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(Date Posted:01/08/2009 02:24 AM)
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The Faery Tradition

Fairy Faery Faerie Feri

purple and turquoise Celtic Peacockpurple and turquoise Celtic Peacock

Victor Anderson's Feri Tradition

Part One: A General Introduction



That is the road to Heaven, my love,
and that is the road to Hell,
And that is the road to Faery,
where you and I must dwell.

from the old British folk-song,

Thomas the Rhymer

** bar **

There are many Neopagan religious traditions. One of the best known is Gardnerian Wicca, founded by Gerald Gardner. There are, however, many other paths. You can even find several very different traditions with similar names. A currently popular name for Neopagan traditions is Fairy, Faery, or Faerie. One Faery Tradition, also spelled Feri, was founded by Victor Anderson, and developed by Victor and his wife Cora, and several important Feri teachers, largely in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Victor died on September 20, 2001, and became one of the Mighty Dead. A number of tributes to him, many from his memorial service, are at WitchVox: http://www.witchvox.com/passages/victoranderson.html

Victor was born in 1917 and became blind at the age of two. He claimed spiritual descent from Hawai'ian Kahuna and African Vodoun. Victor was initiated into Harpy Coven in Bend, Oregon, as a teen. This group of people worked with the energy in the 1920's and '30's which eventually became the source of the Faerie Tradition. While very different from Gardnerian and other Neopagan Wicca, it was initiatory and magical, working on the phases of the Moon. The group broke up around the time of World War II. In 1944 Victor married Cora. Cora was a Southerner, as had been most of the members of Harpy Coven. She brought Southern folk magic to the practice she and Victor shared and developed. When Gardnerian and Alexandrian materials were published in the 1960's and 1970's, Victor incorporated some of them into his practice.

In the 1960's, the family befriended a boy who grew to became the man known as Gwydion Pendderwen. As a bard sometimes called the Faerie Shaman, Gwydion became one of Victor's best known initiates, spreading some Faerie knowledge through the Neopagan community in the 1970's, and recording his stirring songs, until he died in an automobile accident in 1981. Gwydion added much of the Celtic, particularly Welsh, material, which was absent from Victor's earlier practice.

In fact, the Faerie Tradition is not necessarily Celtic, although some initiated practitioners personally have and teach a chiefly Celtic orientation. According to Cora, in the book Fifty Years in the Feri Tradition, the original name of our tradition was Vicia (pronounced Vee-chya), related to the Italian term La Vecchia.

As Faerie iniates teach others, they each add something of their own interests to the Tradition. Thus, someone trained by one teacher may well learn things that are not taught by another teacher, even though each teacher is a valid initiate. Currently within various authentic branches of Faerie are elements from such diverse sources as Arica, Eckankar, Tibetan Buddhism, Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wicca, Hawai'ian Huna as reinvented by Max Freedom Long, H. P. Lovecraft, Greek mythology, Mesopotamian mythology, Basque mythology, Native American practices, Kaballah, Santeria, Satanism, Sufism, Welsh mythology, and Yezidi traditions, among others. Starhawk is another well-known initiate, who gave her branch of Feri a political focus.

Over the last couple decades, even the spelling of the tradition has varied. Genuine initiates may spell it Fairy, Faery, Faerie, or, as Victor currently spells it, Feri.

So what is the Faerie Tradition? Besides being this very particular blend of mythos and ideologies, it contains certain things that can only be learned through training, practice, and personal experience. While there is a bit of variation from branch to branch, there are some basics which most initiates and teachers agree upon.

I have studied and worked with Feri for over ten years. While I cannot present Feri training over the WWWeb, as it is very much a personal, intimate, hands-on method, I would still like to share some information about it.

I would also like to clarify that I am not presenting this site as being by Victor and/or Cora Anderson. I am presenting information that is taught by a number of different initiated Feri teachers. There is much more to the tradition, things that I would not reveal here because it would not be appropriate, and much that I could not reveal here, even if I wanted to, because Feri is not just a list of exercises but an experience.

I have put this site here to relieve some of the confusion regarding what the Feri tradition is. One cannot know this tradition just by reading this site, nor by doing the very few elementary exercises given here. I only hope this site keeps people from confusing Victor's tradition with those of people like Kisma Stepanovich or other Celtic oriented traditions using the same name.

 
 

The Faery Tradition


Among the distinguishing features of the Faery tradition is the use of a Faery Power which characterizes the lineage. It is an ecstatic, rather than a fertility, tradition. Strong emphasis is placed on sensual experience and awareness, including sexual mysticism, which is not limited to heterosexual expression. In this, as in the general spirit of spiritual exploration, there is more risk-taking encouraged than in other Wiccan traditions which may have specific laws limiting behavior, and there is a certain amorality historically associated with the Tradition. We see ourselves, when enchanted, as "fey"--not black, not white, outside social definitions, on the road to Faeryland, either mad or poetical. We are aware that much of reality is unseen, or at least has uncertain boundaries. As in all the Craft, there is a deep respect for the wisdom of Nature, a love of beauty, and an appreciation of bardic and mantic creativity. The Gods are not just constructs or psychological forces from the collective unconscious. The Gods are real, with a system of morality different from our own, and we have a responsibility to them. The Faery Tradition, in common with initiatory lineages of the Craft which practice possession, is a mystery tradition of power, mystery, danger, ecstacy, and direct communication with divinity. This is in contrast to traditions which practice psychodrama or psychotherapy through ritual. The negative side of this style of working is that we have a lot of initiates who did not return unscathed from between the worlds. The tradition is not for everybody, and it is not amenable to mass attendance, like many Pagan paths.

There is a specific corpus of chants and liturgical material, much of it stemming from Victor Anderson and Gwydion Pendderwen, which provides a frame for many Circle-workings, and poetic creativity is highly valued. The magical practices of the Faery (or Feri, as Victor spells it) Tradition are heavily invocatory, to encourage possession, which relies mainly on psychic talent or sensitivity to occur. Rites are stylistically diverse, and may draw from many sources. There is an initiatory lineage, traceable to Victor or Cora Anderson or Gwydion Pendderwen. Victor tells of antecedents of the present tradition in the coven in which he was involved in the l920's and 30's in Oregon. Hallmarks of the tradition are possession of secret names, energy-working using pentacles and visualization of blue fire, a body of poetic and liturgical material, deities and archetypes specific to the Tradition, the doctrine of the Three Selves, a cingulum of a specific color, a "tribal" or "clan" feel to the coven, the use of the horned (sometimes called "inverted") pentagram, and the honoring of a warrior ethic. For example, we are urged not to coddle weakness, support others in insincerities or self-deceptions, or to submit one's own Life force to anyone or anything, which leads to a fierce openness called the "Black Heart of Innocence." The Faery Tradition is gender-equal, and all sexual orientations seem able to find a niche. For many, there is a strong identification with the realms of Faery and with shape-shifting.

Although Victor is universally recognized as the founding teacher of the tradition, it is possible to identify influences which shaped the tradition before its present form evolved. There is a strong African diasporic influence, primarily Dahomean-Haitian, and the Three Selves theory is an outgrowth of Huna beliefs. Neither is Victor the only source for material presently within the tradition. Each initiate seems to draw the tradition in a new direction and uncover new ground.. Some practitioners, such as Gwydion and Eldri Littlewolf, went deeply into shamanic forms. Gwydion also worked extensively with Celtic religion, even learning Welsh early in his Wiccan training. Other influences (Arica, Tibetan meditation, and Ceremonial Magick) entered as Gabriel Caradoc began teaching. Victor, Gwydion, Caradoc, Brian Dragon and Paladin wrote darkly beautiful ritual poetry and liturgy. Gabriel's classes provided an excellent training in magical visualization and his students continue his teachings. Poet Francesca De Grandis and songwriter Sharon Knight have added their inspiration to the corpus of material. Starhawk has used concepts developed in the Faery Tradition in expressing her beliefs and practice, and has given the clearest explanations widely available of concepts such as the Three Selves or the Iron Pentacle.

Copyright 1988 by Anna Korn. May be reproduced

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RE:The Faerie Tradition
(Date Posted:01/08/2009 02:24 AM)

The Faerie Tradition


Part Two: General Faerie Principles


Brian Froud's Blue Faery

There is a particular Faerie power or energy current

  • This energy tends to be:
    • sensual and sexual,
    • ecstatic and mystical,
    • creative and eclectic,
    • invocatory and trance-possessory,
    • imbued with a respect for the wisdom of Nature and a love of beauty
  • The sexual and gender orientation is not limited to heterosexuality.
  • While we are responsible for what we do, the Faerie Tradition does not have such typically Wiccan rules as "The Wiccan Rede" or "The Threefold Law".
  • When in an enchanted, fey state, we are perhaps a bit mad, shape shifting, not completely human, or at least inspired by our gods and guardians, on the road to Faerie.

There is a particular Faerie initiatory lineage

  • The lineage is ultimately traceable back to Victor or Cora, sometimes through Gwydion.
  • There are particular secret names known to initiates.
  • There are certain exercises to develop and strengthen the Faerie energy current, including:
    • the Iron Pentacle,
    • the Pearl Pentacle,
    • the Lead Pentacle,
    • Blue Fire visualization and use
  • There is a set of deities - while some of these deities may be found in other traditions, the grouping of the deities and their relationships with each other is unique to Faerie.
  • There is a unique set of guardians and invocations. The guardians may be associated with the quarters or with the elements. Each is not necessarily associated at all times with both a quarter and an element.
  • Work is based on the knowledge of the Three Selves.
  • The initiate gets a cord, or cingulum, of a particular color.
  • The initiate is passed a body of poetic and liturgical material, although exactly what it consists of varies a bit from one branch to another.

There are particular Faerie customs and practices

Some are explicitly taught and passed, other aspects are generally understood as part of the Faerie energy. Among these are:

  • The use of the horned pentagram (i.e., the 5-pointed star with two points up)
  • Primarily solitary or small group working
  • The Faerie Warrior Code, which includes the Black Heart of Innocence
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RE:The Faerie Tradition
(Date Posted:01/08/2009 02:25 AM)

Part One: Beginning Work with Blue Fire

A. Preparation

The first thing to do is to relax your mind and your body. Turn off the running voice in your head, release the tension in your muscles. Easy to say, but not always easy to do.

There are many different techniques for achieving a relaxed state and no one method works for everybody. You may have to experiment to find the way that works best for you.

Among other things, it's best if you can have some time and space in which you will not be interrupted by friends or family. Turn down the ringer of the phone and the volume of the answering machine. Most calls are not so urgent that they can't wait for half an hour or so. I also recommend a warm bath or shower. Dress in something comfortable, nothing too tight. If it's chilly, wear socks, but not shoes.

Dim the lights, although it doesn't need to be pitch dark. Light a candle, in a safe holder and in a safe place. If you have animals, try to keep them out of the room, so they don't knock over the candle or distract you. I recommend the big candles in the glass jar, since the wax won't melt onto anything, and they're pretty safe. They're also not too hard to find. Supermarkets often carry them. It doesn't matter too much what they look like at this stage, although a plain white candle would be best. Do not get a scented or perfumed candle.

Find a position that's comfortable for you. Some people like to sit in a chair, others to sit on the floor, some even like to lie on the floor. In your comfortable place, close your eyes, and breathe regularly and fairly slowly.

One relaxation method starts from the feet, feeling them relax, then your legs, then your thighs, your stomach, your back, your chest, then your hands, your arms, your neck, then your face and finally your scalp.

This is done slowly and methodically. Of course, don't fall asleep. If this technique doesn't work for you, look at a few books on relaxation and stress relief and experiment until you find one that does.

B. Blue Fire Breathing One

Once you are completely relaxed, sit or lie and breathe regularly, slowly, and deeply for a few moments, feeling your breaths like waves flowing in and out. Push and pull your breaths from your diaphragm, the muscle below your lungs, so that when you exhale, you breathe out as completely as possible, and when you inhale you take in the air as far down into your lungs as you can. This should be comfortable, don't force your breathing.

Place your hand over your heart so that you can feel it beating. I recommend that if you are right handed, use your right hand, and if you're left handed, use your left hand.

Now, as you continue your slow deep breating, feel that the air you breathe is charged with energy, like a fine blue mist - to help your visualization, see it as the color of a gas flame.

Feel the blue mist enter your nostrils and flow down into your lungs.

Fell the blue mist flow from your lungs into your heart, energizing it.

Feel that your heart is in love with the blue mist. As you feel this love, feel your heart turn bright red and begin to shine.

Feel the beloved blue mist flow down through your body into your legs, and feel the blue mist flow all the way down your legs.

Feel the beloved blue mist flow from your heart through your shoulders and out through your arms.

Fell the beloved blue mist rise up the left side of your neck and fill your head, and continue to flow, down the right side of your neck and back to your heart.

Continue to breathe slowly and deeply as you feel the blue mist circulating throughout your entire body.

Feel the beat of your heart, feel your heart singing.

Do the first exercise once a day until it is comfortable and natural. If you like, you can do it early in the morning, and then again in the evening.

After the first exercise comes natural, begin to work with the second exercise.

C. Blue Fire Breathing Two

Once you are completely relaxed, sit or lie and breathe regularly, slowly, and deeply for a few moments, feeling your breaths like waves flowing in and out. Push and pull your breaths from your diaphragm, the muscle below your lungs, so that when you exhale, you breathe out as completely as possible, and when you inhale you take in the air as far down into your lungs as you can. This should be comfortable, don't force your breathing.

Now, as you continue your slow deep breating, imagine that you are surrounded by an ocean of blue fire, the color of a gas flame. There is nothing but blue fire as far as you can see. The flames lick you but they do not burn.

A fine blue mist begins to rise from the blue flames.

Breathe in the blue mist. Feel the blue mist enter your nostrils and flow down into your lungs.

Fell the blue mist flow from your lungs to your heart, which turns bright red and begins to shine. Feel that your heart loves the blue mist.

Feel the beloved blue mist flow down through your body into your left leg, then your right leg, into your left arm, then your right arm.

Fell the beloved blue mist rise up the left side of your neck and fill your head, and continue to flow, down the right side of your neck and back to your heart.

Continue to breathe slowly and deeply as you feel the blue mist circulating throughout your entire body.

Feel the beat of your heart, feel your heart singing.


Part Two: Advanced Blue Fire Breathing

One: Blue Fire Meditation

Again, dim the lights, light your white candle. Sit comfortably where you can see the candle. Relax, breath slowly and deeply while focusing on the candle flame. Listen to the sound of your breathing.

As you inhale, think-say to yourself, "As I will", and as you exhale, think-say to yourself, "So mote it be." Feel your body become warm, and let any tension flow down into the Earth. After a short while, allow your eyes to close.

Feel yourself floating in the warm darkness. Imagine that the air around you begins to glow blue, the color of the blue flame. Gradually it becomes charged with the blue-fire mist. Now you are floating in this vast sea of blue light.

As you inhale, feel the blue mist enter your nostrils and flow into your lungs. As you exhale, breathe out the air, but keep the blue mist in your body. Continue breathing like this, as your body absorbs this electric blue energy until you are saturated.

Two: Blue Fire Pore Breathing

Sit and breathe as above, but this time feel your breath and the blue mist entering through the pores of your skin, filling your body as if it were hollow.

Three: Directing Blue Fire

Sit and breathe as above. Put your hands in your lap then bring them together. Gather the blue fire into a ball where your head and neck meet. As you exhale, move the ball down your left arm and into your left hand. As you inhale, feel the ball move into your right hand and up your right arm, back to its starting place.

Continue breathing and circulating the blue fire ball regularly. Then slowly begin to move the ball of blue fire faster, without changing the speed of your breathing. Keep moving the ball faster and faster, while keeping your breathing slow and regular. Faster and faster, picking up speed, until the ball begins to blur. Continue to accelerate the fire ball, until it is just a line of light.

When you feel that bar of light strongly, open your eyes and look into the space between your hands.

Beginning Exercises Two

Working with Earth Energy

Origins Exercise

Sit comfortably, or lie on the floor face down with your head cradled in your arms. As you take three deep breaths, imagine that a bright red cord extends from your navel into the center of the Earth.

Take 12 deep breaths

On each breath, as you inhale, draw up strength and energy from the center of the Earth.

On each breath, as you exhale, feel gratitude flow from you into the Earth.

Breath up power, breath out gratitude.

After the 12 breaths, chant softly and slowly, "Hail, Earth, Mother of All", on one note, filling eight beats thus:

Hail (1-2) Earth (3-4) Mother (5) of (6) All. (7-8)
Repeat this 7 times, feeling your body vibrating
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RE:The Faerie Tradition
(Date Posted:01/08/2009 02:26 AM)

The Faerie Tradition


purple and turquoise Celtic Peacockpurple and turquoise Celtic PeacockThe Feri Deities


Fairy Faery Faerie Feri

There are numerous deities in the Feri Pantheon. Primary, and primal, is the Star Goddess. In one sense, all the other deities are but aspects or reflections of Her. And in one sense, She is not female, but, rather, pansexual.

Emanating from the Star Goddess are three pairs of deities, yet this is not really a dualistic pantheon. All the deities have relationships with each other, although it may not appear that way to the unfamiliar. For ultimately, all the deites are one god, and that god is not only in all things, but is all things. Therefore, we are that god and all the gods, whether we are aware of this fact or not, and whether we live in a way that is true to the spirit of the divine, hide from it, or are blind to it. And that god is the Star Goddess, who is not female or male, but both and every other possibility besides.

In Feri training, we learn how to become fully aware of our own God-Self, of all the aspects of the Divine that we are able to, of the ultimate Divine quality that is us.

The Star Goddess

Foremost among the deities of Feri is the Star Goddess who is the Source of All. She is not purely feminine, but is pansexual, and all the Feri deities are aspects of Her. She is called by many names, among them:

Quakoralina
Sugmad; Sugma'ad; Sugmati
Dryghtyn; Drychtyn
The Great Infinite Darkness
The Black Virgin of the Outer Dark
Mother Night
The Womb of the Universe

So that we may get to know Her better, visualize Her as:

a completely black lionness-headed woman with great wings, her hair sprinkled with a million stars. She is seated on a throne of onyx with a silver egg in her lap. She is surrounded by a halo of blue flames.

She does not take only this one form, however.

We may feel her within ourselves by visualizing her symbol, an orobouros, that is, a serpent with its tail in its mouth.

***twinkling star bar***

Meet the Star Goddess

Close your eyes.

Slow your breathing to a steady and comfortable rhythm and perform your basic relaxation exercise.

You are in a vast cavern, whose walls of polished black stone glow with a bluish radiance, and whose farthest limits are lost in the distance. At the center of the wall you are facing, nine steps carved of the black stone surround a dais. On the dais, carved from the wall, stands a great empty throne.

Repeat three times:

I invoke Dryghtyn, the ancient providence,
which was from the beginning and is for all time,
one, androgynous, the source of all things:
all-knowing, all-pervading, all-powerful,
changeless, eternal, forever unending.

--derived from Gardnerian Wicca

The throne is no longer empty.

On it sits the Star Goddess appearing as a lioness-headed woman with great wings. Her whole body is jet black. Her hair is sprinkled with a million stars. On Her lap is a silver egg, and She is surrounded by a halo of black flames.

All around you, great divine figures dance, singing and whirling in eternal ecstasy. Join in their dance and feel yourself filled with the power She radiates.

***twinkling star bar***

The Name

by Gwydion Pendderwen

She is the howling of the many winds;
Her name is the five seasons of the year.
Lover of the first Lord,
Mother of the Dozen Gods who walk the starry way;
Sister and Wife to the Bearer of Light.
Woman She is, of the Proud Passionate Power,
White and Blue at once, Yet of the Rainbow,
Black as the Void of Blackest Dreaming.
***twinkling star bar***

Blessing

by Victor Anderson

from Thorns of the Blood Rose Copyright 1970

You Whom all saints revile and sages name
Mother of harlots and iniquities,
Fro Whom the faithful bore the wrack and flame
Confessing vilest deeds and blasphemies:
By Earth, Your fertile body, blessed be,
And by the Living Waters of Your womb,
With Air, Your breath that moves upon the sea
And summons life green-springing from the tomb,
By Fire, Your spirit, blessed be with power
The children of Your love born unto wrath:
May light and cleansing in the unclean hour
Shine from Your moon-white brow upon their path,
Each unto each, eternal in love's way,
All blessed and illumined, Evo-He.

***twinkling star bar***
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RE:The Faerie Tradition
(Date Posted:01/08/2009 02:27 AM)

The Blue God

Of great importance among the deities of Feri is the Blue God, who is, in fact, not always blue. He is the consort of the Star Goddess, and the parallel of the Corn Maiden. He is called by many names:

  • Dia-na-Glas; Dian-na-Glas; Dia-ny-Glas; Dian-y-Glas = Blue or Blue-Grey God (Welsh)
    He is visualized as silvery blue or sky blue.
    My teachers have spelled it all of the above ways.
    I'd love to know the correct Welsh form.
  • Malik Taus, Melek Taus, the Peacock Angel (Yezidi)
  • Sugaar, Wing'ed Serpent (Basque)
  • the Nine Spotted Serpent in the Well
  • Living Rainbow
  • Lord of the Painted Fan
  • The True Bird of Paradise
  • the Flower King
  • the Singer in the Wood
  • the Light of the World
  • Lucifer, the Light Bringer
  • El Shaitan, Self-Fire
  • Lemba; Lembé; the Green Boy, the Gentle One
  • Tammuz (Mesopotamian)
  • Okin Oba Aye (Yoruba)
  • Hyakinthos (Greek); the Blue Boy
  • Vishnu with his Cobra; Krishna (Hindu)

He is associated with Spring, Youth, and Potency, and our personal Divine Spirit. He is sometimes called the Bird Spirit and is actually embodied in our God-Self. We send energy through our God-Self to work our magic.

For visualization purposes he is described as youthful and androgynous with the breasts of a barely adolescent girl and an erect penis. He has a light voice, like a boy's before it changes, but he is fully potent. Around his neck is a serpent and in his hair are peacock eye-feathers.

His symbol is a golden peacock with a silver star on its breast.

 

Meet the Blue God

You are in a forest at dawn. It is spring. The trees are a tender green, rustling gently with new leaves. Birds are beginning to sing and fly about the tree tops. You smell the fresh scent of the young plants.

Before you is a gently trickling spring, surrounded by delicate flowers. Hyacinths, narcissus, and lilies nod their heads over the pool. Breathe deeply of their sweet hypnotic fragrance.

Gaze into the rippling waters and chant repeatedly, until the presence of the Dia-na-glas manifests:

Blue God
Winged Serpent,
Living Rainbow,
Lord of the Painted Fan

Invocation to the Peacock Lord

Victor Anderson

Malik Taus,
We call to You,
our Lord of the Painted Fan,
At whose joyous cry the Sun rises in Paradise.
You, who shake Your tail,
and fill all Seven Heavens with Thunder!
Come and shine Your many-colored lights within us!

The Corn Maiden

The Corn Maiden is the youthful female deity parallel to the Blue God, and is something of a trickster. But do not mistake her child-like form for a lack of power. She is an aspect of the Star Goddess and partakes of everything that She is. Her behavior embodies the Black Heart of Innocence, one of the essential tenets of Feri.

Note that "corn" is used here in its British sense, meaning any grain, especially the most commonly eaten grain of a particular region or culture. The Corn Maiden is the Spirit of New Growth, both of plants and of animals.

Feri Child by Brian Froud

  • Nimuë (Welsh)
  • White One
  • Laughing Maiden
  • Lady of the Well
  • Spring Queen
  • La Niña de los Flores
  • The Black Virgin of the Outer Dark
  • For the purposes of visualization, she has two forms:

    First, she is 12 years old, her body is shining, pearlescent white. She holds in her hand a silver bow, while on her head is a 6-day-old crescent moon, horns up.

    Second, she is 6 to 8 years old, glowing pink with curly pale golden hair.

    In either form, because of her youth, she is somewhat androgynous. Nonetheless, she still embodies the energy which brings all into being, which in humans is sexual energy, a great Passion. Imagine all the power of the Cosmos in the hands of a six-year-old...

    Her symbol is the new crescent moon.

    Corn Maiden Visualization

    Starhawk has a useful meditation on Her in The Spiral Dance, Chapter 5: The Goddess, Exercise 39: Waxing Moon Meditation.

    Visualize a silver crescent moon, curving to the right. She is the beginning of power, of growth, of generation. She is wild and untamed, like ideas and plans before they are tempered with reality. She is the blank page, the unplowed field.

    Feel your own hidden possibilities and lantent potentials, your power to begin and grow. See her as a silver haired girl running freely through the forest under the slim moon. She is Virgin, eternally

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    RE:The Faerie Tradition
    (Date Posted:01/08/2009 02:28 AM)

    The Harvest Lord

    He is the Spirit of Light and Heat, the ripeness of Summer, and the fullness of Manhood. There is nothing androgynous about him. He is often considered the consort of and parallel of the goddess Mari. At the same time, He, too, is a reflection in a dark mirror of the Star Goddess.

    • Twr (Welsh) = tower = oak
    • Lugh (Irish)
    • Krom; Chrom, the many-colored one
    • The Corn King (where corn=primary grain of the culture)
    • Lord of the Sun
    • Hu the Mighty
    • The Antlered One
    • Crainonis, Karanos, Karayos, Cernunnos, Krana, Kronos (in a variety of Near Eastern and European languages)

    He is visualized as a man with the head of a horned stag, although he may also have the head of an antelope or another horned animal common to one's region. He is entirely golden, in shades of gold, his body, his hair, his horns. About his neck is a garland of beautiful colored flowers and fresh green leaves.

    His symbol is the Sun.


    The Great Mother

    She is the Spirit of Earth and Sea and Sky, the Mother of All. The World is Her Body. But She is not merely a birth mother, for She is also a matriarch, an administrator, an executive. Sometimes considered the consort of the Horned Harvest Lord, there is nothing androgynous about Her, as She embodies full, actively manifest Womanhood.

    • Mari (Basque)
    • Tiamat (Mesopotamian)
    • Diana (Roman)
    • Ashtart, Astarte, Ashtaroth, Ashtoreth
      (the first is her actual Phoenician name, the second is the well-known Greek form, the last two are Hebrew perversions of the original Phoenician)
    • Yoni Gorri, the Red Mari (Gypsy)
    • Parvati, Devi (Hindu)

    She is visualized as tall and naked, standing on the Sea. Her long black hair covers her like a veil. Her body is silver. She has 12 stars around her head, or in some descriptions, 6 and 7. Her breasts are full and heavy, and Her belly is rounded and swollen. She is ripe.

    Her symbol is the Full Moon.


    Great Mother Visualization

    Starhawk has a useful meditation on Her in The Spiral Dance, in Chapter 5: The Goddess, Exercise 40: Full Moon Meditation.

    Visualize a round full moon. She is the Mother, the power of fruition. She nourishes what the New Moon has begun. See her open arms, her full breasts, her womb burgeoning with life.

    Feel your own power to nurture, to give, the make manifest what is possible. She is the sexual woman; her pleasure in union is the moving force that sustains all life. Feel the power in your own pleasure, in orgasm. Her color is the red of blood, which is life. Call her name "Mari!" and feel your own ability to love.

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    RE:The Faerie Tradition
    (Date Posted:01/08/2009 02:29 AM)

    The Winter King

    He is the Spirit of Winter and Death. He may well embody what we fear. He is the Guardian of the Crossroads of the Path of the Living and the Path of the Spirits. All devils are derived from Him. His partner or parallel is The Crone.

    • Arddu = Royal Darkness = The Black One
      (Welsh, pronounced either "ard-thee" or "ar-zee")
    • Ankou (Breton)
    • The Dark Lord
    • Bringer of Death
    • King of the Dead
    • Shepherd of Souls
    • The Great Teacher
    • Giver of Wisdom and Knowledge
    • Guardian of the Mysteries
    • Myrddin = Merlin (Welsh)
    • Shiva, the Destroyer (Hindu)

    Once again, the divine moves toward androgyny. This god is visualized with the drooping breasts of an old woman on a human torso. He has a goat's head and lower body, and big black bat wings. On his forehead glows a large red jewel and between his horns is a flaming torch.

    His symbol is the Skull and Crossbones.

    The Crone

    She is the Spirit of Night, the sleeping body of the Earth in Winter. Because She is no longer fertile, there is something androgynous about Her. Her partner is the androgynous Winter King.

    • Anu, Ana, Anna, Annys, Anysa (Celtic)
    • The Hag
    • Queen of the Dead
    • Black Ana of the Forbidden Mysteries
    • Cerridwen (Welsh)
    • Arianrhod of the Silver Wheel (Welsh)
    • the Morrigu (Irish)
    • Kali (Hindu)

    She is visualized most often as an old woman in a black hooded cloak with pure white hair and skin. She carries a silver sickle and She is crowned with nine blue stars.

    She has a second form, called Ulli, a sweet old grandmother whose color is royal blue.

    Her symbol is the Crow or Raven, in some cases the Vulture.


    Crone Visualization

    Starhawk has a useful meditation on Her in The Spiral Dance, Exercise 41: Waning Moon Meditation, in Chapter 5: The Goddess.

    Visualize a waning crescent, curving to the left, surrounded by a black sky. She is the Old Woman, the Crone, who has passed menopause, the power of ending, of death. All things must end to fulfill their beginnings. The grain that was planted must be cut down. The blank page must be destroyed for the work to be written. Life feeds on death - death leads on to life, and in that knowledge lies wisdom. The Crone is the Wise Woman, infinitely old.

    Feel your own age, the widsom of evolution stored in every cell of your body. Know your own power to end, to lose as well as to gain, to destroy what is stagnant and decayed. See the Crone, cloaked in black, under the waning moon. Call her name, "Anu!" and feel her power in your own death.

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    RE:The Faerie Tradition
    (Date Posted:01/08/2009 02:29 AM)

    The Faerie Tradition

    The Basic Feri Creation Myth

    How the Star Goddess
    Created the Universe and the Deities

    Versions here from:

    Brian Dragon
    Starhawk
    and
    Francesca De Grandis


    From Brian Dragon:

    The ultimate origin of all existence was a "pregnant" void, represented by the matho-mystic concept of zero. This void is the ultimate creatrix, the supreme deity of monotheists. We call this thing The Star Goddess and thereby refer to the vast vaults of space, the dark belly of limitless night. In order to experience the thrill of creation,this Star Goddess, like a grandmother of the Gods, polarized Herself ino the ultimate Dulaism from which all other dualities derive their nature. Through the act of distinguishing light or motion as a new event, the Goddess now became an object of comparison, a dark to temper the light, a peace to crown the motion. In this wise, She is like Her own daughter, she has now become "female" through comparison to the "male", who mythically can be her brother, lover, and/or son.

    When the Star Goddess would experience creation, she looked to her right in the black mirror of space and saw herself reflected veriously. Near to Her the reflections were much like Her, but far away in the mirror she assumbed a new and radical form, that of the king Krom, the father and god of all colored-light, the far pole of energy. Looking left, She saw the new concept of "fe-maleness" played out likewise in reflections of Her own face viewed in many ways or aspects that comprise all the aspects of the Goddess. Farthest away She beholds Herself as the ultimate female: Mari.

    The gods can manifest through infinite aspects and any aspect can be named. The "Reflections of the Star Goddess" teaches us to interpret these "many" faces as "coloring" of the Star Goddess. Such colorings are categorized according to the function of the god in question. Three functions are commonly used, called Wacing, Full, and Waning (after the astronomical terms). As the Waxing gods develop from out of the Star Goddess, they are first very similar, sharing especially the vigor of youth. This vigor is their most important attribute, overshadowing any incidental gender functions; hence such gods are conceived of as androgynous to lesser and greater degrees. Farthest away from the eternal belly of the Star Goddess (in either direction) we see Her manifest in radical female and radical male form. These are the greatest artifice of Her creative genius, the gods Mari and Krom.


    NOTE: In this version, the Mirror of Space is curved, and Mari and Krom, the most female and male aspects of the Star Goddess are the farthest from Her. Closest to Her, moving outward are Dian-y-Glas and Nimue, the youthful deities who are androgynous, and returning back toward Her are Arddu and Ana, the aged deities who are androgynous.


    From Starhawk:

    Alone, awesome, complete within Herself, the Goddess, She whose name cannot be spoken, floated in the abyss of the outer darkness, before the beginning of all things. As She looked into the curved mirror of black space, She saw by her own light her radiant reflection, and fell in love with it. She drew it forth by the power that was in Her and made love to Herself, and called Her "Miria, the Wonderful".

    Their ecstacy burst forth in the single song of all that is, was, or ever shall be, and with the song came motion, waves that poured outward and became all the spheres and circles of the worlds. The Goddess became filled with love, swollen with love, and She gave birth to a rain of bright spirits that filled the worlds and became all beings.

    But in that great movement, Miria was swept away, and as She moved out from the Goddess She became more masculine. First She became the Blue God, the gentle, laughing god of love. Then She became the Green One, vine-covered, rooted in the earth, the spirit of all growing things. At last She became the Horned God, the Hunter whose face is the ruddy sun and yet dark as Death. But always desire draws Him back toward the Goddess, so that He circles Her eternally, seekintg to return in love.

    All began in love; all seeks to return to love. Love is the law, the teacher or wisdom, and the great revealer of mysteries.


    NOTE: Starhawk's version of the myth ends here. Since the creation has no beginning or end, we can imagine the energy that is Miria returning toward the Star Goddess, first becoming somewhat more feminine, as the infertile but wise Crone, then the sexual and fertile Mother, and finally the wild, untamed virgin girl-child, belonging to no one but herself, until once again the energy returns to the Star Goddess, from whom all things emerge and unto whom all things return.


    From Francesca De Grandis:

    The Mother Before Creation is walking in the outer darkness. Her steps touch nothing. Her steps touch Herself, who is all things. She uses space as a mirror. This mirror is known as the Mirror of Darkness. In it, the Mother Before Creation is as vast as a starless universe, like sleep without dreams, like sleep in which all dreams reside. She draws the image from the mirror into space and calls her "Miriel", which means "Beautiful One from God". Each is virgin: unspoiled sexuality in all its freshness. Yet old beyond time, each kissing the other with all the ripeness and experience of a dying courtesan. They make love, each desiring the other as much as they desire the Self.

    Then Miriel moves away from the Mother Before Creation so dark emptiness lightens to cobalt blue as she becomes Dian-Y-Glas, The Blue God. The Great Mother says to Him, "They shall never take you from me. Whatever from you take, because you are my word, my hammer, and my seal, you shall return to me in your present form. And this our love shall be forever. And through our sexual union all things shall be created and are created, all things which were and are not, and are yet to be.


    Here are some of Francesca's comments on the myth in her book Be a Goddess!:

    One mystery revealed in this myth is the true nature of darkness, embodied in the universe as the Mother's mirror. In the Christian creation myth, God looked into the darkness, into the void, and decided to make something to fill it. And henceforth He remained separate from that which He created, outside of nature and humanity. The theological implication is that God is too good to be a part of nature, and thinks the material world evil.

    How much more sense it makes that the Goddess saw Herself as that void, that darkness, and from that loving, vital, dark womb all things were created. Instead of condemning the material world, She not only saw it as Herself, but loved and embraced it, just as She embraces us whenever we call on Her. The belief that the Goddess is within us and all of nature is called immanence, andimplies that nature is good and sacred

    ...Darkness... is not evil; it is the darkness of spring nights when lovers court, of the rich soil from which our food is grown. It is the darkness that a child finds when snuggled under the covers at night while a mother whispers tender words of loving reassurance.

    The Goddess's dark immanence also makes sense in terms of physics: past the lighted atmosphere of earth is mostly darkness. The cosmos is not, as some would have it, a balance of light and dark, but mostly darkness. Furthermore, most of an atom is empty space; there is very little matter to the material world. Existence consists mostly of the emptiness between the particles of the atom... So most of reality is dark and empty. But just as the dark is not evil, so this is not an evil emptiness. This emptiness is the Mother Herself, replete with Her love and fecundity. Sweet mirror of darkness! O luminous darkness.

    Darkness is not only our shadow, but also the mirror through which we find our essential and beautiful selves... When in darkness, it is crucial that we not hide in it, but face its gift and its challenge. Especialy there, we need to be true and authentic! O luminous darkness.

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    RE:The Faerie Tradition
    (Date Posted:01/08/2009 04:30 AM)

    The Feri Goddesses of the Directions

    Part of Feri practice is getting to know the Goddesses of the Directions. They are rather like the Guardians, only their energy is a bit more immediate, more earthly.

    Arida

    East: Air: Dawn

    Visualize The Goddess of the Eastern Dawn

    In the east is an enormous gate of silver, shimmering with light. Through it you see from horizon to horizon, your vision unimpeded, in the distance is a tall, strong mountain peak, above you the sky is filled with swiftly flying clouds.

    Arida comes, a feathered serpent, rising in the early morning from behind the mountains like the morning sun, in the colors of dawn, riding the currents of air. A feathered serpent with a woman's body and face, wearing a golden headdress like the rising sun. Around her fly eagles, doves, ravens, and various birds of the air.

    Or you can use Starhawk's meditation on Her in The Spiral Dance, Exercise 23: Air Meditation, in Chapter 4: Creating Sacred Space:

    Face East. Ground and Center. Breathe deep, and be conscious of the air as it flows in and out of your lungs. Feel it as the breath of the Goddess, and take in the life force, the inspiration, of the universe. Let your own breath merge with the winds, the clouds, the great currents that sweep over land and ocean with the turning of the Earth. Say, "Hail, Arida, Bright Lady of the Air!"

    Tana or SeTana, Scarlet Lust

    South: Fire: Noon

    Visualize The Goddess of the Southern Noon

    In the south is an massive gate of gold, shimmering with heat. Through it you see the lip of a bubbling volcanic lake of molten fire, above suns and stars revolve in a dance overhead.

    SeTana comes, during the heat of the day, a being from the heart of a star. Her hot skin is the color of opalescent white heat, her hair is red, and she is clothed in a sensual flowing red garment, dancing in a red desert. Around her are swarm creatures of fire, salamanders,

    Or you can use Starhawk's meditation on Her in The Spiral Dance, Exercise 25: Fire Meditation, in Chapter 4: Creating Sacred Space:

    Face South. Ground and Center. Be conscious of the electric spark within each nerve as pulses jump from synapse to synapse. Be aware of the combustion within each cell, as food burns to release energy. Let your own fire become one with candle flame, bonfire, hearth fire, lightning, starlight, and sunlight, one with the bright spirit of the Goddess. Say, "Hail, Tana, Goddess of Fire!"

    Tiamat or Atargatis, the toothed vagina

    West: Water: Dusk

    Visualize The Goddess of the Western Twilight

    In the west is a gate of algae-green metal, dimly illuminated by the setting sun. Through it you see a floating island, with boulders along the ocean shore. In the waters cavort the ocean's creatures.

    Tiamat comes, rising from the parting froth and foam covered waves. Her blue hair floating on the surface like seaweed, she rises, woman-bodied and fish-tailed, with blue-green skinned. Swimming, leaping around her are the creatures of the seas, dolphins, and sea-mammals.

    Or you can use Starhawk's meditation on Her in The Spiral Dance, Exercise 27: Water Meditation, in Chapter 4: Creating Sacred Space:

    Face West. Ground and Center. Feel the blood flowing through the rivers of your veins, the liquid tides within each cell of your body. You are fluid, one big drop congealed out of the primal ocean which is the womb of the Great Mother. Find the calm pools of tranquility within you, the rivers of feeling, the tides of power. Sink into the well of the inner mind, below consciousness. Say, "Hail, Tiamat, Serpent of the Watery Abyss!"

    Belili or VerAvna, universal truth

    North: Earth: Midnight

    Visualize The Goddess of the Northern Midnight

    In the north is a gate entwined with ivy and night-blooming jasmine, barely visible in the dark of the night, illuminated only by the cool moon's rays. Through it you see a vast forest, great boulders covered with lichen. You smell the rich loamy earth.

    VerAvna comes, rising from out of a dark cavern from womb of the earth as out of the deep well of space. She has dark brown skin and sparkling jet eyes. On her head is a horn. She is robed in living foliage, vines and branches wreathing her head among which twinkle tiny gem-like stars. At her feet walk the creatures of Earth, deer, bison, horses, etc.

    Or you can use Starhawk's meditation on Her in The Spiral Dance, Exercise 29: Earth Meditation, in Chapter 4: Creating Sacred Space:

    Face North. Ground and Center. Feel your bones, your skeleton, the solidity of your body. Be aware of your flesh, of all that can be touched and felt. Feel the pull of gravity, your own weight, your attraction to the earth that is the body of the Goddess. You are a natural feature, a moving mountain. Merge with all that comes from the earth: grass, trees, grains, fruits, flowers, beasts, metals and precious stones. Return to dust, to compost, to mud. Say, "Hail, Belili, Mother of Mountains!"

    The Star Goddess

    The Goddess of the Center

    The Center encompasses All

    After you have meditated on them and visualized them, you need to develope a personal relationship with them. Make your meditations more active: visualize one of the goddesses, feel her coming to see you, then dance with her or move in some way with her. When you are done with your visit, thank her.

    You can also practice devotions to them daily, at the appropriate times.


    Daily Goddess Devotional

    Daily Litany to the Lady

    by Aidan Kelly

    from the NROOGD Tradition

    Morning:

    Light a candle and face the East.

    Close your eyes. As you take 3 deep breaths, fill your body with a brilliant golden light like a shining mist.

    Repeat aloud:

    Lady of the Lightening Sky,
    Lady of the Newborn Sun,
    flood your light into our lands
    and let this day be well begun.

    Noon, or just before you eat lunch:

    Light a candle and face the South.

    Close your eyes. As you take 3 deep breaths, fill your body with blood red fire.

    Repeat aloud:

    Lady of the Fertile Lands,
    Lady of the Fivefold Earth,
    fill us with your living gifts
    and let this day be filled with mirth.

    Evening:

    Hold some lit incense in your hand and face the West.

    Close your eyes. As you take 3 deep breaths, fill your body with soft violet mist.

    Repeat aloud:

    Lady of the Flowering Islands,
    Lady of the Fiery Seas,
    dance upon your knowing waters,
    fill us with your mysteries.

    Midnight, or night just before sleep:

    Light a candle and place it on the floor before you and face the North.

    Close your eyes. As you take 3 deep breaths, feel power rise up from the Earth into your body.

    Repeat aloud:

    Lady of the Shining Castle,
    Lady of the Silver Wheel,
    guard our sleep and send us dreams,
    turn our lives and make us real.

    Center of the Day, whenever you feel it:

    Close your eyes and face inward.

    Repeat internally:

    Fivefold Lady who whirls without motion,
    burning untouched in the flower flames,
    ebb and flood of the inward ocean,
    remind us that you are what each word names.

    Open your eyes and wait for anything, expect only what comes.

    Goddess Litany

    by Francesca deGrandis

    From Her Winged Silence: A Shaman's Notebook
    Copyright 1989 by Francesca Dubie

    Chant at these times, facing these directions:

    Morning to the East

    The rose is wet.
    Expectation.
    Fragrance of innocence and beginnings.
    No ripeness.

    Noon to the South

    The rose is on fire.
    She is being consumed,
    parched.
    She rises
    again and
    blooms.

    Dusk to the West

    She is fragrant,
    rich.
    Her children
    are called
    home, and nestle
    in her
    vase.

    Night to the North

    Her thorns
    kill,
    and teach.
    Her colors
    include
    blood.
    Drink it.

    Center, whenever and to wherever that is

    Rose.
    Goddess

    For more of Francesca's writing on the Web:

  • Francesca De Grandis's 3rd Road
  • The Wiccan & Faerie Grimoire of Francesca De Grandis


  • After having developed a relationship with the Feri Goddesses of the Directions and after studying these two very different devotions to them, write your own.


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    RE:The Faerie Tradition
    (Date Posted:01/08/2009 04:38 AM)

    Faery Wicca
    by Kisma K. Stepanich

    From Ireland comes a very old manuscript called Lebor Gabála Érenn (The Book of the Taking of Ireland), which might be considered the first recordings of the oral Faery Tradition; for we read within its pages of the ancient gods and goddesses of pre-Celtic, Celtic, pre-Christian, as well as Christian Ireland. We are provided with tales that are considered both mythological and historical.

    We read of the pedigrees of the Shining Ones, the Tuatha De Danann, and learn from where they originated. We are given accounts of their druidry, knowledge, science, prophecy and magic. We read they ‘were expert in the arts of pagan cunning’. In the pages of this five-volume set we are shown a glimpse of the remnants of the Irish cosmology, their creation myth, and the beginning of the Shining Ones now obscurely veiled behind a fantasy term: fairy.

    Over the centuries the Shining Ones have left behind a plethora of tales, first recited as the folk-tale of Ireland, and later told as the fairy-tale world-wide. Their traditional ways survived in folk-memory, becoming the "superstitions" of Ireland. And up to modern times, there isn’t an Irish country dweller who doesn’t believe in the Faery, and perform some superstitious act at least once or twice a year. From these come the modern folk practices known as the Irish Faery-Faith.

    However, woven into these folk practices are the more sophisticated bhairdic practices, which include druidry, and which represented the basic societal structure of pagan Ireland.

    In the ancient bhairdic system, there were five primary Groves, each Grove was actually a college and contained learning in one particular field of study. The druids were a small sub-group that did the sacrifices, fertility rites, and religious ceremonies. These topics made them famous, while later in history the word "bard" was used to denote singers of songs and poetry, those who were usually traveling minstrels.

    These old bhairds acculmulated great amounts of knowledge, and had coded ways of speech. Because of their people’s love of poetry, they tended to speak only in rhymes. In their 20 years of study, individual bards are known to have memorized up to 60,000 different poems, many of them with coded messages within the origin poem.

    The word bhaird also meant a priest or priestess, a philosopher, or teacher of any kind. In the Gaelic word aois-dana literally translated is the "old poets." The aois-dana preferred the name ollamh which means doctor today. These were the bards and poets, the rehearsers of ancient poetry and genealogy, and were highly esteemed as late as the seventeenth century, as they sat in the circle of chiefs and nobles. They were remnants of the bardic system in the decline after Christianity and the feudal system took over the roles of religion and governing. These bards still had much power and influence. Even today a seanachaidh (reciteer of tales or stories, or an antiquarian skilled in ancient ore remote history) is retained by some Irish clans.

    Modern Bhairds of the Irish Faery-Faith are taught to recognize that their spiritual system is based on the Wisdom of the Trees, and to see this system reflected in the five primary Groves. Each Grove contains three to five trees depending upon the Grove.

    Each of the five primary Groves has a head bhaird and an assistant bhiard. Each tree within a Grove also has a head bhaird. Over all these groups, indeed, over all the bhairds, is a triad of bhairds, the chief bhairds or Gold Ollamhs.

    Each of the Groves is associated with a direction, a season, and a High Holiday. Each tree is associated to an ogham, a color, and specific dates. Certain trees are associated to the head bhaird of the Grove, Grove assistants, or a ceremony. Each tree denotes what type of Bhaird one is, what each person’s primary skill is, the annual functions they are required to handle, and the High Holiday they are connected to and responsible for representing.

    Placement in the Bhairdic Structure is based on one’s natural affinity toward a specific tree, training in that tree’s lore, development of their skills, and their ability to pass certain tests. Bhairds can, and often do, find themselves involved with more than one tree and/or Grove.

    As one might ascertain from this brief glimpse of the modern Faery-Faith , it is not a religion but a "way of life." Faery practitioners strive to incorporate their spiritual beliefs and teachings into who they are every day of the week. Their professions represent their Groves, their trees—and through the Faery-Faith Network they have a connection to a worldwide community of other individuals who are aligned with the same profession, or interests, or hobies. This sense of community is what the Irish American Faery-Faith has always been about.

    In one sense, the magickal practices of the Faery-Faith have become a common occurance because they happen daily through the application of personal Grove and tree skills. Each participant enacts their tree lore by living it. They work the energy of magick just by being who they are.

    As for spiritual practices, worship is according to the ogham each lunar cycle, pathworking into the other country four times each cycle at:

    Bó Ruad—the Red Cow or new crescent moon

    Bó Finn—the White Cow or full moon

    Bó Donn—the Brown Cow or old crescent moon

    Bó Orann—the Dark Cow or dark moon

     

    Connection to the Faery is very sensitive and as such the Faery become guides, or Spiritual Benefactors. In addition to pathworking, focus is given to the development of specific traditional skills that every bhaird is required to have:

    divinatory practices, which focus on psychic development

    tuning into the stars within our bodies

    understanding of astronomy and astrology

    botany and herbology

    Community festivals are held at the following High Holidays:

    Samhain [SOW-in], 31 October

    Nollaig [NULL-ig], 21 December

    Imbolc [IM-bulk], 1 February

    Lá Fhéile Earrach [law AY-leh ARE-uckh], 21 March

    Lá Bealtaine [law BAL-tene], 1 May

    Lá Fhéile Eoin [law AY-leh A-un], 21 June

    Lúnasa [LOO-nass-ah], 1 August

    Lá Fhéile Fómhar [law AY-lee FOE-war], 21 September

    The traditional time for undergoing one’s rite of passage as a bhaird is at Nollaig, the winter solstice.

    Faery Wicca information can also be found by visiting various other faery related websites. Take note that the spelling of the word Fae, Faery, Feri, Faerie, Phaery, Phaerie, etc. will denote the meaning and type of fairy information you are searching for. In general, a good pagan search engine can help you find the faerie tradition you're searching for. You can also find more Faery information by visiting the Irish Faery website that started the Faery Wicca tradition. Additional information on Faery Folklore can also be helpful in your search for the correct Faery lineage and traditions.

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    RE:The Faerie Tradition
    (Date Posted:01/08/2009 04:38 AM)

    The Faery-Faith  (Kisma Reidling)

    YEAR ONE
    IMMRAN MANUAL
    Lesson #1

    PART ONE: LITURGY

    We begin our immran focusing on Sacred Space, what that implies, how we work with it, and how it effects us. Typically, Sacred Space is thought of as being the space designated as sacred within the boundary of a cast circle but
    Sacred Space is more than this. In the Faery-Faith practices we acknowledge three types of Sacred Space:
    1. Permanent
    2. Temporary
    3. Personal

    Permanent Sacred Space

    This type of Sacred Space is usually formed on or near energy vortexes which  are concentrated points of psychic or soul energy put there by cosmic and natural forces of earth and sky, or through states of altered human awareness still resonating at the site. In Ireland Sacred Space if Newgrange, Cashel Aenghus, Duma of the Mound of Bones, Tailtin, Tara, Lough Gur, Knockaine, Ben Bulbin... To name only a few.

    The earth has always been held sacred and in earlier times thought of as
    Female because she receives the power of the sun, is animated thereby and made fertile. Porphyry states that the "physical earth is merely a symbol of the Earth as she really is." The orthodox view that survived into the middle ages from prehistoric times is expressed by the alchemist Basilius Valentinus: "The things, minerals included, draw their strength from the earth spirit. This Spirit is life, it is nourished by the stars, and it gives nourishment to all the living things it shelters in its womb. Through the spirit received from on high, the earth hatches the minerals in her womb as the mother her unborn Child."

    Ireland represents the "earth spirit" or the Spirit of the Land. She is known as a Goddess of many names, and according to the Annals or the mythological histories Ireland has always been named after a Goddess.
     
    The Milesian Bard, Amergin, swore a promise that Ireland would always be named after Eire, the fourth Faery Goddess of our Creation Myth. This legend, like so many others handed down to us, symbolizes an ancient and long enduring truth: that to endure upon Her land it is necessary to court the goodwill of the Faery.

    To Faery practitioners, Eire is the authentic Faery world. To visit the
    Emerald Isle is to have a transcendental experience. Standing upon such sacred space or holy ground one finds them touching a deep resonance of history and Her story, ageless and authentic. To thread the path of Faery is to walk on the Sacred landscape of Faery Goddess -- to hear her voice whisper in the winds of our minds, to feel her hot and silky touch in the pulsing of our hearts, to taste her fragrant saltiness in the juices of our bodies, to smell her rich and pungent odors in the recesses of our memories, to see her body spread before us. No matter where we stand to know her, as we know ourselves. As the Great Irish mystic tells us:

    So the lover of Earth obtains his reward, and little by little the veil is
    lifted of an inexhaustible beauty and majesty.... Earth may become on an
    instant all Faery to him, and earth and air resound with the music of its
    invisible people.

    In ancient times we know that nature and the landscape were of crucial
    importance; we see their intimate relationship between humanity and the natural world expressed over and over again in Irish mythology. The structure of the Old Faery Faith traditional system revolves around the ancient Sacred Centers Of Ireland, such as Tara or Newgrange, two of the more popular sites. At each of the ancient Sacred Centers we also find symbols of the Faery Goddess.

    Eire is symbolized in the Ail Na Muirenn or Rock of Divisions located at
    Usneach, where she represents `the whole of the land and its people´. Banba is represented by Slieve mna Ban, the highest point in the land known as Banba´s Crown. Emain Macha is the Sacred Center of Macha, and Knockaine is the Domain of the Munster Faery Goddess, Aine. This list is, indeed, lengthy and an entire volume could be dedicated to examining each of the Sacred Centers of Ireland with regards to its Faery Goddess association.
     What is most important to this current study is the recognition that even today such ancient centers retain associations with the old Faery Goddesses and are still named after the Tutelary Goddesses of the landscape and are considered to be permanent Sacred Space. The Holy Land of the Faery Faith is considered pure and sacred, and when one stands on the fertile and rich land of the Creation they can enter
    The Temples of the Sidhe, where time and space bend and creation becomes possible.

    Temporary Sacred Space
    This type of Sacred Space is that space designated as sacred within the
    Boundary of the cast Faery Ring. Casting such a circle or ring is part of almost every earth tradition. The casting of a circle, whether in a formal way or by acknowledging the earth boundary of our planet in Druidic fashion, is performed to create a sense of sacredness, designating the space which is being occupied as being removed or in-between the worlds: between the Plains and the Otherworlds, between every day living and the invisible realms of which we do not generally partake.

    By casting the Faery Ring we remove ourselves, mentally, physically, and
    spiritually from linear existence, placing our consciousness into the Great
    Circle which represents the natural cycles of living: birth, growth, decay, death and rebirth. The symbol of the circle boundary is to show that what is in the boundary is within the center of the universe, and what is without is part of the infinite which contains many things of both a positive and negative characteristic. Traditionally, the Faery Ring is cast on the earth,
    demonstrating an embrasure of all life-forms, while representing the equality of all life-forms. The people who gather within the Faery Ring may be a various degrees of traditional training but once inside the ring all are considered to be on the same level in the eyes of the Ancient Ones.

    The Faery Ring is divided into five fifths, just as Ireland of old: north,
    east, south, west, and center.
    The North or Ulster Province -- ancient function was Cath (battle).
     
    Lessons: to unleash your warrior spirit. The warrior
    spirit is that part of the personality which encourages the novice to walk the path of apprenticeship toward initiation. The warrior spirit represents inner strength, and is called into the realm of the living to enable a person to continue forward on their personal journey.

    The East Leinster Province -- ancient function was Blath (prosperity).

    Lesson: partnership with nature as in farming and gardening. The first battle the warrior spirit is borught face to face with is the attitude of
    anthroprocentrism. The natural world is revealed in the east through the light of Spirit.
    The warrior begins to see the partnership that exists between other life forms and the earth. The warrior begins to understand the hostile environment humans have created, which has resulted in an imbalanced eco-system: polluted resources, extinction of animal species, the unhealthy state of mother earth through the continual raping of her resources. Through this understanding of nature, the warrior spirit begins to honor and defend the planet and all relations, rather then continue to battle for man's foolish ego desire for world-domination.

    The South Munster Province -- ancient function was Seis (music).
     
    Lessons:
    Munster plays a peculiar role in the wider cosmology of the Faery Faith. The House of Donn and the world of the dead lie off the coast of West Munster. This is also the province of the aborigines of Ireland, who were believed to have been the progeny of Cessair, the Great Weaver Goddess. Munster is the primeval world, the place of origin. When the warrior spirit moves into the awareness of the South province, the understanding of balance is revealed . Not only has the warrior begn the balance on a planetary level but on an energy level. A partnership can be achieved between the feminine and the masculine, which introduces the warrior to their power, the power of the heart and the law of Love.

    The West Connacht Province -- ancient function was Fis (learning).
     
    Lesson: Eldership. Through the death of the old self, the warrior undergoes descension into the inner realm. As the hermit, they walk into the realm of the Mystic on a vision quest to receive the health and help required to walk their power in balanced beauty and strength. The elder begins to understand that in their occult (inner mysteries) Connacht and the powers beyond it are supreme; that here, the last is first.

    The Center Meath Province -- ancient function of King and Queenship.
     
    Lesson: the power of oneness and heart. To rest in this province requires the elder to have three essential attributes: justice, ictory; the power to give fruitfulness to the earth and health to humankind. All three attributes are derived from the ability to perpetually dwell within Truth:
    By truth great people are ruled.
    By truth great mortality is warded off.
    By truth great battles are driven off into the enemies' country.
    By truth every right prevails and every vessel is full.
    By truth fair weather comes in each fitting season, winter fine and frosty,
    spring dry and windy, summer warm with showers of rain, autumn with heavy dews and fruitful. For it is falsehood that brings perverse weather upon wicked people, and dries up the fruit of the earth.

    Idealistically, the above attributes teach about the nature of jealousy,
    fear and niggardliness. For jealous would be a fatal weakness in a judge, as would fear in a warrior, and greed in a farmer.
    If you were to draw the Faery Ring on a piece of paper it would be a circle
    divided in five parts... four corners with a diamond in the center, resembling the lattice archway of a portcullis, and the center the design of the lozenge: two of our mystic symbols. The portcullis: the doors that lead to the inner realm, used symbolically to prepare seekers for their journey into the faith. The willingness to pass through the threshold is the first step every Bhaird at one time took. This journey takes the seeker through progressive levels of experience, physical, mental, and spiritual, until the vortex at the center is reached. The Lozenge: is a symbol of fertility, and combined with the porticullis in the shape of the Great Circle represents the seekers birthing into a new level of existence, their immran.

    When the Faery Ring is cast, standing in the center places you within the
    great womb of the universe, where you await rebirth into new levels of
    consciousness. When standing in the center you can turn to each of the provinces, and gaze upon a threshold into that realm, a reminder that on the other side lies only one aspect of the Mystic. Standing in the center means standing in the Otherworld, the navel of the cosmos. In the cosmologies, the center is often an axis which extends from the Underworld to the Heavenly Realm, uniting the universe vertically as well as horizontally. In the center is found the hearth flame... or fire "altar" -- representing the sacrificial fire, the navel of the earth as well as the fire of the universe.

    The Face of the Fire Altar

    The true altar is the earth, and the face of the earth altar would be the
    physical world. Ceremony was quite often held outside in some remote area in an attempt to commune with the holiness of nature, thereby allowing a greater connection to the Ancient Ones. The Ancient Ones were known to have pulled away from the physical realm and melted into the other realms paralleling this dimension. The doorways into their realm was found only in the wildest places.

    Today, the altar can also act as the doorway to Faeryland.

    The modern altar has taken on new meaning. Every religion works with some type of altar upon which rests its sacred tools. Altars have become a focal point for meditation, the items adorning the altar representative of Spirit.
    These items are placed on the altar in an attempt to invoke into our lives the quality they represent or symbolize.
    Although the traditional Faery altar was a center flame or hearth-fire,
    today, in the modern practice of the Faery-Faith, a different form of altar has been created and put to use which is similar to most altars. Most commonly, it is a free-standing table with a flat surface made out of wood, but can also be a felled tree-trunk, dresser-top, book shelf, as well as a designated place on the ground. The Face of the Altar refers to the altar surface upon which is placed various items. The altar face is designed to look at us, conveying the expression produced by the various influences of the items adorning it.
    Simply put, the Face of the Altar is a mirror upon which we gaze to see the qualities of Spirit we wish to embody. While we have three different altar
    faces to work with, the one that you will be required to construct and work with during your First Year Bhairdic training is called the Mirror Altar. Keep your altar face simple. In doing so a better focus can be achieved on those areas of life that truly require transforming an d healing.

    Mirror Altar: The face of the Mirror Altar is laid-out with a horizontal
    division representing the term: As Above, So Below. Within each part of the horizontal division, a second division takes place turning the two halves into fourths.

    In the center of the altar face, at the borderline between the upper and
    lower horizontal division, a fifth division is created, bringing the face of the
    altar into the traditional five-fifths. The first focus of the altar face is
    in splitting it in half, creating an above and a below.

    Above: The Above half of the horizontal division is the realm of the Ancient Ones or Deity, the Heavenly Realm. The Above half is next divided into two halves: the top-half represents the Heavenly realm; the second-half represents the place where the Heavenly Realm and the Plains meet.

    The Top-half of Above: In this half, which is the Heavenly Realm, place
    images or symbols of Dana and the Dagda. There is no need to worry about which side of the Heavenly Realm you place Their images or symbols. Before each image or symbol place a single white candle in an appropriate holder; the flame is lit in honor of the Deity before which the candle is placed. When we work with Deities, it is important for us to understand the full nature or aspect the Deity represents. To the sides of the image or symbol of the Deity place votive offerings: small bundles containing food and other items the Deity is known to favor. If images of the Deity are not available, the white candle and votive offerings are sufficient representations.

    The Second-half of Above: This is the level where the Heavenly Realm meets the Plains. This is the surface of the earth, the realm inwhich humans dwell.
    This is the realm that we also look upon as being the Overworld to the
    Underworld. Place natural items that are deemed the physical-earthly
    representation, or incarnation, of the Deity placed in the Heavenly Realm, such as a rose to represent the law of Dana, a cauldron for Dagda, etc. However, this is an important point: place the natural object opposite the Deity. For example, if you have an image of Dana placed on the left-side of the Heavenly Realm, place her rose on the right-side in the Plains. Remember, this altar face mirrors
    to us. What this means is that where something is in the realm above or below another realm, then that something is mirrored back, reflecting the
    opposite. What is above, is now below, or what is below is now above. What is left, becomes right, and vice-versa.

    Below: The Below-half of the Mirror Altar is the realm of ego death,
    apprenticeship, the Elemental Fairy, the Ancestors, earthlight, Faery and the Underworld with its various plains. Like the Above-half, the Below-half is also divided in the following way: the lower-half, representing the place where the Plains and Underworld meet; the fourth-half, representing the Underworld and the stars inside the earth.

    The First-half of Below: This is the level of the warrior on her or his
    journey of apprenticeship. It is the place where the Over- and Underworlds come together . In the Faery Ring this is the place we refer to as being in-between the worlds when the Great Circle is cast. This is also the place of the Elemental Fairy, Ancestors, Faery, and other earth-spirits. Contact made with any of these is represented in this realm, and items or symbols that represent such beings are placed here. Also, items or symbols that represent change, release, ego death, and apprenticeship are included in this realm. These are the items that represent inner consciousness. For example, the Hermit and Death tarot cards work well in this realm, because the former card represents the warrior's willingness to journey into the unknown, while the latter card represents the warrior's desire to release and transmute energy into a higher vibration. Magickal tools, such as the Silver Branch, the four Talismans and the cup, are placed in this level, for each represents a different aspect of apprenticeship and the journey into the Underworld. Personal affirmations written out on paper, to transform areas of imbalance, or unhealthiness, can also be placed in the lower-half.

    The Second-half of Below: This is the Underworld and the stars inside the
    earth. This is also the place where the Underworld Deities and Ancient Ones dwell. Items that represent conscious and subconscious awareness, death and rebirth, transformation and regeneration are placed here. Sprouting seedlings, butterflies, and smiles are a few symbols that represent conscious transformation. However, it is better not to place images or symbols of the Underworld Deities and Ancient Ones on the altar; for they are moving deeper and deeper into and through matter, on into another realm of existence. I believe that to continually invoke or strive to represent them will create the doorway and opportunity for actual physical death. Communing with the Underworld Deities and Ancient Ones provides us with valuable tools to help our self-transformation, but unless we are ready to move completely into their realm and leave this
    physical realm completely behind, they are better left alone. Remember
    "Spirit deepens," and to follow the Underworld Deity means to continue to move down and away from the realms above.

    Center: This is the place of the Fire of Spirit. The hearth-fire candle is
    placed here and kept burning without interruption (only if it is safe to do
    so), representing the flame of life or the sacred fire of creation. Also,
    symbols of the heart can be placed here, for the heart is the center of our personal universe. This lay-out is used when the warrior is working with her and his Spiritual Benefactor for spirit deepening.

    Personal Sacred Space
    Just as altars are mobile, so is Temporary and Personal Sacred Space. They can go with us anywhere. Personal Sacred Space is within us, and can be entered at anytime, any place, without the usage of casting the Faery Ring.
    Personal Sacred Space is the Body Temple, the physical shell in which our spirit and soul is housed. In the Faery-Faith, the use of Personal Sacred Space is vitally important, especially when we journey into the Otherworld. In the Body-Mind-Soul Attunement section, direction is given to begin honoring your Body Temple. In Lesson 4 you will build your inner Spirit Temple.

    The Traditional History
    Unless one knows their tradition's origin,
    and has their roots firmly planted in this origin,
    one cannot successfully deepen their spirit.

    Whether one is of Irish ancestry or not, it is most likely there is a
    familiarity with the myths or tales based on an ancient race of beings known as the Faery. Most modern children grow up being read such tales before bedtime; tales in which miniature creatures with gossamer wings flit about, often creating havoc in their wake. And, if like me, more often then not, children still anxiously await the part in the story where the mischievous beings bestow some wonderful gift on their victims, thus demonstrating their magickal abilities.

    For the most part, children reach adulthood with a remembrance of the Faery, and if such an adult enters into the ever-deepening, ever-continuing world of the occult mysteries, they retain some belief in these creatures. What most of the fairy tales do not convey is that such tales are based on the mythology of ancient Ireland, in the days when it was known as Eire, and that the miniature creatures in these tales are remnants of a past race of people who dwelled in Ireland-the Tuatha De Danann. It was from this ancient race that the first religious tradition in Ireland developed. It was a Pagan tradition which came to be known as the oral Faery tradition; it was also an esoteric-Christian tradition, which flourished before the Roman Catholic Church began its crusade.
    There is not one Irish alive today who will deny knowing of the ancient
    Faery-Faith, whether they have personally had a brush with the Sidhe (shee) or not
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    RE:The Faerie Tradition
    (Date Posted:01/08/2009 04:39 AM)

    From this Faery-Faith comes the modern Tradition, which is a breathing,
    living tradition very much practiced; it is the shamanic tradition of a country, containing within it a wealth of Occult wisdom that ever deepens one's connection to Spirit. In this lesson, I provide a review of the traditional history of the Faery-Faith, the roots, or origin of our Faith, as based on the oral tradition of Ireland. This is the foundation from which the Bhairds of our tradition draw their magick.
    Often, students eagerly want the recipes, secrets, and rituals of a
    tradition to perform magick, bypassing those aspects of apprenticeship which truly create a solid foundation. Most of us are guilty of trying to pull the wool over the mass population's eyes when it comes to systems of ancient and traditional magick. What may not be realized is that often harm, in the way of empty magickal results, frustration, chaotic energy, and spiritual deprivation is, more often than not, the outcome of such short-cuts.
     If you are a serious student of esoterica, truly striving to deepen Spirit, then it is important to pay attention, observe, and learn before putting into practice the magick.
    And, so, let us now begin by looking at the origin of the Faery-Faith.

    The Four Cycles
    Medieval manuscripts provide us with four cycles of traditional Irish
    history. The four cycles are referred to as: the Mythological Cycle, the Ulster Cycle, the Fenian Cycle and the Historical Cycle. These four cycles provide a vital account of the waves of invasions which swept through the Irish country, as well as the development of the Celtic Pantheon, and the cultural influences that formed the basis of the Faery-Faith belief system. The purpose of knowing such information is to understand the ancient foundation of our Faith. In understanding the foundation of any tradition, one becomes not only educated, but also responsive toward the traditional practices. Below is a brief description of each of the four cycles.

    The Mythological Cycle is primarily based on the Tuatha De Danann (the tribe of Dana), from which the Faery Lineage is derived. Within this cycle an account of five waves of invaders are given, presenting three certain
    colonizations of Ireland, all of which were wrested through battle, and providing us with quaint glimpses of the ancient Irish ethics of war. The traditions of this cycle are synchronized with the main events in ancient world history; the fifth wave of invaders, the Milesians, are fixed at about 1000 BCE (before common era)-the time of Solomon. Many of the legends are based on the Tuatha De Danann, from which come the Ancient Ones, or gods (meaning both male and female) of the Irish Pantheon, abounding in tales of enchantments and transformations, and victory gained by superior knowledge and wizardry.Intelligence and
    magick are this cycle's distinctive features.

    The Ulster Cycle begins at the time of Christ, or the common era (C.E.). A
    reigning king, noted in ancient song and story, King Conchobar (Conor
    MacNessa) of Ulster, a powerful Ulster ruler who had become monarch of Ireland, residing at Emain Macha (Emania), founded the Rudrician line of Ulster kings. His memory is preserved in the tale of The Sons of Usnach, and in the greater tale of The Tain Bo Cualigne (The Cattle-raid of Coolr~ey). Emain Macha was the headquarters of the famed Knights of the Royal Branch (also referred to as the Knights of the Red Branch). Most of the tales are of the rivalry between the two northern provinces of Ulster and Connacht. In this cycle we have the appearance of the Amazonian Queen Medb (Maeve), daughter of Eocaid, the Ard-Righ (High King) of Ireland, who was the instigator of the great Connaught-Ulster war, and who became an immortal warrior-goddess.
     Another legend from this cycle revolves around Deirdre and the Sons of Usnach, which shows that King Conchobar, for all his kingliness, was sometimes no better than a king is supposed to be. The sorrows of Deirdre, as told in the story of The Sons of Usnach, is one of the Three Sorrows of Irish story-telling. The most notable character of this cycle was the foster-son of King Conchobar, Cu Chulainn. He was the greatest, the most belauded, and the most dazzling of all the heroes, of whose life and wondrous deeds hundreds of stories still exist. His legends abound with Amazonian war-goddesses who teach him the skills of battle: Emer,
    the most beautiful woman in Ireland who becomes his wife, the Morrigan, the great Irish war-goddess, and Fand, Faery Queen and wife of the Irish sea-god, Manannan mac Lir. The central group of characters in the tales that belong to this cycle are not wizards, like the tales found in the Mythological Cycle, but of warriors and war-goddesses who glory in their prowess and their unyielding endurance. Will-power, rather than intelligence, is the primary focus, as is fearless action in the face of terrifying odds that are celebrated.
    The world of heroism thus begins.
     As we begin to work with the Five-Fifths of the Great Circle, you will come to understand that the warrior attitude required in our Faith comes from this cycle. The Fenian Cycle is full of legends based on Finn mac Cumaill and his roving fiana (warbands). This cycle is also often described as the Ossianic Cycle because of the poems which belong to it that are attributed to Finn's son, Oisin or Ossian. Finn and his fiana served Cormac mac Airt, who was unquestionably considered greatest by the poets of all the ancient kings of Ireland.
    Cormac reigned in the third century, and when he resigned the High-Kingship he ended one of the most fruitful as well as illustrious reigns that ever blessed Ireland. "He was the greatest king that Ireland ever knew," says one of the old historians. "In power and eloquence, in the vigour and splendor of his reign, he had not his like before or since. In his reign no one needed to bolt the door, no one needed to guard the flock, nor was any one in all Ireland distressed for want of food or clothing. For of all Ireland this wise and just king made a beautiful land of promise." Three great literary works are, by various ancient authorities, ascribed to him in his retirement-Teagasc an Riogh (Instructions of a King), The Book of Acaill (a book of the principles of Criminal Law), and The Psaltair of Tara, which is no longer in existence, and is known only by the frequent references to it of ancient chronologists, genealogists, seanachies, and poets; such references prove that it was a rich mine of very ancient historic and genealogical information, and that it was regarded as the greatest and most reliable authority of the very early days. "It
    proves to a certainty that in the third century of the Christian Era, there was a considerable amount of literary culture in Ireland," contrary to the Roman
    Catholic Church belief that the Irish were unscholared.
    Cormac died in the year 267 C.E. more than a century-and-a-half before the coming of St. Patrick and the formal entrance of the Protestants.
    The tales of the Ossianic, or Fenian Cycle, are similar to those found in
    the Ulster Cycle. Most focus on heroic fighters, but two groups of stories
    differ in their characteristics. The first characteristic is that the fiana are
    "foot" soldiers who walk rather than ride in chariots like the Ulster heroes,
    and the second characteristic is the camaraderie which they display, the
    intense pleasure found in a life shared with members of one's own special group, which is a marked contrast to the harsh individualism and clamorous rivalry that characterizes so many of the Ulster stories. The fiana were soldiers in time of war, and a national police in time of peace. They prevented robberies, exacted fines and tributes, put down public enemies and every kind of evil that might afflict the country, and as this ancient poem declares:

    We were heart companions,
    We were companions in the woods
    We were fellows of the same bed,
    Where we used to sleep the balmy sleep.
    After mortal battles abroad,
    In countries many and far distant,
    Together we ussed to practice, and go
    Through each forest, learning with Scathach--.
    -The Tain Bo Cuailgne

    There is evidence from about the eleventh century that the Fenian tales were a part of popular traditions. Fianship was an honorable institution,
    recognized in the laws and considered essential to the welfare of the community. The Fenian Cycle also differs in form and temper as it comes into prominence in the period of the poetry of the troubadour, and parallels the Arthurian legends of Britain. This cycle's greatest story, The Pursuit of Diarmaid and Grainne tells of romance, while many other tales give expression to a delight in the sights and sounds familiar to those who live an outdoor life in the waste and the wild and the woods, as we've seen above in the ancient poem.

    For those seeking to enter this noble body, many and hard were the tests:
    No candidate was possible who had not mastered the twelve books of poetry.
    In a trench, the depth of the knee, the candidate, with a shield and hazel
    staff only, must protect himself from nine warriors, casting javelins at him
    from nine ridges away. Given the start of a single tree, in a thick wood, he has to escape unwounded from fleet pursuers. So skillful must he be in
    wood-running, and so agile, that in the flight no single braid of his hair is loosed by a hanging branch. His step must be so light that underfoot he breaks no withered branch. In his course he must bound over branches the height of his forehead, and stoop under others the height of his knee, without delaying, or leaving a trembling branch behind. Without pausing in his flight he must pick from his foot the thorn that it has taken up. In facing the greatest odds the weapon must not shake in his hand.

    When a candidate had passed the tests, and was approved as fit for this
    heroic band, there were four geasas, or restrictions, (vows of chivalry) laid
    upon him, as the final condition of his admission:
    He shall marry his wife without portion, choosing her for her manners and
    her virtues. He shall be gentle with all women. He shall never reserve to
    himself anything which another person stands in need of. He shall stand and fight to all odds, as far as nine to one.

    Hard though they seemed, such accomplishment guaranteed an ensuing life of beauteous adventure and recompensation an hundred-fold, as described in this ancient song:

    I feasted in the hall of Fionn,
    And at each banquet there I saw
    A thousand rich cups on his board,
    Whose rims were bound with purest gold.
    And twelve great 6uildings once stood there,
    The dwellings of those mighty hosts,
    Ruled by Tadg's daughter's warlike son,
    At Alma of the noble Fian.

    And constantly there burned twelve fires,
    Within each princely house of these,
    And round each flaming hearth there sat
    A hundred warriors of the Fian.

    -17th Century song
    The Agallam na Seanorach (the Colloquy of the Ancients) is by far the finest collection of Fenian tales; it is an account of the fiana's great doings, given to St. Patrick by Oisin and Caoilte, more than 150 years after their
    time. Unlike the Mythological Cycle, which features intelligence and knowledge, or the Ulster Cycle, focusing on will-power, the distinctive quality of the Fenian Cycle is that of human warmth o~f feelin~ It is this element-human warmth of feeling-that is connected to all Faery ceremony and ritual.

    The Historical Cycle is a miscellaneous group of stories centered on various high kings of Ireland and on a number of provincial or lesser kings. The tales in this cycle are ascribed dates ranging from the third century to the eighth century. The renowned kings who figure prominently in these cycles are:

    Conaire Mor to Conn of the Hundred Battles, Niall of the Nine Hostages, and the Domnall, son of Aed. Niall of the Nine hostages was the greatest king that Ireland knew between the time of Cormac MacArt and the coming of Patrick. His reign was epochal. He not only ruled Ireland greatly and strongly, but carried the name and the fame, and the power and the fear, of Ireland into all neighboring nations. He was founder of the longest, most important, and most powerful Irish dynasty.
     Almost without interruption, his descendants were Ard-Righs of Ireland for 600 years. Under him the spirit of pagan Ireland upleaped in its last great red flame of military glory, a flame that, in another generation, was to be superseded by a great white flame, far less fierce but far more powerful, and one which was to shed its light far, far beyond the bounds of neighboring nations, to the uttermost bounds of Europe. That is the great flame that Patrick was to kindle, and which was to expand and grow, ever mounting higher and spreading farther, year by year, for three hundred years.
    This cycle is also known as the Cycles of the Kings, and its tales are less
    magical than the Mythological Cycle, less heroic than the Ulster Cycle, and less romantic than the Fenian Cycle. The extensive group of tales found in this cycle are not only about kings, but about kingship, the founding of dynasties, dynastic succession, and the fortunes of the royal houses of Ireland and her provinces. The tales focus on the nature of kingship as being a marriage between the king and the realm; the country is a woman, spouse of the king, and before her marriage she is described as a hag. Once united with the king, her countenance becomes that of a goddess.

    The Fives Waves of Invasions

    In the Faery-Faith Tradition the primary myths focused upon are drawn
    heavily from the Mythological Cycle, primarily those of the Tuatha De Danann. The Mythological Cycle is also the genesis of the Irish gods and goddesses. The Faery-Faith was birthed during the golden age of theTuatha De Danann, and from their magickal abilities comes the foundation for all ritual and ceremony within the modern tradition.
     Most importantly, within the Mythological Cycle are found the legends of five waves of invasions known as: Partholan, Neimheadh, Fir Bolg, Tuatha De Danann, and Milesian.
    The importance of containing this information is the connection to the source of the Faery-Faith, as well as the foundation of all Irishgenealogies. This information, in essence, provides the origin of the tradition.

    There are conflicting stories regarding many aspects of the five waves of
    invasions. The Mythological Cycle was simply retained orally, and not
    completely written down until about 1100 C.E. Furthermore, the tales were not recorded by those of the Faery-Faith, but rather by the Monastic chroniclers in medieval times of the newly established Catholic Church in Ireland. However, some chroniclers, though they were churchmen, were not monastics. For that reason, many of the events may have been altered in accordance with the clergies' religious doctrines. It is continually noted by scholars, however, that the clergy who did indeed record the tales wrote them in such a manner as to suggest their belief in the characters of Tuatha De Danann as being ancient gods, and thus ascribing them as a true mystical race that came from the stars.
     Below is a brief historical account of the five waves of invaders taken from several ancient manuscripts.

    Partholan was the name of the first group of invader's respective leader. He fled his country after having killed his mother and father, and his
    descendants settled in an area between what is now called Tallaght and Howth, near Dublin. They remained in Ireland only some thirty-odd years before all eventually perished in a plague.

    Neirnheadh is the name of the leader of the second group of invaders, who came from Scythia. His people were terribly harassed by fleets of pirates called Fomorians, or sea-robbers, out of Africa, who descended upon the north coast, and endeavored to subdue the new settlers. Neimheahd died in Ireland, but his people, after suffering great tribulations, ultimately abandoned the country. They dispersed in three groups, two of which were the ancestors of the people to next occupy Ireland.

    Fir Bolg (Fir means men) was the third wave to come, 217 years after the
    Neimheahdians fled. This third group of invaders were escaped slaves from Greece who settled into Ireland, creating an agricultural community. The Fir Bolgs are the beginning of the country's recorded history. They were a pastoral people, creating raths and earthen-mounds in which they buried their dead without cremation. They had laws and social institutions, and established a monarchical government at the far-famed Hill of Tara. They had three leaders who partitioned the kingdom into five provinces, and became known as three tribes:

    Fir Domhnann, Fir Gaileon, and Fir Bolg. They lived in Ireland for thirty-six
    years before the fourth wave of invaders, the Tuatha De Danann, arrived. The Fir Bolgs were defeated by the De Danann in the First Battle of Mag Tuired. They fled to the islands of Islay, Arran, Man, and Rathlin. They returned as a subordinate people to Ireland about the beginning of the Christian era.
    However, there are tales which indicate the First Battle of Mag Tuired was fought between the two peoples and ended in a compact of peace, goodwill, and friendship.

    Tuatha De Danann are the chief characters of the Mythological Cycle, and are considered the fourth wave of invaders. They are known as a people of magic wonders, learned in all the arts, and supreme masters of wizardry. Before coming to Ireland they are believed to have sojourned in the northern islands of the world, where they acquired their incomparable esoteric knowledge, and from where they brought with them four talismans: the Great Fal-the person under whom this stone shrieked was king of Ireland; the Spear of Lugh-no victory
    could be won against it, nor against him who had it in his hand; the Sword of Nuada-no one escaped from it when it was drawn from its scabbard; and the Cauldron of the Dagda, from which no company would go away unsatisfied. All the other groups reached Ireland by ship, but the De Danann where said to have come in dark clouds through the air and alighted on a mountain of Conmaicne Rein, and "for three days they cast a darkness over the face of the sun." They were described as being the most handsome and delightful company, the fairest of form, the most distinguished in their equipment and apparel, and their skill in music and playing, the most gifted in mind and temperament that ever came to Ireland, as well as the company that was bravest and inspired the most
    horror, fear, and dread. They were the "peoples of the world in their
    proficiency in every art." In the Book ofthe Dun Cow (written about 1100 C.E.), it is said that the learned did not know from where Tuatha De Danann had come, but that "it seems likely to them that they came from heaven on account of their intelligence and for the excellence of their knowledge," and it was noted that they were worshiped as gods.

    The Goddess Dana was the Great Mother of the Celtic gods and hence all people, and several of her people were individually described as gods. Dagda, the good god, also called Aed, fire; Eochaid Ollathair, the all-father; Ruad Rofessa, the Lord of Great Knowledge, also described as the god of druidism or draidecht (magic); Brigid, the daughter of the Dagda, who is a poetess, a healer, and a goddess of smithwork; Dian Cecht, the sage of leechcraft, as well as the god of health; Neit, the god of battle; Manannan mac Lir, a renowned trader who dwelt in the Isle of Man, who was called the god of the sea; Badb, the goddess of war; Nuada, the king of Tuatha De Danann when they came to Ireland; and, Lugh, the son of a De Danann and a Formorian, who battled and won against the Fomorians in favor of the De Danann.
    The First Battle of Mag Tuired was fought between the De Danann and Fir Bolg for occupation of Ireland. It was in this battle that Nuada lost his arm and was no longer suitable for king. The kingship was given to his adopted son, Bres, or Eochaid the Handsome, son of Elatha, who was the son of Delbaeth, King of the Fomore, and his mother, Eriu, daughter of Delbaeth, a De Danann.
    The Second Battle of Mag Tuired is the subject of one of the greatest stories of the Mythological Cycle, for the adversaries of the De Danann in this battle were the Fomorians, the only beings comparable in mystery and magick to the De Danann themselves. However, before coming to Ireland, the De Danann made an alliance with the Fomore, and Ethniu, daughter of the Fomorian king, was given in marriage to Cian, son of Dian Cecht, a De Danann. From this marriage, Lugh was born. The Fomorians had made themselves known in the time of Partholan in a "magic battle," and to Neimheadh, who defeated and slew two kings of the Fomorians, and later again defeated the Fomorians in three battles.
    However, after his death, his progeny suffered oppression at the hands of these same enemies under Morc and Conand. When the Fomorians arrived in Ireland during the De Danann occupation, they were led by Cichol Gricenchos son of Goll (One-eye) and Garb (Rough). They arrived on the shores of Ireland in four ships, each containing a company comprised of fifty men and thrice fifty women.
    The Tuatha De Danann prepared seven years for battle, and in the end won when Lugh cut off the head of Balor, the king of the Fomorians. The Fomorians were never allowed to settle in Ireland. The Dagda, who reigned just before the coming of the Milesian, was the greatest of the De Danann. He was styled Lord of Knowledge and Sun of all the Sciences. The Dagda was a great and beneficent ruler for eighty years.

    The Milesian are the Celts, and wheresoever they came, had, before the dawn of history, subjugated the German people and established themselves in Central Europe. At about 1000 B.C.E, a great Celtic wave, breaking westward over the Rhine, penetrated into England, Scotland, and Ireland. Subsequently, a wave swept over the Pyrenees into the Spanish Peninsula.

    They came from a land beyond the sea,
    And now o'er the western main
    Set sail in their good ships, gallantly,
    From the sunny lands of Spain.
    "Oh, where's the isle we've seen in dreams,
    Our destin'd home or grave?"
    Thus sang they, as by the morning beams,
    They swept the Atlantic wave.
    And lo, where afar o'er ocean shines
    A sparkle of radiant green,
    As though in that deep lay emerald mines
    Whose light through the wave was seen,
    'Tis Inisfail-'tis Inisfail!
    Rings o'er the echoing sea;
    While, bending to heaven, the warriors hail
    That home of the brave and free.
    Then turned they unto the Eastern wave
    Where now their Day-God's eye
    A look of such sunny omen gave
    As lighted up sea and sky.
    No frown was seen through sky or sea,
    Nor tear o'er leaf or sod,
    When first on their Isle of Destiny
    Our great forefathers trod.
    -The Coming of the Milesians
    By Thomas Moore, 1879

    They were the fifth wave of invaders (often referred to as the Sons of Mil)
    to wash into Ireland, and who put an end to the supreme reign of the De
    Danann. Their leader was Miled, or Milesius, whose wife was a Pharaoh's daughter named Scota. Miled's uncle, Ith, was first sent into Ireland, to bring them report upon it, but the De Danann, suspecting the purpose of his mission, killed Ith. Miled, having died in Spain, his eight sons, with their mother, Scota, their families and followers, at length set out on their venturous voyage to their Isle of Destiny. In a dreadful storm that the wizard De Danann raised up against them, when they attempted to land in Ireland, five of the sons of Mil, with great numbers of their followers, were lost. Their fleet was dispersed and it seemed for a time as if none of them would ever enjoy the Isle of Destiny. Eventually they made land. Eber, with the survivors of his following, landed at Inver Sceni, in Bantry Bay. Afterwards, they defeated a De Danann host under Queen Eire, but lost their own Queen Scota in the battle. Eremon, with his people, landed at Inver Colpa, the mouth of the Boyne, and when Eremon and Eber joined their forces in Meath, went against the De Danann in battle at Taillte. The three kings and the three queens of the De Danann were slain, many others also killed, and the remainder dispersed.
     In the ancient Book of Leinster, Taillte was reported as left to Amergin, the Milesian poet and judge, to divide Eire between the two races, and that he shrewdly did so with technical justice, giving all above ground to his own people, and all underground to the De Danann.
    However, the De Danann great immortal, Manannan mac Lir, at Brugh of the Boyne, assembled their host, and through council it was agreed that they should distribute themselves in their Spirit land. It was then that Tuatha De Danann went into hills and sidbrugaib (Faery regions), so that sida (faeries) under ground were subject to them, and were rarely seen again, and where they have, ever since, enioved never-ending bliss. The descendants of the Milesian generally have an O or a Mac before their surname.

    When we dwell upon the nature of the above material, connecting it as the
    stuff folk-tales and "fairy" tales are made of, we realize that there is no use
    chasing the Faery with the techniques and disciplines of science and
    scholarship, if we lack a sense of wonder and humility of Spirit in these matters.
    "Fairy" tales certainly throw light on the origins and beliefs of our long
    past ancestors, but far more important they communicate a mood and an atmosphere concerned with intuition. The FaeryFaith, in essence, opens the door to religious awareness. The Faery-Faith is inseparably connected with that same area of human consciousness that has to do with religious experience, with metaphysical insight. It is concerned with a greater reality beyond the everyday world of human frailty and limitations.
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