Although war still dominates the headlines, men loving men, or at least men enjoying men, is the unspoken story making a huge impact of masculinity on planet earth. Gay pornography is widely available like at no previous time in our history, gay sex is well out of the closet. Gay porn is an art form that, at its best, celebrates maleness, sensuality, pleasure and ecstatic connection. In a world still caught up in a worn out tale of violence, man against man, gay porn fills the cyberworld with a different kind of masculinity. One that values joy over hatred. This matters, this is helping to change manhood on planet earth. But it does also send out the impression that the greatest thing that can be done with a man is to enjoy wild passionate or sleazy sex with him. But what a man really needs, more than any sexual pleasure, is love.
Tantra4GayMen Festival at the Welsh Retreat in south Wales near Carmarthen September 6 to 10, 2014, was blessed by day after day of glorious warm sunshine, by clear nights illuminated by the Moon reaching her fullness, and by the open minded, generous hearted attitudes of the 50 men who took part. We came with the intention to love – and to remove blocks to that love such as shame, guilt and fear, through powerful tantric rituals that connect our sexuality with our eternal spiritual nature. An open and joyful heart makes this connection rich, rewarding and revelatory.
A Tantra festival is obviously going to involve sex. But in this environment sex takes its place in a bigger picture of who we are as whole beings. In most of gay life sex has an exaggerated presence . It is important but it is not the only valuable and joyful thing about us!
The experience of 50 gay men honouring the sacredness of life and opening to the possibility that our sexual energy contains the seeds of enlightenment as well as of life was awesome. Mostly strangers at the start of the gathering, many deep friendships were formed during these days as souls were bared, wounded men were held and ecstatic brotherhood embraced. Men were to be seen hugging each other everywhere around the magical land where we gathered (a smallholding owned by a lesbian couple who have made the space super comfortable and very well set up for retreats). Sexual liaisons happened all over the place… in meadows, by streams and in the Love Temple. We were well connected to the nature as well as to each other. An Ecosex workshop attracted many who wanted to explore an erotic relationship with the earth. We danced in a circle naked under the Pisces Full Moon around a huge blazing fire to tribal drumbeats and felt ecstatically alive and privileged to enjoy such multilayered connection with so many brothers.
We tantric men were visited by a triple goddess of female teachers of spirit – their input was welcomed and appreciated. Kriya Yoga teacher Hannah told us confidently that the Vatican knows full well that the anus is the Gateway to Heaven, hence the reason Catholicism bans homosex. She guided us in pairs through a beautiful sacred honouring invoking the tantric deities and spirit. This may be the first time such a traditional tantric ritual has been enacted by such a large single-gendered group, honouring our ability to channel both the masculine and feminine. For me this sensitive, subtle energy ritual brought deep emotional connection and release. However, there are several gateways to heaven, I wonder if the most appropriate phrase for anal pleasure would be the Backdoor to Paradise.
History in the making here as men choose to engage in conscious exploration of sexuality. There were men here from all kinds of backgrounds, age range from 20s to 70s, from several countries. While risky, unconscious but highly fuelled sexual activities spread through our city communities like a blazing fire, some pioneers are daring to step out of the game, go to a place of trust and compassion, to hold each other while we heal and to lift each other ever higher through love, touch, play, dance, music, sunshine, saunas, hottubs, icecold stream dips, moonlight nakedness… and honouring the feminine too. As well as female tantrika teachers, we were held and nurtured by women – the keepers of the land and our wonderful kitchen goddess. The feminine held us as the masculine learns to reinvent itself.
While we were making these significant tantric ritual explorations, exploring the human energy field as a divine connecting rod of power, the sun shone bright daily on our welsh valley and across the land, giving an unanticipated late boost of summer loveliness. And the supermoon lit up the night – she was low and large in the sky in front of my car as four of us journeyed back to london town, shining with a deep orange glow. On full moon night she had a massive bright halo, a cloudbow all around her at a wide wide radius, something i had never seen before.
While the Sun is in Virgo the spirit supports our efforts to learn, grow and improve ourselves. So September is an ideal time for this kind of gathering. Everyone arrived with a positive attitude and willingness to take the journey. The festival energy provides a no-pressure environment, where no workshop is compulsory and each man is free to find his own path through the time there. Attendance at workshops was always high however as all of us were keen to learn, to have new experiences and to get the most from this highly charged assembly of men finding their power, unlocking their ability to love expansively.
The Moon journeyed from Capricorn to Aries during the time of the festival. Capricorn helped us each get organised, luggage packed and journeys undertaken, then the moon was in Aquarius as we formed our circle of loving intent. Aquarius strengthens and supports the energy of group work, helps create a shared ‘group mind’ and brings in the energy of transformation into the new age. We peaked with the moon in Pisces, the last sign of the zodiac, a water sign that loves expanded connection and transcendence of life’s familiar patterns and problems. We swam together in the waters of the Pisces Full Moon, sharing love and visions abundantly. Many of us felt the power in the call coming to us from the spiritual realms to be beacons of love as we journey through this world. On our final night together we performed songs, poems, music and comedy for each other, giving the opportunity for the many emotions swirling around in our piscean underwater worlds to surface – as the moon reached the fire sign of Aries we were up on our feet and dancing, arms in the air pumping out the love we were all so full of. Spontaneously, the disco ended with men squeezed together in the centre of the room, arms upstretched, voices raised too and the energy flying up and out to spirit. Astounding.
Aries moon helped us to come back to ourselves quickly on the last morning before departures. Expressions of gratitude and emotion filled the morning, bringing us all safely to a centred point ready to journey back into the muggle word where love is still in short supply. These 50 men however are likely to be doing something about that.