(personal report by Mata Hari)
In early April 2018 after a short visit to the exotic, wonderful Faerieland Sanctuary in Australia and a very easy-going Fools n‘ Faeries Easter Gathering in New Zealand, I flew directly – for the first time – on a mysterious journey to the ‚Land of the Red Dragon‘ for the third China Faerie Gathering near Beijing.
In truth, I had never wanted to go there because I had heard only negative things about this country. How it exploits it’s people and monitors them, that personal and political freedom is suppressed, that homosexuality is illegal and gays are persecuted. The environment slips from one disaster to the next and is mercilessly sacrificed to economic progress.
However a year earlier at the Global Gathering 2017 in UK I met Francis, a charismatic Faerie. Francis is an incredibly nice personality who brought the Radical Faerie Movement to China. He became a true friend to me and he convinced me to visit the 2018 Chinese gathering. The challenge was so strong. I accepted it.
When I landed in Shanghai and then in Beijing, I saw nothing of this huge country. Everything was a white mist around me and light yellow smog clouds. Just a week ago, there was a sandstorm from the Mongolian desert that caused 2000-fold air pollution in Beijing. The weather was crazy. It was winter in China. We landed in the snow and it was so cold. I had to meet Pablo who was my contact at the airport, otherwise I would have been lost in this huge and unknown country. For the privacy and security of those Chinese faeries who were attending the gathering I had not been told where the Gathering was to take place or who else should pick me up. My only thoughts were would we actually make contact? Will Pablo be there? After some initial panic, some Chinese faeries arrived at the airport and took me through a snowy landscape resort outside of Beijing, where the four day gathering was to take place. I will not announce the location for safety reasons. But I safely arrived at my final destination.
At the entrance of this place stood two golden lion statues, who bring happiness and prosperity to the newcomer. I was greeted by about 24 Chinese young faeries. We three non-Chinese, Western Faeries, Pablo, Chas Nol and I were by far the oldest in this gathering. But that did not matter.
Right after the welcome we did a workshop ‚Face to Face,‘ and we got to know and love each other for the first time. All these wonderful, loving young faeries I was allowed to hug. Every single one I found beautiful in their own way. Is there anything more beautiful than the smile of a Chinese faerie who is pleased to see each other’s eyes? They showed me their ‚true self, ‚ their true ‚Faerie Being.‘ Wonderful and compassionate beings that are unique to the faeries and that should not be hidden. Yes, I saw so many beautiful faces – or rather, the souls behind the faces. Young faces, with an incredible smiles that were heart warming and lovely.
The next morning Chas Nol asked me to facilitate the Heart Circle. The sharings and the stories I heard made this event one of the most emotional Heart Circles I’ve ever participated in. Some sharing of young faeries here almost broke my heart. The speciality of this gathering was that nearly two-thirds of all participants were young, students between the ages of 19 and 24. They all told things as they might have been in Europe in the 1960s, where homosexuality was almost still illegal in all countries.
In China, family ties are much stronger than in Europe, and if you come out here as a gay in front of your parents, this can mostly lead to exclusion from your family, because it is the biggest disgrace. Not only will you be cast out, you will lose all rights in your society. It may also be that you are being persecuted by your own family, or that your own father wants to kill your boyfriend. So it was not surprising that nearly every second person in the group spoke of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, both by himself or his friends. What came out of the mouths and hearts of the young Chinese people was so real and so heartfelt and so intelligent that I was totally entranced. It showed a different reality that we can no longer imagine in our western liberal world. Most of them had never felt the true love of a man and they longed for it. So many here believed in love. How beautiful the world can still be in young hearts, and how much the grown-up world denigrates and above all, does not appreciate, it and even tramples it in every way. I believe in these Chinese teenagers; and we three “old-fashioned“ western faeries began to love them more and more.
For relaxation we went to a nearby restaurant where food was served extensively on a round table and the over-filled plates were shared.
On the way back to our home it snowed again. In the evening there was the ‚No-Talent Show‘ and an auction at the same time. The Chinese are very good at trading, so the auction was a big deal and was extensively prepared. But also for the show there were some wonderful Chinese music and literature acts. Everything was pre-pared via WeChat platforms as Facebook and other social media platforms of the West are blocked in China. I hosted the show together with Chiffon, the very talented second youngest Faerie here.
Every morning there was Heart Circle. It was the centre of our gathering and that made the Chinese Gathering very intense and exhausting for me as well. You almost could not relax your head. Therefore, it was also very necessary for me (after receiving a professional Thai massage from Xisi) to take at least a short hike to the ‚Spring of Happiness‘. However I did not find this source of joy in the mountains, but in the hearts of the faeries here, in their yearnings and dreams. And I noticed how body contact and tender touch among the young Chinese faeries increased during the gathering. The true smile that we give ourselves here is the greatest gift that people can give themselves. It ascends hope, affection, openness, beauty – everything that people can give – even sex. It radiates your innermost self: – your Being as Radical Faerie. Do not hide it – it’s what we can give the world – the best you have – because when you hide it behind a cold wall, you break with your humanity. Do not use your power for wars, negativity and cynicism, but for love. This is also part of the ‚legacy of Kung Fu‘ and is also a legacy of the Radical Faeries.
At the end of our last full day, we formed a circle where we should reveal our Emperor and our angel – slowly, gently, yet persistently. And I was surprised. Even I had an angel here, it was my last translator. With more than amazement, yes, admiration, I went to bed exhausted.
On the last day the sun suddenly shone friendly over the valley. Colourful children’s windmills turned wildly in the wind and wherever I looked I saw a pink bloom. How nice it was here all at once. Now my soul finally found satisfaction and relief.
We all left as friends and enriched ourselves with the message that we should all be our faerie-selves, and that no one can take that from us. Chas and I loved these wonderful intelligent faeries here in China who were able to organize such an intense gathering. I was so impressed and wanted to carry this message around the world. The golden lion has really made his positive side resonate in us and brought us to enlightenment.
Despite being relieved to leave the emotional intensity of the gathering, I also left with new wisdoms as I went back to the juggernaut of Beijing and into the Forbidden City.