Alley Valkyrie and The Magic of Activism

The (in)famous occultist Aleister Crowley once explained his theory on magic, “Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will,” by noting that the act of writing a book was a magic(k)al act. “It is my Will to inform the World of certain facts within my knowledge. I therefore take “magickal weapons”, pen, ink, and paper; I write “incantations” — these sentences — in the “magickal language” ie, that which is understood by the people I wish to instruct; I call forth “spirits”, such as printers, publishers, booksellers and so forth and constrain them to convey my message to those people. The composition and distribution of this book is thus an act of Magick by which I cause Changes to take place in conformity with my Will.” This has always been the definition of magic I’ve preferred when explaining its practice within modern Pagan religions to the uninitiated. These are exercises of our Will, we see our actions in this world as magical acts that create changes around us.

When Schism Happens to Pagans

The Feri Tradition of Witchcraft (aka Anderson Feri), while a relatively small grouping within modern Paganism, has had an immense impact on our movement through its initiates. Starhawk is a Feri initiate, and many of the individuals that would form the nucleus of the Reclaiming tradition were also initiates. In turn, many of those Reclaiming/Feri initiates (Aline O’Brien, Anne Hill, Deborah Oak Cooper) would go on to hold prominent positions within our interconnected communities. Bard, activist, and Feri initiate Gwydion Pendderwen had a pivotal role in developing the idea of a “Pagan music” in the United States, and his shadow still looms large over many modern Pagan musicians. Over the years Feri initiates have played a role in several achievements and milestones within modern Paganism (the founding of COG, for instance), and in many instances have cross-pollinated with other Pagan traditions, creating new paths as a result.

Today, Feri is more visible than it has ever been.

Pagan Community Notes: The Sundering of Feri, DC Community Center, Health Care Reform Survey, and more!

Pagan Community Notes is a companion to my usual Pagan News of Note, a series more focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. I want to reinforce the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So lets get started! A Split in the Feri Tradition?

Cora Anderson 1915 – 2008

Cora Anderson, a co-founder with Victor Anderson of what is now known of as the Feri Tradition, passed on this morning at the age of 93. Cora Anderson was known as a Grand Master of the Feri Faith, a prolific writer, and was a key influence in the lives of several prominent Pagans and Witches.Cora Anderson, matriarch of the Feri tradition.”In Initiation, you literally marry the Goddess, her dual consort and the Gods, whether you are male or female… Always remember that the person you love as life companion or in passing is your son, brother and lover, and should be treated with love and respect as yourself and other half.” – Cora Anderson, “Fifty Years in the Feri Tradition”Among her students were groundbreaking Pagan musician Gwydion Pendderwen, activist and Reclaiming co-founder Starhawk, author, artist, and teacher T. Thorn Coyle, and current Feri Grand Master Anaar, among many others.”It is Walpurgisnacht and my teacher is dying. There is a bale fire in my heart.

(Pagan) News of Note

My semi-regular round-up of articles, essays, and opinions of note for discerning Pagans and Heathens.Yesterday was the Chinese New Year (the year of the Rat), and April Rabkin of Slate.com details how China’s Communist government has worked over the years to eliminate Taoist and indigenous religious traditions associated with the holiday.”Perhaps the most significant blow to Chinese New Year was the government’s decision to forbid the annual burning of the Kitchen God, whose paper effigy hung above the stove … for more than 50 years, the Kitchen God’s effigy has been censored material. While low-ranking gods like the Lords of the Door, who guard courtyard gates and inner doorways, were more tolerated, the Kitchen God was not. In the more traditional countryside, peasants evaded censors by printing the Kitchen God at home on crude wooden blocks. But many young Beijingers I recently asked had never heard of the Kitchen God.