The following statement is by Joey Cain. A longtime resident of 501 Ashbury in SF, Joey has lived at Short Mtn. He currently edits Raddish, the monthly newsletter of the Nomenus Wolf Creek Radical Faerie Sanctuary.
We are a network of faggot farmers, workers, artists, drag queens, political activists, witches, magickians, rural and urban dwellers who see gays and lesbians as a distinct and separate people, with our own culture, ways of being/becoming, and spirituality. We believe that, as a people, we have unique and necessary contributions to make, ones that we must make to help regain the lost balance of the larger human community here on the planet.
Being radically (at the root) decentralist and anti-authoritarian, we have no leaders. Each Faerie is divine and speaks for himself. We join together with each other in mutual aid and love for play, work, self-discovery and nurturing. To be a Faerie is an act of self-definition.
While we have no dogma, there are common visions which we share and celebrate. Some of these are: a belief in the sacredness of nature and the earth; honoring the interconnectedness of spirit, sex, politic and culture; an understanding that each one of us has our own path (or paths) which leads to the Garden of Who We Are, and that, by uniting with each other in circles, gatherings and sanctuaries, we can increase the joy of weeding and tending our gardens together; a commitment to the process of group consensus; and a belief that we are each other. As Faeries, we share a view of the world in which the dualities of either/or, minority/majority thinking are dissolved in the experience of "both/and," "I am you" ways of thinking and being.
The second statement was penned by the late Bradley Rose, longtime lover of Will Roscoe. It was composed as a means of raising interest and energy toward creating what eventually became the Wolf Creek sanctuary.
WHO ARE WE?
WHERE HAVE WE BEEN?
WHERE ARE WE GOING?
The gay movement has left these central queslions unaddressed. In fact, some gay people would have us believe we're just the same as the straights, except for what we do between the sheets. But others of us hold to the gut feeling that we _are_ different-that we gay people are _a people_. As a people we have ways that are peculiar to us and a language that characterizes us. We have our own past and, even more importantly, our own future.
We have searched through our childhoods for roots and clues to our special identity, and we have come up with the word FAERIE. As gay children we delighted in stories of faeries-those playful, magical, pansy-faced beings who assumed human shape. We have even been known as faeries throughout our lives to those around us.
So we are faeries. We spell it variously-as faerie, fairy, faery. No matter how we spell it, our aim is to explore and celebrate our nature. We want to build _real_ community on the fullest possible understanding of who we are. Therefore we feel it necessary to address the question of our identity.
Since 1979, many gatherings of radical faeries have been called to explore this question: Who are we? The gatherings take place in rural, isolated, safe settings. Radical faeries are invited to bring their fantasies, arts, memories, dreams and reflections. The gatherings are a provisional sanctuary in which we take off the masks we wear for the hetero world, suspend judgment and open ourselves to each other.
So, who are we? Answers so far are oversimple and tentative. But here are some clues:
THE GREAT MOTHER
We feel a special love of nature. Growing up as faerie boys, we talked with trees and stones-as do all children. But unlike the mortal children, we still share our thoughts and feelings with trees and stones-and vice versa. As faeries, we recognize ourselves as part of the balance of nature. Our part in nature is exhilarating, awesome and humbling. We know that when we lose a part of nature's sacred theater to the ravages of Men, we have lost a part of ourselves. Faeries therefore are cautious, caring stewards of country space. We are one with nature, with her variety and timeliness.
We faeries have also explored our magical power. Our ability to communicate, to organize, to heal, and to create exceeds the limitations of mortal reality. We use meditation and group ritual to celebrate ourselves. Magical awareness is the connection to our own immanent power. In mundane society, magic has been mystified, confused and heterosexualized. We faeries are reclaiming the value of magic.
It comes as no surprise that faeries love sex. In sex, as in all things, we enjoy variety. Our sexual relations are characterized by an enjoyment of each other's enjoyment. In this regard, every sharing of energy between faeries is sexual, whether or not it involves genitalia.
As faerie babes we were each born with a penis and (because of this penis) a burden of social expectation. As faeries we are sharply aware of the inappropriateness of society's gender expectations when applied to us.
We faerie boys had queer ways of trying to throw a baseball. The boys (those who would grow up to be Men) told us we threw like the girls. But the girls, when we asked them, said we didn't throw like boys _or_ girls-we threw like a _sissy_. There's the clue to our real gender. We are not-Men. We are other. We are sissies. We are faeries. As adult males we still fail gloriously at being Men. Even in 501s and sport shirts there's no mistaking a faerie for a real Man.
As faeries we are very interested in what our sisters have to say. The feminist movement is a heautiful expansion of consciousness. As faeries we enjoy participating in its growth.
Whenever faeries vote, they can usually count on numbering among the smallest minority. The democratic system tends to bypass us.
Politically, faeries incline toward cooperation. We protest against abuse of power. When we come together, faeries do so as a circle. We link all around, with neither a head nor a foot, neither a leader nor a follower. We prefer to make decisions based on loving, caring, sharing consensus. We find that consensus excellently serves circles of 30 or fewer faeries. But circles of even many hundreds of faeries have not found it necessary to fall back to hierarchical, subject-OBJECT politics.
The play of life and its myriad possible permutations bring ceaseless delight to faeries. As faerie boys we loved pirate and Robin Hood stories as much for the costumes as for anything else. We have all aspired to become actors and actresses.
Colorful and fantastic costuming is one of our gifts to the world, if the world will but accept it.
Mortal society is a dog-eat-dog world-a survival of the fittest, full of give and take, where push comes to shove and the early bird gets all the worms. It pains a faerie's heart that human creatures could feel at home in this economy of rape. The world could just as easily be a dog-love-dog place. We prefer to respect the sanctity of life. Faeries see the universe as wholly alive and sacred. We are subject-SUBJECT with our environment, with all its inhabitants and manifestations. We relate to others as we relate to ourselves-as subjects.
This is queer behavior in the dog-eat-dog world. Subject-SUBJECT consciousness is the essence of faerie vision. It underlies our respect for nature, our magical practice, our sexuality, and our relationship with women. Sadly, today's world is in short supply of this consciousness. The world needs our gifts, and our time as faeries has come. Together we can sprout and nurture our visions That is why we will continue to gather as faeries and share.
Oh, yes. Faeries aren't all light and clarity. We have anger and rage within us too. We have all internalized aspects of the dog-eat-dog world. Faeries come together to examine their projections and their sense of wrong and evil. We work to integrate the ''dark side" of ourselves into our awareness.
Where do we go from here? We feel we're really on to something with this exploration of faerie spirit. We want to continue this work. One of our projects in this regard is to acquire a permanent place in the country as a sanctuary for faerie exploration. By acquiring a permanent home (the first of many) we can emphasize our faerie work with continuity.
Currently a group of about 30 faeries, based in California, have organized to make this dream come true. We have been working closely together since January 1984. We can accept tax-deductible contributions. We are looking for land of 40 or more acres in northern or central California. We envision the land as a retreat and study/work center where we can share our arts and research, practice sound land-stewardship, restore our faerie creativity, and commune in faerie spirit with our own kind.
If you are interested in this project, come to a meeting or give us your name. Tell us how we can get in touch with you. Let us know your dreams and visions.
Back to Groups, Clans, and Gatherings page