A Radical Exploration of Incarnation

Tantra4GayMen Festival 2015, held in south Wales for the third year running…. and for the third year running the rainclouds moved on, the sun came out and we were blessed…..

A radical exploration of incarnation

generous affection and intense sensation

opening the portals to love

healing the blocks and wounds in the heart

men touching, holding, loving men

remembering our sacred art

.

men who respect the body as holy

and sex as a path divine

living a simple truth of love

that brings bliss and changes the times

embracing nature

elemental and strong

gay men going tantric

sing a new love song

gaytantrafestival

50 MEN EMBRACING LOVE, NATURE, SPIRIT, VULNERABILITY, LIGHT, SHADOW, EVOLUTION AND INFINITE JOY

“was a pleasure and an honour to see such deep beauty and vulnerability from the men”  tantra teacher Jewels

“such a sacred pleasure”  art space facilitator Mike

“a delicious time creating all together a beautiful space” tai chi facilitator Miguel

“magical beautiful people al.”  BDSM facilitator DK

What you created is truly beautiful” Landowner Linda

O YES THERE IS MUCH MORE TO TANTRAFEST THAN TANTRA!

HERE WE EXPERIENCE THE EMERGENCE OF SHAMANIC SENSIBILITY AMONG GAY MEN AS WE LEARN TO OPEN OUR INNER WORLDS, MERGE WITH NATURE AND EACH OTHER IN A TANTRIC HOTPOT OF DIVINE MASCULINITY

tantra4gaymen.co.uk

Queer Spiritual Pioneers of Europe

The Huffington Post recently featured a piece on LGBT religious leaders, stating “Reflecting and shaping the culture in which it is embedded, religion has historically been hostile to LGBT-identified people and communities. However, over the last three decades more denominations, congregations and individuals have come out in support of honoring the full humanity of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered people.”   The initial list of 15 has now been expanded by readers to an amazing 90 people.  Looking through the slide show there are plenty of dog collars, and unusual sounding churches (it’s easy to set up a new church in the US), and one could be left with the impression that the future for queer spirituality is to be found within the religious zone.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/20/lgbt-religious-leaders-most-inspiring_n_1022043.html

Spirituality is the huge area that gay liberation has still to come home to.  Over five decades we have created phenomenal social spaces, made huge political and legal advances, plus survived a deadly plague…but currently much of gay life seems caught up in drug fuelled craziness, with little interest in seeking any wisdom to balance the hedonism. The need for some spiritual grounding and awareness is becoming painfully clear, the crisis of drug dependency and mental health issues especially visible in our sexual cruising circles.   However, spirituality is not about finding a religion to follow, it is about the search to understand who we are and to be that in joy and wholeness.  Coming Out is one step on the path of self discovery:  we have to listen and respond to the inner self in order to come out, and we would benefit hugely from recognising as a community that the story doesn’t end there.  Self-discovery is an ongoing process, and listening to to the soul inside makes for a healthy life, one that embraces growth on every level as a constant feature.  The images of queer religious leaders, and the books/articles that occsaionally appear in the media about gays in religions give a misleading impression.  While many queers do find a place in some religious settings, many more of us are pursuing our own personal growth and realisation in ways of our own choosing, which might for example come through a pscyhological approach (such as Loving Men and The Quest below), or via tantric, pagan or other healing practice.  The search for the deep realities of who we are on a soul level is an individual one, and we queers are naturally resistant to teachers and leaders who seem to set themselves up as superior in any way.  I observe a deep seated desire for equality amongst us, and gradually spiritual spaces are emerging where we are all the teachers and the students at the same time, journeying together into deep states of communion and revelation.  Gay spirituality in my experience works best when we all recognise the divinity within each other, then share our own particular skills and interests, acknowledging that no single one of us ever has all the answers.

Below is my alternative to the Huffington Post list.  I have restricted the entries to people i am aware of operating in the field of queer spirituality in Europe, but most references are to the UK – because I live there and so am most tuned in to what is happening in this country.  I welcome any additions to the list that anyone can add to make it more comprehensive and recognisant of the true European picture (just add more names and links in the comments section please).  I have mostly avoided activists who are working within religions, but one or two whose work I consider especially valuable have snuck in.  My aim is to show just how much energy is building in this spiritual sphere of growth and discovery, and how unnecessary it is to be part of a religion to experience it.  I could have added many more solo practitioners who are furthering the cause of queer spiritual awakening by offering their healing services, but that would be another kind of list – I am attempting here to name and honour the people I have observed making important, heartfelt, contributions to the healing and growth of our lgbt+ communities.

First let’s mention…

(1) EDWARD CARPENTER the UK’s grand daddy of all things queer and spiritual. He lived 1844-1929 and wrote about the the role of the ‘Uranians’ in bringing about revolutionary shifts in human relationship with the body, with sex and with God. The Edward Carpenter Community, set up to create non-commercial spaces where men could meet and get to know each other, is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2015. Several retreats are held each year, some with spiritual themes. http://www.edwardcarpentercommunity.org.uk/

and then come right up to date:

(2) GEERT OETKEN, known as Eilendes Wasser, who along with (3) JOHN FERGUSON (Habibi Ding) and (4) EDUARD REINIER VANKOOWIJK (Junis) pioneered the arrival of radical faerie gatherings to Europe, the first happening on the island of Terschelling, Netherlands, in July 1995. After ten years of summer and winter gatherings the enthusiasm, and the funds, were enough to purchase sanctuary land. Geert and other landfinders, including Vincent Nauwynck (Lanai) and Joost Brand (Dee Tale) dedicated their holiday times to the landsearch until Folleterre was found and the first European sanctuary of queer spirit opened with an inauguration gathering at Autumn Equinox 2005.   http://www.folleterre.org/

(5) MIQHAEL KANNEMEYER, co-founder of holistic healing project the Helios Foundation, Miqhey Mixture has been serving the cause of gay political, social and spiritual liberation since the Gay Liberation Front days of the 1970s. He is an active community builder, connecting the various branches of the queer spiritual tree into a practical vision of the purpose and potential of this developing side of queer life. He is particularly active with the Albion Faerie gatherings in the UK and recently co-facilitated the Tribal Vision Gathering of the EuroFaeries at Folleterre, celebrating 10 years of European sanctuary. Miqhael is a co-creator of 2016’s Queer Spirit Festival.  http://www.albionfaeries.org.uk/

(6) JASON TANTRA, with a background in spiritual healing, clairvoyance and mediumship, Jason began his journey with Tantra in 2006 and now runs workshops, retreats and a festival through Tantra4GayMen. He works to reveal the magic possible when sexuality is combined with spiritual awareness and practice. The third annual Men’s Tantrafest takes place in Wales in September 2015, where 50 men will take a journey together into the power of the heart and the spiritual potential in sexual energy.   www.tantra4gaymen.com

(7) BUZZY DANDELION, creator of Quintasensual Festival, a Tantric celebration of sexuality and gender in all their diverse and divine forms, taking place for the second time in Somerset, UK, August 2015…. perhaps the most groundbreaking exploration of Tantric energies on the planet, moving understanding of the spiritual path way beyond old stuck notions of gender norms and expectations. Buzzy’s first love in life was science, and see his work in the spiritual field as driven by the urge to get in touch with the basic divine principles and essence behind all phenomena. He is a co-creator of 2016’s Queer Spirit Festival.   http://quintasensual.org/

(8) LOU HART, co-creatrix of Queer Pagan Camp (along with (9) SIREN HARRADINE and (10) WOODY FOX), teacher of the Craft and from 2005-12 Chair of Camden Forum ……. . The first gathering of Queer Pagans in the UK in 1998 brought together nearly 100 lesbian, gay, bi and transgender lovers of nature, forming a cauldron of possibilities that has grown and evolved into several camps per year. At QPC community and spirituality are explored through ritual, workshops, music and performance with the calling to manifest our skills as queer healers and connectors of the planes of consciousness at the forefront.  http://queerpagancamp.org/  

(11) AL HEAD, creatrix of Emerge Camp and 2016’s upcoming Queer Spirit Festival, Al – known also as Earth Song – has been working as a healer with energies of nature and spirit for over 30 years. She offers workshops and retreats around exploring, unblocking and boosting the energy flows we experience in these human bodies – the first This Land Sex Magic residential weekend is coming up early November 2015.   http://movingenergy.me.uk/

(12) ANDREW HARVEY, internationally celebrated author and teacher of mystical awareness and sacred activism, Andrew’s work was largely ignored by the lgbt community until he was invited to speak at the second LoveSpirit Festival in 2013, where he delivered his insights on gay spirituality with passion. The speech can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gadzf3Ktw8     http://www.andrewharvey.net/

(13) MARK MULLIGAN, brought Naked Yoga for men to London in 2007. Yoganu classes are held every week in Covent Garden, plus there are workshops and retreats. The current facilitators include (14) RICHARD WILLIAM GEORGE, who is recognised as Senior Yoga Teacher by the Yoga Alliance.    http://www.yoganu.co.uk/

(15) ANDY SAICH, facilitator of intimate and tantric explorations for men since 1990, Andy is one of the co-creators of LoveSpirit Festival and runs workshops in London, Berlin and elsewhere through Men in Touch (menintouch.co.uk) and GayLoveSpirit.  http://menintouch.co.uk/     http://www.gaylovespirit.com/

(16) GEOFFREY HENNING, a co-founder of Crusaid, one of the leading HIV/AIDS charities in the UK from the 1980s until its absorption into the Terrence Higgins Trust in 2011, Geoffrey has trained in mediumship and in 2012 launched the LoveSpirit Festival, an event aiming to bring together activists and facilitators in the field of queer spirituality and inject some spiritual awareness into the LGBT+ universe.  http://www.lovespirit.org/

(17) LEVIATHEN HENDRICKS co-organiser of LoveSpirit Festival and facilitator of the London Queer Spirit MeetUp group, Leviathen has been developing ways to expand the conversation around spirituality in the queer community since 2010.  http://www.meetup.com/London-Gay-Spiritual-Meetup/

(18) JOHN BELLAMY, creator of the Gay Spiritual Group in London in the late 1990s and host at Hamilton Hall in Bournemouth, which offers retreats and workshops for gay men as well as a space to retreat or holiday in gentle spiritual surroundings.  http://www.hamiltonhall.info/

(19) THOMAS LOHMANN, creator of GayLoveSpirit, an international network through which various facilitators offer intimacy workshops, tantric healing and counsellling. (20) KAI ERHARDT, (21) DAAN VAN KAMPENHOUT and (22) VOLKER MORITZ are among the men offering workshops on erotic, sensual and shamanic themes.  http://www.gaylovespirit.com/index_en.php

(23) JAMES PHILIP, spiritual channel, healer and teacher at Celestial Earth and the College of Psychic Studies, organises retreats and workshops to heal, restore and expand consciousness.  http://www.celestialearth.org/

(24) PETER KOGELBAUER, erotic healer and men’s retreat leader based in Barcelona.  http://peter-kogelbauer.com/

(25) ARMIN HEINING, founder in Germany of the Institute for Meditation and Tantra, offering Gay Tantra workshops and trainings since 1992.  http://www.gay-tantra.eu/index.php

(26) BODHI, creator of DANCE OUT LOUD, LGBT 5 Rhythms group meeting weekly in London.  http://5rhythms.webs.com/   http://www.meetup.com/The-Dance-Out-Loud-Group/

(27) HANS SCHUMANN, creator of Spiritual Gay Men in London group that meets regularly in Clapham, providing a space for men to learn about and discuss a wide range of spiritual topics.  http://www.meetup.com/Spiritual-Gay-Men-in-London/

(28) DEAN ADDAMS, Shamanic Practitioner, creator of the London Gay Men’s Shamanic Circle that meets monthly in Earls Court, providing a space for men to experience shamanic journeying, encounter spirit guides and share their about their journeys of self discovery. http://www.meetup.com/London-Gay-Mens-Shamanic-Circle/events/224032673/

(29) CAROLYN COWAN, Kundalini Yoga teacher, pscyhosexual and relationship therapist and facilitator of ‘Mastering the Addictive Personality’ workshops.   http://carolyncowan.com/

(30) DANNY ARNULDSSEN, co-facilitator with HUNTER FLOURNOY, DAVID JELNIEK and CHRISTOPHE VAN THYNE, of an annual International Gay Retreat in Belgium, a space for men to explore relaxation, brotherhood, adventure, in depth intimate connections and playfulness.    http://www.gayspiritfriends.nl/international-gay-retreat.html

(31) AMANDA GAYLOVE, sexuality educator and creatrix of Queer Conscious Sex spaces, where beings of all genders can explore sexual energy, pleasure and connection, Amanda cites Barbara Carellas (UrbanTantra) and Dossie Easton (Ethical Slut) amongst her teachers.    http://queerhearted.com/  http://radicalqueerloverite.tumblr.com/

(32) LONDON FAERIE, creator and facilitator of Sacred Pleasures, multi-gendered spaces exploring intimacy, fetish and community. Events happen in London, plus workshops in Paris, Prague, Berlin and elsewhere.   http://londonfaerie.co.uk/      http://sacredpleasures.co.uk/

(33) SEANI LOVE and (34) REBECCA LOWRIE, ‘The Sexual Alchemist’, co-creators of the School of Erotic Mysteries, offering workshops and healing work to people of all genders and sexualities.    http://www.schooloferoticmysteries.com/     http://rebeccalowrie.com/

(35) SHARON FERGUSON, minister with the Metropolitan Community Church in north London, Sharon in liaison with the LoveSpirit team negotiated for a spiritual themed marquee in Trafalgar Square at Gay Pride 2013 (the space generously given by Pride London with no charge) where short sample sessions on wide range of topics including channelling reiki energies, meditations, chanting, kundalini yoga, were offered. The space was a melting pot of conversation and debate, with queers from huge range of spiritual and secular backgrounds joining in. Unfortunately Pride London has not felt able to offer this kind of space for free again, since they need to balance their books and can make a lot of money out of renting space in the square.   http://mccnorthlondon.org.uk/aboutus/who-we-are/

(36) REVEREND JIDE MACCAULAY, founder of the House of Rainbow, works to provide Christian fellowship and worship for marginalised communities within the Church and support the activism of lgbt in Africa.  One of only two specifically Christian activists on the list, I have included Jide because of the groundbreaking work he is doing for people of colour and faith. http://www.houseofrainbow.org/index.html

(37) VYVYAN CHATTERJIE, Interfaith Minister, facilitator for several years of spiritual themed retreats with the Edward Carpenter Community and builder of queer spiritual community, Vyvyan (Notre Dame des Arbres) has given much to build the Eurofaerie network, centred on Folleterre Sanctuary in northern France.   http://www.edwardcarpentercommunity.org.uk/       http://eurofaeries.eu/

(38) GUNNY CATELL, known also as Mata Hairy, has pioneered radical faerie space in Austria, giving birth to the Austrian Faerie Gathering in 2013 (the second one is this August 2015), and writing the first book about the faeries in Europe: Rise Like A Faerie, available soon.   http://radicalfaeries.at/

(39) SEB COX, creator of Big Lingam Tantra and the Brotherhood of Pleasure, based in London.   http://www.meetup.com/BIG-LINGAM-TANTRA-LONDON/    http://www.cumm.co.uk

(40) TIM FOSKETT, co-creator of Loving Men, along with (41) ALFRED HURST and (42) DENNIS CARNEY, offering ‘adventures in intimacy’ retreats, personal growth and community space for gay men.    http://www.lovingmen.org/

(43) ADE ADENJI and (44) DARREN BRADY, co-creators of the Quest for Gay Men, dedicated to healing the emotional wounds that gay men carry from growing up in a straight world, and developing self-awareness, compassion and community.    http://www.thequestawaitsyou.com/

(45) SURAT SHAAN KNAN is a transgender activist, working for the Liberal Jewish movement UK, is a campaigner for faith-related LGBTQI issues, and founder of RAINBOW JEWS.    http://www.rainbowjews.com/

(46) NICK KIENTSCH trained for 6 years in a Thai buddhist forest tradition and now teaches mindfulness and meditation for gay men in London   www.evolvingminds.org.uk

(47) NIKKI SLADE leads Kirtan groups and offers individual voicework tuition and healing.    http://www.freetheinnervoice.com/

(48) GAVIN FRANK offers Kirtan sessions in London and voice workshops    http://www.listentothevoice.co.uk/

(49) EILEEN BELLOT, ceremonialist, healer and founder of QUESTLIFE in London, exploring growth and transformation, and including retreats and circles for women.    http://www.meetup.com/Questlife-Inspiring-your-full-potential/

(50) CLOE JACKSON, creatrix of The Dancing Universe, offering retreats and Dance Your Naked Truth workshops in the UK   http://www.thedancinguniverse.com/

(51) JUSTIN LURIA, creator of the School of Earth Medicine, exploring energy healing, shamanic healing, vibrational remedies etc through workshops and individual sessions. Workshops include ‘Healing the Rainbow Wound’ for the LGBT+ community.   http://www.schoolofearthmedicine.com/

(52) DAVID PARKER, ‘The Swarmite’, breathwork therapist active in healing in London since the 1980s, his interest lies in tales of love, CODEPENDENCY, Debauchery & Urban RECOVERY in the Big Smoke.   http://www.theswarmite.com/

(53) INGO CANDO, founder of the WOTEVER WORLD collection of characters, events and community activism, Ingo creates spaces where gender norms dissolve and inspired queer self-expression takes off.  Wotever events build on the spirit of acceptance, equality, respect, imagination and humour.  “Respect and welcome to one and all. No matter what identity, or multiple identities any person may have or choose, Wotever welcomes them. This includes, but certainly is not exclusive to: drag kings, queers, women, mtf, femmes, trans, butches, queerbois, gay, drag queens, dykes, bisexuals, ftm, men, straight…..Wotever etc. All will respect all.”  Through this openness the Wotever crew are creating the kind of liberating social scene that is in accord with the vision of the original pioneers of gay liberation, making it possible for our queer spirit to grow into its light, power, joy and bring its gifts to the world.   http://woteverworld.com/

and I will include myself to finish off this list for now:

(54) SHOKTI LOVESTAR: radical faerie, shamanic healer, blogger and spiritual activist. Shokti facilitates queer spiritual spaces at Folleterre Eurofaerie sanctuary and Albion Faerie events, including London drum circles, and is a co-creator of the first QUEER SPIRIT FESTIVAL coming to the UK at a site in Wiltshire in August 2016. I seek to bring light and awakening to the lgbt+ community, seeing this as a crucial moment in our collective growth as we approach the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of sex between men. I consider direct spiritual experience and expanded understanding as the method by which we can open ourselves to the great mystery and take the journey of gay liberation to the spiritual level (which means finding out who we are and being it, and does not mean living a ‘pure’ life trying to aspire to standards and demands set by religions or anyone else). https://shokti.wordpress.com/    http://queerspirituk.tumblr.com/

THANKYOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION!

OFFERED IN THE SPIRIT OF LOVE AND AWARENESS, AWAKENING AND INFINITE PEACE

BEING QUEER IS A QUEST FOR CONSCIOUSNESS

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What is the future for gay spirituality?

Coming out of the closet is a spiritual act of self-actualisation. It requires deep soul searching and the summoning of an immense amount of courage, even today in the second decade of the 21st century, when despite the spread of liberal attitudes and legal reforms there are still vehement homophobic voices spreading hatred of us. In Russia, India, Uganda, Nigeria (and elsewhere) legal persecution of us sets up an atmosphere where our kind live in constant fear of attack or death, and are totally unable to explore and express who we are.

 

Attitudes are shifting so fast in the west – a new tv advertisement for Coca Cola features a gay male wedding – that a polarity seems to have been created. Walls have fallen in part of the world, and in a short period of time. Not so long ago same-sex attraction was categorised as a mental illness. The idea that man’s love for man and woman’s love for woman can be a pure and sacred impulse from the soul is still finding its way into the consciousness, even amongst gay people. But it is this vision, of the purity of love, whoever is expressing it with whomever, that can change attitudes across the planet. Gay spirituality opens the door to queers realising the true source of love within ourselves, and the power that lies in that love. It enables us to heal from the effects that the label ‘homo-sexual’ has had on us as we find bigger, better ways to define ourselves. This will enable us to show the doubting, sex obsessed homophobes that love is our true nature, and is the core truth of all human beings.

 

In the west liberalisation has not yet led to our liberation, which is an internal, spiritual, goal and not simply a political or social one. We are children of a religious culture that has labelled our love an ‘abomination’, and so quite understandably many of us have rejected religion and spirituality all together. Our ‘scene’ is big on hedonism, looks and fitness, but lacking in understanding of the mind and the power of the heart.  The prevalence of disease, physical and mental, of drug dependency and sexual neediness demonstrates how our internal worlds have not yet reached anything like emotional and spiritual maturity. Most gays do not know that the judaeo-christian-islamic condemnation of our love is a historical anomaly – and that in fact throughout human existence on earth there have been other cultures that honoured us for the energy we carry, which combines masculinity and femininity in different ways to the heterosexual norm and makes us prime candidates to be conduits of spirit, healing and wisdom. Prominent examples such as the berdache shamans of the native americans, the gatekeepers of the dagara tribe in western Africa or the takatapui of the Maori in New Zealand, reveal that our kind were honoured as spiritual healers and leaders since way before the hegemony of the patriarchal monotheistic faiths. Even in Christianity it is clear that the monastic tradition and the priesthood has always depended on ‘soft’ gentle, compassionate queer souls, and been a haven for us.

 

While we make great secularists and perfect consumers in the capitalist age, the spiritual impulses that would in previous times have sent us into a life of service in the church are still with us. For many these impulses get repressed, or distorted by drugs and sexual excess, but on the fringes of commercial gay life there exist groups of queers exploring the spiritual dimensions of life, whether within established religious routes or in ways of our own creation.

 

LoveSpirit Festival in London is an annual event that brings together dozens of lgbt+ spiritual pioneers offering workshops on a wide array of themes. Among the hundreds of queers who have been to the festival are people from every religion and from shamanic/pagan or non aligned spiritual paths. The differences in our approaches and beliefs don’t get a look in – instead we are united through a shared recognition of the crucial importance of LOVE in moving on the story of human evolution – and of SPIRIT as a reality: how we each interact with and the different ways we describe that reality are seen as something to be shared rather than fought over.

 

These events were preceded back in the late 90s by the Connections Conferences, which were similar gatherings that brought together hundreds of spiritually inclined queers – the millennial energies were very strong at the time, and as new medication turned around the aids story of suffering and death that our community had been deeply embroiled in for 15 years, there was a surge of interest in spirituality, lightwork, shamanism etc happening amongst many queers. Somehow this energy got swamped by the tide of hedonism (and maybe also the political advances under the Labour government) that hit gay life in the years following the millennium, as we let go of the dark plague years and our urge to party, or just live a simpler life after the intensities of aids, came on strong. There were no more such large gatherings of spiritual queers in the UK until Lovespirit in 2011. But in the intervening decade there had been a shift. Group explorations of queer spirit emerged – such as meditation classes, tantra workshops, five rhythms dancing, gay yoga groups, queer pagan camps and spiritual groups such as Loving Men. When many of us came together at LoveSpirit there was a huge buzz of excitement. At the 2011 festival guest speaker Christian de la Huerta told of our historical role as healers and shamans, as midwives to the dying and explorers on the cultural edge of society. The next year Andrew Harvey spoke with immense passion of the mystical vision and calling to service that our gay sensibility can lead us to, and invoked Rumi as our inspired, ecstatic ancestor.

 

Many queers explore spiritually within religious settings – eg at buddhist retreats, but our own particularly queer forms of spiritual retreat have been emerging too: Radical Faerie gatherings are queer zones of high vibrational energy where we get to explore the many aspects of our gay souls through play, dressing up, ritual, sharing our stories and living in heart-centred community. Gatherings usually take place away from cities, in beautiful spaces where we can be close to nature and co-create deep, ecstatic and loving journeys into magical states of consciousness. In these spaces we find healing and empowerment to help us find strength, balance and purpose in our lives. These events have no gurus, no dogma or rules and are a melting pot of queer spiritual energies. Since 1995 faerie gatherings, which began in the US in the late 1970s, have happened in Europe and an active faerie circle has emerged in the UK in the last decade, now holding a few gatherings each year (currently in Glastonbury and Northumberland) and frequent heart circles and drumming nights in London and Brighton. We gather to connect, open and heal – and so find the spirit of joy, love and ecstasy inside us – discovering that connection and bliss come from the heart and are not dependent on the drugs and alcohol that are causing a lot of health problems for so many queers. In spaces of queer spirit profound healings and awesome transformations happen, and this magic is so good it can only expand to reach more people who need it.

 

***

 

I believe those of us involved in these spiritual explorations are discovering things that the rest of the queer community might like to know about.

 

The first of these must be that there is a sacred dimension to life, accessible to us if we open ourselves to it, and that it does not judge or condemn us, as we have usually been indoctrinated to believe. In fact, as the shamanic history of same sex love, of genderbending healers across the world reveals, maybe we even have a special relationship with that sacredness.

 

The second might be that our thoughts matter. They are creative, we attract into our lives what we give our attention to. To be negative in our outlook produces disease and depression in our lives – those of us living with HIV in the 1990s, before there were drugs available which had any hope of helping us, found this out. Positive in body, being positive in our minds was our best chance of survival, that became very clear to us. Buddhism has proven very popular with some queer folk – it teaches a non-judgemental approach to life, removes the central male father god figure from the centre of spiritual awareness, and teaches us how to understand the mind and use it to create well being, plus how to cultivate compassion and a healthy emotional life.

 

Thirdly, emotions have to move. Through dance, ritual, heart circle we are able to release stuck energies, to cleanse and strengthen our emotional bodies, which grow, get damaged and need healing as we go through life, just as our physical bodies do. We are born with an immense capacity for love, but this gets squashed by life’s disappointments – choosing to heal, to grow and open emotionally produces well being in our lives.

 

Fourth, our spirits are born to shine. It is as simple as letting the real self that we each are express, expand and love. Spaces of queer spirit support us to be who we really are, to let the magical child heal its wounds and unite with the adult we are becoming, to let our natural joy bubble up and our ancient, inherited ability to walk between the worlds emerge. Our hedonistic urges may be seen as the drive of spirit within us to expand into its natural blissful states of being. Pleasure and ecstatic states can be understood as sacred acts, bringing us into communion with our higher selves. Spiritual paths that celebrate the goddess celebrate sexuality, pleasure, dance, play and even intoxication, as Her rituals, so allowing the energy of these life delights to uplift and nourish us.

 

Five, SEX is a spiritual force. It is utterly holy – if we let it be, which we can do by opening our hearts, opening our minds and letting the energy of sex take us into divine communion. Sex takes us to bliss – and that is the feeling and presence of the divine source within us. This was natural understanding in most ancient cultures, and is something the world desperately needs to remember now, both in order to halt the abuse of sexual power and to bring us to greater understanding of who we are as incarnations of conscious spirit, ending the historical division between the spirit and the flesh that monotheism has spread round the world.

 

 

 

As gay spirituality grows in confidence and exposure, it has the potential to

 

  • celebrate that there is more to being queer than sex, parties (and marriage), revealing that coming out is a powerful step on a path to spiritual as well as sexual liberation

  • bring out awareness around the world of our historical roles as healers and conduits of spirit, so counteracting the ignorance and fear of us that leads to our persecution and opening the way for us to find our role as healers in the emerging aquarian age

  • emphasise our nature as compassionate, tolerant, joy-seeking beings and reveal ECSTASY and BLISS as spiritual manifestations of divine human nature, which we are naturally ‘programmed’, by evolution,to pursue

  • reveal humanity’s ability to go beyond differences based on race and religion to a new story of unity, love, awareness and spiritual connection.

 

 

COMING UP IN 2014:

Albion Faerie gathering at FEATHERSTONE CASTLE March 17-27 www.albionfaeries.co.uk

 

LoveSpirit sponsored retreat led by Alistair Appleton ‘Didn’t Gay Used to Mean Happy?’

March 2014, details at http://www.lovespirit.org

 

LoveSpirit Festival www.lovespirit.org

 

EuroFaerie gatherings at FOLLETERRE sanctuary in France. Www.folleterre.org

 

Men’s Tantra Festival September 6 – 10 https://www.tantra4gaymen.co.uk/

 

Touch-Magic events http://touch-magic.com/Events.html

 

GayLoveSpirit workshops http://www.gaylovespirit.com/

 

Queer Conscious Sex http://queerhearted.com/

 

Men’s naked yoga in London http://yoganu.com/

 

Queer Pagan Camp http://www.queerpagancamp.org/index.html

 

Men’s buddhist meditation: http://www.meetup.com/Buddhist-Meditation-for-Gay-and-Bisexual-Men/events/152477022/

 

Quest gay men’s workshops http://www.thequestawaitsyou.com/

 

Loving Men retreats http://www.lovingmen.org/

 

 

and much much more, feel free to add to the list in comments