Continuing with our quarterly theme of spirituality, I’ll be focusing my August posts on various ways to look at shamanism. This week I’m exploring what a gay shaman is, and how queer men interact uniquely in most shamanic systems.
What is a Shaman?
There are many ideas about the origin of the word shaman. In most, when used as a noun, it roughly translates as “one who knows”. We’ll call anyone who practices an earth-based tradition a shaman.
Shamans are different from those who practice within other “pagan” traditions that aren’t earth-based, the neo-Egyptian system for instance. The connection to natural forces and the Earth herself is what differentiates them.
In most systems, there is a supreme creator. Some are monotheistic with a single creative force presiding over other energies, or entities. Ifa, the ancient African tradition that I practice, is one of them. Others have many all-powerful gods. Their connection with the natural world is the thing they all have in common and the reason we refer to them as earth-based.
Queer Men’s Role a Gay Shamans.
In most of these traditions, everything is energetic. The energies are grouped into masculine and feminine. Most of the energies are balanced having both masculine and feminine traits. But humans usually arrange them dualistically.
Queer people are seen as special in most of these cultures. Our ability to move with energies not typically accessible to our gender has a lot to do with that. In societies where priests aren’t parents, it makes a lot of sense for us to be in that role. Contribution to the group in these societies is crucial for everyone’s survival. So, many queer men became healers, or priests, who work with the greater energies of the Universe on the group’s behalf.
With the arrival of missionaries, things changed. The acceptance of diversity typical in tribal cultures was overridden by ideas from Christianity, Islam, and even Buddhism. They had a profound, negative impact on queer people in these societies.
We Connect More Easily to All the Energies.
It has been my personal experience that queer men have an easier time connecting with energy in general. This is particularly true of the more powerful feminine energies that many straight men find frightening.
Some gay men, myself included, have a strong affinity for the darker feminine energies. I have spent a great deal of my life connecting with the “goddesses” from many different traditions. But almost all the gay men I’ve worked with have had a facility for connection that seems rarer among straight men. This ease of connection extends to the masculine energies as well.
Bisexual men, and queer men who are more fluid, seem to have a similar experience but they have very different kinds of connections to both the masculine, and feminine energies. I believe that our bi, and pan, brothers have an innate ability to bridge the masculine and feminine in a way that is unique to them. They can connect with balancing elements and see the hidden aspects of an energy whether it’s masculine, or feminine. It’s a powerful potential that has been widely overlooked.
It seems that sexuality and gender identity give us unique experiences of the Gods and energies in shamanic practice. We have great contributions to make in understanding how these systems can evolve to be more relevant in modern times.
Discovering who you are energetically and exploring how you connect with the powerful forces of nature is what gay shamanism is all about. If you’re curious come explore with me.