Category Archives: Miscellaneous

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Radical Faerie Origins

in the words of those who were there!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arthur Evans

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

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

Harry Hay

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

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

Mitch Walker

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

When we once more meet together

The Ancestors Rejoice

in the Faeries as a tribe

of Radical Adventurers

moving beyond Pride

and into the Power found inside

through connecting to the elements

to the plants and trees

to rivers, lakes and seas,

through the sharing of the heart

and expression of our arts

through the merging of our genders,

marriage of the god and beast,

gathering in circles

and making a life a feast

of love, music, magic –

we are the children of the Goddess

and all mystics that went before.

When we gather, we learn to fly

and how to open doors

that re-unite the worlds

and reveal to us who we are:

the walk-between people

the liminal ones

genderless or genderbending –

diving deep before transcending –

sun-eyed and summoning the dawn.

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

When we once more meet together

our drums and hearts will beat as One

for people waking from the nightmare

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

Younity

By Charles

Serendipity

‘In Vino Veritas’

Homage to Edward FitzGerald 1809 -1883

Smiling eyes – daring winks can lead to sharing drinks

Poetry’s Infinity of Ideas, wines bouquet of connection

Universality’s highways & byways linked by thinking

Now reaching out as they generate within… Glowing

Passports to Paradise ~ Celestial Arts of the Heart

Empty pages rages lie dying… live as night skies

awakening darkened eyes leave signature dew

drops twinkling on the morning hill, so

Time gently sips Eternity

until

Loving the movement

Living the Moment – You will

Faerie dreaming

by Earth Spirit and Shokti

Evening time by Earth Spirit

He who sees also hears

Bring onto me the babe in arms

Heal the wounds of the past

For they bring only sadness to thee

Five of one half a dozen of another

One wrong or two right

.

Hold in your heart the journey of life

Love the thunder and the cloud

They all bring a message

Open your heart sit and be still

Float with the thoughts

Centre your actions

.

The river flows deep, wide and inside

As you stand on the bank

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

Hold each others hands or face extinction

.

Have love in your heart always

It will bring satisfaction

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

Others will carry the flag between them

Have faith and hope, never doubt your connection

Life holds fulfilment as well as disappointment.

Dreamtime 2020 by Shokti

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gong Bath reflections on climate change by Earth Spirit

We are all equal whatever you think

We are of one creation and one unity

The thirst that you feel is only a reflection

Of life held too tight and full of restrictions

You feel trapped and frustrated

But this is only the beginning

There will be much more in your inner being

In case you have fear, please believe in divine intervention

You are not alone in this situation

Because this is a global institution

.

Hold out your hands for the gifts that will come

Answers to questions and reasons for discussion

They are not blind, they just need you to see

Beyond today and this mission

.

Life will go on, whatever you think

This planet and world are not ready to sink

They have plans and contingencies inbuilt in their systems

The world is made of magic, this you must believe

It can hold and heal itself, beyond your imagination

Graveyard in lockdown

27th March 2020 Lock down conversations in a graveyard with the universe. By Grounded Spirit.

I look around at the hills and wonder what all those people are thinking in their homes right now. Some worry about finances, jobs, businesses, food, death others of sickness.

A true reflection about priorities and what actually matters now. Some need freedom, some security, others communication, connection or touch.

We come together this day to bring hope.

To tell you the stars still shine and the moon still rises and moves.

Humanity must listen to the song on the wind.

It is not an inconvenience it now blows, but a clear message.

Blow your doubts and memories out and away.

The time has come to go within

To see the truth of yourself

See what is within your heart

The heart that has been crying out to be heard

It’s message will be clear enough

Be still now my child, it is your time to awake

To open yourself to the other way of living

You have been living in fear, for too long

Now is the time to live in joy

Reclaim your history

Reclaim what has been taken and denied, from you for all these years

Listen to nature call

It calls you to take heed

To feed the soil

To protect the land

To clean the sea

To spread the message of love and light

Each child stands now naked before us

No longer able to hide behind money and greed

No longer in need of materialistic things

The bells have gone

The glitter dispensed of

You are empty of your dreams

This is the time of renewal

A time for peace

A time for love not war

Hear the birds

now how they sing

They sing of happiness and joy

The animals are not afraid

They don’t hide or leave

They trust, they know, they sense the change to come

Open your heart to what you already know

Feel the beat of the many hearts,

not just your own

You share with everyone

The same home

Breath the clean air

Drink the clean water

See the mountains alive with new vegetation

This is healing time

Meditation time

Slow time

Reset time

It is your time

All the sign posts have been blown away

The road is now clear

It won’t be the same

It can’t be the same

It shouldn’t be the same

Look in your hands

See what you hold most precious

It is not a figure on paper

or cash in your hand

It is love between people

It is safety together

It is holding and touching

Connecting and creating

Breath in the new life force

As you know you can

It is here to lift and sustain you

It is part of the plan

Replace that old fear and learning

With a fresh new approach

One less of surviving

Now set on living in hope

Sit and watch the wildlife

The flowers that grow

They all have a story

That you should know

They have been trying to tell you

For a very long time

But you were too busy

Rushing through life

We can help you

Like we used to do

When you used to sit close to the fire

And listened as we spoke

You heard the answers in the smoke

The visions came from the flames of the oak

Bond as you should

Care for your folks

Neighbours and others

Who may now feel broke

Lift up your heads

The healers within

Now is your time

To work with the ill

This is not about sickness or plague

This is about humanity and staying brave

Many will die

It is an awful truth

But think of the compassion

And message of hope

Dance if you want

It is OK to sing

Whatever sustains you

And awakens the new dream

Use your tears to water the plants

Let them grow from your sadness

So there is still hope

Search within yourself

Before others speak

Know your true destiny

Without their rope

Leave your coat on the hook

It is your time to sit and hear

You are loved very much

But you have lost your path

This is to remind you

What could come to pass

Now I will leave you with this flea in your ear

Remove the sadness and the fear

Sending hugs to all in need

But remember your destiny

The real one you need.

Love and blessings to all now

You are not forgotten

We do not know how

Sending love to your heart

And food to your bellies

Knowledge to your brain

And leaving you to discover.

RADICAL FAERIES IN AFRICA

global poster art by albionfaerie Hug Me

The third GLOBAL RADICAL FAERIE GATHERING is happening at a retreat centre near Cape Town in South Africa 15-24th February, 2020. Over 100 faeries from around the world will assemble at this first ever gathering in Africa, at which there will be larger numbers of African kin than at any previous faerie event.

A frontline of the GLOBAL battle for love and acceptance of LGBTIQ+ people is in Africa. African Christians condemn homosexuality as an import from western culture, completely missing the irony that it is Christianity and homophobia that are the real foreign invaders. But perhaps there is some truth in the claim that ‘homosexuality’ as a concept did not exist in pre-Christian Africa because the African people were not as limited in their thinking as to define a person by their sexuality:

homosexuality is seen very differently that it is seen in the West, in part because all sexuality is spiritually based. Taken away from its spiritual context, it becomes a source of controversy, and can be exploited. In the village, you never see gatekeepers, or anybody for that matter, displaying their sexuality or commenting on the sexuality of others…

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…

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

Sobonfu Some

Note the frequently recurring links between same sex love and spiritual power as the rich queer history of Africa emerges….

African history is replete with examples of both erotic and non-erotic same-sex relationships. For example, the ancient cave paintings of the San people near Guruve in Zimbabwe depict two men engaged in some form of ritual sex. During precolonial times, the “mudoko dako,” or effeminate males among the Langi of northern Uganda were treated as women and could marry men. In Buganda, one of the largest traditional kingdoms in Uganda, it was an open secret that Kabaka (king) Mwanga II, who ruled in the latter half of the 19th century, was gay.

220px-King_Mwanga_II_Buganda

The vocabulary used to describe same-sex relations in traditional languages, predating colonialism, is further proof of the existence of such relations in precolonial Africa. To name but a few, the Shangaan of southern Africa referred to same-sex relations as “inkotshane(male-wife); Basotho women in present-day Lesotho engage in socially sanctioned erotic relationships called “motsoalle” (special friend) and in the Wolof language, spoken in Senegal, homosexual men are known as “gor-digen(men-women).”

(Quoted from http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/4/homosexuality-africamuseveniugandanigeriaethiopia.html )

“The indigenous cultures of South and East Africa have a long history of homosexuality, transgender behavior, and even same-sex marriage between both men and women. In early seventeenth-century Luanda (the capital of Portuguese Angola), Catholic priests Gaspar Azevereduc and Antonius Sequerius documented third-gender natives known aschibados. The chibados dressed like women, spoke effeminately and married other men “to unite in wrongful lust with them.” More shocking to the priests was the fact that such marriages were honored and even prized among the tribesmen. In a similar record, Portuguese Jesuit Joao dos Santos wrote in 1625 that the chibados of southwestern Africa were “attyred like women, and behave themselves womanly, ashamed to be called men; are also married to men, and esteeme that unnaturale damnation an honor.” In his writings about seventeenth-century Angola, historian Antonio Cardonega mentioned that sodomy was “rampant among the people of Angola. They pursue their impudent and filthy practices dressed as women.” He also stated that the sodomites often served as powerful shamans, were highly esteemed among most Angolan tribes and commonly called “quimbanda. http://amarawilhelm.wixsite.com/around-the-world/part-8

quimbanda

Dagara: The words gay and lesbian do not exist in the village, but there is the word gatekeeper. Gatekeepers are people who live a life at the edge between the worlds – the world of the village and the world of spirit….Gatekeepers hold keys to other dimensions. They maintain a certain alignment between the spirit world and the world of the village. Without them, the gates to the other world would be shut.” Sobonfu Some, The Spirit of Intimacy (2000)

The gay person is looked at primarily as a “gatekeeper.The Earth is looked at, from my tribal perspective, as a very, very delicate machine or consciousness, with high vibrational points, which certain people must be guardians of in order for the tribe to keep its continuity with the gods and with the spirits… Any person who is at this link between this world and the other world experiences a state of vibrational consciousness which is far higher, and far different, from the one that a normal person would experience. This is what makes a gay person gay. This kind of function is…one that people are said to decide on prior to being born. You decide that you will be a gatekeeper before you are born…To then limit gay people to simple sexual orientation is really the worst harm that can be done to a person.” Malidoma Some http://www.menweb.org/somegay.htm

Azande: “the Azande tribe in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo in sub-Saharan Africa use their queerness to instill fear and respect in the eyes of their fellow tribespeople. Lesbian Azande women were notorious for being very open and proud of their queerness, wearing it like a badge of honor. This was because, to the Azande, the spiritual potency of women was seen as often more powerful than that of men. Already at a magical disadvantage, Azande men were particularly impotent to the power of queer Azande women. By having sex with each other, lesbians of the tribe were believed to be able to double their spiritual power, making their magical prowess the most powerful in all the tribe. To show off their spiritual might, Azande lesbians sometimes practiced their queer sexuality in public as a way to let everyone know now had 2x the power they once had.” (Tomas Prower https://www.llewellyn.com/journal/article/2696)

azande

In southeastern Africa, Bori cults—along with their crossdressing shamans and possession rituals—are still quite common among the Zulu. Shamans are known as inkosi ygbatfazi (“chief of the women”) while ordinary transgenders are called skesana and their masculine partners iqgenge. Zulu warriors traditionally asserted their manhood by substituting boys for women and in the 1890s, Zulu chief Nongoloza Mathebula ordered his bandit-warriors to abstain from women and take on boy-wives instead. After his capture, Nongoloza insisted that the practice had been a longstanding custom among South Africans. Indeed, homosexual marriage was documented among the Zulu, Tsonga and Mpondo migrant workers of South Africa at least since the early nineteenth century. Boy-wives were known by various names such as inkotshane (Zulu),nkhonsthana(Tsonga), tinkonkana (Mpondo)”

(Quoted from http://amarawilhelm.wixsite.com/around-the-world/part-8 )

“Apart from erotic same-sex desire, in precolonial Africa, several other activities were involved in same-sex (or what the colonialists branded “unnatural”) sexuality. For example, the Ndebele and Shona in Zimbabwe, the Azande in Sudan and Congo, the Nupe in Nigeria and the Tutsi in Rwanda and Burundi all engaged in same-sex acts for spiritual rearmament — i.e., as a source of fresh power for their territories. It was also used for ritual purposes.”

(Quoted from africamuseveniugandanigeriaethiopia.html)

mugawe

The Meru tribes of Kenya have a religious leadership role known as mugawe, which involves priests wearing female clothing and hairstyles. In 1973, British ethnologist Rodney Needham noted that the mugawe were often homosexual and sometimes married to other men… In 1987, anthropologist Gill Shepherd reported that homosexuality was relatively common in Kenya, even among Muslims (both male and female). Most Kenyans initially discourage transgender behavior among their children but gradually come to accept it as an inherent part of the child’s spirit (roho) or nature (umbo). Shepherd observed third-gender men, known in Swahili as shoga, who served as passive male prostitutes and wore female clothing, makeup, and flowers at social events such as weddings, where they typically mingled with the “other” women. At more serious events such as funerals and prayer meetings, the shoga would stay with the men and wear men’s attire. Other Swahili terms for homosexual men include basha(dominant male), hanithi(young male partner) and mumemke (man-woman). Lesbians are known as msagaji or msago(“grinders”).”

(Quoted from http://amarawilhelm.wixsite.com/around-the-world/part-8 )

“The Konso of southern Ethiopia have no less than four words for effeminate men, one of which is sagoda and refers to men who never marry, are weak, or who wear skirts. In the mid-1960s, Canadian anthropologist Christopher Hallpike observed one Ethiopian Konso that lived by curing skins (a female occupation) and liked to play the passive role in homosexual relations. In 1957, American anthropologist Simon Messing found male transvestites among the Amhara tribes that were known as wandarwarad (male-female). They lived alone and were considered like brothers to the tribeswomen. The husbands of the women were not at all jealous of the close friendship between their wives and the wandarwarad. Messing reported that the wandarwarad were unusually sensitive and intense in their personal likings. He also found “mannish women” among the Amhara known as wandawande.”

(Quoted from http://amarawilhelm.wixsite.com/around-the-world/part-8 )

zande men

In the Sudan, traditional Zande culture is well known for its homosexual marriages, even into the 1970s, as reported by British anthropologist Edward Evans-Pritchard in 1971. Some Zande princes preferred men over women and could purchase a desired boy for the price of one spearhead. They would then become husbands to the young man, provide him with beautiful ornaments and address him as badiare (beloved).”http://amarawilhelm.wixsite.com/around-the-world/part-8

The white man exported his homophobia to the whole world, and now in the 21st century western queers are campaigning vigorously to reverse this situation. But of course once again this can feel to people in Africa and elsewhere like colonialism – the enlightened west telling the rest of the world what to do. Instead, we of the west should be going on bended knee to the peoples of Africa, apologising without end for the wanton destruction of ancient cultures, and for the spread of fear and hatred relating to sexuality.

Instead of telling Africa what to do we need to be learning from their history and their example. Just as with the example of the Two-Spirits of North America, and the ancient Goddess priest/esses of the Mediterranean world, the queer history of Africa points to an integral association of same-sex loving and transgender people with the sacred, magical, mysterious dimensions of spirit.

In this spirit, our intention at the Global Radical Faerie Gathering is to invoke healing and rejuvenation through the ancient philosophy and spirit of Ubuntu: “the universal bond of sharing that connects humanity.”

Healing Power of the Drum

“A new study published in PLoS scientifically validates what so many drum circle participants have already experienced first hand: group drumming produces significant changes in well-being, including improvements in depression, anxiety and social resilience.”http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/group-drumming-better-prozac-study-suggests

It was round a queer pagan fire in a field in Dorset in the year 1999 that I first experienced the expansive joy of group energy united by the drumbeat – a circle of people all revelling in the feeling of being in union, connected by rhythm and emotion and something bigger, knowing that each is having their own experience of this, would describe it in their own unique way, and this fact is perfectly wonderful.

Each human is ultimately a mystic having a relationship with their own inner divinity – and when mystics merge their energy fields, in harmony with nature’s elements,magic is the word for what happens.

Other words might include healing, revealing, seeing, knowing

Uniting the human individuality with the spirit of the drum, the rhythm, the group can loosen blocked emotional energy, clear the mental frequencies, and liberate the spirit. It can rebalance the inner world, it’s good for our mental health.

shokti

radical faeries of london samhain drum circle ancestor shrine

Allowing the energy to rise and fall

Listening is the key to tuning in

The mind naturally takes a back seat

as the heart and spirit move into the dance with the drum

The body revealed as ecstatic vehicle

of the lightbeing you are and always have been

Step into eternity

Allow the elements to restore and renew you

All life is One Dance, One Power, One Strength

Flowing through you, me, space, time and mind

In the rhythm we find our way home

Humans have always communed this way.

2017-12-02 – London, UK : Albion Faeries Drum Circle and Al Head Book Launch

Join the mailing list of the radical faeries of albion for news of drum circles in London and much more…. sign up on the homepage www.albionfaeries.org.uk

Away with the Faeries

Blog by Rainbow:

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…

When we eventually arrived at the castle and walked through the front door, I felt like Alice stepping into Wonderland for the first time. Faeries dressed in all kinds of outfits imaginable started to appear in the hallway to welcome us home with hugs and kisses. Growing up in the closet, I never imagined I would ever greet a man for the first time with such an intimate embrace. (How very European it would have seemed!). But this place was so far removed from the ordinary muggle world that for the first time in my life I didn’t feel judged, ashamed, or excluded.

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. 🌈

Blessed be x

Photos by: www.mikekear.com

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

(Almost) One month in Faerie Space

by Fire Jaguar

I came to Folleterre Radical Faerie Sanctuary for the Solstice
the year before I was intensive care
watching the suns rays creep across the floor to the bed I couldn’t leave
hooked up to a tube helping me breathe
for 24 hours
In folleterre I was welcomed home, home to the earth, to nature
I marked the solstice by watching the sun rise
As the sun entered my sign of cancer
I sang songs I made a year before in the sandpit, with my crystals and cried
I had an epiphany
I could heal from everything that ever happened to me
.
I vowed to myself, faeries, the lake and Pan that I would return
for as long as I could
I bravely asked for help
negotiated for time
couldn’t return for atleast 5 weeks
didn’t even want to leave…
lost in limbo
but before I knew it, it was time to return
.
I missed my initial flight
I got 3 days in a much smaller and more familiar sanctuary
a half way house
I arrived 3 days late
and immediately sang at a spontaneous cabaret, about how lost I was, and how it feels so good
to have found my tribe
dressed as Jesus Spice
It was nerve wracking
but really helped me arrive
.
I had made a beloved friend a Wand from the Ancestors tree while I was away
he had stayed
I got to put the Wand back in the very spot we found it in, as fallen wood, 5 weeks before
I love the magic we all create
We are so lucky to have Sanctuary, Off grid, Safe, Faerie Space
.
At the First Gathering, there were about 80 more people than the Solstice
I knew this would be intense
But being out in nature together
was very different, to my experience of being in the many roomed, crucible like Featherstone Castle
Morning Circles were long, but the experience was much more cohesive
the number of people  made every task seem rather threatening…
My focus was on entertaining myself by getting dressed up, enjoying the attention, compliments
showing off the parts of my body I actually like
 and heart circling
.
Blonde Ambition Spice
 Sex Book Madonna
 Joan Collins Spice
 Kylie Minogue, singing whilst doing yoga
 BDSM Barbie
Shamanic Spice
 Princess Leia Brigitte Bardot Spice
 Cruella DeVil Spice
 Spiritiual Barbie Spice
 Mama and Baby Winehouse
Show Girl Spice
some of the looks and names I created… I know there were many more…
always a little bit self conscious
unsure of my motivations
I talked to myself in the mirror about it one day and cried
It’s not easy being incarnate in a body sometimes
I don’t have to be an attention seeker, it is safe to approach people
sometimes an outfit felt like armour, or at least it put a distance between myself and others
I think I may have simply been too much in my head
Most of the times it brought on pure joy
.
Its amazing even in a very safe space
How much fear I often still felt
I had this constant desire to be held
it happened twice in almost 4 weeks
I avoided many opportunities for intimacy through fear
intimacy to me being authentic, revealing your most private and true at this moment self – thoughts, feelings, bodily self..
And I actually also did this a lot..
But it requires trust
The Sanctuary was a very different place for me in the final week once long term friends I have built that with had left
.
I got sick twice
both times when I was getting close to people I really liked
what was that about?
I felt like a contagious leper…
avoiding people when I needed hugs more than ever
not completely, the first time I felt so much better when I realised it wasn’t just me…
I heard afterwards,  50% of the gathering had it to!
The Shame I felt was totally disproportionate to the present situation
But I read in a book while I was there, and it was true for me, and these things take work to clear..
My first sexual encounters were totally entrenched in shame and fear
.
I was able to focus and feel grateful for what actually happened, instead of what I felt like I missed out on…
Lovely cuddles, kisses, wonderful hugs and beautiful conversations… people being there just at the right moment
Helping me be shoeless shamanic spice, when I was freaking out about performing without heels, so genuinely, lovingly supportive, and grateful for things I had done too…
I was able to share my shame at being so lazy, and why, and gently encouraged to do more…
I definitely felt better once I finally did some washing up!
I started cooking more too
.
 I thought about how we are Radical, its Radically different for me anyway to be in such a space, from 17-21 I only knew websites as the way to secretly connect with other queers
I was in an abusive relationship after that for five years where I didn’t connect in that way or any other
I spent one year of my life out and single, but my priority was healing, in a rather heteronormative spiritual community,
then I found the faeries, and a new lover, two years, feeling I was sortof  part of this tribe
Ended that relationship in January, and 8 months on there are people who feel like my chosen family
Allowed to “just be”
I love myself more, I love them, and I know they love me…
Real affection outside of a “relationship” is almost a totally new thing
.
Being in Sanctuary did bring me more physical healing that I desired to, not in the way I expected
as lazy as I was at times, I was still up on my feet so much more, rarely ever inside
Just walking up hill to meditation rock was a workout
swimming was wonderful
I eventually got so fed up with feeling crap I started stretching in the morning
I feel so much better I’m maintaining more activity
before I would just sit around at home thinking I can’t be bothered
Last night I had a totally enchanted experience, a regular occurence in Folleterre
Missing the lake, I walked to the nearby river, and swam down it, surrounded by tree’s on each side
It gives me tingles just thinking about it
Remembering the Lake, I had a mystical experience there too, to the sound of a flute
I was missing some of my friends, but then in my heart and  my minds eye, they were all there, dancing in the lake, or on the bank with me too!
.
Once I left, I could really appreciate where I had been..
People who aren’t faeries think I’ve just been on holiday… A holiday from the outside world I guess
Walking in the French town of Lure
I was checking out his muscled arm
I noticed his angry face…
I felt the fear, (so small, compared to the all consuming kind I’ve felt in the past)
I breathed through it (what an improvement)
But thought, shit, this isn’t safe (so much more aware of what’s happening)
I’m no longer in Faerie Space
.
Really i’m always in Faerie Space
I came back to london
I performed at a Queer Cabaret
I brought my ability to share deeply from the heart to the Glory’s stage
about how much I’ve grown, probably demonstrated more than anything by my Angelic outfit
One that’s been nurtured and appreciated even more in the last month, but finally recognised during the last 4 years
People were so grateful and touched
Take your broken Heart, and make it into Art, as Carrie Fisher once said
My hearts no longer broken though, just wide open