Number 161 Spring 2015 $9.95
RFD 161 Spring 2015 i
Issue 162 / Summer 2015
OUT FOR HIRE
Submission Deadline: April 21, 2015 www.rfdmag.org/upload
Often queer people are engaged in a process of leading a separate life when it comes to their work or how they bring money into their lives. We want to hear from you about how being part of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities has shaped how you make money or earn your living. But we’re also interested in how integrating your queerness fits into your economic life. Obviously, we’re not all earning our money in gay / queer only contexts but in some way our identities at times influence our work but we at times also influence our work environment. So how does your queer self reflect on your work? Does being queer at work break down the idea of a mainstream world? Or are there big distinctions / barriers to how “out” you can be at work? Another approach to this theme is asking if being an LGBT person has impacted the type of job you sought out. Beyond the stereotypes of the kinds of employment gay people take on - what has being out and gay / queer meant in terms of your spiritual career path? Has being gay or trans identified meant getting by, becoming richer, or created ii
RFD 161 Spring 2015
challenges for how you shape your own personal economy? In what ways has the larger gay community shaped your employment choices or shifted your thinking in terms what were viable options for surviving financially and spiritually? An early idea of the gay movement was take it home with you meaning live your politics. Being out was a way to shape a healthy balanced life. But how does that interface with our work world? We’re more “out” at work, but does it work “out” for us? In what ways have you helped in creating a queer economy? Sorta along the lines of “Shop Locale” have you sought to network with other like minded LGBT people to create economic opportunities. We’ve all played the role of fundraiser, community booster but for some of us it’s meant a career as a “promoter”, a DJ, working in a gay organization, or employing people in a gay owned business. Ultimately, how does being a LGBT person empower you to bring riches to yourself. This obviously means many things to all of us—actual cash wealth or earnings, a happy work environment, work to survive but flexibility to enjoy life, or working in an environment which creates change in your life or the lives of others.
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Photo by Scratyr Casale
Radical Feral Droppings Vol 41 No 3 #161 Spring 2015
Between the Lines Over forty years ago, RFD was started by faggots living in the country as a way of sharing seeds: be they semen, ideas, or literally, seeds! “Radical Faeries” meant going to the root to find the true self: sissy, qweer, translings of all types. The relationship of ourselves as outside the box of normative culture always included deep connection with the Mother, she who sustains us as we walk on this planet. This issue is a radical call out to our community to examine that connection, especially how we feed ourselves, and that relationship between our bodily sustenance and the ecology of the Earth. In these pages are challenges that goes to the roots, of our culture, and the ways we are in sync (or not) with Nature’s rhythms. This issue grew out of a conversation I had with Dinner and Neisan over dinner one night last June in Dos Rios, CA. They were cooking delicious food for the Sex Magick workshop I was co-facilitating on gorgeous land on the Eel River in northern Mendocino that had been tended by gender qweers of all stripes since the 1970s. They were sharing adventures from the Hoop, while I likened our workshop to a form of inner rewilding of our sex selves. Sharing our hearts in qweer space over delicious food showed us parallels in our paths, how our bodies desire connection with that from which we came, each other, and that to which we all shall return. We noted how our experiences in what is known as the ‘civilized’ world had disconnected us from natural cycles, leaving us poorer in spirit, less healthy, and more lonely. There are many types of rewilding. The word rewilding was coined in the Earth First organization as a term for reintroducing parts of an ecosystem that were important for that systems healthy continuance. The term has been taken up and passed about spawning inspiration for a movement of people returning to direct connection and symbiotic life ways with the earth. In these pages we are drawn back into the cycle of life = sex/seed, eat, shit, die, decompose, and then start all over again and again! Feel the sap rise up as Spring (in the northern hemisphere) returns, in the trees, in our loins, the flowers renewing the growing season. While in production for this issue amidst persistently cold weeks this winter, Sr. Mish pointed out that RFD had dedicated several pages in issue 133 (Spring 2008—Rewilding Fey Diggers) to stories from the Hoop. Herein are further developments of those journeying in those ancient ways. We thank the Goddess for the cultural memory shared by our elders. We are blessed to have many in our communities who carry stories that teach us how to walk and live on our Mother, ever fecund, ever giving to all her children. Here are perspectives meant to realign our bodies within the promiscuous abundance offered us by Nature herself.
—Rosie Delicious for The RFD Collective
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Submission Deadlines Summer–April 21, 2015 Fall–July 21, 2015 See inside covers for themes and specifics.
For advertising, subscriptions, back issues and other information visit www.rfdmag.org
RFD is a reader-written journal for gay people which focuses on country living and encourages alternative lifestyles. We foster community building and networking, explore the diverse expressions of our sexuality, care for the environment, Radical Faerie consciousness, and nature-centered spirituality, and share experiences of our lives. RFD is produced by volunteers. We welcome your participation. The business and general production are coordinated by a collective. Features and entire issues are prepared by different groups in various places. RFD (ISSN# 0149-709X) is published quarterly for $25 a year by RFD Press, P.O. Box 302, Hadley MA 01035-0302. Postmaster: Send address changes to
RFD 161 Spring 2015
RFD, P.O. Box 302, Hadley MA 010350302 Non-profit tax exempt #621723644, a function of RFD Press with office of registration at 231 Ten Penny Rd., Woodbury, TN 37190. RFD Cover Price: $9.95. A regular subscription is the least expensive way to receive it four times a year. Copyright © 2012 RFD Press. The records required by Title 18 U.S.D. Section 2257 and associated with respect to this magazine (and all graphic material associated therewith on which this label appears) are kept by the custodian of records at the following location: RFD Press, 85 N Main St, Ste 200, White River Junction, VT 05001. Mail for our Brothers Behind Bars project should be sent to P.O. Box 68, Liberty TN 37095.
On the Covers Front and Back: Front: Photography by Sierra Mountain Spirit Back: Photograph by Adrain Chesser and White Eagle
Managing Editor: Bambi Gauthier Assistant Editor: Rosie Delicious Assistant Editor: Cameron Castro Art Director: Matt Bucy
Artists in this Issue Keith Johnson 2, 8 Lawrence Brose 7 Sigh Moon 12, 14, 38 Phase 19 Adrain Chesser and White Eagle Covers, 21, 30, 39 Amara 40, 43, 49 Sawyer 45 Scratyr Casale iv, 46, 48 Hyperion Twing 54, 55
Photo by Keith Johnson
CONTENTS Letters & Announcements. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Gatherings for 2015. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bambi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Queer Filmmaker Lawrence Brose Sentenced. . . . . . Keith Gemerek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 The Return . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Fagus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Return to the Land . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mateo Olson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Mother Loving. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Reverend Teri D. Ciacchi. . . . . . . . . . 12 Wanna Get Free-Key. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Seda and Amara . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Getting Rooted. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Phase. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Camas Refugee Relocation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lila Brown . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Letter of Intention and Invitation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Finisia Medrano . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Interview with Finisia Medrano. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Walker, Seda, Neisan. . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Ox To Buffalo Dreams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Wild Rose. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Rewilding and Hoop Glossary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 REad Wild. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Seda, Amara, Sigh Moon, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Artemis and Spyder. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Singing into Rewilding. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Heron Vertabrae. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 The Sand Crane Center. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Spyder. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Hoop Recipies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Coyote Camp. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Coming Out to Hoop. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sigh Moon. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Queer Forestry Camp. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sawyer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 When In Wild Mode. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . John Clayton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Feral Desire. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Scratyr Casale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Parks and Recreation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Eden. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Re Wilding Oneself— Or Be Careful What You Shit For. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cupcake . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Return to the Mother. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hyperion Twing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 A Communiqué From a Feral Faggot Witch. . . . . . . . Elixer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Ring City To Groundside. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bruce P. Grether . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 Re-wilding or Re-civilising?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Acorn Godtree . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
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LETTERS & ANNOUNCEMENTS Happy to Have You Back Bless me, RFD, for I have sinned.... It has been 10 years, Fall 2005, #123, to be specific, since my last subscription. My first issue was Fall 1984, #40. You sent me a 40-year post card many months ago which I recently found again on my desk. It prompted me to take a look after 10 years. WOW!!! What a wonderful transformation! So I re-subscribed via PayPal and am looking forward to reacquainting myself to what will be the new RFD. Restless for delivery—Phil [Ed: We’re thrilled to have you back!]
Euro Faeries Turn Twenty Folleterre Turns Ten This year we celebrate the 20th anniversary since faeries arrived in Europe and the 10th birthday of our sanctuary Folleterre. Gatherings in June and July at Folleterre sanctuary this year will focus on our connection with nature. Celebrating the Summer Solstice (June 19-26), directly followed by the Pan Gathering, the forest god, a playful search for plant, animal and faerie spirits (June 27-July 2) and the Tribal Vision gathering July (4 -13) finding, exploring and celebrating our tribe, through dance, sweat lodge rituals, guided meditation tours to the middle world, discovering the abundance of medicinal plants on our land and so much more. The annual Summer Gathering will happen from August 3-12, preceded by our Great Circle (August 1-2) and community week (July 24-31). At the end of summer (August 29-September 6) a Tantrastic gathering with tantra, massage, nude yoga. For more information about these and other gatherings, please visit our website. www.folleterre. org/gather. Spring Community Week - April 21 - 30 Open Days - May 11 - 31 Summer Solstice Gathering - June 20 - 26 Pan Gathering - June 27 - July 2 Tribal Vision Gathering - Jul 4 - Jul 13 Summer Community Week - July 24 -l 31 Great Circle - August 1 - 2 Summer Gathering - August 3 - 12 Tantrastic Faerie Gathering - August 29 - Sept 6 4
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British Columbia Celebrates Fifth Anniversary Gathering The Call for the Fifth Annual B.C. Radical Faerie Camp—Homecoming of Kindred Spirits—has been issued! The gathering will be on the Victoria Day weekend, May 15-18, 2015, at the Evans Lake Forest Camp near Squamish, BC. For three days we will frolic and prance in the green and secluded meadows, hills, and woodlands of southwestern British Columbia. We will have heart circles, rituals, dancing, and music around the fire. We’ll eat together, we’ll play on the lawn together, we’ll share in workshops. We’ll create new connections, and reaffirm and renew constant ones. Together, we’ll make a home… for three and a half days. And then we’ll pack up our freshly polished homemaking skills, and head back into the world of everyday life to use them. The Call, general information, and registration form can be found here: www.bcradfae.ca.
Sex Magick Workshops The Circle of Loving Companions is pleased to announce the 2015 schedule for Sex Magick Workshops. These 7 day workshops, originated by Harry Hay in 1990, are an intensive exploration of emotional and physical intimacy using the magick of the Heart Circle and facilitated by those who have done the workshop for many years. Through the workshop we expand our capacity to give and receive love and experience new levels of Eros. For more information go to faeriesexmagick.org. 23 May - 30 May Dos Rios, Northern CA 4 Jul - 11 Jul Wolf Creek Sanctuary, Wolf Creek OR 11 Jul - 18 Jul Pfaffenseifen, Germany 15 Aug - 22 Aug Faerie Camp Destiny, Grafton VT 19 Sep - 26 Sep Dos Rios, Northern CA
Gatherings for 2015 It’s that time of year again—our annual listing of gatherings—it’s our handy guide to gatherings throughout the year. We cull together listings from sanctuaries and gathering communities as well as referencing www.radfae. org where you can check for additional listings and updates. Awakening Faerie Consciousness . . . . . . . . . 3 - 6 Apr. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Faerieland Sanctuary, Nimbin, NSW, Australia Tennessee Dance For All People . . . . . . . . . 8 - 12 Apr / www.ncpc.info . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . La Vergne, TN Spring Community Week. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 - 30 Apr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Folleterre, France Spring Vision / Gay Spirit Visions. . . . . . . . . 24 - 26 Apr / gayspiritvisions.org. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Highlands, NC Beltane. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Apr - 7 May. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Short Mt. Sanctuary May Day Gathering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Apr - 3 May. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Saratoga Springs CA Beltaine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 - 3 May. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Amber Fox, McDonalds Corners, Ontario Beltane. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 - 7 May. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Zuni Mt Sanctuary Open Days . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 - 31 May. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Folleterre, France BC Radical Faerie Camp. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 - 18 May. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Squamish, British Columbia Victoria Day Gathering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 - 18 May . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Amber Fox, McDonalds Corners, Ontario Walt Whitman Gathering. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 - 25 May / www.faeriecampdestiny.org . . . . . . . .Faerie Camp Destiny, Grafton VT Spring Workout. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 - 16 May. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Zuni Mt Sanctuary Family Gathering. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 - 21 Jun. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Faerie Camp Destiny, Grafton VT Summer Solstice. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 - 26 Jun. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Folleterre, France Pan Gathering. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Jun - 2 Jul. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Folleterre, France Fourth of July Gathering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Jun - 5 Jul. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Saratoga Springs CA July Fourth Gathering. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 - 5 Jul. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Faerie Camp Destiny, Grafton VT Tribal Vision Gathering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 - 13 Jul . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Folleterre, France Faerie Witch Camp. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 - 19 Jul. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Faerie Camp Destiny, Grafton VT 34th Annual Midwest Men’s Festival . . . . . . . 21 - 30 Jul. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Near Lawrence KS Generate Tribes Gathering. . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 - 30 Jul . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Saratoga Springs CA Summer Community Week. . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 - 31 Jul. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Folleterre, France Lammas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Jul - 2 Aug . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Faerie Camp Destiny, Grafton VT 28th Annual High Summer Gathering. . . . . . . 27 Jul - 3 Aug . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Amber Fox, McDonalds Corners, Ontario Summer Gathering. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 - 12 Aug . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Folleterre, France Shamans Gathering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 - 16 Aug . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Zuni Mt Sanctuary Lammas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 - 16 Aug . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Kawashaway, Minnesota Summer Gathering. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 - 16 Aug . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Breitenbush OR 2nd Austrian “Sound of Faeries” Gathering. . . 15 - 25 Aug. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hochkonig, Austria Tantrastic Faerie Gathering. . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Aug - 6 Sep. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Folleterre,Ternuay-Melay-et-St-Hilaire, France 35th Annual Blue Heron Gathering. . . . . . . . 31 Aug - 7 Sep / www.facebook.com/blueheron.gathering . . Blue Heron Farm, New York Labor Day Gathering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 - 7 Sep. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Northern California Summer Community Camp. . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 - 7 Sep / www.thecmg.org . . . . . . California Community of Men, Angelus Oaks CA Kink Gathering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 - 7 Sep. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Faerie Camp Destiny, Grafton VT Fall Workout. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 - 30 Sep . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Zuni Mt Sanctuary Fall Foliage Gathering. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 - 12 Oct . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Faerie Camp Destiny, Grafton VT Thanksgiving Gathering. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 - 12 Oct . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Amber Fox, McDonalds Corners, Ontario LumBearJack Work Weekend. . . . . . . . . . . 5 - 8 Nov . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Amber Fox, McDonalds Corners, Ontario
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Queer Filmmaker Lawrence Brose Sentenced by Keith Gemerek
awrence Brose, queer filmmaker, courageous curator, champion of the individual artist has been sentenced in federal court for possessing an obscene image on his computer and sharing it. Over five years of battling against unfair original charges of downloading 1300 images of child pornography on a shared computer in a studio/living loft he set up for visiting artists working at CEPA Gallery in Buffalo (where he was Executive Director), the charges were whittled down to one “obscene image” in this computer. It is unprecedented that someone charged by the Feds under the Patriot Act by the Department of Homeland Security of possessing child pornography would stand up and fight the charges and basically beat the charges, essentially because the government backed down in the face of no real crime. However, saving their face is paramount, and they offered Brose a plea deal he couldn’t refuse. He was broke and broken by the fight against the federal government with their unlimited coffers that could drag this case on for more years to a trial by jury. No jury pool in America is going to declare the innocence of a queer artist with original charges of child pornography, no matter how far flung. Readers of RFD Magazine may remember Brose’s 1997 film DE PROFUNDIS with an acting cast and technical crew of radical faeries. The film was Brose’s meditation on gay male culture loosely composed around a letter Oscar Wilde wrote while in prison. The Wilde text describes his own spiritual liberation, and by extension, that of all queers imprisoned by the cultures they live in. Still images from the film were used to build a case against him as more fodder for a jury sure to jail him up to 10 years and label him as a sex offender for life. There were no images of children and sex in the film, however. Just subversive ideas: that queers could look at their own culture, offer celebration and critical analysis at the same time. Be forewarned: any artist, anyone with a computer can fall into this hell hole if the government wants to silence you. All that they need is an accusation and a case can be constructed around your searches, your artwork, who you have communicated with, and once put out in the public domain, you are guilty as charged by an uninformed public. Why Brose? Any answer will do. He was 6
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a public figure with a lot of cultural cache in the art world in Buffalo. He curated some of the most daring queer art photography exhibitions: Deviant Bodies 1.0 and 2.0. at CEPA Gallery (www.cepagallery.org). These included images of hustlers, trans people, radical faeries, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, queer artists of color, etc. in a struggling rust belt city outside of the liberal coasts of America. Brose was challenging everyone’s assumptions with his own art work and art work of others from the margins of the dominant culture. When he was first visited by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents they told him he was being targeted because he is a well-known figure and a queer artist!
everal key items struck at the core of the bogus charges. His very expensive computer forensic expert (with a portfolio of successes at fighting false charges involving computer use) was able to determine that the images that brought their attention to Brose (those allegedly downloaded from a German website by an alert from German authorities) were not on his hard drive. The feds knew this, although his defense attorneys, while working hard to dismiss the charges, held on to this evidence as Brose’s strongest defense if it ever went to a jury trial. Another was the strength of his support. Heads of foundations, former elected officials, university professors, other artists and old friends knew him as a person of integrity. His defense team reached out as far as possible for donations from sympathetic supporters. The National Center for Reason and Justice (ncrj.org) advocated on his behalf. Brose often thinks of others in his situation who don’t have the support of their community. The isolation of the artist is the government’s tool, and the resulting self-censorship of other artists watching this case is chilling. Not everyone rallied to his cause. The charges were enough to scare off people. No national gay advocacy organization acknowledged his case. The Andy Warhol Foundation (who knew Brose well), declared they “didn’t want to be sullied by the charges” and backed off supporting him. Although a few years back, when Buffalo artist Steve Kurtz was falsely accused of bioterrorism with his artwork by
the federal government, the Warhol Foundation donated $100,000 to his defense (www. caedefensefund.org/). Apparently charges of terrorism are less dangerous than child pornography charges to them! Everyone who Brose touched responded in their own way. We all have to live with our own response to the falsely accused; but ultimately, I would like to remind everyone, that we are all Lawrence Brose. The conservative judge needed to prove his strong opposition to sexual abuse of minors. Although Brose and his artwork had no involvement with children in any way, he was sentenced by the Judge to two years of probation. No fines and no jail time. This is a huge success in the face of heinous, overblown charges by the federal government. Now, exhausted and $150,000 in the hole, he works to put his life back in order. Probation is no cake walk. His probation officer is committed to catching some slip up and put him back in front of the judge. She is certain Brose is a pedophile who got away with a slap on the wrist. Brose continues to be subject to unannounced drug and alcohol tests, his travel is restricted and he lives under suspicion by probation. Even his finances are carefully watched. The only thing that has changed is the burden of an upcoming trial with an uncertain outcome. The federal government screwed him.
hat can we do to help him? We can spread the word to let people know that computers are vulnerable to viruses that can put you in jeopardy with the law and that there is no such thing as privacy with computer use. We can learn more about his case by visiting www.lawrencebroselegaldefensefund.com. We can also help Lawrence get out of this financial hole by donating to the artist fund at www.ncrj.org/Lawrence-brose. And, when you hear of another artist defending against spurious charges by the government you can seek the truth and run to his defense. You could be next. w
Filmstrip from â€œDe Profundisâ€? by Lawrence Brose
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The Return by Fagus
tepping into an old-growth forest is a spiritual experience for me. The perfection of life engulfs me, the unspeakable beauty of it all awes me, the sense of connection I crave finally comes. I know who I am, and who I am is a part of all this. These leafy cathedrals humble and empower me. No wonder our current culture has near destroyed all trace of these sacred groves. They contain far too much power, mystery and magic. A few encounters here would risk people waking up and realising that the vast majority of our current paradigm is surely deceitful distraction. I am fascinated by the correspondences between landscape and consciousness. Or put another way, how the state of the land we live on moulds our awareness, and how our ways of thinking dictate the state of the land. Take England, one of the most tamed landscapes on Earth. Gone are the howling wolves, the bears and boars, the lynx, beavers and great aurochs. Anything that can’t be domesticated or controlled has been shot to shit. And then take a peek at the English: we’ve come a long way in the last forty years, but I challenge anyone to deny that it still isn’t one of the most emotionally repressed nations around. There are always the eccentric outliers, but most of us won’t have run wild, naked and screaming through the woods, smeared with ochre-earth and possessed by the spirit of wildness, because there is not a trace of wilderness left in which to do so. A land that has lost its wilderness creates a people who have lost touch with their wild, free-animal selves, shuffling around in their suburbias from supermarket, to dog-shit park, to boxy detached house. 8
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Alcohol is needed to release a bit of spirit at the weekend, but everything can be safely buttoned up by the knot-in-the-throat tie on Monday morning. For me the loss of wilderness creates a form of cultural pathology, a sickness of the collective soul. Where do you go to reconnect to the bigger Being, to remember that most of what surrounds us is dysfunctional social construct? How do we wake up from the nightmare if the ancient remembering-posts were cut down centuries ago? Riane Eisler has developed a theory about the interplay of two basic cultural patterns: Dominator and Partnership. Dominator cultures are based on ranking, with males (usually straight and white) at the top and everyone else (including nature) beneath. And all kept in place with the fear of physical pain and violence, with this pain and violence institutionalised and eroticised into everything from religious images of Jesus nailed on the cross, to Hollywood, to laws that protected a man’s right to abuse his wife and children, or economies that justify endless violence to nature. Partnership cultures are based on cooperation, equality between men and women, a belief that all of life and sexuality is sacred, a celebration of pleasure and a spiritual iconography that includes the cock and cunt, along with the Goddess giving birth, symbolising life’s extraordinary capacity to renew and regenerate. There is much evidence that before the Indo-European invasions from the Asian steppes about 5000 years ago, many of the indigenous European cultures were partnership, showing little evidence of fortificaPhotograph by Keith Johnson
tions, weapons or male dominance. Almost certainly these were landscapes of lush abundance, with a mix of hunter/gatherer and small-scale farming. The Asian steppes are now arid, brutal environments, and Eisler postulates that these kinds of environments force Dominator cultures to evolve. But what if these pastoral cultures very quickly turned lush lands into arid semi-deserts? That would suggest that Dominator cultures are a direct consequence of cultures that degrade their ecologies. When Europeans (direct cultural descendants of these Indo-Europeans) got to North America they told stories of natural abundance that now seem unbelievable: skies dark for hours with flocks of birds, waters so fish-full one just had to reach in and pluck… And if the Native American cultures hadn’t been close to wiped out by the introduced European diseases and genocides, wouldn’t they have also found a functioning Partnership culture based on cooperation with land and nature that was considered sacred? A form of culture that reflected the abundance found, and sustained, in the landscape? Yes, there was inter-tribal war and some ranking, but these were cultures that had lived in balance with their landscape for millennia, a balance utterly destroyed within decades of European settlement. Why am I fascinated by all this? Because right now, most of us reading this are somehow passionately involved in helping birth an unprecedented resurgence of Partnership ideas, often because liberation of sex and sexuality is at the heart of these movements. We may be striving for the return to the Goddess, the push for sex-positive cultures, or communities of diversity, sustainability, freedom, and equal rights: all things that undermine the Dominator imperative of ranking as opposed to linking. And what if landscape, so rarely high on the political or radical agenda, is in fact key to our oppression or liberation. That the celebration of and thriving of human diversity is somehow inextricably linked to the celebration and thriving of all biodiversity? Intrinsic to Empire was imposing European landscapes, trees, plants and animals onto conquered lands. Intrinsic to recovery from empire seems to be the restoration of indigenous beings. To go a little woo: What if landscape is always a mirror of consciousness? Take Little England, last invaded in 1066. Maybe a bit of rhododendron is running rampant, but considering the thousands of plants that have been introduced, invasive plants are not a big problem there. South Africa: possibly one of the most culturally and spiritually invaded and wounded countries on the planet; here whole landscapes are rapidly disappearing under Australian
wattles and the like. And I mean whole landscapes. Or St Helena, the tiny island where I currently work, a speck in the vast South Atlantic Ocean: once covered in exquisite, lush forests of endemic daisy-trees. Discovered in 1502, goats released, settled, logged, bitten off, seas turning black with erosion after storm. By the time Napoleon arrived in 1815, she was a ravaged rock, bristling with 1000 cannons, an earth-bloody victim of empire, slave-trade and militarism. Today there is less than 1-percent left of the magical daisy forests, half of the endemics are still close to extinction, and the land is either still wrecked or covered in introduced and invasive trees. Wilderness? Barely a trace. And consciousness here? I’ve never experienced so much dis-empowerment, such collective low selfesteem. Lovely as many people are here, it feels like a profound manifestation of Dominator culture, in both folk and field.
nd the point to all this? What if the restoration and healing of landscape needs to be at the heart of transforming from abusive Dominator systems to something more akin to what we all dream of? That the abundance most of us crave in our lives, of love, of connection, of freedom, of beauty, of spirit, of the sensual delights of healthy bodies, fresh food, clean waters, crisp air… that all of this to some degree depends on the abundance of the landscapes that surround us and the nature that thrives (or not) within it. As the study of ecology evolves, the simplistic concepts of ‘survival of the fittest’ are being replaced by a deeper understanding of how natural systems work. What is being revealed is a world of almost unquantifiable interdependent, interconnected relationships that at core manifest magnificent cooperation, balance, resilience and complexity. Does it not make sense that societies surrounded by landscapes with these qualities are more likely to manifest them than those surrounded by concrete jungles and wastelands of industrial agriculture? Take the Scottish Highlands as another example. Once covered in a great forest of pine, birch, oak and rowan. Today there is so little left, and it disappeared so long ago, that every other postcard displays the great, barren Glen as if this is something fabulous, and intrinsically ‘Scottish’, as opposed to a shocking bog-desert caused by centuries of logging, sheep, wolf-extinction, feudal abuse and deer-hunting estates. Not to mention the human suffering of the Clearances and cultural genocide by the ‘Lairds’ and the English. Tucked in the remotest corners, the huge ‘granny-pines’ survive, utterly magnificent elders, covering less than 1% of their original realm. Until RFD 161 Spring 2015 9
recently, the whole landscape had died or was in the process of doing so. There wasn’t even the idea that the forest could return (what does that say about our awareness of, or reverence for, rebirth and renewal?). And consciousness? What kind would ravaged bogdeserts bring forth? Something dour and grim-lipped, with no leafy shelter against the icy, sleeting winds, and no bluebells or acid-green birch to joyfully herald the spring? Ayyyyy…. But then, in the 1980s, it happened: A few people started asking why the great, long-lost Caledonian Forest could not return. The visions started forming. Action followed: cull the deer, put up fences, eat the sheep… and almost miraculously, the landscape erupted in pink heather and rowan berries. Fall was soon cloaking the mountainsides in butter-yellow birch, mixed with the young spikes of exquisite bluegreen pine. And during these decades Scotland moves leaps and bounds to redefine itself after decades of grumpy, disempowered England-hate. It gets its own parliament, empowers itself, takes responsibility for its affairs… And now? Take a look at a map of native forest restoration projects in the Highlands and half the map is shaded! Early years yes, but the wild really is returning on a landscape scale, with even the first serious public debates about the return of the wolf… The native cloak is being slowly, gently pulled across a destroyed, traumatised land, healing the wounds, bringing breath-taking beauty and abundance back to the wet wastes. So which comes first: Landscape or consciousness? Abundant, natural, balanced ecologies or cultural evolution and empowerment? Chicken or egg? For me they clearly somehow work together, nurture each other, are interdependent. And what has this to do with the Faeries? Many Faes are passionate about the woods. And as Faes we find ourselves responsible for the land of our Sanctuaries. In our little faerie worlds we have the direct opportunity to care for land in a way that honours and respects it. To lay the foundations for more enlightened management. To treat its life as if it IS sacred. For me this is not about treating it with kid-gloves, but about setting in motion processes that lead to the greatest abundance, balance, diversity and beauty. At Folleterre we made the difficult decision to have our conifer plantation logged. Watching the great forestry dragon-machine rumble its way across the land, devouring all in its path, was quite some experience. But the return of diverse life to the hillsides where once only dead darkness existed has been thrilling. These grass-roots changes in land management are changing the world. Yes, there is also a sea-change 10 RFD 161 Spring 2015
in top-down attitudes and funding for better nature conservation, but I sense the bulk of the impetus for change is from the bottom up. Who cares about the spiritual dimensions and experiences of wilderness? No, not governments, but US, the ones that have FELT the tingle in the spine as we stand surrounded by the ancients, no signs left of our current devouring, disrespectful culture, as we swim in the crystal waters of the forest lakes, as we breath the thin, pure air, climbing above the gnarled and twisted survivors of the natural tree-line. From these transcendent moments comes a knowing and passion that wildness and wilderness, intertwined within and without, are core and key to our sanity and wholeness.
o do we wonder, in our tamed and destroyed landscapes, that everything feels so unwell? The freedom and anonymity of London gifted me huge personal growth during my many years in her liberal jaws. But I remember the poverty of wandering my local Hackney park, searching for some trace of forest and finding only thread-bare turf and kerb-stones. True freedom for me started when I found evolved, awake, liberated urban ways returning to the forests of Folleterre. So I wonder if this is the next big move for us. The need for cities never became so apparent to me until my time on this tiny island: small-town thinking never was going to be the seedbed of avatars and evolutionists. But is it now time to take all this delicious new awareness of interconnectedness back into landscapes that reflect this? Or more likely, start restoring that interconnectedness, within and without. Nature, in her magnificence, wrote the book as far as renewal and regeneration are concerned. It is Her very essence. So all we need to do is set Her back in motion. I say ‘all’, when our work to do exactly that on St Helena seems like some fool’s dream, when faced with the challenges of vulnerable island endemics, under attack from a perfect storm of introduced invasive bugs, mammals, birds and trees, all within a crucible of minimal local interest. But we humans have proven ourselves to be close to miraculous in our capacity for innovation, technology and changing the face of the planet. Yes, the majority of this has so far been focussed on domination, warfare, greed and exploitation. But imagine all that energy and brilliance being poured into sustainability, social justice, empowerment and ecological restoration! Maybe, just maybe, that is exactly what these new, more awake and aware generations will do. And maybe, just maybe, it is our responsibility to have the spades and saplings ready for them. w
Return to the land, Where our ancestors grew food Plant some garlic seed. Bees collect honey from fruit and vegetable plant. Sipping hot herbal tea. Raw cow's milk and cheese: Happy Carol and Daisy! Fresh green pastures grow. Haiku & Collage by Mateo Olson
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Mother Loving By Reverend Teri D. Ciacchi
o one needs to tell faggots, witches, and queers that the wilderness is synonymous with personal freedom. We know this from the word “pagani,” country dweller, the source of the word pagan. I assert that radical faerie sanctuaries function as Temporary Autonomous Zones where people have the opportunity to explore and develop sexual sovereignty, through ReWilding activities. Wolf Creek and other radical faerie sanctuaries offer a vital space for the ReSelfing of queer peoples.
Relaxation and the Imaginal Existence of God/dess Research from the field of Ecopsychology gives scientific evidence that supports our personal experiences of relaxation and liberation in wilderness settings. Human bodies experience immediate benefits from even twenty minutes of being in wooded areas. In nature, our systems slow down, our peripheral vision is restored and widened, heart rates slow down, nervous systems relax. In nature, humans report a deeper sense of peace and well being accompanied by experiences of connection and spiritual expansion. It has also been established through research that people experience liberation in wilderness in part because of the lack of social policing that exists there. Ecopsychology also offers us new ways to interpret mythology. My favorite example is Laura Shamas’s 2009 article, “Aphrodite and Ecology: The Goddess of Love as Nature Archetype,” extolling the usefulness of The Golden One as a symbol for the revitalizing fertility of all plant life and the fecundity of the earth. She asserts that sexuality, sensuality, and beauty are the domains shared by both Aphrodite and the natural world. Shamas quotes Thomas Moore, “Aphrodite’s body is the archetype of the human body and also the body of the world” (The 12 RFD 161 Spring 2015
Soul of Sex, p. 21), concluding that Aphrodite “offers us a chance…to heal the dysfunctional relationship between the environment and humans – through creation and regeneration.” Astrologer Tom Jacobs’ depth psychology book, Lilith: Healing the Wild, extensively explores our need to embrace the dark feminine and end the war against Her. The importance of exploring the archetypes of Hermes and Pan are widely discussed in Dennis Merritt’s book Hermes, EcoPsychology and Complexity Theory. Again, no one needs to tell faggots, witches and queers that the phallic thrust of trees against the sky is an invocation to Pan; we know it, we feel it inside us. Still it’s nice to get academic back-up. The Temporary Autonomous Zone of Wolf Creek “There is no becoming, no revolution, no struggle, no path; already you’re the monarch of your own skin – your inviolable freedom waits to be completed only by the love of other monarchs: a politics of dream, urgent as the blueness of sky.” – Hakim Bey I live inside the edges of the city of Portland and, like many queer women, my economic stability comes from a hetero dyad. In February 2013 I was in a weekly housemeeting with my two straight-identified, male, cisgendered landmates. As always, I was speaking from my queer-centric poly-normative personal narrative about my goals for the year when one of them said, “I’m not really feeling the queer thing so much.” To which, the other man replied; “Me either.” This triggered a sermon from me about sociological economic oppression and my accusation that these comments were an act of microaggression against my own well-established queer identity. I requested that each of them give me $100 so that I could take a queer vacation and be with Drawing by Sigh Moon
“my people” by attending Beltane at the Nomenus Sanctuary in Wolf Creek. After three days of being on the land I noticed an unprecedented sense of well-being and relaxation in my body. I was, at the time, still recovering from a major abdominal surgery, and so my sense of ease was quite dramatic. I realized that I was experiencing a reprieve from the daily psychological pressure of having my queer identity denied or erased. I had stumbled into a Temporary Autonomous Zone. A Temporary Autonomous Zone or TAZ is well defined in the book by that name written by Hakim Bey. Bey quotes Stephen Pearl Andrews as saying a TAZ is “the seed of the new society taking shape within the shell of the old” (IWW Preamble). The sixties-style “tribal gathering,” the forest conclave of eco-saboteurs, the idyllic Beltane of the neo-pagans, anarchist conferences, gay faerie circles – all these are already “liberated zones” of a sort, or at least potential TAZs. Harry Hay and other radical faeries who created the sanctuaries did so in order to give each other a much-needed TAZ for the exploration of their sexual expression without punishment, policing, or judgment. My personal herstory is informed by many conversations and experiences with radical faerie boyfriends in the early 80s. I understood the identity politics behind choosing a radical faerie identity and the importance of Hay’s insistence that faggots were essentially different from other men, in part because of their spiritual understanding of nature’s importance. But in May 2013, I experienced for the first time, a Temporary Autonomous Zone of queer and faggot-inclusive cultural space in the woods that I had not intentionally created for myself. It was generated for me by the presence of my queer elders and Wolf Creek land stewards and this intentionally created sanctuary allowed me to deeply relax into the comfort of my own sexual sovereignty. The ashes of hundreds of gay men who died in the 1980s plague of HIV/AIDS and left their behests for the purchase of Wolf Creek land left this space as a sanctuary for the exploration and actualization of sexual sovereignty. Attending events at radical faerie sanctuaries gives us a rare and much-needed opportunity to drop the socially constructed personas that are a requirement of entering capitalist social environments. The Wolf Creek Beltane festival gave me the freedom to be myself without the habituated defensiveness of needing to assert my queerness. A social context existed where I could reveal myself to
myself. My own essence arose and was available so that I could then interact authentically with others from my core identity. Only in an environment that accepts and celebrates my queerness could I engage in the “subject to subject” relatedness that Hay so eloquently articulated.
The Evocation of Interior Wilderness What is Wild? wild adjective: 1. (of an animal or plant) living or growing in the natural environment; not domesticated or cultivated. Synonyms: untamed, undomesticated, feral. 2. uncontrolled or unrestrained, especially in pursuit of pleasure. In her article “Body As Place: A Somatic Guide to ReIndiginization,” embodiment practitioner Nala Walla writes powerfully about the need for all people to tend to their “Zone Zero.” Like other social permaculturists, she has borrowed the permaculture paradigm of zones of care and effectively merged it with ecological systems theory to create a new framework that locates Zone Zero in our own interior, felt experience. Using magickal language as found in the Emerald Tablet attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, we have known this intellectually as “As Above, so Below,” reframed in systems theory as macrocosm/microcosm. Somatics is the art and practice of sensing the soma, or “the body as experienced from within.” Ecosomatics is an acknowledgment, an inknowing that our individual somas interpenetrate and are imbedded within greater social and planetary (Gaiac) bodies. Ecosomatic perspectives and practices see ecological health and sustainability as inseparable from personal health. Moving from these definitions of wild and soma, I ask us to turn to the parts of ourselves that the fading uber culture has thrust to the edges of our lives: sexuality and sexual identity. I ask that we enter deeply into our collective inner wilderness and begin to gather, harvest, and preserve the disassociated parts we have abandoned. There, in the hedgerows and far-away edges of our inner landscapes are the frozen, unmet needs of childhood awaiting the golden light and awareness of our own attention and time. Let us tend the wilderness in our inner cores. Erect an inner pillar of glittering immanence. Clear out the pollution of others ideas of what we “should be” and how we “should act.” The potential power of our collective holistic healing is a crown of jewels I long to offer as a courtship gift to my lover Gaia. Until we attend to and accomplish our own sexual healing, the World; the actual physical Earth we live upon, cannot have our conscious attention. Sexual Healing is now the existential responsibility of every RFD 161 Spring 2015 13
human who is interested in having human evolution be a part of the Earth’s future.
Re-Wilding as ReSelfing: Restoration at Zone Zero We do not “come into” this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean “waves,” the universe “peoples.” Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe. This fact is rarely, if ever, experienced by most individuals. Even those who know it to be true in theory do not sense or feel it, but continue to be aware of themselves as isolated “egos” inside bags of skin.” —Alan Watts Doing ReWilding is like doing something to and for Nature, but it may be more useful to reframe it as an act of Being, an act of uncovering our essentially loving ecstatic core. ReSelfing: selfrestoration. Something we do for ourselves as we are not separate from Nature. There is something important, precious, and unique that arises inside of a human being when they attend to and heal their core wounds of toxic shame, sex negativity, and sexual abuse. When we give our beautiful, open, curious attention to what is there inside of our bodies and inside of the earth, we are engaging in ReWilding. When we attend to our own healing from the early abuses and traumas of childhood, adolescence and our early twenties, we begin to uncover our essential wild natures. There is a fundamental shift that occurs when we sit with, acknowledge, and begin to feel into our core wounds, whether they were emotional and energetic wounds, psychological physical violence and violation from hitting, or sexual violence that included our genitals. The soma reawakens, the Wild One begins to move and evolve in us when we attend to these wounds. This wounding can come from parents simply acting as if they owned your 14 RFD 161 Spring 2015
sexuality, your body as a thought form, or through an actual act of violation that went against our will. Dr. Betty Martin, in her ground-breaking “Learning to Touch” workshops, says “All of us have at some time or other been touched against our will.” And those touches leave energetic cellular remnants in our bodies.
Courting the Gaiac Bodies Tomi Hazel Ward of Siskiyou Permaculture Institute teaches that we need to develop reciprocal relationships with the land. When we commit to the land, the land restores us. Tomi Hazel talks about how the land misses us, feels abandoned, is bereft without our conscious, aware attention and tending. I am curious about what would happen if we let our selves become aware of and attend to the deep grief the land holds. It holds all of the knowing of the destruction of indigenous ways, the burning times, the ownership of land and the subjugation of it. At Wolf Creek the land specifically holds the ashes and bones of our faggot ancestors of blood and love. The teachings of my Tibetan Buddhist root teacher, Reginald Ray of Dharma Ocean and most especially my attendance of Dathun 2011 gave me specific tools that help me woo and become a better lover of Gaia, Aphrodite, and Pan. Reggie’s practices of 12-fold breath, 10-point grounding, and Bodhicitta helped me develop the skill of feeling into the earth’s bodies/soma, Gaia. I also learned from Reggie the idea of the earth as a bodhisattva who holds immense compassion for us; whose darkness holds the somatic experience of traumas throughout herstory. Dharma Ocean’s embodied meditation techniques teach you how to access the energy bodies of the earth and the cosmos through the portals of your Drawing by Sigh Moon
own body. One of the many precious teachings he transmitted was the embodied knowing that I can sit in meditation and reach into a feeling for the land, experiencing the death and grief our lover the earth has for us. I have a morning meditation practice of tapping into and being with these sensations and energy fields, I can release a great deal of the tension in my body and then move into a deeper more rooted and ever-widening circle of healing that I believe is one possible path forward, a movement toward healing the ancestral traumas held within the earth’s energy field.
EcoSexual Magick Offers Us Sexual Sovereignty I have made up that it is my responsibility to invent and teach EcoMagicks that give humans the skill to release and heal their own traumas in Zone Zero; right now I call this work Cascadia Holistic Peer Counseling (CHPC). I do my best to engage in a daily practice of embodiment meditation, sitting outside focusing on the sky and the cedar tree. I give myself, and the Gaiac bodies around me an opportunity to release and integrate through energetic merging and being with. I intentionally see this energetic merging as an intimate act of love making, as an offering to my lovers Pan Aphrodite Hermes Gaia. I have fun being a sort of chaos magician: applying the different practices I have learned from neo-tantra, sex magick and Tibetan Buddhist consort practices, mixing them up with ecology and Ecopsychology and calling it EcoMagicks. I have created a form of social permacultural remediation called LLR Aphrodite Temples, a TAZ where people agree to use the co-created magickal event space to attempt to become transpersonal resources of love for themselves and the planet. I am co-generating a yearly event called Surrender: The EcoSex Convergence with Lindsay Hagamen at Windward (www.ecosexconvergence.org). Surrender is also a whole-time space/place for those who want to explore their EcoSexual identity in a safe and intentional way. Sexual sovereignty is “knowing” your own erotic power from an embodied physical experience that comes from being able to access the sensations and feelings that arise in your body. Understanding and restoring sexual sovereignty is one of the missions of Living Love Revolution, founded on a belief that it is important to energetically inhabit and be able to feel every part of our bodies in order to tap into the immanence that dwells there. To hear more about this framework, listen to the “Sovereignty & Embodiment” podcast at livingloverevolution.com.
I specifically emphasize embodiment in my definition because while many of my personal experiences have been based on the ideas of sexual liberation and the concept of personal freedom, there is a huge difference between a concept and a lived experience. It is completely possible for queer people to perform acts of sexual liberation without experiencing and inhabiting sexual sovereignty; I have performed sex this way many times. Sexual sovereignty is arrived at by doing the work of removing the energetic possession and presence of the fading uber cultures programming from your body. It does not matter where the trauma came from: your family of origin, your early experiences of social anxiety and trauma, early discomforts from engaging in sexual experiences that occurred within a cultural context of enforced ignorance, and sexnegative, anti-body, anti-pleasure propaganda, all of this may still be lodged in the lived experience of your soma. In childhood, in our early twenties, last week, these experiences accumulate and are held in the cells and muscles and blood and bones of our bodies. Until we address, release and integrate these traumatic pasts, we cannot fully inhabit our own bodies much less offer similar healing attention to the land.
Becoming an EcoSexual How does being on the land help us restore our sexual sovereignty? How do we become lovers with the earth? Power, spaciousness and certainty arises inside of humans being when they attend to core wounds of sex negativity and sexual abuse. When we give our beautiful, open, curious attention to what is there inside of our bodies and inside of the earth, when we attend to our own healing. There is a power that arises from sexual sovereignty that allows one to know, “It is not okay to live in a way that denies the experience of the land,” a spaciousness that cries out to be known, an eruption of desire that incites the release of fluids upon the dewy grasses. Fucking other humans outside generates palpable fields of bliss for Gaia, entices our inner child selves and allows more freedom and sovereignty to exist. Having sex in nature and having sex with nature is a holy act of self restoration. Facilitating self-pleasuring rituals, EcoSexual actions, and sacred sexual group healings dedicated to ourselves and the earth is fabulous Selfing. Henry David Thoreau wrote, “In Wilderness is the Preservation of the World.” And I would say “In Sexual Sovereignty is the Selfing of All Beings.” w RFD 161 Spring 2015 15
Wanna Get Free-Key by Seda and Amara
e recognize the contradictions inherent in writing a rewilding manifesto. Wilding isn’t a series of statements it is alive and always changing. Nobody can define rewilding –or anything—for anyone else. Just to give a little context for why we are writing this. We have been working our witchy, queer, anarcho rewilding ways in the Siskiyous, Great Basin, Great Lakes and Pacific Northwest. We do our work in wild places, waysides, rural and indigenous communities; digging roots, planting seeds, packing goats, tending the forest, planting berries in our shit, singing to the Faeries, hunting, swimming and being Queens. We are devoted to living symbiotically with the wild by following migratory pathways of wild food gardens in flow with the seasons. This means following the spring snow melt as the first flowers bloom into higher elevations, gathering seeds as they ripen, gorging ourselves in the wildest of feasts, moving from spring to spring, planting-back what we’ve gathered, pathways of wild gardens in our footsteps. For both of us rewilding began with our Grandmothers and whisperings in our dreams. As we went along, our teachers have included Queer Witch and Indigenous Elders of many lineages; too numerous to list here. We must at least acknowledge the powerful influence that our wild coyote “Tranny-Granny”, Finisia Medrano, has had for us and many others in this work. We thank Clyde Hall for bringing her to us through the Naraya Dance at Wolf Creek! Most of all it’s been an intuitive crooked path of discovery and playing it out together. Uncovering what pieces of ancient memories we find in ourselves, experimenting through trial and error, watching the animals, learning from whoever we can little tidbits that help us along the way, and teaching each other as we learn. More and more people are asking us to show them about getting deeper into wildness. We have found ourselves sometimes at a loss of how to share, because in many ways it’s such a personal journey. There are lots of practical skills that are easy to teach but what has proven more difficult to communicate has been the subtler approaches and paradigm shifts essential to rewilding. There 16 RFD 161 Spring 2015
are certain things that are nearly impossible to explain literally and can be only discovered through direct experience. Nonetheless we decided to write this manifesto at the suggestion of one of our mentors, Teri Ciacchi. We needed to distill the process of uncovering our wildness to make a bolder statement of what we’re standing for. Our hope is that this will communicate who we are and what we are doing (and not doing).
A Radical Wilding Manifesto As we snake with mountains and rivers, planting seeds on tangled pathways of old, we invoke ourselves into wilding. We are not here to “save the world” we are healing our relationship with the Mother. She1 is the first and last Black Mother of primordial chaos. She is a blooming wildflower of spit and cum dripping blood and earth a mandala of sex and organs, blood, hair and teeth. She is all sexes. She is all genders. She has no gender. She is sex itself screaming all sounds of creation. She is wailing demons tapping at your bones howling terrors in the night of ancestral poisons under the eclipsing moon. Bellowing in the eve of spring as milk and honey, fawns, foxes, hatching snails, ferns, fungus unfurl birthed from her bleeding cunt. The breath of trees and sweat of the oceans sing the children alive. Faerie faces in the hedges beckon us into Her mysteries. She is Earth. She is everything. She is us. Wilding is our devotion to Her mysteries. Rewilding is the process of invoking ourselves into the Earth. The following statements form a map that may guide us along the way, but a map is just a tool with inherent limitations and doesn’t represent the many unknown paths yet to be explored. We learn from our Elders, Ancestors, the Past; we honour them by finding our own way. The essence of rewilding is to trust our wildest hearts unfolding. We are between the worlds. Our ways emerge in twilight. First: know yourself, own yourself, We use “she” in the spirit of gender-fuck. The dichotomy of feminine and masculine is an illusion. She is the pronoun we choose to represent all genders and no genders in the limited language we have to use. 1
and get over yourself by getting under yourself and becoming the Earth that holds you. Know who you think you are - your patterns, boundaries, what pisses you off, turns you on, feeds you, your survival stragedies2. Own that shit. Beyond all this, look into who you really are, and from where you’ve come; know your self as the Earth. To truly listen and come home to Earth we must dissolve our “I”dentity We must acknowledge the complexities of our ancestral inheritance. Ancestors of blood Ancestors of land Ancestors of path Ancestors of love. . In the Rivers of our Ancestors are stories made of many threads: colonization, medicine, gifts, cultures, many forms of power, genocide, rootedness and uprootedness, privilege, class, resistance and persistence, poverty, race, religion, migrations. We acknowledge our ancestral inheritance. Our inheritance is the whole story While we cant be responsible for the whole story, we are responsible for who we are in the unfolding. The threads are unraveled and woven again. This is the unspinning.
don’t have to give our souls to it. Those who armor themselves with the weapons of the war become the very beast they are fighting. We will not stand by and watch the destruction of all life. It is necessary to actively resist oppressive forces. Some fight with bullets some fight with seeds. Our fight for surthrival has many faces. We sing for those lost to the war. Grieving is absolutely necessary; it’s how we break through the armor. There is no right way to deal with war. The trodden paths no longer correspond.3
Everything is alive. All beings are sentient. In that the Earth is our body, and no being is an object to be possessed, we refute the illusions of land ownership and resource privatization. We dispel the reduction of land, sky, animals, people, plants and minerals into resources. All beings are living expressions of reciprocity. We give life to that which gives life to us. Reciprocity with our food and medicine is tending, gathering and planting back. This cycle is healing. Our food is our medicine. We envision Earth as abounding Wild Gardens interwoven by the pathways we walk. We are an organism. We share everything.
This is how we come alive. The apocalypse has already happened many times. So many countless human, plant and animal cultures have been completely destroyed in the desperate insanities of “progress”. The wild ones have been subjugated, domesticated, tortured and massacred throughout the ages. Yet we persist. We are still here. We acknowledge the war we are in but we 2
Stragedy: tragic strategies.
Photo courtesy authors
We must find our own way in knowing the difference between annihilative death and regenerative death. This is our requiem. Our intention isn’t to reinvent the wheel, recreate religions of the past or claim a culture that is not our own. To have a whole relationship with a place we 3
Thanks to Peter Grey for his hot language in Apocalyptic Witchcraft.
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must grow in relationship with the peoples of that place. Solidarity with the sovereignty of Indigenous Peoples is essential. This means show up, listen first, and sit with the experience. Not seeking validation or approval, know what you come with and stand in your personal integrity. Offer your gifts with humility and a willingness to give direct support where it’s called for. This is healing.
Always listening, we seek to understand before seeking to be understood. We are listening to the Earth sing to us and we sing along with Her. Every moment is a prayer. We reclaim the power of our Dreams We will not be bound and pacified in mediated experiences. We are devoted to coming alive in the rawness of direct experience. We will not attempt to impose schedules or hierarchies. There is no authority other than the Truth that is Nature. The Truth of the Mother is sovereign. We move with the seasons based on Her rhythms in Land, Wind and Waters Following the pollen paths of the Moon, Stars and Sun
This is the re-membering. If you seek to find us we ask that you come willing to know yourself and shed your skins. It will be so much easier if you come humble, ready to admit and accept your mistakes. We ask that you come knowing we are all learning together, and our truths and answers may not be your truths or the answer you need. Come believing we may have something we can teach you, but be cautious about anything presented as fact. Set aside your knowing all together and open yourself to what wild wisdom comes from within. For this is a place where myths, stories, songs and riddles are true and where facts and other’s truths have no hold but are merely presented to test your discernment and to call upon your deepest wisdom to emerge. All this, we hear in Coyote’s song. All this we sing to you. “Come away! Come away!” Heed Coyote talking to the Children of the Mother about the world Heart-Eater Monster created. “Come out of her, my people, come out!” Coyote sings, “Come away! Come away! Come walk in beauty again!” 4 w 4
From Growing Up In Occupied America by Finisia Medrano.
18 RFD 161 Spring 2015
Getting Rooted by Phase
e hold rituals under a couple of big Hoop pines and are regenerating a forest of their offspring around them where there used to be thick lantana. A group of us planted them together and weed around them regularly. I am told the local Bunjalung people have it that the spirit people come to earth down the hoop pines. Australians are so nationalistic about native ‘this’ and ‘native that’, and yet we have decimated the fauna and flora and inhabitants of the whole continent in a very short time. It seems we are learning, but that could just be my view from the bubble of my perspective, surrounded as I am by hippies and faeries. The miners and corporate chiefs don’t come to our gigs. Bush regeneration is huge right now. People used to crave a landscape like England. It is common now for comfy hippies to welcome back the scrub. It is an expression of privilege and reflects our wanting to fix the planet. The processes of planet-fucking still go on, just less so, in our backyard. That said, I am intimately caught up in the regeneration of the gully close to us in north New South Wales. Watching and (trying to) help that process along is to be part of a bigger relationship. What I get out of that relationship is a state of awe and wonder. It is uplifting and engrossing and humbling for me. Getting dirty is the way to get there. Standing wet and muddy in the rain fully smiling in a swathe of small trees where there were none a little while ago. Yum. Time makes the forest whether I am here or not. Or does it? Around here there are big weeds that stop forests from growing. They blanket the earth to a depth of a few metres and grow over rainforest trees and can shade them out and kill them. There are other vines that do worse; we are in the subtropics so introduced South American vines and Asian trees run amuck. Garden plants and agricultural experiments from another era clothe the hills. Some say those weeds are the scabs on the wound. My critics complain that I judge weeds. Yes I do. Less than a hundred and fifty years ago there
were indigenous people living traditional lives in an intact ecosystem here. There are many people attracted to the regeneration of something so recently lost. Reminders are everywhere, of a recent destruction and the richness of that yesterday. The resilience of the forest and the people that lived in it are astounding, considering the weight of change that our economy and people brought. Most of the birds and animals that evolved in the old forest can’t just move in to the forest of weeds that is on offer. The soil; the fungi; the insects; mostly lost. The building blocks of rainforest depleted or gone. It is structurally poor and biochemically toxic for them outside of the pockets of regrowth clinging to the edge of the western economic landscape. Most of our steep and dissected land shouldn’t have been cleared. After clearing, landslips and rainy seasons have sent the soil to the sea. I am totally into intervention, to create space for wild things to live. The weird and the specialised and the highly evolved need a supportive neighbourhood, they can’t survive in a weedy paddock. There are still genetic resources here and near-by to get our little remnant functional and prepared for Photograph by Phase
who-knows–what, climate-wise. These plants; this system, has rebounded from other times of severe drying heat. The little re-emerging forest in our gully is unique and precious genetically. Weeds are an expression of the homogeneity that undermines cultures and natural systems and robs us all of diversity. Environmental weeds rob us of our inherited bio-diversity; everywhere they invade. There are exceptions! Some of those weeds feed wildlife, and lets face it, the poison toads and spikey toxic weeds are here to stay ‘cause most people don’t care that much about country. The change that has started will keep impacting for long time to come. And evolution happens…… I am criticized for spending too much time in the forest by some faeries, and the leaches suck and the ants bite and the wasps sting. In the tick season you can get enough bites on your dick that the lumps and swelling add a sexy zombie appeal to one’s prick. I don’t know who will come after us. I don’t know how the climate will change here. The other animals need a home. Some faeries come alive in the green shade that time and intention build. I trust that the doing is worth it. w RFD 161 Spring 2015 19
Camas Refugee Relocation by Lila Brown
lant refugees may not want to leave their small piece of ground as the bulldozers come roaring. We move them in hopes of being replanted ourselves and not waking up alone, bereft of even our bacterial companions, let alone the foods that offer to shape our lives with their sustenance.
Again this winter, my momma scooped up many hundreds of teenage camas from a road grade just as human progress came to pave them over. Led by instinct, she began to rescue plants when I was a little kid. I inherited that tugging at my middle that I know is a call to serve the unseen patterns both too great and too small to be understood from a human scale. We have never preached, or been told, yet this glimmer of understanding is spreading right at the epicenters of human degeneration of life. The Pacific Northwest and beyond was once home to vast wild gardens of these plants, Camassia quamash, a gorgeous bulb that offered meaning to the lives of myriad old-growth cultures who rooted here too, and delicious precious and elusive wild carbohydrates to their bodies. It was a numbing sloggy winter day, and miraculously there were other grinning people to plant alongside. The young camas were nestled into their ancient places next to a clear water stream alongside a canopy of Oregon white oaks. Beyond that, they will be in good company of acorn woodpeckers, elk, chorus frogs, horse gazes, hummingbirds, ants... A fellow Hoopster, Willem Larsen, describes the hoop as an underground railroad, inviting those of us who see that the goals of civilization are not our own, away from wage slavery. Among the pavement and overgrazing, the hoop becomes an underground railroad for the plants too. On the hoop, each of us has one foot solidly apart from society. At the same time, we spark off other people in moments of deep connection with the memory of the land that is always waiting to rise to the surface. The existence of the hoop is an opportunity to see the world around us with new eyes, and to act. Each of us can carefully approach the ancient wild food gardens of our home, and start to see and feel beyond the ecological destruction to what these lands want to be. w 20 RFD 161 Spring 2015
Photo courtesy author
Letter of Intention and Invitation by Finisia Medrano
e are stick NDN returning the hoop. What this is, is a letter of intention and an invitation to participate and help with this effort. What this effort is, will be a returning to a traditional, symbiotic walk and life way that was practiced here in the Columbia and Snake River Plateau for tens of thousands of years, before its historic genocide. We are betting our lives on one hell of a past. It is difficult to be hopeful or optimistic and move forward in a positive way when we consider the fates of all those who lived this way and died for their freedom of conscience, but this is what we must do. We cannot hope to have family or clan or a people in this life way as long as current policies act to disallow it. We are looking for meetings to work out the details that will allow for a people to live this way, with exceptions to existing rules, laws, and regulations that are necessary to protect the environment from the many exploitative masses that those laws, rules and regulations are intended for. We hope to be recognized as exemptions so that we can find that redemption of human kind we need and that can only be done by changing the corporation ofÂ the United States of Americaâ€™s legacy of genocide against this life way. We see the human soul and the earth itself crying out for such a renewal of a planting back symbiotic people on the land. In that effort we will be walking beyond fourteen day limits in the Hells Canyon Recreation Area and through the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. In this effort we are appealing to all private property owners within the boundaries of said National Forests to provide for us an ambiguity in the law. We hope to be left unmolested and even helped, but because of special considerations would need to be made for us in this effort we will be carrying parts of an eagle we found dead and also a single shot weapon to provide only necessary meat. We will be staying within the game laws to the best of our ability and knowledge. We have the knowledge and root diggers to live this way and will mostly eat that which is on the land; pine nuts, berries and biscuit roots. We will be planting these same things the entire walk. We are not survivalists nor are we seeking conflict with
Photo by Adrain Chesser and White Eagle
authorities. We hope to follow our conscience only and would surrender if required. This would not be what we want. This would be bad news to us. We hope for the good news that people in power and ownership of private lands agree with us that there needs to be this kind of people living in this way who are self initiating and willing to sacrifice all of ourselves for the greater good. We are hoping to at least be left alone and unmolested and possibly helped. We do this in the light of the day because we are sure there is nothing evil in it for us to hide. We ask for your help. We will be giving this letter to Tribal Governments, Forest Service and BLM and local and State Law Enforcement. We are waiting for the biscuit roots to come before we go. We can be reached on the cell phone. Thank you. We are hopeful and gambling our lives and future on one hell of a past. w RFD 161 Spring 2015 21
Interview with Finisia Medrano
at Sand Crane Center, Tuesday Oct 28, 2014, 11:00am, with Walker, Seda, Neisan
Walker: So who the fuck is Finisia Medrando? Finisia: Oh, fucking Finisia Medrando, I don’t know, who the fuck is Finisia Medrando? who the fuck is Finisia Medrando? I often wonder about who the fuck are the ones who would ask such a question? You know, like, who the fuck are you asking the fucking Finisia Medrano question? That’s what’s first off—who the fuck are you? (Laughter) W: So Finisia, I have heard that you refer to yourself as a “trigger”... F: Yes, that’s true, I do. W: Can you explain that to me? F: Well “trigger” is kind of an new term, you know, there’s all kinds of evolution in language and we are all the time trying to find something that is very PC. So we’ve come up with new designs for language, you know, more sex inclusive and friendly, like for instance, “rape” sounds like a very bad word
and so we’ve come up with “cuddle struggle”—we thank Tyra for that—we don’t want to be cultural appropriators so we’re gonna name the people we get things from—and then of course I came up with the classic what was it … what kind of sex? “surprise sex.” Yeah and this is better than “rape” and so “trigger” is like following the same line—you know there are certain words that are triggers—you can’t say 22 RFD 161 Spring 2015
the n-word with that it doesn’t trigger people. But if you’re a tranny, and, as a tranny you understand that you’re the worlds new, well, n-word, instead of saying “trans n-word” or stuff like this you could say “trigger”—you’re a “tranny-igger” which is a “trigger” and yeah, I don’t know a tranny that isn’t a trigger. Yes, they’re all triggers with me. They volunteered in our culture to be that trigger—so yeah, that’s how I’d describe that to you. W: So what the fuck is rewilding? F: Well rewilding is all I could tell the people who don’t like the fact that there are so many faggots, and there are so many potheads, and whores in it, and it seems like the only other people who are really thrilled with it, and tickled with it turn out to be the modern day version of your tax collector. And so when the cops came by interviewing us to find out something more about rewilding, and the concerns of those people who are watching us doing it, filling in the blanks with their paranoia, and not knowing what this rewilding is, it became very apparent to us that we need to define it—but I think you have to define it by those who are involved in it—and who we find involved in it are largely people who are outcast from our culture and our society, who would naturally be looking for something else to appeal to—and that does happen to turn out to be your potheads, your faggots and your whores— but you know I like to lean back on the wisdom of Jesus when our culture here doesn’t like the appearance of rewilding, and those who participate in it. I like to lean back into our culture and rely on our faithful religion and hark on to Jesus’s words who said, of course those who’d be the first through the gates of the kingdom of god would be your whores, and your faggots, and your potheads, and your outcast tax-collector, your cops maybe, you know, before any of the righteous of our world would even come through the gates of heaven, you’d see that first. So that’s largely what rewilding is—is looking at your world, and most of them are looking for more than freedom of expression, or freedom from a boss, some of them are looking for freedom of conscience, rather than freedom from conscience, and so they go about trying to live in symbiotic old Indian ways as best as possible—so for me it’s life on Photo courtesy Finisia Medrano
the hoop—full time presence planting gardens and living out here is where rewilding would have to end up—what didn’t come through the gates. W: So tell me about the hoop. F: Ah, the hoop is where you’ve already gone through the gates. You’ve purified your intention to turn every bit of Babylon into Hoop as fast as they’ve turned Hoop into Babylon all your lives. Hoop is where you’ll go to fulfill absolute betrayal of all your ancestors’ traditions and just start planting wild gardens and learning how to live on them. And hoop does only exist where there is preexisting gardens—in many places they’ve been plowed out all through the Midwest and back east there are many vast areas that have no hoop left. So these depend upon places where these old ancient gardens still exist where you’re allowed to interact with them, make them stronger, and let them feed you. Hoop is spiritually where you belong if you’re going to be appropriately interacting in this circle of life. You don’t do it as a constant ecocide, you do it as a reach-around person, you know, you would think of all the people of the world that would understand the value of reach-around it would be those that have perfected butt-fuckery. You know, so I think we have the right audience, and this is why I tell the cops and everyone else, that’s why you find queers and whores in it, because they understand the value of some reach-around. W: What’s the reach-around? F: Well, when you’re getting a dick up your ass, it’s so nice when they come around with their hand and give you a shake or two, you know what I mean. And when your relationship is with Truth, or with the Mother Earth, or with each other, if you didn’t just approach each other like you’re an ATM machine, I’m gonna punch the buttons on your chest and get a delivery, and there’s a thousand more before I’m through, and there’s a hundred just like you, you know don’t give me no tears. See that’s how people want to live in the civilized world, and that’s how they’re handling each other and all things, but on the hoop you find a new way of interacting. It’s you being a good life-giving thing within that circle of life, not just a taker. W: Could you tell me more about the life-way of the hoop? F: Well, in the life-way of the hoop, you know, there’s the goal of getting enough people out here maintaining presences on different places where
these gardens are abundant, where old hoops used to be, and we’re trying to move towards different people doing this, holding presences on different hoops, meeting together annually, in another place, another hoop, where everybody comes together from around and shares what they have on their particular hoops abundantly. Those that have salmon bring that, those that have pine-nuts would bring that, those that have fruit would bring that, those that have wocus and biscuitroots, whatever, they’d bring seeds and those things, whatever you had. It’s an economy based on everybody getting what they need, not getting any profit. It’s the old potlatch. So, what you’re talking about is kinda like where is your place in that reality, and if you’re not in that reality, what reality are you being in, you know? So we’re trying to abandon what we’re doing here, some people believe in Babylon, and we’re like “We be leavin’ Babylon” … that kinda thing. Seda: Can you talk about the process of rewilding and coming into the hoop from a background of civ(ilization)? F: Well I’ve heard a lot of conversations about that in particular, and a lot of people have this notion that there’s this internal rewilding that really needs to be done, you know, to actually rewild, and that’s true. But to think that that’s some priority or even some prerequisites to coming out and doing something out here is a mistaken notion. What I find is if I’m gathering a salad of a particular kind of green, and I’m climbing this little slope gathering as I go for my little salad, I end up at the top of the hill with a bowl full of salad, but at the same time I climbed a hill and never even recognized the effort. And so, this internal rewilding we’re talking about, this process that needs to go in the way of decolonization, you know stuff like that, I find that it happens automatically, if you begin the process of nurturing gardens, putting yourself in the way of well, to further answer your question, the more that you get good at nomadic horse culture, the more you get good at living in these gardens and planting them then the more you have these real things describing who you really are, and the less false ego you have there to pretend and protect. And so you become more of a centered person based upon feeding an ego that’s a real one rather than a false one based upon false pedestals and silliness. So that’s that process of rewilding. But that’s what happens in the process of inventing yourself over, reinventing yourself, dropping all false assumed identities that Babylon might have given you, and allowing yourself the talent that you have naturally and what you have RFD 161 Spring 2015 23
forgotten, and then you come out here and restructure—what would you call it—repurpose, you know, the things that you’ve been given that way out here, allowing you to build a whole new identity. Well that’s you being rewilded by busying yourself with the structures of the roots, and learning how to be somebody of a horseback culture, take a couple of years before you’re really comfortable shoeing your horses and packing, things like that, as you learn that, you are rewilding yourself—it’s all the same thing.
in a world where you’re being this earthly, generous good, you’re planting these things and they’re growing abundantly because of it, to let those things feed you in a good way is the reach-around of all reach-arounds, you’re giving that life, it gives you life, you’re in a circle which is more symbiotic. It’s a celebration of symbiosis so great that at times when I’m in the middle of such an orgy I just gotta have a Pepsi and eat some bacon with it too. [Laughter] It’s true, give me a cigarette when I’m done, you know, one of those Kools.
Seda: And what prevents us from recreating civ(ilization) out there? F: Oh, there’d be nothing to keep you from recreating civ out there, at all, but if you wanted to avoid recreating civ out there... what I do here locally is different tribes have old traditions, old songs, they name things, there’s language, there’re concepts within that language that were of that old way. One of the best ways to avoid recreating civ is to avoid coming into this thing thinking there’s no culture here to help you, that you need to reinvent everything, because if you’re going to come out here with this mindset—oh this has gotta be reinvented by me for me—then you’re going to be doing exactly what your ancestors have been doing, you’re not really getting it. W: Can you tell us about some of the “little sisters” that we dig? F: Oh the little sisters, everywhere, and the real magic of the hoop, is just about like sex, and people you know, don’t have this thing because they don’t really understand it, but it’s a gastric religion, and the power of the thing is that, I’ve noticed in, is that you take some of these biscuitroots, and like little potatoes you peel them, boil them, and once you boil them, you might fry them up in some really good olive oil, you might season them just so, might include them in something, and when you put them before somebody, they’re like, “This is like wild food?” and it’s like “ … yeah. You didn’t expect such great sex outta something like me, did ya?” You know that’s how it is, it really is. And the magic is like, “Wow, I can’t believe this is so fuckin’ good!” they go “Wow!” and that’s the problem, they don’t really get it. But you know, it’s an oral sexual religion of gastric proportions that actually offends a lot of people, because you know, their idea of something spiritual isn’t something so physical, or gastric, you know, they’re so spiritually evolved that they don’t have to be any earthly fucking good. But 24 RFD 161 Spring 2015
W: What does it mean that you’re a bundle? Or the bundles you carry? F: Well I don’t got nothing in my hands. I’m a slight of hand artist with no hands, and my bundle is like what you know. Like, those little sisters you talked about? Let’s say you just google image search words like cymoptrus, an image, and lomatium, an image, and fritillary, an image, wild onions, image. Right? OK now let’s say each one of those is like a Photo courtesy Finisia Medrano
rubbing stone, if you know where to grow it, how to make it food, and you had experience and watched it grow with your tending, and you’ve got a full relationship with that little sister, that’s like one little rubbing stone in you, which is you-the-bundle. Now how many little rubbing stones in you-the-bundle depends on what you make yourself into. This is the kind of them I’m talking about that you do when you come out onto the hoop, you build relationships with every individual plant. You understand it’s native name, you understand it’s native place, you understand where you can move it to, you can’t move it to, you understand how it moves, how it doesn’t move, how it’s food, how it isn’t food, who it mixes best with to make the best food. Right, now add that to, let’s say you know how to make a fire by rubbing some sticks together, I’ll tell you what, not many people can do that shit, but if you can do that shit, that’s a rubbing stone in a bundle. If you know how to make something leather into clothes, and you can do that shit efficiently and rapidly, all right, well that’s another rubbing stone for your bundle. So all of us are bundles in our own ways. All of us are associated with longhouses of different sorts, which are just basically ultimately consortiums of like-minded and like-visioned people. The cop station’s a longhouse. So is the Mormon Church. But the Seven Drum Longhouse is it’s own longhouse too, and things like that. Well bundles are much the same way. That’s the kind of bundle we make. W: What’s the role of the longhouse in this vision? F: Ah, well, the role of the longhouse opened the bundle to these things in the first place. They’re the ones that have the songs, they’re the ones that have the language and have the know-how. And the longhouse is more or less just open, it says yeah, this is here if you want to work with us, we’d appreciate it if you wanna grab your little merit badges and trade them for beer tokens in town, bein’ somethin’ Indian and holy, I suppose you’re gonna be free to do that, go ahead and do that, don’t hate on us to go get it done. Please don’t badmouth us to go make yourself glorious in your little thing, it’s cultural appropriation all the way around. But they’re deciding there are some things more appropriate and some things that are inappropriate, and all appropriations are going to be made room for, but if you got to be nasty about it, and not really include them, then that’s just like your ancestors. You’re willing to kill Indians in order to appropriate their shit, and you’re not giving them any reach-around for the efforts
that they’ve kept, and just maintaining what you’ve got here in the way of knowledge, of how to dig a biscuitroot or plant it or live in that. Well they maintained that not you, and so if you’re not able to give that reach-around in a good way, then you’re just like your ancestors, and they will see it—so it’s sort of self sifting, self vetting, because 99% of the people are pretty selfish, and that’s allowed, you can do that. Nobody’s going to accuse you of anything evil unless you bad-mouth the people who gave it to you to do it. Yeah, now you’ve really kinda-like crossed a line, you’re like, “Oh, doesn’t that remind you of your great-great-grandfather in the least?” So the longhouse is there for you. I’m not a cul-de-sac, nor is anybody out on the hoop out here a cul-de-sac. You know we’re all going to be working side by side with longhouse, with Nimi’ipuu Return, Home plan project, things like that. You know, we’re not going to try to co-opt the longhouse, nor are they try to really to do anything more then help guide our efforts, if we’re going to be walking beside them, we’re going to be following their guide, right? We’re going to try to walk along side them not try to be a part of their scene. But they’re definitely encouraging this as best they can everywhere we’ve been going with it and it’s been pretty good. W: So how did you get started in this? In living on the hoop and interacting with these plants, these little sisters? F: Oh, I blame Jesus. I do. You know I grew up a tranny nigger, and not in the days when they’re making overtures towards you for how badly they’ve treated you in the past. You know it’s not like the gay and lesbian community of today, I’m an old fuckin tranny. You know, and the gays and the lesbians were at least as friendly as the evangelists and the right wing Christian company, and they were at least that friendly. When you were a tranny in my day there was no place to go but that wilderness. I was desperately looking for a living bread, praying to Jesus who said he was one, said “Come on baby, I’m going to the wilderness, I’m gonna sell everything I have, I’m gonna give it to the poor, I’m gonna follow you, you gonna show me a livin’ bread.” And fuck if he didn’t dump me in the lap of a bunch of drunken Christian Indians who were digging biscuitroot. And I become addicted to that, following a trail of those biscuitroots. Because you know what, I grew up there with those people for a lot of time, because I was a baby and I spent a lot of time in their house, in their ways, building outfits for children to go dance Powwow, digging roots for RFD 161 Spring 2015 25
ceremonies. And so I grew up there for a little bit and it put me in a tail spin. I just wanted to make sure that it was more of that and better for that for those babies, their babies, than less of it. So I blame Jesus for giving me a living bread, and a way of life on Earth when I asked him for one. What I like to do I can is present anybody with a dilemma, and if I could be a Christian Faggot, Christians and faggots both would have problems with me. That’s delightful, we can have a talk now. That’s sex, baby. That’s a little intercourse for ya. You know in this effort this way, I can be a seventy year old fuckin’ tranny out here, and people are gonna call me bitch right to my face with venom, and I know fuckin’ bitches in their thirties paying money for that shit in San Francisco. The old tranny bitches trying to get anyone just to call em’ bitch, you know, they’ll pay ya money for it. I get that shit for free. You gotta know how to work ‘em, gotta work that shit. Yeah. W: So what’s the space for new people coming into the hoop, coming out of civ, and why are there so many damn faeries, witches, queers, and trannies? F: See, you’re asking the same question you started with. And I would just blame it all on Jesus. I blame Jesus fuckin’ Christ man, because you know what he says that’d be the first ones to come into this thing, those outcasts, those whores, those potheads, those cops, those freaks. Those that aren’t received in your culture would be looking for something different, and they’d be the first ones to come to this, that’s why. I get asked that question by the rednecks, I get asked that question by everybody, and I’ve got the same answer for all of y’all, if you don’t like Jesus’s story, well whose story would you rather have? You know? I mean if the righteous go before the faggots, well we’re gonna have to learn fucking Kumbaya, do you wanna learn Kumbaya just to get into heaven? Fuck no. Nobody does—that’s why the whores and the faggots and the potheads and the cops go there first. That’s why it is that way. I don’t expect it to change for a little bit, but I do have one hope in it... all the world has forever followed faggot fashion—how we fuck is how they all fuck eventually.. [Laughter] W: Where do you see the future of this going, all the little baby hoopsters you’ve taught and are now teaching others? F: I don’t give a shit. Ain’t my fuckin’ problem. I’m a lot like Father Sky—blow some seed, and where they land, or whether they grow, I don’t give a 26 RFD 161 Spring 2015
fuck. You know Father Sky taught me that wisdom, I don’t have any hope in it at all. I don’t even give a shit why you do what you do. If you come up here because you got a narcissistic liability and you wanna shine to a bunch of people who will never appreciate you doing that shit, because they’re not doing it and they hate it. Now you’re gonna make yourself popular with the civilized with wild things... you’re not gonna ever do it. I don’t care if you’ve got a narcissistic liability and you’re planting because you’re trying to shine, I don’t care, if you want it for money, or for love, it doesn’t matter, the plants don’t care either—they’ll grow or not grow based upon how well you planted them or not, not how you felt about it while you did it. And that’s how it is for where they’re going, you know, as long as they’re not being hateful, at least you’re not duplicating your ancestors’ behavior, as long as you’re going to be more inclusive and friendly, and do your own god-damned thing with a beautiful gift and not be so ugly about it, we don’t give a shit about where you go with it. Because I’m pretty sure most of the people who are going to come into this and drawn into this, aren’t anybody who’s really gonna to anything special in the way of helping longhouse return in this renewal. They’re not going to do it. But there may be those who carry some flicker of light or fire to those who will, so who gives a shit where it goes. I’m really only interested in something I can’t believe in. And I really am pretty sure we’re gonna see the end of all things. And that’s not just civ things. That’s all things. And so I really don’t have hope in that and I don’t have faith in this conspiracy of the longhouses, but that’s my effort, my effort in all my life, in all my joy, everything comes from, given my entire thing, my whole existence to something I really can’t believe in, which was this hopeful return, and renewal through fulfilling all these prophecies of hopes of returns and renewals, and the conspiracy of longhouses is something I love, because that’s what it is. It’s this attempt to in real time performance art fulfill every hopeful promise of return and renewal, every vision and prophecy of such a thing. Do I believe it? Fuck no. Do I love that shit? Absolutely, I’m gonna to do it with all my heart. W: What are those prophecies you speak of? F: Oh, there’s all kinds, and we’ll fulfill them all. One of them we’re playing with now is I’m coyote planting the gardens of wild foods by embracing the suck of a swallowing monster, which is a creation story of the Nez Perce/Nimi’ipuu people, and doing that right in the place they said that it happened,
which is Hell’s Canyon. We use Spider for instance in our performance art, and Dennis here, because those are the very rope spinners we’re using to tie to the people and make friendly in the mountain. All that crazy shit. So there’s all kinds of them, and every tribe has different things, and then there are cultural ones like the Hopi prophecies of the red cap, and there’s Hopi prophecies of Blue Star Kachini. By the time we get down there with our little shit show, we’ll have a pretty good performance for doing them as well. The conspiracy of longhouses, to go about deliberately fulfilling them, that means every impossible challenge to it, even the Hopi’s impossible challenge that the white man could ever become right. (Chuckles) S: What do you think about when people call cultural appropriation—what would your response be to that? F: I would say go to longhouse and ask them. I tell everyone the same thing, you know, it’s like Thomas, Potlatch, he asked what about, and I told him you know, you should go to the people who taught me. You should go to these Indians, you should go to longhouses, and you should talk to them. See what their view is, and then act according to their view and see what you can do with that. How could it be that you would have anything more to offer to this thing than appropriation? Can you do it appropriately? That’s their question. I found that it’s can you do it appropriately? Can you give those that gave this to you reach-around and actually acknowledge where it’s coming from? If I were to make myself a cul-de-sac, and say “Oh, you don’t need to go to talk to those Indians, I talked to them for you.” Well I’m a cultural appropriator right there. And to avoid being a cultural appropriator, I’m not nobody’s cul-de-sac. I’ll say “go to where I got it! Talk to, deal with them.” And those that do that, you, Seda and Thomas, doing those things, the proof is in the pudding—no one else had the code to the gate. Right? So you go about it, you understand it’s appropriation, you need to have rights to that appropriation because you don’t have a way on Earth, and so the longhouse says “Well, the hoops, these ways...they don’t belong to us, they belong to everybody. And anyone that wants to show an interest in them, it belongs to them.” You know, they don’t say they own it. They don’t own the hoops, they don’t own the ways of the hoops, but if you want to have them, they belong to you. Now, if that’s the thing, the only one that’s determining if what you’re doing is appropriation, is whether or not you’re willing to
give that thing reach-around. If you’re not willing to give what gave that to you reach-around, then that’s appropriation, if you’re willing to work with those who gave you those things and you don’t have to separate those things, that’s better. Alright? That’s what appropriation is. But if I won’t be the cul-desac, I’m missing the opportunity, someone else sees they wanna play that thing, they’re gonna to have to exclude me and us that’s doing this to go do their thing, that’s appropriation. It’s laughable, as long as you can do it friendly. It’s gonna to happen. You know, the longhouse is kinda like me, if you see a fuckin’ comin’, you build a pussy, and that is what they’ve done, essentially, you can add that to your how to appropriate a proper sexual relationship with each other, you know? Geez, it’s going to be a cuddle struggle, it’s going to be some surprise sex coming, let’s build a pussy. W: What are some of those things that us babies coming into the hoop are dealing with from civ, the messages we got from Babylon. F: Well here’s the biggest problem. There’re several of them, but there are principles here I can probably help with. One of them would be this: If you’re coming from a culture that is not looking for ways to answer the obligations of the Truth, and this is exactly our culture, we’re looking for every kind of way to excuse ourselves from those obligations. There’s your first and biggest liability. Why most people would scream cultural appropriation is because they wouldn’t plant a biscuitroot in the first place. Right? Here’s another one: Nobody’s talking, nobody’s asking, nobody’s listening, to understand. Not in most of your conversations anywhere. You’re listening to respond. So if I give you an automatic response to a question, I’m always going to get an answer rather than to the question, an attempt to accomplish the challenge. For instance, I was asked, can you describe me in one word? No. There’s an answer to your question. It’s not an attempt to answer the challenge. You understand what I’m saying? Because I’m listening to understand, what I understand is the question, and the answer to the question is, “No. Next...?” But everybody else answering, proving that they’re answering out of a listening that’s looking to respond. “Tranny” they’ll have a word for ya. Right? That’s proof. That’s something difficult people are facing coming in here, with appropriations, these things relate. First of all you’re not listening to what you’re being told to understand, you’re listening to appropriate. Secondly, you’re not out here to fulfill any obligations RFD 161 Spring 2015 27
of truth, largely you create a scenario whereby you can be excused from that obligation, you come from a culture of it. There’s the 99% of people who touch this thing. Because what ultimately is the longhouse wanting? People to actually do a sincere effort of maintaining a full time presence on these hoops, going back, because the prophecies we are working on are those where the white people give up on their stupid ancestors shit, and embrace something that made sense, and confessed their fucking genocide, and just do it. There’s the hope. That’s why they opened the bundle. You don’t wanna do that...? It’s because you gonna go do some shiny shit in town. It’s because you wanna come up here, grab some merit badges from a hoop effort to go trade for beer tokens in town, go ahead, can you do it friendly...? That’s all that’s required. Now that’s wisdom. It self vets. You don’t have to heal it, touch it, it just comes through in the flow and it self vets. It’s like screening the gravel for gold. What’s heavy will fall through the shit. And let the good river flow; they opened up a flow. And that’s what you’re wanting. That’s what you’re watching for. S: Do you see the faeries playing a particular role in all that? F: Absolutely. When you get twelve fuckin’ god damned white stupid fuckin’ faggots out here on your Wocus patch, and you’re an Indian... What we’re doing here is what we call, and the longhouse loves, a lot of people like it, we’re firing up old Indians. You bet. This fires up old engines. To see you little usurpers out here doing what they, it’s an empty chair, and nobody’s sitting in it, and all of a sudden some queer comes and sits in that chair, it’s like, “Hey! That ain’t your chair.” There’s going to be a response, and that’s a good thing. You know, we’re hoping for what, in this effort, we’re hoping to see that people like you guys picking it up will inspire these old ones to pick it up and bring their youth with them and get them inspired to pick it up, because they have problems getting their youth to pick it up. This might help. It will certainly fire up a lot of old Indians. Yeah, and they’re the ones that would have to come out here and fulfill those prophecies of giving up on your ancestors shit fuckin’ tradition, and learn to love the truth and give life, like Jesus said and stand there and wait for them to kill ya, I guess. White guy go first... and that’s a good idea too. So it works—their dilemma and my dilemma work well together. S: What about the witches? Do you see some28 RFD 161 Spring 2015
thing particular for them in this shit? F: You know what, everybody has to do their own damn show. Everybody has to show up with what they’ve got. I don’t have any hopes on any particular groups, but I will watch to see what they bring. Everyone is going to show up on their own, they’re going to prove themselves. I don’t have to, you know, even have predictions. I just wanna watch. I advise everybody to watch, not only themselves but around you, you know, watch, we’ll see. All I know is this. If you have some hot-blooded shit, and you have some cold hearted-shit in the way of population, if you mix those two populations together, you’ll get a storm. And a swirling storm always sucks something in. Ask any tornado, ask every hurricane, how it got started, and it’s going to say it was hot and cold got pulled together. Now, I would like to be, you know, helpful in that regard. I think the hoop will do that. I think faeries and witches mixing up with, you know, cold hard-hearted rednecks and hot-blooded weirdos mixing together, you’re gonna create a storm out here, and I think that’s a good thing. You know because eventually, if you’re in the right place, if you’re in the center of the storm, which is relatively quiet, and Pepsis and whores and money go flying by in the wind, you just grab something! (Laughter) W: But this storm you see activating engagement with the hoop? F: Yeah, it has to be engagement with the hoop, that way it draws everybody in it. See because ranchers could be invested in this, because we can actually help them prove that they’re not as damaging as they are told to be. You know if we could help them with their PR, and the Indians working together with them, can help everybody with their PR, can help us with the returning effort, because there’re landholders out there—my vision is to keep going around until we find all those that are ranchers and stuff that are already beginning to help us, you know what. Boy that’s where we’re staying, we’re staying with ranchers. We’re staying with our horses, they’re helping to feed us and give us a place to land. So they’re working with Indians, we’re just trying to get that more and more connected and more and more daily, yearly visited by these people where they are in touch with each other more, so they understand who their allies are. S: That’s your current effort. F: Right. You know if you come in with a tranny granny, you’re not gonna get that bitch out of the rural west’s gossip mill. Okay, I don’t care how hard
you keep me out of the press, you’re not gonna keep me out of your gossip mill. And these three counties, say, around northeastern Oregon, around the Eagle Caps and Hell’s Canyon, they can’t get me out of the god damned gossip mill there. I am in the news, I am pretty much the news a lot of times, right? And that works, you know, that’s what the queer thing element’s gonna do, it’s going to put it in the conversation. There’s all that weird shit, “And you know what they’re doing? Well they’re doing what we should be doing. Well I ain’t gonna have that.” Well this all works good for us. See? Because if it does nothing more, it will divide houses. Mama or Daddy likes that, Mommy or Daddy don’t like that, a house divides. Every kind of house, longhouses, all kinds of houses might divide here. Now we’re going to go with ones that are friendly to us, right? That’s how you find your grassroots support. Just keep going around the mountain, it’s going to create division and contention, they’re gonna separate over it and they’re gonna help you and others won’t. Simple. It seems like almost everything decent is married to a spider-holing monster. And sometimes spider-holing monster needs to get out of the way so the good decent thing can act. And if you’re the stimulation of being this person, doing this beautiful wildflower-planting thing, and that’s our only offense is being for this, and that’s enough to get Dad Photo by Adrain Chesser and White Eagle
dy or Mommy to piss-off and get mad at me because I love it, that might be all I need to do that separatin’, find a new way, find a new partner. That kinda stuff is gonna go on. Gonna happen. So we plan on it. And we go forward, and we find our friends this way. I don’t know, I think coyotes a genius! W: Ssssssssssssssssssssssss! What’s a StickIndian? F: Ah, well, Stick-Indian has a long tradition. Originally the Stick-Indian would be like the Ninnibee, the Gugunus, the little people. But they’re the same one that’s like water baby, out here. Or the spirit that’s in the water that, you know, lives there, that might grab you and pull you in and drown you. That kinda thing. It might be bigfoot. You know, the Gugunus spirit, that thing, that Stick-Indian, up in this country’s viewed as bigfoot too. So it’s like many things, but it was the Indian boogeyman. Stick-Indian began a long time ago, before there was white man, because if there was some violation of the peoples hoop-way, you know, people violated the mother in their way, and they didn’t stick with hoop-way, they weren’t being that reach-around people, there was always Stick-Indian who was there for retribution. So when I say that this is StickIndian returning the hoop in my letter of intention and invitation, and I’m handing it to tribes, they’ll RFD 161 Spring 2015 29
tell me, “We don’t talk about that here.” Because you know they themselves on the tribal level in the reservation have been forced into the very image of a violation of hoop law. And there still stands that boogeyman of our culture that says we’re worthy of punishment for it, retribution. So if we’re coming in saying this is the retribution of Stick-Indian, that we will be returning the hoop, with a bunch of white faggots, it’s a friendlier retribution than ones they might imagine. So we included that legend, in our invitation and intention, simply so we could be clearly understood among the tribal people. S: What do you want to say about Babylon? F: I say that I don’t care how good you get on the hoop, I don’t care if you succeed to be ten times Stick-Indian than Granny, you’re gonna miss Babylon when she goes like a rich and horny girlfriend when they leave you, you’re gonna cry your eyes out. That’s about Babylon. It’s all Knawnee, and it’s all lovely, and you’re going to miss the shit out of it when it goes. The shame of Babylon is that it’s a huge ecocide, isn’t it? How we all love our Babylon, but how we all hate its consequence of ecocide. How it leaves you without a single shred of conscience just to live the life of forfeiture that they’ve given you in Babylon. “I was born in Babylon, I got nothing I can do but minimize my damage.” Minimize like hell, and end up without a soul, without a conscience. And that’s the trouble with Babylon. Because you know it’s nothing but ecocide. It’s worse than rape. It’s a suicidal hatred of existence. Killing everything before you die first. That’s civilization, that’s Babylon. And we’re all loving it and addicted to it and it leaves us without a conscience, struggling to defend the undefendable, struggling to sustain the unsustainable, struggling to love the unlovable. And ripping your soul to pieces to do it. And I’d say “I was glad to be a tranny nigger in the day when I had no queers or anyone to sustain me, because it threw me away. It threw me out like, well, like some Ishmael, out into the brush, underneath here, looking for shelter in the sagebrush and looking for nourishment from the tit of a biscuitroot rather than trying to appeal to a Babylon and the people who didn’t want me anyhow. So I’m kinda grateful to be the nigger. In a world of mother-fuckers you want to be their outcast. In a world of Babylon, you want to be their despised. W: So how do we baby hoopsters, how do we despised, faeries, faggots, witches, queirdos, freaks and trannys, how do we come out into the 30 RFD 161 Spring 2015
hoop and interact and come out of Babylon? F: Well, the first thing that you’d probably have to understand, is that you’re babies. Give yourself the chance to be a baby. Know that you’ve got nothing but learning to do. And be teachable. You’re going among some generous, kind people. Whether it’s these people here at Sand Crane, or with the longhouse, or wherever we take you, you want to be teachable. That’s how you begin, that’s how you approach it. You recognize that you don’t know how to live on Earth, and here’s an opportunity to do so. Pay attention. That’s what you give. That’s your entire donation. And you want to commit to something, it’ll take you a long time. Don’t think you can come out here and do a 40-day wonder walkabout and know this shit. You don’t. You’ve got a merit badge you’re gonna run off and trade for beer tokens, I guarantee it. It takes commitment. Look at committing time—at least two years. Make a two-year commitment, write your own fuckin’ contract, make yourself obliged to fulfill it among other people who are doing the same. I would say if you’re not ready to do that, come in and car camp, grab your beer token things, and run, have a good time. We’ll enjoy milking your little tit while you’re here. Please be generous. S: And gear up. F: And gear up. And have fun. It’s a shit ton of fun. You know, if all you can do is come in and car camp, then run off with your experience to trade for beer tokens, do that, but be generous and kind to the people who are sharing with you. That’s all. We’re not asking much. But babies, sincere ones, ah, well, think about long-term. Take a long time to figure it out. This ain’t instant. We’re not the Baptist church, we’re not gonna dunk you in water and holler out “There you go! You’re saved.” and you’re just like, “Yup, Yup, Yup.” We ain’t got baptism for ya, sorry, we’re not Btaptists. (laughter) S: Is there anything else you want to say to the faeries? F: Well, you know what, I told those guys that I’m gonna have men in dresses riding horses on their hoops, and I told Modoc warriors this, I said they’re gonna be festooning themselves with feathers that are probably illegal, and you’re definitely welcome to come into camp and shake us down. They said “really?” I said “yes.” I want you to know that these guys that are out there, these wonderful Modocs, and different ones that wanna shake your ass down. And I said “Well, is there anything you’d like to say to the faeries?” So I’d like to relay that to them: “Faggot, watch out.” w
Ox To Buffalo Dreams by Wild Rose
I i.d. as an Ox—& a wildRose. And my spiraling eyes see plains of Buffalo. I dream of a landed life. My spirit yearns for a faemily existence deeply syncopated with the seasons’ cycles, & the flowing migration patterns of all of my kin. But the vast stretches of plains have long since been torn & depleted—replaced by grain-fields & settlements. The rough, wild wisdom of the prairie is no longer culturally transmitted from one generation to the next. Instead, ‘we the people’ are offered commodity markets, genetic engineering, & grain exports trumped in quantity only by the amount of topsoil eroding and finding its way into the Gulf of Mexico. This is our cultural & physical inheritance. Even having been granted what seems sometimes like limitless human privilege, we are not afforded the luxury of starting over. We may only start from the here & now—& awake to the stark truth of the damage already done. There is much we must do to help the land stabilize and regain its fertility. We must re-shape the earth in ways that catch and hold water, allowing it to sink in & nourish the soil. We must also invite perennial plants (& likely ruminants such as cows, goats, & sheep) to digest and re-cycle the earth, building it anew. And in order to reclaim our bodies from the fossil fuel-derived corporeal forms of the dominator culture, we have to grow our food wildly. This vision evokes ever-evolving landscapes—forests of foods & medicines that deepen in richness & productivity with every passing season. Necessary to this vision are burgeoning cultures of place—which describe communities of humans that are intimately connected to the land on which they reside. Imagine ever-deepening relationships with land that weave together a powerful story of interconnection & Love—one of a service to Life, & to one another, fueled by Love. Such communities are a form of regenerative culture in that they make more (& more kinds) of themselves possible, as they adapt in form & proliferate. Eventually they form a vibrant network of communities suited to a variety of landscapes and human needs. This mode of living carries a distinct advantage over the one that is currently dominant—a fading system that steals & transports, with great effort, all it needs to survive. In other words, it is a system that is not rooted in the ground on which it sits, nor in the communities that breathe it to life. In loving contrast, the cultivation of rooted commu
nities can provide theoretically limitless nourishment, and will fast become intrinsic to life at Home. This is the Ox dream. I dream of building, & co-creating Home. Building many Homes. Moving Earth. Catching Water. And i want to feel driven by a team of drivers & other Oxen, engaged together in the physical work of providing the means for a great many to thrive. And I want to seed outwardly the desire & skills for many others to do the same. In this way, I envision a network of safe(r), beautiful, Home spaces growing around me for untold numbers of Faeries to land. The more deeply we know a place, the more in touch we become with the earth & ourselves. By getting to know a place, humyns may come down from our heads, dwell in our hearts, & act confidently from re-discovered wells of intuition in our bellies. This is just a part of our re-wilding. Meanwhile, our bodies transform. They become the mountains, the plains, the valleys of our lives, as we source our (minimally processed) food from the Land. In short, we become the Land. We eat wild foods that gift their natures to us, as they find a shared & supportive Home-life too. I imagine entire communities gathering together to preserve fresh herbs in sea salt, to dry berries in the sun, and to harvest acorns when the Oaks offer their many tiny gifts each season. I see many of these Home places together forming a network, similar in function if not form to the wild prairies that came before. My marker of success will be my capacity to travel freely, like the wild Buffalo before me, across the plains, with the seasons & the cycles of my kin. This network of the plains, i realize, must first be built by the Ox. I seek to midwife my own dreams— from those of a sweet Ox into the wild fantasies & tribal memories of my Buffalo nature. Of course, networks such as these are complex ecosystems, and are comprised of many inter-related elements—communities of collaborators engaged together in the work of Regeneration. We live in a dream of nourishing bodies & souls by bringing them together over healing foods, healing arts, & healing practices. We weave together people to place, by re-connecting communities to local food-sheds, amazing art projects, & to one another. We also nourish seeds of regenerative enterprise, & pathways to right livelihood for all involved—all growing out of the soil of a gift economy. One such vision is being birthed right now. Won’t you please read & hear our call to gather? w RFD 161 Spring 2015 31
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Rewilding and Hoop Glossary Rewilding—The process of naturalizing your self to the reality of what is happening around you in the wild natural wold of trees fruiting, roots seeding, storms, cold and hot, when to sleep, when to wake, how to go about things in a good way that uses the most attention and most easeful way of living this life way gracefully. Going from our civilized “civ” minds and programming to our wild native minds and reprograming and undoing. To return ourselves to a flourishing state of wildness.
that is congruent with the regeneration of the wild and the earth as a being that we are a part of.
The Sacred Hoop—Any seasonal and cyclical migratory pathway, a group of humans dedicated to the regeneration and sustenance of Indigenous Migratory Life-Ways through the tending of Wild Food Gardens for the present “now” and the generations of the future reality we are a beautiful deep part of. We reconnect together and with our selves to the Great Mother by gathering (digging, picking), tending, and planting-back seeds of Wild Native Foods. We sing, we cook, we gather (some call it “wildcrafting” but I don’t personally identify with that word so far), we play, we pray, we hunt, we dance, we tan hides, we make cloths, we dream, we see, we listen, we talk, we laugh, we sleep together. Tribe. For me, one of the “sacredness” aspects of this Hoop perspective we choose to see around us, and embody, IS that we relearn and reform in to Tribe again. We learn to co-exist out side of our civilizations paradigm perspective in the wild earth (little by little, we call it “baby steps”). We get to experience all the energies we have learned from our civilization as patterns of mind. We gel (come together and harmonize), we split and grow (tribal affiliations, interests, and physical movements like people coming and going, seasons, tastes in wild food all shifting… changing). It is a flow of what is actually happening in the Great Mother/Earth/Gaia…reality around us that is happening. Right place, right time, knowing the general habits of the plant beings (little sisters is what we call them after or plantcestors!), “animal” beings, and elemental beings we are living with, and who are sustaining our physical bodies.
Camps—there are many seasonal camps all year long.
Life Ways, Life Path Ways—The style we live and the willful choice of a human to live in a way 34 RFD 161 Spring 2015
Wild Food Gardens—Places where wild food (leaves, roots, seeds, and fruits as well as various fauna) are tended into greater abundance through the symbiotic interactions of human beings. The Reach Around—Planting back the seeds of what you take…”Give everything it’s life.”
Root Camp—where we dig, eat, dry, grind, and store bisquit roots together. Seed Camp—where we gather and plant back and often send out seeds to other camps and other places to create wild gardens and eventually more “strongholds” of our precious little sister roots. Berry Camp: where we gather mad loads of berries. Black cap raspberries, Service/Saskatoon berries, Huckleberries and Currents of many kinds, Salal, leading to fruit camp in general as all the plums and cherries and apricots and apples get going. We dry a lot of fruits and berries. Nut Camps—Pine Nut in Nevada and Utah, Acorn, Walnut, Hazelnut in California and Oregon, even Almond, sunflower, etc. I focus on Pine Nut camp and am getting kookoo for Acorns. All nuts I’ve come across require some processing and preparing save for pine nuts. You just roast them in salty water in a cast iron pan on a fire till the waters gone and eat up! Winter Camp—Hide Camp, Beading Camp, all sorts of things I don’t know about cause I run south. Bundles—can be a physical bundle of goods, (water bundle, fire bundle, sleeping bundle, etc) or can be a “bundle” of information we share with each other. “I have a root bundle and I am going to share it with you.” Like this sharing…it’s a bundle.
Walkabout—a long adventure/journey away from almost all civ. We use caches for food storing at designated camps along a route, some use bikes, some use mules, horses. Side Note—When we go out into the wild to do wild work with a car as transport we call it “Car Camping” or “Hoop Lite”. Rewilding Sanctuaries—A place that is technically “owned” by an organization like a non-profit, that is dedicated to offer refuge to Rewilders with a safe place to plant and tend and work out of in the many diverse ways and patterns of moving out from a camp. Civ—Civilization, our culture and all world cultures who are not in a migratory, symbiotic, tribal life way with the earth as a Sustaining Mother/ Lover/Child to be loved and enjoyed and tended as a life path. Goats—Milk (Kiefer, butter), Meat, Friend/Companion/Pet/Aly, Love, possible source of packing camp, “pack goats”. Mules—Packing/Hauling, Friend/Companion/ Pet/Aly, Love. Possible Meat. Can not have babies. Horses: Packing, Riding, Friend/Companion/Pet/ Aly. Cars—(See Money) Awesome, Helpful, Toxic, “Locust Beasts”(Grandma Finisia), get from far place to far place fairly easy, haul seeds/wild foods/ tools, etc.
of years that we humans were Aboriginal, Native, Indiginous, Earth Children Tending, Symbiotic, Open, Wonderous beings. Before these falling into these many diverse war/hierarchy based, as opposed to willful, sovereign, tribe tending ways. Indigenous Native Peoples—Supporting, through education to us, all who are of civ. and delegalizing the Hoop Life Ways so we can be free, un-harassed, rewarded, and indeed compensated monetarily for our success in our life path. ________
A Dream Lodge Vision Of The Hoop As A Tribe “A community embodying love as an essential value in their daily lives. Love of the earth, love of each other from a tribal solidarity of our individual life way choices. This community functions as a non-heirarchical, self-organizing, experience-based system of healing and living that focuses on expansion, liberation and personal, tribal, and food functionality and sovereignty.” Discovering the Sacred Hoop nurtures the development of an authentic and symbiotic relationship with the Earth as parent, lover and child.
Money—we all gotta use it so far, even when we don’t even have it…even Grandma. The irony of “working” towards food/personal/medical/tribal sovereignty. Humans—Symbiotic Human Animal. We can learn to be human again. We are all genetically, ancestrally, native. Our physical family body tribe was once free. Land was not owned, but shared and celebrated. This was quite recently (as in the last few thousand years in the thousands and thousands
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Compiled by Seda, Amara, Sigh Moon, Artemis and Spyder
Growing Up In Occupied America by Finisia Medrano (order from lulu.com) Rolling On Tha Hoop: A Collection of Writings from the Hoop (zine) by Walkabout 2011 (contact: courtneyhooplaw@ gmail.com for a copy) We Have The Right To Exist: A Translation of Aboriginal Indigenous Thought The first book ever published from an Ahnisinahbaeojibway Perspective by Wub-e-ke-niew Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and Management of Californiaâ€™s Natural Resources by M. Kat Anderson Apocalyptic Witchcraft and Rewilding Witchcraft by Peter Grey It Will Live Forever: Traditional Yosemite Indian Acorn Preparation by Julia F. Parker and Beverly R. Ortiz The Earthâ€™s Blanket: Traditional Teachings for Sustainable Living by Nancy J. Turner Survival Arts of the Primitive Paiutes by Margaret M. Wheat Survival Skills of Native California by Paul D. Campbell Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification by Thomas J. Elpel Unlearn, Rewild: Earth Skills, Ideas and Inspiration for the Future Primitive by Miles Olson
Rewild or Die: Revolution and Renaissance at the End of Civilization by Urban Scout The Straight by Fredy Perlman Against His-Story, Against Leviathan by Fredy Perlman Calaban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation by Silvia Federici Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture by Arthur Evans Another Mother Tongue: Gay Words, Gay Worlds by Judy Grahn Original Instructions: Indigenous Teachings for a Sustainable Future by Melissa K. Nelson Recovering the Sacred: The Power of Naming and Claiming by Winona LaDuke Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma by Peter A. Levine The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions by Paula Gunn Allen Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide by Andrea Smith In the Absence of the Sacred: The Failure of Technology and the Survival of the Indian Nations by Jerry Mander Daughters of Copperwoman by Anne Cameron
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A Basic Call to Consciousness: The Hau de no sau nee Address to the Western World edited by Akwesasne Notes
The Kin of Ata are Waiting for You by Dorothy Bryant
The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America by James Wilson
Fire and Ice: Disturbing the Comfortable and Comforting the Disturbed While Tracking Our Wildest Dreams by Laurel Luddite and Skunkly Monkly
Deerskins into Buckskins: How to Tan with Brains, Soap or Eggs by Matt Richards
Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World by David Abram
Buckskin: The Ancient Art of Braintanning by Steven Edholm and Tamara Wilder
Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko
All That the Rain Promises and More: A Hip Pocket Guide to Western Mushrooms by David Arora
Unsettling America Blog unsettlingamerica.wordpress.com
Wovoka and the Ghost Dance by Michael Hittman and Don Lynch Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux by John G. Neihardt Life Among the Piutes: Their Wrongs And Claims by Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins The Road On Which We Came: A History of the Western Shoshone by Steven J. Crum Goatwalking: A Guide to Wildland Living by Jim Corbett
Colonization and Decolonization (zine) by Zig Zag Awakening the Horse People Blog awakeningthehorse.wordpress.com Finisia Medranoâ€™s Youtube Channel www.youtube.com/finisiamedrano Rewild.com www.rewild.com Sacred Hoop Rewilding sacredhooprewilding.com The College of Mythic Cartography Blog www.mythic-cartography.org
The Pack Goat by John Mionczynski The Old Way: A Story of the First People by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas Always Coming Home by Ursula K. Le Guin
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Singing into Rewilding by Heron Vertabrae
hat are the songs we find ourselves singing as the roots are dug, as the winds blow around us, as our hearts unravel into the hands of the Mother as she welcomes us in? ReWilding is a journey into a new-old way of being with ourselves, each other, and the earth. It is about coming home to place of essential humyn-animalness, whole and alive and fully integrated with our collective family of all other beings, in our power as individuals and in right-realtionship, i.e. acting in integrity with the rest of the web of life. It is about healing the old messages from civilization that we choose do not serve us: greed, oppression, separation, violence, imbalance of power, scarcity. We are learning to act in ways that regenerate and tend the land, so that by taking we are also giving. We do this by learning how the land and people have lived in reciprocity in this place for many generations before Euro-American settlers arrived. We also do this by listening and observing the results of our actions in this present time, and finding any teachers we can who will mentor these ways. We are root diggers, flower eaters, hunters, wanderers, home-tenders, seed eaters, scavengers, and we are planting back. As we journey on this path-less terrain towards a new-old culture, connected to diverse ancestors, connected to this land, and the land we were born, and the land of our ancestors, how is it we find ways to express our humyn desires, feelings, spirit, and somatic experience of living? How do we come together as a community, as a family village, weaving a culture from tattered threads we find in the deep caverns of our knowing? Singing foundationally brings humyn creatures together, as the resonance of our bodies vibrate with the tones and rhythms of the world around us, echoed in our own cells. Vibration and sound changes our brainwaves, heals and opens us to deeper perceptions of energy. I believe we have all the tools of knowing ourselves and building a beautiful lifeway together stored within us to be uncovered. I believe that we are whole and complete, as is the earth, though we may feel broken from centuries of abuse and pain. I believe that finding a way home is a journey that is internal as well as collective, and that we are seeking a feeling of connection within us that is the foundation of knowing place and culture. I believe that by singing, we access one tool that helps form the fabric of understanding our deep interconnection with all things. Songs carry stories, are the transmittance of ancient teachings. We remember our inherent heritage as earth creatures. We remember and we sing, and new songs come through, which are old songs, which are new…and with them new knowings within us are expressed, and our culture grows more complex. As we walk more into rewilding, more songs will come through us, more friends will teach us songs. w
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Drawing by Sigh Moon
The Sand Crane Center by Spyder
t the base of a narrow canyon that leads up to the Knot Tableland in South Central Oregon is the Sand Crane Center. It is a private residence that exists to assist those wishing to learn more about rewilding the Mother. For over three years new and experienced rewilders have come to learn to identify, dig, process, store, and plant back the local wild foods. Knot Tableland is a 17.5 square mile ancient garden packed primarily with bisquit root and yampa. It is one of the largest of the few remaining stronghold gardens left in the West. It is the traditional digging grounds of the indigenous tribes of the Klamath Basin. The Sand Crane Center got its name a few years ago when a group of rewilders were sitting outdoors brainstorming and envisioning what this property could become to best serve the PEOPLE. During this discussion, a pair of rather large Sandhill Cranes
Photograph by Sierra Mountain Spirit.
flew low over the group, casting such a shadow that everyone looked up in awe. The next day we decided to call our home, The Sand Crane Center. In his book, The Animal Speak Workbook (Dragonhawk Press), Ted Andrews attributes the sandhill craneâ€™s symbolic meaning as Time to participate in the dance of life. In addition to hosting visitors to the Tableland, the Sand Crane also serves as a seed redistribution center. Seed gathered by rewilders in abundance is sent out in all directions to be planted throughout the high desert Great Basin. Hide and tanning occurs yearly during the months of November and December. A variety of other camps and classes are being planned. If you wish to visit the Sand Crane Center or would like more information call 541-523-1629 and speak with either Otter or Spyder who will be happy to answer all your questions. w RFD 161 Spring 2015 39
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Coming Out to Hoop by Sigh Moon
Awesome! Do you have...? 5 gallon water haul pack (soft or hard). Water Filter. Soil Knife Hori Hori. 30 degree Sleeping Bag. Sleep Pad. Two Tarps 8x12. Tent 4 Season. Food. (Dry Camp Food) Gas money and/or a vehicle Come Bearing Gifts. Carry Your Own Weight. Give Everything Itâ€™s Life. Each step out is a step home.
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Queer Forestry Camp by Sawyer
e at the Wolf Creek Radical Faerie Sanctuary are having our third year of active winter land tending! These Queer Faerie Forestry Camps have been focusing on multiple different projects that mostly include prescribed cold burning of the meadows (which promote native grasses and bulbs and weevils and ticks, that destroy trees and acorn crops), releasing oaks and other heritage trees (from being shaded out and brush that create fire ladders during wildfyre season), water table restoration (slowing down the water off the hillsides so that it
Photos courtesy authors
will sink into the ground instead of to the creek then the ocean), and basic brush clearing (to lower the fire fuels during wildfyre season). Winter is the best time for this work because the plants go dormant by putting their energy into their roots, so its the ideal time for pruning and coppicing the willow and hazel for baskets and for meadow burning because the moisture in the air is so high... If you are interested in this work or want more information about anything that Iâ€™ve mentioned, you can email me at email@example.com! w
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Photo by Scratyr Casale
When In Wild Mode by John Clayton
ike a cat or dog in a “wild” hunt mode, humans automatically seek going into their “wild” mode, too. However, human inventiveness can create artificial ways to stimulate and reward our satisfaction cravings. Now, we can switch on our “wild” mode devoid of any natural setting. We create television shows, digital music, stage shows, and a plethora of activities on the Internet. We add the addictive attribute trigger, the quintessential of human interest, and it happens; scenarios that activate our “wild” mode. We are feeling so satisfied, we spend less and less time in nature. Indeed, not valuing nature, modern society endeavors to squeeze out the wildness from natural landscapes. In a bleak, treeless landscape field of brome grass, there is boringness. In a manicured park, a design of trees rise amid mono-shaven grass, there is numbness. In a highway vehicle, the Midwest’s vast grid of soybean and corn plants grow, there is monotony. Is it any wonder that now when people talk about nature, they say it is a place to unwind; rather than speaking about how fascinating? Devaluing nature is tragic. Most species will become exterminated as a result of human activity.
Then there is the sentencing of future generations to severe environmental hardships. This is not inevitable. Individuals can transform themselves into healing agents of good. Along the line of finding a solution, one inspiring concept is called Rewilding. What does this mean? The “Re” means to be reborn, while the “wilding” connotes an unleashing from the current status quo of society. In short, it means that you envision yourself as a part of nature. One aim of this thinking is to enhance life rather than diminish. A second aspect is to regularly practice going out into nature. A final step is to re-wire your senses. This is because you must create that flick of a switch, activating your “wild” mode when in nature. It is there, for tens of thousands of years humans evolved living as a part of nature. You just have to discover this inner capacity that already dwells within. How will you know you have achieved rewilding? When gaze out and collect the complexity of textures and colors from the wide variety of plants, insects, and birds. When you are filled with a rush of pleasure doing this; then you will know. w
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Feral Desire by Scratyr Casale
Boots caked with soft wet clay and loam Raw salty taste of flesh, fur and Gaian dust Well worn leathers restraining an ancient urge Navigating dimly lit stinking halls of our urban ghettos Rancid sweat , dried semen and disinfectant. Running through the wild hills Dirty toes with uncut claws Taking grip on the moss covered rocks and roots Hole dripping with sweat and jewel weed oils, The slick lingering sweet scent of forbidden feral desire. Sweet waters bursting from the moss dripping down lips, beards, nipples and calves Bright god rays beaming into sinew hide. The forrest is ripe with feral fruits, and I am one of them.
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Photo courtesy author
Drawing by Amara
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Parks and Recreation by Eden
here is no concrete explanation for the peculiar mental twists that lead up to my cravings for sex. Specifically, sex outdoors. Of the many ways I have engaged in sex throughout the years, from frat houses to bath houses, truck stops to porn shops, none have held the enduring yet multi-layered and complex allure of sex in the park. My first time was as a teenager, getting a blow job on a rainy summer day from a man who could have been my grandfather’s little brother. I was filled with lust and shame in equal measure but desire and the craving for MORE outweighed any other emotions vying for my attention. From that day forward, I became a regular. I’ve experimented with all kinds of sex with all kinds of men, in all kinds of parks all over the world. I’ve been a top in Taipei, a bottom in Budapest and a cum-guzzling circle-jerker in California. As I got older and started to “grow up”, parks became the setting for extreme anguish. I would sit on my hands, praying that I could somehow find the strength to overcome my self-defined devastating weakness and graduate from a filthy and hopeless faggot, into some form of acceptable gay. The parks became the reason for every perceived failure. The reason why I didn’t—fill in the blanks. The reason why I didn’t have a boyfriend and would never have one. The reason why my career was stalled and why I didn’t earn enough income. The reason why my Dad was right about me never being a real man. So many reasons and I blamed them all on the parks. Which is why it has been such a struggle coming to terms with my love/hate relationship with them. I love to hate them but I really hate myself for loving them. Not only loving them, but craving them and needing them with a sometimes overwhelmingly intense desperate quality. Rain, shine or snow...nothing overrides my desire when the mood strikes. Living on the east coast and dealing with nature in all her glory, I often find myself going through long stretches of time where the park and I are on a break from each other. It’s kind of a young man’s game, cruising through the bushes. There’s a certain lack of awareness as to the loss of time and morale that only comes with the ignorance and capriciousness of youth. At a certain point, it becomes too late, too wet or too cold to prowl the park with any 50 RFD 161 Spring 2015
real enthusiasm. Or does it? More and more lately, I ask myself if I’ll ever reach that certain point. The more I ask the question, the more un-presenting an answer appears and that frustration only serves to drive me further into the deep. At certain times in my life, the park was my solution, an escape from the isolation and loneliness partly stemming from my internalized homophobia. Then, as if crossing an invisible line, it became the disease for which it once claimed to be the cure.
uring a recent snowstorm in which I was homebound for two days, I started getting cabin fever, which led to the familiar craving. It starts with curiosity. “I wonder if anyone is at the park tonight”. I start thinking about how cold it is and how there are no leaves on the trees which makes it more of a risk and suddenly, the absurdity of heading to the park at 10pm in the midst of a snowstorm becomes fuel for stimulation and I become aroused by the idea of the gamble, the big queer question mark. I dressed warmly and I dressed quickly and before I was able to reason with myself. If I could get out of bed every morning with the same energy that gets me out the door when my dick is hard, I’d be building condos on the moon. A strange thing happens when I’m inside the park: I’m wanting something to happen and something not to happen with equal intensity. Then, just when I start to become simultaneously relieved and sad that nothing has happened, there he is. Or as in the case recently, there they were. One guy standing and jerking off, while the other two guys fucked. I made a soft approach, so as not to freak them out or make them stop. I stood next to the guy jerking off, assessing the scene and struggling internally, wanting to get hard but not wanting to get hard. Like a junkie just out of rehab, knowing that the very thing he needs is the very thing he isn’t supposed to want. Maybe that’s too critical and unfair, both to junkies and to sex addicts. I’ll just say that watching that guy getting plowed against a snow covered rock had me jonesing. Bad. Both guys could feel my wanting in, the bottom in particular was ready for something new.
So I went in. All the way in and so deep that I felt thoughts. for an instant I was on my honeymoon. For so long, I’ve been addicted to and enslaved Sometimes there’s a rhythm and a connection by this narrative that my sex behavior is bad. Dirty, and it becomes more than just about busting nuts, shameful, life-threatening even. I have been trained it becomes about working some shit out on a deep, and have reinforced this training with my own psychological level. compulsions, that even in the midst of pure pasSoon, the other two left and it was just me and sion, I am telling myself that this deed will be my him and the pleasure that uniquely comes from undoing, whatever I’m deciding undoing means. fucking outdoors. Past the shame, past the guilt, What I am deciding now and what I want to pracstraight to the pleasure. Fucking. tice reinforcing is this: fucking in the park, fucking I caught myself having a good time, caught myin nature is not only primal and intuitive, it’s an self feeling free in my body. historically human behavior. Which led to, well...better For gay men in particular, it fucking. After a while we is a part of our culture and took a break and decided to our cultural heritage. Once walk through the park and upon a time, it was one I saw the human look for action together. It of very few options. Now was then that I found out his we have the internet, GPS being and I saw him name, Sean. As we walked, phone applications, socially reflected through he got a phone call from his acceptable bars and other a prism of sexual twelve year old son, which gathering places, yet fucking camaraderie, which humanized him in a way I in the park remains a classic. wasn’t expecting. Why? Is it an escape to our is exactly what I’ve In that moment I looked most animal urges? Is there been told repeatedly I at him, really looked at him a deeper reason? If I ask didn’t have a right to and I saw the man and not myself and I’m honest when experience because of the object. I answer, fucking outside He was beautiful. Dark feels, well...kind of amazing. my homosexuality. hair, light eyes. Beautiful Washing my cock off with skin and a sweet smell that snow is a great feeling. If I lingered on my fingers for can admit this truth to myhours. I saw the human beself and if I can understand ing and I saw him reflected that these urges, this craving through a prism of sexual camaraderie, which is or compulsions or whatever clinical words I want exactly what I’ve been told repeatedly I didn’t have a to attach to it...If I can understand that this is a part right to experience because of my homosexuality. In of my history as a gay man on this earth and that that moment, a window of escape opened from this not only is what I’m doing okay, it’s often fun...then damaging narrative I’ve been dragging around for I leave room to have compassion for myself and for decades. my struggles. The topic is actually quite banal when Nothing like a personal revelation to get me I think about all the many other forms of subveraroused. sion I could be (and hope to be) involved in. He took me to one of his favorite spots and we So I’m not giving myself shit anymore about fucked again. Rougher and longer this time, my fucking in the park. It’s a heterosexually imposed cock lubricated with my own cum. It was exstigma that I didn’t create, one that does not serve tremely hot and in spite of myself, I felt a sense of me as the sexually, emotionally and spiritually liberation. Eventually we parted ways and as I was liberated being I’m aspiring to be more of with each leaving the park, I had some very clear and freeing new day. w
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Re Wilding Oneself— Or Be Careful What You Shit For by Cupcake
’m not the sort of person who can only shit at home. I don’t mind public toilets, and though festival port-a-loo’s with their primal smells and weird shapes lurking amongst industrial blue chemical water are not my favorite places, I enjoy the work out my thighs get, as I squat, and hover and shit. So I’m not totally sure why, after having lunch with an old high school friend from out of town and then traipsing up to her parents forty something floor apartment in mid-town, complete views only money can buy I found myself incapable of shitting in her house. Actually, that’s a lie, I know exactly why I could not. Wealth. Her parent’s home was so luxurious, her life was so Grade-A American dream realness, her husband, such a hunk. I, in my faggotry, felt out of place. She kept looking at me, and judging me, and even though she hardly expressed that judgment in words, I felt awkward, uncomfortable in my own skin. Uncomfortable for a plethora of reasons including the fact that I am still wearing clothes I bought in high school, and I’m not married, and I’m not making a bagillion dollars, and I’m falling very short of her expectations of me. Which are not even my expectations for myself; and I know I should not care and blah blah blah, but I did, or I do. It’s weird seeing people from the past, they can judge us in ways that cripple us, that evoke our inner, timid self, long since thought buried in our past. (Or in my case make me real self conscious about shitting in their apartment, even though you just know they have that like seven-ply toilet paper that’s more luxurious then my bedding.) I was worried that shitting there would some how correlate to exposing myself as a base or dirty creature. That it would prove her theory that faggots like me are dirty, shitty creatures. In reality I think most of this judgmental dialogue was all in my head. I’ve known here since I was twelve, and she has never been anything but supportive, but still, in that temple to the decadence of capitalism, her home, I felt real weird. Shitting and shit is so correlated with dirtiness, and griminess in todays cultural systems. Much of homophobia, even self-internalized homophobia is centered around the ass, and shame, and shit. How do we work through these issues, how do we reclaim the ass as an erotic space? I mean truly reclaim it, 52 RFD 161 Spring 2015
banish and deconstruct shame, I don’t know… How do I make her see I’m not longer scared of my own sexuality, but a deep lover of the erotic anal arts, that anal love has freed me? Why is her validation important to me, should it be? So I had a glass of water, thanked her for the lovely meal, said I had to run to meet a friend, and turned on Grindr as I walked from her door and waited for the elevator. I did so with a thought, one thought, I’m just going to message the nearest man and ask if he is home so I can just take a shit at his apartment, that will help me reclaim the sense of power I lost in being rendered incapable of a bowel movement thanks to social conventions and internalized shame. I shall rely on the kindness of queer community. When the elevator doors opened and service returned to my phone, there was a message awaiting me. “Do you want to come use my mouth as a toilet? I want to eat your shit.” Be careful what you wish for witches. Specificity is key. I asked the world to have Grindr help me find a toilet, and I found a man who wanted me to shit in his mouth. There was a moment, I paused. I believe, that some times the universe presents opportunities that we should explore. It gift wraps experiences, and invites us, with a seductive smile to taste its fruits. There is so much to be experienced under the banner of heaven. Being that these opportunities do not come along every day, and the invite did have the feel of something magical to it, I said yes. He sent an address, three blocks away. Perfect. I was, rather surprised I was going along with it. There were plenty of opportunities to bail out of this experience, but something kept me going, kept me walking right up into that lobby, up to that third floor, and into a beautiful and exceptionally well lit apartment, where the blinds were drawn, and a candelabra gave off a sensuous flickering light. He was beautiful. And naked, and hard. “Do you have to take a big shit?” He asked. “Yeah. Huge.” “Perfect, you look like you taste good.” It was
about here that I began to judge him. Really just by looking at me, you can imagine that my shit tastes good? Really? And then I took a moment, I’m not going to judge. I’m going to give in to this experience, I want to celebrate sexual diversity and non genital fixated erotic connection. I want there to be a world where people are not ashamed of their wants and needs, and their bodily cravings. So no, I’ve never done this, but here I am. It was then that he asked me if I had ever done this. “Yeah like all the time.” I said, trying to sound both confident and dommy. I failed on both counts. “All the time?” Good lord even his voice was sensuous. “Uhhh yeah… My ex was really into it.” (Thats a lie.) “Hot I look forward to your technique.” Queue stage fright. Technique?! I was just going to shit in his mouth, what sort of technique is there. I mean I shit ever day. I’ve been shitting with some form of control for literal decades, people have techniques? Is this a wipe from the front of the back sort of a situation? That’s all the technique I know! What if I’m just bloated!? As I stripped he guided me to a chair-esque contraption he had MacGyvered together so I could sit on his face while he rimmed my ass and prepared for my shit. As I sat down, why, I felt relaxed. It was not relaxation per say. It was something more, it began in my heart and it burned forth into my body flowing the way lava does, it spilled over my lungs, and liver and spleen and my sex, it kissed the flesh of my skin, sweat erupted from my pores. It was as all things social, all things WASP, all things cultural and learned and assumed, breaking forth. He was rimming me deeply, pulling on his nips and his dick, begging me to shit. “ummmmuuuummm Shit nice and slowly, bite sized bits, sir, shit muuuuummm into my mouth slowly mummumummm I wanna savor the taste of this.” How was I ever going to shit in some ones mouth? This was not simply an extension of my enjoyment as a Dom, this was something more. It was about shame, and it was about fear, it was about my own fraught relationship with my own ass, of my own fears about being a bad bottom, of not knowing how to take cock expertly, of my shame around being other. It was about the fear of letting go, and the fear of being wild. It was about parts of myself that cling to the judgments of people like my friend whose economic and social capital can make me embarrassed to
simply be a human taking a shit in their gorgeous sapphire tiled bathroom. I was sweaty, and hot, burning hot, with the fever of the socially acceptable raging with in me. I’m a witch. I took a breath. Self birth, shedding skin, letting something wild in, PAN oh Pan, let the faggot god lead me from sin. Let me accept my desires, let me accept that I want to do this, that some part of me is turned on, that in violating this social code of shitting in someone’s mouth, I am redressing all social conventions. I am changing my relationship to expectations; I am challenging how I demarcate the boundaries of the possible. Some part of me is turned on by this because it’s untamed, and wild, and liberated. This is an act of reclaiming my own ass and my relationship to shame. I will not be shamed. As a gay faggot faerie kaween, I will shit in someone’s mouth if that’s what I need to do to cast aside this shame. I will let my excrement, my failures become a sexualized bounty, delivered to the waiting lips of a lover. I relaxed, I shat, just a bit. He moaned, I moaned, something shifted, something lifted, something broke. I shat in his mouth slowly, for almost an hour, I pissed all over him when I was done and jerked off till my cum fell like splash from a Pollack painting across his perfect pecs. I’m a sweaty, cum hungry, faggot. I tell the world I shat in a mans mouth because a spell and an elevator and Grindr made me do it. But no, I shat in a mans mouth, because I wanted to re-wild myself. I wanted to break through the fear, and dismantle social anxiety, and I wanted sex to be the tool I did this with. I wanted to explore my own limitations. I wanted to walk out into that afternoon light, and not feel ashamed, not by my sex, or my gender, or my desires. To not feel judged by my past and people from my past but to be free. Free to shit where I want, and feel proud. Am I wilder now, after this? Perhaps. I love bodies, and scents and sex. I want to revel in my base human desires and suck orgasms from the cocks of a thousand men. I am butch, and faggy, and faerie and top and bottom and vers. I want to push the limits of my sexuality out beyond the stars and tell you a thousand tales with just one kiss. Give me sex, and hair and pits. Fuck my throat. Take my fist. Jagged edges, rough desires, a tender moment, bliss… Remember, remember this. w
RFD 161 Spring 2015 53
Return to the Mother by Hyperion Twing
he natural state of the Earth is the Wild. Rewilding restores ecosystems to recapture a state of biodiversity in dynamic equilibrium without further human interference. To preserve whatâ€™s already there, and to reintroduce missing species are important parts of this. Whatever we conceive our role(s) to beâ€” shaman, witch, yogi(ni), wizard, priest(ess), healer, go-between, edge-walker, just a guy who likes cock, or a ___ who likes ___ (fill in the blanks), an important piece of this wonderful art of Life is our connection to the inherent sacredness of the Earth. In seeking the sacredness of our own Being, hopefully we recognize the sacredness of the Being of which we are an integral part. And whether emerging from this planetary matrix, seeded from 54 RFD 161 Spring 2015
the stars, or an invasive species from another continent, we are of the Earth here and now. Humans have a penchant for doing make-overs, even extending this to the face of the Goddess, refashioning our environments to suit the pictures in our heads. Yet as any Fairy/Faerie friendly gardener knows, a chunk of the garden is best left untouched for the benefit of the Nature Spirits. Given the chance, the powers of Nature will surge forth in ever shifting manifestations. With the aid of air, fire, water, and the rocks, the Spirit of the Land will take form in its multiplicity.Â What is the original face of the Goddess? The face of Gaia? That is sometimes hard to say. We are in the midst of a planetary mass extinction resulting from human influence. Even ancient tribal people Drawing courtesy author
were not without their impacts. As many researchers now tell us, disappearance of the megafauna has followed closely upon their heels around the globe, as well as overall changes in landscapes due to the introduction of fire. On my own bit of rocky hillside I’ve witnessed many changes over the past 22 years in my efforts to heal this land. In an ideal world, fencing would not be necessary, but fencing out the White-tailed Deer from the area immediately surrounding the house has made a big impact. Even though my horticultural pursuits have brought numerous exotics into the mix, both for my own enjoyment and for the benefit of wildlife, many are also natives. White Mistflower, Goldeneye, and Turk’s Cap, almost nonexistent outside the fence because of over-browsing by the deer, draw swarms of butterflies and other pollinators, as well as seed eating Lesser Goldfinches and Painted Buntings. In permaculture fashion, fruiting plants like Persimmon, Jujube, Fig, Olive, and Pomegranate grow, as well as Asparagus, fruiting Prickly Pear, Rosemary, and reseeding Arugula, but the natives have proliferated, such as Widow’s Tears, Spiderwort, and Rain Lilies that flower in their seasons. Smaller enclosures in the woods act as refuges for other native plants, like Scarlet Clematis, Yaupon, Silktassel, and young Spanish Oak, Live Oak, and Escarpment Black Cherry. The Spanish Oaks in particular are essential for the endangered Goldencheeked Warblers that I often see at the birdbath. They favor a mixture of the these deciduous oaks along with the abundant native Ashe Juniper. Elsewhere, deer-resistant natives like Texas Mt. Laurel, Cenizo and Palmettos have increased where I’ve planted seed or small starts. The White-tailed Deer are still here. We love them, and they enjoy our fruit and vegetable scraps, but they seem less sedentary now that Mountain Lions have been seen in the neighborhood. Coyotes are also heard more often, no doubt because of the decrease in ranching in the area and less persecution than in the past. Wild Turkeys have also increased, and are often visible or at least audible with the wonderful sounds they make. Rock Squirrels, Fox Squirrels, and the charming Chameleons Drawing courtesy author
(Anoles) are much more prevalent in the garden now than in years past. White-winged Doves, absent in the area when I first came, now fly around in big flocks. Perhaps Javelina will increase, as they have been seen nearby. So, even though the amount of road-kill on local roads is appalling, these signs of the resilience of Nature are encouraging. The next step would be the reintroduction of free-ranging Bison, Black Bears, Wolves, Ocelots, and Jaguars, the de-extinction of Passenger Pigeons and Carolina Parakeets (all exterminated here), and the end of the Highway Department and power lines, but that might take a leap in the collective consciousness. Rewilding proponents would also advocate Asian Elephants substituting for Columbian Mammoths, Guanacos for the extinct Camelids, etc. I say, Bring them on! There are already probably more of certain deer and antelope species on Texas wildlife ranches than there are in their native lands. Even on a smaller scale, which is much of what I see day to day, it’s amazing what can result from a few seeds, a transplant, a bit of protection, a little mulch, or a small water garden. The cumulative buildup of biomass, soil life, and population increases of plants, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and small mammals can be astonishing. Anyone with access to a bit of land has the possibility of witnessing this, or at least to observe the process in the Commons (another whole topic) or on public lands. The Wild, for some, may at first glance appear to be chaos, or a world of “eat or be eaten”—the antithesis of streets, sidewalks, trimmed shrubbery and manicured lawns. But in reality it is our baseline, our starting point. The Wild is the ultimate sense of place for any given locale, the ultimate in complexity of interconnectedness, symbiosis, cooperation, integrity, and interdependence. It is only in the presence of the Wild that we can know what is possible, and the longer we can be with it through the seasons, the better. The key is observation. The Wild is always ready to move in, to transmute our neatly constructed concepts and identities - always ready to take us to the next level, into a place of less effort, better flow, and greater fabulousness. w RFD 161 Spring 2015 55
A Communiqué From a Feral Faggot Witch by Elixer
e are manifestations of the goddess, warrior priestesses of destruction. Lurking in the corner of the urban scenes, hoods up, heads down. We are the unseen and un-sensed colors of the spectrum. Gorging ourselves on your manna, rolling in filth on the floor. Digesting what you throw around and away so frivolously. Regurgitating what we’ve gorged on back into the land. Our boots are caked in mud and glitter. Our bodies haven’t been washed in days, coated in a thick layer of grime. We fuck with reckless abandon, blood, shit, cum all offered up to that which destroys and creates with the same hand. We dig our hands into the earth. Grinding our queerness deep into the soil. Planting roots of dissension, standing strong against assimilation. Casting spells of chaos that ruin your perfectly contoured, cloned look. We embrace those you cast aside. We stand in solidarity with all who are oppressed. We plant seeds, harvest food, chop wood.We are children of the forest. Protectors of the land and holders ritual. We are the Wild Ones. w
56 RFD 161 Spring 2015
Ring City To Groundside by Bruce P. Grether
ometimes the best things come out of the worst things—but not always. We three boyfriends descended from Ring City, legally of course, for purposes of re-creation, though we had darker and more subversive intentions in our naughty little hearts. Our triad had all been born and grew up in the orbital space of the City, which has far more living space for people than the entire biosphere below its continuous circlet of construction. In fact, though two of us were in our twenties and one in his thirties, not one of us had ever set foot on Gaia at the ground floor of the thirteen geosynchronous elevator lines between the circular city and the gorgeous Mother Planet below. All our lives we had admired the bulging blue majesty of the cloud-dappled and swirled globe, the shimmer of the oceans, the gleam of sunlight in cycling night and day that chased each other across its magnificence, and the dun and greenish land-masses… yet we’d never felt compelled or motivated to seek permission to visit. Not until now. Not until Kaz and Paul dreamed up their dastardly scheme and I was stupid enough, or sufficiently enamored of them and their dazzling good looks, to be swept along into their dualistic dark side so that we became a triskelion of triadic evil. What we saw from the elevator on the way down completely dazzled us. The familiar spherical bulge eventually began to flatten out, the dappled rafts and sheer veils of stratified cloudscapes seemed to blossom upwards, loom, and then flick by as we sank swiftly towards groundside.
Photo courtesy author
The extreme arc of the hazed horizon we had always known relaxed, spread out and in a short time the familiar black of the starry heavens faded from deep violet to indigo. The stars winked from view as the blue grew opaque and lightened to cerulean and even paler tints of blue and white. The flattening distance spread around us as we swept lower and lower to our rendezvous with the planetary surface at Quito Station, near the West Coast of South America in what was called Ecuador before the true globalization of the surface. A scattered curdle of clouds towed dark shadows across the dun and gray and greenish terrain that had been rewilded following the ascent of millions, then several billion humans to Ring City and beyond via those thirteen famous orbital elevators. The geosynchronous cable connections were grown in place via nanotech that employed selfreplicating molecular assemblers. Our species learned almost to late that we could not go backwards into Paradise, that Eden had to be rewilded in a forward direction with advanced visionary technologies indistinguishable from Magick, only using them wisely and consciously. This required the humility of a more mature species willing to learn from Nature itself, rather than the delusion that we could outthink Gaia. I’ll admit that Kaz and Paul dazzled me during our passionate triadic couplings, such that I lost all will of my own and saw nothing through my own eyes any longer. I saw everything as “we three,” or really, as Kaz did, for he dominated both of us—an irony since my name is Dominicholas. RFD 161 Spring 2015 57
The clear-walled compartment descended the “Mum’s the word,” Kaz glared at both Paul and I last few klicks to Quito Station. The volcanic plateau sternly, with a subtle touch of a finger to his glossy seemed to rise to meet us from below, and we delips. celerated so that during the last fifteen minutes we Paul gave a slight nod. “Of course,” Paul said. seemed to float down feather-soft. We could see the “Though I can’t speak for Nicky here,” he added. silvery serpent of the Guayllamba River that snaked I huffed. “Don’t even try!” away into the misty distance amid its attendant Well, in what grand rustic style we were escorted volcanic peaks, but then even that view seemed from the craft. Burdened only by the vile, guilty snatched from us as we landed, except for the stately secret intentions we harbored, we three young men cone of Pichincha. from Ring City emerged into the full daylight. The There was not even a jolt at groundside. Less alien freshness of the air, the complexity of organic than a billion people now lived on Gaia’s surface. scents and odors that assailed us, chaotic air curMost human structures had been recycled via nano- rents, momentarily halted our exit. “Quite amazing,” tech, to their chemical elePaul muttered. ments. Intelligent nanoKaz pushed him from tech had been sprayed behind. “We’ll have plenty into all of the massive of time to feel amazed Burdened only by the vile, landfills humanity created, during the Mammoth guilty secret intentions in order to sort them into Safari, Brothers.” atomic elements that “Why not now?” I said, we harbored, we three could be recycled into the looking from one to the young men from Ring natural living environother. City emerged into the ment as pure primordial “Let’s go, they’re ready,” full daylight. The alien matter. We three air-headKaz said. ed boyfriends understood In the open air I nofreshness of the air, the very little of this at that ticed that our home, Ring complexity of organic time… though that would City, showed as a fine scents and odors that soon change, and change white line that arced preassailed us, chaotic air radically. cisely across the southern We wasted no time on sky, and both ends faded currents, momentarily human history, however. into atmospheric obscuhalted our exit. We took a tube directly to rity at the horizons, east a shuttle station and flew and west. in a suborbital supersonic Less than an hour later, hop north and west in a our flexible, intelligent flight of several hours to reach the middle of the land rover of six huge balloon tires flowed delicately North American continent. and gently across the savannah beneath the blue sky There we descended upon a region that had once decorated with distant puffs of shining white clouds been called the State of Kansas. Bored by the several that scarcely seemed to move. Great cottonwoods hours flying time required, on approach to landing and willows thronged along a riverbed where imthe three of us eagerly observed a panoramic view mense stretches of tall cattails grew in lagoons that of the terrain below brought into the cabin for us sheltered all manner of birds. with holographic clarity, as if the shuttle was made Our guide, a handsome youth who introduced of clear crystal. himself to our tour group as “Scottee,” had finished We saw great expanses of rolling open grasstaking questions from the thirty-six visitors in land with forest growth along winding rivers and our group, and now concluded his lecture: “Very streams. A paler, flat green haze across the north, soon we’ll be within sight of one of the herds,” he the flight attendant told us was a vast forest of sunsaid. “You must understand, that since the return flowers twice as tall as a man. of horses, camels, lions, reverse-engineered giant Our shuttle eased down guided by its AI onto a bears, ground sloths and mammoths to North landing X in the middle of an open yard within an America, the vegetation has completely shifted, beimmense palisade of logs that enclosed bare soil and ing restored to unexpected balances by the presence a complex of wooden shelters. of animal populations that balance one another and 58 RFD 161 Spring 2015
behave differently than they did after the loss of the megafauna.” Scottee’s voice took on an edge of excitement: “Okay, I see them now!” All of us in the conveyance stood up, and many moved forward from the seats we had occupied in an effort to see better. Scottee took manual control of the rover. We smoothly crested a rise and there, upon the grassy plains where only a few copses of trees and shrubs dotted the terrain, the tall, darker shapes of the mammoths stood, and a few of them moved. Some began to stride, as if in response to our quiet approach, which inspired even more to begin to move. Great trunks lifted, little ears flapped, tiny tails switched and the huge feet began to shuffle. A mighty-tusked bull lowered his noble head and stamped, then reared his humped shoulders slightly, elevated his trunk and let out a shrill trumpet blast of warning. Scottee had halted our progress a touch too late, for the herd began to move as a group. As the soft exclamations and chatter of the other passengers rose to a welter of sounds, it provided the distraction and cover for Kaz, Paul, and me to sneak to the rear and drop over the side of the vehicle. We did not need long for our terrible deed, once the six-wheeler came back to life and moved on, at a tangent in order to respectfully avoid alarming that particular herd of mammoths. Our purpose was not so respectful—not respectful at all. We each carried a seeming unrelated component of the intelligent weapon that we now assembled with a few snaps together. Was it some primordial bloodlust that Kaz unleashed with his malign manipulations of both Paul and me? I could try to blame him, but more honestly something deep in my core did get excited, thrilled, and felt incredibly, intensely alive as never before at the thought of killing a full-grown mammoth bull like that! Not that we even had to get all that close; we remained some hundreds of meters away, upwind. The grass was deep enough, the winds blew loud enough across the savannah, that though we were far from expert stalkers, the herd seemed to have calmed down and almost stopped moving again by the time we approached upwind. Kaz gestured his command. I stood up slowly, shouldered the rifle, and sighted on the magnificent head of that bull. He stayed with three younger males in the male satellite herd peripheral to the calves and the senior cows, who would allow them no closer.
I pushed the button. The shot was soundless, invisible. I’ll also admit that my heart almost stopped, my delirious excitement became an icy horror when I saw the bull stagger, begin to collapse on weakened legs, and toss up his huge head. He gave out an earsplitting trumpet of alarm, then collapse forward as the younger bulls began to circle him and emit bleats of distress. Suddenly, at that moment, I hated myself more purely than I ever had before. Thank Lord Pan and the Summer Stars, the rifle was smarter than I was, more intelligent than the three of us young idiots from Ring City combined! It’s AI knew better than to harm a mammoth, and in fact only sent a beam to stun the creature so that we would be fooled, at the same time that it notified the Planetary Park Rangers. Within minutes Scottee returned on six wheels to arrest us. The bull was not harmed, only sedated via an electromagnetic beam of the kind the Park vets use. We three criminals were apprehended, and in line with the humane mandates of the Park Service, we served a year of probation performing menial physical labor at the Kansas Park Headquarters. The system is humane, even if it prioritizes animal and plant rights over human interference. In fact, that terrible adventure changed our lives. Though Paul and I moved back to Ring City after we served our sentences, we all got married in a group thing that actually included two teenaged boys (including Scottee) and (surprise!) a young woman. We often visit Kaz, whom I had considered the most evil of us, yet he remained groundside in training to become a Ranger. Maybe he changed the most. The restoration of Gaia to a Paradise Park via rewilding has not only transformed the Earth—it’s also helping humanity, or at least some humans, to evolve with deeper than ever respect for Gaia itself: the parent of us all. w
RFD 161 Spring 2015 59
Re-wilding or Re-civilising? by Acorn Godtree
“It’s lack of confidence more than anything else that kills a civilization. We can destroy ourselves by cynicism and disillusion just as effectively as by bombs...The trouble is there is still no centre. The moral and intellectual failure of Marxism has left no alternative to ‘heroic materialism’ - and that isn’t enough”” —Kenneth Clark, 1969
ecently, a friend posted a cartoon on his Facebook wall. It consisted of two panels. On the top was an indigenous child in a canoe, on a pristine lake; and on the bottom, the same child in a lake filled with garbage, smokestacks spewing in the distance. The caption on the top read “Before Civilization,” and the one on the bottom read “After Civilization.” It seemed to neatly sum up the agonies of our increasingly out-of-control technological age. It’s an old trope; as old at least as the reaction of Romanticism to the Industrial Revolution in the early nineteenth century. It reflects a deep-seated sentiment that the dehumanization and environmental destruction associated with industrial society is an evil which can only be overcome by adopting values and a lifestyle associated with societies which presumably live more harmoniously with nature—societies with a more limited technology. A lot of us agree that the application of technology is out of control, beginning with the release of huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and proceeding through a seemingly endless list of ecological crises. It is increasingly rational to believe that the extreme times we are living through require extreme responses in order to stave off any number of catastrophes. How better, for example, to arrest carbon emissions than to stop doing things which emit carbon? The particulars, though, of how society accomplishes this, and the consequences thereof, are not some trivial detail. In fact, the entire credibility of the re-wilding movement hinges on it. I understand re-wilding to be a form of anarchoprimitivism, which sees “civilization” as the enemy. Hence, “re-wilding”—restoring the wildness of humanity and of the Earth in a practical, planned, and systematic way. On one hand, I’m deeply attracted to the vision. It is sweet to imagine a society in which we eliminate the meaningless drudgery of acting as cogs in a machine, alienating us from 60 RFD 161 Spring 2015
life and from one another; integral to which is the systematic destruction of the Earth. But there is a big and obvious problem. How anti-technological do we want to be? Do we want to do away with that which makes human life more bearable (such as technology associated with medicine, food production, transportation, communication, sanitation, etc.)? I have heard much criticism of the material trappings of civilization from re-wilders, but very little repudiation of their use. For instance, I’ve heard people issue a call for someone to drive so that they can do a hoop journey (a nomadic circle of planting and harvesting native species). Some explain the dissonance by saying that using the “devil’s tools” (an actual phrase I’ve read) is a bridging strategy before a re-wilded reality is manifested. It sounds a lot to me like the Marxist concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat, that step between the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and the pure communism which never actually comes. If you’re using computers and cars to organize hoop journeys; and publishing technology to write books about re-wilding, then you’re scarcely rejecting technology. You are sucking on the teat of Babylon (as some re-wilders like to say). We have to work with the conceptual and practical tools that we have, with our own heritage of civilization; since we live in a context of a specific time and place. What context are re-wilders seeking to create? For what is sorely lacking in what I hear is a clear notion of what is meant by that troubling word “wild.” Every society has had technology from time immemorial; that is to say, from the time before our species actually evolved. Human beings cannot survive without access to technology; which is evident as soon as you think about the tools you’d need to survive if you were dropped in the middle of the wilderness. Some re-wilders critique language itself as a barrier to harmoniously living with the earth; most are content to dial back technology in certain respects, stressing the imperative of living according to natural principles. But what are natural principles in the context of the human species? One thing is for certain: A key characteristic of humans is the conception, creation, use, and refinement of technology in order to survive. If we accept this, then the credibility of the
re-wilding movement rests on its response to a simple question: what level and use of technology is appropriate? Do we start making lists? Are soccer balls okay? How about sunglasses? Picture frames? Headphones? And we haven’t even gotten to the non-trivial stuff like aircraft, dialysis machines, combine harvesters, and water purification plants. Once one begins to see the true dimensions of the genie we want to put back in the bottle, the notion turns quickly from utopian to mind-boggling—even ridiculous.
compass the creative arts; science and technology; and religion, spirituality, and philosophy. Most importantly, a civilization is possessed of a dominant or prevailing worldview which defines and organizes reality, meaning, and values. From this, a civilization sets priorities and ideal aspirations for its members; and thus for the civilization as a whole. Civilizations are comprised of certain basic shared essentials: settlement, language, social organization, and material production. These activities are in continual dialogue with the symbolic worldview. All cultures participate in a civilization; but not all civilizations related question rests on the issue of populacan be identified with a single culture (compare, for tion dynamics. Our advanced level of technolexample, western and Chinese civilizations). ogy, especially with regard to health and agriculture, Given my definition, I would ask that when reexists to make it possible for the planet to carry a wilding activists argue that civilization is the enemy, large population. Any strategy what, exactly, is their target? about life in the future, whether I have to assume that they’re it’s re-wilding or anything else, working from a much more It is not that has an obligation to address the restrictive interpretation than I question of population control. am, since my definition would modern civilization That obligation is especially indict every human society that is more advanced crucial for the re-wilding movehas ever existed; or, at least, or well-adapted ment, given that its theoretical every literate society. than earlier or more basis in anarcho-primitivism Every extant society evolved maintains that agriculture was from an earlier form, right back primitive forms; the crucial mis-step in human to the dawn of social organizait is simply more history. Without it, how will tion itself. It is not that modern conceptually and people be fed? And if they can’t civilization is more advanced materially dense be fed, who will be the victims? or well-adapted than earlier After all, re-wilding advocates or more primitive forms; it is and complex. can’t very well claim that they simply more conceptually and have a technological solution. materially dense and complex. John Zerzan, an anarchoFor example, we don’t have primitivist author, says that living a re-wilded a single history, we have several. Our repertoire lifestyle is “a huge challenge. You’ve got these great of artistic expression is broader and more varied. grandiose ideas, but the rubber has to hit the road Our population is highly ethnically, culturally, and somewhere, and we know that. I don’t know how religiously heterogeneous. Our technology is more that’s going to work…[W]e are a long way from con- intricate and reliant on complex scientific principles necting with that reality and we have to face that. and discoveries. These are qualitative and quantitaYou start off with questioning things and trying to tive differences in form and content, not an ideal or enlarge the space where people can have dialogue preferred state of being—nor, by the same token, is and raise the questions that are not being raised it a less ideal or preferred state of being. anywhere else. But we don’t have blueprints as to I assume that re-wilders likewise view concepwhat people should do.” This is an important and tual and material density and complexity in relative welcome admission concerning the challenges and terms, allusions to the evils of civilization notwithlimitations of re-wilding. But once the questions standing. But they also place a value on it. To put it have been raised—none of which are particularly in the most simplistic way possible, re-wilders want novel—then what? less of what we have now. The trouble with that My working definition of civilization is that it is ideology is that less is not always more. Most of the an agglomeration of shared social and cultural chartime, it’s just less. Consider why technology exists, acteristics, concepts, and products of a given people and what drives scientific inquiry and technological or peoples within a given time and place. These eninnovation. Generally, these activities exist to fill a
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gap. Don’t want to eat with your hands? Invent an implement to take the food to your mouth. People can’t walk because of joint degeneration? Invent artificial hips and knees to replace them. You want to efficiently transport someone or something from one part of the world to another? Invent the wheel, domesticate a horse, build a wagon, construct a road, erect a pier, devise shipbuilding, develop navigation, draw maps, adapt carbon to energy production, on and on and on. A need or a desire leads to a discovery, which leads to a technology or method, which leads to new discoveries, which fulfill other aspirations. How on earth do we decide between all the “appropriate” and “inappropriate” technologies and methods encompassing the deposit of human knowledge? We need to exercise more control over the planet, not less. The reason is simple: technology is not going to go away. It is more necessary, not less, to ensure our survival. The key is the kind of technology we use, and how it is created, distributed, and used. This means moving from a model which states that if you can identify a need or desire, find the technology and resources to create a product to address it, and distribute the product to whomever can afford to pay you for it, then that activity is allowed and even encouraged. A better model is to limit material desire, identify relative needs, and then distribute the products necessary to fulfill them according to need and availability—all of which would be based on principles of equality of access and the sustainability of the resource. Anything less is a recipe for catastrophe. Obviously, the lower the population, the less the rate of resource extraction; hence population reduction should be key to our species’ survival—another area for which there are potential technological solutions.
inally, with what do we replace the products designed for material desire? I don’t want a society of drab social conformity and grey subsistence living. I see a world of abundance, based on proper use of resources; and a world in which the religion of consumerism is replaced with a spirituality of creative principles, the core of which is Creation itself. Art and literature would be enhanced, I believe, rather than diminished in such a re-civilized world. I began with a quote from that eminently stodgy and effete old snob, the art historian, Kenneth Clark. Lord Clark earned his peerage largely on the strength of his BBC series, Civilisation, which was broadcast in 1968-69. Although it dealt exclusively with Europe from the Dark Ages on, Clark uses the 62 RFD 161 Spring 2015
series to highlight broader claims about the virtues of civilization generally—its inherent aesthetic, practical, and existential qualities. The quote I cited above came at the end of a monologue Clark gave to conclude his series. That he could express such disenchantment with civilization, after spending thirteen hours extolling its virtues, suggests that he believed things had gone seriously off the rails. That he could do so at a time when material aspirations were most fully realized, and hope in the future was strong—humans walking on the moon, computer technology entering the mainstream, the rapid progress of the civil and women’s rights movements, the birth of the environmental movement—is also telling. I believe that Clark saw industrial society as a social chimera, a stand-in for a civilization increasingly impoverished. Without a philosophical, spiritual, and/or aesthetic counterpoint—a competing worldview, if you will—the ethos of the industrial society, what Clark called “heroic materialism,” is allowed to flourish. Its values become social values. Its priorities become social priorities. Its worldview becomes the dominant paradigm, the shared default worldview. Forty-five years on, Marxism has been vanquished, and disillusionment and hopelessness has only gotten worse. The problem isn’t too much civilization, it’s too little. The problem isn’t technology, it’s how we use it and to what ends. In short, how do we live together to achieve social and environmental justice and sustainability? Given that the alternative is catastrophe, hopefully we’ll work through that dilemma real quick. I just don’t believe re-wilding is the answer. It is a sentimental journey to a primitivist fantasy, reheated from past movements; one which can never be made concrete because of the real and intractable obstacles of our present context. We have a choice between engagement with the world as it is; or a retreat from it. At its core, the re-wilding movement is predicated more on a dystopian vision rather than a utopian one. It sees our civilization as doomed to failure, resulting from ecological collapse and concurrent social disintegration. I’m not saying that this vision is unrealistic; but it is—for me—ethically problematic. In a sense, it professes a conviction that we have no control over the future; or worse, an ideology akin to the fundamentalist doctrine of rapture, which sees such catastrophic failure as not only inevitable, but necessary and preferable. I disagree. Human beings are authors of a future that has not yet happened, and a world of choices are open to us. w
The poems of David Hatfield Sparks, with sketches by his faerie husband, Randy P. Conner, trace the defiant journey of a Queer spiritual seeker via elegies, dirges, ritual dramas, and chants. Sparks’ works, including the Encyclopedia of Queer Myth, Symbol, and Spirit (1997) and Queering Creole Spiritual Traditions (2004), have been praised by David W. Machacek, PhD, editor of Sexuality & the World’s Religious Traditions, as invaluable to LGBTQI people “seeking to better understand the spiritual dimension of alternative sexual and gender identities.” www.Xlibris .com ISBN: 978-1-4836-5345-7 AVAILABLE NOW to order online, from your local bookstore, or direct from firstname.lastname@example.org
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A diffEREnt AppRoAcH to MonEy wEllnEss Build a financial world that works for you and those you love, for Radical Faeries and their friends.
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34th Annual Midwest Menâ€™s Festival July 21-30 2015; NE Kansas An ongoing experiment in intentional community. More info: http://midwestmensfestival.com/
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Issue 163 / Fall 2015
AUTHORING RFD Submission Deadline: July 21, 2015 www.rfdmag.org/upload
Who is your favorite RFD author? What article should we consider re-publishing to share with a new audience. Over our forty year history we’ve published a variety of authors and artists. From the unknown, to the well known, to the now known, to the casual reader wanting to share with our other readers their experiences.
As part of our fortieth anniversary we’re hoping readers will consider sharing your favorite article, art work or poem from a previous issue. We’re hoping to be able to connect with the authors to see if they have current work they would like to share and what writing for RFD meant to them at the time.
Ron Lamb. Photograph by Robert Giard. Courtesy Estate of Robert Giard.
So please—feel free to share this theme idea with anyone who has contributed to RFD in the past and also let us know how to get in touch with an author or artist you think we should be in touch with. Meanwhile, we’ll be combing our archives for articles and work we’d like to re-share with you.
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RFD Vol 41 No 3 #161 $9.95
66 RFD 161 Spring 2015
a reader created gay quarterly celebrating queer diversity
Published on Mar 21, 2015