Victor Henry Anderson

Victor Henry Anderson

May 21, 1917 – September 20, 2001

Victor Henry Anderson (May 21, 1917 – September 20, 2001) was an American Wiccan priest and poet. He was a founding member of the Feri Tradition, a form of the modern Pagan new religious movement of Wicca which was established in California during the 1960s.In his study of Wicca, Pagan studies scholar Ethan Doyle White characterized Feri as a "Wiccan" tradition.Doyle White 2016 However, some practitioners of modern Pagan Witchcraft restrict the term "Wicca" to British Traditional Wicca, in which case Feri would not be classified as "Wicca"; this exclusionary definition of the term has been described as "unsuitable for academic purposes".Doyle White 2016 Feri has thus been characterized as one form of Wicca which is nevertheless distinct from others, such as British Traditional Wicca, Dianic Wicca, and Stregheria.Doyle White 2016} Much of his poetry was religious in nature, being devoted to Feri deities.
Born in Clayton, New Mexico, to a working-class family, Anderson was left visually impaired during childhood. His family regularly moved around within the United States during his early years, with Anderson claiming that encounters with Mexican, Hawaiian, and Haitian migrants led to him gaining an early understanding of these various cultures' magical practices. The family eventually settled in Oregon, and Anderson later claimed that it was here that he was initiated into a tradition of witchcraft by an African woman. He later claimed that, in 1932, he joined a magico-religious group known as the Harpy Coven which was based in Ashland and which dissolved in the 1940s. According to his description, the group was devoted to a god and goddess, Setan and Lilith, and were influenced by both American folk magic and Huna.
In 1944, he married Cora Cremeans in Bend, Oregon, and, inspired by the writings of English Wiccan Gerald Gardner, they founded the Mahaelani Coven, gaining followers of what became known as the Feri tradition. One of their first initiates was Gwydion Pendderwen, who was a significant influence on the development of the tradition, and who introduced elements from Alexandrian Wicca in to it. Anderson was a professional accordion player and wrote poetry for various American Pagan magazines. In 1970, he published his first book of poetry, Thorns of the Blood Rose, which contained devotional religious poetry dedicated to the Goddess; it won the Clover International Poetry Competition Award in 1975. Anderson continued to promote the Feri tradition until his death, at which point April Niino was appointed as the new Grandmaster of the tradition.