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The White Wand

A Feri Book Club

The story so far.....

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March 16th, 2009

One last comment about the threatening tone that much of the liturgy in Aradia takes towards the Gods, then on to a new topic. I just wanted to wrap up that discussion by pointing out that Victor threatened the Gods as part of how he worked with them (ie the Cheese Grater story).

OK on to a new, but related topic: We are related to the Gods.

From Aradia, chapter XI:
"For the heathen loved their gods with a human personal sympathy, without mysticism or fear, as if they had been blood-relations."

In  fact some of us are married to the Goddess. BTW, I see this as related to the first post because we argue with our relatives why not our Gods....

February 25th, 2009


To start the discussion on Aradia, The Gospel of the Witches I will give my personal overview of the book.

The basic premise of the book is that Leland acquired a secret copy, in Italian, of a Witches Gospel from an authentic Italian witch. The source of the Gospel may be debatable, but I think Leland’s poetic and often inspired translation and analysis transformed this from a scholarly work to a real magickal work. There is much in this book that resonates with (or more accurately influenced) modern paganism. That said it also has many dated and even uncomfortable references. However, you have to approach it from the frame of reference of the late 1890s when Leland translated it just as one must approach Huckleberry Finn from the time frame that it was written in order to avoid being offended or shocked.

Our copy of the book includes a new and more literal translation of the Italian Gospel from modern scholars which is interesting but lacks the poetry and magic of the original. Ironically, in Aradia, Leland repeatedly brings up the same criticism of how his peers approached recovered lore saying that their translations and interpretations are too literal and even show contempt for the matter and the meaning of the lore. Leland’s translation are more poetic than literal and preserve the magic or spirit that inhabits the original lore and liturgy. Leland “gets it” where his peers did not. Quoting Leland: “And so all was, and is, in sorcery a kind of wild poetry based on symbols, all blending into one another, light and darkness, fire-flies and grain, life and death.” Entries like this and other synergies like the close similarities of the Feri Creation myth and Chapter 3 (but that is another post) remind me that Victor Anderson loved this book and even considered in part of our heritage. Of course he would be critical of many things in the book, but you could say that about most magical books he read. He found a lot in various magical books like these that he recognized as or that “smelled of" Feri.

Well thats it for starters. I have other comments but I would like to hear what others think of the book first.

February 2nd, 2009

OK folks, I am going to try this again with books that folks can read online. I am starting with Aradia, Gospel of the Witches by Charles G. Leland because it is a must read for Feri folk. If you don't have a copy, get one.  Discussion will begin after Pantheacon.

 

For now you can read it online:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/pag/aradia/ara00.htm

July 23rd, 2008

 From Whitewand:

          We create the world anew by creating a contemporary iconography which, because it is also ancient, penetrates the psyche. Such magic must be placed in the here and now for it to be powerful, or even to be understood. This is how the Feri artist must stand, between the worlds, the ancient and the contemporary. To blend what we know with what we can dream. Working our magic to dream a new art, a new world which is the same as the primal art, the primal world. Such experimentation is the groundwork of Feri art.

            Art as magic is an intervention in reality with the aid of symbols. Although we use symbols, Feri art is neither representational nor symbolic, it is naturalistic. That is, it places into form the actual living entity whether that be a deity or Their attributes. For the Gods are real, They are not merely symbols or imaginings. They exists in our world as naturally as we do.

            Abstraction, and therefore symbolism, is the natural result of our vision. The Gods appear to us in the guise They choose, much as a parent would appear to their child as Santa Claus, fulfilling a certain purpose and expectation. They put on Their party hats, if you will. This in no way diminishes Their power or our relationship to Them. These visions are actual occurrences in Nature and are as real as we are.

            Symbolism in Feri is not the same as in other traditions, where one thing may stand in place of another. One thing actually is another. It is not arbitrarily based on a system of beliefs. If it has not been directly observed in nature, it cannot be directly correspondent to a thing in Nature. The Iron Pentacle does not represent, Sex, Pride, Self, Power, Passion. It actually is Sex, Pride, Self, Power, Passion.           

 

For me, the caduceus is the icon that best illustrates this “penetration of the psyche” and that understanding that it is not a symbol but actually deity. And it can be observed in nature. Modern scientists now know that our DNA exists in a double-stranded, helical state just as the caduceus has the two snakes coiled in a helical form around the staff. This icon of life/divinity was observed in nature by pre-science peoples without the aid of modern lab equipment. There are things in nature that mimic this (as above, so below) but it is likely shaman saw the structure of DNA in their visions. Each strand is the opposite of the other (as in mirror images) yet both are required for life, just as our Divine Twins are apparent opposites yet identical  and a necessary pair. 

I also have my own "symbols" that were given to me in my dreams and it is the same story. These symbols are the Gods. And I enjoy their "party hats."

---Onyx

July 3rd, 2008

Related to the previous topic, but focusing on the single line:
"Ori is the Kami self, the Star that dwells at the top of the aura. Ori is the self parent".

I thought I had at least an intuitive understanding of what this meant, but then I realized I didn't know the word "Kami". Tracking down some references, I discovered just how big a topic that is in itself.

Some places I went:
http://jinja.jp/english/s-4c.html
http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/GLOSSARY/KAMI.HTM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kami
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numen

On the surface, it looked as if Anaar may have simply been using it as another way of saying "God Self", without the connotations that can sometimes go with the word "God". Though it does seem to tie in some aspects of kinship and ancestors.

I liked this quote, from the jinja.jp site:
"However, Shinto is not pantheism which sees all the existence on this world as Kami itself. If it is necessary to define its concept, it might be the best to refer to the opinion of Motoori Norinaga, a scholar in the late 18th century, which is now widely accepted. He wrote, "Whatever seemed strikingly impressive, possessed the quality of excellence and virtue, and inspired a feeling of awe was called Kami". Here "the quality of excellence" means an enormous power which gives great influence on many things. It is beyond the human power or human works. It brings a good luck and happiness to man but at the same time it could bring a misfortune or an evil as well. On the other hand, both natural elements (or phenomenon) and man are given a possibility to become Kami, because both the land and the people of Japan were given birth by Kami. So, they are all children of Kami."

Any thoughts/suggestions for further clarification on the concept? Any further insights into Ori as Kami self? If the above is accurate, can Ori bring "a misfortune or evil" as well as "good luck and happiness"? (Or perhaps something which appears to be a misfortune will turn out to be a necessary step on the path?) That idea seems to go hand in hand with the power of creation, and the associated dangers.

July 2nd, 2008

WhiteWand

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"Ori is the Kami self, the Star that dwells at the top of the aura. Ori is the self parent. It has the blueprint
or template of what you personally are to be and must do. When your spine tingles, and your sexual energy
is up, you’ve made contact with God Self. Before we humans were fully evolved in our present form, there came a class of Gods which became our Ori. After a long period of our evolution many ancestral souls became our Godselves. This is the root of ancestor worship and it is our destiny to become an Ori after our last incarnation. After a certain number of incarnations above rather than in our body, the Ori goes back into Po, the region between the stars. The health and vitality of our Triple Soul"

Just to be sure....Ori and Godself are the same things in this context?

Questions from the previous segment. Talker dissipates after death? The souls don't stay together? Do Talker and Fetch (Vivi and Emi) not evolve together into a new Godself, or Ori?

June 14th, 2008

 As co-moderator of this book club I have decided to try the benevolent dictator approach to revive it. So here is the new format:

I decide the book that is to be read and discussed. No voting as before but I will take suggestions offlist.

I will announce the book and allow 2 weeks for folks to read it.

I will begin the discussion so folks know the reading period is over.

As long as there is an active discussion, we will stay on that book. 

If the discussion goes cold for at least 2 weeks in a row, I will pick another book and announce that.

So here goes:

The next book is The Whitewand by Anaar. You can download it here: http://www.whitewand.com/The%20White%20Wand.pdf

Cheers,

Onyx

January 5th, 2008

A True Fairy Tale by Cora Anderson (excerpt from Childhood Memories copyright 2007 Cora Anderson and Victor E. Anderson)

For most of my childhood, I lived on a small farm in Alabama. My father worked in the coal mines, and we grew corn and vegetables to help make a living. We were very poor and seldom saw any money. Everyday on my way to school, I talked to the flowers, watched the birds build their nests, and played leapfrog over the stones in the small streams. I became so close to nature that I could see the elemental spirits. The fairies and gnomes were my favorites.
We had long conversations. One of my favorite questions was, “Where do you live?” The answer was always the same, “Out of the air, into the air and everywhere.” I played games with them, too. They told me to look for a special stone or flower. Most of the time I found them, but once in a while I heard a thin sweet laugh and the words “April fool”.
At school, I returned to reality and the cold world about me. The children teased me. The teachers ignored me because I had no books or school supplies. Lunchtime was the hardest to bear. Most of the children brought a good lunch. If I had any, it would be cold biscuits without butter or jam. I wished that I had a good lunch. Some of the children had candy they had bought at the general store. The candy looked so delicious—peppermint sticks, all-day suckers, and jawbreakers—all were bright colored and made my mouth water with envy. Once I asked for a bite, and all the children teased me. One girl asked me why my mother didn’t buy me some. This really hurt.
One day when everything went wrong at school, I was especially sad. All the way home from school, I wished for a nickel so I could buy some candy.
That night I had a very strange experience. I lay on my bed, half-awake and half-asleep. I glanced toward the window and saw a most delightful sight—there was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. Before me was a real fairy. She was about a foot tall and very slender. She looked like a tiny golden girl with blond hair and sparkling blue eyes. I asked her where her wand was, and it appeared in her hand. She spoke in a clear high voice, “Tonight I am your special fairy. Listen carefully to what I say. On your way to school tomorrow, look under the big rock bluff. There you will find a nickel. Take it, buy some candy, and enjoy it.” She smiled and was gone before I could say a word.
The next morning, I remembered the fairy visit. I hurried to the rock bluff. I looked and sure enough, there was the nickel. I felt the presence of my fairy and knew she was smiling. I blew her a kiss and said, “Thank you with all the love a little girl can give.”

December 21st, 2007

Without waiting for a vote, we decided to make Cora's memoirs "Childhood Memories" the next book for discussion. There is a lot of juicy stuff about living life in magic plus some spells that might be good topics. Now that it has been out for a few weeks, we could get started but perhaps its best to wait until after the Holidays. Lets say January 5th.

If you need to get a copy of the book, you can order it from the publishers:
http://www.acornguild.com/


October 25th, 2007

Is there interest in posting additional discussion topics from Cora's book or should we move on to White Wand?
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