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?

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.

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.

COVID-19 PANDEMIC: Notes from an AIDS Survivor.

Diagnosed HIV+ in 1990, I lived with what we termed ‘full blown’ AIDS from 1995 to ’98, eventually turning the corner when my body responded to the new protease inhibitor drugs. As the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic shakes human societies across the planet to the core in Spring 2020, parallels and comparisons with the AIDS years are appearing on the internet. For some of us Long Term Survivors it does feel like we went through a training for the apocalypse, that we were some kind of ‘advance guard’, receiving important lessons in plague survival which can now be shared.

Writer Mark Matousek gets straight to the heart of the lessons we learnt on the AIDS front line in a piece entitled ‘Practice Dying: Waking Up in Perilous Times’:

For the first time in recorded history, human beings around the world are confronting our mortality in real time together, fighting a common adversary that would like to put us all out of business.” He acknowledges the general thrust happening globally to find meaning in this crisis, also the xenophobia; altruism, camaraderie, and gratitude for the smallest things”, but sees greater potential:

The coronavirus has given humankind the chance to “practice dying” (as Socrates described the central mission of all philosophy) together as an endangered species. Besides the threat of personal illness, we have the unique opportunity to share this dread with everyone else we know, who are facing their own mortality. If we can acknowledge the truth of our plight, I believe, and heal ancient rifts in the human family, we have a chance to turn this catastrophe into a major boon for humanity’s future.

I know that this is possible because I’ve lived it. At the height of the AIDS crisis, 30 years ago, I saw how death and dying could enlighten a whole community. For more than a decade, we waited for the guillotine to fall, surrounded by thousands of others on the same chopping block. Terrifying and painful as these years were, they were also the most transformative of my life. Emotional walls collapsed, compassion exploded across social lines, and spiritual values became the norm, as we waited in the shadows of another virus. Sick people took care of sick people. Nobody was completely safe, which brought us even closer together. Love showed up in guises we never expected.“ https://shift.theshiftnetwork.com/practice-dying-waking-up-perilous-times

Mark says that “Without the threat of mortal loss, I would have never had had the conviction — the fuel — to become the person I wanted to be or to find my way through terrible dread to something stronger than my fear.”

This was also my experience – AIDS was an unexpected kind of spiritual grace for me, because through confronting my mortality I discovered parts of my soul that had been previously hidden, and as I recovered from sickness a new, much more engaged, emotionally and spiritually connected new life began for me. I call AIDS my ACCELERATED INDIVIDUAL DISCOVERY OF SELF, and I have often wondered if the unfolding revelation of the soul’s mysteries that I experienced might be at some point coming to the species en masse.

I came out of the AIDS years with a view that a virus has a job to do. My mind opened to the possibility of consciousness as a unified field of experience – with an eventual destination ahead of love-fuelled cosmic oneness in full glory on this planet – and I came to see HIV as an awakener to the fact that we are each individual embodiments of one divine wholeness, and that life and death are two versions of the same experience, just like day and night.

By facing death, losing the fear of it, even befriending it (and beings who live on that side of the veil!), we have the chance to release the potent creative powers in our bodies, minds and souls. So much of our human nature is veiled behind our fears. Love is the antidote that reveals the way. Love for our selves, our partners, friends and family, our tribes and all living things. This is the potential in the human heart – to rise above the conflicts and delusions of the ego, the part of us that believes itself separate from everything else – and form a culture of compassion and self-discovery that celebrates all forms of love, all forms of joyful sexuality, and the ecstatic mystery held within the human body, in nature, in life itself. It is through the heart that we can know directly our sacred oneness with each other and all existence.

In this mystical view, the Coronavirus is part of us and its name gives us a clue to its ultimate goal. The Crown Chakra at the top of our head opens our energy fields up to the spirit, to the multidimensional universe, to the ability of our soul to fly between worlds. Fear blocks access to this light. Surrendering fear and embracing love and trust brings internal connection to the powerful and subtle forces of the universe. We do not need science to tell us if these other dimensions exist or not -we have the perfect instrument, designed by Nature Herself, with which to explore them, our own bodies, minds and emotions.

I replaced god with science and became a self declared atheist at the age of 12, when events at school brought home the shocking revelation that the teachers did not actually believe the religious platitudes they espoused daily in assembly – particularly in relation to death and the afterlife. I had proposed that a way to deal with overpopulation in the world would be to create places where people could choose to go and die when they had had enough of being here – in my innocent mind would simply return happily to heaven. I think even at that age I was aware of old people shut away in care homes, no longer engaging life actively and simply waiting to die. I could not understand why we tried so hard to keep them here in a state of suffering.

The teachers were of course horrified, I was taken aside for a very serious chat! Five decades later western culture faces ongoing crises in care provision for elderly people. Coronavirus erupts around the world and there is great outrage and shock expressed left, right and centre about old people in care homes dying from it – about 50% of the deaths across Europe so far we recently learned.

From where I am standing however this virus is offering souls who have completed their life mission here a chance to get out., so of course it’s finding willing hosts in care homes. Our death-phobic culture will not let people go peacefully with grace at a time of their own choosing, so the ‘Angel of Death’ has to intervene. I’m not saying there is no tragedy, or ‘accidental’ deaths along the way, but the Coronavirus is also delivering grace.

Of course this Angel of Death is doing a lot of things for us – offering us a chance to gain some perspective on our lives, individually and collectively, through this enforced time of quarantine for nearly half of the world’s population – to review how we are living on the planet, reconsider how we are treating her and each other, what we make our priorities. We are going through the most profound collective paradigm shift our species has ever experienced – it is happening quickly, and it is very difficult and challenging. Yet it is exactly what we have been waiting for, and what some of us have even been pre-trained by life to be ready for.

Hank Trout writes on aumag.org, that “We need to remember AIDS lessons learned.”

We elders in the tribe who lived through the entirety of the AIDS pandemic, have learned we need to take care of our own. We know how to do it.” https://aumag.org/

Mark S. King, author of Myfabulousdisease has written of the Coronavirus prompting flashbacks to the AIDS wards of the 1980s, and while at first, like some others, resistant to drawing comparisons with our experience of AIDS – this time after all world governments acknowledge its existence and are applying resources, something we had to fight hard to get, (no need to remind you i’m sure of the virulent homophobia that erupted) – he too speaks of the grace that will be accessed through this time of trial: “We haven’t yet seen the best our humanity has to offer, It’s coming and you’ll know it when you see it.” https://marksking.com/

One commenter on Myfabulousdisease called COVID-19 “a walk in the park” compared to AIDS. Kevin Jennings on Them.us described the “level of attention and alarm for the coronarvirus versus the apathy that greeted HIV is life a slap in the face.” The New York Times reported that the pandemic is bringing “for HIV survivors, a feeling of weary Deja Vu.” (their caps)

Californian blogger Martina Clark says that compared to HIV, Coronavirus is a “supersonic bullet train” – HIV was for most of the population ‘somebody else’s disease’ but this virus “knows no borders and does not discriminate.” https://martina-clark.com/

Well – fair enough….. however, HIV didn’t infect everybody it could have, AIDS didn’t kill everyone it might have – me for example. The materialist paradigm puts us at war with nature – and this virus is nature, can be seen as nature’s response to the way we are treating the planet – and ultimately therefore at war with ourselves. Fear of death and ignorance of the multidimensional mysteries of the consciousness keep humanity gripped in a three dimensional drama of tragedy and torment. But facing the fear and seeking direct personal knowledge and understanding of our spiritual nature as conscious living beings, are what will reveal the deeper layers of what is going on to us a species and our own individual part within that.

There is no faster way to wake up to the soul

to escape the illusions that humanity has fallen into

and to rebirth yourself as a timeless entity

on a mystery adventure called life

than to face the end, and make it your friend

FOR THERE IS IN FACT NO END

you are eternal – stop fearing death

release each fear with an outbreath.

.

EMBRACE LOVE, EMBRACE LIFE

there has never been a more miraculous time to be alive.

The 2020s will be a DIVINE DECADE

Society will shake, there will be plagues and earthquakes

but humanity will finally be more AWAKE.

Interconnectedness plain for all to see

I’m another YOU, and You another ME

the journey we’ve been on is called History

now it’s time to evolve and be free.

.

Our species united, through love or through fear

A new way of being together is near

Advanced understanding of our creative gifts

Finding a new divine way to live.

All paths have been leading to this time

All paths become One

Divine Self online.

.

Since 2012 as the Mayans said:

the Old World is Dead!

But the new one barely yet born.

Some fear the End and read the signs

but others know there is more to these times:

Ancient hands still guide our way

There will be a brand new day…

Prophecies and predictions have long foretold

of a total break with ways now old:

Since 2012 the light of superconsciousness shines

but is only visible to those with 3 eyes,

Planet Earth has into two divided –

there are some in the light

but most dwell in the lies

espoused by religions, politicians and the unwise.

Everyone can have a voice in the internet age

but those who listen to their own inner sage

are the ones who are really turning the page.

.

in this time of trial there are many lessons to be learnt

just as there were in the time of AIDS.

We were vanguards, scouts on the edge

living and dying in the aids pandemic.

For 15+ years our trial did endure

and still there is no vaccine or cure –

we learned about community, compassion and care-giving

we gained insight into mystery

learned about death

also learned a lot about isolation,

learned to be patient as well as kind

for healing and transformation can take time.

Beyond Belief: Transgender

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09z4fyx

A Buddhist Trans Man, a Christian Trans Woman and a cisgender academic sit down to discuss religious attitudes to gender – this is a great programme, but it takes us just so far then fails to bring the revelatory potential of this debate to its fulfilment. I’d like to offer a couple of observations on what was missing here….

We hear about the Biblical references to gender – with the Genesis verse stating that God made humans ‘male and female’ trotted out as the line used by some to deny the validity of trans people. But this verse does not say God made two separate genders – it says, that like God, humans are male and female. God, according to monotheists, is a singular entity, so therefore is him/herself a Trans being, and human nature is formed out of the interplay of masculine and feminine traits within one person. Jung spoke of the anima and animus, we all have male and female aspects, why is this not obvious????. Somehow a modern myth has emerged that male and female are separate – but this is not so, each contains, includes and embraces the other, as ancient cultures across the planet once understood intrinsically (eg the yin-yang symbol of China, Shiva Ardhanishvara in Hinduism).

The programme features the Hijra community of India, and tells the story of how this trans section of society was said to gain their sacred status. While Hijras today often have no other options than sexwork or begging to earn a living, their sacred function is still respected in society, including by Muslims. What is missing from the story here is that also in ancient Europe and the Middle East individuals who embodied both male and female traits were seen as having sacred function and purpose. The Great Goddess Ishtar was served by trans and gay priest/esses for thousands of years (and we know their mythological origin stories too), as were other forms of the Great Mother, such as Cybele, who was adopted by the Roman Empire as their chief deity, opening the way for her Transgendered Gallae priest/esses to spread their ecstatic, erotic and sometimes bloody, worship all around the Meditteranean and as far north as Britain.

Looking for ancient references to Trans people (but completely missing the Goddess servants), Dr Susan Cornwall speaks about the presence of eunuchs in the Bible stories, and mentions that they could hold respected positions in elite households. She quotes an Old Testament reference that suggests God has a special destiny for eunuchs and speaks about the fascinating comment from Jesus in Matthew, where he says that some are born eunuchs (we might see these as intersex people today), some are made that way by others (here Dr Cornwall mysteriously draws comparison to modern trans people, even though nobody is making them have surgery and even though she was just a moment earlier speaking about the widespread practice of castrating slaves, which it clearly refers to), and those who choose to become eunuchs ‘for the sake of the kingdom of heaven’ – our academic fails to even consider why Jesus says this. It is clearly a reference to the Gallae, and others holy servants who chose to self-castrate to become closer to the Goddess and better able to serve her in the world.

The contributions in the programme from Buddhist trans man Kamalanandi and Christian Trans woman Philippa Whittaker are fascinating and optimistic, suggesting positive developments in religious quarters, but also highlighting the distance to go. For example, Kamalanandi points out that an aim of Buddhism is to transcend gender to achieve enlightenment – yet the cultural manifestation of the faith is one of separating the genders. Ordained as a woman, Kamalanandi’s wish to join the men’s worship is challenging the Buddhists to expand their thinking.

In the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas Jesus lists transcending gender as one of the requirements for entering the kingdom of heaven. This didn’t get a mention in the programme, nor did the Qedesha, the gay/trans priests of the Goddess Asherah, mentioned several times in the OT: known as the ‘Holy Ones’ at the time, the word Qedesha was translated as sodomites in the King James Bible and generally as ‘male shrine prostitutes’ today. The possibility that the existence of gay people and trans people has a spiritual root, and that we play a spiritual role in society, is still a step too far for most, yet this programme, despite its limitations, is a sign of a gradual evolution in understanding.

I was pleasantly surprised by this programme, and feel it does a lot of good, and not really so surprised that it did not bring home the mystical potential that it opened up. But it is a good sign that human understanding of spirit and consciousness is growing, and that the much needed shift in our global spiritual story (from division and mind control to unity and liberation) will come, and will, almost certainly, be a gender-bending, sex-positive, trans-led revelation when it does.

World AIDS Day

In the early 1980s sex suddenly became scary – the sexual revolution that began in the 1960s took a very dark turn. At first known as Gay Cancer or GRID (gay-related-immune-defiency), the world eventually settled on HIV and AIDS as the terms for this deadly manifestation. A brief decade of sexual ‘innocence’, where play was plentiful for those who dared risk the social taboos, dissolved. It soon emerged that it was not only gay men affected – the hiv test revealed the virus to be widespread in Africa too, leading to notions that the virus had somehow spread to humans from monkeys. Some believed the virus had been cooked up in a laboratory specifically to target, and wipe out, black people and gay men. Others were sure there was no virus at all, that the whole thing was made up, perhaps thinking our immune systems were suffering the overload of toxic modern culture.

Mostly overlooked, there is a link between gay men and black Africans – it is that our very nature, our spirit and our self-expression, was denigrated and suppressed by the dominant straight, macho, white male culture of recent centuries. We are two groups carrying a dark and heavy ancestral load in our soul energy. Some ‘new age’ teachers have been much criticised for saying that AIDS is a manifestation of self-hatred, but what the critics are missing is that shame and guilt are deeply programmed into the subconscious culturally, historically and socially. AIDS was, in my direct experience, more than a physical illness – it was a soul crisis, resulting from lack of internal self-belief, balance and yes, self-love, from accumulated mental, emotional and spiritual injuries and blocks.

In the western world AIDS was a spur that got the lesbian and gay movement moving. Activism was stepped up, coming out became a big thing, our pride celebrations grew rapidly. We knew we had to fight for our rights or risk being pushed back into the millennium of relentless repression we were emerging from. The LGBT community gained a lot of political influence and social acceptance through its passionate and compassionate response to the AIDS crisis.

Those of us on the front line of the epidemic, the People With AIDS (PWAs), had to work out our own methods to cope with a terminal diagnosis and crippling infections. Community meeting points opened up such as the Lighthouse in west and the Landmark in south London. Here we could access complementary therapies and learn things from each other. We caught on to the notion of positive thinking, engaging the power of the mind to lighten the tough experience of encroaching sickness and impending death.

Some of us took this even further. I was 30 years old when AIDS started to hit me hard, and I was hit by a surge of anger at my fate. I had become an atheist at the age of 12 but now I needed somewhere to direct my anger, so I decided to ask the fundamental questions about life that the modern, rational, scientific, entertainment-driven world had kept me distracted from until this point.

Like many reasonable people I had looked at religion as a teenager and found it lacking. I rejected notions of God and just got on with my life. Now I needed answers – why are we born in the first place if just to die from disease? A graduate in History from Cambridge University, I knew how to tackle this subject. I went to the source materials – ancient teachings from all the world’s religions, magical paths and mystical teachers, plus modern new age writers and psychedelic gurus. I started to meditate and make my own simple rituals. As my mind opened up I saw that all the world’s holy teachings were basically saying the same thing, acknowledging an underlying reality of consciousness – unity – love and bliss that gives rise to all creation, a reality that most of the world is completely asleep to. I saw that giving this divine dimension a gender and a personality was not necessary at all, but that doing so might help us to form an emotional relationship with it. I discovered devotional practice, and through opening my heart to the spirit world I received massive waves of inspirational, healing, revelatory energies.

My understanding of life changed and through that my experience of it shifted too. My inner perspective moved from that of the little me-self, to a broader soul consciousness that embraces our eternal nature as manifestations of the divine Self in creation – just like the whole universe is. We humans are uniting the material, mental, emotional and energetic (spirit) dimensions of Creation – this is such an awesome, divine, undertaking, one that deserves some conscious attention, to be widely understood and discussed, yet I had been brought up to believe none of this.

Now the world is teetering like never before. Humanity and our planet are facing a crisis of apocalyptic proportions. As an AIDS survivor I know what that can feel like at times -as the encroaching dis-ease worsens and we scurry around for anything that might help, we may even find ourselves getting very angry at this horrifying road humans seem hell bent on pursuing. This could get very nasty – but it can also be a turning point in our civilisation, where we face the big questions of life head on.

AIDS triggered me to pursue the spiritual search – so intense was my longing that even in my darkest hours I was attuned to the love-presence of the divine within me – I went on to recover and to re-enter life as a transformed being, who now seeks to assist the growth of spiritual intelligence, compassion and liberation in the world. Like many who have a Near Death Experience (a slow motion one in my case, lasting a couple of years), I returned to life with a sense of purpose that was previously lacking.

AIDS brought me a Accelerated Individual Discovery of Self – looking at the crises rocking the world today it seems to me we are all being pushed to the edge of destruction, a place where we might finally face ourselves and heal our separation from the planet, from spirit and each other. We may be, one way or another, heading for an Accelerated Collective Discovery of Self – the underlying unity of life will eventually demand to be know and will push us kicking and screaming to that point –

OR WE COULD LISTEN TO THE MYSTICAL VOICES THROUGHOUT TIME THAT LEFT THEIR TEACHINGS OF UNITY

AND TO THE EXPERIENCES OF AIDS, CANCER, NDE AND OTHER SURVIVORS

WHO ARE GETTING ACCELERATED UPGRADES IN AWARENESS, LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING IN THIS LIFETIME

AND CUT THE FIGHTING, CUT THE GREED, CUT THE ABUSE, CUT THE ALIENATION, CUT THE DESTRUCTION

AND CHANGE LIFE ON EARTH RIGHT NOW.

In 2017 I published AIDS Shaman: Queer Spirit Awakening, a collection of my mystical poetry and drawings plus quotations from gay ancestors and spiritual teachers.

And just published:

AIDS Shaman 2: Through the Veils is now also available, in print or e book from

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

AIDS Shaman 2: LiveLaunch

Monday 28 October, 2030 GMT https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCLMTE-IGM_8s54NUJTcWZw?view=

Launching at the 2019 Scorpio New Moon

MONDAY OCTOBER 28TH, 2030 GMT. Queer Spirit Channel on YouTube.

My intention with AIDS Shaman 2: Through the Veils is threefold

  • To encourage more conversation about CONSCIOUSNESS, the thing that we all have in common, the thing that we are – also the thing that the collective belief system of the modern world – science – has so little to say about. Although quantum physics is revealing the same truths proposed by mystics since long ages past, there are some scientists who try to prove consciousness is a by product of the material evolution, ignoring the millennia of research into the deep, true nature of existence by the many proud and profound spiritual traditions of the world.
  • To expand awareness of the role that same sex erotic love and gender-variance has played in the spiritual life of the species – among shamanic tribal peoples, the ancient pagan faiths of the Middle East and Europe, and also in the sexually repressed father religions too – and so encourage conversation about the roles of queer people in the world today, as we stand up for our rights and grow to discover the power in our queer spirit.
  • To inspire more communion with the dead, our ancestors (who are so much closer than we think), to celebrate them, and through knowing them finding the strength to release our fears about dying and open to a bigger, brighter understanding of our own being and the joy of being alive.

My hope is to get people thinking, talking and growing.

The mysteries of consciousness are ours to explore:

we are each the inheritors of everything that has gone before.

ONCE UPON A TIME

all the worlds lived together

there was no separation between matter and spirit

humans talked daily to the dead

to the trees, the plants, the animals

and remembered to honour the faerie elementals

who kept nature in balance.

It was the Roman Emperor, not the Church

who eradicated reincarnation from the Christian worldview

male priests seized the spiritual power that had long belonged to the women, transgender and queer peoples,

male priests claimed to hold the keys to heaven:

instead of ecstatic rites that brought people in touch

with divine presence,

they went to church to hear the preacher

tell them God could only be known after death

and only if they obeyed the Church’s rules in life…

The biggest threat to the military industrial complex

is the people remembering that I am another You

and You are another Me:

Seeing through the lies, all the way to infinity.

.

Everything we think we know will change –

we can live multidimensionally

enter the dance of synchronicity

unravel the knots and blocks in our souls

make the remembrance of ONENESS our greatest goal

restore again the holy Whole

each one of us has a role.

HIV CAME TO US TO BE

THE END OF DISEASE

A GATEWAY TO ETERNITY

this is my message and I will say it over and over

THERE IS NO DEATH

THERE IS NO SEPARATION

the time has come to break down the old paradigms

and defeat the darkness that grips the world

the time has come to birth a new humanity

that puts love, cooperation and peace at the centre of the play

the world is gripped by darkness and fear

but the solution to all our woes has always been here

in our hearts.

The position that gay people take in society, the function we so often choose, is that of mediator between worlds….. In a tribal environment, this means shape shifting into wolves, birds, stones, wind and translating their wisdoms for the benefit of the people of the tribe… in the long patriarchal history that has gradually enveloped the world’s people, the gay function has been to make crossover journeys between gender-worlds, translating, identifying and bringing back the information ……..gay culture is always on the cusp of each intersecting world or way of life, on the path between one world and another.” JUDITH GRAHN

Sex can open the gates to heaven,

the multidimensional Self:

that’s part of what gay sex is actually for

in the grand scheme of creation –

it’s what we were honoured for

in pagan temples around the world,

the phallus was the symbol of God,

the body was holy in the age of the Goddess –

the temple of the spirit divine

and the task in the 21st century

is to renew this understanding for this time.

AIDS Shaman Books 1 and 2 are available in print and ebook versions from

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

The Soul is Trans

trans pride rainbow

In a small town pub in Suffolk I spoke to a lad about the inner feminine – he took great offence to the idea that he might have a feminine part to himself, almost to the point of aggression. What in heaven’s name are they teaching kids at school?

The Soul is Trans, we manifest as bodies through the interplay of various spiritual energies, male and female being a key polarity through which our physical forms and personalities find expression. This basic fact of our human existence was obvious to all the indigenous, ancient peoples of the planet and led to those people who manifested both masculinity and femininity strongly often regarded as special, holy beings.  The Hijras of India are a surviving remnant of what was once a vibrant queer spiritual/magical culture that manifested in some form on every continent.

The early modern European explorers found cross-dressing, gender-fluid shamans, witches and monks in every corner of the globe. This is how it once was in Europe and the Middle East too, until the rise of the monotheistic religions, with their all-powerful, male god. Assinnu, Kurgurru, Qedesha, Gallae are among our ancient names. As religion gradually became a tool of the political state, its teachings adapted to bring structure and discipline to society (mainly through fear, though calling it love), in contrast to the liberating, anarchic, sexualised rituals of the ancient Goddess – so those who sought the teachings of soul liberation joined mystery schools, covens and heretical sects in which over the centuries, magical wisdom was passed on.

Flower of Life with rainbow gradients

Kabbalists, Astrologers, Alchemists all found insights into the nature of reality through their practices, which are now openly available for us in the modern world if we seek them. But we are still emerging from the spirit-denying 20th century, still stuck in the domination of consumerism, fame and finance. Since the 1960’s there have been many who have made or are making the shift to a different way of being, one of compassion, seeking, healing and loving, but the mainstream culture is very slow to catch up.

trans symbol (2)

Trans people are emerging in the world in ever greater numbers quite probably because their souls have decided to to do their bit to hasten the evolution of the species, as we move beyond the materialist paradigm into a multi-dimensional reality, where we learn to unite the genders within in order to enter the higher dimensions of spirit, called the kingdom of heaven by Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas:

“When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner as the outer, and the upper as the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male shall not be male, and the female shall not be female: . . . then you will enter [the kingdom].” Jesus in The Gnostic Apostle Thomas:Chapter 24, Saying 22

kabbalah

Reincarnation featured in all the ancient worldviews, was pushed out of the Christian agenda to suit the Roman emperors, and of course is ridiculed by the scientifically minded cultural leaders of the modern secular world.  The mass cultural paradigm is stuck in a tragic ‘one lifetime’ paradigm, and the transcendental nature of the soul not generally discussed, it’s highly possible that a person who feels they ‘were born in the wrong body’ is remembering something of their previous incarnation.

….And since the mystical goal of realisation of the Self involves the unification and integration of the inner genders (and other aspects), it’s highly likely that many trans people are evolved souls who have come into their current body to attain that integration and gain higher understanding of consciousness.

Since the western culture does not teach trans people who they are, trans people will have to teach the culture.

In fact all the queer tribes – the lesbians, gay men, bi and non-binary folk are in the process of unpicking centuries of being hated and misunderstood, of being seen as evil, dirty, sick… as sinners, outcasts, or as criminals.  We all are on the path of redefining who we are, on our terms, in our own ways.  Radical Faeries have been doing this since 1979.  500 magical, bright and creative queers just gathered this summer for the third QUEER SPIRIT FESTIVAL in the UK, celebrating the emergence of queers as a healing tribe within the human whole. 

The call is building for a SECOND COMING OUT – this time reclaiming and proclaiming our magical nature, our soul nature, our holy queer spirit.

north american Trans Shaman RAVEN KALDERA:

“Transgendered people have long been robbed of their own spiritual history, not knowing that there were once times and places where ours was considered a spiritual path in and of itself… We are all sacred and it is time that the world knew it.”

WHY CHECHNYA?

Chechnya is a focus of so much angst for queer people the world over, time we knew that it was once the centre of a culture that held queer shamanic priest/esses in high esteem

The murderous homophobia running rife in Chechnya since 2017 was in the news again recently. After the horrific tales of torturous treatment of gay men, this time we found out more about the situation for lesbians and trans women, as a woman who escaped the purge told her story to a news agency: https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/lesbians-are-also-being-killed-in-chechnya-and-no-one-seems-to-care/#gs.lahdzc

I wanted to know why Chechnya, which is a pretty small area of the former Russian superstate, has become such a global focus in the fight for LGBTQ+ equality – and here is what I found in the history that I believe gives insight into the roots of the violent homophobia being enacted today:

Chechnya is located between the Black and Caspian Seas surrounded by Russia on 3 sides and Georgia on one, with Armenia and Azerbaijan close by: this area was once the central zone of the massive and long lived Scythian empire, which was founded by migrants from the Persian region as early as the 9th century BCE and lasted until the 2nd BCE. The Scythians had a complex, developed culture and became over time a very fierce, patriarchal tribe, but retained the ancient transgender enarees serving as the priest/esses of the Great Goddess, who had been around even longer. 5th century BCE Greek writer Herodotus described the enaree priest/esses as androgynous and recorded their skill in divination, saying they considered that to be a gift of Aphrodite. Hippocrates recorded that the Scythians considered the effeminacy of the enarees to be a divine blessing (though he tried to argue it was because of too much horse riding leading to impotence.)

The term enaree is said to mean ‘unmanly’ and came from the Greeks and Romans who disapproved of the queer shamanic and ecstatic ways, much like ‘berdache‘ was an abusive term (meaning the ‘bottom’ in the act of buggery) that was given to the Native American shamans by the shocked and disapproving Christian Europeans in the 16th century. We do not know what the Scythian transgender shamans called themselves, but we do know that they engaged in ritualistic same-sex eroticism, wore feminine clothes, undertook tasks traditionally assigned to women, performed divination and led ecstatic worship – as did transgender and gay/queer priest/esses of the Goddess throughout the ancient world, such as the Gallae servants of Cybele, the kelabim of Astarte and the megabyzoi of Artemis.

The homo and transphobia that is having devastating effects in the world today, such as for the queers of Chechnya, has roots in the rise of aggressive patriarchal masculinity, and is also intimately tied in with the arrival of a male deity on the religious scene who pushed out the Great Goddess and would stand no competition. The Christian and Muslim religions set out to distance themselves from the often wildly lustful and ecstatic Goddess worshippers by attacking homosexual practices and wiping out the widespread and ancient view that transexuals were closer to the divine. This is what queers of the world today need to grasp – not simply the history, but also to work out how this knowledge might inform how we act in the world.

But the enaree spirit never disappeared completely – a spiritual rebellion in 17th century Russia of the ‘Old Believers‘ saw pagan-christian cults the Khlysty (Flagellants) and Skoptsy (Castrators/Eunuchs) enacting ecstatic dance (radeniia ‘joyful whirling’) and sexual (including homosexual) rituals to attain altered states of consciousness, in which they would channel the prophecies of the Great Mother or Christ (whom they saw as her consort). These cults rejected marriage and revered women; the castration rituals, which men underwent to further their spiritual growth by becoming closer to the Goddess, connect them back in time to the Gallae priests of Cybele, the Magna Mater of the Roman Empire, whose roots go back to 6000 BCE in Anatolia, Turkey. These cults, and the practice of ritual castration, were still active in 20th century, pre-revolutionary Russia.

radeniia dance

Historians point out that the militaristic Scythians both respected/feared and at the same time ridiculed the enarees. Much the same happened to the ergi – queer/trans practitioners of the Seidr magic of the Germanic and Norse people. As patriarchy strengthened its grip, effeminacy in men became an issue in European cultures, but in earlier times transgender people were in many places highly regarded for their magical and spiritual qualities, an association that in fact took centuries to eradicate.

It seems to me the old battle between the macho, controlling male culture and that of the effeminate/genderqueer people of the Goddess is still raging today (even if it is presented differently and the goddess forgotten), with Chechnya a central battleground holding a long history of homophobia, but an even longer one of association between same-sexuality, transsexuality and the sacred. The gay men, lesbians and transexuals of the area today probably do not even know this history, yet it seems their recent ancestors were keeping this strand of queer magical culture alive up until only a century ago – so perhaps this awareness, this experience, this memory, is just beneath the surface, waiting to reemerge, as part of a global surge of queer spirit as LGBTQ+ people the world claim our human rights and reclaim the powers in us that connect the worlds of spirit and humanity.

www.queerspirit.net

Queer Spirit(ualists) with Attitude!

ATTITUDE 4 (2)

Attitude magazine this month has a colourful, somewhat teasing and intriguing, feature about some of the team behind this summer’s Queer Spirit Festival.  The piece is appropriately enough entitled ‘Free Spirits’, making the point that here are queers finding our spiritual expression outside of formal religion. For some reason however the front page headline they chose to highlight the piece is ‘Meet the Queer Spiritualists’…..

Well spiritualism is generally associated with channelling the messages, wisdom and grace of the spirit world, with mediumship and sometimes trance possession. At first I was inclined to take some umbrage at the use of this word, after all a glance at the promotion for the festival will show that our focus is very much about this world – about healing, creativity, self-expression, love – about queer community, liberated from crippling religious structures, where our spirits can soar free.  But of course what makes this experience so powerful and liberating, I believe, is that we include the trees, plants, animals, insects and invisible worlds in our expansive queer community cosmos.

I remembered how much we love to invoke the ancestors into our circles, how important it is to us to call in the power of the elemental beings, how much we love to invoke the unifying presence of our shamanic forebears in the indigenous peoples of the whole planet,  and of the Goddess, of Pan.

Often we dance once the spirits are invoked, enjoying a space where it can come naturally to drop the chattering, questioning of the mind and move into synchronous rhythm with each other: rising gradually to peaks of ecstatic togetherness when the drumming takes off, when our dancing hits a frenzy, our voices open and the shouts reach to the heavens.

ATTITUDE 5 (2)

Attitude also used the term ‘HIGHER RAINBOWS’ – which I consider a peculiar choice of front page headline for the piece about us queer free spirits:

To me queer spirituality is about dropping the old patriarchal ways of hierarchy, of higher and lower, inferior and superior – and entering instead into the holoarchy of life, where every aspect of being has an integral part to play in the whole cosmic jigsaw of life. Astrology is one tool I use to understand that every part of who we are, that all of life and creation, is holy and has its own purpose, from the carnal and the banal to the  cosmic and the blissful. Without one there cannot be the other, duality only exists to help us navigate the third dimension. So Queer Spirituality is not about getting to a higher, or better, place, than other parts of the lgbtq+ universe, it is about bringing in the missing element, the essential piece of the puzzle, that completes the whole. 

I have written many blogs about the lost, forgotten or overlooked links between queerness and the sacred dimensions.. some links below.

Early May 2019 we are between the calendar Beltane MayDay and the approaching Beltane Full Moon in Scorpio on May 17th. The veils are thin.

We are between the worlds.

lotus

This morning the moon is in Cancer, water element, sign of the Divine Mother. So this queer spiritualist thought instead of being agitated by the label he would live up to it:

This is what I believe the energy of the Divine Mother that I feel within me is saying to us this Beltane:

From the heart of the Mother

from our ancestors enlightened

worlds connect and the message comes through

you are another me and I am another you:

we are not these bodies

not the ego-mind

not the turbulent emotions:

when we drop identification with form and thought and feeling

there’s much, much more to find

.

the dance of spirit on the earth

is reflected in patterns in the sky

and once we get that we are the dance

we can stretch our wings and fly:

to attune to the seasons, moon and planets

IS to find the way home –

is the way out of delusion, disconnection, disaffection –

it’s time for humanity to renew the pact with life Herself

.

love and spirit connect us all

through prayer and compassion

we answer the call, build webs of love, cones of power

invoking the return of Her magicians

bringing humanity back to the Way

in these dark 21st century days

.

The truth is within and it’s out there too

Christian gnostics and heretics, Kabbalists and Sufi mystics have long taught the way

Buddhist and Hindu sages were bringing the light of non-duality to the west since the 19th century

but the last thing the desire-driven, power-hungry west wanted to hear

was that the ego was controlling the show and out of control –

our own european earth wisdom so long suppressed

we’d long forgotten our intrinsic belonging –

yet now as Mother Earth shakes and and fear spreads round the world

soon everyone on the planet may scream out to be whole

and the people of the Goddess

will step forward – and take up once again their roles.

qs-logo2019-long edit

Queer Spiritualism WHY NOT?

To conclude, I offer this….

MAY THE SPIRIT RETURN TO THE PEOPLE

From whom She was ripped apart

May the Spirit return to the people

As the Queer Healers remember their Art

.

The Warrior swords of the Crucified Christ from the 4th century CE

Closed down our temples and slaughtered

Trans priestesses, women witches, genderfluid shamans and male sodomites.

Persecution of gay men and women witches intensified from the 11th century.

The political state took over this persecution from the 16th century.

The death penalty was in place for sodomy in the UK until 1861.

But the climate of fear, of arrests and blackmail hit another peak for gay men in the 20th century

And while the change over the past 50 years has been incredible –

No wonder we are a segment of humanity with health issues

Of course we are a people with emotional baggage that needs to be addressed

the issues arising from both HIV and CHEMSEX are the clear symptom of this wound

.

Still in the world today so many of our queerkind still have to live secret lives

have to live with fear, and the danger of arrest, violence, death

THE HISTORICAL PERSECUTION OF QUEER PEOPLE NEEDS TO BE UNDERSTOOD AND ADDRESSED.

OUR QUEER SPIRIT – REPRESSED FOR SO LONG – NEEDS ROOM TO BREATHE, ROOM TO HEAL, ROOM TO BECOME WHAT IT TRULY IS.

I applaud Attitude magazine for taking this important step in displaying through mainstream media that there are exciting developments going on in the world of queer spirituality.  Thanks Guys!

read more…

https://queerspirit.net/blog/211-the-queer-spiritual-frontier

https://queerspirit.net/blog/248-out-of-the-mists-of-our-long-oppression

https://shokti.blog/2019/04/28/gays-are-the-natural-priests-of-humanity/

https://rainbowmessengerblog.wordpress.com/2019/02/14/the-rites-of-queer-spirit/