Monday, January 30, 2012

Candlemas: Light my ass up baby and eat whipped cream from my pussy!

Happy Imbolc!

In some traditions, this is the fire festival that celebrates the goddess Brigid, the lambing season, milk, light, the first stirrings of Spring's return, and the Ascent of the Goddess.  

"I fell you like a child....."
 Brigid is a fire, hearth, and forge goddess from Ireland.  She is also in charge of a variety of other things, from agriculture to crafts and songs/poetry.  She inspires people to be creative.  Imbolc is the perfect time to integrate fire play and dairy into your spiritual and sexual practice.

A very simple way to do this is to integrate wax play into your practice. When the Catholics Christianized Imbolc, they named it Candlemas.  All the candles in a person's home would be taken to church to be blessed for the year.  Before dripping wax onto your partner, bless and consecrate it with some oil or salt water.

 The type of candle used for wax play is important.  Most people use white paraffin candles because they have a lower melting point.  Colored paraffin candles can be used, but they feel hotter and can occasionally burn. The same is true for scented candles.  While they are nice to smell and use in spells, the oils that make them scented can burn when dripped upon skin.  Never use beeswax or tallow candles.  They burn, burn, burn, and not in a good way!  The heat of the wax can be controlled by the height in which it's dropped.  The higher up the candle is from flesh, the longer the wax has to cool on the way down.  The closer the wax is to the skin, the less time it has to cool down. 

Candle magic can be incorporated into wax play.  Spells, prayers, and Imbolc wishes can be inscribed onto the candle with the magic being released as the candle burns.  The same things can also be inscribed in the wax that has been dripped onto your partner.  Be very careful that you don't end up inscribing your partner's flesh.  I would use a tooth pick instead of a metal stylus.  If you decide to brave colored candles, color magic can also be added to the magical mix. However, white candles can be made to represent any other color, so if in doubt, just stick to white. The more elements used in a spell, the stronger your magic will be.  Repetition of intent is the key to strong spells.

Candle hats, also called St. Lucia wreaths, are a traditional symbol of Bridget's relation to the rising sun.  Wearing one takes not only faith and courage, but also balance. Candle hats can be easily made from Styrofoam, like an Advent wreath, or it can be made from other materials.  The small candles used for menorahs typically work best.  Large tapers tend to tip over and land in the wearer's hair.  If the bearer of the wreath is worried about getting wax in their hair, have them wear a shower cap.  As with the wax play, prayers, spells, and wishes can be inscribed on the candles.  The traditional color for the candles is white.

  The wearer can simply stand during the ritual, meditate or pray while wearing it, dance, or for something more elaborate, they can undergo small ordeals, like tickling, figging, clamps, ice, or light spanking.  A Brigid's Cross would be an excellent object to use for tickling.

Fire play, which is where isopropyl alcohol is swiped onto a person and lit on fire for a short period of time, is another excellent way to celebrate Imbolc, but unlike the previous suggestions, fire play should not be done by inexperienced folks.  It's dangerous and requires a little bit of training.  That being said, the times that I've engaged in fire play, I found it extremely stimulating and fun.  The adrenaline rush will leave you very dreamy. 
Here is a short run down of fire play basics by Iain Turner.  The printable version can be found here. 

"Fire Play basic notes – LDG Fetish Fair – ©Iain Turner 2004-2008spotter. The spotter(s) must be trained and prepared to go towards any problem and fix it, rather than run. I offer a formal class for spotters.Clothes. If you're in or near a fire scene, don't wear fuel. All common artificial fibers are fuel - they're made of petroleum products. They'll easily ignite or melt into the skin. Do not wear anything with nylon, poly-anything, rubber, latex, PVC, elastic, rayon, etc. Also no fur, feathers, frayed material. Better choices: bare skin, leather, all-cotton, linen, flannel, wool, silk, kevlar, duvetyne.Hair. Hair burns easily. If it gets near fire, it will be gone. Light arm or back hair just burns off. Thicker hair, as at head, beard or crotch, can provide enough fuel to scar the skin. So shave it or cover it. An all-cotton towel or leather hood are good. Hair products are highly flammable; remember Michael Jackson. Likewise, avoid nail polish. No dangling clothes or jewelry. Caution near piercings.Environment
Tips for
● Avoid a gasp that would inhale fire, fuel, smoke, or fire extinguisher products.
● It's normal to be scared of fire. It's OK to safeword. It's important to tell the top if an area has gotten overworked or burned.
● "When your tits are on fire, don't look down." If your head is above the flames, look up, not down.
● Don't run or shake, which add oxygen. If you're on fire, don't run from the spotter or top.
● Apply aloe vera for a few days afterwards, even if not burned. This should start during aftercare.
● Your skin is sensitized. Avoid backpacks and harnesses for a day or two, to avoid raising blisters.
● Stay well hydrated (drink water) before and for a few days after the scene.
. Look around for all fuels and damageable items – curtains, carpets, ceiling, cats. Make sure there won't be people or critters moving who might upset candles or fuel. Fairly dim lighting allows you to see more flame locations. Too dark adds risks, like knocking over fuel or flame. Keep excess fuel at a depot well away from the scene.Bottoms:Spotter's Job:● You're covering the top's back, so the top can focus on the scene. Watch all flame. Watch all fuel, especially any the top's not watching. Watch the environment, perimeter, and all safety issues.
● Understand the top's equipment, fuels, locations, and plan before play starts. Know the bottom's limits. Check how to use extinguisher. There's no time for questions or doubt during an emergency.
● Keep yourself fuel-free. Have fire suppression tools in your hands, not just nearby. Don't get distracted; this is a crucial, full-time job.
"When in doubt, put it out." You can always relight the fire. The difference between a great scene and a bad burn can be one second of excess flame.Spotter tools. My favorite is a very damp (not dripping) all-cotton towel, folded in half or quarters. It smothers a large area of flame quickly, and it cools. Always use both hands. I also have fire extinguishers right by me, if the fire spreads. I also have a water spray/mister.Safety words
spotter is entering the scene now. So "orange leg incoming" tells the top to stop instantly as a spotter comes in to put out the fire (probably on the top's leg). Play may resume if everything is put in order.
. Spotters or others yell "Orange" to indicate unintended fire. "Incoming" means a Accidents
● Fuel is hard on the eyes/cornea. If it splashes in the eye, hold the eye open and irrigate with saline/water for 15 minutes. See the MSDS. Get immediate medical attention.
. ● If you think there may be skin damage, stop the scene. Apply cold (ice) immediately, for 5+ minutes; residual heat can continue to cook deeper. If you're considering getting professional attention, don't add any "burn treatment" goop to the wound, the nurse will just have to dig it out. Fuel: The basic fuel is 70% isopropyl. Other fuels add new issues: 90% isopropyl, ethanol, alcohol gels (Purell), lamp oil, jet fuel, flash cotton, flammable metals, etc. Fuels are poisonous inside the body. Most can explode if vapors accumulate. Fuels can damage clothing, toys and furniture. Fuel Management: A key to safety is controlling all the fuels. Unintended fuels – furniture, dogs, paper, leaves, must be excluded from the area. Intended fuels must be in known places, controlled quantities, and contained. Designate separate areas for fueling, play, extinguishing, and depot. Fuel build up: It's too easy to accumulate fuel during a scene, on the bottom, top, or furniture. E.g. you apply fuel, burn most of it off, but some remains. After a while, the extra fuel is a big hazard. Sometimes you can see, feel, or smell the fuel. I wipe the area with my hand, then smell the hand. Fuel drip
Different individuals, and different parts of the body have different
: Liquid fuels run, and always to places you don't want to burn. Especially, don't let fuel get under the bottom. Use small quantities to avoid drips and runs. tolerances for fire and heat. Genitals
My personal favorites are techniques where I, as top, have the fire on me a lot. This helps me gage the heat, and share the fun. I almost always put out the flames with my bare hand.
Typical burn times are 1 - 3 seconds, but vary greatly by fuel, body part, individual, and technique. Longer burns are possible if the flame moves around the body, never staying on one part.

Basic fire play kit
Here are some fire-related
● Torch: A wand/torch/baton with fueled wick is passed around the body, perhaps rubbed or bounced.
● Hand torch: The same, with top's hand serving as the torch.
● Wipe and light: Apply a streak of fuel, then light it. Put it out (hand or flogger) as it goes.
● Binaca blast / "flame thrower": Ignite a brief aerosol blast of fuel.
● Flash cotton. Ignited on/above skin. Tricky and dangerous.
● Exotic metals. Add color and sparkle to the flame. Tricky and dangerous.
● Fire mitt. Lighting a kevlar glove on the top's hand.
● Fire pin. Branding with a red hot needle piercing. Usually intended to be temporary.
● Fire cupping: Igniting fuel inside a cup, quickly applied to skin. Cooling produces suction.
● Candles: Candle flame is too hot for skin. Dripping warm wax is part of Wax Play.
● Fire spinning: Juggling or spinning fire poi near the bottom.
● Fire flogging: Using a lit kevlar flogger on skin. Very problematic.
● Fire breathing: Using the top's mouth as a flame thrower. Very problematic.
I teach beginning and advanced hands-on fire, and a spotter training class, including handing lots of live fire, and drills for noticing and putting out bad fire.
: Shorten burn times on thinner, or more sensitive skin, especially pink bits. Folded skin can accumulate fuel (bad). Tight spaces can concentrate heat. Don't burn up your favorite toys. techniques you may see or learn. Each has special issues not covered here. The first four are most common. Most scenes use only 1-3 of these. edukink @ "There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots." Successful fire players behave cautiously at all times. More at"
May your Imbolc be warm and creamy!

Cupping Aftermath

Fire play can be used in spells by drawing sigils or words onto your partner with the alcohol.  As the fuel burns the sigil, which could be for banishing, attracting, or any manner of things, will work it's magic.  Sigils for self-transformation work particularly well with this, since the sigil's energy is burned into you--like a brand without the scar. onto your partner with the alcohol.  As the fuel burns the sigil, which could be for banishing, attracting, or any manner of things, will work it's magic.  Sigils for self-transformation work particularly well with this, since the sigil's energy is burned into you--like a brand without the scar. Cupping can be used on some of the chakras and is good to use in banishing spells.  The technique has been used for thousands of years as a way of drawing impurities out of the body.

Another aspect of Imbolc is milk and lactation. Oimelc, another name for the holiday, means "ewe's milk".  Any sort of dairy beverage or dish is appropriate for Imbolc as is beer (Brigid controls brewing).  A magical milk bath or milk enema would be a good way to start off your Imbolc practices.  For both of these practices, focus on spiritual nourishment, since that is what milk is typically associated with.

Whipped cream is another fun Imbolc dairy food.  I think the picture is pretty self explanatory.  Use your imagination and enjoy cakes and ale!

May your Imbolc be warm and creamy!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Blessed Be Thy Feet, Part 3, Section B: Wash My Tired Feet!

As was stated in the last blog, Christians are not the only ones who wash their feet in a ritual setting.  Muslims do it as well, but for a very different reason.  Instead of the foot washing being an act of submission, it's an act of hygiene and literal and symbolic cleansing.  It is also performed on one's self instead of by one person to another.
Real sexy, huh?

The act of washing the feet and other body parts is called "Wudu" and is done in preparation for salat, which are prayers.  According to the Islamic Center of Charlotte's website, “Prayer for a Muslim involves uniting mind, soul, and body in worship……In the ritual prayers each individual Muslim is in direct contact with Allah. There is no need of a priest as an intermediary.”  Sounds kind of Pagan. 
"For Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean." (Al-Baqarah, 2:222) is the verse from the Quran that is commonly used to support wudu.  There are many rules surrounding what kind of water can be used for ablutions, but the most important rule is that the water must be clean and pure.  The more natural the source the better.  While performing wudu, the participant should not only think about how the water is getting them literally clean but also on how the water is symbolically cleansing them as well.  It sounds like sympathetic magic at its best.  
As Pagans, we can incorporate the practice of wudu as a shorten form of a ritual bath.  Magical and medicinal herbs that promote cleansing and purity could be added to the water for a bath tea or oils could be substituted.  Herbs and oils that promote deity consciousness would be another good choice.  Gem stones could also be added to make gem elixirs
Wikipedia has a lot of what I assume is good information on wudu, but I called the Islamic Center of Charlotte to double check some facts.  Instead of answering my questions via the phone, the gentleman that I spoke with invited me to Friday prayers where I'll be able to participate in wudu with the ladies.  When I get that all arranged, I'll post a supplemental section detailing my experiences.

Blessed Be Thy Feet, Part 3, Section A: Wash my tired feet!

I first encountered the act of foot washing in a religious/ritual context several years ago at a wedding.  The couple was Pagan, but for various familial reasons, they had a Christian ceremony led by one of those "New Age" ministers.  I think she might of been Methodist.  You know the type.  A lot of times they are women.  Sometimes they wear a robe, sometimes not.  Their stoles are usually of some sort of African or other tribal design that they acquired in a "fair trade" arrangement during a mission trip, and they rarely mention Jesus or God as masculine.  The groom was seated while the bride knelt on a pillow and washed the groom's feet from a basin of water.  Then she rubbed some lavender oil onto them, and then symbolically dried them with her hair.  To finish that segment of the ceremony (because it was a long ceremony), she dried his feet for real with a towel.  The minister, as a prelude to the washing, read from Luke 7:37-39:
"When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume,/Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them./When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is--that she is a sinner."
[The image of the woman washing Jesus' feet with her tears and drying them with her hair has always fascinated me and has become my ideal act of submission.] 
I forget exactly how the minister linked this act to marriage, since I'm sure she was progressive enough that the vows didn't say "obey".  However, there are a multitude of ways that this tableau can be worked into a handfasting, initiation, or as a visible sign of submission to your deities via a statue or someone who is aspecting.

There is another passage in the New Testament that deals with foot washing.  
 1 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
 2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
 7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
 8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
   Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
 9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
 10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
 12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them." (John 13:1-17)

These verses are the basis for many Christian denominations to practice footwashing from time to time as a special service.  Some these denominations are Pentecostals, Mormon, Catholics, Methodists, and Presbyterians.  Many of these churches incorporate the practice into their Maundy Thursday service, when the Last Supper is traditionally celebrated.  This custom could easily be incorporated into Pagan ritual.  It would be an excellent way for the balance of power to be re-calibrated in a group that has undergone some strife.  It could also be used to show gratitude or solidarity.
The Pope washing the feet of his cardinals
To find out more about what the Mormon church calls "The Ordinance of Footwashing", I set out to interview some Mormons.  The Mormons have gone high tech since the last time I dealt with them.  They now have Mormon Chat, which is good because the quality of their call center personnel has gone down dramatically.  The woman I spoke to barely spoke English and sounded like a recent convert.
Here is the chat that I had with "Austin" (I assume he's Elder Austin):

Welcome to Missionary Chat.
Thank you for your interest in talking to a missionary from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The purpose of chat is to answer basic questions about the church and its beliefs and to provide opportunities to learn more.
Before we begin, will you share a little about what brought you to chat with us?
A missionary will be with you shortly.
Agent [Austin] is ready to assist you.
Agent [John] has joined the chat.
Austin: How can we help you?
Austin: :)
Me: I am doing a comparative study on the practice of foot washing, and I have some questions.
Austin: okay
Me: I've read through different things, but I'm still having trouble piecing together in my mind exactly how the ordinance of foot washing is practiced.  Is there anything special to it or is a basin brought out and the washing begins?
Austin: I have no clue.  Do you have any questions about our beliefs?
Me: Oh my.  I've called the hotline twice and kind of gotten the same answer.  On your website (I'll have to hunt down where), it says that Joseph Smith (I think) set up the ordinance to go along with Jesus' washing of feet at the Last Supper.
Me: So I'm guessing by your response and the others that I've gotten that it's not a widely practiced thing.
Austin: Right.  I've never heard of it being performed in a religious way since Christ did so, but I did just find the page you're talking about and I'll read up on it as soon as possible.  Is this the page?
Me: Yeah I think so.
Austin: Okay I'll read that as soon as I can :) Are there any other questions?
Me: No, that's it.  Thanks!  I really appreciate the help.
Austin: No problem :) Have a good day and God bless :)
Me: You too!  Blessed Be!
Agent [John] has left the chat.
The chat session has ended.
Remember, Jesus and I love you! (I couldn't resist.)
As soon as Austin gets back to me, I'll post another section to part 3.  Part 3, section B will be about the Muslim practice of footwashing, which is somewhat different from the Christian practice.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Blessed Be Thy Feet, Part 2: Rubbing Lotion on My Lotus Feet and Krishna's dusty toes

Lord Krishna's Lotus Feet

From a Hare Krishna blog:
"The dust of Krishna’s Lotus Feet can also give devotional service. Somehow or other we must go after the dust on Krishna’s Lotus Feet!
‘So how is it attained?’
It may be attained in serving the deity. In the Nectar of Devotion Book, it is said that one of the form of deity worship is that the pujari must touch the Lotus Feet of the Lord, while he is on the altar. So that is a prescribed duty of worship. It is a nice prescribed duty where you have to touch the Lotus Feet of the Lord. It’s there in the scripture. So in that way pujari service is quite special – there’s no doubt about it!........That devotees must bow down to Krishna, and such a devotee that bows down attracts the mercy of Krishna. In other words, it is through humility that one attracts the mercy of Krishna. So in the concept of the dust of the Lotus Feet of the Lord is a concept of humility."

Lotus Feet are a curious thing.  Hare Krishnas are curious people.  It's been really hard to find a definition of lotus feet or somebody who was willing to talk to me about lotus feet.  I guess collecting the dust off of an idol's feet is hard work. 
According to a website that I found, Lotus feet are really too wonderful to explain with mere words.  They're just too sublime.  However, the lotus, and by extension the lotus feet and the feet of any deity, spiritual teacher, or statue or either, represents spiritual development, creation, purity, and rebirth.  Some what like the Cauldron of Cerridwen, I suppose.  As was discussed in Part 1, devotion to a person's feet is often seen as a sign of humility, and the same is the case here.  This is a continuation of the Hindu practice of Pranama, except somewhat more elaborate.  According to the site, "communion with the divine is established."  This tradition could easily be adapted into Pagan practice before a ritual or while invoking deity to establish that link.  While the touching is going on, names of the deities are often recited or chanted.  Once again, that's not much different from how some Pagans invoke deity.
That website author also says, "that the spiritual master plants his lotus feet in the heart of the disciple. Sincere spiritual students are encouraged to enshrine God's lotus feet or enshrine the lotus feet of the master within their heart."   That sounds like a boot on the back of the neck to me!  It's a gentler form of the D/S dichotomy that has been previously discussed.  Worshipping Lotus feet can also absolve you of any Karmic debt as well as bring your soul to a higher plane of consciousness.  "In the act of falling at the lotus feet, touching the lotus feet, gazing upon the lotus feet or surrendering to the lotus feet, the ego can be subdued in favor of a higher state of awareness."  In essence, you're putting a collar around your ego so that you'll attain enlightenment.


How are Lotus Feet worshipped?  They are sometimes painted with henna or paint, bejeweled, rubbed down with oil, smothered in flowers, and given offerings of rice.  These things can all be done to a statue's feet at any time in ritual, or they can be done by someone representing or aspecting deity.  They can also be taken out of a traditional ritual context and be done to someone who is acting as a living statue or to someone's Dom/me or lover.  It would be a very touching ritual to add to a handfasting or wedding ceremony, especially if the couple reciprocated, as in the pictures above.

What about the funky symbols?  These symbols are representative of different divine aspects of the feet owner--a visual representation of the divine light that supposedly shines forth from their soul and third eye.  The conch shell represents succor.  The crescent moon represents soothing cool light and blessings.  The thunderbolt represents karma.  Symbols from your own tradition can easily be substituted.  These can be painted or hennaed onto the "living" deity's feet or, for the really brave, the symbols can be more permanent.

A lotus blossom

Honey also comes into play with Lotus feet (yes, I'm thinking that sweet thought too!).  Honey is viewed the world over as a holy and sacred food by many religions.  The same is true with the Hare Krishnas.  Lotus honey, also called Padma-madhu, is said to heal practically everything (which is true of all honey), but particularly eye problems.  By eating Padma-madhu, your spiritual sight can be revitalized and cleared. With this tradition in mind, a ritual for spiritual guidance can be created around any type of honey--perhaps licked off of your own honey!

I finally got somebody to answer the phone at Prabhupada's Palace of Gold.  Sue, the receptionist, said that basically the concept of Lotus Feet is the desire to walk in a great person's or presence's footsteps. (Thanks so much Sue.....)

Buddah's Foot Print in Singapore

Part 3 will be coming soon.  Before you walk away, chant this Buddist Mantra so that anything you may step on with your Lotus feet will be reborn quickly:  om kraytsara ghana hung hri soha.