GSV 2017 Fall Conference

GSV 2017 Fall Conference

Pariah Magic: Gifts of the Outsider

September 21 – 24, 2017

The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center, Highlands, NC

4 Days / 3 Nights: $405.65 (conference only, all inclusive)

5 Days / 4 Nights: $496.39 (arrive a day early + conference)

* Prices include taxes and program fee. *

Part II

Pariah Magic: Gifts of the Outsider

(This is Part II of a series, for Part I click here)

 


Dear Brothers,

Pariah Magic: Gifts of the Outsider will celebrate the blessings we receive from being outsiders to the mainstream culture. We will consider the gifts we gain personally, those we share with our fellow exiles, and those we are able to share with our communities thanks to our outsider perspective. We will also contemplate forms of activism that improve the lives of other outsiders.

It is easy enough to dwell on the challenges and pain of not fitting in. Early on, especially, we may long to be “normal.” We may overlook the blessings we receive that the “normal” folks never experience. As wise, witchy Aunt Frances asks in the movie Practical Magic, “When are you going to realize that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage!”

To some, outsider status — life in the brambles — becomes a spiritual calling. With time and experience, we may come to find that it is our unique blessings and perspectives that provide us with our reason for existing; we realize that those same qualities that make us outsiders also give our lives meaning. We are necessary in that way that shamans have always been necessary; we are the conduits of grace from the Outside. As Frank Zappa said, “Without deviation, progress is not possible.” We are that necessary deviation, and if, in the name of normality, conformity, or comfort, we abandon our strange angels, our mischievous devils, and our inner weirdos, then we have silenced precisely the portions of ourselves that we are here to express, share, and live most fully.

On the yonder side of normal, we have woven a community amidst the brambles’ thorny canes and built a culture. We have grown resilient through challenge. We have grown wise in banishment. We have learned, through necessity, a queer form of alchemy that transforms exile into artistry, isolation into solitude, and pain into wisdom. Upon receiving these insights, we transmit them to others in our tribe and bestow them, eventually, to the world at large. By so doing, our small tribe’s visionaries have contributed to culture in ways that far exceed our numbers.

Please come join us for this discovery and celebration of our hard-won gifts! We will be waiting for you amidst the trees of that magical place, The Mountain, where hugs are abundant, where compassion flows like an ocean, and where all of you is welcome.

Bring garb for the “Talent” Show.

Bring garb (and drums) for the Drum Circle.

Bring garb to dazzle and seduce!
Register for the 2017 Fall Conference

 

 

 

 

 

Nightshade (Kraig Blackwelder)
2017 Fall Conference Convener

Raven Wolfdancer Financial Assistance Fund

The Raven Wolfdancer Financial Assistance Fund is available to help facilitate the presence of those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to join us due to lack of funds. If you require financial assistance to attend the conference, click here.

If you previously applied for assistance (or thought you did) and haven’t received a response, please complete the application again. We apologize for any inconvenience. Applications must be submitted by Sunday, September 10th. 

As you prepare to come to The Mountain, keep in mind that a Silent Auction Fundraiser will be held during the conference to benefit the Raven Wolfdancer Financial Assistance Fund. To participate simply select items of value that you no longer need, register them here by Wednesday, September 20th, bring them with you, and come prepared to bid on the treasures brought by others.

To make a tax-deductible gift by credit or debit card, visit gayspiritvisions.org and follow the DONATE TODAY instructions on the right side of the page.

On behalf of the GSV Council and the men who benefit from your donations, thank you!

Register for the Fall Conference>>

GSV 2017 Fall Conference

GSV 2017 Fall Conference

Pariah Magic: Gifts of the Outsider

September 21 – 24, 2017

The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center, Highlands, NC

4 Days / 3 Nights: $405.65 (conference only, all inclusive)

5 Days / 4 Nights: $496.39 (arrive a day early + conference)

* Prices include taxes and program fee. *

Part I

Pariah Magic: Gifts of the Outsider

Dear Brothers,
As a tribe, gay men are no strangers to the pain of outcast status. The thorns of alienation have pierced us all. We are more than casually familiar with the sting of loneliness and despair. At certain times and in certain places we have been obligated to hide our lives, our love, and our gifts behind a tangle of strategic illusions – or suffer the consequences.

Thrown as we’ve been into this briar patch, we’ve had the uncomfortable privilege of cultivating extraordinary lives of otherness and vision. We have taken long, meandering tours of Neverland and Oz and returned with souvenirs and insight. We have been down stranger rabbit holes than Alice ever imagined, and Spirit has cordially invited us to develop alternative gifts – some as personal (and useful) as gaydar, resilience, and empathy, others as grand as music, literature, and culture itself. How can we not celebrate?

Pariah Magic: Gifts of the Outsider will be both an acknowledgment of the burdensome nature of our gifts and a celebration of the queer joys of exile. Over the course of the conference, we will consider the gifts, obvious and subtle, that have flowed to us due to our outsider status. We will cultivate gratitude for these sometimes-challenging gifts. We will seek out opportunities to share our gifts with others, and we will discuss ways of assisting and defending those who may not yet see exile for the gift that it is.

We will gather together in a magical place atop The Mountain to take stock of the gifts that have flowed to us while we have walked the path of otherness. In our exile, we have become poets and warriors, firekeepers and shamans, faeries and philosophers, dancers and dreamers, tricksters and healers, explorers and mentors.
How can we not celebrate?

Bring garb for the “Talent” Show.

Bring garb (and drums) for the Drum Circle.

Bring garb to dazzle and seduce!

As you prepare to come to The Mountain, please keep in mind the Silent Auction that benefits GSV’s Raven Wolfdancer Financial Assistance Fund. It is as helpful as it is simple: Bring items of value that you no longer need, and come prepared to bid on the treasures that speak to your spirit that were brought by others. All proceeds help facilitate the presence of men who otherwise wouldn’t be able to join us due to lack of funds.


Sister Unity, a drag nun since December 1995, is a founding member of the Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Inc. In her 22 years in bright orange habit, she has manifested in six states plus the District of Columbia, has exorcised and blessed the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, the National Office of AIDS Policy, and the Dolby Theater, home of the Oscars. She has performed seven weddings including one on the first day marriage became legal in California in June of 2008. She and the Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence subsequently led many of the protests against the Prop 8 ban on gay marriage until it was overturned. She has performed and lectured at UCLA, Loyola Marymount University, Occidental College, and Wesleyan University. Her 10 years of YouTube contributions feature over 80 videos with content including Hindu mythology, LGBT fairy tales, humor, philosophy, spirituality, and LGBT rights and activism. Sister Unity has practiced Hinduism and meditation since before becoming a drag nun and derives her name from Sanskrit.

Bennett Schneider: As a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence, Bennett has written hundreds of rituals, blessings, exorcisms, and performances. He teaches by combining ritual, spirituality, gay history, queer theory and theater in a variety of contexts that have included: UCLA, the Lee Strasburg Theater Institute, Radical Fairy gatherings, the California Men’s Gathering, and Highways Performance Space. He studied meditation, yoga, and philosophy at ashrams in India, New York, and California. Being born to a Shakespeare teacher and Bozo the Clown made him a lifelong theater practitioner performing with the queer theater company “Fabulous Monsters” as well as onstage with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and in various television shows, music videos, and commercials. This summer he was invited to teach meditation in Nida, Lithuania.

Watch for Part II in our next post. In the meantime, register now!

Register for the 2017 Fall Conference

 

 

 

 

 

Nightshade (Kraig Blackwelder)
2017 Fall Conference Convener

June Council Meeting

Greetings Dear Siblings,

The next semi-annual in person GSV Council meeting will be held in Atlanta GA, Saturday June 24 and Sunday June 25 at Positive Impact, 1117 West Peachtree St. NW, Atlanta GA 30309.  GSV council meetings are open for observation by members of our community and other invited guests.  And we encourage anyone in the Atlanta area, or willing to travel who is interested in GSV leadership, future conferences, GSV long term planning, or just GSV workings in-general to attend.

The Saturday meeting is scheduled from 9 am to 5pm with a lunch break. On Sunday we will meet from 9 am to approximately 1pm to wrap-up.

If you plan to attend Saturday and/or Sunday, please notify the Council so we can make accommodations for seating and building access.  Email the council at: info@gayspiritvisions.org.  A details agenda for both days will be available closer to the meeting dates.

If you plan to attend, please review the following from The GSV Policy Manual:

“Observers are welcome at Council meetings.  However, observers are expected to observe and not to comment or participate in discussions unless invited to do so by the Chair of the meeting.  Observers are different from guests who may be invited by the Council to present information or to share perspectives about items on the agenda.

“If an observer has an opinion or perspective to share, he may share it with a Council member before the meeting or at a break during the meeting.  The Council member may choose to share the perspective with the Council or may ask the observer for a short summary of the perspective.  Observers will receive a copy of the agenda if they have contacted the secretary beforehand.  Observers will be reminded that the Council has a pre-agreed agenda with time allotments to carry out much essential work, some of which is time sensitive, thus, observers will not disrupt the ongoing work of the Council by asking for information or offering suggestions which might impede the normal processes of the Council.

“As a routine practice, the chair will ask for observer feedback with a limit of 5 minutes for all observations at the end of each major section of the agenda.  If several observers desire to speak, each one can be given one or two minutes unless all wish to yield the full 5 minutes to one observer.”

Thank you for your support.

May 2017 Council Meeting

Gay Spirit VisionsDear Brothers,

We are posting this to inform you that we have a Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday 5/16/2017. Our intent was to make sure this conference call would be open to observers. However, we have encountered a technical problem and are working on a resolution which includes options suggested during the Spring Retreat open forum.

Sadly, it does not appear we will be able to correct this before the call. Therefore, we are inviting anyone that may have questions, concerns or comments to please email them to us by Monday 5/15/2017. We will be able to add to the agenda for discussion and in turn post results the following week.

Please use the email address: info@gayspiritvisions.org

Thank you for your understanding,

Mark (Thunder) Zumback, Wendell Johnson, Doug Emerson,
Bill Harris, Kraig (Nightshade) Blackwelder, Tony James, and Mahan Kalpa Khalsa.

Embrace Us With Laughter

Registration and Information about the 2017 Fall Conference should be available by mid June

The information below is from the 2017 Spring Retreat

GSV Spring Retreat

April 21 – 23 2017
The Mountain Retreat & Learning Center
Highlands, North Carolina

The Sacred Fool’s Journey

Less Than Three Weeks – Please Register Soon

Register Today

Our schedule for the Spring Retreat is coming together, here’s what we have.

Aric, Randy, David, Vic, & Dave

Eric Rohner and Randy Johnson will facilitate our Journeys With the Sacred Fool using meditation, sharing, and dreaming to encourage us on those journeys.  David Chitara, Dave Cable, and Vic Mansfield have volunteered to share some personal stories to prime our pumps for the meditation and journey.

Teddy, David, Sugar, Mahan Kalpa, & Kraig

Mahan Kalpa Khalsa will lead the heartweaving on Friday evening and offer a workshop on Japanese Bondage which focuses on artistic, connective, and sensual pleasures.

David and Teddy Jones will reprise their always-popular Restorative Yoga accompanied by harp adding a “dress to your level of comfort” for this gathering.

Kraig Blackwell will share “The Wondrous and Sacred Mysteries of the 3 Sacred Trigrammatons.” It comes with laughter but should not to be mistaken for the Tetragrammaton, please! ;=}

David Chitara will offer a healing session that will likely include some gentle breathwork exercises (non-strenuous and suitable for all bodies), guided visualization, and/or intuitive healing work. Specifics will be tailored to the needs of those who attend.

Andy Foskey will lead a workshop/discussion exploring the nature of loneliness for men who love men.

Gary/Pleasure will bring tunes for movement/dance with an invitation to “Parade Your Peculiar.”

Andy & Gary
co-conveners

On Saturday evening, we’ll have a time to share your poems, songs, and stories with each other. Bring something you wrote, or a favorite created by someone who art you admire followed by some short videos.

On Saturday afternoon and on Sunday morning we have built-in lots of optional free time if you wish.

Click here join to us as we embrace each other with laughter!

 


Registration at The Mountain begins at 3pm Friday.  Dinner on Friday evening begins at 6pm followed by our opening activities at 7:30 pm. Our Closing Circle begins after lunch on Sunday concluding by 2pm.

We’ll have the option to stay at The Mountain from Sunday afternoon to noon on Monday. We’ll be the only group there, but another group that will be using the lodge is arriving after lunch on Monday. You may sign up for the extra day when you register for the Spring Retreat. The price for the extra day includes meals. If fewer than 20 people sign up, you will receive a $20 refund and we’ll buy some groceries and prepare our own meals.  This extra day is not sponsored or supported by GSV.

 


Please don’t forget the Spring Silent Auction that benefits GSV’s Financial Assistance Program. It’s really simple: You bring items that you value but no longer need and buy the treasures that speak to your spirit that were brought by others. All of the proceeds allow those with limited financial resources to join us.

 

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