Friday, December 21, 2007

Hey Guys........ Its a post holiday PJ Party.

Tired of the Family Bondage that the Holidays bring?

Need to find a place to dump that Holiday Treat begging to be eaten?

Want to lounge about in those PJ's that grandma got you?

(These two just RSVP'd)

Well here ya go!

John and I thought it would be fun to get together for a relaxed evening of pillows, blankies and PJ's

When: Friday December 28, 2007 at 7:00 p.m.
What to
Bring: Yummy treat to share, PJ's, Blankets, Pillows, everything to be cozy and comfy.
What: Peaceful Warrior Movie and PJ Party

And yes you can bring friends or those interested in Queer Spirit!

Some of you have RSVP'd so no need to do it again, but if your considering attending and have not RSVP this is most helpful.

Call 801 557-9203 for questions.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Gay-The New Straight- I Don't Think So!

“Gay — the new straight” — I don’t think so!

A veteran gay activist gets enspirited to tear into a recent Gregory Rodriguez column.
By Don Kilhefner

December 5, 2007

The title of Gregory Rodriguez's recent L.A. Times column, "Gay — the new straight," certainly caught my attention. Drawing his conclusions from an important new research study done by the Williams Institute at the UCLA Law School, Rodriguez makes many melodramatic, but largely unfounded, claims about gay people. While the rest of you were watching "Desperate Housewives," I sat down and studied UCLA research demographer Gary Gates' report, "Geographic Trends Among Same-Sex Couples In The U.S. Census and the American Community Survey," page by page, statistic by statistic. I recommend it only to the masochists among you.

First Flaw. Rodriguez makes several major generalizations about gay people based solely on one study of same-sex couples. Let's do some simple math.

The number of gay couples on which the study was made was about 800,000. If there were two people in each couple (but you never know with you gay people), about 1.6 million gay people were included in the study. If we estimate that somewhere between 8% and 10% of the 300 million people in the United States are gay, we can estimate a total gay population of about 27 million. (That's settling on 9% — one of the few times I'm in the middle of the road.) Thus gay couples in the study represent about 6% of the gay population.

For research on geographic trends among same-sex couples, that's a great statistical sample. The only problem is that you cannot make sweeping generalizations about gay people and gay identity and gay community based on the study — only geographic trends among same-sex couples. You also can't differentiate between lesbian and gay male couples. Also missing was critically important, stratified demographic information such as the age, race and socioeconomic status of the subjects.

Based on my more than four decades of working in the Los Angeles gay community, I would speculate that the majority of gay men are not in coupled relationships, albeit many are desperately trying either to get into one or out of one. And I would speculate further that those who are in coupled relationships tend to be generally more conventional, bourgeois and conservative — gay assimilationist — than those who are not. Thus, generalizing about the gay community based on undifferentiated and unstratified same-sex couples, as Rodriguez and Gates do, is fraught with gross oversimplification and, in their case, the spinning of a sociopolitical agenda.

Second Flaw. To understand the gay assimilation ideology that Rodriguez is trying to spin, one must understand something about gay history and the struggle between two polarities in the historical development of gay people — gay enspiritment vs. gay assimilation. One can trace this debate back to a dinner Walt Whitman (gay enspiritment) and Ralph Waldo Emerson (gay assimilation) had in Boston prior to the publication of the 1860 edition of "Leaves of Grass." Emerson wanted Whitman to tone down and make more respectable what is usually considered the most famous gay poetry ever written. Whitman refused. Gay enspiritment won the day that time.

Right now we are living in a period where gay assimilation is the dominant ideology of the gay community. It has not always been so. There have been four major periods in our history as gay people here in Los Angeles and nationally:

(1) 1951-53: Radical Beginnings (Enspiritment). Harry Hay and the other politically progressive men who founded the Mattachine Society in Echo Park made a radical statement about homosexuals being a minority group. By organizing a network of secret discussion groups, they called on gay people to work toward creating "a highly ethical homosexual culture" and a "homosexual ethic — disciplined, moral and socially responsible."

(2) 1954-68: Homophile Assimilation. At a fateful 1953 meeting of the Mattachine Society at the old Unitarian Church on Crenshaw Boulevard, conservative homophile assimilationists took over the organization, and the radical founders were largely exiled. The homophile assimilationists emphasized the idea that homosexuals are just like heterosexuals except for what they do in bed (or Griffith Park). Respectability (suits and ties for men and dresses for women) and acceptance by the dominant heterosexual society signaled a major move to the right.

(3) 1969-85: Gay Liberation (Enspiritment). Author Mark Thompson called the year 1969 the "Big Bang" for gay people. Homophile assimilation was over, and a new consciousness emerged among gay people. A second radical, indeed revolutionary, push forward took place — gay self-respect replaced acting respectable. For the first time in American history, a gay community and virtually all of the gay community's institutions were created. Gay oppression was battled openly and fiercely. There was no begging for acceptance.

(4) 1985-present: Gay Assimilation. Except for ACT UP and AIDS activism in general, the gay community again moved right, with gay assimilation supplanting gay liberation. The ideology was that gay people are no different from straight people, as reflected in Rodriguez's Op-Ed. Same-sex marriage became almost the sole item on the assimilationist agenda. The gay assimilation poster boys would be a married gay couple with a home, a child or two and a schedule of PTA meetings and ballet lessons (for the child), a dog, a parrot, a few goldfish and tickets to a fundraising dinner at the Beverly Hilton. Inherent in assimilation ideology is the disappearance of the gay community and gay identity. Gay people would become like hetero tapioca pudding.

Third Flaw. A third major flaw in Rodriguez's gay assimilationist spin is his use of a conventional immigration-minority group historiography to interpret developments in the evolution of gay people. It goes like this. They (fill in the blank) came to the United States, the Great Melting Pot, and after two generations they were absorbed into the mainstream (except for Africans who came involuntarily and were enslaved).

I would suggest Rodriguez pay attention to Albert Einstein when he said "the significant problems of our day cannot be solved with the same consciousness that created them." A consciousness from that of our hetero oppressors is needed to understand the present evolution of gay people. Our so-called gay identity, whether negative or positive, is largely hetero-male derived and defined.

A new way of understanding gay people is that being "gay" and being "heterosexual" are radically different — like yin and yang — two separate and different parts of the whole, the human species. As gay people, our function in human evolution is different from the evolutionary function of heterosexuals (reproductive survival). Not only is being gay important and substantial, it has a significant evolutionary and social purpose and provides gay people with innate purpose that guides our behavior, our lives and our many contributions to society.

For a long time, gays have been trying to minimizetheir differences from heteros as an act of survival. But now, for the first time, the forward-moving force of history compels gay people to maximize their differences from straights as an act of love to ourselves and to them — the emergence of a new gay consciousness. In deep and profound ways none of us has "come out" yet.

Don Kilhefner, PhD, is a Jungian psychologist in West Hollywood. He is a founder of Los Angeles' Gay and Lesbian Center, Van Ness Recovery House and numerous other seminal institutions in the gay community including (with Harry Hay) the Radical Faeries, an international gay spirituality and consciousness movement. With Roberto Blain, he writes a column for Frontiers, Southern California's largest gay newspaper, titled Edging Out: Exploring the Frontiers of Gay Consciousness.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I Thoughts this was Interesting

"Going Our Own Way"

by Jesse Monteagudo

In "A Separate People Whose Time Has Come," the late Harry Hay —
founder of the Mattachine Society and the Radical Fairies — wrote
about the special roles that Lesbians and Gay men, bisexuals and
transgendered people, play in society: We are "messengers and
interceders, shamans of both genders, priestesses and priests,
imagemakers and prophets, mimes and rhapsodies, poets and
playwrights, healers and nurturers, teachers and preachers, tinkers
and tinkerers, searchers and researches." Since Hay wrote those words
other queer authors, mystics and philosophers have echoed his words
and his belief that homosexuality is more than just sexual

Gay, Lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people are special people,
and not just because our affectional or sexual orientation or our
gender identity is different from the majority's. We are special
because we play special roles in society. Since we are not limited by
strict categories of gender or sex, we often lead the way, leaving
others to follow. According to Judy Grahn, author of Another Mother
Tongue, "Society uses all Gay people who participate in Gay culture,
for special purposes. We are closely watched to see what constitutes
the limit of a thing — too far out, too much, too low, too bad, too
outrageous, too soft, too dangerous, too rough, too cultured, too
aggressive, too sexual." If we could go back in time and examine the
first woman or the first man who ever tried to do something new -
from world-shaking philosophies to styles of fashion — It's very
likely that she or he was Lesbian or Gay, even if that person never
expressed his or her sexuality.

One of the ways GLBT people lead the way is in the field of religion
and spirituality. This we do in spite of, and sometimes because of,
opposition in the part of the religious establishments. In many
cultures, sex and gender-variant people serve as priests, witches,
shamans and sages. And while traditional Judaism, Christianity and
Islam condemn homosexual acts, and often restrict the roles of women
to those of wife, mother, nurse, teacher or servant, they could not
keep many of our ancestors from expressing themselves in their own
unique ways. Many of our ancestors, in the days before GLBT-affirming
churches, synagogues and temples, became mystics, both as a way to
express their own unique talents and because mysticism involves a
personal relationship with God that does not require an intermediary.
Judaism, Islam and Christianity offer many examples of gender-variant
mystics, women and men, who by expressing their own spiritual
yearnings paved the way for others.

In Medieval Iran, the mystics of the Muslim Sufi tradition were often
Gay or bisexual men. For many Sufi masters, the path to the love of
God often went through the love of a beloved disciple, the
shahid. "God is Beauty," said the Qur'an; and for many Sufis that
beauty was most exquisitely expressed in the beauty of a young man.
In the case of Rumi, the greatest of the Sufi poets, his love for
another man was literally earth-shaking. For many years, Rufi shared
his life with his Beloved Friend, Shams al-Din. When Shams
mysteriously disappeared — probably murdered — Rumi mourned his
Friend in his own unique way. He put on mourning robes, a white shirt
open at the chest, a honey-colored fez, and sandals, and for forty
days danced a dance of lamentation and love in the garden where Shams
was apparently killed. From Rumi's experience came a new and lasting
religious order, the "whirling dervishes."

Our Jewish ancestors, who lived for most of the last two millennia as
minorities in Christian or Muslim lands, were not as free as the
Sufis to express themselves so freely. Yet gender and sexual variance
managed to come through at certain points of Jewish history. For
example, the authors of the Cabala, the great book of Jewish
mysticism, wrote at great length about the Adam Kadmon, the
androgynous primordial human, and about the Shekinah, the female
aspect of the Divine. And in Medieval Spain, at a time when Jews,
Christians and Muslims lived in harmony under the Moors, Gay or
bisexual Jewish poets like Moses Ibn Ezra, Solomon Ibn Gabirol and
Jehudah ha-Levi wrote poems that bridged the secular and the sacred.

Within European Christianity, the mystic tradition was often
expressed by members of various monastic orders. The Christian
monastic tradition attracted many men and women who had no intention
of getting married but who welcomed the opportunity to live in same-
sex communities where they were able to express or sublimate their
sexual or affectional orientation through prayer, song, religious
work and community service. Saint Aelred, abbot of the Cistercian
convent of Rievaulx in northern England in the middle of the twelfth
century, was obviously Gay, though probably celibate. To St. Aelred,
spiritual friendship, which Aelred called "true friendship," is "a
gift of God's grace." Though we don't know anything about St.
Aelred's sex life, if any, we are told that he cultivated "spiritual
friendships" with many of the young monks under his rule.

Many of the Christian mystics were nuns who, because of their gender,
were kept out of leadership positions in the Church. One of the great
nun mystics was Hildegard of Bingen, a 11th century abbess who was
also a poet, a prophet, a playwright, a composer and a scientist
whose writings indicate her love for other women. In 17th century
Mexico, another talented nun, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, wrote
volumes of mystic poetry from her cell in the convent of San Jerònimo
while at the same time conducting a series of passionate friendships
with other women, including the wife of the Viceroy.

Today's Lesbians and Gay men, bisexuals and transgendered people,
follow in the footsteps of these and other great mystics and poets
and saints. Many of us left the religious institutions that we grew
up in and gone our way, finding our own paths and expressing our own
gifts. And, by doing so, we inspire others to do the same. We are,
indeed, "a separate people whose time has come."

Jesse Monteagudo is a writer and activist who lives in South Florida.
Reach him at

Saturday, November 17, 2007

November Activity!

Is There A Difference?

"Too often we get captivated by the busyness and hecticness
of daily living that we forget to reference our deeper, intuitive selves...""
– Christian de la Huerta

What is our unique vision of spirituality?
And how does it manifest in a gay/queer context?

Workshop Focusing on Gay Spirituality

Gay spirituality will be the focus of a workshop guided by art therapist Dean Pappas. Participants will create three-dimensional self-portraits using modeling clay which will serve as a jumping-off point for a discussion of each person’s spiritual vision and worldview.

All materials will be supplied and a small fee to cover expenses will be requested. Additional money above and beyond the requested fee may be donated to the scholarship fund designed to assist those in need to attend upcoming retreats.

Dress is informal. It will be unlikely that the modeling clay will get on any clothing, but if you have concerns about damaging clothing, please wear something that you might consider as "work clothes".

Please bring a drink or treat to share.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Fellow Traveler…and His friends

A White Crane Conversation with Mark Thompson

Bo Young: I think most people, when they think of Mark Thompson, think of a
writer, not a visual artist. When did you start taking pictures?

Mark Thompson: Although I am not known for taking pictures, photography has
always been a secret muse for me. I started taking pictures in high school. I attended
a very progressive, artsy-liberal campus in Carmel, California, during the 1960's where
many alternatives were offered. I remember taking a photography class there, and one
of my fellow students was Edward Weston's grandson. Weston, of course, is one of the
consummate photographers of the 20th Century. I greatly admired his work, and in
fact could walk a short ways down to Point Lobos and see where he took many of his
famous images on my favorites beaches.
Also not too far from my school was the legendary Friends of Photography gallery
where Weston's peers such as Ansel Adams and Wayne Bullock showed their work. So, I
was very inspired to frame and capture my own point of view.
Later, when I moved north to study journalism at San Francisco State University,
I continued to take pictures — only now my focus was the burgeoning Bay Area gay
liberation movement. Soon, I began my professional career as a journalist and
editor at The Advocate, and the pen and tape recorder became my first tools of choice.
Plus there were many other very talented photographers on the scene. So I used my lens very
selectively, photographing mentors and friends, rather than parades or protests
which were then so abundant. Later I focused on documenting the Radical Faerie
movement as they were the closest group I could find that mirrored my own hopes and dreams.
The faeries were my own authentic tribe.

Bo: Question: The portraits that accompanied the interviews in Gay Soul were
yours, too, weren't they? Are these part of the Fellow Travelers work?

Mark: The portraits in Gay Soul (published in 1994) were taken by me to
illuminate the speakers and their words. I am reusing six of my favorite images from that book
in this collection of 15 "guides" — or gay elders, if you will — and dozens of never
before-seen color images of the radical fairies taken over a 15 year period. My
black-and-white portraits of early AIDS activist and singer Michael Callen and photographer
Robert Mapplethorpe are among the pictures that have not been previously exhibited.

Bo: What does the title "Fellow Travelers" mean to you?

Mark: Fellow Travelers for me means being in the company of like-minded
companions: Brave brothers who are building a community, moving forward together! It is also
a sly reference to the use of the phrase during the early days of the Cold War when
people who were accused of being communist sympathizers were dubbed "fellow travelers." It
was a coded word used pejoratively, so I wanted to redeem that and give it a more
positive application for today

Bo: So who are the Fellow Travelers?

Mark: Just about everybody who reads this magazine, who has ever attended a
radical fairie gathering or a Gay Spirit Visions retreat, or has done anything to
achieve healing and authenticity as a sublime, radiant, self-actualized and purposeful gay man who
loves others like himself.

Bo: Well, we certainly hope so...but you haven't taken pictures of everyone who
reads this magazine (I'll be out for my sitting!) Who are some of the Fellow Travelers in
the book?

Mark: "Fellow Travelers" is divided into two sections: Guides and Tribes. Some
of the iconic individuals, or "guides," who have influenced or touched upon my life in
significant ways include James Broughton, Ram Dass, Harry Hay, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Paul
Monette. There are many others, of course. The Tribes section contains dozens of pictures
taken at various Faerie gatherings held across Western lands during the 1980s and early
'90s. Some of the images from the first Black Leather Wings Radical Faerie gatherings
will probably be controversial to some readers.

Bo: Controversial how?

Mark: The book concludes with powerful images of the Sun Dance and Kavandi
rituals, which involves ritual body piercing. Not everyone may understand the cultural
context for doing this and therefore be put-off. I hope not, as I do my best to explain the
background of these ancient practices and their relevance to the gay men conducting them in
the photos. As seen here, spirit and the flesh are truly one.

Bo: We're running four of the photos in this issue...Harry Hay, Clyde Hall,
Essex Hemphill and Robert Mapplethorpe. Tell me about the portrait of Harry Hay.

Mark: The picture of Harry Hay was taken one glorious summer day in 1987 in the
pasture of Wolfcreek, Oregon. Harry and I sat for several hours while he told me the
story of how the Mattachine Society was first formed in Los Angeles in 1950. It was a really
terrible time for gay people and Harry would sometimes get teary eyed with his story-telling,
stopping a moment to wipe his eyes and say, "Never again, Mark. Never again." Finally,
just as the sun was setting low behind him, the perfect moment for a picture came — so I
took it. All of my photos have been taken at the end of a long day of conversation with the
individual. The pictures and talk were all part of a discerning process.

Bo: Discerning…how? Explain.

Mark: The process of discernment is a sifting through known facts and questions
to arrive at some new truth, answer, or insight. In this case, the questions mainly dealt
with issues of meaning and purpose for gay men who are often left bereft of either, due to
the homophobic society we live in. The tragic consequences of this catastrophic loss
are widely seen in our community. I have often found the process of discernment to
be a good part — a real beginning — of the emotional healing work that needs to be done in
our lives. It certainly has been that way for me.
On that note, let me add that a critical part of discerning this book came out
of my collaboration with Los Angeles graphic designer Mark Harvey. He was somehow able
to sift through and organize almost 30 years worth of images, and then craft them into
an elegant and cohesive book. He also inspired me to write new text for the volume,
which will be published as a limited edition art book. Mark has been a joy to work
with, and the book would not be possible without him. The entire four month-long process has
been a refreshing reminder of how well gay men can work together when we really set our
minds to it.

Bo: I think I wasn't clear about my question on "discernment", though I love
where you went with it. I was asking specifically about how you used discernment in your say it is a critical part of getting these beautiful
pictures...can you describe how?

Mark: The pictures usually came at the end of a long day of being with the
subject. After much stimulating conversation the "perfect moment" would arrive in which to take
the picture. I use only natural light, so I had to be quick and adaptable — very
discerning — to try and capture the soulfulness of the person in just a shot or two.

Bo: Assotto Saint and Essex Hemphill, are both featured in the exhibition and
book. I became familiar with both men's work, primarily their poetry, in the late
1980's through the publication of Joseph Beam's seminal anthology, In the Life. A few years
later they were featured in Marlon Riggs' equally groundbreaking documentary, Tongues Untied.
Assotto and Essex were key figures in this important new movement of black voices within
our community. They spoke truth that many still did not want to hear: That the gay
world could be as racist as any other. I still remember bars in the early Castro
Street scene that did not welcome men of color.
Their work was so curious, fresh and alive — but tragically short lived because
of AIDS. Beam died in 1988. Marlon and Assotto in 1994. And Essex a year later. I
appreciated Essex's fierce determination to stand up and say his piece, no matter what! As
he famously did the day he denounced Robert Mapplethorpe as a racist at a gay writer's
conference in San Francisco in the early '90's. And the sweet lyricism of Assotto's work
always had a special appeal for me. I flew from my home in California to Manhattan one day in
1991 just to photograph him. His lover of many years had just died, and while deeply
mourning he brought a tremendous sense of vivacity to our time together. Good gay poets
have always captured my heart and soul — most certainly these two beautiful and
talented men.

Dan: What were your impressions on Mapplethorpe? You mentioned Hemphill's
critique of Mapplethorpe's depictions of the black male form in his essay "Does Your Mama
Know About Me." I'm wondering what you feel the significance of Mapplethorpe's work
and life bear for gay men today? He seems to be remembered more for the outrage visited
on his work by the public than for his life or work.

Mark: Robert really liked to cultivate his bad-boy persona as it fueled the
controversy that always surrounded the work — and, not incidentally, promoted sales. I found
another side of Robert the day we met, though. Someone very charming, sweet-natured, and
thoughtful about what he was doing. He was, admittedly, ambitious, but so what? It takes a
lot of chutzpah to make a successful career in the arts. I took many photos of Robert
that afternoon, but the one I choose was the most softly -focused of the group
because that softness best represented the person I found. We had a lot in common, and he
really let his guard down for me. I think his work remains important for several reasons, one being that it
captured an era when gay male sexual exploration was a significant part of our experience. He
came to prominence in the 1970's, a decade during which we saw the sexual revolution
really come home. For example, at the beginning of the decade no one had heard of things
like fisting (which he elegantly photographed) but by the end of the '70's there were clubs
nationwide devoted to it. Some of Robert's photos still have the capacity to shock today, but I think he
was less interested in other people's reactions and more in capturing what he called "the
perfect moment" of any experience. He liked to photograph black men, he told me, because
he was fascinated with the myriad ways light reflected off their skin tones. People
forget, too, that he is considered the greatest photographer of flowers. Nobody could do more
compositionally with a tulip in a vase than Robert. So what was the link between his pictures of taboo sex and tulips? What else is a flower in bloom, he replied with a chuckle, than a throbbing hard-on. For Robert — and
especially the shy inner boy part of his nature I connected with that day — everything was
about the birds and the bees.

Bo: Finally…of the portraits we're running in this issue, the one I have one of
the closest associations with is Clyde Hall. We've been friends a long time. Have you danced
the Naraya?

Mark: Clyde Hall's exemplary work as a spiritual leader in our community is what
motivated me to ask him for an interview and photo. He is someone whom I only
met for a day, but whose authenticity and integrity as a person left an indelible
impression. Our memorable day together concluded with me literally hanging out of a second story
window of the house Clyde was a guest in; one hand clutched tightly on the sill, the
other stretching the camera back as far as I could in order to catch the last rays of
the setting sun on Clyde's face.
One aspect of Clyde's story I find so fascinating is his revival of the Naraya.
It is a ceremony I look forward to doing one day. "I live
a Spirit-filled life," Clyde told me. "If you try to talk yourself out of living a life
with Spirit, you get into all kinds of trouble." And I believe him!

Bo: You and I have been having this conversation for some time now...and these
beautiful portraits bring it up once again.
Why should anyone care about who these men are or were? Why should any young gay
man, or any gay man, of whatever age, for that matter, look at these very
different men...old, black, white, Indian, living or dead, and various combinations
thereof...some of whom were in interpersonal conflict when they were alive, and see anything that
should mean anything to him? Why are these faces important? What's the connection?

Mark: Each of the men portrayed here and in the Fellow Travelers exhibit and
forthcoming book have created important legacies in the form of literature, art, recordings,
and ongoing work that exists to enhance our lives. See these photographs as portals
of discovery, rather than just black-and-white pictures. If a reader tries a Google
search on each of these lives they will be amazed. Delve even further into the work itself
and you will be illuminated, entertained, and in some way transformed — as was I.
My collection of photographs is not meant to be encyclopedic or encompassing, in
any way, of the countless artists, teachers, and spiritual leaders of the gay men's
movement. Rather these are portraits of some of the men who helped to liberate me,
personally. As Edward Weston so profoundly illustrated, the universal is best captured in a
grain of sand.

Fellow Travelers will be exhibited at Cup of Joe's Coffee Shop in Salt Lake City
from December 1-31, 2007 with an opening gala and opportunity to meet Mark Thompson
and Clyde hall on December 7, 2007 from 7-9 p.m. at Cup of Joe. Mark Thompson can
be reached at:

For additional information regarding the SLC showing

© White Crane Institute 2007
All Rights Reserved. Reprints or excerpts may be used with permission

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Why Retreats?

I found this article on a site called Q Spirit by Christian de la Huerta and wanted to share it with you as we prepare and consider the January retreat at Windwalker Ranch

Why Retreat?
Posted by christian on November 9, 2007, 11:36 am

Too often we get so captivated by the busyness and hecticness of daily living that we forget to reference our deeper, intuitive selves. ..

The benefits of a retreat are manifold: relaxation, rest, healing, reconnecting with oneself. The opportunity to go within enables access to deeper answers and allows us to get distance and perspective from the circumstances of our lives.
Why Retreat?

Too often we get so captivated by the busyness and hecticness of daily living that we forget to reference our deeper, intuitive selves. TV can be entertaining as well as educational, but it can also be a distraction, deflecting self-reflection. Our relationships with lovers, family, friends and co-workers likewise provide the juice that makes life worth living and the necessary friction out of which growth ensues. Yet, they too can be a diversion from the inner journey, where the potential for maximum fulfillment lies.

The benefits of a retreat are manifold: relaxation, rest, healing, reconnecting with oneself. The opportunity to go within enables access to deeper answers and allows us to get distance and perspective from the circumstances of our lives.

Retreats afford the opportunity to reassess the direction our lives are taking, and to make the necessary course corrections.

The word "retreat" comes form the Latin meaning to "draw back." In spiritual retreats we withdraw from the "real" world – from surface living – and enter the deeper inner realms. For most of us the inner journey is an adventure that remains vastly uncharted and unexplored.

Going within

One of the constants found among most spiritual traditions is the importance of going within.
Jesus is said to have said: "the Kingdom of God is within you." "If human beings knew their own inner secrets, they would never look elsewhere seeking for happiness and peace," asserts a Sufi master. A well known Wiccan prayer ends with: "And you who seek to know Me, know that your seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without." The whole thrust of Buddhist or Hindu meditation is to quiet the mind and delve inside.

Retreats, especially those that include time for silence, make possible the temporary quieting of the constant inner chatter which Buddhists call the "monkey mind." Our thoughts are compared to monkeys randomly jumping from branch to branch.

Types of retreats

Among the many types of retreats are meditation, yoga, and breathwork. Retreats can be solitary or in groups, guided or not. Camping for a few days alone in nature could be profoundly centering, healing and inspiring. Most people choose to join more structured settings, where they feel supported by a facilitator and a group of like-minded others, all sharing a similar purpose. Some choose to rent a secluded house or other venue and hire a leader to facilitate their friends or colleagues in a variety of experiences to deepen their connection to themselves and each other.

Generally, participants are then inspired to go without once again, and re-engage the world as integrated human beings making a real difference.

Below are some retreat opportunities coming up during the next few months.

I hope that you will take some time for yourself and dive deep into your own inner journey.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Dear Friend

Below is an invitation to a special event that I hope you will take advantage of, it is literally a once in a lifetime opportunity that may potentially shape how you see yourself as a queer man. Please review this request carefully and if you feel drawn to participate please pursue this RSVP. Once you respond to this I will be inviting other people within the gay community but wanted to offer this to a select few to see what my space limitations will be. If you think there is someone who would appreciate this invitation please share, but I can only allow 25 participants. The location of this event will be given when you RSVP (So I have an accurate count). We are intentionally keeping this group size small to facilitate a powerful and intimate experience.

231 East 400 South
Salt Lake City, Utah 84111
Phone (801) 557-9203

November 3, 2007

“Bring gay men together in Circle to explore what the specific gifts are that we bring, things that the larger culture needs. And once you have a consensus as to what those gifts are, begin letting the culture know exactly what it is that they are getting from us. It is in this way that we will be given respect and acceptance, not by simply demanding rights or asserting that we deserve them.”

Harry Hay, Gay Civil Rights Activitist/Visionary

Dear Friend:

Two years ago John Cottrell and Jerry Buie had a discussion about creating an enviroment for gay men to explore a deeper essence around queer identity. To shift community thought from marginalized life to profound living. We found The White Crane Instititue and with their tutorship found a valuable resource in bringing out this vision. One of these resources is the Fellow Travelers: Liberation Portraits by Mark Thompson. This exhibit has been to major cities throughout the United States and receiving acclaim for the message of queer history, perspective and the wisdom our history makers have brought forth for queer men today.

Who is Mark Thompson?

Mark Thompson has authored several books such as Gay Soul, Gay Body, Gay Spirit: Myth and Meaning, Long Road to Freedom and Leather Folk. Each of these books explore Queer identity, history and perspective. Gay Soul in particular, of which the exhibit is based, offers insight into our queer history and the framers of that history. In their stories we find the foundation of the work of equal rights and esteemed sense of self.

December 1-31, 2007 at Cup of Joe’s Coffee Shop Fellow Travlers: Liberation Portraits will be exhibited. We have the priviledge to have Mark Thompson in Salt Lake City to highlight his exhibit, explaing the orgin and purpose of the show as well as autographed copies of his books that will be for sale at this reception as a fundraiser for Queer Spirit. The opening reception with Mark Thompson is on December 7, 2007 from 7-9 pm.

On December 8, 2007 Mark has agreed to a smaller group process and discussion that will be centered on Gay Soul Making. This event is by invitation only to ensure a smaller and more intimate discussion. The discussion will be centered around the following themes
“What does it really mean to be a gay man?

Where do we come from? What are we for?

Coming out as an Inside Job: What does that mean? How can gay men conscoulsy seve the communities that they are in?

Why is homophobia evryones problem and what can we do about it?

To offset cost we are suggesting a $25 dollar donation that will be dedicated to the cost of the event. This is a rare opportunity to be with others in our community, to discuss the issues relevant in our selves and our community.

Your RSVP to the December 8 event secures your space. We ask that you confirm your participation by November 15, 2007 to jerry Buie at (801) 557-9203.

To summarize

December 1-31, 2007 Fellow Travlers will be exhibited at Cup of Joe’s Coffee Shop

December 7, 2007 at 7-9 pm Opening Reception/Book Signing with Mark Thompson

December 8, 2007 (invitation only) discussion on queer spirituality with Mark Thompson at The Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

We are excited to have this exhibit and Mr. Thompson in Utah. We are equally excited at the outcome of this meeting and the time together. Please do not hesitate to call if there are questoins at (801) 557-9203 or

Jerry Buie
John Cottrell

Monday, October 29, 2007

It is with great excitement that we are able to announce the upcoming exhibit at Cup of Joe's Coffee Shop.

The Fellow Travelers Exhibit is a collection of 14 stunning black & white images of Gay liberation pioneers taken by Mark Thompson, one of the foremost chroniclers of the movement. Thompson is best known for his influential trilogy of books dealing with gay spirituality: Gay Spirit (White Crane Books), Gay Body, and Gay Soul.
Fellow Travelers has exhibited at the New York Gay & Lesbian Center, San Francisco Public Library, the LA Gay & Lesbian Center, ONE National Gay Archives, and the Los Angeles Episcopal Cathedral.

Read an excerpt from an interview with Mark Thompson: READ MORE>>

See a great YouTube video of the exhibit at the Center in NYC.

You are invited to attend and meet Mark Thompson and Clyde Hall (Featured in the exhibit) at the Gala Reception and Book Signing on Dec. 7, from 7-9 p.m. at Cup of Joe's Coffee Shop. (A limited supply of Mark Thompson's Gay Soul and Gay Spirit: Myth and Meaning will be available for sale as a fundraiser for Queer Spirit Scholarships. Malcolm Boyd's book Take off the Mask will also be available)

All proceeds/donations and sale of books will go towards scholarships for those interested in attending Queer Spirit Retreats. The objective of these appearances will be about self-exploration, understanding our unique history and claiming our essence and gifts within ourselves.

Fellow Travelers
Liberation Photos by Mark Thompson
December 1-31, 2007

A Cup A Joe Coffee Shop
353 West 200 South
Salt Lake City

Gala Reception and Book Signing:
Dec. 7

Jerry Buie MSW, LCSW
Pride Counseling/Queer Spirit
231 East 400 South STE 208
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
801 595-0666

Sweat Lodge Report

Last saturday night we had a wonderful sweat lodge expereince. We had 22 men who were new to lodge, come with good hearts and hands and participate in a wonderful process of prayer, community and finding the sacred within our lives. It was a tight crowd but we managed. I want to thank everyone who attended and say good job! I was impressed with the level of sincerity and focus that was brought into the process. Many men asked if we were doing it again next month. It is likely that another one will show up soon so please watch the blog, emails and other sources of information.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sweat Lodge for Queer Men

This saturday night (October 27, 2007) at 7 P.M. Queer Spirit will be hosting a sweat lodge for beginners. This is an ALL GAY MEN'S Lodge. We invite you to come and join us, you are welcome to sit by the fire, join the lodge, share in the Pot Luck meal to follow and otherwise spend some quality time with yourself and with other queer men. Several have RSVP'd and I anticipate a good turn out for the event.

We will go in the lodge around 730. It would be good to be here by 7 p.m. so we can discuss the lodge and do a teaching before going in. This lodge is bigger than the one at Windwalker and the heat moves differently.

Please bring a lite dish to share for after the lodge. Enter the property through the basement enterance on the West side of the house. If you plan to be there a return e mail is helpful.
Jerry Buie

Monday, October 22, 2007


Well, it has been a busy summer and now Fall is upon us. There are exciting things happening.

First, there will be a winter retreat January 11-13, 2008 at Windwalker Ranch. Stay tuned to the website for details.

Second, This saturday we are hosting a sweat lodge at 7 30 p.m. Please e mail for details if you wish to attend.

Third, Mark Thompson will be in Salt Lake City on December 7 and 8 to participate in the opening of Fellow Travlers in SLC and then to lead a group discussion on December 8. Please e mail for details and information.

We anticipate more news soon regarding funding and grants we have applied for to support this process.


Friday, September 21, 2007

Mark Thompson and Malcolm Boyd to visit Salt Lake City

Queer Spirit ( in collaboration with
The White Crane Institute ( presents

FELLOW TRAVELERS: Liberation Portraits By Mark Thompson
December 2007


A Cup A Joe Coffee Shop
Salt Lake City

A collection of 14 stunning black & white images of Gay liberation pioneers taken by Mark Thompson, one of the foremost chroniclers of the movement. Thompson is best known for his influential trilogy of books dealing with gay spirituality: Gay Spirit (White Crane Books), Gay Body, and Gay Soul. 

Fellow Travelers has exhibited at the New York Gay & Lesbian Center, San Francisco Public Library, the LA Gay & Lesbian Center, ONE National Gay Archives, and the Los Angeles Episcopal Cathedral. 

A special bonus includes an opportunity to meet this incredible man, his partner (Malcolm Boyd who is highlighted in the exhibit) and perhaps other men featured in the collection. RIght now we are still planning this event but are thinking these two great authors and artist will be in SLC on December 7-9, 2007.

Mark Thompson (, this site contains a beautiful video of this work and the stories around the book) will make public appearances and discuss the community relevance of these pioneers to our identity and life today. These public appearances will take place at A Cup a Joe’s Coffee Shop who has graciously provided a place for this show. Mark Thompson has also agreed to do smaller group processes with those interested. All proceeds/donations will go towards scholarships for those interested in attending Queer Spirit Retreats and have financial hardships. The objective of these appearances will be about self-exploration, understanding our unique history and claiming our essence and gifts within ourselves.

A special treat in this opportunity is the attendance of Malcolm Boyd, ( Author and Activist in his 80’s. Malcolm brings his own unique history to our weekend. Malcolm Boyd, a pioneer in his own right and featured in Gay Soul will also participate in public and smaller group processes. More details are sure to follow.

So I offer this as a heads up, I encourage folks to attend these events, visit the exhibits and dedicate the time to sit with our Queer Wisdom Keepers. As details become more specific I will bring this forward. Donations to support this endeavor are greatly appreciated.

Jerry Buie

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Hey Guys,

Seems like we just met and had this wonderful adventure in Spring City. I personally was uplifted and experienced something profound in that brief weekend.

As promised we are hosting a monthly gathering at my home. We will have a lovely pot luck meal beings the last one was deliciously sinful! We will orchestrate this a bit differently. We will have a Pipe Ceremony in which we will set up the pipe for ceremony like we did at the retreat. The sacred pipe is a way to offer your hearts intent, prayers and hopes for yourself and loved ones. Its a good way to pray when special needs or request need to be honored, it is also a good way to give of yourself and to share of yourself with others. It is with the Pipe that we will have our Heart/Talking Circle and check in with each other. You are welcome to bring a friend(s) if they have been expressing interest in Queer Spirit. Participation at the retreat is not mandatory to attend the circle. The Talking Circle or Heart Circle is a space in which to express yourself, your journey and to let go of what needs to be moved and accept what you are seeking in the commradier of friends. It is also a place for each of us to witness each other's story and journey in a good way. John and I will also be sharing an intial draft of upcoming events that will be of interest. Currently we are working on and likely to get Mark Thompson and his partner Malcolm Boyd to Salt Lake in December. They are well traveled and speak frequently on Queer Spirituality and Eldership. Mark Thompson wrote Gay Soul as well as numerous other books as you might see on his website. ( If you check out White Crane's Blog ( and view the YouTube feature about Fellow Travelers you will get a small glimpse of what is coming in December.

At any point, lets get together and broader our circle, increase our vision and discover something new!

Traditionally after a ceremony like the Pipe Ceremony there is a feast and that is where Pot Luck comes in handy. We will meet on September 27, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. at my home in Holladay. (2084 East 6425 South. Basement entrance on the west side of the house.) The circle is open to all Queer Men. Please call if you have any questions. RSVP is greatly appreciated as space is limited.

Jerry Buie

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

An e mail surprise!

Dear Brothers

I belong to a larger group that does Spiritual work nationally around a ceremony called the Naraya. I spoke briefly regarding that work during the retreat. This Naraya Community has people from throughout the country that participates. It touches hundreds of lives each year and has a mailing list of 800 or more people. Often we share personal stories of transformation or seek community prayers for issues, it is how community/family work, mindful of each one. I was so moved by what I seen this weekend duriung our retreat that I called a friend to share my joy of the weekend when he encourage that I share the power of the journey with the prayer list. I felt the need to share this with the Naraya group which is comprised of many traditions, cultures, sexual orientations, people from all nations and walks in life, etc. I know this is lengthy but wanted you to know how important our work together this weekend was to me. I share this with you but encourage you to read BEYOND my entry. Within hours a chapter unfolded that I never knew existed. A man whom I only met briefly responded on his own journey in Utah in the 80's. I thought you would find this interesting. Its interesting how this man, who I know little about, was able to share our OWN history in Utah in deepening our persoanl queer storires. I find this profound. So read my letter and the keep reading Connell's respond. Maybe some of you know of what he speaks or know the people involved?

Again, thank you for how you moved my life this weekend.


Begin forwarded message:

(An introduction by the prayer list moderator to the reader)

As the Montana Naraya approaches this weekend, I am reminded that we often hear that the Dance is only the beginning, and how important it is to remember that we are continuing the Dance for the other 362 days of the year, holidays included! It is the dance where we come to clarify our vision, send our cry to the ancestors for guidance and support, and get the rocket fuel we need to make it happen. Once the dance has concluded, the ancestors sent home, the elders thanked for their good work, we go back to our homes, forever changed. Yet it is up to us to sustain the vision, walk our talk, and manifest our dreams every day, every day. Every day!

For many years I've watch my brother Jerry Buie in Salt Lake City nurture his dreams and visions, not only for himself and his community, but also a far-reaching vision of what it means to be a Two-Spirit, a Walks-Between, in modern culture. Jerry writes:

Dear Dancers

I am not one to use the prayer line often but this last weekend was such a powerful weekend for me that I felt to share it with you, as you have supported and danced with me in such a wonderful manner. Although I have not spoken outright about my prayers I have known that collectively the caldron we stir at Naraya is a collective process and that many of you have stirred the pot of my own vision.

For many years Spirit has shown to me a work that I had the opportunity to engage: a vision of moving gay men in a powerful manner in understanding ourselves in a sacred manner. With all the domestication and repression of society on our queer people many gay men get lost in the sense of who they are and in honoring the sacred in our lives. Utah in particular is a challenging place as Mormonism and politics push the agenda of "being less than", "unworthy" and "freaks" more overtly, many gay men assume the worse of themselves and live very abbreviated lives. My vision has been to influence these lives in a good way and to encourage queer men to step into their lives abundantly and deliberately, with sacred intent. Several years ago as a mental health therapist I started Pride Counseling and watched a part of this dream unfold. Many people said coming out as a therapist should not be done or that I should worry about my reputation, and yet 7 years later we are thriving as an agency and frequently consulted in working with gay, lesbian and transgender clients. Clearly this was one good step in the right direction.

But this vision grew. I briefly met Harry Hay at my first Wolf Creek Naraya and he firmly told me of my own vision and challenged me to go for it. My time with the fairies required me to look at myself in unique and different ways and has always been a profound time for me. Sitting with Clyde, Charles, Laine, Carolyn and other elders have encouraged me to look deeper and more carefully at who I am and what I stand for, with my medicine, the tools entrusted with me, and how might these things work in serving others. My personal work with Spirit, My Guides and the rituals have led me to interesting and profound places around the world and within myself. I have always struggled in how to bring this vision together of bringing queer men together to explore and dialogue in this meaningful and spiritual manner. In Utah in particular there is a strong need for this work.

A friend of mine, John, heard me discuss this dream for Utah Queer Men to find themselves in this sacred way and challenged me to bring this vision into the real world. In connection with his talents we began the journey of dreaming the miracle. We held our first retreat and 4 men showed up and it was good, small, but good! Then 6 months later, literally from the most incredible and unsuspecting places 13 men showed up and continue to show up. Then this past weekend we had 17 men show up. Each brought something to release, each entered the sacred sweat lodge, tested old stories and left with some new creation and idea of themselves. Each bringing an abundant heart and hungry desire to learn and grow in this way with Spirit and with themselves. Robert Sink donated his energy in creating a beautiful website that is showing up everywhere and being seen by everyone in the Salt Lake City area. Did not really have to ask for his help, he was there, saw the need, touched the vision and offered his services. See it here:

There have been three incredible newspaper articles written on our retreats and men calling and emailing wanting more information. Again, not because we asked but because it was needed. Folks have donated time, money and resources to support this New Story. We were able to sponsor 4 guys in recovery or on disability who might not otherwise participate in this journey. They are coming to the retreat, doing their work, going into the world and affecting change in their lives and the lives of people around them. The money shows up effortlessly, we are able to sponsor folks through meager fundraising efforts and somehow all are served who are called to be there.

See a recent article on the Retreat that took place in April: (Click on the left to download the September issue; see pages 24-25.)

This vision has morphed into a REVOLUTION in how we as queer men see ourselves, how we relate to each other and loved ones. When I contemplate the journey I am in awe of how beautifully this has all come together and honor the willingness of the ancestors to support and feed this process. It amazes me about how complicated we can make our lives, if Spirit gives you a vision, don't ask HOW or determine it to be impossible. Just do it! If this is right it will be effortless and will bring joy to lives around you. I am always complicating my own journey and find that when I just turn it over to Spirit it all works out perfectly.

SO, I honor you for your thoughts and prayers in the direction of this work and also write to honor the power of prayer, faith and the ability to deliberately shift reality to work in the behalf of our dreams and visions.

Thank You.

Jerry Buie

CONNELL"S respond. This group has over 1000 people involved. This Naraya event is a huge community. One man, who I really do not know was able to provide an interesting piece for us all.


I was very excited to read your account of the beautiful good work you are doing with Queer men in Utah! I think it's really awesome and wish you the very best in this. I tried to download the PDF of Q-Salt Lake but I keep getting a file error message so I have been unsuccessful. In any case, it reminded me of the work that Ben W., Liza S., Erick M., and I started in Utah in the late 80s and early 90s. We rented out the large and beautiful YMCA camp up in the mountains and invited the whole Queer community to join us for a weekend of spiritual exploration and fun, which we titled "Beyond Stonewall" (BS). Our first year we had about 80 people sign up! The next year it almost doubled!

That first year, at BS, we also started the Salt Lake Radical Faerie circle there. We announced the first morning at BS that later that night, at midnight, any who wanted to join us in a healing ritual celebrating Queer Spirit, please show up outside the lodge before midnight. A couple of us had prepared the fire circle earlier, tidied it up, cast some good spells around, and then dug a mud pit next to the fire pit. At midnight, while I remained sitting naked by the fire playing a haunting flute, the rest who showed up (about 15 men and 8 intrepid women) processed from the Lodge out to the fire circle. And thus began one of the richest, most vibrant, intense, beautiful, courageous, healing experiences of my life. I invited all to disrobe, casting off the "old ways" and to enter the circle naked with but a prayer, and a kiss. Spirit was so strong with us that night! We drummed, danced, chanted, covered each other in mud, laughed, hugged, cried, screamed, howled until about four in the morning. Lucy M. (she was the Executive Director of the Western States Division of NOW and still lives in SLC) was there with us, and she totally shape-shifted into the Goddess. At one point she led us all in a guided meditation in which we envisioned the Queer Spirit we were deeply experiencing as a beautiful pink bubble in the middle of the fire. She had it grow larger and larger and larger until it filled the whole galaxy - then she POPPED the bubble and sent our lovely pink energy spewing through the whole cosmos! It may sound kind of cheesy now, but for all of us there, it was an incandescent and pristine moment of such transcendent grace and love, we all wept like children, and just held onto each other for many minutes as we cried and cried together. Truly a highlight in my already amazing life.

Out of that first ritual together, the Faeries in Salt Lake rapidly grew - from about 23 that night to over 120, pretty evenly split between men and women, within about three months. On full moons, we would meet in gender-separate spaces and for the new moons, solstices, equinoxes, and May Day, Imbolc, Samhain, and Lammas, we would all meet together. Unfortunately division and dissension set in after a year or so. Many were so terrified of sexuality and sex-magic that they refused to participate in that. Then came the issue of the name - of course I wanted us to be Radical Faeries, but because sex and sex magick are such a part of that, the ex-Mormons (pretty much all of us) really struggled with that and instead insisted we be the "Sacred Faerie Circle", to emphasize the non-sexual "sacred" in ourselves. The thing I found most difficult for us to get past was our own woundedness. The scars were still pussy. oozing, sometimes even bleeding, from our years in the LDS church. But instead of allowing us to come together to heal, too many of us just wanted to pick at our own wounds and especially those of others. A part of it was the vicious cycle of the "wounded healer", instead of the "wounded and healed healer". Although it ended up being a rather unpleasant experience (I was literally excommunicated - and they used that word - from the Sacred Faeries for trying to incorporate sex magick into a solstice ritual out on the Great Salt Lake), the beginnings of our circle, especially that elegant, soulful opening ritual at the YMCA camp, are a precious part of my identity, and strongly connect me to Queer Spirit in ways I still haven't fully understood.

I honor you for doing this marvelous work among our tribe, and hold you and your vision in the Light, that Great Mystery surrounds you with wisdom and understanding, for you to call that circle and dance together in a good way that honors our selves as the powerful, magical Queer men that we are!

As you know, I love to write about my experiences in Mormonism, to bear witness of how I have been treated. Sometimes I feel I get a little whiny about it, and I am a wee bit tired of harping on the negative. For my next writing project for Affirmation, I want to turn the tables and instead of complaining about what's wrong with Mormon homophobia, I have started to write a piece called, "What We Bring the Feast," to honor and explain to the LDS Church just what deep gifts I think we Queer folks bring to the journey of life; what are the good things we offer to society. Since you seem to be working along similar lines, while still living in Utah, I was really hoping to get some good feedback from you about what gifts you feel we bring to the world. Without giving away too much of what I have already come up with, a few of the gifts I see are an ability to spawn innovation, a near obsession with aesthetics, and an ability to bridge gaps (especially between the genders). Perhaps you could even use my question (what do we bring to the feast?) as an exercise with your group to explore??? In any case, any feedback you might have would be MOST appreciated!

Be well my sweet brother,


Friday, August 31, 2007

WOW/ Lets Get Registered

Hey Guys!

Last night's meeting was incredible. It is amazing to watch this process unfold
and grow and witness as it sheds new awareness. Thanks for the yummy food and the great
discussion. I really see this process moving in a powerful way. Each of you
brought something unique and beautiful to the process. THANK YOU

So, I am off to camping but if you are planning on attending the retreat I need
to get registrations in place ASAP and NO LATER THAN next wednesday, September 5, 2007.
This will allow Windwalker to be ready for us and will also help John and I in
our planning. SO! Get those registrations forms sent in.

Checks Written out to: White Crane
Credit Card with Pay Pal through the website at and fax
registration forms
to (801) 595-0669 or mail them to 2084 East 6425 South Holladay UT 84121 c/o
Jerry Buie

ASAP is the key word on this.

If for some reason you don't make the retreat do watch the website and e mails
for upcoming events.

Jerry Buie

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Clyde Larsen said...
Guardians of the gateways to the spirit world? Can you imagine that? Something you would never find in the world of the Christians.

August 29, 2007 5:44 PM

Gays Guardians of the Gates

The website now has a LINK tab. I would encourage you to go to this link and explore the article "Gays: Guardians of the Gates" An Interview with Malidoma Some'

It amazes me the more I learn who we are and what our ancient roles have been and continue to be! Read the article and let me know what you think.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

August 30, 2007 Gathering/Information

Just want to remind folks about our Pot Luck Gathering on August 30, 2007 at 7:30 p.m. We will specifically spend time reviewing the upcoming retreat and give folks an opportunity to ask questions regarding the retreat on September 7-9, 2007 at Windwalker Ranch. Please e mail Jerry or John for directions to the potluck. This is an open meeting and we encourage everyone to attend who might have an interest in the retreats.

Remember you can register by printing the registration form the website. You can pay online with Pay Pal (go to the donation tab and pay that way or you can bring a check written out to White Crane and drop it off at the August 30 meeting or send the check via mail.) It is time to register so we can make appropriate reservations at the ranch.


Friday, August 24, 2007

Thanks Michael!!

If you did not see this I thought I would share it here. Michael Aaron of Q Salt Lake Paper did a beautiful job of promoting and educating our community for the retreat. I wanted to share it with you now.

Queer Spirit Retreat Helps Gay Men Shed 'Old Stories,' Build New

by Michael Aaron

Building on the successes of their previous two Queer Spirit Retreats, Jerry
Buie and John Cottrell have announced a third retreat the weekend of Sept.
7-9 at the Windwalker Ranch in Spring City.

The pair admit that upon hearing a title such as "queer spirit," many gay
men are turned off since spirituality is often used as a weapon against
them. The spirituality offered at these retreats, however, is based around
ancient native American themes and rituals - most of which embrace and
cherish queer identities.

"Queer Spirit is about finding the 'queer self' and integrating this into
our lives with pride, honor and confidence," Jerry Buie wrote in a statement
about the event. "We find that ceremony and ritual can be a powerful way to
create intention and focus."

The event begins on a Friday evening as participants dine at the ranch and
set out for a bonfire under the star-lit Spring City skies.

"We use [the fire] to release and let go of stories of shame, doubt, fear or
anything else that binds/restricts us. We create the sacred fire to release
the issues and inhibitions that domesticate our thinking and the expressions
of who we are," continued Buie. "This fire will be fun, meditative and
invigorating. It is not uncommon for someone to bring a guitar or for a
cowboy singer/poet to show up and share his talent."

Saturday is an individual's time to explore his reasons for being there,
what he hopes to get out of the weekend and get in tune with his body, his
mind and his spirit. An early morning yoga session introduces breathing as a
way to connect with the body. Meditative techniques used by many cultures
center around conscious breathing to move inward.

Saturday is also an opportunity to explore the ranch, seen by many Native
Americans as a sacred place. Indeed, an old cedar, referred to as a
grandmother tree, just outside the property boundaries is covered in red
prayer ties and offerings. Many of the men who have participated, says Buie,
have found the trip to the grandmother tree as the most moving, important
part of the weekend.

Most, however, see the sweat lodge Saturday night as the most rewarding and
revealing part of the Queer Spirit experience. The lodge, built by Buie
several years ago and used by many who visit the ranch, is a traditional
wood and canvas structure with a fire pit in the middle. In native
tradition, the ceremony proceeds in four parts. With each, more rocks, which
have been heating in a fire for hours, are brought into the lodge, bringing
the temperature up dramatically. The lodge is pitch black but for an
occasional glow from embers burning on the rock. Water is poured on the
rocks, filling the lodge with steam.

Many of those who have experienced a lodge often say they find new things
about themselves, some have visions in the darkness, others find simply
making it through and overcoming fears of darkness or tight places as a
triumph. Few will say that they leave the lodge the same as they enter it.
Last April's retreat drew 13 men plus the organizers. Buie and Cottrell hope
to expand that number in this upcoming retreat. "We can accommodate 20 or 25
people, and we're getting a lot of interest for September," Buie said.

The April weekend far exceeded any expectations that Cottrell or Buie held
as they were planning the event.

"At best we had hoped to get the men together to talk and to experiment with
a new story," Buie explained. "Instead each man courageously and beautifully
stepped into a magical place, stepped outside of the old story and created a
new one for them."

"As we considered the implication of self-love, self-joy, self-nurturing and
our own individual process of creating that new story, we stepped into a
very powerful and rewarding place," Buie continued. "The 13 strangers who
came together, left as brothers embracing each other, promising future
connections, correspondences and, respecting and engaging each other in a
joyous place. The weekend was beautiful and there are no other words to
describe it."

Registration for the weekend includes all meals and comfortable lodging.
This is a nonprofit event. Any proceeds from the event are turned back into
funding future reterats. More information and registration forms are
available at or by emailing Buie at or Cottrell at

Michael Aaron
PO Box 511247
Salt Lake City UT 84151-1247
tel: 801-649-6663
tel2:1-800-806-7357 X10
fax: 1-866-840-5232
mobile: 801-856-5655

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Information Circle/Gathering for September Retreat

Queer Spirit is about men loving men, gathering together in loving and intimate ways to explore, dialog, enjoy, dream and celebrate the "who" and "what" we are in the broader community. Using our unique gifts we explore our "Old Stories" and bring out new awareness, insight and beauty in the creation of a story that is unique to what is authentic in our lives. We use spirit, energy, ritual and tradition to incorporate the magic of queer men coming together to heal ourselves, our community
and our world.

Hey Guys

Have you checked out the new website? Please do!

it is more than just advertisement for the retreat! We are using this as a running dialogue and discussion in UT for queer men to explore issues around sexuality, spirituality and our place in the world. The website invites feedback, comments, etc. There are articles that may be of interest written by John and myself, there are also articles from Radical Fairy Founder Harry Hay, John Burnside and the Editor of White Crane, BO Young. These articles are meant to inspire deeper thinking and thoughts regarding who we are. The Blog is meant to stimulate discussion and dialogue and you should be able to subscribe to this blog so you have good information. Events that John and I have been planning such as Yoga, Meditation and Sensuality Workshops are also posted on this blog.

We are gathering on August 30, 2007, potluck again. We are going to discuss the upcoming retreat. We have several men interested in attending this year. If you plan on being there please register by downloading the registration form and filling it out. You can fax it to my office at 801 595-0669 OR e mail it to

Payment can be made in Check to White Crane or you can use Pay-Pal through the internet and website and pay by Credit Card, OR better yet. Hand deliver it on August 30, 2007 at 7:30 p.m. at my home when we get together. This will be a good time to socialize, share and explore the next chapter to Queer Spirit.

RSVP would be helpful. You are welcome to invite friends or interested individuals. This will be a good time for people to ask questions and to make the decision if this retreat is for them and will be a great opportunity to get to know each other prior to the retreat. Attendance is not mandatory if attending the retreat but helpful in the retreat being a positive experience.

SO, See you on August 30, 2007 7:30 p.m. at my house. Please e mail for directions to my house if necessary.

Jerry Buie
801 557.9203

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Queer Spirit/Money/Pride Counseling

There have been some questions regarding Queer Spirit and its relationship with Pride Counseling. Pride Counseling is a personal business of Jerry Buie LCSW. Pride Counseling has been around for about 4 years as a formal counseling agency to the GLBT community. Our website is Queer Spirit is something totally different than Pride Counseling. Queer Spirit is about community, spirit and being queer. It is personal passion of mine that is taking root and growing in a wonderful manner, but distinct and different than Pride Counseling.

My friend Bo Young is the Editor of a queer spirit journal named The White Crane. This journal is a wonderful publication for the queer community with writings that are provoking and informative. Bo create the White Crane Institute to support communities and efforts similar to Queer Spirit.

For years now I have envisioned queer men getting together in the wonderful surroundings of Utah to explore and understand who we are. Meeting John Cottrell a few years ago we realized how we shared in this vision. He was already generating interest in Yoga, relaxation/mediation techniques and body work. We began a process of unfolding for ourselves what a queer retreat might look like and we quickly acknowledged the financial angle that might be a challenge for those who needed to attend and might not have the resources. We have applied for grants but with limited success. We do local fundraising and this has been successful and has facilitated or partially facilitated scholarships for folks to attend. The cost of the retreat covers the cost of the ranch, lodging and food and to a small degree the cost associated in educating folks about the retreat. The editor of White Crane offered to integrate us into his 501 Non profit considering his mission statement was the essence of what we wanted to accomplish in Utah. Our connection to this non profit makes funding issues for the retreats less complicated and also makes funding agencies more interested in assisting us. The funds that have been raised and generated that go beyond our expenses such as lodging, food, supplies, advertisement, etc go back into the non profit and become start up funds for the next retreat. One of our goals is to create an accessible event. John and I have seen that this retreat could be a powerful venue for folks in recovery or in other challenging life circumstances. It is a retreat.

So please do not confuse Pride Counseling with Queer Spirit. Two different ventures and two different ambitions. I do want to thank White Crane Institute as they have provided a generous start up funds (, Q Salt Lake who has been generous with rates for ads as well as visibility, The Pillar who recently did an article in our behalf, The Center who have linked us to the broader community, and Yahoo Groups and the various Utah Yahoo Groups who have willingly donated space in their listserv in helping us get the word out. It is this type of energy and spirit of things that truly transforms a community into becoming a powerful force.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

August 30, 2007 Gathering/Information

The response to the retreat has been incredible. We have received numerous e-mails and request for information. On August 30, 2007 at 7:00 p.m we will be gathering to discuss the upcoming retreat. This is a great opportunity for you to come, ask questions and determine if this is the event for you. We will have a small potluck with past and future particpants of the retreat. Please attend with your curoisity and questions. For those who have already registered this is a great opportunity for you to connect with others attending. For more information please e mail Jerry at or John at This will allow you to RSVP and get directions to the meeting location.

There is still space available for this retreat

The Queer Spirit Retreat is just around the corner (September 7-9).
It's time to register!

Read more about this incredible experience by visiting the website: Download your registration form today. If you are
in need of a scholarship to attend, please contact one of the

Take a minute, too, to visit our blog
Share your thoughts and feelings. Take part in our monthly gatherings,
too, and other special events.


Saturday, August 4, 2007

The Body Sensual

One of the areas we'd like to explore in Queer Spirit is our intimate relationships with ourselves and others. As we continue our growth toward a positive self image as gay men, an important area to consider is our sensual and sexual beings.

Many of us may have learned that sexuality, particularly homosexuality, is a sin, immoral, wrong. This message only stunts the growth of the evolving gay man. If we have doubts about our sexuality, it creates yet another self-deprecating message. Further, this hinders our abilities to fully love ourselves and others.

Queer Spirit is dedicated to help the gay man find his true self. Help to change this and other false images we have created about ourselves.

We have designed a workshop called The Body Sensual that begins to explore these intimate and personal relationships with ourselves and those around us.

The Body Sensual puts us back in touch with our sensual, sexual, and even erotic selves. It explores our issues and stories about intimacy and relationships. Through dialog, we begin to discover the origins of why it may be difficult for some of us to fully love ourselves. Through guided touch techniques, we learn how to ask for what we want; know the things that make us feel good. We learn to say "yes" to what we like and "no" to the things we do not like. We also learn to listen to what our partners need and want. With direct and honest communication, experiencing love and pleasure will be more appreciated and valued. What emerges is a fuller respect for yourself.

We have generated some interest in our Queer Spirit Community to hold this workshop. Our first was scheduled for Sunday, August 5th, but was postponed for a later date and time to be determined.

If this is something that interests you, please feel free to contact John ( for more information. This is a special workshop that can be worthwhile for you as an individual or for a couple. We would also like to feature a Body Sensual experience at our retreat in September.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

More thoughts about WHY?

Two Things:

1. Our meeting on July 26, 2007 was a success, we all enjoyed some nice fried chicken and discussed our lives since the retreat. We looked forward to the next retreat in September with some discussion about what we liked and what we would encourage to have happen differently in September. The feedback and friendship was nice. It was good to see everyone again.

2. Let's step into some thought about "WHY" Queer Spirit?

"Gay people are a community constantly coming out of erasure. With little in the way of social institutions or institutions that are themselves too young or too busy to remember where they came from, Gay people have, from generation to generation the odd experience of feeling like “the only one” and having to construct a healthy adult personality, usually in a hostile environment." Bo Young Editor of White Crane.

My friend Bo has been helping us at Queer Spirit in our quest for grants that supports our efforts in hosting retreats and other events that would address the overall psycho, social and spiritual selves of gay men. The above comment certainly defines the NEED, in particular for the Utah Community, although, I would suggest that this need is both national and global. In our section within this website titled "articles" is an essay by Bo Young that is explores the need for gay men to discover themselves, not only sexually, but intimately, socially, emotionally, culturally, communally, but MOST importantly PROFOUNDLY! To step into a sense of inner and outer confidence that we are a Pro-Found tribe/community with many expressions and culturally relevant and unique gifts to offer society in general.

We (Queer Spirit) are creating the caldron at Windwalker Ranch for us to conjure and explore. Admittedly this is an initial process, a new process and open to suggestions and influences by those participating. Our earlier description of the retreat sounded like this:

"By using ceremony, storytelling, movement, and expression we will create a space that will facilitate friendship, (inter) connection, and improved self-esteem by the unraveling of "old stories" (belief systems that no longer serve us) that often sabotage our efforts in life. This retreat seeks to assist participants in creating "new stories" (healthier belief systems) of empowerment as gay men. Participants will find the higher purpose of their lives by the sharing/processing of personal stories. We will incorporate the use of group process and indigenous ceremony/ritual with the aim of honoring our path as queer men. This process will tap into the hidden mysteries of our lives; mysteries that most indigenous communities have understood for centuries." In many ways this is how we find ourselves. I have had some questions as people attempt to understand this process of what they are getting into. Some want to compare it to popular, intense seminars. So let me see if I can offer more input into what Queer Spirit is about.

Our Goal; To create an opportunity to freely and openly explore who we are, to seek out what we want and to find the loving support of our peers to experience this new found sense of self. To broaden and deepen our sense of what it means to be Queer and to embrace this as a sacred and legitimate gift to the world and to ourselves. There are unique approaches in finding this sense of "vision" that may be our of the ordinary, and yet the mundane and routine is where we often get stuck.


You can sit on your couch, or do the same thing you do every other weekend........ Or you could step out into something new this particular weekend that could alter your sense of self.

Old Story or New Story

Please contact us for further information. Its important to note that we are holding monthly meetings and gatherings that are social, fun and opportunity to share and connect. It is a great way to be introduced to the retreat and get more information.

Stayed tuned! Lets see what unfolds! Would love to see you there.

Jerry Buie
(801) 557-9203

Thursday, July 26, 2007


A friendly reminder that tonight is our first night of planning and collaborating about the retreat in September. If your curious, want to ask questions, explore and dialogue then please join us tonight at 7:30 p.m. Please call Jerry at 801 557-9203 for directions. Tonight is potluck so bring something yummy to share.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


July 26, 2007 Starting at 7:30 p.m. Queer Spirit Potluck BBQ

This potluck is meant for anyone interested in learning more about Queer Spirit Retreats. We are coming together to share in their experiences, provide information about the upcoming retreat and to socialize and have a good time together. We will be able to answer questions regarding the retreat and hear some of your ideas about what provokes you to attend this year and what you might be looking for to ensure the retreat is successful for everyone. By coming together we begin to break the ice and explore the possibilities for a wonderful event. To gather information about location of this event call Jerry at (801) 557-9203 or e mail at

Q: Is attendance at these meetings mandatory?
It is a good idea as we begin to gel as a group, but not mandatory. At the last retreat we had people sign up at the last moment and they did just fine integrating with the group!

Q: Is there a cap of particpants at Queer Spirit?
We would close the group off at 20 participants. In April we had 13 attend and that was a nice size group. If we end up with more we will evaluate what we need to do to address the request. We have several options in facilitating this process so size is not a huge factor. Slots are going fast for this particular retreat so do not delay!.

Q: Can I pay with Credit Card?
Yes you can. Go the page for registration and download the registration form, we will need this completed by all participants. You can pay with Check or through Pay Pal which requires credit card. The White Crane Emblem should take you to a Pay Pal site.

August 8, 2007 7:00 p.m. Queer Spirit Yoga (See above description from John)

August 22, 2007 7:00 p.m. Meditation (See above description from John)

August 23, 200 Queer Spirit Talking Circle and Retreat Planning This event will be creating dialogue about what we desire and hunger for in our lives and how we anticipate the retreat helping us to access that place. We will do potluck and Talking Circle in exploring what we are looking for in the retreat.

SEPTEMBER 7-9, 2007 Queer Spirit Retreat

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Meditation & Relaxation

eNerGY is a group in Salt Lake City giving men a safe environment to explore and reconnect with themselves and others through the power and practice of yoga. On Monday, July 23rd, eNerGY will be hosting a Relaxation & Meditation Session at 7pm. The intention of these sessions is to unwind and relax after a long day. The facilitator will teach you healing and cleansing breathing techniques then assist you through a guided meditation. The cost of the session is $10. $5 of your contribution will go directly to the Queer Spirit Scholarship Fund. This fund will allow more men to experience the upcoming Queer Spirit Retreat in September. There will be another eNerGY sponsored Meditation & Relaxation Session on Wednesday, August 22nd. There is still space in both sessions. You may sign up by visiting

Sunday, July 15, 2007

About Queer Spirit Monthly Gatherings

One of the intentions of the Queer Spirit Retreat is bring queer men together in a process of sharing and expanding the stories of our collective lives, sharing, talking, challenging and expanding our sense of who we are with the feedback and support of one another. This fosters a sense of intimacy and connection that we wish to grow upon.
Knowing that connections will occur in this retreat process we desire to facilitate a meaningful dialog beyond the retreat to keep the process moving, creating a community of support and growth.

We are hosting ongoing, monthly gatherings such as Sweat Lodges, talking circles, workshops, mini retreats, BBQ's and various social activities. We are currently meeting the fourth Thursday of each month from 7:30 to 9:00 PM with a new focus each month. These gatherings happen at different venues considering the event and process but are generally located in the Salt Lake Valley.

The Queer Spirit Monthly Gatherings are for gay male Retreat participants and invited guests. Please contact us for more info and questions.

July Queer Spirit Meeting
July 26, 2007, 7:30 PM ~ 9:00 PM
Salt Lake City, UT
Facilitators: Jerry Buie & John Cottrell
This month we will have a fabulous outdoor BBQ in the garden, Talking Circle, and discuss the upcoming Queer Spirit Retreat in September. Potluck to follow. Past and future participants of the retreat are invited to attend.

August Queer Spirit Meeting
August 30, 2007, 7:30 PM ~ 9:00 PM
Salt Lake City, UT
Facilitators: Jerry Buie & John Cottrell