Attitude magazine this month has a colourful, somewhat teasing and intriguing, feature about some of the team behind this summer’s Queer Spirit Festival. The piece is appropriately enough entitled ‘Free Spirits’, making the point that here are queers finding our spiritual expression outside of formal religion. For some reason however the front page headline they chose to highlight the piece is ‘Meet the Queer Spiritualists’…..
Well spiritualism is generally associated with channelling the messages, wisdom and grace of the spirit world, with mediumship and sometimes trance possession. At first I was inclined to take some umbrage at the use of this word, after all a glance at the promotion for the festival will show that our focus is very much about this world – about healing, creativity, self-expression, love – about queer community, liberated from crippling religious structures, where our spirits can soar free. But of course what makes this experience so powerful and liberating, I believe, is that we include the trees, plants, animals, insects and invisible worlds in our expansive queer community cosmos.
I remembered how much we love to invoke the ancestors into our circles, how important it is to us to call in the power of the elemental beings, how much we love to invoke the unifying presence of our shamanic forebears in the indigenous peoples of the whole planet, and of the Goddess, of Pan.
Often we dance once the spirits are invoked, enjoying a space where it can come naturally to drop the chattering, questioning of the mind and move into synchronous rhythm with each other: rising gradually to peaks of ecstatic togetherness when the drumming takes off, when our dancing hits a frenzy, our voices open and the shouts reach to the heavens.
Attitude also used the term ‘HIGHER RAINBOWS’ – which I consider a peculiar choice of front page headline for the piece about us queer free spirits:
To me queer spirituality is about dropping the old patriarchal ways of hierarchy, of higher and lower, inferior and superior – and entering instead into the holoarchy of life, where every aspect of being has an integral part to play in the whole cosmic jigsaw of life. Astrology is one tool I use to understand that every part of who we are, that all of life and creation, is holy and has its own purpose, from the carnal and the banal to the cosmic and the blissful. Without one there cannot be the other, duality only exists to help us navigate the third dimension. So Queer Spirituality is not about getting to a higher, or better, place, than other parts of the lgbtq+ universe, it is about bringing in the missing element, the essential piece of the puzzle, that completes the whole.
I have written many blogs about the lost, forgotten or overlooked links between queerness and the sacred dimensions.. some links below.
Early May 2019 we are between the calendar Beltane MayDay and the approaching Beltane Full Moon in Scorpio on May 17th. The veils are thin.
We are between the worlds.
This morning the moon is in Cancer, water element, sign of the Divine Mother. So this queer spiritualist thought instead of being agitated by the label he would live up to it:
This is what I believe the energy of the Divine Mother that I feel within me is saying to us this Beltane:
From the heart of the Mother
from our ancestors enlightened
worlds connect and the message comes through
you are another me and I am another you:
we are not these bodies
not the ego-mind
not the turbulent emotions:
when we drop identification with form and thought and feeling
there’s much, much more to find
the dance of spirit on the earth
is reflected in patterns in the sky
and once we get that we are the dance
we can stretch our wings and fly:
to attune to the seasons, moon and planets
IS to find the way home –
is the way out of delusion, disconnection, disaffection –
it’s time for humanity to renew the pact with life Herself
love and spirit connect us all
through prayer and compassion
we answer the call, build webs of love, cones of power
invoking the return of Her magicians
bringing humanity back to the Way
in these dark 21st century days
The truth is within and it’s out there too
Christian gnostics and heretics, Kabbalists and Sufi mystics have long taught the way
Buddhist and Hindu sages were bringing the light of non-duality to the west since the 19th century
but the last thing the desire-driven, power-hungry west wanted to hear
was that the ego was controlling the show and out of control –
our own european earth wisdom so long suppressed
we’d long forgotten our intrinsic belonging –
yet now as Mother Earth shakes and and fear spreads round the world
soon everyone on the planet may scream out to be whole
and the people of the Goddess
will step forward – and take up once again their roles.
Queer Spiritualism WHY NOT?
To conclude, I offer this….
MAY THE SPIRIT RETURN TO THE PEOPLE
From whom She was ripped apart
May the Spirit return to the people
As the Queer Healers remember their Art
The Warrior swords of the Crucified Christ from the 4th century CE
Closed down our temples and slaughtered
Trans priestesses, women witches, genderfluid shamans and male sodomites.
Persecution of gay men and women witches intensified from the 11th century.
The political state took over this persecution from the 16th century.
The death penalty was in place for sodomy in the UK until 1861.
But the climate of fear, of arrests and blackmail hit another peak for gay men in the 20th century
And while the change over the past 50 years has been incredible –
No wonder we are a segment of humanity with health issues
Of course we are a people with emotional baggage that needs to be addressed
the issues arising from both HIV and CHEMSEX are the clear symptom of this wound
Still in the world today so many of our queerkind still have to live secret lives
have to live with fear, and the danger of arrest, violence, death
THE HISTORICAL PERSECUTION OF QUEER PEOPLE NEEDS TO BE UNDERSTOOD AND ADDRESSED.
OUR QUEER SPIRIT – REPRESSED FOR SO LONG – NEEDS ROOM TO BREATHE, ROOM TO HEAL, ROOM TO BECOME WHAT IT TRULY IS.
I applaud Attitude magazine for taking this important step in displaying through mainstream media that there are exciting developments going on in the world of queer spirituality. Thanks Guys!
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…
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.
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.
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.
SAMHAIN: the pagan new year festival of death and rebirth, when the dead are honoured and our place in the cosmic whole remembered. Across the world so many people feel the call to mark Samhain, whether in formal ceremony or the informal celebrations of Halloween. More ancient than any religion, this festival has deep roots in our souls, and gives us the chance to connect to them.
The veils are thin, we remember the dead, we make fun of the darkness, we celebrate the shadows and the spooks, we just know this is the witches’ time of year.
The veils are thin and we may pass through them, recall once more the ancient ways
the dance of creation, the rhythm of seasons, the power of moons, the light of the soul
and how the Goddess, through the Wheel of the Year, shows us how to be whole.
In London queer witches will gather on Samhain night at the Oscar Wilde Temple in Clapham to remember our kin, honour our kind, celebrate our power and invoke the hour of our magical return as healers, teachers and soul warriors of the human race, reuniting the worlds, lifting the veils
rediscovering the Way, reinventing it for today
inviting a renewed understanding and experience of the relationship between the living and the dead
invoking health and balance mentally – emotionally – physically by honouring all parts of ourselves: Samhain brings a time of endings as we release the summer and old beliefs that no longer serve our wellbeing, and a chance to prepare for the more inward journey of winter
to achieve this we remember the elementals and the spirit world….
Now comes the time of year when the cosmos is inviting us to enter into a deeper relationship with dimensions beyond the physical, to let our belief in our isolated individuality die and take a journey of communion and connection to the higher self and the collective consciousness. If we step through this portal, the Gate of Samhain, we will be ready for the rising fire of the centaur spirit Sagittarius and the journey through Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces months, taking us through to the Spring and giving meaning and depth to our experience of Winter.
The Sun moves into Libra, sign of Balance, the cardinal air sign ruled by the Goddess Venus, its cardinality launching us into Autumn, the season of harvesting what we have sown in the year, shedding our leaves and remembering our connection to the Ancestors and other worlds.
The festival of the Autumn Equinox is known as the Mabon, a Welsh name referring to the Divine Child. At this point of the yearly cycle the cosmos invites us to stand in our individual power, find the balance between our human animal and divine aspects. This year the Equinox falls under the spirit of a powerful Pisces moon, revealing,through feelings, our the deeply interconnected nature of all living things, connected through love, through presence, through shakti. The Aries Full Moon follows a day after the Equinox, calling us to affirm and stand in our individual strength, light and power, and go boldly into this new season, into new magical times.
The flowing, glowing, loving, compassionate presence of Spirit has been known in many cultures as the divine feminine presence of the creator force of the universe. We can commune with Her anywhere but we often do it most powerfully when we do it in union with others. That might be union of heart, mind, body, achieved through love, stillness, touch, dance, music – uniting the physical and the spirit is what the divine feminine in us does.
So many names have come down through history to us, names that invoke her love and presence.
are names that were once well known in the British Celtic lands
WORSHIP OF THE GREAT MOTHER, MAGNA MATER, CYBELE
was one of the three great religions of ancient Rome, but her roots go back millennia in Turkey, she was honoured in ancient Greece as Rhea, the Mother of Zeus, King of the Gods, and her religion was brought to Rome with much more ceremony around 200 BC. Her worship lasted until around 400 AD and was ruthlessly suppressed by Roman emperors seeking to use the rigorous Christian faith to impose order on society.
GREAT MOTHER WORSHIP HAS BEEN TRACED BACK ON THIS PLANET AT LEAST 10,000 YEARS, MAYBE MUCH LONGER
The shift to patriarchal religious domination was gradual, and is associated with the rise of property ownership, developing militaristic dictatorships, and shift in kinship system from matrilineal to patrilineal descent. Goddess worship was frequently hedonistic, sexual and ecstatic. It was often led by gendervariant and same-sex loving people, serving in the temples of Ishtar throughout the Middle East, as the wandering Galli priests who brought ecstatic ceremonies to the people of the ancient Meditteranean, and indeed as witches, druids and shamans of the old nature religions across the planet.
The suppression of the Goddess cults went hand in hand with the repression of same sex love. Sodomy and sorcery were intimately connected in the minds of the people. The patriarchal religions waged a war on both, creating a global situation today where the presence of spirit as the goddess, known through magical practice, is forgotten by most people, where people are brainwashed to fear or ridicule pagan faiths, and the spirituality of the genderbending queer servants of the goddess is utterly denied.
But in the early 21st century the Goddess is returning, and her queer children are visible on a global level and claiming their rights as never before. Most of those lgbtq+ probably have little or no idea of this ancient association between us and the magical realms of the spirit.
After a thousand years of suppressing sexual freedom and pagan lore in Europe, as Christian men went out to explore the world they were horrified to find sodomy a common occurrence on every continent, generally considered normal and often associated with shamanic power and witchcraft. They found powerful lesbians too – such as in the Azanda tribe in Africa. The South American rainforest is named the Amazon in reference to the mighty female-led tribes found there. In China and Japan homosexuality was viewed as a privilege enjoyed by the buddhist monastic classes – indeed monasteries and convents had often served as safe zones of same sex love in Middle Ages Europe.
The missing element in the story of global LGBTQ+ liberation is our connection to the spirit, to Goddess worship and pagan practice. This can only be PROPERLY understood of course by those who EXPERIENCE the truth of it.
Across the world there are Queer Pagans, Radical Faeries, Queer Spirits finding each other and remembering our magical powers. The people of the Great Mother are returning.
OUR TASK IS TO BRING BALANCE.
“The Mother of our ancestors birthed the universe from her body. There was no separation between Creator and creation. And as we shift our thinking and come back to this ancient wisdom, we will find balance and healing for ourselves. Ultimately the Creator is neither male nor female, but Oneness. It is the Prime Vibration. It is Absolute Information. In Seeing It as Mother we honour own own capacity for connection, compassion, clarity and communion of the soul. In knowing It as Mother we cycle back to the beginning of this era so that we can step into the next in wholeness.
“The liturgies of the Father are spoken, as revelation comes the from the Father in words, for with words he created the universe. The universe itself is the revelation of the Mother, and her liturgies are of the body. As we open to seeing her and her creation, as we learn to feel our place in it and know that we are never separate from it, and cannot ever be separate from it, then everything we becomes a prayer. Anchored in love, our bodies filled with joy, reaching out in ecstasy to express our gratitude, we ground the Mother’s bliss in the world.
“In our Mother’s world we do not have to struggle for enlightenment, Her light is always with us. We do not have to be reborn, for each moment of our lives is a new creation in her infinite, eternal body, and we are always a part of it.”
Presenting my first book to the world… available now as ebook, print version coming… my awakening to the spiritual realms began while sick with AIDS in the 1990s… Here is a collection of my poetry and prose to make you think about the role gay/queer people play in the human story, plus inspiration from queer ancestors, prophets and teachers.
Preview glimpse into the contents…..
HIV was the catalyst that led to my interest in spirituality: the threat of death led me to search for meaning in life. Given a positive diagnosis in 1990, by ’95 I was becoming symptomatic and was considered a PWA (Person With AIDS). I left my job, got my debts written off by telling the bank I was leaving the world, and turned my mind to the big question – why, I asked for the first time in my life, did I exist in the first place? I had held a firmly rational, materialist, atheistic view since the age of 12, but now, at 30, an understandably urgent need for spiritual answers arose in me. I plunged into a study of the worlds’ religions, into pagan magic and new age teachings, soon sensing a mystical core common to all. I began to open my mind and heart to the possibility of something more, to the possibility of a purpose behind our apparently random existence here on planet earth, to the idea of a beneficent divine presence giving rise to that existence.
All life’s crises hold an opportunity
nothing is ever only dark or light
HIV can awaken our spiritual sight.
Gays don’t like religion, thank goddess for that
we prefer to think for ourselves
and that’s where it’s at
we come out because we touch the truth inside
and that’s where we find our love and our pride
if we learn to listen to the soul, as we did as a child
all the answers we seek are there….
Calling to the Witch in every Queer
To the Priestess in every Lesbian
To the Shaman in every Gay barman
The Divine Mother in every Bear
The Abbot in every Faggot
The Deity in every Dyke
The Radical in every Faerie
It’s time for the QUEER PEOPLES OF PLANET EARTH TO COME HOME
,,,and the time must come
after all the parties
all the drugs
after the dying years
and a decade of decadence
the time comes, can only come
when the gay phoenix rises
after centuries of death
across the planet
the rainbow serpent
unicorn lion and bear
the return of the shamans
We’ve been hidden for so long in every race on earth
waiting for the globe to shrink so we can find each other
pathological said the shrinks
sinners said the church
we have to fight for equality
and in ourselves we have to search
for the answers to why we we’re here
for the secrets of being Queer.
This is the calling of the twenty first century queer: to learn to unite the sexual and the spiritual, and find the balancing, healing, role we play in the human family…. to remember, recover and renew our QUEER SPIRIT
Radical Faerie is a term adopted by some humans (often but by no means exclusively gay men) as a label to indicate we view ourselves as free and sacred beings of nature, seeking to live from the heart in tune with the natural forces, and that like nature is constantly exploring and growing, is both male and female, elemental and divine. Each Faerie will have their own unique definition of the term, no faerie seeks to speak for another, this offering is Shokti’s take on some fundamental faerie fae-osophy. I believe Faerie space offers sanctuary to those of us who wish to explore who and what we are from the root up, a sanctuary where the self-limiting, hierarchical and patriarchal concepts of materialist science and certain dictatorial religions do not reign. Instead Magic is on the throne, and Her reign gives us Freedom to be Who We Are.
The faerie fundamentals as seen by SHOKTI: Each human soul is a unique mixture of the primal energies of Creation. A soul has self-awareness, a quality which mystics of all faiths have declared is the essential nature of the Creator Consciousness – like the Source itself, we have self-knowledge, and the ability to create our own destiny. An interplay of pure consciousness (Shiva) and pure energy (Shakti), often depicted as an ecstatic, sexual union, brings the worlds into being. Souls combine the Shiva and Shakti nature of the Divine Creator Source within themselves, the fundamental truth is that at soul level we all both male and female energies, they flow together to create our being, while our personalities are also shaped by the interplay of the four elemental forces that are the building blocks of life.
Humans are the meeting point of nature and spirit. To live a healthy, balanced life we need to be well connected to both – modern life is crippled by disease and disaster because most people are connected to neither.
And yet healing and wholeness are our birthright as divine beings at home in the universe, and with some adjustments to our attitudes and outlooks can be ours. At any point we can choose to re-boot our lives and bring ourselves into harmony with the natural flow of the universe. We have to remember that we are not separate from nature or spirit, in fact we are constantly under the influence of energy flows which our ancient ancestors understood much better than we do today.
Four simple steps to healing:
Attuning to Nature
Opening to Spirit
Healing the Heart
Reprogramming the Mind
The route to all this is through the Body.
If we seek wholeness, peace and wisdom in our lives, we have to take the responsibility for our healing out of the hands of doctors and into our own bodies. It will help if we believe that it is possible to come into harmonic flow with life. We have probably been encouraged to believe in a random, purposeless existence for most of our lives. We will need to be prepared to learn some new things, which are in fact old things, the things our souls already know, but which we forgot.
Inside each of us exists a soul that has deep roots in the indigenous tribes of this planet, in rites and ceremonies that connect us deeply to the Earth, the Air, the Fire and Water…. Plus to the Spirit, the multidimensional consciousness that we are forever part of. Through our own intuition we can bring ourselves into alignment – but these energies are extremely powerful, and can unbalance us as well as help us. Therefore it is valuable to share our journey into healing with others who can support and reflect back to us what is going on.
Most of us have taken psychedelics, or worked with medicine plant helpers, to expand our awareness in some way. Drug use is so popular because humans love to experience the potential limitlessness and ecstatic feelings in their soul – though in a materialist, scientific era, soul is a word we rarely use. If we accept the reality of the soul, a question that then comes up of course is do we also have to accept the religious rules and concepts we were indoctrinated with as children?
Only one way to find out – ask the soul. Step One. Go out in Nature. Attuning to Nature also involves taking notice of moon cycles, seasonal changes and astrological influences. Step Two. We can raise our vibrational frequency to talk to the Spirit. There are infinite ways to alter our vibrations. Eventually drugs become irrelevant – they can be useful to open up energy channels in us which we can then access through other means, eg dance, drumming, chanting, yoga, breathing techniques, sexual energy. Those channels exist in us, it’s just the modern world convinced most of us to tune them out.
Step Three. Healing the Heart involves sharing our stories, being heard without judgement in the warm embrace of fellow souls. Heart Circle is the most powerful heart healing tool I have ever come across. We can only do so much emotional healing alone, we can do so much with a special lover – but to fully heal our hearts we have to accept that humans are social creatures, we belong in community. Our hearts thrive when they are connected to many other hearts in openness, trust and joy. If we restrict our love to romantic illusions of partnership over all else, we will suffer. If we are held in the bosom of a loving community of friends we will survive all life throws at us, and grow through our challenges.
Step Four. The Mind has to give up. It doesn’t run the show. It isn’t designed to know everything – it is designed to ask questions, to analyse and consider. We keep our minds so full, and over stimulated in modern life – meditation helps us to calm the mind, enter into a passive mode within it, where we can, through stillness or trance, get access to its deeper levels, to the places shared with others in the collective consciousness. Through these levels we can even talk to plants, animals and spirit beings.
For this to be possible the mind has to be able to become clear and open, like a cloudless sky, and for that to happen we will need to reprogramme all beliefs and thought patterns that keep the dark clouds in our lives.
Coming to Healing involves coming home to the Body. Taking the body into nature – moving, stretching and opening the body to let in spirit – bringing the body into close physical contact with others (healing touch is part of healing the heart) – and even the reprogramming of the mind, the release of old beliefs and the affirmation of new, happens most effectively when the body is engaged too. Our bodies are temples of our spirit, containing a powerhouse of spiritual energy accessible through our sexuality. Sex is the fastest way to enlightenment, it has been said – if it is approached with awareness, love and surrender.
The Earth’s journey round the Sun provides us with eight seasonal festival points when it becomes possible for us to leap onto the Path of Healing and Awakening. Spring Equinox is just round the corner as I write this – as Nature reawakens after the cold, inward Winter months, so can we. As we dedicate ourselves to our own healing – as we discover our own ability to heal – the energies of Nature and Spirit rush to assist us.
The elements offer us a way to know and explore who and what we really are. Other metaphysical systems, such as the chakras, the kabbalistic tree of life, the planet’s astrological maps are also very helfpul tools for us to deepen self-knowledge and come into harmony with life. These maps are around to help us maximise the experience the soul is having while on planet Earth. But the greatest teacher of all is LOVE, and on that point probably every faerie will agree – love opens the gates to the soul, to subject-SUBJECT consciousness (the term invented by Rad Fae Grandfather Harry Hay). Faeries gather in tribal groupings because the LOVE draws us in, transforms and heals us, opens the way to fuller manifestation of the light and joy in our souls. We were born this way, born to awaken, born to seek deeper and higher than most folk, born to be planetary healers. The time is really NOW. We are birthing the Age of Aquarius.
Gathering under the Tor, camping in the field, view of Avalon vale, drumming in the woods, buzz and chatter of the last week of Gemini month, new ideas birthed and big dreams too.
The albion faerie tribe celebrating the seasonal cycle, hitting our Solstice peak dancing all night round the faerie fire, drumming, chanting: erotic, sweaty, roasting night before joining the people of Avalon at the top of the Tor at daybreak, connecting queer magic to the rising pagan energies felt by all drawn to celebrate the earth’s natural holy moments, colouring in the rainbow, bringing back the knowledge of the goddess, of the elements, of the animal spirits, of the ancestors: of all the things humanity forgot in its greedy rush for wealth and constant gratification. Remembering we are Love.
PAN GATHERING FOLLETERRE
July Full Moon in Capricorn IS the Pan Full Moon. The Cancer-Capricorn axis takes us into the balance between emotion and action, intuition and reason, between cardinal water and cardinal earth: two strong forces we need to bring together, within ourselves. Capricorn is the sign of the Sea-Goat: the legend is that Pan escaped Typhon, the king of monsters, by diving into the Nile but the lower half of his body turned into a fish. Pan’s energy rules the land at this time, Spring growth is over and nature wants to play, but underlying it all is the emotional water spirit of Cancer. Pan’s lust and play is all about expressing and releasing the powerful emotional energies within us. Pan’s sexual energies are strong, calling us to connect body, soul, mind and spirit and unite with each other, with nature, with the universe. To know our Oneness with all we have to face the dark forces within us, the primeval sexual, elemental powers that stalk through our collective subconscious. To make peace with Pan is to find the door to the magic of the elements, to experience them flooding through us, moving us, dancing us, feeding us, teaching us.
We live as a tribe of 16 faeries, all camped on the magical Folleterre Faerie Prairie with few trips to the community house. In that house food is prepared for us, the other occupants of the sanctuary generously supporting our spiritual efforts out in nature. We become one tribe as we journey together into the elemental forces of creation. First day in Air we walk in silence to meditation rock, where spirit moves us into a unified energy dance, and around the night time fire we call, sing and invoke to the spirit worlds to bless our endeavours to get closer to Pan. In Earth day we get closer to the land, and deepen into its peaceful embrace. In Water we share from the heart, swim together and cleanse with healing mud. We connect the elements within ourselves and journey into fire, enjoying the day of blazing Cancer sun energies and opening ourselves to ecstasy with night time fire ritual. Cancer energies are concerned with the home – this year in Folleterre it felt clear that HOME is PLANET EARTH, and Cancer month a great time to be out in nature experiencing that. We were at home, as one tribe, breathing and growing, moving into love and celebrating sexual expression. We were so blessed it was warm enough to be naked all night as well as all day. At our ritual the Capricorn full moon dominated the sky, her energies were deep and earthy. Our ritual provided the air and fire to balance the water sun and earth moon. Pan came.
Nature held us, and we held each other. The formalities and reserve of society fell away and we became simple faerie beings honouring the divine energies of nature, in a playful, caring, shared space.
“I’m injected with nature. I look for the natural when I am out now. Remembering the beautiful moments on meditation rock: Green Leaf’s vision: naked people naked in nature. At peace.
My inner child, monkey, tiger, animal was called out to play. Such lifeforce. such happiness. The tribal experiences were wonderful. The repetition of playing, decorating, embracing, initiating each other with colours, mud, ashes every day again..gave it structure. Oneness. I loved it.”Pan Gatherer Trickster
This is how souls come home… opening to nature, opening to spirit, dropping the dramas, giving and receiving love, finding the divine peace inside.
TRIBAL VISION FOLLETERRE
40 faeries old hands and new birds taking flight, young and old, pioneers of the cause, fellows who have joined since and spiritually awakened newbies ready to take the plunge into a gathering that proclaimed TRIBE from the start. With 20 years of Eurofaerie gatherings and 10 of sanctuary under our belts, we were ready to ask: What is a tribe? We shared our ideas from the first evening and became a single organic entity, each of its parts following its own star yet together forming an ever evolving constellation of bonding, dancing, loving and sharing. The Cancer Sun held us in an ocean of love, heart connections formed quickly and deepened. The sense of travelling and growing together was strong. The sense of mission, purpose and drive to nurture faerie space, so that more people might benefit from this experience of love and healing, was present, huge and vital.
We met under an Aquarius moon, providing us with the inner tools and outlooks to quickly form a tribal consciousness. Under the Pisces moon we danced deeply into the space of emotional connection. Mid week the Aries moon and a grey day with some rain pulled us back into ourselves and made us focus on what we each individually creating, brought us to the place of choice and action. Hearts shared in daily tribal circle space wove the individual energies into a single dance again. We rose to the call of the Aries fire and made ritual at the Ancestor Grove before a late night of dancing, singing and playing at the prairie fire. Taurus moon gave us two luscious sunshine days of relaxed, sensual energies. Time to enjoy the land, the wonderful food produced by the kitchen teams, and each other. Gemini Moon at the final weekend of the gathering brought us a huge shot of air energy which channelled into performance, party spirit, an over-wordy tribal circle (moon in gemini = everybody has at least two opinions they want to share lol), a huge house clean and a phenomenal closing circle where we held sacred healing space on the prairie at the end of the day with drums and chanting before feasting on delicious home cooked pizza, our first ever from the new kitchen stove, freshly installed just the day before.
We shared our heartfelt thoughts as the night drew in and hugged each other deep and long. We had over 9 days honoured all the elements of our nature – our earthiness, our intelligence, our emotions and our cosmic two-spirited sacredness. The gathering closed but thecircle stays open, the tribal energies continue to flow and flow.
In 2015 there are more ways on offer to be in queer community outside the commercial mainstream than ever before. There are activities and gatherings on offer that can bring some perspective and balance to the intensities of our city lives, plus take us on journeys that will expand and enlighten our hearts and minds in the company of other fabulous queer beings.
It is over a decade since the first gathering in London of the Queer Spirit Circle and 10 years since the establishment across the Channel in France of the first European Radical Faerie Sanctuary, Folleterre, two spaces dedicated to offering room for spiritual and emotional conversation to develop in gay life. It is 9 years since the first Eurofaerie gathering in the UK at Featherstone Castle in Northumberland, from which the Albion Faerie Tribe was born.
During the past decade the Faeries and other groups exploring our queer relationship with spirit and nature have been offering activities away from the commercialism and hedonism of our city scenes. A common feature of these queer spiritual activities is the deep loving connection that develops amongst the participants. Freed from the pressures to conform to either hetero or gay societal norms, queer spirit spaces are where our natural being can safely express, emerge and evolve. There is more to being queer than who we have sex with, who we want to marry, whether we can serve in the military etc. We are on a search for who we are from the moment we have our first thoughts of being ‘different’. Coming Out is just one step on the journey. Finding ourselves goes all the way from our physical and sexual nature through to how we think, what we feel, what kinds of relationships we want, and our connection to Source, however we perceive that. Thinking for ourselves is what coming out teaches us to do. But once out on the scence we can so easily we get caught up in chasing love or substance induced highs that numb our thoughts, dampen our emotions and restrict rather than uplift us, give us an illusion of connection rather than the real thing. Drug use can be great of course, but we need to remind each other that chemicals are pointers to what lies inside us, and not a long term option. Becoming more conscious is the ultimate goal of our time here on earth, and as 2015 gets under way, an astounding stream of queer-conscious events lies ahead… some single gender, many open to the whole lgbt spectrum, recognising that we are all a unique balance of male and female on the inside…. offering spaces for reflection, healing, creativity and sharing emotions, ideas and physicality.
Our city scenes are exciting, creative spaces (with of course a looming shadow of loneliness, need, greed, dependency and spread of disease). Queer Spirit spaces offer a chance to balance the intensities of gay life with time in wonderful places in nature and exploring activities such as meditation, yoga, tantra, sex magic, shamanism, body painting, performance, nature walks, fire rituals, drumming, trance dancing etc. Gradually queer pioneers are developing environments where we queers can nourish our souls as well as our arseholes. Sexual activity is never taboo in queer spirit spaces, unlike traditional spiritual retreats. In fact our sexuality is honoured and explored for the graceful gift from the universe that it is. In these gatherings we explore our own feelings about life, the universe and everything… nobody is telling anybody else what to believe. In my experience queer spiritual folk are able to meet each other with open minds and hearts, prepared to listen to and learn from each other, and have a lot of fun while we do it.
Gatherings from May to October celebrating 10 years of queer sanctuary in Europe, situated in northern France in the Vosges mountains, Folleterre welcomes queers of all genders and hosts a variety of themed and community events
First gathering in 1998, this elemental zone for queer witches, shamans, druids and magicians now happens a few times each year… Beltane Camp in May, Summer Camp and Samhain Camp, plus a gathering devoted to drumming. Separately, Cernunnos Camp offers space to explore a deep rooted ancient male archetype of divinity, the Horned One, out in the wilds with other courageous, nature loving queers.
The UK has given birth to TWO radical ground breaking Tantra festivals in the last two years. One is Tantra4GayMen Festival in Wales, on its third outing, taking 50 men on a journey into expanded awareness and love, dates this year 5 to 9 September. Quintasensual Festival welcomes and celebrates all genders and sexualities, and was attended last year by 80 explorers of the link between our sexuality and spirit
Plus: Loving Men, The Quest for Gay Men, and out in nature groups such as Outdoor Lads……. there is a rapid spread going on of queer spaces where we can get to know each other, and ourselves, without the pressures that we are often under in our city lives, which can help us to find balance in a hectic age. In spaces of Queer Spirit our souls can find refreshment and recharge, we are safe to open our hearts, be who we really are, then the gifts within our gayness can be discovered.