13 August 2009
Mystery Traditions and Ceremonial Magic… the Leather Metaphor

My temple brother is in the midst of formalizing the charter for his backpatch club in Texas. He sent me a copy to pour over, get my opinions. I mentioned that I have been working in the past few years towards eventually forming a leather/spirituality group of my own. He proposed the idea of combining our efforts.

Nope, we are far too different in approach. Reading his, I am reminded of the military, cycle clubs, and ceremonial magic. Funny, that’s his background :) Formal by-laws and charters, specific codes for indoctrination, dress codes, detailing of colors and more. It’s good stuff. But when I sent him what I had in mind, we realized we are coming from different pages, even if the idea of having goals of self-evolution and spirit are part of both of our ideas.

He said:

In my case I spell it out because doing so will avoid confusion later… negate loopholes… and allow for a more clear understanding of the founding ideals several generations down the line. A member in Dallas must trust that a member in Phoenix had to prove themselves just as fully as they did. And the “colors” will mean something everywhere… members won’t dare sully that meaning… because it would piss on the efforts they and every other member put in to earn the right to wear those colors. Codifying details removes doubt that inevitably tries to creep in, or worse protects against intentional corruption. Making the trials center around the tangible allows for all to witness regardless of their spiritual leanings and abilities.

Have I mentioned I love my temple family? Temple of Atonement represent. I digress.

I realized that is not what I want. In having each member swear oaths and do the work for a year and a day, supported by a mentor, the goal is not to have tangibility. I could care less if, when a member commits to becoming an acknowledged authority in a skill in their area as one of their three oaths, or that they will get a raise at work, whether they actually are acknowledged as such or get the raise. I care about their journey. I care about setting high standards where the pledge will push themselves. Where a crucible will be created wherein, through the pressure and challenge, transformation will occur.

I have set 3 goals, based on the 3 areas of my envisioned group. Kink. Spirit. Life. I set them at the beginning of the year. The kink one is being difficult but productive and amazing and on a tangibility side, I will do fully. The Spirit one, well, in many ways I am being a slacker, but the journey of it has led me to new friends, profound personal evolution, and a lot of amazing stuff. My life oath is being the most difficult, with new life twists and turns, but so far it is paying off… and hell yeah have I grown from it.

So I am chewing on the differences between kink and leather groups, looking from a faith lens.

Are you attending a mega-church?
A small parish church or temple?
A ceremonial group with initiations and secrets?
A fringe cult no one has heard of?
Studying with a Guru?
Seeking out your own path?