Monday, August 29, 2011

Worship Is A Submissive Act: A D/S Dichotomy

       Recently I did some solitary spirit work where I interacted with my matron goddess on an extremely personal level.  During this work I saw sides of my matron that I had never experienced before:  the Lover and the Domme.  I am intimately acquainted with these facets of my patron god--perhaps too much so, and I know they exist in other goddesses, but it was exciting and refreshing to be treated this way by my matron.  I felt like I had finally been let in on a secret about her.

       The idea of worship being a submissive act is certainly not a new one.  Anyone who is a true worshipper and not just a part-time actor is being submissive to their deity.  This is clear in how many religions refer to "Lord" or "Lady".  People bow to pray, sometimes in extremely vulnerable and suggestive ways.

The word Islam in Arabic means "submissive".  As Bob Dylan sings, "Everybody's got to serve somebody."
       However, this dominant-submissive dichotomy gets complicated as our spiritual lives and mundane lives mix and swirl.  For most people, clergy and spiritual leaders in particular, in one world they are a leader and in the other they are a follower.  It's hard to balance these two roles out, but that's often what is required of us.  To continue with the BDSM motif, we all must be switches.  Without balance, there is chaos and that's when we become the most vulnerable and weak.

        There's no best way to solve this problem.  For myself, when the imbalance starts to occur, I have to rearrange my life so I can give my deities and my spiritual self the time that is needed.  This often requires a sacrifice of something--something fun I want to do, inconveniencing someone else to cover my obligations--but sacrifice goes right along with submission.  It's hard to relinquish the control and ego that goes along with being the dom/me in our everyday lives.  But it has to be done.  As those in the scene will tell you, you can't be a great dom/me if you've not been a sub first.  It's that balance thing again.
        Before I end this mini-sermon on the virtues of submission, let me pass along these pearls that were given to me in my temple:
1. We all need to tend the "flame" in our own way and be mindful of it.  We need to use the periodic monotony and tedium of the chore to reflect on our path and listen for guidance.
2. It's not personal.  It might seem personal or sound personal, but it's not.  We need to take everything that comes our way and use it as fuel for the flame we are tending.  By doing this, the actions and words are changed and sent out into the universe as new energy.
3. Be a good sub, shut up, and listen!  Your deity dom/mes will always take care of you--but only if you listen and follow directions.

Blessed Be!


Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Scourge Part 1

“The Goddess’ scourge is light—usually.”

           A scourge by any other name is still a scourge.  A scourge is the name given to what is basically a many-tailed whip used in Wicca.  People in the scene often call it a flogger, or if it has knots, a cat, and to outsiders it’s a whip, but all these boil down to a scourge.  According to Merriam-Webster, the word first appears in its current form in the 13th century and is originally derived from the Latin word corrigia, which means “thong” or “whip”.    It’s a ritual tool that many Wiccans either don’t own, don’t use, don’t understand, or have purely for show.

            Scourges and other whip like implements have been associated with religion forever. 
In Ancient Egypt, Osiris was often depicted with a crook and a flail, symbols of authority but also symbols of agriculture.  These symbols of agriculture could sympathetically translate to virility symbols.  There is more about the flail (which looks an awful lot like a scourge) in the “Ritual” section of this blog.

The Ancient Romans used scourges, whips, and switches sympathetically in their magic and rituals. These implements were seen as being phallic and were used in fertility rites, primarily Lupercalia.  According to a Hellenic expert, while Lupercalia is primarily a Roman festival, it has its origins in Ancient Greece. Originally male adolescents in Arkadia would reenact the feast of Lycaon every year. At the original feast, Lycaon prepared a feast for the Olympian gods that included some human flesh, perhaps from one of Lycaon's male relatives. This so enraged Zeus, that he struck Lycaon's house
with a thunderbolt and Lycaon turned into a wolf.
At the Arkadian reenactment, the teenagers would gather on a mountaintop and
partake of a meal of animal entrails. However, among the animal guts was hidden one piece of human intestine. If a participant ate this juicy morsel, he would turn into a wolf and was only able to become human again if he refrained from eating human meat for nine years. Another way that the boys could achieve this lupine transformation was to swim across a special mountain pool. Once again, after nine years, they could regain their human form.  

This tradition traveled to Rome via Hermes' son, Euandros, who exported the cult of Pan Lykaios and the festival of Lykaia to Italy. This festival later became the festival of Lupercalia, which is described in the opening lines of Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar.
Once the wolf festival was transported to Rome and became Lupercalia, many
different stories and deities became associated with the celebration.  To honor Pan, two goats and a dog were annually sacrificed. The dog was sacrificed because they were sacred for their ability to protect flocks and because Pan raised hounds.

           Skin from the sacrificed goats was used for the flails that the Lupercalia runners would whip the female spectators with. It was believed that through this aggressive behavior Pan would bless the ladies with fertility. 


In Julius Caesar, Caesar tells Antony:
Forget not, in your speed, Antonius,
To touch Calpurnia; for our elders say,
The barren, touched in this holy chase,
Shake off their sterile curse.
Act I, Scene 2


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pain, Blood, Drugs, and All Those Fun Things: Taboo or Mystique?

            As discussed in my previous blog, pain and the Sadomasochistic practices that bring it about can fall into many different categories.  Some of these fit categories that most folks are comfortable talking about in public and fit into the “safe” side of Wicca and Paganism, but some of the categories do not.  As was also discussed in a previous blog, while these practices represent the dark side of how things work that doesn’t make them evil.  It makes them real.

Taboo and mystique walk hand in hand.  If something is taboo and forbidden then of course it gets whispered about and a certain mystique starts to grow around it.  The more we are told that we shouldn’t want something then the more we want it.  What is it like to get scourged?  Oh, I shouldn’t want to know because it’s painful.  Pain shouldn’t cause me pleasure.  My patron God shouldn’t make my knees weak and my vagina wet.  What if the thought of your God does make you wet while you’re getting scourged in ritual?  Is that not an act of love and pleasure and therefore the most meaningful kind of worship?
            The “Charge of the Goddess” teaches us not only about acts of love and pleasure, but it also teaches us about inner mysteries.  If you can’t find what you’re looking for within yourself you will never find it outside of yourself.  If the thought of a blood rite doesn’t make you feel swimmy headed and wonderful while you’re planning your handfasting, then it probably won’t when it actually happens. 
Personally, I think some taboo associated with the topics touched upon in this blog may be appropriate.  It certainly does heighten the mystique.  But also some things are not suitable in a family situation.  It just depends on you, your beliefs, your partner(s), and your group(s). 
            However, beware of too much mystique.  If something is built up beyond imagining, then the real thing will never measure up.  How are you going to feel if the pig doesn’t go down easy and you have to shoot your sacrifice three times?  It happens because it’s real.  If you’re easily disappointed when mystiques get shattered, then perhaps some of these taboos should take place in an inner or astral temple.  As anyone who works with these wonderfully imaginative religious places can tell you, the mystique rarely falls short of reality when you commune with the God and Goddess in your head. 
Aren't you glad it's the maiden and not the crone?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sadomasochism, Pain, and Wicca/Paganism

Beardsley's Frontispiece to "A Full and True Account...."

If you’re reading this blog, then I assume that you at least know what S&M or BDSM is.  If you are looking for a how-to in terms of technique, some of the following books may be helpful:
Sensuous Magic 2 Ed: A Guide to S/M for Adventurous Couples by Patrick Califia
SM 101: A Realistic Introduction by Jay Wiseman
Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns: The Romance and Sexual Sorcery of Sadomasochism   by Philip Miller and Molly Devon

There are tons of books out there on the topic of basic S&M and S&M from all angles, but just like books on Paganism, some are good and some are fluff. 

 When the idea for this blog originally came to me, I, of course like most folks, felt sure that my ideas were fresh and original.  Well, there are few fresh and original ideas out there.  As I come across other people’s take on my “fresh and original” ideas, I’ll post and review them.

            S&M and the pain that is its intended purpose and by product can be related to Pagan/Wiccan practices, ideas, and motifs in many different ways:

·        Sadomasochism as a mystery tradition

·        Pain as an initiatory ordeal

·        Pain as sacrifice

·        Pain as meditation

·        Pain as a drug

·        Sadomasochism as “all acts of love and pleasure”

·        Sadomasochism as ritual

·        Sadomasochism as a vehicle for enacting the drama of myths

·        Sadomasochism as a healing vehicle

·        Sadomasochism as sympathetic magic

·        Pain as a purifier

All of these things, of course, bring us closer to our deities and our understanding of them.  I believe that when we orgasm we may be the closest to the pure energy force of the divine that we can experience here on Earth.  Using S&M in conjunction with sex and magic can enhance that feeling.



Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The grittier side of Paganism, or what this blog is about

While I practice with several different groups, I classify myself as Wiccan.  Wicca is a religion of balance, which often takes the form of opposites.  For every light, there is a dark, and so forth.  For some people, though, the light is all they want to see in Wicca and other Pagan religions.  They want to forget that many of the deities that they worship have light and dark sides to them.  And dark, by the way, doesn't equate to evil.  On the contrary, the dark is often very necessary for the light to exist and is simply a sterner side of a deity or the world.  The nature that so many Pagans profess to enjoy and love is very dark.  The Discovery Channel's "Shark Week" is a prime example of this.

With that being said, in this blog I will strive to explore some of the grittier (or perhaps dark) sides and practices of Wicca and Paganism.  Just because I write about something doesn't make it true; just because I write about something doesn't mean that a majority of believers practice it; just because I write about something doesn't mean that I necessarily practice or condone it.  This blog will be part editorial, part research project, and part informative site.

Over the course of the next several months I hope to delve into such subjects as S&M and Wicca/Paganism, blood sacrifice, the Great Rite (in its original form), hunting and the Wild Hunt, and avatars/deity possession.

Please note:  If you are at a ritual and any thing takes place that you are not comfortable with, you always have the option of leaving.  You should also tell somebody about your misgivings.  If anything vaguely sexual takes place in a ritual that involves someone under the age of 18, you should contact the police.