I’ve made some green tea.
Drink up. It’s good for you. It’ll turn you green.
Now kneel, please.
Close your eyes.
And get yourself here.
When I attended Sensei David Jones’ dojo, it was up a flight of stairs. And leading to the school door were a pair of signs. The first was a standard martial-arts school “Please remove shoes”. This simple act gave a physical reminder that I was leaving one place—“the street”, which meant any place away from the school and the learning— and stepping into a different world, with different rules.
The second was at the top of the stairs. “You are entering a traditional karate dojo. Please act accordingly.”
How did one “act accordingly”? I knew many common rules and practices—I also knew that every school I had seen had its own style, rules, approach. What was proper in one school might be utterly wrong in another.
Yet the practical value of that sign was enormous. It always gave me pause, called to my mind all of my associations with training grounds, what I learned there, and who and what those things made me. “Act accordingly”: know what you have come to do, know what you are doing, at least in your own mind. Or, at the barest minimum, recognize in your gut that you’ve come to a place where things aredifferent. Don’t just take that difference passively, when it enters your space; make it a part of your consciousness.
And thus. And so.
You’ve entered our home, not a physical home, but the place inside of us which fosters our need to exchange power. To me, this place smells of the sea, placid, calming, deep, hungry for human bone. The air is muted, hushed, sounds at every moment like a scream cut off just before it leaves the throat. And sweat and blood have flown for long enough that they fill the floor, pull against my steps, lap at my ankles. I am standing here, a sharp thing, waiting to open you.
What are the looks, the sound and smell and images of this place for you?
Leave the outside world for outsiders.
I am waiting to join you, in this other place.
Get yourself here.
Why do I expect to hear “sir” whenever you address me? Why do I expect a reply whenever I address you?
Because it helps me know that you are here.
“Sir” is not natural to our speech— nor are any of its equivalents, “My Lord”, “boss”, and the like. Even after we have used them long enough to make the words near-instinct, they still require a slight flicker of mental channels, entrance to a certain state of mind.
Ours is a dark art. It is never really “safe”. It has too much power, strikes at places too deep inside us.
When we enter that darker place, I need to know that you are with me.
I want to hear, as well as see, a confirmation that you are paying attention, directed, aware of what we are. I need to know that you are conscious of my communications, verbal or otherwise.
“Sir” is not natural… but it becomes natural when you are here. I know it in your voice, as clearly as I can smell it on your skin.
Awareness is quintessential.
If I need to stop you, change what you are doing, anything of that nature— I want to know that I can, NOW. I need to know that, no matter how deeply you trance, you are still following me.
I need to know that you are mine.
I believe firmly in the power of rituals. I believe humans are hardwired to be programmed through ritual, through its combination of actions, communication, and symbolism; in fact, I use those three themes throughout my writing here.
Yet I have included very little that I would call “ritual”.
That’s because I believe our rituals should be specific, personal. I do not believe in a single, “True” path of dominance and submission. I have put together specific exercises to accomplish certain goals, but no system for “becoming a slave”. It was and is my desire to create exercises which would not, I hope, even imply that other methods are bad or wrong.
That doesn’t get you off the hook, though.
Find or create something which reminds you of what you are.
Put it away.
When you take it out, do not simply reach for it, or pick it up.
Respect what it represents.
Treat it accordingly.
Create a short ritual, one which makes you feel like what you are.
You may take inspiration from this work.
You may take inspiration from outside sources, such as books and stories.
Think to yourself: “What is my place?”
Think to yourself: “What actions help me go there…and stay there?”
Incorporate them here. Use your own knowledge for your own binding.
“Act like what you are.”
You notice I have never used the phrase, “Act like what you are.”
Feel like it, yes. Act like it, no.
That’s because acting like what you are is holistic—and individual.
In my eyes, there is no “perfect submissive”, towards which all other submissives strive, no single way of feeling or knowing or expressing the drive to give thyself to another. This means that your submissions lie, not in following universal rules, but in making individual choices. Your submission is spoken, directly, through everything you do when you are here.
This is a harder idea for many people to face, because it means that they can’t expect to rely on “Always do so-and-so or be punished”. They’re faced with judgment calls—a much more difficult and involved submission.
For example, it’s a misconception that “good submissives always obey”. I could see relationships wherein this is true, but it is hardly something that I, personally, desire. A submissive with a mind of her own = a submissive who can and sometimes will defy me. A submissive with no mind of her own, to me, is useless to anyone.
Or, from another angle, our exercises in body language are hardly a code of etiquette between you and I. You are not necessarily acting like a “good submissive” if you use them in my presence, and there are no automatic rules about what is appropriate, when. They are tools, to be used as needed. Nothing more.
D/s, like all arts, comes not from the body, but from inner places. The outside world mistakes traditional trappings of our work—leather, chains, kneeling, commands—for the work itself.
But you, and I—
We know better.