dogma, and people stop thinking about what something really means and just take it at 100% face value.  I have had many people ask me about this, as they have reached a point in their practice where their concept of not giving away power has become problematic.  We tend to not distinguish between different types of energy in our shared Feri technical language. 

So what does that mean exactly?  What is OUR power? 

When we breathe in the air around us, does that make the air ours?  Well, maybe for a breaths amount of time, but do we hold our breath and never exhale so that we don’t give away our air? 

We don’t just have one kind of energy running through us; our energy body is just as complex as our physical one.  The vital life energy that has a million names, but that I will call basic chi, flows through our body just like breath, and with our breathing.  You don’t own this energy any more than you own the air; it is constantly coming into and out of our body.  Holding onto this energy so that we “Don’t give up our power” is just as toxic to us as holding onto that one breath.  When we hold onto this energy psychic gunk and emotional residue build up like energetic carbon dioxide. 

 Emotions are powerful, and we feel them strongly and fully, and then we let them go on the winds of our breath.

 The Power that we don’t surrender or give away is the Power of our Soul.  This is what I think is meant by Personal Power.  It is the part of your energy body that, for the time being at least, is totally you and yours.  The parts of our soul that splinter off into complexes, the parts that we give away when we surrender to a life that we don’t want to live but are too afraid to fight.  When we give in to the little voice that self sabotages your path to cultivating this power, that is when you give it away, and that is what we want to avoid.

 But here’s the rub, I have never met a single person, Feri or otherwise, that NEVER gives away their personal power SOMETIMES.  We all do it, and so there is no point in berating oneself for behaving like a human being.  The idea is to be aware as much as possible.  When we are aligned, when we are centered and living in the moment, we can minimize the damage that our psyche does to itself.  We can call back the little bits of ourselves that we have splodged away over time.  We make Kala to repair and revitalize both our Chi and our Souls.  We monitor our actions and motivations, so that in the moment we can act, not react, to the stimulus around us.  When we take charge of our life, we stop giving away this power, while letting Chi flow through your Fetch like the blood flowing through the soul body of the Goddess that it is.  And then we fall again, and we pick ourselves up and start over, and each time it gets easier to do so. 

 So then how can you tell if a particular energy or feeling is part of your Chi or part of your Soul?  Only you can decide that, in the moment, in alignment, and when you have enough information.  Then you can Act with Your Power and know what is right for YOU.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Way of Shitty Things

My personal work has been very Fetch based lately.  I have been using a different focus with some Taoist mechanics to really ground into Fetch first before making HA.  I have found it to be very helpful for sustainably maintaining connection to Godsoul more throughout the day, outside of meditation.  Upon rereading Etheric Anatomy, I remembered the part of my training that talked about a different way to focus on the 3 souls, that of their "aura" within the body.  The energy body of Fetch is the aura of your whole body that extends only about a half inch.  The body of this soul is the energy of your physical body, so I have been revisiting a lot of my qigong.  This ties in with healing from my injury as well.  I am far from perfect here, I have a lot of work to go, as part of caring for Fetch is caring for the physical body.  To be totally in 100% alignment at all times, one has to have a healthy physical body, which is very difficult.  There is no judgment here.  I haven't met a single person, initiate or not, who is 100% in alignment at all times, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't kindly strive for it.  There is always room for improvement in everything we do, we always are growing and moving.  When we think we have perfected something, it can become stagnant.  If you are perfect in something, why keep at it?  There is no way to improve perfection, so why try?  
Most of us expect self perfection, but self perfection is an illusion, so why do we torture ourselves?  
Because, for what ever reason, pain is the most effective catalyst for growth within the human condition, initially anyway.  I like to think that at some point growth will come for growth's sake, but in reality if I look back on my path, it has been the very painful times that have spurred the most movement.  If you are comfortable all the time, what is the drive to change?  What would make you get out of bed and do something?  Without discomfort, I suspect life wouldn't have evolved past single celled organisms. 
But does that mean we are doomed to suffer for our whole lives?  I guess that depends on who you ask.  I am personally not a Buddhist, so I think that the goal is not to escape pain, but to accept it and move on.  Our brains are wired to retain painful memory far more readily than pleasurable experiences.  Its evolutionary, we need to remember the painful things so we can avoid them in the future.  But we can make a concerted effort to remember the good things too!  Why do we forget amazing, ecstatic trance experiences, but remember the mean thing our mother did to us when we were 10?  The answer, with so many other things, is knowledge.  By being aware of how our brains work, we become less bound by their patterns.  By being in the moment, being aware, and being as aligned as we can be, we can make choices to change our patterns.  But it requires action, intent, and purpose. 
And then shitty things will still happen again.
But hopefully we can use the things we have learned to make those shitty events less painful and not hang on as long.  We can remember "Oh, I need to do Kala now.  I need to not throw this painful energy down into the subconscious abyss of Fetch.  I can look at it here, look at it now, and transform it.  I can take right action in the moment to minimize the fallout.  I can act in Love and in True Will.  I can Be!"

Monday, February 25, 2013

New week, New Beginnings (x-posted from my own blog)

Hello again Monday, we meet again.

For many of us, Monday is like our own personal reoccurring villain.

"Do you expect me to go to work today?"
"No Mr. Puck, I expect you to die."

Yes, after two short days of sitting at home and doing whatever your heart desires, it is back to the grind. Or is it? Did you ever leave the grind in the first place? I realize that not everyone has a M-F work week, but follow me here and humor me.

I know calendars show us that Sunday is the first day of the week, but culturally most of us think of Monday as the beginning. Even if you don't work M-F, our first indoctrination to "The Grind" is in school, which at least for me was Monday first.

Today is a special Monday. As the ever so reliable Wikipedia defines Monday:

Monday (i/ˈmʌndeɪ/ or /ˈmʌndi/) is the day of the week between Sunday and Tuesday. According to the Christian, Islamic and Hebrew calendars, it is the second day of the week. But according to international standard ISO 8601 it is the first day of the week. The name of Monday is derived from Old English Mōnandæg and Middle English Monenday, which means "moon day".

Today is the day of the moon, and tonight is the full moon. One could argue that today could be seen as a day of great power. So just for today, let us suspend our adversarial relationship with Monday, try it just for today, and take this as an opportunity.

A day of New Beginnings of the Holy Day of the Moon.

A day to turn our attention away from the things that distract us from our spiritual reality, and to cultivate our True Self.

Have to work today? You could spend the day bemoaning the fact that it is no longer the weekend, but does that change the linear reality of Days of the Week? Or you could choose to find a way to cultivate your spirit in the work. Can't find a way? Well maybe your new beginning should be to spruce up your resume.

I am going to make kala. I am going to do my job to the best of my ability. After work I am going to play with my son. When he takes a nap maybe I will write some poetry, or do some trance work. I will seize the most Holy of days in my religion, the Day of Today.

So what do you choose for your Monday? Bond villain or Holy Day of the Goddess that is Yourself?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Cleansed, I Dance Divine

Cleansed, I Dance Divine
by Storm Faerywolf

The goddess muse, she came to me
one darkened summer night
I heard her voice, she called to me
And said that I must write
For her a song, to cleanse the soul
And wash away the pain
To coax in them, their precious soul
Aligned and in Her Name.

To shine so bright, as precious jewels
His feather does proclaim
The Lord of Blue, is in love with you
with passion yet untamed…

“Join,” he says, “the joyous dance
to the silver flute I play
Worship me, I am the God you’ll be
if only you will stay…

True to your heart, as black as pitch
in pleasure and in pain
and live your life as a wild witch
and power you shall attain…

Standing proud, within the sun
you shine with stellar light
Just let it go… Leave it all behind…
It will be all right…
                                         It will be all right…”

The moon upon the water’s face
Will open up your eye
The river’s blood, will wash you clean
and reborn you will shine.

When all is done, the water flows
over your head and down
and captured in a sacred cup
With cleansing you intone:

“I wash my crown, I bless my crown,
And open up the door
the faery eye, upon me gleams
and shows me so much more…

My throat in notes, resounds in sounds
with abandon I will sing
My heart unfurls, and blooms, and beams
with love fears not the sting

My center shines, with solar light
My will thus directed
My sex aroused, hot and proud
pleasure perfected

My roots are strong, my base secure.
I’m rooted to the earth
My branches high, beyond the sky
As in heaven so on earth”

The sacred cup, with water filled
your essence it contains
is poured upon the earth and spilled
as a much needed rain…

The serpent rises from below
and reaches for the dove
Aroused is he, in holy lust
And he in sacred love

And as the blue, meets with the red
The star-struck lover’s eyes
A hunger builds, that must be fed
a violet river cries

The blue star falls from the open sky
The moon, blood red does rise
And meets the sun to eclipse its light
The Black Heart is thy prize

The three aligned, and made as one
My own triple will
Calls to them who as stars do fall
And invokes what no one will

The crossroads mark, the holy spot
where angels guard the way
to sacred lands, beyond a dream
yet with us everyday…

A circle cast, by ancient art
a work by holy rite
within its bounds we speak Her name
and summon forth the sight

Between the worlds, of night and day
between land and sea
‘Tween light and dark, a third road walked
leads to the jubilee

The faery dance, the magic song
enchants the souls of man
a tale spun, a story told
before time began…

A primal dark, a single light
A universe is born
From the stuff of stars, are you so made
by their light are you adorned

And from the earth, your primal life
Your wild heart and your blood
The wind your breath, your will and dreams
the fire and the flood

The Ancient One shines for all to see
in that spark we call life
We tend the flame with a sacred charge
by wand, cup, stone, and knife

The Iron star, within my blood
The Pearl shining alight
by both of them, and more do I
Charge the spell that I recite:

“May I be clean, be whole and pure
May I have the strength of stone
May I know myself in all my parts
And know I’m not alone.”

For the Old Ones guide this path I walk
And grant me gifts arcane
And so in their name, I sacrifice,
My fear and my pain.

And free of these, my burden lifts
My heart soars feather-light
And so I join the dance of the faery king
and live forever in one night.

I don’t care if I ever come back
Forever in my heart shines.
Between the worlds I step through the crack
And cleansed, I dance divine. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What does BlueRose mean? (To me)

I guess you could say I am the first BlueRose initiate, although I'm not really sure if that would be correct, because I don't believe we as a coven had adopted the name until after my initiation.  I could be wrong with that, my memory gets wonky when linear timelines are involved, but I digress.  Even though I was the first initiate, and part of the founding coven, I didn't fully adopt the idea of us being a different line for a while.  I was part of the BlueRose coven certainly, but for a long time I had been really fed up with this Feri obsession over lineage.  I had seen lineage be used too many times as a tool used to divide us, alienate us from each other.  It was just more Feri drama. 

For a tradition that spends YEARS working on students before bringing them through the fold, why do we have SO MUCH FUCKING DRAMA?  That however is a whole different post, one that I will save my sanity and probably never write.

But now we have been around for a number of years.  I am not the only person brought through with the particular flavor we call BlueRose.  We have a community of not just initiates, but practitioners of many different levels.  When I look at what we are, and what we are building, we really are distinct.

I no longer see the naming of our lineage as divisive.  It is honoring who we are.  It is honoring our flavor and our Patrons.  It is honoring our Craft.

I will take students, I have one now.  I will teach Feri in my way, which will be different from Storm's way, which was different from Mitchel's way.  But we will be BlueRose.  Honoring the differences that are our strengths is at the very CORE of what makes up BlueRose.  We all bring different things into the fold.  That is what gives us solid roots.  It's what gives us community.  We value the Work of This God in all its varied forms.  We laugh together, we work together, we build together.

Though we are seperated by many miles, every petal of this Rose shines brightly, and our love of the Goddess and one another will be how we are remembered.

Post-Pantheacon Thoughts, 2013

I'm back from this year's Pantheacon and am happy to report that -once again- I had a weekend full of connection, magic, and healing (...and great parties).

The theme was "Co-operation, Tolerance, and Love" and, at least in my experience, the convention lived up to that intention. From the moment I arrived this particular theme wove its magic through me and I found myself in situations in which old hurts fell away, and connections were forged and re-forged. I was able to lay down some burdens that I had been carrying, and was able to reconnect with a couple people in particular with whom I had previously had some unpleasant dealings. Through the connection of eyes, hearts, and hugs, past insults lost their meaning and a path forward was revealed that offered healing and power to all involved. This was real magic at work, though no Circle had been cast, no Crossroads called... the space of Divine Center made manifest in the moment and Hir presence was felt. The God/dess is alive... and magic is afoot.

This was the first year that my store, The Mystic Dream, had a presence in the vendor room. Truth be told, I often spend most of my time in the vending areas anyway as most of my friends are also vendors there. Plus there are always so many fabulous things to see there. Our friends, Tombo Studio and The Sacred Well were situated with us and so we had the pleasure of sharing in the fun together. I would have spent more time with our neighbor and friend Blossom Merz, owner of The Weaving Monk, but his booth set-up put a "wall" in between us, so I was limited in our interactions for most of the con.

 The vending room at Pantheacon is honestly pretty epic and I know many people who attend mainly for the shopping. So this time offered me the opportunity to have my own space so as to not be getting in the way of my friends while they are working while still offering me a centralized space to talk to people about anything from Faery, to Conjure, crystals, what fabulous smelling oils we were using, to the most important topics like Who-was-too-drunk-last-night and Who-slept-with-whom. You know... the real issues. ;)

My presentation on Friday night, Witchcraft at the Crossroads, was a great success. It was well attended (both good and bad; the "double" room we were in was on the smaller side and so people had to squeeze in... but people seemed OK with it.) The purpose of the class/ritual/trance was to "bring the Crossroads to us"; a variation of an energetic exercise passed to me in my Faery training that used the four directions as external meditation points for the presences of the physical elements to relate to our own sense of center. In this state we sit "between the worlds", a liminal space that is informed by all the worlds, making it the perfect place to do magic. In BlueRose we often call the Holy Crossroads instead of casting a circle, a revelation that was apparently both surprising and well-received by those in attendance. I was honored to host BlueRose practitioners who invoked and embodied the presences of the elemental powers of the roads as I stood holding center and leading the trance. We then took some time to experience the roads from our three centers: sex, heart, mind, and learn to perceive our strengths and our weaknesses and blockages to fully connecting to those powers.

On Saturday afternoon I participated in the Dustbunnies Feri Tent Revival, a phenomenon that is now for me a staple of my Pantheacon experience. Through the adoption of a Baptist Tent Revival style, but decidedly and authentically Feri, we raise our voices in song (and laughter!) to praise the great Mystery, and remind ourselves that each of us are holy. Each year follows this basic theme with the addition of a new song or two and this year we were reminded how each of us were born in our holiness... we were born this way... and the immortal words of Lady Gaga drive this home.

Sunday night was the Rite of 1,000 Crowns; a "Pan-Dianic Love-fest of claiming our Sovereignty" put on by the Living Temple of Diana, the Bloodroot Honey Priestess Tribe, and the CAYA Greenmen that also used song and voice to touch the souls of the participants. In this we were treated to three different traditions in co-operation offering a new vision of the future. As Yeshe Rabbit laid out that vision we saw the old paradigm begin to open from a space of exclusivity and dominance, and into love and sharing. The women opening to men in co-operation... men opening to sensitivity... and everyone outside and in-between being seen and honored for their presence and unique controbutions to our ever growing community of spiritual practiitoners. We were all honored for our presence and the participants moved around to give out "crowns" to each and everyone there; a symbol of our own divine light, worn proud for all to see. It was certainly a highlight of the con for me and I suspect that the magic done there will continue to have reverberations in the Craft community on the inner planes for years to come.

This was also the first ritual that I know of to be flashed mobbed. Yup. Flash mobbed. At the end of the rite the chant became repetitive and then suddenly recorded music started playing and the participants began a choreographed dance to "Let the Sun Shine", the famous song by The Fifth Dimension. Now, I knew this was coming; Devin Hunter, head Priest of the Living Temple of Diana (and one of my partners) had been planning this for months. What I did not expect, however, was the spontaneous inclusion of practically everyone in attendance; as the flash mob dance continued, one by one... row by row... the attended turned and adopted the dance, becoming part of the dance. We hugged each other... we looked into each others eyes. We saw each other's power and it did not threaten our own. We saw each other... we opened in love. We became part of the magic. In its light-heartedness, wearing gold-foil crown of stars and dreams, we all tossed aside that which was holding us back, and we danced... and we sang... and we smiled... and we loved. "Let the Sun shine in", we sang. And it shone brightly into our hearts.

Afterward, BlueRose had a little meet and greet, shared a few drinks, and then it was off to the parties. I must admit, that the parties are always a big draw for me. Being half-hedonist I do like the social mana that gets generated at these events. There was so much laughter and god conversations that I could have stayed out all night (and one night I almost did!) but; alas, the responsibilities of being a businessman take their toll and I retired at least a little earlier than I would have otherwise. ;)

As always happens, Monday comes to soon (or not soon enough, if you ask my feet!) and we find ourselves saying goodbye. I have made some incredible friends at Pantheacon... people whom I never see until the next year, but whom are always in my heart. Though this year provided a lot of stress and challenges in the form of Pantheacon's new Room Lottery Policy (don't get me started; it was bad) I found that even those stresses melted away in the presence of so much good. And there is so much good to be seen and had there.

I'm already planning things for next year... classes... rituals... panels... ribbons... I come away inspired to continue my work in the Craft community and look forward to seeing many of you next year at the world's largest indoor Pagan event.

Blessed be!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

"When Does Feri Stop Being Feri?"

"When Does Feri Stop Being Feri?"

This was the gist of the question asked of me recently while I was a guest on Hex Education last week. A caller, referencing T. Thorn Coyle's statement that she was no longer teaching Feri because she had added so much outside material to her teachings, wanted to know --if we continue to add additional practices and teachings to our work-- how can it still be "Feri"? Wouldn't it now be something else? 

On the surface this would appear to make sense; if we're making a pumpkin pie, then the addition of, say, apples would dramatically change the recipe making it unrecognizable. It would cease being one thing and would have become another. 

But what if I'm not adding apples. Perhaps I'm adding a bit of ginger... or some maple syrup... or even cloves. These are common ingredients for pumpkin pie, although not all recipes call for them. 

OK... I can hear you saying, "But Storm, we're not talking about pie recipes, we're talking about a tradition of witchcraft, and in a tradition things are handed down unchanged in an unbroken line!" Well... in Feri at least this is really not true. 

Victor himself taught different things to different people. Consider that most of the wildly divergent practices in Feri today can be directly traced to Victor himself. Take a look at the two basic (pre-BlueRose) systems of the Wands; two different arrangements with slightly different lore attached, but both coming directly from Victor (see my article, The Colors of Power for more info). Then there's the cultural diversity. Depending on who he was talking to he might reference Celtic lore... or African... or Polynesian... or South American. Some thought that he was guilty of cultural appropriation. Others accused him of "making it all up". He said that he was keeping the tradition "authentic". 

Don't get me wrong; the core of what he taught everyone was the same... but the forms were certainly diverse. He reportedly exacted Oaths of his earlier initiates; a practice he would abandon later in life (to the extent that Cora herself proclaimed on more than one occasion that "there are no Oaths in Feri!".) Some people learned elaborate rituals while others were taught simple observances. All of these things were in resonance with each other, but if one were to pay them only a cursory glance one might be tempted to see them as entirely different things. Oh, Victor... you trickster, you. :)

From the very beginning of my training in Feri I was taught that we were a wild, ecstatic, shamanic, and Bardic tradition, and as such outer forms were far less important than inner experiences. Indeed, one of the things that drew me to Feri in the first place was the fact that those who were writing about it at the time (late 80's/early 90's) described the common practice of initiates taking the tradition in various directions, using divergent materials, and focusing on different pieces of lore passed down from Victor, or Cora, or Gwydion, their own UPG ("Unverified Personal Gnosis"), and even the works of artists and fiction authors (popular ones include the works of H.P Lovecraft and Frank Herbert's Dune series) as a sort of spiritual otherworldly compass, directing the practitioner toward how they should practice and teach. 

The tradition of Feri witchcraft is far more diverse than many people seem to realize, and some of those who do realize this diversity are (unfortunately) made uncomfortable by it. After all, other witchcraft traditions (such as Gardnerian Wicca) have established rituals that are copied from their Book of Shadows, ensuring that these rituals will remain the same even as they are passed down for several "generations" of witches. Feri has no Book of Shadows and the only ritual lore that is shared by ALL lines of our shared tradition is so very small that it could easily fit on a 3"x5" index card. One sided. With 14pt font. With room for doodles. With such an infinitesimal amount of "traditional lore" comprising the "core" of Feri tradition, one then begins to wonder why ANY of the exercises and lore that had been written about in the past 20-30 years or so is given spiritual authority over that material which has been developed in recent years. 

The answer, in my opinion, lies squarely in the comfort zones of the practitioners themselves. What was taught in one line as "traditional" is enshrined as such by those who practice it. On the surface this is fine and dandy, but the problem emerges when more than one set of "traditional" material bumps up against another set of likewise "traditional" stuff. Surely they can't both be traditional, right?

Actually, they are. The Guardians espoused by most of the lineages of Feri are no more or less valid than the totemic beasts that the Vanthi line uses in their stead. Just as the White Heart is as traditional as the Black Heart. (What? You never heard that little bit of lore... Victor talked about it at Pantheacon, 1996). 

Some initiates and teachers have recognized that some practices from other magical traditions resonate with the core principles, energetic Current, and goals of Feri tradition, and it is this perceived resonance with which we are most concerned with here. Victor himself drew no distinction between what has in the modern age become known as "F(a)eri(e) tradition" and the earliest forms of human magic. He drew from many sources as he saw fit; a practice that is encouraged by the work and energy at the heart of our tradition. Some see Feri teachings in the workings of the Qaballah. Some see them in Thelema. Even others might see them in cultural shamanism, the writings of fantasy authors, folk-magic practices, or other witchcraft traditions. Whatever the source the deciding factor of whether or not it "fits" into the Feri worldview lies in the heart of the initiate. If I perceive that a "new" exercise resonates with the principles and Current of Feri, then it can be adopted into the Feri work that I practice and teach, becoming part of the tradition in a very real sense. This is, in fact, how our tradition was formed in the first place and I see no reason to change this very basic tenant of our tradition: if it works, use it. 

I draw from many sources in my own work: Bloodrosian Feri teachings, lore from the Andersons, shamanic techniques, folkloric-faery practice, Eastern energy practices, and bits from various other witchcraft traditions that I have been initiated into. ALL of the practices and techniques that I have adopted I have perceived to resonate with the core and Current of Feri, and therefore have become Feri through my practice. In this I am practicing the same way that Victor, Cora, and my other spiritual ancestors did: I do what is needed in the moment to achieve the results desired, in concert with my own Holy Daemon and the Gods to whom I am priest. 

So, "when does Feri stop being Feri?" When I feel it does. When Thorn feels it does... as so with any who have received the Current. Until then, Feri simply grows, and evolves. And that's the point of a living tradition, isn't it?