All posts by Shokti

The Gates of SAMHAIN

Albion Fae Samhain Circle at Oscar Wilde Temple, Clapham SW4.  Photos by Mike Kear.

 

SAMHAIN: the pagan new year festival of death and rebirth, when the dead are honoured and our place in the cosmic whole remembered.  Across the world so many people feel the call to mark Samhain, whether in formal ceremony or the informal celebrations of Halloween.  More ancient than any religion, this festival has deep roots in our souls, and gives us the chance to connect to them.

The veils are thin, we remember the dead, we make fun of the darkness, we celebrate the shadows and the spooks, we just know this is the witches’ time of year.

The veils are thin and we may pass through them, recall once more the ancient ways

the dance of creation, the rhythm of seasons, the power of moons, the light of the soul

and how the Goddess, through the Wheel of the Year, shows us how to be whole.

 

 

 

 

 

In London Queer Rad Fae witches gathered on Samhain night 31st October 2018 at the Oscar Wilde Temple in Clapham to remember our kin, honour our kind, celebrate our power and invoke the hour of our magical return as healers, teachers and soul warriors of the human race, reuniting the worlds, lifting the veils

rediscovering the Way, reinventing it for today

inviting a renewed understanding and experience of the relationship between the living and the dead

samhain2

invoking health and balance mentally – emotionally – physically by honouring all parts of ourselves:  Samhain brings a time of endings as we release the summer and old beliefs that no longer serve our wellbeing, and a chance to prepare for the more inward journey of winter

to achieve this we remember the elementals and the spirit world….

Now comes the time of year when the cosmos is inviting us to enter into a deeper relationship with dimensions beyond the physical, to let our belief in our isolated individuality die and take a journey of communion and connection to the higher self and the collective consciousness. If we step through this portal, the Gate of Samhain, we will be ready for the rising fire of the centaur spirit Sagittarius and the journey through Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces months, taking us through to the Spring and giving meaning and depth to our experience of Winter.

blog by Shokti

Coming Home Healing Retreat Report

40 faeries gathered at the New Moon in Cancer for a week of healing retreat at Unstone Grange, a dedicated and beautiful ‘Centre for Personal and Creative Growth’ in Derbyshire, where we were lovingly welcomed by the centre’s smiling volunteers, the gentle and vibrant energies of the land and the baking July sunshine of Summer 2018.

There were no parties, no No Talent Shows, no auction. Instead there was a lot of tenderness, gentleness, sharing and SILENCE. Oh and we lived ‘inside out’ for a week – letting the element and energy of our moon selves take centre stage.

Each day we retreatants met in four groups according to the element of our moon signs. This produced small water and earth groups and large air and fire. We learnt that each moon group had its own way of processing emotionally. Earth moon people were laidback, didn’t feel the need to reveal much, and when emotions did come up didn’t necessarily feel the need to do much with them. Water moon people revelled in this chance to honour and explore emotional flow. Air moons talked a lot and took some time to find their focus, but became a faerie flock moving, singing and dancing as one as the days went by. Fire moons were the feisty ones, the group with shouting and arguing, walk outs and drama to the end. But also the fire people seemed to gain a lot from allowing the fire expression to happen. One fire moon faerie observed, “We all had our moments, got over them and moved forward. This was great as usually people hold onto things and keep grudges, I saw tempers flare, then become understanding and then friends, so wonderful and special.”

The retreat call invited us to gather for a time of “turning within together, a conscious journey into healing and transformation”, invoking “a supportive setting in which we practice letting go of the stimulating world of external objective intensity and wade into the cool deep waters of the inner being.” We got to be quiet together, to relax and enjoy some new moon calm space, and through doing so affirm the powerful and central healing qualities of our Albion Faerie tribe. We Albion Fae seem to have earned ourselves a reputation for knowing how to throw a good party, through this retreat space we affirmed that behind our sharing of good times lies a deep drive to embrace our nature as healers of the planet and the soul.

Photos by Loveable 

Here’s some feedback from participants:

” I felt more loved and more in family than I ever have in a group setting … exceptional love and harmony that I received in faeriespace. I feel that you all are something special and part of my life already.”

“Everyone involved should be mega proud – totally amazing! Reflecting on it, one of the things that really worked for me was the astrological theory underlying it – made it so much more coherent than your typical woo event and therefore I think more powerful in its magic.”

“… a wonderful experience. The Coming Home retreat at times was intense, even explosive, quiet, loud, but mainly fun and happy, with loads of laughter.”

“A week of connecting with magic, with the moon signs, with the heart, with the elements, with the land, with the fellow fairies…. I enjoyed the silence from the evening until lunch so much. The possibility to be „alone together“ felt natural and beautiful….. The connection beyond words is for me always stronger than the connection through words. And this quality was there.

“The significance of the moon sign to my life was a revelation for me. I knew about the influence of the the sun sign and the ascendant. But the moon sign was new to me…..The rituals we did were very powerful and connected me and everyone beautifully to the four elements and what they mean in life.

“Last not least the lovely grounds with old enchanted trees, readings at the pond, flowers, fruits, a hot outdoor bath tub, which hosted even three fairies at once (a bit of gymnastics needed there), a bliss pit to show and enhance joy and a shadow pit to bury unhelpful energies. And lovely food all week long, especially the marvellous breakfast treats created by sexual.”

A SECOND HEALING RETREAT AT UNSTONE GRANGE IS PLANNED FOR 25 FEBRUARY – 4 MARCH 2019

THE COMMODITY OF YOUTH IN AN AGE OF AUSTERITY by Cunty: A Response

Radical Faerie tribal space is a cutting edge of queer consciousness, where the spirit of community, something often lamented as a lost utopia by the mainstream gay scene, is deeply dived into and explored. Queers are a section of humanity daring to declare our love after centuries of repression, we carry many wounds in our collective and individual psyche, and of course those come with us into our tribal adventures, and can manifest as unconscious behaviours. But it is through these adventures that those wounds get healed and behaviours, along with beliefs (about ourselves and the world) change.

Cunty has highlighted one of those behaviours in their recent blog post. The title hits me like a misthrown brick and i will admit triggered a place of tension within me before i even started reading the body of the text. Linking ‘commodity of youth’ and ‘age of austerity’ feels strange.  Youth can be a commodity in any age, and the British government’s imposition of austerity measures since 2010 has precious little connection to anything faeries do. In fact, albionfaerie space has experienced increasing abundance in the past eight years, with rapidly increasing numbers of people involved, many new gatherings emerging and increasing gender and racial diversity (we’ve always had good multi-generational attendance).

Cunty starts by naming the act of comparing oneself to others, or objectifying people in the community, as a ‘trap’. This might be coming from some sort of protestant mindset? How about you be more forgiving with yourself and others Princess? Comparing ourselves to others is a normal behaviour, so is objectification – these things go on all the time in the outside world, so we can hardly expect them to just fall away once we enter the faerie gates. But yes i agree it is important to be vigilant with one’s own mind, and throw out unhelpful thoughts that arise – such as thoughts of being lesser (or greater) than others, projections about what an other person ‘is like’, but it is not a sin to have these thoughts. They are part of the human experience, the point is to rise above them and gradually get in place a more holistic perspective. The ‘trap’ I suppose is to believe them.

Cunty points out that they do not seek to blame or judge, though the fact they feel they need to say this sets off my alarm bells. Possibly this claim is there to deflect from the fact that the article is dripping in blame and judgement. He singles out ‘middle-aged white cis gay men’ as the commodifiers of youth, but actually i think people of all ages, genders, races and sexualities do so. He says some of us base our self-worth on how many pretty young things we have around us. I can not agree with this, i have not seen this behaviour in faerie space ever.

Cunty asks what happened to the idea of subject:SUBJECT consciousness? I would prefer to hear a rallying call to explore what the fuck that means (because many are puzzled i know) rather than a judgement that others are not engaging it. When Cunty writes of observing an older faerie across the room putting his hand on a younger faerie’s knee please note Cunty is quite openly sharing the imagined projection from his own head, not what he hears, though the impression of the creepiness conveyed is what stays with the reader.

The use of woo as a tool of seduction is condemned, and probably rightly so, however this is not a technique exclusively used by older faeries. In fact the younger fae are in my observations much better at this! Even the sharing of astrological wisdom is apparently a ploy to ‘entrap the unwary’. Well i am happy to say i don’t see many ‘unwary’ faeries, quite the opposite – this is a tribal space for warriors. The applauding of sexy young faeries is criticised as feeding the abusive cultural energy we bring from the outside, but I believe I see applause and appreciation directed at all faeries of all ages.

I am not writing this response to deny that the behaviours described by Cunty ever happen. I just don’t much care for how Cunty is presenting their thoughts. While acknowledging that some older guys have stuff to learn about being in community with younger, let’s also acknowledge that everybody who comes to faerie space has things to learn, behaviours to appraise, attitudes to evolve.

I witness young guys jumping into lusty, passionate embraces with each other, only for one to realise they went too far too fast, pulling back, sometimes hurtfully. This particularly can happen when a guy (of any age) who has been a faerie for a short while wants to welcome a newbie into the fold, but then doesn’t want to follow through and deepen the friendship after the initial lust is expressed. What I will say in favour of older faeries is they usually will continue to offer unconditional love and seek to grow friendship to younger faeries after the initial connection is made, whether that connection expressed sexually or not.

Unfortunately, I believe I have seen older faeries ignoring each other, finding the younger faeries more interesting or appealing, and i have wished the older guys would be more playful with each other. I have also seen this wish come true.

And this: as an older, experienced faerie, who now enjoys many loving relationships with faeries of all ages, I believe I can help others realise that we can enjoy powerful states of loving, sometimes erotic, connection with others – but still remain integral within oneself, not lose our wholeness, our independence, not lose our balance through being in states of heightened love with others. But also acknowledging that sex and love open up our vulnerabilities, which then in turn make possible the deep magic we create.

But when it comes down to it, I am completely in accord with most of Cunty’s conclusions:

Intergenerational space: at the Ostara gathering this year we had an elders and youngers heart circle, was one of the highlights and shows how much there is to explore and discover here.

Spending time with older faeries: yes yes yes what a gift it is to have a queer community space where intergenerational friendship and relationships are possible.

Issues of consent and sexual health: these are responsibilities that each of us need to be real about, all have a need to step up to, and always have had. It’s important to state it.

Cunty appeals to us to get back to our core tool, the heart circle – where we listen to each other. I don’t agree: we have nothing to get back to, because we have never left it. Heart Circle is and always will be the engine of faerie space. At Ostara, heart circles formed the centre of the programme, for example. With such a large community now we don’t all get to sit and listen to each other as much as would be ideal. But at least we have blog pages to share what we need to get off our chests!

So I needed to get this off my chest. I do not object to Cunty bringing up this subject, but as i have described, i bristle at what i perceive as projections in the view expressed. But i do heartily agree with the conclusions, though instead of ‘arguing’ that we ‘have a responsibility to ourselves and each other, to nurture and protect our tribe’ I would prefer to celebrate that we have the opportunity to create such a space of magic, wonder and self-discovery, and to exercise the greatest compassion possible, for ourselves and each other, as we will all make mistakes during this transition from the mindsets of the outside world into the subjectivity of queer community.

Redefining the Sacred, from 2 Flutes Playing

ANDREW RAMER’s book TWO FLUTES PLAYING, written between 1980 and the early ’90s, is, in his words, “a book about Coming In, coming into yourself, coming in to love, and coming in to who we are as a people, ancient,timeless and renewing ourselves”

Faeries who have read it tend to love it and wish others knew what gems it contains, so here is an example to tempt you between the covers…..

Redefining the Sacred

There was a time when what is called “the sacred” was well-define. Certain places were sacred. Walls were built around them, incense burned, candles lit. And certain days were sacred. Not the day before or the day after. But this day, in a certain month, a special moon. And not everyone agreed as to what was sacred, but everyone’s rules were about distinctions. This is profane. But that, that is –sacred. This action is sacred, if you do it this way. But that act is definitely not sacred, and never will be. You’ll go directly to hell if you do that.

But the world is changing. Human consciousness is changing. And as life becomes more spiritually attuned, the barriers between sacred and not-sacred are changing… In place of rigid barriers there are fluid ones. And this will become more common, that the sacred will rise up from an ordinary conversation, or a table will become an altar for a sacramental meal that was a desk an hour before, and may be the setting for a game of cards an hour later.

When things change, people often cling to the old rules. And it does little good to tell them that in exchange for seven very sacred days in each calendar year, and ten half holy days, there will now be the possibility of every single day being sacred, if they attune themselves to that energy. No good saying that the temple, church, shrine, mosque may be converted into co-op apartments, but that every living room, bedroom, street, gym, bus terminal, has the capacity to become the centre of the entire universe, for a while, if everyone perceives it that way. People like distinctions. It is going to take a while for would-be priestesses and priests to discover the fluid rules of their transmuted vocations.

Gay people have a function in this time of transition, a vital and necessary spiritual function. The weaving together of vibrations that is now called gayness is not the average pattern on your world. It is not average, but it is important. To be gay is to have a different relationship to male and female. To be gay is have a different relationship to young and old. To be gay is to transcend other groups, political, social, ethnic, religious. And the experiences gained from all these differences are useful to the whole of the human community.

To be whole is to be balanced in one’s male and female energies, whether straight or gay, but gay people are more attuned to the non-manifest energy. To not have one’s sexuality connected to reproduction creates a different sense of inner child in gay people. One does not expect to lave the child behind in order to be parent to their children.

Gay people are born into all families, in all races, countries, classes, religions. In the old days, the experiences of gay people were important in keeping communication lines open. Men and women in relations with each other could find mediators in their gay kin, because of the different relation to gender gay folk have. Adults and children found that gay relatives could relate to them and help them bridge the gap between them. Communities depended upon gay runners, message bearers, scouts, who would travel to other communities and connect with gay folk there. Gay people were often the peace makers, because of their fluidity.

When gay people are not honoured in a society, and when they have forgotten their inherent skills, then the entire community suffers. Families lose their mediators, groups lack their connectors. It is time for gay folk to start remembering who they are, why they exist, what they can do in the world, for the world. There are generations of wounded gay people. Many are more out of touch with the other gender, inner and outer, more than straight people, who have the outer reflection to remind them of wholeness. And a people with no hcildren have become trapped in their inner child places, spoiled, hurt, sulking. So in place of the communications between communities gay people ought to create, there is only silent, furtive sex connecting them.

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.

Let us carry the water of love again, the water of life. This is our role in the community of human beings. This is our share in he world’s redefining of the sacred. When we remember our own sacredness, we help to heal the world. We bring together families. We bring together countries. We use our fluid natures to make change. We remember what is sacred in us, and we rejoice in it again.

COMING HOME: A Radical Faerie Retreat

The Radical Faeries of Albion are planning a summer retreat in the Derbyshire hills at the Cancer New Moon

FAERIE SEXUAL ON COMING HOME: A place to connect with nature. A place to connect with faeries in playful, creative, open, exploration. A place to nourish myself with delicious food and activities. An opportunity to go within, meditate and access inner peace

 

Unstone Grange, Derbyshire, July 9-16, 2018

The Radical Faeries of Albion have been forming community via gatherings, heart circles, full moon ceremonies, drumming nights and online discussions since 2006. We are part of the global emergence of queer healers, artists, activists and shamans, finding each other and creating sanctuary when we meet. In our spaces we celebrate our queer nature through connection to the elements, trees and animal spirits, we explore the possibilities of heart-centred community, and reclaim the forgotten magical roles queers have played in many cultures throughout human history.

In this our 13th AlbionFaerie year, a group of us wish to offer a new style of coming together – one that focusses on who we are as healers, for ourselves, for the lgbtq+ community and for the whole world. We are calling this new gathering a HEALING RETREAT.

While some come to faerie space seeking nothing more cosmic than companionship and playtime, for many faeries the spiritual/mystical aspect of our community is central. We meet in circles, we honour nature, we create rituals, we drum, dance and celebrate sexuality as a divine gift that can connect heart and spirit. We greet each other at gatherings with the words “WELCOME HOME” to emphasise the blessings we are about to receive in a magically held, love filled environment, where society’s expectations and judgements do not apply and we are truly free to be our selves.

We are calling this Healing Retreat “COMING HOME”. The aim is to honour and explore the new reality we are collectively creating in the ancient isle of Albion – that of an emerging tribe of queer healers, in touch with the spirits of nature and with the lineage of queer ancestors who have been shamans, monks, witches and healers in cultures across the planet throughout all time.

  BLAZE (formerly known as EVE): I’m looking forward to connecting at a deep level with my fellow faeries. I hope to be able to facilitate safe nurturing spaces where we can explore intimacy and sensuality and open our hearts. I long to be able to spend time together in nature and in community, creating magic in it’s many forms, food, ritual, sharing, touch.

  PARADOX (formerly known as True):
My understanding of retreat from my experience in the past is a created space in which participants take sanctuary from the everyday world and take the time to explore their inner workings. 
In the retreats I took part in the structures were hierarchical with a teacher or guru of sorts leading the process. This clashes with the horizontal power flow of faeries. Thing is faeries are rather adept at cocreating process and intention. From what I understand retreats are designed to assist/facilitate the process of retreating from the world of externalities. I imagine this is something that will happen over the course of some days and not a sudden demand on the system. Much like it takes a few moment for the eyes to adjust to an interior space after coming in from a bright sunny day. This retreat says gentle and nourishing to me. It is about the healing faerie glow, the connection with the almost imperceptibly slow heart beat of the great mother.Tools used to aid in this process of letting go are things like meditations such as sitting and walking, silence periods.

 

  UNICORN: I learnt about the faeries from a book, I first learnt that Queer people have always had a calling to a spiritual life from that book too, we were the shamans, the sacred two spirits in Native America, witches, priests, monks and nuns to escape the heterosexual life and still fulfill our calling, we were respected and had always been here fulfilling our roles in our tribes, new to me but I believed it to be true and found comfort in a new narrative, one I saw in the call for Featherstone and many calls since.

I found my tribe but I feel there’s never been enough focus on all the reasons I came for me, it can feel impossible to keep up self care at most gatherings too, sometimes that’s not what is needed and thankfully I’ve had an abundance of the right conditions to help me turn inwards, find out who I am, change unhelpful patterns and most importantly realise I can generate a feeling of love for myself. I’ve mostly done this outside of faerie space. I hope to be able to help create more of those conditions for myself and others now IN faerie space…

  LIONBOY: My path has been one of thirsty feet following the ivy trails and feeling the mulch between my toes as the brambles scratch away at my skin, they snag, and pull me back on track till I find the river. Back in the flow my wounds are cleansed to walk on once more. I am a reclaimer, I awaken so I know what it is to dream.

This faerie retreat to me is exactly that; space and time to return and rediscover we did not know we had lost and to bring it home within ourselves, so as to allow us to come home to our community and bring that discovery with us. My community is a magical and I will not let us forget it. I joined the faeries as a shamanic nomad living out of my van searching for a tribe where healing was not kept for oneself but shared as a joint process of becoming. For me home is not with the other humans but with the other spirits who are on human journeys. I see the animals in our eyes, the oceans in our tears and the wind in our words carrying our whispers far beyond our reach or comprehension. Mother nature needs her children to come home for she has much more to teach and the father I feel has temporarily gone astray, let’s make our whispers count. Shaman, crystal healer, bindrune weaver, sound healer, nature speaker and tree hugging mud slapper. Capricorn sun, Pisces moon and ascendant Leo. This is who I am and what I bring, I ask you to do the same.

 

  SHOKTI:

In 1995, while developing AIDS, I met Spirit. She showed me visions way beyond my imaginings. I had been atheist for 18 years, which meant I had minimal religious baggage to unfold. Suddenly I saw that the exploration of Who We Are has long been central to human existence, but is so overlooked or misunderstood in modern culture. I became aware of the historical role of gay and trans shamans, and as I came back, transformed, from death’s door, I set out to find my queer sisters and brothers on the same path of awakening and reclaiming of our magic. I have been an active Eurofaerie at Folleterre sanctuary, visited American sanctuaries, and I see the arrival of Radical Faeries in the UK as a crucial development – for the land here is rich in ancient pagan spirit, waiting to be awoken, and so are the people. Celebration is a crucial, central part of LGBTQ+ life, both in the mainstream and in faerie space. We are a people finding liberation after centuries of oppression, we have a lot to celebrate. But sexual, social and political liberation is not enough. The health crises that spoil our new found freedom require spiritual solutions. Faeries exist on the sidelines of the Gay cosmos, exploring healing and liberation in heart-centred community. We can demonstrate to the world that spirituality is about JOY, LOVE, HEALING – and yes, SEX too. 23 years ago i began to have visions of this tribal emergence, 13 years ago I was part of calling together the Queer Spirit Circle in London, which led to the first Albion Faerie gathering. I am so excited to be giving birth to this Healing Retreat, to have brought together a talented, sparkling team of organisers, and to see what we will all collectively manifest in the Derbyshire hills.

THE FAERY STAR

The symbol we have chosen for this retreat is the seven pointed ‘Faery Star’. This star can be drawn in a continuous line and is considered a symbol of eternity. Medieval alchemists used it, considering it to represent seven alchemical metals, or seven planets. It can also represent the Pleiades (the Seven Sisters), the seven musical notes of the octave or the colours of the rainbow. It is deemed to be a powerful portal to the Faery realms.

For the Healing Retreat the seven points of our Faery star each contain a holy symbol, representing various approaches to spiritual awareness that humanity has developed, with the planet Uranus sitting in the centre of it all. Uranus here is the Awakener, the Revolutionary who brings dramatic, sudden shifts in consciousness, fulfilling his role as ruler of Aquarius. Early gay pioneers Karl Ulrichs and Edward Carpenter called queer people ‘Uranians’ because they considered our love to be ‘of the gods’, bringing spiritual light and evolution to planet Earth. Uranus is the queer planet of the solar system – the only planet that revolves horizontally on its axis instead of vertically, and its moons are named after the faeries of Midsummer Nights Dream.

Our Faery Star represents the fact that we queers come from all kinds of spiritual backgrounds, but through the light of awareness and awakening we have the potential to create and enjoy a new paradigm that rises above divisions, that sees all paths as versions of the same thing – the way home.

Sitting above the star, bathing all this powerful symbology in summer sunlight is the astrological glyph for the first zodiac sign of the summer season, Cancer. Cancer is the sign of the Divine Mother, of emotional connection through the water element, and is a cardinal sign: although receptive, Cancer water energy is not passive – it is about initiating action, healing and growth. Cancer New Moon occurs during the Healing Retreat, bringing us a portal to experience a homecoming on every level of our being.

REGISTRATION OPEN ON FAENET.ORG:  https://faenet.org/events/home/individual-registration   (you do not have to sign up for Faenet to register for this retreat, however it is recommended to form a profile and join this new faerie medium!)

READ THE CALL ON THE ALBIONFAERIE WEBSITE:  https://albionfaeries.org.uk/gatherings/unstone-grange/

or on Faenet.org:  https://faenet.org/community-events/17-coming-home-healing-retreat

Facebook event page:  https://www.facebook.com/events/582495962107520/