A few weeks ago the Brotherhood celebrated Ecstasis, the festival of the Androgyne and the autumnal equinox. This is the one ritual out of our usual liturgical calendar that is open to the public at large, regardless of gender or orientation.
I have a very special place in my heart for these open events. As valuable and precious as our usual safe space is, reserved for self-identified men who love men, there’s something magical and freeing in occasionally opening the work to the larger community. Seeing old friends and making new ones, and getting to shareÂ the work that we do withÂ those who normally don’t or can’t partake is always amazing.
This year the turnout was spectacular, and the very large space that we use at the ManKind Project was full to brimming with people of all ages and self expressions. You enter ritual space and there’s a special, excited sort of energy. Anticipation exists before we even work to build it up, and people are hungry for this open-hearted sense of community, for a space that isn’t gay or lesbian or male or female but purely and quintessentiallyÂ queer.
The ritual room is full of bodies and spirit. Incense is in the air, smoky and spicy. Equal light, equal darkness, a twilight of spirit and time. The chanting is taken up by the group at large, and the ritual begins.
I treasure that ritual, and I don’t think I’ll share most of its happenings. What I will share, happily, is that about halfway through the ritual the congregants are visited by the Androgyne, who has come to deliver a message. What follows are TheirÂ words, as closely as they can be remembered and recorded.
Strong language follows.
Give me your tired, your poor,
your discriminated masses,
yearning to live free,
the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless,
the fanatical-tossed to me.
I am the Androgyne. But let us be specific. I am the queerÂ Androgyne. I am the ungendered and all-gendered champion of balance. I am this, and I am that, I am and completely beyond those.
Queer means different. Unusual. And so let us be clear – we are all queer, here. ThatÂ spark inside of you that allows you to connect to me, the sheer fact thatÂ you are here and I am in your heart – that is the spark of the Queer fire. That is where we meet.
Queer is nothing to do especially with sex, or gender, or orientation. These are influenced by queerness, but are not queerness themselves. I see here straight Queers and gay Queers and bi Queers and omni Queers and lady Queers (hello, lady Queers) and all the others. I am reflected in you. All of you. I am the pansexual, asexual guardian of our shared communities.
And just as this room is not split in two, nor am I. I am not binary. I am multitudinous. I am not restricted. I am limitless. Neither black nor white nor fifty fucking shades of grayÂ will contain me. I am the ever loving fucking rainbow. I am holy, I am wild, I am vast. I am not the balance of two – I am the balance of all.
My lesson is that: The universe that we love is not split in two. Where there are pairs there are triads. From triads, quartets, quintets, (sextets?). Find your own vastness. Embrace nuance and fuck normativity. I am wild, I am mad, I am radical. And so are you.
Find your own vastness, and from that vastness find your balance, your fulcrum. I am not a single pair of balanced scales any more than you are. I, and you, are wheels, spinning around their center. We are all the spiral of existence, whirling and dancing around the staff of life. Galaxies and star stuff. Find the distaff about which your life is spinning. Amongst your busy lives, there is aÂ thing to tie it together,Â a Champion of balance inside your heart. This is your Will. Your purpose. Your glorious, dazzling reason for living and for working so fucking hard every fucking day. Find it, know it, own it, and from Will, find Balance.