Category Archives: Gathering

The Commodity of Youth in an Age of Austerity

I am complicit in a pattern of behaviours that is toxic to individual faeries and our community as a whole.

I am complicit because I have at times fallen deeply into the trap of comparing myself to others, objectifying certain members of my tribe and not speaking up when I witness the behaviours in those around me.

Within this piece I do not seek to shame or to judge, although many times I find these behaviours embarrassing or infuriating. Partly my reaction is on behalf of others, partly it presents a reflection of my own past conduct.

This is offered as a call for change. I know change is often difficult, costly or painful. Some will react with anger as they read my words, a few may nod in recognition, perhaps one or two may even find themselves reviewing their own gathering etiquette.

Whilst visiting the most recent gathering at Paddington Farm in Glastonbury, I found myself in a room surrounded by faeries, although I was present as a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence at the time. I often find the role of the outsider gives a perspective that is revelatory.

I saw and heard behaviour patterns I have seen time and time again in faerie space. The same issues were present 2 years ago when we had so much trauma and division. I had hoped we might learn and change but we didn’t seem to address one of the underlying problems.

Middle-aged cis white gay men, like me and including me, commoditise youth. Some of us (“not all” I hear the cry and respond “no but far too many”) base our own sense of worth and our social standing within the community by how young, pretty and new the faerie is that we are seen to be frolicking with.

Outrage! Of course. It is outrageous. It’s ridiculous that an intentional community who speaks so much of coming home, of tribe, of not being like the other, Grindr-loving queers, should recycle and promulgate such toxicity among ourselves.

Whatever happened to the idea of subject-subject consciousness? The notion that we sought to exist in kinship and harmony with each other? That we respected each other’s uniqueness and gifts as a queer person, not just their value as an object to elevate our status amongst others who similarly objectify them? Harry Hay spoke of the natural inclination of queer men to be not killers and fighters who “seemed to want to celebrate their Brothers rather than to compete with them”. When we read those words do we even recognise ourselves any more?

Sometimes I look across the room and I can almost hear the transaction in my head as an older faerie gently places his hand on the lower thigh of one 30 years his junior and in his inflections the dialogue flows “you’re obviously deeply spiritual”, a little too practiced.

Or the hidden revelations given by another when nobody is around to hear that their spirit guides told them they would have a lover matching the same description as a newly minted faerie almost 4 decades younger.

The use of woo as a tool for seduction of other members of our tribe distresses me. Its twisting to enable seduction and subjugation is abhorrent. The delight in sharing ideas and rituals, of empowering and raising each other instead becomes an area of mistrust and confusion.

Wisdom of astrology becomes a set of mystical edicts from those with hidden arcane knowledge, set up to entrap the unwary.

At times I find myself questioning if I judge too harshly, regardless of the faeries who share their experiences with me, or the evidence of my own senses.

I remember my own mistakes and missteps, the damage I have caused and will no doubt cause unwittingly in future.

I remind myself that what is acted out in this sacred space is a result of trauma. We don’t talk about how it feels to grow older. To survive those who never will. To become invisible in our bars and clubs. To feel increasingly isolated, afraid and somehow lacking.

This isn’t everyone’s experience of course. Some delight in the role of the silver daddy, of discovering new ways of expressing themselves.

Some find comfort in their accomplishments and in their wisdom.

But some are desperately scared of no longer being desireable. We use gatherings as dating pools rather than opportunities for our own growth and development, let alone connecting to other men in platonic loving ways.

I watch complex, fascinating, talented men ignore opportunities to connect and nurture their community as a whole because they are obsessed with pursuing significantly younger men. The skills and insights they have are cast aside in their ravenous pursuit of their physical ideal.

As I say, I am complicit. I am one of these men. Although I have never had sex with a younger faerie at a gathering (except one instance where I was already in a relationship with them) I have found myself competing and I hate it. The process demeans everyone involved. It reverts to subject-object unconsciousness. How could it not do damage?

And I too have applauded and cheered as the most pert and youthful have been paraded at an auction to the howls of older men. That plays into the same culture too.

So what can we do?

Maybe we be more open about how it feels to be present in inter-generational queer space. Maybe we have some personal boundaries in place or share an intent to focus on our own gifts and journey and hold ourselves accountable. Perhaps even invite others to hold us accountable too. Wouldn’t that be a big hit of vulnerability and trust right there?

The crux of subject-subject consciousness should be mutual support and equality of power. We are perfectly capable of this but it doesn’t always serve the ego. So maybe we could prioritise consciously spending as much time with older faeries and getting to know them. Cause let’s face it, we’re all older faeries to someone.

Reach out to each other rather than offering reach-arounds. And there are issue of consent and coersion, as well as personal responsibility regarding sexual health that should to be addressed too. But I fear there are few who do have read to this end now. Many who have dismissed it.

Maybe we could engage back into our core tools. Heart circles help us to practice listening to everyone regardless of youth or appearance. Maybe we could share our fears and be there as silent witnesses for each other.

I would argue that we have a responsibility to ourselves and each other, to nurture and protect our tribe. Even from ourselves.

Cunty.

COMING HOME: A Radical Faerie Retreat

The Radical Faeries of Albion are planning a summer retreat in the Derbyshire hills at the Cancer New Moon

FAERIE SEXUAL ON COMING HOME: A place to connect with nature. A place to connect with faeries in playful, creative, open, exploration. A place to nourish myself with delicious food and activities. An opportunity to go within, meditate and access inner peace

 

Unstone Grange, Derbyshire, July 9-16, 2018

The Radical Faeries of Albion have been forming community via gatherings, heart circles, full moon ceremonies, drumming nights and online discussions since 2006. We are part of the global emergence of queer healers, artists, activists and shamans, finding each other and creating sanctuary when we meet. In our spaces we celebrate our queer nature through connection to the elements, trees and animal spirits, we explore the possibilities of heart-centred community, and reclaim the forgotten magical roles queers have played in many cultures throughout human history.

In this our 13th AlbionFaerie year, a group of us wish to offer a new style of coming together – one that focusses on who we are as healers, for ourselves, for the lgbtq+ community and for the whole world. We are calling this new gathering a HEALING RETREAT.

While some come to faerie space seeking nothing more cosmic than companionship and playtime, for many faeries the spiritual/mystical aspect of our community is central. We meet in circles, we honour nature, we create rituals, we drum, dance and celebrate sexuality as a divine gift that can connect heart and spirit. We greet each other at gatherings with the words “WELCOME HOME” to emphasise the blessings we are about to receive in a magically held, love filled environment, where society’s expectations and judgements do not apply and we are truly free to be our selves.

We are calling this Healing Retreat “COMING HOME”. The aim is to honour and explore the new reality we are collectively creating in the ancient isle of Albion – that of an emerging tribe of queer healers, in touch with the spirits of nature and with the lineage of queer ancestors who have been shamans, monks, witches and healers in cultures across the planet throughout all time.

  BLAZE (formerly known as EVE): I’m looking forward to connecting at a deep level with my fellow faeries. I hope to be able to facilitate safe nurturing spaces where we can explore intimacy and sensuality and open our hearts. I long to be able to spend time together in nature and in community, creating magic in it’s many forms, food, ritual, sharing, touch.

  PARADOX (formerly known as True):
My understanding of retreat from my experience in the past is a created space in which participants take sanctuary from the everyday world and take the time to explore their inner workings. 
In the retreats I took part in the structures were hierarchical with a teacher or guru of sorts leading the process. This clashes with the horizontal power flow of faeries. Thing is faeries are rather adept at cocreating process and intention. From what I understand retreats are designed to assist/facilitate the process of retreating from the world of externalities. I imagine this is something that will happen over the course of some days and not a sudden demand on the system. Much like it takes a few moment for the eyes to adjust to an interior space after coming in from a bright sunny day. This retreat says gentle and nourishing to me. It is about the healing faerie glow, the connection with the almost imperceptibly slow heart beat of the great mother.Tools used to aid in this process of letting go are things like meditations such as sitting and walking, silence periods.

 

  UNICORN: I learnt about the faeries from a book, I first learnt that Queer people have always had a calling to a spiritual life from that book too, we were the shamans, the sacred two spirits in Native America, witches, priests, monks and nuns to escape the heterosexual life and still fulfill our calling, we were respected and had always been here fulfilling our roles in our tribes, new to me but I believed it to be true and found comfort in a new narrative, one I saw in the call for Featherstone and many calls since.

I found my tribe but I feel there’s never been enough focus on all the reasons I came for me, it can feel impossible to keep up self care at most gatherings too, sometimes that’s not what is needed and thankfully I’ve had an abundance of the right conditions to help me turn inwards, find out who I am, change unhelpful patterns and most importantly realise I can generate a feeling of love for myself. I’ve mostly done this outside of faerie space. I hope to be able to help create more of those conditions for myself and others now IN faerie space…

  LIONBOY: My path has been one of thirsty feet following the ivy trails and feeling the mulch between my toes as the brambles scratch away at my skin, they snag, and pull me back on track till I find the river. Back in the flow my wounds are cleansed to walk on once more. I am a reclaimer, I awaken so I know what it is to dream.

This faerie retreat to me is exactly that; space and time to return and rediscover we did not know we had lost and to bring it home within ourselves, so as to allow us to come home to our community and bring that discovery with us. My community is a magical and I will not let us forget it. I joined the faeries as a shamanic nomad living out of my van searching for a tribe where healing was not kept for oneself but shared as a joint process of becoming. For me home is not with the other humans but with the other spirits who are on human journeys. I see the animals in our eyes, the oceans in our tears and the wind in our words carrying our whispers far beyond our reach or comprehension. Mother nature needs her children to come home for she has much more to teach and the father I feel has temporarily gone astray, let’s make our whispers count. Shaman, crystal healer, bindrune weaver, sound healer, nature speaker and tree hugging mud slapper. Capricorn sun, Pisces moon and ascendant Leo. This is who I am and what I bring, I ask you to do the same.

 

  SHOKTI:

In 1995, while developing AIDS, I met Spirit. She showed me visions way beyond my imaginings. I had been atheist for 18 years, which meant I had minimal religious baggage to unfold. Suddenly I saw that the exploration of Who We Are has long been central to human existence, but is so overlooked or misunderstood in modern culture. I became aware of the historical role of gay and trans shamans, and as I came back, transformed, from death’s door, I set out to find my queer sisters and brothers on the same path of awakening and reclaiming of our magic. I have been an active Eurofaerie at Folleterre sanctuary, visited American sanctuaries, and I see the arrival of Radical Faeries in the UK as a crucial development – for the land here is rich in ancient pagan spirit, waiting to be awoken, and so are the people. Celebration is a crucial, central part of LGBTQ+ life, both in the mainstream and in faerie space. We are a people finding liberation after centuries of oppression, we have a lot to celebrate. But sexual, social and political liberation is not enough. The health crises that spoil our new found freedom require spiritual solutions. Faeries exist on the sidelines of the Gay cosmos, exploring healing and liberation in heart-centred community. We can demonstrate to the world that spirituality is about JOY, LOVE, HEALING – and yes, SEX too. 23 years ago i began to have visions of this tribal emergence, 13 years ago I was part of calling together the Queer Spirit Circle in London, which led to the first Albion Faerie gathering. I am so excited to be giving birth to this Healing Retreat, to have brought together a talented, sparkling team of organisers, and to see what we will all collectively manifest in the Derbyshire hills.

THE FAERY STAR

The symbol we have chosen for this retreat is the seven pointed ‘Faery Star’. This star can be drawn in a continuous line and is considered a symbol of eternity. Medieval alchemists used it, considering it to represent seven alchemical metals, or seven planets. It can also represent the Pleiades (the Seven Sisters), the seven musical notes of the octave or the colours of the rainbow. It is deemed to be a powerful portal to the Faery realms.

For the Healing Retreat the seven points of our Faery star each contain a holy symbol, representing various approaches to spiritual awareness that humanity has developed, with the planet Uranus sitting in the centre of it all. Uranus here is the Awakener, the Revolutionary who brings dramatic, sudden shifts in consciousness, fulfilling his role as ruler of Aquarius. Early gay pioneers Karl Ulrichs and Edward Carpenter called queer people ‘Uranians’ because they considered our love to be ‘of the gods’, bringing spiritual light and evolution to planet Earth. Uranus is the queer planet of the solar system – the only planet that revolves horizontally on its axis instead of vertically, and its moons are named after the faeries of Midsummer Nights Dream.

Our Faery Star represents the fact that we queers come from all kinds of spiritual backgrounds, but through the light of awareness and awakening we have the potential to create and enjoy a new paradigm that rises above divisions, that sees all paths as versions of the same thing – the way home.

Sitting above the star, bathing all this powerful symbology in summer sunlight is the astrological glyph for the first zodiac sign of the summer season, Cancer. Cancer is the sign of the Divine Mother, of emotional connection through the water element, and is a cardinal sign: although receptive, Cancer water energy is not passive – it is about initiating action, healing and growth. Cancer New Moon occurs during the Healing Retreat, bringing us a portal to experience a homecoming on every level of our being.

REGISTRATION OPEN ON FAENET.ORG:  https://faenet.org/events/home/individual-registration   (you do not have to sign up for Faenet to register for this retreat, however it is recommended to form a profile and join this new faerie medium!)

READ THE CALL ON THE ALBIONFAERIE WEBSITE:  https://www.albionfaeries.org.uk/gatherings/unstone-grange/

or on Faenet.org:  https://faenet.org/community-events/17-coming-home-healing-retreat

Facebook event page:  https://www.facebook.com/events/582495962107520/

Albion gathering history

At a political demo in London this summer I met a Radical Faerie from Atlanta, the city faerie clan in Georgia that currently has a reputation for being the most active and fertile group in the USA.  He told me that he had heard that the Albion Faeries are ‘very spiritual’.  By this I don’t think he meant that we go to church on time, or that we all line up dutifully for morning practice, nor even that we are super nice to each other (and compared to some of what I have seen in American sanctuaries, we actually are).  He may have been referring to the way we meet regularly to honour the moon cycles, and also to the way our gatherings are built to consciously get the most out of the energies of the seasonal festivals of the wheel of the year.  As I feel very fortunate to have discovered very early into my personal spiritual journey, our ultimate task while alive is to follow our spirit, not our given/chosen spiritual path.  Fortunate also to have discovered how the cycles of the Sun and Moon, and the rhythms of Nature, give us all we need to liberate the spirit, to heal and awaken the soul, if we become conscious of them.  Gatherings are a very effective way of discovering the gifts and subtleties of a season’s energy.

The Albion clan of the global Radical Faerie tribe are about to hold our 21st gathering since we first assembled at Featherstone Castle in Northumberland a decade ago at Imbolc 2006.

faegathEight times we gathered at the enchanted Featherstone, our Faerie Hogwarts, during the cold Winter months…. Twice over Christmas and SIX times at Imbolc.  These were thermal fashion, finding-divinity-through-the-duvet gatherings, with lots of cosiness around fires, intimate, slow heart circles held at sunset in the blue room (which most people attended) and freezing ballroom discos – divas dancing around the tall radiator heaters not their handbags.

The Imbolc gatherings were slow paced, cosy and for the most part mellow.  There was a lot of deep sharing and healing going on, also of course an element of high spirited partying, which for some occasionally seemed to become more central to the experience than the healing journey.  Whether related to that or not, we experienced a lot of physical sickness at the last few castle winter gatherings.  I suggest that if we do not attend effectively to the soul healing that spirit calls us together to address, it is easy for sickness to manifest in our bodies.

I also feel that the deep healing work that many of us did engage in for ourselves… and for the collective… during those deep and magical winter retreats (there was one stunning year that it snowed deeply before we arrived and didn’t melt until we left… we were outside doing naked photo shoots in glistening sunshine, we also built a snowhenge) was now done.  Spirit was pushing us out of our winter dream time space to explore new territories.  The conditions at Featherstone in February were proving too tough, but the wish to continue meeting to savour the sparkling energies of Imbolc, and each other as a respite from the dark winter period, was strong – so gatherings shifted to Paddington Farm in Glastonbury, where space is limited and we have to be cosy with each other.

Sometimes it is so exciting to escape the winter blues and arrive in faerie land it can be tempting to forget that the spirit at this time of year is asking us to light a small inner fire, not a conflagration… is inviting us to look within and heal, preparing ourselves for the busier time of year ahead.  Imbolc has an exciting energy of potential and promise, but it’s still winter.  The Featherstone winter gatherings gave us attendees a powerful experience of deep stillness – because the land holding us was itself so cold and still, while in Glastonbury the earth energy is much lighter and livelier.  It does not offer us the kind of deep winter spirit experience that many of us got to know in the Northumberland wilderness.

Imbolc is a time to come together for warmth and reassurance in the dark months of the year – the faeries of Albion have explored this season’s energy more than most other clans around the world.  Imbolc is also a much celebrated faerie festival in southern United States – an annual Brigit Ball is held in New Orleans, in a very different climate to our northern retreat.  So maybe that’s where the spirit of the British maiden goddess emigrated to after her people forgot about her here, somewhere much warmer!

In 2014 we gathered for the first Albion Spring Gathering, held over the Equinox shift from winter Pisces water to spring Aries fire energy, discovering powerful magic through consciously making that shift within ourselves in sync with the planet.  We returned to Featherstone for this and subsequent Spring gatherings, taking huge delight in the warmer temperatures both outside and within the castle, in the longer hours of daylight, the lambs in the fields and the bright Spring sunshine.

2014 was the year of our second Summer Solstice Gathering at Paddington Farm under the Tor, but the first year the magic really took off there for us.  Powerful workshops releasing shame from our lives prepared the ground for a ritual rise into blissful communion around our hot and sizzling Solstice fire in the woods.  Many a faerie’s deep rooted dreams of passion and play in nature were fulfilled that night, and our merry mystical dance with the woodland spirits has continued at the Solstice gatherings since. 2014 Solstice brought a glorious sunrise witnessed by many Fae up on the top of Glastonbury Tor.  We arrived there at dawn, a very merry band of kissing, cuddling queers livening up the atmosphere amongst the local hippies and characters of Avalon.

2015 the Albion Faeries filled in the last remaining gap in the seasonal calendar with our first Autumn gathering, Featherstone providing the most perfect setting for 9 days of Samhain sorcery and spooky delight.  Within a decade we have held gatherings in each of the four seasons of the year, this seeming to me like a very significant statement from our collective to the cosmos that we are not messing around, the Albion Faeries are a spiritual tribe and we mean business.

An issue that comes up for us, it seems every few years, is around substance use and abuse.  The issue seems to arise when we have become accustomed to a venue and start to take the magic for granted.  Or maybe we just get lazy about doing the work that opens the gates to it?

When we cosmic queers gather together and open the gates to the heart and spirit we are inviting the potent powers of the universe to come be part of the journey with us.  Those powers answer the call gladly when they feel the sincerity behind it, and they bring the possibility of profound awakening and transformation to our conclaves.  Having invited super powered cosmic guests to the feast it is silly to ignore them, and seek illusory transcendence through quick fixes.  Sometimes of course suitably blessed and prepared sacraments are part of the exploration of our faerie nature that we undertake.  As we are in community space and not a gay holiday camp it would seem vital. and natural that those using substances as part of their experience would aim to do so consciously, with awareness given to how their choices impact on others.

Our self-defined and self-declared community has grown rapidly in a decade. Is this the moment for us to take a collective breath and consider how, where, when and why… we do what we do.  Our last two gatherings at Paddington have led to some disturbance and, it seems, division, amongst us.  By contrast the last two Featherstone outings have been extremely well blessed on all counts.  It is noticeable to me that while the castle gatherings have had several faeries stepping forward to be part of the organising team, there has been a shortage of new energy in the Glastonbury team.  There even seems to be some element of ‘consumer’ culture seeping into Paddington.  I also think we have been sticking to a tried and tested formula in our gathering spaces and not really adapting fully yet to the differing energies of each season.  What works for a cosy Winter or lazy Lammas retreat may not be the best formula for the highly individuated energies of the Summer Solstice.  These high energy gatherings, which have become very large very quickly, could perhaps be held more ‘lightly’, with less expectation of a tightly bonded faerie unit than at other times of the year. They could be more like a faerie ‘festival’ than a conventional gathering.  It simply does not seem practical to expect large numbers of fae to achieve the type of bonding and intensity that we know so well when our numbers are so large and the space we are occupying is also used by other people, when we are so close to the attractions of Avalon and when the Sun energy is at its peak.  But a less formal faerie festival that embraces these factors as gifts might manifest a lovely energy.

2017 looks like being a different kind of year for the Albion Faeries.

Featherstone Castle has been booked for a Global Gathering in August, to which we will invite a number of activist queers from countries in Africa/Middle East/South America/Eastern Europe/Asia to come tell their stories and have an experience of the kind of compassionate community the Faeries create.  This gathering is being run in collaboration with the organisers of the first Global Gathering in California held two years ago. With a limit on the number of places the organising team is asking only faeries who feel passionate about the global rights of lgbtq people, and who wish to input into the creation of a global queer shamanic conscious community, to come along.

The castle has not been booked for a Spring gathering next year, Team Butterfly figuring that after 3 successful Spring events there a fallow year was appropriate.  Dates have been booked for October.

Imbolc at Paddington Farm is booked for us but as yet I believe there is no organising team for a Summer Solstice gathering.  I think we could consider also taking a year off from the Solstice gathering, giving time to reconsider how we gather in that space should we wish to continue using it.

This potentially would leave a huge gap between our Imbolc gathering and the August Global, and both of these two have restrictions on the numbers that can attend.  Could this space be an opportunity for new initiatives to manifest?  To perhaps try out smaller gatherings in new locations, perhaps built around themes that some people wish to explore?  I would also like to encourage as many Albion Fae as possible get off our little island and go experience the spirit at American and Euro Faerie sanctuaries, to make connections with other parts of the tribe and learn from how they do things.

The Albion Faeries are part of a global network of queer healers and agents of change and transformation.  There is surely something significant about the Radical Faerie spirit finding a home in the pagan homeland Albion, reaching here via the United States and European gatherings and sanctuaries.  We are exploring the crucial link between our sexuality, nature and consciousness, we are birthing the Age of Aquarius. We are also a crucial beacon for lost, confused and abused queers who are not finding their place in the soulless modern world, nor in the shallow end of gay life.  We offer a plunge into the radical depths of being, and a lot of fun while plunging.  It is well worth us taking stock of what we have achieved and plotting a way forward with consciousness, compassion and care. The Albion Faeries are a ‘very spiritual’ clan of queer magicians, a fact that needs to be properly honoured and understood as we enter our second decade of community building.

-Shokti

Some Observations on the Albion Faeries at the end of Summer 2016

This has been a busy and dramatic year so far for the Fae in Albion, even from my partial and occasional viewing but I have had a number of conversations over the months and yesterday even they crystallized for me in a long conversation with Shokti.  From this conversation several thoughts have emerged about where we are and some of the issues facing us as we move into the future.  I shall attempt here to summarise my current thinking, with the always present caveat that I may change my mind and adjust my opinions as new information and circumstances arise (or when the wind changes, I am a Queen and therefore will, because I can X)!

Is this a time for a taking stock of where the Albion Faeries are?  After the strife and challenges and achievements of this year some thought about how we move forward, in inclusivity, in safety, in numbers and activities could be of assistance to us.

In that last few years the number of events and gatherings held under the Faerie name here in Albion has multiplied and the numbers of Fae with them, thus it is increasingly difficult for all of us to know everyone, there are new faeries, faeries who have never been to the events we(I!?) have, old faeries who haven’t been for several years.  This is Wonderful!  And challenging!  Informal gossip networks that sufficed for information exchange and organising are creaking trying to include everyone, core values and practices can be diluted/lost in all the wonderful new opportunities and experiences offered by so many new Fae.  I do think however that some consciousness needs to be brought to this process, an awareness and thoughtfulness.  For instance, it is several years since I have been greeted on first arrival in a Faerie space with the words “welcome home” which was my first magical experience at my first Faerie gathering, I miss it; and I wonder how many have never had that experience?  Maybe I’m being old fogeyish, maybe not, but this and other practices might be usefully thought about before being abandoned all together – or after consideration revived?

As part of the growth in numbers and events the Faerie purse has grown to!  When I joined a set of accounts was circulating showing a balance of about £2,000 (I don’t remember the exact figure), comfortable but not earth shattering for a group of our then size and nature.  Most gatherings since then have (wonderfully) turned a profit and as far as I am aware the purse now stands at something over £10,000.  This is great, but now presents us with the challenge of what might/do we want to start doing with this.  How much do we need to keep in hand as a ‘rainy day fund’ against a financially disastrous gathering or event, what is over, what could we do with the surplus(es?).  Do we want to seriously start saving for The Land?  We are now at the stage where that looks like a possible target, not this year perhaps or next, but in a few years time perhaps.  Do we want to set up a system to support sending some fae to short Mountain or other US sanctuaries to learn and deepen our connection with our sister/cousins in America, bringing that new skills and knowledges home with them?  The very beautiful suggestion earlier from Shokti about funding some LGBTQI refugees to attend Queer Spirit started an excellent debate – I think the solution reached was perfect – but it leaves the question open about outreach to those who may have no way of making even travel costs, and may face cultural barriers to even finding out we exist.  Next year there is the World Gathering in August, an enormous opportunity, and challenge, happening here in Albion.  Will we provide seed money to this?  Will that be a loan or a grant, or dependant on how that gathering does financially?  I note here as well that the Faerie spirit has this year moved Arian Bloodwood to start offering workshops on ‘changing your relationship to money’ inspired by the Faerie Hammer.  They are amazing and well worth attending if you can, and if you can’t get to London trying to persuade Arian to come to you! (He doesn’t know I’m saying this, but will no doubt find out J…).

Finally, there is the matter of Faerie magic/heart space/spirit.  This is not an accidental or happenstance aspect of the Faeries.  It is a core part of what makes us faeries and not just another holiday camp for vaguely like minded alternative hippy types into booze, parties and sex. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just not ALL we’re about and recently I think that our growth and changes have made that more difficult to create and maintain, again my thinking is that this needs a deliberateness and attention that it has maybe not always been receiving.  We have relied on “co-creation” to make sacred heart space happen.  I would offer that we need to be much more deliberate and considered around this to make our future developments easier to manage well.

-Minerva

 

It’s time to renew our love.

I don’t know what to say about my experiences at the solstice. And I don’t know how to voice them.

I don’t want to use language that triggers. I’m lost by language that talks of “men” and “women”. I don’t see “men” and “women”, I see individual souls, layered, complex, experience-specific. That is my truth. I accept others see differently. I seek to connect with people in faerie space from my essential soul to theirs.

I seek to connect with all in some “authentic” way and being an empath I was awash with emotions at the gathering, some as high as the sky, some as deep, as dissident as the ocean.

I went into this gathering wounded. Alongside Orlando’s hate attack came a hate outbreak in our online community and it enfeebled me.

I think it placed fear in our hearts, fear which grew as the gathering unfolded.

I believe that fear creates fear. It sensitizes, focuses, triggers fear. Fear seeds itself.

I have not heard much talk of fear at our gatherings before. I ask was it there and not spoken or was it not there?

Was it our fear or the inrush from Orlando at the solstice?

There was grace and kindness, laughter and caring. There were wonderful workshops. There was delicious food. I felt that flowering of heart that faerie gatherings nurture. Our first heart circle, starting late at night, was profound. Death was a significant theme and the celebration of life.

Faerie space is precious to all who experience it. It embraces light and shadow. We feel shifts in our emotional frequency there. Could it be that a protective urge is emerging for some? A desire to define that preciousness, to keep it safe? How can we do that when we all have light and shadow in us. Would some of us seek to repress the shadow?

After four days the group had grown large. Finding volunteers for things was noticeably a strain. I did not sense that we were operating or connected as a single group. That was surprising. It felt unusual to me. The energy felt scattered, volatile.

Nothing formal was done for the group and nothing formal was done to orient newcomers. Our organisers continued to be very low on energy. I was curious to hear some newcomers say they’d been told faerie gatherings were sex parties. I sensed the possibility of mixed messages.

More time passed and my awareness of fear and fragmentation increased. I pushed both aside, rejoiced as the farm was glittered in preparation for the procession and Well rituals.

I left on Sunday at lunchtime. Many beautiful farewells filled my heart and eyes. I pushed away an increasing dis-ease in the energy field. I did not have any resources to offer and a long drive home.

I don’t know really what happened after I left. Many voices speaking different truths. Many silent. Many emotions. Faeries offering insights, ways to learn and heal. Faeries heavy with questions.
“We will not heal the world’s fear by giving it place in our hearts”. My heart spoke these words. They felt too raw to share on Facebook. Facebook has felt a complicated, raw place, sometimes enlivened with laughter and kindness.

Someone said the enemy of fear is love. I have been seeking to love more and fear less, although it would be a lie to say I don’t fear the energy of fear, for it is very potent.

Now is our time to renew love, starting with ourselves.

Oh how easy and trite that line sounds. And I’ve never in my life been more serious.

Love brings us together, guides us to appreciation of our differences, treasures what we hold in common and makes our particular joy manifest.

This poem came to me shortly after I got home from Glastonbury. Reading it now I hear the Mother’s voice speaking to us so clearly…

Solstice 2016
The rain met you
frothed the sky
in bloody rivers
So many
And they did nothing
but show their faces
to the rage

Fretful sun
kept its distance

Like empty hammocks
you hang about crisscrossed
Weigh the countless years
left to live
Attempt amends
with fires and food and drums
but this time cannot raise
the price of redemption

Till you take your own brittle skylark
wings and shatter them
Thick juices
stain the soil
Then the sun re-opens
a path to your faces
Then the sun reclaims its place
and purply spreads
around enfolding
each as a mother’s
song enfolds a child
until it settles again

With love, Qweaver

Does the world change when you close your eyes?

Dear great spirit – I offer gratitude for your guidance and total removal of nice predictable patterns!

Just as I was feeling comfortable in having read and followed the “solstice script” around my thoughts, feelings and emotions, this year you, of course, re-wrote it.

I was expecting a slight hiccup at the start before moving in to warm, joyous connection, sensuality and rising energies, culminating in cosmic-orgasmic eruptions around the fire.

I got tumultuous fits of cynicism to get past, coldness to learn to love, connections that felt confusing to me with energy flows that seemed random and awkward at times.

What I wanted, what I sought to create, what I felt must happen – it was as elusive as ice upon a fire.

Yet I feel I am learning – something around “choice”; that sometimes there is no point getting stressed out or worked up around having to decide this or that. More and more it seems that for me at least, choice is actually a misrepresented thing; a presumptive thought that “ME” can decide to do or not do, to go or not go, to act or not act. The reality is that I am in service to spirit and the “choices” are already there.  Thinking I can say yes or no makes no sense much like deciding to choose not to see the heard of elephants that is stampeding towards you; pretending that the great hole you have just fallen in to isn’t there; kidding yourself that you are stone dry when you take a shower…

Now back away from nature and from faerie energy, I notice myself falling back in to that crater of my habits, of my addictions, of my lack of being able to feel the loving connection of all and everything.

BUT

Sitting here, as I look back, great Spirit is slowly letting me re-read my solstice script. It’s beginning to seem that those 10 days under the energy of the Torr were the abridged summation of my life.

I have “wants”; I have “desires”; I have need to “control”; I have lack of self-belief; I have cynicism; I find it hard to trust others…

I cling to the idea that I have to make choices and the fate and flow of the universe hangs from every one of those decisions ….

I dragged myself in to the gathering at the start and I ran away from it at the end and I see it is so easy for me to let the cold and wet grow in my sole and let the love, the dancing, the sharing, the connection, the vulnerability, the holding – the faerie spirit – fade and die.

I can “choose” to let that happen but of course it won’t actually since deep down the good is still there, waiting to resurface at the next gathering – so my choice is just a closing of my eyes, a denying of what is there.

Keeping your eyes open when you feel tired is hard; Seeing what you don’t want to see is painful.

Perhaps the solution is to embrace spending time with Captain Caffeine, with Molly Mandy and with others?

But the message seems clear – those elephants will keep on coming even if my eyes are closed!

Snail – June 2016

Does the world change...
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Angels surround me – by Unicorn

The Angels surround me
In you
In me
All around us
Benevolent spirits
We channel them
Are them

Came from them and will go back to them

We came here to meet again
In this special place
Sacred
To celebrate life
Ourselves
Sexuality

Heal each other with our stories from our hearts

Allowing our beautiful souls to shine through our past traumas

As they are erased
We are reborn
Like the earth is reborn each spring
Getting back into tune with nature
Such a beautiful thing

A fandango of faeries – by Blue.

By night, by day, fifty shades of gay
The beige, the pink, the queer, the fae
A fandango of faeries with lavendar farts
Medicine to heal and mend broken hearts

Improvised singing, heartbeats and drums
Heart circles, meditation, yoga, numb bums
Tinsel curtains and fires, rivers, rocks and trees
Banquets and sunrise, hot baths, dirty knees.

Ten days an oasis, a whisper, a cuddle
Warm by the fire, from the outside we huddle
Battling demons, clutching mugs of steaming tea
Evolve, Emerge, with wings we’re set free.

Featherstone – by Shokti

Honouring sexuality as a sacred force of nature.

Revealing love as divine presence, infinite, abundant and meant for everyone.

Uniting the worlds of spirit and matter, expressed in art, in dance, in rhythm, in drag, expressed in ecstatic flow and in majestic stillness.

Featherstone.

Fires on the water. Deep peace and deep release.

Flames igniting in hearts. Butterfly wings outstretched.