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.
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
Just over six months ago, my life took a rather bizarre turn. A rather bonkers, unexpected, yet utterly fabulous turn that I still don’t know whether I should try to embrace or recover from. In short, I attended my very first Radical Faerie gathering.
What on god’s green Earth is a Radical Faerie (I hear you ask)? I had come across the term “radical faerie” a few years previously when it was included in an online list of Pagan traditions as a sort of alternative path for gay men. That was all I knew. Until February this year, when I happened to bump into a group of Faeries in a tent in Brighton on my way home from church. Unbeknownst to me at the time, this chance encounter was probably one of the most significant events in my life so far.
In the tent I had some amazing conversations about magic and spirituality and all things queer. It turns out that the Radical Faeries aren’t just a group for gay men, and neither are they exclusively Pagan. They encompass and celebrate a whole spectrum of queerness and spiritual expression. Eventually I plucked up the courage to ask the question “how does one become a Faerie?”. The answer I got was the answer I wanted to hear: “darling, you are a faerie!”. And that was that.
They told me about a gathering they were planning to have the following month and invited me to join. So cut forward a few weeks and I’m in a broken-down car at a petrol station just outside of Manchester with a rucksack, a sleeping bag, and couple of Faeries trying to get to a castle in Northumberland. My life has always been a bit weird, but it was only going to get weirder…
Of course, I was slightly timid at first, but I didn’t feel scared. I’d been in queer environments before having worked in a gay night club for a number of years, but that said, this was something entirely different. The atmosphere in the castle was uplifting and liberating rather than bitchy and judgemental, and I really got a sense that anything could happen at any moment. My inner-child was jumping for joy with the excitement and freedom of it all. I remember looking over to another first-timer in the dining room on hearing an announcement that a “shadow-pit ritual” was about to commence, and laughing at the confusion and intrigue in both of our faces!
The shadow-pit ritual lead us down some stairs into a darkened room where we were invited to throw our worries and fears into the darkness. We then emerged into another room in which a drum circle was taking place. I sat in the middle of the room as the rhythm took me deeper down the rabbit hole and told me that this was my home. I was in a trance, and felt extremely curious and inspired by all the wonders around me.
Over the course of the week I learnt about the various traditions of Radical Faerie gatherings. The first I adopted was the hissing sound that Faeries make when they agree with or appreciate something that is being said. Sort of like a variation of “hear, hear!” that doesn’t make you sound like a twat. Another tradition is that everyone chips in with the cooking and cleaning, which gives gatherings a strong community vibe. One of my favourite traditions is the kNow Talent show, where anyone can perform anything, and you have no idea what you’re going to see next. But by far, the most important Radical Faerie tradition is the Heart Circle.
A heart circle is a sacred thing. It is a space held among Faeries in which everyone is given the opportunity to speak from the heart and be listened to without judgement. This is such an important thing for the queer community as we so often face judgement from outside as well as from within the community itself. As well as being able to share my feelings in heart circles, I also learnt a lot from listening to what others had to say. As one of the youngest faeries at the gathering, I truly felt the sense that I was inheriting a tradition and a culture from the elders and survivors of LGBTQ+ history. This idea never even crossed my mind during my time working at the gay bar, but I now feel connected to a global tribe of queer warriors.
So within the space of a week I was given a new tribe, a new community, a new identity, a new culture… I found a new way to express gender fluidity and a new way of looking at my relationships. I was given a new name (Rainbow) and a new path to follow. It was a bit overwhelming, and it opened up so many doors in my mind that had been closed for a long time which forced me to face my own demons. Settling back into the muggle world after the gathering was extremely difficult, and I had so many new things to deal with and ask myself. Finding the Faeries was everything I’d been looking for, but I had no idea where to go next. I felt lost, even though I had been found.
So this is where I’m at now. Trying to process everything and give myself time on my own to explore my mental health. I’ve met so many amazing people, and shared love, friendship, sex, pain, and confusion with other faeries. I dived straight into the deep end of Faerie life and, if I’m honest, I started to drown. I needed to slow down and learn to know and love myself again before continuing on the Faerie path. So thank you faeries for leading me here and allowing me to grow. I’ll see you again soon I’m sure.
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.
” 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
Photo of the fireplace in Blue Room at Featherstone, by Sparkly Tom
The Albion Fae have had a bumper year…
The first Albion Faerie Gathering took place at Featherstone Castle at Imbolc 2006. We held one gathering there per year for 6 years, putting down the roots of community at these Winter hideaways in Northumberland. From 2012 the pace quickened – we started to gather at Paddington Farm in Glastonbury, to meet at Featherstone in the warmer climes of Spring and Autumn – and in Summer finally in 2017 when faeries from around the world came to our hearth for an inspirational Global Gathering. Connections formed at that time have continued to develop, with much cross fertilisation going on between the various Faerie communities of planet earth. One product of this creativity is our very own social media website – Faenet.org, the work for which has been mainly undertaken by Canaan and Albion faeries.
From one gathering per year for 6 years, in 2018 we are holding 6 gatherings in one year:
IMBOLC at Paddington, with our annual pilgrimage to the White Spring and Brigit Mound. Faerienizers were Blossom, Running Water, Bridge, Earth Song, Touch Me and Starbuck. 30 faeries attended.
MAGIC GATHERING in Gloucestershire, the second appearance of this focussed space for an intimate group facilitated by Earth Song and Qweaver
OSTARA at Featherstone, 80+ faeries welcoming the new season, our 5th Spring visit to Northumberland, the faerienizer team this year facilitated by Wolverine, with Zebedee, Touch Me, Hagbard, Samicee and more on the crew.
BELTANESpring Love Awakening Gathering – A new gathering in May in Glastonbury coordinated by Bridge with a core team of Big Sister, Paradox, Running Water, Swallow & Taboo. The gathering of around 60 fae fused core faerie themes of love, heart sharing, sensuality, sexuality, practices, celebration, community, compassion, personal growth and most importantly co-creation. The intention was to create a journey and a container where our hearts could open more, where we could make Love, both within ourselves and for each other.
COMING HOME Healing Retreat at Unstone Grange, Derbyshire – another new gathering, with an experimental structure intended to enable us to go deeper in our paths as healers of self, other and the planetary soul. Included silent mornings and exploration of emotion and expression through our moon element energies. Initiated by Shokti who brought together a team of new faerinizers – Blaze, Unicorn, Lionboy, Paradox, Samicee and Sexual. 40 faeries attended.
and still to come..
SAMHAIN at Featherstone. This gathering was fully booked within two weeks of registrations open and currently has a waiting list in operation. Taz is heading up a team which includes Running Water, Samicee, Surprise and others
As well as gatherings this has been an expansive year for other faerie get-togethers, with 70+ people at each London Drum Circle. Lots of new people are constantly drawn to this space where we feed our souls through a full moon musical and frequently ecstatic work out. Faeries have also been meeting over in the east of the city, at the Faerie Sky Garden in Plaistow, scene of an amazing pre-Pride evening of fire and ritual that drew in dozens of fae-curious queers. London Faeries also meet for heart circles, held an Ewok Woman gathering, and faeries came from far afield to be part of the Music Gatherette, which focused on ways to foster confidence and encourage spontaneous music-making and singing at gatherings . This year has seen a developing strand of WeMoon circles, an intentional space initiated by Samicee Mother of Unicorns to act as doorway for Trans, Intersex and faeries of other marginalised orientations into faerie ways. Also, a group is now holding monthly open meetings to plan for permanent residential community space in London. (https://albionfaeries.org.uk/the-emerald-village-london-faerie-housing-community/ )
The Brighton clan held space for Faeries and friends away from the intensities of the town on Pride Day in August, and earlier in the year welcomed San Francisco Faerie Joey Cain in town for the festival screening of ‘Hope Along the Wind’, a documentary about the life of Harry Hay. There have been faerie meets in the West Country, the Nottingham clan held heart space in the Nine Ladies Stone Circle, and there was an impromptu alternative-imbolc weekend on the South Downs. Coming up in September is the first North West Heart Circle in Liverpool.
A year ago at the Great Circle/FaeGM we established a new administrative structure for the tribe. Out went the roles imposed on us by bank formalities (president/secretary/chair), to be replaced by three admin circles – Communications, Finance and Gatherings/Events. Together the faeries volunteering their energy to be part of these circles form a collective Stewards Circle. All circle meetings are advertised and anyone can attend. The Stewards Circle is meeting for a Tribal Moot on Saturday 29 September to review progress of the new structure.
The Global Gathering in 2017, hosted by the Albionfae at Featherstone Castle, opened up new connections for us with other communities around the world, which some of us have had the chance to deepen during the past year. There has been a rush of Albion Fae spending time at the French sanctuary, Folleterre, and a lot of cross fertilisation with the Canaan Faeries, plus many visitors passing our way from other communities, such as Fairyland in Australia and the North American sanctuaries. Tennessee Willy of the Short Mountain tribe has just spent a few months with us and reports how awestruck he is at the vitality in our collective spirit, to observe how open and keen we in the Albion Fae are to build deep and real connections with each other. Wherever we gather, the love truly flows.
But of course as a rapidly growing community we have growing pains. One of the many ways for us to positively evolve iswhen someone shines the spotlight on what they perceive as a difficult issue going on amongst us and we learn, over time, how to effectively respond compassionately to that issue. There is always the risk thatsuch issues can quickly take centre stage and obscure the sight of the amazing, positive and beautiful things we are achieving – such as a healthy balance between celebration and self-exploration, and the real and lasting loving friendships that are being formed. But we are learning and evolving and increasing in awareness that we operate at different speeds, have different ways of communicating and do so with different priorities. Our tribal energy is ‘vital’: people’s lives are changing for the better because of us, we are becoming known as a healing force within the wider LGBTQ+ cosmos, creators of sanctuary, wherein heart connections and authentic communication lead the way. Our community is in its 13th magical year and its light is strong. bright and changing the world’s understanding of queer consciousness, magic and community.
As we enter the Autumn season, the time of the Ancestors approaches.
As young a community as we are, we already have our own personal ancestors in spirit
Fairy Nuff, Barbarella, Beloved, El-Leo, Jon BlipClone, Woodchild and others who have briefly engaged with us on their journey
We are not in this journey alone
Another analogy to describe us is to see the Albion Faeries as a growing branch in the forest of Human Consciousness Development which traces its roots back to ancient times and through the more recent works of Walt Whitman, Edward Carpenter, Harry Hay, John Burnside, Starhawk, Mitch Walker, Don Kilhefner and the developing boughs and branches of the Faerie Sanctuaries throughout the world.
The branch which is Albion grew from the Eurofaerie tree but also from Queer Pagan Camp, Edward Carpenter Community and most recently has found some rich nutrients from the amazingly rich melange that is Queer Spirit Festival.
We are a still new branch but we already have our own loved ones who left, perhaps prematurely…
We can reach out with love to those in spirit
and receive their love right back into our hearts and our circles,
following this guidance that Edward Carpenter left to be read at his funeral:
“Do not think too much of the dead husk of your friend, or mourn too much over it, but send your thoughts out towards the real soul or self which has escaped — to reach it. For so, surely you will cast a light of gladness upon his onward journey, and contribute your part towards the building of that kingdom of love which links our earth to heaven.”
Autumn is a rich time of natural magic, let’s spread our faerie love and blessings wherever we tread this season…..
I am complicit in a pattern of behaviours that is toxic to individual faeries and our community as a whole.
I am complicit because I have at times fallen deeply into the trap of comparing myself to others, objectifying certain members of my tribe and not speaking up when I witness the behaviours in those around me.
Within this piece I do not seek to shame or to judge, although many times I find these behaviours embarrassing or infuriating. Partly my reaction is on behalf of others, partly it presents a reflection of my own past conduct.
This is offered as a call for change. I know change is often difficult, costly or painful. Some will react with anger as they read my words, a few may nod in recognition, perhaps one or two may even find themselves reviewing their own gathering etiquette.
Whilst visiting the most recent gathering at Paddington Farm in Glastonbury, I found myself in a room surrounded by faeries, although I was present as a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence at the time. I often find the role of the outsider gives a perspective that is revelatory.
I saw and heard behaviour patterns I have seen time and time again in faerie space. The same issues were present 2 years ago when we had so much trauma and division. I had hoped we might learn and change but we didn’t seem to address one of the underlying problems.
Middle-aged cis white gay men, like me and including me, commoditise youth. Some of us (“not all” I hear the cry and respond “no but far too many”) base our own sense of worth and our social standing within the community by how young, pretty and new the faerie is that we are seen to be frolicking with.
Outrage! Of course. It is outrageous. It’s ridiculous that an intentional community who speaks so much of coming home, of tribe, of not being like the other, Grindr-loving queers, should recycle and promulgate such toxicity among ourselves.
Whatever happened to the idea of subject-subject consciousness? The notion that we sought to exist in kinship and harmony with each other? That we respected each other’s uniqueness and gifts as a queer person, not just their value as an object to elevate our status amongst others who similarly objectify them? Harry Hay spoke of the natural inclination of queer men to be not killers and fighters who “seemed to want to celebrate their Brothers rather than to compete with them”. When we read those words do we even recognise ourselves any more?
Sometimes I look across the room and I can almost hear the transaction in my head as an older faerie gently places his hand on the lower thigh of one 30 years his junior and in his inflections the dialogue flows “you’re obviously deeply spiritual”, a little too practiced.
Or the hidden revelations given by another when nobody is around to hear that their spirit guides told them they would have a lover matching the same description as a newly minted faerie almost 4 decades younger.
The use of woo as a tool for seduction of other members of our tribe distresses me. Its twisting to enable seduction and subjugation is abhorrent. The delight in sharing ideas and rituals, of empowering and raising each other instead becomes an area of mistrust and confusion.
Wisdom of astrology becomes a set of mystical edicts from those with hidden arcane knowledge, set up to entrap the unwary.
At times I find myself questioning if I judge too harshly, regardless of the faeries who share their experiences with me, or the evidence of my own senses.
I remember my own mistakes and missteps, the damage I have caused and will no doubt cause unwittingly in future.
I remind myself that what is acted out in this sacred space is a result of trauma. We don’t talk about how it feels to grow older. To survive those who never will. To become invisible in our bars and clubs. To feel increasingly isolated, afraid and somehow lacking.
This isn’t everyone’s experience of course. Some delight in the role of the silver daddy, of discovering new ways of expressing themselves.
Some find comfort in their accomplishments and in their wisdom.
But some are desperately scared of no longer being desireable. We use gatherings as dating pools rather than opportunities for our own growth and development, let alone connecting to other men in platonic loving ways.
I watch complex, fascinating, talented men ignore opportunities to connect and nurture their community as a whole because they are obsessed with pursuing significantly younger men. The skills and insights they have are cast aside in their ravenous pursuit of their physical ideal.
As I say, I am complicit. I am one of these men. Although I have never had sex with a younger faerie at a gathering (except one instance where I was already in a relationship with them) I have found myself competing and I hate it. The process demeans everyone involved. It reverts to subject-object unconsciousness. How could it not do damage?
And I too have applauded and cheered as the most pert and youthful have been paraded at an auction to the howls of older men. That plays into the same culture too.
So what can we do?
Maybe we be more open about how it feels to be present in inter-generational queer space. Maybe we have some personal boundaries in place or share an intent to focus on our own gifts and journey and hold ourselves accountable. Perhaps even invite others to hold us accountable too. Wouldn’t that be a big hit of vulnerability and trust right there?
The crux of subject-subject consciousness should be mutual support and equality of power. We are perfectly capable of this but it doesn’t always serve the ego. So maybe we could prioritise consciously spending as much time with older faeries and getting to know them. Cause let’s face it, we’re all older faeries to someone.
Reach out to each other rather than offering reach-arounds. And there are issue of consent and coersion, as well as personal responsibility regarding sexual health that should to be addressed too. But I fear there are few who do have read to this end now. Many who have dismissed it.
Maybe we could engage back into our core tools. Heart circles help us to practice listening to everyone regardless of youth or appearance. Maybe we could share our fears and be there as silent witnesses for each other.
I would argue that we have a responsibility to ourselves and each other, to nurture and protect our tribe. Even from ourselves.
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.
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.
At a political demo in London this summer I met a Radical Faerie from Atlanta, the city faerie clan in Georgia that currently has a reputation for being the most active and fertile group in the USA. He told me that he had heard that the Albion Faeries are ‘very spiritual’. By this I don’t think he meant that we go to church on time, or that we all line up dutifully for morning practice, nor even that we are super nice to each other (and compared to some of what I have seen in American sanctuaries, we actually are). He may have been referring to the way we meet regularly to honour the moon cycles, and also to the way our gatherings are built to consciously get the most out of the energies of the seasonal festivals of the wheel of the year. As I feel very fortunate to have discovered very early into my personal spiritual journey, our ultimate task while alive is to follow our spirit, not our given/chosen spiritual path. Fortunate also to have discovered how the cycles of the Sun and Moon, and the rhythms of Nature, give us all we need to liberate the spirit, to heal and awaken the soul, if we become conscious of them. Gatherings are a very effective way of discovering the gifts and subtleties of a season’s energy.
The Albion clan of the global Radical Faerie tribe are about to hold our 21st gathering since we first assembled at Featherstone Castle in Northumberland a decade ago at Imbolc 2006.
Eight times we gathered at the enchanted Featherstone, our Faerie Hogwarts, during the cold Winter months…. Twice over Christmas and SIX times at Imbolc. These were thermal fashion, finding-divinity-through-the-duvet gatherings, with lots of cosiness around fires, intimate, slow heart circles held at sunset in the blue room (which most people attended) and freezing ballroom discos – divas dancing around the tall radiator heaters not their handbags.
The Imbolc gatherings were slow paced, cosy and for the most part mellow. There was a lot of deep sharing and healing going on, also of course an element of high spirited partying, which for some occasionally seemed to become more central to the experience than the healing journey. Whether related to that or not, we experienced a lot of physical sickness at the last few castle winter gatherings. I suggest that if we do not attend effectively to the soul healing that spirit calls us together to address, it is easy for sickness to manifest in our bodies.
I also feel that the deep healing work that many of us did engage in for ourselves… and for the collective… during those deep and magical winter retreats (there was one stunning year that it snowed deeply before we arrived and didn’t melt until we left… we were outside doing naked photo shoots in glistening sunshine, we also built a snowhenge) was now done. Spirit was pushing us out of our winter dream time space to explore new territories. The conditions at Featherstone in February were proving too tough, but the wish to continue meeting to savour the sparkling energies of Imbolc, and each other as a respite from the dark winter period, was strong – so gatherings shifted to Paddington Farm in Glastonbury, where space is limited and we have to be cosy with each other.
Sometimes it is so exciting to escape the winter blues and arrive in faerie land it can be tempting to forget that the spirit at this time of year is asking us to light a small inner fire, not a conflagration… is inviting us to look within and heal, preparing ourselves for the busier time of year ahead. Imbolc has an exciting energy of potential and promise, but it’s still winter. The Featherstone winter gatherings gave us attendees a powerful experience of deep stillness – because the land holding us was itself so cold and still, while in Glastonbury the earth energy is much lighter and livelier. It does not offer us the kind of deep winter spirit experience that many of us got to know in the Northumberland wilderness.
Imbolc is a time to come together for warmth and reassurance in the dark months of the year – the faeries of Albion have explored this season’s energy more than most other clans around the world. Imbolc is also a much celebrated faerie festival in southern United States – an annual Brigit Ball is held in New Orleans, in a very different climate to our northern retreat. So maybe that’s where the spirit of the British maiden goddess emigrated to after her people forgot about her here, somewhere much warmer!
In 2014 we gathered for the first Albion Spring Gathering, held over the Equinox shift from winter Pisces water to spring Aries fire energy, discovering powerful magic through consciously making that shift within ourselves in sync with the planet. We returned to Featherstone for this and subsequent Spring gatherings, taking huge delight in the warmer temperatures both outside and within the castle, in the longer hours of daylight, the lambs in the fields and the bright Spring sunshine.
2014 was the year of our second Summer Solstice Gathering at Paddington Farm under the Tor, but the first year the magic really took off there for us. Powerful workshops releasing shame from our lives prepared the ground for a ritual rise into blissful communion around our hot and sizzling Solstice fire in the woods. Many a faerie’s deep rooted dreams of passion and play in nature were fulfilled that night, and our merry mystical dance with the woodland spirits has continued at the Solstice gatherings since. 2014 Solstice brought a glorious sunrise witnessed by many Fae up on the top of Glastonbury Tor. We arrived there at dawn, a very merry band of kissing, cuddling queers livening up the atmosphere amongst the local hippies and characters of Avalon.
2015 the Albion Faeries filled in the last remaining gap in the seasonal calendar with our first Autumn gathering, Featherstone providing the most perfect setting for 9 days of Samhain sorcery and spooky delight. Within a decade we have held gatherings in each of the four seasons of the year, this seeming to me like a very significant statement from our collective to the cosmos that we are not messing around, the Albion Faeries are a spiritual tribe and we mean business.
An issue that comes up for us, it seems every few years, is around substance use and abuse. The issue seems to arise when we have become accustomed to a venue and start to take the magic for granted. Or maybe we just get lazy about doing the work that opens the gates to it?
When we cosmic queers gather together and open the gates to the heart and spirit we are inviting the potent powers of the universe to come be part of the journey with us. Those powers answer the call gladly when they feel the sincerity behind it, and they bring the possibility of profound awakening and transformation to our conclaves. Having invited super powered cosmic guests to the feast it is silly to ignore them, and seek illusory transcendence through quick fixes. Sometimes of course suitably blessed and prepared sacraments are part of the exploration of our faerie nature that we undertake. As we are in community space and not a gay holiday camp it would seem vital. and natural that those using substances as part of their experience would aim to do so consciously, with awareness given to how their choices impact on others.
Our self-defined and self-declared community has grown rapidly in a decade. Is this the moment for us to take a collective breath and consider how, where, when and why… we do what we do. Our last two gatherings at Paddington have led to some disturbance and, it seems, division, amongst us. By contrast the last two Featherstone outings have been extremely well blessed on all counts. It is noticeable to me that while the castle gatherings have had several faeries stepping forward to be part of the organising team, there has been a shortage of new energy in the Glastonbury team. There even seems to be some element of ‘consumer’ culture seeping into Paddington. I also think we have been sticking to a tried and tested formula in our gathering spaces and not really adapting fully yet to the differing energies of each season. What works for a cosy Winter or lazy Lammas retreat may not be the best formula for the highly individuated energies of the Summer Solstice. These high energy gatherings, which have become very large very quickly, could perhaps be held more ‘lightly’, with less expectation of a tightly bonded faerie unit than at other times of the year. They could be more like a faerie ‘festival’ than a conventional gathering. It simply does not seem practical to expect large numbers of fae to achieve the type of bonding and intensity that we know so well when our numbers are so large and the space we are occupying is also used by other people, when we are so close to the attractions of Avalon and when the Sun energy is at its peak. But a less formal faerie festival that embraces these factors as gifts might manifest a lovely energy.
2017 looks like being a different kind of year for the Albion Faeries.
Featherstone Castle has been booked for a Global Gathering in August, to which we will invite a number of activist queers from countries in Africa/Middle East/South America/Eastern Europe/Asia to come tell their stories and have an experience of the kind of compassionate community the Faeries create. This gathering is being run in collaboration with the organisers of the first Global Gathering in California held two years ago. With a limit on the number of places the organising team is asking only faeries who feel passionate about the global rights of lgbtq people, and who wish to input into the creation of a global queer shamanic conscious community, to come along.
The castle has not been booked for a Spring gathering next year, Team Butterfly figuring that after 3 successful Spring events there a fallow year was appropriate. Dates have been booked for October.
Imbolc at Paddington Farm is booked for us but as yet I believe there is no organising team for a Summer Solstice gathering. I think we could consider also taking a year off from the Solstice gathering, giving time to reconsider how we gather in that space should we wish to continue using it.
This potentially would leave a huge gap between our Imbolc gathering and the August Global, and both of these two have restrictions on the numbers that can attend. Could this space be an opportunity for new initiatives to manifest? To perhaps try out smaller gatherings in new locations, perhaps built around themes that some people wish to explore? I would also like to encourage as many Albion Fae as possible get off our little island and go experience the spirit at American and Euro Faerie sanctuaries, to make connections with other parts of the tribe and learn from how they do things.
The Albion Faeries are part of a global network of queer healers and agents of change and transformation. There is surely something significant about the Radical Faerie spirit finding a home in the pagan homeland Albion, reaching here via the United States and European gatherings and sanctuaries. We are exploring the crucial link between our sexuality, nature and consciousness, we are birthing the Age of Aquarius. We are also a crucial beacon for lost, confused and abused queers who are not finding their place in the soulless modern world, nor in the shallow end of gay life. We offer a plunge into the radical depths of being, and a lot of fun while plunging. It is well worth us taking stock of what we have achieved and plotting a way forward with consciousness, compassion and care. The Albion Faeries are a ‘very spiritual’ clan of queer magicians, a fact that needs to be properly honoured and understood as we enter our second decade of community building.
This has been a busy and dramatic year so far for the Fae in Albion, even from my partial and occasional viewing but I have had a number of conversations over the months and yesterday even they crystallized for me in a long conversation with Shokti. From this conversation several thoughts have emerged about where we are and some of the issues facing us as we move into the future. I shall attempt here to summarise my current thinking, with the always present caveat that I may change my mind and adjust my opinions as new information and circumstances arise (or when the wind changes, I am a Queen and therefore will, because I can X)!
Is this a time for a taking stock of where the Albion Faeries are? After the strife and challenges and achievements of this year some thought about how we move forward, in inclusivity, in safety, in numbers and activities could be of assistance to us.
In that last few years the number of events and gatherings held under the Faerie name here in Albion has multiplied and the numbers of Fae with them, thus it is increasingly difficult for all of us to know everyone, there are new faeries, faeries who have never been to the events we(I!?) have, old faeries who haven’t been for several years. This is Wonderful! And challenging! Informal gossip networks that sufficed for information exchange and organising are creaking trying to include everyone, core values and practices can be diluted/lost in all the wonderful new opportunities and experiences offered by so many new Fae. I do think however that some consciousness needs to be brought to this process, an awareness and thoughtfulness. For instance, it is several years since I have been greeted on first arrival in a Faerie space with the words “welcome home” which was my first magical experience at my first Faerie gathering, I miss it; and I wonder how many have never had that experience? Maybe I’m being old fogeyish, maybe not, but this and other practices might be usefully thought about before being abandoned all together – or after consideration revived?
As part of the growth in numbers and events the Faerie purse has grown to! When I joined a set of accounts was circulating showing a balance of about £2,000 (I don’t remember the exact figure), comfortable but not earth shattering for a group of our then size and nature. Most gatherings since then have (wonderfully) turned a profit and as far as I am aware the purse now stands at something over £10,000. This is great, but now presents us with the challenge of what might/do we want to start doing with this. How much do we need to keep in hand as a ‘rainy day fund’ against a financially disastrous gathering or event, what is over, what could we do with the surplus(es?). Do we want to seriously start saving for The Land? We are now at the stage where that looks like a possible target, not this year perhaps or next, but in a few years time perhaps. Do we want to set up a system to support sending some fae to short Mountain or other US sanctuaries to learn and deepen our connection with our sister/cousins in America, bringing that new skills and knowledges home with them? The very beautiful suggestion earlier from Shokti about funding some LGBTQI refugees to attend Queer Spirit started an excellent debate – I think the solution reached was perfect – but it leaves the question open about outreach to those who may have no way of making even travel costs, and may face cultural barriers to even finding out we exist. Next year there is the World Gathering in August, an enormous opportunity, and challenge, happening here in Albion. Will we provide seed money to this? Will that be a loan or a grant, or dependant on how that gathering does financially? I note here as well that the Faerie spirit has this year moved Arian Bloodwood to start offering workshops on ‘changing your relationship to money’ inspired by the Faerie Hammer. They are amazing and well worth attending if you can, and if you can’t get to London trying to persuade Arian to come to you! (He doesn’t know I’m saying this, but will no doubt find out J…).
Finally, there is the matter of Faerie magic/heart space/spirit. This is not an accidental or happenstance aspect of the Faeries. It is a core part of what makes us faeries and not just another holiday camp for vaguely like minded alternative hippy types into booze, parties and sex. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just not ALL we’re about and recently I think that our growth and changes have made that more difficult to create and maintain, again my thinking is that this needs a deliberateness and attention that it has maybe not always been receiving. We have relied on “co-creation” to make sacred heart space happen. I would offer that we need to be much more deliberate and considered around this to make our future developments easier to manage well.