Category Archives: Personal Stories

A Faerie rises from the ashes of shame

Eleven years ago

I thought I was a disgusting filthy ho

I’d met much older man named Gunny, one cum in my mouth and the other gave me money.

It was meant to be for petrol, I bought cigarettes and set in motion events i will never forget.

I went home to self created sanctuary or prison, the one place in my life I felt I had known to be myself, years before, a mess now like my head

I returned home, woken up two hours later to find, the sanctuary was gone, burned down to the ground. My home was gone, although I still had somewhere to slept

I thought it was because I had mixed money and sex. I thought it was some sort of cruel punishment or hex

Had I used it for what I said, then my sanctuary and my cat wouldn’t be dead. Some small comfort when she raised her head some hours later…

I dared not tell a soul the truth of what I believed had happened… although I did in my secret double life of meeting men in the night…

Did he keep it to himself? Fuck no

“It’s weird that this man knows your sanctuary is dead” said this person masquerading as my friend, I just ignored them as fear and shame consumed my head

“This man says you sucked his cock”

I was powerless when they said “I have something to ask you”

summoned to confess all my sins, but, I lied as best as I could, whilst trying not to tremble with shock or die on the spot, I felt I had no choice but to deny it, but I couldn’t really hide it

I wanted to take my own life that night more than I ever have, but my dad tried it once and this was on the eve of my mothers birthday, I couldn’t do that to her ten years later…

I was so overwhelmed with shame.. wretched and wrong

Couldn’t admit to it

Having sex with a man

A man older than my own father

I hated myself

Hated my body

Hated what being overweight had done to it

This old man wanted me

He was local

I felt this powerful, consuming urge to go to him

I thought I was disgusting, in some way I thought he was disgusting too and was getting off on it

I also thought he wouldn’t mind a bit of loose skin

I thought I could trust him for some reason, maybe I was just desperate to tell someone how I felt. by the change of season I wanted to hang him for treason

Another reason I wanted to die

Was because I thought I automatically got hiv, from any unprotected anal sex, and the condom broke, and there was blood on me

Later that year

I met another queer, at work

Although I didn’t use that word then it just rhymes now… the only other queer in my real day time work life not my seedy secret night-time shameful lost everything but can’t stop doing it sex life…

He was “out and proud” told his coming out story, things about being gay, struggles in his life, unknowingly shared things that helped… just being himself inspired me, I only just finally told him

I left that job after only a month. Cold dark lonely winter ahead, I felt empowered meeting him but on my own I was shattered and splintered, I had this glimmer of hope though that maybe after all it was ok to be gay…

But it meant by attacking ego was also having a ball

After a messed up nocturnal winter, a new sanctuary with no real energy because it was visited by only me, I finally met a nice guy my age on-line, we actually spent time, taking about things, enjoying each others company, questioning our sexuality

I got a call from my old job, did I want a job? They didn’t realise I ever worked there before, I went back, or started again…

I could manage my fear and anxiety being around men as long as I had a sex binge every few weeks and got it all out of my system, I was happy to be reunited with my queer friend though, who I feel gave me permission, just by being himself to start my own becoming myself mission

He talked about therapy and training as a counsellor, I was always interested in this too, and I found a therapist

the therapy was good

Sex got better

The secrets remained

The double life got easier

Then I met my “saviour”

A rare Someone who wanted me to come back after the first meeting…

This wasn’t unheard of.. but staying over was, so was mixing drugs and sex…

My mind was on high alert, waiting to get found out and hurt…

Over time visits kept recurring, and I was realised I was no longer going to bed, with ideas that I would rather kill myself before coming out every day in my head

With the help of this relationship I did came out

The Thing was I didn’t know what I was coming out into.. a new relationship of controlling accusations, belittlements and lies, of joy and love sometimes too, growth outweighed by pain and destruction, some healing of shame, but way too many games, I had been treating myself so badly I didn’t even realise he was doing it most of the time

Unconscious drug taking, a new hell in the making, with some beautiful times thrown in too,

in rapid painful contrast like I’ve never knew

Five years it lasted, always promised it would get better, especially when we got a house! Well that did help our relationship feel valid, help me feel better about being gay, but for a four bedroom house, built in garage and garden, it felt squalid

Somehow even with all the promises it would get better, it got far worse when we got that house

I got co-erced for the millionth time into taking drugs, I basically ignored him though, I read my new book the highly sensitive person and listened to frozen by Madonna and

had a mystical experience, realised most of the reason for my suffering was the way I still talked to myself and critically the amount of time I spent criticising others, not to mention having finally discovered at the age of 26 I am highly sensitive not weak or shy, opened up to a new concept of spirituality, and found teachings online that spoke to me

He wasn’t about to stop being the way I finally realised I had been,

in fact he was much worse and watching him continue slating everyone he knew was intolerable. I realise now when I was in Thailand, even though I never set foot near a Temple, only an outdoor yoga place he tried to stop me doing to, I got a clear message “learn to meditate” I had done a bit, which had also helped my spiritual shift although I realised it had already been there in my immense creativity

My best friend had moved away from me a year before but was able to be with me by the phone after I-lost-count-how-many-times-but-not-the-final-escape, and my mum convincing me to call her after waking up on her sofa after running away on a night out once I got Laid into and told her he was being abusive

I talked it all through with my friend, all the way from Australia

I went back but she didn’t forget,

I say to her now, I’m writing part of my life story. Thank you for being there when I needed you when I left, and not forgetting about it and checking how I was doing, helping me find the courage and clarity to Leave and get my life going

I went back for a few weeks, in total despair one Saturday day whilst he snorted Coke and watched porn. My confidence in my ability to stand on my own two feet so knocked I vowed to leave but only after I saved up some money were my conditions to be free

I was dealing with lies I had believed like

“You can’t leave, you will have nothing without me”

“ You can’t go back to your parents they will ruin you”

“No one else will want you”

Thankfully the relationship with my mum had Improved to the point where I was willing to risk going to my parents anyway…

The final night, there was a physical fight, half assed pushing, with nothing half assed about the rage or desperate lies…

I

told him with

immense power,

grace

and

clarity

;

“Nothing, could be worse than staying here with you, this is as bad as it can get”

I’d managed to pack a bag with most of my clothes, I didn’t stay long enough to get anything else, jumping in my car as he shouted at me in the street

I stopped just down the road, screamed, sobbed, punched the steering wheel, cried like I have never cried in my life,

with relief that I finally listened to the inner voice that had been telling it it wasn’t right

for over four years, relief that I had left and the pain of realising just what I had been through, and screamed and sobbed some more, I didn’t have to lie to myself any more

I felt the full force of five years of denials come to the fore

I felt I had no one to turn to who would understand what had happened, my friends were his friends, others had no idea what had been going on and wouldn’t understand

I cried even more when I finally remembered the existence of my friend he had helped turn me against

I phoned her, she was free, helped me process what happened and affirm I would never go back

I did panic, thinking I had thrown something good away and try 6 months later but he was lying to me within hours and I was gone

I let him keep me away from other people, I left him keep me away from other gays, I only met one I met in five years, apart from his friends we took drugs with sometimes, I realised I had no gay friends of my own when this guy started working with me, and I couldn’t be friends with him either, because I immediately got told all I was interested in was fucking him, and reminded of my ex’s mantra, all gays are scum

He repeated this to me for the final time after I left but was still entangled in a house and mortgage, I said to him, I don’t believe you, I’m going to find out if it’s true,

& if it turns out all gays are scum, then that includes me and you

I never got the result of a test for hiv that I finally took years after the blood incident. I assumed negative when I got no result.

Years of smoking weed, snorting Coke and taking ecstasy and a dose of conspiracy

combined with constant headaches had me paranoid, I thought I was dying sometimes and couldn’t think of getting tested, where would I even say I was going to someone so controlling?!

I got a double dose of new life and freedom when I left him and got tested and it was negative. I found one I wasn’t dying after all and now I was free to live

That didn’t stop the Suicidal thoughts coming with all the fearful programming overwhelming me, I was heartbroken and thought maybe I had ruined my life by leaving him like he said I would

I had no control over my vast and impeccable memory of all the things that ever happened, haunting me daily. I wanted to forget, Gain control, feel sane

Building on the mystical experience I had and my opening to spiritual teachings, I was guided again to learn yoga, but found a five day life changing retreat instead

My painful broken heart was able to feel good again, radiating out love to myself primarily, a radical concept and feeling,

then for my best friend in Australia, radiating out love for strangers and even transmuting hatred and pain for people who had hurt me into love. It was called loving kindness meditation but I know recognise it as divine magic

A memory came back to me to be cleared when I was deep in meditation on the “someone who you dislike section” a friends partner said to me

“The disgusting thing about gays is that they look at there straight mates sexually, I think it is so wrong”

I thought at the time this was where I got this idea from, and forgave him. That helped, realising later on though, all he was doing was mirroring a belief I had about myself, feels like it is completely healed now

I felt guided by angels and still do. The synchronicities at that time revolved a lot around the number 14. I left him on the 14th November. I wanted to do something good in the world and started a three month volunteering period to help fund pure, magically life changing projects in India on the 14th too, helping some of the worse treated people in the world, inspired partly by patron Judi Dench saying

“The degradation of others, is also our degradation”

I wondered at times going out door knocking, what the fuck I was doing, had I just signed up for more abuse?

In some ways I had, but in temporary community, although there was an Element of people pleasing, I was celebrated for my honesty at how hurt I had been, congratulated for my courage and bravery, and able to share my artistic talents in a huge collage about the people we were helping, shrines that got grander and and grander every week, and cooking special meals and baking the odd cake to up morale, and every 14th up until the 14th July, my birthday, felt like a huge milestone

I was recognised for my innocence

Innocence without naivety

A Blessing of others perception of

I would later read in a book called gay spirituality, integrating this made me so happy. I wasn’t scum, there was nothing to hide, hate or despise, it’s not a punishment, it’s a gift

I probably didn’t fully yet believe that yet but

I read about the faeries in this book too

I missed two gatherings for more fund-raising and a month long silent retreat, finding my grounding, finding my feet

It was fucking painful to go almost another year, after my breakup, before finally connecting with my Faerie tribe of amazing queers

I felt the love right away, although scared it could just be projection, my heart opened wide after being found crying by the river, talking to someone about what I been through, never been understood clearer

The magic was real, I truly began to heal , no talent shows, a beautiful initiatory ritual of rebirth in drag for the first time since I hit puberty unable any longer, to ignore the funny looks,

finding all this after trusting what I had read in the book

So many beautiful loving connections, a sacred experience on mushrooms on the dance floor at Featherstone, eating from the earth, dancers all around expressing themselves freely, in a building made of the stones of the land, I felt how pure and innocent and divine we all are

So many beautiful and loving faeries, often injured like I was, maybe still am in many ways, although so healed compared to 11 years ago. So healed compared to 3 weeks ago!

Thanks so much to the tribal connections, love and affection, that is facilitated in our magic Faerie castle, our farm by the heart chakra in Avalon, and actual, real sanctuaries beyond Albion

Now when I have sex there is no shame, I feel it is all healed, and if more comes up, I’ll heal that too

There is another beautiful relationship that has just transitioned into friendship to thank more than anything for this

Sharing ourselves and raw divine ecstatic bliss, relishing in each other, praying, holy, recognising the sacred worship that sex can be, creating a loving exclusive container for exploring this with one another, but Ultimately I found the impossibility of sex with others, a block to connection.

I never thought it could happen

I actually believe the act of sex can be healing, even between men. Between anybody.

I had started thinking that the healing power between men was special.. I think all the different combinations available have their own unique healing frequencies, all as valid as as can be

I definitely didn’t get taught this growing up, all I got taught was that I have sex after getting married to a woman and have babies, and there’s loads of different kinds of sex, but all the other ones are wrong. Something like that. Well it ain’t fucking true, fuck you

Memories of unrequited love came back to me when in the pain of a present connection feeling broken by the arrival of an ex. I realised it was never an unrequited love, it was reciprocated and true. We were both just too afraid to act on our desires, and ended up treating each other Badly, what chance did we stand in a small town with no one to show us the way.

Shifts happened

“He doesn’t like me, nothing will ever happen” “he wouldn’t want to have sex with me”

“they will never find me attractive”

Old thoughts melt away.

I realise that this experience in the past made me feel even more undesirable than I already thought I was, that my thoughts of being undesirable contributed to nothing happening, and when someone came along much older than me, I was too ashamed to admit that I actually enjoyed having sex with them. I had sex with someone almost the same age last week, it helped that he was actually mature and awake and sexy In a really rugged, manly way, but I really don’t give a shit about age now or what anyone thinks, trying to anyway

I felt alone again coming home, but the illusion of separation didn’t last long, existing & new connections are now too strong

Community has become experimental for me, in words of a friend, but it is true for me too

it’s so wonderful to be

Part of this tribe

Changing my patterns of fear and isolation, realising I think

“ I must be alone, I need to be alone”

When I actually need to share with someone how I am feeling

I had glorious new sexual encounters, true intimacy, sex magic exploration, opening up to new ways of relating

I knew multiple partners in just a few weeks or even was nothing to be ashamed of

Sex is healing

Sex is divine

I got to know myself so much more, revealing

Myself so much more

Loving others so much more

Free and open to all kinds of connection, love and affection

I feel the most supported I have ever felt in my entire life, not just by my tribe but by all of life

Even my dad listened to me, shared his feelings, gave me advice, feels like for the first time since I was traumatised at 11 and managed since to forgive him,

feel grateful for him although trying,

but Changing his mind after seeing a picture of me and my sister,

to take his own life

Realised he decided to live for us instead

I’m learning to love and accept myself

My body too

I’ve released so much tension from it the last few years, specially the last few weeks

It looks and feels completely different

Thank you

It’s painful that a phase of one relationship had to end for this to happen, but I’m in the flow

I was judging myself for wanting to “give myself to the Faeries”

Having sexual fantasies and watching a lot of porn

Now I have and I feel reborn

All the Love

🦄Unicorn🦄

One Small Year

One small year. It’s been an eternity, it’s taken all of me to get here. Through this one small year.

I found myself in a music circle last night, feeling compelled to murder the above Shaun Colvin song as acknowledgement of the anniversary of my leaving last year’s Imbolc gathering and the changes in my life since then.

Immediately after last Imbolc I made the painful decision to break up for the final time with my ex-fiance. Faced with a flat that reeked of loss, a job I could hardly tolerate and a city full of memories, I hatched a plan to escape and relocate (with considerable help).

Now a full solar rotation later I am in a different country, a different job, I have less stress and I am a Novice within the Order of Perpetual Indulgence. My life is full of new people and renewed purpose.

I had plans to help facilitate the current Imbolc gathering at Paddington Farm alongside some of the team from last year. As the date grew close and discussions began it felt progressively more frustrated and at odds with the process, so I bowed out and encouraged another to take my place.

Instead I concentrated efforts on my new local community. Alongside my good friend and fellow Sister I helped at the Community Christmas Day Dinner and threw myself into manifesting in Bristol and Glastonbury, handing out condoms and lube, delivering a speech as part of the World AIDS Day or writing profanities in glitter onto shiny festive baubles.

Time passed as it does and one chance encounter led to a discussion with a local publican about putting on a queer cabaret night here in the heart of rural Somerset. The Ministry of Martha was born.

In the meantime I began to share some faerie processes and ideas among my fellow Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. They took well to hissing in circles, they wanted to hear of the magic of queer empowerment, asked about spirituality within the context of sexuality.

All this culminated this week in pulling together an astonishing event here, where Faeries, Sisters and locals mixed, laughed and played together and raised funds for each other including a new LGBTQ youth group in Glastonbury.

Our 5 Sisters were graciously welcomed to the gathering space just outside town and after a brief sleep we walked together to join the Imbolc celebrations at the White Spring and Chalice Well. Sisters and Faeries also ate together and talked a lot, found common ground and opened their hearts in circle.

It has felt like reuniting lost relative tribes this week. Sisters honour their origins that lie with Faeries and the fact that one of their founders, Sister Soami (aka Sister Missionary Position) is still living in Sanctuary space on Short Mountain.

We have much to teach each other and I am blessed to have seen the best in both organisations this week. Oddly enough I have felt more valued and able to contribute at a Faerie Gathering as a Sister than if I had stuck it out and been a Gathering Organiser.

There are challenges here still for me, whether those reveal themselves through discussions around conflict or flickers of jealousy at some of the beauty all around me. New faeries to meet, reminders of happy loving times with past lovers here, the heartache of missing those who have passed through the veil. Familiar rivalries, old behaviour patterns, recalling schisms past and feeling their repercussions still.

Also being on the farm only part of the time, just enough to host an auction and a midnight heart circle or help facilitate a workshop on being a Sister, has been disconcerting. But I think I have become a better Faerie by being a better Nun. Perhaps those in combination might help me be a better realisation of myself. Hell, at least I know by now where spare blankets and towels can be found.

Everything is different now and some of it is even making sense. Blessed Imbolc everyone. You are loved.

Cunty (Princess Cuntmuscle)/Novice Carmen Myanus

Faerie-breakups. A call to sisterhood.

Gather round darlings, Aunt Octopus wants a word.

 

My experience of being introduced to the faeries was through an ex-lover, now Sister/Brother. You might know them; their affection is expressed through playful gestures of invisible flea picking, nipple play and the deep bass and tone of contentment and connectedness; emulating the playful and healing libido of a small, cuddly and radical tribe of the forest – Bonobo.

 

It was a brave manoeuvre to invite me into the space that they had found such home in. I have many tentacles and take up space. It changed my life in only ways that the faeries can and in that spirit, I went on to subsequently nag my then current long term partner to attend – they became Wood Pigeon. Through that experience Wood Pigeon came to exude so much grace and confidence in their queerness that it was clear we were all on to something special. Some years later our lair / nest would grow a little more to accommodate another member – who would also find tribe through us. They became Magpie; a cheeky, playful and curious treasure-seeker. Their journey has been similarly expansive and transformative. They too found a home.

 

These days my lair is my own. The Wood Pigeon has flown and flies in many directions, building temporary nests along the way so as to not make heavy their global adventure of the heart. The Magpie too found a home near water, in an exotic and mischievous floating menagerie of love and constant playtime. They are happy and I’m happy for them. I keep less mirrors on the walls these days. My tentacles bask simultaneously in the light at the mouth of my cave, with some curled and drenched in the shadow. Sometimes I project out to the Jellyfish, undulating upwards all glitter, ruffles and appendages. But for now my heart is safe at home in myself. It’ll be a while until it ventures out again.

 

But enough of the poetry – real struggle, real words. The past year has been a challenge in both personal life and community – which are increasingly inseparable, and so be it. This last chapter has been a true test of my polyamory, my integrity, family and community. Over the last six months of being in various queer and faerie spaces, from the glorious temple of queer rites, to the fields of queer spirit, the racket of global gathering and the heart of Canaan Tribe, I’ve shared and resonated with many gorgeous and courageous creatures who share similar experiences. Some still caught up in the process; still shining but with characteristic wide eyes and hard jaws. Holding on.

 

To clarify, this piece is informed by my own process but also from inspiration. When I say ‘our’, I don’t mean to misrepresent anyone else’s voice or experience. I say it in hopeful solidarity. In essence, I’m trying to trace a common experience of breakups in community to understand potential collaborative solutions and more effective healing structures and spaces.

 

Faerie tribe is a torrent of play and connection of varying intensities – of everything from fleeting gazes and smiles over shared cigarettes, to deep heart connection and intimacy over lengthier periods of time. Sometimes we meet our lovers and partners in situ, sometimes we open the door to tribe for them, sometimes we are the ones invited into tribe through a relationship. It seems to me that the true radicalism of the faeries is how we practice our love and how we navigate our relationships in and out of community. It is not always easy; it is always beautiful but sometimes messy.

 

Nevertheless, as Tribe we hold space for ourselves and each other – for our individual and collective fire; our intensity, passions, anger, shame, fears, jealousies, attachments, perceived flaws and inadequacies. Objectively, we seem to find our way and do a pretty good job. In fact, we rock. But in our mish-mash of connections and intense faerie affairs there can be casualties too – inevitably, for whatever reason, faeries may need to breathe space into a connection with a significant other(s). Draw it to a close. Recalibrate and re-configure as a means of self-preservation, healing and renewal. Hearts break and there are heart aches. The question is, when love implodes, transitions and transforms in community, how does community hold us? Or does it hold us at all?

 

I think it’s fair to say that after a parting of faerie-ways a whole mess of feelings follows suit. My experience and those processes I have witnessed seem to speak to how post break up, community can seem a precarious place. A sense of tribe can quickly devolve into a conspiracy of discrete fractions and alliances where we may find ourselves having to survey upcoming gatherings and events to see where and what is safe for us. Particular faeries close to an ex-partner may become ripe for projection, our ‘storyboards’. In this sense, without support, it’s easy to see how one can quickly become a co-conspirator in their own fear and isolation.

 

Shame may be experienced through the exposure of a breakup in community – externalising self-judgement and blame for a connection gone awry onto the faces of tribe. Self-esteem, already at a low ebb through the often injurious ride of decoupling, remains depleted as we struggle to find footing in our usual store of magick and power – tribe-as-home. Drum circles become clashing symbols of memories and triggers echoing what has been lost. There may be a struggle to find the dance, rhythm and beat that was uniquely ours before our merger. And as the tribe shifts, fluctuates and grows, as it tends to do, the distance needed for healing can feed into a sense of being left behind – of not knowing where the point of re-connection or re-entry is.

 

How do we find our place again? Our community, being the glorious vanguard of sex-positivity, free-love and polyamory that it is, means that there’s always the potential for some sloppy faerie encounter lurking around the corner, involving your ex-partner and multiple other creatures, to twist into your belly what is lost and where you aren’t. To find solace beyond the smog of faerie breakup, we may even seek Tribe on the other side of the world; to cry in unfamiliar circles and be comforted by an impartial gaze. In worst case scenarios, these experiences can be unbearable and the escape can be very final, meaning complete detachment from community. This isn’t a sensational point, it happens. And for others, the inhibiting consequences of all of this, or perhaps of anticipating the mess that can come through relationship in community, is to rule out deeper intimacy with other faeries – to connect deeply on all other levels but the kind of sacred intimacy and sexuality that risks a bruised heart. But which forms also a vital part of our ritual and celebration together – of our love.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve heard other stories too. Positive stories. And beyond the challenge, I’m involved here and now in the co-creation of one myself. Many of us live to tell the tale of how beautiful tribe can be post-heartbreak, when a true sense of family arises from the ashes of what was before. Indeed, one morning in a queery field in Wiltshire, a dear former lover bound out of their sleeping space to unexpectedly fall onto two sleeping faeries who had arrived late in the night and took up residence in the porch of their tent. Both of us had shared deep connection with them in the past to go onto forge a chemistry and friendship of our own. In that moment, the love among the three of us was tangible. Later that day, that faerie would counsel me in the rawness of a current breakup to say: the struggle is real but worth it – in what other world do we have the chance to queer our relationships through pure alchemy into the most unexpected but steadfast and persistent arrangements of love and harmony. Real people. Real tribe.

 

But this story is also a shout out and an invitation. An invitation to consider as a community how we can support this fragile re-birth in a way that flows more gently and that holds people lovingly through the transition. What does real sisterhood around breakups look like in faerie community? How do we create alliances around both parties struggling with heartbreak and separation that are transparent, non-exclusive, reciprocative, communicative and well resourced? Which of us feels able to steward from the heart, to be visible, present and accessible as counsel to those faeries struggling with the fallout of heartbreak in community? What do these systems of support look like, where do they exist and how do they function? If heartache in community is part and parcel of the process – if it is something to learn from, grow from and in the end, to benefit from – how do we gather round to make that medicine easier to swallow? How do we integrate the inevitable ebb and flow of connection in faerie space in a way that allows those intimately involved in a shifting connection, and the whole community witness to it, to mine the gold beyond the pain?

 

This is call for solidarity, sharing and ideas. Let’s workshop, explore and create.

 

Thanks for all of those in Tribe for inspiring this piece through their heartache, vulnerability and sharing.

 

Love you.

 

Octopus X

Albion faerie authors


The creativity of the AlbionFae is flowing into print and electronic books…

Check us out!

 

QUEER DEITY, SACRED SLUT by Al Head

QUEER DEITY, SACRED SLUT’ invokes ancient and modern archetypal figures along with a revel of QUEER DEITIES. It explores themes of paganism, gender, sexuality, identity, healing and the ways we connect with each other and the earth.

Its magical, embodied and radical prose is woven with poems and songs to form a rich tapestry imbued with the author’s unique perspective.    http://www.alhead.co.uk/2.html

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ESSENCE: THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO VEGANISM by Edward Daniel

Packed with mouth-watering recipes, emotive poetry and themes on letting go of the past, this book is a highly personal, very readable result of a lifetime commitment to bring about change and understanding to the new paradigm we find ourselves in. This paradigm involves making spiritual choices from the heart.

This book offers a heart-centric way of living and invites the reader to be open to new ideas and ways of being. It is an exquisitely illustrated, evocative beginner’s guide to veganism and a passionate argument on why to go vegan. Edward breaks down barriers that lead to a new spiritual well being achieved through a wholesome, plant-based diet.  http://www.ethivegan.com/ethivegan-book-essence-the-beginners-guide-veganism/


I AM GOD: Seven Magickal Steps to Personal Divinity by Lilith

To be truly divine we must learn to be wild again – to un-domesticate ourselves. We need to let go of the fear, the self-hatred, and the ‘good’ behaviour that we’re driven to by the doctrine of monotheism.

This book takes you on a journey from your inner world to the outer cosmos, it offers a simple yet potent training for personal discovery and enlightenment.

Using story, magick, ritual, sacred-sex, meditation, journey, and the ecstatic state, it gives you the tools that will inspire your spiritual experience and awaken you to your deep inner wisdom.

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THE MICE by Roger Mason

Starbuck’s critically acclaimed series of graphic novels:

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‘Multi-layered and thoughtful; a great read…’ Forbidden Planet
9/10 Comics International
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http://looksgoodonpaper.co.uk/comic-artist-roger-mason/mice-graphic-novel-by-roger-mason/


THE QUEER DIARY OF MORDRED VIENNA by Russell Christie

Christian, Daniel and Alan are drawn to San Francisco on the cusp of the digital age. They find work as erotic performers in the emporia of the city. Through outcaste and avant-garde connections at The Ashbury Theater, they meet the artist Mordred Vienna. Like them, she arrived from somewhere else. Now, she uses her body as her canvas and the focus of her installations. Together they make new performances as they move from the twilight world of the homosexual into the computer systems of Silicon Valley and on to Hollywood and mainstream success.

The Queer Diary of Mordred Vienna is a work of queer fiction. It uncovers a journey from obscurity to recognition, from exile to inclusion and mutual acknowledgement. Moving from the country to the city and from the margins to the center, the book plots an alternative history of LGBTQ liberation. Like life, it has erotic content.

Copies on sale at Gays the Word bookshop and from http://www.amazon.co.uk/Queer-Diary-Mordred-Vienna/dp/1508760977

ebook: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UAQ056I


AIDS SHAMAN: Queer Spirit Awakening by Shokti Lovestar

Take a journey with Shokti, AIDS survivor who awoke to the spiritual realms while sick in the 1990s. Poetry and prose to make you think about the role gay/queer people play in the human story, plus inspiration from queer ancestors, prophets and teachers.

Ebook and paperback available from http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shokti

Personal reaction to the post on “Safety & Inclusivity after Orlando”

I’ve been doing some writing trying to put into words how I feel about the recent blog post
Part of it is that I really would like to be listened to and seen by male faeries as I am, and it be appreciated I may not represent and speak for all women
I feel as though to be seen in the group of ‘women’ all the time is something I have found limiting and quite scary throughout my life – hence why I became queer!
To go to an inclusivity circle and be there as ‘a woman’ is a pretty scary thing and having a bunch of men ask themselves ‘what can we do to protect the women’ is also pretty scary
I am also not an ‘essentialist’ when it comes to gender. I recognise the impact of sexism and think it had a massive impact on what happened at the gathering
But I also think it is really not something we should be too simplistic about, e.g. from now on women are really vulnerable to this and men aren’t, therefore attributing certain fixed characteristics to people’s genders
Because to me being queer is about accepting diversity in gender, yet I heard some pretty essentialist views about women in the faeries. That when women express some dominating qualities they are being masculine ,or men are being feminine if they are submissive . I personally just think we are being ourselves, and men can be passive and women can be assertive, whatever!
I am so used to losing freedoms to be myself in a space as soon as people start clinging to gender definitions and men start trying to be heroes
I’ve been lashed out by so many men treating their role as protector of me as a woman as an ego boost who then attack me when I don’t show my appreciation for them by acting like (their view of) one
That is what is making me quite uncomfortable to join in discussion ‘as a woman’. I don’t want to be labelled as a transgressive or subversive woman if I don’t say something typical
I don’t want other people taking the ‘woman ‘identity and putting it on me when I want to define who I am as a woman in the space, not be part of some collective mentality
I am also feeling like these issues should not just be seen as women’s issues within the faeries. We all should be concerned about any group or individual experiencing abuse or being victimised
Personally I feel strongly I do not want the male faeries to ‘protect me’ I would like to define how I protect myself in the space as a person not play a role for the male faeries to protect
That triggers off all kinds of things for me

That’s my personal thoughts

Rachel

~~~~~~~

Hi, I feel like saying that I don’t feel safe in a space where men expect me to have a ‘heart circle’ with someone whose behaviour instantly reminds me of one of my abusers. I have twice been a rape victim and experience post traumatic symptoms I do not come to faerie gatherings to be part of a triggering psychological experiment

After “John” was asked to leave I listened to two days of conversation of empathy and compassion for him and his behaviour, and when it came to the impact on the women was told briefly ‘it was just inappropriate behaviour’. I was told no one was harmed, and he really wasn’t all that bad. I did not hear anyone express any concern for those who might not have felt safe. Only what a shame it was he could not have stayed so he could have been helped.

When I raised a conversation I had heard with someone else, I was told you can’t possibly have heard that in faerie space, and names were demanded I had men demand I tell them what John actually said and did when I didn’t feel comfortable to.

People said it was just women’s lower sex drives or John bisexuality or sexual confusion that was the issue. When I contradicted this as a bisexual and a woman, a man told me ‘myself and another man had this conversation and this is the conclusion we have come to’ – end of conversation!

I heard John having conversation with his partner rating the women at the gathering, rating me, and selecting me as a target for his behaviour.

I also overheard conversation with two male faeries about him describing how he met a girl and she only wanted a hug, and how he said “come on ..”,and expected her to sleep with him, and he was bragging about how this girl should have wanted it and couldn’t accept how she didn’t. And trying to recruit faeries to go out and find a girl to bring back for sex

Told that it was unfortunate he had to leave

I couldn’t enter a room while he was there, and most of all was scared that if he approached me and I rejected his advances, and he continued pushing….

If I told the men at the gathering but they would not understand and insist (as they did) that he was just clumsily trying to make his feelings known, and if it was triggering emotions in me perhaps I need to deal with them (as I have been told many times)

I’ve been told over and over again John is someone they had empathy with, because like all of us he just wants sex but uses inappropriate language like pussy and we need to see past the language used

Over and over again when upset and angry I have been talked down, told it is my personal issue I need to deal with in faerie space that I am triggered. That I choose the way I want to see things. I found whenever I was upset or angry I felt treated not like a victim of abuse who felt unsafe but a woman getting herself all worked up over something insignificant I should ‘get over’, and men wanting to win the intellectual argument rather than showing any empathy with how I might have felt

I’ve been told it is not a safe space because women cannot expect to come to gatherings and not be triggered. That should not be a reason for men to use to say men who behave inappropriately towards women should stay to be ‘healed’ Or that men ‘s judgement over how I heal from abuse and feel safe or respond when I am not feeling safe should override my own

I am very concerned angry and upset about people feeling more concerned about proving their ability as men to heal others, and demanding what experience people should have or emotions they should express when experiencing aggressive behaviour or violence. That this ability has become more important than acceptance of those who have experienced it.

I thought faerie space was supposed to be about acceptance of feelings not denial of them and I feel strongly that was not my experience at this gathering regarding this incident

Thank you for writing the blog post and supporting the ability to feel safe and express feelings of unsafety

I just needed to express how I felt

Rachel

~~~~~~~

I’ve had some men express that they feel ‘inappropriate touch’ and ‘harassment’ is a more ‘normalised’ part of gay male culture than hetero culture, and men develop tougher skins

Which I find concerning on several levels. To me it was clear the behaviour at the gathering was predatory behaviour and involved an individual not respecting the consent of others

Regardless of gender I think that’s an issue that should be taken seriously in itself

I object to the word tougher skins. Its particularly irritating in that I spent the last two years working with people with disabilities two of whom are gay / bisexual men who were abused as children. The consequences of this are quite evident psychologically and in relationships. They are vulnerable men and I would not say they have tougher skins

I find it quite insensitive; people of all genders might have situations that make them feel more vulnerable or unsafe and it should be OK to address that

And if touch without consent or ‘harassment’ is a normal part of gay culture does that make it ok?

I find comments like that frankly dangerous and put me off bringing vulnerable adults to a gathering as well

I also don’t think the people saying these things know the difference between something making you feel a little uncomfortable or something really feeling unsafe and traumatising

It irritates me now some men are putting gay men on a pedestal ‘oh we are just somehow tougher / better able to deal with it than women’

Which is not just disrespectful to women its really disrespectful to so many vulnerable men who struggle with this sort of thing. I’ve done some work with homeless and disabled people and can assure these people how many struggle with consequences of things like this

If it’s normalised in culture for those who haven’t processed trauma I can’t imagine that it helps much.

Rachel

The Orlando massacre has opened a wound.

The Orlando massacre has opened a wound.

A wound that’s always there, so I got used to it.

Now I’m bleeding again, and remembering how homophobia has shaped my life.
Carved it’s trauma into my being.

Being forced into ‘boy’ clothing for primary school, even though I’d crossed dressed, with my twin sister, 0-7years old.

Being dragged to the barber so my father can have me ritually humiliated, my long golden locks removed to make me a ‘real’ boy.

Punishments, slaps, punches, torture, hate-speech, humiliation and shaming by my father (ex-army/PTSD/Religious) to make me a ‘man’. All this echoed in the ‘play’ ground where ‘queer’ was the grossest of insults.

Terrified that I, and all homos are paedophiles, as my father’s newspapers keep telling me.

Believing I must take up arms and kill, as my father did, to prove my gender conformity.

Self-harming since age 7, hiding, drugging, hating, depression, illness, loneliness, alienation.

Being hissed at and told to leave gay clubs because I was too femme or non-comformist.

Being ejected from a gay venue for kissing another man.

Trying to be ‘masc’ to please the ‘masc’ gays.

Falling in love with other similarly traumatized men, and being heart-broken by the fear of losing them, of him being queer-bashed, murdered. Trapped in our closets, unable to open to each other, truly embrace each other. The utter loneliness of failure and loss. Too scared to hold hands in public, hug, or kiss. Letting him go at the end of the night as if we were just mates, coz I don’t want anyone to see us, and follow him, and hurt him. And because I’m ashamed, and scared for myself, too.

Having a whole bus of people, a whole train carriage of people, allow me to be verbally attacked by homophobes.

Being followed down the street, threatened, shoved, pushed over a wall.

Feeling contaminated, dirty, frightened to use my parents towels in case I have AIDS.

Told I should stop giving blood donations, so I stop.

Coming out to my mother, whom I loved SO dearly, and seeing her heart BREAK…………… that was the hardest of all. Fifteen years after her death, I am finally able to look at her photograph and not feel destroyed by grief. Though I weep now, as I type.

The curse of being misunderstood and rejected by the person you love the most in this world. After my mother died, I realised I might one day be able to be happy as a queer, as now she can accept me, and over-stand, from the spirit world.

And still to this day, I have homophobic neighbours who scowl at me, make every micro-second in the lift unbearable, unbreathable, so that my heart stops on their floor – will they be there? Am I looking too obvious? Am I strong enough today, not to give a shit!?

And I don’t expect anyone to care about any of this.

I feel open to ridicule just airing these experiences.

“Just be a man, shut up, and get on with it.”, the world shouts back.

I’ve been known to freak-out, lose it, be ‘on the Tourettes Syndrone spectrum’. But I’m seriously guarded, don’t be fooled. My breaking point feels like a black-out, I have no memory. Heart-circle facilitators can find me ‘too heavy’… so I don’t attend anymore.

But I’m a double scorpio, so….

GET USED TO IT!!!!

Once the volcano has erupted, all is warm flowing GLOW!!!

And the amazing thing is, I still TOTALLY heart being queer, and always have. The lies and hurt have made me cynical and cautious, but i still want to reach out, to be heard, to listen, to find real community.

heart to all the QUEERS!!!

RaAr AKA Rabbit Star AKA Wynyy AKA Mark

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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In the wake of Orlando, what do ‘safety’ and ‘inclusivity’ really mean?

Personal reflections on what happened when a couple of faeries were asked to leave the summer solstice gathering

by Lulu Luna

Most of the faeries at the summer gathering at Paddington Farm this year will be aware of what happened on Sunday 19th June. A number of complaints had been made about ‘John’ (the names of the two protagonists have been changed) – a young man who had been brought along by ‘George’, both of whom were staying in an adjoining campsite. Unable to ignore the unease building in himself, organiser Ananga – backed up by Bright Eyes – bravely asked John to leave. John then became angry and threatened violence in a manner which concerned both Ananga and Bright Eyes enough not to wish to spend another night in a tent. And in an unprecedented move, they both left the site.

Asking a faerie to leave feels contrary to our ‘inclusive, community’ vibe. But as others pointed out, we are a community built up over time on trust. Earned trust. And although there is some joyful partying, faerie space is not a party. Still, questions were asked as to why this was not a mediated process – why we didn’t sit in a heart circle with John to ‘heal’ what was going on. And why it was necessary to inform the police.

 

Different space, same shit

It was at this point I found myself feeling simultaneously both angry and resigned. I was one of the people who had complained about John. To my knowledge there were five others, four of whom were women, and the other, a man dressed in drag. And there were women unconnected to the faerie gathering who had also been made uncomfortable and who felt threatened by his behaviour.

I had already spent the previous day feeling unsafe in faerie space – something that had never happened before. I started making sure I was never alone. I avoided going to the fire circle in the camping field. I was nervous about walking to my car. (To add insult to injury, this was on the same day that several cis male faeries casually flashed their penises at dinner. They were obviously feeling safe.)

And I was chilled at how easily I accepted the restriction of my movements and my expression. Because you see, this is standard for women. We are expected to make up for the lack of action to protect us from predators. And if we don’t, we are blamed – for the shortness of our skirts, or for walking alone in the dark. So I clicked seamlessly into my role – before Ananga acted.

Canaries in the coal mine

Where women don’t feel safe, that is an early warning sign to act. Women are the canary in the coalmine. Study after study shows that all over the world, on a macro and micro level, the lack of respect for, and the lack of safety of women is both a predictor and indicator of the likelihood of male violence against everyone. In other words, women usually get it in the neck first. This was even true of the Orlando shooter – whose domestic violence record against his female partner was not taken seriously. But the problem is, women’s warnings and complaints are so often not ‘seen’ or heeded until it’s too late.

Even where they are – again, all credit to Ananga and Bright Eyes – men (and yes, it is usually men, because other women have generally experienced the same danger before and know the score) will question whether it was not an ‘over reaction’ that should have been dealt with another way. In this case, another way that would have put the women in the gathering, and the women in the campsite in danger. The infuriating thing is that these same men will often blame women for not having ‘said something’ when something untoward does happen.

At this point, I will pause, because I know you’re saying ‘not all men’ and pointing out that women can be shits too. I agree with you. But the vast majority of violence in the world is committed by men – and even if you don’t agree with that statement, the problem at the gathering had a gendered flavour to it. For that reason, I need to continue putting gender at the heart of what I’m talking about. To ignore it would be to perpetuate the very ‘invisibility’ of women’s voices that I’m highlighting.

Safety

In faerie space we talk about shared values. Community. Honesty. Vulnerability. Support. Freedom to be ourselves. And yes, we all love a drag dress up as well as ritual and celebration. I know these are precious things. But beneath them is something even more precious. I’m talking about safety. Without safety, we cannot be free to have any of these things.

Too often, when faeries say ‘safety’ we mean emotional safety. How can we have become so complacent as to ignore the dangers to our own physical safety – less than a week after the Orlando shooting? How can we hold a minute’s silence in the town for the victims, and not see someone with precisely the shooter’s psychology in our own midst? How does that kind of disconnect happen? Well, I’ll tell you how.

Inclusivity

‘Inclusivity’ is a lovely concept, but we haven’t thought it through. Instead we’ve taken the easy route. Inclusivity, this solstice, seems to have meant ‘inviting anyone and everyone to the gathering and not throwing them out’. It is inclusivity and safety for those outside our circle, without looking at our inclusivity and safety within the circle first. And this fluffy definition of inclusivity has disconnected some of us from our very sensible instincts.

By contrast, real inclusivity starts from within. And it involves more pain than I think many faeries are willing to admit. Because if you’re going to include people, you have to take their experience, history and context into account. Which means you can’t sit there in your ‘white, male, cis, ‘out and proud’, able-bodied’ reality, pretending that nobody else’s reality exists, so that you don’t have to make any effort to understand their worldview and what is happening for them. You have to actually learn about who they are, and what they’ve come from – and that takes time, effort and humility. More importantly, you have to make actual adjustments, both to your attitude and to your facilities. And before you object, remember it’s they that usually have to make adjustments to a world completely geared to you, all the bloody time.

The faerie blind spot

Is this really an issue? Well, let’s face it – by sheer number, most Albion faeries are cis male. And that has implications. It means that faerie space is geared to cis males, just as wider society is. This is a particular problem with gay men. Straight men have to learn about how unsafe the world is for women – yes, even in Britain in broad daylight – because they date and marry them. Gay men are often allowed to remain oblivious.

I know that for many of you, your first reaction here will be that you’ve never heard that women feel unsafe. Well, we don’t mention it, because we get shot down in flames because of your denial, when we do. I have seen groups of women hastily change the subject – after talking about safety – when a male approaches the group.

We don’t want to hear ‘Well you should’ve… [add smart alec 20/20 hindsight suggestion of choice here]’ for the millionth time. We don’t want to be victim-blamed by a group of blind, tone deaf people who have the privilege of ignoring what we live with every day, and be effectively told that WE are responsible for policing dangerous men, so that no one else has to act.

And if you’re one of the ‘good guys’, you won’t ever see it happening either. Because most of the creeps and the dangerous men who intimidate us aren’t stupid. They’ll wait until you’re gone before they start threatening us. Fortunately, John was a rare exception. Bright Eyes saw him acting strangely. But I wonder what would have happened if he’d cosied up to the organisers and menaced the women behind their backs as usually happens? (This is not a slight on Bright Eyes and Ananga – I’m sure they would have acted responsibly anyway. I’m just highlighting how difficult it is to believe women about an abuser, when your experience of them is that they’re a ‘great bloke’… And that’s exactly why they cosy up to you.)

‘Still don’t believe me, huh?

Women face danger every day of their lives. On the street, in pubs, on buses, in the workplace, in their homes. Effectively, we live in an open prison, because we are the ones who have to ‘police’ our behaviour when our safety isn’t taken seriously and we are disbelieved and blamed. Everywhere, we are insulted, threatened and assaulted – even, and especially by, the people who we should be able to trust. And this starts in public spaces from the time that we begin growing breasts.

I want those of you with penises who are unaware, to hear this. If you sit down to actually ask the apparently un-traumatised ‘normal’ women you know – and they’re willing to honour you with their confidence – you will hear a litany of half-forgotten assaults, threats, harassment, near misses or actual rapes. I myself experienced sexual abuse in my home from both my parents, and other family members and family friends. But outside the home I was also assaulted on the tube in full and correct school uniform, groomed and groped by a male teacher (and blamed by the headmaster for not ‘doing something about it’) and harassed, groped and threatened by other male strangers countless times, all before I was 18. I bet you’d never have guessed that, huh?

And it has not stopped. My drink has been drugged at a fetish munch and my concerns ignored by the organiser. I have been called a prostitute by my boss as a ‘joke’ in front of other members of staff for daring to ask a question. I have been menaced on buses in broad daylight. I have had my breasts grabbed in the street. And going into a pub and being propositioned to be some old, drunk bloke’s ‘submissive Asian wife’ happens regularly, like clockwork. This is just what has happened in my 40s by the way. The worst thing about it is, I consider myself lucky that I’ve experienced nothing worse as an adult. And, that I can’t tell you most of what has happened because it’s so common now, it’s like wallpaper for me. Always there. You almost stop noticing or remembering the minute after you’ve escaped.

For the men who might think I’m just unlucky, you’ll find this story repeated over and over at the Everyday Sexism Project website and on Twitter under the hashtag #YesAllWomen. Take a minute to look at these sites. It is harrowing. And it is every single woman you know. What you’ll realise is that the world in which you fear violence for being visibly queer, is the same one in which we fear violence for being female. Only in our case, we are scapegoated and blamed for not ‘controlling’ our attackers more effectively. (Yeah right…like a long skirt is going to deter a man who’s convinced that raping a woman is the only way to prove his masculinity. I wanted to insert a ‘sarcasm’ emoticon here, but there isn’t one.)

We are fighting the same fight

What flabbergasts me about gay men that don’t see the problems women have with safety, or who don’t place any importance on the issue, is that we’re fighting the same enemy. Men who hate women, also hate what they perceive as ‘femininity’ in gay and queer men. That’s why they attack them.

And something that I think most gay men haven’t twigged, is that the very important legal changes that heroic LGBT activists have been able to effect in the last 50 years, are built on the foundation of the cultural ‘sea change’ that feminists have fought for. These may be straight women who have no interest in gay rights per se. But over and over and over, what they have done is loosened gender straightjackets to the point where most men are now able to accept and cultivate their feminine sides. To a significant degree, they have pricked the balloon of toxic masculinity that sought to annihilate ‘queerness’ or ‘campness’. They have been the ‘worms’ tilling the soil in which your legal rights were planted. And without them, I doubt you’d have achieved those rights to the same degree.

So – and I’m talking to the gay and queer men in our midst here − the concerns of women in general may apparently have nothing much to do with you. But they’re important because our struggle is connected with yours. And I have deliberately avoided saying ‘we’re your mothers, your sisters, your cousins etc.’ because frankly, we shouldn’t only qualify for your support because we have some sort of relationship to you. No, we deserve your support because we are worthy of safety and respect as a group in our own right. But sadly, at the moment, women (both gay, queer and straight – and whether you really intended this or not) are getting the message from the wider gay community that because you don’t want to fuck us, our rights don’t matter to you, and you can’t be bothered to learn about what we’re facing.

And so, it is with finely chequered feelings that I make the following point about what you stand to gain if you do support us. As I’ve said, the kinds of men who attack gay men, are those who cannot reconcile with the feminine within them. This hatred is derived from their fear of women – fear of being ‘like’ women, even if it’s only in the matter of being sexual with, or being penetrated by men. Consequently, when you pay attention to how women are perceived and treated, you make queer and gay men significantly safer. But to do that, you’ve got to actually listen to women, respect their superior experience with the issue and act on what they suggest.

So what actually happened with John?

Within 30 seconds of meeting me, John stared at me as if he wanted to eat me, and asked me if I’d give him a massage. George, the older ‘Daddy’ that he was with, said he was gay. John vehemently denied it. George pushed the point over and over, to John’s obvious fury. About an hour afterwards I found him aiming a laser light at me, much like the ‘sight’ on a high tech gun. He stared at me for minutes at a time on other occasions throughout that day too, and I found myself avoiding him and warning others about him. My instinct told me he was one of the most dangerous men I’d ever encountered.

Later, I found out that he had treated another female faerie at the solstice gathering in much the same way, and that he had been rude to one of the male faeries in drag. He had also been seen seated and waiting by the nearest toilet to the campsite to accost the female campers using it.

I have heard people comment that John’s friend George either couldn’t or wouldn’t ‘control’ his behaviour. What I saw was George actually making him worse, by whipping him up with comments about his being gay, all apparently for ‘laughs’. It was a powder keg situation.

And what was going on with him?

I do not know John’s story. What I do have, is a strong impression based on long experience of these sorts of incidents, and a number of likely guesses. It was obvious from his manner that he intensely resented being thought gay. My guess is that he was ‘gay for pay’ under severe duress – perhaps because he wanted a visa, was destitute, or for some other reason. Of course if I’m right, this was systemic abuse, and very sad. I wish the faeries could have helped him. But talking to him, it was crystal clear that he could not listen to a bunch of queer people. That his was a belief system in which being gay was so unthinkable, that he’d have done anything to prove himself otherwise. Maybe anything, up to and including raping a woman on site. Or perhaps, violently attacking a more ‘feminine’ man.

Also it was clear that John was from an ethnic minority – and no, it is not racist to notice that. For me personally, this was important information because it made me feel even more unsafe. That’s because, as an Asian woman, I am likely to draw the ire of Asian men who see me acting in an ‘untraditional’ manner. ‘Corrective rape’ is one of their ‘punishments’. And because I know that black men often have a ‘thing’ about Asian women. If you’re likely to be attacked, that is important information to acknowledge.

But still people objected…

Some faeries objected to John being asked to leave, even after all this. I know we like to ‘include’ people. To talk things through. And that’s a good instinct. But sometimes those people forfeit that privilege. Threatening the women on site meant that John did not deserve the courtesy of mediation with the faeries – and I do not know why that wasn’t obvious to the people who objected to him being asked to leave. Because the safety of the people you know and trust and love – and whom you have a duty to – obviously comes before being ‘inclusive’ to a creepy stranger who is resisting help.

John was a man in queer space that was clearly conflicted about either his sexuality or sexual practices – and very willing to take that conflicted-ness out on others. How can some of us be so ‘airy faerie’ as not to notice John’s psychological similarity to the Orlando shooter in the same bloody week? Why were those faeries effectively asking the women on site to quash their well-honed instincts and ignore the danger to themselves? What a fucking betrayal!

Some people objected to the organisers calling the police

Now, I’m under no illusion that the Somerset police are angels. I know of incidents where they have treated homeless women in the area with abominable neglect and disdain. I know the police are enemies to many queer people. But consider what would have happened if the organisers hadn’t called them?

Logging an ‘incident’ with the police means they will react faster if a threatening person shows up again. John’s threats led Ananga and Bright Eyes to fear he’d turn up in the dead of night with a knife. What if they hadn’t called the police?

What if he had come back an hour later and raped or stabbed someone? What would they have said if the police or a judge asked why they hadn’t reported his previous threatening behaviour? Would you feel they’d taken sufficient care of your safety if they hadn’t reported him and as a result you were now seriously injured? Where would your ‘joyous faerie space’ be then?

Do you think your fear of the police justifies another faerie’s injuries and trauma or even death? And if you’d acted as if your fear was more important, and persuaded Ananga and Bright Eyes not to call them, wouldn’t it be reasonable for that injured or dead faerie to feel you’d sold them down the river for your own self-interest? Just finally, do you think you would have been able to avoid the police if a serious or fatal incident actually had taken place? Or would you simply have expected a rape and/or stab victim to ‘forget about it’ in order to protect you?

If I sound angry, it’s because I am

Look, I’m used to people in general being blind to the physical dangers I face because I’m female and Asian. That hurts me, but it doesn’t surprise me. What fucking infuriates me however, is when ‘inclusive’ faeries talking about ‘safe’ space, throw me under the bus.

Inclusivity and safety are life and death issues for me – not some emotional ‘cherry on the cake’. Part of my definition of inclusivity and safety is that you need to take heed when a minority group – like women – consistently raise the alarm. And you need to believe, understand their context and act promptly to protect them, without worrying about the ‘hurt’ feelings of a dangerous person or some un-thought-through ethic. We need this, and we deserve it. And, as a bonus, doing this will actually keep the cis queer and gay men among us safer as well.

A new definition of inclusivity and safety

Beyond that, the faeries cannot call themselves ‘inclusive’ without doing this. Inclusivity doesn’t just mean treating everyone different as if they’re ‘one of us’. It also means regarding their needs as equal to ours while taking the trouble to learn about how life is different for them and why. And adapting faerie space accordingly – even if it means you don’t get everything your own bloody way.

That takes real work – and resisting the temptation to think of the white, cis, male, able-bodied experience as ‘universal’ and the only ‘credible’ or ‘expert’ one, as many of us unconsciously do. It means realising you don’t know everything, actively asking the right questions of people you don’t really relate to, and then shutting up, listening and believing. And making concrete changes that you regard as a pain in the neck, because others really need them simply to feel safe and included.

If we don’t continually do this work, our inclusivity is just lip service. We’ll tacitly crowd more diverse faeries out with our attitudes and behaviour, and see them quietly drop away, until we wake up one morning and ask ourselves why the faeries are so goddamned white and male? (‘Do you know?’ ‘Gosh, no I don’t. We’ve always been very welcoming… Why don’t they like us?’)

And making a ‘safe’ space means acknowledging the very real ways that any of us – minorities especially − can be in physical danger at times. This is the lesson from Orlando. March up and down in Glastonbury as much as you like. That’s easy. But remember that honouring that lesson properly in order to keep faeries safe, is worth 1000 drag vigils.

A personal P.S.

The opinions expressed here are my own and do not in any way constitute an official statement from the Albion Faeries.

I don’t usually write this kind of blog. As a woman, what I say is questioned far more than a man would be in my place. His pronouncements are generally taken on trust. We may be faeries, but we’re all socialised ‘out there’ in the big, bad, sexist world. I’m all too aware that the comments section on a blog like this – written by a woman – will possibly attract denial or insults. I fear I may even alienate the group sufficiently that I will never really feel welcome again.

In this case, I’ve been brave because I don’t want female bodied faeries to be in danger like that a second time. And yes, before you ask, not writing blogs like this is one more way in which I ‘police’ my behaviour as a woman in public space to protect myself.

What I ask, is that if you’re a cis male faerie reading this, you give me some credit for knowing what I’m talking about. Let yourself experience my world. See through my eyes. And try to care more concretely than via mere platitudes and hugs that are ‘oh-so-easy-to-give’, for the actual faeries that are different from you in your midst.

Just finally, thank you to both the male and female faeries that ‘got’ all this immediately and supported Ananga and Bright Eyes, both at the time John was asked to leave, and later when the issue was discussed after dinner. You have helped to keep me safe.

Loss reminds us of what we have

Solstice was fast approaching and again, I found myself looking forward to Glastonbury, the gathering and our solstice bonfire. That said: arriving at Paddington Farm was bittersweet this time round as someone special wasn’t going to be with us any more.

On April 8th, our Faerie Tribe lost a unique friend who took us to heart and delighted in our magic and sense of community. As many of you already know, I’m talking of Suki Key who passed unexpectedly from an acute kidney infection. She was an all too youthful 65.

I first met Suki in the camping kitchen at last year’s Solstice Gathering. Having both retired and divorced she had sold her house, somewhere in Lincolnshire I think, and begun a quite remarkable odyssey. She was living in a large bell tent on the Farm’s second camping field (complete with sofas and log burner). At some stage, she was planning to ship out to India, fulfilling her own spiritual quest whilst travelling and doing some charity work.

We initially crossed paths when Suki saw me doing a tarot reading but she became doubly fascinated when she realised I’d designed my own cards. This was our first common ground for Suki’s son was an amazing artist with his own successful design studio. I also discovered the best way to make her face light up with pride was to get her onto the subject of her children.

My experience wasn’t unique. Suki had connected with lots of us during the course of the gathering and I think she loved every minute of our mischief and our colourful sense of fun. She was a tiny, willow like woman who reminded me of children blowing bubbles. Bubbles themselves shimmer and sparkle with an astonishing spectrum of colour yet they are delicate and fragile, vanishing in an instant. They encapsulate all the innocent joy of childhood and that’s why they remind me of her. Suki was that rare combination of age earned wisdom and childlike wonder. God knows how she’d done it but she’d managed to retain her youthful sparkle in a way that most of us can only marvel at, even though we were younger.

She re-appeared at our September gathering. Now lodging in Glastonbury for the winter months, she’d checked our dates and made sure she was back up at the Farm to come and visit us. It was a joy to see her and I still smile when I think back to our long conversation in the Farmhouse living room. Better still, I remember her moving around from person to person, watching their faces light up as she sprinkled her own particular brand of faerie dust around the room.

For all of this, my fondest memories will be of our last meeting at January’s Imbolc gathering. Once again she visited but this time she came laden with foil wrapped packages of gluten free chocolate brownies. She’d known we were coming and had set to baking. India was now looming on the horizon and she wondered if any of us had contacts with aid workers or volunteers heading for Calais. Her bell tent had served its purpose and she wanted it to go to the refugee camp where it would give someone in need a good home. She said she’d return to the farm later that evening, to join us around the fire for some drumming.

Sure enough, as dusk was falling she drove back to the Farm and that small red car, cluttered to overflowing with all things useful (rather like Moominmamma’s handbag) pulled onto the car park and a slightly breathless Suki came looking for volunteers to help her empty the boot. To my incredulity, the boot was stacked high with drums, apparently gifted to her some months previously.

“I’ve always wanted to try these!” she told me with a beaming smile.

Suki’s drum collection was temporarily added to the Faerie drum collection and I sat next to her for the rest of the evening while we let the fire and the rhythm hypnotise us. I was aware of the circle, of friends, of music and of the joy of being alive. I think Suki was too.

She came to say goodbye the following morning, giving many of us sticks of her favourite incense as a parting gift. I still have mine, as something inside wouldn’t let me burn it straight away. I didn’t know it would be the last time I would see her and the incense stick remains on my bookshelf. Sometimes I’ll breathe its fragrance to remind me of her. I may even bring it to a gathering and offer it to the fire as an act of remembrance when I’m ready to let go of it. For now it remains as a reminder of a special spirit who flew briefly into my life and left a trail of sparkle behind her for a short while.

The loss of Suki has reminded me just how important our Faerie friends are. There are many of them, Tanya, Michael, Robert, Leila, Tiffany and Holly at Paddington Farm for instance, who think of us as their favourite visitors. There’s also John Clarke at Featherstone who makes us feel that his home is our home whenever we stay there. These are but to name a few. They may not be directly part of the tribe but they enable us, celebrate us and even love us. We also love them and the loss of one friend has reminded me once more to cherish the others.

Fly away joyfully dear Suki; for I know you’ll light up wherever it is you journey on to. For us, we’ll celebrate you but we also missed seeing you at the Farm this summer.

Brighteyes.

Shokti’s Radical Faerie Fundamentals

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

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

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

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

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Four simple steps to healing:

Attuning to Nature

Opening to Spirit

Healing the Heart

Reprogramming the Mind

The route to all this is through the Body.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IF YOU FEEL THE CALL, FIND US