Category Archives: Reflection

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

ebook available from: http://www.lulu.com/shop/http://www.lulu.com/shop/al-head/queer-deity-sacred-slut-thoughts-in-process/ebook/product-23422958.html


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.

http://www.lulu.com/gb/en/shop/lilith/i-am-god-seven-magickal-steps-to-personal-divinity/paperback/product-20981367.html

ebook at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Am-God-Magickal-Personal-Divinity-ebook/dp/B013CGVBOC


THE MICE by Roger Mason

Starbuck’s critically acclaimed series of graphic novels:

‘This is smart science fiction’ SFX magazine
‘Multi-layered and thoughtful; a great read…’ Forbidden Planet
9/10 Comics International
‘There’s nothing else like it – 4/5 stars’ Sci Fi Now magazine

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

Autumn Prayer

We are the faerie spirit
that’s always lived within humanity
raw awareness in tune with nature’s dance
that sacrificed that divinity
that also lost its sanity
that became mortal, physical, solid
forgot how to shapeshift, astral travel
how to turn within to take flight
we became flesh, we learnt to die
we learnt about suffering, we learnt how to lie
but now humanity’s reached its tipping point
and amidst its madness a new age being born
remembering eternity, remembering you are me
remembering the elements, the mother, the spirit
surrendering to That and becoming This
Faerie Spirit born to flow free
born to liberate humanity
from polarities and dualities
Great Faerie Spirit-in-Action
flow through this tribe
liberate our minds from deathtraps
empower our hearts with courage
may we be who we, see who we, become who we are
may we reunite the earth and the heavenly stars
bring the power of rainbows into human eyes
as we reveal the faerie ‘neath the human disguise
we may appear at L as G, as B as T
but our queer spirit is part of eternity, is remembering infinity

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