Spring Retreat

  • GSV 2023 Spring Retreat Post 3 – Last Call

    GSV Spring Logo

    From Vulnerability to Intimacy: Exploring the Threshold

    May 12-14, 2023

    The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center, Highlands NC

    3 Day/2 Night Package (Friday through Sunday)


    Bunk House (shared room up to 4 people): $190.00


    Lodge or Duplex Cabin (double occupancy): $220.00


    Single Occupancy (private room): $340.00


    For All Rooms add Mandatory GSV program fee: $35.00

    Register Now!

    On the threshold, the entire past and the endless future rush to meet one another.
    —Gunilla Norris

    Dear Siblings,

    The time of our Spring Retreat gathering is getting closer and the anticipation of being with you all is growing stronger. I am eager and excited to share mutual experiences of intimate and vulnerable conversations during our time together. I hope you are eagerly anticipating this as well.

    As a reminder, our opening time together on Friday evening will honor our GSV traditions, followed by simple, meaningful conversations, and gentle touch; tea and biscuits may even be involved!

    On Saturday you will be invited into experiences that will allow you to explore the thresholds we cross as we journey from vulnerability to intimacy. These will include clothed sacred touch, an exploration of sacred wisdom, and a discussion of how our identity is itself a threshold into deeper intimacy. Finally, there will be an invitation to have a socially nude experience through boundary setting and ritual. On Saturday evening we will share in drumming and camaraderie around our sacred fire.

    Throughout the weekend there will be plenty of unstructured downtime to allow you an opportunity to encounter The Mountain and our siblings in whatever way you desire.

    I know many of you may be expecting organized higher levels of sacred and erotic touch during our time at The Mountain. To be clear, the Spring Retreat will not have an organized massage event, puppy pile, dedicated intimacy space, or other types of higher-level touch opportunity. What you will have, if you wish, is an opportunity to seek and create higher levels of touch on your own—good practice for being vulnerable, intimate, and asking for what you need from your siblings. It is, perhaps, a different way of encountering the presence of your fellow siblings and the energy of The Mountain.

    Financial assistance, in the form of scholarships, is available. The financial assistance application submission deadline is April 30. We hope that anyone who resonates with our mission and community, and who has the desire to attend, can join us at our gatherings. To that end, we offer financial assistance through the Raven Wolfdancer Financial Assistance Fund. Please go to the Financial Assistance page on the Gay Spirit Visions website for more information about financial assistance (scholarships) and for a link to the GSV financial assistance application form. Remember, the financial assistance application submission deadline is April 30.

    Registration is now open via the GSV website, so please join us. To inquire about the availability of private rooms, which are available on a limited basis, please call The Mountain office at (828) 526-5838.

    So, come—enter into your vulnerability and discover intimacy. Come—stand on your thresholds and listen to how they are calling you deeper into new manifestations of yourself. Come—your siblings and The Mountain await you.

    Douglas Argue
    GSV 2023 Spring Retreat Convener

    Register Now!

  • GSV 2023 Spring Retreat Post 2

    GSV Spring Logo

    From Vulnerability to Intimacy: Exploring the Threshold

    May 12-14, 2023

    The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center, Highlands NC

    3 Day/2 Night Package (Friday through Sunday)


    Bunk House (shared room up to 4 people): $190.00


    Lodge or Duplex Cabin (double occupancy): $220.00


    Single Occupancy (private room): $340.00


    For All Rooms add Mandatory GSV program fee: $35.00

    Register Now!

    On the threshold, the entire past and the endless future rush to meet one another.
    —Gunilla Norris

    Dear Siblings,

    I am very excited to be the convener for the Gay Spirit Visions 2023 Spring Retreat and look forward to sharing our experiences of intimacy and vulnerability as we explore the various thresholds we will encounter while moving from vulnerability to deeper intimacy — with ourselves, with each other, and with the Divine.

    Our opening time together on Friday evening will honor our GSV traditions, followed by simple, meaningful conversations, and gentle touch; tea and biscuits may even be involved!

    On Saturday you will be invited to attend workshops that will offer more exploration of the thresholds we cross as we journey from vulnerability to intimacy. These will include clothed sacred touch, an exploration of Sufi wisdom, a discussion of our shadow selves, and an exploration of how our identity is itself a threshold into deeper intimacy. Finally, there will be an invitation to have a socially nude experience through boundary setting and ritual. On Saturday evening we will share in drumming and camaraderie around our sacred fire.

    Throughout the weekend, there will be plenty of unstructured downtime to give you an opportunity to encounter The Mountain and our siblings in whatever way you desire.

    Financial assistance, in the form of scholarships, is available. The financial assistance application submission deadline is April 30. Our hope is that anyone who resonates with our mission and community, and who has the desire to attend, can join us at our gatherings. To that end, we offer financial assistance through the Raven Wolfdancer Financial Assistance Fund. Please go to the Financial Assistance page on the Gay Spirit Visions website for more information about financial assistance (scholarships) and for a link to the GSV financial assistance application form. Remember, the financial assistance application submission deadline is April 30.

    Registration is now open via the GSV website, so please join us. To inquire about the availability of a private room, which are available on a limited basis, please call The Mountain office at (828) 526-5838.

    Come — enter into your vulnerability and discover intimacy. Come — stand on your thresholds and listen to how they are calling you deeper into new manifestations of yourself. Come — your siblings and The Mountain await you. Aho!

    Douglas Argue
    GSV 2023 Spring Retreat Convener

    Register Now!

  • GSV 2023 Spring Retreat Post 1

    GSV Spring Logo

    From Vulnerability to Intimacy: Exploring the Threshold

    May 12-14, 2023

    The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center, Highlands NC

    3 Day/2 Night Package (Friday through Sunday)


    Bunk House (shared room up to 4 people): $190.00


    Lodge or Duplex Cabin (double occupancy): $220.00


    Single Occupancy (private room): $340.00


    For All Rooms add Mandatory GSV program fee: $35.00

    Register Now!


    On the threshold, the entire past and the endless future rush to meet one another.
    —Gunilla Norris

    Dear Siblings,

    I have often been intrigued by the line between vulnerability and intimacy — just how vulnerable do I need to be to have authentic intimacy? You are invited to join me at the Gay Spirit Visions 2023 Spring Retreat to explore the various thresholds one can find during the process of moving from vulnerability to intimacy. We will engage with each other to learn more about making our way through our thresholds — “the magnitude or intensity that must be exceeded for a certain reaction, phenomenon, result, or condition to occur or be  manifested” — and enter deeper into vulnerability and intimacy.

    Financial assistance, in the form of scholarships, is available. The financial assistance application submission deadline is April 30. Our hope is that anyone who resonates with our mission and community, and who has the desire to attend, can join us at our gatherings. To that end, we offer financial assistance through the Raven Wolfdancer Financial Assistance Fund. Please go to the Financial Assistance page on the Gay Spirit Visions website for more information about financial assistance (scholarships) and for a link to the GSV financial assistance application form. Remember, the financial assistance application submission deadline is April 30.

    Registration is now open via the GSV website, so please join us. To inquire about the availability of a private room, which are available on a limited basis, please call The Mountain office at (828) 526-5838.

    Douglas Argue
    GSV 2023 Spring Retreat Convener

    Register Now!

  • GSV 2022 Spring Retreat: Last Call

    Spring 2022

    From Dirt to Dynamic


    May 13 – 15, 2022*


    The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center, Highlands, NC


    3 Day/2 Night Package (Friday through Sunday)


    Lodge (shared room) $210.00 plus tax


    Cabin (shared room) $210.00 plus tax


    Bunk House (shared room up to 4 people) $180.00 plus tax


    Register now!


    Registration closes Tuesday, May 10

    Dear Siblings:

    Soon we will gather at The Mountain and embrace the energies and entities conspiring for our continued joy. Breathe in deeply and take in the idea that you are worthy and loved in grace.

    You have been told in the past that there are certain requirements for you to be loved. This is simply not true. You are loved simply because you exist.

    You are a part of all that is, so to not accept love for yourself is the same as not loving everything. The reason it feels bad to love one thing and not love another is because that is not the truth about love.

    We all have a decision to make. Do I exist in a universe that collaborates for my peace and joy or not? In one case you live as though everything is a miracle, in the other, nothing is a miracle. Which choice benefits you the most?

    Life is a gift. A miraculous gift that is given to us one moment at a time. Occasionally the wrapping paper the gift comes in is very unattractive. But there is a precious jewel enclosed in every moment of existence.

    We will learn during our time together how we can take our past and reframe it to bring us new life. We have wisdom because of our past. What we have come through has given us the strength and knowledge to truly soar in the present and into the future.

    Let us all come together as a family. Let us combine our grand wisdom. Let us empower ourselves through community and connection. It is our calling to love the world uniquely, to empower it, and to show it a new way so that everyone can find peace, joy, and love.

    Love, Peace, Release,
    “Angel” Pete Cossaboon
    GSV 2022 Spring Retreat Convener

    Register now!


    Registration closes Tuesday, May 10

    * May 13 — Registration starts at 3 PM and Program starts at 6 PM
    May 15 — Program ends after noon lunch

  • GSV 2022 Spring Retreat: From Dirt to Dynamic

    Spring 2022

    From Dirt to Dynamic

    May 13 – 15, 2022

    The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center, Highlands, NC

    3 Day/2 Night Package (Friday through Sunday)


    Lodge (shared room) $210.00 plus tax


    Cabin (shared room) $210.00 plus tax


    Bunk House (shared room up to 4 people) $180.00 plus tax


    Register now!


    Hello GSV Family!

    Well, spring is officially here, although I don’t know that Mother Nature got the message!

    Our 2022 Spring Retreat will be here before you know it, and I am so excited for all of us to gather. This retreat will be an opportunity for us to learn from each other, to connect with the powerful forces at The Mountain, and to tap into our own wellness and wisdom.

    Accommodations are filling up fast, and this will be a wonderful way to make 2022 a year of dynamic healing and growth. Conflict is a part of the natural order of the world, and we will be looking at how to take all the negative we are surrounded by every day and transform it into energy for the future. Think of it as energy recycling!

    Mother Earth is a perfect teacher of how to take the discards of the past and transform them into resources for future growth. How can our pain, disappointments, and failures be our most prized possessions? We all have the opportunity to take wisdom from life’s lessons. Wisdom is priceless, since it cannot be purchased for any amount of money.

    The Serenity Prayer asks us to know the difference between what we can and cannot change. Hidden in that message is our ability to change our relationship with what we can and what we cannot change. If we change our relationship with what bothers us to a point where it no longer bothers us, is it still a problem?

    Each of us truly has the ability to make the decision of what we focus on and what the meaning of everything is. These two decisions either make us a powerful voice in our own life or powerless to outside forces.

    Financial assistance, in the form of scholarships, is available. The financial assistance application submission deadline is April 29. Our hope is that anyone who resonates with our mission and community, and who has a desire to attend, can join us at our gatherings. To that end, we offer financial assistance through the Raven Wolfdancer Financial Assistance Fund. Please go to the Financial Assistance page on the Gay Spirit Visions website for more information about financial assistance (scholarships) and for a link to the GSV financial assistance application form. Remember, the financial assistance application submission deadline is April 29.

    Please note! This retreat will fill up quickly. Register today and let us join together and create a whole new world starting with each of us.

    Let us gather, recognize each other’s power, and tap into our own innate strength.

    Love, Peace, Release,
    “Angel” Pete Cossaboon
    GSV 2022 Spring Retreat Convener

    PS:
    I made a video describing the retreat

  • GSV 2022 Spring Retreat: From Dirt to Dynamic

    Spring 2022

    From Dirt to Dynamic

    May 13 – 15, 2022


    The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center, Highlands, NC

    3 Day/2 Night Package (Friday through Sunday)


    Lodge (shared room) $210.00 plus tax


    Cabin (shared room) $210.00 plus tax


    Bunk House (shared room up to 4 people) $180.00 plus tax


    Register Now


    Hello GSV Family!

    It is finally here! The Gay Spirit Visions 2022 Spring Retreat is just around the corner and we could not be more excited. The title for the spring retreat this year is From Dirt to Dynamic. First, I want to ask you a couple of questions. Are you able to experience joy in the darkest hours of your life? Do you feel empowered or completely overwhelmed by the world situation? Well, I am here to tell you that joy is available to you in every moment and that you get to decide how the world affects you.

    How do we find joy and empowerment in this crazy world full of pain and dismay? I am so glad you asked, because that is exactly what we will be exploring! Are you ready to take the negative from yesterday and use it for growth and expansion? I am too. From within ourselves, we will be utilizing tools and resources that help us change our relationship with the outside. It isn’t about that which is coming at you, it is about how you interpret it. Let’s learn the language of divine joy and start singing the song of peace and fulfillment with the uni-verse (one-song).

    Oh, one more thing. I need your assistance! I am looking for workshop leaders with tools and resources that facilitate positive change. Some ideas for these workshops could include, but certainly aren’t limited to:

    • Ho’oponopono — Hawaiian technique of forgiveness and release
    • The Work of Byron Katie
    • Cutting cords
    • Journaling your dream life
    • Breathwork
    • Release through dance or body movement
    • Body work of any kind
    • The power of the mind
    • How emotions fuel our future
    • You and the quantum field

    Do you have an idea for a workshop that helps our brothers and siblings to experience positive change? Please let me know by contacting me at
    [email protected]. Thank you!

    Financial assistance, in the form of scholarships, is available. The financial assistance application submission deadline is April 29. Our hope is that anyone who resonates with our mission and community, and who has a desire to attend, can join us at our gatherings. To that end, we offer financial assistance through the Raven Wolfdancer Financial Assistance Fund. Please go to the Financial Assistance page on the Gay Spirit Visions website for more information about financial assistance (scholarships) and for a link to the GSV financial assistance application form. Remember, the financial assistance application submission deadline is April 29.

    Please note! This retreat will fill up quickly. Register today and let us join together and create a whole new world starting with each of us.

    Love, Peace, Release,
    Pete Cossaboon “Angel Pete”
    Convener, GSV 2022 Spring Retreat

    PS: I made a video describing the retreat

  • GSV 2021 Spring Retreat

    Spring Retreat

    Growing the Seeds of Hope and Reconnecting with


    Self, Sangha, & Sacred Cosmos

    May 7-9, 2021


    A virtual Zoom-based experience

    $35 registration fee


    Additional donations for the GSV Scholarship Fund and/or The Mountain can also be made in the registration portal.

    Register now!

    Dear Siblings,

    Instead of sending out a “last call for the conference,” I wanted to write you a personal note. I have a question for you.

    Why come to one more Zoom conference, when everything in you wants to rush out into the world and be together with people you love?

    Thirty years of experience as a breathworker, trauma therapist, and spiritual healer have taught me:

    integration is everything —

    And integration absolutely requires a few moments of catching our breaths together, harvesting our learning, healing our wounds, and setting a new course together.

    And this is a chance to do exactly that.

    It’s like the time at the end of a breath session, when the music quiets and you rest from the hard work of catharsis, journeying, and visioning … and let everything you’ve experienced soak into your bones and crystalize into a few clear insights to guide your life as you rise.

    We’ve created the GSV Virtual Spring Retreat to do just this. I’ve asked some of the most seasoned teachers, facilitators, and mischief-makers in our community to come together, to share their own stories of hope and reconnection, and support you in reflecting on your own. People who’ve done the hard work of integrating their own journeys and the even harder work of helping others, do the same.

    We’ve all been through it this year. Many of us ache to “get back to normal.” The funny thing is, though, we don’t “get back to normal” after traumatic experiences — we either heal and grow, harvesting our own discoveries and changing the course of our lives — or we stay braced against the powerful changes inside ourselves and around us.

    There is extraordinary power in our community. I hope you’ll join us in harnessing and celebrating it.

    And I think it’s gonna be a helluva lot of fun.

    Come, come, whoever you are! Wanderer, worshiper, lover of men,
    Whatever your race, class, culture or color,
    serostatus or sexual wounds,
    whatever you struggle with, heart, mind, body or soul …

    whether you’re gay, bi, questioning, queer, or transgender,
    single or partnered, poly or simply perplexed;
    religious or atheist, spiritual, awestruck,
    addicted, recovering, or reaching for heaven on earth,
    outrageous or quiet, flamboyant or shy, prophetic or peaceful,
    elder or newbie or somewhere between …

    we welcome your sorrows, we welcome your joys,
    we welcome your hunger, we welcome your gifts
    we welcome your stories and questions and yearnings …
    we welcome you home.

    Registration closes on Wednesday, May 5

    Register now!

    See you in Zoomland! Oh, and bring a rock.

    Hunter Flournoy
    GSV Spring Convener

    PS: The opinions expressed above are solely the conclusions of the convener, arising from his own rather unusual if somewhat extensive experience, and should not be taken to represent the opinions of the larger community of GSV, the GSV Council, its membership, humanity, or the galactic federation of planets … 😂

  • GSV 2021 Spring Retreat

    Spring Retreat

    Growing the Seeds of Hope and Reconnecting with


    Self, Sangha, & Sacred Cosmos

    May 7-9, 2021


    A virtual Zoom-based experience

    $35 registration fee


    Additional donations for the GSV Scholarship Fund and/or The Mountain can also be made in the registration portal.

    Register now!

    “For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land …” —from The Song of Songs

    My Beautiful Far-Flung Family,

    Are you ready to cultivate the seeds of hope?

    Are you ready to reconnect with the parts of yourself that have gone into hibernation?

    Are you ready to reconnect with the sacred community that yearns to feel your presence, and the sacred cosmos that yearns for your creativity, passion, and activism?

    How can we live into our yearning patiently, even when we want to leap into each others’ arms?

    Spring has come, and after a year of cultivating resilience in the face of deep division, isolation, and deprivation for so many of us, the time for hope and patient reconnection has come.

    I invite you to join me for our Spring Retreat—yes, still virtual—but a crucial time for coming together to envision our next steps for creating a new world together. We will draw hope from deep within, from each other, and from the sacred cosmos in which we live and move and have our being—and walk forward with one heart!

    “Then it was spring; and in spring anything may happen. Absolutely anything.” —e.e. cummings

    Our time together will be devoted to asking the important questions of our time, celebrating the rich web of connections that sustain and encourage us, reawakening our hearts, bodies, minds, and spirits, and cultivating hope.

    We will begin our time together with laughter, heart-sharing, embodied breathwork, and ceremony on Friday Evening, followed by an open time of sharing the poetry, songs, and stories that have given us hope in the last year.

    One feature of this year’s virtual spring retreat will be the opportunity to deepen our experience of sharing and reconnection by participating in stable breakout groups. As well, a virtual “rocking-chair porch” will be provided so that we can visit with friends old and new.

    Saturday and Sunday Mornings will begin with a beautiful breathwork and movement meditation and Tai Chi with Paul Plate.

    Saturday Morning and Saturday Afternoon, Mahan-Kalpa Khalsa, Andrew Elias Ramer, and I will share the stories of our own journeys of hope and reconnection, drawing from our rich histories of deep spiritual exploration and sacred erotic activism, including over twenty years of combined experience shepherding GSV’s Sacred Touch Working Circle. These stories will be interspersed with Qs & As as well as opportunities to reflect in breakout groups on your own journey of hope and reconnection. We will complete the afternoon with opportunities for gentle breathwork, restorative yoga and harp music with David Jones and Teddy Jones, and an opportunity for deeper reflection with TS Pennington and Allen Lomax.

    Saturday Evening will offer an opportunity for a playful and inspiring workshop, Authentic Relationship, with Sequoia, a dear friend of James Broughton, a transformational life coach, and a long-time teacher of sacred touch and authentic relationship.

    Sunday Morning, we will close with conversations about hope, our individual and collective vision for the next year, a final breathwork experience, and our closing circle.

    I hope you will join me for a playful, joyful, and profound weekend together of growing the seeds of hope!

    All my love,
    Hunter Flournoy
    GSV 2021 Spring Convener and Mischief-Maker

    Register now!


    Spring Retreat

  • GSV 2021 Spring Retreat

    Spring Retreat

    Growing the Seeds of Hope and Reconnecting with


    Self, Sangha, & Sacred Cosmos

    May 7-9, 2021


    A virtual Zoom-based experience

    $35 registration fee


    Additional donations for the GSV Scholarship Fund and/or The Mountain can also be made in the registration portal.

    Register now!

    “For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land …” —from The Song of Songs

    My Beautiful Far-Flung Family,

    Are you ready to cultivate the seeds of hope?

    Are you ready to reconnect with the parts of yourself that have gone into hibernation?

    Are you ready to reconnect with the sacred community that yearns to feel your presence, and the sacred cosmos that yearns for your creativity, passion, and activism?

    How can we live into our yearning patiently, even when we want to leap into each others’ arms?

    Spring has come, and after a year of cultivating resilience in the face of deep division, isolation, and deprivation for so many of us, the time for hope and patient reconnection has come.

    I invite you to join me for our Spring Retreat—yes, still virtual—but a crucial time for coming together to envision our next steps for creating a new world together. We will draw hope from deep within, from each other, and from the sacred cosmos in which we live and move and have our being—and walk forward with one heart!

    “Then it was spring; and in spring anything may happen. Absolutely anything.” —e.e. cummings

    Our time together will be devoted to asking the important questions of our time, celebrating the rich web of connections that sustain and encourage us, reawakening our hearts, bodies, minds, and spirits, and cultivating hope.

    We will begin our time together with laughter, heart-sharing, embodied breathwork, and ceremony on Friday Evening, followed by an open time of sharing the poetry, songs, and stories that have given us hope in the last year.

    Saturday and Sunday Mornings will begin with a beautiful breathwork and movement meditation, and Tai Chi with Paul Plate. Saturday Morning and Saturday Afternoon, Mahan-Kalpa Khalsa and I will share the stories of our own journeys of hope and reconnection, drawing from our rich histories of deep spiritual exploration and sacred erotic activism, including over twenty years of combined experience shepherding GSV’s Sacred Touch committee. These stories will be interspersed with Q&A and opportunities to reflect in breakout groups on your own journey of hope and reconnection. We will complete the afternoon with opportunities for gentle breathwork and restorative yoga and harp music with David Jones and Teddy Jones, and an opportunity for deeper reflection with TS Pennington and Allen Lomax. Saturday Evening will offer an opportunity for a playful and inspiring workshop, Nourish Your Heart, with John Sorozcak, a long-time facilitator in California Men’s Gatherings. Sunday Morning we will close with conversations on our individual and collective vision for the next year, a final breathwork experience, and our closing circle.

    One feature of this year’s virtual spring retreat will be the opportunity to deepen our experience of sharing and reconnection by participating in stable breakout groups. As well, a virtual “rocking-chair porch” will be provided so that we can visit with friends old and new.

    Financial assistance, in the form of scholarships, is available. The financial assistance application submission deadline is April 22, 2021. Our hope is that anyone who resonates with our mission and community, and who has a desire to attend, can join us at our gatherings. To that end, we offer financial assistance through the Raven Wolfdancer Financial Assistance Fund. Please go to the Financial Assistance page on the Gay Spirit Visions website for more information about financial assistance (scholarships) and for a link to the GSV financial assistance application form. Remember, the financial assistance application submission deadline is April 22, 2021.

    I hope you will join me for a playful, joyful, and profound weekend together of growing the seeds of hope!

    All my love,
    Hunter Flournoy, GSV 2021 Spring Convener and Mischief-Maker

    Register now!


    Spring Retreat

  • GSV Virtual Spring Retreat:  In the Wellspring of Queer Resilience: Listening to the Wisdom of Our Ancestors

    2020 Spring Retreat
    Dear Gentle Ones,

    Our Spring GSV Virtual Gathering begins this coming weekend on Friday evening, May 15th, at 7:00 p.m. EDT.

    I am pleased to share with you that we have an outstanding series of workshops planned for you on Saturday, May 16th, with Hunter Flournoy, Andrew Ramer, and David and Teddy Jones.

    Across space and time, we will have the opportunity to create the gentle, warm, and playful community just like we have so enjoyed all these years previously on our beloved mountaintop. This year we open arms and hearts to each other wherever we are and welcome each other as we hold sacred presence with ourselves and with our community. Our capacity is 50 people. There are about 12 spaces still available. Please register today!
    https://www.themountainrlc.org/gsv-spring-online

    Once you have registered, you will receive an email from me later this week with Zoom links for each session. We recommend you familiarize yourself with Zoom before participating.

    With grateful anticipation of our meeting,

    Mark Medlin, Convener
    Virtual Spring GSV Gathering 2020
    ________________________________________

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


    Virtual Spring GSV Gathering — May 15-17, 2020

    Friday Evening
    7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. EDT
    Welcome and In-Gathering
    Welcome — Mark Medlin
    Fire Bridging — Scotty Simons
    Calling in the Directions — Selected Siblings
    Heart Weaving — Mark Medlin
    Musical Reflection — Bob Strain
    Heart Circle — Paul Plate

    Saturday
    Opportunities for Connection and Celebration
    9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. EDT
    GSV Council Town Hall Meeting

    Join your presiding elder, Jason Buchanan, and members of the GSV Council as they talk about our organization and community. You will also hear from a representative from The Mountain and have an opportunity to ask questions.

    10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. EDT
    Rooting and Rising: Discovering our Deepest Resiliency and Truest Visions
    with Hunter Flournoy

    In this turning of the worlds, each of us must root deep in the tremendous strength of the Great Mystery, the Sacred Earth, the community of those we love, the healing power of our own body and breath, and the truest visions of our hearts. In this 90-minute workshop, we will explore each of these through stories, sharing, and practical exercises. Come ready to move, to breathe, to share and bear witness to the incredible strength we can create together.
    Hunter
    Hunter Flournoy is a two-spirited healer, life-coach, breathworker, writer, and master facilitator with a passionate commitment to building community for soulful GBTQ men and helping them change their lives. He is the vision-keeper for Spirit Journeys and a devoted member of our Gay Spirit Visions community.

    12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. EDT
    Optional Virtual Saturday Lunch
    Click on the lunchtime Zoom link and be randomly grouped with four other siblings for an hour’s informal conversation as you dine together in front of your computer.

    2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. EDT
    In the Temple of Father Earth: Embodying the Wisdom of our Gay Ancestors
    with Andrew Ramer

    We are living in a time of unprecedented challenges, caught between the global threats of climate change and the microscopic threats of a new virus. This time invites us to deepen into ourselves, whoever we are, and invites us as men who love men to tap into our own deep archetypal wisdom.

    This workshop emerges from the teachings found in Andrew Ramer’s book Two Flutes Playing. After an introduction to the session, we will go on a guided journey of connection with our ancient gay ancestors, designed to support our own embodied elderhood. We will end with an open conversation about our work of global healing and the ways that we can support each other.
    Andrew
    Andrew Ramer spoke at the first GSV gathering with Harry Hay and Franklin Abbott. In addition to Two Flutes Playing he is the author of Queering the Text and Fragments of the Brooklyn Talmud, a comic kweerish dystopian exploration of texts and stories. andrewramer.com

    4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. EDT
    Yoga with Affirmations for Challenging Times | Men’s Yoga and Harp Meditation
    with David and Teddy Jones

    Your session is a mixture of gentle active yoga as well as restorative yoga. Please have a blanket or big towel, a yoga mat and a strap or belt. Here is your opportunity to stretch and unwind after a full day of reflection and connection. Yoga and meditation will enable you to integrate all your awareness and learning in embodiment.
    David & Teddy
    David Jones has been teaching in the greater Nashville area for eleven years. During much of this time he also taught at The Recovery Ranch, a drug and alcohol treatment center. In the recent year he began working at Milestones at Onsite with a focus in trauma recovery. He offers a basic hatha class, a light vinyasa flow accessible to all levels. His focus has become restorative yoga. He teaches spiritual and restorative workshops regularly.

    Teddy Jones is an acoustic harpist who specializes in original music created for special events and ceremonies. His recordings are improvisations that can be used for meditation, stress release, massage, yoga, and healing.

    Sunday
    Celebration for Preparing Ourselves for Action in the World

    10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. EDT
    Releasing the Directions – Mark Medlin and Selected Siblings
    Musical Reflection – Bob Strain
    Heart Circle – Paul Plate
    Closing Song: Dear Friends, Queer Friends – Wendall Johnson

    12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. EDT
    Optional Virtual Sunday Lunch
    Click on the lunchtime Zoom link and be randomly grouped with four other siblings for an hour’s informal conversation as you dine together in front of your computer.

  • GSV Virtual Spring Retreat: Announcement Concerning Registration

    Greetings Siblings,

    We have been made aware that the registration process has a few unexpected issues concerning payment for this Spring Conference. We are currently working with The Mountain to clear up the confusion in the registration process. It has always been our intention to offer this conference *free of charge* and that any donation, including the suggested donation, to the mountain is totally optional, though appreciated. Your registration is sufficient for attendance.

    We are all learning from this new experience and working out the kinks, so if more concerns arise, please reach out so that we are able to address them as best we can and make things right.

    With love and appreciation for all of you in this community,
    Your Trusted Council of Elders

  • GSV Virtual Spring Retreat: In the Wellspring of Queer Resilience: Listening to the Wisdom of Our Ancestors

    2020 Spring Retreat
    Dear Siblings,

    Greetings, heartfelt appreciation, and comforting hugs to each of you. How much has changed since my previous letter to you announcing the GSV spring retreat which was to have been held live and in person, face-to-face, and heart-to-heart, at The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center on May 8th through 10th. However, as you may have already been aware, The Mountain has cancelled all live and in person events and is temporarily closed in accordance with the North Carolina governor’s Stay At Home order.

    Instead, I’m delighted to announce that we are holding the first ever GSV Virtual Spring Retreat! It will be held in four 90-minute Zoom sessions on May 15th, 16th & 17th .

    Like so many other organizations, we have been working to reorient ourselves around a meaningful and engaging live Zoom video communications experience that we can use to explore and experiment with together. In venturing into this new technology-based way of being, we are each called upon to breathe even more deeply, to be patient with ourselves, and each other, and to be open to the moving of gay spiritedness between us across space and time to create community and connection.

    The draft agenda for our virtual spring retreat, subject to last minute changes, appears below.

    If you’ve never participated in a Zoom event before, please consider watching the following video tutorial prior to Friday evening’s opening event so that you will be more at ease and present.
    https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362193-Joining-a-Meeting

    Some basic suggestions:
    1. When you are using Zoom, make sure that the light on your face is brighter than the light in the background; otherwise, we can’t see your bright eyes and beautiful smile.

    2. Make sure the environment you are in — whether outside or inside — is completely quiet with no music or noise in the background.

    3. Using a 4″ x 6″ index card or something similar, write the name you wish to be called by with a black magic marker, or print your name in large print, so you can hold it up as needed during a session. You’ll understand more about this during the event.

    Rainbow

    Registration information:


    To participate in this virtual event, please register through The Mountain Learning and Retreat Center at this website link: https://www.themountainrlc.org/gsv-spring-online. As you complete the registration process on The Mountain’s website, we suggest you consider giving a donation to The Mountain of about $69.00. In honor of The Mountain’s 30 years of service to our community, we invite you to consider making an additional donation. In any case, please know that no one will be turned away for any reason because of financial constraints. Because this virtual experience is new for all of us, total registration is limited to 50 siblings.

    I welcome your presence as we create space together, leaning in to sustaining connection even across space and time.

    With gratitude for each of you and for our living, breathing community,

    Mark Medlin (Rainbow Sprinkles)
    Convenor, GSV Spring Retreat 2020

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


    Gay Spirit Visions Virtual Spring Retreat


    May 15-17, 2020


    Agenda

    Friday, May 15th
    7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
    Welcome and In-Gathering
    Welcome – Mark Medlin
    Calling In the Directions – Selected Siblings
    In-Gathering Music – Bob Strain
    Heart Weaving – Mark Medlin
    Heart Circle – Paul Plate

    Saturday, May 16th
    9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
    GSV Council Town Hall Meeting,
    Jason Buchanan, Presiding Elder

    10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
    Opportunities for Connection and Celebration
    Two or three options to be determined.

    12:00 Noon – 1:00 p.m.
    Optional Virtual Saturday Lunch
    Click on the lunchtime Zoom link and be randomly grouped with four other siblings for an hour’s informal conversation as you dine together in front of your computer.

    2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
    Opportunities for Connection and Celebration
    Two or three options to be determined.

    Sunday, May 17th
    10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
    Celebration for Preparing Ourselves for Action in the World
    Naming of the Fall 2020 GSV Conference Convener
    Closing Music – Bob Strain
    Heart Circle – Paul Plate
    Releasing the Directions – Mark Medlin
    Closing Song – Wendell Johnson

    12:00 Noon – 1:00 p.m.
    Optional Virtual Sunday Lunch
    Click on the lunchtime Zoom link and be randomly grouped with four other siblings for an hour’s informal conversation as you dine together in front of your computer.

  • GSV COVID-19 Official Announcement

    2020 Spring Retreat
    Greetings Siblings!

    The Gay Spirit Visions Council has been in discussion for the last month on how to respond to the changes COVID-19 has made in our gathering practices. As you may have already seen on The Mountain’s website, the Spring Retreat at The Mountain has been cancelled. We cannot in good conscience hold a gathering of this nature at this time with such an intimate family such as yourselves. We have hesitated to make the announcement official until we had something for you as an alternative.

    There’s been a debate on whether we should simply cancel the Spring Retreat and do nothing until the Fall Conference, assuming things recover by then. However, during this time of physical isolation, where many are struggling to get their social and spiritual needs met, having a spirit-based community of like-minded people such as Gay Spirit Visions to connect with was worth stepping into the unknown to try to make happen for you all. Additionally, if the current epidemic cannot be controlled in this country by September, we might miss out completely on our Fall Conference as well.

    Right now, the council is in discussion with our Spring Convener about the possibility of a virtual Spring Retreat so that we may connect safely with our community in these difficult times. We know that we need something more than a Facebook group and an e-mail list to make a gathering. We are still brainstorming and running logistics on possibilities for what this might look like and how best to implement it. We’ve decided it’s worth pursuing because it’s an exercise in adaptability for our organization and it gives us experience for handling similar circumstances in the future. We’re trying to keep options open, setting signposts and benchmarks for what may come.

    In our daily lives, many of us are struggling to connect with our friends and family in satisfying ways. We understand a virtual gathering is not the same as hugging our siblings, but right now, it’s what is safe. Again, we’ll be upfront with you. We don’t know what this is going to look like. In truth, we don’t even know if we can pull it off. We have a lot of ideas and we’re trying to find the tangible things that we need in order to manifest our ideas (and to determine which ideas we are even able to implement), and one thing is becoming very apparent: we’re going to need a lot of help if we want to make this happen.

    Most of our ideas come back to the importance of video conferencing to make this happen. That involves someone hosting it. One person cannot host an entire weekend. Our main limitation right now in this regard is the number of people who are willing and able to volunteer to facilitate for a specific amount of time, if we want to make it approximate a weekend retreat.

    We’re also currently focusing on making the heart-to-heart connection happen above all else, which we believe to be at the core of the GSV experience. However, we are still open to potential workshops as long as they can be conducted over a digital medium. It may be difficult-to-impossible to have a traditional Heart Circle, so we’re trying to figure out an appropriate alternative, depending on how many people might attend the gathering. Again, all these ideas are subject to change as we sit down and continue working through what’s feasible and what’s not. Trust us, if we could, we would want nothing more than to give you a full gathering at The Mountain in a safe way, but right now we can’t.

    It will be different. It may be very imperfect. But if we can get together for even a single two-hour gathering, we’re calling it a success. The more help we have, the more we can do. But if we don’t have help, we cannot guarantee that there will be even that to look forward to. So, if you have a desire and willingness to help make this happen, we strongly urge you to reach out to us.

    The best part is you don’t have to leave the comfort of your bed to help!

    If you are a member of a GSV Working Circle, please consider how you might translate your work at The Mountain to a digital medium.

    Please contact [email protected] or [email protected] with your intent to be of service, or if you have questions. (Probably, though, we don’t have many solid answers right now.)

    Thank you for your patience and for your compassionate understanding as we try to navigate the waters of this difficult time.

    From The Council, with Love,

    Jason Buchanan, Presiding Elder
    Robert “Bear of the RO” McDonald, Elder of Finance
    John Rivest, Elder of Records
    Randy Taylor
    Bruce “Dandy” Tidwell
    Jonny “Mothra” Gray
    Mackie “Luna Farfalla” Obando
    Neil Burns
    David Cable

  • 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 [email protected] directly or [email protected] 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 [email protected] or to the council at [email protected] 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 2019 Spring Retreat: Awaken Our Magick

    Awaken Our Magick


    GSV 2019 Spring Retreat

    April 12 – 14, 2019


    The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center, Highlands, NC


    GSV 2019 Spring Retreat
    Loving members of my ever-extending family,

    The time is nigh to awaken with the opening of the green world all around us. We humans often think we live by our own rules, but it is usually nature which holds final sway. Every spring is a time to shoot out of the insulating casings we’ve built around ourselves to survive harsh times with our delicate petals of infinite colors to attract the next step of our life’s journey.

    The natural die-back of the winter is coming to a close. We have made our necessary sacrifices, and into that void, we thrust our being with the beating hearts of all our ancestors, our brothers and sisters of the natural world, and all our future realities, spun from our favorite dreams and woven into a growing community with our intentions, desires, experiences, and joys. I offer this spring retreat to you as an opportunity to build yourself a gossamer web of connections between past and future, self and other, heaven and earth, and space and form, built upon acceptance, understanding, and appreciation.

    The world is such that we are interdependent beings, reliant on one another, whether we want to be or not. What kind of world can we create when we consciously come together? What limitations are left in life when we open our hearts to loving all beings? What do we want our lives, our words, and our worlds to become? Is it possible to separate the you from the understanding I have of myself? What part of nature exists independent of everything else? What can possibly live in a vacuum?

    Coming together is not just a fun and fanciful idea. It is actually impossible NOT to do. You choose not to come together with one being, and that forces you to come together with something else. When we consciously come together and share our thoughts, hopes, fears, and desires, we can reach much farther than we could ever go by ourselves. Alternately, when we view ourselves as independent, suddenly all our resources are scarce, everyone is an Other, and if I cannot do it myself, it cannot be done. These are all lies. You know this to be true.

    So set the old beliefs aside. Come and explore with us what life could be like, if only a taste, a sweet possibility, a temptation of another way to live. Or come and dive deep into our swiftly spiritual waters, if wading is not enough to quench your thirst. We all carry a bucket of beliefs with us wherever we go and if we pool these waters together, we begin to see that anything is possible.

    There is always more room in this mountain lagoon for your beliefs. Let’s dissolve the destructive and limiting beliefs, take their component parts and rebuild our inner world with grace and kindness. Let’s share our truths, our theories, our experiences, and our techniques, and knit our worlds together tighter and stronger. There is love in this labor that yearns for release. Why not share it with those who are sure to cherish it?

    You are welcome here. You will always be welcome here. You are felt in your absence, even if you have not yet walked these paths. Come as you are. Come with all of yourself. There is no need to be anything more or anything less that exactly who you are, in all your shame, glory, courage, or lack thereof. Generations of wisdom run through your veins, whether you know it or not. Like buds in spring, open yourself to the truth that you are already everything you need to be. For yourself, for us, for the world.

    This is a liminal event. Yes, it exists in a specific place and time, but really, it’s where and when it’s not taking place that’s important: your daily life. Yes, it’s both real and very temporary. We cannot live in this space. It’s an infinite space, where anything can become anything else, so long as you believe that it can. This is something for you to use to break out of the winter cocoon of your spirit (regardless of how long you’ve been sleeping) and reenter your everyday reenergized.

    Yes, change can be scary, but it can also be fun. And yes, change can be hard, but it can be so rewarding. Come and explore the possibility of what your magicks bring to community. We’ll be here for you, and you’ll be here for us, and isn’t this give and receive in the same act really something sublime?

    If you are interested in helping out with the retreat in any way during, before, or after the retreat, which is a great opportunity to really inject your magicky goodness into this and meet other people, consider reaching out to me directly at [email protected] or at [email protected] for more information in ways to be of assistance. Fire us an email too, if you have any other questions, comments, or concerns.

    Remember, we do offer financial assistance, if finances are an obstacle. And most of us are happy to carpool. Please do not hesitate to lean on us. Why else are we here but to rely on one another?

    With love, light, and the indomitable spirit of play,
    Jason Lloyd Buchanan, Convener
    GSV Spring Retreat, 2019

    Register for the 2019 Spring Retreat

  • GSV Spring Retreat: Awaken Our Magick

    Awaken Our Magick


    GSV 2019 Spring Retreat

    April 12 – 14, 2019


    The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center, Highlands, NC


    GSV 2019 Spring Retreat
    Most exalted siblings,

    The Spring Conference approaches and the liminal window it promises shudders in the winds of your coming change. Will you be here with us when we open this window and usher in our wildest dreams? We can do more together. Add your voice to ours and let the universe hear what you have to say.

    If not here, where? If not now, when?

    Spring is the perfect time to clean out our skeletons and take stock of what we’re left with after winter has finished whitening our world. The crocuses bloom, the daffodils creep, and the lilies of the valley pop along with the spring beauties while the song of the spring peepers trail close behind. It is time to shed our snow-stiffened snake skins and burn ourselves back to life with phoenix fire.

    Here at The Mountain, I offer a space and a place for you to warm yourself with like-minded magicians of all walks of life. To swap mental seeds for your inner garden and explore what you may have been too nervous to try alone or in the past. You are more powerful than you know. You can do this and anything after. We are creating an opportunity for you to stand in your power, unafraid of your own God-self, supported by all of us who follow a similar path.

    Maybe you’re unsure of what you have to offer. Come anyway. Your openness is a gift as good as, if not better than, any expertise you may or may not claim to have, but we often know more than we think we do. Even a small thing we pick up along the way has the power to change another person’s world. One of the tricks of magick is that you have to believe you’re fully capable of changing the world. If you feel you’re not there, come anyway. We’ll believe in you for you. The universe loves to play.

    And play we shall.

    Intermixed with weekend workshops will be free-form exploration in solo or spontaneous groupwork through the establishment of designated and open play spaces throughout the conference for various fields of spirituality, such as connecting to spirits, creating rituals of your own, sharing healing touch with others, and discussing concepts in a cozy and relaxed atmosphere. Wherever you are, you will find both mentors and seekers in whatever flavor you come: non-theist, poly-theist, mono-theist, medium, healer, psychic, shaman, spiritualist, practitioner, priest, dreamer, channeler, alchemist, mage, meditator, wizard, witch, writer, whatever. There is a place for you here.

    We still have space for more workshops. Show your brothers what you can do; show them how to do it for themselves. Please contact [email protected] directly or [email protected] with requests and further questions.

    Looking forward to magicking with you,
    Jason Lloyd Buchanan, Convener
    GSV Spring Retreat, 2019

    Register for the 2019 Spring Retreat

  • GSV 2019 Spring Retreat: Awaken Our Magick

    Awaken Our Magick


    GSV 2019 Spring Retreat

    April 12 – 14, 2019


    The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center, Highlands, NC


    GSV 2019 Spring Retreat
    Beloved Siblings,

    Magick is defined as the science and art of causing change in conformity to one’s will.

    Maybe this turns you off, but I want to magick with everyone, everywhere, all the time. You may not know it, but every single one of you magicks, and every single one of you magicks in a deliciously unique way.

    When I say “you magick,” what I mean is “you think, speak, and act in ways that manifest your world.” The shadow side of this is that, in reality, you can never not manifest your world. You either do it consciously through intention, or unconsciously through reaction.

    Our dominant society often indoctrinates us into a cold (minus 457.87 degrees Fahrenheit) and unfeeling (without consciousness and absolutely objective) universe of material limitations, which distracts us from our own limitless possibilities. As salve, we are often taught that “everything happens for a reason” and “there is a bigger plan for you.” But neither of these partial truths give us back our power to define our own universes and become what we desire to be, so let me offer this to you as a reminder: There is no power in the universe that can stop you. So long as you have your will, you will find a way.

    As convener, I request your presence this spring at The Mountain to “Awaken Our Magick” as a community. Together, we are going to create a space for all your magicks to be present, heard, and shared with others. Whether your magick takes the form of basic intentionality, ceremony and ritual, trance and other altered states, energy manipulation, psychic intuition, spirit communication, or any other form you have dreamt up, you are welcome here. Advanced practitioners, complete neophytes, and everyone left of, right of, or in between, are welcome here.

    Raise your freak flag, gather your talismans, and prepare yourself for explorations into the invisible fabric of reality that underlies this one. Hand in hand, let’s cross the veil, and feel the omnipresence of love and light on the other side (safe, sane, and consensual practice, of course). No dying necessary.

    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 [email protected] directly or [email protected] with requests and further questions.

    So mote it be,
    Jason Lloyd Buchanan, Convener
    GSV Spring Retreat, 2019

    Register for the 2019 Spring Retreat

  • GSV 2018 Spring Retreat

    Embodying Community: Our Big Spring Thing!

    April 13 -15, 2018


    at The Mountain, Highlands, NC

    Cost is $257.43 (double occupancy) | $332.16 (single occupancy)

    “The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”
    — Mitch Albom

    Greetings Brothers!

    We’ll soon gather at The Mountain, GSV’s spiritual home for more than 26 years, to enjoy hugs, laughs, great conversation, open-hearted men, beautiful vistas, hiking, napping and more. During our Big Spring Thing, you’ll have opportunities to explore what Embodying Community is all about. If you haven’t registered, there’s still time. Click here to get started.

    Community Workshops

    If you have an idea for a workshop, activity or discussion at the Spring Retreat, we still have a few times available. Just send a short description of your idea to [email protected] and include a list of supplies you would need, if any. Please send your proposal no later than Tuesday, April 10th.

    A sign-up sheet will be available at The Mountain for any last-minute workshop ideas.

    What Kinds of Workshops Will Be Offered?

    Some of the workshops we have on tap will provide opportunities to:
    •Let your inner kid come out to play
    •Experience a one-man musical show about life in the theater and the theater in life
    •Explore yoga in a free and liberating way
    •Start your day with positive intentions
    •Understand what makes you happy and develop deeper appreciation for who you are
    •Learn about and experience the benefits of Sacred Sound
    •Surrender to the healing power of Sacred Touch
    •Take a wild ride from isolation to exaltation
    •Explore erotic physical play in a safe setting
    •Find the joy of non-verbal communication through physical movement
    •Learn the power of positive affirmation
    •Explore the importance of recording gay history
    •and more!

    Financial Assistance

    Economic challenges may make it difficult or impossible for some to attend our gatherings. The Raven Wolfdancer Financial Assistance Fund was established to help prevent registration costs from imposing undue financial hardship. For more information and to apply for assistance, visit the Financial Assistance page on our website.

    Th-th-th-that’s all folks!

    We hope to see many of you on The Mountain next weekend.

    Your GSV Council

    Register for the 2018 Spring Retreat

  • GSV 2018 Spring Retreat

    Embodying Community: Our Big Spring Thing!

    April 13 -15, 2018

    at The Mountain, Highlands, NC

    Cost is $257.43 (double occupancy) | $332.16 (single occupancy)

    Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!”
    — Auntie Mame

    Lovely Brothers,

    What are your driving passions? What fascinations do you have that you might want to share with others? What portion of the experiential banquet can you provide for Our Big Spring Thing?

    We would love for you to present a short workshop on a topic dear to your heart, so that we can benefit from your enthusiasm and experience.

    GSV retreats are, and have always been, a place for our community to share gifts, hone skills, and reveal our deliciousness to an open-hearted audience. This year’s Spring Retreat aims to be a showcase of our community for our community.

    Sharing our interests in this way helps to expand our minds, share our fascinations with others, and tighten the weave of our community.

    Several of your GSV siblings have already signed up to share their knowledge, gifts, and talents. Our Big Spring Thing is shaping up to be a delightful feast of experiences, and we’d like the benefit of your knowledge, your hobbies, and your experience as well!

    Won’t you please join us for Our Big Spring Thing?

    If you have a clear sense of what you would like to present, please send a short description of what you have in mind to [email protected] along with a list of any supplies your workshop might require. Those who sign up in advance will get the better presentation spaces, but, as in years past, there will also be a sign-up sheet for those who get up to The Mountain and decide at the last minute that they would like to offer a workshop, give a presentation, or host a salon.

    We look forward to seeing you, and learning from you, up on The Mountain!

    Your Council

    Register for the 2018 Spring Retreat

  • 2018 GSV Spring Retreat

    April 13 -15, 2018

    at The Mountain, Highlands, NC

    Cost is $257.43 (double occupancy) | $332.16 (single occupancy)

    Embodying Community: Our Big Spring Thing

    Sweet siblings in Spirit, we are delighted to invite you to this year’s Gay Spirit Visions Spring Retreat that we are calling Embodying Community: Our Big Spring Thing!

    From its inception, Gay Spirit Visions has woven together the voices, stories, and gifts of our brilliant, open-hearted community, and this year’s Spring Retreat hearkens back to the early days of GSV when all programming came from the vast pool of talent that is y’all.

    We have always striven to make our events a nurturing, empowering setting for revealing our gifts to our community, to the world, and, sometimes, to ourselves, and this spring we are inviting you to share your talents, your passions, your hobbies, and your calling with your siblings in the tribe.

    What do you know, or know how to do, that you can share with us? What fascination do you have that you might also kindle in a GSV sibling? Whether you’re sharing a skill you’ve been honing for decades or a hobby you took up last year, we would love the benefit of your enthusiasm and knowledge. Can you show us how to knit? Can you direct us in a play? Can you host a witty, erudite salon? Have you always wanted to convene a puppy pile?

    If you have a clear sense of what you would like to present, please send a short description of what you have in mind to [email protected] along with a list of any supplies your workshop might require. Those who sign up in advance will get the better presentation spaces, but, as in years past, there will also be a sign-up sheet for those who get up to The Mountain and decide at the last minute that they would like to offer a workshop, give a presentation, or host a salon.

    We look forward to seeing you, and learning from you, up on The Mountain!

    Your Council

    Register for the 2018 Spring Retreat

  • Save the Date

    2018 GSV Spring Retreat

    April 13 – 15, 2018

    The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center

    Highlands North Carolina

    Registration and pricing information will soon be available for the 2018 GSV Spring Retreat. Mark your calendars and plan to join us at The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center in Highlands North Carolina from April 13th to April 15th.

  • 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

    [standout-css3-button href=”https://gayspiritvisions.org/annual-gatherings/spring-retreat/spring-register/”] Register Today [/standout-css3-button]

    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.

     

  • Laughter is Carbonated Prayer

    GSV Spring Retreat

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

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    The Sacred Fool’s Journey

    “It is curious that physical courage should be so common
    in the world and moral courage so rare.”

    ― Mark Twain

    The Fool and his helpers in the image here have a different story than the one we know from tarot cards. The tarot Fool is happy to let us witness his courage as he steps off on a new journey, but he shows no interest in sharing how he developed that courage.

    -Jean-Antoine Watteau

    The Fools in this image are from commedia dell’arte. Unlike the tarot Fool, they encourage us to join them on their journey. They are experts in the art of laughing at themselves; their mission is to teach us this life enhancing skill. The Fool dressed in white is the sad clown; he invites us to project our sadness and fear on to him. With seductive glances, some of the other clowns offer humor to encourage and support us as we explore our sadness and fear. They rejoice when we find the courage to laugh at ourselves and host a bacchanal when we go forth and encourage others to do the same.

    In his book, “The Spirituality of Comedy,” published in 1996, Conrad Hyers posits, “laughter is carbonated prayer.” He uses the phrase in speaking of how best to deal with the essentially tragic nature of the human condition. Twenty-one years later, the conditions of our humanity have more potential tragedy than ever and doubly so for those of us in minority communities who have long been oppressed by the majority.

    “Prayer” can be a fraught word for those who were told that if we would just pray to God, and behave in a way that pleased Him, we would get an A on the math test tomorrow despite the fact that we had straight C’s so far. Alternatively, that if we counted enough beads as we prayed, mommy and daddy would stop fighting and we could find some peace. When, despite our prayers, we got a C and our parents got divorced, the folks who prescribed this kind of prayer shamed us by suggesting that we clearly had not counted enough beads or used words that their God could understand.

    Please take a breath with us …

    Blessedly there is now research indicating how and why prayer does and does not produce the results we desire. That has led to a new understanding of prayer as a way to open ourselves to healing rather than subordinate our strength to some “holy” being or image. This same research describes how meditation and breath are effective tools for finding peace.

    The beneficial neurochemical changes that we experience from meditation/centering prayer are also present when we laugh. When we laugh at ourselves, we find synergies that enhance carbonization. When others laugh with us as we laugh at ourselves we create an encouraging and inspiring spiritual celebration.

    We touched on this briefly at last fall’s conference in the context of bullying and snark. Queer folks have long used snark as a creative response to being bullied. In addition, we have long used snark within our own community since it is usually safer to bully those in our own tribe because it feels safer than speaking truth to power.

    There is a sea of difference between laughing at others and laughing at ourselves while inviting others to join us.

    Enter the Sacred Fool!


    We already know that The Mountain rings with the sound of laughter when we are there. One of our goals this spring is to encourage laughter that offers a deeper understanding of our hearts and the hearts of others.

    Do you already know how to laugh at yourself and encourage others to join you? Are you willing to share your experience at the Spring Retreat? If so, please email Pleasure ([email protected]) and we will explore how that might happen.


    Registration for the retreat, begins at 3pm Friday. Following dinner, the Opening Circle begins at 7:30pm. Closing Circle begins after lunch on Sunday with a goal of finishing 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 there is another group that will be using the lodge 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.


    We are happy that Aric Rohner has agreed to join us in creating the Spring Retreat. Since hierarchy holds no charm for any of us, we are giving “convener” a rest and referring to ourselves as “co-creators.” If that is not hip enough for you, please think of us as “co-makers.”

    Aric Rohner
    Andy (Ann Dee) Foskey
    Gary (Pleasure) Kaupman

     

  • The Sacred Fool’s Journey

    GSV Spring Retreat

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

    The Sacred Fool’s Journey

    “Whoever travels without a guide, needs two hundred years
    for a two-day journey.”

    -Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī

    Our life’s journey comprises innumerable smaller journeys which in turn create and append our larger life’s journey.  Think of it as spirit’s spiral dance.

    It is really easy to make decisions that direct our journey on autopilot; a consciousness based on the experience and knowledge of others. Autopilot keeps us safe on planes, but does little to enrich our spiritual lives that thrive on inquiry and openness. Unlike autopilot, spiritual journeys call us to be courageous as we choose our journeys and navigate their paths.

    The Sacred Fool’s job is to be our guide; to buoy our courage and lift our spirits.

    This Fool we will explore at the Spring Retreat, is not witless, fatuous or shortsighted.

    Quite the opposite. Our Sacred Fool encourages us to embark on new journeys with our eyes, minds, and, most especially our hearts, open.  This Fool is filled with curiosity and calls us to explore ever-greater aliveness, a greater consciousness and deeper union with spirit.

    The Sacred Fool is the very definition of generosity of spirit, filled with cheer and skillfully using laughter in the service of morphing fear into trust. GSV’s Spring Retreat is traditionally the lightest and most ebullient of its three yearly gatherings. This retreat will be brimming with the pleasures and the rewards of connecting through play.

    Come to explore your courage and ours. Courage acknowledges the presence of fear and willingly engages it, while bravery requires little thought or consciousness and thus knows nothing of fear.
    This is the courage of the drag queens and sissies who ignited gay liberation in the ’60s. This is the courage of the communities that came together in the ‘80s to care for each other and demand that the political and medical establishments take action to halt the AIDS pandemic. This is the courage that is at the core of peaceful resistance and the guiding light of non-violence; the courage that it took for you to come out and to come to GSV. This is the courage that will allow us to challenge all who would silence spirit.

    The schedule will similar to last spring allowing big blocks of free time and/or the option to participate in community-led workshops.

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    Registration for the retreat, begins at 3pm Friday. Following dinner, the Opening Circle begins at 7:30pm. Closing Circle begins after lunch on Sunday with a goal of finishing 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 there is another group that will be using the lodge 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.

     


    Finally, 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.

    Gary (Pleasure) Kaupman
    Andy (Ann Dee) Foskey
  • 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 ([email protected]) 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.

     Autobiography

    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.

    Pleasure
    Pleasure

    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.


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  • 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

     

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  • Exploring Inner Marriage

    Exploring Inner Marriage

    at The Mountain Retreat & Learning Center
    Highlands, NC

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

     

    The philosopher Carl Jung believed that the culmination of our Soul’s journey is the inner marriage of the opposites within the psyche: masculine/feminine; conscious/unconscious; divine/human. The goal: to move from Ego-centered consciousness to the Soul-centered consciousness of the Sacred Inner Marriage.

    That’s a bit much to take on at a two day Retreat.

    So, we’ll be exploring the role of our internal masculine/feminine energies and how they contribute to a deeper understanding of who we are now. And, what paths we may want to explore next on our journeys towards a Sacred Inner Marriage.

    Our Keynoters will be members of the community sharing short stories of their journeys of on this path followed by brief conversations.

    The rest of the retreat will use embodied experiences to explore Inner Marriage. While some of our journeys may have similarities, what you will discover will be uniquely yours. You may find words for your experiences, or you may find the kind of wisdom for which there are not yet adequate words. Spirit works in many ways.

    There will be free time, time for pop-up workshops, and fun times. There will be experiences that are familiar to you and others that we’ve not seen at a GSV Gathering before.

    More shall be revealed!

    Gary&Romer
    Romer (Oracle) Taylor and Gary (Pleasure) Kaupman are Co-Convener’s and Co-Creators of this retreat.

     

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  • The Path Forward: 2015 Spring Update
    Scout Glyph
    Scout Archetype Glyph
    from Andrew Ramer’s
    Two Flutes Playing

    In March of 2014, as part of our 25th Anniversary Celebration, the GSV Council organized a Visioning Retreat with John Ballew as a facilitator. This retreat, with about 35 diverse participants, considered next steps for GSV. The June 2014 Council meeting in Atlanta provided the first opportunity for us to consider thoughts from the Visioning Retreat and the recommendations from John Ballew’s summary. As a result, we’re evolving a plan called The Path Forward to help us take the next steps towards even more participatory leadership.

    Here are some recent efforts toward implementing these ideas:

    • Recruit more diverse leadership drawn from the general community: Luis Alvarez as the 2015 Spring Retreat convener to serve a two-year term; Steven Wilson as a Walks Between Elder to serve a three-year term; and Wendell Johnson as a member with special skills (fundraising) to serve a two-year term. These additions represent both age and ethnic diversity for the Council.
    • Open up the Scholarship process to make it easier to apply for assistance and use scholarships to increase the diversity of our conference attendance. You will notice the largest groups of younger men and men of color at Spring 2015 in the history of GSV, partially as a result of this change.
    • Include more open space in our conference program for brothers to share their interests and gifts. You will notice these spaces in the Spring 2015 schedule.
    • Create a new, more inclusive welcoming statement to be read at the beginning of each gathering. Note the wording of the Welcoming Statement used at the beginning of the heart circle.
    • Demonstrate more transparency in the Council’s processes through providing more information online, more frequent communications with our participants, and community sessions at conferences. You will notice our constantly improving website and the community meeting at Spring 2015, intended as a time for the Council to listen to the ideas of conference participants.
    • Implement liaison training and empowerment. At our Winter Planning Day, January 18-19, we appointed work groups and liaisons (chairpersons) for the work groups which assist the council in producing the three annual conferences. Much of the Planning Day was devoted to training the liaisons. At the Spring 2015 Retreat, you will see activity by several of the work groups (Welcome, Ritual, Altared Spaces (prepares the altar). If you are interested in serving on a work group, see the signup sheet in the Commons, where you checked in.

    We hope The Path Forward will support all of us in bringing our planning process into even greater alignment with the spirit of service, brotherhood, love, and encouragement which fills our gatherings.

    Pat Boyle, Walks Between Elder, for the Council of Nine, April 24, 2015

  • 2015 Spring Workshops

    Terry and I are thrilled about our workshop facilitators! Two of the workshops are described below, and we’re still planning on setting aside several spaces on Saturday afternoon for anyone to lead a workshop or activity.

    Franklin AbbottCircle of Healing

    with Franklin Abbott
    (and Bob Strain on music)

    Energy is a nonverbal form of communication. We will be communicating healing through energy and touch in pairs and in the circle. This will be enhanced by guided imagery and music. The Circle of Healing format was used for over five years in a monthly gathering at First E in the early years of the AIDS epidemic to provide comfort and support for those infected with the virus and those in the community who supported them. It is not AIDS-specific and can be used in all forms of healing: physical, emotional, and spiritual.

    Dev "Trinity"Let your kid come out to play!

    with Dev ‘Trinity’

    Using ideas from Transactional Analysis, Non-competitive play, Improvisation, and Theatre Games, the goal of the workshop is for each of us to get in touch with our fun-loving kid and let him come out to play. Most of the play is nonverbal, though that does not mean silence. It does mean focusing on our experiences when we get out of our heads and into our bodies. Touch is involved at a safe level and a participant may choose to sit out any game.

  • 2015 Spring Retreat—Engaging in Communication: Paths to Connections

    Engaging in Communication: Paths to Connections

    As humans, we tend to compartmentalize ourselves. We sometimes see ourselves as part mind, part body, and part spirit. We even have different doctors for each one of these parts. However, all three parts are one and the same.

    There is a concept in social work, Holon, which establishes that we are more than the sum of our parts. In fact, illness in any one of these areas affects the others. This spring we would like to engage all three areas—mind, body, and spirit—to communicate our needs. In order for us to communicate our needs to each other, we first have to connect with these three areas in ourselves.

    As a practice, connection and communication offers two opportunities: one, to learn and internalize new skills and tools, and another to self-explore and express yourself on your own terms. This cycle of discovery continues throughout our lives; we often call it growth.

    The Spring Retreat will provide safe spaces for us to explore how we communicate though our words, bodies, and spirits. When we cultivate an inner connection in ourselves, we can then connect with others. And for that, we have scheduled unstructured time throughout the weekend.

    So, come brothers, and grow with us as we seek to create a spiritual community with the intent to heal, nurture our gifts and potential, and live with integrity in the world.

    Peace and Love,

    Luis and Terry

  • 2015 Spring Keynote: Brandon Kazen-Maddox
    Brandon Kazen-Maddox
    Brandon Kazen-Maddox

    Connection and communication is vital to human relationships and community. Brandon Kazen-Maddox practices connection and communication using an original art form he’s created called ASLAD, or American Sign Language (ASL) Acrobatic Dance. He says, “I want to spread its breath, lift, flips and sweeps far and wide across our world, in hopes that one day we humans might communicate through gestures that are so emotive, so communicative, that we won’t even have to look twice.”

    A gymnast since the age of four and a grandchild of deaf adults (or GODA), Brandon maintains a professional career as a freelance American Sign Language Interpreter for the deaf and hard-of-hearing and has worked in the television and entertainment industry through shows involving deaf performers. He has also trained Chinese Acrobats in a Professional Training Program in San Francisco, CA.

    Brandon’s unique perspective as a biracial, gay artist that has fused communication with movement can help us discover ways to expand how we connect. When asked if he saw his work as a spiritual practice, he said, “Oh definitely!”

    About Brandon

    Brandon Kazen-Maddox, Acrobat
    Brandon Kazen-Maddox, Acrobat

    Brandon Kazen-Maddox is a freelance American Sign Language interpreter in the Bay Area who focuses the bulk of his artistic efforts on blending the linguistics of American Sign Language (ASL), the explosive inverted qualities of acrobatics and the technique of various styles of dance to cultivate a new form of performance art he has named American Sign Language Acrobatic Dance, or ASLAD. Brandon has performed works of ASLAD in both live performance and video through his performance company, Body.Language.Productions. Recent works from B.L.P. include a video performance project for the 2013 Bay Area Deaf Dance Festival, an ASL dance duet choreographed by dancer and choreographer Antoine Hunter for the 2014 Black Choreographer’s Festival and an upcoming ASL project with Rosa Lee Timm, a notable Deaf performer whose passion is rooted in signing poems and songs in American Sign Language.

    Brandon’s Mission: To meld the intricate emotions of American Sign Language, the kinesthetic dynamics of rhythm and dance and the percussive qualities of high-energy acrobatics together in order to create a brand-new medium of art that resounds within the souls of hearing and deaf people alike.

    Brandon’s Motivation: His deaf family members, friends, and fellow dancers who have the ability to feel as far as the sky.

    Brandon’s Muse: Rhythm, music, and dance that evokes the body to feel compelled to physically and emotionally express itself in a manner all its own.

    Watch Brandon’s American Sign Language performance:

     

     

  • 2015 Spring Retreat: Calling for Workshops!

    Terry and I would like to hear about workshops you would like to offer or participate in during the 2015 Spring Retreat. We have already heard some fantastic ideas through Facebook, but we want to take it a step further. We would like you, our brothers and community, to help us develop your ideas into workshops.

    Workshops will be held on Saturday morning and will last one hour and forty-five minutes. Your proposal should include the following information:

    1. Name of workshop
    2. Facilitator(s)
    3. Summary of the workshop (including goals and sample activities or outcomes)
    4. Description of how the workshop enhances the Spring Retreat’s theme of connections and communication

    Send us your proposals soon so we can determine how best to integrate your workshop into the retreat and ensure it’s fully supported.

    Complete this form to share your workshop idea >>

  • 2015 Spring Retreat: With Connection & Communication
    Luis Alvarez
    Luis Alvarez

    Hello dear brothers,

    My name is Luis Alvarez and I am happy to introduce myself as convener for the 2015 Spring Retreat, co-created with Terry Allen. Having attended Gay Spirit Visions since the 2010 Fall Conference, I have come to love my times of connection at The Mountain. I started and fostered meaningful relationships with many of you throughout the past four years, and I am honored and humbled by the love and support you have shared with me. Now it is time for me to give back by holding sacred and safe space for us to connect and ask for what we need from ourselves, one another, and the community.

    Terry Allen
    Terry Allen

    This Spring, we will engage in many different activities that will encourage us to grow spiritually through connectedness and communication. The purpose of communication is both to reach out to another and to express what the speaker is thinking, feeling, and needing. The conference will allow participants to expand their abilities in both reaching out and expressing their needs.

    Please consider joining us in this adventure.

  • 2014 Spring: My Journey—Pat Boyle, Convener

    2014 GSV Spring Retreat

    Cherish the Past, Embrace the Future

    My Journey: Cherishing the Past & Embracing the Future
    by Pat Boyle

    Pat Boyle

    I came to know GSV through a friend who knew I was interested in exploring my gay identity and spirituality. Like many men in our circle, I grew up in a small southern town trying to fit in – I excelled in academics and worked very hard in my spiritual development, believing that acceptance could be found through academic success and participation in church leadership. Yet, even with college degrees and careers in social work and the ministry, I found life in the closet increasingly unbearable.

    I needed a change. I came out and simultaneously switched from social work to a career in university teaching. As if on cue, I discovered GSV and the community and conferences quickly became a lifeline. I will celebrate 20 years of connection with GSV as GSV celebrates its 25th year of conferences at the Mountain. I do cherish the past!

    I also embrace the future. Looking around the circle at any recent GSV conference, I see many men who have recently discovered GSV. What a joy to have such companions! The dominant culture is rapidly changing to accept us as just another part of the human family. Yet, our being walks-between or two-spirit persons still involves deep meaning, a calling, and particular gifts of spirit. Come join us April 25-27 as we explore these special qualities and their expression in the future.

     

  • 2014 Spring: Saturday Afternoon Activities

    Following a long-standing GSV tradition, several men will be offering optional activities on Saturday afternoon. These include:

    • Breathwork with Plamen Russev & Hunter Flournoy
    • Labyrinth Meditation
    • Gardening with John Wright
    • Hiking & Mountain Exploration with Steven Wilson
    • Yoga with David Jones

     

  • 2014 Spring Panels

    To kick off GSV’s 25th anniversary year, the Spring 2014 Conference will feature panels exploring four themes:

    As brothers in the GSV community, each panelist has been invited to offer heart-centered sharing that speaks to both his personal experience and how GSV may have impacted his growth and development. Each panel will consist of three to four brothers in the GSV community, and listeners will be invited to pose questions and interact with panel members after each member has spoken.

    SpiritualitySprituality

    Gay Spirit Visions is committed to: 1) creating safe, sacred space that is open to all spiritual paths, wherein men who love men may explore and strengthen spiritual identity; 2) creating a spiritual community with the intent to heal, nurture our gifts and potential, and live with integrity in the world; and 3) supporting others in their spiritual growth by sharing experiences and insights.

    This panel will explore the varied spiritual experiences of men who love men, and how their identity has impacted their spiritual journey.

    Panelists: Duncan Teague, Kurt Schreiber, Jim Best, Gary Kaupman


    Erotic LifeErotic Life

    Gay Spirit Visions honors each person’s unique exploration of spirituality, intimacy, and sexuality, celebrating both the choice to stand apart in order to connect with ourselves, and the choice to reach out in order to connect with each other.

    Panel participants will share how their erotic life has developed, speaking to the larger context of human sexuality, their experiences with men who love men, and their communities.

    Panelists: George Miller, Roger Beaumont, Hunter Flournoy, Bob Strain


    Action in the WorldAction in the World

    Men who love men often serve as scouts in the field, filling unconventional roles that reflect their authentic selves. This panel will explore how their offerings to society are linked to their identity and personal growth, and to their participation in the GSV community.

    Panelists: Lem Arnold, Aric Rohner, Phil Robst, Todd Humphrey


    Friends & Family NetworkFriend and Family Network

    Family has many definitions, particularly among communities that aren’t able to participate in institutionalized models. This panel will discuss how their concepts of family were defined, redefined, and expanded, and how communities like GSV have contributed to these concepts.

    Panelists: Terry Allen, Luis Alvarez, John Brock

     

     

  • 2014 Spring Keynote: Franklin Abbott
    Franklin Abbott
    Franklin Abbott

    One of the original radical faeries to gather at Running Water Farm in 1978, Franklin Abbott keynoted the first Gay Spirit Visions conference twenty-five years ago. We’re happy to welcome him back to keynote in preparation for GSV’s 25th Anniversary year. In addition to helping organize the early GSV conferences, he attended the first faerie gathering at Short Mountain Sanctuary and coordinated ritual and process at the first Eurofaerie gathering on Terchelling Island in the Netherlands.

    Franklin is an Atlanta-based psychotherapist, poet and community organizer who has led numerous workshops on issues of gay identity, spirituality, and creativity. A clinical social worker by training, Franklin has been in independent private practice in Atlanta since 1979. He co-founded the Atlanta Circle of Healing, a monthly circle for the early years of the epidemic, and also co-founded and chairs the Atlanta Queer Literary Festival.

    He has travelled broadly and written about his experiences in stories and poems published in his two books of poetry, Mortal Love and Pink Zinnia. He is a contributor to Radical Faerie Digest (RFD) and was its poetry editor for a number of years, also working as poetry editor of the profeminist men’s journal Changing Men. His first anthology, New Men, New Minds was collected from both RFD and Changing Men as well as other sources. Published in 1987, it brought together work by Essex Hemphill, Thomas Moore, Assotto Saint, James Broughton, Harry Hay and Robert Bly among others.

    Franklin currently works with Special Collections at Georgia State University, both on his own papers and on a virtual symposium for the centennial of James Broughton. He has an ongoing interest in personal narratives drawing on Harry Hay’s three questions: who are we, where do we come from, and why are we here? He lives just outside of Decatur which is just outside of Atlanta with a cat and five fish.

     

    Why We Pray

    if your luck goes bad
    get a witch to give you
    a bath
    get a shaman to cook
    your supper
    get a high priestess
    to do your hair
    get a siren to sing you
    a lullaby
    all ritual is illogical
    and impractical
    but when it works
    the absurd
    becomes
    the sublime

    —Franklin Abbott, Pink Zinnia