3000 gay men per year becoming HIV+ in the UK
HEALING IS VITAL
50 years since the partial decriminalisation of sex between men
Prejudice, bullying, stigma, shame
Are still part of the coming out game
3000 gay men per year becoming positive in the UK
HEALING IS VITAL
We can hand out more condoms
We can even deliver PreP
But it’s clear to see that HIV
Hasn’t finished with us yet.
In a materialist paradigm HIV is a virus to be defeated
In a spiritual worldview it’s a wake-up call
HEALING IS VITAL
HIV was the catalyst that led to my interest in spirituality. Given a positive diagnosis in 1990, by 95 I was becoming symptomatic and had an AIDS diagnosis. I left my job, got my debts written off by telling the bank I was leaving the world, and turned my mind to the question of life and death – why, I asked for the first time in my life, did I exist in the first place? I had held a firm atheistic view since the age of 12, but now, at 30, I plunged into a study of the worlds’ religions, into pagan magic and new age teachings, seeking the mystical core that all contained, and opening my mind to the possibility of a divine presence in the universe.
I became fascinated and inspired – writing, drawing, living in dreamtime for long periods, surging with energies I had never encountered before, except perhaps on lsd, meeting an overwhelming, feminine, presence of divine love that I understood is everywhere all the time, holding us all the time, but which our mental confusion and emotional baggage prevent us from knowing. I understood that I was growing beyond the ego and into the consciousness of the soul, encountering the energy of spirit in all things. Facing death was the trigger for this to happen.
HIV brought me to the point of asking the most important question there is, and it was a catalyst for a rapid spiritual awakening – for an Accelerated Individual Discovery of Self. And HIV is no doubt still going to cause transformation of various kinds for people today, even though the death threat is vastly diminished. (Certainly not entirely gone… and that’s the point.., death is on the horizon for everyone but we keep our attention deeply fixed on other things. Death is the greatest teacher of all, the only one that can show us that – there is no death. That’s why Ayahuasca is so popular currently, it takes people beyond their own ego, beyond identification with the little Self, revealing just how much more to life there really is. Facing death had that effect for me.
It took some years before I came across writings that connected gay sexuality with spiritual matters. But when I found out that the queer folk had been shamans and healers in tribes across the planet through human history a piece of the jigsaw fell into place. We have also been deeply involved in all the world’s religions, whatever the scriptures might say. Islam was a much gayer religion until recent times. Christian and Buddhist monasteries were always havens for gay men, and convents for women who loved women. Hinduism is the campest religion on the planet – its colourful deities are known for changing gender and sex was long honoured in Indian tantric temples as a pathway to heavenly experiences (as it had been in the Middle East for millennia until the rise of the patriarchal war god).
What tragedy currently in India that gay men are being persecuted and prosecuted because of laws introduced by the uptight Christian British. There is a long and rich history of connection between same sex erotic love and the sacred around the whole planet. The religious folk of today do not know this, and nor do the vast majority of the gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals. Nor do most of us even want to. Hated and abused by religion, the question of spirit struggles to get a look in the busy, glamorous world of the gay. However, high levels of addictions, diseases, mental illness, suicides spoil our beautiful, camp façade. So does the way that queer people are viewed and treated in so much of the world still. What can we in the comfortable, privileged West do about it? We can heal ourselves of the wounds inflicted in centuries of spiritual and physical war on our kind and emerge into our power as the true magicians, priest/priestesses, shamans, healers of the human race.
Gay liberation has started in the sexual, social and political spheres, but has to go all the way to the spiritual level before gay people find their place in the human family. That is furthered by each individual queer who turns away from mindless, selfish, unconscious behaviours to choose a path of self-discovery, finding their own way to be of service to creation, in touch with the holiness of life. HIV is, for some of us, the kick to start this transformation.
The malevolent attitude towards us encouraged by certain religions discourages so many queers from the spiritual search, but the soul and spirit in us is strong and demands expression. Many of us fulfil our longing for an ecstatic embrace with the universe through drugs, using powerful stimulants without the understanding or the respect that the ancient shamans would have held for this kind of cosmic exploration. A crucial thing queers need to get – true spirituality is sexy! It’s frequently ecstatic! It’s about love and passion and SEX. The whole universe is Shiva and Shakti at play – by being queer we are born primed to unite the Shiva and Shakti, the male and female, within our own being and birth within us the divine human who lives beyond the rules and pettiness of religion, who channels unbridled joy and compassion to the world. Healing is not only Vital, it’s also a lot of FUN.
Healing starts with the self. As we face our own crises and issues we find that we can transform, grow and then come to the point of helping others. We are shaking off the delusions of the material world and helping each other wake up and remember who we are. This is the real game going on here on planet earth right now. To get there we need exposure to the loving embrace of fellows in order to overcome the wounds inflicted on us from childhood and take the healing further. We also need a deep and real relationship with the Source consciousness, the LoveForce of the Universe, the Conscious Presence that gives rise to all phenomena.
Why wouldn’t there be such a thing? When I eventually, aged 30, started to think about God, HIV threatening to tear life from me, it became suddenly obvious that there is a unitary Source underlying all existence, and the pressure should be on atheism to prove the lack of one. We don’t need religion to know this Source. As queers we can be in touch, on a soul level, with ancient streams of spirit and magic that way predate patriarchal religions, that connect us to the spirits of nature, the faeries and elementals, and to the mother goddess who was the central figure in human spirituality until the time of organised religion. We can go to Source through religion of course, but we do not have to. We have our own Queer Spirit.
HIV I propose is a call from the soul to seek healing and understanding of who we are, as queer spirits waking up in the rat race of a blinkered civilisation… waking up to the discovery and formation of a bigger, brighter, braver, and much more conscious, future for gay people and all people on the Earth. We become positive because nature and goddess want us to wake up to the magnificence and potential of what we really are, wants us to break through the illusions of the materialist world, wants us to break down the walls between death and life, wants us to embrace, that at this point in our lives, HEALING IS VITAL.
HIV comes to ask…
Do you know who you are?
Are you living in the shallows or fulfilling your soul?
Do you have love in your life, are you pursuing a goal?
What is the meaning you give to your life?
Cos you won’t have it forever, get wise.
Are you lost in the human condition of lonely isolation?
Healing is Vital, wake up to Creation.
We are not these bodies, we are not our thoughts
We are something eternal, mysterious and bright
The fastest way to wake up to Life
Is to lose the fear of losing your self
Healing is Vital, and Queer is the Way
Don’t get distressed that you are going to die one day
That’s coming to everyone
And life goes on, sings its song
As will you
For it’s to life
That you belong.