GSV 2020 Spring Retreat

In the Wellspring of Queer Resilience: Listening to the Wisdom of Our Ancestors


2020 Spring Retreat

May 8 – 10, 2020


The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center ~ Highlands, NC


2020 Spring Retreat

Register Now!


Beloved Siblings,

These days, there’s a lot of buzz in the personal development and corporate professionalism arenas about the idea of “resilience.” However, in gay circles I don’t hear much about our inner strengths and how to cultivate and enrich these and then take them to the streets in new and impactful ways that will make a difference to our community.

As the beauty of spring 2020 unfolds, I invite you to climb the mountain and step out into a weekend of reflection and healthy community as together we go within to explore our inner strengths. We will also venture out to explore nature in order to gain a deeper knowledge of the unique queer resilience that each of us draws on and expresses as we navigate through the challenges and uncertainties of our daily lives. It will be a time to deepen our inner knowing, ground ourselves to our warm and gentle planet, and feel the bonds between us.

When you go within, what awareness do you notice about your greatest strength? How do you express it? How does it help you navigate challenges? What would help you nourish it more? What other strengths might you have that you may be unaware of? How could these support you?

One of our elders, Andrew Ramer, introduced us years ago in his book Two Flutes Playing to four primary clans in which men who love men express our consciousness in the world: scouts, flute players, shamans, and hunters. It’s time now for us to revisit these spirits and to explore ways to draw strength from their wisdom for our present day challenges and quandaries. At the Winter Meditation this year, I felt a visceral connection to the radiant well ancients in one of the workshop experiences. It made me curious about engaging in dialogue with them. I wanted to know more about what the positive ancestral energies would say in answer to our most heartfelt questions. In community with you, I invite you to join me in finding out.

In this spring retreat, we will celebrate our connection to nature, aliveness, sacred sexuality, and to embodying our centered and authentic spirit in everyday life. Let’s celebrate renewal and rebirth in the beauty of spring that moves into the fullness of summer green.

Now calling for workshop leaders for the aforementioned topics and anything else that your intuition and your spirits tell you needs to be at our spring retreat. Please contact me at markcmedlin@gmail.com directly or council@gayspiritvisions.org with workshop requests, proposals, and further questions.

If you are interested in helping with the retreat in any way before, during, or after the retreat, consider reaching out to me directly at markcmedlin@gmail.com or to the council at council@gayspiritvisions.org for more information about ways to be of assistance. Helping is a great opportunity to meet other people. Fire us an email too if you have any other questions, comments, or concerns.

And don’t forget, GSV offers financial assistance through the Raven Wolfdancer Financial Assistance Fund. GSV recognizes that economic circumstances may impose undue financial hardships on some and prevent them from attending our gatherings. The assistance we offer is designed to help offset the cost of attending a gathering. Additionally, most of us are happy to carpool. Please do not hesitate to ask for assistance. Why else are we here but to help one another?

With appreciation for all that we are in life together,

Mark C. Medlin, Convener
GSV Spring Retreat 2020

Register Now!

Copyright © 2020 Gay Spirit Visions, All rights reserved.

GSV 2020 Winter Meditation – Last Chance to Register

Seeing the Unseen: Bringing our Gifts into the Light


2020 Winter Meditation Picture

January 17 – 19, 2020


The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center ~ Highlands, NC


2020 Winter Meditation Prices

Register Now!

Dear Siblings,

Our Ancestors are with us, supporting, gifting, and enfolding us. These are the loved ones we have known and not known; from our family of origin, our chosen queer family, and from the Queer Breath of the Universe that flows around us. They have given us gifts which we may not even know. Let’s bring them into the light.

Friday night, we will gather, meet, greet, and eat. The opening Heart Circle weaves us together in mutual purpose and transforms us into a sacred compassionate container in which we do our deep work together as a community. Together we will invite and welcome those who love us, the Sacredness, the Spirits, and our Ancestors. We will ask them to come and help us to know ourselves more fully, especially our hidden gifts and strengths.

On Saturday, we will connect with our deepest, truest self, and invite the luminous being of light within each of us to ignite, shine, and make itself known. Through Systemic Family Constellations, Systemic Ritual, and other techniques, we strengthen our ancestral connections more fully so that the unique universe of mystery which lies within us may come forward in beauty and safety. We will welcome all of ourselves into the circle.

Sunday morning, we break our fast together and share our experiences. We will speak our spiritual experiences out of the dream and into reality, thus solidifying their potency. We will thank the Ancestors and the Loving Spirits for holding us so beautifully and we will invite them to depart in beauty. As we take our leave of each other, we will carry into the wide world the bright seeds of our sacred container and all the beauty they contain. May they find fertile ground in which to sprout for all people.

What will we be doing?


The Mountain has been GSV’s spiritual home for three decades. You’ll have opportunities to enjoy breathtaking views, friendly folks, hugs, fireside chats, delicious food, and heart-centered community sharing. The focus of the weekend will be experiential and heart-opening workshops, meditations, and activities.

Inviting and Opening Sacred Space and Weaving our Community Container (all y’all): In ceremony together we invoke Sacredness and weave our spiritual container with our hearts, words, and actions.
Silent Morning Meditation (T.S. Pennington): Beyond description.
Meeting the True Self (Jeffrey Rich): A Guided Meditation to meet our uniqueness in this incarnation. Before getting to know the Ancestors, we need to know who we are.
Systemic Ceremonial Constellations (Jeffrey Rich and Michael Murphy): Systemic Constellations (also known as Family Constellations) lets us look at the hidden dynamics operating behind the scenes in our family and ancestral systems. Using the “Knowing Field” of energy and information, this amazing methodology will help us unpack the seeds of queerness in our families to better see and receive the hidden gifts that come with them.
Exploring our Auric Fields and their Information (Jason Buchanan): A short meditation to center ourselves followed by beginning techniques to sense our auric fields. We will then have an opportunity to partner up or form small groups to look at each other’s auric fields. We may then probe past color and texture to sense the emotion and gnosis held there.
Dancing Through Your Chakras (Mahan-Kalpa Khalsa): In this exploratory session, we will identify our energy centers — called chakras in Ayurvedic medicine — and stimulate them with body movement, breath, and sound. Knowing our chakras allows us to open our eyes to the depth of our intuition, our desire, and our unrealized abilities. We will partner in a series of simple experiments that will be playful and adventurous.
Five Rhythms Dance (John Brock): A Moving Meditation –- we’ll move to an eclectic mix of music designed to help cast off inhibitions and cultivate transformational joy.
Finding Your Fierceness (Scott Dillard): In this workshop we will use guided meditation, movement, and storytelling to connect with our fiercest self in order to bring that being forward into the new year. We will be accessing story and body memory in order to reach into our past and then project into the future. Participants will work individually and in small groups. As we will be moving about, comfortable clothing is advised.
Conversations and Camaraderie: Casual conversations with friends, old and new.
Free Time to reflect, relax, journal, explore, nap, and soak in the beauty of The Mountain.
Closing Heart Circle and preparation for re-entry into the world with your gifts

Our Convener


Vic Mansfield: I’ve lived in the mountains for over 30 years. Coming out late in life, I came to GSV about seven years ago. It saved my life and loved me into being. I’m a bit of spiritual BuddhaPalian after years (and years) as a parish priest in the Episcopal Church. Now retired, I live in Burnsville, NC. I am passionate about Spirit, our belovedness, our gifts.

Convener’s Little Helper


Jeffrey Rich was born in Asheville and now lives in Burnsville, NC. He has worked as a software developer and trainer during his first career, and as a massage therapist, massage instructor, shamanic healer, and systemic family constellations group facilitator in his second half of life.

Vic Mansfield, Convener
vcmansfield@gmail.com

Register Now!


Copyright © 2020 Gay Spirit Visions, All rights reserved.

GSV 2020 State of the Tribe Address

Sweet siblings in Gay Spirit Visions,

Welcome to the annual State of the Tribe address, in which we look back at what GSV has done over the past year and drop some hints about what we have to look forward to.

This year’s edition comprises two sections: Looking Back, where I discuss what our organization accomplished in 2019, and Looking Forward, where the new Presiding Elder shares what we have to look forward to in 2020.

It has been an honor to serve on the GSV Council and to help guide an organization so dear to my heart. From my first Fall Conference in 2000 (when I could barely get through a single process without choking up), through convening a fall conference, and serving for two years as the Presiding Elder of the GSV Council, Gay Spirit Visions has been instrumental to my growth and learning as a spiritually-connected queer man. In remembrance of my own GSV mentors, I have tried to bring the serene wisdom of Martin “Treewalker” Isganitus as well as the mischievous insights of King “Wing of Men” Thackston to my work on the Council. Those dear ancestors are the roots of my GSV experience, and I hope I have brought the best of their wisdom to my time on the Council.

With abiding love for this community of open-hearted men,

Nightshade

Looking Back


2019 was a big year for GSV. Most visibly we put on three lovely gatherings that logically built themselves up into something much bigger:

The Winter Meditation, “Tranquil Reflection and Mindful Intention,” was a beautiful and serene contemplative experience convened by the very talented Bill Harris. This was an opportunity to find that calm center to ground our Greater Work.

The Spring Retreat, “Awaken Our Magick,” was an exploration of the sweet queer magic in our lives, convened by the lovely Jason Buchanan. After centering ourselves, we opened to Spirit and recognized the gifts we have been given to share with the world.

In September, GSV reached a noteworthy milestone: our 30th Fall Conference!!! “Spiritually Sourced Activism” was convened by the incomparable Cami Delgado and featured Toby Johnson as Keynote Speaker and celebrated the actions only we can take to make the world better for all beings.

The stage is now set for another cycle to begin.

The GSV Business of 2019


In addition to supporting our Conveners as they put on gatherings, the GSV Council met regularly to keep this lovely organization vital and ready for its next 30 years. This is what we were up to in 2019:

Members of the Council and past Conveners developed a Convener’s Guidebook to help Conveners navigate the sometimes-confusing waters of putting on a GSV gathering. The Convener’s Guidebook is intended to be a living document that can be refined and improved with the wisdom and experience of future Conveners.

In addition to the Guidebook, the Council also put together policies and/or procedures for each of the working circles as well as role descriptions for officers. We realized some of their responsibilities had been left rather ambiguous. We cleaned them up so that our hardworking members of the community who selflessly donate their time and effort can rest assured in what they’ve signed up for.

The Council voted to change our Convener policy so that Conveners no longer pay to attend the event they’re convening. (This was a total no-brainer, and we probably should have done this years ago, but it’s the policy now.)

The Council decided that Wells-Fargo no longer met our definition of an ethical financial institution (a quick internet search will show you why). Since we want GSV to be a force for good at every level, we decided to move our accounts from a big bank with questionable ethics to Regions, a smaller institution with a much better track record.

At the same time, we voted to put a portion of GSV’s working funds into a Certificate of Deposit to strengthen GSV’s financial standing and keep GSV strong going into the future. (We don’t mean to bore you with details, but sometimes that’s what transparency looks like.)

The Council voted to increase the annual budget for the Altared Spaces Working Circle and, thanks to input from Tony Bayles, to make an expenditure for the Gender Freedom and Expression Working Circle to get all new racks and bins for the Shauna Pleas Boutique! (More beautiful altars and better sacred drag! What’s not to love?!!)

The Council decided that we needed to be able to accept credit cards for the silent auction. Thanks to the diligent work of our own Bill Harris, you no longer have to pass on that fabulous frock, tantalizing tome, or bewitching bibelot you found in the silent auction simply because you forgot to bring cash. Just whip out your card and bid generously and with confidence!

Silent Auction Proceeds


If you’ve ever wondered where funds from the silent auction go, they go to provide financial assistance for siblings who would not be able to attend our gatherings otherwise. Thanks to the success of the silent auction and the generosity of the men of GSV, we were able to provide assistance to 17 siblings in the amount of $4,010.

Shout Outs


GSV’s gatherings are works of love by the GSV community for the GSV community, and we are fortunate to have in our midst men whose talents and dedication to GSV are truly extraordinary. We recognized Dev with an Oscar at the Fall Conference, and I’d like to mention a few of our other beloved luminaries here.

The inimitable and wildly talented Craigalee has been a part of GSV for over two decades and has worn a variety of hats within our community, including that of Presiding Elder. As a member of the Altared Spaces Working Circle, Craigalee has been one of the creative forces behind the stunning altars that grace our gatherings, and neither our gatherings nor our community would have been the same without the creative gifts he has so graciously shared.

Many men come to GSV events to revel in the touch of their siblings, and we are fortunate to have a wise, bold, and 100% shameless man overseeing GSV’s Sacred Touch processes. With his playful spirit and wholesome approach to connection Mahan-Kalpa is a gift to our community. He has helped many, many men transcend shame and self-consciousness as they seek out healthy touch and intimacy in their lives.

Over its 30 years, GSV has made quite a bit of history, and we are grateful to Randall Cumbaa and Cal Gough for helping to preserve that history. The relationship they have nurtured with Georgia State University Archives and the video interviews they have conducted over the past few years will help ensure that GSV’s history will be preserved for those who come after us.

Lastly, I want to offer much hearty gratitude to Bill Harris for his amazing work as Elder of Finance. It’s one thing for the Council to decide to change banks or to get a Certificate of Deposit, or to get a Square account so that we are able to accept credit cards, but it was Bill who did the actual legwork to make those things happen, and on top of it all he convened an absolutely stunning Winter Meditation.

The men named above are a few of the many bright stars in the GSV constellation, and you are invited to thank them for their service to GSV when you see them next.

Departures and Arrivals


As is the custom, the GSV Council renewed another third of itself (roughly) at the end of 2019 as four members concluded their 3-year service and four new men begin their own with new wisdom, new gifts, new perspectives, and new energy for the Council.

Leaving the Council at the end of 2019 were Randall Cumbaa, Bill Harris, Mahan-Kalpa Khalsa, and Nightshade.

Joining the Council at the beginning of 2020 are Neil Burns, David Cable, Robert McDonald, and John Rivest.

As the torch has been passed on to these new Council members, so too do the officer’s torches also pass on.
As the new 2020 Elder of Records, John Rivest has been elected to replace Jason Buchanan.
As the new 2020 Elder of Finance, Robert “Bear of the RO” McDonald has been elected to replace Bill Harris.
And lastly, as the new 2020 Presiding Elder, Jason Buchanan has been elected to replace Nightshade.

Welcome, gents! We look forward to the magnificence you will manifest!
And thank you, Nightshade, for your gracious service.

Looking Forward

Greetings to all my relatives!

It is an honor to have been asked to wear the mantel in 2020 of Presiding Elder of this organization so dear to this fast-beating drum bucket I keep safe in this calcium-rich cage. I have officially attended nine gatherings since I bumbled into a heart circle I knew nothing about as a Mountain staff member just over five years ago. I have convened a spring retreat, and I have served on Council for the last two years.

As Presiding Elder, I would like to keep our organization as transparent as possible, and I would like to include you all as much as possible because we are all important to this organization, and we all have an equal voice in where we take it. We all hold part of this organization in our hearts, and we all deserve to be held by it in return. Without you, we don’t have this community.

So, thank you for being a member of our amazing community. We hope you like where we’re going.

Jason Lloyd Buchanan
Presiding Elder

Plunging into 2020


GSV is very much a living community, and we are ever looking forward to our next opportunity to gather. We have a Winter Meditation coming up in a few weeks and two other gatherings currently in the planning process.

The dates for our gatherings in 2020 are:
Winter Meditation: January 17-19
Spring Retreat: May 8-10
Fall Conference: September 24-27

As you may already know from the announcement made at the beginning of December by Convener Vic Mansfield, the theme for the Winter Meditation is “Seeing the Unseen: Bringing our Gifts into the Light.” With such exciting techniques as Systemic Family Constellations, Systemic Ritual, and others to strengthen our ancestral connections and bring forward our unique universe of mystery which lies within, there is bound to be a lot to learn.

I can hardly imagine what is to follow such an enticing winter in the spring and fall! Know that we on the Council, the Working Circles, and the future Conveners are all working diligently to put together the best gatherings we can.

You ARE GSV


The strength of the wolf is the pack, and the strength of the pack is the wolf. So it is with Gay Spirit Visions. All that we do is the result of the magic of community and teamwork. As we move forward, consider ways you’d like to take your relationship with GSV a step further. Maybe that means coming back after a long hiatus. Maybe it means attending all three gatherings this year. Maybe you just want to share a few ideas or feelings with us. Or maybe you feel it’s time to lend your hand to one of our invaluable Working Circles, to lead a workshop at one of our gatherings, or to spearhead the community as a future Convener or Council member! Trust us, there is a place for you here. Meet us wherever you are. We’d love to have you.

Let’s keep this an open dialogue. You are warmly invited to communicate with the Council, to send us feedback, to ask us for what you need from GSV, to tell us of your sweet dreams of community and how our gatherings might make those dreams come true.

council@gayspiritvisions.org is the perfect way to reach out to us to make this organization what we want it to be. You have a voice. You have desires. We are listening. Our number one goal as a council is to keep our gatherings going, but we can’t do it without you. We’re a living organization. Every year several Council members roll off so that new ones can roll on. You all have the right to be heard, to be heeded, to be held.

Working Circles: Come Play With Us!


The primary purpose of the Council of Trusted Elders of Gay Spirit Visions is to ensure that GSV produces the gatherings that are the core and the crossroads of this community. Without the support and hard work of our dedicated Working Circles, the GSV Council would be powerless to put on the amazing events that, as of this year, we will have been doing for 30 YEARS.

Volunteering with the GSV Working Circles is a fantastic way to build community, to meet new friends, to help create GSV magic, and to ensure the continuation of our magnificent, open-hearted tribe. The Liaisons are the coordinators of their respective Working Circles, and we encourage you to reach out to them if you feel called to dive into GSV for more than the occasional gathering. Being on a GSV Working Circle is one of the best ways to keep that GSV magic going all year long!

The current Liaisons for the Working Circles and an email address where you can reach them are:

Doug Emerson for Altared Spaces ~ Dwemerson52@gmail.com
Ralph Fruchtman for Communications ~ ralph.fruchtman@gmail.com
Dev “Trio” Devereaux for Entertainment ~ devdev5@msn.com
Jeff “Timber” Beacham for Financial Assistance ~ jeff.a.beacham@gmail.com
Wade Lee Jones for Silent Auction ~ wadeleejones@gmail.com
Tony Bayles for Gender Freedom & Expression ~ tonymbayles@gmail.com
Neil Burns for Music & Movement ~ neilburns999@gmail.com
Scotty “Banana Spider” Simons2 for Rituals & Fire ~ scott@simonsleoni.com
Mahan-Kalpa Khalsa for Sacred Touch ~ cycleyogi@gmail.com
Bill Harris for Small Groups ~ bkhdbill1@gmail.com
Ted Gulick for Welcome & Hospitality ~ ted.gulick@gmail.com

Feed the Kitty!


If you would like to contribute to GSV, but find yourself with more money than spare time, donations can be made on the GSV website or by mailing a check to GSV, PO Box 339, Decatur GA 30031. GSV is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Contributions to GSV are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Copyright © 2020 Gay Spirit Visions, All rights reserved.

2020 GSV Winter Meditation

2020 Winter Meditation Picture

Seeing the Unseen: Bringing our Gifts into the Light


January 17 – 19, 2020


The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center ~ Highlands, NC


2020 Winter Meditation Prices

Register Now!

Dear Brothers,

Our Ancestors are with us, supporting, gifting, and enfolding us. These are loved ones we have known and not known; from our family of origin, our chosen queer family, and from the Queer Breath of the Universe that flows around us. They have given us gifts which we may not even know. Let’s bring these gifts into the light.

Friday night, we will gather, meet, greet, and eat. The opening Heart Circle will weave us together in mutual purpose and transform us into a sacred compassionate container in which we do our deep work together as a community. Together we will invite and welcome those who love us, the Sacredness, the Spirits, and our Ancestors. We will ask them to come and help us to know ourselves more fully, especially our hidden gifts and strengths.

On Saturday, we will connect with our deepest, truest self, and invite the luminous being of light within each of us to ignite, shine, and make itself known. Through Systemic Family Constellations, Systemic Ritual, and other techniques, we strengthen our ancestral connections more fully so that the unique universe of mystery which lies within us may come forward in beauty and safety. We will welcome all of ourselves into the circle.

Sunday morning, we break our fast together and share our experiences. We will speak our spiritual experiences out of the dream and into reality thus solidifying their potency. We will thank the Ancestors and the Loving Spirits for holding us so beautifully and we will invite them to depart in beauty. As we take our leave of each other, we will carry into the wide world the bright seeds of our sacred container and all the beauty they contain. May they find fertile ground in which to sprout for all people.

We envision time for reflection and recreation in our schedule, as well as workshops. We invite you to suggest workshops you may wish to offer as well as suggestions for workshops you’d like to see.

Vic Mansfield
Convener, 2020 Winter Meditation
vcmansfield@gmail.com

Register Now!

GSV Winter Meditation: Save the Date

January 17 – 19, 2020


The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center ~ Highlands, NC


Please check back soon for additional information on GSV’s Winter Meditation.

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