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.
REGISTRATION OPEN ON FAENET.ORG: https://faenet.org/events/home/individual-registration (you do not have to sign up for Faenet to register for this retreat, however it is recommended to form a profile and join this new faerie medium!)
READ THE CALL ON THE ALBIONFAERIE WEBSITE: https://albionfaeries.org.uk/gatherings/unstone-grange/
or on Faenet.org: https://faenet.org/community-events/17-coming-home-healing-retreat
Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/582495962107520/