Tag Archives: Faerie Gathering

The power of faerie love – by Moss.

The power of faerie love,
Its energy fills me.
Charged with its light,
Charged with the gift of its magic,
I am an overflowing vessel of love.

The medicine of faerie love,
Its potency awes me.
Healed by its properties,
Healed with the potion of ancients,
I am healing with my heart.

The wimsy of faerie love,
Its freedom thrills me.
Warmed by its silliness,
Warmed by its total abandonment,
I am laughing with my heart.

The possibilities of faerie love,
Its waymarkers lead me.
Encouraged by its teachings,
Encouraged by realising my own potential,
I am journeying with its love.

The power of faerie love –
Energy, magic, humour and hope.
Enriched by these elements,
Enriched by the faerie gifts to me,
I am filled with the power to heal
And the chance to be truly free.

FAE by Brother Sun.

For every stick and stone

That was thrown

To break my bones,

I have used to build my tower

The one in which I stand

Free, Wild and Proud.

For I am not weak

Not any more

No longer can you cause me hurt

For I have wings and I shall soar.

For I am Fae, I am beyond your understanding

A body, a spirit, a soul

A warrior, a queer, a man

No longer under your control.

You tried to bury me

But I got up from the ground

Stronger than I ever was

While never making a sound.

For my gifts are great

I feel to my core

I feel the Earth below me

And then I feel some more.

You didn’t destroy me, even with all your intent

You made me more powerful, and that wasn’t what you meant.

For I am Fae

And that is all I need

You have failed

And I will succeed.

For every stick and stone

That was thrown

To break my bones

I have used to build my tower

The one in which I stand

Free, Wild and Proud.

Shokti’s Radical Faerie Fundamentals

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Radical Faerie is a term adopted by some humans (often but by no means exclusively gay men) as a label to indicate we view ourselves as free and sacred beings of nature, seeking to live from the heart in tune with the natural forces, and that like nature is constantly exploring and growing, is both male and female, elemental and divine. Each Faerie will have their own unique definition of the term, no faerie seeks to speak for another, this offering is Shokti’s take on some fundamental faerie fae-osophy. I believe Faerie space offers sanctuary to those of us who wish to explore who and what we are from the root up, a sanctuary where the self-limiting, hierarchical and patriarchal concepts of materialist science and certain dictatorial religions do not reign. Instead Magic is on the throne, and Her reign gives us Freedom to be Who We Are.

Tucson 1979

The faerie fundamentals as seen by SHOKTI: Each human soul is a unique mixture of the primal energies of Creation. A soul has self-awareness, a quality which mystics of all faiths have declared is the essential nature of the Creator Consciousness – like the Source itself, we have self-knowledge, and the ability to create our own destiny. An interplay of pure consciousness (Shiva) and pure energy (Shakti), often depicted as an ecstatic, sexual union, brings the worlds into being. Souls combine the Shiva and Shakti nature of the Divine Creator Source within themselves, the fundamental truth is that at soul level we all both male and female energies, they flow together to create our being, while our personalities are also shaped by the interplay of the four elemental forces that are the building blocks of life.

Humans are the meeting point of nature and spirit. To live a healthy, balanced life we need to be well connected to both – modern life is crippled by disease and disaster because most people are connected to neither.

And yet healing and wholeness are our birthright as divine beings at home in the universe, and with some adjustments to our attitudes and outlooks can be ours. At any point we can choose to re-boot our lives and bring ourselves into harmony with the natural flow of the universe. We have to remember that we are not separate from nature or spirit, in fact we are constantly under the influence of energy flows which our ancient ancestors understood much better than we do today.

beltane-faeries

Four simple steps to healing:

Attuning to Nature

Opening to Spirit

Healing the Heart

Reprogramming the Mind

The route to all this is through the Body.

If we seek wholeness, peace and wisdom in our lives, we have to take the responsibility for our healing out of the hands of doctors and into our own bodies. It will help if we believe that it is possible to come into harmonic flow with life. We have probably been encouraged to believe in a random, purposeless existence for most of our lives. We will need to be prepared to learn some new things, which are in fact old things, the things our souls already know, but which we forgot.

Inside each of us exists a soul that has deep roots in the indigenous tribes of this planet, in rites and ceremonies that connect us deeply to the Earth, the Air, the Fire and Water…. Plus to the Spirit, the multidimensional consciousness that we are forever part of. Through our own intuition we can bring ourselves into alignment – but these energies are extremely powerful, and can unbalance us as well as help us. Therefore it is valuable to share our journey into healing with others who can support and reflect back to us what is going on.

Most of us have taken psychedelics, or worked with medicine plant helpers, to expand our awareness in some way. Drug use is so popular because humans love to experience the potential limitlessness and ecstatic feelings in their soul – though in a materialist, scientific era, soul is a word we rarely use. If we accept the reality of the soul, a question that then comes up of course is do we also have to accept the religious rules and concepts we were indoctrinated with as children?

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Only one way to find out – ask the soul. Step One. Go out in Nature. Attuning to Nature also involves taking notice of moon cycles, seasonal changes and astrological influences. Step Two. We can raise our vibrational frequency to talk to the Spirit. There are infinite ways to alter our vibrations. Eventually drugs become irrelevant – they can be useful to open up energy channels in us which we can then access through other means, eg dance, drumming, chanting, yoga, breathing techniques, sexual energy. Those channels exist in us, it’s just the modern world convinced most of us to tune them out.

Step Three. Healing the Heart involves sharing our stories, being heard without judgement in the warm embrace of fellow souls. Heart Circle is the most powerful heart healing tool I have ever come across. We can only do so much emotional healing alone, we can do so much with a special lover – but to fully heal our hearts we have to accept that humans are social creatures, we belong in community. Our hearts thrive when they are connected to many other hearts in openness, trust and joy. If we restrict our love to romantic illusions of partnership over all else, we will suffer. If we are held in the bosom of a loving community of friends we will survive all life throws at us, and grow through our challenges.

Step Four. The Mind has to give up. It doesn’t run the show. It isn’t designed to know everything – it is designed to ask questions, to analyse and consider. We keep our minds so full, and over stimulated in modern life – meditation helps us to calm the mind, enter into a passive mode within it, where we can, through stillness or trance, get access to its deeper levels, to the places shared with others in the collective consciousness. Through these levels we can even talk to plants, animals and spirit beings.

For this to be possible the mind has to be able to become clear and open, like a cloudless sky, and for that to happen we will need to reprogramme all beliefs and thought patterns that keep the dark clouds in our lives.

Coming to Healing involves coming home to the Body. Taking the body into nature – moving, stretching and opening the body to let in spirit – bringing the body into close physical contact with others (healing touch is part of healing the heart) – and even the reprogramming of the mind, the release of old beliefs and the affirmation of new, happens most effectively when the body is engaged too. Our bodies are temples of our spirit, containing a powerhouse of spiritual energy accessible through our sexuality. Sex is the fastest way to enlightenment, it has been said – if it is approached with awareness, love and surrender.

peacetomymind

The Earth’s journey round the Sun provides us with eight seasonal festival points when it becomes possible for us to leap onto the Path of Healing and Awakening. Spring Equinox is just round the corner as I write this – as Nature reawakens after the cold, inward Winter months, so can we. As we dedicate ourselves to our own healing – as we discover our own ability to heal – the energies of Nature and Spirit rush to assist us.

The elements offer us a way to know and explore who and what we really are. Other metaphysical systems, such as the chakras, the kabbalistic tree of life, the planet’s astrological maps are also very helfpul tools for us to deepen self-knowledge and come into harmony with life. These maps are around to help us maximise the experience the soul is having while on planet Earth.   But the greatest teacher of all is LOVE, and on that point probably every faerie will agree – love opens the gates to the soul, to subject-SUBJECT consciousness (the term invented by Rad Fae Grandfather Harry Hay). Faeries gather in tribal groupings because the LOVE draws us in, transforms and heals us, opens the way to fuller manifestation of the light and joy in our souls. We were born this way, born to awaken, born to seek deeper and higher than most folk, born to be planetary healers. The time is really NOW. We are birthing the Age of Aquarius.

IF YOU FEEL THE CALL, FIND US

The Strange Gathering Habits of the Lesser-Spotted Liminal Faerie – Cunty

“I only ever see you between places, heading off somewhere” he said to me. “I don’t feel like I’ve had time to get to know you”. My first emotional response was guilt. Here was a wonderful new faerie whom I had somehow failed, by not being more available for him to connect with. But hold on. If this is non-judgemental space, why am I judging myself? And why is it incumbent upon me to facilitate that connection, if this is also co-created space? Why should I feel obliged to be present and correct for everyone else, who do I think is taking the fucking register here?

All these thoughts flashed through my mind but the words I felt best able to offer this most endearingly earnest of my kin were “If you see me passing by and you want to talk, just ask if we can get some time together.” Looking back it still seems the most Faerie of possible answers. It helps a newcomer to be aware that they are equally as responsible for their experiences at a gathering and it also serves to remind me I’m as entitled to my own way of being as anyone else. But perhaps it lacks some context.

You see, I am a liminal faerie. A will o’ the wisp. It’s rare to find me in the centre of big ritual or parties. Due to my bizarre and hilarious food allergies and intolerances, I usually have a separate kitchen and therefore aren’t around at communal mealtimes. I can experience social anxiety in large groups, so sometimes I’ll retreat from them. Yes, I’ve found myself leading workshops, hosting the auction or the odd heart circle before. The great swathes of time in which I find myself reverting to a solitary, more introspective state of being tend to be more natural for me.

It’s taken a number of years to find myself at peace with my liminal status. I’ve come to accept that this means sometimes I might miss out on some aspects of a gathering. Don’t get me wrong, I marvel in delight at those who dive into the throng, the supple social swimmers who glide through rivers of interaction while I barely paddle. But the benefits of my view from the sidelines have gradually become more apparent to me.

As with almost every gathering, while at Glastonbury for Imbolc I caught a cold. Kisses, hugs, puppy piles and dormitories spread colds like nothing else. As such, on the morning when everyone was getting up early to visit the wells of Glastonbury and mingle with the locals, I slept in. Hearing the yoo-hoo from bed, I could have grabbed the nearest frock and ran over to join them, but a shower was top priority to clear my overnight congestion and bring me close to humanity/faedom.

So I emerged a half hour later, foam-arisen like a hirsute Aphrodite, thinking myself alone on the farm. As it turned out, there was another whose joi de vivre was decidedly absent that morning. And so we passed an hour or two in cantankerous companionship, two grumpy old queens airing their issues, blessed by the knowledge that we had transformed our solitary experiences into a shared cathartic qvetching workshop, attendees:2.

The night before, I wasn’t feeling drawn toward the main Imbolc ritual. Instead I sorted laundry, read, was kind to myself in terms of energy. And as I was coming back from the laundry room, bumped into a faerie who was quietly leaving at that point. So I didn’t drum that night or sing and celebrate with the crowd. Instead I had the genuine honour of being the only person to be able to bid farewell to this thoughtful and enigmatic gentle man, to offer his last hug of his third gathering.

Where once I held a sense of shame, of lacking, in my moments of being on the edge of a faerie community, now I can start to find delight in these delicate little opportunities that such a position offers.

So in hindsight, if I could offer that new gathering faerie a more florid response, it would be this;

Come find me in the quiet spaces inbetween. Seek me out in the kitchen, when a boy has broken your heart. Look for me in the corridor, when you can’t find your room and are in just a towel. Discover me by the riverbank, when we’re both feeling disconnected. Here in the shadow, at twighlight, on the sidelines, this is where small gentle acts of connection and magic happen. In these moments we will see each other, share our hearts’ stories and find deeper understanding.

Cunty.

One Rising.

Is it love that warms

the air with laughter?

Greets farm mud in high

heels?

Softens solitary variations

into heart-sung union?

 

There is darkness

And it is moist, juicy with

seeds

Roaring

and wild

 

And the dray horse

up against his gate

smells joy

and remembers

hooves un-commanded

over hills

that never had to end

 

There is fear

every one of us feels it

for the urge of the drums

carries us to the edge

closer

than ever before

 

Blood roaring and wild

air roaring

and wild

Will we fall or fly?

 

She laughs, laughs

And it resounds

through cunt and cock

This is us

Circle of cunt and cock

and heart

full as the moon

 

One heart

One tribe

Rising

 

 

Qweaver, with love to fae kin

who shared Imbolc at the farm 2016

Fuck Shame by Wood Pigeon.

I will not be shamed

I will not be ashamed

Shame has no refuge in my soul

No dark corner to harbor

To embed and unravel into my beautiful life.

 

I am animal

I am spirit

I am queer

I am gay

I fuck men

I fancy twinks

I love rimming

Cuddle me

Hold me

I am not ashamed.

 

Stick your homophobia in a primark bag

Re-cycle it

Re-use it

Lose it

I don’t give a shit

It’s your shame. You carry it home.

 

My sex mirrors you, triggers you, brings fear up in you

Follow my lead

Ditch your shame too.

 

Come take your freedom back

Birth it

Love it

Let it ooze all juicy and sap rising

Full of surprising

Spontaneous, liberating, fuck you all

It’s my one shot on earth and let your shame ridden hatred fall

Fall

Fall.

 

Breathe.

 

 

Blessings on your heart walk,

Woodie Wood Pigeon X


Walking the Labyrinth by Cunty.

I see the path I am on, the behaviour I exhibit, the words I offer and receive. I feel the rush of elation with one step, the heavy burden of shame with the next.

This is achingly familiar, from the instinct to pull away to the vulnerability of being open-hearted and loving. The twists and turns of emotions at a Faerie gathering are dizzying and mercurial. I stumble on, trusting that the path will lead me to the centre as much as I trust in the process of the heart circle.

It feels as if I’m passing back a way I’ve already come and yet it is different, leading deeper into the Mystery. In between the stumbling I also feel myself about to leap in flight. It is exhausting and exhilarating in equal measure.

I have offered my id as a sacrifice to Dionysus/Aphrodite and I am Maenad, a raving one, destroying all in my path, invulnerable and prophesying as my bleeding soles take one more step, just one more, always one more. Every touch, kiss, embrace fuels me still, pushing me further on, although I have long forgotten the question I held as I began the journey.

This bone-shearing, raucous, playful, chaotic, whimsical pilgrimage of queerness, connection, vulnerability and resilience is all I can remember, all I can taste, and all I want or need.

The gnarled dance of one who doesn’t dance, equal parts Salome, Kate Bush and Baba Yaga, cannot stop of be undone. It is the search for sustenance like the root of a tree, a tendril burrowing deeper and further down into the earth, reaching out, reaching down, and reaching inward.

Were I to see from above, if I remembered such a place, I would see the shape of the labyrinth, leading me home to myself. With such perspective I might find comfort in correspondences;

Seven coils, laid out around the centre

Seven paths, inward and outward

Seven days, seven nights of the gathering

Seven chakras, from root to crown

Seven planetary bodies, seen with the human eye

Seven gates, as Inanna passed through to the Underworld

Seven seasons, as Buffy lived (and died twice) through

But thought and reason elude me, for I am lost in the movement, ever onwards, to the centre. One path to tread, unicursally leading me to the point where there is an ending of sorts. Almost as soon as the awareness of an ending creeps in, I find myself there. I stand in the heart of the labyrinth.

The diary that I have kept for this gathering is a mirror standing tall, implacable in its cold reflection. As my breathing stills and thought once again permeates my emotional being, I am presented with the manifestation of myself, my selves, my other.

It is the Minotaur, the bull-headed beast of raging need and mistrust. The creature imprisoned, fed on the sacrifice of youths’ bodies. Asterion, the shamed one. It takes everything I have to hold still, to look him in the eye, to not back down, to not turn and run.

With each word I read from my journal I note another detail of the monster. How he is “too intense” (how many times I have been told that!). How clumsy and unseemly he is. How territorial he has become, even in his solitude and how his insatiable desire and longing are too much for any mortal being to gaze upon.

Every confession of vulnerability I have recorded is another strike of Theseus’ cock-like club, each declaration of connection and love another stab of his phallic sword until the beast lies fallen. Broken and bleeding, sides heaving and sweat slicking his hair, his breathing ragged. How can I not love him now, as I love broken things or broken people I can heal and thus prove my worth to? I pull him to me and lament all the hurt, the misunderstanding, the senseless anger, the years lost now.

When this passes, as all things do, I look around and register the change in light, the transience of time and also the acceptance of what has been. The crumpled body has evaporated like a heavy dream, though streaks of blood and filth remain.

As I return to my other life, the life between gatherings, I find myself back in the coils of the labyrinth, this time moving outwards. I apply reason and consideration to the experiences I have undergone, to the changes that are wrought in me.

As my feet retread the pathway back out, I assimilate the loves and lessons into myself, into my rational and irrational mind. I make a point of being kind with myself, of allowing myself the chance to do a little better every time I make this journey. I return with messages to and from myself, from Spirit and from the Gods.

I wrap concepts into words, the way I would package fragile ornaments for a move. Placing each one with care where I can retrieve it later and still find it whole. I recall and honour those whom I shared the journey with, shared moments with and shared a bed with.

Soon enough I find myself stepping out from the labyrinth, back again into the other-realm. I do not look back over my shoulder. I honour the path, the coils, the centre and the lessons learned as I take a breath and take another step.

 

Glastonbury Summer Solstice 2015 depicted in art.

Click image for bigger version…

summer solstice art
‘I struggle to put words down after gatherings and am always in awe reading other peoples amazing prose, but somehow I hope this image gives some insight into the emerging energies I felt around the fire and in the trees on solstice night.’ – Snail.

Screaming Manhood: My Solstice Faerie Gathering at Paddington Farm.

By Chris Butler. Aka. Bright Eyes.

There was something truly magical about the Solstice Gathering. It may only be my second but I sensed something quite out of the ordinary going on, even by Faerie standards. I’d be surprised if anyone went home unchanged and reading other people’s accounts of the week only confirms to me what I already felt. Transformative magic descended on Glastonbury for us and as a community, its presence was both welcomed and embraced.

The magic worked at so many levels within me but not least with my self-image. Without realizing, I’d arrived at Paddington Farm feeling middle aged in all the wrong ways. Call it mid-life crisis, call it whatever, but I haven’t been dealing with the approach to Fifty as confidently as I wanted to portray. Two botched relationships had eroded my emotional and sexual confidence and looking in the mirror only affirmed the grey and sagging aspects of my 48 year old being to my mind.  Imagine therefore the astonishment of being gently and spontaneously embraced, then kissed by a handsome Faerie you have come to love and admire. He only whispers two words, as he looks me fully in the eye before continuing his embrace. The words are, “You’re beautiful.”

The words mean so much, but the sincerity was unmistakable and managed to reach within me like nothing else over the past eighteen months. C.S. Lewis once said through the character of Jane in “That Hideous Strength”, “I don’t think we were meant to see ourselves. We’re mirrors enough to see another.” Searching myself in the mirror over the last eighteen months has brought little but negativity. By contrast, being mirrored by a loving Faerie brother gave me a long overdue vision of my true self, along with the courage to step into it.

Another great joy for me was the opportunity to run a Tarot workshop and to spend time reading for people one on one. It’s a joy to guide someone through a reading and watch them as realisations dawn and inner connections are made. There are sometimes tears, both of grief and joy but there are also tears of relief when fears are faced or the wisdom to face obstacles becomes clear through the messages in the pictures. For me, each reading is a privilege but don’t ever be fooled into thinking it’s a selfless process on my part. Reading for someone gives me the rare privilege of connecting on a level that wouldn’t be possible in another setting. The barriers come down and you get to see the real person and in every instance of reading for one of the tribe, I came away knowing my connection with that person was deepened profoundly.

In several instances my negative preconceptions were challenged and I came away with whole new levels of respect for the people in front of me. If I read for you, you may also have noticed how I calm down and let the real me begin to show. That’s because it’s the one place where I feel safe enough to let the brash, camp humour drop and be myself. When I can be that person outside the reading room I’ll have made my own progress.  All in all, the cards can be a powerful tool for healing and self-discovery but they can also be a tool for bonding, sharing, trusting and understanding within our community.

Perhaps my most important breakthrough came around the fire on Solstice Eve. I’d given plenty of eloquent excuses why I was going to spend a quiet Solstice back on the field, in my tent or in the Farm House living room until Octopus called me out wonderfully on my bullshit: “Honey, I think I can hear your shame speaking.” No fooling that Faerie as they say.

I made my way somewhat apprehensively to the fire, having avoided it for several days previously and it didn’t take me long to realise my fear; wildness and raw masculinity. There was plenty of it round the fire and for once I learned to fully let go. I’ve drummed at two previous gatherings but it’s here that I realised I was born to drum. It’s in my blood and my blood goes wild with the pulse and the rhythm. This time I learned not to resist; just to give myself wholly to the flow.

To my surprise, I found myself screaming wildly to the treetops as I drummed and for the first time in my life I connected fully with my raw masculine spirit. It felt liberating to be wholly queer and wholly man at the same time and that feeling has stayed with me ever since. My minds eye only sees a magical blur of fire, ecstasy and dance when I look back to Solstice eve, yet several clear moments jump out at me. I see Earthsong across the fire and she really is the fairy Godmother of the Drums. I see two precious Faerie sisters weaving a dance of astonishing feminine power and beauty through the pulsating rhythms of male revelry. The Dryad is more than a match for the Faun and in this instance she truly is Lady of the Dance. Most precious of all I remember sharing the drum with Octopus. We co-created Faerie Fire together momentarily – so fitting, as I wouldn’t have been there without his honest calling.

If this wasn’t all enough, two big miracles happened for me during the course of the week. I’ve always yearned to see the Aurora Borealis and an unusually strong Solar Storm happened to coincide with our gathering, making the Aurora visible as far south as the English Channel. Call it what you like but I call it my gift from the God and the Goddess. My other miracle was in the form of an individual Faerie. The meeting and the connection are too personal to share in full but this sharing realised a dream for me and revealed threads of inspiration and common experience that reach way back to my teenage years. That Faerie knows who they are and the revelation of their real self was the most priceless gift of the week; one that makes me respect and value them all the more, not less.

My final gift came on the morning of my departure. Throughout this and the Spring Gathering, I’d used my real name as no Faerie name seemed to fit. I’d given up hope and stopped looking but the name found me when it wasn’t expected. Turret called me ‘Bright Eyes’ that morning and it stuck to my heart instantly. It takes me back to C.S. Lewis and his view of the mirror. Yet again, a beloved Faerie brother became an authentic mirror, revealing a hidden part of the real me. When you next see me at a gathering, I’ll still be Chris, but I’ll have been Bright Eyes for some time by then.

Faerie Drag Power by Cunty.

On my way to the most recent Albionfaeries Summer Solstice Gathering, on a train somewhere between Gloucester and Bristol, an idea struck me for something I could contribute during the week. I wanted to host a drag workshop.

Personally, I have a chequered past with drag and gender aspecting. I can recall when I was around 9 years old and going through my “Adam Ant phase” my Mother gave me a Cadbury’s Roses tin of makeup to go and play with. I have a vague memory of a couple of years previous to that, in The Body Shop standing next to my Mother again, dumbstruck as a man applied lipstick in the shop mirror.

However, as with most other little gay boys my survival instinct kicked in and it was time to hide such little acts of fabulosity away from prying and judgemental eyes. Also the media of the time decried those who did not adhere to the heteronormative model as perverts and freaks. Like so many of us, I took this message to heart and tried to distance myself from the world of wigs and frocks.

To me, there was an expectation that meant if you were gay you had to wear a dress. I was going to rebel against that, even if it meant conforming to established gender norms as hard as I could! Ah, the folly of the young. But this stayed firmly in place for many long years. Sure, I loved RuPaul as when I was younger, especially the year Chanel 4 had Camp Christmas, including her Christmas Special and Quentin Crisp’s Alternative Queens Message. But that wasn’t me. Even though I adored the likes of Rocky Horror, Priscilla and To Wong Foo, even Stonewall, it was more as a guilty pleasure, or at the very least as a spectator. During my years involved in local LGBT events and services I knew a few of our local Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence but I never really understood the call to personally engage in drag as me (with the sole and fleeting exception of Rocky Horror at the Edinburgh Playhouse, aged 17).

It was only under the gossamer wing of a rather loud, loving and misunderstood dutch drag queen Faerie that my ideas were challenged and altered. He taught me the humility that is the bedrock beneath the bravado. Once I saw the person behind the mask I could understand the power of the mask as a ritual tool.

It is most accurate to say that I do not present a feminine visage. Androgyny is beyond my repertoire. I am 100% bear and resigned to it.

However, these past few years, I have been exploring the world of gender dress-up as an expression of my faerieness and queerness. At the wedding of two dear friends this month I was Drag Mother of the Bride. I packed more frocks than t-shirts for my last gathering.

Not being one of the pretty queens gives me a freedom that I’ve only just discovered. Again, the faeries who have tread paths in heels or barefoot have inspired me. The ones who sought out the most vile taffeta monstrosities, the longest string of pearls and the biggest docker boots they could find. The faeries whose wardrobe for a week-long gathering is 2 scarves (and that’s only in case the first scarf blows away). The ones in figure-hugging dresses and no knickers, thin fabric showing off their cocks. With them to guide me, I can engage with drag without the requirement of having to try and look femme, or to “pass”.

Drag is a historically potent symbol in Radical Faeries, representing the reclaiming of the sissy energy, the staunch refusal to engage in the heteronormative constructs of the outer world and healing that little inner boy who just wanted to play and dress up but wasn’t allowed to freely. From the outcast queer street kids to the Native American Two Spirits, the idea of drag as a means to escape an imposed identity and to transcend into something wonderful and other-than, not less-than. I love seeing images of Harry Hay at marches and events with what I see as Faerie Drag, button down shirt with a skirt and pearls.

Early on in the gathering Wild Boar asked me about where we could set up a drag room for the gathering. We took some time to think of the best location and while we were mulling it over I asked if he would like to co-host the workshop, knowing his strengths are wildly different from mine but we complement each other well. His exuberance and playfulness is well set against my introspection and need for structure.

I explained that the workshop I’d created was designed for Faeries who might have some issues with drag, like my own from the past, or perhaps different. We would start with a discussion, look at what items we liked, have a show and tell, maybe even try things on if everything went well. He was on board and once we had the room set up we held the workshop.

This was not to be a how-to, with perfect make-up tips, contouring, padding, lashes and all the wonderful resources available through the likes of youtube. The idea was simple – how can we make drag more accessible and joyous for everyone?

We shared our stories and discussed obstacles we’ve encountered, both external and internally – questions around inclusion and gender, size, attraction, families, expectations of others. One Faerie told of how he would be repulsed sexually if a man was in drag, how he had never done it and couldn’t. Another hadn’t done drag in years, since he was much younger but had lost it somewhere along the way.

We brought all of our niggling insecurities and confusions into the open, shared without any shame and supported each other, as we tend to do. This is our process and it works.

Before long I invited everyone to find an item in the drag room that appealed to them and then we could look at it together, find the beauty and the tackiness, look at colours and textures. The idea being that a tactile and appreciative experience could then bridge into trying things on.

Within minutes we leapt merrily over a couple of stages and I couldn’t have stopped people trying things on if I had wanted to! All the mutual support that was needed was on-hand, whether that was offering encouragement or accessories, helping to find the perfect dress, dispensing cuddles or the great sari emergency that befuddled the best of us.

It is one of the most treasured memories I’m taking from this gathering. A room full of people showing off, becoming extroverted and fearless, transforming together in a carefree and communal way. We then hived off into other areas of the gathering, spreading our energy and enthusiasm with us, earning more admirers as we went.

Faerie Drag Power for me is about playfulness, empowerment, creativity and challenging norms. These are deeply fey values that enrich our experiences not just of gatherings but life too.

For anyone wishing to connect with some of the more queer political applications of drag, I recommend Men In Frocks (Kirk, Heath – Gay Mens Press, 1984). The chapter on the Rad Drag Queens that emerged from London’s Gay Liberation Front in the 70 may prove helpful reading for those who view drag as inherently misogynistic. For an exploration of drag throughout history and on a global scale, try The Changing Room (Senelick – Routledge, 2000). It’s about more than just Drag Race, hunties – crack a book occasionally. Then come back with a 700 word essay on the Cockettes.