Each day in September, I will be posting a question about submission, along with two responses- the first written five years ago and the second from today. I welcome all who wish to join in this exercise to post your own answers in the comments, adjusting the question if necessary to suit your own roles and sensibilities.
Does religion have any bearing on your decision to submit? If not, are you familiar with religious based submission and do you view it as similar to other types of submission or dissimilar?
Growing up Catholic, I had powerful experiences- positive and negative- with the religion in general and confession in particular that have doubtless influenced this part of me. Since leaving the church (possibly temporarily), I’ve casually studied other systems and my own spirituality continues to change significantly as I explore.
My exploration of religion and recognition of my submission began around the same time and have evolved similarly. I don’t think this is a coincidence- both deal with my role and purpose and come from deep within me. I think my submission and spirituality (recently best described as a loose combination of Buddhism and aikido) will continue to evolve together, but neither will govern or conflict with the other.
I can safely say I am no longer Catholic. I can’t remember the last time I went to mass*, unless I count a wedding a few years back. Even then, I’d forgotten all the moves. I don’t see myself returning anytime soon. I have too many other things to do with my weekends now.
I’d rather go to a munch. It’s comforting to be with like-minded folk, sharing drinks and snacks and stories. It’s good to talk, to reflect on experiences, to seek advice the scene elders or welcome new members, beginning the indoctrination.
Or there could be a workshop, an opportunity to learn from a respected figure, to hear sermons on safety and technique, to make time for group study and practice.
Or perhaps a play event, a chance to dress in our best clothes and stay out late into the night, mingling and watching, entranced at the communion of couples and groups in the midst of their personal rituals, smiling benignly at the prayers and curses and invocation of the names of various deities by those in distress. Sometimes I join in myself, finding a partner to bring me to and join me in that special state of altered consciousness, to indulge in a ritual mortification of flesh, to allow me to show my devotion.
Sometimes I venture abroad, a personal pilgrimage to one of the other temples I’d heard friends speak of so fondly, seeking renewal and inspiration in the subtly different energy.
Or sometimes- every once in a while- I have a weekend off, a retreat for quiet reflection and writing and re centering myself.
But mix religion and submission? Never!
*Oh, though I guess more recently I accompanied a friend to church to hear him sing. The music was lovely, and the sermon, being the first Sunday of advent, was all about candles spreading light and warmth and peace. There was probably deeper meaning in there somewhere, but as I was still somewhat itchy with remnants of our wax play earlier that morning, I was finding it a bit difficult to concentrate.