f a e r i e @ g r o u p s . q u e e r n e t . o r g
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What's the faerie list?
An email list co-published by radical faeries who may resonate off-list with fey human cultures growing many places on this planet, including short mountain, new zealand, portland, thailand, wolf creek, seattle, sf, the netherlands, dc, london, ida, australia, kawashaway, paris, nashville, vermont, breitenbush, la, zuni mountain, chicago, faerie camp destiny, and many other places just around the corner from where you're reading this. Radical faeries may be spiritual, sensitive, queer, green, fabulous, and brutally direct when feeling for the heart. Or not.
The faerie list, to date, has included paeans of passionate love, song lists, heated political discussions, recipes, scholarly analyses of queer spirituality, ritual descriptions, rants, bad jokes, requests for rides and crash-space, gathering announcements, witty repartee, quiet stillness, personal introductions, post-gathering recaps, stories of faerie culture, gardening tips, and other odd bits tossed off-handed to the stew.
Um, "ask three faeries, get five answers" ... ?
Okay. To attempt a short description, from one faerie's perspective, the radical faeries are a queer tribal nation sharing affinity in the spiritual underpinnings of non-mainstream sexuality and heart-centered relationship. We are historically and primarily gay men (many of us proudly seize the name "faggot"). And many who do not fit, or choose not to accept, these stereotypes also identify as radical faeries.
We are bards, wizards, shamen, and healers. We have always been, and will always be. Humanity requires our existence, no matter how dysfunctionally it may treat us in some cultures and eras (though not all).
We are self-defining. We each choose to be who we are, and there is no authority but our hearts. We gather together, get naked and beautiful ... in oh-so-many different ways ... drop the world, and open to each other. Unless we don't feel like it. In which case we do something else.
Historically, the radical faerie movement traces its name to a 1979 "Spiritual Conference for Radical Faeries" in Benson, Arizona, called by Harry Hay, John Burnside, Don Kilhefner and Mitch Walker. This gathering concentrated and named a movement rising in America since the late 1960's. Since then, the movement has spread internationally, evolving many flavors, spaces, clans, ways, and communities along the way.
The QueerNet faerie email list, since 1996, has been one such community, or journal, or online heart circle, or not, or whatever we are to any one of us at any given moment in our lives.
Persimmon, Elfstone, Elam, and Paul Couillard have written more on this subject ("who are the faeries?") in their "Frequently Questioned Answers (FQA) about Faeries", as has the lovely Corbeau in his "Answers to Queries about Faeries". Mugwort expressed a view at RadFae.org. And, this navel gazing ("Whence and whither, oh fae brethren? Nay, Sistren! NAY, FAGGOTREN! NAY!! I'm not one of those ... um, what was I saying?? Oh, that's right, something about dogs ...") pilgrimages annually through the faerie list dialogues, gaining breadth and eloquence most every time.
An email list is a form of internet communication which predates the world wide web. An email list has an email address, just like a person. People "subscribe" to the list. Any email sent to the list's address is automatically sent to everyone else on the list, provided it meets the requirements of that list.
For this particular email list, people already subscribed to the list can post email to it, but not others. In this way, a multi-textured, threaded tapestry of correspondence may occur between those of us choosing to join in reading and writing from our hearts and minds about our lives and experiences as radical faeries. In this sense, we're an online journal, diary, recipe book, bulletin board, grimoire, beloved audience, what have you ...
An email list may also sometimes be referred to as a "listserv" or "group". However, "listserv" is a trademark for a particular brand of email list software, and we do not use their software. And, "group" is a new'ish term which some find a bit vague. Personally, your author calls this doo-hickey under discussion an "email list" and, naturally, you'll call it what you will!
The faerie list is run by a program called Majordomo2. One way to work with Majordomo is to talk it, and send it "commands", through email.
To subscribe to the faerie list, send a blank email to:
If you prefer to receive the faerie list in digest format, a once-a-day (more or less) compilation of everyone's posts since the last digest, send a blank email to:
To unsubscribe from the faerie list, send a blank email to:
And, by the way, if you're ALREADY SUBSCRIBED but want to switch to digest
format, send email to
and in the body of the message write:
Wouldn't it be easier for everyone if we ran this list off of Onelist.com, um, I mean Egroups.com, or uh YahooGroups.com, er or maybe MySpace or Facebook?!
Spam, censorship, and questionable content-ownership are high prices to pay for the convenience of a few less keystrokes, and the joy of doing what all the cool kids are doing this season. If we faeries liked doing things the easy way, we'd gather in Orlando ...
QueerNet.org is time-tested and radical faerie to the core ... and, if you'd prefer to talk to Majordomo2 through your web browser, click here.
Subscribers can post messages to the faerie list, messages sent by others bounce away. It does not matter whether you receive the faerie list as individual emails, or in digest format. If you receive the list, you can post to it. If not, you can't, at least not directly (radical faerie event announcements from offlist are welcome, though they'll be initially blocked and will need to be passed on through by the list maintainer).
The only person who sees bounced away messages is the list maintainer. They are pretty much ignored, unless an apparent subscriber boo-boo has occurred (eg., someone subscribes from their home email address, but tries to post something to the list from work), or if someone off-list sends a relevant announcement to the list (eg., a call to gather) which the list maintainer chooses to forward on to everyone.
Which segues to an important note:
so you need to post your messages from your subscribed address. Otherwise, the software won't recognize "you" and will bounce your message away.
Send an email. Anything sent to email@example.com by a current subscriber will appear on the list.
When you do, please keep in mind that over 300 faeries are receiving everything you post to the list in their inbox, and we all appreciate thoughtful, heartfelt words. Sometimes it's good to write something, save it, read it again later, and then send it out to all of us.
Please also be aware that if you receive the faerie list in digest format, it's considered polite to NEVER send the entire digest back to everyone in your reply (and a bit silly and inconsiderate if you do ... so please don't?).
Lastly, please edit your replies! PLEASE! Do not simply hit your 'reply' button, add your comments to the top, and press 'send'. It's good form (and a sign of someone who "knows how to do email") to delete any portions of the email you're replying to which do not directly relate to what you're adding to the thread.
The best way to understand what is appropriate for posting to the list is to “lurk” on the list for several weeks when you first join in order to understand its energy. It’s appreciated if you post a message introducing yourself. Faerie space is non- (or anti-) commercial, so postings about stuff you sell or services you offer for money are usually met with indignation. And, if you find yourself trying to strongly change the direction of the list, and then other people on the list begin voicing gentle (or not so gentle) concerns about the tenor and/or frequency of your posts, you may find that you have been given the opportunity to improve your listening skills.
If you think of conversations you might have in front of a lot of people at a faerie sanctuary during a gathering, then you will be close to what we see posted often (anything from passionate cultural analysis, to poetry, recipes, and travel plans). If you’ve never attended a faerie gathering or some other faerie event, please read the preceding paragraph again.
There are hundreds of people on this list widely spread across the world. If you are posting about an event, please be sure to include the location prominently in or near the subject line. People in Australia may not be interested in reading the details of your announcing a coffee circle 11,000 miles away.
A "hostile email" is an email from a list member which threatens harm towards another list member(s), sent either publicly to the list, or privately in response to a public post on the list.
The sender of one hostile email will be placed on moderation for six months, meaning that the list maintainer will review and approve or deny any further postings from that sender to the list during that time. After three hostile emails, their sender will be removed from the list.
When appropriate, the maintainer and stewards may provide relevant public and private warnings about list behavior, and will make all moderation and removal decisions using their best judgment. After six months, a person on moderation or removed may request to be reinstated as a regular list member.
Of course not, the delete button is your friend!
And, it's a thoughtful and recommended practice to always put a sensible and informative 'subject' line on any email you post to the list. Some people receive so much email that they only stop to read when a subject line catches their eye ... and that's okay.
Let there be balance in all things.
Over the years it has become apparent that almost everyone on the list feels happiest when any one of us posts to the whole list no more than once or twice a day, perhaps a little more occasionally here and there as topics and individual feelings permit. However, our history has shown a connection between a decrease in list membership numbers and a sustained high volume of posts from one or more list individuals. Some post rarely, some almost daily, and some never at all (although it is always wonderful to read the words of someone emerging from silence to speak their truth!). With more than 500 members on this list at most times, if even one quarter of us posted more than once or twice per day, we all would have very full e-mailboxes. Please keep this in mind when you find yourself posting and replying to posts more often than others.
Discussion threads are an integral part of this faerie list; they ebb and flow and often transform into new topics. Thoughtful and honest replies to others’ postings are welcomed, encouraged, and needed; without discussion on this list, it might become nothing more than a lifeless sounding board into the virtual void. Nonetheless, for various reasons you might wish to consider replying privately to someone’s public post. In doing so, please check that you ARE replying privately, and not accidentally sending a private response to the entire list, therefore making it very, VERY public (and perhaps very embarrassing for you and/or the intended recipient!).
It all seems to be a matter of keeping balance between our many voices. And, like any chorus, keeping this balance is a shared responsibility of all involved.
That means you, too.
Heart circle is one of the central traditions of radical faerie community. Faeries come together in a circle to speak from the heart, and to listen to one another through our hearts. Usually a talisman of some kind (a talking stick, a shawl, a day-glo bubble wand) is used to identify the faerie who is speaking -- as long as that faerie holds the talisman, that faerie speaks, without interruption or feedback, and everyone else listens, with as much attention and compassion as we can muster. In some heart circles the talisman is passed around the circle and each faerie has that opportunity to speak or to pass the talisman. In other circles when one faerie is done speaking, any other faerie may ask for it. Either way, passing the talisman is an intimate exchange, often accompanied by a hug or a kiss.
Speaking from the heart is difficult to define, but we know when we're doing it, and when we're not. The quality of a heart circle comes as much (or more) from the listening as from the speaking. Many of us have had some or our most deeply emotional, healing, transformative experiences in heart circle. A heart circle can go on for a long time. It's generally okay to join the circle in progress (between speakers, as the talisman is passed), to take a break, or to leave entirely, although the reason they go on so long is that they're so wonderful nobody wants to leave.
Opinions on this question vary widely (now isn't that surprising?).
Many faeries on this list consider the list an electronic heart circle, and place a high value on speaking and listening heartfully. Other faeries find that for them a heart circle requires the physical presence of other faeries at a specific space/time nexus; these faeries are generally more comfortable with non-heartful banter on the list. Still other faeries prefer to act as if this is a heart circle, even though it isn't. Perhaps the most important thing is to be aware of different faeries' preferences and sensibilities, and to speak and listen as heartfully as we are able.
No one and everyone and each of us and none of us. Just we. It's a trick of fate that the software running the list refers to the list maintainer as the "list owner". In reality, the list thrives in the free-floating loam between excess technological wonder and pathological altruism. Imagine a world without ownership?
According to myth and archives, this email list was given birth by a faerie named Gabriel, on a now defunct server called hooked.net. On January 8, 1996, this original list was transitioned to its current server, QueerNet.org, by the Artist Formerly Known As (the Marvelous) Persimmon (AFKAP). AFKAP maintained the list until about February of 1998, when he handed the job to Damien. Damien maintained the list until Spring of 2004, when he handed this role to Ribbon, who maintained it until Spring of 2008 at which point Anthony donned the hat. Anthony set it back down in the Fall of 2009, and now Esteban serves in this role.
The faerie list content is collectively (dis)owned by its subscribers. So, the person handling list maintenance duty is referred to as "list maintainer" rather than the traditional title, "list owner". Legally, copyright remains with the author of any post.
Since May of 2003, decisions about how we operate have been made by the faerie list stewards. Feel free to send them any opinion you care to share about whatever this is we're all about, and how we're going about it. The stewards can contacted through the following address:
The stewards are responsible for ensuring the list and FAQ are maintained. If you are interested in helping maintain the list, please let them know through the address above.
It means subscribing new list members after some introductory dialogue, usually through email "commands" written to our cybertronic list-manager, whose faerie name is "Majordomo"; analyzing bounced messages to solve subscription problems; sometimes manually unsubscribing people who let their email box fill up, causing their faerie list email to bounce; staying aware of changes and goings-on at OPG/QueerNet and with the Majordomo2 software (see below); and other bits of administrivia.
The whole routine takes about five minutes a day. Every day.
The software which runs the list, a program called Majordomo2, is hosted on a server known as QueerNet, which is operated by a feisty not-for-profit organization called the Online Policy Group.
Lots! Please visit RadFae.org, a site maintained by Peridot and the RadFae Websters, and browse around!
Much of the text has been written and re-written over the years by Damien, starting sometime in late 1998 or early 1999. In September of 2003, Anthony, Camphor, and RogerK each made thoughtful additions. It is now updated from time to time under the guidance of the faerie list stewards, usually with Damien typing the keystrokes. If you would like to offer additions, or suggest changes, please contact the faerie list stewards.