Do a web search on any of the above, and you'll get back plenty of confusing information. I recall these various spellings being offered distinctive meanings by Sage Goode in a workshop awhile back (paraphrasing here):
- "Fairy" denotes the British Victorian winged imp of nature. Sometimes used by other Anglo pagan traditions that work with certain nature spirits.
- "Faery" - altho used at one time by the Andersons, but changed in later years - denotes R. J. Stewart's respected Faery tradition. Also used by other Anglo pagan traditions that work with certain nature spirits.
- "Feri" is the way Victor eventually decided to spell his & Cora's particular tradition of witchcraft, so as not be confused with others. Certain initiates may prefer to spell it as "faerie" or "faery", Victor's original name for the trad, because that's the name they knew when first initiated.
There. Feeling better now?
The Feri Tradition is still in its infancy, only three or four "generations" long. One of its two originators and Grand Masters, Victor, is recently deceased. Cora is still alive and teaching - through example and gentle transmission - in Northern California.
I won't go into the history and details of the Feri Tradition, those are better served by the new site feritradition.org. It lists links to the few web sites dedicated or related to Feri. Be sure to also check out Faery Gold. Faery Gold states "[t]his web site is for the purpose of exposing plagiarisms and misrepresentations regarding the Anderson Faery Tradition (also spelled "Feri") on the Web, so that honest seekers will not be misled by the appearance of a cloak of Faery glamour." Also check out the Feri FAQ - a stunning amount of detail, and input from several branches of Feri.
You'll quickly notice that there are several flavors of Feri. Victor tailored much of the Feri instruction according to the individual's cultural heritage and general personality. From those individuals, various Feri lines sprung up, each with different takes and approaches to the tradition. Some lines are deeply secretive, with their materials and Guardian/Deity names oath-bound. Others lines are much more open, and have circulated those same materials and Names in various ways. If there's one thing all Feri initiates agree on, it's this: there is no self-initiation into the Feri tradition. You must be brought in by another initiate. Now, whether or not other Feris will recognize another's initiation is a story for another time...
"So, is it really all that dangerous and dark, like some people say?"
"Yes, and no. How's that for an answer?"
Yes, it can be dangerous. Feri is somewhat similar, in my mind, to the Hindu "heroic" tantric path. Feri training has you confront the taboos, rules and norms of culture and society, and look at how you've incorporated them into your own life. You are trained to see life without the preconceptions of good & bad, and instead, see things in their raw form, with all their reverberations and consequences. You'll begin to open up and tap into the life force itself, with all the responsibilities, ecstasies and terror that entails. You will begin to see your weaknesses, and then be called upon to claim your personal power and act on it. All of these things, altho tame-looking in print, can be overwhelming. Then, there's the next step: what do you do with your life now that Pandora's Box has been opened?
I strongly recommend to anyone seeking this path to first learn some sort of personal observation skills and self-care, be it through psychological counselling, twelve-step meetings (specifically if you have an addiction), regular meditation, or what-have-you. You'll also want to consider having another initiate or well-grounded individual act as a reality-check when things start getting strange. 'Cause things will get strange, believe me.
"Is it worth it?"
"Yes and no." (seeing a pattern here yet?)
No, it's not worth it if your main goal is to be comfortable and live life in a steady groove. Feri, like many other initiatory paths, can turn your world upside down. There's also the initiation aftermath... the energies that are transmitted, and your own opening up, can drive you close to edge (altho it usually calms down somewhat after the first six weeks). I repeat the recommendation from the previous paragraph: anyone seeking this path needs to first learn some sort of personal observation skills and self-care. This path is worth it if your spiritual value is to truly understand and honor who and what you are, in all your grime and glory. It's worth it if you desire to be a cocreator with the forces of life itself, and are willing to accept that responsibility.
"What's this stuff about sex, and all the in-fighting in Feri?"
"Glad you asked..."
This is my theory: in opening up to the life forces, the primary channel that will first carry this energy is one's sexuality. Sex makes the world go 'round; just about every life form exists to propagate itself, and many have pleasurable sensations associated with the act. How that sexuality is expressed in the Feri tradition - gay, straight, or anything in-between - is beside the point. Feri is a path of ecstasy, not fertility. This is why we're encouraged to have a trusted sexual partner, or at least a good self-pleasuring relationship, when starting this path. It's the best, quickest path to blowing off alot of intensity, besides feeling pretty good as well. If for some reason sex is simply not going to happen (either with yourself or others), there are other ways to work through this energy; it's just not as efficient. Martial arts, or some other consistent, dedicated physical practice can be the next best thing.
The in-fighting, in my opinion, is an off-shoot of this energy, plus a healthy dollop of self-esteem. No initiate will tolerate another dictating what is or isn't Feri, or even what's for supper, for that matter. I believe this tendency for shooting off "feri fire", as one person calls it, can be expressed in healthy ways, but that's dependent upon the values and the, well, mental health of the initiate herself. You choose your code of ethics, and live them. To justify rudeness for rudeness sake, because you're an initiate, is bullsh*t (better put by another wise teacher).
Enough for now. Go study if you wish, and remember to think for yourself. There's too many other people willing to do it for you, if given half a chance.
NOTE: Please see "Feri Teachers & Teachings" if you are interested in further instruction on the works of the Feri Tradition.