Category Archives: Subject Subject

Glamour and Beguilement: Faerie Magicks

I’ve recently been very interested by points raised and issues brought up in articles posted by Shokti and Cunty (thank you both for your contributions). While I don’t want to reply directly to either, they have brought up and shone a new light on some thoughts of mine that I’d like to share.

Something that seems to be very much in the forefront of faerie consciousness is consent, and how it is affected and potentially invalidated in situations where there is a power inbalance – whether that be because of a difference in age, in sexual or romantic experience, in relative health/wellbeing, in social capital/etc. In a rather emotionally challenging circle I attended fairly recently, a discussion on how intimately/emotionally involved it was acceptable to be with those who have approached you for support descended into a faerie being aggressively accused of effectively using their position in the community to sexually take advantage. I really don’t want to make comment or take a side based on a very limited perspective on an obviously very deep and complex interpersonal conflict, but it certainly highlighted to me that this is an issue that it would be healthy for the community to start examining together, in a unified, careful and heart centred way. I was therefore very gladdened to see Cunty open up – in what I read as a very careful, vulnerable and relatively non-violent way – about the specific objectification and allure of (particularly male perceived) youth as he sees it within faerie gatherings. Personally, what he said definitely made connections with many of my observations and understandings of contemporary faerie culture. From my memories of the spotlighting and collective adoration of a select number of glamorous 20-something gay boys at the couple gatherings I’ve been to, to younger fae talking about navigating the myriad attentions and overtures of relatively older fae, to the multitude of over 40s gay men’s sharings in heart circles about feeling passed over, ignored and left out during the more festive and sexually charged modes of gatherings, my personal impression is that many faeries from all sides of the power dynamic would agree with Cunty about its existence. When I first encountered this dynamic at Featherstone, my first reaction I’m not proud to admit was envy, for the attention and adoration I perceived the young guys in their drag and glad rags as being granted. The root of this, given some time to reflect, was obvious: I have always struggled with needing validation and attention to feel accepted or appreciated socially, in earlier more male presenting times I would have flaunted and flirted my youth and form to gain the social attention and validation of other gays, and I was sore to find in this community my gender nonconformity meant I wasn’t able to misuse that dynamic as I was used to doing in queer spaces. While I have in the past definitely found select desire fulfilment by taking advantage of this sensual objectification dynamic, in hindsight it was disingenuous and caused much unhappiness: mainly because I had no intention or desire to engage sexually with the majority of the people I inticed, and interactions ended with neither party ultimately getting what they sought after.

I was interested to see the strongly differing perspectives between Cunty and Shokti on how objectification (or celebration of form etc.) fitted into Harry Hay’s binary of Subject-Subject vs. Subject-Object interactions. Obviously for Cunty, his experiences of how younger male-perceived faeries were sought after and his role in it was distressing and felt demeaning to the objectified faeries, whereas others (seemingly including Shokti) experience it as something much less inherently malign, and as compatible with empowering, loving faerie interaction. I can only stress that all I am doing and can do is lay out my own limited personal perspective, in the hope it might strike a positive chord with others, but I would like to suggest that its more complicated than that, and wrapped up in the use and misuse of a peculiarly faerie talentset, which I would like to call Glamour.

***Content Warning: contains liberal Woo, including Woo terminology and ideology***

So, lets talk about Glamour! In faerie space, I think it would be misguided to imagine that every interaction is an honest, profound and direct expression of self from one heart to others. On the contrary, we have extraordinary freedom to play with situations, to channel external energies and power, to adopt guises and personae, to perform as conduits of magick and ritual, to act out salacious and outrageous roles and desires. When we do so, consciously or not, our manifestation of Other (whatever external to ourselves we are creating the idea of) represents a channelling of our energy in order to bring about a physical change in how we are experienced by those who we interact with . This I’m going to denote with the old scots word for witchery and magick, Glamour – simply put, I’m using glamour as a blanket term for energy that is used to alter how you are perceived, whether that’s in faerie space or the concrete world.

How is this relevant to our discussions of power dynamics, of objectification and desire, you may ask? Because glamour is the tool and magic we use (wittingly or not) to work towards obtaining the reaction we desire from others: whether that is simply to enrapture, enrage, outrage, entertain, arouse, relax; or to achieve a more complex goal altogether. It is undoubtedly powerful, and does have the power to (temporarily or permanently) alter people’s perceptions of what is real and what is not, of their boundaries, of their internal senses of what is safe and unsafe, right and wrong. I see this as present in our drag and performance, in our engagement of those we are enamoured of or desire, in how we present our workshops and ideas, even in our stories, narratives and words of wisdom. Glamour undoubtedly has the power, sadly, of causing situations which can potentially lead to energetic and psychological damage to those who are more susceptible to losing themselves to it, when it is used without care and attention. Whether that is someone who has the protective seal on their inner trauma untimely broken, someone who finds themselves drawn into a cycle of indulgence that leads to a substance abuse relapse, or someone looking for paternal guidance and companionship who finds themselves in the midst of something more carnal, the reality is that faerie space – despite its beautiful, enriching empowering potential – can at times generate risks and the possibility of danger also. I don’t necessarily think this is something we should be ashamed of or feel guilt for communally, we aren’t ultimately responsible for or can control others feelings and reactions to faerie space. However, that isn’t to say that working towards making space more loving and nourishing for all isn’t an admirable undertaking for all of us who feel called to do so.

So how can we work to being responsible and loving wielders of this power, especially given the liminal nature of Glamour, and why should we? I think to the latter question, there may not be a simple right answer but my two cents is that at the foundation of faerie space is a core bedrock of being a community of love, and that by each individually doing work towards maintenance of that equanimous love we share as a community, we hold the community together and ensure its stable continuity. I think that especially those who exist towards the centre of the web of faerie energies particularly – whether that’s just for one gathering by being an organiser, social focus point or energetic catalyst say, or those who more generally are tied in to the core of continued community – tend to pool the energy to project glamour, potentially more so than they give themselves credit for. I’ve felt this myself at gatherings, when some people enter a room the energy completely changes in anticipation of them, when some people talk their words hold the listeners in rapture, and their expressed ideas naturally become the listeners reality. From what I have seen, often this is used by these faeries in a really generous and conscientious way already – easing the anxieties of unsettled newcomers, bolstering the guidance of gatherings energies towards mucking in and interacting respectfully, offering support to the disenfranchised, and helping make heard the quieter more fragile voices. To my mind though, they are unavoidably in the position of holding sway over hearts and minds, and I think recognising that power dynamic and creating a conscious and supportive collective awareness might help us harmoniously flow together around these issues.

How to wield Glamour in a safer way is something I can only offer my limited set of ideas towards, but I hope these might serve as a starter to thinking about approaching Glamour more mindfully and conscientiously. I think its important to examine our motives in how we interact with others, and try and match the Glamour we wear or project with our heart’s intentions – if our desires are sexual then wearing that on our sleeve and weaving seduction into our advances  does honour to both the magick and the recipient. Further to that, checking-in in some manner and working responsively with the reactions our glamour elicits gives us the opportunity to ensure our energies have provoked what was intended and not something else unwanted, and gives us the opportunity to regather where our audience may have gone astray. As an example, I have heard of multiple instances where gender-bending manifestations have been mis-taken as looking to elicit sexual desire, which could lead to plenty discomfort for some of these manifesting fae if left unchecked. Moving towards a subject-empowering approach in our interactions can often help avoid situations where we impinge on others self-determination. This can involve ensuring we have their informed consent throughout interactions, we are being transparent about what we are doing, and self monitoring for mistakenly projecting your needs or traumas onto them, or false convictions of knowing what would be good for someone better then they themselves do. Upholding live consent doesn’t need to be something clunky and jarring that disturbs our energy flow in interaction, for one who is used to looking for it it can be achieved intuitively and as a beautiful enhancing element of their language of intimacy. Finally, being open-minded to our own limitations – as lovers, as healers, as magicians – and knowing when something has escalated beyond our control or comfort and it is safest to tap out is an important skill we should all bear in mind, and be open to the idea of. At the end of the day, it is the chaos in the nature of humans to make mistakes, to not always achieve what they set out to do, to be reliably unreliable – this isn’t something shameful or negative! It is how we respond to signs of failure, to accept it with grace and humility, and to learn from it which to me marks out the most enlightened amongst us.

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I hope I have managed to set out my ideas on these power interplays that come into faerie space in a way that is constructive and has avoiding bringing up pain as much as possible. In faerie community one thing I particularly value is that with all the so many different faeries whom I have touched hearts with, I have not met anyone who does not in their own way have a loving relationship with the tribe as a whole, and isn’t seeking to have a more healthy and nourishing interrelationship with this community. I truly believe that we do all dynamically make our own uniquely positive contribution to the spaces we hold together, I hope that in understanding and respecting the complexities of our many differences we can all be enriched and grow together, to make ever more tolerant, loving and caring faerie space in the future.

Vessel

 

Embracing subject:SUBJECT consciousness – Shokti

Radical Faeries gather around the world, creating zones of heart based communication, where we can retune our bodies, minds and spirits to the rhythms of nature, where we support, nourish and love each other, and find healing, purpose and inspiration. We are groups of Queers discovering the spiritual power hidden in sexuality, and learning to live in a new paradigm of co-operation, creativity, expansive love, consensus and Oneness.

Embracing subject:SUBJECT consciousness we overcome the hurdles within ourselves that prevent us meeting each other with love. We practice active listening in our heart circles, listening without judgement or reaction, growing in compassion and presence as we do so. This heart presence then inspires all our other activities, from cooking and washing up, to transformational workshops and ceremonies, to dancing and lovemaking. We honour the holiness of sexuality in our Love Temples and the healing touch of nature’s spirits, ancestor souls and queer deities, gradually shifting our understanding of life from the divide-and-conquer, materialist paradigm towards the full embrace of the divine dance of consciousness, co-created, expressed and shared through love, light and laughter.

Joy is the gift of spirit that we receive and develop in ourselves and that we bring to the wider world. Joy is a powerful vibration similar to love, but a more constant one – unlike love it has no shadow side. Joy is simply joy, coming from the soul and enjoyed in the body, heart and mind, it is the vibration of who we are as living spirit, fearless and adventurous, expressive and accepting, knowing and trusting, vulnerable yet strong, loving and praying. It’s what arises in us once we get the falsehoods of the ego, the fears and judgements etc of the mind, out of the way, and let who we really are shine through.

The faerie drums call out to all who are ready to hear and feel – the times are changing and queers have an important role to play in this change. For centuries our queer light and power has been denied and repressed, but in a few decades our presence in the world has undergone an incredible, mind-blowing shift. Our journey to sexual, social and political liberation has advanced in some parts of the world, and our next journey – of spiritual discovery (or re-discovery of who we have always been) and mystical emergence, which has been getting underway for some decades already in faerie groves and tantric playgrounds (mostly hidden from or ignored by mainstream gay life) is reaching a new level. What we go through, in this rapid journey from darkness to light, is forming a template for humanity as whole. Because of our long standing exclusion from the rituals of the rest of society, the hunger in some of us for tribe, for liberation, is very strong, and is fuelling our growth. We are fulfilling our archetypal role as scouts of consciousness, and if we can consolidate, strengthen and develop our tribe of hearts we will be a beacon for the rest of the lgbtiq+ cosmos and the whole world.

Rad Fae communities are one of the key places that we Queers are exploring new ways of relating and communicating. We are circles of people exploring what it can be to live in the presence of love, with trust, respect and in safety, in the sacred connection of souls having a multi-dimensional experience. We are emerging as a global force, a tribe of hearts.

People come to faeries from all kinds of backgrounds and spiritual/religious experience. We are a melting pot of ideas, vibrations and potential. Whether we have spiritual beliefs/practices or not, in faerie community we can get a direct experience of love-in-action, of heightened frequencies, of deep intimacy (with each other and all creation (on a good day)), of life as a cosmic dance. In mystical language, it could be said we open the gates to the goddess – to the shakti presence in us and all creation – which the queer interplay of gender energies within us enable us to attune to and be aware of. This shakti presence uplifts, transforms and changes the game of life. Queers work and play with this magic all the time, in faerie space we get to turn the volume UP.

This is why it works – in the realm of the Goddess there is no search for enlightenment, only the experience that it is already here, connecting us, feeding us, enabling us, blessing us, encouraging us. When we are feeling free, bright and joyful we do not seek anything, we are experiencing ourselves in our natural state. The search for answers, the need to address our issues, the fear of the future, disappear and we live as love. Once open, this shakti gate just keeps on giving, and when our issues and fears resurface we will find new ways to address them. Faerie gatherings are held within sacred circles, where the unconditional love of the divine channelled through the elements that give us life meets our aspirational heart energies to reveal the way to healing, magic and splendour.

At some point we might find the abundance of emotion and experience overflows and overwhelms us. Then we may feel inclined to run away from faeries, and perhaps need to for a while – but where else in the world will we find such a pioneering, queer, eccentric and ecstatic tribe of playful, sexy, warrior souls? Faerie space is not perfect – it’s not designed to be a utopia escaping reality – it’s a transformational playground pointing the way to better quality of life experience, the like of which has never existed on planet earth before. The ride will not always be smooth, but there is no ride quite like it. For queers seeking deeper connection, both internally and externally, greater intimacy and meaning in life, Faerie space is providing a glimpse into what might be possible.

We don’t have to ‘become’ a faerie – to take on another label in any fierce or dogmatic fashion. In fact to do so would be so un-faerie. Faerie gives us the chance to embrace ultimate flexibility/fluidity, shapeshifters that we are – here is a space where queers who are called to explore the magical, mystical power within the human soul can gather with others and have the necessary, frequently ecstatic, fun to release it. Call it what we like, here we are scouts of consciousness taking and tackling the ‘essentialist’ route towards fulfilment of our queerness (ie exploring what makes us unique in the human panoply), as opposed to the ‘assimilationist’ path of the mainstream gay culture. We get to discover that we are witches, shamans, fools, that we are healers, artists and agents of transformation. For queers who already feel this or know this in themselves, and for all queers who have this in them, faerie space is a true homecoming – but not the end of the journey, it is a beginning.

***

Some humans are born with a sense of the numinous, the worlds beyond the physical, already built into their awareness, but many of us experience some kind of ‘revelation’ moment when the bigger picture of the creation opens up for us. This is often called an Awakening, and can come to us through all sorts of situations, both pleasant and unpleasant. It might be that we are ‘programmed’ to wake up to more levels of existence as we get older and ready to deal with what they bring to us. As the mainstream culture of our times does not recognise this process it is very common for the symptoms of awakening to be misunderstood and medicated away. It is possible that a lot of mental illness is due to this fundamental denial in the culture of our evolving, emerging, soul natures. Life conspires to bring us direct experiences of that nature, then leaving it in our hands as to when and how we adapt our lives to harmonise with it. If we are resistant we are to doing that, life will continue to try to push us into it, quite possibly through crises, illnesses etc.

Once we have seen the light, we need to find our own way to walk in it. Every part of us that is in darkness, in shadow, will be illuminated. The path of light, of conscious growth, means facing, embracing and healing the shadow in ourselves, and ultimately in all things.  It helps to remember we are on a path of healing – and not fall back into believing in pathological labels given to us by the materialist paradigm when things get tough.  Taking the time to focus and mark the seasonal shifts (equinoxes, solstices etc) and moon cycles can keep us on track, keep the deeper purpose high in our minds.  This can have very powerful effects, hastening our healing and evolution, especially when shared with others.

The religious paths of the Father, with their written treatises, rules and disciplines of yoga, meditation etc – and their promises of enlightenment and salvation (usually considered out of reach, at least in this lifetime) can provide us with vital tools to ground and centre ourselves in the changeable and challenging moments in community and in life in general.

The paths of the Mother Goddess are found in the cycles and rhythms and beings of nature, of the sun and moon, the planets and stars.  They stem from the fact that all this Creation around us is ONE DANCE constantly in a state of communion and communication. The power of the heavenly bodies and nature’s cycles is often revealed to us through direct experience of faerie ritual and community living. Through observing, honouring and studying the seasonal shifts, the moon cycles etc we discover that the shakti presence and wisdom is always there on offer to us, to help us open our minds and heal our souls. The ‘brainwashing’ we received from the rationalist, materialist school of thought that likely dominated our education makes many of us resistant to embrace the intuitive arts of astrology, tarot, kabbalah, shamanism etc, but these arts, that require the interplay of our left and right brains in order to be mastered, hold the keys to our souls. Whether we are actively ‘spiritual’ in a conventional sense or not, they can reveal the dance of spirit in matter, remind us that we are in fact That, release us from the cage of separation and existential angst that science may have dropped us in, however well meaning it’s efforts, and reveal to us just how magical, marvellous and divine our existence, both individually and collectively as a tribe of hearts, truly is.

Once awake we have to HEAL

in order to HEAL we have to FEEL

open our HEARTS and walk with COURAGE

distinguish between what is FALSE and what REAL

The Cosmos is calling us HOME

to CONSCIOUS LOVE-IN-ACTION

to the true nature of the HUMAN SOUL

AND TO THE QUEERS TO REMEMBER OUR ROLE