I’ve just had one heck of a week! SO many things have happened, so many things learned and shared, and also new experiences had. I know I promised to write about last weekend, and I will. But I am just home from this amazing overnight retreat with a couple of the men from my Temple, and I want to write about that now.
As a gay man, of course, I have two energies residing within my experience simultaneously. Male, and female. Having been raised with so many women around and in so much feminine energy, I understand that very well. Interaction with my family of origin has me still learning more about that…..and then time spent with my Temple mates is showing me a WHOLE other side of that! Not just with regard to the feminine aspects of Paganism, Wicca, and diety…although that is significant….but also about the experience of the human female. Now, my experiences so far in Wicca and paganism is that there is a great deal of feminine energy about it. It is populated by a vast number of women in roles of healing, teaching, diety, energy, intuition, wisdom, guidance, and onward. Coming from a strong background of Catholicism and Christianity, this is a very welcome change for me. I did not experience my first female pastor (Lutheran) until I was in my 30s, and it was wonderful. Now, conversely, with all that male-heavy influence of my particular church background, why do I only now really feel a lack of connection to my masculine side? And with regard to spirituality and diety?
Of course, I understand that being raised with so many human women around me, I can understand that more easily – and it has nothing to do with my being gay. But there was also the lack of male influence in much of my life. I’m not criticizing that…simply stating it. And one of the strongest male influences in my childhood and teen years was the man abusing me. Maybe that had something to do with the bend in the road that my journey took – again, not having to do with being gay. The point here is that I’ve long understood the influence and teaching that the women in my life have played – and I honor each and every one of them for it. Much of that results in a perceptive ‘knee-jerk’ response from comments by the male world where it regards women. As I’ve been told that I have deafness in my heart, I also have female in my heart.
However…..I have really never spent time in my male. My masculine. The part of me that is not masculine as the mundane world would have me….but masculine as the Earth and elements see me. The masculine that actually is. Not about superiority. Not about dominance. Not about sexual prowess. But about the primal essence that, as soul in a human, physical experience right now, has. The male energy of the physical experience.
I just spent 24 hours with two men who are my Temple mates. They are both half my age. They are both straight. They are both open-minded, and not stupid. (I don’t like that word.) They are attractive and in relationships. I am gay, 50, and single. And yet, there was nothing we could not talk about! There was no where we could not go, and if one or the other missed a cultural reference, it was clarified for context in the full 3 way conversation. I learned from them, and they learned a thing or two from me. Ok, so the material things….
Jeremy and I learned how to split wood for a fire. We learned it by hand ax, and by shaving wood with a smaller knife. We learned how to build a fire, either indoors, or out, and without benefit of a lighter, any fluid, treated log, etc…we learned how to shave a log for kindling, and then split down some wood pieces to help build the pyramid formation to help a fire grow and sustain. And then when it began to dwindle, we learned how to stack more wood either for the purpose of building it up again, or maintaining it on a ‘low flame’. Even learned how to prep a fire to help keep it sustained during sleep so that it would provide warmth. And we learned how to make pirogi from scratch! Mark taught us these things, and it was awesome and hilarious!!
What else did I learn? For the first time in forty years or so (excepted a bit by my first husband), I was able to have conversation and ribald comedy about the physical, about sexuality, about the male body…with STRAIGHT men! The jokes were like it was not about orientation…it was just about recognition of the male body and it’s responses. I shared about my experiences from last weekend’s ecstatic ritual, which included a physical response from my body to both male and female, and yet it had – has – nothing to do with sex. The jokes about my flamin’ hot nuts in Jeremy’s mouth (Frito-Lay)….or about Mark’s long slow blows (re-starting the fire)….and of course the occasional joke about size and performance and such. I made a comment about how few gay friends I have that I can have these talks and banters with , and they both said that it’s because this is how all men talk. (What?!?!) Wow…..I had not experienced that so openly before – I mean with regard to which side of the fence the joke came from. These guys were not afraid, and neither was I. Then there was the brief conversation about body hair – or lack thereof – and it’s connection to our heritages. We cooked together, talking all the time.
It was interesting that the first thing we did was light the first fire in the fireplace, and Mark taught us. And we hovered around that fireplace…as many gravitate to the kitchen. We weren’t even sitting…we had not gathered chairs yet. But we stood around the lit fireplace and talked. And talked. And then we had a lesson in splitting wood. And then we came back in and talked some more. And then we started to make food…which took a while…always talking. Talking about sexuality. Talking about spirituality. Talking about lessons. And all the while, not always agreeing. But we always had respect about that. And the more we talked and bantered and joked and cooked together, the more I started to feel a connection to something…some feeling. The wood of the cabin. The cooking by the seat of our pants because we did not have each implement that would have helped, but we made it work. My watch came off shortly after we got there. Looking forward to being with these men outside in the night of the full moon.
As a gay man, I am finding it difficult as I am writing this to explain more of what I mean. So let’s try this. When we went out to the firepit for ceremony…with that hugely full moon above us….Jeremy and I were challenged wonderfully by Mark to cut the wood and build the fire. And we did well….but not so much in the lighting of the fire. But alas….we together created a great fire! And we had a short but meaningful ceremony around that fire that we had built. In that ceremony, under the full moon light of my diety, Diana, we ended up focusing more on who’s light reflects off of the beautiful moon….the light of the Sun Lord. And we had our fire. And Mark spoke of the hunt….the search of what we wanted next, and the hunt to gain that thing, and upon gaining that thing, preparation for the next hunt. Not that men are the only hunter-gatherers…but we were connecting to a primal feeling of the want, and the need, and the what-to-do-about-it, and the doing and the gaining and the achieving….and the firepit held and radiated to us that fire of gaining and achieving and accomplishment. And it was amazing. And I had not stood that tall for a few days. And I felt a sense and a stirring that I don’t know if I have ever felt. But regardless, I felt it that night. And I think it is really important for me to connect more what that masculine side of me….to understand it, and to understand then how it will be a part of my path, and my teaching.
I don’t know that I have very well conveyed the sense of the start of the connection to my male side….aside from the sexual….that has begun. I cooked with straight men…..I talked deeply with men….I ceremonied with men….I talked body and sex with men…..I shared energy with men. And I felt something different….and amazing. And I’m so grateful!
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