She would maintain that there is a prevailing oppressive culture governed by an outmoded drive to maintain a constant readiness for war. A need to pay homage to a King as: Judge, Censor, Conqueror, Master of Servants, Orderer of the Universe.... “Each aspect carries with it an obsession with its own issues and a view of the self and the world. Each brandishes its own weapons and threats and makes its own particular offer, which presumably we cannot refuse. Each deludes us in its own way and each contains some positive value we must reclaim.”
From this perspective we are seen as subjects to serve the ruling, warring powers who have power-over us. However, our birthright as LGBTQ folk has afforded us a perspective which is able to see this for the nonsense it is. Our own personal drive to become the beings we truly are has enabled us to overcome adverse judgements, has empowered us to speak out when told to shut up. We rock the boat when warned that invaders are afoot. We are prepared to get above our station and we just don’t care when we’re told we just ‘aint natural. We are more comfortable away from structures of Power-over and embrace models respecting our own unique intrinsic power.
Power-over is threatened by Power-with and will oppress, restrict, suffocate, subdue, poison, weaken, threaten, intimidate any attempts to undermine it!
So how do we win out against a war hungry, subjugating culture hell bent on stripping its members of their immanent value? The answer, according to Starhawk, is not to go hearts-and-minds-pleading for it to give a little of its power back. The answer is to team together to reclaim our own personal power as natural creatures of this earth. To invoke the reality of the magick of focussed intention. This is guerrilla warfare with Cunts, Cocks and Guts!
Radial Faerie founding father, Harry Hay famously challenged the early gay civil rights pioneers who were clamoring for assimilation to ‘shed the ugly frog-skin of hetero-conformity’. They were busy pleading for the right to be free from persecution on the basis that they were just like everyone else apart from their sexuality. Ask yourself do you really want to join the queue to join this crazy mixed up society? The fact of our sexuality may be one of the few things we have in common with all those governed by this power-over system.
I don’t need to persuade anyone that I deserve my intrinsic power to be honored. I simply reclaim that power rooted in my own Fire, Water, Earth, Air and Faerie-Spirit. In my determination to be that which (Witch) I am to become.
1980: I’m sitting nervously with a handful of guys at the back of a newly opened gay bookshop in central London. It’s the first of its kind. Its very existence is a political act of defiance. My presence there represents a giant step out from the suffocating safety of a closeted lifetime. I know the shop has been regularly raided by the police for ‘obscene’ publications.. Maliciously thrown bricks have recently shattered the windows at the front. John is the manager and Charlie is the owner. They are the conveners of this meeting- a Gay Icebreakers Group- offering support to men like me. I’m 20 years old and the law says it’s illegal for me to have sex with a man until I’m 21. My parents, my teachers, my church, my friends have made it clear to me that sexual attraction to men at any age is shamefully unacceptable. Years of conditioning have trained me to fear and stifle the public expression of my authentic self. Here, for the first time in my life I’m in the presence of men bravely bearing witness to another way of being. They talk about the political importance of ‘coming out’ by making my sexual self visible. I’m full of arguments about why that would be impossible for me. My parents would disown me. My friends would shun me. I’m a medical student- what would my colleagues say? How would my patients react? They chide me from my intellectual defenses by appealing to my hungrily aching animal urges: “Well maybe what you need to do is just have lots and lots and lots of sex with men” A few months later I will bump into one of the men in the lift lobby at the hospital. He’s visiting his boyfriend who is seriously ill in the Intensive Care Unit. It turns out that this is the first identified case of AIDS in the UK. A few months later he’s dead and I’m in a lecture theatre hearing from his doctor about this new disease spreading like wild-fire among gay men. It was tough back then. I was marginalized by my differentness and felt isolated and alone. I didn’t realize at the time that what I perceived as my misfortune was, in fact, a blessing in disguise. The blessing of meta-positioning. The gift of a powerful drive to question and confront the received wisdom of my culture. The recognition of my unique purpose. The chance to become consciously aware of how powerful influences could operate within my secular consumer society to veer me away from my true nature- not just with regard to my sexuality but also in respect of my gender identity, my animalistic self and even the sense of my spiritual self.
With gay emancipation and hetero-normative assimilation comes a loss of the social criminal’s unifying ‘outsider’ perspective. As a gay man maybe I have a twinge of nostalgia for this but then again as a Queer Faerie Spirit Warrior maybe not!
FSM is a group process evolved by Faeries to help male bodied queers to reconnect their sexual selves with their deeper sense of emotional intimacy.
What does it involve?
It involves getting together with a small group of men and, over the course of a week, developing the confidence to open your deeper self to them as they open to you. It involves sharing from the heart and recognising that it is not only safe but also worthy of love to reveal your vulnerabilities and to witness others exposing theirs.
That sounds scary!
It all happens in a venue which is protected from the distractions of the noisy world most of us occupy. The whole process is facilitated by Faeries who have been involved with its growth since it was first conceived by Harry Hay- one of the originators of the Faeries as a development of queer consciousness.
The foundation of the sharing is the Faerie Heart Circle derived from the Native American Indian tradition of sharing circles. Heart Circle involves passing a talisman or ‘talking stick’ around the circle. When you have the talisman it’s your turn to share, when you pass on the talisman it’s your turn to listen!
So what’s magickal about it?
When a small group agree to give each other their non-judgemental attention in Heart Circle something quite unexpected happens. The level of emotional intimacy within the group rapidly intensifies in a surprising and almost magickal way.
And where does the sex come into it?
The intention of the Heart Circling is to develop the emotional intimacy in the group so there is enough trust for permissions to be given to each and every member of the group so that loving touch can be given and received. When this stage has been reached the group enters into ‘Ritual Space’
What Happens in ‘Ritual Space’
It is up to the group how erotic and sensual touch will manifest. Once the trust and emotional intimacy has developed there is no shortage of imaginative yet sensitive ideas as to how the group could relate to each other sexually.
Now that’s starting to sound interesting! Can anyone do it?
If you’ve never experienced sharing in Heart Circle before you would be advised to get some practice at this before going on a full FSM workshop. The Brighton Faeries hold Heart Circles every so often (email firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the list) and there are monthly Edward Carpenter Community Heart Circles usually held on the second Sunday of the month (email email@example.com for details)
So what’s your experience of FSM?
I have attended 2 FSM workshops. Because of the depth of sharing on a workshop the group promises that they will respect each other’s confidentiality.
What I can say is that, aside from the pure enjoyment of entering into an emotionally safe yet sexually intimate space with a bunch of lovely men, I am now profoundly changed for the better! Check it out at
In my 55th year I’m finally granted the experience of orphanhood. Dad died last year then, almost to the day, mum went off her food and within 6 weeks was lying in a box in the ground just above him.After years of illness dad’s death had been a relief but mum had been fit and well all of her life so although she was 92 it is still shocking!
I had had that ‘special’ bond that sissy boys can have with their mums- when I was a kid it was me she got to blow-dry her hair and not my sister! Thankfully life moved us on and, whilst I grew up, came out and developed adult-to-adult emotional relationships she granted the space for this and committed to her relationship with that grumpy, patriarchal, emotionally wounded man: my difficult to love father.
After dad died there was the promise of rekindling our closeness. In that final year we spent weekends together doing crosswords, watching TV and just hanging out. We flew to Switzerland for a holiday. We spent last Christmas together. However the plans to get her down to Brighton and for shopping trips to London, were all snatched away.
In what seemed like no time at all, she went from being a totally independent, intelligent and capable woman to an anaemic husk of a being, struggling to breathe. She’d been offered surgery to bypass the tumor in her stomach but she quickly made up her mind to reject this and opted to die at home in the company of her children. We watched helplessly as she rapidly slipped away.
As a solitary Pagan Taoist Ex-Catholic Faerie I’d felt extremely unsupported spiritually when my father had died. To me, the roman catholic funeral ceremony seemed stuffed with empty, meaningless, liturgical mumbo-jumbo. When I heard that mum had gone off her food, I instinctively ordered Starhawk’s book ‘The Pagan Book of Living and Dying’ anticipating developing my own closing ritual. Sadly, things moved too quickly and, once again the default ritual clicked into place. This time however I had the support of a special Faerie friend (Flute) who offered to help my mother’s spirit to pass. At the moment of my mother’s death I texted Flute who did the necessary.
I now have a ball of soil from my mother’s grave (Earth), a lock of her hair (Air) and the paper tissue I used to dry the tears I wept at her funeral (Water). I’m going to plant these items in the roots of a Flowering Cherry Tree. My ritual will celebrate the life and vitality which is now occasioned by their death.
As a pot plant may feel both contained yet restrained by its pot, I too have been contained yet restrained by my loving parents. Now the pot is broken. It is time for my roots to feed on the abundant richness of the Earth. Thank-you and RIP Kath and Harry.
I have a friend who claims that his favorite sport is ‘sauna sexercise’. It’s probably my favorite sport too! And although gay saunas have their many detractors I have come to the conclusion that, for me, with the right frame of mind, the gay sauna is probably one of the best venues not only for a thorough sex workout but also for the possibility of some sacred sexual intimacy.
So how do I approach the Holy Temple of Sacred Sexercise?
1 I don’t go to the sauna expecting anything other than a better than average chance of giving love, of that love being received, and, as a result, finding myself in communion with another bloke and thereby with The Divine. Namaste: the deity within me worshiping the deity within him worshiping the deity within me.
2 I attempt to cultivate a simple acceptance of every single body present at any particular time. For me sauna encounters are an opportunity to engage in unconditional love. So, no approach is rejected and there is no sense of too old, too young, too fat, too hairy, or, believe it or not, too well hung! In the sauna I’m not looking for a movie-star, a trophy or a lifelong lover. I’m simply reveling in the amazing nature of naked male sexuality, much as I would be reveling in the amazing nature of arboreal energy in some ancient woodland. (A tree however is much happier to be unconditionally hugged than is your average bloke-in-a-sauna)
3 Personally I’m not big on hunting and I’m more comfortable being pursued. However if it seems that someone is intent on being sought I can dance that dance too! With hunting, though, there is always the risk of a rejection and here again the frame of mind is crucial. If someone seems interested and then changes their mind that’s cool. If someone seems to be wanting to hurt me with their rejection I can’t take that personally. Instead I get a chance to feel compassion for the mixed-up-ness going on for that person. I’m a big believer that the most important relationship anyone has, is the relationship they have with themselves. Anyone hanging around a sauna attempting to hurt others with their rejections is likely to be struggling. Worthy of a gentle blessing and a fairly wide birth!
4 I approach (and expect to be approached by) my potential sacred lovers in a way which is respectful of emotional, psychological and physical safety. So just as I would not wish to knowingly emotionally or psychologically unsettle a lover, I would also endeavor to safeguard their physical safety too. Erotic touch can be so many things within the realm of safer sex.
5 Finally,remember if you’re going to give yourself a treat, give yourself the gift of unconditional love because (unless you encounter me in the sauna) you can be sure as hell no one else is going to give it to you!
I'm emotionally exhausted. My mother is 92 and has just been diagnosed with a very advanced stomach cancer which is preventing her from eating anything or drinking much. I'm just back from a 6 day stint nursing her on my own 24/7 during which time she deteriorated from being totally independent on day 1 to requiring total nursing care by day 3 with no services being aware of how bad things had become. She was offered the possibility of an operation to bypass the tumour with a plastic tube but she understandably declined. When I left her in the capable hands of district nurses, hospice workers and my older brother and sister yesterday she wasn't sure if she'd be able to manage to drink sufficient to keep herself alive for Mother's Day tomorrow when my eldest brother arrives from Canada. As I kissed her goodbye I said that it would probably be the last time I saw her alive. She said 'Don't worry about that- I'll always be with you'. I drove the 250 miles back home yesterday choking and blinking back my painful pangs of grief. There's a part of me thinking I should be back there sitting vigil with my brothers and sister whilst she dies. I'm totally drained from the unexpected horribleness of it all. They all understood why I needed to get some distance from it for a few days. I'm hoping she'll hold out until this Friday when I had scheduled a weeks annual leave from work (I'd been due to be traveling up to a long anticipated faerie gathering at Featherstone Castle but I won't be able to do that now) It's most likely that I'll get a call over the next few days to say she won't last long and I'll jump in the car for the 6/7 hours drive and catch her final minutes/hours/days. Then there'll be the funeral to get through. And then at the age of 54 I'll be embarking on the adjustment to my newly orphaned status. The Earth Mother Loved her into life! She lived Love into my life! As one of the most beautiful stars in the Universe, She is about to return to the womb, And her Love has now become a golden thread In the fabric of our community. Wu Chi-Tai Chi- Wu Chi
I love my own nature. I love the satisfaction it takes from indulging its basic lusts, hungers and thirsts. And I love the joy it feels from being engaged in a higher purpose.
The challenge, I find, in a skewed world which overvalues the material and undervalues the ethereal, is to maintain a sense of balance. How, in presence, do I dance on the tightrope between divinity and mundanity in my moment to moment existence?
How do I feed my Faerie?
Here are a handful of activities I’ll be engaged with this month-you might want to join me?
1 Naked Yoga
If you are a male bodied Faerie and you like to get your kit off you might like to try a naked yoga session with Nickles (Sunday 8th February 4pm, Holistic Health Clinic, Preston Circus)- www.altogetheryoga.com
Yoga is a great way to bring to attention the importance of balancing and binding together your physical self with those aspects of you that are not physical. The state of nakedness creates a surprisingly loving, accepting and non-competitive atmosphere.
2 Faerie Gathering
By the time you are reading this you will have probably just missed the Glastonbury Imbolc Weekend (30 January-3 February) but it’s not too late to book for the March Featherstone Gathering (20-30 March) see
‘Leave behind the mundane and the conventional.... Ignite your passions, delight your senses, take risks, learn and teach.... commune with nature, embrace whimsy, transform yourself, delve deep into the profound, dissolve in laughter…
In a magical castle in Northumberland we will share and listen at heart circles, cook and eat delicious meals together, dress up, dress down, frolic in the love temple, snuggle by the fire, drum, sing, dance and make merry.’
Have an adventure in self development and discovery. If you want to jiggle things up a bit and blow away the cob-webs I’d strongly recommend it!
5 Rhythms isn’t about learning dance moves- it’s about learning to spontaneously move in a self compassionate way in space and time to music. There’s no-one there to tell you how to do it. You just turn up and start moving to the music- however you like. And it will be right! There is no judgement! It’s an exercise in freeing your body and spirit from constraints, restrictions, guilt and shame. The crowd there are people of all shapes, sizes, ages, genders and sexualities.
So, here’s the thing! Biologically I’m a bloke. Psychologically I can identify as a man. So that would make me a Cis-gendered male. However I am also able to identify as a woman. Not so that ‘I feel like a woman trapped in a man’s body’ but enough that I enjoy inhabiting feminine attire and relating/ being related to, at least partially, as female. From a gender-world view I don’t fit into the Cis- world and I don’t fit into the Trans- world. Cis- men find my drag puzzling and unnecessary. Trans- women resent my ability to pass as Cis- and do not accept me into their fold either. Maybe just as Bisexuals will often complain that from a sexuality point of view they are at home in neither the gay nor the straight world, I, from a gender point of view am at home in neither the Cis- nor the Trans- world. Maybe there could be a word for it-Bigendered? Or Cis-ish?
I’ve just returned from the US. I went to a gay night-club in the Castro district of San Francisco where I allowed my feminine a degree of expression....
Green velveteen poncho with the pink fringe Blue ripped denimette lycra tights Peers over half-moon leopard print framed specks A brightly coloured plastic butterfly quivering on the brim of the Dark brown floppy top-hat textured with light faun bobbles.
No bosom swells the green fabric Just the sturdy shoulders of a masculine frame. A definite bulge in the crotch of those skin-tight blue jeans And substantial manly thighs there too Who is this grotesque come to ruin the night at the Badlands Castro Bar?
“Nice Poncho, Honey” “Wow-those jeans” The bouncer braces, sensing imminent danger. The bartender, with eyes conceding discomfort, attempts nonchalance But knocks over glasses as he delivers the requested soda.
Around the dance floor sneers and elbowing Saying “Look, what the cat dragged in” “This bar ‘aint for folk like you” “Why don’t you stick with yo’ own kind”
But the siren calls of the diva deities and their dancing dollies Beam down from the plasma walls of this coliseum And the straight-acting boys (Pissed, stoned and almost wasted Usually reluctant to have their sissy invoked) Are anesthetized enough now to access at least a caricature of their pansy nature. The Dance effervesces rare breaths of oxygen into a testosterone driven femininity suffocating world. Even the trans-lads take a few panting gasps as they wiggle their hips and lip-synch to Kylie.
So here the Cis-ish Faerie dances The Dance Dances with the space between the backs of disgusted dancers Dances with the Mascinine-Femculine divine within Dances as a laugh in the face of the disapproving Dances a prayer that the “Loved Feminine” become manifest in all ourselves That the “Hated, Despised, Repressed Feminine” be seen, acknowledged, understood And gently embraced with love!
Dances it all to Oblivion! Dances it all to Eternity! Dances it all to The Cosmos!
The Radical Faerie Community is growing in Brighton.
GS interviews Brighton Faerie Mushoom about the Faeries and how they are busying themselves changing the world!
When and how did you identify as a Radical Faerie?
My first Faerie gathering was at Featherstone Castle just 5 years ago. I was lucky to have made friends with a guy who had already been to a few Faerie gatherings. He reckoned that I’d love the Faeries.
He was right. For me, as a lifelong secretly self-identified freak, Featherstone Castle was a magical home-coming to my very own tribe of misfits and marginals. The love of all things natural, the embrace of chaos, the acceptance of all shapes and sizes, the seam of deep spirituality yet the absence of proselytizing and hierarchy made for a very welcoming and nurturing space. It was my first taste of Faerie Sanctuary where I could begin the process of establishing my divinely intended purpose. Since then I have been back to Featherstone every year and I’ve also made a habit of staying at the Folleterre Faerie Sanctuary in Eastern France for a week or two every year as well.
I have always been profoundly affected by each and every gathering I’ve attended, learning about my gender, my sexuality, my undernourished appetites, my woundings, my capacity to self-heal and my previously unseen personal obstacles to self-love, the love of others and ultimately the love of the universe.
What do the Radical Faeries mean to you?
To me the Radical Faeries are a deeply rooted international network of divinely inspired beings. As a development of human consciousness, the Faeries have a natural intrinsic intent to nurture the sacred within. The Faeries do this by generating magical faerie-space, encouraging physical, emotional and spiritual authenticity in all who encounter it directly. Once manifested this authenticity changes the world irrevocably!
What do you understand by the terms ‘Gay’ and ‘Queer’? Which do you identify with, as a Faerie, and why?
Back in 2009 I was a successfully assimilated ‘out’ Gay Man. I was a homeowner in a longterm monogamous same-sex partnership with 2.4 cats! My whole life had been an exercise in demonstrating to the wider society that I deserved equal rights. For my generation of assimilationists, the prize we ultimately won for the LGBT community was a range of human rights- rights to civil partnership, rights to be able to foster and adopt, rights to an equal age of consent, rights even to join the army if we’d wanted to.
Trouble was, that once I’d been fully shoehorned into my assimilated box I really couldn’t breath. I felt ungrateful. It felt unsafe to be losing the gift of my outsider status. I didn’t really enjoy my begrudgingly accepted life-style. The Church, who had caused me to throw out the ‘baby’ of my spiritual identity with the corrupt ‘bathwater’ of organized religion continued to disapprove of my nature.
That’s when I met the Faeries. They gave me permission to find a source of spiritual growth in the full cultivation of my sexuality. They invited me to discover the divine purpose of my bi-gendered nature and to reject assimilation as a bad deal. I was afforded intimate exposure, in heart-circle space, to the divine feminine (both within myself and in others) Happily I have traveled away from the restrictive box of ‘Gay Man’ and I have arrived at the much gentler and less divisive identity of Queer Spirit. This brings me great joy!
What do you think about the rituals in the Radical Faerie community? How do they affect you personally?
1 In my experience, the most profound and transformative ritual in the Radical Faerie Community is the ritual of the Heart Circle. Revealing my heart-felt self to non-judgmental, lovingly accepting Faeries has been both challenging and rewarding. Bearing witness to the revelation of heart-felt truths in a non-judgmental and lovingly accepting way has revealed some surprising shared experiences and also enabled the cultivation of that gift of experiencing the vicarious feel of another Faerie’s moccasins as they go on their own journey. The most potent experience I have had of the powerfully transformative and healing influence of the Heart Circle Ritual was the Folleterre 2013 Sex Magick workshop. 7 days of continuous heart circling with a closed group of Faeries with the intention to create sacred ritual space for the authentic expression of loving touch. I was so impressed by its impact both on myself and others that I’m planning to attend another in October.
2 I also see the ‘Know (or No) Talent Show’ as a wonderful exercise in almost unacknowledged Ritual Space capable of promoting profound personal transformation for those in both ‘performer’ and ‘witness’ roles. As a performer I offer my creative self in total vulnerability. In the role of witness I am able to appreciate, as a practice in unconditional love, the channeled beauty of creation. I’m amazed at the growth I feel from the acknowledgement of my offering. I am enchanted and delighted by the offerings of others.
3 The Faerie Gathering itself is an extended ritual space with its opening ritual invoking the magical healing energies which will nurture the cultivation of our authentic selves. And also its closing rituals helping us to acknowledge the power of the transformative energies we have manifested but also their potential limitations to influence beyond the immediate environment of Faerie Space.
Do you see the Radical Faeries fulfilling a role in the greater human community?
What do you think it is?
The unfurling and fluttering of a single Faerie’s wings in Faerie Space is enough to create a revolutionary wind of change for the planet!
There are now regular Faerie drum circles at the Brighton Unitarian Church.
Request details by joining the Brighton Faerie email group: firstname.lastname@example.org