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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
the Horned God and the
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.
In us the dance of sexuality and spirit
In us the play of gender fluidity, glamour, glitter and grit
The third GLOBAL RADICAL FAERIE GATHERING is happening at a retreat centre near Cape Town in South Africa 15-24th February, 2020. Over 100 faeries from around the world will assemble at this first ever gathering in Africa, at which there will be larger numbers of African kin than at any previous faerie event.
A frontline of the GLOBAL battle for love and acceptance of LGBTIQ+ people is in Africa. African Christians condemn homosexuality as an import from western culture, completely missing the irony that it is Christianity and homophobia that are the real foreign invaders. But perhaps there is some truth in the claim that ‘homosexuality’ as a concept did not exist in pre-Christian Africa because the African people were not as limited in their thinking as to define a person by their sexuality:
is seen very differently that it is seen in the West, in part because
all sexuality is spiritually based. Taken away from its spiritual
context, it becomes a source of controversy, and can be exploited. In
the village, you never see gatekeepers, or anybody for that matter,
displaying their sexuality or commenting on the sexuality of
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…
“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.”Sobonfu Some, Dagara Tribe quoted in ‘Spirit of Intimacy’
the frequently recurring links between same sex love and spiritual
power as the rich queer history of Africa emerges….
history is replete with examples of both erotic and non-erotic
same-sex relationships. For example,
the ancient cave paintings of the San people near Guruve in Zimbabwe
depict two men engaged in some form of ritual sex. During precolonial
times, the “mudoko dako,”
or effeminate males among the Langi of northern Uganda were treated
as women and could marry men. In Buganda, one of the largest
traditional kingdoms in Uganda, it was an open secret that Kabaka
(king) Mwanga II, who ruled in the latter half of the 19th century,
“The vocabulary used to describe same-sex relations in traditional languages, predating colonialism, is further proof of the existence of such relations in precolonial Africa. To name but a few, the Shangaan of southern Africa referred to same-sex relations as “inkotshane” (male-wife); Basotho women in present-day Lesotho engage in socially sanctioned erotic relationships called “motsoalle”(special friend) and in the Wolof language, spoken in Senegal, homosexual men are known as “gor-digen” (men-women).”
(Quoted from http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/4/homosexuality-africamuseveniugandanigeriaethiopia.html )
indigenous cultures of South and East Africa have a long history of
homosexuality, transgender behavior, and even same-sex marriage
between both men and women. In early seventeenth-century Luanda (the
capital of Portuguese Angola), Catholic priests Gaspar Azevereduc and
Antonius Sequerius documented third-gender natives known aschibados.
The chibados dressed like women, spoke effeminately and married other
men “to unite in wrongful lust with them.” More shocking to the
priests was the fact that such marriages were honored and even prized
among the tribesmen. In a similar record, Portuguese Jesuit Joao dos
Santos wrote in 1625 that the chibados of southwestern Africa were
“attyred like women, and behave themselves womanly, ashamed to be
called men; are also married to men, and esteeme that unnaturale
damnation an honor.” In his writings about seventeenth-century
Angola, historian Antonio Cardonega mentioned that sodomy was
“rampant among the people of Angola. They pursue their impudent and
filthy practices dressed as women.”
He also stated that the sodomites often served as powerful shamans,
were highly esteemed among most Angolan tribes and commonly called
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
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.”
Sobonfu Some, The Spirit of Intimacy (2000)
gay person is looked at primarily as a “gatekeeper.”
Earth is looked at, from my tribal perspective, as a very, very
delicate machine or consciousness, with high vibrational points,
which certain people must be guardians of in order for the tribe to
keep its continuity with the gods and with the spirits… Any person
who is at this link between this world and the other world
experiences a state of vibrational consciousness which is far higher,
and far different, from the one that a normal person would
experience. This is what makes a gay person gay. This kind of
function is…one that people are said to decide on prior to being
born. You decide that you will be a gatekeeper before you are born…To
then limit gay people to simple sexual orientation is really the
worst harm that can be done to a person.” Malidoma Some
Azande tribe in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo in
sub-Saharan Africa use their queerness to instill fear and respect in
the eyes of their fellow tribespeople. Lesbian Azande women were
notorious for being very open and proud of their queerness, wearing
it like a badge of honor. This was because, to the Azande, the
spiritual potency of women was seen as often more powerful than that
of men. Already at a magical disadvantage, Azande men were
particularly impotent to the power of queer Azande women. By having
sex with each other, lesbians of the tribe were believed to be able
to double their spiritual power, making their magical prowess the
most powerful in all the tribe. To show off their spiritual might,
Azande lesbians sometimes practiced their queer sexuality in public
as a way to let everyone know now had 2x the power they once had.”
(Tomas Prower https://www.llewellyn.com/journal/article/2696)
“In southeastern Africa, Bori cults—along with their crossdressing shamans and possession rituals—are still quite common among the Zulu. Shamans are known as inkosi ygbatfazi (“chief of the women”) while ordinary transgenders are called skesana and their masculine partners iqgenge. Zulu warriors traditionally asserted their manhood by substituting boys for women and in the 1890s, Zulu chief Nongoloza Mathebula ordered his bandit-warriors to abstain from women and take on boy-wives instead. After his capture, Nongoloza insisted that the practice had been a longstanding custom among South Africans. Indeed, homosexual marriage was documented among the Zulu, Tsonga and Mpondo migrant workers of South Africa at least since the early nineteenth century. Boy-wives were known by various names such as inkotshane (Zulu),nkhonsthana(Tsonga), tinkonkana (Mpondo)”
(Quoted from http://amarawilhelm.wixsite.com/around-the-world/part-8 )
“Apart from erotic same-sex desire, in precolonial Africa, several other activities were involved in same-sex (or what the colonialists branded “unnatural”) sexuality. For example, the Ndebele and Shona in Zimbabwe, the Azande in Sudan and Congo, the Nupe in Nigeria and the Tutsi in Rwanda and Burundi all engaged in same-sex acts for spiritual rearmament — i.e., as a source of fresh power for their territories. It was also used for ritual purposes.”
“The Meru tribes of Kenya have a religious leadership role known as mugawe, which involves priests wearing female clothing and hairstyles. In 1973, British ethnologist Rodney Needham noted that the mugawe were often homosexual and sometimes married to other men… In 1987, anthropologist Gill Shepherd reported that homosexuality was relatively common in Kenya, even among Muslims (both male and female). Most Kenyans initially discourage transgender behavior among their children but gradually come to accept it as an inherent part of the child’s spirit (roho) or nature (umbo). Shepherd observed third-gender men, known in Swahili as shoga, who served as passive male prostitutes and wore female clothing, makeup, and flowers at social events such as weddings, where they typically mingled with the “other” women. At more serious events such as funerals and prayer meetings, the shoga would stay with the men and wear men’s attire. Other Swahili terms for homosexual men include basha(dominant male), hanithi(young male partner) and mumemke (man-woman). Lesbians are known as msagaji or msago(“grinders”).”
(Quoted from http://amarawilhelm.wixsite.com/around-the-world/part-8 )
“The Konso of southern Ethiopia have no less than four words for effeminate men, one of which is sagoda and refers to men who never marry, are weak, or who wear skirts. In the mid-1960s, Canadian anthropologist Christopher Hallpike observed one Ethiopian Konso that lived by curing skins (a female occupation) and liked to play the passive role in homosexual relations. In 1957, American anthropologist Simon Messing found male transvestites among the Amhara tribes that were known as wandarwarad (male-female). They lived alone and were considered like brothers to the tribeswomen. The husbands of the women were not at all jealous of the close friendship between their wives and the wandarwarad. Messing reported that the wandarwarad were unusually sensitive and intense in their personal likings. He also found “mannish women” among the Amhara known as wandawande.”
(Quoted from http://amarawilhelm.wixsite.com/around-the-world/part-8 )
the Sudan, traditional Zande culture is well known for its homosexual
marriages, even into the 1970s, as reported by British anthropologist
Edward Evans-Pritchard in 1971. Some Zande princes preferred men
over women and could purchase a desired boy for the price of one
spearhead. They would then become husbands to the young man, provide
him with beautiful ornaments and address him as badiare
The white man exported his homophobia to the whole world, and now in the 21st century western queers are campaigning vigorously to reverse this situation. But of course once again this can feel to people in Africa and elsewhere like colonialism – the enlightened west telling the rest of the world what to do. Instead, we of the west should be going on bended knee to the peoples of Africa, apologising without end for the wanton destruction of ancient cultures, and for the spread of fear and hatred relating to sexuality.
Instead of telling Africa what to do we need to be learning from their history and their example. Just as with the example of the Two-Spirits of North America, and the ancient Goddess priest/esses of the Mediterranean world, the queer history of Africa points to an integral association of same-sex loving and transgender people with the sacred, magical, mysterious dimensions of spirit.
In this spirit, our intention at the Global Radical Faerie Gathering is to invoke healing and rejuvenation through the ancient philosophy and spirit of Ubuntu: “the universal bond of sharing that connects humanity.”
The Albion Faerie Queer Spirit Drum Circle met for a post-Samhain full moon celebration of our friends the dead and all our spirit connections on Friday 15 November 2019 at the Wheatsheaf Hall in Vauxhall, London. The drumming was hot, the dancing ecstatic and the ritual energies powerful. Dozens of queer spirits combining their emotional-spiritual fields through dance and prayer connected us to the many levels of existence, enabling us to release old emotional loads and feeding us with positively charged energy.
A beautiful altar provided a focal point in the centre of the circle, this video gives a tour of it, with a great soundtrack of the quality drumming that was going on….
Making ceremony at the full moon and seasonal festivals helps to align us energetically with the natural rhythms of nature. Connecting through the rhythm of the drum, as a group we raise energy that can help us loosen blocked emotions, clear mental frequencies, and liberate the spirit. This can rebalance the inner world, it’s good for our mental health. We also come to catch up with friends and make new ones, which serves the same purpose!
We meet again for the next Full Moon in Harleyford Community Garden in Vauxhall on December 12th from 6 to 9pm
and for a WInter Solstice ceremony at the Wheatsheaf Hall on Saturday December 21st from 7 to 11pm .
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The London Radical Faerie Drum Circle was at first known as the Queer Spirit Circle, offered from 2005 as a space for spiritually inclined LGBTQ+ people to find each other. The Circle manifested in a former Victorian maternity hospital in Stockwell, which was then squatted by an artist’s collective, who held it as a creative community hub (now the space has been converted by Lambeth Council into luxury flats).
After the hospital the circle found a home in a private rooftop apartment in Old Street for some years, during which a core group of people nurtured its development, before arriving at its current venue, the atmospheric Wheatsheaf Hall in Vauxhall, on the 21st December 2012 with an ‘End of the World Party’ to celebrate the Mayan Calendar. We created a portal into a new paradigm, viewing this date as a significant marker on the way into the Age of Aquarius, and stepped or danced our way through it. The Circle was by this time becoming known as the Faerie Drum Circle, meeting mostly at full moons to raise energy, release emotion and build magical connections.
Since 2012 the Radical Faeries of Albion have attracted increasing numbers to our gatherings and circles. A rising tide of queer spirituality, free of religious bonds, reaching for the shamanic truth at the core of queer nature, has also given birth to three Queer Spirit Festivals –
500 pioneer queers came to Whittlebury Park in Northamptonshire at the Aquarius Full Moon this August to celebrate, explore, play, expand and rise in love. A vast range of spiritual flavours was on offer – from early morning yoga to late night trance from our awesome DJs, via shamanic journeys, holy chants, medicine wheels, creative pursuits, drumming, healing workshops, activism, inspired performances, sacred sexuality…..
Every part of the LGBTQ+ rainbow was present in good numbers. Radical Faeries have the history of being birthed by gay men, but Queer Spirit Festival has from the start been created by, and intended for, every section of our queer multiverse. This brings challenges, which we gladly rise to, creating a powerful culture of respect, consent, curiosity and openness that enables the love to flow freely around the field. Queer Spirit revels in the beauty that is diversity, and the unity that arises from honouring everyone’s uniqueness, from all being free to be ourselves, and to express our inner truths and our core loving nature.
The Faerie Trance Dance was my personal highlight of the festival this summer. 15 years of dedication to the Drum Circle was rewarded grandly as I merged into the powerful rhythms and ecstatic dancing with a hundred or more beautiful, wild, witchy, shamanic, magical, radical queers, who just seemed to slip through the gates instantly, becoming their spirit animals, once the beats began. The festival draws together various strands of queer shamanism, tantra and other forms of spirituality – in the trance dance all these energies became one melting pot of high vibrational spirit. The power of the dance was magnified by having the opportunity to collaborate with DK Green, whom I invited to cast the circle – he taking the ceremonial gatekeeper role that has historically been held by trans people in cultures across the world – and Andy Fowler, a teacher of world percussion who had been inspiring dozens of queers to discover the healing and uplifting power of the drum throughout the festival.
The London Drum Circle starts its Autumn run at the Full Moon in Pisces on Friday 13th September. Pisces is the mystic – its transcendent perspective is gained through compassion for all beings. As more of us recognise that all beings are one being, are us in other forms, deserving of love and kindness, and seek the company of others who also live in or aspire to that lighter vibration, we ask all who come to ensure the drum circle is a welcoming space of coming home. The Radical Faerie term recognising the unity of life is subject:SUBJECT consciousness – a term that honours that I am another YOU and YOU are another ME, a life-altering perspective change once embraced.
We will gather at the September Full Moon
to give thanks for our summer journeys as we approach the Equinox turning point into the Autumn
to celebrate the amazing manifestation of love and magic at Queer Spirit Festival
and to invoke blessings for the first ever LONDON TRANS PRIDE MARCH, which is happening in central London the next day.
There are lots of drums and percussion to play with, the drum circle is a free flow space in which you are welcome to drum, dance and socialise as you wish. We arrive from 7pm to set up, and it is recommended to arrive by 8pm for the circle casting. You are welcome to bring any instruments along, plus snacks/drinks to share, and if possible £5 donation towards costs. (The Hall Hire charges have gone up recently.) As with all faerie events, payment is not insisted on – NOTAFLOF applies: No-One Turned Away For Lack Of Funds.