Tag Archives: Raven Kaldera

One More Thought on “Being Broken”

13 Jun

In the comments on my last post on this, Joyce asked a question and i wanted to make sure i’m being really clear on this one.

Joyce seems to bring what the Buddhists call a “beginner’s mind” to the blog world and this isn’t the first time one of her questions has sparked a whole post.  This time she asks:

“Do you effect changes in behavior (pushing the limits) or “break” and completely restructure the basic personality of self to suit the Dom?”

So, i don’t know how one would completely restructure someone’s basic personality to suit the Dom, or to suit anyone.   “Basic personality” {not a technical term} is a combination of temperament and early experiences.  While you could damage someone so much that they no longer seemed like the same person, i can’t imagine that being anything positive.  i think Mouse and Jade both make that point in their comments.  

Mouse says:

We come here with our personal baggage, mouse’s baggage includes being broken and damaged by an uncaring dominant type.

i’m glad she says “dominant type” because i would argue that someone who abuses another is not “dominant” but simply abusive.

Jade says:

i have been broken in ways that destroyed my sense of joy, peace, excitement until i felt less than human

but then she goes on to say:

And that–has absolutely nothing– to do with what i think a slave is truly seeking when they are walking the path you speak of.

i was relieved to hear her say that, because it’s essential to recognize that when we’re talking about “being broken.”  Even in the extremes of TTWD, there is a difference between M/s and abuse.

Getting back to Joyce’s question, LM asks for the experience of “being broken.”   She says, “i want you to break me.”

Later, she goes back and defines that as:

Breaking me is pushing me past my boundaries, exploring my limits, making me cry, pushing me to painslut sub space where I completely rely on him to be everything in that moment, my tormentor and my savior, simultaneously.  When I am there all the noise in my head stops and He rules…. a very simple, visceral place, that moment..

It reminds me of The Teachings of Don Juan, where the seeker finds oneness with universe through peyote. Some people may even reach their version of “that moment” through mindfulness.

But the key factor here is that LM wants this.  Yes, her Dom originally says the words, but she wants it.  

Joyce, i think you’re thinking about some kind of intense training in which a Dom might teach the slave to behave in certain ways.  i would still argue that “basic personality” is not going to change, but i could be trained in ways that are pleasing to my Master.

“Being broken,” in my mind, is part of a spiritual journey of the submissive or slave, not for the benefit of the Master or Dominant.  So the experience is not really about Him or Her, it’s about the slave.   

This is only one of the ways that BDSM crosses paths with spirituality.  Back when i saw Raven Kaldera’s workshop at Cope last year, i became more aware of and more comfortable with that concept.

And i’ve been thinking about it as we talking about “breaking,” so i was delighted to see that my friend, Ms. Constance, has blogged about the connection.  

{Yes, ‘Nilla ~ our Ms. Constance has her blog up and running, isn’t that cool?}

You can read what she says here.  i’m curious to see what youall think about what she says.  And i’m glad to have the chance to introduce you to Ms. Constance.  She’s interesting and funny and wise.   i think you’ll like her.

In baby news ~ we have contractions, ~ well, my daughter does, not i, thank goodness ~ but they’re not regular yet.  Maybe today…  🙂


Just thinking….

11 Dec

Last night, Sir and i had a lovely afternoon interlude, complete with spanking and rope and you know, the usual D/s things we do.  

i turned the fireplace on in the living room so it was nice and warm.  

And He left a welt or two on my ass, although they’re gone this morning.  i don’t know why i don’t get marks that last.  It makes me feel like William’s wife, if you read him ~ The training of my lovely slut.  

For a long time, he ~ William ~ was disappointed because he’d try to leave marks, but they didn’t last.  i guess he’s probably still disappointed, or gave up on that, but he hasn’t talked about it lately.


i don’t think that Sir X cares a lot about leaving marks ~ i think i might want it more than He does ~ but He does want it. It just doesn’t seem to happen.

i think ~ i don’t want to say this, but here it is ~ i think He’s not doing it hard enough.  “it.”  Um, spanking me.  

Last night was a little bit harder, i think.  Although it’s hard for me to judge, but it seems like it was harder for me to hold still.

So i guess He’s upping the ante a little bit at a time.  That’s maybe my own fault, ’cause i told Him early on in our relationship that if He goes too fast or too hard, i’ll “go away in my head,” which is my term for dissociating.  

While that’s a good survival skill to have, it’s not the way He wants our relationship to work.  Or what i want.

That’s not “going away in my head” like in subspace.  i’m talking about dissociating.  i used to worry a little bit that there wasn’t a difference, until i heard Raven Kaldera speak at COPE.  

You know, the difference for me is that with subspace, the rest of the world disappears and i’m totally in the experience.  With dissociation, i separate from the experience.

Dissociation is a great tool to have for the dentist’s chair.  Not so much in relationship ~ not for my dynamic, anyhow.

And then that brings me back to safety, doesn’t it?  Another turn on the spiral and i’m right back here.

It’s the paradox that fascinates me.  

We feel safe, while we’re doing things that border on abuse.  No, it’s not abuse, but it’s always walking the line, isn’t it?

And we give up feeling safe in other ways.  

Maybe for people who’ve been in a committed relationship for a long time, there’s a constant sense of safety.  But ~~

What do we mean when we talk about our D/M pushing our limits?  Does that feel safe?

Doesn’t matter what your limits are, right?  Having the edges of our limits pushed is scary.  And ~ i’m going out on a limb here ~ we like that.

Don’t we?

i do.  i want to take the relationship further, deeper.  i want to go to greater lengths to please Him.  And i want to be required to do that.


Because somehow, being required to do it, makes it safe.  Makes it safe to give more, to do more, to stretch and test our limits.

And now we’re back to safe ground, and feeling safe, which we also do often.  And we like that too

Isn’t that amazingly cool?

Like a dance with danger, they, our Sir, our Master, our Mistress, lead up into danger, dangle us off the edge of a cliff.   We hang suspended, heart racing, barely able to breathe, we hang there for the interminable moment ~~

~~~ and then They  pull us back to safety, snatching us out of the danger They have just placed us in.

Laughing…  isn’t that interesting?

i think it’s only one of the ways our concepts of safety get challenged.  But enough for today.  

Back on the Path of Service and Mastery

26 Sep

i just have  a little bit more to go on  Raven’s class on BDSM and Spirituality, but it’s the part that speaks to me the most personally.  You remember, we talked about BDSM as a path through Pain and an Altered State of Consciousness, through Ritual Catharsis, and finally through the Path of Service and Mastery.

So Service means learning to obey and to give with a joyful heart, and Mastery means ruling from right motives.  Well, more or less, short form, right?

Raven goes on to talk about “right stewardship” which means the Master takes care of His or Her property.  Not just in the sense of not harming the slave, but helping the slave move toward self-actualizing.  Helping the slave work for his or her higher good.

Then He talks about two ways this can work ~ two styles of relationship.

One he calls yin-yang style.  In this style, the slave gives energy to the Master, who gives it back to the slave.  Likes a circle of connection,  the relationship feeds growth for Master and slave.  They are turned toward each other.

The other style, he calls “tree style.”  In this style, the slave is the roots who gives energy to the Master.  The Master puts the energy into the universe.

Now, this second style is going to have elements of yin-yang style in it too, because no slave can provide energy without getting some back.  But the thrust of this relationship is different. 

The thrust of the relationship is on bringing the Master’s dream to fruition.  Whatever that dream may be, whatever vision He or She has.

And i was immediately struck by that ~ by the rightness of that idea.  Truth to tell, i could barely listen for a little bit there, my mind was racing with thoughts of how this all fit together for me.  Like getting the last piece of the puzzle, and it all begins to click into place.

But ~ but ~ then i realize ~ Raven is still talking about the Master’s vision, and i’m thinking about my own vision.


Because, ya know, i’ve got a vision.  A fairly clear one.  And scattered though i am sometimes with my energies, i’m moving toward bringing the vision to life.

Slowly, and not in a linear way.  Sometimes i think i’m going in circles, other times i think i’m off track.  But then something happens ~ i meet someone, do something, think something ~ and suddenly realize that i need this ~ this whatever it was ~ to put in my plan.

So the not focused part ~ the wandering and gathering ~ sometimes gets me where i need to be.  Other times, it is not my friend.  i do waste time.  i don’t follow up on things that i need to do.  i neglect things i shouldn’t neglect.

This is where i was going with my “The Major” fantasy.  The Major was going to organize her life so that she could accomplish the things she needed to do.  He was just taking a lovely, long sexual way to get there.

And that fantasy is a great example of what i’m talking about.  i spent hours on it.  i was driven to write it, couldn’t get enough of it.  And then ~~

~~ as it became more clear in my head, it became less urgent.  Then i met Sir X, and now i can barely remember The Major.  Maybe i’ll try to finish it at some point, but i don’t have the need to right now.

Writing it was part of what i needed to do though ~ there were things i needed to learn from listening to myself as i was writing it.

When i signed up for C.O.P.E., my fantasy was that i’d “meet someone,” right?  Instead, i’d already met Sir X.  But i needed to be there for this workshop, for Raven’s workshop.

Unfortunately, all this is racing through my mind, and Raven is still talking about the Master’s vision, maybe how everything else is secondary to the vision, i don’t know.  Cause i’m having a little bitty panic attack.

i think ~ does it have to be the Master’s vision? What if the slave has a vision?  Could it be the slave that has the dream, with a Master who feeds her energy?

How’s that gonna work?  

The Path of Service and Mastery

21 Sep

The third spiritual path of BDSM that Raven talks about is the Path of Service and Mastery.  There is so much here that speaks to me.  He says,

Service is about attitude, about learning to give yourself a good attitude about whatever you’re doing.  It’s about joyful service, not service done with”murmuring in the heart.”

This idea actually comes from the rule of the Benedictine monks, which describes how to be a good monk.  Raven says that Joshua studied this rule as part of his training, as part of his learning how he was going to serve.

i’m a little bit familiar with St. Benedict’s rule for his monks, so this was easy to imagine.  For example, the chapter  on obedience starts out:   

“The first degree of humility is obedience without delay.”

And how often do we talk about that?   Isn’t that often a basic expectation for the sub?  Further on in the chapter, Benedict says:

“But this very obedience
will be acceptable to God and pleasing to all
only if what is commanded is done
without hesitation, delay, lukewarmness, grumbling, or objection.”

There’s much, much more about the Path of Service, but i want to look at the Path of Mastery a minute.  Benedict says:

However, just as it is proper 
for the disciples to obey their master, 
so also it is his function 
to dispose all things with prudence and justice.

Raven says the Path of Mastery invovles motivation, that the Master scrutinizes every order He gives to be sure it comes from “a clean place.”  To be sure it’s not vengeful, petty or self-serving.

Of course it can be “self-serving” in the sense of being what the Master wants.   In the lifestyle, we agree that serving the Master’s wants is a reasonable goal.

But it needs to be “cleanly from there.”  So ~ without hidden agendas or secret motives.  

i think this means that the Master has to be very clear with himself or herself what he or she actually wants.  i think it takes tremendous strength of character to be this kind of Master.

Anyone who wants to call himself a Dom or a Master needs to have a certain level of integrity.  Needs to be able to control himself and act rationally.  But someone on this spriitual path is actively working to increase their ability to ~ as Raven says ~ act from the right motives ~ or from clear motives.

The example that comes to my mind is my ex-husband, not the first one, but the second (and last) one, who was {maybe} a Dom.  One of the last things he said to me was, “All those {kinky} things  we did?   I didn’t want to do them.  I just did them to please you.”

That’s the ultimate muddy motivation.  He’s whipping me with a riding crop without warm-up or after care strictly for my pleasure?   Then, um, don’t do it.  Please.  That wasn’t a necessary part of my kink ~ and he knew that.

In fact, he was lying.  Believe me, i know this.  i think he’d started telling that lie to himself because he couldn’t face his own sadistic part.

Ms. Constance says that it is often very difficult for a Dom or Master to recognize that there is a part of His “self” that enjoys inflicting pain on someone else.  That this maybe more difficult than accepting that i kinda like receiving pain.

That makes perfect sense to me.

In my mind, Master and slave, Dom and sub, are on parallel paths that criss-cross but are not the same.  So the Master is working on knowing and mastering himself as much as being Master to his slave.

The slave or sub is working on learning to obey, rather than to agree.  

Agreeing is what we do at first.  He gives me an order and i {quickly} decide if it’s something i’m willing to do.  If it is, then i do it.

When i learn to obey, i do it without weighing out whether it’s right or wrong.  Without that split second of deciding.  i just do it.

i think it’s perfectly reasonable to agree at first.  It takes tremendous trust to truly obey.  And ~i don’t think everyone who calls himself Sir or Master is worthy of being obeyed.

But agreeing is not obeying.  Obeying comes from a deeper place of trust.

Last night, i was hog-tied.  i agreed to it.

He had not told me to get my mat.  

He put the rope harness on me first, it wraps around my hips, between my legs, the rope pulled snug, and back up to my waist.

Then, “Lie down,” He says, “Face down on the wood floor.”

It’s a quick pause ~ can i do this?  will i do this?

Then yes, of course i do, and it looks quick, i think, but the pause is there.  And that’s ok.

Once i’m lying face down on the floor ~ and how odd that feels!  He ties my hands behind my back.  And then, attaching to the rope at my hips on the way, connects my hands to my feet.

After checking to make sure i’m comfortable, well, not comfortable, but ok, He tells me to take a little time to think about the fact that i’m hog-tied face down on a hard, wood floor.   To ponder what that means about my submission.

He turns away and i don’t know what He’s doing, but with my face down on the floor, i do as i’m told and think about what it means.

At first, i’m kind of wiggly.  It’s not very comfortable, and i’m squirming a little bit, which makes the rope running between my legs move, and that’s not all bad either.

But i think about what it means, that i’m lying here like this, how it feels in my body to be restrained this way, and as i do, my body grows still.  

i notice this, and feel myself relaxing into it.  

All of my body ~ my arms which had felt strained, my legs and hips, even my neck ~ relaxes into it.

It is that open, receptive feeling ~ that big  “ahhhhh, yes,”  of submission.

The next time He gives a command like that, there will be less agreeing and a little more of obeying.  It takes time ~ it should take time.  But He is moving me that way.

There’s more ~ much more ~ to say ~ tomorrow.  

Ritual Catharsis

20 Sep

Raven says the second spiritual path of BDSM is Ritual Catharsis.  That the TTWD can be used in a ritual way to create healing.

He talks about structuring the scene symbolically, and about using a prayer to the four directions.  This is one of my favorite ways to pray, or to begin  a ceremony ~ we use it at church occasionally, and in the couple of rituals that i’ve created, i started with that.

i use a Lakota version, and add Father Sky and Mother Earth to the four directions.

Raven uses a version with symbolism that i hadn’t heard before.

The north stood for earth ~ the warrior’s gate ~ the rite of passage.

The east was winds ~ air ~ trust~ the jumping off spot.

The south was fire ~ fear.

And the west was humiliation ~ being stripped to our deepest self.

In any case, that is a beginning that grounds me and opens me to the universe at the same time.

Raven talks about humiliation play as a way of stripping ourselves to our most basic, essential self.  That part of ourselves that remains when all the trappings we clothe ourselves in are gone.

i like that perspective.  i think there is always an element of humiliation in our play, but haven’t understood having that as a main fetish, particularly in the extremes some people take it to.

When i think of it as stripping away the layers of protection that make us who we are,  uncovering our deepest self in the process,  it makes more sense.

i think that Raven is talking about very specifically structured rituals that help us process the emotions we feel during BDSM activities.  and {laughing…} i can’t tell from my notes whether he’s only talking about planned rituals, or whether he also means the rituals that we create within relationships.

But i think that a big part of TTWD is an effort to heal ~ and to help our partner heal.  Doesn’t have to be past abuse we’re healing from, although many of us are. It doesn’t have to be the sub who needs healing, it may be the Master.  It may be both.

i think this is also true in vanilla relationships ~ i think we’re all trying to heal and grow all the time.  i think BDSM relationships are better designed for some types of healing.

One of the ways we try to heal is by “re-doing.”  So if you’re a man who had a bossy, domineering mother, you may marry a woman very much like that.   If you’re a woman with an abusive, controlling  father, you may marry a very controlling, abusive man.

We don’t do this by mistake, really, we do it because we’re trying to retell the story, with a different ending.  We believe, in a wordless, hidden way, that this relationship will be different.

The underlying message is “i couldn’t do it right with Mom/Dad, i couldn’t get my needs met, but with this person, i can.”

The problem, of course, is that it often doesn’t end differently.  Often, we still can’t get our needs met.  And so we repeat the process with someone else, looking for that different ending.

There’s a quote that labels that insanity, doing the same thing and expecting different results.  But it’s a lot easier to see that from the outside.

i think that TTWD gives us a chance to relive the experience AND process the feelings ~ which we don’t get to do in abusive situations.  One key element of abuse is that it’s not safe to feel your feelings.

So we dissociate, go away in our heads.  Yesterday, in a comment, Angel described the difference between dissociation and subspace.  She said:

“When i cannot tell any longer what is me, or you, or us, or the tool you are using and we are all one…then its a spiritual act…because we are all One.

Time stands still.

i am a part of the light in the room, the cross i am bound to, the people watching, the glint in her eyes, the pride he feels. i am all of these things….the polar opposite of dissociation.

Dissociation says i am none of these things and that i am not me, not present.

Subspace says i am all of these things and am fully open and fully present.

Sometimes, indeed–often–i am just a willing vessel, no more and no less.”

i love that description. 

So abuse says, “Don’t feel your feelings; don’t talk about it.”

BDSM says, “Feel it all, talk about it all.”

When you do that, you are living in a safe space, and you begin to heal.

Raven said that for a Master who had an abusive childhood, the healing may be about discovering that He can express that sadistic part of himself and still be loved and accepted.  That struck me as a powerful gift that subs can offer.

It made me think of Mouse and Omega, over at A Slave’s Tale.  i think that Mouse’s consistent love for Omega through all kinds of circumstances have had a powerful impact on him and on their relationship.  {Hoping you don’t mind me saying so, Mouse…}

And in a way, isn’t that a sub fantasy?  It’s one of mine anyhow, to bring love to the person i care about.  To transform our lives by what we create between us.


So if i make this personal ~ one of the things that i still struggle with is having been rejected by my Dad.   He rejected me on a couple of different levels, and sometimes it seems like all i ever do is frigging seek healing from that.

The real answer, of course, is that i have to find the “Dad” within myself.  That i have to learn to father myself.  But the road to that is through my relationships with other people, other men.

It is {i think} the reason it’s so difficult for me to tolerate periods of time without hearing from the Dom i’m interested in.  i think it’s what makes me feel so frigging needy in a relationship.

i learned to be ok without my Dad {really i did} and to not expect him to be there for me. He was sporadic enough that it took me a long time to figure it out.  But i learned that i was better of  without any hope for that relationship.  

i think one of the lessons TTWD has for me is that it’s ok to lean, ok to expect someone to be there.  i think that i reenact aspects of that relationship with the first man in my life, and i think about them and process them and heal.

But i might be wrong.

In any case, i am sure that it is about exposing the shadow side of our selves.  Uncovering the parts that we are ashamed of.   In the lifestyle, the parts we want to keep hidden are the ones that are revealed.

And there is a tremendous spiritual power in that experience.

C.O.P.E. and Raven and Spirituality

19 Sep

This is a “Raven says” post, from his class at C.O.P.E. with his boy, Joshua.  It’s going to be sort of like a book report for about two or three parts, I think.  

So I won’t say “Raven says” every time I say something he said.  I’ll more likely say “i think” if it’s me speaking.  Here is his website again:


And here we go.  Raven says:

There are three ways that the BDSM lifestyle and spirituality can connect.  These are:

1.  Sacred Pain

2.  Ritual Catharsis

3.  The Path of Service and Mastery

We know of lots of examples of “sacred pain,” Native American and African rituals often have an element of this, as does Catholicism with its self-flagellation for monks and nuns.  But they don’t typically mix sexuality with the pain.  {At least, not overtly.}

There are four ways that you can experience sacred pain mixed with sexuality that lead to growth.

A.  Altered States ~ this is not {i think} the same as subspace.  This may be what Sweet Girl was talking about though ~ when the experience of pain moves you into an altered state of mind.

How can you tell it’s spiritual? If it’s spiritual it transforms you, it becomes a tool that you use ~ the experience changes how you act or feel or what you believe.

Note:  this is not the same as dissociation ~ at least, i don’t think it is.   When you “go away in your head,” you’re not present for the experience, and, maybe more importantly, when you dissociate you are not transformed.  You escape the experience instead.

i’m assuming that Raven doesn’t think they’re the same either, since when he realized that Joshua was dissociating during pain play, he quit the practice with him.

B.  Bringing you back from an altered state.  So, the pain that creates an altered state is rhythmic and repetitive. Pain that brings you back is sharp, sudden, and usually unexpected.  It’s the BDSM equivalent of smacking someone when they’re hysterical.

C.  Offering to a Deity – pain can be an expression of sacrifice, with the Master acting as a stand-in for the deity, passing the energy on into the universe.

Raven talked a bit about what that means, for the Master to be a stand-in for the deity, but it ties in nicely with the thoughts i’ve had, that in some ways, our Doms and Masters are always stand-in’s for God.  

Of course, then that takes me to the belief that God is within each of us, so it’s just a matter of how we’re expressing our interactions with God… but then it gets too complex for me to sort out very well.  

Anyhow, the idea that God requires sacrifice and pain is clearly a part of Catholicism and some other traditions.  Back in the old days, when i was young, if you had some kind of pain the traditional advice was to “offer it up,” to offer up your own suffering to relieve the pain of others, mostly i think, of souls in purgatory.  {That wasn’t actually part of my personal traditions, not that explicitly, but i’ve read about it.}  

As i write this, i’m thinking that it’s almost like the opposite of healing touch ~ not because it’s anti-healing, but it works in an opposite way.

Instead of energy passing from the universe through the healer into the person receiving it, it passes from the person in pain, through the stand-in for the deity, and into the universe.   

D.  Breaks down walls, gets emotions out.  This makes me think of all the blogs i’ve read where the beating leads the sub to break down crying, and the sense of relief that goes with that.

i’ve never actually experienced that, but it’s an occasional fantasy.

So, going back a moment to the idea of a transfer of energy through pain, Raven says there are two ways this can work.

1.  Doer as magician ~ the one inflicting the pain senses and sends the energy.  So, if i understand Raven and my notes right, the person on the M side of the paddle is passing energy from the universe to the s side.

2.  “Done to” as the magician ~ the person on the receiving end of the paddle transforms the energy and sends it back into the universe.  The Master or Dom is the technician that drives that, that makes it happen, but the receiving person actually transforms the energy.

Whew.  That’s page one of my notes, and if it doesn’t make sense, i’m probably not remembering it right.

Whether you agree with it all or not, i appreciate the nice outline of ways to look at it.  For me, structuring my thinking helps bring clarity.  i can play with ideas better if they’re laid out cleanly in a form i understand.  And it makes it easier to discuss them.

Tomorrow, i’ll do BDSM as Ritual Catharsis ~ well, unless something happens in RL that is more important to me in the moment…