Dancing on a Sunday

Sunday night was always my favourite day of the week to be on a dance floor. From the start of my London clubbing days in 1986 I noticed there was always an interesting vibe around on a Sunday. Friday was a night of people letting off steam after work, Saturday one of high expectations, intensive preparation and sometimes maximum pretension. But Sunday was the chill night of the week, where the Monday to Friday working crew were less in evidence, the collective rush to get high or wasted was exhausted, and so the real music lovers had room on the dance floor for our uninhibited revelry.

From ’86 I was to be found at the Bell in Kings Cross on a Sunday night, sporting a bleached blond flat top, checked shirt and denim. I was a new romantic / clone crossbreed, there letting myself spin and fly to Soft Cell, Depeche Mode, the Smiths, Siouxsie and the Banshees…. By the late ’80s my weekend nights were often spent in super-club Heaven, where I rode happily on the Garage sounds of Friday but often struggled with the hi-nrg and machismo of Saturday. Sunday at the Bell was always like coming back home.

In the early 1990s the Market Tavern in Vauxhall was my home for a Sunday afternoon, usually lsd-assisted, rave up, probably after tripping through Saturday night at Troll and Heaven. I’d arrive 3pm for the free lunch (by serving food they got round the licensing laws which kept pubs shut between lunch and evening sessions). I was a Market regular for 5 years, visiting several nights a week, getting to experience there the gradual dying out of the ’80s clone scene along with its hi-nrg soundtrack and the shift to house music, smiley face t-shirts, acid, ecstasy and raving.

At the Return to Heaven party Easter 2019

After a 4 hour sociable dance in the Market a line of queers trotted through Vauxhall Cross for evening at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern (and sometimes back to the Market for their late session) where i can recall seeing Adrella and Lily Savage on stage drunk, punk and anarchic, I loved it.

By the mid ’90s the RVT had replaced its Sunday drag show with a hard house rave, that had pilled up lads in trackies bouncing around on the furniture. This was the birth of the ‘Institution’, the legendary, and a lot softer ‘happy house’ Sunday dance sessions, that have been joy filled days of gay dance classics since the early 2000s. It was also the precursor to the much larger dance clubs that came to Vauxhall and the intense Sunday raving, indeed 24 hour parties, that became so popular in the 2000s. Crash. Action. Fire. Area. The disco room out the back at Bar Code used to be one of the craziest, most intense medleys of diverse guys on a variety of substances, pumped up with desire, dreams, testosterone and the wish to see and be seen.

Sunday nights in the late 90s I wasn’t going out , I was on a journey with HIV through the tunnel of AIDS. I took all the inspirations that I remembered from my ecstatic nights on dance floors, and rediscovered that sense of elation through an inner search for spiritual awakening. As I retreated from the scene ecstasy was really hitting the masses. Clubbing was no longer the intimate experience I had known, it was about mass elation, large numbers of people finding a higher level of connecting themselves and to each other. The love was flowing, and I felt I had become a student of love and wisdom in the background, this totally inspired by the visions and feelings I had known while dancing to music i loved and could become One with.

When I dipped back in to the London dance scene around 2000 I arrived at the dying end of the phenomenon that was Turnmills nightclub in Farringdon. I had missed the whole Sunday morning rush that was the groundbreaking club Trade, which so many of my friends still reminisce about, and also the Sunday night Warriors club, where dying men went to dance, because I’d been too sick to go. But I got to The Well (which went on to hold a few wonderfully weird Sunday nights at the Prince of Orange in Rotherhithe) and to Melt, where I fell in love with a beautiful punky Frenchman called Philippe (and we danced together for 4 years, on tropical beaches and in Radical Faerie sanctuaries).

From the mid 2000s to this very day the best Sunday night out for me was to be had at Horse Meat Disco at the Vauxhall Eagle. This pub with its marvellous beer garden and dance floor managed to revive something of the old Market Tavern spirit, and Horse Meat’s goal of invoking the heavenly vibrations of the legendary New York club Paradise Garage works. Disco was the soundtrack of our liberation days, of our innocent days before the ravages of AIDS to come in the 1980s. Sunday at the Eagle brings together all kinds of folks at the end of the weekend, but all share a laidback, positive, openness and generally take a ride into collective elation.

Well not this year. COVID-19 has stopped us dancing.

Most Friday or Saturday nights i’m not too bothered, but sometimes on a Sunday the magical delight of Sunday Gay Abandon arises from my memory and I think, what is not dancing together doing to us?

RAVING (about Spirit) in ’95

I was supposed to be home, sad and dying

but I was in Soho drinking and flying.

I’d just had such cosmic visions –

met the Goddess through energy and rhythms,

felt euphoric and inspired,

full of life, somewhat wired…

I soon got told by a down to earth queen

to stop acting like a messiah.

.

I wanted every gay to know

I’d discovered a way for us to grow

from caterpillars greedily chewing at life

to butterflies filling the world with light;

there’s a path for us to follow

over the rainbow to our own sweet magic Self:

the Spirit was clearly showing me that

the persistent repression of our nature for a thousand years

is the cause of our issues with health.

.

People didn’t want to hear

that I’d found a way to transcend fear.

People didn’t want to know

that the Goddess had sent me to sow

some seeds of truth about our queer spirit,

that if we can wake up and truly shine

the sky is not even the limit.

.

Death seemed now to me irrelevant,

for surely I’d been on this ride throughout time

as the rocks, as the microbes, as all creatures;

suddenly I saw that Divinity

is the most hidden of humanity’s features:

Hidden by Church and State

in order to create

a world subservient to their need and greed:

they achieved this through imposing

a twisted, unholy creed.

.

Imitating the God of the Jewish Testament

the Christians conceived a jealous God

who wanted all other versions of himself destroyed.

Through this ”God of Love”

the most horrendous atrocities have been justified

from the 4th century til modern times.

People today scream about Islamic extremism

but they should study their own history

and start apologising.

.

A few years later I met Queer Pagans and Radical Faeries:

at last people in touch with the Great Mystery, and since then

while building community that reaches across the globe

I’ve been deeply researching our history.

The deep roots of homophobia go back to our roles

in the ancient religions, as the healers of souls,

as conduits of spirit, connected to the earth through sex.

Sodomy and sorcery have long been bedfellows

it was because of fear of our power

that we ended up as faggots and on gallows,

and then in stocks, prisons and psychiatric wards:

BUT WHILE OUR LOVE IS REPRESSED

HUMANITY CANNOT MOVE FORWARDS.

.

Throughout centuries gay men were known as Ganymedes

the beloved of Zeus and the sign of Aquarius:

as the astrological age of the water bearer begins

Gays today have an urgent need

to embrace our souls and get over the greed

trained into us by a consumer society –

we’ve lived so many lives of devotion and piety

called to holy service even when our sexuality was denied –

it’s through nature – and the body – that we meet Spirit

for our love is entirely natural

but it’s purpose in the human scheme of evolution

is Divine.

That’s why, to keep the world asleep,

the State and Church put so much effort

into making gay love something evil

in every human’s mind.

.

Dionysus, Artemis, Cybele, Pan, Priapus, Apollo:

queer love was once seen as holy

and will be again tomorrow.

THE REAL CONSPIRACY IS CONFUSION

I am a Long Term AIDS Survivor, witnessing how dynamics experienced by the Gay community in the 1980-90s are being played out on a much larger, global, scale, for in the Age of the Coronavirus everybody is involved.

Diagnosed HIV+ in 1990 I lived as a PWA (Person With AIDS) from 1995-8: I wrote articles for London based magazine Positive Nation and was very focused on exploring alternative treatments to the deadly medicine, AZT, that was killing my friends, and alternative understanding of the cause and nature of the condition to that of the medical-biological model. In the HIV world we had our outright virus-deniers, and many more of us who were just prepared to try anything we thought might help. I explored Chinese medicine, Kombucha, spiritual healing, flower remedies and dived into the ‘New Age’ ideas of Louise Hay (‘You Can Heal Your Life’). I took a pro-active, positive approach towards my own healing, did not simply surrender to the medical system, which, I came to realise, was limited by its materialist, entirely biological approach. As my journey with HIV progressed I woke up to the fact that this was not simply about an infection gained through sexual activity, this was a multi-levelled health crisis, of body, mind and soul.

2020’s COVID-19 PANDEMIC IS A COLLECTIVE CRISIS OF BODY, MIND AND SOUL.

Restrictions in place on where, how and how many people we can meet.

A battle raging for control of our minds, between beliefs, ideologies, conspiracies.

Our souls, like the planet, are battered by materialist, consumerist, conflict-driven paradigms, in fact the soulless, materialist military-industrial paradigm is killing life on Earth, we have to start caring for our home, and for each other, or we die.

These conditions remind me a lot of living with AIDS.

Physical illness restricted our movements; we listened to the conflicting messages of doctors, hiv-denying activists and of course the sometimes hateful words coming from ‘religious’ people and the authorities. (The Chief of Police in Manchester said the gay community was ‘swirling in a cess pit of their own making’). My own personal revelation was that my body was dying because my soul was seriously neglected. I was not seeking to understand life, to grow in knowledge or wisdom, to find my place in the bigger picture, to discover my own unique magic. I had bought into the idea that my ‘education’ was over post university and now I just had to function, being just a chance happening in a meaningless reality. I seriously lacked goals, but my saving grace was that I did seek love, more than anything – when I sat down to think after my diagnosis I worked out that the one thing on my bucket list was love. I found it with a wonderful French man, we met in a bar in Soho in 1993 and were together for seven years, lovingly caring for each other through the aids experience. Having achieved that goal, a new one appeared – I wanted answers.

I had become an atheist aged 12, when the rational, scientific outlook was educated into me. Up until then I had been quite as ease with Jesus and God, but I had worked out that the teachers did not really believe the religious stories that got trotted out in school assembly. HIV motivated me to sit down and think about life for the first time, in my late 20s. If I was going to die, why had I been born in the first place? What was the point? I suddenly wanted to know.

I had studied History at Churchill College, Cambridge in the mid 1980s, so I approached this question as a historian would – going to the source materials, and studying the evolution of humanity’s ideas about the meaning of life ever since we started recording them. At first I thought that was during ancient Greek times, or the Vedic scriptures of India, but in fact we have been leaving messages for future generations ever since the rock carvings, stone circles and pyramids of the Stone Age.

It soon became clear that you cannot simply study the meaning of life, you have to embrace the inner search and transformation that the world’s mystics and teachers have been talking about for millennia if you want real answers. I came to see, and experience, that, at their core, all the world’s great mystery traditions are speaking of the unity and interconnectedness of life, love, nature and spirit it became clear that this is a basic root fact of existence of which the modern world is in complete denial. Our ‘civilisation’ is built on the principle of separation, domination and division. We abuse the planet, we fight each other – in complete denial of the wisdom that the icons of our various religions and philosophies gave us.

More than this – there is an active energy in the world promoting the idea that there are no answers. It seems that the ruling and influential people in the world have entirely bought the materialist world views that life has no meaning, no purpose; that our consciousness is a chance by-product of our biology; that the universe sprang out of nowhere in a big bang, etc. I’ve noticed mainstream media loves an opportunity to mock astrology, criticise ayahuasca ceremonies, etc, though usually it just ignores the massive surge in interest in spirituality that is going on in the world. For example the BBC on a Sunday will feature god-denying humanists one moment, god-addicted Christians the next. The rest of the week secularism rules the roost. The voices of mystics, of astrologers and holistic healers, of those who have seen beyond the much-hyped differences between religion and science, or between the faiths, and perceive a united spiritual existence here on earth, don’t get airtime.

CONFUSION IS THE BIGGEST CONSPIRACY OF ALL

Life makes perfect sense when we live with an open heart and mind, when we allow the voices of the wise ancestors to inform us, when we accept that we are part of a oneness, not separate except through the illusion created by our own minds and bodies, these miraculous vehicles that exist for us to experience existence.

Crisis drives the search for answers, and the world has been plunged into crisis like never before – with much larger ones on the horizon if we do not address the very real question of how humanity’s actions are unbalancing the climate, in fact the whole eco-system. HIV was the kickstart I needed to wake up and see that life is a spiritual journey, not simply a material one, and that if I wished to heal and feel whole I needed to embrace all parts of being – body, mind, soul and spirit – as sacred. As an educated man it did not take long to work out that life is a mixture of reason and mystery – we need to welcome and operate in both fields to grasp life’s fullness. And yet our modern culture would rather we didn’t. It took that close shave with death for me to shift my mind from a mundane to a profound outlook on life, and that is why I can say that COVID-19 presents an opportunity for the whole species to get to a higher level of consciousness.

While facing AIDS I heard the message of the mystics that the deep seated beliefs we hold in our minds and hearts are always being heard by the cosmos as prayers to which it responds. So to believe in a pointless, random life is to conjure that experience. Equally, to believe in a dominating, angry Father God who judges everything you do is to create the experience of that. This is how religions have been used to control the people for centuries – we maybe think totalitarianism was invented in the 20th century, but in fact under the Roman Empire, Christianity, once it became the only religion permitted in the late 4th century, was already well engaged in this project. During the Middle Ages, alternative Christian outlooks to that of the Roman Catholic Church – such as those of the Cathars, Knights Templars, Bogomils and Free Spirits – ended up on the receiving end of Catholic swords, or Inquisition fires. So did many witches in the early Modern era, as the Christian religion, by then fired up even more by the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-Reformation, as the Churches determinedly tried to stamp out any vestiges of the belief in the nature religions of ancient Europe.

The so-called ‘Enlightenment’ came along and the grip that religion held on power and belief started to falter, but as much as they keep trying, atheists have not taken over the world. The human spirit won’t let them. The search to understand life is humanity’s oldest quest, yet I was educated in the 20th century, brainwashed even, to believe this quest was pointless, that no answers could ever be found. Facing looming death I wasn’t satisfied by this deflection any more. As I dived into spiritual search my understanding and experience of life entirely changed. Yes it was very confusing at first, but I could sense a clear light source from which all humanity’s imaginings arise. I kept my focus on that light and walked through the darkness with firm determination until my entire being had transformed.

I believe that the human species is ready to make the leap to the next level of consciousness. This involves accepting we all share the same root consciousness, that we can create a world built on oneness, a world of peace, prosperity and harmony, if we recognise that oneness and make all our decisions and choices from that place. It doesn’t matter how we each perceive that Oneness, whether as a Father, a Mother, a Friend, a Lover or an entirely impersonal presence. But once we find that Oneness within ourselves we become a force for the positive evolution of the species.

There is way more evidence for the ongoing paradigm shift away from division and separation on YouTube and the rest of social media than you will ever find on the mainstream channels. There are a lot of confused ideas too of course. Our task becomes to find our own truth, make sure we are not being manipulated into ideas strongly espoused for others, and then to walk in it.

From the place of Oneness, a virus is not simply an enemy – it has a role in pushing the exploration and evolution of medicine, of community, of consciousness. HIV never felt to me like a simple sexually transmitted disease – it is much more than that, a life changing guest in the body that has the potential to assist us to open up and heal our minds, hearts and spirits. That was my experience, HIV revealed to me that Healing Is Vital – ie healing from the paradigm of separation and suffering that grips the world. The COVID-19 pandemic is an opportunity for humanity to question the way we do things, to evolve quickly to better ways of living in harmony with each the planet and each other, but we have to grasp the opportunity and get on with it.

As a rational, educated human being who was faced with a crisis of mortality, I dived into study of humanity’s attempts to understand its own nature, from religion to magic to science and philosophy. After an initial rush of excitement about the wonders hidden from view in the modern world, I settled into a steady life pattern that generates health and well being through communion with nature, attunement to planetary and cosmic cycles, and knowing myself integrally as part of the planet, part of the solar system, part of the divine mystery. As far as I can see the biggest lies running on the planet today are that we are separate individual beings, that life has no direction or purpose, that life’s mysteries can never be solved. Try believing something else and see where it gets you, that’s my recommendation. Confusion is the biggest conspiracy on the planet today.

Message from the Virgin Sun

SUN SHINING on an aquarian moon day morning

FULL MOON building and a new life dawning.

LIGHT STREAMING from the water bearer’s cup

ILLUMINATING THE PATH to the full moon of the Fish.

.

THE VIRGIN SUN says

IT’S TIME FOR HUMANITY TO TRANSFORM

The Divine Angel race is waiting to be born.

Good and Evil exist only in the mind

The key to peace and harmony comes through being

Compassionate and kind.

The Heart contains the door to multidimensional love,

It’s opened through beliefs and thoughts and actions.

The Body is the vehicle for transcendental delight,

just remember that the God and Goddess

are found on the inside.

.

COME THE DAY OF OPEN HEART AND OPEN MINDS

There’s so much waiting in the multiverse for humanity to find.

THE SPIRIT DIMENSIONS are waiting for us

To reach IN/OUT to them, without dogma or fuss.

UNION is a pure, ecstatic, simple, sacred state

As we each individually grasp this

We find the Way to the Aquarian Age.

.

We are going through a dimensional shift

A new paradigm emerging

We are healing the rift that exists

Between the worlds.

To do this we need to heal

the rifts that exist within and between us:

between races, between nations

between male and female

between straight and gay…

ALL LIFE EXISTS WITHIN THE SOUL

UNION WILL COME ONE DAY

WHEN WE STOP SEEING DIVISION AND ALLOCATING BLAME

WHEN HUMANITY REALISES WE ARE ALL PART OF THE SAME GAME.

.

The great tides and strides of history

all part of the Divine Plan:

A species left to rule its world

To build a divine sisterbrotherhood

without the Goddess’s guiding hand.

As we reach the point of unification

voices of love and wisdom arise in every land,

but they’re not the ones in power,

this we should understand

THE LOVE REVOLUTION COMES FROM BELOW

THIS TIME WAS LONG AGO PLANNED.

Whether it will be peaceful or violent

is in humanity’s hands.

Monotheism has had its day

Monotheism has done its job:
can those ‘ours is the way’ preachers please move along.
A new age is coming to the earth
the human spirit is ready to sing a new song.

Monotheism has had its day:
we now know there are so many ways to pray
the mystery of spirit, flesh, heart and mind
there’s glory inside for us each to find
in our own chosen way.

Salvation isn’t about life after death –
Enlightenment can be found with each breath:
there are infinite ways to approach the divine.
Humanity’s paths all speak of this time
of radical change, awakening and light
– and some speak of disruption, terror and blight –
but the power is in our hands and hearts
to wake up to the plan of Creation
and step up to play out parts –
to form a future built as we choose,
we are Divine Creators
and there’s nothing to lose…

Except,
religion, the Piscean legacy, keep people stuck in the trap
thinking god is elsewhere and the world so bad…
Spirituality is the Aquarian way of Self-discovery,
of liberation, understanding and loving community.



There is nothing but human minds
holding back the progress to unity….
What we conceive we create,
we need a new global story
that recognises our Oneness
and the many routes to Glory.

Earth centred traditions once derided, are now respected
For their wisdom and knowledge
Of the body, of the stars, of other worlds, of the soul.
The Union of all paths is the goal.
We’ve tried living without God
God knows we’ve tried
But faith is something that we have deeply invested inside.
Until the separate self unites with its deep core, the divine place in us that knows we are a part of so much more….
Humanity continues to create more and more
Drama discord and disease…

In our struggles we’ve raped and pillaged the earth.
2020s is the decade where we become ready to give birth
To an enlightened humanity and change our world.

The elemental structure of Nature
Shows us the way to heal, to wholeness, balance, peace.
Nature will find a new harmony
When the madness in humanity has ceased.

Paganism Brought Me Home

August 2000 at the third Queer Pagan Camp in the rolling fields of Dorset, UK, my five year AIDS trial of shadow and light, of spiritual renewal, physical collapse and resurrection came to its culmination point. At a peak moment of communion a gap in the sky opened for me, loving voices came through reassuring me that here in Britain, in the nature and with the people of the land I was born into, lay my path: my confusion about how to re-enter and engage with the world post AIDS, where to direct my energy having experienced such a profound transformation of my being – having come to know the eternal part of my soul, to regard myself as a spirit visiting the Earth – was cast away. In the magic circle with fellow queer witches, druids, shamans, faerie workers, in the arms of the elements, ancestors and the goddess, I felt a divine wellness and wholeness sweep through my being, I felt my spirit expand in joy from deep in the earth to the sun and the moon. The desperately sick years were behind me, the mental anguish about facing life again, having become so comfortable with the idea of death, fell away in that Dorset field.

Five years earlier in 1995 I had made a profound shift in my mind, which led me into a total inner transformation, by dropping the atheism I had adopted – or I might say I believe I had been brainwashed into – by the age of 12. Impending death can focus the mind like that, and five years since my HIV+ diagnosis, I wanted some answers as to why I existed in the first place. So, being a rationally minded graduate in history from Cambridge University, I applied some logical thought to this situation, and started to study. It dawned on me that the question of the ‘meaning of life’ had been humanity’s obsession for thousands of years, but somehow the education I had received and the culture I had been exposed to, had not encouraged me to think about this, quite the opposite – growing up in the 1970s, the backlash against the hippy culture was a big influence on me, religion was in decline and materialist science was the new god.

The search for my true self did in fact start in my early 20s when I came out of the sexuality closet, but it took the crisis of HIV/AIDS to push me to take that search deeper. Once I realised just how much effort humanity had put into this already, I approached the question as a historian – reading source materials, studying mystical teachings from throughout history and from across the world. The idea of just approaching the mystery of our existence through only one religious or spiritual path seemed illogical as we came to the turn of the millennium when for the first time in history all of humanity’s explorations of the spiritual are accessible to us and so the opportunity is there for an intelligent modern human seeking answers to obtain a broader view and understanding, if they put the effort in.

This was not a simply intellectual exercise of course. This was practical too. I learnt about the different forms of meditation – passive, dynamic, visualisation, mantra… I caught onto the idea that to know the divine reality we need knowledge, but also experience – so I practised creating ritual spaces, learning to open my heart as well as my mind to the spirit through devotional practice. Inner guides appeared and led me on totally unexpected, exciting pathways of discovery through my own imagination. At a time when I was expecting to be sad about impending death, I found myself on the most exhilarating soul journey, unlike anything I had ever known before. Not knowing if there was any chance at all that I might survive AIDS I kept hope in my heart and dived into spiritual practice and study, somehow sensing right away that I was on a five year path, but to death or life at the end I knew not.

My turn around from ‘dying’ to ‘living’ came early 1998. I was part of the Lazarus phenomenon at that time, as skeletal men, often, like me, with leopard like Karposi Sarcoma spots on our bodies, suddenly turned the corner. I had refused to take AZT as I had seen friends who were on it pass away, tried ‘alternative’ therapies and only took medication once the protease inhibitors were available. In ’97 my CD4 count was down to 3, in June I was hospitalised with PCP, but responded to treatment and spent most of the year home in my cosy south London flat with my French partner, we each taking care of each other through various states of sickness. The love between us kept us alive, of that I am quite sure.

Excited at the prospect of survival, by the end of 1998 I was riding high on my first attempts to combine my new inner magical discoveries with other people. There was a gay spiritual event in London called Connections, at which I met an American called Carl Shapley who was a channel for the Ascended Masters. I shared my story with him and we spent a lot of time together, he seeing me as a servant of the Divine Mother, as a person who had awoken to his purpose on this planet through a classic shamanic death-rebirth ordeal, and a sign that many more magical folk would soon be waking up too – especially amongst the LGBT community.

With Carl I took part in a few ceremonies around London, including a night where we opened cosmic gates at Piccadilly Circus. He took me to a meeting at the House of Lords, for even there at that time a buzz around spiritual change was in the air, and, along with places like the UN, these were the kind of circles Carl was working in to bring light.

It was walking home along the Thames from that meeting at Parliament that a sense of enormity at the challenge of re-entering the world as a mystical channel hit me hard, and that night back at my flat I experienced a complete overwhelm in the form of a loss of individuality, a merging into a non-physical reality that terrified me. I felt myself on the knife edge between life and death, felt my physical survival was far from assured. I went through an internal mental collapse, and had to spend the next few months lying mostly in a darkened room, slowly putting myself back together.

Most of 1999 for me was a time of nervous anxiety as I tentatively met the world again. That summer saw my first time at Queer Pagan Camp, and the effect of meeting experienced gay, lesbian bi and trans pagans was utterly inspiring. My study of the religious paths to the divine had left me challenged by questions around sexuality as I returned to life. But here were happy, spiritual queers who embraced sex and all life’s pleasures with passion. I learned the Goddess creed “All Acts of Love and Pleasure are My Rituals” and I took it to heart. My internal opening to the spirit realms had brought me first to the presence of the Divine Mother and her angels -at that time I had no idea of the rich and ancient, global, history of queer people as servants to the Goddess, but in that Dorset field over the next few summers I was to get many direct and powerful experiences of what it actually means to be that, and how queer people reclaiming our natural spirituality, which religions have spent so many centuries suppressing, is a crucial part of the global shift in consciousness that humanity is undergoing.

In 2000 I made two pilgrimages, the first to the ashram of the Mother of Immortal Bliss, Mata Amritanandamayi, also known as Amma the Hugging Mother, in Kerala, and the second back to the English fields with the Queer Pagans. At the ashram I received powerful healing, and being in the company of other spiritual seekers was incredibly affirming. I came back to the UK feeling much stronger and more confident, but before I left India, a few days in the stunning nature and free spirited atmosphere of the Goa beaches brought me even more sense of belonging and ‘home’ than had the ashram. Then a few months later at the Dorset Camp I found that HOME in the English countryside amongst the most inspiring, talented, unique and magical queers I had ever met.

I have spent the last 20 years seeking to meet other queers on their own path of self-discovery and awakening, joining the global Radical Faerie community, where in sanctuaries and gatherings we reclaim the sacred power inherent in queerness, explore our gifts as healers, transformational artists, midwives to the dying, walkers between the worlds. In London I set up the Queer Spirit Circle in 2005 with a lesbian friend named Anna, offering the space as a meeting point for queers of any spiritual persuasion, which continues 15 years later as a Full Moon Drum Circle, a non-commercial event where sometimes up to 100 people gather for spiritual and social interaction. The rapid growth of the network in the UK led to the birth of Queer Spirit Festival in 2016 – five day camping festival of queer magic, the third of which took place in 2019.

I have also spent the last 2 decades living my life in tune with the planet’s natural cycles and with ever growing understanding of the interplay between the cosmic forces of the solar system and our human experience. Paganism gives us the tools to live in a state of self-acceptance and harmony – the four elements give us a map of the human being that is expansive and health-giving, helping us to engage all the parts of our nature (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual) as equally important; the solstices and equinoxes are natural planetary turning points that occur within our bodies and minds also; the zodiac year maps out the journey of the soul in symbolic language (showing us the way home); the moon guides and influences our emotional fields all the time. By giving these aspects of life our attention, eg by making ceremony to align ourselves with the divine rhythms of existence such as full moons etc, we bring our personal energy fields into harmony and alignment with life itself.

When faced with death I turned to the world’s great religions for answers to the meaning of life. I found that at their core they all said the same thing, about the unity of consciousness, how its nature is love, that it emerges through nature and becomes us. But religion in the world was not teaching these things, not spreading this simple divine perspective, certainly not living up to it. Eastern religions taught me much, particularly the complex and fascinating philosophies of Hinduism – which, we had been told at school, is a ‘pagan’ faith, where many gods are worshipped just as the old ‘primitive, foolish, ignorant’ people of Europe had once done before the arrival of glorious Christianity – what a lot of lies we were told back in those Religious Education lessons. Pagans were mocked for worshipping the Sun and Moon, rocks and trees, and I’m not sure the fact that paganism was reviving in the UK rapidly since the 1950s was mentioned.

When, during my AIDS study years I discovered the glorious, universal light contained in Hinduism I figured out that our own European paganism must come from the same ancient source, contain the same wisdom and joy (features that seemed so lacking in the patriarchal monotheistic religions), and when I got to meet Queer Pagans and as I have celebrated with Radical Faeries I have found this to be true. As I have walked the Wheel of the Year and found a relationship with the spirit of the land in which I began this lifetime, I find that Celtic paganism gives the tools to create our own lives as a well-rounded, love filled, adventure – plus the tools to heal ourselves from the wounds we have gained and the belief in separation we have had to endure in a world that is in a serious, soul-numbing state of mental madness.

Once the whole world was ‘pagan’. The word implies attunement to nature and the planetary cycles, a recognition that we are part of those too, not separate from or above them. Pagan reminds us we know within ourselves how to talk and commune with trees, plants, animals and ancestors, that deities are there to reflect to us and help us discover the divine power in ourselves, that divinity is feminine and non-binary as well as masculine, and that the body is holy, with pleasure its natural way to worship existence itself. Religion taught me a lot about humanity’s long search for Self but Paganism is about embracing, being and manifesting that Self, about becoming an individualised, independent, self-actualised divine entity within the greater whole, not better than any part of it in any way, but simply and perfectly, eternally AT HOME in it.

Pleasure is A Goddess

I remember Religious Education lessons at my school during the late 1970s in which indigenous pagan traditions of old Europe and the rest of the world were mocked for their primitive worship of the Sun and Moon. Our teacher was a Christian, and although I recall him giving a reasonable introduction to the great religions of the East, nature based faiths, we were firmly told, were superstitious nonsense.

Since I have become aware of the rich spiritual culture and inner growth that paganism offers, I’ve wondered whether that teacher, Dr Surin, really had so little understanding of nature spirituality or his attitude was a conscious ploy to direct the development of our 13 year old minds.

As long ago as 1851 American archaeologist and historian E.G. Squier wrote in ‘The Serpent Symbol’ that the active and passive principles of nature, –

“symbolised by the sun and the moon, or the sun and the earth, was recognised in the mythological systems of America”.

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Those religion lessons skimmed over paganism in less than one session, and no wonder, for there was a crucial central feature to nature based spiritual paths the world over that the teacher did not want to mention – the centrality of pleasure, the inclusion of sex in pagan ritual worship and their regard of the genital organs as holy. This was surely a very conscious decision to hide all this, for British paganism was back in the open by this time, and far back in the 19th century historian H. H, Bancroft, in the Native Races of the Pacific States of North America (1874), had understood that, –

“the life-giving and vivifying principle of nature has been always symbolised by the human organs of generation”.

Traditional faiths were mocked by my religious teacher as ‘fertility religions’. We were told the stupid people used to make ceremony to ask the gods to bless the crops, and that was about it. But back in the 1940s George Ryley Scott was already pointing out (in ‘Phallic Worship: A History of Sex and Sexual Rites’) that the pagans were also honouring pleasure itself, for they regarded sexual ecstasy as a state of communion with the gods. And for this reason the phallus was an almost universal holy symbol across the world. Where the patriarchal phalli did not completely subjugate the feminine the vulva was honoured equally.

From Roman times the Christians began to call the sacred sex workers who had operated for millennia in the temples of antiquity (throughout Middle East and Asia) ‘prostitutes’. But George Ryley Scott pointed out that, –

“It is important to note that these temple prostitutes… were not looked upon with disgust… They were “brides of God” or “slaves of the idol” and were accorded a degree of respect far in advance of anything given to the ordinary female member of society. It was considered to be an honour to serve the gods in this way.”

In the 1970s feminist and gay historians such as Merlin Stone (‘When God Was a Woman’) and Arthur Evans (‘Witchcraft and the Gay Counter-Culture’) were going as far as to call the traditional, ancient faiths ‘sex religions’.

There is a crucial connection between the virulent homophobia that developed in European Christianity and which it then spread around the world in the last 500 years and the destruction of the ancient sex positive cultures. To achieve this, women’s sexual power was turned into something dark by the adoption of the misogynistic Hebrew creation story and the gradual association of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah with gay sex instead of it being about hospitality and the rape of strangers (a process begun by Christian thinker Philo in the 1st century CE). The Christians followed the example of the Hebrew Kings of the period 1000-600 BCE whose efforts to stop the worship of phallic symbols and the sexual temple practices carried out by women and the Qedesha (meaning the ‘Holy Ones’, the word was translated into English as ‘sodomites’) had been only partially successful. From the 4th century onwards pagan statues, temples, sacred groves were all attacked by Christians, again following the instructions of the Old Testament Yahweh (such as Exodus 22:20 “He that sacrificeth to any God, save unto the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed”), backed up by juicy lines from the New such as Luke 10:19 “Behold I give you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy”.

The religions of the Father God caused a separation of the spirit and the flesh, and over the centuries of the Middle Ages destroyed rival Christian groups that accepted sexuality, that gave power to women, that refused the authority of the established Church. By the Early Modern era the repression of gay sex in Europe, was being taken up by the political lawmakers as well as the Catholic Inquisition. Europeans were utterly shocked by the open expression of sexuality they found on their world explorations. On every other continent they came across people who had no shame about sex, who had not thought of the concept of obscenity, and they found sexual rites of worship, same sex couples, transgendered souls held in high regard, and sacred phallic imagery, all of which they set about doing their very best to destroy.

George Catlin wrote about the Sioux Buffalo Dance in 1867, recording the climax when O-ke-hee-de (owl spirit) came into the scene: “In his hands he carried a sort of wand – a slender rod of eight feet in length, with a red ball at the end of it, which he slid about upon the ground as he ran”. Professor Gerard Troost of Tennessee wrote of a statue of a priapic kneeling man (he switched to Latin in his work to describe the ‘membrum generationis virile in erectione‘) that was ‘considered too indelicate to be preserved’. Phallic imagery was common throughout the Americas, and in Africa and Asia too, as it had once been in pagan Europe (as the modern world realised with shock when the ruins at Pompeii were revealed). For example, 19th century British explorer Richard Burton wrote that phallic worship in Dahomey, west Africa, “is uncomfortably prominent; every street from Whydah to the capital is adorned with the symbol.”

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The cultures of Asia show many examples of phallic worship…..

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In the western world the 1960s brought the ‘Sexual Revolution’ at the same time as an explosion of interest in all things mystical and occult. The still prudish atmosphere of the mainstream at the time, plus the materialist backlash against spirituality that has been raging since the 1980s, has prevented as yet a proper reunion of the sexual and spiritual sides of our humanity. When it comes to sex, we as a species are still learning about the basics of respect, equality and consent, and maybe we have to get these properly in place before we can truly embark on the pagan, tantric, embrace of life in all its pleasure giving glory, before we can access all the potential of the life-giving, pleasure-giving sexual organs, symbols and tools of the divine creation, and of the divine creative presence within us.

Pleasure is a Goddess

The Ancients knew

Pleasure dissolves the boundaries

Between Me and You.

WE ARE THE OLD ONES

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Human beings how lucky we are

to be on this earth around this star

in a solar system divinely designed to keep us blind

to the rest of the cosmos and life on other worlds –

until we are ready to accept what’s there to find;

designed to keep us blind, as we evolve the human mind

beyond conflict to a place compassionate and kind,

and weave a planetary story that prepares us to take our place

in the universal family as the Divine Human Race.

rainbow-moon-lindsay-franklin

Long ago there were humans who saw through it all

felt the Presence of Spirit and answered its call;

mind was uncluttered, there had been no Fall:

but the darkness was coming, they knew memories would fail

so they built great stone monuments that would ever prevail,

that would withstand the Elements, the storms and the gales

and keep their Great Secrets, their Holy Grail

until a time in the future when the Old Ways would once again rise –

after centuries in which magic had been ridiculed, her practitioners despised –

the Old Ways returning, the Great Wheel moving on,

a brand new humanity, singing new songs.

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Life brings us to CRISIS POINTS

because we are here to HEAL

our wounds of disconnection

from the one thing that’s really real.

Life hits us with emotions

Because we’re here to FEEL

the nice stuff and the tough stuff

to build a powerful psychic field

that can channel higher vibrations

in the service of a RENEWED CREATION.

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Life is sensual, erotic,

with a quiet mind there is little but delight,

body and heart connect us to spirit

but the mind can trap us in fright, fight and flight.

The Human Soul seeks to know

its greatest reach, its brightest show,

to soar through the Universe

and know itself at home on the Earth

to feel its Freedom and realise its Bliss –

to dance in Love and know the Spirit’s kiss.

Pleasure is a Goddess, the Ancients Knew

Pleasure dissolves the boundaries between Me and You.

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Once the Peoples of Europe danced with Dionysus

Saw Love as a Goddess and Pleasure as her Worship

Knew that mysteries of Sex, Gender and Intoxication

were routes to Holy Transcendence, Ecstasy, Elation.

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The Peoples of Europe once spoke with the Trees

Danced and Made Love in Sacred Groves.

The Armies of the Cross destroyed all these

and nowadays few people know

the Dryads, the Sprites of Water and Fire

the Spirits in the Breeze.

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The People in Europe once danced around Fires

Communed, told stories and saw pictures in the flames:

This healed Souls and brought Wonderment, Joy and Grace

Brought touch with the deep nature of the Human Race.

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The Peoples of Europe once built Stone Circles

Aligned to the Stars and the Sun,

They honoured the Old Ones and danced with Faerie

and this Journey we’re still on was begun.

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The Old People of Europe danced with the Goddess

calling her Diana, Aphrodite, Venus, Danu, Sulis, Cybele, Freya, Frigga…

Her Temples were Ancient and Holy

but the Christians named her the Devil

and attempted to wipe out Her worship and memory

by murdering her priestesses, desecrating her holy places

and burning heretics, sodomites and witches.

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The Old People of Europe were Nature folk

In Nature which they met Divine Presence

But the Swords of the Cross came to impose another way

The Goddess retreated:

She permitted their wars, their corrupt ways

Permitted separation from Her bosom

Until the human journey to Selfhood is completed

until the final days of HISstory

and the Triumphant Coming of Hers.

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We ARE the OLD ONES, We never went away

As we remember the soul’s truth, we reconnect to the Way

The Cycles of Eternity are bringing us Home

To a World full of Wonder and Light

We each have within us the Power and the Glory

We can bring this world out of its long dark night.

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The Seven Headed Beast

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Ever growing numbers of people in the world are understanding and feeling that life is a unity:

a cosmic dance of matter, mind, emotion and spirit,a journey of the soul with divinity the goal…

...but they don’t work in the governments and they don’t work in the media, they don’t work in business… and they rarely show up in churches… they don’t show their heads in academia or the law and there’s no sign of them in the military … 

no wonder our modern world is ever so poor in wisdom, equality and peace for the system in which we operate is a seven headed, rapacious, violent beast

– destroying the earth – as it has destroyed so many of her creatures, pillaged and ravaged her cultures, a 7 headed beast whose reign of terror will one day cease. 

Rising from the core of who we are, the innate presence of oneness, wonder and bliss, the knowledge that life is a journey to Self, to the Love within that is our true wealth.

Acknowledging difference -it’s through diversity we realise unity -hearing the call across the world to healing and community.

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COVID 19:

When we realise it’s not simply a virus, not spread through drops in the air, but a manifestation of our collective longing to come home to Who We Really Are, of the longing in our souls for us to evolve beyond confusion, separation and despair….

What a joyful celebration that will be, Crown chakras opened to let in Infinity, Life and death united as two sides of one coin, and the whole world coming to see

That I Am Another You And You Are Another Me

Summer Solstice 2020

pic by Loveable

In our hearts, the peoples of Europe are pagans. Our native culture was formed after the end of the Ice Ages during what is known as the Neolithic (New Stone) Age and the Bronze Age, a period of several thousand years years. Our most ancient sacred sites are elaborate tombs and stone circles, some older than the pyramids of Egypt, and found especially in Ireland and the British Isles, showing that the spirituality of our ancestors honoured the dead and nature’s seasonal cycles.

The Iron Age brought a time of scarcity and conflict in Britain as the population grew and resources dwindled, which made it perhaps easy for the Roman Empire to invade and take over….though only as far as Hadrian’s Wall, the Picts of the north were unconquerable. Romans were known for absorbing local deities and religious festivals into their own pagan worldview, but the Druids of Britain were an exceptionally stubborn bunch. Resistance to Roman rule included the burning down of both Colchester and London by Iceni queen Boudicca, while the Roman army was engaged fighting the druids in their last outpost, Anglesea.

The retreat of the Roman Empire and the arrival of Christianity saw, at least at times, a continuing tradition of the ancient Celtic faith blending to some extent with Christianity, as evidenced by Celtic crosses which combined both the crucifix and the circle. The conversion of European leaders to Christianity was a gradual process that took several centuries, and of the populace took even longer. The Church and State worked hand in hand to build churches and cathedrals in the Middle Ages, and to destroy the last vestiges of pagan practice through the Inquisition and the witch trials. Yet even so, in the 17th century a Maypole of over 100 feet height still stood in a prominent location near the Thames, and was restored as a sign of British sovereign spirit at the Restoration of the Monarch in 1688. The natural pagan magic of Summer Solstice has never been forgotten throughout the centuries of Christian domination, as Shakespeare assured us in A Midsummers Night’s Dream.

The Witchcraft Act brought in by Henry VIII and his successors forced pagan practices underground. They survived in secret family traditions and occultist societies, before coming out of the closet when the Act was repealed in the mid 20th century. This has led to the spread of Wicca around the world, a formulation of pagan witchcraft created in the UK, and the dawning realisation that the white man, the european, also once had an indigenous shamanic culture that was about reverence of nature, of the dead and the cosmic cycles, that honoured the body and sexuality and ecstatic states of reverence and reverie – just like every other race on the planet once had, until the monotheistic religions spread their ‘love’ by killing those who would not convert to it. And who did they focus their hatred on in order to destroy the power of the pagan faiths?

THE QUEERS!

Among their victims were the genderqueer Gallae priesthood of Cybele, Great Mother of the Roman Empire with roots going back to at least 6000 BCE, the lesbian priestesses and eunuchs of the temples of Artemis/Diana and Isis/Ishtar, the sex-positive gnostic, heretical and free spirit groups of the Middle Ages (that also gave equal power to women as men), the wise women and fairy men of the countryside, the two-spirit shamans of the American continent (whom the Europeans called berdache, a French word for a bottom or ‘kept boy’), and their kin on all other continents. The Christian Europeans were so successful at eradicating the ancient profound associations between gender-fluidity, same-sex love and the sacred realms, that the modern gay movement has very little idea about this rich and illustrious past that exists in our ancestry. Until this is known and understood, the sometimes frightening position of trans and all queer people in this world will is unlikely to improve. But Summer Solstice opens the season of GAY PRIDE, through which, across the globe, queer visibility and presence has soared over the past few decades. And in certain places, unseen by most, our ancient connections to the spirit worlds are gradually being reclaimed also. The merging of queer and pagan spirit brings an acceleration of human consciousness, opens the portals to awakening – for all: because, from the Qedesha of ancient Canaan to the Quimbanda and Bori-Bori of Africa and the Mahu of Polynesia, TRANS AND GAY/QUEER PEOPLE – ie those who embody masculine and feminine spirit strongly in their one being – this is what we have always done.

This SUMMER SOLSTICE 2020 coincides with the NEW MOON IN CANCER and a SOLAR ECLIPSE, which happens on a 19 year cycle, last time in 2001. Due to PANDEMIC CONDITIONS people are not welcome at STONEHENGE this year – instead there is a LIVESTREAM broadcast available online – for the first time in the history of the planet the ancient stone spirits of the Henge are speaking to the whole world!

2020 is bringing so much change. So many assumptions about our culture, history and destiny are beginning to fall, to transform. This includes our collective understanding of spirituality, of who we are, living as humans on planet earth.

As we do this, we in Europe and across most of the world might reflect on the fact that Christianity is an invader, an interloper from another land – but one that came with a divine purpose. What that purpose was is HISTORY. It, like Judaism and Islam, came to bring something that is ultimately intended to form a harmony with the natural ancient shamanic wisdom of the planet.

As more and more of us get in touch with our core pagan hearts and spirits, we re-enter the magic of connection, of being part of the dance with all other beings in Creation, instead of vaguely terrified souls, bouncing between the promises/threats of religion and the nihilism of scientific materialism. As we do this we influence the vibrations in the spaces we inhabit, our homes become sanctuaries of love, peace and healing comfort, our communities become sources of immense love and support. Pagan practice heals our wounds of disconnection, isolation and fear. We have to practice both alone and with others to get the full healing effect. Summer Solstice 2020 is a huge turning point on dear beloved planet Earth. Sun and moon aligned at zero degrees Cancer, the sign of the Mother, of the home and of love – the great Goddess is re-entering the playing field of life, change is here. LOVE IS COMING.