Some thoughts on seeking, learning
and initiation in Feri Witchcraft
Feri¹ makes powerful witches.
It does not make healthy witches, kind witches, just witches, pleasant witches, compassionate witches, or any other sort of witches; just powerful ones. What the Feri witch is after initiation is what the Feri witch was before initiation, just with more oomph.
Becoming a Feri witch is not a gentle process. Choosing to become a Feri student with a view to initiation is not, therefore, an endeavour to be taken lightly. Even with a teacher who has concern for their students’ safety, it is not an easy ride: I refer you to the text in the image below, which is an accurate, albeit metaphorical, description of my experience. Unless Feri has grabbed you by the scruff of the neck and refused to let go, find yourself a different path.
If Feri has grabbed you by the scruff of the neck, finding the right teacher isn’t necessarily an easy task either. Those who are most publicly visible and accessible are not necessarily those who will best match your energy, personality, or needs. Do some research (and do not assume that the first website you find is the beginning and end of it). Ask around. Seek the views of any Feri initiates you know whose opinions you respect. There are a fair few of us around, nowadays.
We all think and practice and teach differently. There are almost as many different approaches, varietes of theology, and variations in basic practices in Feri as there are Feri initiates. The one thing we all share is the Feri current, which is passed at initiation.
And no, you cannot become a member of the Feri tradition² except by initiation by an existing initiate.
Can you become a Feri witch without initiation? The answer to that question is, it’s complicated.
You can be a non-initiated Feri witch in the sense of having relationships with the Gods and Guardians of Feri, and resonating with the Feri current (in my experience, it finds amusement in flirting with non-initiates that it likes). But that does not make you a Feri witch in the sense of being a member of the tradition, the human web of initiates.
I had a very strong relationship with the Feri current for a decade before I had even heard of Feri; it is how I knew that Feri was for me, and I for Feri when I did stumble across it. Even though, as I approached initiation, I knew myself to be a Feri witch, initiated or no, the initiation itself transformed my relationship with the current. In my case, it integrated the energy, and settled me. Life has been much more boring since (thank goodness… and *touches wood* long may it remain so).
On a similar note, I am not a fan of the term “Feri practitioner” which arose a few years ago. Using practices taught to you as ‘Feri’, either in a public workshop or found in a book or on the web, does not make you Feri. Feri is not a set of practices.
I am sometimes asked if it’s possible to receive the Feri current directly, without human intervention; after all, someone had to at some point, right?
Theoretically, it is possible, but it wouldn’t be the same as receiving it via human agency, and you would not be part of the tradition, i.e. recognised as an initiate by existing Feri initiates.
It would also be bloody dangerous. There is a safety factor in human to human initiation: the raw power of the current is somewhat mitigated. Again, I refer you to the words in the header image; and that was with a teacher.
Like looking directly at the sun, or into the Face of G_d, seeking direct initiation from the current itself is not advisable — unless you actively want to completely lose touch with mundane reality, or (metaphorically or literally) die.
(It would be an ecstatic death, but still: death.)
I do not say this to be dramatic, to posture, or to paint Feri as “Oooooh, so dangerous ZOMG!!!111!1!!1!”. I say it simply to strongly suggest that those who seek Feri do so via a Feri initiate.
I am also not, nor have I ever been, one of the cool kids. I do not seek to keep Feri an exclusive club. But the fact remains that Feri is not for everyone. In a landscape of demanding and difficult paths of inner seeking and soul-shaping, it asks more than most, of both its students and its teachers.
And it also has much to give.
¹ My use of the spelling ‘Feri’ here is for the sake of simplicity, and does not reflect any particular viewpoint or position on the schisms and splits that have occurred within Feri Witchcraft over the decades of its existence.
² ‘Tradition’ here means the sum total of the Witchcraft lineages which pass the Feri current from initiate to initiand, rather than any necessary commonality of practices, theology, lore, etc.
This piece was originally published on Patreon in January 2019.
Image: ‘An accurate description of becoming a Feri initiate’. Black text on white background reads: “Embodying Michael the Archangel by taking magic mushrooms while setting myself on fire.”