All posts by Shokti

Radical Faerie Origins

in the words of those who were there!

From White Crane Journal #34, 1997 editor’s note:

Fairy was championed among hippie gay men, a self-referential term like the more inclusive “flower child.” It contained a reference back to childhood fascinations with insight into hidden, magical realities which the regular people, the adults — the straight people — knew nothing of. After all, people couldn’t see fairies unless the fairies wanted to be seen. For many in the “first generation of gay men” — those who came out as they were entering young adulthood at the time of the rise of gay liberation in 1969 — the same generation that years later was struck hardest by AIDS, fairy was a reference to Peter Pan, the creation of the 19th Century homosexual English writer J. M. Barrie, revivified by Walt Disney in the 1950s as that obviously “cute young gay guy” with the pixie friend who saved middle-class children from normalcy with the “good news” that if you just believe (i.e., if you’re not fooled by the socially accepted conventions about how things should be) you can fly.

“Fairy” was a term of derision turned positive in the style of “Jew” for Hebrews and of “faggot” for homosexuals. Though, in fact, “”fairy” was never, like faggot, an angry term of derision with overtones of violence and hate; rather it conveyed — and conveys — a delightful suggestion that, just as we are, gay men are light-hearted, whimsical and non-serious, i.e. “flighty.” In the hard, deadly serious, macho competitive dog-eat-dog world of modern, urban heterosexual males, the news that it’s okay to be non-serious is the proverbial breath of fresh air. It’s why everybody loves an effeminate homosexual as comedian (Are You Being Served’s Mr. Humphries, for example). It is interesting to observe that the effeminate comedy figure is often the truth-teller, the jester who can say anything to the King, the one who can “tell it like it is.”

‘Toby Marotta argued in The Politics of Homosexuality that gay liberation was the flower of the counterculture, the perfect demonstration of the notion of revolution through consciousness-change. Clearly when homosexuals changed how they thought about themselves, spurred on and supported by the work of the early activists (Harry Hay, Donald Webster Cory, Frank Kameny, Dick Leitsch, Craig Rodwell, Randy Wicker, Arthur Evans, Arthur Bell, Jim Owles, Marty Robinson, Bruce Voeller, Mitch Walker — to mention only a few), instead of miserably suffering their homosexuality, hiding and trying to change, they came out to playÉ and they discovered there were more of them than they’d ever imagined. They weren’t alone. And the others they discovered were wonderful people: attractive, appealing, sensitive, considerate, plucky — sometimes, maybe, a little “fucked up in the head,” as it were — but overall great people to have as comrades-in-arms (the flesh-and-blood kind). And that discovery changed gay community and gay identity forever.

from Contradictory Views on Radical Faerie Thought, by Mitch Walker, 1997:

In early 1979, Harry Hay, his longtime companion John Burnside, Don Kilhefner and I issued a public Call for a Spiritual Conference of Radical Faeries that unexpectedly drew hundreds of gay seekers to a remote desert retreat over the Labor Day weekend. We had modestly expected 50-75 guys to respond for this meeting on Gay Spirit, but the way-overflow crowd was so enthusiastic and the resulting weekend so fabulous that we immediately resolved from then on to foster Radical Faerie gatherings and circles wherever possible. At our second national gathering in the Rockies the next summer, even more queer men responded, and the resulting week-long effort had an even more smashing impact building on the first. And thus a grassroots social movement was born, the Radical Faerie Movement. Since then, Faerie circles and gatherings have spontaneously sprouted all over, nationally and overseas, and have become an ongoing feature of gay community life for over fifteen years.

Not only is the Faerie movement a significant part of contemporary gay life, but it is a uniquely influential one. It is the first indigenous spiritual tradition created and sustained by the gay male community in modern times. By “indigenous” I mean gay-centered and gay-engendered, in contrast to the various gay synagogues, churches, covens etc. In the latter groups, gayness is incidental or additional to the tradition espoused, while in the former it is central and causal. Radical Faeries celebrate and explore the Gay Spirit, which is itself the source of spiritual existence, wisdom and initiation. Because of its indigenous, gay-centered nature, the Radical Faerie movement pioneers a new seriousness about gayness, its depth and potential, thereby heralding a new stage in the meaning of Gay Liberation.

Over the years two strands of thought have developed about what the Faerie Movement was and should be — and some significant animosity between them. These strands can be identified by two charismatic characters in recent gay cultural history: Arthur Evans and Harry Hay.

Arthur Evans was a homosexual graduate student in philosophy at Columbia University who was politicized by the student uprisings that rocked Columbia during the spring of 1968. After the Stonewall Riots the next year he became involved with Manhattan’s fledgling Gay Liberation Front, and he helped establish the Gay Activist Alliance to supercede GLF. Then in the early 70s, Evans moved to San Francisco and, still the scholar, in 1973 began publishing articles on his own researched, philosophized and radicalized vision of gay history. In 1975 he and some friends formed a small pagan-inspired ritual group called “the Faery Circle” to act out the ecstatic pansexual revels he believed he had uncovered in the hidden past of Western Europe. In 1976 Evans gave a series of public lectures on his research, and in 1978 published his influential book Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture.

Arthur Evans

According to Evans, a pagan-influenced counterculture had long survived in Europe after the triumph of Christianity, featuring ecstatic sexual worship of nature, the Great Mother and a horned consort god typified by figures like Dionysos, Pan and Cernunnos, and a salient feature of this pagan counterculture was that its leaders were often women and gay men. It was this non-conforming counterculture that the Christian Church persecuted as “witches.” Famous from this argument is the notion that the epithet “faggot” derives from the use of homosexuals as tinder for the bonfires that burned witches and heretics.

Evans argued that by following this pagan-descended, goddess-centered, pansexual baccanalian spiritual tradition, gay people today could integrate a sense of gay pride, love of nature, and spiritual power into an ongoing experiential synthesis. This historical tradition, he said, was the basis of what has come to be called the Radical Faerie Movement.

Harry Hay

The other strain of thought can be identified with Harry Hay, co-founder of the Mattachine Society in 1951, and perhaps the pivotal figure in the creation of the modern gay movement. Hay was an idealist, non-conformist, and Marxist in the 1930s; he taught music history at the Southern California Labor School, and even as early as 1948 was trying to organize his homosexual friends into a political movement for social change. Important to Hay’s development is that his first homosexual experience had been with someone who had known a member of the short-lived Chicago-based Society for Human Rights in the 1920s that had been modeled on the earlier homosexual rights efforts in Germany by such men as Magnus Hirschfeld. Through that homosexual bonding, Hay was connected to a history, and a succession, of homosexual identification. Indeed, already by 1950 Harry Hay, building on earlier gay-centered thinkers, like Edward Carpenter and Karl Ulrichs, was defining gays as a separate people with our own characteristics and dimensions. And by 1970 he was articulating a magical “gay window” on reality entirely “other than” and alien to nongay thinking. In the early 70s he established a “circle of loving companions” to purposely live and explore these insights in gay consciousness. Hay’s fundamental concept is that what we today call a Gay People can be found in all times and places, such as the “third gender” people of tribal societies, or in European tradition, such as the original Mattachine brotherhood of free-thinking, liberated troubadours during the Middle Ages. These Mattachines were not simply homosexuals among groups of pagans. These were consciously homosexual people, and if they were attracted to paganism it is because, as homosexuals, they were opposed to the oppressiveness of mainstream culture, and were not “sexually liberated” because they were worshippers of Pan, but because they were queer (see Harry Hay, Radically Gay).

Harry Hay and Arthur Evans make for a fascinating contrast. Here were two gay men, each basically unknown to the other, promulgating similarly magical visions of gayness with parallel theories of sacred gay roles in past societies. Yet their visions went in diametrical directions. Arthur’s led to pansexual ecstatic revels infused by a man-and-woman-loving horned god and his mother, whereas Harry’s vision led to a reunion with one’s lost original Lover in concert with others through “subject-Subject consciousness” to thereby attain a homosexual cosmic wholeness that unlocks spiritual and creative treasures.

Mitch Walker

Harry, myself and the other founders — holding to the viewpoint of a Gay People — only came to use the word “faerie” as a title for a “movement” late in our thought process (this was a collective effort) and then as a reference to the “other” world of the Little People in Celtic lore, not to the outlaw worshippers — of all sexes and orientations — of the “old religion” of medieval Europe. In our view, faeries are the supernatural denizens of a homosexual world both feared and revered by the ordinary folk. The original faeries were so-called not because they worshipped the Three Fates, as Evans says about the fey leaders of pagan traditions, but because to encounter them was always highly fateful. In my opinion, Arthur Evans’s pansexual Dionysian vision is not actually gay-centered. The Faerie movement is “Radical” not because it is anti-Establishment but because it makes a revolutionary shift to homodeity itself as source of spiritual truth, rather than to alien sources — whether the breeder God of Christians or the bisexual Bacchus of Arthur Evans. Evans is, not surprisingly, a constructionist on gay orientation, claiming that the “dichotomy of homosexual vs. heterosexual is itself a modern cultural construct and that it fails to apply to the pan-sexualism of many ancient societies.” In contrast, Harry Hay and I are essentialists who feel there is a unique Gay Spirit separate and different from other sexual truths, occurring in all times and places. When we called the Faerie gathering in 1979, we were aiming to reclaim and explore the magical homosexual universe known by queer wisepeople in all cultural traditions. The tradition of gay radical essentialism expressed in the 1979 Call marks a historic break with the earlier-70s efforts at repossession of stigmatized gay labels: the Sissies, Faggots, Faeries, etc. of that era. These earlier efforts sought to theoretically desegregate then-current movements such as the counterculture, feminism, and socialism to include homosexuality, in effect subsuming gayness toward other agendas. Such efforts reflect a political position that minimizes group differences. In contrast, the Radical Faerie movement successfully arose on the ashes of these earlier efforts precisely because of its source in a different, gay nationalist tradition.

My Name Is Joseph And I Am A Pagan Priest.

(Joe recently connected with the London Rad Faeries at a drum circle and offers us this introduction to his work…)

My name is Jospeh and I am a Pagan priest. I am also a Queer person.

What is a Pagan Priest you might ask? Well, in essence, it’s a choice to dedicate a life, at least in part, to be of service to my community by bringing an opportunity to connect with self, the natural world and the Divine to those who are so inclined. “Priest” is just another word. Many people who do what I do, do not choose that particular label. I did spend a couple of years training as a Priest within a Pagan community, but this is not the only route to this path. More about that later.

I started on my journey with spirituality at about 15, I am now 35. At the time, being a Baby-Witch gave me a sense of empowerment, purpose and strength. As a queer teen I had the usual experience of many queerlings, a sense of being different, having to find myself in a world that tells me to conform, navigating fear and bullying and also, the joy of discovery. Identifying as a Witch meant I had to come out of two closets, the queer closet and the broom closet. Truly, I believe that rather than complicate the matter of finding myself and expressing that to the world, the intersection of my queerness and my paganness supported and strengthened these two complementary parts of who I am. Queerness can correspond to encountering challenges, especially at a young age, but to believe I could overcome anything with just the right combination of crystals, herbs and words certainly gave me courage.

Fast forward twenty years and my Paganism now plays a different role in my life. It is now a tool for connection and healing. I would say I was called to take the leap from solitary Witch to ceremonial leader after encountering the dark night of the soul, otherwise known as a complete collapse in mental health. For a while, crippling anxiety and panic were everyday experiences. Obsessive existential fears controlled my life, and I was lost to depression. The only light at the end of the tunnel was my relationship with my spirituality. In a sense I had to die to be reborn. I had to face my darkest fears in order to overcome them. From that point on I was called to leap deeper into spirituality and discover what I could offer the world. So, this led me to train as a Priest as part of a community of Goddess worshippers in Glastonbury. This was not an easy ride and what began here was a discovery that diversity and inclusion were not a given in Pagan communities. One side of myself, my paganness was fulfilled, but the other, my queerness, was not. What I found was that some spiritual communities are plagued by the same fate that befall many organised religion. A hotbed of transphobia, queerphobia, a lack of basic understanding and essentially a community that could not meet the needs of LGBTQ Pagans, not to mention people of colour or my disabled kin.

I was then pulled towards a new path. A path where queer people were at its centre not the peripheral. Where the focus was on actively developing Pagan practice and ceremony that spoke to diverse people. The path of radical inclusion! We deserve to be able to look into the face of the Divine and see ourselves. To see God as a pregnant trans man. To see Goddess as a disabled woman of colour. To experience connection with a deity who was beyond the binary. And so, my journey has led me to where I am now. Working towards Pagan practice that is fully inclusive and to designing ceremony that celebrates the lives of queer people. And so Indigo Earth Ceremonies was born. I walk my own path, a path of my own creation. The path of Indigo Earth.

Joseph Atiase is Priest of Indigo Earth and can be found at www.indigoearthceremonies.com

He is offering a summer solstice ritual – details via link below:

Summer Solstice Ceremony by Indigo Earth Tickets, Sat 18 Jun 2022 at 18:00 | Eventbrite

The Drum Circle Comes Home!

The Radical Faerie Queer Spirit Drum Circle has been meeting at south London’s Wheatsheaf Community Hall to celebrate full moons since 2012, and returns to the Hall for the Beltane Full Moon on May 14th 2022 after two years during which the venue was used as a coronavirus testing centre.

Often drawing 70+ people prior to the pandemic, the Drum Circle is where magically-minded queers of London meet for an evening of ritual, music, dance and socialising. We get in touch with, express, release the rising emotions at full moon – which at Beltane invites us to playfully and joyfully unite the physical body (Taurus Sun) with the deep passion and erotic power of the emotion and spirit within us (Scorpio Moon).

We will dedicate this Beltane Full Moon Circle to the liberation (physical and spiritual) of LGBTQ+ people the world over: to send the energy of solidarity to queers fighting for their right to exist and to fuel the emancipation of our queer spirit, which opens hearts, minds and gates of consciousness, connects worlds, helps souls pass through the veils, and channels creativity, healing and grace into the world.

Full moon Beltane peak of spring – a time to energise our lives, our projects, our relationships, through connecting the body and spirit. As at Samhain, the veils are thin – nature spirits want to dance with us and assist in weaving back together the many levels of reality. We do this weaving through music and dance, rhythm and movement, connecting, releasing, dropping the mind, getting out of the head and deeply into the body, the heart and emotions, until the spirit is moving our bodies on the dancefloor or our hands on the drum. Every taste of ecstasy is an opportunity for healing.

In order to prepare a space to open up our energy fields we attune to the elements and to the unconditionally loving source of consciousness, reclaiming and renewing for today the ancient link between queer people and the Goddess plus certain male and trans deities.

Invoking ancient queer deities of Europe:

PAN and DIONYSUS, good time deities who revelled in music, wine, sex and ecstatic connections.

ARTEMIS/DIANA, moon goddess with her virgin priestesses and eunuch priests, worshipped in London at site of St Pauls.

CYBELE, the ancient Goddess from Anatolia became the Great Mother of the Roman Empire, served by her queer and outrageous Gallae priests (who self-castrated in honour of ATTIS, the resurrected lover of the Goddess) for thousands of years until the rise of Christianity, ,

APHRODITE URANIA, considered the patron Goddess of same sex love in ancient Greece

GANYMEDE, who became the cup-bearer/lover of Zeus, king of the Gods, then became Aquarius in the zodiac. In Greece love between older and younger men was praised for its spiritual potential, as the centuries passed and life became less inspired by noble philosophy Ganymede evolved into catamite, meaning a boy used for sex, in Roman and medieval times.

Which divine beings would you invite to the party???

Around the world gender fluidity and homosexuality have always been associated with magic, priestcraft, shamanism, divination, ritual – especially with ecstatic ritual that lifts the human mind into states of union and elation. This is the part of our history that the modern Gay Liberation movement has yet to embrace and explore – through this journey of discovery we remember who we are.

At the Faerie Drum Circle the warriors, scouts, shamans and flute players gather. WHEATSHEAF HALL, WHEATSHEAF LANE off SOUTH LAMBETH ROAD, LONDON SW8 2UP. 7 – 11PM 14 MAY 2022

An Ancient Reference to Gays as Faerie Spirits

An Ancient Reference to Gays as Faerie Spirits

There is an ancient religious text from Persia that directly associates men who love men with the magical underworld of demons and faery spirits – the Vendidad of the Zoroastrian faith. Written around the same time as the 5th book of the Jewish Torah, Deuteronomy, which forbids Israelites from cross-dressing, becoming temple sex-workers, or bringing the earnings of female or male sex-workers (the males were known as ‘dogs’) into Jewish temples, the Vendidad basically calls men who sleep with men ‘faeries’.

In Deuteronomy the Hebrews were attempting to clearly define themselves as different to the many other tribes around. The prohibition in Leviticus against men sleeping with men uses the word word ‘toevah’, which has been translated into English as ‘abomination’ but etymologically is related to foreign ritual practices, and very possibly related to the Persian term used in the Vendidad. In the Zoroastrian text men who have sex with men are named ‘daevas’, translated as demons and related to the ‘deva’ spirits of the Indian sub-continent. Devas however are simply magical beings in India, not associated specifically with evil, whereas the Persians over time came to regard them as supernatural entities to be avoided. The oldest Zoroastrian text, the Gathas, calls the daevas ‘gods that are to be rejected’. In the Avesta, they are divinities that promote chaos and disorder, and in later tradition they become personifications of every evil possible.

The Vendidad is an early Zoroastrian text, dating back to around 800 BCE, that records conversations between the prophet and God, Ahura Mazda. One goes….

“Ahura Mazda answered: ‘The man that lies with mankind as man lies with womankind, or as woman lies with mankind, is the man that is a Daeva; this one is the man that is a worshipper of the Daevas, that is a male paramour of the Daevas, that is a female paramour of the Daevas, that is a wife to the Daeva; this is the man that is as bad as a Daeva, that is in his whole being a Daeva; this is the man that is a Daeva before he dies, and becomes one of the unseen Daevas after death: so is he, whether he has lain with mankind as mankind, or as womankind.”

— Avesta, Vendidad, Fargard 8. Funerals and purification, unlawful sex, Section V (32) Unlawful lusts.

From nearly 3000 years ago we have this religious text directly associating gay sex with the underworld of magical spirit beings. At this period, and for another millennium until the rise of Christianity, across southern Europe and the Middle East gender fluidity and homosexual acts were strongly associated with worship of the Goddess. She was known in many forms and by many names, all served by women and gay/transgender priest/esses, and that service could include sexual acts that brought connection to the deity. In fact round the whole world gay/queer beings once served in sacred roles, as shamans, medicine men, priests and sacred sex workers… our power was taken away, as was that of women, by men seeking to dominate and rule over others, to conquer territory and accumulate wealth. This process has now reached its apogee, the world is on the brink of global disaster unless humanity changes the way it lives.

To achieve this women and queers need to be brought to the table as equals to men, and all forms of love respected and honoured.

To achieve this we all need to seek deep within ourselves to find our reconnection to the planet, to the spirit and go beyond ego to our true divine selves.

To achieve this the Gatekeepers are needed.

The journey of Gay Liberation, the gradual emergence and acceptance of LGBTQ+ people around the world, is still in its early stages. Queer people have more to discover about who we are….

SOBONFU SOME, priestess of the Dagara Tribe of western Africa – a tribe that remembers the magical role of what we call queers – said in her book ‘Spirit of Intimacy’:

The words gay and lesbian do not exist in the village, but there is the word gatekeeper. Gatekeepers are people who live a life at the edge between the worlds – the world of the village and the world of spirit…

Gatekeepers in the village are able to do their job simply because of strong spiritual connection, and also their ability to direct their sexual energy not to other people but to spirit.

There are many gates that link a village to other worlds. The only people who have access to all these gates are the gatekeepers. I should mention here that there are two different kinds of gatekeeper.

The first group has the ability to guard a limited number of gates to the other world, specifically,those that correspond to the Dagara cosmology – water, earth, fire, minerals, and nature – because they vibrate the energies of those gates.

The second group of gatekeepers… has the responsibility of overseeing all the gates. They are in contact not only with the elemental gates but also with many others. They have one foot in all the other worlds and other foot here. This is why the vibration of their body is totally different from others. They also have access to other-dimensional entities such as Kontombile, small beings who are very magical and knowledgeable. They are known as leprechauns in the Irish tradition.

Gatekeepers hold keys to other dimensions. They maintain a certain alignment between the spirit world and the world of the village. Without them, the gates to the other world would be shut.

On the other side of these gates lies the spirit world or other dimensions. Gatekeepers are in constant communication with beings who live there, who have the ability to teach us how to deal with ritual. And gatekeepers have the capacity to take other people to those places.

Gays and lesbians in the West are often very spiritual, but they have been taken away from their connection with spirit. My feeling is that without that outlet or that role in the culture, they have to find other ways of defining themselves.”

FROM TWO FLUTES PLAYING, channelled by Andrew Ramer:

“It is time for the gay community to heal itself. It is time for the gay community to assume the place in the human community that it was created for. It is time to come together in loving communities, for gay men to explore their inner femaleness so that they can help men and women communicate. It is time for gay men to own their capacity for youthfulness and their ability to be wise elders, so that they can once again sit with a child and be an adult who remembers being a child, so that they can talk to parents who thought they needed to forget their inner child in order to have children of their own. And it is time for gay people to start using, for planetary transformation, the global network that already exists, spreading information, love, advice, support, money, food, clothing.

The gay community can heal. It will not heal from focussing on combatting disease alone. A healing must include a spiritual element. And this is what has often been withheld from gay people. The religious communities of this planet have for the most part excluded, or at best ignored, their gay members. But religions is not necessarily spirituality. And it is through a spiritual connection, not a religious one, that the human community of this planet will find its healing.

“What is spiritual, what is sacred, is being redefined. It is being redefined in a fluid way. Gay people, by their very nature, exist in a state of internal fluidity that will make us vital in this time of planetary challenge. As we enter the Age called Aquarius it is useful to remember that the constellation Aquarius represents the youth Ganymede, who Zeus took up to Mount Olympus to be cupbearer to the gods, and his own lover. Gay people have a share in this coming transformation. To the ancient Epyptians, the water carrier was the source of the Nile, pictured as a man with breasts. When Jesus was preparing for the Last Supper, it is recorded in Luke that he sent his disciples into the city to meet a man carrying a jar of water, in a culture where only women were supposed to carry water.”

To be gay is something that begins within ourselves. In begins in our hearts, in that place that is never separate from the living heart of Infinite Oneness. To be gay is something that begins with ourselves, that finds itself mirrored back, echoed back to us by the tribe of men who love men. This tribe, our people , is a scouting tribe, a Walks-Between people, bridge-making people, walking between men and women, between night and day, between matter and spirit, between the living and the dead.”

When purposeful, spiritual connection is forgotten, the depth of sexual connection often takes it place. Sex points one in the right direction, deep into the self, into the mystery. But sex alone is not the answer to the gay dilemma of the present, the sense of meaninglessness. A sense of spiritual participation in the community of the planet is the answer. For no one else will tell us our purpose. Its discovery must come from ourselves.”

Since 1979 gay men, and nowadays an increasingly queer medley of magical folk, have been meeting in Radical Faerie gatherings and sanctuaries, seeking to create community from the heart, in harmony with nature, and to reclaim and explore our innate spiritual magic. The term Faerie was chosen as a reference to our connection to nature and spirit, as well as being a positive reclamation of the term ‘fairy’, so often used as an abusive insult in western cultures – and therefore implying a folk memory in Europe too between gay men and nature’s magic. Radical refers to getting to the roots of who we are:

HARRY HAY 1912-2002, gay rights activist and Radical Faerie Duchess:

“We have been a SEPARATE PEOPLE…. Drifting together in a parallel existence, not always conscious of each other.. yet recognising one another by eyelock when we did meet… here and there as outcasts… Spirit people… in service to the Great Mother.. Shamans.. mimes and rhapsodes, poets and playwrights, healers and nurturers… VISIONARIES… REBELS”

Our beautiful lovely sexuality is the gateway to spirit. Under all organised religions of the past, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, there has been a separation of carnality, or shall we say of flesh or earth or sex, and spirituality. As far as I am concerned they are all the same thing, and what we need to do as faeries is to tie it all back together again.”

:)

When we once more meet together

The Ancestors Rejoice

in the Faeries as a tribe

of Radical Adventurers

moving beyond Pride

and into the Power found inside

through connecting to the elements

to the plants and trees

to rivers, lakes and seas,

through the sharing of the heart

and expression of our arts

through the merging of our genders,

marriage of the god and beast,

gathering in circles

and making a life a feast

of love, music, magic –

we are the children of the Goddess

and all mystics that went before.

When we gather, we learn to fly

and how to open doors

that re-unite the worlds

and reveal to us who we are:

the walk-between people

the liminal ones

genderless or genderbending –

diving deep before transcending –

sun-eyed and summoning the dawn.

2020-02 – Global Gathering 3 at Warmwaterberg Spa, South Africa – fireside dancing

When we once more meet together

our drums and hearts will beat as One

for people waking from the nightmare

we are a sign that the new world has ~ already ~ begun.

Younity

By Charles

Serendipity

‘In Vino Veritas’

Homage to Edward FitzGerald 1809 -1883

Smiling eyes – daring winks can lead to sharing drinks

Poetry’s Infinity of Ideas, wines bouquet of connection

Universality’s highways & byways linked by thinking

Now reaching out as they generate within… Glowing

Passports to Paradise ~ Celestial Arts of the Heart

Empty pages rages lie dying… live as night skies

awakening darkened eyes leave signature dew

drops twinkling on the morning hill, so

Time gently sips Eternity

until

Loving the movement

Living the Moment – You will

Faerie dreaming

by Earth Spirit and Shokti

Evening time by Earth Spirit

He who sees also hears

Bring onto me the babe in arms

Heal the wounds of the past

For they bring only sadness to thee

Five of one half a dozen of another

One wrong or two right

.

Hold in your heart the journey of life

Love the thunder and the cloud

They all bring a message

Open your heart sit and be still

Float with the thoughts

Centre your actions

.

The river flows deep, wide and inside

As you stand on the bank

In awe of it’s destruction and with the voice of alarm

Hold each others hands or face extinction

.

Have love in your heart always

It will bring satisfaction

Share if you can, don’t worry if you can’t

Others will carry the flag between them

Have faith and hope, never doubt your connection

Life holds fulfilment as well as disappointment.

Dreamtime 2020 by Shokti

The shift of gear and climate from Summer to Autumn was sudden this year. Mid-October and it’s looking like it might be a long winter ahead of pandemic regulations and a lot of solo time for many! The personal retreat energy that many of us felt in the Spring is on again!

We had planned to hold our regular October Samhain Gathering at Featherstone Castle this month, but alas, for the first time since we started meeting there in 2006, this year we will not gather anywhere at all. As we enter the time of inward focus during the Autumn and Winter seasons I would like to encourage every faerie to release any sadness that this situation is causing and turn our thoughts to the potential in this collective downtime, this Dreamtime.

Let’s Dream of future gatherings, heart circles, drum circles and more. In Dreamtime we can turn some of our mental energies to creative visualisation, to imagining future events and, crucially, the emotional energy of those occasions, that we wish to see manifest in the coming years. The magic works when we Dream from the place of abundance and joy, not of lack, and not only see the vision – feel it, hear it, smell it, internally touch it too.

The world is going through a massive transformation. Much pain is coming up for healing, many people are going through huge shifts. We are healers, and we are needed. Our circles will meet again. Let’s Dream them into being.

At our Samhain gatherings we honour the ancestors, celebrate the summer just passed and prepare ourselves for the inner healing journey of winter. We return home from the gathering with our hearts full, knowing we have the support of tribe behind us and the love of tribe within us. Even this year we can conjure this spirit, this connection, this comfort. We do not have to feel alone. The internet connects us, but so do the subtle vibrational fields of love, compassion, joy and magic. When we cannot assemble for collective ceremony, we can spot that the Goddess may be calling us to do personal ritual during the Samhain season, to expand our own magical practice and sense of connection to other worlds, and to all the beautiful places within ourselves,

Radical Faeries may not have held physical gatherings this year, but our cyberspace efforts have been groundbreaking. Through Heart Circles, No-Talent Shows, even online Gatherings, we have been communicating as a tribe at a global level. Our presence in the world as a community of creatives, healers, magicians and lovers has a real, positive impact on many lives and shines as an example of queer love-in-action to the rest of the world.

The dark half of the year is here, but when there is darkness outside it’s the time to turn up the light on the inside, and Dream.

Gong Bath reflections on climate change by Earth Spirit

We are all equal whatever you think

We are of one creation and one unity

The thirst that you feel is only a reflection

Of life held too tight and full of restrictions

You feel trapped and frustrated

But this is only the beginning

There will be much more in your inner being

In case you have fear, please believe in divine intervention

You are not alone in this situation

Because this is a global institution

.

Hold out your hands for the gifts that will come

Answers to questions and reasons for discussion

They are not blind, they just need you to see

Beyond today and this mission

.

Life will go on, whatever you think

This planet and world are not ready to sink

They have plans and contingencies inbuilt in their systems

The world is made of magic, this you must believe

It can hold and heal itself, beyond your imagination

Radical Faerie Gatherings: The Cultivation of Queerness

by Gay Socrates

Radical Faeries have been gathering together and creating transient pop-up queer community for more than 40 years-ever since the very first call to gather in early September 1979. 

These pre-Covid19 Gatherings (which until recently had become a regular global phenomenon) would often be held on the occasion of pagan earth-appreciating festivals as a way of tuning into natural seasonal rhythms. Some Faeries might say that the fundamental purpose of these gatherings was to enable an energy (which could be named as ‘The Queer’) to heal itself from the destructive attacks of those who felt threatened by it and who, for many and varied reasons, would wish to establish themselves as ‘Non-Queer’

By creating community-encouraging-of-Queerness, Faeries have been able to develop their consciousness around power dynamics and the mechanisms of persecution, seeing their positioning and roles in the complex intersectionality of oppression as it manifests in the various -isms (sexism/misogyny, racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism). And to also appreciate the potential world-healing value of this natural-Faerie-propensity to engage in this particular kind of work!

I’ve been attending gatherings for over 10 years now, and during this time I’ve been able to acknowledge the homophobic inflicted pain and suffering I’ve had to endure as a same-sex-loving Human Being. However I also see that this horribleness of experience is just a ‘drop in the ocean’ of what it might have been had I not been identifiable as a member of the most privileged classes (i.e. white, educated, middle class, cis-seeming-male, and able-bodied/ able-minded).

This realisation hasn’t made my own pain and suffering any less and it hasn’t meant I’ve been able to avoid a whole lot of work to understand its far reaching effects on my personality (particularly the extent to which I’m hampered in my ability to engage in intimacy with others).

But I’m now tuned into the way homophobia is just one facet of the many-faced invisible oppressive forces constantly directed towards women, towards the undereducated, towards the non-white, towards the colonised, towards the differently abled and towards my dear queer trans siblings.

It’s interesting to see how, within our various Faerie communities, once the intention of creating a queer-nurturing environment and ethos is set, the forces which seem to oppose this intention begin to assemble. The microcosm begins to manifest elements of those oppressive forces from the macrocosm. Shock! Horror! A group of predominantly able-middle-class-cis-white-gay-men unintentionally/unthinkingly behave in ways which are uncomfortable for women, non-white, poor, disabled, trans etc. folk!

Thankfully Faerie Gatherings are becoming increasingly more inclusive and this has meant more work to do in understanding our relative privileges and the ways in which these might be contributing to the ongoing oppression of others, or alternatively, how they might be engaged with constructively to raise awareness and to work towards the redressing of unfairnesses and inequities.

The Ancestors speak

Earth Spirit been chatting with the Old Ones…..

You know there were a lot of wise souls who walked the earth but people were not always ready to listen to them. Its always the same, the timing has to be right for people to stop and listen. They are distracted by their lives their struggles their important things. How ironic that much of those problems would no longer exist if they but stopped and listened.

They walk past the birds in the hedgerows as they sing, so full of their own chatter to each other and in their own heads. A constant flow of words and ideas much of which will never amount to anything

How they miss what nature has to say, how the tunes and voices of reason and knowledge are lost on the wind. Carried far away for another day, another time, or another life

Daydreaming they say is wrong is for simple folk, from long ago. They know not of what they talk, those dreams were handed down n the folk art and lore. They tell of nature and man, and all that is dear. They stoke the fire of thought of great knowledge and truth. Of the things long abandoned to the new. They fall like dreams upon barren lands, waiting for the nourishment to come alive. They sit dormant but still inside, waiting for the awakening of man.

Yet he snores and roars and will not rest, he will not hear what he was told. Blinded by the new light he sees not the sun at dawn and the setting of the great sun at night. He rushes about with the haste of the lost, searching for love and life. When all about him is the answer, the wind in the trees of which we always talk. The sky in its blue hues and white clouds of shapes of hope. The flowers that grow all about and the caves that sit vacant. The fire is no more, its been banished from its life giving properties, its flames of vision extinguished as man’s vision has too been forbidden. The flames brought the knowledge of the forebearers the stories of the times before man. It held the secrets of more than the times that are upon you now.

In the aches the stories were laid to rest, scattered on the earth with their scent of goodness and holding their gold. No longer hot embers they blew as dust on the wind and as dry as deserts.

Man is left with nothing but ash, the knowledge burnt out and left untold.

He huddles around his new devices of old news and propaganda. The old ways are lost as man himself is now lost. Caught in his new world trap of information and games played by others hands and not natures. He cowers in fear, and never knows what is the truth, spoon fed by mindless unknown faces. They track his movements across nations, they track each communication. Never a moment alone now to hear the sound of the nature places. Hurry on he must for he will miss the bus, or the plane or the train or his own devices.

Look into his hands they are empty, empty of voices that once he would have heard. Knowledge drained and polluted, all the nutrients depleted. He holds his hands up wanting more, but can never fill the voids that have been created.

He has thirst but knows not for what, he is lost from the spaces that once he did stop. Devoid of the understanding and connection of the places that he would once love. His smile has been replaced with a frown of confusion and there is no one near. He sits alone with his devices plugged into his ear. Voices telling him just what to feel, how to behave now and when to be ill. He is blinded and deafened by the noise of the future, pushed forward so quickly he forgets the ways of his ancestors. They call him from afar, but he can no longer hear, his head full of noises and the new fear. He rushes forward with no idea, just where he is going or what to hold dear. Blundering forward in continuous motion, missing everything trustworthy along the path. The rails he has chosen all head in one direction, no diversions or alternatives are provided.

The further he goes down the tracks to the future, the further he is going from the way he has come. All the learning is lost and left behind, because the track is a light one, with an empty mind.

Those that jump or never began can see where he is heading and where the tracks began. They stand at the side, and are at a loss to help as he passes in such a rush.

They sit in the woods and sing and dance, some say its just like a trance. They listen to the silence, and nature all about, the crackle of the fire and the knowledge without. They see pictures in the flames and the knowledge within. They bond with each other as they should do, talking and dancing and forming the glue. The glue that will hold them together and keep them free. They have no equipment with its buzzing and din, its not constructing their thoughts or being a distraction. Present in the moment of connection, they are not travelling alone following the tracks of destruction. They have joy in their hearts and share their attraction. They are free in their bodies and they live without constriction. Breathing the air, watching the fire, consuming the water and lying on the earth, so they live in connection with the world. They see the trees and all the animals about them, not blinded by false lights made from artificial extraction. Drumming to honour the peoples who have sat in this place many times before. The bond cannot be broken its strength is in the trust and connection.

aLBIONFAERIES tHE SECOND WAVE 2012-2020

by Shokti

At the Winter Solstice 2012, one month short of seven years since our first gathering at Featherstone Castle, the Albion Faeries threw an ….

END OF THE WORLD PARTY in London to mark the ending of the Mayan Calendar. We drummed, danced, enjoyed poetry and an erotic fire show, then we made a ritualistic dance that led to us all stepping through a large, wooden picture frame to symbolise our entry into a new era.

For eight years that frame portal sat in the garden at Chateau Shokti, exposed to the elements, until early Summer of this very transformational year, 2020, when it broke apart into several pieces. To me it seems to be saying that after 8 years the portal we opened is now fully operational, no longer needs any physical symbol – WE ARE THE PORTAL – and when we gather we open the magical doors to multi-dimensional connections through our very nature.

The years 2012-20 seem to be the ‘second chapter’ of our AlbionFae Community, for after the first six years of steadily building our energy with heart and drum circles and one, then two, gatherings per year, suddenly after 2012 an acceleration in our spirit energies set in and there was no looking back.

We started meeting twice a year at Paddington Farm in Glastonbury for Imbolc and Summer Solstice or Beltane gatherings – to discover that in Avalon the locals recognise and respect us a magical tribe, not simply a queer group. During the solstice gathering in 2016 we manifested as queer magicians on Glastonbury High Street and at Chalice Well making commemorative ritual for the dead of the Orlando killings.

There have been smaller themed events such as the Magic Gathering and Coming Home retreats, our relationship with Featherstone has continued with Spring and Samhain celebrations, plus we hosted Radical Faeries from around the world at the second ever ‘Global Gathering’ in August 2017, in preparation for which a group of around a dozen faeries even went along for a week to give our beloved enchanted castle playground a fresh lick of paint.

Three other Rad Fae tribes joined us Albions at the Featherstone Global Gathering – the Euro, American and Canaan Faeries, plus we welcomed queers from Singapore, Russia, South America and Africa, though British immigration did not permit many of those we wished to invite from African countries to enter the country. This led to a decision to manifest the third Global Gathering on that continent, so that more Africans could come along, a project that some Albion Fae got very involved in, and which a dozen of us attended when it happened in February 2020, just before the Pandemic crisis hit the planet.

2013 brought an influx of new people and energy into our Albion tribe, and so did 2016 after the first ever Queer Spirit Festival – over 5 days at the August Full Moon in the Wiltshire countryside 400 queers from a wide variety of spiritual backgrounds came along to play – the event was packed with magical rituals, performance, djs, workshops, healing spaces and a ground-breaking sacred sexuality temple – and full credit must be given to the Albion Faeries, whose collective, joyful, free-spirited, open-hearted light were a living and truly shining example of queer spirited community in action. So many faeries gave their time and energy to help make the festival into something spectacular, and did so again for the second outing of Queer Spirit in 2017 and the third in 2019, when numbers rose to 500, this time held at Whittlebury Hall in Northamptonshire.

pic by Kwai Lam

As well as larger events, local clans of the Albions have been developing during the decade. Alongside the London and Brighton crews, there is now an active NORTH WEST FAERIE GROUP and a SUFFOLK CLAN with its own special meeting place, Limelight.

In London the Faerie Drum Circle, that began as Queer Spirit Circle in 2005, has grown in numbers and pulsating, ecstatic vibrations since the 2012 End of the World Party. When I first dreamed the circle into being I hoped it would become a uniquely magical addition to the London gay scene. I imagined gays in bars whispering about the queer full moon drumming ritual, the place where healing and connection could be found, where magic was afoot – a non-commercial, community space where you are greeted with smiles and get to experience one of humanity’s oldest rituals – drumming and dancing into heightened states of awareness and connection, where the issues of the mind are transcended and seen from another perspective, giving emotions a chance to flow and release, until a state of ecstasy is touched – bringing us to places of healing, growth and inspiration.

Drumming is one of humanity’s ancient, core ritual healing practices. Among the oldest cave paintings on the planet there are images of groups of people dancing in circles, some with erections, some with animal masks. The drum has been used to open up access to the inner worlds in cultures across the planet since ancient prehistoric times – the tribal drumming of the Native American and African tribes terrified the Europeans, for they had long ago lost touch with that element of their own cultures during the 1000 years it had taken to impose Christianity on the many peoples of Europe. One of the most popular deities invoked in those ancient European dance ceremonies was the queer god Dionysus, who opened to door to pathways of collective spiritual liberation, to the mysteries of sexuality, gender fluidity, intoxication and ecstasy. Also popular was Cybele the ancient Great Mother, whose lover Attis had died while self-castrating and been reborn as her daughter, and whose genderqueer priestesses the Gallae led the often wild and frenzied rituals and spread her worship to the far borders of the Roman Empire. There is a gravesite of a Galli priest at Hadrian’s Wall, close to Featherstone.

Featherstone

From our history to our future: Chapter 2 of our Albion Faerie story has seen the community expand creatively, welcome many people into the energy we are exploring and has put us on the map of LGBTQ life, albeit still on an outer fringe! But what’s next?

Astrologers are predicting that the second half of 2020 will be an ongoing, dramatic time of change, eg the presence of Mars in its home sign Aries from June until December and the arrival of both Saturn and Jupiter in Aquarius at the Winter Solstice. The events of this year are expanding and accelerating the awakening process on the planet. I personally experienced a first rapid acceleration in my own mind and spirit over a period of 6 months in 1995, that’s when I became aware of the ‘bigger picture’, and had a sense at the time that this kind of transformation would be coming to many more people in due course. My aim became to find my tribe and create sanctuary, and 25 years later here we are.

In the UK we do not have a permanent land sanctuary yet but we do have a bright and expanding sanctuary of heart and spirit connections that we can each feed and strengthen in our own ways and draw support from when needed. Where we go from here is for us to collectively dream and manifest.

Harry Hay

We are a cosmic tribe whose very nature connects the earth and the spirit worlds. Harry Hay said, –

Our beautiful lovely sexuality is the gateway to spirit. Under all organised religions of the past, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, there has been a separation of carnality, or shall we say of flesh or earth or sex, and spirituality. As far as I am concerned they are all the same thing, and what we need to do as faeries is to tie it all back together again.

Our symbol for the Coming Home retreats is the 7 pointed Faery Star. As we enter the 2020s and the 3rd chapter of our Albionfaerie adventure, I would like to share an idea on the seven gateways through which we Rad Fae channel the energies of spirit into the world – I see us as gatekeepers to the

elements

animal spirits

nature spirits

angels

ancestors

the Horned God and the

Great Mother Goddess

Samhain ceremony at Oscar Wilde Temple

The role of queer sexuality in the ancient pagan religions of Europe has yet to be clearly seen and reclaimed – for more understanding of what it means to be a gatekeeper we can look to other cultures that have retained some connection to this, such as the Two-Spirits of the Native Americans, the Hijra in India, or the Dagara in Africa. This from Dagara teacher Sobonfu Some’s book ‘The Spirit of Intimacy’,-

Gatekeepers hold keys to other dimensions. They maintain a certain alignment between the spirit world and the world of the village. Without them, the gates to the other world would be shut.

On the other side of these gates lies the spirit world or other dimensions. Gatekeepers are in constant communication with beings who live there, who have the ability to teach us how to deal with ritual. And gatekeepers have the capacity to take other people to those places.

… a person doesn’t become a gatekeeper out of a desire for power or even because of sexual orientation. No. Gatekeeping is part of one’s life purpose, announced before birth and developed through rigorous initiatory training to ensure that its power is not misused. A gatekeeper is responsible for a whole village, a whole tribe. Gatekeeping is not a game.

Most people in the West define themselves and others by sexual orientation. This way of looking at gatekeepers will kill the spirit of the gatekeeper. Gatekeepers in the village are able to do their job simply because of strong spiritual connection, and also their ability to direct their sexual energy not to other people but to spirit…

The life of gay people in the West is in many ways a reaction to pressure from a society that rejects them. This is partly because a culture that has forgotten so much about itself will displace certain groups of people, such as the gay community, from their true roles.

In the village they are not seen as the other. They are not forced to create a separate community in order to survive. People do not put a negative label on them, they are regarded no differently than any other child of the village. They are born gatekeepers, with specific purposes, and are encouraged to fulfil the role they’re born to in the interests of the community.

Sobonfu Some

In us the dance of sexuality and spirit

In us the play of gender fluidity, glamour, glitter and grit

In us the game of earth air fire water

In us the dance of spirit in humanity

COMING HOME.

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