Fae Dish

Where Radical Faeries Come to Dish….Discuss.

First Question: Sanctuary?

February 2012

So here is our first question (please read our About and How This Works… section). Click “leave a comment” above to respond. To read responses, click comments above.

Within Radical Faerie culture, the word “sanctuary” is used often to describe  What does Sanctuary mean to you? Describe your actual sanctuary (is it a Radical Faerie space). Describe your ideal sanctuary. Why do you need sanctuary? What are sanctuaries for? Is sanctuary  a physical space or can it be “held” space regardless of your geographic location? Is there a need for physical spaces of sanctuary? What are the issues facing your sanctuary? Do you eve use the word “sanctuary”? Are your sanctuaries urban, rural, or suburban?

Feel free to pose additional questions below in the comment section or contact us at michaellecker at gmail dot com to alter the question.



  1. speckofthecosmos

    I had a lively debate earlier coming home from the grocery store if it’s productive to use the word sanctuary when not talking about a specific place. I was using it to describe any space, permanent or fleeting that creates a space outside of the everyday to be a faerie. But my roommate (Sourpatch) and Aroara Thunder both thought that I should use a different word because why confuse things when a Sanctuary now means a physical permanent/semi-permanent space that faeries go to to gather. So I guess it’s worth asking, what can we call fleeting faerie space if not Sanctuary?

  2. “A sanctuary, in its original meaning, is a sacred place, such as a shrine. By the use of such places as a safe haven, by extension the term has come to be used for any place of safety. This secondary use can be categorized into human sanctuary, a safe place for humans, such as a political sanctuary; and non-human sanctuary, such as an animal or plant sanctuary.”

    My feeling is the faeries have a tendency to over intellectualize a word or idea. of course this does not answer your questions:
    In a faerie sense a sanctuary is a place/space away from the everyday world, a space where a faerie feels safe to be his or her self… But sanctuary is not just space or place it is away of being present, a way of hospitality, in welcoming all who enter in that space, emotional, spiritually…
    Sanctuary is an honored space, sacred if you will… whether in a building, woods, or a persons home.


    • Moon

      In it’s original meaning, Click, the word comes from the Latin “sanctus” holy, hallowed. Later came associations with place. Thus, sanctuary comes from a feeling of holiness and feelings come from within before they are placed on something, or someplace, external.

  3. to me it means a place away from where you have to be this or that. Its a place where you can be what ever you want to be and not be judged. It meas family and caring. I have found who I am by going there. Its a place that has a lot of love for everyone.

  4. Bizzy

    TAZ=Temporary Autonomous Zones, but this is all just splitting Wheres. I think sanctuary can be found outside of physical restraints. One of the definitions of Sanctuary is “Immunity to arrest afforded by a sanctuary.” This seems to suggest that the state of immunity itself can be called sanctuary. Can the mind be considered a place? Can a group of people in any given location create space that is safe from what is outside the circle? I think yes. Sanctuary is not rigidly attached to physical geography. But that’s me.

  5. Bizzy

    I do think however we need to be thinking very specifically about the use of physical space to provide sanctuary to people who are suffering from lack of actual safe space and nourishment.

  6. Chris

    As a newbie to faeriedom, I think sanctuary (for me) needs to be a physical space to retreat to, where a world based on different values can be created. I do think I can then try to recreate this “beloved community” (in the words of Dr. King) in the outside world but I do need that physical space to first create/live it.

  7. It means “free to be you and me ” … all that serious safe space schmaltzy stuff that is a part of Homo Home living. One thing I’ve noticed is that some folks “crave home” … and others “create home” wherever they live.

  8. Ricomo

    We might also want to check out Philadelphia’s Sandra Bloom’s Sanctuary Model:  http://www.sanctuaryweb.com/

  9. Moon


    A place of refuge or safety.
    Immunity from danger or arrest.

  10. free

    I believe the role of contemporary sanctuary is to establish the presence of power which offers a reflection of internal divinity. To carry that honest mirror and holy sensibility is a sacred task which transcends space. However, spaces which do engender sanctuary help to further that sacred act in many spaces. As faeries, I believe we are called to spaces for a time, only to return to one’s life more aligned with the self. Practice makes perfect, but not every space is a practice space.

  11. Mercury Aquarius

    I love how Free expressed sanctuary. After my first full Gathering season I did feel more aligned with the ‘self’ than ever before. I think Sanctuary affords a great deal of healing for the physical and metaphysical self. Healing is granted in many forms. From a touch to a kiss. I also find healing in the sounds of Sanctuary. A faerie with a sounding bowl, a faerie singing opera in the distance, the click of high heels on a dirt road covered in stones. These sounds penetrate the physical self and heal from the inside out. Healing is granted to us in Sanctuary so we can then heal the world. Or least that is how I feel.

  12. Loki

    I like that someone put the actual definition of the word. To me, faerie gathering implies the variety of people that might be welcomed, and is more celebratory and light. Sanctuary, if we’re believing the definition of place of refuge or safety, to me seems to imply a few things, and seems a bit… dishonest. I think calling it sanctuary implies that the people who go there are broken, and will be magically healed by going there. Personally, I feel the same pressures at a faerie gathering to conform, to be a part of consensus, groupthink, religiousity (at times) as I do in the “default” world. To me, faerie gathering seems like come as you are, and faerie “sanctuary” implies , oh, you poor broken creatures, we’ll keep you safe… but who keeps us safe from each other once we’re there? There is a concept in Jungian Psychology about different aspects of the self. The one you think you SHOULD be, and the one you really are. It seems like faeries think they SHOULD be open minded, sexually liberated, diverse, nurturing, progressive, free-thinking, etc- at least that what most of the references on line seem to paint us to be (often from the mouths of faeries). Then there is the way we actually are- and I’ll leave that for you to fill in the blank yourself- but not everyone feels a gathering as a giant love-in that welcomes new faeries “home”.

  13. Mohabee Serrano

    Sanctuary is a word that can be used to describe a physical space, or it can describe the soulful place inside ones self, which is a place to find peace, hope, and charm.

    I find sanctuary not only in the spaces Faeries designate, such as ZMS, Wolf Creek, Camp Destiny, or Short Mountain, to name a few, but sanctuary is often the soulful, peaceful, and blessed experiences one might encounter while visiting a sanctuary.

  14. purrfessor

    sanctuary is a state of mind.even if it’s a physical place, it’s the mind (or moreso the heart) that gives meaning to that sanctuary. st. peter’s cathedral is a sanctuary for some, but not for me. life, after all, is all about perception. i think of my room in a shared house as my personal sanctuary. i think of many fae houses here in philly as sanctuary, but they’re not always a safe haven for me. the physical space has not changed, but the energy within those gathering (most importantly, myself) is different.

    i think of physical (structural) sanctuary as a wall or buffer from the outside world. it’s great to go to destiny or short mountain (my only reference points outside of philadelphia) knowing that there is space for me to be and explore how to live whole-hearted and authentically, if even just for a week, away from the preconceived ideas and notions of conformity. the space is vast enough to not have the physical reminders of that outside world.

    the people who come to share that space with me come with the intent to create sanctuary as well, but all of us sharing that space together doesn’t create sanctuary. it’s by shedding that habitual way of programming that has been droned into us and agreeing to create, in our hearts, a space to be authentic, vulnerable and whole-hearted that creates sanctuary. sanctuary, to me, is created by taking the risk (collectively) to connect the safety created by our physical buffer zone and open the doors to the sanctuary within me, letting you and i dance freely there and rejoice.

    physical sanctuary (with physical buffers) is important to create a “safe-space” for faeries to explore what it means to live their lives radically authentic and whole-hearted. physical sanctuaries bring folks together to weave the web of a safety net, allowing us to go out into our individual lives and still feel the bonds to our community and our safety net. physical sanctuary doesn’t have to be one location, but the gathering of folks who can “hold space” for it. a geographical based sanctuary like destiny or short mountain are important to the web because they are constant nodes of sanctuary. the land becomes sacred and untainted by all the crap we need to create sanctuary from.

    i use the word “safe-space” often in conjunction with sanctuary because faerie space (where ever that physically manifests) is a “safe-space” to me. i have found that many faeries think of safe space a space devoid of any potential triggers, (perceived) threats (to ego, mostly) and challenges. i propose a different define of “safe-space” as a place/environment for to play and explore with who i am, whole-heartedly, authentically, warts and all in tandum/relationship to others. it’s a place for me to push my boundaries and test unfamiliar waters, knowing that i have a safety net; a community of love and support that will hold me and walk with me through whatever challenge i face. it’s a place for me to stand up and tell my truth and face my demons. drugs & sex/touch often come up around the topic of “safe-space”. to me, sanctuary is a space where we each can explore our relationship to drugs & sex with support of many others that are struggling with the same issue and aren’t afraid to be open-hearted about it. it’s a space where we learn how to be self-empowered and confront our fears & triggers, so no to who/whatever and yes to ourselves. and if we’re scared shitless to do it, we’ve got this great safety-net woven through our connections made through the sanctuary we’ve created.

    over the past two years of hosting the philly gatherette and attending gatherings at destiny & short mountain, i have begun to feel that webbed/intertwined feeling of sanctuary growing up and down the east coast from boston to atlanta. more and more faeries are connecting at destiny, philly gatherette and short mountain and then carrying that energy home with them and cross-pollenating from city to city.

    rural sanctuary is beautiful and i love going and getting reconnected with mother nature. urbanely, i find sanctuary in certain spaces, but don’t know that i would call those places sanctuaries. i do envision an urban sanctuary that is truly similar to our rural sanctuaries, plopped in the middle of a big city; as off the grid as we can be in the middle of the grid. i’m looking at old high schools that the philadelphia school district is selling to convert into a sanctuary; an entire city block transformed into the physical space for sanctuary. gardening on the sides of the building & the roof, solar powered, housing for multitudes of faeries, space to host visiting dignitaries, space for everyone to practice their art; healing, visual, performance, culinary, whatever.

    i think physical sanctuary is important and will manifest how, when and where it is needed as long as we continue to strive to create/hold sanctuary in each of our hearts (mind, body and soul), not only when & where we gather, but to keep the energetic bonds of sanctuary going when we are separated. the circle is open, but unbroken.

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