Gays are the natural priests of humanity

The last few thousand years of human history might be called the Age of Patriarchy, when heterosexual men aggressively established their power over others. For this to happen they first had to destroy the spiritual power held by women and queers – at the time of Jesus Christ, religious life around the whole of the Mediterranean Sea had long been led by women and effeminate priests – the next few centuries would see straight men gradually imposing their desire for order, structure and control via the destruction of pagan temples and eradication of the memory of the sacred roles of same-sex loving and gender-variant individuals.

The men of war shut down our temples, rounded up the pagans and slaughtered them. The sexual practices of the pagans were seen as a justification for doing this. This pattern had begun in fact a millennium previously under the Hebrew kings, some of whom took great offence to the continuing tradition of Goddess worship, led by the sodomising, genderfluid Qedesha in the temples of Asherah. Qedesha means Anointed or Holy Ones, but was translated into the King James Bible as ‘sodomites’ and appears in modern translations as ‘male shrine prostitutes’. The idea that temples were where prostitution took place was planted early in the first millennium by Christians in order to discredit the pagan faiths – until that time sexual congress with deities, through the medium of a priest/ess, had been a respected practice dating back maybe 10000 years in the temples of Ishtar/Inanna/Cybele throughout the lands of the Middle East. Some have argued that Mary Magdalene was part of this tradition and see her as being the conduit for Jesus’s mystical revelations and growth.

The oldest term on the planet for priesthood is the ‘Gala’ priests of Inanna, whose name in the ‘cunieform’ writing of the time was a combination of the symbols for penis and anus. Similarly named, and extremely queer and flamboyant, Gallae priests served Cybele – considered the Mother of the Gods, her worship originated in Anatolia in the Asian part of Turkey and became the official religion of the Roman Empire around 200 BCE. The Gallae’s camp and loud behaviour upset many Christians, and, especially as Roman emperors converted to the new faith, emphasising the prohibition of sodomy became a way of setting Christianity apart from the pagan past.

The Hebrew persecution of the gay temple priests lasted, on and off, for four centuries from 1000BCE to 600BCE, it seems that after that the atmosphere became more relaxed again. Historian Randy P. Connor goes as far as to say that the period from 2nd century BCE to 4th century CE was the high point of queer-led religion, with the ArchGallus playing a leading role in Roman life. The ArchGallus wore a tall mitre hat, something that was adopted by the Roman Catholic Church and still worn by Popes today. The Gallae priests led the early Spring ceremonies which were focussed on the death of their god Attis, the lover of Goddess Cybele, who self-castrated in order to avoid marriage to a human woman. He died from the wound but was resurrected and became in the older stories Cybele’s daughter, in the later versions he became, like Jesus, the heavenly avatar linking humanity to heaven. The Christian Easter festival was timed to replace this older rite.

When Europeans set out to explore and conquer the rest of the world they came across gender-bending, sodomising, shamans and priests on every continent. There are many examples from Africa of queerness being associated with spiritual power – eg among the lesbians of the Azande people of ……. or the Quimbanda wizards of Angola. When African politicians complain that homosexuality was brought to the continent by the white man they have a point – until the Europeans came sexuality was not associated with the taboos it is now, and the spiritual role of same-sex loving or trans individuals was recognised. The Native American shamans were given the name ‘berdache’ by the Europeans (the name basically means a bottom in sodomy), which stuck until the 1990s when the American shamans chose the name ‘Two-Spirit’ to replace it, a term much more resonant with the many original names that the tribes used for us. In China and Japan homosexuality was regarded as a privilege of the monastic class, this view fully supported by the populace, and in India the surviving example of the Hijras point to a time when the spiritual power of queers was better recognised. Examples exist also from Australasia, Polynesia, Hawaii….

Gay men and women have always been drawn to the religious life in the Christian west as well, despite the homophobic atmosphere. Medieval monastic life saw a flowering of same sex love, and the Buggery Act was brought in by Henry VIII to destroy the power of the Catholic monasteries. To this day gays are drawn to service in the Church, and the arguments about us go on and on. But even the Christian notion of a celibate priesthood is a hark back to the ancient days when the gays ran religion. Celibacy had to be brought in once straight men got involved, to control them. Islam, for most of its history, has been less bothered about sexual expression, with a long tradition of mystical poetry in which god is known through same-sex erotic imagery. The savagery with which some Islamic states treat queer people now has more to do with the homophobia spread by Europeans over recent centuries than with Islamic traditions.

So the straight men kicked us out of the temples and monasteries and took our jobs, but what does this piece of the historical queer jigsaw mean for us today?

While some spiritually motivated queers choose to be active in established religious circles, there are many of us who are drawn to self-exploration in ways of our own choosing. Many of us are drawn to witchcraft, shamanism etc because these magical practices do not dictate a belief system – they instead provide tools we can use for our own self-discovery, and to build a relationship with the subtle energy fields all around us.

Coming Out is a spiritual process of self-affirmation, but it’s not the end of the story. In the 1980s I was a young atheist seeking nothing from life but good times, but who was quickly facing an HIV diagnosis and the onset of AIDS. This experience awoke in me the wish to understand life, and the roles of queers in the bigger picture, and kicked off a mystical journey that continues to this day – a journey that includes uncovering the forgotten or hidden history of the relationship between queerness and spirituality. Until this history is understood, ignorant religious preachers will continue to attack us, and spread their hate around the world, providing justification to those who would persecute, imprison or kill our kind. My journey since AIDS in queer spiritual circles such as the Radical Faerie community convinces me that we queers do have ‘magical’ powers – they come from our internal fluidity and creativity, they relate to the heart and spirit, to our relationship with nature and the unseen world.

I am one of the organisers of this summer’s QUEER SPIRIT FESTIVAL in Northamptonshire, UK, August 14-18th 2019. This third outing of the festival brings together a few hundred questing, evolving, seeking queers in a melting pot of play, creativity, sexuality, spirituality and magic for five days of magic and discovery, changing the story of who we are, remembering a hidden past, and creating a new, vibrant and more conscious future. www.queerspirit.net

London Rebels

Easter Weekend in London saw massive mobilisation of the British people. In sharp contrast to the childishness, bickering and arrogance of our political classes in recent years, the past week has given us a peaceful yet powerful expression of the true spirit of the Brits – focussed on respectful discourse, tolerance, collaboration, non-violent action and compassion. Just as with the massive pro-EU demonstration recently, the people took to the streets and showed the world how so many of us really feel.

Extinction Rebellion played their hand skilfully, clearly having learnt the hard lessons of past actions such as Occupy. The authorities have been spending money preparing for post-Brexit riots, but instead found themselves faced with truly peaceful protesters, who had no intention to cause harm to property or persons – instead they sought simply to disrupt the normal flow of city life to bring attention to the cause – to the Climate Emergency that is reported daily in the news but which our governments have no idea how, nor it seems the motivation, to tackle. The activities of the past week have brought to the fore voices such as George Monbiot that dare to say that the whole capitalist, monetary, economic system has to be dismantled. The Tory environment minister has been forced to admit they are not doing enough in regard to climate change, and the opposition Labour party have offered to sit down and listen to the campaigners.

Even more than this – at a time when crime, homelessness, poverty are all on the rise, when teenagers are murdering each other and terrorists lurk round every corner – the headline news should be that here is a mobilisation of people who sincerely believe life can be lived differently, we just have to get together, listen to each other and work out how.

Here is a mobilisation of people who come together peacefully, to explore and deepen connection, with each other and the planet we live on. The right wing tries desperately to pick holes in the movement, to attack it in any way it can – eg for taking up police resources which are needed to keep down the rioting hoards, and the islamic, irish and fascist terrorists. But it seems the dark forces were all taking a quiet Easter. We should not underestimate the effect that a few thousand determined individuals making a clear and determined message, that so many others are waiting to hear, can have on the collective spirit and consciousness of the whole nation. After all, we have seen how the horrific acts of lone individuals can unite us in grief – whatever the critics of Extinction Rebellion might say, this is not a movement spreading doom and gloom, this is part of a much larger and longer trend in human society – towards greater awareness and connection.

These words I found from an XR participant in a Facebook comment put it so well:

Fundamentally our movement, not limited to Extinction Rebellion… is about creating a society based on connection, awe and love for all beings. You feel it, I feel it, it feels right…. but we are rarely given permission to express it.

There’s been a steady shift in human consciousness for many years now and it is finally bubbling up to an explosion. Too many people are tired of wasting our lives in a society based on separation, fear, exploitation and depletion.”

But of course the opponents of XR, and probably the politicians too, believe it’s only a matter of time before the movement fractures and collapses, as other protests have done in the past. There are even signs of this happening already. The group’s Facebook page reveals that militant vegans, who like to insist everyone has to follow their example, are causing some to leave the movement. But also – the wonder of social media – we can see there how the overwhelming response from others, including other vegans, is to explain few things to the misguided but well-intentioned militants. Any movement for social, political, environmental justice doubles up as an intensive space of personal growth for all who get involved. The complex organisational co-creation that manifested as XR’s actions at Marble Arch, Parliament Square, Waterloo Bridge and Oxford Circus, or the mass die-in at the Natural History Museum, show that this is a collective with experience, talent, originality and the power to persevere. XR has staying power because all generations are involved here. Over 1000 people were arrested for obstruction, yet nobody was hurt, there was no criminal damage, no violence.

Natural History Museum die-in

The same spirit of openness, tolerance and freedom was celebrated in Hyde Park on Saturday 20th April at the 4:20 Cannabis Rally. Now in its 8th year, the warm sunshine brought out thousands – people of all ages, all races and backgrounds were openly smoking across the park, and at 4.20pm we all stood up and lit up together – the diversity of the modern British nation celebrated in smoke. What an incredible mass ritual, honouring the healing herb that has been used as medicine and sacred tool in cultures the world over, but which the men in power in the 20th century made illegal, something they had no moral right to do. Crucially, we were also standing up for freedom of the individual, in mind, body and soul. The days of the state dictating what we can or cannot do with our own bodies need to end. I’m a gay man, I get this deeply. But as we move towards liberalisation of attitudes towards cannabis in the UK it is crucial that the cannabis campaigners are listened to – for the money-grabbing eyes of big business are already excited at this huge future market. Cannabis cultivation and dealing has been in the hands of the people during this time of prohibition, taking risks with our own liberty to do so, and it should remain the people’s plant.

Nobody was arrested at the Cannabis Rally. The atmosphere was positive and upbeat. The only violence in the park that day was unrelated.

My personal journey through this liberating weekend began at the Queer Spirit Full Moon Drum Circle in Vauxhall, where about 70 radical faeries, questing queers and magical souls gathered to dance and raise energy. We do this regularly– an opportunity for emotional release and ecstatic expression at the peak of the full moon. This time we dedicated our dance towards empowering the message being put out by Extinction Rebellion.

At Heaven nightclub on Sunday evening my weekend peaked as the 24 year old me was resurrected on the very dance floor where he dropped his first tab of acid – thirty years ago at Gay Pride 1989. For 3 or 4 years I was a Heaven regular, spending my nights in ecstatic rapture, finding in house music (and lsd) a doorway into myself that led me to an absolute sense of freedom, love and connection. After 6 years of trips (and facing the impending doom of full-blown aids) I was motivated to dive into a mystical education in order to understand this freedom and connection I had felt when high in Heaven. 24 years on from that, aids survivor, queer pagan and radical faerie witch/shaman that I have become, I got to go back to my playground – where in my 20s I used to lose myself in music and light, become the dance, become pure spirit. This time no lsd taken. Acid opened up in me the idea that we are pure consciousness, free, eternal and powerful, and I have used the intervening years to explore and deepen this within me – 30 years after my first trip I was dancing back in the temple of Heaven, feeling my 24 year old self inside me glowing with joy, being my 54 year old self beaming in gratitude for this journey called life, and for the keys to mystery that the acid house wave of the late 80s, that Heaven the nightclub and the amazing DJs who played there, gave to me.

easter sunday 2019 acid boy resurrected

House music arrived as a soul-infused development of disco and hi-nrg. It celebrated liberation, as disco had done before – but perhaps while 70s disco revelled in individual freedom and joy, 80s house held a vision of collective liberation. Queers were at the forefront of disco – when disco got tired and too commercial, we then held the pure dance spirit in our hi-nrg tunes until it evolved into house. Heaven, London’s original gay super-club now celebrating its 40th birthday, held nights such as Spectrum, Garage and Troll that nurtured the uplifting house vibe.

Queers were central to the dance revolution and we also have a big role to play in the ongoing liberation of humanity from the delusions, the mind control and soul-numbness that afflicts the world, but we are still a deeply wounded segment of the whole, finding our power only gradually. 30 years ago I was dancing in nightclubs, this summer I will be dancing out in nature at QUEER SPIRIT FESTIVAL, where 500+ fabulous, magical queers will get the chance to deepen our experience of community, of connection, of personal and collective liberation. There will be workshops, performers, fire circles, drumming, cafes, discos – we will be celebrating the potential in our sexuality and our seeking for love to open us to the heavens, to multi-dimensional reality, plus celebrating our ability to connect to and care for each other and the earth. The festival, like XR, like the Cannabis Rally, is a manifestation of people taking power into their own hands. We queers will no longer let ourselves be bullied by religion or anyone else, we are redefining who we are, from within ourselves. Www.queerspirit.net

It was so good to be in Heaven dancing again to “Brothers, Sisters, we’ll make it to the Promised Land”, to feel tears running down my cheeks as Robert Owens performed live, to remember being in utter bliss in that place in my 20s – at a time when part of my mind was stuck in the new reality of a deadly HIV diagnosis, another part was experiencing the awesome, joyful wonder of existence.

return to heaven 21/4/2019

30 years on I celebrated my personal liberation on the dance floor where I first glimpsed it, during a weekend when the tide of liberation was riding high in London town. But let’s remember that Freedom is both an internal as well as external phenomenon. This summer I will be gathering with magical queers pulling together on the path to personal and collective liberation to our kind, and all humanity, through reconnection with nature, with the holiness of the body and sexuality, the transcendent potential of music and dance, with the ecstatic rites of Queer Spirit. Come play the liberation game with us.

London enjoyed a sunny and peaceful weekend, promoting the energy of communication, connection and harmony. Meanwhile terror did strike – in Sri Lanka, and we are left with this puzzling story that a number of affluent, educated, middle class Muslims went into Christian churches to blow up themselves and the Easter Sunday worshippers, showing how quickly and easily a country can be brought to horror, grief and fear. In our interconnected world the actions of hate affect all, but the forces and voices of tolerance and freedom do not get nearly enough of a look in – the media is always telling us the world is full of suffering and anger, but the hearts of the people of the world are drawn to hope, to peace and to love and liberation – as the activists of London have been showing loud and strong in the Easter sunshine.

go to the trees

.

To escape from the insanity

that’s deluding humanity –

embrace non-duality:

and go to the trees

sit in the breeze

absorb the fire

go to the rivers and seas

.

.

.

the western world got obsessed

with the notion of right and wrong

with the tragedy of darkness and light

became blind to the powers of second sight

.

but the eastern world saw

that there is really more

going on than these notions in the mind

the eastern world saw

that the world is a divine dream

and nothing is ever as black and white as it seems

.

inside the yang there is the yin

and the yin inside the yang

inside the female there is the male

inside the male the female

life is a myriad of possibilities

and every one will be explored

.

so it’s really high time

in the 21st century

that the world listened and learned

and voices of bigotry, hate and separation

were finally and utterly IGNORED

.

WHERE ARE THE VOICES OF UNITY IN THE WORLD?

They are there but can they be heard

above the clamour of disarray and division?

Humanity on the brink

needs to come to a big decision

.

We have been lied to for long enough:

We’re not born to serve the capitalist machine

we are born to live out our dreams

to love and grow and enjoy life

find our own part in the divine dream

.

BECAUSE IT’S TIME TO WAKE UP

and those in deep sleep will suffer

but those who truly LOVE

and practise COMPASSION

will find another

WAY

we approach the holiest of days

when humanity finally is AWAKE.

The Awkwardness of Aries

The Spring Equinox arrives, days start to be longer than nights, the temperatures rise, the relief of Winter ending washes over us – then about a week or so later we might find ourselves wondering what the fuck is going on? Why isn’t Spring bringing joy and happiness? Why does life feel so challenging – so awkward?

Nature is growing fast now, and so are we. Life will offer new experiences. Our roots are deepening, our blossom is appearing, we are starting to put on our leaves, ie our summer energy. But growth hurts, it means disturbing the soil, the ground we are occupying, and it means stretching and pulling ourselves in some new ways, which, if we haven’t got the right mental framework in place, is going to hurt.

The appropriate mind-set for the first month of the zodiac year is ‘I AM’.

Aries is an individualistic fire sign. It is a sign of leadership, but the first place we need to be in charge is within our own being. This is the moment of the year when the cosmos tells us to think for ourselves, to focus on ourselves, to follow our own nose, our own weird, our own path. Relationships can come under strain because most couples want to believe in the ‘WE’ more than they do in the ‘I’, and they perhaps fear giving their lover space to do ‘I’ for a while. But for individual and relationship health we need a bit of space this time of year, time to work out our own personal goals and work on our own personal issues.

Beltane is just round the corner – in Taurus month the Sun moves into earth element and we become fascinated with the body again. Aries month is about the individual spirit – who am I is the focus. In Taurus we start to focus on what we have and what we want, tune in more to physical reality of our existence, and on the pleasures of connecting physically with others, in celebration, in dance, in sex.

English poet T.S. Eliot said “April is the cruellest month” – and so it can seem, for at this time others may not meet our expectations and we may find ourselves needing to find plenty of self-reliance and self-determination. Changeable weather – rain, shine, warm, cold – mirrors the internal energy movements we inevitably go through. Aries is the awkward month of being who we are, pushed back into knowing ourselves as an independent entity after the cosmically attuned, collective consciousness, months of Aquarius and Pisces.

When Full Moon comes along, opposite Aries in the sign of balance and relationship, Libra – the bright moonlight illuminates how well we are doing on that axis of self and others. The Libra Full Moon reminds us we do not exist on our own, we exist in relationship with others, which demands things of us – such as compromise and surrender, things the Aries sun isn’t generally hot on. The key to navigating the full moon is to put service to others at the top of the agenda, realising that is how we also serve our own best interests.

So during Aries month the best thing to do is to embrace a new year of energy growth, to focus on one’s self, on health and well-being, on changing our thinking patterns to support that health and well-being, on our plans for the year ahead. Also to work on the balance between our self-focus and our relationships. And crucially, to see the Ram’s fire as the small flame within that it actually is at this time of the year. This is not the moment for gung-ho, uber-dynamic, action… this is the time for small steps and self-care, leading to improved self-awareness and a chance to move away from the awkwardness of Aries.

THE ELEMENTS OF HEALTH

For two decades I have walked the pagan path – learning about existence through the language and practice of the elements, seasons, sun, moon and stars. What I have learnt is this path brings those who walk it improved health, awareness, compassion, understanding and wisdom. Why isn’t everyone on it?

My generation, born in the 1960s, was brainwashed from a young age to believe that the purpose of life was to get good grades, good job, a heterosexual relationship and debt. Religion was sometimes in the picture, but losing the battle in our minds rapidly in the fight with scepticism. Spirituality – pagan magic – metaphysics and mysticism were mainly ignored and certainly ridiculed when they did pop up. I came out at 21, failed to fit into the work and debt model either, and aged 30, while apparently approaching death, I woke up to the idea that life is a mystery to be explored, understood and then enjoyed to the max, not something simply to take for granted, led by the proclamations of religion or science.

Every day I hear of people’s struggles with their mental health. Depression, anxiety, BPD, DID, ADD, ADHD… As someone who was given an acronym 30 years ago – HIV – I strongly urge people to disassociate from the label, it’s absolutely NOT who you are. And, having turned my life around from the deathbed of AIDS aged thirty-three to being now a fairly-fit-fifty-four, strong in mind and heart and spirit if not always in body, having walked the path that the planet, the solar system and nature herself gives us to study, I gotta say – folks: there is a different, less toxic and disempowering, way of understanding life than the story most of the world is running – another paradigm is possible, a more revealing and evolutionary way of knowing ourselves and our existence here is possible. The scientific heights reached in the 20th century are not the end of the story. AIDS made me turn my attention inwards – I could not be out and about, active in the world. On the inside I found the gateways to other worlds, and my survival is dedicated to bringing human existence into alignment with the other dimensions. The only thing holding us back is the bullshit most people have in their minds, ie the life-crippling paradigm we have been sold.

The New Age has had a huge impact of human relations, communications and individual personal growth over the past few decades. The Internet reveals just how many awakened and purposeful people there are out there, how many groups sincerely seeking to serve the well being of the planet. Ayahuasca ceremonies have become popular in recent years, when just a few years before the practitioners had to be very secretive. Astrology is now more widely understood and practised than at any time before in human history – youtube enables astrologers to have a voice that mainstream media still denies them. Brian Cox is still the darling of the thinking classes, and he never misses a chance to ridicule the study of the stars. I would love him to wake up to the mysteries of consciousness – please somebody slip him some lsd or persuade him to go talk to Grandmother spirit Ayahuasca.

The New Age, a label knocking around since the 1980s, is a medley of teachings and practices from all the world’s cultures, spread and srengthened by the Internet. Cultural appropriation means little to me as we are all citizens of a new global civilisation, able for the first time ever to learn from all that has gone before – this is an incredible new horizon.

Part of this cultural development is the reclamation of the pagan practices of Europe, which were largely wiped out by the all-consuming ‘christian’ political-military machine from the Roman Empire onwards. It took a thousand years for the christian culture to tighten its grip, with much bloodshed on the way, and it never really succeeded in fully wiping out the pagan heart of european culture, as laws attempting to stop ‘pagan’ practices, passed from the 16th century onwards, demonstrate. In 1542 it was made illegal to practice witchcraft in England, further acts followed and the 17th century saw the peak of witch trials and executions. In 1736 in a new ‘rational’ age Parliament passed an Act repealing the laws against witchcraft, but imposing fines or imprisonment on people who claimed to be able to use magical powers. The Vagrancy Act of 1824 made fortune-telling, spiritualism and astrology punishable offences. In 1951 the laws against magical practice were repealed and replaced by the Fraudulent Mediums Act, and it is only since then that the pagan roots of our British culture have been truly accessible to the British people.

So is it any surprise then that the core healing paradigm that celtic paganism offers us is hardly yet noticed by the British people in general. Wicca, a reclamation of pagan ways dreamt up in 1940s-50s England, is actually now a world religion, much more widely established and visible in the USA than in our own anglo-culture.

Currently the British nation is hell-bent on driving itself to a collective nervous breakdown. Centuries of perceived stability, strength and tradition are crumbling fast. The Brits are on a fast course towards a mass healing crisis par excellence. The Brits, as so often in history, on this tiny but intensely magically powerful island, may well be setting the pace for the world once more. For we who study the stars know that the Gods Saturn and Pluto are shaking up the ‘system’ good and proper – for the global political-military-industrial machine does not serve the well being of the planet, of people, of the animals. The political-military-industrial system serves death, it does not serve life, so it must die and be replaced by something new.

That something new is also something old. It is waiting in the wings.

IT IS THE PERENNIAL WISDOM.

Religion told us we are sinners, they lied

Science tells us we are simply biology, they lie

As Above So Below

We are multi-dimensional beings

who on earth can find health and well-being

through finding balance in our selves between

the BODY – EARTH

the MIND – AIR

the EMOTIONS – WATER

the SPIRIT – FIRE

we can know ourselves through our individual elemental mix

as shown in our astrological birth chart

know our connectedness with all beings through ceremony and meditation and plant medicine

come into internal harmony and balance through attuning to moon cycles and seasonal shifts

exploring who we are, what life is, how it all works

is a central, crucial part of being alive, at least for some of us

and for those struggling in darkness, it is the healing path, it is the solution

it is the missing part of our culture, the blindspot in the modern world

the pagan path is the path of the seasons, the moons and nature

and also of the goddess, of Pan, of ancestor spirits and the faerie underworld

it is a path of genderbending, shapeshifting and nature loving magic

of dropping the pretence of being normal, of being human

for inside everyone of us

is raw, animal, primal instinctual energy, pure soul

which we get to raise through our holy bodies, our open hearts

our free and enlightened minds

into ecstatic communion with the spirits of creation

of which there are so, so many

we simply forgot how to see them, to hear them, to speak to them

but they haven’t forgotten us

and when we get over our obsessions and delusions about gods and holy books and scriptures

and about economics and consumerism and the latest scandal and fashion

and return to the simplicity of pleasure, connection, presence, love

they will be right there

ready to help us bring peace and healing to our ailing planet home

Canaries in the Meth Mine

the second sexual revolution has been building since the turn of the millennium

once AIDS had disappeared from our hospitals and gay bars.

dating websites were the start of the cyber game, which gay men embraced with gusto

where drug deals and dates started to become a normal combination in some quarters

gaydar – gay romeo dominated

recon held the fetish market

moving to the darker zones of bbrts – bareback realtime sex

and eventually nastykinkpigs where the doings got deviant and dirty

.

meth was a rarity at first

but the examples of sydney and the usa could have shown us in London

that meth is a manifest curse

.

the smoking ban in clubs had an effect

dance floor flow was disrupted

outdoor smoking changed the night out

many guys started to prefer to party at home

where they could also consume sacraments in peace

grindr, scruff, tindr and the ilk

suddenly made partying from home that much easier and more fun

dates could be arranged and deals could be done

shopping for sex, for satisfaction

for adventure or distraction

bodies on the screen

for free or for sale

no love involved

so drugs are what we need

to free the mind, feel the high and find the connection

but there are sacrifices that can follow

like a fucked mind and no erection

an addiction quickly acquired that makes no sense

sex sacrificed to a game of pretence

.

20 years ago very few gay men injected drugs

in the second decade of the 21st century ‘slamming’ has become common

no need to repeat the horror stories here

gay men are not listening to them anyway

meth high continues to draw men in to the tinaverse

perhaps meth is a manifest curse

.

canaries in the meth mine

in the consumer age

use me, use you, take me, feed you

men use each other like commodities

and sex becomes a selfish fulfilling of need, a seeking of seed

to temporarily fulfill a deeply felt need:

a gay man ultimately seeks to feel and know the god inside him through the love of another man

.

canaries in the meth mine

men forget how to love, how to make love without the chem

lose empathy and the ability to care about others

as their own inner unacknowledged pain becomes immense

this manifest curse is a reversal of our humanity

it makes no sense

but is this the future for the human race?

slaves to the machine, manifest in our hands

everyone an object to be utilized at will

the deadly threat of aids kept at bay by a pill:

canaries in the meth mine

.

obsessed with economics, politics and war

in the post AIDS era

humanity is walking blindly through the open door

of liberated sexual behaviour:

we need to talk about the second sexual revolution

understand the pandora’s box we’ve opened

the canaries in the meth mine

are dying because sexuality is still not understood

.

a man’s body is a miracle

his love is a gateway to heaven

as loving brothers gay men could be changing the world

welcoming young men into a healthy, respectful, conscious scene:

we need to face our demons to free our minds and hearts

meet each man with love if we wish our sexual activities to nourish our souls

the shame was imposed on us, the guilt and the fear

it’s time we shook off these wounds

that led us into aids and lead into addiction

for we have the power to create a world built on love of man for man

it’s a simple and divine plan

.

the manifest curse is decimating us

as the manifest disease did before

but healing comes when we embrace every aspect of life as divine play

and drop the constant craving for more

the healing comes when we find queer family, queer friends

with whom our heart aligns and we share the best times

the healing comes when we remember love

is what drove us to come out in the first place

.

the healing comes when we remember we are spirit

here to live out a dream

we weren’t born for suffering 

we are GAY, we are lovers of life Herself

but we need to urgently attend to our own spiritual, emotional and mental health

in 50 years since Stonewall we have manifested a global revolution

but our community contains suffering, abuse and pain

as we are celebrating our massive achievements in just 5 decades

we must seek to change the narrative told in the world, the narrative about who we are

no longer the outcasts, the perverted, the sick

we are the wounded healers, we are artists and seekers:

it’s time for us to truly claim our worth

and see an end to the manifest curse

canaries in the meth mine:

scouts on the extreme edge of the second sexual revolution

and all of us

need to remember

a gay man ultimately seeks to feel and know the god inside him through the love of another man

Healing Power of the Drum

“A new study published in PLoS scientifically validates what so many drum circle participants have already experienced first hand: group drumming produces significant changes in well-being, including improvements in depression, anxiety and social resilience.” http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/group-drumming-better-prozac-study-suggests

It was round a queer pagan fire in a field in Dorset in the year 1999 that I first experienced the expansive joy of group energy united by the drumbeat – a circle of people all revelling in the feeling of being in union, connected by rhythm and emotion and something bigger, knowing that each is having their own experience of this, would describe it in their own unique way, and this fact is perfectly wonderful.

Each human is ultimately a mystic having a relationship with their own inner divinity – and when mystics merge their energy fields, in harmony with nature’s elements, magic is the word for what happens.

Other words might include healing, revealing, seeing, knowing

Uniting the human individuality with the spirit of the drum, the rhythm, the group can loosen blocked emotional energy, clear the mental frequencies, and liberate the spirit. It can rebalance the inner world, it’s good for our mental health.

samhain ancestor shrine at london radical faerie drum circle

Allowing the energy to rise and fall

Listening is the key to tuning in

The mind naturally takes a back seat

as the heart and spirit move into the dance with the drum

The body revealed as ecstatic vehicle

of the lightbeing you are and always have been

Step into eternity

Allow the elements to restore and renew you

All life is One Dance, One Power, One Strength

Flowing through you, me, space, time and mind

In the rhythm we find our way home

Humans have always communed this way.

2017-12-02 – London, UK : Albion Faeries Drum Circle and Al Head Book Launch

join the mailing list of the radical faeries of albion for news of drum circles in London and much more…. sign up at www.albionfaeries.org.uk

Reclaim the Magic

RECLAIM the magic of spiritualised same sex love

RECLAIM the magic of sacred transsexuality

.

RECLAIM the magic of the drumbeat

of communal ecstatic dance

of bliss beyond boundaries of individuality

.

RECLAIM the magic of open hearts and minds

of being gentle, being kind

RECLAIM the magic of the body as a temple of the soul

of the journey, the quest to be whole

.

RECLAIM the magic of the fire circle

of water as a purifier

of fresh air and free thinking

of the earth as sacred

.

RECLAIM the magic

of the seasons, the moon and the stars

RECLAIM magic

of genderfluidity, gendervariance, genderfuckery

RECLAIM the magic

of women’s radical power and spirit

RECLAIM the magic

of sacred brotherhood between men who love men

.

RECLAIM THE MAGIC

of Presence

of Great Spirit

the Great Mother

RECLAIM THE MAGIC

of Her queer priest/priestesses

of Dionysian rites

Pan worship and sacred ceremony

in nature

with an army of lovers

.

RECLAIM THE MAGIC

of the inner child

of inner marriage

of sexuality as a divine gift that reveals the soul

of the mystery of existence

RECLAIM THE MAGIC

of breaking away from the stifling norm

of being alive in human form

as the spring rises may we rise too out of deep slumber into the wonder of the soul

as the summer comes may we shine like the sun

as the autumn falls may we turn within with grace

as the winter lands may we heal in sacred space

www.queerspirit.net

Queer Spirit Festival. August 14-18, 201. Northamptonshire, UK

OUT OF THE MISTS OF OUR LONG OPPRESSION…..

At the Stonewall Riot in New York 1969 the Queers fought back. Enough of the persecution, enough of the shame and fear, enough of the denial of our Queer Spirit. We stepped into Pride and began a journey of self-acceptance that kicked off a global process, which, 50 years later, is in full swing. As our Pride gatherings around the world we declare loud and clear – we are a rainbow people who celebrate freedom, love and self-expression. A people rising from the ashes of a conflagration against our kind that has lasted for far too long and now has to end…


Stonewall

For gay men, 1969-1981 were the Gay Garden of Eden years, not that many on the planet actually got to enjoy them. Homophobia was deep-rooted in just about all the cultures of the planet by this time, having been spread by Christian European explorers seeking to break the spirit of the cultures they came into contact with – for as the world opened up, the shocked Europeans found cross-dressing, gender-bending, sodomising shamans, witches and priests everywhere. They did not know that in ancient times the religious life of Europe and the Middle East had been just as queer.

The 1970s tide of gay liberation was riding on the tailwind of hippy culture and the sexual revolution – so, while for many queers the new sexually free atmosphere was enough, for some this whirlwind of counter-cultural energies opened up a very radical vision of the role of gay, lesbian and trans/non-binary/genderqueer people in society. While many sought to fit in and be accepted by society at large, the radical edge of the queer community was seeking something more. Those on that edge found that the way into this exploration of our true, and long denied, nature was through our hidden spiritual history, and certain gay men were to push this search forwards.

Men loving men

San Franscisco was of course a hotbed of this essentialist wave – in 1975 the ‘Faery Circle’ was called into being there by Arthur Evans to explore the magical roots of queer consciousness. His 1978 book ‘Witchcraft and the Gay Counter-Culture’ (‘A Radical View of Western Civilization and Some of the People it Has Tried to Destroy’) opened up understanding of the connections between patriarchal religious control and the suppression of the feminine/mystical/magical pagan past. He argued that the role of gay men today is to re-establish our communication with nature and the Great Mother, to feeling the essential link between sex and the forces that hold the universe together.

Larry Michell‘s inspired piece of queer literature, also from ’78, ‘The Faggots and their Friends between Revolutions‘ spotted that the motives behind this suppression of the spirit were political,-

“The first revolutions destroyed the great cultures of the women. Once the men triumphed, all that was other from them was considered inferior and therefore worthy only of abuse and contempt and extinction. Stories told of these times are of heroic action and terrifying defeat and silent waiting. Stories told of these times make the faggots and their friends weep. The second revolutions made many of the people less poor and a small group of men without color very rich. With craftiness and wit the faggots and their friends are able to live in this time, some in comfort and some in defiance. The men remain enchanted by plunder and destruction. The men are deceived easily and so the faggots and their friends have nearly enough to eat and more than enough time to think about what it means to be alive as the third revolutions are beginning.”

Life-long activist Harry Hay founded the first gay rights group the Mattachine Society in the 1950s, but was edged out quickly as gay men who sought conventionality and assimilation into polite society took it over. In the ’60s he set up the ‘Circle of Loving Companions‘ and by the 1970s he was totally focussed on the unique gifts that queerkind bring to humanity. He had become convinced that our sexuality was intrinsically related to the spirit realms, –

“Our beautiful lovely sexuality is the gateway to spirit. Under all organised religions of the past, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, there has been a separation of carnality, or shall we say of flesh or earth or sex, and spirituality. As far as I am concerned they are all the same thing, and what we need to do as faeries is to tie it all back together again.”

These 1970s visionaries were getting bold. In Witchcraft and the Gay Counter-Culture, Evans declared, –

“We look forward to regaining our ancient historical roles as medicine people, healers, prophets, shamans and sorcerers. We look forward to an endless and fathomless process of coming out – as gay people, as animals, as humans, as mysterious and powerful spirits that move through the life cycle of the cosmos….. Like butterflies we are emerging from the shells of our past restricted existence. We are re-discovering the ancient magic that was once the birth right of all human beings. We are re-learning how to talk to the worms and the stars. We are taking flight on the wings of self-determination. Come, blessed Lady of the Flowers, Queen of Heaven, creator and destroyer, Kali – we are dancing the dance of your coming.”

Out of this swirling pool of potential was born the first Radical Faerie gathering, which took place in a desert sanctuary in Arizona in September 1979. It was billed as a ‘Spiritual Conference‘ aiming to explore “the spiritual dimensions of gayness” – 220 men got to this gathering, sat and listened to each other’s stories, found a common love of nature and the, now global, Radical Faerie Community was born. Arthur Evans described faeries as demonstrating a “gay sensibility, neo-paganism, and a sheer Whitmanesque celebration of the body and of sex.

The reference to Whitman refers to the person considered to be America’s greatest poet, Walt, who in the 19th century had dared to write down his vision of a future democracy living in peace due to the strong loving bonds between men. He wrote, –

“Come, I will make the continent indissoluble,

I will make the most splendid race the sun ever shone upon,

I will make divine magnetic lands,

With the love of comrades,

With the life-long love of comrades.”

Whitman opened the doors to the celebration of the body as holy through works like ‘I sing the Body Electric’. As a gay man he saw that the denial of the pleasures of the flesh that religion imposed on society cut humanity off from its divine potential, –

“Divine am I inside and out, and I make holy whatever I touch or am touch’d from, The scent of these armpits is aroma finer than prayer, This head more than churches, bibles and all the creeds… if I worship one thing more than another it shall be the spread of my own body”

Mitch Walker carried this theme in the ’70s, publishing ‘Men Loving Men: Gay Sex Guide and Consciousness Book‘ in 1977, concluding it with a section on the mystical potential in gay love and sex to reveal to us the divine play of consciousness in the universe.

“When we fall in love with another man we’re getting in touch with an unconscious spirit-source, by evoking it in our beloved. We can follow this magic inside us back to its source, and use it to uncover our real nature.”

19th century European pioneers of queer consciousness also had grand visions of our role in society, and from the first stirrings of self-conscious gay sensibility proclaimed a link to the spiritual. Karl Heinrich Ulrichs in Germany and Edward Carpenter in England used the term ‘Uranian‘ to refer to gay men, lesbians and all, what they termed ‘intermediate types‘, seeking to connect us to the perceived nobility of ancient Greek culture – Urania being a form of the Goddess Aphrodite particularly concerned with spiritual love. Carpenter published the results of his research as ‘Intermediate Types Among Primitive Folk’ in 1914, exploring examples from America, feudal Japan, the cross-dressing, sodomising Qedesha goddess priests of the Middle East so hated by the ancient Hebrews, and also same sex Christian unions in the Balkans. Carpenter dared to write about the link between same-sex love and the shamanic practitioners in tribal cultures – although this link had not been lost on the European explorers arriving in the New World from the 15th century onwards: discovering that the spiritual power in the tribes was held by gender-bending, same sex loving individuals they set about destroying that power by spreading their Christian judgement of effeminacy and sodomy – they called the holy shamans ‘berdache’, a French word for the passive partner in that act. This term stuck until the 1990s when the shamans chose the word ‘Two-Spirit‘ to replace it, this term having resonance with the some 500 words Native American cultures had once used.

By 1990 of course the gay male community was deep in the middle of a crisis that threatened every gain we had made. AIDS ravaged our world, making the magical promises of the 1970s seem far away. “Come, blessed Lady of the Flowers, Queen of Heaven, creator and destroyer, Kali – we are dancing the dance of your coming” said the emerging queer witches of the Eden decade – and She came: dark, ferocious, deadly.  The Goddess came as darkness because she had been banished into darkness by patriarchal religion for a very long time.  We, her queer priests, servants, lovers and fools no longer knew who we were, we no longer knew what we could do with our sexuality, what it could bring to the world.  In a secular, religiously conflicted age, nobody seems to remember who the queer ones are.  Which is why we need time and space, in our own sacred groves and healing sanctuaries, to explore within ourselves, to find out.     

Harry Hay said, –

“Out of the mists of our long oppression,

We bring love for ourselves and each other,

And love for the gifts we bear,

So heavy and so painful the fashioning of them,

So long the road given us to travel them. A separate people,

We bring a gift to celebrate each other,

‘Tis a gift to be gay!

Feel the pride of it!”

In the 1980s and 90s our energies had to be channelled away from potential and into pure survival, and this period also revealed just how deep-rooted was societal homophobia and how much work there was to be done on political, legal and social levels before we, or the rest of the world, could really start to take on board the journey to spiritual liberation that is the logical and ultimately inevitable end place of the journey of sexual liberation that began in the 1960s. This political work has continued since the advent of effective medicine to treat HIV, with equal marriage rights spreading through the western world – and producing a backlash in Africa and other countries, which has served to put the question of our rights and our identity into a global focus.

The quest for queer spirited conscious community has been going on on the sidelines of gay life throughout this time. Two years after the first Radical Faerie gathering the first permanent Faerie sanctuary was founded, at Short Mountain in Tennessee, and in the four decades since there have been other sanctuaries established in the USA, Canada, Australia and Europe, plus gatherings in Israel, Thailand and China. As a group of mainly gay men, the Faeries have been one of the few outfits celebrating the feminine, cissy side of our nature, in contrast to the enduring machismo obsessed mainstream gay culture, and over the decades the Faeries have become more diverse, and how could they not, since themes of gender play and transcendence of limiting human beliefs are a big part of faerie magic.

In fact as we approach the 2020s there are way more gay men involved in the spiritual search than there were back in the 1970s, a fact that is reflected in the number of books on gay spirit that have been published since, by authors including Toby Johnson, Mark Thompson, Andrew Harvey, Christian de la Huerta. Men’s spirituality is growing up and there is perhaps now a chance for gay male spirituality to join with the other tributaries of queer spirituality to find their common ground.

In this essay I have had a lot to say about the gay male journey through these decades. The parallel stories to be told are those of the lesbians in the Goddess movement, of their radical history of protest and community building at Greenham Common and through Spiral Camp and Women’s Land etc, and of the emergence of the Trans/Non-binary identities, with the subsequent reclaiming of the spiritual power going on there also, via the work of Raven Kaldera, Bright Daffodil and other. The vision behind the brand new Queer Spirit Festival, which launched in 2016, is to bring together all the queer tribes under the rainbow of our united quest for spiritual knowledge and liberty. The joined prayers and healing that we experience when we come together are for ourselves and for all our kind across the planet.

Meanwhile the mainstream gay universe has not woken up to any sense of spiritual growth yet, it generally continues its flirtation with the commercially driven, marriage-approving, patriarchal military-industrial complex and doesn’t give attention to the magical paths of self-discovery that many queers choose to explore. Gay media over the years has looked at the efforts of gays in established religions to find acceptance, but little to the radical, nature-based pagan faerie celebrations or to gays who seek self-awareness through magical practices, yoga or meditation, or even psychedelics for that matter – the sacraments that our gay culture subtly promotes encourage us to self indulgence not self discovery. In London the Connections conferences of the late 1990s and LoveSpirit in the early 2010s brought hundreds of queers together to share their spiritual interests, but against the huge tide of intoxication and indulgence that continues to sit at the centre of gay culture they had little impact.

The trend was clear from the 1970s – an obsession with the physical aspect of who we are puts sex firmly in the centre of the picture for gay men, and things are not so different at the end of the second decade of the 21st century. For trans people also, the focus on the physical aspect of the process can mean the ancient, spiritual roots of trans nature are completely overlooked. But now the gay mainstream is increasingly aware that the superficial is not after all supreme and is looking for answers to the ongoing sense of crisis in gay life – some go so far as to say that the spread of drug use among men who have sex with men, with resultant addictions, crises and deaths is a second plague amongst us.

So many reasons underlie this drug using trend, and are much discussed elsewhere – but one underlying factor that isn’t yet properly grasped is that humanity has always used substances to open the inner being and commune with the spirit realms of existence. Gay men, liberated sexually in age that doesn’t recognise the spiritual reality within us, using Tina etc are turning their own gifts on themselves, cutting off their natural ability to commune and empathise with others soul to soul, using drugs that feed the ego (as opposed to those which open the heart or consciousness). The drugs enable some men to forget their minds, their issues, their fears and enjoy the moment of ecstatic connection, but they gradually lose the ability to find that natural bliss through empathic loving connection to others. Only nature can restore this gift to us once lost, and I believe that in our faerie sanctuaries, and our queer spirit enclaves wherever they may pop up, we offer the healing, the insight and understanding that is needed to bring the LGBTIQ+ community to a level of self-awareness that will change things, and that will reverberate strongly around the world, bringing a revolution in understanding and a new mythology about Who We Are on a global level.

It is in Chechnya, and Uganda, Nigeria and Egypt, in Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and too many other places that our queer sisters and brothers are most in need of this change of consciousness, in places where the homophobia imposed and justified by religions is still having its evil effects. We in the west have our issues to sort out, but we also have a freedom to explore our queer spirit that was never there before – and this time round, unlike the 1970s, when the queer spirit was first attempting to burst forth, we are five decades into a journey of liberation. We survived the AIDS holocaust, and grew through the experiences of that time, we have had a chance to mature somewhat and accept this journey is a longer one than some at first thought.

Queer Spirituality is the next step for the global upsurge of difference that has for five decades been daring to proudly declare its name… but it is slow to make an impact on mainstream gay male life because MANY OF THE PIONEERING, RADICAL QUEER MEN WHO WOULD HAVE BEEN PART OF THIS REVOLUTION IN CONSCIOUSNESS DIED OF AIDS.

This was history repeating itself. The shamans were culled and as a result the people, ie the wider gay community, has become lost in an ocean of substance abuse, just as happened to the tribal peoples when the Europeans took over. But shamans are born in every generation, and some of us – just a crucial few – survived the plague, and we are here to tell some tales.

I am an one such AIDS survivor who used my sick years to question reality, to become aware of Kali, the Great Mother, shrouded in darkness for so many centuries, and to receive her visions of gay love, seeking to find fellow explorers of the Goddess mysteries and be ready for the next resurgence of the queer phoenix, of queer spirit, calling us to know, love and BE our true, liberated, horny, magical, queer Selves. As an organiser of Queer Spirit Festival I am excited to sounding this call, on behalf of queerkind of all genders, sexualities, races and nations.

Shokti

FAERIE FREEDOM FUCKERS

We fight the good fight

with lipstick and kisses

made for pleasure not for punishment

we know that’s what a fist is;

faeries fucking for freedom

and fighting for the light

we’re frolicking and fornicating

to bring an end to the longest… darkest night.

.

Once, faerie menwomen opened

the gates to the cosmos

but power hungry straight men

became afraid of us…

they used their brawn

but we used our brains

hiding in temples, then theatres, monasteries, molly houses

we knew all along

our time would come again.

.

In Mesopotamia, in the temples of Inanna

the God Enki created the Galla, the name means penis-anus,

priests made to serve the Great Goddess of Love and War

In Turkey we were Gallae, serving Great Mother Cybele for millennia,

spreading into Greece, Rome and around the Meditteranean

long haired, bejewelled, loud and outrageous queers

leading ecstatic, raucous celebrations for hundreds of years:

beloved of the people and feared by the elite

crushed to extinction by the Christians in the 4th century –

but the Jewish Kings were at it first – over 1000 years before…

in Palestine we were Qedesha, Anointed Ones, and sodomy was our service

in the temples of Asherah, we were rounded up and massacred.

Muslim leaders did the same, wiping out goddess worshipping people

and her genderqueer priest/esses as they spread the

dictatorship of the Father God.

.

YET HERE’S THE THING…..

A sacred black meteorite was worshipped as Cybele’s symbol in her temple in Anatolia for thousands of years

and was brought to Rome in 200 BCE, installed with great fanfare in a new temple

as the Magna Mater was welcomed as the official deity of the Roman Empire.

She was served by the genderqueer Gallae priest/esses who spread her worship across the whole Empire, Cybele was loved as the Great Mother from Turkey to Britain, across north Africa as well as southern Europe, and her long-haired, bejewelled, loud and lewd queer priests were loved by the people, feared by the authorities because of the wild, sexual and bloody dionysian-like ritual celebrations they threw.

This Goddess religion was the major rival to Christianity – and the Church adopted a fiercely homophobic attitude to distance itself from the hated pagans. But its priests had to be celibate, because priests were not expected to have partners and children (they’d always been gay), and the Pope adopted and still wears the mitre headdress of the arch-Gallus, the High Priestess of Rome.

When Rome collapsed the Great Mother’s holy stone ‘disappeared’

But a sacred black stone, which “came down from Jannah (Paradise).” (At-Tirmidhi, Sunan, hadith no. 877) was installed by Mohammed at the Kaaba in Mecca not long after, in 605 AD –

this oldest mosque itself was placed on the site of an ancient pagan temple –

and to this day, Moslems flock to visit this stone

that may well be the meteorite held sacred to the Mother Goddess for many millennia.

Note too that in India the great god Shiva, who is both male and female, is worshipped as a black phallic rock, the shiva lingam.

.

The men of war made sex taboo

held down the power of women

made the queers feel shame

that’s how they took control

cut us all off from the whole:

without a strong feminine

and the queers with no role

the magic of life was lost

the earth, once our mother, became a resource

we are now seeing on the planet

the tragic cost:

mass extinction, all life under threat

the biggest step in humanity’s evolution

the biggest challenge yet.

.

Only by shifting our understanding of life

can humanity hope to change its ways and survive:

the good news on this terrifying journey is….

the Goddess and her Servants

are still alive…

and offering…

FREEDOM OF THE SPIRIT

Freedom of the Soul

FREEDOM OF THE BODY

and from any gendered roles

FREEDOM TO LOVE

and find out just Who We Are

FAGGOTS DYKES AND QUEERS

we unite the earth and stars

we’re coming out of the bars

to proclaim Who We Are

What we are, Why we are HERE

Why we are COSMIC AND QUEER.

.

Ecstatic celebrations

of body, mind, heart and soul

Fucking for freedom, to be whole is the goal:

Love, compassion and community

Queer pioneers are reclaiming our forgotten role.