7 September 2008
Mastery, UPG, HOm, Leather

I was thinking today about the Master/slave conference I went to 5 weeks ago or so. Wow, its been a while, and I’ve been whirlwind since then, but I was thinking of it today as I went to Myspace and found a pic on my board from Master DVNT of Chicago. I’ve known DVNT in passing through ShibariCon for about 3 or 4 years now. He is deeply inspirational to me in his devotion to his faith (he is Buddhist), and the way he carries himself in the world. I almost cried when he gave me a piece of rope he made himself. I had no toys on me and he, his girl, ChrisM, his wife, and a hot male pro dom from NY were trying to convince me to go to the play party- but I had a conversation that NEEDED to happen with someone dear to me, even if it ended up hurting to have happen. But this simple gift- I thought he was just letting me see his work, I tried to give it back, he said no, it is for you, thank you for all you have shared with me… wow.

That weekend was a bit like a homecoming. I had chose to go last minute, pack a weekend small bag and just GO… and suddenly there I was surrounded by friends old and new, and peers and teachers I respect greatly. Master Gallad and slave kelly were some of the first I saw as I walked in the door, who I met at SW Leather this year and keep on bonding with more and more over the year. Wow. Suddenly I was surrounded by friends, at every turn. Watching Major’s face twist into the most beautiful smile as I introduced myself to him followed by a big bear hug. Getting this delicious smirk from Master Z (Dallas). Hanging out with the other Mr. Harrington of SF (will be a tad confusing if I move there).

I sat in a few Masters only panels, and looking around, breathing in their collected wisdom, I realized what felt strange.
I felt very very similar to how I did when I got off the boat in Manly.
I felt… home.

Thats intense to say.

I’m sitting here now, naked in my room, staring up at my Masters cap.

I almost typed Hm.
Add some Om…

Bells jingle overhead, bear scull above, a compass.
Thats what a Masters cap is to me really.
A compass.
Just like my pelt.

Its funny, my spiritual path has been a challenging one for me because I keep wanting to go back to school, get ordained, so all these things I *already am* because I want to have someone else say “well done kid, here’s your members pin”- and yet when I walk into a circle of my peers as a shaman and occassionally as a priest as well, I am just that- a peer.

I’ve wanted to be gifted leather so badly. I wanted the process, the ordeal, the pat on the back- and instead stuff keeps getting handed to me with no pomp, no circumstance. My boys cap was already in my posession as a loan and naked in bed when on the verge of tears I was told to keep it, I know you deserve it. I wanted pomp,circumstance, formality… don’t get me wrong, I EARNED it, and the gloves too. I earned it in sweat and tears. I earned it memories and lessons. I earned it. But it wasn’t what I wanted.

I’ve had people in service to me, submission to me, in leather and kink, on and off for almost 15 years now. I wanted someone to do what I read of in books, what I heard from friends in their tales. And now I’m being offered a back patch for a group I don’t feel I can wear their colors with pride… and with no ceremony- GAH!

But then I walked in that room, and it was like walking in at Keepers Crossing in many way. Peer recognition. I was meant to be there.

And not just that, but this feeling of air on my face and sand in my toes- it was right.

I have a love-hate relationship with UPG. Unverified Personal Gnosis. Its a term that has been actively been bantered abut parts of the spirit worker community for a while. It refers to (in a nutshell) things that a human learns about the nature of the divine, or a diety, or spirit, or some other cosmic force, through their own experience- but its not in any anthropological texts that anyone knows of, or there is no other way of “verifying” that knowledge when it first comes in. Many people’s UPG has turned into VPG (Verified Personal Gnosis) when either a handful of other folks say “yup, I got that info too,” or a rare book is found that says yup, people in ancient siberia wore bells on their belts too.

A LOT of the work I do is UPG and VPG. It is not textbook, it is hard to cite exact pages and numbers. Its hard to back up. But I know it is true. And the VPG side tells me others know it to be true as well.

My path towards Mastery feels a lot like UPG. I look at books about Mastery and slavery and go “but that is not the face of Mastery I am!” It makes me wonder if Mastery (like God) is something I can interface with. I look at people following a specific path of Mastery, and go wow, if thats Mastery, its not for me. Just like looking at certain followers of Christ and saying wow, if thats what loving Christ is about, its not for me.

But a thousand faces of Christianity, with its own infighting all on a route towards loving God… why can’t Mastery have a thousand faces, all on a route towards finding Core?

Raven Kaldera said it before and I will say it again- Mastery is like mastering a fine instrument. If I beat my Stratavarius, while it play sweeter music?

Mastery is about Mastery of the self, with the slave, slut, submissive, property, pet, or other human as a reflection or projection towards our own journey. It is a kata, a daily practice, a DISCIPLINE. This is my VPG around the issue :).

So I’m looking at this cap, 3 feet above my head, that is sitting on top of a one of a kind ceramic bowl used for intentional magical working. It sits, and waits, because Mastery is my journey, and only I can grab the ring.

Crap. That means only I can grab the ring. To quote Master Archer of Atlanta, I must re-earn the cap every time I put it on. I must do my leather proud. Well fuck, thats a lot of work. Ok breathe, absorb, love… that means love me.

Do I get to scream yet?

So I close my eyes and look back around the 2 Masters only discussions I was part of… one by Master Burt (who warms me with every smile) and one by Master Z (whose words deeply changed the way I look at relationship in St.Louis, who I love but do not know well)… and I look at the faces of Mastery. I see young and old, male and female, straight and queer, firm and soft- all striving towards personal Mastery using the tools of erotic and relationship as a tool on that journey. I look around and see fellow adventurers, and more true, fellow disciples. I close my eyes and see saffron robes, see black habits, see head scarves, see tall hats and bald heads. I see prayer beads and dancing under the stars. I see a path to God.

Ok, so thats my vision. I had this breath of HOm, and then when the rest of the world came back as I stepped out of that sacred space, my 2-footed self wondered what that was all about. Then I walked into Master Skip Chasey.

I am blessed that I count Master Skip as one of my Teachers. Along with T.Thorne Coyle, Dennis Merrill, Jay Yernell, and Mary Condren. There are more, people who come and go from my life and leave messages- books that reach out through the sands of time, words that changed my life in the hearing, bright souls that transform me… but Master Skip like the others listed are returning reoccurring forces in my world. And Master Skip was there- hell, he was the keynote speech. And in his eyes and words this vision went from UPG to VPG- espeially as he taught “Priest in Black Leather.”

This world of kink, this world of Leather, this world of Mastery and slavery… it is one of my disciplines on my path of enlightenment. Its not a path towards enlightenment, that infers that enlightenment is the final step. Its not. What you DO with enlightenment is what matters, as I brush with Nirvana and dance back to a hotel conference room and smile, breathe in the greatness around me and in me, and love.