world aids day 2015

I was diagnosed HIV+ 25 years ago in September 1990. I had full blown AIDS from 1995-8, my CD4 count dropping to 3 and almost dying from PCP and KS lesions that spread into my lungs and throat. I responded to approaching death by diving deeply into a search for a purpose to life, soon awed by what I found in paganism, buddhism and other paths, I surrendered my atheistic mindset before the great mystery of our incarnation, which our modern secular rationalist materialist culture largely discourages us from probing. I found that the keys to heaven, to liberation and enlightenment are indeed within, though it often takes something as dramatic as a terminal illness, or addiction, to make us turn away from the never ending stream of external stimulation that comes our way and face what is inside us.

HIV lead me to the path of SOUL HEALING, it showed me that HEALING IS VITAL.  Healing involves un-learning the nonsense we have filled our minds with and developing an understanding of ourselves on many levels. There is nothing more fundamental to human life than the search for who we are. Once religion dictated the answers to us and science tends to do the same. Capitalist consumer culture has provided us with the means to easily fill our lives with other fascinations and ignore the question all together. Things are however changing, as more people are taking steps to think for themselves, and are experiencing their spiritual nature through rituals, medicine plants, meditation, yoga, reiki etc. Yet gay life is in another crisis, this time it is an epidemic of irresponsible chemically fuelled sexual behaviours among gay men leading to breakdowns, infections, addictions. Increasing numbers of gay men are pushing themselves to the edge.. an edge not so dissimilar from AIDS, except release through death is less likely and no medication is going to save the day. The reasons for the rapid arrival of this situation are much discussed – but generally the root cause – THAT WE ARE ALL ON A SEARCH FOR THE TRUE SELF, FOR TRANSCENDENT EXPERIENCE THAT GIVES US A TASTE OF THE POTENTIAL IN OUR SOUL – is overlooked. Self-Knowledge is what we all seek, though mostly we have no idea that that is what is going on. Nor do we know that there are easier ways to come to self knowledge. Gay culture could turn this crisis around before it gets out of hand by putting the soul at the centre of things. Now that beautiful gym or yoga sculpted bodies are so prevalent, it is surely time to ask how can we look after our souls better? Because a horny physique .. and a shining soul… is a lot sexier than a hot body with an intoxicated, self-hating, spiritually unaware man inside it.

winged-heart

I AWOKE TO LIFE THROUGH DEATH

WOKE UP TO SPIRITUALITY THROUGH SEXUALITY

DISCOVERED LOVE CAUSES US TO EVOLVE

REALISED IN ETERNITY WE NEVER GET OLD

Physicists say it, mystics have always said it, ravers take drugs to feel it –

EVERYTHING IS ENERGY

MOVING, CHANGING CONSTANTLY

WE HUMANS ARE ITS CHANNELS- CONDUITS

WE CREATE THE WORLD WE LIVE IN

WE HAVE NOT YET UNDERSTOOD HOW POWERFUL WE ARE

Like children we have enjoyed our toys

Unaware for a long time that we were destroying the planet that enables us to live, using up its resources and wiping out many of its inhabitants

Like madmen we have developed technologies that we can use to destroy ourselves

NOT REALISING WE ARE ALL ONE,

WE COMPETE, WE FIGHT, WE DESTROY

Ignoring the strongest impulse in us –

TO LIVE IN PEACE, TO LOVE, TO CELEBRATE,

How many on earth now want to continue to live the old dramas of conflict?

The earth is in crisis. Time is running out

Voices of peace and compassion must become stronger than those of conflict and hate

OR IT MAY BE TOO LATE

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Gay men shag as the world collapses, unaware that we are the healers, the peacemakers, spiritual-SHAMANIC souls who have evolved beyond religious regulation in order to bring transcendence to the world, and that we are needed for the love, joy, creativity and passion we bring to the planet and because there is power in our love making – spiritual power, that was once honoured and respected by many native peoples the world over, and is still remembered today by some.  We also seem obsessed with our masculinity, though it is from the feminine within us that half of our magic comes.  More attention to our connection to the feminine might help balance the insatiable search for drugged up man-love that so many seem to be stuck in.

Many queer people love to get high, to love intensely, to explore sexual extremes. Our voyages into ecstasy are openings to our spiritual nature, with the potential to reveal to us the multidimensional, vibrational reality we are part of. Because of the attitudes of religion most of us do not choose to explore the spiritual urges we find on our sexually charged, often chemically enhanced bliss trips, but if we look beyond the limited scope of the commercially driven gay scene there is an ever increasing rainbow of avenues for us to explore and express who we are. Gay liberation is only 5 decades old, our collective culture has yet to fully evolve. We are big on passion and play but short on compassion and prayer. But we are a spiritual people, finding our way in a world that has denied us for too long, and our journey of liberation is ongoing.

That world is sick and it needs our healing gifts.

This is the calling of the twenty first century queer: to learn to unite the body and soul, the genders within ourselves, the sexual and the spiritual and find the healing role we are here to play in the human family.

HEALING IS VITAL

www.albionfaeries.org.uk

www.queerspirit.net

www.folleterre.org

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The beginning of the end for HIV?

World Aids Day 2014: as i travelled in to central London to speak at a ‘Let’s Talk About Gay Men, Sex and Drugs’ event at the Charing Cross Road Manbar, there were only a few red ribbons around on the tube – and only on gay men it seemed – with no acknowledgement of the day on the front page of the Evening Standard.  They missed the scoop, which i found on the BBC website when i got back home:  “HIV evolving into milder form” – a team of scientists in Oxford are telling us their research reveals “the virus is being “watered down” as it adapts to our immune systems.”  They even speculate “the virus may eventually become “almost harmless” as it continues to evolve.”   Apparently the antiretroviral drugs are targetting the more virulent forms of the virus and encouraging the milder ones to survive.

The scientists are keen to point out HIV is still deadly and isn’t going away in a hurry – but also saying: “We are observing evolution happening in front of us and it is surprising how quickly the process is happening.”

I want to say the same about gay life based on some of the things i heard at the Manbar last night.  The community gathered on Charing Cross Road, a cross generational event and it was a relief to be at a World Aids Day event that made room for the expression of our intellect, emotion and creativity – rather than being just another fundraiser, where we are encouraged to drink beer and throw money in buckets.  It was actually more than a little bizarre to be in the former 79CXR, once known as a haunt of lustful and sleazy pick up vibes, hearing intelligent, witty and insightful words from so many men.  Pubs have been hugely important in gay culture during recent decades, but they can rather reduce us all to a low common denominator of predatory, drunken behaviour.  Speaking to each other, about things that matter, is not the norm on our gay scene which often provides us a wordless escape from our lives into altered queer realities.  On this night however I felt the potential of our social spaces to serve as community hubs.  I remembered how AIDS brought us together as a community – the slow response from the authorities forcing us to become more organised, more militant and more compassionate with each other – and i felt some of that spirit last night.

I also saw how COMPLEX our situation has become.  There are so many levels to our situation: every speaker last night had something different and something fascinating to say to the crowd in their 5 minute slot.  Dan from ACTUP spoke proudly of their action to deliver a load of bullshit to the door of UKIP that had happened that very day.  Scene podcasters Dylan and Jack, poet Alexis Gregory and several open mike contributors presented tales of gay party life, which comes over as ecstatic, hilarious and tragic at the same time.  In just a few years things have changed enormously, and those that would deny that there is a massive drug use crisis in gay London have got their heads in the sand.  Two decades ago injecting drugs was unheard of on the scene, but now slamming parties are quite normalised; the inability many experience to have sex without drugs came up a lot – also the difficulty of finding someone to play with who doesn’t use chems.  Grindr was compared to cottaging – it used to be that gay men went into public toilets to find strangers to have sex with, now we sit at home and do it.  (My memory of cottaging suggests that the adrenalin of fear – of attack or arrest – was great enough to get the ecstatic juices flowing.  Although you would see the occasional drunken man in a cottage, taking drugs was not going to work, you needed your wits about you to indulge in this dangerous game.)

I stood up to offer some poetic insights into the situation, based on my 25 journey with the virus and the internal, spiritual, transformation it provoked in me.  Telling the pub that my lowest cd4 count back in the 90s was 3 earned me their focussed attention.  I was not the only one bringing some spirituality into the night – young poet Nasser spoke of how we need faith in something in order to steer our personal ship through life’s waters: in ourselves, in a god, in Cher – something!   In the contributions i saw how this complex situation of lust, drugs and disease forces us a gay community to move beyond judgement.  There were several pleas for this last night, and I felt the call resonated in the crowd.   The drugs open the gates to great times, there is no point in denying that.  Condom free sex is glorified in porn and in life as the best thing on earth (though other perspectives were expressed last night, were given some much needed air).  If we judge each other’s behaviours the conversation will go nowhere.  It’s not hard to see that many men are using each other like commodities to be enjoyed and discarded.  it’s clear that drug use gets out of hand for some, and that underlying our behaviours is our old friend SHAME.  We are only a few decades into our gay liberation, we are still inventing, re-inventing, what it is to be a same sex lover on this planet.  We clearly need to love each other, and ourselves, more. As a community, a tribe within the human family, we have some serious healing to address.  What has encouraged me after attending this gathering of scene queens who care is that there are signs of that healing, of expanded love and some spiritual awareness emerging from many angles and from every age group.

The night’s revelations peaked for me when Gregory Mitchell, writer and activist on PrEP, presented a vision of the future where a daily Truvada pill would provide protection against infection from HIV.  Greg, who was growing up when homosexuality was still illegal, and remembers pre-aids sexual  freedom, has remained hiv negative and enjoyed an active sex life over the decades (though in the 80s he said he stopped having sex all together, it just became too scary).  He proudly sported a #TruvadaWhore t shirt and painted a picture of happier times to come.  So far, PrEP, pre-exposure prophylaxis, is showing a 99% success rate.  A two year trial is currently underway in the UK.  It is estimated that if men who are at risk of infection use PrEP it could be possible to eradicate the virus from the gay community within two to three decades.

Is there a sense growing amongst us, a wisdom emerging, that understands that nothing is ever entirely dark or light?  There are two sides (at least) to every story.  The drug mania, like HIV, is part of our evolution as a sub-tribe of humanity freed from centuries of repression.  In some parts of the world we are still persecuted – African presidents call us Satanic – and still live in abject fear.  Here in the west we have gained some freedom – including the freedom to destroy ourselves through unbridled excesses. I believe we owe it to our brethren and sisters around the world to rapidly evolve through our collective crises and become powerful examples to the world of the LOVE, LIGHT AND HEALING we bring to the human family.  The powers that be are not going to stop us throwing ourselves off the cliffs of insane addictions and incurable diseases, as in the 80s and 90s if we want to create a better, stronger, more caring, more creative, queer community we have to do it for ourselves.

Congratulations to Pat Cash, David Stuart and the Manbar for hosting a World Aids Day event with brain, heart and balls.aidsribbons

HIV points us to the heart of the matter

HIV points us to the heart of the matter

a virus calling us to heal in body, mind and soul.

Healing is Vital, even a virus plays a role

on our human journey to becoming whole.

who are we?  what do we want in our lives?

in what ways can we care for ourselves better?

hiv will make us ask these things

we might learn that our answers, our thinking affects how we feel

we might see that emotional well-being leads to physical health

we might see what is false and what is real

in our lives as we grope forwards in the darkness

not knowing if sickness lurks down the line

not knowing if we’re living on borrowed time

at the same time we’re liberated from fear of infection

bareback sex offers itself from every direction

chem fuelled party life that brings escape from the anguish

and a sense both of brotherhood and release

our unspoken truth that since we are infected and life may be short

we may as well live it to the high vibrational max

glory in our bodies, our shamanic rituals

and the joy we can give or take from each other

whether we are long term or momentary lovers.

It’s hard to be motivated to work for the system

or try to improve life on earth

when you don’t see the point any more

you’ve been told all your life your existence is abhorrent

perhaps you started to believe it?

Society would like us to take the pills and continue to feed the economic dream

but HIV wants to teach us that life is more than it seems

wants us to face our demons, heal our wounds and discover our potential

for the sake of those to come, our success is essential.

If we just take the pills and don’t take the healing journey

we are missing the light within the darkness

and the darkness will eventually swallow us up.

here’s the rub:

HIV is the middle name of GOD

SHIVA SHIVA SHIVA SHIVA

the dancer, the destroyer, the oneness sublime

calling calling to the people of earth

to find his divine presence INSIDE

All life’s crises hold an opportunity

nothing is ever only dark or light

HIV can awaken in us, our spiritual sight.

Gays don’t like religion, thanks 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.

we are not just biology, chemistry, physics

we are mind, emotion and ecstatic spirit

we are air, water, earth and fire

HIV is not the end, it’s a stepladder to a life lived higher

drugs are a shortcut, or a signpost on the way

whether they become our master or we master them

we will have to move on from them one day

once we’ve opened our energy bodies through all that play

we come back to CONSCIOUSNESS as the only WAY.

We can break through all pain and fear

discover there’s so much more to being queer

we’re called gay because our souls were born happy

unconditional engagement with life lived from the heart

we brighten the world when we fulfil our art

of enchantment, love and play

HIV takes us to the heart of the matter

the heart of being gay.

shiva

WORLD AIDS DAY 2014

Coming Out is the start of the journey. Self-discovery is a lifetime’s path. Gay liberation has led to massive advances for the lgbt community in terms of political rights and social acceptance, at least in some parts of the world. The sexual revolution of the 1960s produced an environment where we are free to explore our sexuality as never before. But are many of us as yet exploring how far sexuality can take us? The spiritual aspects of sex, its ability to align us with our souls, higher selves and the divine, are little discussed in a queer culture that owes its very existence to the liberal, secular spirit of the twentieth century. The role of transgendered beings as shamans in the indigenous tribes of the planet is an indicator of what we might bring to the human family. So is the fact that for centuries in the west sensitive men and women who did not wish to marry (or go to war/engage in commerce) found refuge in the Church, where we fulfilled a natural role of service to the community.

Modern queers in the west have been liberated from the closet into a largely godless world. The human spirit’s desire to break taboos and explore the limits of its capacity for pleasure has been set free in us. No God is judging us, says the secular world that enabled our political and social liberation, and that does not exactly rate spiritual self-realisation as a life goal. Gay men in particular are pursuing pleasure with an intensity and decadence perhaps not seen in Europe since ancient Rome, strewing casualties of desire and disease along the way. Gay men’s sexual culture is more known for its excess, its coldness and its casualties than for its love, safety and brotherhood. Released not only from the closet, but also from the churches and monasteries, there is little to anchor gay life, no spiritual vision of our purpose, no direction to our love making, beyond imitating the marriage and family habits of heterosexuals. We have been liberated from the closet and set free to throw ourselves into a gay pool of pleasure which can lead to a plughole of unconscious, selfish, hedonistic narcissistic devastation. Sex without Soul is not a healthy goal.

AIDS was the sign from the human soul that gay liberation was not complete. AIDS showed that we need responsibility in our play. The world has addressed the physical symptoms but not the spiritual causes of HIV. Thanks to medical science we managed to stem the tide of deaths, but not of infections – and that could be because HIV still has work to do. In a gay universe where god and spirit barely get a look in, HIV is bringing to us, one by one, certain spiritual lessons that we need in order to awaken in the soul. We may have drugs now that hold off disease, if we can handle taking them and the side effects they might cause, but we will sooner or later find ourselves confronted by some kind of health crisis, that will make us stop and think. HIV challenges us to look at ourselves, find our own truths and heal our hearts. It brings the understanding that our emotional well being is intimately connected to our physical. It can make us learn to take responsibility for our own feelings, and how we can create emotional well being through our thoughts, words and actions. In other words it takes us on a spiritual journey – the hard way, it might be said, forced on us through fear and suffering rather than consciously chosen. The fear of what might happen to us, even today when the drugs do work, coupled with a lack of understanding of (respect for or even belief in) the nature of our souls, is great enough to drive many of us to extreme escapist behaviours through uncontrolled chemical and sexual abuse. Pursuing pleasure and escaping pain go together. But by running away from fear and avoiding the pain we are in fact resisting and running away from the discovery of our own Selves.

The very act of coming out is a spiritual one. To come out, we listen deeply to the soul within us and be true to what we find there. Coming out is a hugely courageous step in a world that still to a large extent fears or denies us, though in the west gay life is certainly much easier now. But coming out is not the end, there is more to find inside! Gay people carry vibrations that the world needs. Amongst us are artists, healers, mediators whose skills could have positive impact on the world. Amongst us are shamans, ritual magicians, fools and faeries who have the power to connect the many planes of consciousness, to communicate love and wisdom from between the worlds, and to unlock the doors to deep awakening in our souls. In our outward focussed, technological age, the ecstatic truths of the inner life are largely ignored, but still nearby waiting for us. The soul’s awakening is a stage of human evolution that a rational education has not prepared us for. There is no greater catalyst for that awakening than facing our own mortality.

Beyond the stories of prevention and pills, for many of us HIV acts as a trigger to force us to turn inwards in order to find our own deep truths, heal our hurts and address the matter of who we really are, what we really want, and how we live our lives. Gay culture could become much more aware of these questions, not presenting answers to the upcoming generations about what it means to be gay, but creating a culture that encourages each of us to seek out the truth of the soul inside and manifest that truth and light in the world. The process starts with coming out sexually, moves through the kind of relationships and social scenes we choose to create, plus how we express ourselves creatively, and concludes with a spiritual coming out, which is a coming home to the soul in all its multidimensional, post-rational, marvel. This is a path of transcending the fear of death, of discovering that darkness and disease are also ways to light, and tuning in to the fact that there is more to our existence than we may have thought.

In a world crippled by hatred, greed, shame and fear gay people have a huge role to play in creating a new paradigm built on love, cooperation and peace. These qualities are natural in (most of) us. We have gifts to bring to the world. HIV might be one of the ways we discover what those gifts are – through undertaking the healing journey that HIV invites us on. To become positive is no longer the end of the world – but it’s not situation normal any more either. Something inside changes when we become positive, and though we might avoid the questions of life and death that the virus triggers in us through taking the medicines that keep our bodies going, plus perhaps taking plenty of the recreational medicines that make us feel good, sooner or later some kind of crisis is going to force our hand. We could, individually and collectively, address the spiritual questions of life, rather than running away from them via crystal meth pipe etc, and avoid the crisis stage. Healing Is Vital, and HIV is the Universe forcing us to address that.

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i’ve written more about hiv’s lessons for the gay community and the whole world at http://gayspirituality.typepad.com/blog/2014/11/hiv-means-healing-is-vital-world-aids-day-2014.html

Accelerated Individual Discovery of Self

It’s WORLD AIDS DAY again and in the UK we hear that rate of infection amongst gay men is at an all time high!  Bars around the country bizarrely offer WAD ‘celebrations’ and it is even possible to pop down to the GAY bar in Soho to get an on the spot test. So I guess if the result is positive there is plenty of booze on hand to help you drown your sorrows and deplete your immune system further. HIV is not going away, and to treat it as a minor problem that can be managed by medications is missing the point entirely. HIV changes lives and challenges on every level possible – perhaps it will not go away until we have understood what it is trying to teach us.

 

HIV = Healing is Vital, healing of the legacy of guilt, shame, low self-worth etc that are still the normal baggage that gay men carry.

 

AIDS = Accelerated Individual Discovery of Self

 

I remember finding this interpretation of the dreaded acronym about 15 years ago, but cannot find it again now, or remember who came up with it. I know it was an American writer, but the phrase made so little impact on the mass consciousness that even typing it into google produces no helpful result.

 

Yes this definition of AIDS is exactly what I found the disease to be. Actually ‘disease’ feels like the wrong word – AIDS was so much more. It was a complete breakdown of normal function on every level possible. It was more than a physical ailment, it was also a mental, emotional and spiritual wipe out. AIDS was, it seems to me now, a soul condition – that could be regarded as an utter tragedy, or as a bizarre kind of ‘grace’ that blew away all the preconceptions about life that our society propagated and opened the door to revelation and understanding about life and death on an unexpectedly profound level.

 

Before the onset of aids-related symptoms, which started for me around 1995, I had never been inclined to seek answers to the big questions of life. I had rejected religion as a teenager and was content to accept the scientific view that life was a chance evolution, one that I considered should be enjoyed as much as possible while it lasted. A couple of years after my diagnosis I sat down and considered my lot, coming to the conclusion that since I had no feelings about my lack of awareness before birth, it was not going to be a bother to me that I would cease to be after death. It simply would not matter, to me or to the greater scheme of things, so why be upset about it? If my time was up my time was up.

 

A year or two later I had to face a feeling that had arisen in me. The feeling was that this existentialist viewpoint was simply not enough. It felt like an opt-out. Something inside me wanted to know more. I reflected that humanity had been asking questions about life and death for thousands of years – cultures, religions, philosophies, magical paths and mystery schools had emerged from the search for answers. There was so much here to explore, a vast area of knowledge and experience I knew nothing about, and which it seemed both irrational and unhelpful to dismiss just because mainstream science, the new kid on the existential block, seemed to do so.

 

I felt that I was changing on every level. I was experiencing emotions I had never felt before, both highly enjoyable ones and darker forms; my mind seemed to be running in pathways that I did not recognise, except perhaps from lsd trips. I started to experience that I had a spirit that could expand and fill with energy, or contract and take me on inner visionary journeys. It suddenly hit me that my assumption that I was a lump of meat with the ability to think was completely wrong, I began to know myself as an energy being with unexplored powers and a desire for knowledge that I had hardly tapped into, connected somehow to life itself in ways I had not imagined.

 

I wondered if I was undergoing a rapid evolution of the human condition, brought on by the imminent threat of death, my mind expanding and revealing new levels of awareness, my spirit coming to life. Psychic abilities, inspired creative surges, euphoric periods of intense excitement were suddenly part of my life. I felt I was becoming conscious of energy flows and how to direct them, feeling healing energy pouring through my hands, through others and from nature. I started to sense that on some deep level our souls were pushing us into life experiences that were going to wake us all up to a higher dimension of reality, where we would see the profound connections going on between all things as it became clear that life is an intricate dance, which normally our overactive thought processes and self-obsessive attitudes prevent us from detecting.

 

Getting out of the mind and into other forms of perception seemed to be the goal. I started to communicate with beings who had no physical form, I entertained the notion that consciousness can not be destroyed – our bodies might fail, but the sense of self, the ability to be aware, did not depend on the body. I stopped being afraid of death.

 

Around me my friends were dropping fast. Everybody I knew who took the only drug on offer to treat AIDS, the dreaded AZT, left the planet. I refused the drug and tried to hold back the advance of physical deterioration with herbal treatments, chinese medicine, spiritual healing. As my body got weaker and I succumbed to pneumonia, karposi’s sarcoma and sank down to a weight of 45 kg, I continued my spiritual quest. My inner eye had been opened to a much bigger reality than my senses had previously revealed to me. If I was about to leave my body I wanted to be ready to consciously merge my individual soul with the great spirit of creation, which I was now convinced was real. I saw all religions as attempts by humans to explain and relate to the great mystery that we are part of. Each faith limited in its view, but pointing to an aspect of the ultimate truth. The mystical voices from every path however all attested to the possibility of direct communication with source consciousness, and seemed always to point to an underlying unity of creation, held together and manifesting through the power of love.

 

Mystical writings from every corner of the world, plus my own inner journeys and visions and voices, led me to see my individual journey as part of a massive evolutionary surge. With all the world’s religions and magical paths available to be studied as the 21st century approached, it became certain to me that humanity was on the verge of a leap in consciousness to a greater understanding of who we are and what life is. The negations of the rational scientific outlook were just a phase we had to go through, to free the world of the domineering grip of religious dogma and to make us learn to think for ourselves.

 

AIDS had become for me a doorway to reviewing my understanding of life and to overcome the fear of death, plus it seemed an invitation to experience transcendent awareness, not as a drug induced trip but as part of normal life. AIDS had led me on a path that revealed to me that the SELF I felt myself to be, was a reflection of the one BEING that existed, of BEINGNESS ITSELF. My revelations showed me that there is only SELF in the universe, manifesting through everything, in an infinite variety of ways. I understood that I AM YOU AND YOU ARE ME, that we are all one and always will be. When we fight and kill and destroy our planet, we are destroying ourselves. When we love and nurture and respect each other we are furthering the cause of the evolution of life itself, we are bringing the leap in human consciousness closer. As a sensitive, peace loving gay man these realisations made simple plain sense, they were the values I had always lived by, quite naturally, without naming them.

 

I believe that many of my brothers on the journey of AIDS discovered the same thing. Most of them died however, leaving only some who can carry this knowledge forwards. But who wants to listen to us? Gay life soon switched to a hedonistic (perhaps head-in-the-sand) attitude unlike anything previously known on this planet, questions around death and the meaning of life gladly pushed aside as the suffering of the epidemic abated. Medications are given to HIV+ people way before they get to the point where facing serious illness and possible death are on the agenda. This makes it easy to ignore challenging questions and keeps us ‘in the system’: working, consuming and playing. Meanwhile the world rocks as one crisis builds on top of another, until it seems our ‘civilisation’, the eco-system and human life itself is in some sort of AIDS crisis that it has no idea how to solve.

 

All around me I see people in various states of confusion and denial about what is going on. This seems particularly to be the case amongst many of my queer tribe, and is reflected I believe in the HIV statistics. It is easy to run away from the pressures of life into sexual adventure, but the result so often is the crisis comes right home. A crucial wounding our tribe carries in common stems from the hatred poured onto us in the name of god. This prevents many of us from exploring spirituality in any form. Yet in gay people I see souls who are born to love, who accept and celebrate diversity, who seek peace and harmony with others and do not impose dictates despite the amount of shit that has been laid on us. Many of us seek transcendence on a frequent basis through drugs, dance and sexual adventure. We are born this way because we are ready for a new world – we are ready for Oneness – but for most of us the blinkers are still on, we do not see the light we carry, we do not see how much the world needs us to heal ourselves of the wounds society has inflicted on us, so that the powerful love we bear can bring change to this crisis-riddled planet. We do not see that the SELF in us is the SELF in all beings, though to be honest, I think we feel it, and on a deep level we know it. We are just not fully conscious of it yet.

 

Therefore, along with the notion that Accelerated Individual Discovery of Self was the potential underlying the suffering of the AIDS years, I offer the notion that HIV has not gone away because we have not yet heard its message – a message I would sum up as HEALING IS VITAL. Healing of the human condition of separation, fear and anxiety, finding wholeness.

 

When we strip away the layers of fear, shame, guilt, pain and confusion that have been the story of human life, and especially gay life, for so very long, we will get to the SELF. Harry Hay, one of the originators of the radical faerie culture, believed gay men were naturally attuned to ‘subject-subject consciousness’ – ie we empathise with others as being the same as ourselves, not as ‘objects’ separate from us. It is hard to find evidence that this is the case – gay life seems to be built on objectification these days, with gay media and cruise sites reducing us all to little more than beautiful sexual creatures and magnifying our feelings of inadequacy. But the potential is in us to break through such illusions. Great visionaries of gay love such as Walt Whitman and Edward Carpenter saw our potential as warriors of love and peace in the human family. These are the people we should be talking about, every young gay man ought to know about their ideas. And they also ought to know that gay people have been the spiritual leaders of humanity across the globe since ancient times, then we might be more inclined to explore our own spirit, instead of denying our souls at the same time as reaching for the tina pipe or syringe (which takes us into our soul energy, where all the bliss we seeks resides). The objectification and cold-heartedness of gay life needs to be revealed as the sham it is. We are a people born to love and to evolve, it is time our queer culture supported us to find out exactly who we are.

 

Yet gay press sites will not feature a blog like this. None of them would feature the LoveSpirit Festival that took place in London in September. Spirituality is taboo, and totally misunderstood, due to the suspicion we carry about religion. This has to change, because Healing Is Vital, and the pressure of evolution is for us to pursue Accelerated Individual Discovery of Self, although it is about time that discovery became a COLLECTIVE one.

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