Category Archives: Donald Engstrom

WC72 – The Everyday Sacred

Everyday Sacred

Abundance and Wealth by Donald L. Engstrom-Reese

One of the great confusions that appears to touch all aspects of our contemporary lives, is the idea that abundance is a synonym for material wealth. It seems a given in this culture, that abundance is measured by how much we own; be it dollar bills, houses and cars, diamond rings, material goods of any kind. For that matter, many have forgotten that there is a definition of wealth which holds a meaning far beyond a corporate capitalist’s definition.

The Oxford defines it thus:

abundance – 1. Overflowing state or condition; superfluity; hence, loosely, plentifulness. 2. A large quantity, or (less correctly) number. 3. Affluence
wealth – 1. The condition of being happy and prosperous; well-being. 2. Prosperity consisting in abundance of possessions; riches, affluence. 3. Economies. A collective term for those things the abundant possession of which constitutes riches or ‘wealth’ in the popular sense. 4. Plenty, abundance, profusion (of what is specified).

Those of us called to Queer Spirit and/or to other cutting edge spiritual traditions are reawakening to an abundance understood by our ancestors that many of us never learned about in our schools, homes and workplaces. We are tasting an abundance in our day to day lives that hitherto, had only been tasted in our dreams; both in our day dream wanderings into the realms of possibility untouched by poverty, alienation and hatefulness and our night dreams which have lead us into sweet visions of a transformed life cherished by spirit.

Our sense of wealth and abundance is no longer tied to any particular economic system. Nor is it any longer tied to large bank accounts and hoarded goods. Wealth and abundance is simply living a life with all senses honed and alert, consciously filled with wonder and curiosity. It is a life immersed in glory and graciousness. It is a life rich with relationships. It is a life that consciously surrounds itself with beauty. It is a life filled with sensual pleasures and that chooses to embrace the majesty of everyday life. It is a life that knows when enough is enough.

It appears to me, that post-modern spirit people of all traditions are choosing to become major players in co-creating the sustainable abundance and wealth which are foundational to the emerging Cultures of Beauty, Balance and Delight. Just what do I mean by Cultures of Beauty, Balance and Delight? These are the currently emerging cultures that, among other things;

  1. Focus on transforming the relationships between the human made worlds and the natural realms into loving, sustainable and joyful partnerships,
  2. Choose to live life fully awake, aware and co-creatively,
  3. Are dedicated to pleasure and beauty,
  4. Embrace an ethics of justice and fair play,
  5. Delight in the authentic lives of it’s individuals and communities,
  6. Are willing to accept the consequences of their choices, learn from them and then move on,
  7. Remember that there is always a choice,
  8. Are spinning cosmologies clearly naming love and compassion as foundational underpinnings of the multiverse,
  9. Are committed to abundance and joy.

I am noticing that Queer Spirit people are not only mingled through out the many groups embracing these and other cutting edge ways of being, but are some of the primary voices naming the possibilities emerging from these cultures. I am noticing that we, Queer Spirit people, are essential to restoring and expanding the current definitions of what it is to live wealthy lives of abundance.

More and more Queer Spirit folk are using our own lives to flaunt our notions of abundance and wealth. I have noticed us shamelessly and publicly expressing our queer wealth by the ways we dress, decorate, eat, garden, make love, travel and just plainly celebrate our choices as out confident Queer Spirit folks in a culture consumed by greed and fear.

Queer Spirit people, as do many Earth Centered folk, have the advantage of the outsider looking into the ringing hollow calling out for meaning and substance at the heart of the over culture. We have noticed that this heart has lost its paths to sustainable lives of joy and plenty. Frankly, we are people who have worked hard to remember the ways of those lost paths while learning to live on the razor sharp edges of those over cultures because we simply wanted to survive. But now, not being satisfied with mere survival, we have kept moving forward along unknown roads of possibility. We have dared to create new standards of wealth and abundance to not only maintain our very sanity in this culture, but for the very real pleasures and wonders such explorations have brought to us and our feres.

Queer Spirit people are still feeling the stirring of ancient memories in our bones and blood. With each breath we take, we are awaking further to the fact that we have always been and will always be Living Treasures of planet Earth. This has led many of us to consciously choose to claim our places as co-creators of the multiverse. We are recognizing anew that all Treasures of all kinds; rocks, rivers, plants, animals, planets, stars, Mysterious Ones, ancestors, etc., are eternally co-creating the multiverse together in every instant of every second. This has encouraged us to deepen our relationships to all being-ness, adding immeasurably to our sense of place in an abundant cosmos.

Queer Spirit people are choosing to actively claim our places as co-creators of this and all of our worlds. We are choosing to claim our joyful obligations as spiritual leaders in the human realms. Queer Spirit folk are a people who have dared to learn from the past, while not being afraid to look for new ways of building and maintaining sustainable abundant lives on planet Earth. We find ourselves in the 21st century, continuing to learn how to more consciously choose to take on our co-creators’ responsibilities with dedication, respect and sincerity. We are modeling how to learn to embrace optimism and hope well tempered by the flaming realities of the current situations on this planet. We are learning anew the ancient knowledge, where two or more peers agree on an idea, that agree to invest their skills and time to manifest that idea, that agree to trust each other’s expectations, judgments, abilities, and contributions and that agree to trust in the mystery of co-creation, nothing is impossible!

Queer Spirit folk are again finding ourselves facing the opportunity to join other people of spirit, in bringing this understanding of abundance, this knowledge of well-being, to the forefront of human consciousness.

As we prepare to step into these challenges, I suspect that it behoove us to honestly ask ourselves a few questions.

  • Do we have the courage to act on our dreams with graciousness and compassion?
  • Do we dare to openly live lives of spirit and act accordingly?
  • Do we dare to publicly take the hands of our Druid, Heathen, Wiccan, Shaman, Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and other peers as we dance together the magic of this great dance?
  • Do we dare to embrace the realities inherent in nurturing the incredibly diverse authentic communities sprouting up around the world?
  • Do we dare to dwell in beauty, balance and delight?
  • Do we dare to declare, as a core truth, the understanding that abundance and wealth are the birthright of all beings?

What will we choose to do? How will we support and nurture each other as we continue this great adventure? What other questions would be good to ask of ourselves? Perhaps it would be a good time to sit down with one another, over a nice cup of tea, and ask them of each other as we witness the wealth of spring emerge, yet one more time?

May abundance and joy flow through our lives like a wild, untamed river.

Bless the Bees.

This is just an excerpt from this issue of White Crane.   We are a reader-supported journal and need you to subscribe to keep this conversation going.  So to read more from this wonderful issue SUBSCRIBE to White Crane. Thanks!

A longtime activist in gay spirituality, Donald Engstrom/Reece’s work dates back to the mid-1970s when he took part in early consciousness raising communities in the Midwest — communities that foreshadowed later Radical Faerie developments in the early 1980s. In the 1980s he began doing work with the Reclaiming Community and hosted the first Faggot Witch Camps. He lives in Minneapolis with his partner and travels around the country doing work in the Reclaiming Tradition. “The Everyday Sacred” is a regular feature in White Crane.

White Crane #69 – Donald Engstrom – Everyday Sacred

An Excerpt from the Summer 2006 Issue of White Crane  Col_everydaysacred_2

A Report from Witch Camp

We stood once again in Freya’s Hall. We had come to deepen our relationships with the Mysterious Ones of Place; Wind, Water, Fire and Earth, with Red Bloods and Green Bloods, with Rooted, Branched and Blossomed, with Furred, Finned and Winged. The Hearth Fires were relit, the Folk regathered. Our joyful obligations to each other held us in the strong arms of compassion. It was time for us to continue the on going work of Winter Camp.

We began our time together by dedicating Winter Camp’s new prayer bead set. The bead committee stood encircled by the beads facing outward towards the community. Mary held up the prayer book for each of the six members to read two pages at a time. The prayers beads truly awoke and found a place in the hearth and hearts of the Folk.

That first afternoon we also moved into our cabins, made announcements, formed affinity groups, met the teaching/facilitation team, met the three kitchen Witches that prepared our daily meals, listen to path invitations and renewed our delight in each other’s company. We welcomed old timers and new comers alike. From the beginning of camp till it’s last closing song, the graciousness of Hostess Law permeated the very air we breathed.

That first evening we set our camp’s intention.

In love, we open our hearts and minds to the spirits of the lands around us, listening deeply and respectfully to their stories. We seek to move ever closer to a co-creative relationship with all beings in our landscapes. We choose connection and courageously step forward into the new stories we create together.

Each evening’s ritual was a coming together of the whole community. The teaching team so skillfully held the work that each piece flowed invisibly into the next. There was a sweet blending of styles and of tools. There was always a spaciousness that left plenty of room for the community to actively participate in improvisational co-created magic and spell work. The teams commitment to beauty, love and joy was tangible. This team obviously held the growth and development of the community as paramount. They were courageous enough to truly be servants to the clan house.

The first morning we chose our path work:

1. Living the Moment
2. The Dance of Desire Lives Here! Mapping our Inner & Outer Worlds
3. Aligning, Attuning and Earth Healing With the Intelligences of Nature

Our resource teacher, Christine, moved confidently from path to path while feeding each evening’s work.

I have heard life changing reports from people participating in all three of the groups. I have heard stories of the work feeding and nourishing both the individual and the community. From my perspective, it was obvious that yet more components of the sustainable cultures of beauty, balance and delight were fully formed by the work done in each of the three paths.

I chose to join the "Aligning, Attuning and Earth Healing With the Intelligences of Nature" path. It was a brilliant choice for me.

We tranced with our Allies. I listened and heard:

Wind and Water
Bone and  Branch,
It’s all life
That we enhance.

Wind and Water
Stone and Dream,
It’s  all life
That we esteem.

Wind and Water
Womb and Web,
It’s all life
That must be fed.

We each wrote a poem with a shared common title; “When Water Becomes Frost.”  Strong work flowed from each of our pens. It led me to write:

When water becomes frost,
Human lovers spread flannel sheets
  On their beds of pleasure
  Knowing that desiccated lusts shall be restored
  By the frozen breath of icy lips on a hot belly.

We practiced trance postures. We worked with among others, the Corn Mother, the hawk and the bear poses. We gathered information, visions and instructions.

For instance, this came to me while in the bear pose:

My body flushes with pale green lightnings and storms.
    Dreaming a memory?
    Remembering a dream?

I listen to my bowel’s healing rumble with bear ears.

Singing Bear calls for his song to be sung.
I sing;
With just his voice
He heals throughout my body.
With just his voice
He shatters the virus.
With just his voice
He builds crimson blood,
He makes red blood healthy and vital.
And the ancient queer
Were bears,
Bear shirkers,
Bear healers,
Shake and tumble,
Dancing to bag pipe and drum.
The hurdy gurdy’s strings

Take us to a dream restored in bone and blood,
Stone and wood,
Tears and cum.
We breath deeply together;
In through the nose,
Out through the mouth.
Honey cakes are our healing desserts.
Dreaming a memory?
Remembering a dream?

The last morning of class found us standing in the midst of the Whitewater River declaring how we had changed the world as if we were years into the future. We dared this work knowing that it is by our conscious choices that we give Skuld the materials that will build the worlds that we shall all live in. Here is a sampling of our declarations.

Larry declared:

I chose to honor and nurture the healing powers of water and dirt.
I pulled the old bandages off my heart and stretched those scars.
I determined to become an athlete of love.
Most importantly I learned to see success.

Madelon declared:

I healed the world by opening my heart and healing myself.

Diane declared:

Opened heart, shed tears, touching, loving;
Daily discipline and Divine connection.
Blessings, blessings, blessings!
Compassion and hospitality, humility and healing, fairness;
Intention manifest in all that I did.
Spells, spells, spells!

Ashland declared:

I gave the world my full attention.

I declared:

I am an Engstrom.
I planted sunflowers, tomatoes and corn.
I made my bed every morning.
I planted wild weeds in every crack in the pavement.
I drew spirals at cross roads, on churches, on boulders, on hearts that risked to actively heal, knowing that each spiral transformed all the others.
I danced in bars,
  At weddings and picnics,
  In parks and in palaces,
  In hovels and caves.
I danced in the arms of my lovers and boyfriends,
  Tasting their tastes,
  Celebrating their glory
  As we dared to dwell in beauty, balance and delight.
I planted sunflowers, tomatoes and corn.
I made my bed every morning.

I must also say, that Freya’s Bower was consecrated daily with an offering of sighs, sweat, and cum from many in the community. The  Bower brought us both earthly delights and the healing of hearts. Praise be the powers of sex and it’s mysteries!

This Winter Camp has been for me a high light among high lights. It is one of the most powerful, nurturing, sustaining Reclaiming events that I have ever been a part of. I am deeply grateful.

We left with the words of the Norns still singing in the winds and the waters:

Listen to the stories.
You choose your own lives!
You provide us the weft with the choices you make.
We all co-create these worlds together!
May abundance and joy flow through our lives
like a wild untamed river.

Blessed Be.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this excerpt from White Crane.
We are a reader-supported publication. To read more from
this wonderful issue we invite you to SUBSCRIBE to White Crane. Thanks!

Donald Engstrom/Reece is a hero of ours.  A longtime activist in gay spirituality, Donald’s work dates back to the mid-1970s when he took part in early consciousness raising communities in the Midwest — communities that foreshadowed later Radical Faerie developments in the early 1980s.  In the 1980s he began doing work with the Reclaiming Community and hosted the first Faggot Witch Camps.  He lives in Minneapolis with his partner and travels around the country doing work in the Reclaiming Tradition.
A frequent contributor to our pages, we are now delighted to have his wise insights as a regular feature in White Crane under the title “The Everyday Sacred.”