Friday, August 15, 2008

Passing of Feraferia's Fred Adams

I learned today of the passing on August 9 of Frederick McLaren Adams, co-founder of the Southern California Pagan group Feraferia in the 1960s.

(Right: Fred and Svetlana Adams at a Feraferia ritual during the late 1960s.)

Although later cross-fertilized by Gleb Botkin's Church of Aphrodite, Feraferia ("wilderness festival") was a unique creation, with its roots in ancient Greek religion, in Adams' own visionary experiences of the gods, in the writings of Robert Graves, and also in the California "Nature Boys" tradition, of which I plan to write more later.

(Right, Fred Adams in about 2005.)

I have a framed front page of the Autumn 1968 issue of the Feraferia journal hanging over my computer desk. Its subtitle reads "The Charisma of Wilderness, Seasonal Celebration, Visionary Ecology." Forty years ago -- before most Pagans were even using the term "nature religion."

(Photos courtesy of Harold Moss.)

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Blogger Jason Pitzl-Waters said...

Thanks for letting us know, I'll pass this along on my own blog as well.

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Jo Carson said...

Good to find your site. Here is an obit I wrote for Fred:

Fred Adams, pagan leader, founder of Feraferia and cofounder of the Council of Themis, died on Saturday, August 9th at the age of 80. Fred Adams had a life changing vision of the Goddess in 1956 and dedicated the rest of his life to Her. The following is adapted from wikipedia:

"Feraferia, founded by Fred Adams, was a Southern California based Neopagan community, practicing Hellenic neopagan-inspired Goddess worship.

Frederick M. Adams met and was deeply influenced by Robert Graves and his book The White Goddess. In 1957, Adams founded the classically-inspired Fellowship of Hesperides and in 1959, he started a multi-family intentional community in Sierra Madre. Feraferia was established 1967 in southern California as a continuation of the Fellowship of Hesperides, and as such, it is one of the oldest organizations of Neopaganism in the United States.

During the 1970s, Adams, with Carroll "Poke" Runyon of the Ordo Templi Astartes, and Oberon Zell of the Church of All Worlds formed The Council of Themis, the first attempt to unite various hermetic, Neopagan, and ceremonial magic groups in the United States. Adams and Feraferia were represented in Runyon's early Neopagan magazine, The 7th Ray, with Adams illustrating as well as writing, expositions on the Feraferia approach to what later became known as the Goddess movement. "

Feraferia members spent time in wilderness singing and dancing, communing with nature and nature spirits, and having a rambunctious good time. Feraferia flourished in Southern California during the late 60's through the early 80's, then reemerged in Nevada City, California in the 90's until the present. Fred had moved there to be with his life partner and co-ritualist, Svetlana Butyrin, ("Lady Svetlana"). Unfortunately illness plagued both of them in recent years,

There were newspaper articles on the time Feraferia came out in public at a 1967 Love In, and about a more recent exhibit of his playfully erotic 1950's Goddess art. Fred also published the Korythalia newsletters, which were subtitled "Aeon of the Divine Maiden". Inside the cover of each was the statement, "Feraferia is a Pagan fellowship for the erotic celebration of Wilderness Mysteries with Faerie style and grace, and for the lyrical unification of ecology, mythology, and sacrament. In such play-love-work may women and men be reunited with Great Nature, each other, and their own beings..." Filmmaker Jo Carson made a documentary about Feraferia in 1976 called "A Dance for the Goddess", and is currently completing a feature length documentary inspired by Fred called "Dancing with Gaia". Fred is one of the main speakers in the film, and it features most of his essential teachings. The website, has a trailer and further information. The Feraferia website is

Fred was a kind, unpretentious genius, a brilliant artist and ritualist, and an inspiration to all who knew him. He had the gift of knowing how to encourage those around him, to help others find and follow their own path. He was also one of the first people in modern times to publicly acknowledge the importance of the divine Feminine, especially in the form of the Kore, the Daughter or Divine Maiden. This form is a Western expression of the Goddess which is understood in the East as the daikini(s). Fred's home was filled with his paintings of the Kore, and Feraferia's rites generally opened with a prayer to Kore which follows;

Oh holy maiden of the kindling quick,
Of merging mist and mazing echo,
The innocent bounty of the trees
Bares your Faerie flesh
Of wildness, wonder, magic, mirth and love!
Your beauty seals our bridal with all life
The dance of your green pulse
Unfolds all bodies and all blessings
From Earth's fragrant form.
Evoee Koree!

Blessings, Jo Carson

10:33 PM  
Anonymous Chas S. Clifton said...


Thanks for posting the additional biographical information.


2:15 PM  

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