[Much of this article is paraphrased from a long chat about the Warrior concept I had with my sister. Credit where credit is due – she is absolutely amazing. Photo Credit P. Migdal]
[TRIGGER WARNING – BDSM Piercing/Needle Play. Please do not attempt needle play without first ensuring that your play is Safe, Sane, and Consensual, and please practice Risk Aware Consensual Kink. Find someone that knows how to engage in the practice safely, and be sure you understand all risks first]
Recently, I did a thing – a BDSM skin piercing warrior initiation ritual.
So, a typical day in the life of a sexologist – open to new ideas and experiences, and curious what would come of it. I wasn’t suspecting at the time, but it wound up being extraordinarily powerful, and it has led me to ask the question:
What is a warrior?
We’ll come to that.
So, what is a BDSM skin piercing warrior initiation ritual? Is it piercing like body jewelry?
Kind of, a similar idea. But in this case, it was just the needles through skin. It brings about pain and a release of endorphins, from a scientific perspective. From a more esoteric point of view, skin piercing is said to pierce the energy body and to open the heart to giving and receiving love.
So, of course I had to try it! I wanted to gain an understanding of what the practice was about, for my own personal development, and to better understand clients who engage in or are curious about the practice.
I have been calling myself a Warrior Woman for some months now because this speaks to something deep inside of me, and something that I seek to help others to find within themselves. I’ve been in the background, puzzling over exactly what a Warrior is.
It was in this way that I chose to make my piercing experience a warrior initiation. Suspending my otherwise dominant left brain, I went with it and surrendered to the primal part of humanity that responds to ritual.
It was powerful, in ways I never thought it would be.
Most of us have a wall that we’ve built up over time. Our hearts are wounded, by both those that mean us well and those that wish us harm. We experience pain – the pain of fear, of vulnerability, of loss, of betrayal, of abuse. And, brick by brick, over time, we construct a barrier between ourselves and others – between ourselves and feeling.
In my case, I had built a pretty kick-ass Titanium-level wall of impenetrability, buttressed at times by alcohol, or food, or by following the siren song of flight.
Literally. Like, I would get on a plane and get out of dodge when something came too close to unlocking the Fort Knox of my emotional self, my truth.
Turns out, a Warrior isn’t fearless. A Warrior isn’t some pastiche of strength.
I got pierced, and I looked into the eyes of my initiator. With the first needle, I cried. With the next 3, I growled and felt my power building. I felt my aliveness. I felt every cell of my being and it called out with a voice in unity – Here! Now!
And, for a time, during this ritual and immediately after, I felt so strong. I felt like I was glowing, positively reverberating with energy. Food tasted more intensely. Colours looked more colourful. And I felt a deep strength, and a deep peace, and a deep knowing.
But then I couldn’t put my wall back up. This steel cage was suddenly absent. My attempts to summon it failed. This scared the absolute shit out of me. Following the feeling of strength, I felt pain that paled in comparison to the very temporary physical pain of the piercing itself. Imagine lancing a boil, draining an abscess, watching a dam break, and you’ll have a fairly accurate picture.
Our fears and vulnerabilities dwell deep within. Sometimes, realizing our power and having the experiences we want can only be achieved by going beyond our comfort zone. It can be rewarding, but it’s also challenging. You have to decide if it’s a risk you want to take; if it is discomfort and fear you want to put the work into pushing through.
For me, what poured out with my wall down, at first, was fear and shame. And I didn’t know what the way through was.
I reached out to my support network and I asked these questions. I shared myself, in a way more vulnerable and more true than I would have dared had the coffin around my heart remained intact.
The question became – why do I feel shame? Is it because of values I believe in? Or is it something external? And then, if it is because of something I agree with, my own values – how can I move towards reconciling my actions with those convictions? If it is external, and not something to adopt into my own values, then how do I work on rooting out those impositions?
Our power can only take root if we till the soil, do the work, and remove the rocks.
The voice of shame was not my voice. It was external to me – it was someone else.
As it was someone else’s voice, why listen? Was it out of habit? Respect? Coercion?
These answers were not quick or easy. It was hard and it took time. What was valuable for me in holding on to this shame, in keeping it hidden behind this wall?
Shame is a social emotion – at it’s root, it is that feeling that “You are bad. You are not enough.” Based not on actions, but on the very essence of self. The fear underneath shame is expulsion – removal from the group. It’s easy to see why shame evolved, when being cast out meant nearly certain death.
The value in holding on to shame is to try to assert control over our ability to belong.
So, why then did I ask for this experience to symbolize the creation of a warrior?
Initiation implies gaining membership to a group. Initiation, on reflection, is an antidote to shame and a way to step into a new form of belonging.
The belonging I was searching for was to belong to myself. Not the old residue of cultural shames, but belonging instead to a new path where that fighting spirit could be my new emotional home. I wanted to feel all the time the way that I feel when I fight.
A warrior is strong, brave, courageous, and powerful. And that is who I want to be.
What I learned that night, with the wall down, was that the fight has to be in me and for me first before it can be for the world.
What I was really asking for in that ritual was for this warrior, who is already in me, to join me fully.
It is a terrible lie that fearless and courageous are synonyms.
You cannot be courageous if you are not afraid.
Courage is when you are scared shitless but persevere anyway.
And, looking honestly, I was not being courageous in much of my life. I was not courageous when looking at myself. I was not courageous in stating my wants and needs. And, to my dismay, I discovered that I was still holding on to shame about my sexuality – about who I am and what I like when it comes to sexual expression.
Desire is linked to sexuality after all – it’s also linked to standing up for yourself.
The shame that I was meeting in those moments was about love, and about what I want in relationship with other people. About having a voice and strengthening my relationship with myself.
I learned that I felt, deeply, that having a voice is not safe in relationships with people, especially in love relationships involving sex.
Why fear about having a voice in relationships?
Sometimes, having a voice means rocking the boat. Voicing concerns means risking loss. Voicing concerns means risking exposure – it means risking truth.
It means someone might discover who I am. If I voice wants, then they can have power over me. If I voice wants, then they can know exactly how to hurt me. And, if I voice wants, they might tell me that I am wrong, that I am bad, disgusting, awful.
It was a crucible moment, and the question that remained was this:
Do you value yourself enough to take those risks on your own behalf?
I noticed that my first instinct when I start getting close to a place and people in it, and then something gets difficult is to go to the airport and get on the first plane to anywhere.
Running can be brave, and it can be important and beneficial. But it is not the warrior’s role. And, it’s true that some fears can be ignored at times, but that embracing the warrior may not allow for this.
What is a Warrior?
A warrior fights for the people they love – including and most importantly for themselves and their comrades in arms – and their right to peace.
Warriors often defend and sometimes attack.
Sometimes, struggle involves casualties.
Sometimes, allies can betray you. But if you refuse to make allies, there’s a limit to the strength you can amass. It is a risk you have to take to meet certain goals.
Justice sometimes comes at the price of group belonging, if the group is corrupt.
A warrior accepts that they will become someone’s enemy. A warrior accepts conflict, and has to determine that what they are fighting for has enough value to fight for, with all that entails.
A warrior risks losing things, burning bridges. A warrior risks getting hurt.
But, a warrior takes those risks because what they’re fighting against precludes the healthy existence of what they’re fighting for.
A warrior burns bridges because the people on the other side won’t let them flourish as they need to. A warrior gets scorn because they stand on the inconvenient side of justice.
This can feel like creating conflict. But, the truth is that sometimes the conflict was already there, and you’ve just been swallowing the hurt. Sometimes the fight is saying that you don’t deserve to have to do that.
What is the fight for?
The fight is for YOU – for yourself, for your right to the best life for you, for space to flourish and for the peace and pleasure that you deserve.
What I learned that day, and what I initiated myself into through this BDSM practice, was a clear vision of the Warrior that I am and the Warriors I want to help on this path.
Our strength in the world, in relationship, and in sex and pleasure, stems from our vulnerability and our willingness to advocate courageously for ourselves, even though that is some scary shit. We are warriors when we jump into the fight for ourselves with zest and zeal.
We do it even with the risks. We do it because it is right, because it is just, and because we deserve no less. You deserve no less.
I was supervised and guided through my first needle play experience by two very experienced teachers, who I cannot recommend highly enough – Seani Love (http://www.seanilove.com/) and Rosie Hart (http://rosieheart.com/).
Want to unleash your inner badass? Want to be a Warrior? Want a life full of pleasure? I can show you how. Join my newsletter or contact me today.