In the early 1980s sex suddenly became scary – the sexual revolution that began in the 1960s took a very dark turn. At first known as Gay Cancer or GRID (gay-related-immune-defiency), the world eventually settled on HIV and AIDS as the terms for this deadly manifestation. A brief decade of sexual ‘innocence’, where play was plentiful for those who dared risk the social taboos, dissolved. It soon emerged that it was not only gay men affected – the hiv test revealed the virus to be widespread in Africa too, leading to notions that the virus had somehow spread to humans from monkeys. Some believed the virus had been cooked up in a laboratory specifically to target, and wipe out, black people and gay men. Others were sure there was no virus at all, that the whole thing was made up, perhaps thinking our immune systems were suffering the overload of toxic modern culture.
Mostly overlooked, there is a link between gay men and black Africans – it is that our very nature, our spirit and our self-expression, was denigrated and suppressed by the dominant straight, macho, white male culture of recent centuries. We are two groups carrying a dark and heavy ancestral load in our soul energy. Some ‘new age’ teachers have been much criticised for saying that AIDS is a manifestation of self-hatred, but what the critics are missing is that shame and guilt are deeply programmed into the subconscious culturally, historically and socially. AIDS was, in my direct experience, more than a physical illness – it was a soul crisis, resulting from lack of internal self-belief, balance and yes, self-love, from accumulated mental, emotional and spiritual injuries and blocks.
In the western world AIDS was a spur that got the lesbian and gay movement moving. Activism was stepped up, coming out became a big thing, our pride celebrations grew rapidly. We knew we had to fight for our rights or risk being pushed back into the millennium of relentless repression we were emerging from. The LGBT community gained a lot of political influence and social acceptance through its passionate and compassionate response to the AIDS crisis.
Those of us on the front line of the epidemic, the People With AIDS (PWAs), had to work out our own methods to cope with a terminal diagnosis and crippling infections. Community meeting points opened up such as the Lighthouse in west and the Landmark in south London. Here we could access complementary therapies and learn things from each other. We caught on to the notion of positive thinking, engaging the power of the mind to lighten the tough experience of encroaching sickness and impending death.
Some of us took this even further. I was 30 years old when AIDS started to hit me hard, and I was hit by a surge of anger at my fate. I had become an atheist at the age of 12 but now I needed somewhere to direct my anger, so I decided to ask the fundamental questions about life that the modern, rational, scientific, entertainment-driven world had kept me distracted from until this point.
Like many reasonable people I had looked at religion as a teenager and found it lacking. I rejected notions of God and just got on with my life. Now I needed answers – why are we born in the first place if just to die from disease? A graduate in History from Cambridge University, I knew how to tackle this subject. I went to the source materials – ancient teachings from all the world’s religions, magical paths and mystical teachers, plus modern new age writers and psychedelic gurus. I started to meditate and make my own simple rituals. As my mind opened up I saw that all the world’s holy teachings were basically saying the same thing, acknowledging an underlying reality of consciousness – unity – love and bliss that gives rise to all creation, a reality that most of the world is completely asleep to. I saw that giving this divine dimension a gender and a personality was not necessary at all, but that doing so might help us to form an emotional relationship with it. I discovered devotional practice, and through opening my heart to the spirit world I received massive waves of inspirational, healing, revelatory energies.
My understanding of life changed and through that my experience of it shifted too. My inner perspective moved from that of the little me-self, to a broader soul consciousness that embraces our eternal nature as manifestations of the divine Self in creation – just like the whole universe is. We humans are uniting the material, mental, emotional and energetic (spirit) dimensions of Creation – this is such an awesome, divine, undertaking, one that deserves some conscious attention, to be widely understood and discussed, yet I had been brought up to believe none of this.
Now the world is teetering like never before. Humanity and our planet are facing a crisis of apocalyptic proportions. As an AIDS survivor I know what that can feel like at times -as the encroaching dis-ease worsens and we scurry around for anything that might help, we may even find ourselves getting very angry at this horrifying road humans seem hell bent on pursuing. This could get very nasty – but it can also be a turning point in our civilisation, where we face the big questions of life head on.
AIDS triggered me to pursue the spiritual search – so intense was my longing that even in my darkest hours I was attuned to the love-presence of the divine within me – I went on to recover and to re-enter life as a transformed being, who now seeks to assist the growth of spiritual intelligence, compassion and liberation in the world. Like many who have a Near Death Experience (a slow motion one in my case, lasting a couple of years), I returned to life with a sense of purpose that was previously lacking.
AIDS brought me a Accelerated Individual Discovery of Self – looking at the crises rocking the world today it seems to me we are all being pushed to the edge of destruction, a place where we might finally face ourselves and heal our separation from the planet, from spirit and each other. We may be, one way or another, heading for an Accelerated Collective Discovery of Self – the underlying unity of life will eventually demand to be known and will push us kicking and screaming to that point –
OR WE COULD LISTEN TO THE MYSTICAL VOICES THROUGHOUT TIME THAT LEFT THEIR TEACHINGS OF UNITY
AND TO THE EXPERIENCES OF AIDS, CANCER, NDE AND OTHER SURVIVORS
WHO ARE GETTING ACCELERATED UPGRADES IN AWARENESS, LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING IN THIS LIFETIME
AND CUT THE FIGHTING, CUT THE GREED, CUT THE ABUSE, CUT THE ALIENATION, CUT THE DESTRUCTION
AND CHANGE LIFE ON EARTH RIGHT NOW.
In 2017 I published AIDS Shaman: Queer Spirit Awakening, a collection of my mystical poetry and drawings plus quotations from gay ancestors and spiritual teachers.
And just published:
AIDS Shaman 2: Through the Veils is now also available, in print or e book from