What LSD did for me

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“Bicycle Day” from Wikipedia

Bicycle Day celebration blotter

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

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

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

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The Ecstatic Rites of Spring

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HAIL DIONYSUS!  HAIL PAN!

HAIL CERNUNNOS!  HAIL CYBELE!

BELTANE IS COMING!

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The Day of Blood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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TRANS EMERGENCE

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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

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

– individual manifestations of collective divine potential –

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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.

 

 

 

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A Tribe of Hearts

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Radical Faeries gather around the world, creating zones of heart based communication, where we can retune our bodies, minds and spirits to the rhythms of nature, where we support, nourish and love each other, and find healing, purpose and inspiration. We are groups of Queers discovering the spiritual power hidden in sexuality, and learning to live in a new paradigm of co-operation, creativity, expansive love, consensus and Oneness.

Embracing subject:SUBJECT consciousness we overcome the hurdles within ourselves that prevent us meeting each other with love. We practice active listening in our heart circles, listening without judgement or reaction, growing in compassion and presence as we do so. This heart presence then inspires all our other activities, from cooking and washing up, to transformational workshops and ceremonies, to dancing and lovemaking. We honour the holiness of sexuality in our Love Temples and the healing touch of nature’s spirits, ancestor souls and queer deities, gradually shifting our understanding of life from the divide-and-conquer, materialist paradigm towards the full embrace of the divine dance of consciousness, co-created, expressed and shared through love, light and laughter.

Joy is the gift of spirit that we receive and develop in ourselves and that we bring to the wider world. Joy is a powerful vibration similar to love, but a more constant one – unlike love it has no shadow side. Joy is simply joy, coming from the soul and enjoyed in the body, heart and mind, it is the vibration of who we are as living spirit, fearless and adventurous, expressive and accepting, knowing and trusting, vulnerable yet strong, loving and praying. It’s what arises in us once we get the falsehoods of the ego, the fears and judgements etc of the mind, out of the way, and let who we really are shine through.

The faerie drums call out to all who are ready to hear and feel – the times are changing and queers have an important role to play in this change. For centuries our queer light and power has been denied and repressed, but in a few decades our presence in the world has undergone an incredible, mind-blowing shift. Our journey to sexual, social and political liberation has advanced in some parts of the world, and our next journey – of spiritual discovery (or re-discovery of who we have always been) and mystical emergence, which has been getting underway for some decades already in faerie groves and tantric playgrounds (mostly hidden from or ignored by mainstream gay life) is reaching a new level. What we go through, in this rapid journey from darkness to light, is forming a template for humanity as whole. Because of our long standing exclusion from the rituals of the rest of society, the hunger in some of us for tribe, for liberation, is very strong, and is fuelling our growth. We are fulfilling our archetypal role as scouts of consciousness, and if we can consolidate, strengthen and develop our tribe of hearts we will be a beacon for the rest of the lgbtiq+ cosmos and the whole world.

Rad Fae communities are one of the key places that we Queers are exploring new ways of relating and communicating. We are circles of people exploring what it can be to live in the presence of love, with trust, respect and in safety, in the sacred connection of souls having a multi-dimensional experience. We are emerging as a global force, a tribe of hearts.

People come to faeries from all kinds of backgrounds and spiritual/religious experience. We are a melting pot of ideas, vibrations and potential. Whether we have spiritual beliefs/practices or not, in faerie community we can get a direct experience of love-in-action, of heightened frequencies, of deep intimacy (with each other and all creation (on a good day)), of life as a cosmic dance. In mystical language, it could be said we open the gates to the goddess – to the shakti presence in us and all creation – which the queer interplay of gender energies within us enable us to attune to and be aware of. This shakti presence uplifts, transforms and changes the game of life. Queers work and play with this magic all the time, in faerie space we get to turn the volume UP.

This is why it works – in the realm of the Goddess there is no search for enlightenment, only the experience that it is already there, connecting us, feeding us, enabling us, blessing us, encouraging us. When we are feeling free, bright and joyful we do not seek anything, we are experiencing ourselves in our natural state. The search for answers, the need to address our issues, the fear of the future, disappear and we live as love. Once open, this shakti gate just keeps on giving, and when our issues and fears resurface we will find new ways to address them. Faerie gatherings are held within sacred circles, where the unconditional love of the divine channelled through the elements that give us life meets our aspirational heart energies to reveal the way to healing, magic and splendour.

At some point we might find the abundance of emotion and experience overflows and overwhelms us. Then we may feel inclined to run away from faeries, and perhaps need to for a while – but where else in the world will we find such a pioneering, queer, eccentric and ecstatic tribe of playful, sexy, warrior souls? Faerie space is not perfect – it’s not designed to be a utopia escaping reality – it’s a transformational playground pointing the way to better quality of life experience, the like of which has never existed on planet earth before. The ride will not always be smooth, but there is no ride quite like it. For queers seeking deeper connection, both internally and externally, greater intimacy and meaning in life, Faerie space is providing a glimpse into what might be possible.

We don’t have to ‘become’ a faerie – to take on another label in any fierce or dogmatic fashion. In fact to do so would be so un-faerie. Faerie gives us the chance to embrace ultimate flexibility/fluidity, shapeshifters that we are – here is a space where queers who are called to explore the magical, mystical power within the human soul can gather with others and have the necessary, frequently ecstatic, fun to release it. Call it what we like, here we are scouts of consciousness taking and tackling the ‘essentialist’ route towards fulfilment of our queerness (ie exploring what makes us unique in the human panoply), as opposed to the ‘assimilationist’ path of the mainstream gay culture. We get to discover that we are witches, shamans, fools, that we are healers, artists and agents of transformation. For queers who already feel this or know this in themselves, and for all queers who have this in them, faerie space is a true homecoming – but not the end of the journey, it is in face a beginning.

***

Some humans are born with a sense of the numinous, the worlds beyond the physical, already built into their awareness, but many of us experience some kind of ‘revelation’ moment when the bigger picture of the creation opens up for us. This is often called an Awakening, and can come to us through all sorts of situations, both pleasant and unpleasant. It might be that we are ‘programmed’ to wake up to more levels of existence as we get older and ready to deal with what they bring to us. As the mainstream culture of our times does not recognise this process it is very common for the symptoms of awakening to be misunderstood and medicated away. It is possible that a lot of mental illness is due to this fundamental denial in the culture of our evolving, emerging, soul natures. Life conspires to bring us direct experiences of that nature, then leaving it in our hands as to when and how we adapt our lives to harmonise with it. If we are resistant we are to doing that, life will continue to try to push us into it, quite possibly through crises, illnesses etc.

Once we have seen the light, we need to find our own way to walk in it. Every part of us that is in darkness, in shadow, will be illuminated. The path of light, of conscious growth, means facing, embracing and healing the shadow in ourselves, and ultimately in all things.  It helps to remember we are on a path of healing – and not fall back into believing in pathological labels given to us by the materialist paradigm when things get tough.  Taking the time to focus and mark the seasonal shifts (equinoxes, solstices etc) and moon cycles can keep us on track, keep the deeper purpose high in our minds.  This can have very powerful effects, hastening our healing and evolution, when shared with others.

The religious paths of the Father, with their written treatises, rules and disciplines of yoga, meditation etc – and their promises of enlightenment and salvation (usually considered out of reach, at least in this lifetime) can provide us with vital tools to ground and centre ourselves in the changeable and challenging moments in community and in life in general.

The paths of the Mother Goddess are found in the cycles and rhythms and beings of nature, of the sun and moon, the planets and stars.  They stem from the fact that all this Creation around us is ONE DANCE constantly in a state of communion and communication. The power of the heavenly bodies and nature’s cycles is often revealed to us through direct experience of faerie ritual and community living. Through observing, honouring and studying the seasonal shifts, the moon cycles etc we discover that the shakti presence and wisdom is always there on offer to us, to help us open our minds and heal our souls. The ‘brainwashing’ we received from the rationalist, materialist school of thought that likely dominated our education makes many of us resistant to embrace the intuitive arts of astrology, tarot, kabbalah, shamanism etc, but these arts, that require the interplay of our left and right brains in order to be mastered, hold the keys to our souls. Whether we are actively ‘spiritual’ in a conventional sense or not, they can reveal the dance of spirit in matter, remind us that we are in fact That, release us from the cage of separation and existential angst that science may have dropped us in, however well meaning it’s efforts, and reveal to us just how magical, marvellous and divine our existence, both individually and collectively as a tribe of hearts, truly is.

Once awake we have to HEAL

in order to HEAL we have to FEEL

open our HEARTS and walk with COURAGE

distinguish between what is FALSE and what REAL

The Cosmos is calling us HOME

to CONSCIOUS LOVE-IN-ACTION

to the true nature of the HUMAN SOUL

AND TO THE QUEERS TO REMEMBER OUR ROLE

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Queer Deity, Sacred Slut by Al Head

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Maybe it’s the magical casting in the Prologue, or simply the good, conversational narrative style, but once begun reading, this book totally absorbed my attention and interest, and very quickly I found myself at the Epilogue, opening the circle the author had so gently moved me to cast around the act of reading it.

Al Head’s first book in print is a testament to changing times, evolving consciousness and the emergence of awakening souls. Thirty years a pagan worker of magic and energy, in Queer Deity Sacred Slut Al gives us colourful glimpses into scenes where a new world is being born – from the actions at Greenham Common to Co-Counselling, Queer Pagan, Radical Faerie and Sex Magic retreats. Al’s story affirms that as humans we can change and evolve along with the times we live in – we hear of their journeys with sexuality, gender, motherhood, magical practice and healing, exploring the many transitions we can go through while in the body. Al’s words, offered as ‘Thoughts in Process’, prompt us to contemplate subjects dear to many queer hearts – identity, love, ecology, sex, sustainability: it is the testimony of someone who has recovered for themselves what humanity as a whole has lost – a sacred, loving and active relationship with the planet itself – and who sees in this part of the solution to the many crises affecting us all. But Al is not here telling us they have all the answers – what they present is a template for further conversation and process, a model that calls to all of us to fulfil our individual parts in order to realise our unified wholeness as part of planet Earth herself.

And what of Queer Deities and Sacred Sluts perhaps you are asking?

“We need queer deities so we can write our new stories. We need them to provide us with models and with pictures of ourselves. We need them to remind us that we are part of history and of the ancient past, whatever we have been told about these things. And we need them to support and guide us into the future.”

In the book we meet several queer deities from various cultures, but this is no encyclopedic list – that can be found elsewhere. Instead this is a call to wake up to the divine energies within our own souls.

“The multiplicity and variety of queer deities affirm for us that diversity can be our strength. They show us that we can transform and change as the will, and as the need, takes us. And the fact they are returning into human consciousness at this time shows us that it is time for us, too, as queer people, to reclaim our power, to return to our spiritual and magical roots, to be all that we are.”

Exploring the archetype of the Sacred Slut, Al connects our emerging queer consciousness to the Goddess temples of the ancient world, to european witchcraft and to eastern tantric ritual. As we rediscover the secrets to be found within paganism, this book charts the return of spirituality to the bodily sphere. Al presents the Sacred Slut as “anyone, of any gender, who has sex in a sacred fashion and for a sacred reason…. a sexual healer or a sex worker who considers their work to be a sacred calling… someone who sees having sex with their regular partner or partners as a sacred act, not in a faraway, abstract, sense, but profoundly in the here and now… someone who practises sex magic, alone or with others. They may be someone who has sex with non-material beings… part of the growing movement of ‘eco-sexuality’… someone who invokes deity into themselves and invites others to have sex with them.” Al writes about how we can use sexual energy to re-connect ourselves to the land we live on as well as to connect deeply within ourselves and with others, about how sacred sluttery is “about reclaiming power, about realising potential, about remembering the positivity and glory of our sexual beings.”

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We live in a period of rapidly changing paradigms. Those of us on the path of self-discovery will recognise the topics this work explores, and I think will welcome this contribution to the ongoing discussions. Those new to queer spirituality will likely be challenged, and I hope intrigued by this window into a magical sub-culture that is exploring territories all humanity are touched by.

I’ve seen some works of queer theory that ponder and philosophise but here is something much more engaging – a story of real world, practical, active growth of an emerging queer healer, and of queer magical community that is pleasing to the eye (decent size clear font within a rather beautifully designed book cover) and to the heart and mind. By holding the book within a magical energy field – and inviting us to enter into that field, Al has spun a work to inspire, uplift and expand the story of what it is to be a 21st century queer on planet Earth.

AIDS SHAMAN

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

Presenting my first book to the world… available now as ebook, print version coming…  my awakening to the spiritual realms began while sick with AIDS in the 1990s… Here is a collection of my poetry and prose to make you think about the role gay/queer people play in the human story, plus inspiration from queer ancestors, prophets and teachers.

Preview glimpse into the contents…..

HIV was the catalyst that led to my interest in spirituality: the threat of death led me to search for meaning in life. Given a positive diagnosis in 1990, by ’95 I was becoming symptomatic and was considered a PWA (Person With AIDS). I left my job, got my debts written off by telling the bank I was leaving the world, and turned my mind to the big question – why, I asked for the first time in my life, did I exist in the first place? I had held a firmly rational, materialist, atheistic view since the age of 12, but now, at 30, an understandably urgent need for spiritual answers arose in me. I plunged into a study of the worlds’ religions, into pagan magic and new age teachings, soon sensing a mystical core common to all. I began to open my mind and heart to the possibility of something more, to the possibility of a purpose behind our apparently random existence here on planet earth, to the idea of a beneficent divine presence giving rise to that existence.

 

All life’s crises hold an opportunity

nothing is ever only dark or light

HIV can awaken our spiritual sight.

Gays don’t like religion, thank goddess for that

we prefer to think for ourselves

and that’s where it’s at

we come out because we touch the truth inside

and that’s where we find our love and our pride

if we learn to listen to the soul, as we did as a child

all the answers we seek are there….

 

Calling to the Witch in every Queer

To the Priestess in every Lesbian

To the Shaman in every Gay barman

The Divine Mother in every Bear

The Abbot in every Faggot

The Deity in every Dyke

The Radical in every Faerie

It’s time for the QUEER PEOPLES OF PLANET EARTH TO COME HOME

 

,,,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…..

 

We’ve been hidden for so long in every race on earth

waiting for the globe to shrink so we can find each other

pathological said the shrinks

sinners said the church

we have to fight for equality

and in ourselves we have to search

for the answers to why we we’re here

for the secrets of being Queer.

This is the calling of the twenty first century queer: to learn to unite the sexual and the spiritual, and find the balancing, healing, role we play in the human family…. to remember, recover and renew our QUEER SPIRIT

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

 

Autumnal Attunement

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GROWTH IS A MANY LEVELLED THING

When we remember and honour the sacred seasonal turning points of the Wheel of the Year we attune ourselves to the rhythms of Eternity. As the number of people attuning grows, the Collective Consciousness is changed. Each turn of the Wheel we become more of OurSelves, we see that

We human beings are multi-faceted creatures

We have Physical form

We have Instincts and Desires

We have Will, Ego and Personality

And powerful Emotions, blissful to raw and extreme

through emotional trials we gain emotional strength

The Cosmos have given us the gift of Self-Awareness and Self-Expression

We have Spirit, Intuition, Creativity

that can unlock the Divine Core of our Nature

We have the potential to love unconditionally

forgive irresistibly

and hasten the day when the species wakes up

to its Unity and Interdependence with All Creation.

The Soul incarnates to have experiences that enable growth in all these levels of its being

Autumn 2017: Experiences are coming hard and fast for those on the crest of the wave of change. A key to the Aquarian Age, to making the leap to higher understanding, is to engage compassion and to learn to accept experiences on an impersonal level. The Collective Consciousness is doing what it needs to do to bring about the transformation of life on Earth. Some experiences suck, but so do we when we label them ‘wrong’ or when we condemn the people involved. We assist or resist the growth of love through every thought and action. People will hurt us, will make us angry, we will be tested and we will find dark places in ourselves we would rather were not there. But we can also detach from their power, because those places must be there, we have created those places over many lifetimes.

IN THIS LIFETIME WE CAN CHANGE EVERYTHING

The Autumn Season invites us to harvest the produce of the good seeds we have sown and to let go of anything on any level that restrains our personal and communal growth – like trees we can drop our dead leaves and create compost for our future glories. With bonfires we can burn away the debris of times past, and while doing so remember and be with loved ones who have passed and attune ourselves to the rhythms of eternity.

 

UK Rad Fae and the Sexual Offences Act

“The first phase of Gay Liberation (1969-1990) created a small clearing in the forest of Heterosexual Supremacy where we could begin to find ourselves again with self-acceptance.
Now it is our historic responsibility to move beyond Gay Assimilation and Sexual
Orientation, the ideology of current gay leadership, to the next phase of Gay Liberation.  This work involves, with conscious awareness, existentially and historically reclaiming and discovering ourselves and roles we have played in society and continue to play, unconsciously. This work is, at a fundamental level, both political and spiritual.”

Radical Faerie pioneer and Queer Elder, Don Kilhefner

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In the UK 2017 has seen actions, celebrations, art shows and much discussion around the 50 year anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act of 1967, which partially decriminalised sex between men in England and Wales. The act made it legal for two men aged over 21 to have sex in private – in fact if anyone else was in the same house at the time the sex was still illegal – this was overturned by the European court in 2000, not long ago. (Scotland legalised gay male sex on the same basis in 1981 and Northern Ireland in 1982).  In fact persecution of gay men did not suddenly end – there were over 15000 prosecutions for indecent gay behaviour in the decades following the act.  Only once the Labour government came to power in 1997 did the atmosphere really change, with the age of consent equalised (in 2 stages), the vile Tory Clause 28 repealed, plus adoption rights and civil partnerships were granted too.

The Wolfenden Report, on which the Sexual Offences Act was based, had actually been written a decade earlier, but it took the societal shifts of the 1960s before any action was taken.  During those 10 years the British Empire shrank – many, especially African, countries became independent. Britain retreated, leaving behind its legacy of homophobic attitudes and legislation, as it had already done in India and elsewhere.  The British Empire did so much to damage indigenous attitudes to gender-fluid individuals and same-sex erotic activity around the world, and its current formulation, the Commonwealth, continues to turn a blind eye to virulent homophobic legislation.

  • In India it is an offence to “voluntarily [have] carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal”.
  • In Mauritius, it is a crime to commit “sodomy or bestiality”.
  • In Uganda, a law provides for a seven-year jail term for anyone who conducts a same-sex marriage ceremony.
  • The Singapore Penal Code prohibits “any act of gross indecency with another male person” in “public or private”, with a maximum penalty of two years in prison.
  • Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has previously said that:“Homosexuals are worse than dogs and pigs; dogs and pigs will never engage in homosexual madness,” and followed this up in 2013 by stating that LGBT people were “worse than pigs, goats and birds”.

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“The penalties for private, consensual sexual conduct between same sex adults remain harsh in a number of Commonwealth countries. They include 10 years imprisonment and hard labour in Jamaica, 14 years in Kenya, 20 years plus flogging in Malaysia, and 25 years in Trinidad and Tobago. Bangladesh, Barbados, Guyana, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Uganda have a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, while in the 12 northern states of Nigeria the maximum penalty for male homosexuality is death. In some countries such as Cameroon, arrests and imprisonment for acts that indicate homosexuality are frequently reported. In Uganda and Nigeria recent legislative proposals would significantly increase the penalties for homosexuality.

“Member states outlawing homosexuality include Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Guyana, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Malawi, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Kiribati and Tonga.” Wikipedia

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While mainstream Gay culture has pursued a largely Assimilationist approach – consumerism, gay marriage etc, the Radical Faeries are a tribe of Gay Essentialists who create spaces around the world where queer people can live on our own terms, not those of the dominant hetero culture.  We get to explore who we are in zones of creative, supportive, safety.  The downsides of the Assimilationist universe – body fascism, objectification, judgmental bitchiness, deadly drug abuse etc – hardly show up in Faerie spaces. When we are free to express the love, lust and joy in our souls without fear or restriction we discover that there is much more to being queer than what we do sexually.

Radical Faerie tribes have emerged in the USA, UK, continental Europe, Israel and Australia since the 1970s, evolving on the sidelines of the queer universe, usually meeting far from cities in wild natural places.  This summer over 100 faeries from these tribes joined with representatives from countries where it is much, much harder to live out our lives at a GLOBAL FAERIE GATHERING held at Featherstone Castle in Northumberland, UK.  Queers from China, Russia, Pakistan, Singapore, Nigeria, Cameroon and Benin joined the gathering, the intention of which was to foster the emergence of Global Radical Faerie community, so that “queer people step up and claim our freedom and security and human rights, our meaningful and valuable place in society.”

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This Faerie of Albion believes the situation for gay/queer people on the planet could be dramatically improved if the Commonwealth owned up to the evil legacy left by the British Empire. I would like to see Queen Elizabeth II, who has never spoken about gay issues, to send out a positive message to her queer subjects across the world.  I would like her

– to speak out about the plight of lgbtiq+ people in the Commonwealth
– apologise for the evil legacy of homophobic legislation that the British Empire left in place around the world
– affirm that gay, lesbian, trans, bi, intersex, queer people have important roles to play in society, in fact without our cultural and spiritual input there can never be balance in the world.

While Londoners have had a summer full of ’50 years partial decrim’ activities to explore – art shows, demos, parties etc – the Faeries have mostly been out and about at festivals and gatherings.  London Fae hold full moon get togethers in the city during the year, but in the summer we scatter to the four directions to soak up the good energy and good times.  Now as we prepare for our Autumn programme of activities the Equinox is presenting us with an opportunity to make a contribution to the commemoration in our own unique style – one of the things that makes Faeries so distinct from mainstream gay life is our love of ritual.  A plan has emerged to gather at Equinox (22nd Sept) at the mystical circle of 13 trees on the eastern edge of Green Park, close to Buckingham Palace and make ritual on the theme of balance before popping along for a photo opportunity on the Mall – this will be backed up with letters to the Palace and Commonwealth Office outlining our polite request for some affirmative action.  Surely the 50 year anniversary of the ’67 act has been headlined enough for the Queen to publicly mention homosexuality – transexuality – bisexuality for the first time in her reign?

We are asking the Commonwealth to send a message to its queer citizens.  We know that pressure on governments can be deleterious to our cause.  What we seek instead is a grassroots rising of confident queer campaigners who feel empowered and emboldened to take on the hatred and misinformation that abounds in their countries.  I am asking Queen Elizabeth to send a message of affirmation to the world that gives these activists, lovers and dreamers a boost they so desperately need.

Dove with a rainbow

The work we do as Radical Faeries links the spiritual with the political because it is about queer people around the world redefining Who We Are and letting the world know about it.  The Radical Faeries are inclusive of people of all abilities and from all roots. At this Equinox Action there will not be huge amounts of walking and the surfaces we move across are mostly flat, once assembled.

To join in come find us at the Tree Circle, which is just off the path that leads from Green Park station (London W1) towards Buckingham Palace – look for the trees adorned with ribbon – at 6pm prompt on Friday 22nd September.

AND PLEASE DRESS TO EXPRESS YOUR QUEER SPIRIT AND FAERIE POWER, BRING RATTLES/BELLS, FAERIE LIGHTS…. PLACARDS AND BANNERS TOO…

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