SPIRIT AND LEATHER

 

An abbreviated compilation of resources for learning more about spirit/spirituality and leather.

I became aware -- through observation, direct experience, and reading -- that it is possible to integrate spirituality into one's leather life; indeed into all of life.

This is offered here as a tool for others who seek that integration.

 

 

 

First off, some quick definitions:

Spirituality 1. The state, quality, or fact of being spiritual.

Spiritual 1. Of, relating to, consisting of, or having the nature of spirit; not tangible or material. 2. Of, concerned with, or affecting the soul. 3. Of, from, or pertaining to God; deific. 4. Of or belonging to a church or religion; sacred. 5. Pertaining to or having the nature of spirits; supernatural.

Spirit 1. The vital principle or animating force traditionally believed to be within living human beings. 2. The soul, considered as departing from the body of a person at death.

Religion 1a. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power recognized as the creator and governor of the universe. 1b. A particular integrated system of this expression. 2. The spiritual or emotional attitude of one who recognizes the existence of a superhuman power or powers.

 


Books that touch on leather and spirit

kundalini -- in Yogic tradition, spiritual energy that lies dormant at the base of the spine until is it activated and channeled upward to the brain to produce enlightenment.

 

A note about sequence, notes, numbers, etc.

The above books are presented in alphabetical sequence for ease in finding.

Notes are included to help explain why the book may be relevant to the topic. At this writing, I've read a little over a third of the books. Notes-in-quotes are comments by one of my friends (see Thanks!) who suggested the book.

Numbers precede eight of the books because the friend who suggested those put them in a "sort-of" order of applicability. Note that he mentions "I'm afraid these books are a bit too academic for the mentor program. (See How this came about.) But I do think you might find them interesting. ...in regards to how they relate to the two topics of BDSM and/or spirituality... Some of these hit right on target. Some you have to make some mental leaps to apply the theory to the subject."

If the list seems overwhelming, check out the short list below.

Definitions came from the American Heritage Dictionary, Second College Edition.

 

Short list

  1. Philosophy in the Dungeon -- The Magic of Sex & Spirit, by Jack Rinella (Rinella Editorial Services, Chicago, 2006)
  2. Radical Ecstasy, by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy (Greenery Press, Oakland CA, 2004)
    This book was a delight to read -- open, accessible, deep, light; all at once.

And the spirit sections of two books:

  1. Leatherfolk's fourth section, "Spirit and the Flesh", has eight essays with diverse views of how people perceive their leather work spiritually
  2. Extreme Space: The Domination and Submission Handbook has the sections "Space" and "The Threshold of Flight" which articulate a leather spiritual experience as best I've read.

 


Web sites that touch on leather and spirit

 


Cathartic flogging

Here is a copy of Master Skip's handout for his cathartic flogging workshops. The workshop focuses on the integration of radical sexuality and spirituality through the mindful use of a flogger to facilitate catharsis, and the handout explains in detail the "why and how" that occurs (based on his experience, of course).

 


Thanks!

To my friends and fellow seekers, Master Steve, Master Skip Chasey, and Sam Jeske, who suggested the bulk of these resources when I sought their counsel for this project. Here's some background about each.

Grandfather, father, Master, student, columnist, owner of slave kirk and slave randy, mentor, friend, educated professional, ordained minister, International Master 2000, and founder of BUTCHMANN'S SM Academy (now Butchmanns Experience). My loves and my passions are Spirit, Harleys, mountains, deserts, and training men and women. Everything else is subject to change, and that's a Good Thing. WOOF!

Master Skip spoke as an openly gay Christian leatherman to a crowd of almost one million people at the Millennium March on Washington. He has presented workshops on various aspects of SM, spirituality and Master/slave relationships at Avatar (where he is an active member), Threshold, Orange Coast Leather Assembly, APEX, Shibari, Southeast Leatherfest, Club X LeatherFest, Thunder in the Mountains and the Leather Leadership Conference. In 1999 and 2000 Master Skip, at the invitation of his friend SlaveMaster, co-facilitated "Path of the Obedient Heart," a series of retreats for leatherfolk and others open to utilizing SM as a tool for spiritual evolution. He is an occasional instructor at the monthly Leather Lab in North Hollywood and the annual Sampler weekend in Palm Springs, a core instructor at APEX Academy:Carrying on the Butchmanns Tradition, and a co-founder of People of Leather Among You ("P.L.A.Y."), a social and educational group for Southern California leatherfolk interested in the integration of spirituality and radical sexuality. A certified Grief RecoveryTM counselor, Master Skip lives in Los Angeles, where he heads a family of fun-loving, spiritually grounded leathermen.

 


How this came about

First, as I mentioned in the intro, I became aware -- through observation, direct experience, and reading -- that it is possible to integrate spirituality into one's leather life.

I was involved in SAADE's Austin Mentors' program and began mentoring on Spirituality and SM. For helping people connect, I hoped to convey a sense of getting grounded in the moment and "being here now." That part I felt pretty comfortable with. Each apprentice would be with me for a month, but we'd only have two face-to-face meetings. To help make the rest of the month educational, I hoped to choose a set of reading homework that was informative but accessible; readable within a few weeks. I'd been compiling a list of books that cover Spirituality and SM in some form or fashion. I proposed having the apprentices read the spirit sections from two books: the eight essays in Leatherfolk's fourth section, "Spirit and the Flesh" and also the sections "Space" and "The Threshold of Flight" from Extreme Space: The Domination and Submission Handbook. But I also sought input from my friends. (See thanks). They really helped this become the richer resource that I hope it is.

 


Some things I personally find helpful

 


 

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