What Could be Gayer than Witchcraft?
Hi I’m Jam. And I’m a big nerd for liminal spaces.
Over the years I’ve kept my gays, my witches, and my Sufis worlds apart, for better or for worse. However recently I’ve been chewing on the interplay of queerness and my spirit path. The following is my first chapter of investigation regarding the ways in which these elements of my life interact.
For me, queerness is defined by my nebulous relationship with sexual orientation and gender identity. As a child I thought that all people were physically built like dolls, and that what made them different was on the inside. Eventually those who sprouted breasts became mommies, and those who didn’t would furthermore be referred to as men.
As long as I can remember, I’ve been attracted to folks of all genders. It wasn’t until I left the church (which I’d been attending five days a week, but that’s a story for another day) that I was able to embrace my queerness. I don’t see myself within a category of straight, gay, or bi. Queerness gives me and my partners room to evolve in sovereignty and peace.
On the inside I’m agender. On the outside I come across as a flat chested femme who has good taste in tattoos. I inject testosterone and plan getting on all the downstairs upgrades that my health insurance will allow. At the same time I maintain my luscious long hair and slay at performative femininity in my dance career.
I celebrate the freedom of identity being independent from presentation, and pray at the crossroads where they intersect.
“Would you like an apricot? They say it’s good for your heart qi.” Those were the first words my Sufi guide ever said to me. And I knew it, loud as a drum in that moment: This is my teacher. And he’s wonderful!
Sufis contemplate that perhaps you are not breathing, but that Spirit is breathing you. Your inhales are the Divine’s exhales and your exhales are the Divine’s inhales. It is breath that sews the soul into the body. It is the stream of the breath that carries divine qualities from the subtle planes into manifestation.
Chanting, whirling, breathing, singing, laughing and crying, we move together through the planes of existence in the mystery of this tradition. In a one hour zikr I traverse as far, if not farther, than any entheogenic trip, and return with a much more coherent memory of it later. Looking into my dervish kin’s eyes as they overflow with the spirits of roses and sunlight, the ocean and moonlight, cracked wide open . . . it’s the realest thing I’ve ever experienced.
Through the Sufi practices there is a softening of the ego and a loosening of the mind’s grip on concepts. And I think this is one of the main operative factors in how we traverse liminal spaces together. Most things are not mutually exclusive from this mindset. We drop a lot of our attachment to the way things are, and refine our energy through the mantric roller coaster ride of the chanting circle.
It’s through the transmission that this frame of being is inherited. And it is 100% the lens through which I see life; there’s really no undoing it. It’s not like going to a workshop or a training and then later digging through your notes in an attempt to integrate what you’ve learned. The initiate rather is transformed in the sanctum of community and naturally begins to approach the world differently, ever in greater alignment with their soul.
And then there’s witchcraft.
The Craft gave me a framework for working with soul flight, a term I learned recently from Revolutionary Witchcraft by Sarah Lyons. As a child I began leaving my body to cope with recurring abuse. I’d fly to my grandparents house and sit near them until it was okay to come home.
Shortly after making friends with dissociation, preschool aged me began intentionally leaving my body for the purpose of meeting spirit friends and exploring their worlds. I’d draw doors on the wall, knock three times, and wait for the spirits to take me away.
Sometimes angels swooped me up and carried me through realms of milky light where I marveled at the opalescent spaces between the particles in the air. Other times mermaids would come and guide me though channels in the water, bringing me to the ocean’s depths. I felt that I could touch my mother and the dead here, and that it was all so beautiful. I was surrounded by an army of mermaid sisters who taught me the water’s secrets, and blessed me with layer upon layer of her fierce protection.
As a teen I picked up books on shamanism and astral travel, and became clear that my soul flight practice was neither of those things.
I was blessed to train with three different covens and to be initiated into the Anderson Feri tradition. While none of my teachers worked much with soul flight or lucid dreaming, they taught me about creating ritual space, channeling deities, and managing my energy. This gave me the tools I needed to start bridging the many worlds that I inhabited. Channeled poetry, dance, and art became a way to sew my parts back together. Libanomancy and cartomancy allowed me to converse with my inner realm friends while staying in my physical body. And learning to listen to the land and the dead brought me fully into the corporeal form, right here, right now, in a circle of perfect love and perfect trust.
Queerness weaves itself through alllll of this. More than paradox or polar opposites connected by a lemniscate, for me it’s the embodied beholding non dualism.
Queerness drips from our sweat and pumps in our veins as we run around bonfires, singing in rounds and cackling beneath the stars. It’s the energy that ties together my heart beat with the reverberations in my pelvic bowl when I am enraptured with ritual drumming. It’s the recognition from my ancestors who speak through the cards or who perk up when I make offerings at their altar. “We’ve always known you. You’ve always been ours.”
This is perhaps the least polished piece of written work that I’ve posted, but it feels right for this particular spell. Being honest with the fact that I’m kind of a floaty dreamy person who likes floaty dreamy things and maybe have a lot of work to do with articulating my views (and therefore being capable of intelligent energy exchange) is a valuable part of this process. Perhaps if I was a Leo I’d feel more fabulous about expressing that which is dearest to my heart, but right now I’m a bit of a fish trying to describe the water. I’m brown, trans and magestical AF. What else is there to say?
photo credit:www. dancing-times.co.uk