Facing the Fear


This is very much NOT the post I thought I was going to write.  I thought I was going to be working on part 3 of my Pride series and discussing spiritual exercises and spells and rituals for honoring our Ancestors, practical ideas for engaging in Queer community and building stronger communities.

This is not that post, but this is something I realize I needed to write.  Sometimes the act of writing is an invocation or an evocation, and sometimes it is an exorcism.  Even as I have been working and writing around Pride as a Holy Celebration and about how to take the fears and anger stirred by recent outrages and use it productively, I’ve been dealing with some of my own and with some ghosts from my own past.

A memory from my childhood.

Many years ago, sometime in the early to mid-1980’s…  I don’t remember the exact time as being blessed with dual time blindness of ADHD and childhood blurs the timing of some memories for me.

My father and I were walking through a mall.  We were walking towards the exit and a man walked past us, some sort of biker.  He was tall and broad shouldered and burly with a belly and a beard and a glorious mane of long brown hair.  The mingled scents of his leathers and pipe tobacco swirled around him as he passed.  I remember looking up and pausing in my walk, my gaze following him for a moment.  I remember thinking how very handsome he was, beautiful to my eyes and heart.  Then, of course, I clamped down on that instinct and looked down and hurried on to catch up with my father.

Because even then I knew that that reaction could get me made fun of, that reaction could get me hurt… or much much worse.  I was somewhere around 10 years old.  That’s kind of a heavy mental and emotional load to carry at any time of ones life, especially difficult in childhood.  Especially when you believe that there is no one you can talk to about it.

I grew up as a Queer kid between the first wave of Gay Liberation, and the onset of the Age of Aids, and my time as a young adult was in an era of increasing efforts and organization in our community’s movement towards equality.  Now as a man in his 50’s I am seeing many of the old enemies returning with many of the old tactics of violence and terror and fear and manipulation. 

This year for Pride we are seeing increased of the uses of the phrase ‘Groomer’ in the public discourse to discount LGBTQ+ voices, the return of an old and once upon a time all too effective slur against the Queer community or voices that speak in support of our community.  We are dealing with public figures engaging in stirring up fears and bigotry in the media.  In the last week we have heard news of a narrowly avoided act of domestic terrorism at a Pride event in Idaho.  News of hate groups entering a public Library in San Lorenzo, California to hurl slurs and insults and disrupt a children’s reading hour/literacy event because a drag queen was reading.

I, like so many of my Queer siblings, am dealing with fear and anger.  For some of you this is a new experience, for others of us it the return of something we had thought we had left behind.  One of my responses has been to deep dive into the idea of Pride as a Holy Season and celebration.  A time for honoring my LGBTQ+ ancestors and for doing ritual and work around Queer community and empowerment and self-empowerment.

Last week I was present for a homophobic incident at my corner store.  Some guy started being rude and confrontational to a trans woman or drag queen who was in line behind him, and then when he turned to the clerk and asked him something along the line of “you don’t think that’s right do you?” and the clerk pointed out that he himself was gay, the homophobe started shouting about how the clerk was “a destroyer”.  After the guy left a few of us regulars and the staff and security guy were joking around about it.  At the same time something about it stuck with me.  It has been many years since I had experienced a random act of loud and self-righteous homophobia.

The other day my bear and I went to a public pool for open swimming.  We both love swimming, even though it’s been ages since we’ve been, and it’s especially good for his lingering left side paralysis from his stroke.  We spent an hour splashing around amidst the other families out at the pool.  I was keeping a careful eye on my beloved because he tires easily and is disabled now.  At the same time, I am realizing I was on a level of wariness and alert I haven’t been familiar with in years.  I was waiting for a slur, an accusation, I was on guard for trouble in a way I haven been, haven’t felt the need to be in many years.

This wariness and the mix of fear and anger at its heart is at once a reasonable reaction to the current assaults upon our lives and liberties AND AT THE SAME TIME exactly where our enemies want us.  They want us to return to the closet.  They want us out of the public eye and public spaces and public discourse.  They don’t want us back in gay ghetto’s, they want us eliminated from society.  They yearn for a return to a world where being Queer was a criminal act and a diagnosis of sickness and something to be cured.  They want us to know fear and anger and they want to make us helpless.

Fuck. That. Noise.

So for now I write, and pray, and engage in spiritual practice.  I begin to seek ways to reweave myself and my family into bonds of Queer community and other communities.  For now I spend hours I should be sleeping writing out a bunch of feelings and facing some of my own fears.  I do the work I can do and the work I need to do.

I hope the same for each of you.

Bliss and Blessed Be,


Beginning with Ourselves (or) Pride: pt 2 of ?


What does it mean to begin with ourselves?

We live in an over-culture that constantly bombards us with messages of how we are not good enough… unless…. We buy this product, use/wear/play/listen to this or that.  Where most forms of social media are fueled by algorithms that thrive on engagement, and all too often accidentally or by design fuel that engagement through outrage and conflict.  Where the flow of information has become an onslaught, where news and opinion about the latest atrocity is beamed into our minds and heart in an almost constant stream.  Where we are constantly exposed to marketers, advertisers, and propagandists striving to bend us and our society to their wills.

As LGBTQIA peoples, the affect sometimes only seems magnified.  Changes in culture and society over the last 20 plus years have led to breakdowns of the old networks and community groups and organizations or lessened engagement as many of us felt that these were no longer as necessary as they once were.  There has been a sense of splintering and factionalization within the Queer community.  A sense of disconnection with our own history and culture.  At the same time we face continuing and renewed attacks from extremists.

What can we do in the face of all of this to celebrate Pride as a Holy Season as LGBTQIA Pagans and Occultists and fellow travelers?  What can we do to begin?

One of the first things we can do, and in some surprising ways, the simplest and most empowering, is to connect with our Queer culture and ancestors through learning about our history and culture.  The idea that we as a people have our own history is not such a radical notion, and indeed academia has embraced Queer Studies and LGBTQ History.  There are numerous books, movies, academic studies, documentaries, podcasts and all other manner of media exploring the human record where Queer people have left a mark that has not been struck from the record by bigotry and intolerance.

The idea that we have a unique culture may seem more out there, but when we start looking at our history and the works and lives of our LGBTQIA ancestor’s certain themes do emerge and as we continue forward perhaps other aspects of Queer culture will come to light.

Some of the points that come out as elements of Queer Culture include:

  1. Honoring our collective past.  Including remembering and honoring our ancestors, our heroes, and our dead.
  2. A culture of flexibility in what constitutes one’s family and immediate community.
  3. Openness to a variety of definitions and configurations for intimate relationships.
  4. An active and widespread embrace of creativity and artistry and the arts and crafts; including and especially where such things may be contraindicated by the social or cultural norms or the role one is seen engaging in in either the larger society or the LGBTQIA community.
  5. A rejection of violence within Queer spaces and events, an active investment in Queerspace being safe and free of violence.  Which is in no way to say an embrace of pacifism, although some do.  Every LGBTQIA person you will ever meet has at one time or another had to face the possibility that they might face horrific violence, violation, or death, for the simple crime of our existence.
  6. Not just Mutual Aid within the Queer community, but also a strong tendency towards both personal and taking part in organized altruism for others.
  7. A strong theme of solidarity with the struggles of other oppressed peoples.  Not that our history as a people or culture is not interwoven with a complicated legacy of sexism and racism, but I would argue that these are not intrinsic to LGBTQIA community or culture.  They are cancers present within them, just as they are within the overculture.

    Some of the above points come to my understanding from my own readings and studies of LGBTQIA history and my own lived experience.  Some were also inspired by reading The Soul Beneath The Skin: The Unseen Hearts and Habits of Gay Men, by David Nimmons (2003), which while focused on Gay male culture and sadly out of print I can highly recommend!

One of the ways I am celebrating Pride this year is by intermittent bingeing of the Making Gay History podcast.  This series by author Eric Marcus is named after his book of the same name.  At least in the second edition of 2002, original title Making History 1992, the podcast features biographical notes and author remembrances interspersed with taped interviews of a variety of LGBTQIA pioneers in the ongoing struggle for LGBTQIA civil rights.

I really wish I had encountered the book in either of it’s editions when I was a much younger man and a much more voracious reader, but I am loving the podcast.

There are almost, too many, resources currently available to list for someone wanting to explore LGBTQIA history and culture.  Here for our mutual edification and continuing journeys are a few of them…


Making Gay History

Queer as Fact

Queer News with Anna Deshawn

A Couple of Books & some Reading Lists

The Soul Beneath The Skin by David Nimmons (2003)

And The Band Played On by Randy Shilts (1987)

10 essential non-fiction books to learn about LGBTQ history and culture

The Queer History Book List

LGBTQ History Month: 17 must-read books about queer history


The Celluloid Closet

How We Got Gay

An Online Resource

The National Aids Memorial Interactive Aids Quilt

Blessed be our Jouney’s into Queer History and Culture and Bliss & Blessed Be,


The Holy Season: Notes (or) Pride: pt 1.5 of ?


As is the nature of a mixed format blog sometimes, a post is evolving into a series.

This series will explore the many ways we can engage as LGBTQIA peoples (and as allies) in Pride as a Holy Season. There will be practical suggestions, ideas for spiritual or metaphysical practice, and several resources presented across an as yet unknown number of posts.  My hope, is to do this all within June of 2022… but the series much like ones journey as an LGBTQIA person and in Pride is ongoing.

Now, my own preference in referring to myself, despite being a mostly Cisgender Gay man, is the word Queer.  I have written a bit about this decision of mine elsewhere.  Some people object to this word for a variety of reasons, I would invite those people to please dwell with and upon their discomfort with Queer in this work, although for the sake of ‘verbal’ variety I will be using it interwoven with other terms, and would welcome discussion of this decision and of any of my ideas in the comments.

Bliss & Blessed Be,


Welcome to the Holy Season! (or) Pride: pt 1 of ?


For some of us June is not only the time of the Summer Solstice Sabbat, it is also the Holy Season of Pride.

Pride is about honoring the memories and works of our Queer Ancestors, those of both body and spirit. Pride is about recalling that in the face of oppression and societal and institutional neglect we have been able to come together as families of love and choice and blood, to come together as communities and coalitions, to come together as people of decency and character and many faiths, and not merely survive but to gloriously thrive! Through art, and joy, and family bonds of blood and choice, through mutual aid, through laughter and often heroic perseverance through many trials and tribulations we were able to bend the moral arc of the universe towards justice.

Perhaps most importantly, Pride is not only about reminding ourselves of what we have done as a community in the past, to Never Forget, but to also remind ourselves that….

We. Can. Do. So. Again.

In the face of the many recent laws passed targeting Trans people especially and the LGBT community in general, and the rise of Don’t Say Gay bills and weaponized ‘Groomer’ discourse and the ‘no kink at Pride’ discourse (itself a mutation of the old ‘no drag no trans at Pride discourse’) I have seen a LOT of fear and anger floating around social media from LGBTQA folks.

I think a lot of us have forgotten what we as a community and culture have accomplished in the past, forgotten the lessons and inspiration of our Queer Ancestors. In the 1970s and 1980s we came together through art and protest and activism and mutual aid and community building and working towards economic empowerment. As (for many of us) culture and society opened up and became more accepting of LGBTQIA people, and the hard work of the old coalitions and community organizations came to bear fruit in the 90’s and early 2000s, as laws in many places changed and so may of the old groups and organizations went through various stages of (one of) the organizational life cycle(s), as we started taking a greater place and part in the over-culture and Queer culture became a thing of self deprecating or even disparaging memes… we have forgotten ourselves and our strength and beauty and our individual and communal power.

This was highlighted for me in one of the Discords I lurk in, one specifically for Queer Witches and Occultists of various stripes, the chat was trending towards how many of us were feeling ill or under the weather, and someone suggested that it being the astronomical New Moon might be a factor, and the following chat ensued…

Me:  “Maybe because I work with Hecate but the astronomical/modern New Moon and the Noumenia are always good energy for me?”
Them: “Oh deipnon/noumenia and new moon generally can be great times, I’m just saying it seems like several of us feel something fucky at the moment and I’m just recommending caution”
Me: “Fair enough, though given we are all Queer and some form of Witch or Occult type… a part of it could be all the free floating fear and anger in our communities re: the legal and political fuckery going on against our people?
Perhaps I should say unchanneled fear and rage… starts thinking”

From a Discord chat, (posted with ‘Their’ permission on condition of anonymity)

So what do we do? How do we once more channel our fear, our pain, our outrage and outrageousness into action and events and results once more? We have to begin with ourselves, “Let it Begin with Me” as the old folksong and hymn says.

I will be writing and working this Holy Season towards a deeper exploration of the question of what do we do, what can we do, and sharing that journey here. I hope you will join me.

Bliss, and Blessed Be,