Modern western world has elevated the external – the objective, scientific, material – universe over the subjective, internal experience. The common goals in our culture are physical beauty, fame and fortune, not wisdom, compassion and spiritual awareness. Gay subculture buys into this big time, with the help of apps such as Grindr we are making sex the ultimate commodity, we are programming our minds to always objectify each other. As a German Radical Faerie recently wrote: in this cruising culture,
“People who are not perfectly attractive get put aside and hurt, and those who are, just as much, because they always feel in the need to set borders and protect themselves…. this quick-sex culture neither creates good sex nor healthy souls, it’s like a human throw-away-culture, and it creates a lot of loneliness and disorientation.”
He wishes gay men to
“realize, we are beings beyond sex, and that the deepest joy of sexuality also comes from openness + heart contact.”
This is what Radical Faeries experience in gatherings and sanctuaries around the world. Faerie space exists to help us “shake off the ugly frogskin of heteroconformity” as Harry Hay put it back in the 70s, when communities of queers were already seeing the drift towards commercialism and consumerism in gay life, and starting to create spaces where we might recreate life on our own terms, where healing from growing up gay in a straight world might happen and the faerie prince emerge. Here we are able to fully relax and be ourselves, and soon discover that an open mind and loving heart makes for great sex!
Shamanism provides straightforward tools for us to employ on the path of self-knowledge. Shamanism does not provide answers, it provides means to find our own answers. It starts from core basic truths of our existence and enables us to explore them for ourselves and within ourselves. These core facts of our existence underpin everything – every religion, every science… yet it seems nearly the whole world has been brainwashed to not believe them.
1. we are matter and consciousness, or spirit, as it has often been called. Physical matter and consciousness/spirit exist independently. The crucial point is we merge the two.
2. we are male and female. All of us, whatever our body type. The Bible even says this in Genesis, but it’s meaning long misinterpreted to uphold the patriarchal hegemony.
3. we are made of earth, air, fire, water. These are the elemental bases of all existence, in us they manifest through body, mind, spirit and emotion. By honouring all four parts of ourselves we can generate balance in our lives and world.
I hardly need to point out that modern medicine works on a body-mind-emotion paradigm, leaving care of the soul to others. A lot of resources are basically wasted, because we cannot have health without seeing all as part of the wholeness of who we are.
The reality of our nature as consciousness/spirit – and what that is – is for us to find out for ourselves. Experience teaches louder than words. We live at a time when ecstatic states are considered ‘recreational’, when realities of the soul are little addressed and the external, material world is held up as the most worthy of our attention, yet vast numbers of people are drawn every week, or in some parts of town, every day, to use substances that draw us into our inner world, that open up the rich feelings, desires and dreams that exist in there. We are encouraged by the general culture to belittle the spiritual, ridicule and criticise the religious, but we are all in this dance of consciousness together – on some level or other we are all seeking the goal of transcendence, awakening, self-knowledge and divine realisation. Drug users are arguably seeking this more fervently than many religious or spiritual groups, but generally doing it UNCONCSIOUSLY, not understanding this impulse within themselves, this urge to get high is an urge to know God.
The shamanic worldview says EXPLORE, EXPAND, BECOME WHO YOU ARE. Know yourself as pure consciousness, as earth, air, fire, water, as the dance of life, as the animals, as ecstasy and light. Then make your own mind up about Gods and religions. Maybe it’s all a lot simpler than we’ve been led to believe.
The rise of secular, atheistic, humanistic thinking has liberated us from the controlling morality of the patriarchal religions, which had worked hard for centuries to stifle the feminine impulse in life, subjugating women, persecuting same sex lovers, and demonising pleasure. The release from that stranglehold is only a few decades old, and a serious point is being missed:
“Some call the Creator of this Universe God, but our earliest ancestors, when they looked in awe at the world around them and tried to understand where it came from, saw the ultimate creative force as Goddess, as Mother. The Father of our culture created the world by speaking it into existence. The Mother of our ancestors birthed the universe from her body. There was no separation between Creator and creation. And as we shift our thinking and come back to this ancient wisdom, we will find balance and healing for ourselves. Ultimately the Creator is neither male nor female, but Oneness. It is the Prime Vibration. It is Absolute Information. In Seeing It as Mother we honour own own capacity for connection, compassion, clarity and communion of the soul. In knowing It as Mother we cycle back to the beginning of this era so that we can step into the next in wholeness.
“The liturgies of the Father are spoken, as revelation comes the from the Father in words, for with words he created the universe. The universe itself is the revelation of the Mother, and her liturgies are of the body. As we open to seeing her and her creation, as we learn to feel our place in it and know that we are never separate from it, and cannot ever be separate from it, then everything we becomes a prayer. Anchored in love, our bodies filled with joy, reaching out in ecstasy to express our gratitude, we ground the Mother’s bliss in the world.
“In our Mother’s world we do not have to struggle for enlightenment, Her light is always with us. We do not have to be reborn, for each moment of our lives is a new creation in her infinite, eternal body, and we are always a part of it.”Andrew Ramer, Two Flutes Playing: A Spiritual Journeybook for Gay Men.
Gay people do not like to be told how to behave, nor what to believe. The part of us that makes us question who we are and Come Out does more than dictate our sexuality. It wants us to think for ourselves, to find our own answers and own ways of living. Using Ramer’s words we can see ourselves as the children of the mother goddess, we don’t need holy books and cathedrals to celebrate life – we rejoice in the body, we love to dance, to get high, to make love, to fill the world with joy. There is so much more to us than sex.
“Anchored in love, our bodies filled with joy, reaching out in ecstasy to express our gratitude, we ground the Mother’s bliss in the world.”
But currently a lot of gay men in particular are close to drowning, not anchored in anything, their bodies filled with longing and loneliness, not joy. We chase bliss through sex and drugs because it gives us a fix, it takes us to the place where everything is alright. If we get our bodies and souls aligned with the energies of creation, and get that bliss is the vibration of the divine in life, instead of buying into the – literally – ‘blinded by science’ attitude of the modern age, we can start to live in that place.
Shamanism offers ways to connect the body, open the heart, clear the mind and raise the spirit. It offers healing and discovery – through the very things gay boys love to do so much: dancing, dressing up, undressing, taking substances, sex. All our chasing after bliss, after extremes of experience, or just the next fuck, would be seen as part of bringing joyful, light vibrations to the planet (to replace the centuries of darkness and fear around sex) if we let in some understanding of the Source consciousness, perhaps even coming to see ourselves as the priests of the Mother, banished for centuries in a world where straight men ruled by force. Gay liberation has achieved masses on the social and political levels in a few decades, but spiritually we are a very confused people. Shamanism could provide the tools and understanding for a rapid spiritual awakening, happening like a wave of light illuminating the increasingly dark shadows lurking in parts of our queer utopia, sending out the message to gay people and to all people everywhere that SEX and LOVE and AWARENESS are three sexy, BEAUTIFUL things that all belong together.