Until 2 years ago the Radical Faerie Movement did not come to Austria and the countries of Central Europe such as Czechia, Slovakia or Hungary. And this had a reason: Austria, a neutral country in the heart of Europe between the western and the eastern hemisphere was a rather catholic and conservative country like Italy and Spain, had a very bureaucratic system with thinking in clichés, categories and dogmas. Austria is a country where freedom and the respect of the other as he is do not have the highest value. That is also why gays and lesbians always had to hide for a long time. The legal equality came very late. And the countries east of Austria where behind the iron curtain for more than 30 years and they had other aims to reach than living in faerie spirit after the opening of the borders in 1989. Austria had historically been an important mediating function and provided always the spirit of prosperity and the upturn into the eastern countries.
But faerie energy never reached and manifested in Austria till 2008. It was coincidence that I got into contact with a man in Northern California via internet who invited me to come to Wolf Creek in Oregon and at the same time a friend in Berlin insisted that I should come to the first Wannsee Gathering in Berlin because “they also needed some Austrian charm” there as he explained. And as I entered this space it was for me like coming home to my real world, full of freedom, love and respect, the place I was searching my whole life and that I missed so much in Austria. I discovered that Faeries from all over the world loved the idea of having a gathering in Austria one day, the land of “Sound of Music”, Freud and the most beautiful landscape. For many years I felt like being the only Faerie in Central Europe as Faeries normally lead a secret life and do not come out as such. I only knew that there had to exist more Faeries like me.
After 4 years of experiencing a lot of faerie gatherings around the world and finding my partner Red Rose we were ready to organize the first Austrian Gathering under the condition that we would find the ideal space in Austria, which was not so easy to find. But finally, after we have reviewed over 50 local offers we have found the perfect place in the Alps near Salzburg. In order to give the Austrians and the neighbouring countries the chance to take part at this unique gathering our dream was to bring the whole faerie movement to Austria and the central European countries. But how could our dream become true in a quick and effective way? We were all totally beginners in everything that had anything to do with marketing.
A group of friends in Austria created folders, posters, a Eurofaeries Austria Website and a Facebook Group “Austrian Faeries” and we decided to take part at the Vienna Pride week and the “Rainbow parade” 2012. I also created regular Newsletters for the Austrian Faeries. And these were my experiences from this remarkable week:
“The Eurofaeries have made their first appearance at the fringes of mainstream gay life in Austria – and at Vienna Pride on City Hall Square, no less – the most public place in Vienna, where the Lifeball – the biggest charity event fighting Aids and HIV in Europe is also traditionally held.
The public reaction was surprisingly positive. Most stopped briefly to gaze curiously, wondering whether they had read it right … “Radical Faeries”? – They had never read anything like that before. A lot of people checked us out from a distance – building a spontaneous, superficial opinion about who they thought we might be: a “travel agency” or a “partner club”, punks, hippies, transvestites, a sect, an artist group, “radicals” or simply “three stupid sissies”.
The Eurofaerie’s tent was different from the other conventional groups if not simply because of the altar made of simple gold fabric with the words “freedom, love, respect the faerie in you and in others”.
The ones who gave in to their curiosity and entered our tent for more information and to have a look at all the photos soon had a spark in their eyes. “There’s something about the faerie concept, you are a really dedicated group, a great stand!” The history of the faeries and why we are called faeries got many people thinking.
The thing the Austrian Faeries most wanted here was to give potential Austrian faeries the chance to discover themselves and other Faeries, to network among each other, to meet and say for once: we really exist! It is very important to us to have a safe, trusted place, to create a “Faerie space” where everyone can develop his or her unique self – which naturally can’t be where the public and the media are. But when the radio broadcaster FM4 interviewed us about what the Faeries really are that was OK.
We thought it was a very positive sign that Vienna’s Deputy Mayor from the Austrian Green Party visited us and listened to us openly. We told her that we thought the reason why the faerie movement hadn’t made its way to Austria yet is because respecting the individuality or otherness of other people is not really anchored in the collective consciousness of most Austrians. The word “radical” also confused a lot of people, since it actually has negative connotations in everyday use – but the faeries use it more like the Latin “radix”, which means from the root or origin.
We were struck by the superficiality of many people who walked by, who put anything unknown, like the faeries, into a box, without being willing to delve into its origin. This concept that “Outward appearance is the only thing that matters” is still far too prevalent in Austria. If you don’t fit into a “box”, especially most of the media outlets will immediately cancel out. But we still met a few really nice and open people, a few of whom even said they were actually faeries, too.
We think it was a good start and a good showing of the faeries in Austria. We moved something in the minds of the people, made contacts, and started something new in the community.
WE ARE PROUD TO BE THE FIRST AUSTRIAN FAERIES!
The Austrian Eurofaeries also participated in the Rainbow Parade around Vienna’s Ringstraße as a small group for the first time. We specially thanked the extremely friendly Cubans, who permitted us to march behind their vehicle!
We gazed into thousands of clicking cameras and believe that our simple and friendly appearance without any delusions of stardom allowed us to win over the hearts of many viewers. We also thought it was great when 50 to 100 young people stepped in behind our “Radical Faeries” banner near the Parliament and marched with us.
To sum it up: The faeries showed their true colors in Vienna. Now also Austria knows that we exist!”
At the Vienna Pride I also met El and she brought me to her garden and when I visited this marvelous wood at the border to Czechia, we both had the vision of creating a new faerie sanctuary in Austria specifically for the faeries in Austria, Central and Eastern Europe. Here is a creative paradise and we are all of good cheer, to create a true Faerie Space for the future here.
In Vienna we also celebrate the festival of EQUINOX in autumn and sometimes in spring as a combination of spirit, art and entertainment party bringing the idea of the “No talent Shows” to Central Europe.
In 2013 our participation at the Vienna Pride in June 2013 was an even greater success for the Radical Faerie movement. We were established not only right next to the big tent of the Austrian Green Party in the middle of the Heldenplatz, but we also made friendship with the Homosexual Initiative – “Hosi Vienna” – the most important political representation of lesbians and gays in Austria, with whom we shared the tent and brought us a lot of attention by the daily visitors.
Bastian had the idea that all visitors of our tent could help to shape our Faerie Creative altar for the Rainbow Parade and this idea was very well received – especially by the children who could let their imaginations run wild when decorating.
Then we also officially signed up as the first Radical Faerie community in Europe with a start number for a CSD parade. … And the response was tremendous!
We all have probably experienced never before so much love, laughter and admiring recognition of tens of thousands of Viennese and tourists. Some of the organizers also said that without us the rainbow parade would not have been so fabulous because we were all so „photogenic”. Many also were thrilled that we have brought over so much of our Spirit with incense and the procession with the wonderfully creative decorated altar.
In this 6 days of holding tireless position in our tent we have met wonderful new people who have given us strength and energy to continue and accompany us on our journey „bringing the Faerie Movement to Austria, Central and Eastern Europe“.
After this participation the official queer Vienna was fully behind us. The QWien “The Viennese Center for gay / lesbian culture and history” added the Radical Faerie movement to the queer history of Vienna and the local government of Vienna accepted to support financially a documentary film project of the university about the beginning of the Faerie Movement in Austria with € 3000. This short documentary will be presented in queer film festivals all around the world in the next years.
In summer 2013 there were both temporary and a new permanent manifestations of faerie love in Austria. Europe is about to be home to a second faerie sanctuary, 8 years after the inauguration of Folleterre in the Vosges mountains of north eastern France, came the Kissing Awake of Wienviertel Sanctuary, a new faerie home in Austria, generously opened up to us all by the landowner. Ceremonials to kiss awake the new land happened 15-16 August 2013.
The secret paradise at the end of Austria will be a real Faerie sanctuary in the coming years … the ideal gateway at the Czech border to the Faeries of the eastern part of Europe – is the little sister of the big European Faerie Sanctuary’s in Folleterre in France and is already the natural meeting place for faeries in Central Europe, where we were celebrating wonderful Summer Solstice Weekends. At the solstice, the sun is worshiped to ensure that it gives us the desire for life, sexuality, creativity, energy, health and wishes.
Starting with the Kissing AWAKE 2013 it will become the meeting place of the Faeries in Central and Eastern Europe and the Faeries all over the world, when they can share time and life stories at Faerie space and talk about finding inspiration and self-worth. People lit up their hearts from the calm and loving acceptance of the Austrian Faeries.
For this purpose 3 Community Workweeks will be held here in the year 2014 where everything necessary for the conservation and making alive of this “silent paradise at the end of the world” is done and thus can stay enough Faeries here.
The Kissing AWAKE of our new Faerie Home in Austria was a little gathering of some cute faeries from all around the world to open it……… I had the idea to name it “Kissing Awake”, when I woke up one morning and was considering what can we do with a sleeping beauty? Maybe Inauguration sounds too sacred, but kissing sounds human and sexy at the same time. Kissing is good for human souls, for trees and animals. And kissing was always a taboo for me when I was young. So I also wanted to break a taboo in me and among the faeries. It is not necessary always to name everything “holy” in a sanctuary. It should also be a blessed, beloved and loving place. And you can best show love externally if you kiss somebody! I really would strongly hope that everybody involved deeply incorporates this spirit! It is a real chance to get a new life!
The event started for me and Fauny with a serious and intensive talk about the views of “Folleterre” about the new sanctuary / faerie homes in Austria and about our views of Folleterre in general. Are we all still very close to the roots of the Radical Faerie movement in Europe? Should we open up to new ideas? Is the whole thing getting too commercial? Many questions in our heads! Fauny was the faerie who also led the inauguration in Folleterre 8 years ago, so he knew definitely how to do it! We talked about the program of the ceremony and we had a delicious meal cooked by a lot of faeries. But before the ritual started around the fire, there came a big surprise. Some new faeries in beautiful masks arrived at the Sanctuary accompanied by two American Faeries from California who some years ago met Harry Hay personally and one of them told us that Hay was the reason to encourage him to his Coming Out as a Gay person. Then we were all ready to start the unique Kissing AWAKE Ritual with a little heart circle around the fire.
When it was dark the procession started and we walked one after another to the 4 corners of the sanctuary with burning candles in our hands. A candlelight procession to get to know all the secrets of the land. But before we asked for protection for the land and that it would allow us to be safe and gentle and spiritual to it and we promised to be good to the land and take care for it! Then in every corner we asked for the spirits of the 4 hemispheres. In the second corner we asked for the spirits of the animals for blessing which was my task to do so, because I specially love the animals in this sanctuary! In the third corner we were finding our way at the land through the darkness by waiting at our own imaginary altar and then going back creating a spiral with our candles as a symbol for creation – the founding of a new sanctuary.
At the forth corner finally we did the real kissing awake ritual where we gathered around a beautifully red and orange decorated bench in the wood and we all started to kiss another faeries one after another at the bench. The kissing ceremony was just amazing and very touching for us all. We all were very grateful to have this wonderful moment in our lives. Yes and from now on also the Sanctuary was kisses and sacred.
Then the performances started on our stone stage. Red Rose and Mata Hari performed the modern but wild interpretation of Stravinsky’s “Le Sacre de Printemps” which we thought was perfectly representing the idea of this special event. This 20 minutes fight between the tribes of the world which was led with soil, plants and honey, the sacrifice of the virgin ended up with the crowning of the fire in nakedness. Till midnight our two Faeries from California gave us a wonderful time playing beautiful songs at the guitar and we all hoped that this romantic and warm summer night would never end.
In the morning we started building a shrine for the sanctuary and we had our first real heart circle “kissed awake” in beautiful sun under shady woods. On the occasion of the ceremony the circle started by presenting nice little gifts from Folleterre to the Austrian Faeries. The gift touched us a lot and with tears in our eyes we all spoke from the heart.
I must admit that I did not want to leave this space at this moment. Everything was so calm and gentle. I could not imagine that tomorrow there should start the first full 10 days Gathering in Austria in the Alps near Salzburg. But we had to face the reality – the faerie reality! And we started the faerie track west across the country to the Sound of Music territory of Salzburg where 63 faeries met for the first full 10 day international Austrian Gathering.”– Not knowing what was expecting us – but with my only real intention – to have an open heart for all and to feel and bring and spread GOOD ENERGY! – To LET IT FLOW in Austria!
…And as all the reactions worldwide show us – yes! – Everybody appreciated that!
The movement is spreading step-by-step across Europe and it is heading eastwards. Friends from Czechia and Slovakia like Matty the Deer wanted to know more about the Faeries as they admire their values and way of life. Since that summer the Deer has been meeting them, attending small events like heart circles and exhibitions and closely observing the attempts to create a sanctuary in a neglected, yet beautiful piece of land – which happens to be a walking distance from the Czech borders.
In August 2013 Matty the Deer got the chance to take part in the first international Faerie Gathering that took place in the alpine region of Austria. He was a participating observer and was fully accepted into the circle. The outcome of his time with the Faeries was his research Study for the Czech University in Brno about “Lifelong Learning Potential within the International Movement Radical Faeries”.
Yoohoo Faeries! We are approaching the East and we will never give up!