For a decade now, I have been running around the UK, Europe and beyond to join other Queers in creating intimate spiritual events, transcending differences of religion and background to connect to the core spiritual energies that sustain Life. These are places of soul discovery and celebration – they feel very 21st century, very ‘age of Aquarius’ and very free; they are places where we as Queers, can think for ourselves – and feel for ourselves, how we are part of nature and the cosmos. Usually held far from cities, these meetings take place in forests, on mountains, beaches, even in medieval castles.
We celebrate Life and gay liberation, in some ways similarly to what goes on in our city scenes – in others, quite radically different; we attune to the natural cycles of the planet; and we allow the loving nature of queer people to shine through – away from pressures of the commercial world, we find that emotion and spirit comfortably enter the conversation and uplift us into harmonious, joyous states of being.
I get very motivated and excited by these events because of the love and community that I experience at them. I see myself and others dropping barriers to connection and intimacy, embracing healing and growth, and sensing ourselves to be part of a historical movement; away from the shallow commercialism of gay community life, as we connect to the hidden history of the spiritual roles that queer people have played on this planet.
I wasn’t always so spiritually motivated. As a young child, I enjoyed the cosy feelings I found in the village Anglican church, but at the age of 12 I rejected all religion as irrational – about the same time as I was becoming aware that, unlike the people around me, I was attracted sexually and emotionally to members of the same gender. I cannot say the two events were consciously connected, but removing religion from the picture certainly made the coming out process less threatening – only the social stigma to face :-)!
At the age of 25 in 1990, I was diagnosed HIV+ and told I had maybe 7 years to live. A few years into this journey, the threat of death pushed me to ask deep questions about life – I opened my mind, and heart, to the possibility of the existence of something bigger than me, something existing in consciousness that was perhaps the source of my life. Having a background in historical research, I was not going to simply accept anyone else’s answers to life’s mysteries – I wanted to study all the world’s religions and to learn from spiritual teachings ancient and modern. My search for answers took the form of an appeal to the universe, and the response was immediate and dramatic. I spent days and weeks wrapped in feelings of bliss and sensations of light. I felt myself free of the physical constraints imposed by the body and came to see that body as a vehicle for the elevation of my consciousness. I addressed difficult questions regarding sex and sexuality and found that not every spiritual path rejected these things – that in fact sex could be a direct and powerful way to experience spiritual realities, and that my queer sexuality might even open a sacred doorway that is so powerful, I could see why patriarchal heterosexual religious systems tried to stigmatize it.
I came to feel that the pressure of impending death had taken me on an accelerated path of soul discovery – that beyond the levels of growth into adulthood that society accepts, there is a deeper level of awakening to soul. Coming out about my sexuality had prepared me to question life and seek answers within myself, but it took the threat of annihilation to bring this transition about. I came to feel that all humans are on this path – due to awaken to the deeper currents and riches that run through life, but that this will only happen when we transcend the fears and obsessions of our egos – which often happens only as a result of crisis. I see the whole human species as being in this place of crisis now – politically, socially, economically, environmentally – it is as if the world has AIDS. Only deep questioning and alignment with the spiritual realities of love, unity and compassion will change things.
My vision suggests that gay people have an important role in this transformation. Not only do we need to realise for ourselves that we are in essence SOUL not ego, and discover the powers that lie in our souls, but the world needs us to awaken to our spiritual role in the human family. This role was played out in native tribes around the globe – for example as the Berdache in the Native American tribes, the Galli priests of ancient and medieval Europe, the gatekeeper shamans of the Dogara tribe in Africa (Blossom of Bone by Randy P. Connor, is the most thorough exploration of this). We were the shamans and healers – often accorded special status, our position standing somewhere between the genders, opening us to be communicators also between the material and spiritual planes.
The modern scientific age has done much to remove the hegemony that religions held over the lives of humanity, but it cannot dispense with spirit as much as many of its proponents might like to. Spirit is the deepest, truest reality, and we are its gatekeepers. At radical faerie gatherings, gay spirit events, Edward Carpenter community retreats, I get to bathe in the glorious love of queer tribe, in the healing balm of nature and in the uplifting realities of Spirit.
I am a steward of FOLLETERREeurofaerie sanctuary in France, and invite all queers to come get a taste of the natural magic. I am also part of a team of queer men organising LOVESPIRIT, a day of workshops and community networking, coming up in london on September 24th – a groundbreaking day celebrating queer spirituality.
Hope to see you there!
Copyright © 2011 Marco Lovestar.