SOLSTICE SUNRISE

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the longest days of the year around the solstice point June 21st

the early dawn chorus woke me to make celebration of the light

and see the world become technicolour as the sun rises

to hear the birds’ chorus of praise

these are the longest days

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Solstice is the peak of the Self

a moment to honour our place in the divine dream

to affirm all that we can be

but do it ever so humbly….

enjoying who we are, the little self matters too, yet….

surrendering the ego to the greater Being….

we may see through the veils

feel the souls at our side

The growth spurt of Spring is over

it’s the season to step forth with pride

With kin, with clan, an army of lovers at our side.

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Within the light is concealed the dark

for the journey to summer’s end starts here

autumn will return, the blooms will vanish and the leaves will fall

within joy there must be sadness….

but there’s a whole long day to fit all the feelings in

and THREE MONTHS til the Equinox

when the inner times take over

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Cancer Sun receives us and challenges us

to balance all our emotions in the light of the summer rays

then at Leo Sun and Lammas

is time to down tools and rejoice in the Way

come Virgo Sun we get busy again

preparing for harvest and the seasons to come

fuelled by the Fire element, Summer wants us to have some fun.

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Warriors of Light, Shamans of Shadow

Witches of the Winds, Waves, Earth and Fire

There are HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of us

BORN AROUND THE WORLD

WAKING UP TO OUR ROLES

DISCOVERING THE DESTINY

But there are many more struggling

one foot still firmly stuck in the old paradigm

of division, dis-ease and dismay…..

Let’s cast spells this Solstice

to bring humanity back to the Way.

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Science separates us into boxes and reduce us to molecules

And religion divides us and fuels the lies in the world.

Is it time to give the men in white coats a taste of our own medicine

(psylocibin, lsd, ayahuasca, san pedro and good weed for starters)

let them become the subjects of their own experiments;

is it time use the crucifixes as firewood

send the stone buddhas back to the mountains

‘disperse the gurus with a great laugh’

and discover the path

we have always been on.

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The answers are not in psychiatry and psychology

the answers are found in embracing mystery

The stars, sun, moon and planets

have been here a lot longer than us.

Our ancestors observed them and discovered the Way

And despite religion, despite science

despite despotism, despite capitalism

the Way can not be stropped, and the Way will have its Day.

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Imagine the great wheel of the solar system

travelling majestically through space

spinning all the time, generating glory, energy – consciousness

all the planets and moons a single dance

the zodiac the background to the story

a story of gods and angels, animals and humans

elementals and ancestors whispering in our ears

in the magic of the Solstice days

they whisper to us to lose our fears

because WE ARE that consciousness

the Solar System’s space cadets

flying through the galaxy

embodying the divine’s aspects

in these awesome, horny human forms

that are part of nature and filled with light

GET OUT OF THE MIND

to GET OUT OF THE NIGHT

for the mind is there to question and analyse

we have in ourselves, places more deep and more wise.

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Attune to the cycles and rhythms

Become conscious of the solar system’s synchronicities

YOU are the product of this dance

a PEAK of its experience, a unique achievement

DANCE in your hearts human children

Become an orchestra of many flutes playing

Solstice is here, it’s the season of Pan

GET OUT AND GET NAKED IN THE WOODS IF YOU CAN

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Humanity’s Aquarian Rebirth

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CONSCIOUSNESS is a thing…

A thing we all have in common

It can be charted, mapped and explored.

Just as there is a physical universe

There are also vast mental, emotional and spiritual layers of creation

Each one as vast as the physical, as complex

Each one open to our searching.

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CONSCIOUSNESS is a magical thing

it operates through attraction, love and karma

it is opened through compassion, selflessness, service

through devotion and knowledge

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MAPS OF CONSCIOUSNESS exist, such as the chakra system, the kabbalistic tree of life and the astrological wheel of the year.  We can ignore, deny these things, but that basically  destines us to be pawns of life, destined to suffer the swings and dives until we perhaps find a route to wisdom.  If we study the wisdom traditions that have existed since before religions, and which survive despite the prevailing scientific rational outlook, we can become pioneer psychonauts unlocking the secrets of the mystery of consciousness we all find ourselves in.  That’s what we come to do here – to find, then to love, express and be – ourselves.  Each one of us a unique version of the One Consciousness.

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Our beliefs shape our reality

we open or close our own gates

it’s our choice to explore or ignore

the potential of the cosmic human

birthing a multidimensional age

that was long foreseen

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CONSCIOUSNESS is the mystery

and planet earth is the school

we’ll never discover what it’s all about

by denying the seekers and teachers who came before

nor will we awaken to wisdom

by obeying all the rules

for rules are designed to constrain us

and divide the world into wrong and right

cutting us off from the source of Light

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Reality is a rainbow miracle

and humanity is on the verge

of a breakthrough, a revelation

a cosmic Aquarian surge

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The Sun, the Moon, the stars, the planets

The Earth herself are with us on the Way

Consciousness is the miracle

but the ride can get rough and tough

when the going gets tough

the tough pray

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We are a UNITY experiencing DIVERSITY

a ONE become MANY

to become ONE again.

Love, Light and Laughter

Play, Joy, Pleasure and Touch

These are the divine gifts of the body:

Seek out what makes the heart sing

if the shockwaves get too much

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Many are losing, but many are choosing

to become more aware, to care

Community of Souls is coming to Planet Earth.

Humanity’s Aquarian Rebirth.

RADICALLY POSITIVE

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I am a Long Term AIDS Survivor who underwent a transformation on every level of my being while living with AIDS 1995-8 – waking up, through facing death, to many levels of human nature that barely get a look in usually. Since regaining health and strength I have continued that transformation and brought the new awareness gained into actively creating a clan of magically attuned queers in the UK, and participating in the expanding queer mystical community of Radical Faeries around the globe.

I believe the spiritual frontier is the one gay/queer/trans people need urgently to tackle – igniting a search and discovery that could change the understanding of ourselves, and how we are perceived the world over – and I have a very simple answer to the dilemma facing gay male communities across that globe, the dilemma of “post-aids: why are we killing ourselves with drugs?” how did we reach the point that we are talking about a “second plague”?

AIDS for me was an Accelerated Individual Discovery of Self. There was a consciousness in the plague years, at least in some corners, that this holocaust had spiritual roots as well as physical. The dying years were times of transcendence and apotheosis – as the drama Angels in America so cleverly portrayed. I wasn’t the first to use this dramatically positive definition of AIDS. Transpersonal psychologist Dowling Singh wrote in the Advocate in December 1998 that Accelerated Individual Discovery of Self was the AIDS community’s “secret understanding.”

Writing of his experience as a hospice worker with dying men, Dowling said, – “One of these men who I grew to love told me that, more than any other rite of passage in his life, through this harsh passage of AIDS he had come to know himself. He said he had always treated his life as though it were a dress rehearsal but that ‘dying is very real.’ It was, he said, through new eyes that he saw his own real beauty, his own real value, the depth of meaning we miss so often in life, and the raw power of love.”

Back in 1987 “AIDS: Passageway to Transformation” was published by C. Norman Shealy and Caroline Myss, presenting case studies where individuals had transformed from a ‘victim consciousness’ to personal empowerment, and asking deeper, spiritual and societal, questions about why AIDS was manifesting at this time. Books such as Nick Bamforth’s “AIDS and the Healer Within” pushed some of us to seek deeper answers within ourselves as to why we were going through this.

There is a “second plague” underway now because the first did not deliver all the lessons. As a Long Term Survivor I have a message to deliver, an experience to share, that is about a lot more than the physical and mental and social health issues we survivors are so often associated with. That message in simple form is that we come into this life to find ourselves, in our wholeness, and live as richly and deeply and enthusiastically as we can, but also that….

THERE IS A SECOND BIRTH POSSIBLE IN LIFE, AN AWAKENING TO THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE SOUL. By going to the edge of life many gay men in the aids years learnt this. But of those who did, only a few of us survived to tell the tale.

LIFE IS A MYSTERY SCHOOL. The rarely spoken truth of the rise to dominance of patriarchal, monotheistic religion in the last 2000 years, is that the roots of religion lie in the Mystery Schools of the ancient world. The Jesus story, when understood allegorically, becomes a map for the journey of the soul, which is why it bears so many resemblances to other ancient myths, which served the same purpose. There is another soul map from those ancient schools still prominent in the modern world, which, though much misunderstood and maligned, is increasingly appreciated for the wisdom it contains – astrology.

And guess what? Those mystery schools were havens of homosexuality and transgenderism. It was a rite of the mystery process to learn and experience that the soul has all genders within itself, that same sex love can open the gates to spirit and consciousness, to the holy realms. As well as these schools, all around the world, what we would now call trans and queer beings were the shamans, witches, healers, mediums of the tribal peoples. This knowledge has been thoroughly repressed to the point that the modern queer can completely the miss the spiritual calling inside themselves (convinced as they are due to the hate filled propaganda about us from certain religious quarters to avoid such matters). This calling can then become a constant search for pleasure, for chem induced highs, for escapism, until the point of destruction is reached and we are forced to face ourselves and maybe through that find out who we really are. The dark lesson is as much there for the crashing out addicts of the chemsex scene as it was for us dying from the aids holocaust -when you go to the edge you get the chance to find yourself.

And the dark lessons will keep coming until gay culture embraces SELF-DISCOVERY as the core of its very reason for being. Coming Out is a step on the way, a huge one – but the process of self-awareness has a lot further to go than that. We have the chance as queers to question everything about how this world is viewed and run – and to offer alternatives that our queer eye on the world can dream up. We need to grasp that existence is a SPIRITUAL happening, not simply a lust-filled physical one. Yes we love sex, we love the body – that is because we are free spirits come into this world to have a good time – but also, crucially, here to get in touch with the magnificence of being alive, and to find and fulfil our soul purpose.

My plea to the gay community is – Let’s get beyond religion. We were banished from its hallways because gay sex, and transexuality, were associated with the sex-positive, pagan worship of the horned gods Pan and Dionysus and the Great Mother Goddess. Religion took the internal esoteric mysteries of the ancient world and turned them into something exoteric, something to believe in rather than something to experience. Spiritual power was used to control populations rather than to liberate them. The repression of our kind is entirely linked to this, for we are liberators of the spirit.

The reason AIDS hit gay men so early into our journey of liberation in the late 20th century is also the reason that many men are getting caught in the soul-destroying dead ends of the drugged up sex underworld – we are on the cutting edge of human consciousness attempting to break through the limited understandings of modern culture, to reveal to ourselves, and then the world, that there is so much more to being human, that a birth to the spirit is possible, but it ain’t about being religious – it’s about finding and liberating the power, the love, the divine light within us.

Gay men are natural priests, who connect the worlds of the living and the dead, who bring together nature and human consciousness. Instead of endless sex parties and drug madness, gay men have the potential to create a culture that embraces the fullness of being alive – which means facing our fears, phobias, inadequacies, failings and wounds, instead of medicating them away, and creating a culture that welcomes newly out men, of whatever age, into a space that honours their soul as well as their dick, that encourages their hearts to expand as well as their muscles, that brings a brotherhood that goes a lot further than sharing needles or diseases.

For we are the vanguard. The barriers between the genders, between sexualities, are becoming increasingly blurred. Some day soon it will be normal for people to explore sex and love with the same gender as well as an other gender, but what awaits in that future? The pioneers of the 20th and early 21st queer culture – that is all of us – are setting the shape of the future. What will newly emerging gay souls and masc-curious bi men find in our gay culture? A place of use and abuse, suffering and soul-death or a culture of conscious sexuality, loving brotherhood and self-discovery?

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June 5th has been declared HIV+ LONG TERM SURVIVORS AWARENESS DAY in the USA, founded by Ted Anderson. This their declaration:

The goals of HLTSAD 2018 are:

1. HIV and aging are complex and nuanced. HLTS are aging but constitute a distinct cohort different medical and psychological challenges including AIDS Survivor Syndrome, poverty, isolation, and invisibility.
2. In our haste to end AIDS prioritize the 2018 modern-day needs of HIV LTS.
3. Survivors are a valuable part of our communities we need to empower them to become the elders, leaders, and teachers.
4. Celebrating HLTS for enduring an historically unique epidemic and being the pioneers of the AIDS pandemic.
5. Prioritize HLTS culturally-aware healthcare and mental health.
6. Move beyond survival, the goal is aging well with HIV.
7. Honoring the resilience and strength, it took survive multiple causalities and unprocessed grief while planning to die.

from: https://www.hivplusmag.com/long-term-survivors/2018/5/14/hiv-long-term-survivors-awareness-day-coming

As one of those survivors, I see how the wisdom gained in those years has yet to filter through to the wider community. And I see how continuing health crises are forcing us as a community to face up to questions about who we are, how we relate, and what just what kind of queer cosmos we are creating for future generations to explore and discover themselves. All of us that came out in the 20th century have the chance, even the responsibility, to forge a gay scene that supports and nurtures the men within it, and those of us who took the journey with AIDS to the edge of life, perhaps more than anyone, can see the incredibly bright potential awaiting all queerkind when we do that, when we truly embrace the soul consciousness and emerge as healers for the entire human race, bringing re-union with the worlds of spirit and renewal of humanity’s contract with life, love and the profound, simple, queer magic of being alive.

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Mars in Aquarius Summer 2018

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Mars, the planet of energy, action and desire, is in the freedom-loving sign of Aquarius from May 16 to August 12 and again from September 10th – November 15th, spending longer than it usually does in a sign due to appearing retrograde from June 27th – August 28th (and re-entering Capricorn for a month). Our experiences during the summer and autumn of 2018 will be strongly influenced by this energy, so it can help a lot to have a grasp of what Mars in Aquarius is about – for this transit has the potential to bring revolutionary change to our individual and collective lives.

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Cafeastrology says: Dynamic yet erratic energy levels, achieving our goals through hit or miss tactics, and impersonal expression of anger are characteristics of Mars in Aquarius. We are team players–cooperative and less concerned about personal power. We are attracted to unconventional methods, and tend to approach problems from an intellectual, detached perspective.”

Roya Backlund on elitedaily.com tells us:

“Mars in Aquarius will inspire you to be proud of what makes you unique. While it’s normal to feel like hiding certain aspects of yourself in order to fit in, Mars in Aquarius wants you to bare the truth of your individuality for all the world to see. There’s nobody in this world like you. You were given strengths, talents, flaws, and weaknesses that nobody else has. Your qualities exist for a reason, and if you don’t use them, our world will be lacking a necessary ingredient.

“During this time, you must listen closely to your inner-voice and do exactly what it says. Do not let the expectations of others tarnish the purity of yourself. Do not allow someone else’s idea of who you are dictate the steps you take. Instead, forge your own path.

“During Mars in Aquarius, you will be swept by an urgent desire to remain free. Any inhibiting restrictions, narrow-minded belief systems, or constraining routines will make you feel like you’re trapped. Instead, you will want to break free from your cage and run wild. This will feel incredibly liberating, like there’s nothing in the world that can hold you back.”

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Tarot.com:

“While fierce Mars moves through the brilliant sign of Aquarius, we’re eager to fight for our freedom, our individuality, and our community! Aquarius is a sign that marches to its own beat, and we simply won’t allow our ideas and ambitions to be silenced or shoved aside during this transit.

“Mars in Aquarius is a time to revolutionize our way of doing things. It blesses us with magnificent visions to improve not only our daily lives, but society as a whole. Our minds are clear and we are free to think and act in whatever way is needed. We can see a better future, and the steps we must take in order to reach it.

“Mars’ transit through Aquarius is a time to stand up for our rights and fight for change. Aquarius is a detached sign that doesn’t typically get too fired up, but Mars’ warrior-like presence here adds the fuel that is normally lacking and encourages us to champion our ideas and ideals. We are fighting for our freedoms, but we aren’t using our fists — with Mars in Aquarius, our minds are our greatest weapons.

“Strength lies in fresh ideas and original plans during this transit. Traditional ways of thinking will only lead to more of the same — Mars in Aquarius is a time to identify what we want the future to look like, and to take active steps toward it. It’s not just about thinking outside the box, it’s about completely forgetting about the box. The only way to make things radically different is to act in radical ways.

“Injustices and societal problems are impossible to ignore while Mars is in Aquarius. Aquarius is the humanitarian of the zodiac, and is especially concerned with what’s happening to the underdog. While Mars is firing up this sign, we can clearly see what needs to change and how. We can see not just the problems, but the solutions. There’s a powerful opportunity for reformation and revolution during this transit that we don’t always have available to us.”

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THE RETROGRADE PERIOD (June 27-Aug 28th):

“… indicates a profound and very powerful time of resetting our practical needs for humanity’s overall benefit as it asks us to simply surrender to letting go of what no longer works with courage by our side.

This specific retrograde passage opens us to embrace a true redefinition of what allows us all to take action within our lives, asking for us to find humility, consideration, and patience as we pause in lieu of the larger picture. Coupled with the sensitive path we are personally and collectively on throughout 2018 to connect to what we are meant to be nurturing the most to be a greater part of the entire whole, Summer 2018 energetically resets the future goals of the world. This critical cycle of reflection aligns us in grave responsibility to become like a well-oiled machine that is able to properly express self-reliance and acute awareness within our lives.” FROM sharitastar.com

Mary Shea puts it simply like this:

“While Mars is retrograde, you will be reviewing the way you handle anger, self-defense, self-motivation and sexual relationships… outward anger or conflicts may not be appropriate .”

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Kelly Surtees on kellysastrology.com:

“This period is like a cosmic pause, where delays have a purpose; to give you extra time to clarify your motivation and dreams for the future. When Mars returns to Aquarius from mid-September to mid-November, you’ll be refreshed and ready to power forward.”

Kimberley Peta Dewhirst on starsignstyle.com

“Mars appearing retrograde is a time when our energy and actions are busy and distracted. Just as communications, electricals and networks go haywire during Mercury Retrograde our reserves of ardent drive can be knocked off course during this time. It might be a chaotic period of in-action, and our plans may back-fire or be thwarted by obstacles. Other people might seem to have a quick temper, be overactive, rash and take action on impulse. Drives may wane, including our sex-drive!

“Will power, assertiveness, forthrightness and the ability to power and drive through life will be on slow-gear, even reverse! It’s important to review how we expend our energies and the projects we’re progressing. This is a great time to reassess the action-plan, re-work where our energies are directed, RECHARGING and RESTING.”

She also offers this sound advice for the retrograde:

“Don’t initiate new projects now (if possible), plans could need re-assertion.

“Don’t Panic – Mars appears retrograde every two years, nothing to go Gaga over.”

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mystery school

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planet earth is mystery school
an adventure in consciousness
Spirit’s theme park of thrills and spills.
Love is the key to unlock the mystery
Love reveals the Oneness between you and me.

when the body dies
we return to love’s infinite ocean
free once more to remember it all
but if we find the ocean shore while here
we may become less afraid, become a lot freer;
to question the delusions of the world
is the gift of being queer.

as Pride season approaches
we see how far we have come
how much we have assimilated and been bought off
by consumerist, materialist greed
or whether we are lighting the way
to a Queer age of Self-Discovery
that breaks down barriers and brings love to all
revealing the mystery behind why we are here
responding to the Spirit’s call

IMAGINE A WORLD WHERE WE KNEW
that you are me and I am you
where we recognised reincarnation
and were able to trace our soul path through creation
a fine queer place that world would be
as we unlock the mystery
and the Oneness of life becomes plain to see

URANUS: Queer Planet

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URANUS has shifted sign from fire Aries to earth Taurus. Astrologers are excited, for Uranus is the planet of inspiration, awakening, revolution and liberation. Beginning a new traversal of the zodiac from the first sign Aries since 2010, Uranus has spent 7 years subtly changing our very understanding of who we are. This shift can be observed in the rise of social media to a central place in modern life, with every generation getting on board. We are busy defining ourselves through our online presence – the self has taken the centre of our attention, but is often appearing in very superficial ways – looks, likes, selfies, followers etc. During Uranus’ time in Taurus we can expect that things will get more meaningful. Taurus energy is interested in what we are worth, which can relate to money and status but which has much deeper levels going on too.

Astrologer Sarah Coughlin (on Refinery29) says “Aries compels us to define who we are, Taurus nudges us to consider what we’re worth”. She says Uranus moving into the sign of the Bull for a “nice, long, script-flipping stay.”

Brianne Hogan writes (on Hellogiggles) “Uranus may mean freedom, but Taurus keeps us grounded…… We will experience many changes and shifts in the aforementioned areas for the next eight years, but these changes will also stem from a place of authenticity and practicality. We’re getting honest with ourselves and our future, while also being smart and informed about the choices and changes we make. We can expect the unexpected for the next few years, but we can also count on our ability to handle it.”

Kate Rose (on Yourtango) says “Uranus is nicknamed the great awakener; a force of sudden change and innovation… During the Aries era, we saw ourselves change how we viewed ourselves, our relationships and love in general … now is the time to ground ourselves, our plans and our dreams so that we can grow them with a stable foundation.” Perhaps we might add that due to the surprises that Uranian energy can deliver, those plans and dreams may be in for some radical changes and unanticipated developments.

Yasmin Boland in the Daily Mail says the Uranus move is “triggering a period of worldwide upheaval…. The key here is to work with the energies of change, and not against them. Uranus is the planet that causes us to evolve and pushes us to our limits…. harness the Uranian energy to write an exciting new chapter of your life . . .  Be yourself! Uranus is very much the planet of individuality, so if you want to embrace the changes Uranus is offering, then you need to be true to your highest self — the best part of you…. This is a wonderful time to override any fear you have about change. So tune in to what you really want — the Uranian energy will push you along. There will be disruption, but harness the energy and enjoy the ride.”

Janja Gabrijel on gabrijelastrology.com: “Uranus represents our Higher Minds, the Divine Truth which hits us with an unexpected insight, with a shocking revelation which expands our intelligence and our horizons. Uranus is: the genius ideas, the progressive, futuristic thinking, the rebellion against tradition, the evolution of humanity, the need for worldwide social connection, enlightenment and improvement, and to create a better, more equal society. He wants to liberate and detach from the outdated, whether we want it or not.”

We have to look for some queer astrologers to get some commentary about the  crucial relationship between Uranus and queer liberation.

Colin Bedell (on QueerCosmos) says this energy shift will “revolutionise our lives….This. Is. Huge. Whether we like it or not, the Universe will make sure we set ourselves free a la Uranus from values that prevent from accessing the deepest, most meaningful experiences of our life. Where and with whom we place our value will forever change. Especially on the personal, relational, political, and international arenas. This Uranus in Taurus transit has the potential to change the entire foundation of our lives.”

 

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URANUS IS THE QUEER PLANET OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM

Corina (Satellite of Love: Queer Horoscopes for May 2018) says:

“There is no planet of being gay, just like there’s no planet linked to heterosexuality, but there is a planet of queerness! Uranus, also the planet of revolutions and inventions, correlates to the part of each of us that needs to go against the grain of social norms. Uranus helps us live more defiantly, more bravely — and with an awareness of how we’re intertwined with everyone else, and how getting more free personally is linked to collective freedom. Strongly Uranian people are at the forefront of all liberation movements and utopian social experiments.”

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URANUS IS THE RULER OF AQUARIUS

This planet and sign represent the queer energies of the cosmos we inhabit:

Uranus is unique as the only planet in our solar system that rotates on its horizontal axis. He literally rolls through the universe, and at an amazing speed – for while the planet is 47 times the size of the earth, a day lasts only 10 earth hours. Mythologically, Uranus was the original male principle, the Sky God, who was castrated by his son Chronos (Saturn), after which his sexual energies were channelled into the creation of art and beauty. The first Uranian moons that were discovered were named after the faeries of Midsummer Nights Dream – Titania, Oberon, Umbriel, Miranda, and Puck.

The mythology of Aquarius is the story of Zeus, king of the gods, falling for shepherd boy Ganymede, transforming himself into an eagle to swoop down and whisk the boy to the heavens where he became cup-bearer to the gods. When the goddess Hera became jealous Ganymede was forced to move on, but Zeus placed him in the sky forever as the water bearer constellation Aquarius. Planet Earth is currently on the zodiacal cusp transitioning from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius. The rise of human rights, gender equality, gay liberation, digital technology are all signs of this shift occurring. By tracing the passage of Uranus, the ruling planet of Aquarius, through the zodiac over the last century we can detect how the r-evolutionary Uranian energy is influencing the progress of lgbtq rights.

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Some astrologers have been pointing out, usually with a frown, that the last time Uranus was traversing Taurus was 1934-1942, which saw the outbreak of horrific worldwide war. But as the energy of Uranus is anti-authoritarian I like to observe that this period saw the rise of resistance to fascism, leading to its downfall a few years later.

The first group campaigning for gay rights in the USA, the Mattachine Society, was formed in the USA in1950. Uranus had just began its journey through the sign of the Divine Mother energy, Cancer. This was the moment, I suggest, when some significant number of the gay people of the world started to listen to her call to us to come home to ourselves, to reclaim our place on the planet after so many centuries of it being denied us. (The very first gay rights group in the world was in fact in Germany, formed in 1897 the Wissenschaftlich-humanitares Komitee (WhK or “Scientific-humanitarian Committee”) sent petitions to parliament signed by 200 professional men.  Uranus was in Scorpio at the time, the sign of rebirth and transformation),

The practical work of legislation relating to gay rights happened in the UK in the 1960s, leading to the Sexual Offences Act of 1967, while Uranus was in Virgo.

The spark moment for gay rights, however, came with the Stonewall Riots, June 28- July 1st, 1969. Uranus had just completed its journey through Virgo four days earlier and was settling into its long stay in Libra, the sign of balance and justice. The rise of gay rights is part of the drive towards balancing the overbearing patriarchal energies of the modern world. The revolutionary Uranian energy burst forth, anger manifesting. The conciliatory, assimilationist, approach of the Mattachine Society was not producing results, but from 1969 onwards gay visibility, activism and pride spread through the western world.

During the incubation years of the HIV virus spreading quietly among gay men, the late 70s, Uranus was in Scorpio, with the first case later recognised as AIDS coming in 1980. While Uranus was in Sagittarius (1981-88) the search for ways to treat HIV was underway, as was the rise of a politicised and self-conscious queer community. Those of us coming out in the 1980s entered a gay scene in which a sense of community, of the need to work together for our very survival, was strong. This community sense was catalysed through adversity – AIDS deaths and political apathy or outright hostility. The Conservative government’s introduction of Clause 28 in 1988, outlawing the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality in education, galvanised us in the UK further. Gay Pride events swelled in numbers and determination. While Uranus was traversing Capricorn (1988-1996) many efforts were made to raise our game, and once our queer planet settled for the long haul through its home sign Aquarius in 1996, things really began to speed up for lgbtq visibility, rights and acceptance.
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Croatian astrologer Branko Zivotin says: “The entry of Uranus in the sign of Aquarius led to an increase in the same sex love and bisexuality among young people. Uranus impact gave full force with a strong radical changes because Uranus is the ruling planet of Aquarius. In 1996 Uranus entered Aquarius and than started an active story about gay population, as something completely normal. Uranus cycle of seven years brought turnarounds among young people to find sexual partners more freely and easily through electronics, the Internet, at parties, to organize gay parties.”

Zivotin also points out that Neptune’s presence in Aquarius from 1998-2011 brought a powerful escapist energy into the picture, indicating a vast expansion of alcohol and drug use, which certainly happened for the gay scene at that time. In fact for gay men, during that period sex became more thoroughly associated with heavy drug use, with associated casualties lost to addiction or overdose. Neptune moved into its home sign Pisces in 2011, which energy is related to both intoxication and spirituality, and is traversing there until 1925. Drug use among gay men is not abating, despite the horror stories of dependency, delirium and death we’ve been hearing for some years now. The message of Neptune in Pisces for gay men is that spirituality is the solution to addiction, and that in fact spirituality can lead us to all the heights and blissful experiences we seek through drug use. Spirituality is about opening the doors to bliss, and keeping them open – while drugs just give us a temporary, ultimately destructive, experience.

In the UK, an equal age of consent was finally enacted in 2001, while Uranus was still in Aquarius. Wikipedia reports that in the USA, “In four landmark rulings between the years 1996 and 2015, the Supreme Court invalidated a state law banning protected class recognition based upon homosexuality, struck down sodomy laws nationwide, struck down Section of the Defense of Marriage Act, and made same-sex marriage legal nationwide.”  The moves to recognise same sex relationships, through civil partnerships and marriage, spread around the world while Uranus was in the emotional, universal, compassionate energy of Pisces 2003-2010.

During the period of Uranus in Aries 2010 – 2018 we saw the Arab Spring, Occupy, and the growth of the women’s movement and blacklivesmatter, and also the huge disparity in rights and conditions for LGBTQ people around the world has come very much into focus, forcing some of us queers to think more deeply about who we are and what is really going on. The answers are still emerging. In the UK these years have seen a rapid expansion of Radical Faerie activity – it might be said, in response to those who lament the loss of community spirit on the commercial gay scene, that it is amongst the Rad Fae that the possibilities of queer community are currently being explored, and from a positive angle of discovering the magic of who we are, not the defensive energy that catalysed queer community in the 1980s. Radical Faeries remove the capitalist element from the community equation, offering the potential to create real, lasting bonds built on connections made in the heart, made in nature, and made in relationship to a still largely unknown spiritual history of queer people as the magical folk, the shamans, priestesses and healers of the ancient pagan religions. Uranus in Aries also saw the birth of QUEER SPIRIT FESTIVAL, a 5 day event bringing together a few hundred spiritually inclined queers from the whole LGBTQ spectrum, in a space where we dared to declare not only our love for each other but also our deep love for the planet, for nature, for humanity, and prepare ourselves to emerge as the Healing Tribe within the human race.

As Uranus moves now into the second sign of this new traversal of the zodiac, the energy is coming to bring the mystical awareness of who we are home to the body, home to the planet: Queers as planetary healers, soul doctors, channels of spirit (and also midwives to those leaving the body).

The Uranian revelation waiting to hit the world is that the religious hatred of homo- and trans-sexuality has its roots in the time when first Judaism, then later Christianity, were putting their efforts into eradicating the sex-positive, ecstatic earth-loving, goddess honouring religions of the ancient world. The Old Testament tells of the presence, and destruction, of the Qedesha – the male prostitutes who worked in the goddess temples: the name means ‘The Anointed’ or ‘The Holy Ones’ but was translated in the St James Bible into English as simply ‘sodomites’. A principal rival to Christianity in its first centuries was the worship of Cybele, known in Rome as the Magna Mater (Great Mother), but whose worship goes back at least 1000 years BC in Turkey. She was served by female and trans priests, who were known as the Gallae. They travelled the land conducting ecstatic rituals, and were a prime target of Christian vitriol. After the Roman Empire officially adopted Christianity as its religion, huge efforts were made to wipe out all traces and memory of Cybele worship.

In ancient texts, sodomy is often listed alongside other taboo practices such as divination and astrology because same sex activity was associated with magical practices of the goddess religions that the new domineering energies of patriarchy sought to suppress. Those practices included communal danced rituals where people ‘lost their minds’, became filled with the ecstatic spirit of the gods and so had direct experience of themselves as part of an interconnected multiverse of many layers. The suppression of the feminine impulse, of the homo-erotic impulse and of ecstatic, communal celebration all went hand in hand. It took until the rise of Protestantism in the 1500s and the Calvinist/Puritan fundamentalism of the 1600s for these powerful forces to be brought fully under patriarchal control. Instead of engaging in direct ecstatic connection with the spirit world, people were now supposed to simply ‘have faith’ and bow to the wisdom of the priestly class.  From that time on, European explorers, finding sodomy, cross-dressing, unrestricted gender roles, communal ecstatic rituals and same sex-loving magical workers on every other continent of the world, set out to spread their anti-joy, anti-love, anti-freedom views far and wide.

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The planet Uranus was discovered in 1781, a time of revolution and upheaval. Although we think of this as the peak of the period known as the Western Enlightenment, when rational thought became dominant, this was the time of the birth of the Romantic period in culture, when celebration of nature, art, beauty and imagination came forward in a reaction against the rational drive. Romanticism included a mistrust of organised religions, and a longing for the Arcadian days when Pan the Horned God ran free in the forests and the Great Mother was honoured, so we might claim it as a Uranian manifestation.

Certainly the discovery of Uranus must have been in the mind of 19th century homosexual pioneers Edward Carpenter of the UK and Karl Ulrichs of Germany. They both inclined to use the word URANIAN to describe same sex-attracted individuals, relating the name to the goddess Aphrodite Urania, the patron of spiritual, same-sex love. These early pioneers saw great possibilities in the emancipation of the homosexual and transsexual spirit. Carpenter’s works include 1908’s ‘The Intermediate Sex’ in which he says, “The Uranian people may be destined to form the advance guard of that great movement which will one day transform the common life by substituting the bond of personal affection and compassion for the monetary, legal and other external ties which now control and confine society”. In ‘Intermediate Types Among Primitive Folk’, 1911, he identifies roles that many cultures reserve for homo- or transsexual people: ‘the priest, medicine-man or shaman, the prophet and the diviner, the artist and craftsperson and the true scientist, successor to the tribal observer of the stars and seasons, medicine and the herbs’.

The only African tribe to have kept its ancient wisdom about the role of gay and trans people is the Dagara Tribe of Burkino Faso. Malidoma and Sobonfu Some were two teachers that the tribe sent to the west – and both shared the message that gay men are gatekeepers (and lesbians witches), with a specific role that involves energy points on the physical planet. By cutting gay people off from this knowledge and defining us merely by our sexual expression, the patriarchal culture has effectively castrated us from our power, and our purpose, which is to serve the Great Mother, manifest as the planet and as the animals, plants and people on it.

Astrologer Sarah Varcas points out that Uranus’ arrival in the first earth sign of the zodiac will remind us that the earth is a living goddess, our Great Mother, who is likely to push back like never before as humans continue to abuse and destroy her. To attempt to fix our mistakes is not enough, it is the very way that we think as a species that needs to evolve. She says that “By honoring an enduring commitment to caring for Our Mother and all her children of every form we dismantle, piece by piece, the patriarchal mind-set that equates aggression and domination with power, and love, compassion and generosity with weakness.”

Queers are the children of Uranus, here to wake up to our power, remember our hidden history and claim our r-evolutionary part in human destiny. While Uranus is in Taurus, the sign of the Goddess Venus, we are going to get much more in touch with what we are capable of, what we are here to do, and who we really are.

uranus into taurus

 

 

 

Beltane Child

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Beltane Eve, Walpurgisnacht 2018

Child of Wonder, Child of Light

Soul Emerging from the Night

A Dark Age of Delusions is coming to An End

The Ancient Ones are offering Solutions

Let the Veils Fall from your Eyes

The Chains Break to Free Your Heart

Light of Infinity, Love Divine and Sublime

That’s What You Are

A Radiance of Passion and Compassion

In the Cosmos a Shining Star

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The Darkness of our Times comes from

Indifference, Indolence and Ignorance

Only when We Question the World

Do We get to Find the Answers

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Inside us the Soul sits Fully Aware

Of its Journey since the Dawn of Creation

The Answers, the Ecstasy, the Memory is There

Awaiting our Exploration

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The Doorway to our Education is to

Eradicate all Belief in Separation

Turn Fear to Surrender

Judgement to Acceptance

Trust in the Holy Wholeness Divine

Awaken Explore Always Learning More

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Eternity is found in the Here and Now

Become the Child in the Lap of the Comforter

And feel Her Healing the Pain of the World

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What LSD did for me

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April 19th – Bicycle Day, commemorated as the date the discoverer of LSD, Albert Hoffman, took his first intentional dose of acid in 1943.

I was completely astonished by the beauty of nature. Our eyes see just a small fraction of the light in the world. It is a trick to make a colored world, which does not exist outside of human beings.” Hofman.

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My own personal Bicycle Day was London Gay Pride 1989.  I met guys taking acid in the dance tent in Kennington Park, and I wanted in – having been increasingly drawn in my clubbing nights towards house music and the emerging acid house genre.  That night I met one of the guys from the park again and we went together to Heaven, where he passed me a wrapped strip of chewing gum.  I unfolded it carefully in the bathroom cubicle and found the small square piece of blotting paper inside, adorned with a purple OM symbol.

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I had been given no guidance on how much of a dose to take, and that piece of paper looked so small, so I took the whole of it under my tongue and held it there, eventually chewing away at it.

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Back on the Heaven dance floor the night came to a rapid conclusion, though to me I felt trapped in an eternity of intense sounds and flashing lights. The first thing I noticed was the floor seemed to slant to a 45 degree angle, then around me all the men became pig-faced. Very soon there was nothing in my universe except sound and light, I could not find anything solid to reference, i felt myself dissolving. Somehow the guy who gave me the trip found me and tried to pull me together.  I was freaking out by this time however, and although he thought it wasn’t the best idea, I insisted we leave the club.  As I entered the air outside i came to my senses a bit, realised we were walking past a long queue of people waiting to enter the club, understood that we had not been in there long at all.

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My trip facilitator was known on the scene as Acid Bob – a tall, skinny triphead from whom I learnt that gay men had been dropping acid on the Heaven dance floor since it had opened in 1979, long before the arrival in the late 80s of acid house, and what we liked to call the ‘second summer of love’. The 80s hi-energy music of the gay scene was the bridge between 70s disco and the house music explosion. It seems gay men had even been keeping alive the path of lsd exploration, which had gone out of fashion after the 1960s. As we travelled home in a taxi to Bob’s house in south London I relaxed and switched from fear to excitement. Everything I looked at shapeshifted into something else…. the skies were full of fireworks, there was more colour around than I had ever seen. Bob tried to calm me down, the taxi driver was getting worried.

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A six year period of lsd explorations had begun for me. When I was ready to try the drug again after that first big trip, i started with small doses – soon working out that a half tab, or even quarter, was enough for me to enjoy a night out of non-stop dancing. As my tolerance increased I became more brave and eventually would happily drop a microdot, knowing it was going to throw me deeply into another dimension for eight hours, but excited to take the ride. Occasionally I would slip off the dance floor and sit closed eyes in a corner, prompting a bouncer to come check on me – but I was perfectly happy, surrendered to the inner visions that the lsd was provoking. In those trips I forgot I was an atheist – I went through inner portals, i talked with the universe, and it communicated back, I felt i could travel through wormholes, I became aware I could see, manipulate and direct energy – on those early acid dance floors, at clubnights like Troll and Future, we used to play with chi. We believed we were souls awakening to a new and very different version of life on earth. House music sang this message to us: “Brothers, Sisters, we’ll make it to the promised land.”

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The next day after a trip, I went back to scepticism and atheism. I had real life to deal with – diagnosed HIV+ in 1990, I became angry with the world, with weekly acid trips my time of escape to a much better place. When AIDS set in, early 1995, I started to ask spiritual questions about existence – i read books about witchcraft, buddhism, and the tao and the ‘new age’. Opening my mind to a god concept for the first time since I gave up on Christianity aged 12, ‘light’ flooded into my brain. My mind seemed to speed up and get out of control – suddenly everything was overstimulating me and inspiring me to manic mystical outbursts. But I remembered the acid trips, i recalled that I had learnt to navigate the ways of the mind and get beyond, way beyond them. Didn’t I used to think I was talking to ‘god’ when i was tripping on the Heaven dancefloor, or at the Market Tavern? I dropped the scepticism and began a spiritual journey – suddenly ‘knowing’ that there is a second birth possible in life, a birth of the soul-self, which exists in union and communion with all creation, that knows it has lived before and that has no fear of death, seeing it as going home.  We get to this rebirth by releasing ego, attachments, aversions – by surrendering the mind to the sky, was how it felt.  With early death my only future prospect, this was quite an easy surrender to make.

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I believe those acid tabs prepared me for the biggest trip of all – into the mystery of consciousness, light, love, death and incarnation. They showed me that other dimensions exist, they showed me that holiness and divinity are not separate from us, not something to be feared, nor something necessarily to bow down to. Holiness and divinity are the nature of what we are, at the deepest level of our being.  They are what mystics of all faiths have always been directly exploring, they are what religions are supposed to keep us connected to.  But for many of us today, religions seem to be control systems, and not relevant.  Acid revealed the innate connections to the spirit worlds within me that I had previously been blind to, so that when i went on to face death and study the world’s spiritual paths, I remembered that this Unity thing, this Cosmic Love thing, the sense of infinity and eternity, was already something alive and active within me.  Acid indeed, as Aldous Huxley put it, exists to help us open the doors of perception, and once open we are never the same again.

By observing natural scientific discoveries through a perception deepened by meditation, we can develop a new awareness of reality. This awareness could become the bedrock of a spirituality that is not based on the dogmas of a given religion, but on insights into a higher and deeper meaning. I am referring to the ability to recognize, to read, and to understand the firsthand revelations. Hofman.

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“Bicycle Day” from Wikipedia

Bicycle Day celebration blotter

On April 19, 1943, Hofmann performed a self-experiment to determine the true effects of LSD, intentionally ingesting 0.25 milligrams (250 micrograms) of the substance, an amount he predicted to be a threshold dose (an actual threshold dose is 20 micrograms).[7] Less than an hour later, Hofmann experienced sudden and intense changes in perception. He asked his laboratory assistant to escort him home and, as use of motor vehicles was prohibited because of wartime restrictions, they had to make the journey on a bicycle. On the way, Hofmann’s condition rapidly deteriorated as he struggled with feelings of anxiety, alternating in his beliefs that the next-door neighbor was a malevolent witch, that he was going insane, and that the LSD had poisoned him. When the house doctor arrived, however, he could detect no physical abnormalities, save for a pair of incredibly dilated pupils. Hofmann was reassured, and soon his terror began to give way to a sense of good fortune and enjoyment, as he later wrote…

“… Little by little I could begin to enjoy the unprecedented colors and plays of shapes that persisted behind my closed eyes. Kaleidoscopic, fantastic images surged in on me, alternating, variegated, opening and then closing themselves in circles and spirals, exploding in colored fountains, rearranging and hybridizing themselves in constant flux …”

The events of the first LSD trip, now known as “Bicycle Day”, after the bicycle ride home, proved to Hofmann that he had indeed made a significant discovery: a psychoactivesubstance with extraordinary potency, capable of causing significant shifts of consciousness in incredibly low doses. Hofmann foresaw the drug as a powerful psychiatric tool; because of its intense and introspective nature, he couldn’t imagine anyone using it recreationally.[8] Bicycle Day is increasingly[citation needed] observed in psychedelic communities as a day to celebrate the discovery of LSD.

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The Ecstatic Rites of Spring

Equinox is the turning point – the inward pull of the Winter energies gives way to the growing, vital, impulse of the rising Spring. We can see in nature just how dramatic this shift is, and as humans we can learn from nature – to bring human minds, hearts and bodies in tune with the seasonal shift the ancient pagan religions used to make energetic, ecstatic Spring celebrations, which shook people out of the slumber of winter. Ecstasy was understood as a state of divine possession – where, through dance, intoxication, sex and even pain, celebrants got “out of their minds” to experience themselves as part of the Great Mystery, the dance of the gods and spirits.

Ecstatic wisdom is lacking in modern society. The benefits of transcendental journeys are appreciated by few, and rarely included in the discussion about and search for mental health and general well-being. But the simple thing is – if we humans don’t get to spend time ‘out of our heads’, we get stuck in them. Mental illness is the result. The need for transcendence is in-built in us, so many people end up seeking it unconsciously – even compulsively – leading so easily to drug, alcohol and sexual addictions, which result, I would say, because of a lack of a viable spiritual/mystical framework within which to hold the experience. Modern rational thought has released us from the chains of religion, but left us in freefall as individuals unaware of the intrinsic unity of life that is manifesting through us.

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In ancient Greece and Rome the first weeks of Spring saw the wild and ecstatic rituals of Dionysus/Bacchus and of the Great Mother Cybele and her consort Attis. Much of what we know about these rituals comes from outraged and disturbed Apollonian Greeks (who sought to bring order in the universe above all things) and appalled early Christian writers (who saw the body and sex as sinful). Both Dionysus and Attis are gender-fluid, queer characters, whose worship was serious competition to Christianity until around the 4th century CE. Dionysus and Attis, like Jesus, were ‘divine children’ born of the union of a deity and a human. Both have death and resurrection stories as part of their mythology, both were seen as ‘saviours’.

At the turn of the first millennium death, resurrection and salvation were the big theme in religious circles. A process was underway in which the secret sacraments of the Mystery Schools were becoming ‘solidified’ in religious form – and increasingly taken literally, seen as something happening externally, instead of understood as mystical symbolism teaching about the pathway of the soul through incarnation. One of the oldest Mystery Schools was that of Cybele, the Great Mother, that had a long and respected history in the Turkish area of Phrygia in Anatolia. The Greeks equated Cybele with Rhea, the Mother of the King of the Gods, Zeus, and the Romans held her power in such awe that, when threatened with defeat in the Punic Wars against Hannibal of Carthage, they consulted ancient Cybelline oracles and followed their guidance to invite the Great Mother to become Rome’s official deity. A black meteor stone was brought from Phrygia to Rome with great fanfare and a temple inaugurated.

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The arrival of Cybelline worship in Greece, around the 6th century BCE, and in Rome from 200 BCE, was controversial for some. Cybele’s worship centred on the story of her lover Attis, who castrated himself to avoid marriage to a human woman. (The castration botched, Attis died – violets sprang from his blood – the Goddess bathed his testicles in holy water, wrapped them in his clothes and buried them. In the most ancient legends he was reborn as her daughter. In Christian times his followers depicted him as a Christ-like god surrounded by stars in heaven). The wild and effeminate looks and behaviours, the brazen sexuality and wild rituals of the wandering Gallae priests of Cybele were shocking to many. Their Spring rituals involved frenzied dancing, flagellation and self-mutilation in order to achieve ecstatic states of union with their beloved deities, Cybele and Attis. To be like Attis, and become closer to Cybele, at the peak of the wild Spring rituals, on the Day of Blood (March 24th), initiates, while in a frenzied state, would castrate themselves. They would then run through the city and throw the testes at random into somebody’s house – that person then became responsible for taking care of the new priestess. This continues a tradition, by that time many thousands of years old, in which transgender priests were seen as the holy servants of the Goddess. These priests are mentioned in the Old Testament – named the Qedesha, this word was translated in the King James Bible as ‘sodomites’ (removing all link to the sacred), and in modern Bibles is usually put as ‘male shrine prostitutes’ – but the original meaning was actually ‘The Anointed Ones’, or ‘The Holy Ones’. Jesus speaks of eunuchs in the Gospel of Matthew, saying that some are born that way, some are made so by others, but others choose to be so, ‘for the sake of the kingdom of heaven’. Jesus also points out that only some will understand this.

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Bacchanalian rituals celebrating the start of Spring were similarly wild and orgiastic. Dionysus to the Greeks and Bacchus to the Romans, the rituals of this young transgendered god were a highlight of the ancient year. Dionysus was the child of Zeus and a human woman, Semele. The Goddess Hera was so jealous of him that she had the Titans rip him apart. But Rhea (Cybele) brought him back to life. His rituals, held in the forests, were popular, but notorious for their effect on women, who would become sexually wild and abandoned under his influence. Through imbibing his precious gift to humanity, wine, people became possessed by the god and experienced his direct presence amongst them.

The Spring rituals were a time when order gave way to ecstasy and chaos for a while. The echoes today are the festivals of Purim in Judaism and Mardi Gras in Catholic countries, where cross-dressing features strongly. By embracing the ecstatic, people got some relief from the pressures and trials of regular life, received boosts from the deities to shake off the winter sluggishness and attune to the surging spirit of Spring.

In northern Europe, where the Spring is slower to take hold, the ecstatic peak of the year was (and for some of us IS) celebrated at Beltane, May 1st, with comparable rituals of raising energies through music, dance and sex. Fire is central to the Beltane rituals, burning away of the old and bringing heat and passion to engage the new season. The deities of Beltane are the Goddess and the Green Man, also the Horned God Cernunnos, a northern European version of Pan, another forest deity like Dionysus, also associated with free sexual expression of all kinds.

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A prime difference between the emerging new religion and the old pagan faiths was the attitude to the body and sexuality. The Christian church sought to limit, control, contain and suppress the sexual urge. The persecution of homosexual and transexual people and behaviours began as a direct part of the suppression of pagan practices. Anal sex between men, lascivious wild women, orgiastic rituals were all seen as threats to the emerging order of patriarchal control. Spring rituals had to go, as part of the destruction of even the memory of the holiness to be found through same sex eroticism and gender-fluidity.

The principle rivals to the emerging Christ figure were holy queer beings – Dionysus, god of wine and ecstasy, and Attis, gender shifting son/daughter (and lover) of the primordial Goddess. But of course the Christ story is queer also – he was accompanied by a circle of male disciples, one of whom is singled out in the Gospel of John as the ‘disciple whom Jesus loved’, he was taught about love and ecstasy by the sacred sexworker Mary Magdalene, and Mark tells us that in the Garden of Gethsemane he was met by a partially dressed young man carrying water (the symbol of Aquarius, in a culture where women did that work) who fled, losing his cloth, once the guards came. But this queerness is denied and still largely unclaimed even by gay Christians.

Of course the Jesus story is queer. The very roots of religion come from a long tradition of genderfluidity and knowledge of the self through same sex love, whether expressed sexually or not. The suppression of the feminine, the ecstatic and the queer have all gone hand in hand in a patriarchal drive to control and bring order to life’s chaotic energies.

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The overall culture will take a long time to shift, but in the 21st century shift is happening. Individually we can make the internal changes we need to bring ourselves into alignment with the cycles and transitions of nature and the cosmos by letting go of all belief in our isolation, by entering into a relationship with the spirit that flow through us and all things and escaping the solitude of the mind-bound egoic sense of self.

Giving ourselves some ecstatic release helps to shift the body and mind into the new season and to new levels of understanding. Dancing, sex, even intoxicants can help. Every trip into ecstasy is an invitation to transformation. Taken with awareness, those trips can helpfully accelerate our evolution, our journey to self knowledge and discovery.

HAIL DIONYSUS!  HAIL PAN!

HAIL CERNUNNOS!  HAIL CYBELE!

BELTANE IS COMING!

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The Day of Blood

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March 24th in ancient days was the Day of Blood, a peak moment annually in the worship of the Great Mother Cybele and her consort Attis.  This was part of a Spring celebration of Cybele lasting several weeks.  On the Day of Blood frenzied ritual dancing took place, the participants, known as the Galli, working themselves into a mania, tearing their clothes, biting and flagellating themselves and each other.  At the ceremony’s peak initiates castrated themselves, part of bringing themselves closer to the goddess and pursuing their spiritual growth.

Attis was one of several ‘saviour’ figures who were competing for popularity in the first few centuries of the Common Era, others included Jesus, Antinous and Mithras.   They all had in common that they died and were resurrected, symbolising spiritual transformation – Attis died having castrated himself to avoid being married.  Violets sprang from his blood.  The goddess wrapped his testicles in his clothes and buried them in the earth. In early legends Attis was reborn as the daughter of Cybele, in later he was seen as having transcended to the starry heavens.

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Worship of Cybele was centred on the land of Phrygia, in Asian Turkey, for at least 1000 years before Christ. It spread throughout the Mediterranean, even as far as Britain – an elaborate bronze castration instrument, decorated with pictures of Cybele and Attis, was found in the Thames near London Bridge.  There are records of young men still self-castrating in Autun, France, in the 5th century.

The Galli were mainly wandering priest/esses, setting up shrines and enacting ceremonies wherever they went.  Historians often tell us that their effeminate nature and frenzied behaviour was tolerated but not really welcome among the, in comparison, relatively uptight Greeks and Romans – but the fact is Cybele was welcomed into Rome with great ceremony (she was credited with helping the Romans win the Punic War) and her faith established as the official state religion from the 3rd century BCE.  At first Roman citizens were not allowed to undergo ritual castration, but this law was changed in 101 BCE, with certain citizens allowed to take part, and removed all together under Claudius (42-54 CE).  This tolerance did not last – Domitian (81-91 CE) forbad Roman citizens to become Galli.  Apparently castration was proving a bit too popular.

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Much of what we know about the Galli comes from greek, roman and christian writers who deplored their behaviour and their femininity.  Firmicus Maternus wrote that in their temples “one may see scandalous performances… men letting themselves be handled as women”.  Augstine called Cybele’s Galli priests “castrated perverts”, “madmen”, “totally unmanned and corrupted”.

Conflicts between Christians and pagans increased at an exponential rate from the first century.  The occasional Roman emperor converted back to pagan ways, but over time they became more and more determined to wipe out the goddess worshippers.  Emperor Theodosius in 390: “All those who shamefully debase their bodies by submitting them, like women, to the desire of another man, in giving themselves to strange sexual relations, shall be made to expiate such crimes in the avenging flames, in view of all the people.”  Emperor Justinian was the most intolerant, using torture, confiscating property, destroying temples and burning alive the queer servants of the goddess.

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March 15th to April 10th was known as the Megalensia.  This special period of celebration of Cybele and Attis started with a period of fasting leading up to the frenzies of the Day of Blood on March 24th.  On the 25th Attis’ triumph over physical death was celebrated.  The festivities continued with a period of games and entertainments leading to Cybele’s birthday feasts on April 10th.

By the end of the 4th century CE there had been a wholesale effort to erase all statues, temples and memories of Cybele. The Christians were trying to eradicate all connection between genderqueer trans and gay priest/esses and holy practice, after some 1500 years when sexuality had been treated in temples and orgiastic rituals as sacred, as a way of communing with the gods.  The persecution of gay/queer/trans people in the world today stems from this time when our sexuality or gendervariant identities were associated with the pagan goddess religions.  The Churches have forgotten that this was at the root of the condemnation of our kind.  And so few of us queers today have any clue about this.

But the Great Mother never went away. And nor did her people.  We are still here, finding out who we are and what roles we are called to play today.

Oration to Cybele, by the last non-Christian emperor of Rome, Julian II:

“She is in control of every form of life and the cause of all generation; She easily brings to perfection all things that are made.  Without pain, She brings to birth.”

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