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.

Love-One-Another-Jesus

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!

beltane fire lady (Copy)

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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SPRING EQUINOX 2018

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Spring is ready to burst forth
in flowers and in song
animals and trees are poised
and inviting us people along
to the celebration of Ostara
the return of the Maiden and Pan
as the winter hag retires
as the zodiac wheel renews
we leap out of the winter waters
and into the Ram’s fire play
suddenly we find ourselves
in celebration of the Maiden and Pan

ostara pentagram
Ostara Ostara Ostara Ostara
the return, the resurrection
through the power of the holy fool
reclaimed on All Fools day
divine children of the Earth
riding the winds and waves of renewal and rebirth
letting go of the Winter’s tide
birthing the Spring child from the inside.

ostarabless
Ostara Ostara Ostara Ostara
time of the Maiden and of Pan
uniting the ways with the wyrd and the wonderful
birthing the faerie human.

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TRANS EMERGENCE

rainbow people

TRANS EMERGENCE IS SOUL EMERGENCE

In recent times….

Technologically humanity has advanced, but

Spiritually we are still in the backwaters…

Mistranslated ancient texts are used to dominate and abuse

Opinionated bigots hinder the advance of human understanding

Yet a new light, that is also an ancient light is dawning

The emergence of Trans identity is the Awakening in progress

.

Beyond race, beyond faith, beyond gender – we are all SOULS

– individual manifestations of collective divine potential –

.

The Soul contains all potential

It incarnates sometimes in feminine energy, sometimes in masculine

Some souls incarnate with a combination of female and male spirit

Some even with neither, the ultimate non-binary is pure divinity

The Kabbalistic Tree of Life has three pillars

Souls on the left or right pillars are exploring manifestation through gender

Souls on the middle pillar are exploring divinity

.

Humanity is ready to become One

conscious of the unity of Source that gives rise to us all

the Source that is Mother and Father and Lover to all of Creation

.

Souls are on a journey through eternity

That began with what religion calls ‘the fall’

In the illusion of separation from Source

We are free to be Who We Want To Be

Unless others try to stop us

.

A person’s inner gender can be different to their physical manifestation

When someone says ‘born in the wrong body’ it implies they existed before the body

We did. We are souls on a very long journey

.

Technologically humanity has come a long way

Emotionally and spiritually we are still learning

The Soul is ready to awaken and reveal its splendour

Trans people are nothing new

The heyday of same sex love and genderfluidity in religious practice lasted from the end of the Ice Age until the 4th century AD. Around 10,400 years

Ever since then male dominated religions have worked very hard to eradicate all trace of any connection between trans and homosexual people and Spirit

But we are the people of Spirit, we hear and heed the call from within to be true to Who We Are –

the time of our re-EMERGENCE has come….

 

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Jesus said to them, “When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female… then you will enter the Kingdom” Gnostic Gospel of St Thomas

I’ve written this post today because I came across vile opinions of ‘Christians’ on line in regards to the emergence of Trans people. For example, this blog piece focusses on Baphomet, genderqueer deity that has been around at least since the Middle Ages, saying..

“IT HAS BEEN LEAKED FROM THE WITHIN THE ELITE THAT SODOMY RITUALS ARE A COMMON PRACTICE AS ARE OTHER “SEX MAGIC” RITUALS WHERE DEMONIC ENTITIES ARE PETITIONED FOR POWER AND POSSESSION.  THIS LINK IS CRUCIAL TO THE PERSISTENT HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA AS THE ELITE SEEK TO MAKE CLEAR CUT GENDER ROLES OBSOLETE.  THIS IS ALSO AT THE ROOT OF FEMINISM AS THE GOAL OF FEMINISM WORKS IN COOPERATION WITH THE HOMOSEXUAL COMMUNITY TO “LIBERATE” SOCIETY FROM TRADITIONAL GENDER ROLES.… BAPHOMET WORSHIP HAS BECOME PERVASIVE THROUGHOUT MEDIA AS THE ELITE UNDERSTAND THAT THE MORE THEY EAT AWAY AT THE VERY FABRIC OF THE TRADITIONAL FAMILY THE MORE LIKELY THEY ARE TO SUCCEED IN OVERTHROWING ABSOLUTES IN MORALITY.  BAPHOMET IS THE ULTIMATE GRAY AREA THAT CHALLENGES BIBLICAL VALUES AND SEEKS TO RENDER THEM ARCHAIC AND IRRELEVANT.  IT IS WITHIN YOUR BEST INTEREST TO RECOGNIZE THIS SUBVERSIVE BEHAVIOR AS IT IS THIS VERY CLIMATE THAT IS SUCKING CHILDREN INTO A VACUUM OF SEXUAL PERVERSION AND CONFUSION VIA MEDIA INDOCTRINATION.  THERE IS A SERIOUS PROBLEM WITH A LITTLE BOY WANTING TO DRESS UP LIKE A PRINCESS OR WORSE, WHO BELIEVES THAT HE SHOULD’VE ACTUALLY BEEN BORN A GIRL AND VICE VERSA THERE IS SOMETHING TROUBLESOME ABOUT A LITTLE GIRL WHO BELIEVES THAT SHE SHOULD’VE ACTUALLY BEEN MALE AND NOT FEMALE AS IF GOD MADE A MISTAKE.  MEDIA SUBLIMINAL USAGE IS PROLIFIC IN REGARD TO THIS AND SHOULD NOT BE UNDERESTIMATED AS A PERVASIVE AND PROFOUND INFLUENCE.”  
FROM: HTTPS://MIDRASHMONTHLY.WORDPRESS.COM/2011/07/11/HOMOSEXUALITY-GENDER-CONFUSION-AND-THE-SPIRIT-OF-BAPHOMET/

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MASCULINITY AND FEMININITY ARE NAMES GIVEN TO THE CREATIVE ENERGIES OF THE UNIVERSE. WE ARE ALL A DANCE OF THESE ENERGIES, WHICH HAVE OTHER NAMES TOO – such as yin/yang, active/passive, direction/radiance.

TRANS EMERGENCE IS THE SOUL INSIDE COMING OUT, TRANSCENDENT AND TRANSFORMED

FOR THE WORLD HAS CHANGED

AND HUMANITY NEEDS TO DROP THE OLD GAMES OF DIVISION AND EXPLOITATION AND GREED, and change too

TO FIND A NEW GAME TO PLAY….

TRANS EMERGENCE IS SOUL EMERGENCE

The Age of  Aquarius –

of A-queerer-us

– has begun.

THE LAST BLAST OF THE BHEUR (Winter part 3)

bheur

Bheur, or Beira, the Queen of Winter in Scottish mythology – a name of the Cailleach, Hag aspect of the Triple Goddess, is still ruling the season during February and into March. Our celebrations of the Maiden Brigit at Imbolc (Feb 1st) were marking the promise of Spring, not its actual arrival. Snow drops – and sometimes freezing weather and actual snow – remind us that before the rising sap of Spring comes one last dose of winter ‘inner’ time. Beira the hag shows up with her icy fingers and sends us scurrying back into our caves, where healing, recharging and transformation can happen, sends us back into hibernation for one last deep dip into the darkness before the growth season kicks off.

The Scottish legend of Beira tells us she held the maiden Brigit captive in an attempt to prevent Spring arriving and keep us in eternal Winter. I think too that we humans can get very excited by the sense of renewal and promise at Imbolc and then suffer when we discover the winter journey isn’t over yet.  Legend tells us that people hoped for a cloudy, wintry Imbolc as a bright sunny one indicated that another sharp blast of Winter would follow – which is exactly what we getting in 2018.

There are three months to the Winter season, each with its own elemental flavour, but underlying them all is the earth element. Winter is the earth time – of dormancy, of retreat, of inner reflection and healing. If we do not allow enough of this energy into our lives, nature makes us sick with colds and flu to force retreat upon us.

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As well as the underlying earth element, during Capricorn month the Sun gives us more earth vibrations, during Aquarius it is in air element, and during the last blast of Winter the Sun in Pisces is bathing us in water element. Earth and water are affected by gravity, they draw us into ourselves – whereas air and fire give us energy to rise, expand and even fly. So it is often during the last weeks of winter that we really feel the gravitational effects of the season, coming after the light and promise of Aquarius, and we feel them through our emotional bodies due to the influence of the Piscean spirit.

Pisces takes us into all our emotions – into our share of the universal as well as our personal feelings, which means any darker, heavier ones lurking around in our energy field will be making themselves known. The trick is to accept them, welcome them, and understand that experiencing them is an inevitable part of being alive! We accumulate emotional energy during the year and this is the month we can go into it, feel it – and release it, ready for a new start in the Spring. Hopefully the powerful air energies of Aquarius have given us some detachment and perspective, which we can draw on to do this inner work for ourselves.

For despite the inward energy pull of the winter, the frequencies of the cosmos at this time are actually collective, universal. (A powerful lesson here – universality, like divinity, is found within, not by searching outside ourselves). Capricorn loves to bring people together to share good earthy times, remind us we are part of a family or community, while at the same time demanding we make the necessary, practical steps to adjust to living in the Winter climate and energy. Aquarius lifts the mind into noble ideals of universal love, humanitarianism, idealism and an understanding of our place in the whole – and Pisces opens the way to feel our part in that whole, it points to compassion as the recommended way to meet the world around us, for everyone on earth has their share of the universal energies of sorrow, loss and suffering, as well as the potential for infinite joy and liberation.

During the Pisces solar month the full moon occurs in the opposite sign of Virgo, the energy of which balances that of the fish. Pisces encourages us to accept life as it is, to surrender to it and be part of the flow. Virgo gives us the will and the impetus to take steps to make life, for ourselves and others, better. Virgo full moon can pull us out of the mire of overwhelming feelings through finding our direction and purpose, and affirming our intentions for the Spring and Summer, the more outward and active time of the year, which is just around the corner now. As Bheur the Hag Goddess delivers one last blast of Winter energies the way to make the most of it is to dive right in. Get under the duvet, read that book, go into dreamtime – get some cave comfort, for time to get out in the world will soon be here again.

Cailleach-Bheur

Does not every season prove
That the acorn hits the ground?
Have I not known enough of love
To know it’s lost as soon as found?

I drank my fill of wine with kings,
Their eyes fixed on my hair.
Now among the stinking hags
I chew the cud of prayer.

Time was the sea
Brought kings as slaves to me.
Now I hear the face of God
And the crab crawls through my blood.

I loved the wine
That thrilled me to my fingertips;
Now the mean wind
Stitches salt into my lips.

The coward sea
Slouches away from me.
Fear brings back the tide
That made me stretch at the side
Of him who’d take me briefly for his bride.

The sea grows smaller, smaller now.
Farther, farther it goes
Leaving me here where the foam dries
On the deserted land,
Dry as my shrunken thighs,
As the tongue that presses my lips,
As the veins that break through my hands.

Excerpt from The Old Woman of Beare, anonymous c 800CE, Irish Gaelic; trans. Brendan Kenneally

Marc Almond: Rebel with an OBE

 

1981.  Marc Almond’s first appearance on Top of the Pops was a watershed moment that opened up a musical journey and love affair for many queer souls that continues nearly 4 decades later: some of us would go on to become Willing Sinners and Gutter Hearts, Marc’s songs always the soundtrack to the highs and the dives in our lives.  This 16 year old, confused about his sexuality and identity, ran out to buy Soft Cell’s first album, Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret, hooked on Dave Ball’s haunting electronic sound, and had his mind opened to an underworld of sexuality, sleaze, clubbing and kink.

And not only that – from the very first track of Erotic Cabaret, Marc sent a message right into the core of my consciousness – he told my generation, on the verge of leaving the education system, to  beware the traps of ‘normal’ life.

The video for opening track Frustration begins with a gravedigger patting down the turf on top of a fresh burial.  The message is simple – there’s got to be more to life: “I was born/ One day I’ll die/ There was something in between/ I, I don’t know what/ Or why/ I’m a man/ I want to break a rule/ I am a no, no, no, no, no, no, nobody/ Everybody’s fool….”

In Chips On My Shoulder Marc screams about first world decadence: “Chips on my shoulder/ More as I grow older/ Feel I owe a debt/ For the things I don’t get/ I only miss out/ Well I was there before/ I sit in a corner/ Sit on the floor…/ Misery, Complaints, Self Pity, Injustice/ Chips on my shoulder/ There’s no time for fun time/ It’s sit and complain time/ I’ll talk about famine/ While cooking the dinner/ Don’t you feel guilty/ Don’t you feel pity [No]/ While my head gets fatter/ And the starving get thinner…”

Soft Cell’s second album, The Art of Falling Apart,  starts with the same warning as Frustration offered, in the track Forever The Same: “He cries, he lies/ He’s cool, he’s kind/ He heads out on a Friday night/ He gets drunk and he starts a fight/ And he loses his mind/ And he loses his sight/ Because times are hard/ And money is tight/ Because he has the pressure/ He has the blame/ Life never changes/ Forever the same….”

The album B-side delivers the same message from a bored housewife’s perspective in Kitchen Sink Drama: “She’s in a fantasy/ It’s not so hard to see/ That she is living a lie/ She’ll never be the same/ She shuts her eyes again/ Waves all her worries goodbye…”

Soft Cell’s three albums in the early 1980s charted the path to self-destruction that the sudden arrival of fame, money and drugs brought our two heroes.  The band’s insistent, iconoclastic non-commercialism had them upsetting the record company and the media, their songs were angry and they smashed their gold discs on live TV.  The epic number Soul Inside revealed the torment of the artist thrust onto the world stage, challenged about his looks/voice/sexuality at every turn. “The wind in my hair/ And the black in my eyes/ I was holding back tears/ As I reeled with surprise/ There was no one to phone/ I just chewed at the time/ I was waving goodbye/ To control of my mind/ And the beat of my heart/ Marks the passing of time/ And I just wanna scream to the sky/ There are times when my mind is an explosion of feelings/ I’m trying to hold on to the soul inside…”

Marc and Dave called the third Soft Cell album This Last Night In Sodom and the opening song, Mr Self Destruct, delivered the familiar message:

“You couldn’t escape from this fact of life
That existing makes you a mess
That every decision or feeling or reason
Causes some sort of mental distress
You could look in their eyes, you perfected a lie
Never gave them the chance to question why
If they hit on you then you hit right back
Never keeping their cool it was up and attack
Building your life up and smashing it down
Building your life up and smashing it down
Yeah, building your life up and smashing it down”
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The album track The Best Way to Kill, hits the message home with a relentless rocking synth soundtrack: “Life is one long play for today/ The one that uses all the four-letter words/ The one that everybody pretends/ They’ve never never heard/ Oh yeah/ And it gets in my skin/ And I find myself fitting a form/ That is worn like a badge on a blazer at school/ Tear it off rip it up/ Stick your two fingers up at the world/ And the lying little worms/ That would take you for a fool/ For your life has to be this way/ And you can’t say this/ And you can’t watch that/ It’ll darken your mind little child/ A moral straight-jacket to stop you running completely wild…”

When Soft Cell reunited in 2002 to create the album Cruelty without Beauty, the opening track resounded with another critique of the mainstream: “No change/ The world’s gone insane/ Monoculture…same/ ordinary/ boring/ Monoculture

 

This homage to Marc’s rebel status, that shook the nation’s sensibilities about sexuality (and through tracks like Secret Life and Seedy Films highlighted the sleazy hypocrisies of the age at a time everybody else was looking the other way), but which also planted important warnings in the minds of some of us that the ‘system’ will stifle your life if you let it, wouldn’t be complete without a mention of a few incredible B-sides from the early Soft Cell days.

Those of us that rushed out to buy the mesmerising 12″ vinyl of Tainted Love/Where Did Our Love Go, were quite surprised to find Persuasion a withering electronic punk critique of supermarket culture on the flip side.

B-side to Where the Heart Is, a track called It’s A Mug’s Game, a teenager’s angst is perfectly penned into a rocking song:

“Oh god it’s another disease
And you just got rid of the last
You were beginning to feel OK
And the friends you gave it to
Were speaking to you again.
And you find yourself having sex
In the back of a car
And the girl underneath
Doesn’t care who you are
And you’re nearly there
And she still doesn’t care
And her chewing gum
Is getting stuck in your hair
And there’s something wrong
Something that you forgot
Oh Shit, you’ve forgotten the rubber
And you don’t want a kid
Well, deny it was you
If your dad finds out
Then he’ll make you stay in
And do your homework
And cut your hair
And wear your school uniform
Out in the street
Oh what a fate worse than death…”

Then there’s Fun City.  A little known song that shares the theme of Bronski Beat’s Smalltown Boy, but cuts much closer to the bone… “I left my home/ With a pain in my heart/ Not a word of goodbye/ To the ones that I loved/ I’m taking a train/ Away from the rain/ To the lights and the smoke/ I’ve got to find my own way now… … … I’m all alone/ And I’m lost in this city/ Being paraded/ Feeling degraded/ I wanted love/ And I thought this was the way/ But I’m only young/ And I’m often this wrong/ Have no feelings/ Have no sex/ Wonder who to pick up next/ I have no morals/ Have no innocence/ I’m quite straight/ Just playing for rent…”

Marc Almond’s career has been a symphony dedicated to emotional traumas (he is after all a Cancerian) more than political statements, but the messages in these songs struck home for me and many at the time.  They seem as relevant today as they were then.

Marc has also given us many excellent albums of classic covers, of Russian and French songs as well as so many emanating from his own imagination.  While heartbreak and tragedy often feature strongly, every now and again Marc also lets us know he’s had glimpses of a brighter future for humanity.   To get there we still got a lot of work to do, in particular overcoming taboos around sexuality, and escaping the pressure to conform and serve the capitalist system, which we now know is strangling life on earth to death with its never ending need for new resources.  I conclude this homage to Marc with this prophetic duet with Beth Ditto, When the Comet Comes, from his 2015 album, The Velvet Trail:

“When the comet comes it will show us why
That all we’ve ever known has been a lie
On a song bird circle information in the sky
When the comet comes psychedelic technicolor
It’ll be intense, bacchanalia will commence
When the comet comes it’ll all make sense…”

 

2018: The rebel has been awarded an OBE.  When he receives it no doubt the press coverage will look at the ‘scandalous’ sexual imagery of his early career.  But just as Marc shook the nation’s sensibilities, and up-tightness, around sex, he also sent a crucial message that many of us were longing to hear – Beware of Being Normal, It’s Dull as Fuck.

 

 

 

marcalmondobe

AIDS SHAMAN POETRY

Excerpts from my first published book….

product_thumbnail (1) (Copy)

AIDS SHAMAN: Queer Spirit Awakening.  Available on Lulu.com, Amazon and other retailers.  Ebook or print. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shokti

 

THE GAY BOYS ALL LEFT FOR THE CITY

The gay boys all left for the city

Leaving no-one who sings to the trees

The gay boys all left for the city

And got trapped by desire and disease.

They went to seek out love and sex

But they forgot their other needs.

 

The gay boys all left the village

And left the wisdom of seasons behind

They chase after constant pleasures

So happy to have found their kind

They chase after so much ecstasy

They believe they are living free

But when we forget the cycles of nature

Mind and body succumb to disease.

 

The gay boys all left for the city

To get high as the sun and the breeze

But the gay boys became good capitalists

And got caught by desire and disease.

20171129_105345 (Copy)

RETURN OF THE SHAMANS

and the time must come
after all the parties
all the drugs
after the dying years
and a decade of decadence
the time comes, can only come
when the gay phoenix rises
after centuries of death
across the planet
the rainbow serpent
unicorn lion and bear
the return of the shamans
awakening everywhere

in every culture, every race and faith
rainbow children awakening
to the power and the light
liberation of the spirit
free to be ourselves
queer magic calls us to our wealth

earth are we
fire are we
air are we
water are we

beyond gods and without creed
we fulfil a fundamental need
opening the gates as we find our place
the shamans of the human race

the world is lost in delusions
of fame, glamour, money and hate
since the men of war closed the faerie gate

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HIV IS THE KEY

HIV is the key

That humanity has yet to see

A key that when turned can set us free

A key that gay men urgently need to turn

There’s a vital lesson to be learned

Healing Is Vital

For me HIV was the key

That revealed the spirit flowing through life

That opened the gates to eternity:

Facing mortality is the quickest way to see through life’s illusions

Befriending death the key to escaping confusion

About why we find our selves here

Why we find our selves queer

And just what is Self anyway?

Buddhists, Hindus, Pagans know

Mystical Christians Jews and Muslims know

That this is the real question to ask

But the modern world doesn’t want to know

It keeps us obsessed with the trivial and inane

It prefers to medicate away all pain

Gay life doesn’t want to ask the question

Of why we born this way on this rock hurtling through space

it’s simpler to take more drugs

Have more sex parties

Devour more flesh

Desire more men

For some this leads to addictions and breakdowns

Has a second plague come upon our kind

But this time the sickness in the heart and mind?

In the 80s and 90s we met death up close

We learnt to face our fears

That way some of us saw there’s more to the mystery of life

Than the modern world wants us to believe

Now we take pills to stem the virus

Now we can take one to prevent it getting a hold in the first place

And we self medicate to hold off hard feelings and fears

It’s so long since the dying days ended

What has happened to us in these years?

I survived the first plague

I turned the key

And now I wonder

When will gay life stop living in the shallow end?

 

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shokti