My Transcendental Trip Into the Secret World of the Gay Shaman Circle
In the West Village, a mystical healing group provides a sacred and safe space for gay men.
On a warm Sunday morning in early summer, I head over to the the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in the West Village to join the monthly gathering of the NYC Gay Men's Shamanic Circle. I have gotten permission to attend, despite being straight, on the condition that I participate in the proceedings, photograph only the altar, and respect the privacy of the group members. I am told I’m the first outsider to take part in the circle. I feel like I've been accepted into a secret society.
I am curious to see what a gay shaman’s circle is like, and for that matter, what a shaman’s circle is like. As someone who has dabbled in mysticism and spiritual practices over the years, having attended Native American sweat lodges, meditated in noble silence for ten days, read Carlos Castaneda and tried out a few consciousness-expanding substances, I am no stranger to shamans, or medicine men, and their healing powers. But with a cliched image of the Native American shaman in tradi…
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