Daily Devotions: Beginning Personal Practice

January 5th, 2016
The author's Brotherhood altar.

The author’s Brotherhood altar.

We hear a lot from men who are interested in building a personal practice in the Brotherhood of the Phoenix, who are interested in forging a connection with our work, our gods, and our practice. There are some resources available now, such as these candle labels or this small collection of poetry and stories. As this year progresses there will be a lot more information and guidance that we’ll be sharing, but let’s start with a short daily practice.

You can use this ritual on a daily basis to stay connected to the Phoenix and the spirit of the Brotherhood. Use it to center yourself, mentally prepare for your day, and reaffirm the direction of your path through the Labyrinth. We’ll be posting a commentary on this ritual very soon.


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!