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.

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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?