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Feri and D/s [Jan. 22nd, 2008|08:24 pm]
[Current Location |Thermalia (living room)]
[mood |contemplativecontemplative]
[music |F and H arguing Dharma]

So my friend Yezida has suggested that I write an essay about D/s and Feri. I've been thinking about this ever since she made the suggestion. There are lots of reasons why I hesitate to do this. Perhaps it is too personal, too precious, too mysterious.

And because a lot of my thoughts on the matter veer towards things that are too secret to write about for anyone but initiates.

I would have to write for an audience who is somewhat familiar with Feri, and mostly ignorant of D/s. Tricky. And interesting. Of course it would be my personal opinions on both, and those may vary from many people who engage in either of these contexts. But that again, makes it interesting. So I'm going to blog about it a little here.

There are strictures in Feri, about giving your power to another. And for all the talk of total power exchange and whatnot, I have to say that I have seen several kinds of submissives who do this differently. In my early days, I played with a lot of brats, people who I had to break, or to dominate. It is, of course, what they wanted. They wanted to be taken. But that is domination, not submission.

When I first began to play with Fluffffy, and I see it in Truffle as well, the first moment of our play was her giving me her submission. And that was an incredibly powerful act. See, that's the thing. Submission is given. It is the act of a powerful being. And in the act of submitting, it makes them even more powerful as a person, as a being. They are there, every fiber, in the moment, perfectly balanced and present and paying attention. It is as close to a state of grace as anything I've ever seen.

And ultimately, it is the mystery of Feri. Yep. That's why you can't find it on a website, or wheedle it out of some drunk initiate who wants to have sex with you. Because it is a mystery, and it requires your participation.

There are always those bottoms (and students) who are just playing the part. I had a girlfriend who loved how she looked in her collar. She loved how she looked much more than she loved me as the person that collar represented. I was her Top, not Seyewailo. So nothing is exchanged. But even in her case, there were moments. We had amazing, blinding, earthshattering sex. And in those moments, she gave herself to me, and in those moments, we were lost in the exchange.

It is an exchange of power. It is not one sided. And as the Domme, I'm aware of the contract. At least I'm aware that there IS a contract. Just as there is an exchange between an initiate and their Gods. When I was first playing with Fluffffy, I remember us talking about how I do not bottom. In this area, I'd have to say that most of the people I run into are switches. I am not a switch. But I have actually had someone say to me that they did not trust me because I did not understand bottoms because I did not switch. Fluffffy and I had talked about it, because I assured her that switching was not going to happen with us.

When I went to the Gathering in NM, I participated in a sweatlodge. We got to the site well before dawn, and Fluffffy sat with the firetenders, but did not come inside (I consider this participating). See, her father was dying from a horrible disease that she has a 50/50 chance of getting herself. I went to pray that she did not get it. Half way through, when they opened the door, I crawled out. I hurt. I hugged the ground desperately. I did not think I could go on. Fluffffy ran to me and looked into my eyes. She began to cry, to beg me not to go back in. I just looked up and said, "I haven't said my prayer yet," and I crawled back inside. I could hear the tinkle of the hardware on her collar even inside the lodge, and it gave me strength. I did not throw up. I did not pass out. I said my prayer. And, of course, it did not come out like I had intended it to. Instead I prayed for strength, that we might be able to deal with whatever happened. I prayed for her father, that he find the strength to finish what he had to face. I prayed and I sang and hung onto the sound of my voice like a lifeline. And Fluffffy stayed with the firetenders. She tended the fire. She served. And I bottomed.

The witchy thing was a new experience for her when we first started doing this. And in the end, she simply said to me, "You do bottom. You do serve. It is just that the Mistress you serve is not human." And that sums up the gist of what I'd say right there. Our Mistress is not human.

There are tasks They have handed me that I have not wanted to take on. Seriously. But I serve. It is part of the contract. There are times I think being a Domme gives me a strangely sobering idea of what that contract looks like.

When I look at my sub, what I see is something precious. This person is putting not only their body, but their entire well-being in my hands. And the more powerful the sub, the more precious the gift. There are those who are just doormats, who are not even there. That frightens me. And I've seen my fair share of that in Feri as well. It scares me in that context as well. But when I see Truffle take on her collar, and look up at us with that look of ecstasy, I understand in some small way, that we are precious to our Gods. We are their agents in the world. We are willing to live with wild hearts, to fly in the face of all cultural decency, to dare to become something else. Oh, yes, and to have wild, earthshattering sex in union with them, to give ourselves over to the mystery. And if anyone hurt Truffle without her consent, I would rip their throat out with my teeth. I would have no problem doing harm. When Fluffffy wore my collar, I was like that all the time. She was mine. Don't fuck with her. And I've seen my Gods do the same.

If you just like how the collar looks, you don't get it. No mystery for you. If you just want to be a big scary witch, no donut. If you kneel at the altar, you learn the mystery. And it changes you.

It's an ecstatic tradition, folks. You have to participate. And it doesn't matter who you like in the community, it doesn't matter how famous you are, or if you go to Pantheacon, etc. If you don't participate in the ecstasy, you have a nice collar. And that's all.

Now a good sub knows they are precious. They are aware of their value, and they take care of themselves. They know their limits, and take responsibility for their own outcomes. The same can be said of a good witch. And this is where I usually get flamed, because honestly, if more subs were witches, we'd have a lot easier time of it. Because a good sub knows how to say "no," and future good subs don't say no, but can learn. Fast.

See, in Feri we like to go on and on about abuses. Not to say that there aren't abuses and abusers. There certainly are. But when a person finally stands up and says "NO!" we start talking about how bad the other person is, instead of talking about the power of the person who drew the boundary. A good sub can call a scene, and can look back at it as a mistake and never let that particular mistake happen again. And that is something that the leather community is much better at than the Feri community. A person who cannot say no is not safe to play with. Do not try to engage them in the mystery, because it is abusive. To them, and to the tradition. I'm not blaming the victim here. I'm saying that even when bad things happen to a good submissive, they are not a victim. Of course, in the middle of wanting something so badly, people give up their ability to say no, and that is when things really go wrong. If you want something more than your own sanctity, that you are willing to violate your own limits, then things go downhill in a big hurry. A person on their knees in adoration is the most powerful person in the world. But when a person goes beyond their own "no", that is when they give up their power. Powerlessness then is also an exchange, just not a healthy one.

Tops can be damaged as well. It is something that few ever really talk about. And I think that is because we don't want to think about the power of submission, and the power of the exchange. We don't want to think about exactly what the exchange is, of how power flows. That is something the Feri community is better at than the leather community. Perhaps because we expect a witch to be powerful. That expectation gives us permission to explore the exchange. But do we?

Maybe we can't. It's a mystery. We're not being all secretive because we are trying to lord it over someone. We simply can't explain it. It isn't for words. I think of Fluffffy trying to explain to non D/s people why she would want to submit, to be owned, to belong to someone. I remember her standing up tall and saying, "I am precious, I am wanted, I am never alone."

As a witch, I am precious, I am wanted, I am never alone. Never.

But I have to think about this some more.

[User Picture]From: anaar
2008-01-23 06:46 am (UTC)
Oh please please do think about this more, and write about it more. I had an aha moment when I read this. So, okay maybe you do write for initiates only. But even so, what a great thing to do.
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[User Picture]From: seyewailo
2008-01-24 09:53 pm (UTC)
It's interesting, and taking me back to those early days with Fluffffy, in which she realized that submitting to a witch meant she was "downline" to the Gods. And interesting way to participate in the tradition.

I need to think some more about the whole submission to the Goddess in the person. Maybe I'll even get it together to write something for Witch Eye
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[User Picture]From: starfrosting
2008-01-25 01:18 am (UTC)
speaking of, have you seen this?
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[User Picture]From: seyewailo
2008-01-25 08:21 am (UTC)
Interesting. It's a lot of ritual for my taste, but it is fabulous in its own right. Thanks for the tip!
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[User Picture]From: nightshade_feri
2008-01-23 09:08 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for this. I would love to read your further thoughts when you are ready to share them.
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[User Picture]From: blackheartfaery
2008-01-23 04:00 pm (UTC)
"See, in Feri we like to go on and on about abuses. Not to say that there aren't abuses and abusers. There certainly are. But when a person finally stands up and says "NO!" we start talking about how bad the other person is, instead of talking about the power of the person who drew the boundary."

I love this point. I couldn't agree with it more. Balance of power, whether power was "taken" from you , or repeated incidences where a person gives away their "power". In that instance, it is not a balance, seeing the self as a victim. There comes a point where one takes responsibility of their own actions and choices and stops blaming the abuser for how awful their life has been. Only then can you feel the ecstatic freedom of life.
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[User Picture]From: seyewailo
2008-01-24 09:57 pm (UTC)
Just because a person has more power does not always change the amount of *control* in the exchange. So many of the people I have known who have spoken of the situations where they felt taken advantage of speak of it in the language of victimhood. And I realized that a submissive would never speak that way. They would definitely not play with that person again, and they would tell others to steer clear, and even talk about it with pain in their hearts. But they would not just stop playing.

Some would. And they really had no business playing in the first place.

It takes incredible strength to say no. And many of the most powerful initiates I know have had these kinds of experiences and "mistakes" in their past. And here they are, the result of the kind of spine it took to stand their ground.
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[User Picture]From: starfrosting
2008-01-23 05:32 pm (UTC)
this makes a lot of sense to me-- thank you for beginning to articulate the power and responsibility inherent in service of these kinds.
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[User Picture]From: seyewailo
2008-01-24 10:00 pm (UTC)
It's so weird that people often view submissives as weak or less powerful. What is up with that?
Service takes power, and giving it up takes courage.
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[User Picture]From: yezida
2008-01-24 11:19 pm (UTC)
That was part of my point in this rant.

People mistake receptive for passive. Ridiculous. And it plays into sexism, homophobia, you name it.
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[User Picture]From: seyewailo
2008-01-25 10:53 pm (UTC)
Unbelievable. I remember reading it and yelling out loud. Exactly. Exactly.
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[User Picture]From: starfrosting
2008-01-25 01:14 am (UTC)
Well, especially as far as Feri and S/M goes, I think it's easy for people who don't really do S/M themselves to equate bottoming with submitting one's life force to another. I can only really imagine that being the case in some extreme hypothetical situation that falls outside the pale of what most people would recognize as dominance and submission.
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[User Picture]From: seyewailo
2008-01-25 10:55 pm (UTC)
You know, even folks who do TPE (total power exchange), where they are contracting, at that point, their is a contract negotiation. That is the point where the bottom holds all the power. So even in TPE, it is true.

But it is easy for any of us to desire so much that we betray ourselves. That is true for folks not doing D/s or S/M as well.
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[User Picture]From: starfrosting
2008-01-26 03:16 am (UTC)
But it is easy for any of us to desire so much that we betray ourselves
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[User Picture]From: yezida
2008-01-24 06:14 pm (UTC)

At Last!

Thank you for writing this!

"If you just like how the collar looks, you don't get it. No mystery for you. If you just want to be a big scary witch, no donut. If you kneel at the altar, you learn the mystery. And it changes you."

Ah. Reading that is like drinking a big glass of water when I'm thirsty. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Thank you, sister. I look forward to more thoughts when you have them.
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[User Picture]From: seyewailo
2008-01-24 10:01 pm (UTC)

Re: At Last!

Thanks for pushing me to write about it. I hope you'll let me know if I go too far.
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[User Picture]From: yezida
2008-01-24 11:14 pm (UTC)

Re: At Last!

One thing I think about a lot that seems applicable to this discussion is that our service to God Herself *has* to be service to our own Will. We serve and kneel only when we are also serving and kneeling to our destiny, our heart's desire, "the work of this God", True Will.

Therefore, we are in the driver's seat, even when it feels like we are being driven sometimes. We are not submitting our life force, we are learning and enacting our Will.
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[User Picture]From: seyewailo
2008-01-26 12:30 am (UTC)

Re: At Last!

I think of it as being called. And then that part of the soul, the holy will, drives us. We all have those moments in which we know we have to do something. We may really not want to do it, but we know that we must go there.

I've often seen it, something behind Fluffffy that pushes her to her knees. I haven't seen it in a long time, but I saw it a little the other day. And I realized that I stood face to face with that part of her that says, "kneel."

And that is not about me. I am the priestess she is being delivered to by her godself. And I snap on that collar as she worships the goddess in me, the flash of the Star Goddess in each of us. Sometimes I think of topping in that way. My eyes are the windows of the divinity I contain.

Truffle is definitely a witch. She has never told me this, but I could smell it. And when she is really scared, I can see that thing over her shoulder that pushes her down. And it is big and holy and miraculous.

It's like their godself hands me the leash. It is not diminished. And I'm very clear that it is a gift.
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[User Picture]From: lilairen
2008-01-25 07:37 pm (UTC)
A friend of mine pointed me at this, and I wanted to thank you for writing it.

I was one of yezida's Boston students; I am a collared submissive.

I got into a great screaming row on the Witch Eye mailing list with people who insisted that those who submit were doormats, weak-willed, abuse cases waiting to happen.

But there isn't the language to say, look, since I accepted this part of me, my power has run more deep, sure and strong, not to someone who doesn't know the Mystery; and someone who knows the Mystery does not need to be told.

I wanted to say, "If you believe service is weak and crying out for abuse, do you have the capacity to respect a waiter, a janitor, a mother?"

I wanted to ask why a Feri witch can only appreciate the power of a top, rather than the power of the waves that lift the ship. The water is there, to be taken for granted, not a thing to see and acknowledge and respect. I wanted to ask where this tiny, tiny understanding of power came from.

I submit, I am owned, I belong, not just because I am cherished and protected and loved in my wholeness, but because I am myself, the strength I have is more the strength of the wave than the ship, and I honor and respect my own power.

The points of Iron are all so very close together. Sex and power so much the same thing, bound up with self and passion, and pride comes of accepting I am the ocean and giving up on believing I ought to be a ship.
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[User Picture]From: seyewailo
2008-01-25 11:02 pm (UTC)


Thank you so much for writing this! I wish I could make every Feri witch read it. Obviously I can't.

And the answer is no, they can't honor a waiter, janitor, mother. If you only honor the Top, there is imbalance.

I just want to say this to you. You know the mystery, and so you don't need to be told. And you know that those other people are wrong, and so do not need to convince them. Because you kneel at the altar and are changed.

And that, my dear, is the bottom line (no pun intended).

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[User Picture]From: faerywolf
2008-07-06 05:11 am (UTC)
I was just turned on to this post and I just had to let you know how powerful it is. While not is a D/s context I really had to learn the sheer power of submission in my own training and found it to be one of the most transformative experiences of my life. As I was reading your post I was reminded of some of the layers of that teaching, which ever continues. Thank you for writing this. Well thought out, as always.
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[User Picture]From: anatketani
2008-07-14 10:30 pm (UTC)
Like Storm I was just pointed to this post. Thank you so much for this, as I have consistantly been confused by the roles in the D/s world as Feri witches. Like Anaar said above, I had an AH-HA! moment and it has been very helpful!
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[User Picture]From: swansister
2008-10-24 02:27 am (UTC)
I was just pointed to this entry by yezida and I wanted to thank you for articulating in such a clear and profound way.

It has brought tears to my eyes,

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[User Picture]From: lilairen
2009-04-24 06:04 am (UTC)
I know you wrote this a good while ago, but if you still get comment notifications on it, I thought you might like to read this, which came out of the combination of the flow of holding Feri energy with Karina (with whom I am currently studying) and some of the d/s work that I am currently doing.

It's something that mattered a lot to me to write, and ... it's something that I believe you would understand.
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