Tag Archives: community

There are many ways to be a Radical Faerie

Some come for the SPIRIT

some come for the DRAG

some love to create FEASTS

all come for COMMUNITY

and to experience DIVERSITY

leading to UNITY

found in the HEART

LOVE is the FAERIE ART

No matter your body shape, size, design

The call to be a faerie is found inside

No matter your colour, gender or creed

A radical passion is all that you need.

There are many motivations behind people’s involvement in Radical Faerie space. Heart centred communication as a way of creating community is definitely a major one. As is the chance to honour nature and the spiritual side of life in ways of our own choosing and devising. Faeries are creating a queer mystical subculture, where we can drop the human façade and be the magical divine child at play in the universe, where we can recognise that all life is one (the faerie mantra is ‘subject-SUBJECT consciousness’), and discover the role that queer beings are called to play in that sacred unity.

For some faeries this journey is directly about exploring the inheritance we receive from the shamanic peoples of planet earth, which tribes were often served by gender-bending, cross-dressing, shape-shifting queer souls in spiritual roles. It is about reclaiming the link between homo-eroticism, gender variance and the sacred – an intimate link that once was in play around the whole world, from ancient Greek and Roman cults that worshipped deities such as Aphrodite, Artemis, Dionysus, Pan, Antinous… to Celtic pagan sorcery, native American two-spirit shamans, African magicians and Sufi poets. Monasteries in Christian and Buddhist cultures long served as sanctuaries for same sex loving individuals.

Radical Faerie spaces enable queers to deepen our experience of life – of love, sex and community. Bonds are strengthened through gatherings and ecstatic rituals that lead us into communion with nature and spirit. In community we care for each other, form bonds of love and compassion that are extended to all who come along – we are exploring the next territories of queer life, taking our gay liberation all the way from the sexual through the social and political into the spiritual realms, attempting to build a world where LOVE is the starting point.

The doors to Albion Faerie gatherings are open to all who feel called to be there. The first Radical Faeries were gay men but they soon discovered that Faerie space involves the transcendence of labels, of limited notions of gender and Self, that society.. and the mainstream lgbt+ community.. often impose on us. In Faerie space we can drop outdated limiting notions of who we are, and open mind and heart to a magical reality that humans have long lost touch with. Inside every human there exists an indigenous soul that remembers its innate connection to all of life. It is magical and eternal, it is the Faerie child inside.

Out of the mists of our long oppression

We bring love for ourselves and each other

And love for the gifts we bear

So heavy and so painful the fashioning of them,

So long the road given us to travel them. A separate people,

We bring a gift to celebrate each other,

‘Tis a gift to be gay!

Feel the pride of it!

(Radical Faerie founding spirit, Harry Hay)

Albion gathering history

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Shokti

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Minerva

 

Healing through movement – The Radical Faerie drum circle

In London 2005 a group of queers started to meet at a squatted former maternity hospital as the Queer Spirit Circle, setting up as a space for people of all genders and sexualities to gather to share stories and experiences of their individual spiritual journeys.  Very soon the Circle became a place where dozens of people came to combine energies and create ritual together to celebrate moon cycles and the major turning points of the year – the solstices, equinoxes and cross-quarter points. And very soon making music, and dancing, became one of our key activities.

The Queer Spirit Circle formed a base from which, in 2006, Radical Faerie space arrived in the UK in the form of a mid-winter gathering at Featherstone Castle in Northumberland.  Since then the expansion of Faerie spirit has been fast… in 2015 years the Albion Faerie tribe met for five gatherings, having started to meet also at Paddington Farm underneath Glastonbury Tor for Summer Solstice, Imbolc and other events.  The upcoming October 2016 Samhain gathering at Featherstone will be the 21st full gathering of the Radical Faeries in the UK.  During this busy decade many of the Albion Fae were also deeply involved in the development of queer sanctuary at Folleterre, home of the eurofaeries in northern France, which has also grown phenomenally – the sanctuary calendar stretches from March until October and hosted 100 faeries from all over the world at its recent summer gathering.

The London moon meets have continued, increasingly known as the ‘faerie circle’, offering a few hours of free flowing, radical queer space in the city roughly once a month… occasionally expanding from a simple drum circle into a full on End of Summer Ball or into last year’s Queer Day of the Dead, which was attended by over 70 people and was a highly ecstatic zone of emotion, dance and communion with the spirit world.

The doors to the London circle are open to all who wish to participate, and while hosted and held in a radical faerie ‘style’ this space is, and was always, offered to all queers who wish to come, whether to drum, to dance, or simply to be with spiritually open-minded people and socialise.

WHAT TO EXPECT AT A DRUM CIRCLE?

Faerie drum circles are not like other drum circles.  This is a free form space where it is perfectly fine to follow your own heart, drum if you wish, dance as much as you like, express what you need to express, divest clothing if you wish or play with drag, relax and absorb the energies – or dive right in and help raise them.

The Wheatsheaf Hall in Vauxhall where the circles usually happen is a Victorian community centre, but built with something of the air of a medieval church.  It is spacious, has fantastic acoustics for the music making and features a balcony around the main room from where it is possible to watch the action below.  There is also a kitchen, and faeries bring along snacks and drinks to share – for while we love to spend as much time as possible in the rituals of drumming and dancing that take us out of the monkey mind and lift our spirits, we also come together to enjoy social time and make or deepen personal connections.  Whether on the dance floor, or in the kitchen, or anywhere in faerie space, the intention is always to meet from the heart.

When it comes to the beats we love to let the rhythm take over.  Drum circles often start with some instruction on technique for those that want it, then we dive into a musical journey together that can last 2-3 hours with breaks.  It’s not all about drumming and it’s not all about raising the energy higher and higher.  Our musical journeys take us into all sorts of directions, emotions and shared spaces.  All instruments are welcome in the mix, as are voices, songs, chants, poems, storytelling etc.

The first hour of a circle is time to arrive, help set up the space and do some practice.  We then come together in circle formation, holding hands, saying our names and tuning into the energies of the occasion, which is often a full moon.  This assists us to become more fully present in the space, to come into the moment so that we can surrender to the rhythm and movement, and enter the journey. Full moons are times when emotions can be very strong, and drum circle is offered as a space where we can feel safe and supported while we give those emotions a chance to come through us and find expression and release.  For a few hours we get the chance to get out of the head, dropping excessive thought and coming deeply into heart and body.

We drum, we dance, we heal through vibration and movement.

We break the familiar predictability of the mainstream lgbt scene venues – this is a space where anything can happen, where spontaneity and discovery rule the roost.

It is also a space where we can honour our queer spirit by tuning into the cycles of nature, of the sun and moon, and the energies of ancestors, animal totems etc.  No belief system is required here.  The circle is about experience, and the experience is co-created by all present.

Adults of all ages, all genders and all sexualities make it along to the drum circle.  For a few hours we enter into a liminal space between the worlds, where music and movement open the gates to healing and release… to growth, pleasure and enjoyment.  We laugh a lot, we love a lot, we dance, we sing, we celebrate the emergence of Queer Spirit in the world.  All the beats emanating from our circles are sent out as a call to queer souls out in the world who are seeking this kind of heartfelt, open and honest communion with each other and the unseen worlds.

GET ON THE MAILING LIST TO RECEIVE NOTIFICATIONS OF DRUM CIRCLES

Send your email to faerieuk@gmail.com or sign up on the left.

 

It’s time to renew our love.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fretful sun
kept its distance

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

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

With love, Qweaver

Shokti’s Radical Faerie Fundamentals

images

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.

Tucson 1979

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.

beltane-faeries

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?

tumblr_nk2xd3fdvo1rn2lrdo1_540

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.

peacetomymind

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

Logical Family is Everything – Bright Eyes.

Faerie Gatherings are always transformative affairs but this one would teach me a most important lesson. This was my fourth Gathering within the Tribe and for reasons I couldn’t understand, I felt sad and heavy within half an hour of arriving at Paddington Farm. Old insecurities around ageing, isolation and loneliness began to re-surface and though surrounded by love, laughter and trustworthy friends, I felt totally isolated.

If I couldn’t feel happy here, where the hell could I feel happy? The sadness persisted for two days, along with an increasing sense of irritation growing towards a number of individuals that both worried me and saddened me further. One sentence sums up my experience so far:

“Welcome to the family!”

This may seem like a grim start to a blog extolling the joys of a Faerie Gathering but it’s not the negative it appears to be. Indeed, I learned some of my most important lessons through this gathering. No one can be happy all the time and just because I was unhappy didn’t mean I wasn’t in a powerful and healing space.

Lesson no.1: Some of this shit may be ‘them’ but a lot of it is very much ‘me’ so let’s call it quits. I began to see the people pressing all my negative buttons were also having their own buttons pushed for different reasons. I’m learning if my inner child hits out, then for the most part I’ll only be hitting another vulnerable child. It’s taught me that by and large, hugs are much preferable.

Lesson no.2: Reliance on friends. My wobbly start to the Gathering has only served to reveal the extraordinary depth of care that flows from certain Faerie hearts. I experienced the unconditional love of one of my tribal elders and his gentle, almost unshakeable wisdom helped me navigate through the minefield of my own feelings. I also discovered everyone needs a Faerie Godmother from time to time. Mine has proved to be more of an Angel Godmother in this instance and she carefully wove a safe protective space around me during my time of vulnerability.

Lesson no.3: Role reversal – even my towers of strength can have feet of clay. On several occasions, the very people who kept me afloat during my own crisis began to crumble for varying reasons of their own. Ironically, I found myself as their pillar of strength, giving the same love and support they had given me. Lesson learned? Neither my friends nor I need be perfect to be strong. Being weak for much of the time is inevitable and maybe it’s time I accepted that. My hope is we won’t all be weak at the same time and there will always be someone to lean on for the person who needs support the most.

Lesson no.4: Most families are dysfunctional – Get over it. Through the course of any gathering I generally botch my way through a variety of interpersonal issues. I don’t always get it right. I very often get it spectacularly wrong. As a community, we also grapple with important issues, sometimes with heated or frustrating debate. This gathering was no exception. My lesson learned? I’ll never agree with everyone and I’ll never see the world through their eyes. Nor will they see the world through mine. I may upset you and you may also upset me. What matters most is that I learn to forgive and learn to permit difference. I may even learn to be more sensitive, when I learn to respect your wishes, even if I don’t understand where you’re coming from.

Lesson no.5: If it all gets too confusing, just bloody well escape for a couple of hours! On the afternoon I hit rock bottom, my Angel Godmother suggested we go for a walk to clear our heads. This walk was probably the most important event of the Gathering for me, for by that stage I needed solitude and detachment to navigate through my own emotions. We walked up Glastonbury Tor and from that incredible vantage point I could see for miles around and also spot Paddington Farm, looking small and insignificant in the wider landscape. For whatever reason I felt lifted and changed by the time we returned and better still, I felt less isolated.

Having periods of struggle through a gathering makes you appreciate the magical times so much more. These special times with logical family and tribe have to be experienced first hand. They cannot be fully described. The joy of this particular family is that it’s always growing, for each gathering I attend brings new and special individuals into my life, as well as strengthening and re-affirming previously forged connections. The most potent magic however was to be found walking up the Tor and around the fires with the drums. Faeries come alive when there’s drumming and especially this time as we invoked Brigid on the eve of Imbolc, the first flowering of Spring.

I may have begun the Gathering with a heavy heart but I left with a grateful heart. Partings and goodbyes are always sad but I know the Logical Family is always there for me, even though we are scattered throughout these Isles and further. My heart yearns for when we next come together.

The Strange Gathering Habits of the Lesser-Spotted Liminal Faerie – Cunty

“I only ever see you between places, heading off somewhere” he said to me. “I don’t feel like I’ve had time to get to know you”. My first emotional response was guilt. Here was a wonderful new faerie whom I had somehow failed, by not being more available for him to connect with. But hold on. If this is non-judgemental space, why am I judging myself? And why is it incumbent upon me to facilitate that connection, if this is also co-created space? Why should I feel obliged to be present and correct for everyone else, who do I think is taking the fucking register here?

All these thoughts flashed through my mind but the words I felt best able to offer this most endearingly earnest of my kin were “If you see me passing by and you want to talk, just ask if we can get some time together.” Looking back it still seems the most Faerie of possible answers. It helps a newcomer to be aware that they are equally as responsible for their experiences at a gathering and it also serves to remind me I’m as entitled to my own way of being as anyone else. But perhaps it lacks some context.

You see, I am a liminal faerie. A will o’ the wisp. It’s rare to find me in the centre of big ritual or parties. Due to my bizarre and hilarious food allergies and intolerances, I usually have a separate kitchen and therefore aren’t around at communal mealtimes. I can experience social anxiety in large groups, so sometimes I’ll retreat from them. Yes, I’ve found myself leading workshops, hosting the auction or the odd heart circle before. The great swathes of time in which I find myself reverting to a solitary, more introspective state of being tend to be more natural for me.

It’s taken a number of years to find myself at peace with my liminal status. I’ve come to accept that this means sometimes I might miss out on some aspects of a gathering. Don’t get me wrong, I marvel in delight at those who dive into the throng, the supple social swimmers who glide through rivers of interaction while I barely paddle. But the benefits of my view from the sidelines have gradually become more apparent to me.

As with almost every gathering, while at Glastonbury for Imbolc I caught a cold. Kisses, hugs, puppy piles and dormitories spread colds like nothing else. As such, on the morning when everyone was getting up early to visit the wells of Glastonbury and mingle with the locals, I slept in. Hearing the yoo-hoo from bed, I could have grabbed the nearest frock and ran over to join them, but a shower was top priority to clear my overnight congestion and bring me close to humanity/faedom.

So I emerged a half hour later, foam-arisen like a hirsute Aphrodite, thinking myself alone on the farm. As it turned out, there was another whose joi de vivre was decidedly absent that morning. And so we passed an hour or two in cantankerous companionship, two grumpy old queens airing their issues, blessed by the knowledge that we had transformed our solitary experiences into a shared cathartic qvetching workshop, attendees:2.

The night before, I wasn’t feeling drawn toward the main Imbolc ritual. Instead I sorted laundry, read, was kind to myself in terms of energy. And as I was coming back from the laundry room, bumped into a faerie who was quietly leaving at that point. So I didn’t drum that night or sing and celebrate with the crowd. Instead I had the genuine honour of being the only person to be able to bid farewell to this thoughtful and enigmatic gentle man, to offer his last hug of his third gathering.

Where once I held a sense of shame, of lacking, in my moments of being on the edge of a faerie community, now I can start to find delight in these delicate little opportunities that such a position offers.

So in hindsight, if I could offer that new gathering faerie a more florid response, it would be this;

Come find me in the quiet spaces inbetween. Seek me out in the kitchen, when a boy has broken your heart. Look for me in the corridor, when you can’t find your room and are in just a towel. Discover me by the riverbank, when we’re both feeling disconnected. Here in the shadow, at twighlight, on the sidelines, this is where small gentle acts of connection and magic happen. In these moments we will see each other, share our hearts’ stories and find deeper understanding.

Cunty.

Fuck Shame by Wood Pigeon.

I will not be shamed

I will not be ashamed

Shame has no refuge in my soul

No dark corner to harbor

To embed and unravel into my beautiful life.

 

I am animal

I am spirit

I am queer

I am gay

I fuck men

I fancy twinks

I love rimming

Cuddle me

Hold me

I am not ashamed.

 

Stick your homophobia in a primark bag

Re-cycle it

Re-use it

Lose it

I don’t give a shit

It’s your shame. You carry it home.

 

My sex mirrors you, triggers you, brings fear up in you

Follow my lead

Ditch your shame too.

 

Come take your freedom back

Birth it

Love it

Let it ooze all juicy and sap rising

Full of surprising

Spontaneous, liberating, fuck you all

It’s my one shot on earth and let your shame ridden hatred fall

Fall

Fall.

 

Breathe.

 

 

Blessings on your heart walk,

Woodie Wood Pigeon X


Walking the Labyrinth by Cunty.

I see the path I am on, the behaviour I exhibit, the words I offer and receive. I feel the rush of elation with one step, the heavy burden of shame with the next.

This is achingly familiar, from the instinct to pull away to the vulnerability of being open-hearted and loving. The twists and turns of emotions at a Faerie gathering are dizzying and mercurial. I stumble on, trusting that the path will lead me to the centre as much as I trust in the process of the heart circle.

It feels as if I’m passing back a way I’ve already come and yet it is different, leading deeper into the Mystery. In between the stumbling I also feel myself about to leap in flight. It is exhausting and exhilarating in equal measure.

I have offered my id as a sacrifice to Dionysus/Aphrodite and I am Maenad, a raving one, destroying all in my path, invulnerable and prophesying as my bleeding soles take one more step, just one more, always one more. Every touch, kiss, embrace fuels me still, pushing me further on, although I have long forgotten the question I held as I began the journey.

This bone-shearing, raucous, playful, chaotic, whimsical pilgrimage of queerness, connection, vulnerability and resilience is all I can remember, all I can taste, and all I want or need.

The gnarled dance of one who doesn’t dance, equal parts Salome, Kate Bush and Baba Yaga, cannot stop of be undone. It is the search for sustenance like the root of a tree, a tendril burrowing deeper and further down into the earth, reaching out, reaching down, and reaching inward.

Were I to see from above, if I remembered such a place, I would see the shape of the labyrinth, leading me home to myself. With such perspective I might find comfort in correspondences;

Seven coils, laid out around the centre

Seven paths, inward and outward

Seven days, seven nights of the gathering

Seven chakras, from root to crown

Seven planetary bodies, seen with the human eye

Seven gates, as Inanna passed through to the Underworld

Seven seasons, as Buffy lived (and died twice) through

But thought and reason elude me, for I am lost in the movement, ever onwards, to the centre. One path to tread, unicursally leading me to the point where there is an ending of sorts. Almost as soon as the awareness of an ending creeps in, I find myself there. I stand in the heart of the labyrinth.

The diary that I have kept for this gathering is a mirror standing tall, implacable in its cold reflection. As my breathing stills and thought once again permeates my emotional being, I am presented with the manifestation of myself, my selves, my other.

It is the Minotaur, the bull-headed beast of raging need and mistrust. The creature imprisoned, fed on the sacrifice of youths’ bodies. Asterion, the shamed one. It takes everything I have to hold still, to look him in the eye, to not back down, to not turn and run.

With each word I read from my journal I note another detail of the monster. How he is “too intense” (how many times I have been told that!). How clumsy and unseemly he is. How territorial he has become, even in his solitude and how his insatiable desire and longing are too much for any mortal being to gaze upon.

Every confession of vulnerability I have recorded is another strike of Theseus’ cock-like club, each declaration of connection and love another stab of his phallic sword until the beast lies fallen. Broken and bleeding, sides heaving and sweat slicking his hair, his breathing ragged. How can I not love him now, as I love broken things or broken people I can heal and thus prove my worth to? I pull him to me and lament all the hurt, the misunderstanding, the senseless anger, the years lost now.

When this passes, as all things do, I look around and register the change in light, the transience of time and also the acceptance of what has been. The crumpled body has evaporated like a heavy dream, though streaks of blood and filth remain.

As I return to my other life, the life between gatherings, I find myself back in the coils of the labyrinth, this time moving outwards. I apply reason and consideration to the experiences I have undergone, to the changes that are wrought in me.

As my feet retread the pathway back out, I assimilate the loves and lessons into myself, into my rational and irrational mind. I make a point of being kind with myself, of allowing myself the chance to do a little better every time I make this journey. I return with messages to and from myself, from Spirit and from the Gods.

I wrap concepts into words, the way I would package fragile ornaments for a move. Placing each one with care where I can retrieve it later and still find it whole. I recall and honour those whom I shared the journey with, shared moments with and shared a bed with.

Soon enough I find myself stepping out from the labyrinth, back again into the other-realm. I do not look back over my shoulder. I honour the path, the coils, the centre and the lessons learned as I take a breath and take another step.