BDSM

Pain and Transformation

Initiatory cultures understand a thing that we in modern urban culture have, largely, forgotten. Even in a quasi-initiatory Western magical system, modern (maybe specifically American) sensibilities (and fear of lawsuits) prompt warnings from higher-ups such as: "Nobody should feel threatened, or in fear of their life in a F.O.O. (Faithful Oblates of Ozymandias) initiation."

Nothing could be more wrong.

And this is the thing that Australian aborigines, Kalahari bushmen, the Inuit, still understand: pain and fear imprint transformative experience.

Nothing brands an experience into the hindbrain like the threat of death; this is why the major puberty rites of initiatory cultures, not to mention the initiations of their [ shamans | priests | holy people ], involve death imagery, and the figurative death -- either acted out in ritual, or experienced inside the person's head through trance induction of one stripe or another -- of the candidate to hir previous life, that s/he might be reborn into the new life.

For some Westerners / First-Worlders, the need for these experiences is a sort of drug. Some of these people can't even articulate what they need, or aren't conscious of that need. Yet still, they do things that put themselves at risk -- skydiving, motorcycling, racing of any kind, "extreme" sports, grabbing moving blender blades with their bare hands. Others, perhaps more cognizant of what's going on inside their heads, engage in Modern Primitivism and/or BDSM. [1]

Orca is one such transformative experience junkie.

Orca likes going fast, in cars or on bikes.
Orca craves adrenaline.
Orca likes endorphins.
Orca does BDSM.

Surrender

It's a form of Bhakti, in a way. The same impulse that prompts the Darvish's trance dance of devotion to the Beloved, prompts such acts as taking Kavadi for Thaipusam, or even re-enacting the Crucifixion. But the object of devotion in this case is not the safe, emasculated god of some neo-Pagan traditions (sorry, just had to snipe there for a minute). It's the god who brings divine madness and frenzy, the god who's "not a tame lion" -- Shiva. Dionysos. And in the case of both the Filipinos who flog themselves insensible and the Sufis who dance themselves insensible, the object is surrender of the ego to the divine.

BDSM players know about surrender. It's the paradox of BDSM that the sub is actually liberated by hir bindings.

Notes

1. This is not to say that everybody who does those things is doing them because they need a transformative experience and don't know they need it. However, I know enough adrenaline junkies like myself to be able to say (as always, non-rigorously) that we're the majority. Nyahahahah! WE ARE EVERYWHERE!!!! *ahem* I'm alright now.

Links

Villa of the Mysteries; Dionysiac Stuff

Classical Technologies for Personality Restructuring

Initiation into Ecstasy

Dionysus and Kataragama - Dionysus and the devotional god of Thaipusam... See also the other Jai Murugan stuff at this site...

Acts of Devotion

Sufism

The Passion in Iztapalapa - Another site on the same

Flagellants - Infoplease Encyclopedia article

Los Hermanos Penitentes

Good Friday Crucifixions - Travelog.net

BDSM Orgs & Resources