Queer Shamans

THE QUEER SHAMANS who play, dance and work in light and dark

not afraid of either

for they are in touch with the ether

and the rainbow that lies beyond

the illusion of duality

the effects of electromagnetism and gravity

they’ve come to restore some sanity

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QUEER SPIRIT

calls together awakening queers in touch with nature and spirit

… explorers of consciousness, lust and love…  of laughter, light and liberation

The potential lies in us to bring together day and night

To reveal the multiverse beyond

To sing the Goddess song.

Sometimes that song is full of rage

Sometimes it’s sweet and nurturing

Unlocking the gifts of crone and sage

The next chapter of the Aquarian story

 

Calling to the Witch in every Queer

To the Priestess in every Lesbian

To the Shaman in every Gay barman

The Divine Mother in every Bear

The Abbot in every Faggot

The Deity in every Dyke

The Radical in every Faerie

It’s time for the QUEER PEOPLES OF PLANET EARTH TO COME HOME 

 

http://www.queerspirit.net

Queer Spirit Festival.  July 26-30, 2017.  Wiltshire UK

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HIV: THE GOD SEED

There are many, many young guys on the internet and mobile phone app fuelled gay cruise scene who are chasing the thrill and danger of bareback, unprotected sex with HIV+ men.

“I’m neg, love taking poz loads”

“What makes poz loads so hot?”

“I guess just the risk.”

Why is this game of russian roulette, this exposure to the risk of being infected with a deadly disease (that can be controlled but only by adhering strictly to a daily medication regime) such a turn on for some guys?  Why is positive sperm so attractive to some?

IS THIS A DEATHWISH?  

DOES IT STEM FROM A SENSE OF WORTHLESSNESS THAT IS THE INHERITANCE MODERN GAY MEN CARRY AFTER CENTURIES OF HOMOPHOBIC REPRESSION AND ABUSE?

Or is it the response of sensitive queer souls to the complex chaos and overbearing demands of modern human society?

OR…. could it even be  A CALL FROM THE SOUL INSIDE TO ESCAPE THE DELUSION THAT HUMANITY IS STUCK IN?  HIV woke me up to the multidimensional existence that our consciousness is engaged in exploring, and also helped me gain some perspective on the demands and madness of human life.

HIV was for me a trigger to learn that HEALING IS VITAL – and that healing encompasses the whole being, not just the body.  Through living with HIV I came to learn that we are beings of body-mind-soul-spirit, and even came to believe that the reason I became HIV+ in the first place was that i was living a life in the shallow end of emotional and spiritual engagement.  I was not seeking to grow as a person, not seeking to discover my soul’s talents and the magical gifts of my spirit, so my life was heading to a DEAD END.

AIDS was for me an ACCELERATED INDIVIDUAL DISCOVERY OF SELF.  Faced with impending death, a CD4 count dropping to almost zero and multiple aids related conditions ravaging my body, I opened my mind to life’s spiritual questions – who am i? why do i exist? what is life? what is love? – and finally found the spark that got my soul excited.  My inner worlds came to life.  Having chucked god and religion out of my life aged 12, I had been an ardent atheist who denied the spiritual side of existence.  But facing death woke me up to the fact that we are in fact SPIRIT first, and LIVING BODIES, second. Then i found that DEATH was seen as the greatest spiritual teacher in Buddhist, Hindu and Pagan traditions.  Experienced witches bowed to me because they could tell that my journey to the brink of life had opened up a deep connection with the spirit world for me. Overcoming the fear of death is the most powerful thing we can do to free up the spirit energy, love and joy locked in our energy bodies.

HIV invites us to face and embrace our mortality.  This can inspire us to live each moment of life with increased engagement and passion.  It can make us appreciate life all the more, and hopefully open us up to how we create our experience of that life through our own attitudes and beliefs.  HIV for me opened the gates to the spirit worlds and convinced me that we are not simply these bodies on a one lifetime chance existence – rather, we are EXISTENCE itself, getting to know itself, getting to explore its creation, AS US.  Therefore there is no need to fear death any more, it is simply a matter of a shift of focus, back to what we really are.

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Why are some guys so keen to become positive?  When I ask that i am somtimes told that it is from their desire to be part of a ‘brotherhood’ – one that feels free to enjoy unbridled sexual connection.  In a world where soul and spirit are not understood or even hardly included, for some it seems that sexual highs are about the best thing to aim for in this life. Of course, from the point of view of this sexual mystic, that makes perfect sense… the chase for sexual ecstasy comes from the longing to reunite with the Source, the whole of Nature is driven by this desire, and it it’s done right, sex can certainly take us there.

For some it even seems that infecting others with the virus is what gives the high they long for….

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This brotherhood may be shadowy but it dares to speak its name: websites exist such as that of ‘POZCHEMPIG’ on Tumblr, which declares the “Only way for real men to bond and truly take pride in being a man is to enjoy AIDS brotherhood in each other.”

I propose that the desire to be HIV positive is on one level a push from the soul to make us wake up to who we really are and to what the story of life on earth is really about. We can get to that discovery  through unconscious peaks and dark dives or by pursuing self-chosen evolution.  The effective medications that block HIV’s attacks on our immune systems mean we are encouraged by society to ‘carry on’ as normal, fitting into the system, going to work, playing the game, and for some this becomes the game of chemically enhanced sexuality.   We are not really encouraged to start questioning, searching and finding our deepest core nature.  But HIV affects us deeply, on more than a physical level.  It changes us.  The drug fuelled sex scene is an expression of that. We may not be dropping dead of AIDS any more but the chemsex game leads many to a place of annihilation and devastation, to a place of rock bottom from which they will be forced to learn to live more consciously.  

AIDS took me to devastation, loss of self, but also woke up in me a sense of meaning to my life.  I came to see HIV as a trigger to my personal evolution and was transformed by it.  All over the world I meet other gay men whose lives have been opened up by their experience of HIV.  They have learnt about themselves and grown to be wiser and better people.

So much of the story coming out about long  term HIV+ men is about depression, loneliness, poor health, poverty and suicide.  Why this future would be appealing to negative guys is certainly a mystery.  But in fact this is not my experience. HIV has brought me knowledge, motivation, power, love and friendship.  It has opened me to the evolutionary potential in modern humans – once we get the point that as modern humans, the cutting edge of evolution is in us.  Through our hearts and minds we make choices every day that further our growth into light or descent into darkness.  HIV is the perfect symbol of this power that we humans have, and exercise so unconsciously all the time:  once infected we have the power of life and death over ourselves (take the pills and live or don’t take them and die). HIV can seem like the most devastating thing that can happen to a person – and when I became positive in the 1980s it was – but it can also be our teacher, our healer, our awakener. 

HIV has the potential to wake us up to who we really are, if we ask the relevant questions. That is why I am choosing to call HIV the GOD SEED and that is perhaps why, without knowing why, so many men are chasing it.

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Arcane Perfection

An essay summarising some of my historical research into the spiritual roles played by Queers throughout human history appears in a new anthology of writing, just published and available from Cutlines Press and other places, including a Kindle version retailing at around a dollar!  Excerpt and links to book below

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ARCANE PERFECTION is a collection of essays, poetry, art, rage, love, rituals, spells, and musings by, for, and about Queer, Trans, and Intersex Witches. The book began as a coven project to further curate the Witchery of our Queer, Trans, and Intersex members, and then the project was expanded to encompass Queer, Trans, or Intersex people from around the world. – See more at: http://www.cutlinespress.com/articles/26/arcane-perfection-an-anthology-by-queer-trans-intersex-witches#sthash.8CtawT6l.dpuf

Arcane Perfection mixes personal stories with mythology, spiritual and political visions, and actual witchcraft, including rituals and spells such as the “Queer Sovereignty Spell for Pride, Power and Protection,” and the “Deadname Decoy Spell.” Articles like “Queer Bears & Berserkers,” “Candles for Queer Magic,” “The Transgender Body as Holy and Liminal Witchcraft,” and “A Trans Positive Ritual Space” are some of the explorations of queer- and trans-centric magickal practice. – See more at: http://www.cutlinespress.com/articles/26/arcane-perfection-an-anthology-by-queer-trans-intersex-witches#sthash.8CtawT6l.dpuf

 

Here is an excerpt from my essay…..

WE ARE THE OLD PEOPLE, WE ARE THE NEW PEOPLE

Sexual practices and homosexual priests and priestesses were normal in the pagan religion of the ancient world. Pan, Dionysis, Aphrodite were among the deities worshipped sometimes in single sex cults. When Roman Emperor Hadrian’s young lover Antinous died mysteriously while sailing on the Nile, the spirit of Osiris was invoked and Antinous raised to the level of a god. His worship was popular, it spread throughout the empire within a decade and was an attempt to revive the power of the old religion in the face of the competition of the more rigorous new faith, Christianity.

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In Scandinavia Seidr was a shamanic practice led by women and feminine men. The word for the femininised nature of these men was ergi, which would become an insulting term as the macho patriarchal Christian culture wiped out the pagan past. It was one of the longest enduring shamanic traditions of Europe, only gradually wiped out by the Christian church.

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The suppression of heresies that challenged the rising Christian state and of vestiges of the old pagan religions went hand in hand, and both were associated with sexual libertarianism and the acceptance of same sex activity. The Cathars of southern France are a well-known example, but were just one of many ‘Free Spirit’ movements challenging Christian dominance in the middle ages. The Church opposed the Free Spirit notion that the soul in mystical union with god was unable to sin, whatever it does. From 15 to 17C the dark work of the Inquisition was continued in the witch hunts, which can be seen as a concerted effort to finally wipe out the spiritual power of women and of queer nature men from Europe. In Britain we know it was mostly women who were burnt as witches but across Europe there were also large numbers of men burned for the practice of sorcery.

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Of course many spiritually inclined queer men and women were drawn into the Christian church, serving their communities, living in monasteries etc. The monasteries of the Middle Ages saw a flowering of same sex love, and resulted in the church issuing ever more edicts against the sexual consummation of that love. When Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in England in the 16th century he was able to use the accusation of unnatural sexual practices against the Catholic monks. In the Middle Ages and right up until fairly recent times the sacred potential in same sex love was recognised in the Islamic faith by the Sufis, with much of the world’s great mystical poetry (eg by Rumi, Hafiz) inspired by it. The modern religious taboos against queer people have been created by heterosexual men (whose power comes from physical might not intuitive, spiritual gifts) to suppress our spirit, our power, our expression. But the story isn’t over yet.

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Having spent a millennium wiping out the spiritual resonance of same sex love and gender fluid individuals on the old continent, what a shock the European explorers had when they arrived in the new world. They found homosexuality was accepted as perfectly normal amongst the Native American tribes, and that the sacred functionaries of the native peoples were gendervariant individuals. The Europeans called them ‘berdache’, a French word for a passive queer, and this word stuck until the 1990s when the native shamans began to reclaim their power, giving themselves a new name – Two Spirit. And it was not only in north America that the Europeans found this link between gender bending and the spiritual work of the tribe. It was documented also in Africa, south America, Australasia. In China and Japan homosexual practices were seen as privileges of the monastic classes, and when the Jesuits protested at this they were literally laughed out of town.

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One tribe in Africa has managed to keep alive its ancient wisdom relating to our kind. Sobonfu and Malidoma Some, teachers from the Dagara of western Africa, speak of gay men as gatekeepers and lesbians as witches. They say that to define a person by their sexual practice is to seriously limit them. They teach that it is entirely normal that a person’s inner gender may be different to the gender of their physical body. They teach that same sex erotic behaviour can be used to unlock gates to spirit, to access non-physical dimensions, and that this is vital work that brings balance and well-being to the whole tribe.

There is a vast history, and a beautiful, miraculous spiritual reality awaiting the queer peoples of planet earth, when we awaken to the deep relationship our souls have with nature and the cosmos. Rejected by religion, many of us are drawn to explore our souls through witchcraft and other magical practices, we are drawn to eastern practices of yoga and meditation, because we sense instinctively that spirituality is about having a personal relationship with creation, with nature, with the cycles of life, and not about obeying the rules set down by churches. Spirituality is about finding and manifesting our true self – which sounds a lot like Coming Out. Queer communities might try embracing coming out as a spiritual act, an act of self-actualisation and a step on the path of self-realisation. Then we might see that being queer is a process of self-discovery, an ever unfolding one in which we never stop growing, discovering and becoming more of who we are.

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IImage from The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions, 1977.

YOU CAN PURCHASE ARCANE PERFECTION IN PRINT OR KINDLE VERSION FROM: http://www.cutlinespress.com/articles/26/arcane-perfection-an-anthology-by-queer-trans-intersex-witches

Super Human: Chems and Consciousness

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Shamans across the world have always used substances from nature to expand their consciousness and commune with other layers of reality.  Modern humanity has all kinds of chemical magic that we have added to this pot of potential, but pays too little attention to the reality of the multiverse our trips take us too.

LSD opens the mind

Ecstasy opens the heart

Cocaine boosts the power centre

Crystal Meth/G/Mephedrone expand the sexual drive

(at least that’s all gay men seem to be using them for)

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If we take them all is human potential unleashed?

Better to understand that human potential exists without the chems

When we understand what we are:  divine ecstatic souls incarnate

Chems become signposts to the Way, doors to our own nature,

That can show us the unity of consciousness on the dance floor

Take us on journeys through the infinite mind space

That can reveal how strong and mighty the love within us is

Can point to our powerful potential as humans

And unlock the spirit trapped in the body.

They can reveal the thing that science keeps concealed

That the mental, emotional and spirit planes

Are vast, eternal and REAL.

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We have travelled and explored the physical

Right down to the quantum level

But while we are a species trapped in conflict and division

The gates to the other realms remain largely closed

One day all will see that the soul is part of infinity

The mental, emotional and spirit dimensions

Are as real, as vast, or even more so, than the physical

Humans have a lot to explore and discover yet

But we still haven’t got a grip on the basics.

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The idea that existence is an accident

Or the result of a physical big bang

Will be as ridiculous in the future

As the idea of a flat earth is to us today.

The idea of denying God

Because of the amount of suffering on planet earth

Will be as ridiculous in the future

As the idea that the earth is the centre of the universe.

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Existence is made of the forces of Creation

Preservation and Destruction/Transformation

These are the God powers and they exist in us

We live in a free will zone with divine power

In our thoughts, hearts, will and loins

We are the Creators, Preservers, Destroyer/Transformers

It’s time to own our powers

And recognise

That One Spirit is emanating here

As black, yellow, red, white, as straight, bi, queer

The refugee suffering loss is you

The Age of Aquarius will be online soon.

To get there we have to break so many delusions

Escape and transform so much confusion

But when unity is grasped

And our power so vast

Embraced and channelled for love

The veils will lift and the multiverse be revealed

The r-evolution will come.

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Stay strong through the tumult

Life is a game but it’s destination is clear

Move beyond division, move beyond fear

The Age of Aquarius

The Age of the Super Humans

Is almost here.

IMBOLC 2017

30 YEARS GAY

As 2016 draws to its end I reflect on the changes in gay life since I came out of the closet in 1986 aged 21.  The coming year, 2017, will see a lot of soul-searching and analysis of the journey the lgbtq community has been on since the partial decriminalisation of sex between men in ’67.   Here some thoughts from someone whose life was kicked into passionate and romantic technicolour by the act of coming out, but nearly cut short by AIDS a few years later, and who has transformed from shy-repressed country boy to global activist via the embrace of the spiritual aspects of his homosexuality.

21 was the legal age of consent for gay sex when I came out, and although it was fear of social rebuke rather than respect for the law that led me to hide my sexual attractions during my teenage years, the timing does demonstrate that as a young man I didn’t want to rock the boat, to break the rules.  Coming Out of the closet was for me a catalyst for many things, not simply sexual acts.  From this point on I no longer felt obliged to obey the rules and follow the norms of society.  Far from using my Cambridge degree to get myself onto a well-paid career path I became a queer kind of ‘drop out’:   the exploration of the sexual urges, so long repressed, and the excitement of love affairs and potential relationship became much more important to me than the pursuit of work, status and money.

I had been repressing my urge to have sex with men since at least the age of 12.  The only gay representations I saw on TV at that age were characters such as John Inman, Larry Grayson and Kenneth Williams – and while I found them all very funny, there was no way I wished to be seen to be ‘like them’.  In my later teenage years there was a shift – suddenly glamorous gay pop was all over the TV.  1981 saw New Romantic music and style offer a promise of a brighter future after the gloomy years of the 1970s, where punk seemed to be symbolic of the collapse of society.  Boy George, Marc Almond, Pete Burns, Jimmy Somerville were presenting queerness to the world, and the more ‘straight’ bands of the time, such as Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, were in some ways even more camp and gay.  Rock star Freddie Mercury’s homosexuality became known.  Being queer became less associated with the fey male, the box of queer expression opened and revealed its more masculine side, its rebellious side, its in-your-face side.

In my college at Cambridge University there was one out man and one out woman.  Plunged into this new world I continued to hide who I was, had girlfriends and tried to be ‘normal’ – until one day I wandered into a public toilet on Jesus Green and found myself surrounded by men standing at the urinals with hard ons.  What a rush!  I soon got out of there, head spinning, but plucked up courage to go back late that night and had my first experience of getting picked up and taken to a guy’s house.  We had a good time but the guy stuck a bottle of poppers up my nose and slapped lube on my arse without me expecting either move, so I also got slightly freaked out and left his house shaking.

Soon the public toilets of Jesus Green and Midsummer Common, plus Saturday nights at the city gay pub, the Burleigh Arms, became my happy hunting ground.  I would sneak into my college late at night with towny pick-ups, exploring this new freedom with so much enthusiasm that the work of the final year of my history degree got neglected.  I learnt things the hard way –  eg that if a strange man spends the night biting your neck the whole college will know about it afterwards, I also got to learn quickly about crabs and scabies.  A working class country boy at heart, I was much more at ease in the town’s gay pub than I was in the university gay society, where I felt out of my depth amongst the high camp and privilege, the dinner suits and posh accents.  It was my last year at Cambridge when I came out and I knew that what I wanted to do next was get to London and start exploring and enjoying the pleasures I had so long denied.

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In London I found cottaging was going on everywhere.  Pretty much every high street, and several back streets, had public toilets where men went to meet other men, went to release tensions, or simply went to pass the time of day.  Some of these cottages had a dangerous, edgy feel to them but others felt like sacred spots where we were free to do what we liked.  I found the same on Hampstead Heath, which at that time at night was heaving with men.  I also found my special spots where I could go dance, socialise, and pick up men to spend the night with – such as the Bell in Kings Cross.  I got to fall in love with fabulous men, such as Keith a black model from New York, Antony an east end hottie, I discovered how much I loved to dance, but I found mainstream gay bars and clubs too poppy, bitchy and camp, while at the Bell I was amongst an alternative crowd of dykes and queers, often sporting bleached flat top haircuts or shaved heads and Doc Martin boots, dancing to the Smiths, Soft Cell and Siouxsie.  For some years this was my scene, my home.  It was a mixed gender space where trans people, women and gay men all mixed together, and I tended to find myself more at home in such spaces over the years than in men only zones, where things can quickly become all about sex (with the ongoing atmosphere of judgement and rejection that this can foster).  I worked in 1989 at the Black Cap for 6 months, and when I moved to south London in 1990 the Market Tavern became my frequent haunt.  In ’91 I had a spell working at the Earls Court men only fetish bar, the Coleherne and by this time was regularly on the Heaven dance floor tripping the night away.

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I came out into an atmosphere of hope and fear.  Gay liberation was still a ‘new’ thing; HIV had only just been received that name, after its early profile as ‘gay cancer’.  Men were scared, but there were also many ‘smalltown boys’ like myself out there fresh faced, optimistic and hungry for love. Safe sex was the message, but when I fell in ‘love’ with someone condom use fell away.  I didn’t know anything different to this scary scenario of course, I had not experienced anything else.  I grew up afraid of being gay, so when I came into the gay world I guess I just accepted that fear was part of the picture.  Not only fear of AIDS, but also fear of attack – the danger involved in public sex in toilets and parks gave an adrenalin rush that made the whole sexual adventure a highly charged one.  I would never have taken drugs while playing in that world, it was important to have your wits about you, to be alert.  At least twice I was threatened as a result of picking up someone in a toilet – had money stolen off me, had a knife pulled on me.  In 1990 I was cruising on Clapham Common when a gang of teenage lads attacked me, hitting me over the head with a tree branch.  My head split open, the blood freaked out the lads and somehow triggered me into such a rage that I was able to tell them all to clear off, and I got myself to a phone box to call 999 (there was an ambulance strike on and so I was taken to hospital in the back of a police van occupied by homophobic officers).

2017:  a much easier time to be gay… or is it?

To be promiscuous in the 1980s took courage.  Toilets and parks were busy cruising spots but they were dangerous.  Promiscuity is much easier nowadays since most of it happens at home.  Toilet sex is pretty rare now – the 1990s saw the closure of most cottages.  I was never a fan of telephone lines and contact ads in magazines as methods of meeting men, they seemed clumsy methods of getting satisfaction compared to instant results in public spaces. Now we have cruising website and mobile phone apps such as Grindr, Scruff etc which have made promiscuity easily available to all who want to try it.  It can still be a scary, even dangerous, experience to meet men this way, but the fear, and therefore the adrenalin level is much lower – perhaps this is why casual sex has become so wrapped up with drug use.  Drugs offer a quick way to shift reality and bring some dramatic tension to the affair.  Men say they use them to overcome inhibitions, and hope the horror stories of addiction and drug related breakdowns will not become their story.  I feel fortunate that I never relied on chemical substances to aid my sexual liberation.  I know it is silly to romanticise cottaging (though park cruising can be fantastic), but my experience of turning up on stranger’s doorsteps and diving into sexual communion has been mixed – while occasionally amazing, the lesson surely is that making sex dates via apps is a lonely and limited occupation, in comparison to meeting in person in a public situation, where you get a sense of the person’s energy and attitude, which can be a more reliable guide than simply looking at erotic pictures of them.

The three decades that I have been Out have seen the liberalisation of attitudes to gay sex and the spread of public sex venues, such as gay saunas, naked bar nights and dedicated fetish clubs, in the UK.  In the late 80s in London we had a few tiny gay saunas, all of them tense due to fear of police raids and the internalised homophobia of the men in them.  In the late 90s sauna culture finally exploded in London, with several large venues opening.  Some of these have gone now, as have several of the sex clubs that opened in that time.  Other, non sex-focussed, gay venues have gone too, to much outcry from some of the community.

A bit of perspective is needed.  Thirty years before I came out there were no out and proud gay venues, there was only the sordid world of cottaging.  Toilet sex was so widespread that a parliamentary report into gay sex laws ten years before the eventual partial decriminalisation stated that no respectable man would be seen going into a public lavatory because of the associations.  The gay scene sprung up in the 1970s and 80s – In London gay bars opened in many parts of town, occasionally provoking a backlash from those who felt such venues should be restricted to places like Soho.  Most of the suburban and district bars have since closed, but so have many iconic central locations too, such as Camden’s Black Cap and Soho’s Madame JoJos.  Sex venues that have come and gone include the Fort, the Block, the ManBar, the PlayPit plus several saunas and our most recent loss, fetish venue the Hoist in Vauxhall.

Obvious factors are often quoted for this phenomenon – gentrification pushes out what is still too often perceived as ‘lowlife’ activities; cruising apps make bars less crucial to our sex lives; gay people are more accepted in society and so do not need as many dedicated spaces.  These factors may be true, but another might be that commercial businesses that rely on people getting intoxicated to make their living, is not the best model for gay life.

These days, 30 years after Coming Out, my energy goes into creating community spaces where queers can commune socially, sexually and spiritually all at the same time.  I lived with full blown AIDS for 4 years in the 1990s – I prepared myself to die, opening my mind to questions of spirituality for the first time.  When my mind opened the light came flooding in, taking me to places in myself that I had already met while flying high on lsd in our gay temple Heaven or on the dance floor at the Market Tavern, but this time they felt much more ‘real’.  AIDS woke me up to a multi-dimensional reality, brought me to an Accelerated Individual Discovery of Self, and now I work to create spaces that facilitate others reaching that place of spiritual revelation, or to deepen the awakening already going on.

When I came out in 1986 the Edward Carpenter Community was already running retreats for gay men far away from the commercial scene in wonderful places in nature.  Similarly to the Radical Faerie gatherings that were emerging in the USA (but rather more formal and structured, being British), these community spaces were set up by men who could see there was more to us than being good capitalists and consumers.  As AIDS took its toll these community spaces became vital healing zones offering support to many.  Also in the cities, the AIDS crisis brought out a spirit of compassion and community, it brought us together, eg lesbians helping out gay men – the vile efforts of the Conservative government to prevent the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality in schools via Clause 28 also adding to the vital need to be strong as a community.

Since the successful medication to treat AIDS arrived in the late 1990s I have witnessed a massive explosion in the hedonistic side of gay life.  Where drug use was a relatively minority pursuit amongst queers when I came out, in the first decades of the 21st century it has become normal amongst all ages and slices of society.  We hear horror stories of professional men losing their livelihoods and their sanity through drug dependency, of young guys full of innocence and hope being drawn into dark drug scenes where abusive behaviours and nasty diseases abound.  Rates of HIV infection have not dropped amongst gay men, in contrast to rates among other groups.  A well known London clinic recently celebrated a fall in HIV+ diagnoses for the first time, but I notice this coming in the year that home testing kits for HIV became available, so wonder if their data means anything.

Home testing kits for HIV!  When I received my diagnosis we were handled with care – this diagnosis was a death sentence, which it may no longer be thanks to medical advances, but the impact of a positive diagnosis is still a life changing one, and I wonder how people react when alone at home they find out they are positive.  For me, HIV came to mean Healing Is Vital, because it was a catalyst for my growth as a spiritual being, and this is how it could be approached today.  But the capitalist system we live in wants us all to be productive consumers, not liberated souls aware of their eternal nature and their independent, perhaps rebellious, impulses.

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In the 2000s the Labour government gave gay men an equal age of consent, plus adoption rights and civil partnerships for all queers.  Bizarrely it was under the Conservatives that this became the right to equal marriage.  The Tories have come a long way since the evil of Clause 28, but having failed to repress us out of existence they now seek to buy us off, to persuade us to buy into and support the crumbling edifice of western capitalist imperialism.  But we are a global people.  We exist in every race, religion, class etc. And we are still subject to persecution around the globe.  I believe the calling is to shift our focus to a bigger picture of our place in the world, to find our true nature and purpose.   In the UK the liberty we now enjoy is spoiled by the self-destructiveness and abuse going on in our, largely invisible, sex scenes.  As someone whose gay journey led him to face death and experience an awakening to the spiritual dimensions of life I observe that it is a shortage of spiritual awareness in gay life that leads us into the darkness.

Part of that lacking spiritual awareness is a simple appreciation that sex is about the soul as well as the mind and body, that sex itself is the doorway to ecstasy, bliss and release – drugs can help but when they become the path we have relinquished control of our own lives.  Harry Hay, one of the founders of the Radical Faerie tribal exploration of gay community, said that gay men have a natural affinity towards treating each other as equals, adopting the term subject-SUBJECT to describe this ability to see the other as another self.  This seems to be the exact opposite of what gay men are up to via cruising apps – where a consumerist approach encourages us to use each other as objects for our own satisfaction.

As we start to discuss 50 years of partially decriminalised sex between men, it will become clear that while much has been achieved socially, legally, politically, to make our lives safer and easier, spiritually, as a community, as a portion of the human race, we are still in the early stages of self awareness.   The second part of the spiritual truth that we need to collectively embrace is that the genderbenders have served as spiritual functionaries in every part of the world throughout human history, and work out what this means for us today.  The Christian church spent a thousand years wiping out the old pagan religion in which same sex love was honoured, then when the Europeans arrived in the Americas they set about doing the same thing there.  Also in Africa, Asia Christian Europeans imported a homophobia that still has shockingly horrific consequences today.

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A big shift since the 1980s has been in the visibility of Trans people.  At Trans Pride in Brighton i have experienced a movement of peaceful, but determined, people making their way forward and feel it must have a similar spirit to early Gay Pride events in the 1970s.  The big lesson that gay men and women can take from the Trans community is that gender is ultimately a non-binary, fluid phenomenon.  Tendencies amongst gay men to denigrate the feminine side of our nature are anti-progressive, and apart from a few pumped up macho types, i think we mostly get this.  The LGBTQ community is here shaking up the world’s understanding of many things, including gender, sex and spirit.

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The Two-Spirits of the American tribes are finding their way back into the picture, however, and so are queer pagans in Europe.  In less mystical quarters, in a very down to earth sense also, queers are becoming more self-aware, more confident about the positive contribution we make to society.  We were defined by scientific minds in relation to our sexual practices, but we are much more than our sexual acts.  Radical Faeries are an example of queers redefining ourselves from the inside and telling the world who we are, not accepting the limiting and prejudiced definitions of others.  Queer Spirit Festival in Wiltshire, UK (July 26-30) is a new venture (having its second outing in 2017) where up to 500 queers of all genders and sexualities will come together to celebrate our magical qualities and talents, to discover more about who we really are.

Also in the UK in August 2017, at an enchanted castle location in Northumberland, a gathering of 120 radical queers from all over the world will take place – the second Global Gathering of Radical Faeries, offered in the spirit of creating a global consciousness amongst queers that acknowledges our roles as agents of change in tumultuous times, as healers and artists, as peace bringers and awakeners for the whole planet.   A team of British and American faeries are calling together queers who have a sense of our tribal power,  and we are fundraising to bring in activists from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.  30 years into my gay journey I am proud to be part of a rapidly growing network of conscious queers who seek to change the story on this planet of what it means to be gay, lesbian, bi or trans.

From Smalltown Boy to Global Faerie, I have learnt that being gay is a catalyst for personal evolution, but also learnt the hard way that if we do not embrace our evolution, nature will force it on us.  A lot of men are stuck at this stage right now, with few elders to show them an alternative route – because the most radical, adventurous men of the 70s and 80s mostly died.  As one who survived the plague, but only just, I long to tell the young gay people coming out today that there is much more to who we are than sex, marriage, fashion, glamour and good parties.  Our capacity for joy and heart centredness makes us revolutionaries; our love of ecstatic states makes us scouts of consciousness for the species; our liberation after centuries of repression has only just begun, there are many more things to discover about us.  In 30 years of being Out I am happy to have discovered some of those things in myself and to have found other queers also aware that we are on a quest of self-discovery and that our queer nature has a purpose, a function – to improve life on earth.

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https://www.albionfaeries.org.uk/global-gathering-2017/

Let us consider and articulate the gifts we possess and the crucial role we play in contributing to all cultures around the globe. Where are we respected and honoured? Where and why are we misunderstood and oppressed? What strategies can we create to connect our queer spirits and form a world-wide network of loving companions? What support would we appreciate and what support can we offer to each other?

Through sharing our stories and celebrating our strengths, let’s co-create a planetary wave of love and consciousness and of recognition for all LGBTIQA+ people. Come and add your voice!

Chemsex Conundrum

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They were the men who were shiny and buff

Had the right friends and had the best drugs

Danced through their 20s on podiums  and bars

Always chased but rarely loved

The mashed up, beautiful men have scars

Now they sit at home with lovers

Grateful for comfort and finding sex with others

Or live alone, after all these years

With a need to escape the regrets, the tears

The party starts and stays at home these days

Men on the phone, instant delivery

Breeding an over-dependence

On the wrong kind of chemistry.

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Why do men take (so many nasty) drugs to have sex with each other?

When sex itself is the hottest drug on earth, after love

The studies tell us it’s because we’re lonely

In the atomised nuclear society

Guys declare it’s to release inhibition

And set the inner pig free

I say these are things

That could be fixed so easily

At the core drugs are a substitute for intimacy.

Men need more spaces to meet

Not sex clubs closing down

The bedroom is becoming the new closet

There’s more to the game of sex than dial-a-mate

Is it getting harder than ever for men to relate?

Shame is at the root of our sexual  crises

That doesn’t get healed by our mobile devices.

It’s up to US to cultivate brotherhood, to open our hearts and minds…

To face our own demons, our wounds and our fears

To discover our spiritual destiny as queers:

In our sex  games  we play with divine energies of creation

We open gates to spirit in our chase for elation.

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Sex connects us soul to soul

As well as body to body

Good sex lifts us into the realms of Bliss

To the feeling that life doesn’t get any better than This

That feeling does not come from a needle or a pipe

It comes from our own inner source of Light

We raid that source like highwaymen

HIGH GAY MEN HIGHWAYMEN

Raiding the lost ark of consciousness

Unaware we are, and have always been

The witches, the warlocks, the shamans, the fools

Who use sex, herbs and love as our tools

To enchant the world and heal the sick

To open the gates and conduct the magick.

Seems more and more men getting lost in the darkness

But if they make it back from the fight

They  come back as warriors, wounded but wiser

With maybe an urge to help others avoid the plight

Of chemsex induced insanity and subsequent emotional collapse

But change may not be coming overnight –

The dark path calls many of us who are shamanic souls

Who need to face darkness, energy, crisis

As part of the journey to becoming Whole.

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The chase for bliss, for connection, for ecstatic, expansive feelings of freedom

Is the GodSelf inside us bursting to get out

So that we and he might get on with the work

Of revealing to the rest of the world

What life’s really all about.

Liberation of the body, mind and soul

Is what many have come here to seek

Remember THAT and life will present its own peaks.

The men who were shiny and buff

Seem to act like they’ve just had enough

Seems they heading to oblivion one way or another

AIDS didn’t get us but the death wish, the shame

That all gay men carry, for which I guess we have straight men to blame,

Hasn’t left us, it’s manifesting still

In our behaviours, in our addictions, in how many are ill

Perhaps AIDS is still around, but now functioning

On emotional, mental  and spiritual planes.

The men who were shiny and buff

And everyone who’s caught in the pain

NEED LOVE and the chance to discover

Their inner warrior, child and lover

In order to release the binding and recover.

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There’s a consciousness r-evolution happening on planet earth.

Gay men are amongst those who are here to be its midwives

But the HIGH GAY MEN HIGHWAYMEN

Raiding the lost ark of consciousness

Unaware they are, and have always been

The witches, the warlocks, the shamans, the fools

Who use sex, herbs and love as our tools

To enchant the world and heal the sick

To open the gates and conduct the magick

the HIGH GAY MEN HIGHWAYMEN

are missing the trick.

Auf Wiedersehen Hoist London

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11th December 2016: Closing party of the Hoist in Vauxhall, after 21 years serving the gay male community of London.  A place of community and brotherhood, of tenderness and safety, as  well  as of fetish play, naked parties and uninhibited sexual contact, is disappearing, apparently (according  to the Attitude interview with Hoist entrepreneur Guy) not due to failing business, or rising rents, but because he wants to retire with his man and dogs to Norfolk, for a quieter life.

One hour into the party there was a queue along the street waiting for admittance.  Inside an even longer snaking queue of naked men carrying bin liners or rucksacks containing their clothes, the room’s circular furniture creating a figure of eight spiral movement of quiet, observant men waiting to pay their entry.  As I stood in the  queue  the house music track was incanting “It’s about love, unity and fun”, the scenario was very ritualistic as we lined up to enter the temple of naked delights.

Some of the parties held at the Hoist are moving to another, bigger, nearby venue, but south London is losing its leather bar.  Vauxhall is losing another sex venue. (The Eagle on Kennington Lane no longer holds cruise nights with porn screens and dark room – instead its focus now is to be a community pub, rather than a specialist men’s play space).

The thing is, men need play spaces.  Maybe even more so now that mobile phone apps are so prevalent.  The dynamics of public interaction, chance meetings, group energy are powerful.  They teach us about ourselves, they provide opportunities for physical expression that are not found anywhere else – and  they can be places of love as well as lust, of community as well as commodity.  Cruising apps do not help us build community and trust in the same way.  Apps have a place, but the disheartening effects they can have on men’s mental health shows the crucial need for real time, real life experiences.

The men turned out in droves for the Hoist’s closing party.  I was number 200 through the door, just an hour after opening.  The music pumped from 2pm and by 4 any ice (of nervousness, fear) had melted – the sweaty, sultry, orgasmic affair was in full swing.

Vauxhall has a rich history as a centre of play and pleasure going back to the  mid-17th century.  The Royal Vauxhall  Tavern , built in 1863, was originally a Victorian music hall and has been a home to drag shows since World War 2..  Its sister bar, the Market Tavern, was a den where anything and everything might happen.  It was dark, sweaty, cruisey and the best place to dance in south London until its closure in 1995 .  The Market died but the gay spirit of Vauxhall was reborn in the form of the Hoist and new, large, dance clubs Fire, Union, Area (this one now gone), a great community spirit and dance nights such as Horse Meat Disco at the Eagle, the acreage of Chariots sauna  and  the pumped up antics of Bar Code (also gone).  There was a gay gym, also recently closed.  So much for the south London gay ‘village’.

The Vauxhall Tavern holds the spirit flame of gay Vauxhall and is indeed thriving.  Unfortunately the sauna has a reputation for being unfriendly,  soulless and sometimes full of drugged zombies.  The Hoist was never that.  A bit of Vauxhall’s queer soul disappears – is this really not in any way related to the arrival of thousands of high  class, high price, high rise flats and the American Embassy to the area?  Vauxhall’s spirit belongs to the people, but it seems the rich would change that.  The appalling, shallow atmosphere of new style bar Back Counter gives us a clue what  could be  coming to Vauxhall. 

I hope that Fire, the RVT, the Eagle hold their ground and continue to offer dynamic, cutting edge queer nights.  And that the spirit of the Hoist return in some new and amazingly sexy form.  Our public play spaces are important, for although we about to celebrate 50 years in the UK since the partial decriminalisation of sex between men, there is a still long way to go until men’s attraction to men is properly accepted and understood.  In our sexual play spaces we discover our personal and tribal rituals, through our rituals we discover ourselves.  Through meeting in public spaces we find the magic of tribal connection, the reality of gay brotherhood, the generosity accessible in our souls.  The Hoist has provided a vital community space, been a significant slice of gay history, and been the scene of so much play and pleasure. The spirit of Vauxhall is in mourning.

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Auf Wiedersehen Hoist London.

 

 

Healing Is Vital: World AIDS Day 2016

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3000 gay men per year becoming HIV+ in the UK

In a materialist paradigm HIV is a virus to be defeated

In a spiritual worldview it’s a wake-up call

HEALING IS VITAL

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/10/04/hiv-infections-in-gay-men-remain-at-record-high-levels/

 

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HIV was the catalyst that led to my interest in spirituality: the threat of death led me to search for meaning in life.  Given a positive diagnosis in 1990, by ’95 I was becoming symptomatic and was given 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 big question – why, I asked for the first time in my life, did I exist in the first place?  I had held a firmly rational, atheistic view since the age of 12, but now, at 30, an understandably urgent need for spiritual answers arose in me.  I plunged into a study of the worlds’ religions, into pagan magic and new age teachings, soon sensing a mystical core common to all.  I began to open my mind and heart to the possibility of something more, to a purpose to our apparently random existence, to the idea of a beneficent divine presence giving rise to existence.

I had expected to be miserable about dying but instead 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 came to realise is everywhere all the time, holding us constantly, but which our mental confusion and emotional baggage prevent us from properly knowing.  I took on the notion that I was growing beyond the ego-mind and into the consciousness of the soul, starting to encounter the energy of spirit in all things.  Facing death was the trigger for this journey, which has entirely transformed my life, opening me up to a multidimensional reality in which life is a story of souls finding our way back home.  That HOME is the internal and eternal place of connection, love and peace that is our divine right as human beings – and facing death, overcoming fear of dying, is the fastest way to get there.

HIV pushed 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.   By surrendering to the prospect of annihilation I experienced Self beyond the limits of my individuality.  This is what Ayahuasca also does for people, taking them to a place beyond their own ego, beyond identification with the little Self, revealing just how much more to our existence there really is.  Facing death had that effect for me.

Many positive men went through spiritual transformations during the plague years, but most of them took their discoveries and epiphanies with them to spirit.  Only a few people get to experience a journey to the edge of life now thanks to the effectiveness of the medications available, but it does still happen.  Attitudes towards becoming positive have changed so much that today you can administer your own HIV test at home, it is no longer regarded as a terrifying death sentence.  HIV is ‘normalised’ and positive people are expected to take the tablets and continue to go to work and lead normal lives.  But even so HIV is still a huge emotional challenge for anyone becoming positive, it will push many into darkness, fear and depression.  As a survivor of that journey I want my voice to be heard… I am here to say that HIV can still be a catalyst to self-discovery, growth and awakening, even without a trip to death’s edge.  It is still likely to push us to question our lives, attitudes and behaviours. It might push us into explorations of sexual extremes as we lose the fear of becoming infected, discover the thrill of uninhibited bareback sex.  There is a lot of searching going in gay life, but unfortunately little awareness of what we are truly, at the deepest level, searching for.

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 going back over 10000 years.  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 or butch 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.  We are coming back into the picture at this time because the world needs us, the planet needs us, to wake up to our power and our purpose.  HIV is a wake up call, as are so many other of life’s challenges… a wake up call to know ourselves, to engage life, more deeply, more consciously, more lovingly.  That kind of engagement will trigger our own personal evolution, and an evolution for gay life.  

Gay liberation has started in the sexual, social and political spheres, but has to go all the way to the spiritual level before lgbtq+ people find their place in the human family.   That prospect is furthered by each individual queer who grows out of mindless, selfish, unconscious behaviours, chooses a path of self-discovery, and finds 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.

 

HIV I propose is a call from the soul to seek healing and understanding of who we are, as 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 the heavens want us to face up to the challenge of facing and knowing ourselves, to wake up to the magnificence and potential of what we really are, to break through the illusions of the materialist world, to break down the walls between death and life, to embrace, that at this point in our lives, HEALING IS VITAL.

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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 mental illusion 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.

 

 

 

 

Telepathy and Transformation

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I remember being fascinated by the idea of telepathy as a young teenager, arranging once an experiment with a friend where we would tune in at a certain time and transmit images or words to each other across a couple of streets.  I recall that I did this standing in my parents’ bedroom, perhaps some instinct in me drew me to connect to their energy to make this happen.  I had read a book on telepathy written by a scientist and although I did not exactly understand it, my interest was tweaked.

My friend forgot the rendezvous time and of course nothing happened.

Nowadays telepathy is a fairly normal thing to me.  It’s not about direct conversation mind to mind, it’s more about sending energy, messages and love to somebody’s spirit, and being open to receive what others might be sending to me. My teenage experiment was entirely an act of will and thought. I would have had no notion of connecting heart and sexual energy into the telepathic communication, but have of course since learnt that we communicate vast amounts via emotion and desires. When I wish to tune into the collective energy field I can get there via raising sexual desire energy, bringing it into the heart and releasing into the mind and spirit.  Emptying the mind, I move into a ‘passive’ mental state where I can observe what enters it from spirit, which might be images, words or feelings coming from the many people who have a place in my heart.

The key to this i would say is to simply KNOW that we humans are a collective consciousness, and let oneself enter into the field of spirit via meditation.  Today I am even writing at the same time as observing the inner senses.  The predominant colour coming into my inner sight is a pale mauve, occasionally shifting into pink.  A deep green is close by.  Focussing around my legs I sense the realm of nature spirits, faerie elementals, especially tiny flame creatures and green hatted little elves (! hi guys!).  Tuning into the body’s midrift I get the vibration of brothers who left life recently, close allies protecting and enjoying the very visceral human childlike part of my being. As I rise through the body there are the Mothers and Grandmothers nurturing and loving me and my loved ones.  Rising through the heart I see a vision of the Horned God, a young and vibrant PanMan, priapic holding a staff and a large golden ring.  Above him there is sky with white clouds, the sphere of the Grandfather, the clouds his beard and the sky reflecting the sparkling blue of his eyes.

And then sunshine.  Golden rays of unending sunlight.

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Suddenly an ocean rises, water fills the cosmos.  This water is the spiritual love that Aquarius pours from hisher urn.  There is a vast amount of it waiting in the spiritual sky and coming our way.  Aquarius, though the Water Bearer, is the Fixed Air sign of the zodiac.  Once Aquarian energy is on course, on purpose, its fixed nature means it is steady and strong.  (Of course in a world that prefers to keep the spirit world out of the picture, confined to holy places and people, relatively few Aquarians are really living out the potential of their sign as yet).   The popularity of meditation and mindfulness practices around the world is an indication of the growing Aquarian consciousness (as are humanitarian efforts to help refugees and also the visibility of lgbtq people around the world).  Meditation builds mental muscle, so that when the spiritual water pours in, the mind can stay open, be fully present, enabling the body to become the vehicle of spirit descending, channelling into the earth plane.

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The Age of Aquarius is being born bit by bit. At this point in human history, how we know ourselves, how we use our minds, how we understand emotion, sexuality and spirit is being utterly transformed.

There are many ways we can take to this transformation.

For sure we need time alone and time with others

We need to acknowledge and let go of what has gone before

Renewing our relationship with Life, Self and Other often

When life is known as the adventure that Consciousness is on

Humanity’s Awakening is hastened

We each have our own keys inside

To the greatest revolution that Humans have yet to experience.

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SOLSTICE 2016: CHAOS IS PART OF LIFE’S MAGIC TOO

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The first solstice full moon for 70 years…and a few days later the world in chaos… a wave of drama from which our Faerie tribe was not immune… but, as magicians know, chaos is magic too… from chaos new order is born…

As the Gemini Sun set in the west on solstice eve a big fat Full Moon rose in the east, beaming strong Sagittarian fire frequencies at us through the ether, energies that motivate the human spirit to reach for higher purpose and connection.

Radical Faeries of Albion gathered round the fire in the woods beneath Glastonbury Tor to honour those energies with ritual, drumming, dancing… building a powerful cauldron of love and ecstasy in celebration of Pan and Mother Nature.

The Solstice point came shortly before midnight with both the Sun and Moon changing signs.  The Sun shifted from the sociable air vibrations of Gemini into the emotional water realm of Cancer, and the moon shifted soon after into the earthy tones of Capricorn.  The night began with Air and Fire in control, both elements which defy gravity and uplift us, ended with Water and Earth dominating, the elements which ground us, get us in touch with our feelings, and our issues.

The whole world is still reeling from the blast of this intense Full Moon.  It knocked everything upside down: Brexit followed a few days later.  A week later division and discord seem to rule. Anarchy in the UK. In our gathering space we were not immune to these vibrations.  The Faeries opened up a cauldron of connections and strong emotions during 9 days of gathering – we were all in a particularly sensitive space post Orlando, but in our efforts to KEEP CALM and CARRY ON we completely failed to notice that something akin to the energy of the Orlando killer was manifesting right there in our own community space, setting off energy ripples that would affect us all.

Solstice: energetically when the Sun is at its strongest point so are our personalities. It is arguably the hardest time of the year to tame the ego, because it is the time that the ego feels it is ‘right’, and therefore a challenging time to form an intimate gathering energy.  Radical Faeries do not have a tradition of gathering at Summer Solstice, except perhaps for short celebrations – the Albion Faeries have been breaking new ground with our four years of Avalon gatherings,  and the universe has indeed showered us with blessings for taking this step. This time the blessings came with lessons attached.

There is a pattern associated with group gatherings that I was once told about, it has three stages and I sense that our solstice gatherings are following it: the pattern is…

Forming… Norming … Storming

Year 1 we got to know the place, year 2 we discovered just how much we could get out of it, year 3 we made the most of it and stormed our way to a rip roaring solstice night.  The cycle begins again… the forming year was this year.  We were dealt a new set of cards, including a very unexpected wild card.  The universe delivered us some lessons, has opened up areas that need discussion and loving attention, has clarified some of the challenges of the type of inclusive community we are attempting to create.

The faeries dispersed pretty quickly after the solstice. Exhaustion, physical and emotional, was widespread. The gathering was ending and we had no chance to listen to each other.  Some of us withdrew completely. Some are angry with others. There is talk of RIFT.  As we can see from the state of play in the British nation, we are completely in sync with the patterns dominating the bigger picture right now.

I have been part of faerie community for 15 years.  I have known this kind of moment before. When things get comfortable, even predictable, the universe delivers a shock to remind us that we are a tribe of pioneers, strong yet vulnerable, with much to learn and discover.

We are faeries… we healers… we are lightworkers, starseeds, nature’s children… we have ways of transforming conflict, of releasing hurts, of understanding as well as forgiving the other, if we truly choose to know them through the window of subject-SUBJECT consciousness.  The dark moon weekend July 1-3 is the end of the solstice period, the closing of the chaotic energies of this time, a chance for closure.  Then the gentler journey to Lammas and the harvest season will begin.

The Sun is in Cancer, this is the month of the Home, it is time to nurture our relationship with loved ones and with the planet.  Then when the Sun reaches fire sign Leo we arrive at the festival of Lammas, a harvest festival of thanksgiving.  In these sensitive and turbulent times, recent chaos and calamity should serve to help us focus on what matters most in our lives.  Out of chaos, new potential is always born.