Wicca 101 /
Wiccan Classes / Faerie Tradition
and The 3rd Road
The college I attended had two campuses, separated by a forest. I often
had to walk through those woods at night, and the path was not lit. I
was terrified: I believed the Faerie Folk lived in that woods, so I
would run as quickly as I could, thinking they wanted to abduct me, and
treat me cruelly.
Little did I know that the Fey Folk are a kind race. The Faeries in
those woods must have been calling me, and I feared the call because I
knew no better. But later I completed a rigorous and rare seven-year
training with Victor Anderson, to become a Celtic shaman, by being
adopted into Victorıs family which had kept the old ways -- also called
Faerie Tradition -- intact.
Everything I say about Wicca or magic in this essay is specific to
Faerie Tradition, which bears little resemblance to most of the Wicca
in the United States. As a mater of fact, ANYTHING I say in this essay,
PERIOD, is about my tradition, and is specific to the particular branch
of Faerie I was taught, and/or to the branch of Faerie that I
Most other Wiccan traditions are based on human magic. Faerie
Tradition, by contrast, has been lightly touched by the Fey folk both
spiritually and magically. Still, "Faerie Tradition" is something of a
misnomer, a contemporary name for something that was once nameless. The
magic a Faerie Tradition witch practices is still very human, and is
Fey only to lesser or greater degrees depending upon one's personal
inclination and teacher. In my teachings, I rarely talk directly about
the Little People, though their morals and magic are woven throughout
my teachings. The Faerie magic must be subtle or it becomes a parody of
Much of the Wicca in the United States is an outgrowth of the
Gardnerian tradition of Wicca, founded in the early 1900s. Gardnerian
magic combines British folk magic with ceremonial magic possibly
brought to the British Isles from the Near East by the Knights Templar.
Another source of American Wicca is the feminist movement. Goddess
worship, with its' pro-active magical spells, is a natural expression
of feminist spirituality. However, feminist spirituality adapts Wicca
to implement a political framework, rather than viewing shamanism as a
valid spiritual path and empowerment unto itself. There are also
branches of shamanism that are essentially ritualized forms of
In contrast, Faerie Tradition is the witchcraft once practiced by the
village shaman, and has been passed down from generation to generation
within families. So while it is inherently feminist and builds
psychological health, it's origins are far older and distinct from
those two twentieth century developments, and it is a process and
paradigm until itself.
Faerie Tradition is the only Wiccan tradition whose primary goal is
deep inner transformation through the religion and science of Wicca.
The student -- man or woman -- can do rituals to remove the things
inside themselves that block them from prosperity, peace of mind,
romance, and happiness. They also can do rituals to achieve internal
sense of self. A methodical step-by-step approach not only opens the
novice to profound personal change,but is a means of achieving
shamanism as an actual spiritual lifestyle. The training in the family
took seven years, and was so intensive that, like a college student, a
Faerie student might be working on the training full-time.
Faerie Tradition celebrates passion, sexuality, and unique
individuality. In the ten years I have taught Faerie Tradition,
innumerable students have confided in me: "For the first time ever I
feel I have permission to... ." It might have been permission to quit
an unsatisfying job, enjoy sex, write poetry, be themselves, stand up
to an overbearing parent, travel to Europe, come out of the closet or
any number of other things. It doesn't matter what the permission was
for; the point is that my students feel they can be fully themselves
and live the life they yearn for, sometimes after only one lesson .
Faerie Tradition witches have a loving and compassionate Goddess and
God, who embrace all humankind as their children, and offer us vitality
as their sacred gift. In contrast to some religions that teach us to be
ashamed of ourselves and our desires, Faerie Tradition helps you
achieve self love and personal goals, and find joy in living.
Faerie Tradition stresses practical application and improving one's
daily lives. The more one uses the tradition for internal growth -- as
one learns to do in Faerie Tradition's training -- the more one will
clear the way for abundance to manifest on the physical plane. Faerie
Tradition also emphasizes using spells to acquire the "good things in
life": fun, romance, cars, good food, and other material possessions.
Faerie Tradition is predominantly a "doing" tradition, its training a
hands-on learning instead of much theory. The ability to parrot a
teacher's innovative theory reflects only "head" knowledge; Fey
knowledge is embodied knowledge. It is a fairly modern assumption
prevalent in academia that to talk about something is the same as being
able to do it. While theory is important, Faerie is basically
understood through hands-on learning: doing ritual and opening one's
self to the teacher's fanciful lecturing which consists of story or
anecdote, images, and the like.
Faerie Tradition is not taught in a linear process. I even have
misgivings about writing an essay such as this because, in a sense,
when one writes essay style about the tradition, one tells lies. Faerie
method of instruction is a complex weave which make Faerie shamans a
little puzzling to their students at first. Yet it is also why their
trainings are so effective: there is a deep holistic logic involved. A
Faerie teacher's weavings might seem like a digression or unusual
sequence of topics but are in fact part of a complex, non-linear dance.
If a student listens not just with the head, but with the heart,
intuition, gut feelings, and anything else he or she wants to bring
into the mix, they will get the picture. Faerie students brings their
whole being to the experience so can dance with the teacher, the Gods,
and the cosmos!
Having your whole being involved is an essential goal of Faerie
Tradition. A goal of its training is that one does rituals, and lives
one's daily life, with one's fullest passion and love, with all parts
of one's self brought into every situation of the day. It is a way of
life. Instead, the contemporary person tends to do things with only
part of themselves. A jogger runs, mind a million miles away at a
business meeting that happened yesterday. A devoted lover is cut off
from emotions so can't be intimate with their partner during sex.
For all its emphasis on ecstasy, Faerie Tradition. is very disciplined.
Another term for "spiritual practices' might be "discipline." We do
something over and over until we get good at it, like athletes practice
for their games. For people who are looking for an alternative to the
harsh, restrictive religions they were raised with, "discipline' can be
a scary word. And no wonder: discipline is often abused in this
culture, used as a tool to destroy a person's individuality and
passion. Yet true discipline give us freedom: dancers know that if they
do the necessary stretches first, they can dance joyfully, without
restraint. Just so, the discipline of Faerie Tradition can be the key
to true personal freedom and joy.
According to Faerie Tradition, the material world is a sacred gift, and
the ethical pursuit of bounty and pleasure honors that gift. The
Goddess is very down to earth! Love and sex -- ecstasy -- are at the
heart of Faerie Tradition. Our tradition explores the sexual Mysteries
of the Old Religion, and the Faerie Tradition training helps a student
achieve healthy romance and sexuality through a step-by-step approach.
Witches are concerned with getting concrete results!
A unique aspect of Faerie Tradition is that it honors both the Goddess
and the God without elevating gender stereotypes into a sacred
Practical Faerie Tradition also refrains from insisting one cast a
magic circle before doing any magic. If I am to use magic as did the
village witch -- as a natural part of my day, throughout my day, while
getting my dishes washed -- I can't cast a circle for every bit of
magic I do.
Faerie Tradition emphasizes personal purity as a primary, regular, and
ongoing practice. Crystals, ritual cups, and incense are not only
worthless but dangerous unless the primary tool -- one's self -- is
fit. Any spell we cast out into the universe first travels through our
own beings, and whoever we are shapes that spell. Magic is like any
work of art: the artist's character is indelibly printed on the art. So
it is with a spell: if you are not fit neither will the spell be.
Purification work is also an essential part of Faerie Tradition's
approach to inner growth.
Finally, while other Wiccan traditions tend to focus on the excellent
magic of human camaraderie and celebration, Faerie Tradition is more
geared toward technical skill with psychic matters, and dealing with
magical power in a direct way. Being Fey touched, and a more primal
form of witchcraft, we tap into a wilder power. So more magical
training is the custom.
As word of the power inherent in Faerie Tradition has spread,
increasing numbers of people have wished to study the tradition. I
became worried. The Faerie training I was given is not only challenging
but dangerous. It is suitable only for people with a certain
temperament and psychic makeup, and requires careful, personalized,
guidance from a qualified teacher. For example, a student not
appropriate to the training could enter into realms of spirit that
might leave their mind unhinged. And some of the training rituals are
geared towards emotional shifts in the psyche that most people are
better off not experiencing. Faerie Tradition offers a drastic
training, appropriate only to the desperate seeker who can gain the
healing and power he or she needs in no other way. Therefore, I
approached Victor Anderson with an idea for a novel way of teaching
Faerie Tradition that would be safe and suitable for the public. I
wanted to focus on what the average person of ancient times learned how
to do: live close to the earth; work with magic in a simple, practical
way; and apply the mystic to the everyday. My new system would offer
the benefits of Faerie Tradition I have listed thus far. I would
include rituals Victor had taught me and traditional teaching modes in
a system touched by the Fey Folk and as traditional as always.
The system would incorporate a new body of liturgy, new spells and a
new system of working with energy in order to do magic, woven with
carefully constructed theological and cosmological paradigms
appropriate to that magic. These parts would make up a whole that
approached Wicca differently from anything I had seen: it would be a
recreation of an ancient practice. Everything new in the system was on
some level old. With Victor as my consultant, I created a curriculum.
I called my curriculum "The Third Road," because instead of the
"either/or" answers offered by most religions, I teach a dialectic
between so-called opposites. Below is a list I have used for years to
teach that dialectic. Without in depth lecture, the chart might be a
bit obscure or misleading, but I include it in the hopes that it gets a
basic idea across. 1. imminence / transcendence; 2. Self as Deity who
is all powerful / release of unhealthy identification with God &
omnipotence; 3. self-gratification / sacrifice of self; 4. ego building
/ ego reduction; 5. self-determined goals / surrender 6. ecstasy and
fertility /lessons and growth; 7. development of self / selflessness;
8. "I am the power, the honor and glory" / "of myself I am nothing"; 9.
As I will so mote be it / God, Your will not mine be done; 10.
development and use of will / willingness 11. inner authority / outer
authority 12. Rightfully blaming the perpetrator, oppressor, etc. /
Self analysis as to one's own part in the problem
So, for instance, I tell students that discipline is a key to personal
freedom. And insist mysticism can be practical: good magic gets your
house cleaned! I also teach that, while it is difficult to maintain a
dialectic between self-respect and ego reduction, this odd counter
pointing makes the Fey path safe. Another example is that Faerie
training supports your personal freedom while helping you develop your
own integrity and ethics. And one of Faerie Tradition's most precious
gifts is that it teaches how to develop one's full personal potential
while honoring society.
And I insist that though the shamanic journey is an ecstatic path,
ecstatic is not the same as sloppy, undisciplined or unethical. For
example, one of my students complained about a huge purification
assignment regarding an ethical dilemma she was in. Yet she did the
purification work I told her to do, and the next day she had a
spontaneous orgasm while hearing an opera. She later told me the
purification cleared the way for that experience!
Questions I ask my students include: What are the pitfalls of an
ecstatic spirituality? How does a seeker strive toward lavish
satisfactions sexually and materially, without becoming trapped by
illusions, pseudo-lusts, and addictions? Travelers of The Third Road
can dance with wild magic because we are so disciplined that we do not
lose our footing. A dialectic between so-called opposites is the way of
the Fey Folk who have touched The Third Road.
As mentioned earlier, purification work is emphasized in the tradition.
Purification work demands self examination. I want to quote a story I
wrote to give a sense of this self examination. In the story, one of
the Fey Folk is teaching a human how to do magic: "...your
self-examination will not be that of a simpering cleric or brow-beaten
wife, no ethical browbeating, no looking into self to see where you
fail at goals you are given no means to achieve. You will see what
inside yourself keeps you from your own innate loving goodness, that
morality in each of us that is only lacking when we are ill in spirit.
"You will be shown how to heal your spirit so that you can be true to
that ethic. You will learn why you fail a moral code, and be healed
gently and lovingly so that the code is not an abstract measure whereby
you are punished..." A fortune teller once told me that my work during
this lifetime is to bring the Faerie magic to the human race. She told
me of a lifetime long ago when I was a half-breed: half human, half
magical being. I was shocked that with little knowledge of me or of
paganism she had given me such accurate information. Unknown to her,
when I was given that psychic reading, I was celebrating my five-year
anniversary of teaching The Third Road. It has now been ten years.
The God, Dagda, drew a veil between humans and the Fey folk because
their destinies were to be no longer intertwined. The Goddess has
charged me to help bring the Fey magic back through that veil, so that
we as humans can be renewed with the starry eyed mysticism of the
"little people", the passion and wisdom of the poet in love with the
Goddess, and the wild integrity of the dark and dangerous Faerie folk.
People are dying body and soul for want of the Poetry of the Fey
people. Faerie magic is not a poetry on the page but a living breathing
poetry, the poetry of ritual, the poetry of waking each morning to the
Mother's embrace, the Art of walking with Her on the way to work. I try
to offer my students a Faerie glimmer, touch their DNA with my Faerie
breath so their racial memory will wake up -- so that their blood will
remember just a little bit how it flowed when they were first touched
by the Fey.
Every day I am privileged to know that magic: the Goddess walks with me
wherever I go. And I truly can feel Her presence; She is not a belief,
but an actual tangible presence in my life that comforts and guides me.
Various Copyrights: This essay is mostly cut n' paste, extracted from
my other essays, stories, books, etc, sources too numerous to name here
since I quote from myself constantly! In other words, this material is copywritten, dates between 1986 and 1996 -- for the record, most of this piece is quite old -- so please credit it or any portion of it as my copywrite.
This essay has only just now, and quite quickly, been cut n' pasted
together in this particular draft so that I could answer recent
queries. Hence, this piece may need considerable revision to make it
less obscure, less redundant, its sequences more logical, etc. So stay
Francesca De Grandis
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was updated 6/27/2012
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