AUTUMN ACCELERATION 1998/2018

Writing this in the Autumn of 2018, I am witnessing around me, amongst my friends and in the world, a striking and rapid acceleration of transformation and awakening.  I see people breaking through the outworn paradigms of separation and division, of power and control, of religion vs science etc, and opening to co-operation, co-creation, community and direct communion with the many levels of our existence.  I observe too how this produces intense crisis for some as well as epiphanies.

The parallels with my personal journey 20 years ago are striking home in me. In the course of 1998 my journey with HIV and AIDS turned the corner. After 7 years of preparing myself to leave the body, I now began to return to health, having gone on to the new protease inhibitor medications. My CD4 count had reached a low of 3, leading to gruelling experiences such as PCP (pneumonia) and KS (Karposi’s Sarcoma). I had sat for some time on the edge of life, with an expectation of the end, but now had to turn that expectation around. 9 months into taking the new meds I suddenly found myself entering a period of rapid internal change, opening up to spirit again as I had already done in 1995, when the shamanic aspects of my soul woke up. This time though I was not preparing for death, I was re-entering life.

The acceleration kicked off at the Connections Conference at ULU (University of London Union), an event put on London’s Gay Spiritual Group, and new gay charity Kairos. A couple of hundred queers met for a day of workshops and discussions. I took along a bag of mystic tricks – poetry that I’d written, mandalas, incense and set them up in a broom cupboard that had been set aside as a shrine room, but which nobody had bothered to do much in. After a day of fascinating meetings and workshops I went on to have a high energy, world-connecting interaction with a brother in that space. Our chakras opened and the light came in, we shared our stories and I learnt that he had just come out of hospital, having been sectioned for being too way out ‘mystical’. At the conference I experienced a powerful shamanic journey led by Daniel Stone (in which I saw myself in another life amongst Native Americans), a heated debate around the role of gurus and divine mothers (where I was struck by the hostility to gurus coming from the queer witches in the room – people I would go on to meet properly the following year at my first visit to Queer Pagan Camp), and met an ‘avatar’ soul, Dr Carl Shapley, an 80 year old American wizard, with whom in the following months I would go on to do much mystical channelling and energy work.

Shifting from a path toward death back into life, with a brand new outlook on the magical, mystery school that we inhabit, produced an incredible rush of excitement in me. After the conference I dived into mystical study and practice, creating ceremonies in my home in Stockwell to commune with other worlds. At this time I received chemotherapy as an experimental treatment for the Karposi’s Sarcoma, which had spread as purple lesions all over by body, plus internally too. I believe it was my gradually strengthening immune system that sorted the purple spots eventually – the main effect of the chemo seemed to be to set the molecules of my body on fire, and my mind as well as a result. I recall spending weeks ‘flying’ on my sofa, on a magic purple/white blanket that served as my portal to the other worlds, drawing my journeys in my notebooks as I went. I was often awake all night, deeply enjoying the quieter vibrations of the city, feeling that at 3-4 am the holiest energies were active and accessible. I spent many nights studying the Kabbalah, feeling the presence of discarnate entities guiding me, helping me create rituals that opened gates of energy. Sometimes Carl Shapley would join me, we would spend the night together in Kali’s cave, channel the words of the Ascended Masters, and enter into a glittering, hyper-aware zone that I remember he called ‘Crystal Consciousness’.

By November I was taking this magic out into the city, sometimes with Carl, and a witch friend from Earlsfield named Serena, whom I had met at a Full Moon ceremony in an old pub in Victoria. We three mystics met in Piccadilly Circus one night, with the spirit wild, high and open in us. I could feel the invisible energy pouring through me and sensed portals opening around Eros. London, as the mystical ‘Jerusalem’, was singing to me. I hung out with homeless people on the streets of Soho, shared conversations about Jesus and spirit, felt they had a role in anchoring the light into the planet. ‘The meek shall inherit the earth’. I went into a Jesus Army bus parked up near St Martin in the Fields, where my presence sparked an African lady to fall into trance and start screaming over and over ‘the blood of our lord Jesus Christ’. The Jesus soldiers soon ushered me out of the place, suspecting me of witchcraft…

Ah yes, the BLOOD. Her words struck home in me. The BLOOD. HIV in the blood had killed my friends, but it had given me life. The journey to death’s door had woken up the Soul in me, and the Soul was now teaching me who and what I am, and why I was here. The BLOOD had woken the Christ Consciousness in me – by which I mean mystical awareness of the interconnecting dance of life. I could now see the interplay of all life as one infinite, holy event – it was suddenly so OBVIOUS. How could anyone believe anything else? I felt that the gates to eternity must be about to open for the whole human race. There I was, awoken by spirit, meeting avatars, making ceremony in central London, and feeling part of a long history of magical work over centuries, preparing this city to be the receptacle for the divine light and the beacon to the world.

In January 1999 Carl invited me to a meeting at the House of Lords. Surely this was it. A spiritual meeting about changing life on earth, I thought. I had a poem in my pocket, but I wasn’t there to speak. I sat through a long and verbose meeting covering many topics, but it never quite reached the mystical moment of breakthrough I had imagined. I was soon walking home along the Thames to Stockwell, my head overloaded suddenly with confusion and loud angry voices. Getting home I smoked with my partner and something in me exploded. All the tension, all the pain, all the stress of the intense AIDS journey of the last 4 years overwhelmed me. What was I doing, going to the House of Lords thinking I was about to witness something akin to the Second Coming? I felt suddenly very wounded and very small. Suddenly aware of the enormity of the task ahead – in terms of the global shift in consciousness and to bring myself to a point of health and strength where I could even meet the energies of other people, and not be damaged – I felt myself dissolving into a non-physical realm, the room disappeared, and I panicked. Had I survived AIDS now to dissolve into nothingness? I fought to come back into my body, but I arrived back in pieces, shattered by this rush of experiences over the few months since I had stopped ‘dying’.

In 2018 I have friends going through mental and emotional challenges and breakdowns, I know lovely people who are sectioned because their transformation was getting out of control. Some of those people are aware they are on a magical path and have studied it deeply, others are less aware, less committed to such a concept. Whether consciously pursuing the path or not, we all may need help sometimes. In January 1999 the shock of coming back to life hit me so hard that I fell into the deepest hole possible…

Overstimulated by everything, with a myriad of voices screaming inside, I spent three months mostly in a darkened room, only getting up in that quietest time in the middle of the night, when I could hear and feel spirit, let their presence in to do energy work on my shattered mind and body. I sought and found help from spiritual healers and psychiatrists. One German psychiatrist seemed to grasp the transformation I had been through, advising me to do yoga and spend time with trees.  Having opened up this magical part of my soul, i now had to learn how to look after it, nurture it and protect it. The true healing of this breakdown came the following year, summer 2000, at my second visit to Queer Pagan Camp – here, in the company of 100 queer magical folk, the spirits of nature got through to me and showed that it is through nature, through living in tune and awareness of her cycles, seasons and shifts that I would be able to live, heal and thrive as a shamanic soul.

In 2018, twenty years on from that intensely mystical autumn, I still live in Stockwell and still make ceremonies in the city that connect matter and spirit. I still spend my time making connections with other queers – from all over the world – who are in some way called to raise their awareness, their vibration, their spirit. I still believe that humanity is ready for a quantum leap in understanding of our nature, but I now accept that these kind of leaps take decades to complete. So in service to spirit I create spaces in which awakening queers can find each other, practice and expand our magic, re-write the story of what queerness is, and play our role in the fulfilment of the divine plan for human consciousness.

www.queerspirit.net

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

https://rainbowmessengerblog.wordpress.com/

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RADICALLY POSITIVE

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I am a Long Term AIDS Survivor who underwent a transformation on every level of my being while living with AIDS 1995-8 – waking up, through facing death, to many levels of human nature that barely get a look in usually. Since regaining health and strength I have continued that transformation and brought the new awareness gained into actively creating a clan of magically attuned queers in the UK, and participating in the expanding queer mystical community of Radical Faeries around the globe.

I believe the spiritual frontier is the one gay/queer/trans people need urgently to tackle – igniting a search and discovery that could change the understanding of ourselves, and how we are perceived the world over – and I have a very simple answer to the dilemma facing gay male communities across that globe, the dilemma of “post-aids: why are we killing ourselves with drugs?” how did we reach the point that we are talking about a “second plague”?

AIDS for me was an Accelerated Individual Discovery of Self. There was a consciousness in the plague years, at least in some corners, that this holocaust had spiritual roots as well as physical. The dying years were times of transcendence and apotheosis – as the drama Angels in America so cleverly portrayed. I wasn’t the first to use this dramatically positive definition of AIDS. Transpersonal psychologist Dowling Singh wrote in the Advocate in December 1998 that Accelerated Individual Discovery of Self was the AIDS community’s “secret understanding.”

Writing of his experience as a hospice worker with dying men, Dowling said, – “One of these men who I grew to love told me that, more than any other rite of passage in his life, through this harsh passage of AIDS he had come to know himself. He said he had always treated his life as though it were a dress rehearsal but that ‘dying is very real.’ It was, he said, through new eyes that he saw his own real beauty, his own real value, the depth of meaning we miss so often in life, and the raw power of love.”

Back in 1987 “AIDS: Passageway to Transformation” was published by C. Norman Shealy and Caroline Myss, presenting case studies where individuals had transformed from a ‘victim consciousness’ to personal empowerment, and asking deeper, spiritual and societal, questions about why AIDS was manifesting at this time. Books such as Nick Bamforth’s “AIDS and the Healer Within” pushed some of us to seek deeper answers within ourselves as to why we were going through this.

There is a “second plague” underway now because the first did not deliver all the lessons. As a Long Term Survivor I have a message to deliver, an experience to share, that is about a lot more than the physical and mental and social health issues we survivors are so often associated with. That message in simple form is that we come into this life to find ourselves, in our wholeness, and live as richly and deeply and enthusiastically as we can, but also that….

THERE IS A SECOND BIRTH POSSIBLE IN LIFE, AN AWAKENING TO THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE SOUL. By going to the edge of life many gay men in the aids years learnt this. But of those who did, only a few of us survived to tell the tale.

LIFE IS A MYSTERY SCHOOL. The rarely spoken truth of the rise to dominance of patriarchal, monotheistic religion in the last 2000 years, is that the roots of religion lie in the Mystery Schools of the ancient world. The Jesus story, when understood allegorically, becomes a map for the journey of the soul, which is why it bears so many resemblances to other ancient myths, which served the same purpose. There is another soul map from those ancient schools still prominent in the modern world, which, though much misunderstood and maligned, is increasingly appreciated for the wisdom it contains – astrology.

And guess what? Those mystery schools were havens of homosexuality and transgenderism. It was a rite of the mystery process to learn and experience that the soul has all genders within itself, that same sex love can open the gates to spirit and consciousness, to the holy realms. As well as these schools, all around the world, what we would now call trans and queer beings were the shamans, witches, healers, mediums of the tribal peoples. This knowledge has been thoroughly repressed to the point that the modern queer can completely the miss the spiritual calling inside themselves (convinced as they are due to the hate filled propaganda about us from certain religious quarters to avoid such matters). This calling can then become a constant search for pleasure, for chem induced highs, for escapism, until the point of destruction is reached and we are forced to face ourselves and maybe through that find out who we really are. The dark lesson is as much there for the crashing out addicts of the chemsex scene as it was for us dying from the aids holocaust -when you go to the edge you get the chance to find yourself.

And the dark lessons will keep coming until gay culture embraces SELF-DISCOVERY as the core of its very reason for being. Coming Out is a step on the way, a huge one – but the process of self-awareness has a lot further to go than that. We have the chance as queers to question everything about how this world is viewed and run – and to offer alternatives that our queer eye on the world can dream up. We need to grasp that existence is a SPIRITUAL happening, not simply a lust-filled physical one. Yes we love sex, we love the body – that is because we are free spirits come into this world to have a good time – but also, crucially, here to get in touch with the magnificence of being alive, and to find and fulfil our soul purpose.

My plea to the gay community is – Let’s get beyond religion. We were banished from its hallways because gay sex, and transexuality, were associated with the sex-positive, pagan worship of the horned gods Pan and Dionysus and the Great Mother Goddess. Religion took the internal esoteric mysteries of the ancient world and turned them into something exoteric, something to believe in rather than something to experience. Spiritual power was used to control populations rather than to liberate them. The repression of our kind is entirely linked to this, for we are liberators of the spirit.

The reason AIDS hit gay men so early into our journey of liberation in the late 20th century is also the reason that many men are getting caught in the soul-destroying dead ends of the drugged up sex underworld – we are on the cutting edge of human consciousness attempting to break through the limited understandings of modern culture, to reveal to ourselves, and then the world, that there is so much more to being human, that a birth to the spirit is possible, but it ain’t about being religious – it’s about finding and liberating the power, the love, the divine light within us.

Gay men are natural priests, who connect the worlds of the living and the dead, who bring together nature and human consciousness. Instead of endless sex parties and drug madness, gay men have the potential to create a culture that embraces the fullness of being alive – which means facing our fears, phobias, inadequacies, failings and wounds, instead of medicating them away, and creating a culture that welcomes newly out men, of whatever age, into a space that honours their soul as well as their dick, that encourages their hearts to expand as well as their muscles, that brings a brotherhood that goes a lot further than sharing needles or diseases.

For we are the vanguard. The barriers between the genders, between sexualities, are becoming increasingly blurred. Some day soon it will be normal for people to explore sex and love with the same gender as well as an other gender, but what awaits in that future? The pioneers of the 20th and early 21st queer culture – that is all of us – are setting the shape of the future. What will newly emerging gay souls and masc-curious bi men find in our gay culture? A place of use and abuse, suffering and soul-death or a culture of conscious sexuality, loving brotherhood and self-discovery?

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June 5th has been declared HIV+ LONG TERM SURVIVORS AWARENESS DAY in the USA, founded by Ted Anderson. This their declaration:

The goals of HLTSAD 2018 are:

1. HIV and aging are complex and nuanced. HLTS are aging but constitute a distinct cohort different medical and psychological challenges including AIDS Survivor Syndrome, poverty, isolation, and invisibility.
2. In our haste to end AIDS prioritize the 2018 modern-day needs of HIV LTS.
3. Survivors are a valuable part of our communities we need to empower them to become the elders, leaders, and teachers.
4. Celebrating HLTS for enduring an historically unique epidemic and being the pioneers of the AIDS pandemic.
5. Prioritize HLTS culturally-aware healthcare and mental health.
6. Move beyond survival, the goal is aging well with HIV.
7. Honoring the resilience and strength, it took survive multiple causalities and unprocessed grief while planning to die.

from: https://www.hivplusmag.com/long-term-survivors/2018/5/14/hiv-long-term-survivors-awareness-day-coming

As one of those survivors, I see how the wisdom gained in those years has yet to filter through to the wider community. And I see how continuing health crises are forcing us as a community to face up to questions about who we are, how we relate, and what just what kind of queer cosmos we are creating for future generations to explore and discover themselves. All of us that came out in the 20th century have the chance, even the responsibility, to forge a gay scene that supports and nurtures the men within it, and those of us who took the journey with AIDS to the edge of life, perhaps more than anyone, can see the incredibly bright potential awaiting all queerkind when we do that, when we truly embrace the soul consciousness and emerge as healers for the entire human race, bringing re-union with the worlds of spirit and renewal of humanity’s contract with life, love and the profound, simple, queer magic of being alive.

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