Faerie Magick & The Faery/Feri Tradition
The Faery Tradition, in common with initiatory lineages of the Craft which practice possession, is a mystery tradition of power, mystery, danger, ecstasy, and direct communication with divinity. This is in contrast to traditions which practice psychodrama or psychotherapy through ritual. The tradition is not for everyone, and it is not amenable to mass attendance, like many Pagan paths.
Among the distinguishing features of the Faery tradition is the use of a Faery Power which characterizes the lineage. It is an ecstatic, rather than a fertility, tradition. Strong emphasis is placed on sensual experience and awareness, including sexual mysticism, which is not limited to heterosexual expression. In this, as in the general spirit of spiritual exploration, there is more risk-taking encouraged than in other Wiccan traditions which may have specific laws limiting behavior, and there is a certain amorality historically associated with the Tradition. As in all the Craft, there is a deep respect for the wisdom of Nature, a love of beauty, and an appreciation of bardic and mantic creativity. The Gods are not just constructs or psychological forces from the collective unconscious. The Gods are considered real, with a system of morality different from our own.
There is a specific corpus of chants and liturgical material, much of it stemming from Victor Anderson and Gwydion Pendderwen, which provides a frame for many Circle-workings, and poetic creativity is highly valued. The magical practices of the Faery (or Feri, as Victor spells it) Tradition are heavily invocatory, to encourage possession, which relies mainly on psychic talent or sensitivity to occur. Rites are stylistically diverse, and may draw from many sources. There is an initiatory lineage, traceable to Victor or Cora Anderson or Gwydion Pendderwen. Victor tells of antecedents of the present tradition in the coven in which he was involved in the l920's and 30's in Oregon. Hallmarks of the tradition are possession of secret names, energy-working using pentacles and visualization of blue fire, a body of poetic and liturgical material, deities and archetypes specific to the Tradition, the doctrine of the Three Selves, a cingulum of a specific color, a "tribal" or "clan" feel to the coven, the use of the horned (sometimes called "inverted") pentagram, and the honoring of a warrior ethic.
Although Victor is universally recognized as the founding teacher of the tradition, it is possible to identify influences which shaped the tradition before its present form evolved. There is a strong African diasporic influence, primarily Dahomean-Haitian, and the Three Selves theory is an outgrowth of Huna beliefs. Neither is Victor the only source for material presently within the tradition. Each initiate seems to draw the tradition in a new direction and uncover new ground. Some practitioners, such as Gwydion and Eldri Littlewolf, went deeply into shamanic forms. Gwydion also worked extensively with Celtic religion, even learning Welsh early in his Wiccan training. Other influences (Arica, Tibetan meditation, and Ceremonial Magick) entered as Gabriel Caradoc began teaching. Victor, Gwydion, Caradoc, Brian Dragon and Paladin wrote darkly beautiful ritual poetry and liturgy. Gabriel's classes provided an excellent training in magical visualization and his students continue his teachings. Poet Francesca De Grandis and songwriter Sharon Knight have added their inspiration to the corpus of material. Starhawk has used concepts developed in the Faery Tradition in expressing her beliefs and practice, and has given the clearest explanations widely available of concepts such as the Three Selves or the Iron Pentacle.
The Black Heart of Innocence
When we open to life-force we are soon confronted with our own complexes and fears… all the things that we have spent so much time and energy trying to bury. When this comes to the surface this often leads to bad feelings and judgments about others since it is far easier to see imbalances in the behavior of others than it is to look into that mirror and truly see ourselves. Thus, the heart is black as the Void, revealing a mystery that cannot be perceived directly. In much the same way as with dark matter; no one can really see the Black Heart… it can only be inferred by the influence it has on those around it.
To be in the state of the Black Heart is not the same as simply reacting from our base nature… we acknowledge our deep and sometimes even darker desires and drives… but it is alignment that allows us to express these energies in a way that is healthy or, as is done with Kala, to transform them when necessary.
The Blue Fire
The blue fire is a current of energy that is recognized in the tradition as permeating everything; it is the life-force that we draw into our lungs as well as that force which is the energy behind all the matter we see and don’t see. All things are said to be comprised of this basic energy and so it is through this power that we begin to experience the world not in terms of separation, but in terms of wholeness. It is this holism that leads us into a space of universal compassion, or experiencing the other as self. Each of us are asked to wear the Crown of our own GodSoul; our holy daemon.
Getting to the Black Heart is a lifetime of work. Certainly we can step into this state at times –and this is exactly the point of much of the work in our tradition– but as the saying goes, “It’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.” This refers to the deeper state of ecstasy that is a part of this work. Achieving ecstatic states can be useful for our deepening our knowledge… but not so useful for picking the kids up at school, or getting the shopping done. We need to be able to fully embrace the mundane as well as the spiritual in order to live a balanced and healthy life. If we focus exclusively on the “spiritual” (i.e read “transcendent”) then we can often find ourselves walking the path to spiritual addiction; the concerns of our “normal” lives falling by the wayside, such as friends, family, and responsibilities. We need to find healthy ways to embody that transcendence.
To wear the Crown of our Own Black Heart we must first let all of the ego-driven judgments fall away and simply exist in a space of connection. When we acknowledge the omnipresence of divinity then we are better prepared to operate from this compassion… for ourselves as well as for others. Wearing the crown is to fully accept our own power and to act accordingly. But it can also be a burden… we find ourselves in a precarious place of becoming an example for others… a role to which we may or may not be suited. We must remember to mindfully respond with compassion rather than mindlessly react from ego.
Faeries, with the exception of a small few, hate love spells and will not be able to help you with them. Love isn’t a big thing on the Astral Plane, so they really don’t understand it and can’t work for it. Selfish spells, for only self improvement, are not good spells to ask for help for either. Faeries will gladly help, when asked correctly and well thanked by offerings, with spells that benefit others and nature.
When asking for assistance, make sure you are safely inside a sacred circle of power or at least have a protection charm and spell working for you, but beware that they are not content to simply stand on the outside of your circle and watch. Get them involved. Singing, chanting, and music are great for involving the them. Thank them when you’re done, band give an offering; they prefer food and shiny trinkets.
Here are some of the most common powers used by fairies:
Luck – This means good–or bad–fortune. You could win the lotto or lose your fortune in the stock market. We’d consider any luck to be a curse because there’s always a cost. Under most situations, the person enters into a contract of some kind or provides a service to the fairy. If you break the contract or you don’t deliver as promised, then you get bad luck.
Invisibility – Generally, most fairies are invisible to the mortal eye. Fairies can show themselves if they want, but mortal minds have a hard time understanding what they’ve just seen. Fairies also give magical items that can make a person invisible.
Glamour – Usually, bad fairies use this power. Glamour is an illusion. The bad fairy looks beautiful, when it’s truly an ugly creature. Once a human sees the fairy’s ugliness, he or she can never ‘not see’ it as anything other than ugly. In other words, once you know the fairy is bad and ugly, it can never hide that from you again.
Healing – Some fairies have the ability to heal people. How they do it depends on the fairy. Very few can use touch to heal. Most of them use an ointment or feed you some of its food.
Clairvoyance – A fairy can grant you the ability to see the future or see the hidden world of the fairies. This is a temporary gift and it will fade in time, or the fairy can revoke it.
Flight – Only a few fairies can fly and they usually don’t have wings. Usually, flight is used as a defensive tactic: If a fairy feels threatened, you can get pushed back by a freak wind gust or step into a vortex. That’s really a group of fairies flying around you.
Nimble – This power is better observed than described, but here it goes: Some fairies move so fast or have some much agility, they can dodge anything and never get hit.
Enhanced Senses – Most fairies have better eyesight, hearing, taste, touch and smell than humans. They can see at night with ease, hear better than dogs, better taste than a sommelier, interpret emotions on touch, and smell better than a bloodhound.
Illumination – Some fairies, like Will o’ the Wisps, bright elves and White Ladies, can generate light from their bodies that can light up a large room.
Resistance – These creatures are quite durable for their small size. They can take a licking and keep on ticking. Within 24 hours, a fairy should be healed and ready to go.
Shadowmelding – A certain type of fairy, called a darkling, can merge with shadows. It allows them to quickly move between shadows and become intangible.
Animal Communication – Many fairies can communicate with animals and understand their emotions. They can summon most animals in their immediate area for protection.