African Wisdom Teacher Malidoma Some of the Dagara Tribe brought his tribal understanding of gender and sexuality to the West in the 1990s. He, and his wife Sobonfu Some, both taught that it was accepted in their culture that a person’s inner gender may be different to their physical sex, and that the sexuality of same sex orientated individuals was regarded a spiritual energy that was used for the greater good of the community. Gay sex was seen as a way to open gates to other dimensions, to worlds of nature spirits, ancestors, angels and deities.
Malidoma calls gay men ‘gatekeepers’ and lesbians ‘witches’.
Sobonfu’s teachings are encapsulated in her beautiful book ‘Spirit of Intimacy,’ where she writes about the value of ritual in our lives in order to maintain an intimate relationship with existence itself. She also identifies where the rituals come from – the queer people.
I was fortunate to meet Sobonfu Some in 2011 and ask her to speak about gays and lesbians. She held her hands up in joy and with a huge smile declared ‘They are the special ones… Without them nothing can happen.’
Malidoma, from a 1993 interview:
“So to then limit gay people to simple sexual orientation is really the worst harm that can be done to a person. That all he or she is is a sexual person. And, personally, because of the fact that my knowledge of indigenous medicine, ritual, comes from gatekeepers, it’s hard for me to take this position that gay people are the negative breed of a society. No! In a society that is profoundly dysfunctional, what happens is that peoples’ life purposes are taken away, and what is left is this kind of sexual orientation which, in turn, is disturbing to the very society that created it.
“I think this is again victimization by a Christian establishment that is looking at a gay person as a disempowered person, a person who has lost his job from birth onward, and now society just wants to fire him out of life. This is not justice. It’s not justice. It is a terrible harm done to an energy that could save the world, that could save us. If, today, we are suffering from a gradual ecological waste, this is simply because the gatekeepers have been fired from their job. They have been fired! They have nothing to do! And because they have been fired, we accuse them for not doing anything. This is not fair!”
He was quite certain where the fault lie – Christianity. In the West we have been held in the yoke of divisive Christian ideology for so long that few people today are aware that in the pre-Christian world – and indeed for some centuries after its rise – people simply accepted sex as sex. Men were able to have penetrative sex with both females and males without much issue, and there were always men who wanted only to be passive with other males – these were the ‘homosexuals’ of the time, and although that word did not exist, many other terms for a passive male did, including pathicus, cinaidos, sodomite, ganymede, catamite and molly.
“Why is it that, everywhere else in the world, gay people are a blessing, and in the modern world they are a curse? It is self-evident. 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. This is the worst thing that can happen to a culture that calls itself modern.
“…the thing about it is that humans are going to be begetting gatekeepers, no matter what. This is the chance that we’ve got. So maybe that means that sooner or later we’re going to wake up to the horror of our own errors, and we’re going to reconsecrate our chosen people so that they can do their priestly work as they should. Otherwise, I just don’t understand. I just don’t understand. My position about it is not so much that gays be just forgiven. That’s just tokenism. But that they serve as an example of the wrong, or the illness, that modernity has brought to us, and that we use that to begin working at healing ourselves and our society from the bottom up. That way, by the time we reach a certain level, all the gatekeepers are going to find their positions again. We cannot tell them where the gates are. They know. If we start to heal ourselves, they will remember. It will kick in. But as long as we continue in arrogance, in egotism, in God-knows-what form of violence on ourselves, no, there’s that veil of confusion that’s going to continue to prevail, and as a result it’s going to prevent great things from happening. That’s all I can say about that.”
What do Gatekeepers do?
Open portals to other dimensions!
“The Earth is looked at, from my tribal perspective, as a very, very delicate machine or consciousness, with high vibrational points, which certain people must be guardians of in order for the tribe to keep its continuity with the gods and with the spirits that dwell there. Spirits of this world and spirits of the other worlds. Any person who is at this link between this world and the other world experiences a state of vibrational consciousness which is far higher, and far different, from the one that a normal person would experience. This is what makes a gay person gay. This kind of function is not one that society votes for certain people to fulfill. It is one that people are said to decide on prior to being born.”
“There are many gates that link a village to other worlds. The only people who have access to all these gates are the gatekeepers. I should mention here that there are two different kinds of gatekeeper.
The first group has the ability to guard a limited number of gates to the other world, specifically,those that correspond to the Dagara cosmology – water, earth, fire, minerals, and nature – because they vibrate the energies of those gates.
The second group of gatekeepers… has the responsibility of overseeing all the gates. They are in contact not only with the elemental gates but also with many others. They have one foot in all the other worlds and other foot here. This is why the vibration of their body is totally different from others.”
THIS WISDOM WAS ALSO PART OF THE ANCIENT EUROPEAN WORLD, WHERE GAY SEXUALITY AND GENDER FLUIDITY WERE COMMON AND NORMAL FEATURES OF GODDESS WORSHIP, BOTH IN TEMPLES AND IN POPULAR FESTIVALS.
The word translated as ‘sodomites’ in the King James Old Testament – Qedesha – referring to the priests of the Goddess temples – actually means ‘Anointed’ or ‘Holy Ones.’ An earlier English translation by John Wycliffe called them ‘woman-ish men’ – these were feminine/trans men dedicated to the service of a Goddess, and they were everywhere in the ancient world.
Gender fluid, queer priesthoods populated the temples of the ancient world for millennia. In Classical Greece love between men was hailed as revealing the spiritual heights of existence. The most popular deities such as Dionysus, Attis, Pan, Cybele, Artemis/Diana all had queer associations. Genderfluidity was seen as bringing a person closer to the divine, so cross dressing was common at festivals and rites. Pleasure itself was regarded as sacred. Through ecstatic ceremonies with dance, erotic play and intoxication – all dedicated to the deities – people felt their connection to the spiritual cosmos.
The ancients also understood that the Earth itself is alive. Through rituals humans can commune with her spirits, manifest in nature as animals, plants, trees, mountains… as the elements…
“I should mention here that there are two different kinds of gatekeeper.
“The first group has the ability to guard a limited number of gates to the other world, specifically,those that correspond to the Dagara cosmology – water, earth, fire, minerals, and nature – because they vibrate the energies of those gates.
“The second group of gatekeepers, which is our focus here, has the responsibility of overseeing all the gates. They are in contact not only with the elemental gates but also with many others. They have one foot in all the other worlds and other foot here. This is why the vibration of their body is totally different from others. They also have access to other-dimensional entities such as Kontombile, small beings who are very magical and knowledgeable. They are known as leprechauns in the Irish tradition.
“Now what would happen if you’re dealing with a culture that doesn’t care about these gateways? What happens is that a gay person cannot do his job. Gatekeepers are left unable to accomplish their purpose. This is one of the most distinguishing factors about gays in the village. Now, as to their sexual orientation, nobody cares about this questions: they care only about their performance as gatekeepers. I figure if they want people in the village to know about their sexuality, they will share it with them. I once heard that one of the reasons why gatekeepers are able to open gates to other dimensions is in the way they use their sexual energy. Their ability to focus their sexual energy is a particular way allows them to open and close different gates.
“The life of gay people in the West is in many ways a reaction to pressure from a society that rejects them. This is partly because a culture that has forgotten so much about itself will displace certain groups of people, such as the gay community, from their true roles.
“In the village they are not seen as the other. They are not forced to create a separate community in order to survive. People do not put a negative label on them, they are regarded no differently than any other child of the village. They are born gatekeepers, with specific purposes, and are encouraged to fulfill the role they’re born to in the interests of the community.
“In the village, gatekeepers have an eye of both genders. They can help the genders to understand each other better than usual in their daily life. That’s why a group of women, for example, might gather and bring a male gatekeeper to help them understand certain village issues. The same things happens on the other side, with a female gatekeeper coming into the middle of the men’s circle.
“In the village homosexuality is seen very differently that it is seen in the West, in part because all sexuality is spiritually based. Taken away from its spiritual context, it becomes a source of controversy, and can be exploited.”
She comments also that: “Gays and lesbians in the West are often very spiritual, but they have been taken away from their connection with spirit. My feeling is that without that outlet or that role in the culture, they have to find other ways of defining themselves. This could be one of the reasons why they would want to get married or make themselves look as though they do not have a unique purpose.”
For the western mind to grasp the role of gatekeepers we need to learn again how to see, feel and know the earth as a living being – to return to the wisdom taught by all traditional teachings of the Oneness of Life, and to honour all people, and all forms of love between people, because we all come from the earth herself, we are all Her children.
While humanity denies some the right to love and perpetuates the game of division and fear, justified by the so-called decrees of an invisible sky Father, the Gatekeepers cannot find their places and Consciousness cannot become One.
Humanity is suffering in delusion, because GAY LOVE has been denied its place…
GAY LOVE (in which i’m including lesbian love, trans and genderfuck love and all loves that became taboo in a Christian hegemony) is, in the words of African elder Malidoma Some, “an energy that could save the world.”