A friend and teacher (though she may not know that) asked me to read a book and review it on my blog. I agreed at once because I love books and the subject of this one is near to my heart these days—engagement with the Unseen as goddesses/Divines and as land spirits. As my spiritual practice simplifies and deepens, I find these two sources of wisdom to be of profound interest to me. And this book was about the union of those two things in the spiritual system called Feraferia. I had heard of it before but only knew a little about this “faerie faith.” Yum—two of my favorite things: learning something new and reading a book. Win-win.
And it was. I sat down with my electronic copy of the book– Celebrate Wildness: Magic, Mirth and Love on the Feraferia Path by Jo Carson—and first I read the Introduction and then I went through the whole document, looking at the pictures which are by the now-deceased founder of the movement, Fred Adams. Then I went back for this, which you may find helpful in understanding what this book and Feraferia are all about–“Feraferia, a Statement of Purpose—by Fred Adams, 1967 The paradisal fellowship of Feraferia promotes the loving celebration of wilderness mysteries with grace and faerie feeling. Our goal is the unification of ecology, artistry, mythology, and liturgy. In such love-play-work humanity may achieve reunion with Great Nature, ourselves, and our own souls, before and after the transition called death. The Feraferian vision includes new inspirations and new combinations from the most ancient wellsprings of the Goddess and her realm of the Gods. They remain our guarantors of universal consciousness and eternity for each unique soul.” Doesn’t that sound remarkably sweet, given the state of the world today?
And the central Divine Figure seems to be Kore, who may be familiar to you from the Kore/Persephone/Demeter myth cycle. Lady Svetlana, who is the co-founder of the movement (she was Adams’ domestic partner), describes it— “Kore has many forms, and Feraferia loves and celebrates her as both the ineffable center of the universe (Arretos Koura), and also as the glorious Goddess of Earth, Gaia.”
The book consists of many small essays about various aspects of both practice and thealogy, interspersed with charming drawings. I really like the making of the “faerie ring henge” essay which has the immensely practical set of instructions about jabbing a stick into the middle of where you want your circle, tie a string to it and walk in a circle to mark the circumference. I’m a simple country woman, as you know, and this appealed to my sense of ease and rightness.
And this brought me a chill. I knew I’d adapt it for my own uses and I suspect many of you will, too– “A Goddess Prayer to Restore Any Place in Which You Find Yourself to Its Original Wild Harmony With your finger or a natural object such as a twig, trace an equal-armed cross over the ground… Then trace an upward expanding spiral from the center of the cross. When you have finished raising the spiral expanding from center, intone the following: “I (we) return this place to the Earth, Earth to Earth in sovereign Queendom of Earth. May the Goddess dwell here in the fullness and majesty of her being and radiate her timeless memory of love into every heart for the benefit of all beings. Ho! So be it!”
It’s like cutting the loaf of soda bread to let the faeries out—I love it. I may have to lose the word “Queendom,” however, peasant that I am.
I find some of the ideas in this book a little dated—or do I mean they seem too idealistic in the current age of the modern Pagan movement? We are terribly jaded now and tend to look askance at idealism in any form. So I recommend this book because it may give you a breath of fresh inspiration about what is possible when you live in harmony.
I feel sure that, after this review, members of the national Pagan community will let me know all the flaws in the Feraferia community and how it can’t “really work.” But who wouldn’t love the “Phytala”—the symbol of the faith—a plant mandala or the idea of Goddess as Merry Maiden? Or this– “The images and feeling tones of faerie faith provide patterns for how to live on earth. The Fay…are a model for living intimately with nature rather than dominating it.” And couldn’t we all use a pathway for achieving that?
Author Jo Carson did a film about Feraferia. “Dancing With Gaia; Connecting With Earth Energy, Sacred Sexuality and the Goddess” premiered at the Fairfax Documentary Film Festival in April 2009. It is available at dancingwithgaia.com. Learn more about Feraferia at feraferia.org
In a world gone cold and dark with the transition and collapse of these old and toxic systems, this book will remind you of what we once were and what we could be again.
Details—as always, I recommend you contact your local indie bookseller first and ask them to order it, if they don’t stock it. Walk your talk, friends. Celebrate Wildness: Magic, Mirth and Love on the Feraferia Path by Jo Carson Art by Fred Adams Foreword by Carroll ‘Poke’ Funyon Photography by Jo Carson Publisher–Natural Motion Pictures ISBN 978-09916470-1-9