Spiritual liberation is the missing element in the modern journey of LGBTIQ+ people around the world. Coming out about our sexuality or gender identity results from our need to be true to ourselves, we listen to our souls and from the soul comes the courage to be who we are. The same principle applies to spirituality – it comes from inside us.
External forms of spirituality, i.e. religions, are cultural manifestations of collective spirituality, but they are also controlling, often repressive forces, set up to bring order and cohesion to society, but often crippling creativity and spontaneity. The fact that certain religions have got so caught up in their dark fascination with hatred of our kind should tell us something – perhaps that we have some power, some magic, in our souls – that they are very afraid of.
Will Roscoe wrote in From ‘Priests of the Goddess: Gender Transgression in Ancient Religion (1996) “At the time of the birth of Christ, cults of men devoted to a Goddess flourished throughout the broad region extending from the Mediterranean to south Asia.”
Raven Kaldera: “Transgendered people have long been robbed of their own spiritual history, not knowing that there were once times and places where ours was considered a spiritual path in and of itself… We are all sacred and it is time that the world knew it.”
“The modern world was built by Christianity. They have taken the gods out of the earth sent them to heaven, wherever that is. And everyone who aspires to the gods must then negotiate with Christianity, so that the real priests and priestesses are out of a job.” Malidoma Some, Dagara Tribe
Lesbians, Gay Men and Trans people are the natural priests of humanity. Our bodies are not only temples, they are holy shrines at which to make offerings, they are sacred rituals in action! This is what we sexual and gender outlaws all have in common – our persecution since the rise of the patriarchal, monotheistic religions is rooted in the suppression of pagan faiths, where the Goddess and queer deities such as Dionysus reigned supreme, where sexuality was understood as a divine, sacred force within us, and ecstatic rituals kept the spirit connected, alive and real.
“Our beautiful lovely sexuality is the gateway to spirit. Under all organised religions of the past, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, there has been a separation of carnality, or shall we say of flesh or earth or sex, and spirituality. As far as I am concerned they are all the same thing, and what we need to do as faeries is to tie it all back together again.” Harry Hay, Radical Faerie
Judith Grahn: “The tribal attitude said, and continues to say, that Gay people are especially empowered because we are able to identify with both sexes and can see into more than one world at once, having the capacity to see from more than one point of view at a time.”
in the spiritual desert of the 21st century…..
WHAT DO WE DO WITH THIS KNOWLEDGE?
We bring healing…
Audre Lorde: “The sharing of joy, whether physical, emotional, psychic or intellectual, forms a bridge between the sharers which can be the basis for understanding much of what is not shared between them, and lessens the threat of their difference.”
“The work of the past, the work of the spiritual teachers of the past, has been about love. But as we evolve it is time for us to explore who we are as beings of joy. Joy is the name for the single energy that we have seen as two distinct ones, as spiritual energy and sexual energy. The sharing of joy will be the major healing tool of the future. Dolphins and whales understand this, that free-flowing joy is the balance to love, the cross-weave in the fabric of life, able to hold all our pain and sorrow in its embrace. In our evolution as a species we have moved away from joy. In exploring our minds and the world we have divided, dissected, defined, and destroyed. But we are coming back to wholeness again, to Oneness, and to joy. Down through the dark ages of our history, it has been love that allowed us to survive. And in the next era of our history, it will be joy that heals us and renews us as a people.” Andrew Ramer, Two Flutes Playing (1997)
“Gatekeepers are people who live a life at the edge between two worlds—the world of the village and the world of spirit… . The gatekeepers stand on the threshold of the gender line. They are mediators between the two genders. They make sure that there is peace and balance between women and men.” Sobonfu Some, Dagara Tribe
We seek understanding…
“When we fall in love with another man we’re getting in touch with an unconscious spirit-source, by evoking it in our beloved. We can follow this magic inside us back to its source, and use it to uncover our real nature.” Mitch Walker ‘Men Loving Men: Gay Sex Guide and Consciousness Book‘ 1977
“What if we smashed the mirrors
And saw our true face?
What if we left the Sacred Books to the worms
And found our True Mind?
What if we burned the wooden Buddhas?
Gave the stone Buddhas back to the mountains?
Dispersed the gurus with a great laugh
And discovered the path we had always been on?” Elsa Gidlow (1898-1986)
We look forward…
“…to regaining our ancient historical roles as medicine people, healers, prophets, shamans and sorcerers. We look forward to an endless and fathomless process of coming out – as gay people, as animals, as humans, as mysterious and powerful spirits that move through the life cycle of the cosmos….. Like butterflies we are emerging from the shells of our past restricted existence. We are re-discovering the ancient magic that was once the birth right of all human beings. We are re-learning how to talk to the worms and the stars. We are taking flight on the wings of self-determination. Come, blessed Lady of the Flowers, Queen of Heaven, creator and destroyer, Kali – we are dancing the dance of your coming.” Witchcraft and the Gay Counter-Culture, Arthur Evans (1978)
Conflicts that arise between the various identities in the LGBTIQ+ spectrum suit the patriarchal control system well – divide and rule has long been its way. How about we blast away that old pattern, and seek for the deeper reason that we find ourselves walking under one rainbow.
Mythologically, the rainbow was the bridge to Asgard, the realm of the Gods, to the Norse people. For the Greeks, Iris was the rainbow messenger connecting the worlds. Oxumare is the intersex rainbow serpent God in Yoruba religion. Ancient Japanese myth saw the rainbow as the path ancestors took to visit the planet. The Irish have long sought the pot of gold, guarded by a leprechaun, at the rainbow’s end. Bulgarians believed that walking under the rainbow would change your internal gender. For the Buddhists rainbow consciousness is the highest state attainable.
The role of myth is to remind us of the potential in the human soul.
There are two rainbow movements in the world today – both serve the ultimate liberation of the human consciousness. One of them is the global movement for LGBTIQ+ rights, the other is an ongoing development of the ‘new age’ effort to give birth to a new human consciousness that began in the 1960s, and takes the form of ‘neo-pagan’ rainbow gatherings around the world. The two movements have the potential to learn a lot from and share much with each other.
The sexual and the spiritual coming together
in a way that honours all forms of love and connects us to the earth,
that places consent at the centre of all activities
and sets out to heal the human heart, mind and spirit
will begin the Revolutions we have been waiting for.
“The first revolutions destroyed the great cultures of the women. Once the men triumphed, all that was other from them was considered inferior and therefore worthy only of abuse and contempt and extinction. Stories told of these times are of heroic action and terrifying defeat and silent waiting. Stories told of these times make the faggots and their friends weep. The second revolutions made many of the people less poor and a small group of men without color very rich. With craftiness and wit the faggots and their friends are able to live in this time, some in comfort and some in defiance. The men remain enchanted by plunder and destruction. The men are deceived easily and so the faggots and their friends have nearly enough to eat and more than enough time to think about what it means to be alive as the third revolutions are beginning.”
Larry Mitchell, The Faggots and their Friends Between Revolutions (1977)