Simply titled “Celebrating Gay Spirit Visions,” the first fall conference of the Radical Faeries in 1990 was inspired by a tradition of gay men’s gatherings held from 1978 through 1989 at Running Water, a farm and retreat center in the mountains of North Carolina.
In 1978, Running Water owner Mikel Wilson invited a men’s caucus from the Southeastern Conference for Lesbian and Gay Men to meet at his mountain homestead, hoping such a gathering would encourage discussion and exploration of spirituality and alternative gay male identities.
John Jones, Rocco Patt, Peter Kendrick, and Ron Lambe purchased Running Water from Mikel Wilson in 1979, desiring to live and develop an intentional community there. They incorporated as Stepping Stone, a legal entity holding the title to Running Water. Soon, twice-yearly gatherings were scheduled and Running Water became one of the sanctuaries of the Radical Faerie movement. RFD, A Country Journal for Gay Men Everywhere was published at Running Water from 1980 to 1988. But by 1989, development around Running Water made large events there impossible and the land was sold.
Running Water was gone, but fortunately Stepping Stone wanted to sponsor an alternative event. Former Running Water dwellers Peter Kendrick, Ron Lambe and Raven Wolfdancer, all Radical Faerie veterans, hoped to keep the energy of earlier gatherings alive. But they also wanted to refocus and create a less anarchic, more structured event accessible to gay and bisexual men of all spiritual paths. A new location had to be identified as well. The Mountain, an affirming Unitarian Universalist affiliated retreat center outside Highlands, North Carolina, welcomed them after several southeastern conference centers refused to accommodate a gay event.
left to right: Steve Greer, Franklin Abbott, Andrew Ramer, Ron Lambe, John Burnside, Harry Hay, Crazy Owl
Harry Hay, founder of the Mattachine Society and the Radical Faeries movement, was invited to keynote the first Gay Spirit Visions conference (Harry's keynote address). There were also presentations by visionary writer Andrew Ramer and Atlanta poet Franklin Abbott. And although now traditionally held around the autumnal equinox in September, that first conference was held in November.
Ron Lambe, 1991, by Robert Giard (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/dl_crosscollex/brbldl_getrec.asp?fld=img&id=1121514)
American photographer Robert Giard is renowned for his portraits of American poets and writers; his particular focus was on gay and lesbian writers. Some of his photographs of the American gay and lesbian literary community appear in his groundbreaking book Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers, published by MIT Press in 1997. Giard’s stated mission was to define the literary history and cultural identity of gays and lesbians for the mainstream of American society, which perceived them as disparate, marginal individuals possessing neither. In all, he photographed more than 600 writers. (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/digital
The Fire in Moonlight: Stories from the Radical Faeries 1975-2010 by Mark Thompson
Paperback: 312 pages
Publisher: White Crane Books (March 1, 2011)
Amazon: The Fire in Moonlight: Stories from the Radical Faeries 1975-2010
The most valuable possession a people have is their story...their history. Many years in the making, with over fifty contributors from around the world, The Fire in the Moonlight is the first anthology of its kind. Beginning with Walt Whitman and Edward Carpenter in the nineteenth century and moving through the liberation movements of the late twentieth, Dancing in the Moonlight speculates far into the twenty-first. It offers a timely compendium of culture wisdom, provocative wit and challenging sensuality. Dancing in the Moonlight gives witness to a groundbreaking movement that painstakingly emerged from the Gay Liberation era. Rooted in the history of radical visionaries, this little known, essential community informs the modern world with new meaning, offering fresh definitions of faith, identity, purpose and gender. Fire in the Moonlight is a series of personal reflections on who the Radical Faeries are, where they've been and where they are going: Radical Faeries in their own words. It is about how a movement has changed lives--and how Radical Faeries contribute to healing a fractured Earth.
More Particular Voices at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Particular Voices
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