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

 


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>>