Maybe it’s the magical casting in the Prologue, or simply the good, conversational narrative style, but once begun reading, this book totally absorbed my attention and interest, and very quickly I found myself at the Epilogue, opening the circle the author had so gently moved me to cast around the act of reading it.
Al Head’s first book in print is a testament to changing times, evolving consciousness and the emergence of awakening souls. Thirty years a pagan worker of magic and energy, in Queer Deity Sacred Slut Al gives us colourful glimpses into scenes where a new world is being born – from the actions at Greenham Common to Co-Counselling, Queer Pagan, Radical Faerie and Sex Magic retreats. Al’s story affirms that as humans we can change and evolve along with the times we live in – we hear of their journeys with sexuality, gender, motherhood, magical practice and healing, exploring the many transitions we can go through while in the body. Al’s words, offered as ‘Thoughts in Process’, prompt us to contemplate subjects dear to many queer hearts – identity, love, ecology, sex, sustainability: it is the testimony of someone who has recovered for themselves what humanity as a whole has lost – a sacred, loving and active relationship with the planet itself – and who sees in this part of the solution to the many crises affecting us all. But Al is not here telling us they have all the answers – what they present is a template for further conversation and process, a model that calls to all of us to fulfil our individual parts in order to realise our unified wholeness as part of planet Earth herself.
And what of Queer Deities and Sacred Sluts perhaps you are asking?
“We need queer deities so we can write our new stories. We need them to provide us with models and with pictures of ourselves. We need them to remind us that we are part of history and of the ancient past, whatever we have been told about these things. And we need them to support and guide us into the future.”
In the book we meet several queer deities from various cultures, but this is no encyclopedic list – that can be found elsewhere. Instead this is a call to wake up to the divine energies within our own souls.
“The multiplicity and variety of queer deities affirm for us that diversity can be our strength. They show us that we can transform and change as the will, and as the need, takes us. And the fact they are returning into human consciousness at this time shows us that it is time for us, too, as queer people, to reclaim our power, to return to our spiritual and magical roots, to be all that we are.”
Exploring the archetype of the Sacred Slut, Al connects our emerging queer consciousness to the Goddess temples of the ancient world, to european witchcraft and to eastern tantric ritual. As we rediscover the secrets to be found within paganism, this book charts the return of spirituality to the bodily sphere. Al presents the Sacred Slut as “anyone, of any gender, who has sex in a sacred fashion and for a sacred reason…. a sexual healer or a sex worker who considers their work to be a sacred calling… someone who sees having sex with their regular partner or partners as a sacred act, not in a faraway, abstract, sense, but profoundly in the here and now… someone who practises sex magic, alone or with others. They may be someone who has sex with non-material beings… part of the growing movement of ‘eco-sexuality’… someone who invokes deity into themselves and invites others to have sex with them.” Al writes about how we can use sexual energy to re-connect ourselves to the land we live on as well as to connect deeply within ourselves and with others, about how sacred sluttery is “about reclaiming power, about realising potential, about remembering the positivity and glory of our sexual beings.”
We live in a period of rapidly changing paradigms. Those of us on the path of self-discovery will recognise the topics this work explores, and I think will welcome this contribution to the ongoing discussions. Those new to queer spirituality will likely be challenged, and I hope intrigued by this window into a magical sub-culture that is exploring territories all humanity are touched by.
I’ve seen some works of queer theory that ponder and philosophise but here is something much more engaging – a story of real world, practical, active growth of an emerging queer healer, and of queer magical community that is pleasing to the eye (decent size clear font within a rather beautifully designed book cover) and to the heart and mind. By holding the book within a magical energy field – and inviting us to enter into that field, Al has spun a work to inspire, uplift and expand the story of what it is to be a 21st century queer on planet Earth.