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Ritual Recipe – Savory or Sweet?

BallDance4Here we are at the door of 2013 with its joys and challenges ahead.  A traditional time for rituals, new year resolutions, kissing under the mistletoe…but how about something different?

A body rite.

It started for me more than twenty years ago with my life partner, Fakir.  The December cover of the SOJ Newsletter, “Growing Pains,” featured him decked out like a Christmas tree, with bells and shiny balls sewn on his torso. Looking at the objects pierced into his flesh, I wondered how it felt? Why did he do that? In time I learned why.

Body based rituals have been around in many cultures since ancient times. They are always about raising energy to illuminate our inner landscapes, and welcome us into a new phase of our lives.

At the height of the AIDS pandemic, I asked Fakir to pierce my skin, thread monofilament through the needles and tie bells to my chest and upper back.  A body prayer, I danced and cried for my departed friends as the sensations of the bells propelled me deep into of my grief and gave me a chance to release some of the pain.

No two rites are the same. A couple of years later I recall bouncing on a little wooden bridge over a creek in a remote California retreat with my dear friend Steven. Facing each other, our upper torsos and backs covered with round silver sleigh bells, jumping together, we became so BIG, we were radiating ecstatic energy. It was a different kind of love we were making, laughing and shining as bright as the sun on our skin.

These Piercing Rituals originated as rites of passage in Southern India, where to this day, the Thaipussam Festival takes place during the first full moon of the year and attracts thousands.

hooked at thaipusam

Photo by Fakir

At the turn of the millenium, Fakir and I just had to go and feel the magic!  Since then we share ceremonies like these with kinksters into chakras/energy centers and needle play.  Last month ‘s “Jingle All the Way” Ball Dance in San Francisco was a blast, raising joyful energy at the Center for Sex and Culture!

Have you ever danced to live drumming pulling on stainless steel hooks pierced through the skin of your chest, bells or balls sewn onto your arms and back and found yourself transported to an inner place of healing?  Or perhaps deeply connected to a loved one? What a sweet journey that is!

My recipe for ritual is the same as a play scene; because  a Scene really is a ritual too.

  • Talk about what you want to do; negotiate.
  • Set up and time and a place.
  • Disconnect from electronics, ground yourself and breathe.
  • Have a clear intent
  • Go for the ride.
  • Find closure.

Might you do it with a friend, a partner or with your leather family, embrace the energy you build together and let your emotions blossom.  Please be gentle with yourself and each other when you return to the mundane.

Of course, your New Year ritual may not involve any piercing of your flesh.  Perhaps you prefer a mutual flogging to shed the burdens of 2012, or an evening of ecstatic D/s worship.  Giving or receiving, may it bring you what your heart most desires!

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