“Home” can mean more than one thing. Home might be where you grew up. It might be the place you go once you get off work. Home might be a house, an apartment, a condo, a trailer, or some other dwelling. Home doesn’t even have to be a dwelling. It can be a time or a place or a people. Some folks find home in annual events and gatherings like Between the Worlds, Pagan Spirit Gathering, Witch Camp, Gay Pride, and other such events. Some folks find home in groups and communities—the LGBTQ community, the Pagan community, the Poly community, and various Fet communities. Groups, communities, and events are especially important to those who are marginalized and for those folks who aren’t on good terms with their birth families. For many, finding home means finding your family of choice. The most important part of home and family is a feeling of belonging, and a feeling that those there have your back. Home is where the heart is. To quote Robert Frost, “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.”
For me, home is the place I grew up and that was in my family for over three decades. It’s the house near the lake where I ran through the woods in my youth, and where I first camped just inside the woods at my first adolescent signs of growing independence. Home is were I learned to drive up and down the dirt road driveway, where I played in the creeks catching crawfish and newts, and where I fished in the lake with my best friend, Mark, and my neighbor, Shane. Home is where I first learned to work on cars with my Dad as I became enthused with the TV show Knight Rider. It’s where I ran around pretending to be Doctor Who while wearing a long scarf. And it’s where I pretended to be a Jedi from Star Wars using a tree branch as a lightsaber. Home is where I learned to love animals. We had dogs and cats and hamsters and parakeets and ducks and so many more pets. Home is where my family lived for over 30 years. Home is the place my Dad always said would pass down to me and my sister. Home is the place I knew I could always go back to—no matter what — until it wasn’t. Family were the people I knew I could always count on to have my back— no matter what — until they weren’t. My Dad passed away in 2009 and my Mom remarried two years later. A few years after she remarried, she sold our home despite protests from me and my sister, and even after requests to buy at least the lot adjacent to home, if not the home itself, because that’s all me and my sister would have been able to afford at the time.
I have other “homes”—the place I live now, my local Pagan and LGBTQ communities, and I even felt like I found home at some gatherings I’ve gone to like the now ended Coph Nia gathering for Gay and Bi Pagan men. None of these make up for the feeling of loss at losing my childhood home. I’m determined to get it back someday—hopefully someday soon. I’d like to retire there and I’d also like to ensure it gets passed down to my sister’s kids, as I know my Dad would have liked. In the meantime, I’m hoping to create new homes for myself and for others. I’m still hoping to found my campground though that might take a few more years and my quest to regain my childhood home might have to take precedence. I’m also trying to create “homes” for the “alternative” communities to which I belong. These homes include my local annual “Alternative Pride Picnic” for LGBTQ folks, Pagans, Poly folks, and others. It includes the Brotherhood by the Bog Retreat for Pagan men. Soon it will also include the Arcadia Gathering for Queer Pagan and Hellenist Men.
To quote Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor, “My journey is the same as yours, the same as anyone’s. It’s taken me so many years, so many lifetimes, but at last I know where I’m going, where I’ve always been going. Home—the long way ‘round.”
You can find out more about Mel including his podcast and blog at: http://www.melmystery.com
Just wanted to share an exciting event for Queer Pagan, Hellenistic, and Earth-based spirituality men that is coming up in October of this year.
The first ever Arcadia Gathering will be held the week of October 9-12, 2019 at Bear Creek Lake State Park in Cumberland, Virginia. We are hoping this will become an annual event and that it will fill a void for such gatherings on the East Coast and mid-Atlantic U.S.
The theme of our first gathering is “Discovering Arcadia: Empowering Queer Men’s Spirituality.” Our patron deity this year will be the Greek god, Pan. Pan was one of the primary patrons of ancient Arcadia. He is the god of the wild, shepherds and flocks, nature, rustic music, and sexuality. Pan is known for chasing both nymphs and shepherds alike.
The event will also be very affordable. Early registration (before June 1) is a flat fee of $75. After that, the cost goes up to $100. This includes a standard tent space, basic breakfast and dinner (lunch on your own), and a parking pass for the campground. There is an add-on fee for folks wishing to have large family-size tents or extra tents, as space may be limited. We may also consider renting out a bunk house at the campground, if we have enough interest. The bunk house would also be an add-on cost. For details, visit our website.
We are looking for workshop and activity presenters, and for folks interested in helping to plan or staff the event.
For additional information and to register, please visit our website and Facebook pages below:
Wicca is the most commonly known Pagan religion. Usually the religion is called “Wicca” and most Wiccans practice spells and that practice is called “witchcraft.” It’s basically good witchcraft. Wiccans have a law called the “Wiccan Rede.” The short version pretty much says “Do as you will, but harm none.” They also believe that anything bad you do to anyone else will come back to you three times. They call this the “Law of Three.” Wiccans worship a Goddess and a God. They generally believe that all gods and goddesses from various cultures and mythologies are just different aspects of one ultimate Goddess and one ultimate God. Wicca is generally considered a feminine religion. Modern Wiccans are more likely to focus on the Goddess than the God. Some paths focus on the belief in male-female polarity, especially related to something called “the Great Rite.” This Rite is basically the sexual union of male and female – whether practiced as a genuine sex act or symbolically. In some circles there’s debate about how LGBT people fit into the whole polarity thing. LGBT folks tend to have both masculine and feminine polarities within, rather than being exclusively one or the other.
There are many paths within Wicca including Dianic Wicca, Gardnerian Wicca, and the Feri Tradition.
Dianic Wicca tends to be almost exclusively female and Goddess oriented and is a favorite of Lesbians and Feminists. Dianic Wicca was founded in the 1970s by Zsuzsanna Budapest. Its focus is on the worship of the Roman goddess Diana (Artemis in Greek mythology) and feminism. Unlike traditional Wicca that honors a god and a goddess, Dianic Wiccans view the Goddess as complete unto herself. She is the source of all life. Originally most Dianic covens consisted of Lesbian women, but modern Dianic groups may be heterosexual or mixed, but they remain a female-only tradition. Dianic covens often exclude Transgender people who were not born biological females.
Gardnerian Wicca was founded by was founded by Gerald Gardner in the 1950s. Gardner, was extremely homophobic and believed that covens and rituals should be performed exclusively through heterosexual male-female pairs.
The Feri Tradition emphasizes the “fey” (elves, fairies, etc.) and is open to all sexual orientations. They often encourage bisexuality during rituals. Faery Witch covens made up of Gay men have also been formed and are accepted in the Faery Witch tradition. Feri and Faery Witches should not be confused with the Radical Faeries which will be discussed in a later article.
Other Wiccan paths include Alexandrian, Celtic, Georgian, and Discordian Wicca. There are also Kitchen Witches and Hedge Witches.
Two must read texts on LGBT Wicca and Witchcraft are “Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture” by Arthur Evans and “Gay Witchcraft” by Christpher Penczak.
This episode includes segments on Pagan and magickal superhero archetypes, LGBT superheroes including characters and actors, “research” into naughty superhero sites, and why do villains so often have gay voices and mannerisms.
Songs and sound clips include: Holding Out for a Hero, the Smallville theme, and clips from Spiderman, Batman, and others.
To listen you can visit my website (www.melmystery.com) or look for the episode on iTunes.
This one is a review of my experience at Between the Worlds last month.
I want to take a moment to announce what I hope will be my next big project. For a long time, I’ve been contemplating the idea of starting a campground of some type. I’ve often thought it might be a retirement project, but I’ve become more and more compelled to make it a reality sooner. Perhaps it’s dissatisfaction with my current day-to-day job, the call (or perhaps crisis) of midlife, feelings of deep loss after my mom sold my childhood home, the desire to get back to living in a rural area closer to nature, or some combination of the above. Whatever the reasons, I’ve decided to embark on the journey to making this dream of a campground a reality. I’m still in the early stages, and don’t know entirely whether the dream will be achieved, but I know it’s the direction I want to be heading.
Over the past year, I’ve been researching LGBTQ, Pagan, and even a few other types of campgrounds; I’ve formulated a business plan; and I’ve created a web page to mark the start of the project and to track its progress, as well as to start building an interested community. The first major milestone will be purchasing land and relocating. I hope to do this within the next year or two, and will also need to find a new job in the new town to hold me over until the campground opens. The likely location will be somewhere in central Virginia. I’ll be looking for a second business partner to help found and run the business. Things really won’t get moving in a big way until after the land purchase. At that point, I’ll be looking for investors and other sources of start-up finances to build the rest of the campground. I’ll also be looking for campground members and outside groups looking to host gatherings there. I’m hoping the campground itself could open within the next 3-5 years.
My concept uses many of the gay and bi men’s campground resorts already out there as a base, but merges those with other communities such as Pagans, and some adult lifestyle communities. While gay and bi men, and Pagan men will likely be the base audiences, other adult audiences would be welcome regardless of sexual orientation, gender, etc. This will be a membership-based adult campground resort. I hope to host a variety of theme weekends and even a handful of gatherings. I’d also open up the campground to outside conferences and gatherings. I’d like to create an open air Pagan / Hellenistic temple that could host drum circles and solar / lunar celebrations and rituals.
I wanted to take a moment to announce the start of the project, but I also look forward to input, advice, etc. If anyone is interested in helping this dream become a reality; if you think you might be interested in becoming the second business partner (or know someone who would be interested); if you think you might want to become a future investor once I get to that stage; if you think you might want to become a member, camper, or host a gathering there; if any of these things intrigues you, please visit my website for the campground and feel free to contact me with your ideas or to be put on the mailing list.
The website is: www.olympuscampgroundresort.com
You may have heard the expression in school never to wear green on Thursday because that makes you a “queer” or a “fairy”. What seems like a cruel made up children’s game to identify gay people actually underscores a long history of the color green being associated with gay men.
The term “fairy” has long been a term used to identify gay men. Its use has been largely derogatory, but some gay men have reclaimed it. In the book, Another Mother Tongue: Gay Words, Gay Worlds, by Judy Grahn, the author points out that green was the primary color worn by mythical fairies, and this connection ties into this tradition. The fairies have freer sexual morals than Christian cultures are comfortable with. In fact, given their extremely long, perhaps even immortal lives, the idea of eternal marriage and coupledom would only give way to boredom. So homosexual bonds were likely to have been acceptable. The color green is a useful color for mythical fairies because it helps them to blend in and remain hidden in their natural environment among the plants and trees.
As for the connection with Thursday, Thursday was considered by some to be “Fairy Day”. There is an additional connection to Thursday with medieval witches. When questioned under torture about their practices, some witches confessed that they practiced different sexual rites on different nights, and Thursday was the night associated with homosexual rites.
But the association with the color green and homosexuals goes back even further. Cassell’s Encyclopedia of Queer Myth, Symbol and Spirit has more to say on the color green. At Ephesus, the transgender and often homosexual priests of the goddess Artemis / Diana wore garments of scarlet, violet, saffron, and yellow-green. In ancient Rome, green and especially yellow-green was associated with male gender variance and especially the passive role in male homosexual acts. These men were called galbinati, and are mentioned in Martial’s Epigrams. Martial talks about how these soft, effeminate men garbed in green lie on purple couches while being fanned by other men using red feathers. It sounds like the good life to me, but Martial criticizes their morality as being quote “grass-green.”
In pre-Modern France, bisexual and homosexually inclined courtiers called mignons wore green as the primary color in their tights, along with yellow or red. Often one leg of their tights would be green and the other yellow, and they might have a red cape. Their costumes were derived from three sources — the costumes of traditional troubadours, the costumes of fools, and the costumes of the legendary fairies.
Because green was associated with the margins of society, it also became associated with heretics who carried a green cross in their ceremonies.
Green was also a signifier of homosexuality among British poets. The association of the color green with homosexuality survived into the 19th Century and may even have been reclaimed at that time. A green carnation was adopted as a kindred symbol by Oscar Wilde and the English Decadents, and during the same time a band of men in Paris wore a green cravat to signify their homosexual inclinations.
So as you can see, the color green has a long history of associations with homosexuality, fairies, and magick. Wear it proudly — especially on Thursdays.