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Sexual Healing and the Queer Spirit Festival

Last week I had the privilege to be part of the second Queer Spirit Festival in the UK. It took place in the same location as last year which is sort of close to Glastonbury and Stonehenge. It’s a beautiful location which already felt familiar to some degree because of me having already connected with it at the festival last year. Yet it was also new.

young deer in the greenThe first workshop that I joined this year was about connecting more deeply to the land and the landscape. Becoming more fully aware of the stories of the land and the beings we share this place with. Not only led this experience to some really beautiful discoveries of ripe blackberries, caterpillars and a deer it also taught me a lot about us being there and the way this land is being developed back from a golf course into a forest.

The influence that human beings have had on this land and still do became clear to me. How they interrupted the natural growing cycles or are trying now to skip the state of wild meadow in favor of bringing back trees. Things I wouldn’t even have recognized without my (basic) knowledge of permaculture and ecology. Things the land was telling me that I picked up intuitively but that were also informed and filtered by mental knowledge and careful physical observation. Bringing all of my human parts together was stripping away more and more layers of what meaning I had given to the place and revealed more and more the actual place before my eyes. A conscious awareness of the physical which I plan to bring more fully to all future interactions between my self and nature. Not just engaging with the energies and spirits, but also this physical plane which is a pleasure to the senses.

In a lot of ways this year’s Queer Spirit Festival was about becoming more aware for me. More aware of the land, of the struggled of transgender people, of my own non-binary gender identity, of the ways we hide our wounds from each other or sometimes try to suppress conflict to maintain a superficial peace which isn’t really there.

I think that a lot of my interactions and learning experiencing have been the most raw, empowering and challenging for me in the Sacred Sexuality Temple. This is basically a (more or less) big tent which is dedicated to the exploration of sacred sexuality and intimacy during the whole camp/festival. A place were workshops around touch, sensual play and physical discovery take place and that is also dedicated as a place to have sex with each other in a consensual and fun way throughout the night.

The people tending the Sacred Sexuality Temple this year really did an awesome job of creating and maintaining a sacred and safe atmosphere. An energy which made me feel secure enough to get naked and share more of my most intimate and hidden sexual aspects with others. Witnessing others do the same. Sharing space and sometimes sharing touch.

a genderqueer person experiencing Sacred Sexuality in natureOne of the things I found most beautiful and inspiring was that the tent was open for the whole LGBT+ rainbow and people of all body types and sexualities were invited to play and re-discover themselves. This made the whole experience and energy really different from your typical gay darkroom atmosphere. Something which I also saw repel people (read: some cis gay men) who wanted to have more disconnected, superficial sex there, but clearly sensed that something different was offered and expected there. Not just because of the very clear consent policy.

I’m incredible thankful to the trans* and female-presenting people for joining in and claiming that space. It made a lot of difference. I think it’s important that gender and body diversity keeps getting emphasized there next year as well. That kind of healing needs to be available especially to those who do not currently have enough safe spaces to explore their sexuality. While many gay cis men already have multiple more or less liberating spaces to explore their sexuality with some sense of liberty and acceptance this is not yet true for most trans* people and women in general. Which is a reality which I like to see acknowledged.

I do not want to get too much into my specific experiences in that Temple right now. They involved plants and tree bark, blindfolds and meditations, touch and deep attunement. All of which showed me not only more ways to bring playfulness and fun back into my sexual practice. It also planted firmly into me some more seeds about what true intimacy and sacred sexuality could be like. Intimacy, connection and playfulness that I actually want in my daily life. Something most digitally acquired One-Night-Stands are not fit or willing to get into yet. Something that I will look for now with more precision.

a symbol for queer sexuality at the Sacred Sexuality TempleI’m really grateful to the organizers and also the participants for creating and maintaining a space for all of that to happen. Queer Spirit Festival is a truly diverse place in terms of what is offered and who joins in. A place were true consent and inclusion are taught and practiced to the best of everyone’s abilities. Something I’m sure will continue to blossom and grow.

I hope that there will be another QS festival next year. It’s such a unique, inspiring and nourishing place for LGBTQ+ people from all kinds of backgrounds. It deserved to be tended and grown because of the promise and healing it offers not just for queer people, but the world(s).

Currently they do need some more money to cover the costs for this year’s festival. If you feel inspired to donate to the vision you can do so at the Queer Spirit website. I also recommend that you follow them on Facebook. If you feel the queer spirit rising within you then I definitely recommend you join us next year! It will be cosmic.

LGBT rainbow pride flag to remind us that Sacred Sexuality is for queer people, too

This City has failed you

I used to watch a lot of TV shows that I discontinued because of the amount of violence they portray. One of these shows was the Arrow. Within this show of superheros the main character (Oliver Queen aka The Arrow) has this very famous quote which he uses to justify his actions. Murder, vengeance and ‘justice’ get explained away by this simple statement:

“You have failed this city!”

Which has been a lot on my mind lately – which is quite ironic given my current perspective. Which makes me think that in truth it is very much the other way around: This City has failed you!

Within our current Western culture we tend to equate ‘city’ in our mind with concepts of ‘community’, ‘belonging’ and ‘culture’. Some would even describe cities as the apex of human evolution.

While it is true that cities have played a major role in human evolution as melting pots of culture, religion, philosophy and art that is only part of the picture. There is more to them that I think we need to look at.

Prehistoric cave wall art before the beginnings of civilizationHistorically speaking the emergence of human cities on this planet towards the end of the neolithic period (at least in Eurasia) was not really the best thing that could have happened for humanity. While the earliest city structures hint at early humans living in egalitarian communities who were intimately connected to the land they were inhabiting (and part of) that quickly changed.

Human social structure changed with the growth of agriculture which was a result of the high concentration of people in cities which needed to be fed. Traditional ways of living like small scale farming in combination with hunting and gathering were no longer a sustainable option. Instead over time grains and legumes became our primary food sources along with domesticated animals (a trend which continues today with modern mass-scale farming).

overgrown rocks with a sign saying privateThese new food sources and the huge amounts in which they could be grown made it necessary to guard and regulate them. Therefore cities not only brought forth a broader variety and bigger amount of art and things produced for entertainment. They also brought forth a ruling class and a military class (which were sometimes mixed and sometimes separated). Why? Because someone was needed to regulate (read: own) and guard the storage houses. Therefore it was also the beginning of mass scale private property (like farming lands, palaces and private hunting grounds).

Many also argue that cities brought forth patriarchy/sexism along the practice of inheriting the name and property via the father with sons becoming the primary or only heirs (patrilineality). Sons who then have to reproduce male heirs with their exclusive wife (or wives) in order to pass on that property (which is the beginning of state-regulated marriage, enforced monogamy, the concept of ‘virgin brides’ and which potentially also contributed to the formation of homophobia and transphobia in some places).

We have learned that the ancient city states were the beginning of human civilization and that is true, but we have to understand that ‘civilization’ literally just means ‘of the city’. It is not actually saying that ‘civilized’ people and cultures are ‘better’ or ‘more advanced’. It just means that people have become ‘civil’ by living in cities AND have submitted to the laws of the city.

I already described that the ‘laws of the city’ include class segregation, hierarchical power structures and private property (the shadow side of which is poverty). Very early on they also included slavery and racism.

Police and violence as enforcers of civilizationThese ‘laws of the city’ might have originated with necessity (someone needs to feed and organize all these people suddenly piling up in one place), but they were expanded and build upon by the ruling classes and then enforced by the military/warrior classes. Therefore it’s not surprising really to learn that the words ‘politician’ and ‘police’ both originate with the Greek word ‘polis’ which also translates as ‘city’.

As a sidenote:
Books have been written about how the ‘city lifestyle’ (primarily for the working class) also fundamentally reduced our health, resilience and even brain size (the most famous of which might be Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter). Which is part of the original research behind the whole Paleo diet(s) and rewilding movement.

My conclusion for this post?

Not only has living in cities been bad for our health, but it is also the origin of so many issues in our society which we face today. Sexism, racism, class segregation (the rich ruling the poor) and many more ills of humanity (including environmental destruction and climate change) have either been brought forth by cities to begin with or are heavily supported by them.

Civilization itself might actually be the root of our problems. Which I plan to expand on further in future posts.

(Wanting more right now? Check out Rhyd Wildermuth‘s insightful presentation Witches in a Crumbling Empire.)

civilization in form of a city has taken over the land with no tree in sight

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Loving Nature isn’t enough

Within the spiritual community, especially among those who belong more to the New Age and New Thought movements, there is this notion that loving nature is all it takes to live sustainably. That the act of loving is enough to fix any problem, really.

This is incorrect.

Within said streams of the wider spiritual community there is often a tendency to becoming overly attached to emotions while disregarding mental capacities and rational thinking.

The so called ’emotional guidance system’ is invoked as a means to justify uncritical thinking and oftentimes blissful ignorance towards what’s happening in the world in terms of torture, violence and environmental destruction.

There is a certain truth to the so-called Law Of Attraction (also called the Law of Mirroring) which essentially states that like energies attract and magnify each other. Like attracts like.

Male Witch of Pagan Priest focusingWithin Witchcraft and other magical systems since the dawn of humanity that was and is a well-known fact. Today some call this mechanism sympathetic magic.

Essentially you make use of herbs, crystals and other natural materials which hold Virtue/Power/frequency that is alike to what you want to attract or magnify in your life. You use them to create a specific energetic blueprint through which you direct the magical-creative energy you have previously gathered. That magical-creative energy then takes on the qualities of that blueprint and calls what it resonates with into existence.

The presence and qualities of allied Gods, angels and other spirits also aid that process by contributing to the blueprint and supporting the general manifestation process.

That is the time-honored process and understanding of how magic basically works in a nutshell.

What differentiates this approach from what many people within the modern Law Of Attraction (LOA) community practice is the amount of creative power that is handled and consciously directed.

It is a misconception that simply directing your focus towards what is currently wrong in the world is significantly magnifying it. The droplet of your momentary observance is nothing compared to the flood that can be released by a proper spell.

a young man is becoming awake that Mother Earth is crying (climate change)In other words:

Informing yourself about what climate change actually is, where it originates and why our survival depends on our response to it is not contributing to the problem. On the contrary!

Informing yourself is essential for figuring out and making up your mind about what actions to take. If you don’t know what is at risk you will not be sufficiently motivated to change anything. If you do not understand how climate change works (or healthy ecosystems for that matter) you will not be able to determine which effective actions to take.

Buying produce from around the world, even if it is organic, or a new smartphone ‘only’ every two years, even from a ‘green’ company, is not going to be enough.

As Rhyd Wildermuth breaks it down quite eloquently in his recent (highly recommended) blog response to the US withdrawing from the COP 21/Paris Climate Accords:

“We have smartphones and the internet, personal automobiles and life-saving pharmaceuticals, plastics and global travel, social media and strawberries in winter. We also have flooding islands, eroded top soils, resource wars and super-storms. These are not separate aspects of modern existence; they come by means of the very same thing, and the former produces the latter.“

In other words:
Our whole life style and consume patterns need to be re-evaluated and – most likely – radically changed. The same might be true for our understanding of the universe and spirituality as a whole.

We can not do this without using our rational mind and thinking. Empathy, love and compassion will compel us forward, yes, but we need to look first at what currently is and learn about how we got there as a society to begin with. We will also need to look into how ecosystems, agriculture and capitalism work. Otherwise we will simply not be able to make wise, informed decisions. We can’t become fully self-empowered and self-liberated while avoiding this.

True love doesn’t look away.

Planet earth with the Southern half drowning in water (climate change)

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Rewilding Poetry

Today is the day to share with you all some poems I wrote in return to the call. The call to rewild, set free that wild child, hidden within, chained still with sin, shame and some fear, to keep me locked here, tame and submissive, confused and dismissive, instead of free, untamed and me.

Sitting woman in ecstacy bursting in flames from withinIt is my desire to share poet’s fire to set us all free, you, us and me, by kindling the flame, burning the shame, reclaiming the virtue of innocent game, sexual play, adventures so gay, a body untamed, a pleasure renamed.

It is my desire to set you on fire!

It is my intention, my green intervention, to call you back home as well as your power, awaken each bone, call down the shower of blessed rain to wash you all clean inside your brain and bodies unseen, that you may know inside each cell that you are wild and you are well and you can heal, set yourself free, become the flame and follow me. Or better yet your inner voice. Into the wild? It is your choice.

So use your body and choose well!

I await you at the sacred well.

A group of faeries ascending from wild waterWild Calling

I call, yes,
I call you,
human child,
into the wild,
into the wild!

Your senses
human child,
born from the wild,
born for the wild.

Your power
human child,
set free in the wild
to be in the wild.

Your prison,
your chains, yes,
human child,
get burned in the wild,
to let you be wild.

The calling
calls for you,
human child,
go into the wild,
remember the wild.


The Beast is Rising!

The beast is risingA medieval beast

beneath the skin

where wild herbs

and berries grow.

It smells of flowers,

sweat and soil.

From darkness it crawls,

its muscles aching

for play.

It drinks deep of the sunshine,

bathes in moonlight,

drinks from the streams,

remembers living.

I feel it humming

beneath the skin.

Intimate stranger,

explicit lover,

King of the jungle.

Let the courtship begin!

(If you are a guy let the courtship begin in earnest by joining Wild Men Rising.)

A man on a hike overlooking a valley from a mountain top (rewilding poetry)

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Rewilding Spirituality

How wild, untamed and free do you dare to become?

The first time that I encountered the term ‘rewilding’ was in Peter grey’s very insightful and important blogpost called Rewilding Witchcraft. It follows the idea that Witches and Pagans have sort of forgotten their roots and their purpose which are connected to engaging with and protecting the wild. It challenges the respective audience to open up their eyes to the current ecological crisis of the planet and most of our local environments. It asks us to revisit our spiritual practices and question them.

Do they really connect me with the wild inside and outside of myself?

Do my actions build connections with, acknowledge and protect the non-human communities I live with?

These are some of the guiding questions which have walked with me since I first read Peter Grey’s words. It’s what started my own rewilding journey.

small boy at the edge of a lakeI have always felt a very intimate connection with plants and the spirits of nature. I spent a lot of my childhood and teenage years in the garden and the forest. I talked to trees and faeries.

At the same time I was socialized like most of us. I was told how to sit, eat and behave. I was told that there are no spirits in my room at night. That the natural world was not really dead, but below human consciousness. That there was no actual way to talk to trees or rivers. That God had blessed humans with unique mental capacities which allowed us to condition, control and rule the wilderness outside of us as well as our body and animal nature.

These teachings were given to me by my parents, but also the other kids I played with, neighbors, school, etc. These were some of the collective assumptions about reality that I had to accept (at least officially) to become acceptable. Unacceptable beliefs and actions were laughed at or punished.

Add to that all the emotional and physical abuse I experienced by family and ‘friends’ as a child and teenager for being different than expected. For being other(worldly?).

As a result I forgot how to see and talk with the faeries and other beings for a while. It took me years of dedicated spiritual practice to get them back. Some of my clairvoyant abilities are still not nearly as evolved as they were when I was 5 years old.

statue of a druid in front of treesThe kind of spirituality that had always spoken to me and was instrumental in my emotional healing process and self-empowerment was Witchcraft.

When I discovered this alternative to Christian beliefs and doctrines when I was 12 years old I was so excited! It felt like coming home. Like I’m not weird for experiencing the world a certain way, but gifted.

Witchcraft and other shamanic, Pagan and polytheist practices and beliefs continued to inform me since that time.

I loved especially how these beliefs and practices seemed rooted in nature and emphasized how to live in ‘harmony’ and ‘balance’ with the natural world.

It wasn’t until I started learning more about ecology, nature conservation and sustainable agriculture that I noticed how removed many of these (modern) beliefs and practices actually were from nature.

I believe that the same can be said about a lot of teachings and beliefs within the ‘New Age’ and ‘spiritual’ community.

I am no exception to probably being a little blind-sided by growing up in a relative urban environment within Western civilization. How could I not be?

I did run through fields and forests as a child and we still grew at least some of our food in our garden. We foraged mushrooms and herbs for tea. We used natural medicines. We were probably more attuned to the land and that kind of ancestral knowledge than most of our neighbors.

And I still never shot a deer or killed a chicken. The amount of food we grew in our garden was minimal. We foraged for entertainment, not for survival.

Which means that there was a lot of knowledge and understanding about how nature works that I didn’t get. Some of which I could read about, but a lot of which can only come from first hand experience. What I like to call body knowledge.

What does all of that have to do with spirituality?

Yoga pose in the middle of a street in a cityMost of our spiritual beliefs and practices in the West – especially within the New Age community – have been conceived outside of a natural environment or have been adopted (and modified) from more ‘exotic’, Eastern cultures which themselves were and/or are divorced from nature.

How can these beliefs and practices liberate and empower us if they continue to deepen the divide between ourselves and the natural world? Between our mind and our body? Our soul and our flesh?

As I have written before: These lies of separation are the root of all evil. It is this kind of estrangement from ourselves and the natural world which gives not only rise to war and terror attacks, but also the ecological crisis we find ourselves in.

Which is why I believe that all of our spirituality must be centered around coming back into connection. Intimate connection with our body and sexuality. Intimate connection with other humans in their diversity as well as with the non-human worlds we are part of – especially the natural environment around us.

This is why rewilding spirituality is important.

Which is why I want all of us to really question not only the origins and purpose of our spiritual beliefs and practices but also their effects on us and the natural world.

How does your spirituality re-connect you with nature?

How does it estrange you from nature?

And what purpose do you choose your spirituality to serve and why?

No teacher or book can answer these questions for you. Observe your own experience. The choice is yours if you dare to choose. The time is now to make a change.

(And I have specifically designed this online class for men who choose rewilding.)

Man in suit sitting on a rock in a forest