Letter from the Council – July 2016

Our Beloved Community,

We, your brothers on the GSV Council, want to express our ongoing commitment to you, our community. We are committed to transparent, respectful, and efficient communication. We are committed to ensuring that every member of our community is heard and has equal access to consideration for all service and decision-making positions within the organization, regardless of personal relationships, financial contributions to the organization, popularity, race, color, religion, gender expression/identity, ethnicity, ancestry, national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, military or veteran status, age, weight, or disability.

We are committed to holding each other accountable for respectful communication, and being strong allies to each other in the face of bullying, outside and within our own community. We are actively pursuing these goals through several avenues. These include: the creation of a community liaison council position; improved orientation for council members including non-violent communication and respectful confrontation; preventing, recognizing, and responding to bullying within the community; and bylaw revisions to streamline operations while protecting our community from the concentration of power and avoid any conflicts of interest.

GSV is an all-volunteer and consensus-driven organization. This means communication, action and change sometimes happen more slowly than any of us would like. We also know that many in our community, including members of our current council, have not always experienced the council’s commitment to these values — and for this, we are truly sorry. We invite you to reach out to us with your concerns and desires, whether through emailing us at info@gayspirivisions.org, or attending a council meeting to witness and give feedback. We will post the next Council meeting dates on Facebook and send an announcement via email. We will follow up with a list of decisions and an action item list on our webpage.

Thank you for the incredible love, wisdom, courage and strength each of you bring to our community and our conferences, and thank you for working with us to make our conferences even more wonderful.

Your Brothers on the GSV Council,

Steven Wilson

Hunter Flournoy

Wendell Johnson

Tony James

Mark “Thunder” Zumbach

Todd Humphrey

Doug Emerson

2016 Fall Conference

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

The information below is from the 2016 Fall Conference


Unlocking your secret superpowers
to live whole-heartedly and change the world.

3 hearts

September 22 – 25, 2016

At The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center, Highlands, NC

Three Nights: $398.90
Four Nights: $489.64

My Dear GSV Family,

During the early morning hours of June 12, 2016, a gunman entered the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killed 49 members of our LGBT community, and injured another 50. The media as well as politicians continue to debate what the Orlando incident means in regard to gun control, terrorism, and homeland security policy. But we in the LGBT community knew all too well that at the core of this horrible incident was another hate crime targeting our community. In the weeks following the Orlando incident, and after the vigils and the grieving, many of us are left questioning if we are ever safe. Many of us are wondering how to handle the anger we have at the ongoing racism and homophobia that spurs such terrible tragedy. Many of us are asking “how are men of spirit to respond to such a thing?”

After many months of planning, the focus of our 2016 Fall Conference has shifted and solidified in the wake of the Orlando tragedy.

Over the course of three days we will come together and work toward unlocking our secret superpowers. How will we be doing this? We’ll be doing this through skill building, storytelling, meditation, movement, love, and fellowship. Each and every one of us has at our core the heart of a superhero. We’ll be working to unlock our superhero gifts, remove blockages, and reconnect in ways we’ve never done so before.

Many of your brothers are already working hard to create the 2016 Fall Conference and they share a commitment to create a safe space that encourages personal growth, community connection, hard work, and a lot of fun. As we are finalizing workshops and activities, opportunities remain for additional offerings and input. If the theme of the conference speaks to you and you’d like to present something, or you just want to get involved in making it all happen, please drop me a line at fallconvener@gayspiritvisions.org. And of course, there will be free time in the schedule should spirit move you to present something once you are at The Mountain.

Over the coming weeks we’ll be sharing more about the theme, activities, and our keynote speaker. We’ll elaborate on which of your favorite fall activities are returning (although with a new spin) and we’ll also have some surprises in store. Watch this page, your email, and/or the GSV Facebook page for announcements and updates!

In the meantime, registration for the GSV 2016 Fall Conference is now open. Please consider registering today! Early registration will assure your spot at this life-affirming and life-changing conference.

Yours in Spirit,
Mark “Thunder” Zumbach
Convener, 2016 Fall Conference

Read More About the 2016 Fall Conference>>
Register for the 2016 Fall Conference>>

Exploring Inner Marriage

Our Spring Retreat

at The Mountain Retreat & Learning Center
Highlands, NC

April 22-24, 2016

two Nights Lodging & Meals: $237.15

Spring in the Mountains

Spring in the Mountains

 Please Register Soon

It’s less than two weeks until we gather at The Mountain. We will likely not sell out for this gathering so you may be able to register up until the last minute, but the sooner you register the better we can plan. Please join us. It won’t be the same without you! Financial assistance is available if you need it.

The Silent Auction

If you are planning to attend, please bring something of value to you that would like to find a new home. Place it on the auction tables so that others may bid on it. Likewise, bid on a treasure that wants to go home with you. The proceeds go to our Scholarship Program. Last year your generosity provided twenty-three spirits with the funds they needed to come to a GSV Gathering.

Submitting bidding sheets for your auction items digitally is
quick and easy if you use this form.

You’ll Have Lots of Free Time

While there is never an event at a GSV gathering that has required attendance, we hope you will join us for the programing specifically focused on the theme of Exploring Inner Marriage which will end around 3pm on Saturday.

Official “free time” begins at 3pm on Saturday and continues until closing after lunch on Sunday.

During that free time, a group of generous community members will offer a variety of experiences created to give us a deeper knowledge of who we are and how we go in the world. And have fun.

On Saturday Afternoon

• An Exploration of Dreams and Synchronicities offered by Sted Mays who invites you to bring a recent dream or synchronicity to share if you so wish.
• An Astrological Exploration of Mars; The Prince, Warrior and Porn Star in You offered by Jeff Graham. Jeff asks that you send your birth information to him before the Retreat (grah6070@bellsouth.net) so that he can prepare your chart. Or feel free to just show up.
• Gentle Yoga lead by David Jones and accompanied by Teddy Jones on harp.

On Sunday Morning

• A Guided Soul Journey to Connect with Our Inner Lovers offered by David Chitara.
• Play Time offered by Dev Deveraux. Cooperative games and activities (a little like last fall, but also different).
• Creative Letter Writing offered by Zach (Sugar) Matteson. The Focus will be on writing a dialog between our Feminine and Masculine selves, but feel free to write whatever letters need to be written.

At Other Times

Saturday and Sunday mornings: Sunrise Meditation. John Schendel will hold the space both days. Teddy Jones will play the harp on Saturday.
 Friday Night: “Getting Go” an award winning film that takes a worn out topic (unrequited gay longing), sets it in the now, and fills it with new life and meaning. Todd Humphrey will be you host.
• Saturday Night: GSV’s first ever Symposium. Think Plato not grad school! An exploration of beauty, love and virtue woven together by music, food, touch, and breath. Zach (Sugar) Matteson is your host and encourages togas and head wreathes. No toga? Ms. Google and a bed sheet will have you up to speed in no time. Sarongs and skirts can be fun too if that strikes your fancy.
Saturday Night: After the Symposium, we’ll show “Were The World Mine” a Disneyesque, queer romantic comedy-fantasy based on “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with a long list of awards and accolades. Sweet dreams are made of this.
Anytime: Explore the amazing sub-tropical rain forest that surrounds us. Late night snacks and beverages in the dining hall. Visit Meditation Rock and do just that. Hold hands, share hugs, laugh, cry and be gay.

Still Not Sure?big-joy-the-adventures-of-james-broughton-la-locandina-del-film-267573

Perhaps these words from the poet James (Big Joy) Broughton, the Keynoter at our second Fall Conference in 1991, will encourage you to register soon.


I took a sharp look
I took a long prowl
I questioned the serpent
I questioned the owl
I called up the mayor
I called on the sage
I tried reading Proust
I tried life on the stage
I went into therapy
I went out for sports
I suffered every ailment
from sniffles to warts
I went to the dogs
I went to the Pope
I climbed Annapurna
I fasted on dope
I dug up the desert
I delved in the sea
But nowhere I looked
could I recognize me

So eventually I
had to give up my plan
of escape to Siam
and accept myself here
just as I am

But it wasn’t easy




Exploring Inner Marriage

Our Spring Family Reunion

at The Mountain Retreat & Learning Center
Highlands, NC

April 22-24, 2016

two Nights Lodging & Meals: $237.15

Spring in the Mountains

Spring in the Mountains

Catching up with old friends and making new ones is at the very heart of every GSV gathering. 

Yes, we have a compelling theme and our schedule includes a number of ways to explore your understanding of Inner Marriage through ritual, story sharing, meditation, movement and touch. There will be community led workshops that include Dream Work, a Meditation connecting us to our inner lover, Restorative Yoga, Play and Writing.  Saturday night’s events include a GSV 2016 riff on two classic Greek themes. Prepare to laugh, learn and open your heart.

That said It is what you bring to The Mountain (your love, your fears, your humor, your yearning) that creates magic and allows the weekend to come alive far, far more than the sum of its parts.  

Our family Spring Reunion and Retreat is only a month away.  Your presence, and that of your friends, will only make it richer.  Scholarships are available, so please don’t let a tight budget keep you at home.

Presenter Update

On Saturday morning Andrew Lawler will set the stage for Andy Foskey, John Schendel and Gary (Pleasure) Kaupman to share their very personal and very different stories about Exploring Inner Marriage. After we’ve heard those stories, Andrew will lead us on an Inner Marriage Meditation followed by sharing in small groups.

You met Andrew and Andy (Ann Dee) Foskey last month. Here’s a bit of background on John and Pleasure.

John Schendel
attended his first GSV gathering on September 13, 2001. Describing his

John Schendel

John Schendel

journey he says “Inner marriage for me is a crude, willful attempt to reunify the masculine, feminine, old, and young inside of me who have always been just one despite what my wounded, unsettled body thinks it knows.” He and Gary have been friends for longer than either can remember.



Gary (Pleasure) Kaupman started coming to GSV gatherings about eight years before there was a GSV. Asked about their conscious inner marriage exploration which started three years ago, Pleasure says, “Wow! I’ve understood inner marriage in my brain for most of my life, but coming to understand it in my body led to an understanding and healing that I could never have imagined.”

Yin and Yang
(made very simple) 

You know the symbol; it is almost ubiquitous in our binary culture. It’s easy to see the black (yang) and white( yin ) sides of the circle as being in opposition to each other, but that is not what Chinese philosophers had in mind in the fourth century before common era as they pondered the world around them.

Yin and Yang

Yin and Yang

They saw ying and yang as different but complimentary energies that create a whole larger that the sum of its parts. (If you have been to a GSV gathering, that’s a concept that you likely understand easily.) The little dots of opposing colors present in both yin and yang are there to remind us that everything has both yin and yang energies.  

In Daoist Metaphysics the distinctions between black and white, masculine and feminine, thinking and feeling are understood to be perceptual rather than real.

Together, and in balance, they create the Tao/Dao which can be understood as our spiritual path.

Register Now

(If you need help registering call The Mountain
at (828) 526-5838 x218)

Exploring Inner Marriage

Exploring Inner Marriage

at The Mountain Retreat & Learning Center
Highlands, NC

April 22-24, 2016
Two Nights Lodging & Meals: $237.15

Spring in the Mountains

Spring in the Mountains

Several folks have asked ‘How am I going to benefit from exploring inner marriage?”

It’s a good question.

Different traditions and philosophies approach this question through different lenses, but they all come to the same conclusion: this exploration is a vital step on our journeys to becoming whole.

Another way to say that: these explorations can help us move from ego-centered consciousness to a soul-centered consciousness.

Or in the context of the hippies and flower children and “make love not war” you might think of inner marriage as the path to deepening your internal love of self which allows your external expression of love to be more authentic.

How are we going to do this come April 22-24?

We’ll start on Saturday morning by listening to the stories of three folks whose approaches and experiences with inner marriage are very unique and different.

Andy (Ann Dee) Foskey

Andy (Ann Dee) Foskey

Andy (Ann Dee) Foskey is longtime friend of co-convener Romer Taylor and newcomer to GSV. His explorations on this path began organically when he was quite young.  Ann Dee is a Librarian who lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  “I love the feel of the wind in my beard, but I don’t mind friendly fingers either…”

We’ll introduce the other story tellers in our next update.

Andrew Lawler

Andrew Lawler

After we’ve heard these stories, Andrew Lawler will use a guided meditation to help us go inside, explore our own unique masculine and feminine energies, and encourage them to begin a dialog with each other. Andrew is a writer who lives in Asheville, NC and is on the faculty of the Body Electric School. He has been in Inner Marriage Counseling for more than a decade and has a deep knowledge of this exploration. His wisdom provided an essential piece in co-convener Gary Kaupman’s understanding of his inner marriage.

The remainder of the weekend will provide a number of opportunities to continue these explorations through movement, meditation, touch, writing, dreams, play, and song.


The Marriage of Shakti and Shiva

(made very simple)

In the tantric understanding, the god Shiva is the symbol for consciousness, the primary masculine energy. The goddess Shakti is the symbol for activating power and energy, which is the primary feminine energy. Kundalini/Shakti is the feminine energy that resides at the bottom of the spine of every individual.

Consciousness/Shiva is the top most chakra, the head. In order for Shakti and Shiva to live in harmony, Shakti rises up to meet the Shiva with the goal of inner marriage and a life filled with pleasure.

Shiva and Shakti

Shiva and Shakti

When Shiva’s wife Sati (who was an incarnation of Shakti) died, Shiva was so overcome with grief that he isolated himself from the whole world. He retired into a dark cave buried amongst the snow covered peaks of the Himalayas and became inclined towards asceticism, rejecting the outside world.

Shiva’s meditation practice was so focused and so deep that he acquired great knowledge that filled his body with heat and energy. Problem was, all this knowledge was within Shiva and of no use to anyone else.

The other gods got worried and started invoking the mother goddess, Shakti, who appeared before them as ‘Kundalini’ a coiled serpent. In answer to their prayers, Shakti said that she would coil herself around Shiva and would wean out his knowledge and energy for the good of the world. Shakti then took birth as Parvati and united with Shiva again.

Together, completing each other, they become the divine parents and constitute the whole of the universe. They are inseparable; neither exists without the other.

If you would like to know more about a practical understanding and use of the Shiva/Shakti legend, we recommend the book “Kali Rising: Foundational Principles of Tantra for a Transforming Planet” by Dr. Rudy Ballentine, a past Keynoter at GSV.


Jason Buchannan

Jason Buchannan

We are pleased that Jason Buchannan will be joining our team as Faerie Wrangler for the Spring Retreat. His initial job will providing support to the presenters to be sure they have the support they need to make their contributions rich and meaningful. And to wrangle Gary and Romer if they stray from the pasture. Jason makes his home in Raleigh, North Carolina where, when not working in consumerism with plants, he can be found organizing young adult resistance movements that work to reclaim self and divinity.


Merry Meet! Merry Part! And Merry Meet Again!

Gary, Romer and Jason


Register Now

(If you need help registering call The Mountain
at (828) 526-5838 x218)

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