Come with me while I journey as an Initiate through the Feri Tradition of Witchcraft - a shamanic path of fey sorcery; a martial tradition of magic.

Any information deemed to be secret by any lines will not be found on this blog.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

The Magic of Clothes

One of the distinguishing features of the human species is that we fashion (if you'll excuse the pun) clothes for ourselves out of materials found in nature. Our clothes project a statement about ourselves to the world; we can garner information about a person's wealth, interests, ethnicity, religion, and much more from the clothes they choose to wear. 

Now, as a Witch, I am always on the lookout for ways to imbue more magic into my life and to live with more magical intention. There are already countless historical examples of magically-charged items used in ritual - robes, veils, crowns, and jewelry come to mind. This post is not the place to discuss these more obviously magical items. Rather, I wish to discuss how we can use our ordinary clothes in a magical way. 

So, how can we magically charge clothes to aid in spellwork? Here are some examples that I have come up with:

- When washing clothes, charge the washing powder and conditioner to wash away all that does not belong in your life.  

- When ironing your clothes, visualise yourself having a smooth and easy life. Literally, iron out the wrinkles in your life. 

- Place spell-papers or petitions inside your shoes, so that you walk your spell. 

- Charge a scarf for protection, and seal the spell when you knot it around your neck. 

- Choose clothes of colours that relate to your goal. Hold the item of clothing before you put it on, and charge it with your desire, sealing the spell when you put it on. 

- A hat can be charged as a devotional item to your Godsoul. Charm the hat to bring your Godsoul closer to you. 

- Sew mojo bags into the seams or hem of your skirt or trousers so that you consciously work your spell as you walk. This is particularly good for spells involving movement. 

- One spell that was given to me in a dream by an old hoodoo woman (who I believe to be one of my spirit guides) involves making mojo bags out of work underwear. A euphemism for underwear is "intimates" - given that underwear is in contact with a person's most private and intimate part of their body, cutting a square out of their used underwear is a fantastic way to influence them via a mojo bag (with their permission of course...wink wink). 

Is there anything you are wearing right now that you can charge for a magical goal? 

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Simple Spells for Daily Life

Part of my Seven-fold Feri practice is the path of spellwork, which I associate with the East, given the necessity of clarity, focus, vision, and intention in spellwork. 

Nevertheless, I find it very easy to relegate spellwork to big rituals or special occasions, when it should be fully integrated into daily life. We can take inspiration from other traditions to see how they incorporate spells into daily life. 

One of the best spells to do on a daily basis is to cast a shower spell for purification: 

Using whatever method you choose, create your own magically charged soap containing herbs and oils such as hyssop, lavender, and peppermint. Charge this with mana before showering with the intention to purify yourself in all your parts. 

Lather yourself with the soap, then say the following, visualising yourself as being underneath a waterfall:

Spirits of water, now appear, 
Cascade and fall, I draw thee near, 
To cleanse me and leave me pure and clear. 

Visualise all negativity going down the drain. 

Other every day spells include;

- lighting incense and candles to draw specific influences

- locking the front door with the intention of protecting the home from intruders 

- charging food with mana for prosperity 

- spraying your clothes with charged water to work a glamour for a specific purpose 

- carrying a charged stone or crystal for a particular intention 

Enjoy bringing more magic into your every day life! 

Sunday, 8 December 2013

The Gods in Ritual this post may descend into a bit of a rant, but please indulge me just this once. 

I have participated in many Neo-Pagan rituals, both as part of a group and as a solitary practitioner. I have participated in an Alexandrian ritual, Reclaiming celebrations, initiates-only Feri circles, and many more. From all of these, I have reached the conclusion that the way we treat the Gods is often horribly, hideously wrong. 

Semantics aside, we worship the Gods because they are worthy of our respect, honour, and love. They are the awe-inspiring manifestations of the Unknowable Divine that our human brains can begin to grasp. Whether or not you are hard-poly or of the "All Goddesses are one Goddess" camp, for all intents and purposes you treat the Gods as real beings in a ritual. And the way we treat these real beings often falls short. does this happen? 

In Feri, we say that the Gods are real (albeit incorporeal) Beings, not merely aspects of the Goddess (although, paradoxically, that is also true!). When we invite them to participate in a ritual, they should be treated as honoured guests visiting the home. 

Consider this scenario: your best friend comes to visit your home for the evening. You greet her at the door, invite her to come in with a hug and ask how she is. You tell her how great her new haircut is and ask her where she bought that fabulous coat. You make her something to drink, probably a cup of tea (or something stronger!) and ask her if she'd like something to eat. So, you start cooking her some food, all the while engaged in conversation over a glass of wine, and then you finally settle on the couch and watch a film together. During the film, you're still chatting and having a giggle, until it's time for her to go home. You give her a hug and a kiss as she leaves, thank her for coming, and maybe give her a bit of food to take home. 

This would be considered being a great host. 

Now contrast this with what we do with the Gods in ritual:

We generally prepare the space for them, with an altar and perhaps a magic circle of some kind. We will then invoke the Gods, usually with some kind of spoken invocation or maybe an action. This will last a couple of minutes. 

And then that's it.

They aren't mentioned again, or talked to, or interacted with until it's time to "thank them" and asking then to leave. What's wrong with this picture? 

I firmly believe that we should treat the Gods as we would a beloved friend. Here are my suggestions as to how we could do this (some of this was influenced by Deborah Lipp's excellent book "Elements of Ritual):

1. Invite them to your ritual ahead of time. This could be a written invitation that is burned, a spoken invitation to Their image, or something similar. 

2. Do your research! Don't just invoke any God you think sounds cool. Chances are they won't actually come if there's no prior relationship. 

3. When in ritual, treat them as if they are the most important person in the room. Direct every action towards them, mention them in every spoken prayer, ask for their aid in spellwork. 

Basic courtesy goes a long do not need to pick and choose different Gods to work with as if you were making an iTunes playlist. Get to know a God in a deep and meaningful way, treat them right and have faith that they will reciprocate. 

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Integrating Iron and Pearl: Music for the Points

The Iron and Pearl Pentacles are core tools in Feri, and with my current students (I'm co-teaching a distance Feri and Reclaiming course) we are working through the Iron and Pearl at the beginning of their training, which should take roughly eighteen months. 

The reason why we begin with Iron and Pearl is mainly because we want our students to have a strong ethical foundation in the Craft before we introduce them to the Guardians and begin Divine Twins work. 

Given the importance of these two Pentacles to Feri Witches, I'm always looking for ways to further integrate their potent energies into my life. I will discuss other ways of running Iron and Pearl in other posts, but I'd like to give you some ideas for using different types of music to bring the Points to bear. Please feel free to experiment with types of music that evoke these Points for you. 

Sex - 60's guitar music, think Jimi Hendrix or Carlos Santana
Self - Any type of wind instrument, or violins. Classical music is great for Self. 
Passion - Flamenco or "gypsy" music 
Pride - Gospel music (Heather Small's "Proud" is an obvious choice!)
Power - anything with a heavy bass, dubstep works quite well. 

Love - love songs!! I'm a fan of Stevie Nicks for this Point
Knowledge - Gregorian chants 
Wisdom - new age/nature music
Law - jazz fits well here
Power - Choir music, or big band/orchestras 

A fun project might be to create playlists on iTunes or spotify for each Point so that you can add songs as they come to you. 

Let me know how you get on!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Seven-fold Feri Practice - An update

Refining one's philosophy and attitude toward spirituality is an ongoing practice. I have written before on how I structure both my daily practice and my wider practice as a Feri Witch. 

The Guardians of our Tradition are the true teachers and initiators. All that we know comes from these great beings, who preside over the realms of the elements of life. For example, the Guardian of the East guards all that belongs to that direction, which is not solely limited to the classical element of Air. 

With this in mind, here is how I currently structure my daily practice and wider practice, what I term the "inner" and "outer" paths.  

Inner Paths (daily practice)

Centre - Connection to God Her(self)
East - Prayer and intention for the day
South - Run the Points for that day
West - Soul alignment and purification
North - Sitting practice 
Above - Divination practice 
Below - Inspirational reading 
Circumference - Gratitude and blessings 

Outer Paths (wider practice)

Centre - Path of Devotion
East - Path of Spellwork 
South - Path of the Pentacles
West - Path of the Soul
North - Path of the Body
Above - Path of Gnosis
Below - Path of Art

Each of the paths, and the inner and outer expression of each, is a space that can contain various specific practices. As long as I am attempting to walk along each of these paths in some way, I feel I am living an integrated practice. It is useful for me to see which path I am neglecting, and those I find easy. I imagine this structure and mapping will evolve as my practice evolves, but hopefully you will find this contribution useful. 

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Lenormand in Spellwork

The Lenormand cards are a wonderfully objective and straight-forward divination tool, full of practical hands-on wisdom. 

Here is a working list of how the cards could be used in planning various spells/rootwork. This is a working list and definitely adaptable! 

1. Rider - attraction magic 
2. Clover - good luck magic
3. Ship - bath/wash 
4. House - home as focus of deployment
5. Tree - ancestor work/healing
6. Clouds - confusion work
7. Snake - sneaky deployment 
8. Coffin - burying/coffin spell
9. Bouquet - involve flowers 
10. Scythe - cut and clear 
11. Whip - tie the tongue/stop gossip
12. Birds - chanting/singing 
13. Child - poppet magic
14. Fox - communication work
15. Bear - power/mastery 
16. Stars - astrology 
17. Stork - wish bird/elementals 
18. Dog - faithfulness magic 
19. Tower - bring in guides/spirits
20. Garden - strong herbal focus 
21. Mountain - stones/crystals 
22. Crossroad - crossroads/road opener
23. Mice - banishing magic 
24. Heart - root the magic in love
25. Ring - binding spells 
26. Book - using psalms/prayer
27. Letter - petition magic 
28. Man - figure candle/fluids
29. Woman - figure candle/fluids
30. Lily - sex magic
31. Sun - success magic
32. Moon - glamour magic 
33. Key - unblocking/key magic
34. Fish - offerings 
35. Anchor - talismans/mojo hands
36. Cross - crossing/uncrossing

Let me know your thoughts! 

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Do Not Give Your Power Away

A well-known Feri maxim goes something like, "Do not give your power away to anyone or anything." While the interpretation of what "power" means in this context will be left to another blogpost, I would like to briefly talk about something that I have been unconsciously, insidiously giving my power away to. 

My iphone. 

Yes, the small bit of plastic and glass I am using to write this very post on, has been chipping away at my personal power and life energy for years now. If I'm ever bored, I whip out the phone and scroll through Facebook for ten minutes. I'll check out the latest lists on buzzfeed. I'll open grindr to see if there are any hot guys around. 

There's nothing inherently wrong with any of these, but when it starts to distract you from the things that matter (conversation, connection, intimacy, just sitting there watching the world go by!) then it has become a problem. 

My iphone has even affected my daily practice, or rather, has become part of it. The first thing I do when I wake up is not mediation or prayer. It is not connection to my divinity or to the Gods. is opening the apps on my phone, offering the sacrifice of time and attention to the spirits of the iphone (and man, those spirits are greedy). 

So, I have decided to get rid of all the social media apps on my phone for one week. One week with no Facebook, Twitter, buzzfeed, grindr, or internet. Of course, I can still access all of these on my laptop, but the effort that takes makes it much less likely. 

Wish me luck! 

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The Simplicity of Practice

Daily spiritual practice does not have to be hard. It is not some grandiose thing we perform to impress the Gods. Daily devotional work does not have to take an hour of our morning (unless we want it to!). 

It is so easy to think that "more equals better" when it comes to our spiritual practice. More prayer, longer meditation, more candles, more chanting. We often imagine "true" spiritual practitioners to spend hours in meditation each morning, their chakras blindingly bright, burning dozens of incense sticks as they commune with the Gods. 

For most of us, this is just not possible. What I'm starting to embrace is the simplicity of practice. 

There are certain key features of my practice that I will always do (prayer, soul alignment, the Kala rite, sitting practice) but how I do that can be very complex with lots of prayers, actions and movement, or it can be gently distilled into an essence. Do I really need three prayers, four mudras and a sage smudge before my sitting practice? Or do I simply acknowledge the presence of my Godsoul, welcome her as an old friend, send him a kiss and sit in silence?

As time goes on, I believe I'm becoming more Buddhist in my Feri - I don't believe the outer forms of the practice matter as much as the inner alchemy. Of course, the physical actions do help get us into the right frame to do our devotion well, and there are certain liturgical items that really get the Feri juice flowing.  

But once that connection is made, once you have opened to the flow of practice, just keep it simple. 

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Elements of Practice - A Revision

Back in June I wrote a post entitled "Elements of Practice" in which I mapped out how I structure my daily practice according to the five elements. A lot of people said they enjoyed this post and gained something from it.

In the past few months of working with this model, I kept coming up with resistance regarding Water and Earth. Years of ritual have ingrained in my brain that we work from East to North via South and West, yet it felt more natural to me to do divination (which I placed in Water) after sitting practice, which I consider an Earth activity. 

This slight annoyance was only small, yet it affected the flow of my practice to such an extent that I wasn't gaining as much satisfaction and joy out of my daily devotions as I used to. 

So I decided to re-map. I actually think this is healthy - restructuring how we do things can keep us from falling into a dogma (even if I am dogmatic about moving from East clockwise!!). In my latest structure, the basic format is the same, but I have focused on three aspects of Spirit: above, below, and centre. I have also moved Kala and Ha prayer from the South into the West, where I believe drinking a cup of water sits more naturally. 

Anyway, below you will find a re-structured elemental practice. Please feel free to comment/critique as you are moved to do so! 


Centre - Connection to God HerSelf. This is the start of practice, where we actually are. I ground, centre, and circumference myself, pray to my Gods, and place on my initiation cord. I also make my daily offerings of flame, water, and incense here. 

Air - Prayerful intention. This is prayer that sets up what my practice is about. My daily prayer usually goes something like this: "Holy Mother, I sit before your shrine at the dawn of my day. May the work done here flow forth through my day and throughout my life. May I be a strong vessel for this current and may I be the best Witch and Feri priest possible. May I see You in all beings."

Fire - Pentacle work. Here I work with the fiery Iron Pentacle and watery Pearl. Sometimes I work with the Elemental Pentacle here too, as well as my Golden Pentacle, but not always. 

Water - Kala and Alignment. This was a bit of a "duh" moment for me. Of course Kala rests in water - we drink water as part of the rite! Also, the mana we use for soul alignment has a watery feel to it. 

North - Sitting Practice. This has remained the same. Sitting practice for me brings all the previous work together and holds it within and around the body as we sit with all of our parts. Although the Godsoul unites our parts in this practice, all of our selves are present here. 

Above - Divination. This is where I place my daily card pulling. I usually use the Rider Waite deck, but sometimes I mix it up with a rune or a card from Brian Froud's Faery oracle. 

Below - Desire and Drive. This is where I connect with my inner cauldron, which is the tool of Below in my line. I hold my cauldron against my belly and pray to know and follow my Desire. I wish to know what motivates me, and what I am heading towards. 

Centre - Connection to God HerSelf. Here I return to centre, which is God HerSelf. She is also circumference, if that speaks to you. I offer thanks for Her manifold blessings and ask my Gods and spirits to walk with me on my path. 

Monday, 30 September 2013

The Divine Twins in the Tarot - The Fool

The Fool is essentially a paradox: it is the first card, yet it is unnumbered. This Zero is the ground of being, the womb of God Herself. Indeed, Lon Milo DuQuette has stated that the Fool is the only real card; all other cards exist within the Fool. The Divine Twins are as yet undifferentiated and unborn. They are still in utero, being perfected into God with Their birth. The Twins are on the cusp of being born and manifest in the world. 

Again, paradoxically, the Fool is both part of the world but not of it. He stands upon the edge of a cliff about to begin his journey, neither on the ground nor in the air. The Divine Twins are often seen as the writhing serpent (Earth) and the bright bird (Heavens) who come together to form the radiant Peacock Lord, Melek Ta'us. The Fool is a symbol of this alchemical union, and indeed his clothing calls to mind both wings and a feathered crown. 

The Fool here is also the human being beginning the spiritual journey. The Great Work, the Knowledge and Conversation with the Holy Guardian Angel, is the ultimate spiritual goal of each practitioner. In my line, the Godsoul is a fractal of the Divine Twins - we are each a reflection of Their birth, division, courtship, and union. The Godsoul rests above the Crown and is allied with the Sun, which can be seen in this card slightly above the Fool's crown. 

The Divine Twins ask, "What is your potential?"

The Divine Twins in the Tarot - A Series Introduction

The manifest reality of the Divine Twins, those two great forces whose erotic friction enlivens and ensouls the Universe, is paramount in Feri. The Goddess is said to have taken two bright spirits and perfected Them into God with Her birth; They are both Her lover and other half. The Twins can be any gender or none (although my inclination is to see Them as male...) and Their multiplicity of relationships is a source of great mystery.

We find the Divine Twins in several mythologies but personally the spirits I am most attracted to (apart from Melek Ta'us!) are the Marassa Jumeaux from Haitain Vodou, above, and the Ibeji of Lucumi, right. Both of these Traditions have influenced the Feri Tradition and I find it interesting that the Twins in both Vodou and Lucumi are called very early on in ceremonies. Victor said that in Vodou, the Twins were "the first issue of the outer dark", which is a gorgeous poetic description of the Twins.

The purpose of this series is to explore the expression of the Divine Twins through the Major Arcana of the Tarot. The Majors are twenty two cards (a very Twin-like number) representing the totality of archetypal human experience, with the Minors being the individual specifics. Because the Twins are so huge, yet ultimately intimate and dwelling within each of us, I have chosen to explore Their narrative through the Majors. The Tarot is a huge source of wisdom and the full scope of meanings, symbolism, and lore is beyond the scope of this series.

The narrative of the Divine Twins is not linear or sequential; rather, I have focused on the particular energetic flavour of each card as it relates to the Twins and expresses a unique relationship. I am tempted to say that almost all of these relationships have an element of the erotic about them, but that is perhaps a different treatise. Please let me know if this is helpful for you, or indeed (even better!) if you disagree with me. Who knows...our disagreement might provide the erotic friction of the Twins toward greater understanding. So cut your majors in two and shuffle them together in an imitation of the erotic play of the Twins...

Saturday, 7 September 2013


Here is a painting called "Kala". The rite of Kala is one of the most vital of the practices we do in Feri and I was inspired to paint this recently, finally completing it tonight. 

Friday, 30 August 2013

An Honourable Spiritual Practice

I am currently re-reading the outstanding book After the Ecstasy, The Laundry by Jack Kornfield. This book examines what a spiritual life is like once you have glimpsed ultimate reality or reached enlightenment. What, for example, happens when the enlightened Buddhist needs to buy food from the supermarket? What about the Witch who, ecstatic from celebrating Beltane, needs to change his daughter's diaper? Sometimes after a blissful spiritual experience, we are brought back down again. How do we deal with that?

Part of my Feri practice is the cultivation and courting of the ecstatic. That gorgeous, sublime union with the sacred, when I feel the Goddess' breath flow through mine, and the very air on the breeze caresses my skin as if to entice me into an erotic encounter. I'm sure we have all had experiences of this kind. Yet they are fleeting and impossible to sustain indefinitely. As joyful and important as they are, they are merely the inspiration and impetus that keep us at our practice. 

I don't believe these ecstatic states are the "end goal", if indeed there is such thing. I liken the ecstatic to having sex within a loving relationship: sex affirms a bond between people and makes a relationship more secure, but sex is not the relationship. A relationship founded on sex alone is doomed to fail. There has to be a greater desire to be with that person through the arguments and fights, as well as the sex and moments of connection. Sex is part of the fuel that keeps the relationship vital. Just so with ecstasy.

So...what does this have to do with an "honourable practice"? To practice with honour is to practice when it doesn't feel good. To practice when you actively don't want to sit at the altar. To recognise that there is a larger arc of your life, fed by the daily grind of meditation, prayer, and energy work. To practice with honour is to commit to a spiritual path knowing that sometimes you are going to feel like shit because you bump up against a part of yourself you thought died when you were thirteen. Walking a spiritual path is not supposed to be easy, although Goddess knows sometimes I wish it were. Instead, a spiritual path allows you the opportunity to walk with integrity, awareness, and yes, sometimes feeling amazing. 

And to practice with honour is to recognise how challenged you may feel, and you still CARRY ON ANYWAY. 

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Preliminary drawing of "Kala"

Here's a preliminary drawing of a painting I'm working on called "Kala". This will form a series of paintings detailing key aspects of the Feri Tradition. 

A Seven-Fold Feri Praxis

Sometimes I feel like I am not "spiritual" enough, or committed enough, or courting enough depth of personal practice. Sure, my daily practice is (mainly!) secure, and I often participate in seasonal rites of the moon and sun. Yet, the rest of what it means to be a Witch is kind of ad hoc. My spell work is not regular, nor my divination practice. I don't engage in trance any where near enough, nor do I perform elaborate devotions to my allies. 

In an effort to map the various aspects of my Feri praxis (which is not to be confused with daily practice) so that I might have a better understanding of areas I am neglecting, I was inspired by the seven directional Guardians, each of whom governs a particular path: 

  1. Eastern Path - Magical Vision. This includes using magic to create change in the world, "low magic", folk magic, the practical side of Witchcraft. 

  2. Southern Path - Energy Work. This is the running of Pentacles, invocations and evocations, possession and aspecting work.

  3. Western Path - Trance. Pretty self explanatory, this is trance and astral projection. I also include dream work in this path. 

  4. Northern Path - Devotional Arts. This is any rite or action that serves as devotion to our many allies, whatever form it takes.
  6. Path of Above - Gnosis. Divination and self-knowledge, enlightenment and the seeking of higher/deeper purpose. 

  7. Path of Below - Dark Arts. Anything to do with birth, sex and death!!

  8. Path of Centre - Core Practices. Ha prayer, kala, sitting practice, our daily spiritual practice. 

This Seven-Fold Feri Praxis is a guide, an inspiration. It's shouldn't engender feelings of not being good enough. It is a tool to help us understand what parts of our practice we are really hot on and which parts perhaps need more attention. 

Which paths do you feel you could work on? 

Sunday, 14 July 2013

New Reiki Website!

I am pleased to announce my new venture, Reiki for Wholeness. 

I've been a Reiki master for ten years, and it is only now that I feel the desire to really teach and pass on what I know. 

Check it out:

Sunday, 30 June 2013

The Inner Skeptic

I spend a lot of time thinking about daily practice, reading about daily practice and (wouldn't you know it) actually engaging in daily practice. 

As an initiate in the Feri Tradition, I have a responsibility to myself and to the Gods to be the most present and effective Witch I can be, and the core practices of Feri (kala, alignment, sitting, and the Pentacles, among others) help me to finely hone my soul into the shining golden being I know it really is. 

Yet sometimes I wake up at 6am, look over at my altar and I just cannot face the idea of sitting before the Gods and honouring them with a daily practice. The black statue of the Star Goddess looks lifeless, the unlit candles uninviting. The meditation bench too hard. 

Why is this? Intellectually I know how vital daily practice is in my soul's development and I can feel the energetic THUNK when I drink in the charged water from my kala glass. After the prayer for alignment I can feel my parts coming into greater concert with each other. When I have sat with myself for twenty minutes I feel so much more prepared for the day ahead. 

I feel like myself. 

Thorn Coyle, whose excellent book "Make Magic of Your Life" I am currently reading, points out that what keeps us from practice is mainly fear. I think this is partially true. Forging the path of knowing yourself is scary stuff. But there is another aspect to it that I am just discovering - my inner skeptic. 

I am naturally skeptical of most things. Given that I am a God-invoking, spell-casting, soul-aligning Witch, it is a bit surprising that I tend not to believe in most things. I need to have experience first before I accept it as gospel. 

Angels? Nah. Reincarnation? Only at a poetic level. Magic? Well, who knows? I am too much a product of science to blindly accept things as truth, and when my practice seems like a waste of time, when it seems that half an hour in bed checking Facebook is a more producing use of my time, my inner skeptic has won. 

Part of my path, then, is allowing my inner skeptic, my inner magician and my inner priestess to all sit down to the dinner table together to have a conversation. To allow room for my skeptic to keep me rightly wary of all the rubbish out there. For my priestess to remind me of my sacred duty. 

And after that, to just practise anyway. 

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Elements of Practice

Part of being a Feri Witch is a commitment to coming into an evolving relationship with our Selves. We seek to know who we are, to bring ourselves into greater wholeness and integration, and a daily spiritual practice is the foundation for this life's work. 

Commitment to practice is difficult. It involves being honest with ourselves, becoming intimate with the stories we tell ourselves, cultivating a greater capacity to love, and courting presence. 

This is not easy. We can go one of two ways: we can try to structure our practice so much that it becomes static and brittle, not allowing any room for subtle changes we may need on a daily basis. Or, we can have such a forgiving and open practice that we don't value it, instead choosing to stay in bed an extra twenty minutes rather than sitting before the altar. 

There is a third way, the way of paradox. In Feri, we seek to align ourselves with paradox, recognising that the greatest of Mysteries involve the coming together of two seeming opposites to form a whole. This is the way of the Divine Twins, and we can bring this energy into our morning devotional work. Yes, we need room for flexibility, spontaneity and forgiveness. But we also need some disciplined structure to help us minimise unnecessary resistance. 

The four elements are huge allies to us in this work. In this respect, I work with them as the foundation for my daily practice as a Feri Witch. Below I present to you suggestions for a daily practice that is realistic, structured, yet open and flexible. 

Spirit - Begin your practice with connection to God Her/Self. Pray to your own Godsoul before any Gods ("Thou shalt have no other Gods before ME") and then sense if any allies wish to work with you that day. Don't simply do a rote call of all the different allies you work with! This devalues your relationships. Imagine speaking to your parents on the phone every single day...

Air - This is the space for prayerful intention. Articulate what your desire is, and what you hope to achieve that day. This is a free-form prayer, but it might be useful to have a "set" prayer to get you started, then carry on afterward. 

Fire - I place energy work in Fire. For me, this includes an integrated Kala and Ha prayer, as well as running Iron and Pearl Pentacles. Again, there should be some structure here, and if you are feeling resistance in energy work it might be helpful to journal on this. 

Water - This element is the element of flow, of paths, winding rivers that lead to the sea. I place divination in this element, given its watery nature. I think it is a great habit to pull a daily card or rune. I often phrase the question as "What information do I need to have the best day possible?" This gives me a bit of a heads-up on the day ahead. 

Earth - Sitting practice and meditation is a cornerstone of my Feri practice. People often associate meditation with the mind and loftiness, but I haven't found that to be correct. True mindfulness meditation brings us deeper into our body and physical patterns, not out of it. 

Spirit - Finish your practice by reconnecting with God Her/Self. Thank any allies that were present, and send a kiss to your own Godsoul. 

Daily practice isn't supposed to be a chore, or something rote. It is a daily connection with our spirituality, giving us a foundation on which to build our lives. 

Practice doesn't make perfect; practice makes presence. 

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Pagan Values Month 2013: Embodiment

"By the Earth that is Her body,
And by the Air that is Her breath. 
By the Fire of Her bright spirit, 
And by the living waters of Her womb.."
- A Feri Tradition circle casting 

My theology and values are grounded in embodiment, which is the recognition that we are holy spirits clothed in an equally sacred temple of living flesh that feels and breathes and sweats and shits and tastes and hurts and orgasms. This body is no less important than our minds or souls, for indeed there is only unity where we falsely perceive separation. It is through the awesome ability of our bodies to interact with the environment that we have any perception or experience of external "reality". our minds are obviously important. (Although, the concept of "Mind" is far beyond the scope of this blogpost!) They allow us to make rational decisions, to communicate on an abstract level, and plan for the future. Nevertheless, our primary functions as human beings are physical. We NEED to breath and we NEED to consume water. Without these, we would die. 

We like to think that our Talker (the part of our soul that deals with mental processes) is the one running the show. To add insult to injury, our Talker allows us to make decisions that our just not good for our body. A core practice in Feri is to bring all of our parts into sacred alignment so that we have access to all of our faculties, which includes our capacity as physical human beings. If our Talker, Fetch and Godsoul are all on the same page, we have greater access to our true physical wants and needs. 

Part of my current practice is changing my diet to bring myself into greater physical health. I am currently on a diet of meat, fish, eggs, vegetables and nuts, which attempts to mimic the diets of our distant ancestors. I also cycle to work while doing resistance training several times a week. This is my route to physical health. It is up to the individual (neatly tying in my value from last year - personal sovereignty!) to ascertain what they can do to bring themselves into their own optimum health. 

Physical health then, is also a core Pagan value, and this includes the physical health of the community and the Earth, as well as our own bodies. (Ecology as a Pagan value has been discussed elsewhere I am sure!). It goes without saying that my health is not the same as your health, for we are all autonomous creatures with vastly different life experiences. That said, I believe that we can all do a little bit more to improve our physical health, as an act of devotion if nothing else. 

The opening invocation above (which is used in many Feri circles) allows me to recognise that God Her/Self is a sum of four physical elements and that She is embodied, just like I am.  Not for us a God removed from the Universe. The Goddess actually IS the Universe, and we are all in physical process with Her. 

What all this means for the individual Pagan is bound to be different from my views, but I think most Pagans would have no problem sitting atop a hill, feeling the wind in their hair, the sun gently warming their face, intoning:

"By the Earth that is Her body..."

Monday, 1 April 2013

Spell Checking for April Fool's

Today is April 1st. In the UK, this is known as April Fool's Day. I love the idea of the Fool in the tarot representing the Witch. We stand on a cliff, about to cast our spell, trusting that the outcome will be positive. I am a firm believer in planning and being a bit more scientific when it comes to magical practice. To that end, before doing any spellwork, careful planning with divination is necessary. 

Here is a process I have devised using a combination of tools to give an overview of a spell working. 

You will need:

-      Set of obi or dice (basically, any yes/no type oracle)
-      Deck of playing cards
-      Deck of Tarot cards or set of runes
-      Deck of Lenormand cards

1.     Using the obi or dice, find out if your spell working is justified. If you get a positive outcome, proceed to the next step.  If you don’t, rephrase the desire, or change the intention of the spell until you get a positive outcome.

2.     Lay out the tarot cards or runes (the large ones) in the numbered order shown in the picture. The spread shows the following:

1.     Your current situation
2.     Your underlying motivation for change
3.     What you are working towards
4.     What can be ‘cut’ or cleared from your life
5.     What can be changed or attracted into your life

3.     For the parts that show what can be cut and attracted into your life, (4 and 5), these can refer to mundane or magical actions – use your judgment to ascertain what and how. Add extra tarot cards to clarify these.

4.     To clarify timing, number of candles etc, use the playing cards over positions 4 and 5. Questions regarding number of ingredients can be used just using the number of the playing card. In terms of timing (how often the spell/bath should be repeated etc) use the following:

§       The number of the card shows how many days the spell should be cast
§       The suits show when the spell should be cast:
·      Spades – Between midnight and sunrise
·      Clubs – Between sunrise and noon
·      Hearts – Between noon and sunset
·      Diamonds – between sunset midnight

5.     Lay out the five Lenormand cards in the order given. This gives a clue as to the outcome of the spell over the five elemental parts of your life (mental, energetic, emotional, physical, spiritual). It can also be used to tell a narrative of the outcome of your spell. 

6.     Once you have gained all the information, ask if there is any more information using the obi or dice. If there isn’t any more information, close the reading. If there is other information, draw another card and question the obi again. Repeat until the obi indicates there is no more information given. 

Happy divining and spell casting!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Watering the Flower(s)

"Who is this flower above me? And what is the work of this God? I would know myself in all my parts. " - Feri Tradition prayer, from Victor Anderson.

Some days, my daily practice seems like a huge task. In order to get to work on time, I leave the house just after 7 - if I factor in my daily practice I have to wake up at 5.30. This is sometimes difficult, especially in the cold and wintery weather we've been having recently, and my Vivi just wants to stay comforted under the duvet for another half an hour.

If I miss a day's practice, I've missed an opportunity for growth, alignment, and wholeness. The odd missed day is okay, but I liken it to missing gym workouts. If I miss one out of four, it doesn't impact too much, but if I only manage one workout a week, not much progress is made.

Sometimes I catch glimpses of my soul as an unfolding flower. This flower will never be fully bloomed; it is in a continuous flux of blooming and closing, with my daily practice being the careful watering and tending of the unique flower that is my Self. One day missed will not kill the flower, but too little care and practice can lead to ill-health and a stunted bloom.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Courting Presence

To be truly present in each moment is the work of a lifetime. To be fully aware of all our parts, graced by the kiss of our divinity (what Feri Tradition calls being "self-possessed) is our only true spiritual goal. Of course, there are many smaller goals that contribute to this over-arching aim. (Hmm...somehow calling it a spiritual aim doesn't do it justice. This implies a linear direction, almost like the aim of an arrow. In my almost 5 years of Feri study, I can more accurately describe it as a flowering.)

Although we may at first catch only glimpses of intentional presence, a tingling at our sex and crown with our heart beating and the air in our lungs, if we court our divinity like a lover, it will eventually be a constant companion.

I am currently reading T. Thorn Coyle's latest book, Make Magic of Your Life, which is centred on finding one's desire and living it, seen through the lens of the Witch's Pyramid (to Know, Dare, Will, and Keep Silence). Part of finding one's desire, I believe, is to stay in the present as much as possible, not reliving the past unnecessarily, nor imagining some potential future which is unlikely to occur.

This is difficult work! Indeed, scores of books, websites, and spiritual traditions are centred on the cultivation of presence or mindfulness.

I was reminded today of Thorn's definition of magic, "the marriage of breath, Will and desire", when I went to my spinning class after work. Now, for those who have never been to a spinning class, it is a hardcore cardio class of roughly 45 minutes on a stationary bike. It is a killer class, and not an easy thing to do after a hard day's work.

During the class, about ten minutes in, I was aware of how many people were glancing at the clock on the wall. They most likely did not want to be there, probably there out of some sense of "should". Mentally, they had already showered and gone home for dinner!

I attempted to be more present than this. I focused on my breathing, the burning of my muscles, the swear pouring down my forehead, the coarseness of the towel, the sweetness of the water. I spoke to my Vivi, soothing her, telling her that this was ok, and that this was good for us. I did feel some resistance (and I might have checked the clock myself a couple of times...) but the important thing was that I tried an act of magic: "The marriage of breath, Will, and desire."

Firstly, by breathing and focusing on oxygen going into my body, I was courting presence as well as focusing on the interconnection of God Herself. By Will, I mean I have cultivated this by simply showing up to the class. It would be easier for me to go home, have a cup of tea and watch television. And you know what? The first few classes were tough. But, merely beginning and showing up once made it easier to repeat the process.

And what is my desire? To honour my body by taking care of it and getting it strong. This, to use Thorn's definition, is both a want and a need. By taking care of my body and making it strong, all other parts are easier brought into the fold - my mind is sharper, my emotions more stable, and my spirit more joyous. This feeds into my greater desire, which is ultimate connection with the flow of God Herself.

Let the Sun Shine!

Today is the first day that I have felt spring coming. The sun is gently warming, the trees and plants are stirring, and my heart is unfolding with possibility.

Spring is my favourite season. It is hopeful, light, joyous, and expectant. We can imagine the delights to come, enjoying the warm weather in anticipation of the heat of summer. The smell of freshly cut grass, the chirping of birds, the kiss of a lover in the sun, are all part of the fabric of God Herself.

In a couple of weeks, I will be celebrating the Spring Equinox with my circle. We will invoke the Gods of springtime, the youth and the maiden, the Twins in Their guise as Dian y Glas and Nimue. We will dance with them and sing with them, casting our spells of hope and joy like the insemination of an egg.

New life. Hope. Expectation. Love.

These are the things I wish to conjure this spring.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

The Evolution of the Gods, or Invoking Oshun in a Gay Bar

Several of the bloggers that I read (Rune Soup and A Mage's Blog) have recently been discussing the evolutionary nature of the Gods, in that They change and grow depending on location and time (what Rune Soup adroitly called "terroir") and They are not stuck in their Ancient Greek togas, bound by the constraints of the "original" culture that first acknowledged Them. The Gods are in process, just like the Universe and (hopefully) us.

I have been working with Oshun for the past couple of weeks and at first I visualised Her as She might have appeared to the Yoruba people - a tall, black woman wearing jewels and something yellow while in a river. And you know, this kind of works for me.

But last night, I went to my local gay bar and Oshun's energy was physically palpable. I could practically taste the honey in the air and at one point I became aware of a golden ribbon travelling through the heart of each person there, binding all of us together in the fabric of love. When I mentally called out to Oshun, She still appeared to me as a voluptuous black woman but there was no sense of Her looking "ancient". If anything, in Her tight golden dress, dancing and grinding next to the gay boys, She reminded me of Beyoncé...

So, this is what it is like to be a shamanistic Witch in the modern world. Praying to an Orisha and having a divine experience of unity with the fabric of love, while my friend buys me a beer and I'm dancing along to Destiny's Child.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

My Oshun Shrine

For months I have felt the call of Oshun...She is the Orisha of the rivers and the sweet waters, and She rules over love, beauty, prosperity, and the things that make life worth living. I have been enchanted by Her dance, heard Her song call to me, and sought Her in visions.

The main reason I did not actively work with Her was a fear of cultural appropriation. Who am I to work with an Orisha who is outside of my "culture" or tradition? Well, if I was putting myself forward as a practitioner of Lucumi/Santeria and as some kind of authority figure, THAT would be appropriation. I am doing neither of those.

I do not intend to work with Oshun in the same way a follower of Lucumi would, because I simply do not share that religion and I am not part of that particular culture. I am a Feri Witch, and this is the paradigm I work in.

Victor Anderson said that all Gods are Feri Gods, and I take this to mean that we can respectfully approach any God we wish to form relationship with. Working with Oshun is not different than working with Ganesha, or Hecate, or Brigid. Most Neo-Pagans would happily work with any of these Gods but not claim to be Hindu or a Greek/Celtic reconstructionist.

Yesterday, I couldn't resist Her call any longer, and I built Her a shrine. I don't know where my work with Oshun will take me, but for now it seems my soul needs something that only She can provide. I hope I am up to the challenge.

(Here is my shrine to Oshun...I have used a veve to Erzulie on a drum to Her. I know, I am mixing Haitian Vodou into the mix here too, but I got a "hit" and ran with it.)

Planetary Seals

After reading a post by my good friend Paolo over at the Rose of Jericho blog on the use of seals in hoodoo and conjure, my interest was piqued. I have often been fascinated by intricate seals found in old grimoires, but I (incorrectly) assumed I would have to go through a process akin to the Abramelin Work for them to have any juice.

So, Paolo's post was refreshing. I duly bought the Key of Solomon (edited and translated by McGregor Matthews) and went through the different seals. Now...these are planetary seals, which do indeed deal with the "spirits" of the planets. However, in my mind, they provide a key to a specific vibration of planetary energy. If you want to call that a spirit, that's fine.

I have been having some health problems with my stomach, so I found the second Pentacle of Mars, which is used against "all disease". I copied it out in red ink on green paper, while chanting the appropriate versicle. Once I'd finished, I did a name paper on the back and dressed it in Healing Oil (in a five-spot or quincunx). I then affixed a dressed blue candle in the centre of the seal, lit it and chanted the versicle again before binding the spell and letting it do its work.

A day later, and my stomach problem has all but gone.

Seals...wonderful stuff.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Yesterday's Practice is not Today's

Daily spiritual practice is a core strength of Feri. It is my daily connection with my own divinity and the Star Goddess that enables me to function as effectively as I can each day. My current practice (which evolves regularly) had been stripped bare. I light my candles, offer incense and water to my Gods, do an integrated kala and Ha prayer, then sit for 20 minutes. The last part I term "sitting in wholeness" because I attempt to be aware of all my parts as they are in the moment.

My daily practice is simple, but not easy.

The truth is, our expectations of what a daily practice should entail colour our experiences and sometimes keep us from plumbing the true depths of our souls. I have a persisting image of what a "real" spiritual person (not me!) would experience, and I try to emulate this, which is not correct.

Sure, sometimes I do experience moments of utter bliss and connection, but more often than not it is a subtle joy, a knowing that I am doing what I can each day. This morning, for example, my practice was HARD. I struggled to fill my kala cup with energy, and the visualisations I've used for years just wouldn't come. My "sitting in wholeness" was awful, with my mind racing towards what I'm doing tomorrow as well as possible occurrences.

Then I realised - in my practice I strive to bring all of my parts into wholeness. I am currently recovering from a stomach bug, I barely slept last night, and I had a guest for three days, during which time I couldn't do any practice whatsoever. No wonder I was out of balance today.

When I finished my attempt at spiritual practice, at first I was wistful and nostalgic. Last week I could get into the flow of my practice with no difficulties, and sitting for twenty minutes did not seem like enough time. But I then came to an understanding - I tried my best today. It would have been easy to stay in bed and catch up on sleep. It would have been easy to go and have some food rather than meditate. The important thing was that I showed up to my altar no matter what. I honoured my Self and my Gods by simply being there.

Even if yesterday's practice was full of joy or full of despair, yesterday's practice is not today's.

Monday, 18 February 2013


In the Reclaiming strand of the tradition in which I was initiated, the word "priestess" (which is used for either gender) is also used as a verb; to priestess. Anybody can priestess, not just bona fide initiates with years of intensive training under their belt. This is both a strength and a weakness of Reclaiming, but that's a subject for another post!

But what does "to priestess" actually mean? In the group rituals I have participated in over the past few years, several people have exemplified the qualities necessary for an effective priestess. I think back to my first Witch Camp, with Dawn Isadora talking in ritual about the Goddess in an intimate way, simply referring to Her as "She". My second Witch Camp had four amazing priestesses aspecting the Star Goddess and opening up the vortexes of power.

Then, there is the daily, mundane aspect of priestessing which I am currently involved in. Me and one of my initiators are team-teaching three students via distance teaching. Part of this is agreeing to meet for lesson planning and other details which aren't as glamorous as aspecting in a huge public ritual.

Nevertheless, this is all part of service, which is essential to good priestessing.

Potentially the most important role of the priestess is the ability to open the gates, to provide a space for others to experience the magical, the numinous, and the divine.

Priestesses are the holders of sacred space.

(As an aside, I also believe that when two (or more!) people have sex, they are priestessing each other - they open the gates for the other lover to experience the deep connection that sex can provide.)

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Running the Pentacles

Victor passed on two Pentacles in his Feri teaching that have also been used in its offshoot, Reclaiming: the Iron and Pearl. These Pentacles are considered core tools of both Feri and Reclaiming and I believe their main use is to bring us into right relationship with ourselves (Iron) and the world (Pearl).

Now, there are dozens of ways to work the Pentacles and to strive to be "on the Points" but I would like to offer an exercise I have developed which emphasises the unity of the Points as they are channeled and held in the body.

Before the exercise, I would like to offer a brief exposition on how I view the Points. For me, the core energies of the Iron and Pearl are Sex and Love, with the other four points flowing out of and into these topmost Points. The other four are almost like extensions, extrapolations, or supporters of the core energies of Sex and Love, which are the soul and substance of God Herself.

1. Connect with the energies of Sex by placing your hands into your groin area (or whatever other part of your body you associate with Sex).

2. Visualise the Iron's Sex energy flowing down from the stars, through your crown and down into the centre of the earth, while it simultaneously flows up from the core of the earth, through your body and up to the stars. Say "Sex" until this is flowing clean and strong through you.

3. Visualise some energy flowing from this central Sex channel to your left hand side, forming a crackling red ball of energy. Name this ball of energy "Self".

4. Repeat this with the other points, with Passion behind you, Pride to your right and Power before you.

5. Once you have the four strong stars around you and a nicely flowing central channel, bring the four stars and the channel into your body so it settles in your blood, releasing any excess back into the earth.

6. Repeat this procedure with the Pearl Pentacle, but place your hands on your heart to connect with Love. The energy should run a pearlescent white. And, rather than letting the Pearl energy settle into you after you have run the Points, send it out to the world as a blessing.

NB As a variation, you can run the Pearl directly "over" the Iron and then blend them together to form a copper channel, in reference to the copper decagram.

Love is the Law

From meditation on the train (where I do my best thinking): "The four powers, to know, to will, to dare, and to keep silence are held and united by a fifth: to love. All magic should have it's motivation in love, whether love for self or love for another (which are the same thing)."