The Androgyne at Ecstasis

October 29th, 2014

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 share the work that we do with 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 quintessentially 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 Their 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 queer 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. That spark inside of you that allows you to connect to me, the sheer fact that 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 gray 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 a thing to tie it together, 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.

Prayer for the Elder

January 14th, 2014

Simple teacher, I pray of thee.

Wisdom from Wonder,
Love from Courage,
Strength from Healing,
Gnosis from Balance,
and Wonder from Wisdom.

Teach me to see from where I come,
and to learn of where I go.

Silent memory, I pray of thee.

Your legacy left so slowly still,
amidst the sleeping guardians.
A journey joined and formed of will,
where querents call your name.

Teach me to speak when words are well,
and voice winter words when still.

Wild spirit, I pray of thee.

As a mighty horned beast,
rutting in the wood;
Lay yourself in Cauldrons feast
your wisdom to be shared.

A birth in wonder waiting there,
for sacrifice complete

Song of the Shaman

December 29th, 2013

A whisper in the dark,
Your presence by my side.
Walk the worlds, you say to me,
And I will show you secrets vast.
The key you hold within your grasp,
Know thyself and you will know all.

The shadows wrapped around you.
Like a cloak, pinpricks of light,
Stars shine in your hair.
“I have been to the edge
And seen, will you walk with me?”

Fearful of what lies ahead
I know that you will never let me fall.
We must begin at the beginning .
And suddenly I am a child again,
Sitting at my father’s knee.

Pain! There is no other word.
You push into my mind,
Delving deeper than I
Have ever dared to go.
Pulling me apart
Piece by piece.

I am no longer a person,
No longer a man.
I am a collection of parts
That once fit together.
Till there is only one spark left.
And understanding dawns,
I am Thee and Thou art me.

I smile to myself,
If one can smile without a mouth.
My spark begins to spin,
Pulling myself back together.
Choosing who and what I am
Who and what I will become.

Walk the worlds, I say
And I will show you secrets vast.
The key you hold within your grasp,
Know thyself and you will know all.

I am the Walker!
All paths stand open to me.
My branches reach unto the stars themselves,
And yet my roots run just as deeply into the earth.

I have been to the edge,
And I can give you that key.
But you must be willing to face your greatest fear,
Your cherished dream and worst nightmare.
For I am also all of these.
I have achieved gnosis.
And I am He who stands across the threshold.
Mediator of the spirit world.
That we may achieve ta key te with all life.
I am the Bridge.
I am the Teacher.
And I am the Guide.
Through me you can touch the gods.

Perhaps you know me by a different name.
I have been called Baron Samedi, Gwydion, Wepawet.
I am all of these and so much more.
I am the Shaman!

In the Season of Shadow Dance

November 28th, 2013

 

There is a chill in the air (at least in the Northern climes) as Autumn hurtles down the long slide into Winter. This is the season of Shadow Dance, or Samhain, Sovvan, Blood Harvest, whatever you want to call it. For me this time always feels like that last gasp of energy to get everything done, but with a sense of beginning to turn inward. It is that liminality between outward activity and inward stillness that calls to the Shaman, the in-between where possibility is just as strong as reality.

The Shaman dances along the edge of two worlds, walking the paths of the Otherworld and bringing back wisdom to his tribe. Often we focus on that first part, the search for Gnosis. But that second part is just as important as the first. He needs to live in this world and be a part of it to understand the people he is serving. Without that grounding the pursuit of Knowledge is purposeless. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for the Shaman as a mountain –top guru dispensing wisdom from on high, but I tend to see the Him more as the “ready to get his hands dirty” type.  Of course my image of the Shaman is also a bit rougher than most. I see Him as often in leather or rubber as in furs or robes. But I am called to the Ordeal Path…what else should I expect. He’s as likely to order me to do something as He is to smile and ask how I’m doing. He is the Trickster, the Sage, and the Master.  He is always ready to help when needed, thought the way He helps is rarely how we expect, and isn’t always pleasant.

I just finished a really interesting book called My Babylon, a mostly straight, slightly kinky tale of goetic sex magick.  It was a fun read for a couple of days. But more importantly it reminded me of one of the gifts of the Shaman. The protagonist in the story is a ceremonial magician who tries to create a succubus but gets way more than he bargained for. Throughout the book the character is constantly talking about the dedication and discipline required for his art. This got me thinking about how I apply discipline in my own magical practices, and if there were differences depending on my level of adherence to said discipline.  When I am doing some sort of daily practice I feel more connected and more confident in my abilities. When I let that slip I start feeling more isolated and powerless. To be able to walk among the worlds as the Shaman does requires practice and application of will.  Taking on the Saturnian roles of Constrictor and Teacher, He calls on each of us to find that balance point that grows into wisdom.