UPCOMING FERI TRAINING

Feri Witchcraft is a unique tradition of American Witchcraft founded by Victor and Cora Anderson with its original homebase on the West coast of America–although now it is practiced worldwide. It is a tradition of ecstatic magic, we seek to know our selves in the deepest ways possible, face our fears to transform them in order to claim our power, and seek our truest potential as Witches.

I am offering training for a limited number of people in the Albany, NY area within the Henbane line of the Feri Tradition. I am seeking new students to build a working Feri group in the Capital Region area.

Distance students can inquire if you meet the following conditions:

  1. I know you in real life but you are geographically distant.

2. You are within two hours of Albany, NY or are in NYC.

There is a small monthly fee for the first two training arcs, the third and final training Arc is by invitation only.

Feri demands much from its students and can deeply transform your life in every aspect. You will get out what you put in. It is not a show up and get a title kind of training. It will take years before initiation is even a consideration. Feri is not a race, it is about precision, power and intimacy with the land and daring to know all your parts of self. This process takes years and it is not for everyone. It will make you stare your deepest fears directly in the face and drudge up deep complexes within you in order truly stand in your own power and champion the shadow to rebirth yourself. Feri as I teach it is not generally for those who have no foundation in Witchcraft but rather are seeking something deeper than where they currently are in their own work or practices. It is strongly recommended that you have an established daily spiritual practice and have beginners mind when coming to Feri Tradition.

If this sounds like something that speaks to your soul I can be reached at HenbaneFeri@gmail.com for more details; also check out the Henbane Feri page link above on the right .

BUILDING ALTARS

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As some of you may have noticed lately I have been building a whole temple room with altars all over the place for various works. I often get compliments when I share images of altars I have erected or when people visit as they are touched by the beauty they shine forth. There are many ways to build altars, it varies greatly by tradition or whatever your spiritual practice is. Altars can be purely devotional, they can contain special ritual tools the witch may use for a variety of reasons. Some traditions are very specific about how altars should be built and may even have rules that go along with building them.

In Feri I was taught that the altar should be something that likened to a piece of installation art. It should radiate beauty, enchantment, power, and take your breath away in some form or fashion. I have always loved building various altars whether it was for the dead, Feri or Kwan Yin as I have a long standing relationship with her through my Reiki practice. To me when an altar is erected it should feel alive and living, it should inspire awe when in the presence of it, and most of all it should not only be beautiful but it should be functional as well.

Over the years I have been asked how I’ve created these spaces that have touched people who have been before them. I start with a basic idea and I begin to build it slowly. I usually start by finding the base/table or piece of furniture for it first. Sometimes this is simply the floor; especially when working with the dead it is my favorite place to build the altar-close to the Underworld. Once I have the base of the altar I then work on the center piece of the space. This could be a statue for whatever deity, a maybe just a candle I have embellished for a deity, other times it could just be a cauldron or a stone depending on what is going to be used for. I then add the other items that I will need for the work it will represent. This is the physical part of how I operate when I create them. Now we will move into the deeper spirit lead part of the process.

When creating the altars I will often do it in an altered state. I will sit in a space and call up memories, feelings, invoke spirits, gods, land spirits etc to be in the presence of the energy I will be building the altar for. For example if I’m building an altar for the Star Goddess I would invoke her and sit with her. Ask her what she would like if anything specific and see what comes. I would draw down the moon and let her power flow through me, informing me in the moment. Then while in that state I begin working and building the altar. This is where the true magic happens. At some point when being in this altered state I slip into the flow of the experience and things just happen. Items get arranged in ways that just seem to fit and flow and when they don’t flow and fit you will be able to feel it. Adding and subtracting from the space until it feel right within me. Once it is built I will do a small ritual to awaken and empower the altar-a ritual to formally dedicate the space to the type of work for which it was erected. The repeated use of the altar over time is what helps to build up its charge.

Feri is known for the ecstatic energy and power that we run, it will either feel good to you or you will be turned away from it-there isn’t much in-between it seems. As Feri priests we can only build the container for ourselves and others to have the experience of the divine. This is what I aim to do when I erect an altar-bring the Otherworld to the Middleworld through the power and connections I have built over years of dedicated practice. Many times I am brought to tears after building an altar because I am so moved by the experience of what it represents and the power that flows through it. Below are some altars I’ve created in the past:

The Kwan Yin altar below was part of a Reiki Temple I built. People would come in and out as a public offering to sit with her. Everyday I would awaken the temple, calling to Kwan Yin to heal and be with those who came into the space. It was also a Reiki room for session with my clients. One day a gentleman came in and was spending time meditating in the room and he opened his eyes from meditation and said he felt moved to take a photo of her, below is the resulting photo from his not by todays standards outdated cellphone-none the less a stunning moving photo:

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Let spirit move you and inform you, merge with it and see what happens when you just follow the flow of power and most of all remember to get out of your own way!

Life Ebbs and Flows…

Life ebbs and flows, we expand and contract, we live and learn. These past few weeks I feel like I am finally in a place with a sense of stability. My whole life has always been very up and down, sometimes not knowing what the next few months will hold. I used to refer to it as the gypsy life and it led to quite a few adventures in my life I probably would have never had otherwise. With that said I am in a great place now with Rich my amazing partner. My life is stable and I am finally settling and building something that finally feels good and healthy.

This growth isn’t limited to my personal life but it has also lit my spiritual life back on fire in a very much needed way. I used to be pretty quite about Feri tradition and being a Feri witch. Partially due to the jaws of The Craft closing on me for speaking too much about it or that I’m not doing it the right way. Sometimes community can be just as harmful as it is helpful. I have seen the dark side of community in the craft and I think in those moments I had lost part of myself to some kind of fear.

I am no longer afraid and honestly I just don’t care anymore about the things and reasons that have kept me small-I am rising to a new level as a teacher, student and finding a new love of sharing power and magic with other people. No one owns any tradition you can say whatever you like but my actions will tell the truth and slander will show the asses of the others. If I’m doing it wrong just think me a fool and keep on going-your judgement is your own baggage not mine-witchcraft should liberate not constrain.

My Feri teacher always challenged me to grow in ways that at times felt uncomfortable but today I get it more than ever. The way we each create, do magic and bring beauty to the world is our own, it can’t be like anyone elses. The armchair occultist will always talk behind a monitor but they don’t speak from experience they speak from academia.

Here is to a whole new chapter of power, magic and growth, free from nonsense fears and full of beauty and enchantment.

The Great Wheel Turns…

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Most days I start my mornings by awakening my temple space, lighting some incense and dropping down into the earth connecting to the heavens before I venture out into the world. By connecting and aligning myself I prepare for the day by being as on point as I can be. This morning the covenstead the air is filled with Amber incense and the otherworldly voice of Loreena McKennitt.

The other morning as I began my practice and I noticed the land felt different, it felt darker, deeper, more mysterious, it felt more powerful to me-perhaps the better word is more liminal than powerful. I walked out the front door ready to head to work and the crispness of the air caught my attention. The great wheel of the year has began turning yet again as it has done continually for centuries. The dark of the year has begun to creep here in upstate New York. There is witch lore that speaks of marrying the land and being connected to it deeply as witches-being able to sense the turning of the season. Over the years this connection has gotten stronger and stronger for myself.

During my Feri training there wasn’t really an emphasis on the wheel of the year as other traditions follow it. The focus was more upon my own personal wheel year, when did I feel most powerful and most challenged and to be aware of these times. I have always knows that from Beltane to Samhain is my most challenging part of the year. From Samhain to Beltane is when I feel most magical and connection to spirit seems to  really begins to increase- even though my practice is year round.  The two times of year that are most sacred to me are Beltane and Samhain-the rest of the holidays were never really part of my focus during my training.

Most of my magic centers around the dead, both the Mighty Dead and the Beloved Dead. The mighty dead being the ancestors of magical tradition and the beloved dead being those ancestors of the blood. As the Witch season slowly begins the focus of many of us is remembering those who paved the way for us. We ponder what we have inherited from them who came before us, the various currents of power that have been given to us, passed hand to hand though the circles laid in time. It is the one socially acceptable time of the year to talk about Death and its great mysteries of release and healing. I love watching the world embrace the folklore of the Witch during this time.

I truly believe we as human beings are hardwired to believe in magic. Throughout time when people’s faith has failed them and their need was dire enough they came to the Witch. The Witch is known for their ability to be able to do what seems impossible, known for their otherworldly ethics to restore balance or to bring justice when our society fails us-like our current condition in the US. Deep down I think there is a fear of power that our greater society knows the witch holds and isn’t afraid to use. It is when the cards are down and only then as a last resort even those who are vehemently against us, turn to us who stand at the edge and ask for our assistance.

Maybe you too have also felt the darkness of the season returning early where you live? This year it seems to be early based upon our static calendar but the power of the land never lies…

Why Practice Witchcraft?

                                                                        -Nikita Gill

Witchcraft is an art, it reminds us that we are alive when we feel dead inside. It is the art of revolution, power, change and it reminds us that we are greater than who we believe we are. It makes us question everything we have ever known to be true and requires us to be accountable for your our actions both spiritual and mundane. It engages parts of our mind that inspire beauty, creativity and non-linear thinking and change not just our reality but the all the worlds that co-exist at the same time. Witchcraft is a threat to our institutions that have tried to keep us small. Most importantly, the craft is wild and cunning and comes with responsibility the common person does not understand.

The times we are living in right now are requiring us to become wild again and fight for what it is that we believe in as a people in the face of oppressors that have gone mad. Our freedoms are being taken away systematically, we have human beings in cages being denied medical attention, hygiene supplies and vaccines in a modern day version of American genocide all rooted in fear and hatred. We have to forget what we are told is right, we must adopt our own personal ethics, we must speak up and use our different levels of privilege to help those who do not have it. We need to remember we are in all of this together and at the end of the day see what is really happening in order to save each other.

Being a witch is remembering that we are not powerless but we are more powerful than we are led to believe. Practicing magic is one of the most revolutionary things you can do in order to being balance, discipline and deep change into your life. We contain the universe within us, the iron of the stars is in our blood, and stand upon the Earth with the strength of those who came before us. They also spoke with spirits and dreamed us into existence to continue their work.

Many people will tell you spells and magic are antiquated or that we live in a time where there is nothing we can do to escape the inequality we live and breath everyday. I say practice witchcraft, let it re-wild your soul, let it free you from the inside, stalk your personal power and use it to make a difference in the face of adversity by challenging the status quo. Rather than just turning a blind eye like so many are doing as sheep to the shepard. The Witch is not a sheep for we need no shepard-We are free.

Lighting one candle alone may not be enough to turn the tide energetically but that doesn’t mean the one candle isn’t making a difference. If we practice our wild craft together and help each other light those candles, we will win, create history and do that which we were told cannot be done. This is one of the reasons I practice Witchcraft.

COMPLETE UNTO MYSELF…


Image credit: Emily Balivet (emilybalivet.com)

“I shall kiss away his blood
From the high altar of Love’s cathedral,
Transfusing it back to him again
With the Spring’s first blossoms,
Giving unto him the right divine
To wear the brazen horns of the King of Glory!”
-The strange woman by Victor H. Anderson-

The Star Goddess is seen as whole unto herself, in the beginning taking two bright spirits into her womb and from her holy orgasm came forth the world. From the Charge of the Goddess by Doreen Valiente it is said “And thou who thinkest to seek for me, know thy seeking and yearning shall avail thee not, unless thou know this mystery: that if that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee, thou wilt never find it without thee.” The idea that we as witches and quite honestly just humans are complete unto ourselves seems to be something that we have forgotten in our modern age of competition where poverty mentality runs rampant. We as witches can use our tools to reclaim our power and again become whole unto ourselves which in my opinion is one step closer to true freedom and liberation.

When we train in any magical tradition we often have a tendency to cling to what is that tradition or what is not that tradition. “Is this Feri or is is not?” It depends on who you ask I suppose; each initiate will tell you something different. Each initiate (of any tradition) with their own stories of the Gods and Powers; how each of us experiences, invokes and calls to them is our own. Just like any other relationships we have with people, the relationships with the unseen are no different. How the current runs through me is not how it ran through the one who passed it to me and it won’t run the same through those who I bring through the gate either, we are each complete unto ourselves. We each have our own magic that sings within us. The teacher can only bring the student to the threshold of the mysteries, the student must step through and do the work. Why then do we cling so vehemently to this idea that one technique is better than the other? What works for one may not work for the other. This could be one of the greatest gifts we have; diversity of energetic technology.

We enter into a tradition that calls us from deep within. We may have dreams that call us to become a priest, the Gods may speak and let their desires known in a hundred other ways. Our traditions have proven that there are many path to the mountain top. The tools we are handed were given to those before us because they worked and have stood the test of time. The tools of Feri are the tools of magical alchemy, of power, of liberation, of freedom and with all that comes great responsibility.

In Feri there is one initiation, a rebirth of self a shamanic death that can only be experienced not spoken. To initiate means to begin, ones work has been acknowledged to a place of beginning often confused with completion. The initiator has recognized something within the student that tells them the time had come for the student to begin the path of the Feri Witch and thus the student is reborn and births their new self. The spirit relationships have been forged and it is an acknowledgement of becoming an equal to your initiator. All the work that was done previously to beginning was just to build the container, to hold the power and fortify oneself to become a fit vessel for the Gods. No matter your tradition to be initiated is a beginning into the unending spiral of the Goddess. Don’t be afraid to experiment and become the magic, lose your papers, open your heart, call to the spirits you work with and know them intimately. Most of all, remember just like Godherself, remember you are also complete unto yourself. In times of great need go within, find the truths and magic you desire, the universe is within you and remember the Mystery:

“…that if that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee,
thou wilt never find it without thee.” – Doreen Valiente

THE RETURN

Just like our lives, our practice always ebbs and flows. Some periods seem more transforming than others, but in the end they all serve their purpose. The periods of stillness are just as important as the moments of deep transformation. Each brining us a little deeper than we were before as we journey in Godherself’s unending spiral home. I find that the ebb is just as important as the periods of flow. It is often over looked but its gift is more subtle. After deep transformation, awakening or initiation the ebbs allow us time to integrate, rebuild our foundation, surrender a little more while cultivating our power in the return to our practice after rest. Deeper and deeper with each cycle we go through: Transform, Integrate, Rest, Return and repeat these periods vary in time and length depending on the work at hand.

In Feri our work is never truly complete, as we are ever evolving and changing people. We are not stagnant beings, everyday we encounter energies, relationships and circumstances that change us. Everyday we get to know ourselves a little better. Magic allows us to bring deep awareness and power to our lives, as we use our tools to deeply embody our Will within this world. It has been the most rewarding work I have ever experienced in my life. My heart sings when teaching and sharing the power of my magic with others. It is so deeply powerful and beautiful to watch magic awaken and change people as it touches them, however this work is not for everyone.

Lately I’ve been working with the powers of element Earth. Rebuilding, reorganizing, reevaluating a new foundation for myself. Ruminating on how I wield power in my life and how I can do so with more precision and more effectively…we can always get better at what we do, not matter what stage we are currently at.

I deeply align myself and attune myself to the powers of elemental Earth. I inscribe a circle upon the ground evoking the womb of Earth-the place from which true power is birthed. Holding the cube of Earth I step inside the circle laid upon the ground and feel the powers of the element surround me: Darkness hallowed be thy name. I surrender and allow myself to drop deeply breathing stillness and silence. Before long I feel suspended in pure darkness, a comforting feeling of security, wholeness and depth of exploring my own being. In this space I feel my unlimited potential and full power, I breathe it in and feel a new foundation being reorganized within myself. Stronger, more stable, and deeper than ever before. In darkness and stillness my mind at first tries to fight the process, I remain still and persistent to just follow my breath. I inhale a breath of power and suddenly I feel expansive and my mind for a moment is still and the world outside of my circle seems to have gone silent. I breath into this new space within me, feeling where it sits within me. The seat of my own power deepens with every practice.

As I breathe deeply I gently return to my body and allow myself to return from the journey. It had been 30 minutes that seemed to feel like an eternity. I draw back the power of the circle and let it sink into my bones, helping me to embody the powers of Earth.

My love affair with magic, this unending work continues to blow me away. I don’t think that will ever get old or worn out, it is ever changing and expanding. How do you return to your own practices? What practices do you use to deepen yourself and the power you wield?…Breathe deeply and return.

BELTANE BECONS

I never thought the Winter would end, just this past week it was still randomly snowing. Today is Earth day, it was gorgeous outside so I

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went to walk through the park. As I began to walk on the path I drew up the energy from the land and let it wash through me. A pulsing washed through me, a smile widened on my face, a gentle warming that has been so absent lately, the spell of winter has been broken. Today the Eastern gate begins to crack open in preparation as Beltane approaches.

As a witch there are days that I wake up and feel the shifts within the land, the place from where our power rises. When we are in connection with the land we notice these shifts and changes which in turn change us. As I walked through the park I noticed many people smiling and having a great time, a feeling of genuine love within the air, couples holding hands and happiness was all around. As the Earth begins to warm so do we. We begin to awaken from this wintry spell of stagnation, everything has its place-Spring seems to finally be here.

I exhale and allow my own energy to merge with the land, I breathe in and pull in the energy of the land. Beltane is a time to reevaluate my life, set new goals and renew my connection with the land as the wheel turns again, as the power of the underworld rises into the middle world, once again creating new life and miracles to be discovered.

What seeds am I going to plant for this season? What changes need to be made within my own life? New life is only given with the promise of death, what things no longer serve me that I need to let go? As I breath and exchange with the land I call up a feeling of deep gratitude for everything I have now, a deep love and appreciation of the magic that enchants my life every day. I breathe deeply and release the gratitude into the Earth…Thank You.

Happy Earth Day 2018!