Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Warning: Youth Advice Alert!

The great queer Faerie poet-film-maker James Broughton once said: ‘Crazy old men are essential to society. Otherwise young men have no suitable role models’
A young friend told me that he’d recently had a tarot reading and from this he learned that he needed a teacher.
How do the young learn from the old?
Eight years ago when I first conceived of my GaySocrates blog, my stated intention was: ‘from an experienced and seasoned perspective, to wisely corrupt the gay youth of today with love’.
Back then, in my late 40s I felt that a number of factors had conspired to keep me from accessing the elder wisdom of my queer tribe. Firstly my very queerness had inoculated me against trusting any form of authority. Secondly, I was aware that elderly queers had lived through hard times; their fundamental nature had been criminalized and construed as illness to be medically attacked so they were highly likely to have been fucked up by this. Thirdly, for me, AIDS had wiped out a whole swathe of what might have become ‘big sisters’ to me and my generation. All the potential advice and guidance they might have offered had gone up in a sad puff of crematorial smoke. And last, but by no means least, there was that creeping ageism out in our wider society which was becoming especially pernicious out on the gay pub and club scene which meant that most of the older folk I might have bumped into over a drink or two were voting with their feet and staying at home with their friends and partners.
So that’s how the blog and subsequently this GScene column came about. I wondered if there would be any value in putting my aged musings out there for the perusal of any Youth, who like me, felt a kind of ‘elder deficit’.
I’ve learned a lot over these past 8 years.

1 Probably the most important lesson has been to stop looking for the amazingly wise teacher who will offer all that advice and those fabulous make-up tips! At least for me, the idea that this person exists is a mirage. 

2 Instead my learning has come from the rich tapestry of friends and relationships (old, young and in between) I have encountered in Faerie-space away from the gay cis-male monoculture of the scene.

3 Anyone who ever purported to be a teacher of wisdom for me, probably learned far more from me than I ever did from them!

4 There is great value in appreciating the flaws of a self proclaimed guru. As Leonard Cohen famously said:
‘Forget your perfect offering, There is a crack in everything, That’s how the light gets in!’

Having said all this please be warned:

Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth. Baz Luhrmann

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Are you a closeted spiritual being?

Another Brighton Pride...So you’ve done the parade, seen the show at the park, hung out in the village, got a bit wasted. You’re out and proud! You’ve challenged the subtle (and not-so-subtle) sexuality/gender policing and shaming that you’ve been exposed to all your life. And it feels good.....
Now what? Maybe there’s even more to you than your queer identity?

Harry Hay (gay man, intellectual, activist and one of the founders of the Faeries) would often ask three questions at the start of a talk or a conference: Who are we? Where do we come from? Why are we here?

Pride marches, parades and festivals have helped us to acknowledge ourselves and to recognize and celebrate our contribution to diversity. So we’re starting to know who we are. Yet we’ve some way to go in understanding where we came from and what our purpose may be.

Hay spent time researching the role of the queer in Native American and primitive cultures. He found that these societies valued and prized their queer children as Two Spirit beings. Queer kids were encouraged to develop their shamanic nature and were cultivated to take on and hold crucial positions in the spiritual and cultural life of the tribe.
Hay believed that Two Spirits seeking each other “ghosted the twilight regions” and that the process of seeking one another and categorizing their relationships led to an intellectual breakthrough. They had the gift of seeing their own socially productive relationships as roles or constructs and so were more easily able to to see the real person behind the role play. They thus considered one another and indeed the world with a radical subjectivity, seeing through the show and establishing relationships on deeper spiritual levels.

Sadly, for most of us, our two-spirit-ness has been a mark of shame and has resulted in us being hounded out of our own religious communities. Forced to choose between our sexuality and spirituality we have had no spiritual home where our queerness could be seen as central and essential to our esoteric nature. 

Harry Hay was a communist. Back in the 1970s he wrote that the West was “in an anarcho-capitalistic social and ethical stagnation” and he believed that “the Homophile” (us queers), as descendants of the Two Spirit, had the responsibility of finding the way out.

Forty years on and the ethical and social stagnation is beginning to stink! 
Are you ready to re-kindle your spiritual flame? Do you want to join forces through the development of lore, myth and ritual to inspire contemporary action? Then get yourselves along to the Queer Spirit Festival ( 17-21 August in Wiltshire (BA13 4AQ).

Here you’ll find ceremony and ritual, earth spirituality, a sacred sexuality temple, spirit mysteries, yoga, meditation, dance workshops, music and cabaret, nature walks, heart circles.

Four days of camping in the sunshine (or rolling around in the mud!). Meeting new friends and nurturing ourselves. Let’s find each other and have some fun!

Thursday, 21 April 2016

I am Changeling!

Rose raindrops, kitten whiskers, melting to springtime!
Glamour, compassion, laughter!
Love, joy, pleasure!
Bravery, to dare, to be!

The Glorious Nurturing Dreaming!

Dog-bites, bee-stings,feeling sad!
Mundanity, bullying, tears!
Hatred, despair, discomfort!
Fear, shame, guilt!

The Neglectful Nightmare Banality!

I am Changeling!
This the Yin and Yang of my lot!
No pleasure without pain!

So...I simply remember my favourite things...
And then I don't feel so bad!

Meet me on the Other Side
Back in the Fabulous Bedlam of FaerieSpace!

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Teddy Bear Goes to Church...

Once upon a time there was a little teddy bear who was an only child. His daddy was a Lion and his mummy was a Unicorn. His daddy was ferocious and wild and his mummy was very- well- pink and fluffy. His childhood was untroubled and carefree. His mummy would dress him up in pink and fluffy clothes and all the little girl animals at school loved to play with him. They would braid his bear-hair tying it with rainbow ribbons and everyone thought that Teddy Bear was soooooo cute.

Then came the time for Teddy Bear to go to Big School. It was different there and, on his first day, all the other animals crowded round him in his pink knitted shorts and his pink fur cap. They said ‘That’s not the way bears dress. You should be ferocious and wild like your Lion daddy’. Teddy Bear burst into tears. He was confused and upset and when he got home he ran to his room and wouldn’t come out. He made up his mind right there and then that, although he did love pink and fluffy, he was going to be ferocious and wild from that day on and he wasn’t going to have anything to do with those girls any more.

As the years went by he began to realize that he was drawn to the boys and their ferocious and wild ways, in the way that the boys were drawn to the girls and their pink and fluffy ways. He noticed too that there were some pink and fluffy boys too who were also attracted to the ferocious and wild boys.

Pink and fluffy boys made him feel uncomfortable and he decided he wouldn’t have anything to do with them either. But the ferocious and wild boys began to pick up that there was something not quite right about Teddy Bear and though they were friendly enough towards him, they didn’t invite him to their ferocious and wild parties where the pink and fluffy girls liked to hang out.

Teddy Bear left school as soon as he could hoping that life would be easier as a Grown-Up. It was tough pretending to be ferocious and wild but the shame of that first day at Big School kept him well away from pink and fluffy whenever it came his way.

One day when he was feeling particularly lonely, sitting on a park bench and wondering if he would ever be happy, he saw a teddy bear just like him walking straight towards him. He smiled and then sat right down beside him on the bench.
‘Hi my name is Ed, you look to me as though you’d enjoy a teddy bear’s picnic’
Teddy was mystified ‘What’s a teddy bear’s picnic’
Ed laughed ‘Oh it’s just a chance to hang out with other teddy bears. In fact there’s one down in the Woods and it’s happening today!’

Teddy could hardy contain his excitement ‘What? Just teddy bears hanging out?’
‘Yup!’ said Ed ‘All ferocious and wild!’
‘What? No pink and fluffy anywhere?’
‘Wow’ said Teddy ‘sounds amazing’

So off he went with Ed into the woods and oh what a Big Surprise!
Teddy was ferocious and wild in ways that he’d never dared to dream were possible. From then on he knew he’d found his tribe. All teddy bears. All ferocious and wild. ‘Heaven on Earth’ he thought.

But as the years went by, as lovely as it was to hang out with teddy bears all the time, he found that life still felt a little empty and same-y. Ferocious and wild had started to feel empty and exhausting. There was something missing from his life.

He wondered if going to church would help. But they were all worshiping a God that was ferocious and wild and frankly he’d had his fill of ferocious and wild worship. Someone said if he became a Pagan he could worship a Goddess instead. So off he went to a few rituals. But he found the Goddess far too pink and fluffy for his liking.

He decided that he really wanted to find a Deity that was neither ‘Ferocious and Wild’ nor ‘Pink and Fluffy’. He wanted a Deity that was ‘Just Right’

Maybe one day he’ll find ‘The Church for Teddy Bears Worshiping the Deity which is Just Right’

Maybe he’ll decide, that because right now that Church isn’t there just yet, he’ll make a wish and manifest it into being.

Now wouldn’t that be fabulous boys and girls?

And then they could all live Happily Ever After.....

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Who Are We?

We are DIVINE.....
We are blossoming creativity
Manifesting glamorous beauties!

We feel the love
And it moves through us.

We dare to let inspiration be our guide.
Shamelessly we engage our power.

With guilt-free pleasure and balance
We ground ourselves securely
As our evolving consciousness
Changes Everything Forever!

We are Sacred Fools
And our buffoonery brings deep understanding!

We sing. We dance. We write. We paint.
We heal. We love. We drum.

We are the Divine Faerie Fools of Featherstone.




Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Less Sport, More Sexual Spirituality!

OK, so as a queer community we brought our LGBTQ-ness into socializing in pubs together, we brought it into singing together, and wow, we even brought it into doing sports together. So where is the last bastion of bravely going where we’ve never been before, visibly, together? Maybe it’s in the Arena, or rather, in the Temple of being Spiritual together!
How many of us have buried the dirty little secret of our spiritual nature, after years of being told that our marginal sexual- and gender-queerness was incompatible with spirituality? That sexual beings ‘aint welcome in spiritual communities (unless of course it’s about procreating 2.4 replacements utilizing the missionary position and thinking of England)?
What if there were spiritual congregations who not merely tolerated our queerness, but positively celebrated it? What if the spiritual leadership were queer themselves and put their queerness right at the heart of their spiritual practices and rituals?
Well, the Good News is, it’s happening right here, right now in Brighton and you could become part of this revolutionary evolution of consciousness.
If you’re on the verge of coming out to your spirituality, then, watch out, you may be about to discover your very own queer spiritual community!
Here are a few dates for your diary. First of all, though, I recommend that you read ‘Coming Out To Spirituality: The Next Step’ by Christian de la Huerta. It ought to help a little with the de-programming necessary for any Coming Out process.
Next it’s time to blow away your parochial cob-webs and get out into nature. There are a couple of festivals this summer which will give you a chance to network with kindred queer spirits. 

There is the Quintasensual Festival- a Queer Tantra Festival (30July-4August) now in its 3rd year held at the Earth Spirit Centre near Glastonbury. Here, waiting to welcome you, is a community of Straight, Kinky, Queer, Gay, Lesbian and Trans* folk living, workshopping, spiritually practicing and loving together.

In August, for the first time in the history of the Universe, is the Queer Spirit Festival (Wednesday 17- Sunday 21) in the middle of the Wiltshire countryside. A Spiritual Festival run by queers for queers where joy and nakedness and spirituality will all be positively encouraged!

If you go to either (or both) of these festivals you’ll get a chance to meet the lovely queer Spiritual Leader Al Head who recently brought their highly acclaimed ‘This Land Sex Magic’ Workshop to Brighton and is planning more in response to popular demand (Google it and then watch the space)
The interesting thing in all this is that you will not only get the chance to meet a new breed of Queer Spiritual Leaders but you will begin to realize that you, yourself, are in the vanguard of a whole new era of Spirituality where the very core of your sexuality and gender-queerness is celebrated and can be integrated into the magic and mystery of your conscious awareness.

And that could end up being a whole lot of fun! See you there?

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Faerie Full-Moon Ritual Sunday 24/1/16

Winter night air
Freezing our breath

Ritual Fire
Breathing bright flames

Icy-cold Water
Burbling soft sounds

Snow covered Earth
Sparkling with frost

Magic Full-Moon
Shining pale rays

Five Faerie Hearts
Twinkling with joy

Silent Moonbow
Playing with Light

Glamour is shaped
Poetry made

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Tantric Sex and Finding The Meaning of Life......

“Every Time I find the meaning of life-they change it”
This is the title of a book by Daniel Klien that caught my attention as I was browsing at Waterstone’s last week. It made me chuckle!
The thing is, that I might just have discovered the meaning of life, the universe and everything in a book I’m currently reading about the Philosophy, History and Practice of Tantra by the respected and remarkably lucid Sanskrit scholar Christopher Wallis. 
Because Tantra is one of the few spiritual traditions which embraces sex and sexuality within its meditative practices, and because we live in a culture which generally sees spirituality as separate and somehow above sexuality, there is much confusion and misinformation about it all. 
One friend said to me when I was considering paying for a Tantric massage “Come on- it’s not worth that! Its just a posh wank”. And a few days ago I was chatting with some friends one of whom is training as a Tantric Masseur and none of us could come up with a definition of what Tantra actually was.
So, brace yourself; here’s the central belief system from page 55 of Wallis’ book

“All that exists, throughout all time and beyond, is one infinite divine Consciousness, free and blissful, which projects within the field of its awareness a vast multiplicity of apparently differentiated subjects and objects: each object an actualization of a timeless potentiality inherent in the Light of Consciousness, and each subject the same plus a contracted locus of self awareness.

“This creation, a divine play, is the result of the natural impulse within Consciousness to express the totality of its self-knowledge in action, an impulse arising from love. The unbounded Light of Consciousness contracts into finite embodied loci of awareness out of its own free will.

“When those finite subjects then identify with the limited and circumscribed cognitions and circumstances that make up this phase of their existence, instead of identifying with the trans-individual overarching pulsation of pure Awareness that is their true nature, they experience what they call “suffering”.

“To rectify this, some feel an inner urge to take up the path of spiritual gnosis and yogic practice, the purpose of which is to undermine their misidentification and directly reveal within the immediacy of awareness, the fact that the divine powers of Consciousness, Bliss, Willing, Knowing and Acting comprise the totality of individual experience as well- thereby triggering a recognition that one’s real identity is that of the highest Divinity, the Whole in every part.

“This experiential gnosis is repeated and reinforced through various means until it becomes the non-conceptual ground of every moment of experience, and one’s contracted sense of self and separation from the Whole is finally annihilated in the incandescent radiance of the complete expansion into perfect wholeness.

“Then one’s perception fully encompasses the reality of a universe dancing ecstatically in the animation of its completely perfect divinity.”

Wow-just wow!