Paganism Brought Me Home

August 2000 at the third Queer Pagan Camp in the rolling fields of Dorset, UK, my five year AIDS trial of shadow and light, of spiritual renewal, physical collapse and resurrection came to its culmination point. At a peak moment of communion a gap in the sky opened for me, loving voices came through reassuring me that here in Britain, in the nature and with the people of the land I was born into, lay my path: my confusion about how to re-enter and engage with the world post AIDS, where to direct my energy having experienced such a profound transformation of my being – having come to know the eternal part of my soul, to regard myself as a spirit visiting the Earth – was cast away. In the magic circle with fellow queer witches, druids, shamans, faerie workers, in the arms of the elements, ancestors and the goddess, I felt a divine wellness and wholeness sweep through my being, I felt my spirit expand in joy from deep in the earth to the sun and the moon. The desperately sick years were behind me, the mental anguish about facing life again, having become so comfortable with the idea of death, fell away in that Dorset field.

Five years earlier in 1995 I had made a profound shift in my mind, which led me into a total inner transformation, by dropping the atheism I had adopted – or I might say I believe I had been brainwashed into – by the age of 12. Impending death can focus the mind like that, and five years since my HIV+ diagnosis, I wanted some answers as to why I existed in the first place. So, being a rationally minded graduate in history from Cambridge University, I applied some logical thought to this situation, and started to study. It dawned on me that the question of the ‘meaning of life’ had been humanity’s obsession for thousands of years, but somehow the education I had received and the culture I had been exposed to, had not encouraged me to think about this, quite the opposite – growing up in the 1970s, the backlash against the hippy culture was a big influence on me, religion was in decline and materialist science was the new god.

The search for my true self did in fact start in my early 20s when I came out of the sexuality closet, but it took the crisis of HIV/AIDS to push me to take that search deeper. Once I realised just how much effort humanity had put into this already, I approached the question as a historian – reading source materials, studying mystical teachings from throughout history and from across the world. The idea of just approaching the mystery of our existence through only one religious or spiritual path seemed illogical as we came to the turn of the millennium when for the first time in history all of humanity’s explorations of the spiritual are accessible to us and so the opportunity is there for an intelligent modern human seeking answers to obtain a broader view and understanding, if they put the effort in.

This was not a simply intellectual exercise of course. This was practical too. I learnt about the different forms of meditation – passive, dynamic, visualisation, mantra… I caught onto the idea that to know the divine reality we need knowledge, but also experience – so I practised creating ritual spaces, learning to open my heart as well as my mind to the spirit through devotional practice. Inner guides appeared and led me on totally unexpected, exciting pathways of discovery through my own imagination. At a time when I was expecting to be sad about impending death, I found myself on the most exhilarating soul journey, unlike anything I had ever known before. Not knowing if there was any chance at all that I might survive AIDS I kept hope in my heart and dived into spiritual practice and study, somehow sensing right away that I was on a five year path, but to death or life at the end I knew not.

My turn around from ‘dying’ to ‘living’ came early 1998. I was part of the Lazarus phenomenon at that time, as skeletal men, often, like me, with leopard like Karposi Sarcoma spots on our bodies, suddenly turned the corner. I had refused to take AZT as I had seen friends who were on it pass away, tried ‘alternative’ therapies and only took medication once the protease inhibitors were available. In ’97 my CD4 count was down to 3, in June I was hospitalised with PCP, but responded to treatment and spent most of the year home in my cosy south London flat with my French partner, we each taking care of each other through various states of sickness. The love between us kept us alive, of that I am quite sure.

Excited at the prospect of survival, by the end of 1998 I was riding high on my first attempts to combine my new inner magical discoveries with other people. There was a gay spiritual event in London called Connections, at which I met an American called Carl Shapley who was a channel for the Ascended Masters. I shared my story with him and we spent a lot of time together, he seeing me as a servant of the Divine Mother, as a person who had awoken to his purpose on this planet through a classic shamanic death-rebirth ordeal, and a sign that many more magical folk would soon be waking up too – especially amongst the LGBT community.

With Carl I took part in a few ceremonies around London, including a night where we opened cosmic gates at Piccadilly Circus. He took me to a meeting at the House of Lords, for even there at that time a buzz around spiritual change was in the air, and, along with places like the UN, these were the kind of circles Carl was working in to bring light.

It was walking home along the Thames from that meeting at Parliament that a sense of enormity at the challenge of re-entering the world as a mystical channel hit me hard, and that night back at my flat I experienced a complete overwhelm in the form of a loss of individuality, a merging into a non-physical reality that terrified me. I felt myself on the knife edge between life and death, felt my physical survival was far from assured. I went through an internal mental collapse, and had to spend the next few months lying mostly in a darkened room, slowly putting myself back together.

Most of 1999 for me was a time of nervous anxiety as I tentatively met the world again. That summer saw my first time at Queer Pagan Camp, and the effect of meeting experienced gay, lesbian bi and trans pagans was utterly inspiring. My study of the religious paths to the divine had left me challenged by questions around sexuality as I returned to life. But here were happy, spiritual queers who embraced sex and all life’s pleasures with passion. I learned the Goddess creed “All Acts of Love and Pleasure are My Rituals” and I took it to heart. My internal opening to the spirit realms had brought me first to the presence of the Divine Mother and her angels -at that time I had no idea of the rich and ancient, global, history of queer people as servants to the Goddess, but in that Dorset field over the next few summers I was to get many direct and powerful experiences of what it actually means to be that, and how queer people reclaiming our natural spirituality, which religions have spent so many centuries suppressing, is a crucial part of the global shift in consciousness that humanity is undergoing.

In 2000 I made two pilgrimages, the first to the ashram of the Mother of Immortal Bliss, Mata Amritanandamayi, also known as Amma the Hugging Mother, in Kerala, and the second back to the English fields with the Queer Pagans. At the ashram I received powerful healing, and being in the company of other spiritual seekers was incredibly affirming. I came back to the UK feeling much stronger and more confident, but before I left India, a few days in the stunning nature and free spirited atmosphere of the Goa beaches brought me even more sense of belonging and ‘home’ than had the ashram. Then a few months later at the Dorset Camp I found that HOME in the English countryside amongst the most inspiring, talented, unique and magical queers I had ever met.

I have spent the last 20 years seeking to meet other queers on their own path of self-discovery and awakening, joining the global Radical Faerie community, where in sanctuaries and gatherings we reclaim the sacred power inherent in queerness, explore our gifts as healers, transformational artists, midwives to the dying, walkers between the worlds. In London I set up the Queer Spirit Circle in 2005 with a lesbian friend named Anna, offering the space as a meeting point for queers of any spiritual persuasion, which continues 15 years later as a Full Moon Drum Circle, a non-commercial event where sometimes up to 100 people gather for spiritual and social interaction. The rapid growth of the network in the UK led to the birth of Queer Spirit Festival in 2016 – five day camping festival of queer magic, the third of which took place in 2019.

I have also spent the last 2 decades living my life in tune with the planet’s natural cycles and with ever growing understanding of the interplay between the cosmic forces of the solar system and our human experience. Paganism gives us the tools to live in a state of self-acceptance and harmony – the four elements give us a map of the human being that is expansive and health-giving, helping us to engage all the parts of our nature (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual) as equally important; the solstices and equinoxes are natural planetary turning points that occur within our bodies and minds also; the zodiac year maps out the journey of the soul in symbolic language (showing us the way home); the moon guides and influences our emotional fields all the time. By giving these aspects of life our attention, eg by making ceremony to align ourselves with the divine rhythms of existence such as full moons etc, we bring our personal energy fields into harmony and alignment with life itself.

When faced with death I turned to the world’s great religions for answers to the meaning of life. I found that at their core they all said the same thing, about the unity of consciousness, how its nature is love, that it emerges through nature and becomes us. But religion in the world was not teaching these things, not spreading this simple divine perspective, certainly not living up to it. Eastern religions taught me much, particularly the complex and fascinating philosophies of Hinduism – which, we had been told at school, is a ‘pagan’ faith, where many gods are worshipped just as the old ‘primitive, foolish, ignorant’ people of Europe had once done before the arrival of glorious Christianity – what a lot of lies we were told back in those Religious Education lessons. Pagans were mocked for worshipping the Sun and Moon, rocks and trees, and I’m not sure the fact that paganism was reviving in the UK rapidly since the 1950s was mentioned.

When, during my AIDS study years I discovered the glorious, universal light contained in Hinduism I figured out that our own European paganism must come from the same ancient source, contain the same wisdom and joy (features that seemed so lacking in the patriarchal monotheistic religions), and when I got to meet Queer Pagans and as I have celebrated with Radical Faeries I have found this to be true. As I have walked the Wheel of the Year and found a relationship with the spirit of the land in which I began this lifetime, I find that Celtic paganism gives the tools to create our own lives as a well-rounded, love filled, adventure – plus the tools to heal ourselves from the wounds we have gained and the belief in separation we have had to endure in a world that is in a serious, soul-numbing state of mental madness.

Once the whole world was ‘pagan’. The word implies attunement to nature and the planetary cycles, a recognition that we are part of those too, not separate from or above them. Pagan reminds us we know within ourselves how to talk and commune with trees, plants, animals and ancestors, that deities are there to reflect to us and help us discover the divine power in ourselves, that divinity is feminine and non-binary as well as masculine, and that the body is holy, with pleasure its natural way to worship existence itself. Religion taught me a lot about humanity’s long search for Self but Paganism is about embracing, being and manifesting that Self, about becoming an individualised, independent, self-actualised divine entity within the greater whole, not better than any part of it in any way, but simply and perfectly, eternally AT HOME in it.

Healing Power of the Drum

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

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

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

Other words might include healing, revealing, seeing, knowing

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

samhain ancestor shrine at london radical faerie drum circle

Allowing the energy to rise and fall

Listening is the key to tuning in

The mind naturally takes a back seat

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

The body revealed as ecstatic vehicle

of the lightbeing you are and always have been

Step into eternity

Allow the elements to restore and renew you

All life is One Dance, One Power, One Strength

Flowing through you, me, space, time and mind

In the rhythm we find our way home

Humans have always communed this way.

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

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We fight the good fight

with lipstick and kisses

made for pleasure not for punishment

we know that’s what a fist is;

faeries fucking for freedom

and fighting for the light

we’re frolicking and fornicating

to bring an end to the longest… darkest night.


Once, faerie menwomen opened

the gates to the cosmos

but power hungry straight men

became afraid of us…

they used their brawn

but we used our brains

hiding in temples, then theatres, monasteries, molly houses

we knew all along

our time would come again.


In Mesopotamia, in the temples of Inanna

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

priests made to serve the Great Goddess of Love and War

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

spreading into Greece, Rome and around the Meditteranean

long haired, bejewelled, loud and outrageous queers

leading ecstatic, raucous celebrations for hundreds of years:

beloved of the people and feared by the elite

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

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

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

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

Muslim leaders did the same, wiping out goddess worshipping people

and her genderqueer priest/esses as they spread the

dictatorship of the Father God.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and to this day, Moslems flock to visit this stone

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

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


The men of war made sex taboo

held down the power of women

made the queers feel shame

that’s how they took control

cut us all off from the whole:

without a strong feminine

and the queers with no role

the magic of life was lost

the earth, once our mother, became a resource

we are now seeing on the planet

the tragic cost:

mass extinction, all life under threat

the biggest step in humanity’s evolution

the biggest challenge yet.


Only by shifting our understanding of life

can humanity hope to change its ways and survive:

the good news on this terrifying journey is….

the Goddess and her Servants

are still alive…

and offering…


Freedom of the Soul


and from any gendered roles


and find out just Who We Are


we unite the earth and stars

we’re coming out of the bars

to proclaim Who We Are

What we are, Why we are HERE



Ecstatic celebrations

of body, mind, heart and soul

Fucking for freedom, to be whole is the goal:

Love, compassion and community

Queer pioneers are reclaiming our forgotten role.

A Tribe of Hearts


Radical Faeries gather around the world, creating zones of heart based communication, where we can retune our bodies, minds and spirits to the rhythms of nature, where we support, nourish and love each other, and find healing, purpose and inspiration. We are groups of Queers discovering the spiritual power hidden in sexuality, and learning to live in a new paradigm of co-operation, creativity, expansive love, consensus and Oneness.

Embracing subject:SUBJECT consciousness we overcome the hurdles within ourselves that prevent us meeting each other with love. We practice active listening in our heart circles, listening without judgement or reaction, growing in compassion and presence as we do so. This heart presence then inspires all our other activities, from cooking and washing up, to transformational workshops and ceremonies, to dancing and lovemaking. We honour the holiness of sexuality in our Love Temples and the healing touch of nature’s spirits, ancestor souls and queer deities, gradually shifting our understanding of life from the divide-and-conquer, materialist paradigm towards the full embrace of the divine dance of consciousness, co-created, expressed and shared through love, light and laughter.

Joy is the gift of spirit that we receive and develop in ourselves and that we bring to the wider world. Joy is a powerful vibration similar to love, but a more constant one – unlike love it has no shadow side. Joy is simply joy, coming from the soul and enjoyed in the body, heart and mind, it is the vibration of who we are as living spirit, fearless and adventurous, expressive and accepting, knowing and trusting, vulnerable yet strong, loving and praying. It’s what arises in us once we get the falsehoods of the ego, the fears and judgements etc of the mind, out of the way, and let who we really are shine through.

The faerie drums call out to all who are ready to hear and feel – the times are changing and queers have an important role to play in this change. For centuries our queer light and power has been denied and repressed, but in a few decades our presence in the world has undergone an incredible, mind-blowing shift. Our journey to sexual, social and political liberation has advanced in some parts of the world, and our next journey – of spiritual discovery (or re-discovery of who we have always been) and mystical emergence, which has been getting underway for some decades already in faerie groves and tantric playgrounds (mostly hidden from or ignored by mainstream gay life) is reaching a new level. What we go through, in this rapid journey from darkness to light, is forming a template for humanity as whole. Because of our long standing exclusion from the rituals of the rest of society, the hunger in some of us for tribe, for liberation, is very strong, and is fuelling our growth. We are fulfilling our archetypal role as scouts of consciousness, and if we can consolidate, strengthen and develop our tribe of hearts we will be a beacon for the rest of the lgbtiq+ cosmos and the whole world.

Rad Fae communities are one of the key places that we Queers are exploring new ways of relating and communicating. We are circles of people exploring what it can be to live in the presence of love, with trust, respect and in safety, in the sacred connection of souls having a multi-dimensional experience. We are emerging as a global force, a tribe of hearts.

People come to faeries from all kinds of backgrounds and spiritual/religious experience. We are a melting pot of ideas, vibrations and potential. Whether we have spiritual beliefs/practices or not, in faerie community we can get a direct experience of love-in-action, of heightened frequencies, of deep intimacy (with each other and all creation (on a good day)), of life as a cosmic dance. In mystical language, it could be said we open the gates to the goddess – to the shakti presence in us and all creation – which the queer interplay of gender energies within us enable us to attune to and be aware of. This shakti presence uplifts, transforms and changes the game of life. Queers work and play with this magic all the time, in faerie space we get to turn the volume UP.

This is why it works – in the realm of the Goddess there is no search for enlightenment, only the experience that it is already there, connecting us, feeding us, enabling us, blessing us, encouraging us. When we are feeling free, bright and joyful we do not seek anything, we are experiencing ourselves in our natural state. The search for answers, the need to address our issues, the fear of the future, disappear and we live as love. Once open, this shakti gate just keeps on giving, and when our issues and fears resurface we will find new ways to address them. Faerie gatherings are held within sacred circles, where the unconditional love of the divine channelled through the elements that give us life meets our aspirational heart energies to reveal the way to healing, magic and splendour.

At some point we might find the abundance of emotion and experience overflows and overwhelms us. Then we may feel inclined to run away from faeries, and perhaps need to for a while – but where else in the world will we find such a pioneering, queer, eccentric and ecstatic tribe of playful, sexy, warrior souls? Faerie space is not perfect – it’s not designed to be a utopia escaping reality – it’s a transformational playground pointing the way to better quality of life experience, the like of which has never existed on planet earth before. The ride will not always be smooth, but there is no ride quite like it. For queers seeking deeper connection, both internally and externally, greater intimacy and meaning in life, Faerie space is providing a glimpse into what might be possible.

We don’t have to ‘become’ a faerie – to take on another label in any fierce or dogmatic fashion. In fact to do so would be so un-faerie. Faerie gives us the chance to embrace ultimate flexibility/fluidity, shapeshifters that we are – here is a space where queers who are called to explore the magical, mystical power within the human soul can gather with others and have the necessary, frequently ecstatic, fun to release it. Call it what we like, here we are scouts of consciousness taking and tackling the ‘essentialist’ route towards fulfilment of our queerness (ie exploring what makes us unique in the human panoply), as opposed to the ‘assimilationist’ path of the mainstream gay culture. We get to discover that we are witches, shamans, fools, that we are healers, artists and agents of transformation. For queers who already feel this or know this in themselves, and for all queers who have this in them, faerie space is a true homecoming – but not the end of the journey, it is in face a beginning.


Some humans are born with a sense of the numinous, the worlds beyond the physical, already built into their awareness, but many of us experience some kind of ‘revelation’ moment when the bigger picture of the creation opens up for us. This is often called an Awakening, and can come to us through all sorts of situations, both pleasant and unpleasant. It might be that we are ‘programmed’ to wake up to more levels of existence as we get older and ready to deal with what they bring to us. As the mainstream culture of our times does not recognise this process it is very common for the symptoms of awakening to be misunderstood and medicated away. It is possible that a lot of mental illness is due to this fundamental denial in the culture of our evolving, emerging, soul natures. Life conspires to bring us direct experiences of that nature, then leaving it in our hands as to when and how we adapt our lives to harmonise with it. If we are resistant we are to doing that, life will continue to try to push us into it, quite possibly through crises, illnesses etc.

Once we have seen the light, we need to find our own way to walk in it. Every part of us that is in darkness, in shadow, will be illuminated. The path of light, of conscious growth, means facing, embracing and healing the shadow in ourselves, and ultimately in all things.  It helps to remember we are on a path of healing – and not fall back into believing in pathological labels given to us by the materialist paradigm when things get tough.  Taking the time to focus and mark the seasonal shifts (equinoxes, solstices etc) and moon cycles can keep us on track, keep the deeper purpose high in our minds.  This can have very powerful effects, hastening our healing and evolution, when shared with others.

The religious paths of the Father, with their written treatises, rules and disciplines of yoga, meditation etc – and their promises of enlightenment and salvation (usually considered out of reach, at least in this lifetime) can provide us with vital tools to ground and centre ourselves in the changeable and challenging moments in community and in life in general.

The paths of the Mother Goddess are found in the cycles and rhythms and beings of nature, of the sun and moon, the planets and stars.  They stem from the fact that all this Creation around us is ONE DANCE constantly in a state of communion and communication. The power of the heavenly bodies and nature’s cycles is often revealed to us through direct experience of faerie ritual and community living. Through observing, honouring and studying the seasonal shifts, the moon cycles etc we discover that the shakti presence and wisdom is always there on offer to us, to help us open our minds and heal our souls. The ‘brainwashing’ we received from the rationalist, materialist school of thought that likely dominated our education makes many of us resistant to embrace the intuitive arts of astrology, tarot, kabbalah, shamanism etc, but these arts, that require the interplay of our left and right brains in order to be mastered, hold the keys to our souls. Whether we are actively ‘spiritual’ in a conventional sense or not, they can reveal the dance of spirit in matter, remind us that we are in fact That, release us from the cage of separation and existential angst that science may have dropped us in, however well meaning it’s efforts, and reveal to us just how magical, marvellous and divine our existence, both individually and collectively as a tribe of hearts, truly is.

Once awake we have to HEAL

in order to HEAL we have to FEEL

open our HEARTS and walk with COURAGE

distinguish between what is FALSE and what REAL

The Cosmos is calling us HOME


to the true nature of the HUMAN SOUL



UK Rad Fae and the Sexual Offences Act

“The first phase of Gay Liberation (1969-1990) created a small clearing in the forest of Heterosexual Supremacy where we could begin to find ourselves again with self-acceptance.
Now it is our historic responsibility to move beyond Gay Assimilation and Sexual
Orientation, the ideology of current gay leadership, to the next phase of Gay Liberation.  This work involves, with conscious awareness, existentially and historically reclaiming and discovering ourselves and roles we have played in society and continue to play, unconsciously. This work is, at a fundamental level, both political and spiritual.”

Radical Faerie pioneer and Queer Elder, Don Kilhefner


In the UK 2017 has seen actions, celebrations, art shows and much discussion around the 50 year anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act of 1967, which partially decriminalised sex between men in England and Wales. The act made it legal for two men aged over 21 to have sex in private – in fact if anyone else was in the same house at the time the sex was still illegal – this was overturned by the European court in 2000, not long ago. (Scotland legalised gay male sex on the same basis in 1981 and Northern Ireland in 1982).  In fact persecution of gay men did not suddenly end – there were over 15000 prosecutions for indecent gay behaviour in the decades following the act.  Only once the Labour government came to power in 1997 did the atmosphere really change, with the age of consent equalised (in 2 stages), the vile Tory Clause 28 repealed, plus adoption rights and civil partnerships were granted too.

The Wolfenden Report, on which the Sexual Offences Act was based, had actually been written a decade earlier, but it took the societal shifts of the 1960s before any action was taken.  During those 10 years the British Empire shrank – many, especially African, countries became independent. Britain retreated, leaving behind its legacy of homophobic attitudes and legislation, as it had already done in India and elsewhere.  The British Empire did so much to damage indigenous attitudes to gender-fluid individuals and same-sex erotic activity around the world, and its current formulation, the Commonwealth, continues to turn a blind eye to virulent homophobic legislation.

  • In India it is an offence to “voluntarily [have] carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal”.
  • In Mauritius, it is a crime to commit “sodomy or bestiality”.
  • In Uganda, a law provides for a seven-year jail term for anyone who conducts a same-sex marriage ceremony.
  • The Singapore Penal Code prohibits “any act of gross indecency with another male person” in “public or private”, with a maximum penalty of two years in prison.
  • Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has previously said that:“Homosexuals are worse than dogs and pigs; dogs and pigs will never engage in homosexual madness,” and followed this up in 2013 by stating that LGBT people were “worse than pigs, goats and birds”.


“The penalties for private, consensual sexual conduct between same sex adults remain harsh in a number of Commonwealth countries. They include 10 years imprisonment and hard labour in Jamaica, 14 years in Kenya, 20 years plus flogging in Malaysia, and 25 years in Trinidad and Tobago. Bangladesh, Barbados, Guyana, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Uganda have a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, while in the 12 northern states of Nigeria the maximum penalty for male homosexuality is death. In some countries such as Cameroon, arrests and imprisonment for acts that indicate homosexuality are frequently reported. In Uganda and Nigeria recent legislative proposals would significantly increase the penalties for homosexuality.

“Member states outlawing homosexuality include Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Guyana, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Malawi, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Kiribati and Tonga.” Wikipedia


While mainstream Gay culture has pursued a largely Assimilationist approach – consumerism, gay marriage etc, the Radical Faeries are a tribe of Gay Essentialists who create spaces around the world where queer people can live on our own terms, not those of the dominant hetero culture.  We get to explore who we are in zones of creative, supportive, safety.  The downsides of the Assimilationist universe – body fascism, objectification, judgmental bitchiness, deadly drug abuse etc – hardly show up in Faerie spaces. When we are free to express the love, lust and joy in our souls without fear or restriction we discover that there is much more to being queer than what we do sexually.

Radical Faerie tribes have emerged in the USA, UK, continental Europe, Israel and Australia since the 1970s, evolving on the sidelines of the queer universe, usually meeting far from cities in wild natural places.  This summer over 100 faeries from these tribes joined with representatives from countries where it is much, much harder to live out our lives at a GLOBAL FAERIE GATHERING held at Featherstone Castle in Northumberland, UK.  Queers from China, Russia, Pakistan, Singapore, Nigeria, Cameroon and Benin joined the gathering, the intention of which was to foster the emergence of Global Radical Faerie community, so that “queer people step up and claim our freedom and security and human rights, our meaningful and valuable place in society.”


This Faerie of Albion believes the situation for gay/queer people on the planet could be dramatically improved if the Commonwealth owned up to the evil legacy left by the British Empire. I would like to see Queen Elizabeth II, who has never spoken about gay issues, to send out a positive message to her queer subjects across the world.  I would like her

– to speak out about the plight of lgbtiq+ people in the Commonwealth
– apologise for the evil legacy of homophobic legislation that the British Empire left in place around the world
– affirm that gay, lesbian, trans, bi, intersex, queer people have important roles to play in society, in fact without our cultural and spiritual input there can never be balance in the world.

While Londoners have had a summer full of ’50 years partial decrim’ activities to explore – art shows, demos, parties etc – the Faeries have mostly been out and about at festivals and gatherings.  London Fae hold full moon get togethers in the city during the year, but in the summer we scatter to the four directions to soak up the good energy and good times.  Now as we prepare for our Autumn programme of activities the Equinox is presenting us with an opportunity to make a contribution to the commemoration in our own unique style – one of the things that makes Faeries so distinct from mainstream gay life is our love of ritual.  A plan has emerged to gather at Equinox (22nd Sept) at the mystical circle of 13 trees on the eastern edge of Green Park, close to Buckingham Palace and make ritual on the theme of balance before popping along for a photo opportunity on the Mall – this will be backed up with letters to the Palace and Commonwealth Office outlining our polite request for some affirmative action.  Surely the 50 year anniversary of the ’67 act has been headlined enough for the Queen to publicly mention homosexuality – transexuality – bisexuality for the first time in her reign?

We are asking the Commonwealth to send a message to its queer citizens.  We know that pressure on governments can be deleterious to our cause.  What we seek instead is a grassroots rising of confident queer campaigners who feel empowered and emboldened to take on the hatred and misinformation that abounds in their countries.  I am asking Queen Elizabeth to send a message of affirmation to the world that gives these activists, lovers and dreamers a boost they so desperately need.

Dove with a rainbow

The work we do as Radical Faeries links the spiritual with the political because it is about queer people around the world redefining Who We Are and letting the world know about it.  The Radical Faeries are inclusive of people of all abilities and from all roots. At this Equinox Action there will not be huge amounts of walking and the surfaces we move across are mostly flat, once assembled.

To join in come find us at the Tree Circle, which is just off the path that leads from Green Park station (London W1) towards Buckingham Palace – look for the trees adorned with ribbon – at 6pm prompt on Friday 22nd September.





Shokti’s Radical Faerie Fundamentals


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.

beltane faeries

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.


I also now blog at



50 faeries gathered at Featherstone Castle in the northern border lands of England, close to Hadrian’s Wall and near to many ancient stone circle sites, to make ritual at the Spring Equinox, making the transition from the inward, water energy of Pisces to the active, outer, fire energy of Aries. This was an experiment – faerie gatherings often happen in high summer (when the spirit is inviting us to kick back, relax and play) or mid winter (when we get cosy and enjoy sleepy, nurturing time together). What would this transition from the cosmic connection of the sign of the fishes to the very individuated energy of the ram bring? Perhaps there is a good reason faerie gatherings do not generally happen at this time of the year! Would the Aries fire overload the gathering with EGO? Would our sense of community withstand the heat?


The journey was a powerful one for all involved, but especially so for the 20+ of us who stayed the course of the whole ten days, and as a result serves as a powerful reminder of why it is worth to make the commitment to a whole gathering. That way the transformation and awakening in our souls can really take root.

The last days of the Pisces Sun brought a sense of cosmic connection to the group pretty much instantly. People arrived in good spirits, knowing the winter was about to end. Discovering how much warmer the castle was than what we are used to from our Imbolc gatherings was exciting too. Sunset around 6pm instead of 4pm made a huge difference. The land around was waking to Spring, daffodils in abundance and recently born lambs in the fields emitting an energy of playful joy and curiosity. On the last day of winter a large group of us went to visit the stone circles known as Long Meg and Little Meg, sensing ancestor spirits who left their mark a very long time ago, connecting us to the magical history of old Albion.


It was very energizing to be in the company of so many faeries who were excited to be making tribal ritual to mark this turning point of the year, and significant step in the process of transition from the astrological age of Pisces to that of Aquarius. We sat in stillness together for the moment of balance as the equinox arrived, then attuned to the fire energy by entering a ritual space with drums, bells, rattles and voices raised calling to the divine feminine in the form of Artemis/Diana, the goddess of the hunt, to enter our gathering and bring us into the energies of the new year just beginning. She came with advice and guidance, and at the same time the Sun broke through the clouds and lit up the end of the day.

For the rest of the gathering we were journeying in the energy of fire. Sun in Aries was joined by Moon in Sagittarius and there were sparks, conflicts and a bit of drama. All part of the rich journey we were on and a useful reminder that faerie space is not a utopia where difficult emotions do not enter – however it is a queertopia where our response to those emotions can be an evolved one. To my psychic sight it seemed that while the unified tribal energy of the group remained in place, within it we were all suddenly very self contained in our independent Arien energy fields. The experience became individualised – where were we going, what were we achieving, how did we see things – but held within the whole. Aries is the sign of the child, especially in its early stages and there was suddenly a degree of childlike/childish behaviour on show – but also (generally) the ability to own it, process it and if necessary remove it from the gathering, for the greater good of all.


Gathering as nature wakes up to Spring is a call to consciousness, to self responsibility and focus. This was the first albion gathering to feature daily ‘faerie fitness’ sessions for 90 minutes each morning, which were well attended, and set a spiritual energy of stillness, focus and connection in place for the day ahead. The intention was that the energy of a Spring gathering would not only bring us all vital sense of connection and community but would also help us to empower ourselves in whichever ways we sought, to help us shift out of winter dreamtime and into the energy of growth. Faerie space offers the opportunity to find focus, heal destructive attitudes and behaviours while being held in deep love and compassion. We transform through JOY, expressed through play, touch, music, drag, art, dance… and great feasts in our castle banqueting hall.

Disconnection from media, internet and mobiles frees up space in our energy fields, into which the nourishing vibes of nature and faerie love can flow. This facilitates a quietening of the mind, a deepening of feeling and expansion in the heart. We remember we are healers, opening and expanding our connection to spirit.


I am curious how the presence of atheists affects this energy flow. The original call for the very first faerie gathering in 1979 was an invitation to share and explore the spiritual dimensions of gay consciousness, and this purpose remains crucial to our time together. We all experience ‘altered states’ of being resulting from living closely together and allowing our hearts to soften and open. At this gathering we were remembering dearly beloved faerie Brian/Barbarella who passed out of his body in January, and who had been a regular visitor to the castle for several years. Yet while we made offerings and created spaces in which to remember him, I found it harder to pick up the presence of his spirit at the gathering than I had been doing in London since he died. I wonder if this is because there are people in our circle who keep their mind closed to spirit. Spirit does not interfere where it is not welcomed in my experience. There is of course an essential place for scepticism and doubt in our spiritual conversations as we shake off the Piscean shackles of religion, but I believe one of the fundamental things we are doing as a queer tribe is exploring our part in a complex multi-dimensional reality, forming a post religious but spiritually awake sensibility that will serve to bring us home to ourselves, revealing the innate perfection of our journey here on planet earth and the wondrous immortality of our souls.


Our gathering ended just two days before same sex couples became legally able to marry in the UK. We marked this significant moment in our own way with a colourful, bouncy handfasting ceremony held outside around a fire under glorious warm spring sunshine. At this moment when the wider society is making this acceptance that we queers are here to form love relationships and not be simply homo-‘sexual’, in our faerie space we are pushing the frontiers further – to reveal that love and compassion can be the root and grounding of all our interactions, the founding stones of our tribe. As such we stand as an example to the rest of queer and non-queer society, we are scouts exploring a new way of being. Maybe it will take a century or more before the world wants to take notice, but that is not going to stop us. The world needs us to create these healing spaces and discover that we are perhaps part of a much longer tradition than we realise, one which writer E.M. Forster described thus:

“An aristocracy of the sensitive, the considerate, and the plucky are to be found in all nations and classes, and through all the ages. And there is a secret undertanding between them when they meet. They represent the true human tradition, the one queer victory of our race over cruelty and chaos.”    We Faeries truly belong in castles.


Dear Faeries of Europe

Dear Euro Faerie Kin

our early gatherings were brave, pioneering and extremely blessed. When I found the tribe in 2001 on the island of Terschelling there was a deep anchored zone of trust, affection, glamour and play going on. The magic boy shone out in every faerie and I figured this was a home in which we guys could feel safe to let down the barriers and play with all the joy we had once known as an innocent child. This was a return to childhood to relive camaraderie and delight in the company of other boys but this time without the taboos around sexuality, camp and sharing affection that at some point had limited, or shattered, our childhood experience of this heavenly scenario.


I had been studying the world’s spiritual and mystical traditions for six years leading up to my arrival in faerieland, and immediately I saw that our childlike return to innocence was a gateway to the spiritual dimensions. Dropping our judgements and fears of each other allowed our souls to join in many magical ways, our gatherings became a dance seemingly coordinated invisibly from spirit. Closeness to nature and closeness to each other through heart centred sharing and living together made this miracle possible. We made our own rituals, honouring nature, remembering the goddess, celebrating love. I felt part of an Aquarian brotherhood and am super proud in the last decade to have been part of developing faerie space in the UK and getting our first european sanctuary, Folleterre, up and running in France (and now we have faerie home in Austria too)


Not every faerie was as delighted to see the spiritual promise of what we were doing together. Some have hang ups about god and goddess, about spirit, and cannot easily let go of the rational scientific outlook that has served us well during the decades of our queer emancipation. These faeries really just wanted to play, they wanted this dream of childhood to continue eternally. On the other hand, some of us found the emphasis on play, on drag and laughter a little relentless and were keen to acknowledge the spiritual potential in what we were doing by injecting more shamanism, more ritual, more light.


A few years on, and both the play aspect and the shamanic spark of faerie space are going strong. We have a remarkable community in which our emotions and spirituality are honoured, in contrast to most of mainstream gay life. We have opened the doors and our hearts to women and trans faeries, and our spaces are evolving. Folleterre is running spring-autumn calendar of gatherings, there has been a (perhaps final) return to Terschelling, gatherings in Berlin and in 2013 for the first time one in Austria. The Albion branch of the euro-tribe now holds gatherings in Glastonbury, the UK centre of all things mystical, as well as Northumberland castle Featherstone. At every gathering some new faeries are welcomed into the magic, and experienced faeries gradually gain in confidence, bringing more joy and magic to the pot. Our spaces are all about what each bring to them. They are superbly aquarian in the way anybody can initiate, and nobody has to ‘lead’. We are exploring self-knowledge, relationship and community in truly radical ways – exploring who we are on every level. We are a spiritual force, because in our spaces we heal our spirits, and expand them… We heal our hearts and expand them. We open our minds and we shower each other’s bodies and whole beings with affection, touch and love. Stuff we all need.


Faerie space is not about finding the ‘right’ spiritual attitude, or joining any belief system. It is a space in which we can all follow our own spirit, get to know ourselves as spirit as well as flesh, where we can release limiting beliefs and inherited shame, guilt and fear, freeing ourselves from religious or atheistic mindsets that cripple the soul and entering into the rainbow age of aquarius. All we really have to do is open our hearts and it all starts to work.


But we do need to let the inner child come out and play. If we do not, then we become more reliant on other means to build connection – alcohol, drugs, exaggerated sexuality: the things the commercial scenes sell so well. At faeries we discovered there is a more fundamental and healthy route to the bliss of loving community – it requires honesty, openness, vulnerability, innocence and trust. Let’s not overlook these factors in our rush for joy and celebration. What makes us radical is how REAL we are. Life offers lots of ways to escape pain and suffering, faerie life offers the chance to pull those things out at the root as the divine child in us finds rebirth and the chance to revel in who he/she really is.


Please let us acknowledge too that faerie space is part of a bigger, global, energy of transformation. We are part of the rainbow movement of personal liberty and soul growth. We are bearers of light giving birth to the Aquarian age, scouts of consciousness exploring deep and real ways of being with each other, we are heart warriors and signs to both the lgbt community that spirituality can be lived joyfully, on our own terms, and to the wide world that queers are waking up to the light and discovering our special relationship with it.






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.




Albion Faerie gathering at FEATHERSTONE CASTLE March 17-27


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

March 2014, details at


LoveSpirit Festival


EuroFaerie gatherings at FOLLETERRE sanctuary in France.


Men’s Tantra Festival September 6 – 10


Touch-Magic events


GayLoveSpirit workshops


Queer Conscious Sex


Men’s naked yoga in London


Queer Pagan Camp


Men’s buddhist meditation:


Quest gay men’s workshops


Loving Men retreats



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

Winter Solstice 2013

Winter Solstice is a time to come out of the darkness, leave our hermitages, break our hibernation and isolation, connect with our tribe, our kin and fill each other with light and positivity so that we feel truly loved and strengthened as we step into the three winter months ahead.

Winter is a time for healing, for turning within and taking some down time from the demands of life.  Modern society doesn’t want us to do this, so we may have to make extra effort to give ourselves space to ride this natural energy wave. But if we don’t chances are illness will come along and force us to take the rest the winter season demands of us.

At the solstice we celebrate the return of the light, for we have reached the longest night of the year.  This is the point to set intentions, express wishes and goals for the year ahead – wishes that can then incubate during the winter months to sprout up into action in the spring.  it is a time to reflect on the year just gone and think about where and how we would like to be in our lives in six months time.

The Solstice, and Christmas coming alongside it, are both celebrations of spiritual birth, when we are ‘born again’ as beings of light.  Christ the Saviour was one of a line of deities that the ancient pagan world long celebrated at this time.  The solstice brings the energy of renewal, and although there are three months of winter ahead, these can be experienced as a journey of healing, as sacred time when the reborn light in us is nurtured so as to shine brightly during the summer.

Radical Faeries gather in Wheatsheaf Hall in Vauxhall, south London, on Friday 20th December as we go into the longest night of the year.  One year ago we met at the same place on the occasion of the end of the mayan calendar and stepped through our very own portal into a new age of light, understanding and love.  This year we have a chance at the solstice to dance with all the emotions and experiences this transformational year 2013 has brought us.  The drums call us to come out and play, to express and be blessed, to be seen and be free.  Another big year of change is about to commence – with the power of tribe behind us we can feel more empowered to handle the challenges and rise into the best of what we wish to be.