Celebrating the Divine Youth

March 9th, 2016


Divine Youth, Child of stars and
of oceans, Beloved of Dawn and
Prince of the Swelling Tide, I give
you thanks and honor. I ask your
blessing as I walk the Labyrinth,
for clear eyes and Wonder in my heart.
Divine Youth, Dancer in Light
and Laughter, I give up to you
my expectations that I might
look freely upon the world
through your shining eyes.
I honor you always in the circle
of my life. Ta kya te.

With the approach of the Equinox, we prepare ourselves to enter the season of the Explorer, the Fool of the Tarot who gives us Courage and guides us through our first steps into the labyrinth.

It is not yet Quintessence, however. We are still in the season of the Divine Youth. He is the created, creative spark of the Divine, born of madness and the dawn. From Him we learn Wonder and the clarity of an open heart.

Two of our brothers, on their personal blogs, have written posts devoted to or discussing the Youth. Read them there, and let us know what you think on our Facebook page.

To the Divine Youth – from Looking For Wisdom by Adrian Moran

The Divine Youth – from queerwitch by Theo Geer

Give a final offering to the Youth as we prepare to welcome the Explorer back into our spaces.

Tous kya te!

Quietus: The Hidden Elders

January 17th, 2016


This is a guest post by our brother Theo, who has recently started a blog called queer witch. Theo is a Mentor in the Inner Order of the Brotherhood. You can find his original post here.

We are in what the Brotherhood of the Phoenix calls the season of Quietus. It is the time of the Elder. This is a season for reflection. For gathering to ourselves the things we have learned and done, for understanding what the legacy of the past year is, how that legacy will shape the future, and deciding what course to take in the coming months.

The Elder has been seen and portrayed in a number of ways throughout the Brotherhood’s existence. I have seen sober reflective Elders. I have seen boisterous story-tellers and grim men with a flinty gaze. Most often, the Elder comes to us wearing a cloak of benevolence and beneficence. He tells us that the past is gone, and that we have a world of opportunity awaiting us. He tells us to think upon where we’ve been and where we’re going.

And this is understandable. This is a message, time and again, that we need to hear. It is challenging to be queer, to stand outside of society and continue to see our own value in the mirror.

But there is more to the Elder than this wisdom. There are parts of the elder that we rarely see, because they make us uncomfortable, or sad, or remind us of our mortality.

The Mad One

The Elder can be mad. Not as in angry, the other mad. The world in which we live is a fabrication, and sometimes it is profound wisdom to recognize that it makes no sense whatsoever. But it is madness to maintain that awareness for more than moments. To reject all the deceits and lies that surround us and refuse to engage in them might be a virtue in truth, but it is madness indeed. Yet it is only by engaging this madness that some of the most important truths come to light.

The Architect

The Elder is often seen as being in the last stage of his life. Our culture assumes this means he is infirm, that he has nothing left to create. This can be true for the Elder, but it is not always so. The Elder has walked many roads in his time, and knows how to get from here to there. He is the fully realized individuation of the Queer Identity, and in his self-posession he is more powerful than ever. From this place he can build great things. He is the vital center of the community. He knows the way of things and helps us to grow and become more fully realized in ourselves.

The Trickster

The Elder is also the wily god. We note that the Elder gives way to the youth, but they are often partners in crime. For where did the youth learn his craft but from the Elder himself. The pair of them are a team. Sometimes, often even, the Elder plays the straight face and sets us up for a fall. He brings us somber wisdom and careful advice. Then along comes the Youth and turns the world on its head. Sometimes though, it is the Elder himself who pulls the rug out from under us. For what is the use in being known as the serious one if he can’t use that expectation to surprise us with a trick now and then?

The Dying One

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of the Elder is the part of him that is indeed ancient. It is wonderful to celebrate the long lived and their wisdom. But passing the torch to the next generation is inevitable. And though we may recognize that death is part of life, there is still tremendous sorrow in the process of dying. And this too, is one of the lessons of the Elder. For as we are joyed by the vibrance and occasional absurdity of the Youth, we are saddened and compassionate with the decline of the Elder. Sometimes even the Gods need a shoulder to lean on. An open heart and a willing ear go a great length.

Reflections of the Elder

January 14th, 2016


This past Saturday was Quietus, our celebration of the Queer Elder and the Winter Solstice. It’s typically regarded as a time of quiet reflection and collection, and honestly sees less attendance than our other events throughout the year. It can’t help, of course, that the blustery Chicago weather is often miserable and that most of us are experiencing event-burn-out from what’s usually a very busy, social December.

All that being said, this past weekend’s Quietus ritual was the best attended in at least five years. There were both new and old faces, and our community was stronger for our meeting. The large room at the ManKind Project was comfortably full, and spirits were high. There was a palpable desire in the air for the energies of energies of Quietus, of stillness and thought.

The centerpiece to each of our rituals is a message brought to us by the seasonal face of the Queer God of our order, and Quietus is certainly no different. His is a message of transformation, trust, and recognizing those things that hold importance in our lives.

His words from Saturday’s ritual follow, as closely as they could be recorded.


Reflections of the Elder, Jan. 9, 2016, as recounted by our Brother Adrian Moran

Have you walked the Labyrinth, my friends? You have, or you would not have gotten here to this place to be with me. We are deep within it now. As you moved through its twists and turns, you moved farther from the mundane and distracting cares outside. But sometimes, when you are walking and you can see your goal, you will notice that the path seems to lead you farther from the goal, the center. You must trust the path, trust the process, and keep moving. Know that you will reach the center and experience the mysteries contained within.

I want to talk to you about leaves. Think about the great canopy of green leaves that we see on trees in the summer. They are remarkable things. They hold the secret of photosynthesis, which is a kind of alchemy – they take sunlight and water and some minerals from the earth and they create something miraculous. They create energy, life. They transform these ingredients into something the tree can use to build its tall giant body, the energy to create blossoms or fruits or seeds. It is all fueled by the power of those leaves.

But every Fall, the leaves die away. They may have the glorious golds and reds or maybe they just turn brown and fall off. Either way, the leaves have given the tree something valuable and then there is a time when they return to the Earth. Think about what in your life is like these leaves. What has nourished you, but whose time is done and needs to be let go? This is the time of year when the so many trees stand bare, built strong and tall by the power of the leaves, but now standing without them, their plain, elegant branches waiting for a new Spring.

There’s another kind of tree, though, whose greenery is spiky needles instead of broad leaves. They’re a heartier, harsher breed, ready for the cold and snow. They don’t grow sweet smelling flowers, they have pine cones. They are evergreens, and as the name suggests, they stay green all winter long. The needles don’t stay alive forever, but they also don’t all fall off and blow away just because a little cold and snow are coming.  They are on a different cycle, a longer cycle. They stick with the tree through the harsh times.

Think about what in your life is like the evergreen needles. Maybe not so luxurious and vibrant as those other leaves, but the kind that sticks with you in the harsher times. What nourishes you when the world seems cold and bleak? What in your life is ever-green?

On a separate topic, we talk a lot here about transformation. It is one of the most important themes of the Brotherhood. We seek to transform ourselves and to transform our communities. Remember, we must allow ourselves to be transformed. This means that we must shed expectations and conceptions of who we are. We must let go of our limitations, our insecurities, and those things from our past that hold us back.

Importantly, we also need to be open to transformation in others. We form ideas about people from our past experiences and rightfully so. Through time and experience, we decide if someone is compassionate, reliable, thoughtful – or if they are difficult, selfish, untrustworthy. But we must be open to the possibility that others can be transformed, just as we are transformed. Someone mousy and unimpressive can find their voice and become a powerful presence. Someone who has been indecisive and unreliable may finally “click” with a path that makes sense and they will be diligent in their pursuit. Many transformations take time, changing habits, therapy – all these can change the person you thought you knew into someone else. This is not to say it will definitely happen. Some people aren’t willing to do the work, or may not even be able to see what needs to change. But be sure you are open to see a change when it does happen, and not stuck in your previous ideas. Allow them to be transformed and their relationship to you and to the community is transformed.

Commentary on the Daily Devotion

January 10th, 2016

Quietus: A Celebration of the Stillness Within

How to cultivate a worldview

Your worldview is your philosophy of the world, its conception, and your place in it. It’s the meaning that you give the world, at each level of existence from the physical to the spiritual. Engaging with and accessing this meaning is the key to furthering one’s personal work and deepening fulfillment.

Worldviews can be held by individuals, small groups, communities, even cultures. One individual may hold different worldviews simultaneously – a sort of pluralistic philosophy. We will often share a worldview to allow us to work in tandem, while privately engaging with the world in different ways.

Since our worldviews are of the physical, etheric, astral, mental, and spiritual worlds, we have to be able to communicate with ourselves at each of these levels in order to best engage and experience our world. Through symbolic action we can engage with our worldviews, and through consistent engagement we can cultivate a steady sense of the world and our place in it.

Symbolic action is what we apply in ritual – a set of actions that symbolically link us to a greater worldview, and in some cases allow us to change the world through that link.

The daily devotional ritual is a path towards building a deeper understanding of the Brotherhood, its ethos, and its basic theology. Making the daily devotion part of your regular practice will deepen your experience of our order and its mysteries. It’s a way to approach the Brotherhood’s worldview from a place of that aforementioned symbolic action – joining us in community through shared understanding of the world.

The Brotherhood’s worldview

Rather than write some enormous essay regarding the totality of our worldview, there are just some presuppositions we hold that deserve clarification. In no way do the following ideas comprise the total worldview of the Order or its members, but the following notes will help you to engage with the devotion in a deeper fashion.

Hopefully they also illuminate some small part of why the Brotherhood exists, and what the meaning of our work is, even so simple a working as this devotional ritual.

So, in no particular order:

We walk with the spirits, and they walk with us.

This is a familiar and comfortable concept for many pagans, specifically animistic pagans, but it certainly bears repeating. These spirits are the spirits of the land on which we walk and work. These are our communal queer ancestors, those who came before us and paved the roads on which we now walk. They are the spirits of the wind and the water, guardian spirits and guides.

Our Gods are in the hearts of all men who love men, as are the seeds of their gifts.

The Eightfold Queer God of the Brotherhood is seen in many different ways and with many different faces. Some will experience one god with eight faces, facets, or forms. Some will experience eight separate gods, each with their own agency. We encourage you to find the divine within your own experience. Regardless, the Queer God is to be found in all of us, in our hearts and in the connections between our hearts. The gifts of these gods are always available to us when our hearts are open to them.

At the center of the Labyrinth is the Phoenix, who is the spark of queer fire inside of us all.

This is a fire that we once claimed, and can again. We acknowledge the historical role of queer peoples in many societies as healers, teachers, and intermediaries with the spirits and the gods. This is a fire that resides at the center of the Labyrinth, which is the center of our self, which is the Phoenix burning brightly. This is the power to transform and regenerate.

Once claimed and experienced, these flames connect us, unseen, in community.

We are connected by the Phoenix as one sacred community, a Brotherhood. We support one another, and are supported in turn.

The work of the Phoenix and the Labyrinth is that of transformation, both micro- and macrocosmically.

To experience the Phoenix at the center of the labyrinth is to join your community in transformation. This is first a transformation of self, a journey down a previously unknown path. It is also a journey taken to transform the community, and in turn to transform the world that our community resides in.

The work of transformation is always work. Know yourself and be prepared to sacrifice.

If this is a path that calls to you, if it’s work that seems to move you, then be prepared for real work. Before you take a single step into the Labyrinth, it’s important to acknowledge the reality of what it means to transform. Your path towards the flames is one of self discovery. The path back is one of responsibility, carrying these flames back to community.

My heart is open to you.

In the Brotherhood we sometimes speak an esoteric tongue named Shicate, in which the words “Ta kya te” mean “My heart is open to you.” This is used as a salutation to fellow Brothers, to our Seekers, and certainly to our spirits and our gods. It’s a recognition of the connection that we share between us, and a promise to maintain that connection.