Born in 1928, Fred Adams was one of the first people in recent times to celebrate the Goddess in art, poetry and ritual. He grew up in the posh suburb of Altadena, Southern California, and was strongly influenced by his strong-willed but "oddly child-like" mother (his term). Fred showed an early talent for drawing, and as a youth was inspired to make innumerable sketches of the Madonna and child. Educated at Stanford in pre-med studies, he was drafted to the army and made an officer; at which point he made a successful vow to never issue a direct command.
Returning to college, he had a life-changing vision of the Goddess one day in 1956 as he walked across his college campus. From this profound experience (he calls it his “thunderbolt experience”), he was inspired to found a Goddess and nature worship group which he eventually incorporated in 1967 in California under the name of “Feraferia”, a joining of two Greek words meaning celebration and wildness. The group flourished for about another 15 years, then slowly became less visible as its’ principles were incorporated into the lives of its’ members and they each went on with their own life journey.
For about eight years Feraferia published a newsletter called "Korythalia", meaning branch of the Maiden, featuring Fred's art and ideas, and that of many of the other contributors to Feraferia, especially Svetlana Butyrin and Richard Stanewick. In the early '70, Fred and Oberon (then Tim) Zell envisioned a pan-pagan support group; Fred designed up some flyers and invitations, and the Council of Themis was born.
Fred and his life partner Svetlana Butyrin moved to Nevada City, CA in the '90s, but continued to create art and ritual on a small scale. They sponsored a Reunion of the Council of Themis at their home which was well attended and fun for all. Sadly, Fred succumbed to an aggressive form of melanoma in August, 2008; Lady Svetlana followed him in death a year and a half later.
The original Feraferia has influenced two Feraferia-inspired groups, one in New Mexico and one in Amsterdam. Most of Fred's collected books and writings are in a Feraferian library now, where others can research and become inspired by some of the same sources that were so important to Fred. An art historian and archivist has collected museum-grade digital copies of most of Fred's art, so that hopefully it will be more accessible to all in the future. A number of Fred's paintings can be seen now along with a time-line of Feraferia. See Feraferia on Facebook.
Much can be found on the internet about the early work of Fred and his group, and 10 years of copies of his beautifully illustrated newsletter, Korythalia, are archived in the University of California Santa Barbara’s American Religion Collection, contact:
Also, The Church of the Hermetic Sciences has republished a beautiful edition of Fred's gently erotic "Nine Royal Passions of the Year: Seasonal Celebrations of Cosmic Love Play," available through the Feraferia Website.