“We believe that one spirit child can lead a hundred of the physical children out of the woods.” – Harry Hay
Gay rights pioneer and proto-Faerie Harry Hay saw seeds of hope for the world in his vision of a queer male culture that brings “spirit children” to birth. This is a term Harry used to describe ideas, words, art, and ways of being produced through queer consciousness and creativity. As he said, “gay men are those who are constantly trying to put their dreams into words, music, and motion – into new ways of talking to one another. We find the means to bring into articulation our innermost visions.” While we do this alone, we do it in the context of community. Our community feeds us, challenges us, embraces us, and empowers us to live authentically, with integrity. This is the heart of the Faerie ethos.
Ultimately, the Faerie gathering is an alternative community founded on the notion of heartspace, which is reinforced, ritualised, and celebrated in heart circle. For Faeries, this alternative community is in fact the genuine community to which the dominant hetero world is the distorted and disordered alternative. Hence, the salutation when one arrives at a gathering is “Welcome home.” As Hay put it: “At Faerie gatherings we discover that we want to share rather than compete, that we like to listen to one another and exchange our touch in loving ways. We begin to recognize that we’re moving in a different direction from the world we left behind.”
I plunged into the Faerie world like a parched desert wanderer would plunge into a lake. I felt re-baptised in the thermal pools of Breitenbush, and then experienced door after door opening onto amazing men who had the inspiration, vision, and courage to live life on their own terms – daring to say that the real world is the fabulous world; that the money concept is death dealing; and that the highest calling is to live fearlessly. These are all values essential for survival in this time.
To give birth to spirit children in the context of alternative community is a gift that the world needs now more than ever. I was reminded of this when I read something a Salt Spring Island Radical Faerie shared with me:
“My colleague and mentor Derrick Jensen has been asking people this question for a while: ‘Do you believe that our culture will undergo a voluntary transformation to a sane and sustainable way of living?’ He says, ‘For the last several years, I’ve taken to asking people this question, at talks and rallies, in libraries, on buses, in airplanes, at the grocery store, the hardware store. Everywhere. The answers range from emphatic nos to laughter. No one answers in the affirmative. One fellow at one talk did raise his hand, and when everyone looked at him, he dropped his hand, then said, sheepishly, “Oh, voluntary? No, of course not.” My next question: how will this understanding – that this culture will not voluntarily stop destroying the natural world, eliminating indigenous cultures, exploiting the poor, and killing those who resist – shift our strategy and tactics? The answer? Nobody knows, because we never talk about it: we’re too busy pretending the culture will undergo a magical transformation.’”
We have to be aware that humankind lives today at the intersection of destruction and creation. This is not a question of a romantic return to idealised primitive existence. This is a question of distinguishing between sustainable and life-affirming technologies, beliefs, and ways of being – and those which are killing the only habitable planet we know. This is about living, and living abundantly; of taking the water of life we have discovered in the desert of our society, and irrigating humanity with spirit children. This is an absolute necessity.
And this is where the imperative of creating intentional community comes into play. I envision Faerie sanctuaries and allied communities as oases of life, love, light, and hope amidst an encroaching desert of death, hate, darkness, and despair. We choose to live in community not as an escape, but as a destination. We not only have a desire, but a responsibility to model sustainability and the heartspace of a sacred-erotic existence, which is the epitome of subject-subject consciousness. We not only have a desire, but a responsibility to live authentically, with integrity.
Consider our calling, brothers! We are a queer tribal nation sharing affinity in the spiritual underpinnings of non-mainstream sexuality and heart-centered relationship. While heterosexuality is not our enemy, its hegemonic construction is. And so we are conscious that the unique gifts of our two-spirited nature are best nurtured in a two-spirited milieu. We look for a spiritual dimension to our sexuality; and many of us are healers, creators, and shamans of one kind or another. Our values include communalism, respect for the Earth, celebrating our bodies, honouring our elders and our ancestors, nurturing our young people, and cultivating joy and mutual responsibility.
We seek to uncover an authentic way of being queer – transcending destructive social norms that have led to us objectifying our bodies and one another; filling our spiritual yearning with consumerism, addiction, and abuse. Objectification places one in a power relationship to the other; repressing and eliminating all subjective passion and compassion. In their place, fear, anxiety, and hostility emerge as tools to seek and maintain power and control. Or, in the words of the poet, essayist, and Radical Faerie, James Broughton, “So much of human society is resentfully loveless, no wonder it is violent and guilt-ridden. All power seekers want to make slaves of others; hence they create abusive relationships.” From the Faerie view, this is the disordered hetero-male deformation of masculinity, which has infected all of society.
I want us to begin the discussion now in earnest. What is your vision of intentional Faerie community? What are the challenges? What are the opportunities? What are the gifts we possess, waiting to be poured out to create the oasis our minds envision? How do we move from Faeriespace of the mind to a Faeriespace of living? Is it time to meet? To post your own blog entry, the username is bcradfae, and the password is bcrf2011.