Free Spirit Gathering 2010: Faery Women, Sacred Whores & Kiva
I attended Free Spirit Gathering in Darlington, MD in 2010 for the first time in this faery life. It was an eye opening experience for me, and one I will not soon forget. I intend to return to FSG and Free Spirit Alliance for more gatherings.
Living the past eight years in the mountains of North Carolina, I had almost forgotten what it was like to be part of mainstream pagan circles. Upon entry to faeryland on Beltane in 2003, I was quickly swept into the radical faery movement in Asheville. Since then, I have spent many of my public gatherings in spring and fall celebrating at Short Mountain Sanctuary with my queer family of gay brothers, straight and bi sisters, and a smattering of lesbians.
I love the rad fae and will always consider myself part of the faery tribe. But as a queer woman who is part of this movement, it is sometimes difficult to keep centered and connected within my own sexual identity. I am a woman loving women and my interests are focused on female sexuality. Although all aspects of the pansexual continuum are encouraged, supported, and visible at Short Mountain Sanctuary, I find myself in the minority when I attend. I see male sexuality as the emphasis (which is fascinating and fun to watch — to be sure!) At FSG I finally made contact with the faery women and sacred whores. After nearly 20 years of listening to Kiva, I saw them perform live for an all-pagan audience. Though FSG had much much more to offer than this, I was drawn to the women I needed to speak to for my own healing and growth.
I was fascinated by the Red Tent where some radical witches were busy educating the attendees about sacred sexuality and female centered pleasures. What a breath of fresh air this was for me. Now this is something I really need, I said to myself.
It all started when I attended the Pink Sphinx’s workshop on Saturday: the Sexual Mystery Tour. The Pink Sphinx identifies as a sacred whore who uses sexuality as a source of healing. She guides others through a variety of experiences in one on one or group settings. The Pink Sphinx says that sacred sexuality can be a source of cleansing and deep healing – and I believe her. Yet sexuality does not always need to be practiced in this context – nor is it… Sometimes a hot animalistic romp through the sheets, or on the earth, is all a pagan woman needs.
She spoke about setting up Venus temples at gatherings where sacred sexual experiences can be had with partners or strangers. Safe sex is always encouraged, and so is maturity in adult relations, though these intentions sometimes go awry. Even the Pink Sphinx, a strong magical woman with a dedicated partner, is a bit wary of setting up Venus temples because of the problems it may pose at a gathering or other types of spaces where sexual experimentation and expression are appropriate. I admire her for speaking of the ecstasies (and issues) that may arise. I feel the Pink Sphinx’s work as a sacred prostitute is necessary and enlivened and it comes from a spirit and heart-centered space. She’s having a positive impact on pagan communities and people’s lives. As a sacred whore I am certain she also receives a lot of flak and insults from other women and men who do not understand her work. But I do, and I will always support women who are courageous enough to speak (and act) on their own truth, especially when they fly the flag of non-conformity high for all to see. Go Pink Sphinx!
That evening around the fire circle, I was dressed in my newest transsexual costume: a fine white linen jersey frock that a seafarer might have worn in the 18th Century. I had a pair of black leggings on, so it was obvious I was not a ‘man’ but with tits concealed and ass in gear, I wiggled and writhed around the fire after group ritual. There, I met a magical faery woman named Sigre who followed me and my friend, the gnome, up the hill and to our cabin for a round of some white wine and conversation.
Sigre, an enchanting seductress who had a head of blue hair that eve, identifies as a faery woman. To my surprise she had lived in Asheville for three years, during the late 90s. She said her residency there was the only time her soul felt at home. In the sacred city of Asheville, Sigre met some wild womyn who helped show her the way out of decadent, corrupt, Atlanta down the long glittering road that leads to faeryland. This adorable faery woman blew my mind with some outspoken conversations about the way her bisexual energies manifest in the green world, a problematic place for any faery woman. Rather than chat about Sigre’s personal and sexual life on the Web, let it be said that this woman knows how to bring the goddess through her body during the sexual act and it sometimes scares the piss out of people (mostly men). I laughed wildly when I heard this! My tits were hard and I was panting a bit on the back porch of the cabin, and it wasn’t the early evening heat that got my blood boiling. I’m easily aroused by a woman who knows her sexual power – and how to use it – without shame or fear. I would follow a woman like Sigre into the depths of faeryland without a thought about my own return. But, alas, she disappeared that night into the mists of the alchemical fire, and though I was invited, I was not called to go there with her.
Before she left me on the side of the road, Sigre brought me to the Red Tent, where she and her friend the Dirty Mother had spent the weekend educating the gathering attendees about sacred sexuality, the secrets of female pleasure, and the rites of sacred prostitutes. They were selling some interesting stuff such as sex toys, lubes and oils, and a few books I had never seen before. I purchased a glass sex toy the next day for my own guilty pleasures, to show my support for the sacred whores, and with the hope of getting a glimpse of Sigre again. Alas, she was cloaked somewhere on the land, perhaps in a workshop or floating somewhere just above the woods and the pond in deep meditation.
On Saturday evening, I got to bump and grind to the live music of Kiva. For all of my pagan worshipping years, I have always loved their music. Back in the 90s a good friend of mine gave me a bootlegged cassette tape of their concert at FSG. Whenever I’m having a dark moment in my life or I am getting a little blue, I put it on and it lifts me out of it immediately. I hope I made up for listening to the bootlegged tape by purchasing two of their CDs: Alchemy and Oshun Gaia. For me, Kiva is the perfect marriage of magic and art. They are led by Ariana Lightningstorm, and believe me — she lives up to her name. She takes the charge of the goddess seriously and knows exactly how to bring the gods through with her voice and her careful selection of musicians. Kiva now has two of my favorite drummers in the band: Tigre Cruz, a faery boy who once loved one of my favorite faeries – Hurricane; and Jaqui MacMillan, an accomplished drummer and teacher who used to be part of the duo, Rachel and Jaqui. Tigre is now experimenting with singing and songwriting — making everyone in the audience swoon with his sexy supernatural voice. Jacqui just keeps getting better over the years. I knew it was her on the Djembe drum even before I saw her face or her name was announced – that is how clearly her style comes through in my memories.
I loved the “Om Shanti” chant Kiva performed – it was positively electric. My spark reached a high flame when I danced to the “Jai Ma” chant. For me, Kiva’s main musical and magical power is at an absolute peak when they call the deities with their music. Whether it’s original or traditional pagan chants, they know how to rock the pagan world.
Today is the Summer Solstice and the day following the end of the gathering. I am busy planning a Lughnasa workshop with my faery sister in Norfolk, VA, Annie. It’s as it should be. Attendance at any pagan gathering is an opportunity to meet new witches and faeries, exchange energies, ideas and magic, and return to our own communities inspired to bring these new thoughts, visions and magical wisdom forward in our own work. Blessed be to all who have touched me over the course of FSG. May we meet again.