All Tied Up, Part 1: Chastity or Bondage?

“Next and lastly I present the cords. They are of use to bind the sigils of the art, also the material basis. Also they are necessary in the oath.” –Gardnerian Book of Shadows, 1st degree initiation

The Cingulum, which is Latin for “girdle”, is a piece of clothing/tool that in our present day is rarely seen on Pagans.  It is typically a rope of some fiber and color that is worn around the waist.  Sure, Gardnerians still proudly wear them, but most Pagans are not even in traditions that bestow them any more.  This is a shame, because cingulums, also sometimes called “witch’s cords”, can be a lot of fun and quite useful.

Praecinge me, Domine, cingulo puritatis, et exstingue in lumbis meis humorem libidinis; ut maneat in me virtus continentia et castitatis.

Gird me, O Lord, with the girdle of purity, and extinguish in me all evil desires, that the virtue of chastity may abide in me. –Catholic Vestment Prayer

Wiccans are not the only ones to wear cingulums.  Originally the word was used to describe the belt that Roman soldiers wore.

Then it was tied on by the Catholic Church to describe the rope that monks wear around their waists.  I called and emailed a variety of different monks at Belmont Abbey, a local monastery, and no one would ever respond to my requests for an interview.

I guess my soul just isn’t worth saving.  It’s a pity because I can really rock a Catholic school girl outfit!  According to several different Internet sources, the Catholic cingulum is supposed to remind the monks of their vow of chastity and aid them in remaining pure and celibate.  Not exactly how a cingulum is used Wicca.

“Learn of the spirit that goeth with burdens that have not honour, for ’tis the spirit that stoopeth the shoulders and not the weight. Armour is heavy, yet it is a proud burden and a man standeth upright in it. Limiting and constraining any of the senses serves to increase the concentration of another. Shutting the eyes aids the hearing. So the binding of the initiate’s hands increases the mental perception, while the scourge increaseth the inner vision. So the initiate goeth through it proudly, like a princess, knowing it but serves to increase her glory. But this can only be done by the aid of another intelligence and in a circle, to prevent the power thus generated being lost. Priests attempt to do the same with their scourgings and mortifications of the flesh. But lacking the aid of bonds and their attention being distracted by their scourging themselves and what little power they do produce being dissipated, as they do not usually work within a circle, it is little wonder that they oft fail. Monks and hermits do better, as they are apt to work in tiny cells and coves, which in some way act as circles. The Knights of the Temple, who used mutually to scourge each other in an octagon, did better still; but they apparently did not know the virtue of bonds and did evil, man to man. But perhaps some did know? What of the Church’s charge that they wore girdles or cords?” –Gardnerian Book of Shadows, Of the Ordeal of the Magical Art

Sometimes the cord is the length of the person’s measure, which is the person’s height.  This practice is more symbolic than practical, and it refers to the myth of the Fates who would measure out a person’s life span and then cut it for death.  When the cord is a person’s measure, it is usually used in some version of an initiation, and the initiate is usually tied up in some form.   Sometimes the cord is 9 feet in length, which serves the practical purpose of aiding a witch in being able to cast a circle in the traditional circumference.  Cingulums can also denote a group member’s status or rank, or recognize an achievement or rite of passage.

Cingulums can be a lot of fun.  It’s an interesting mind fuck to be tied up with your measure during ritualistic sex or binding magic.  If you don’t have a cingulum, or if you want to create a cingulum for you or somebody else for a particular purpose, here’s how:


Yarn of various colors


Tape (optional)

Unsharpened pencil or stick

Extra set of hands


First decide the number of strands and colors that you want in your cingulum and whether your cingulum will be 9 feet or the length of your measure.  For a 9-foot cingulum, cut 19 feet strands of yarn.  For a cingulum that is the length of your measure, cut your yarn so that it is your height doubled plus a few extra inches.  Tie one end of your yarn strands to something sturdy and stationary, like a chair, and tie the other ends to a pencil or stick.  You can also tape the ends instead of tying them.  Now slowly back away from the stationary point until your yarn strands are pulled taunt.  Twist the strands deosil (clockwise) until the strands are wound tight.  If it starts to kink, then it’s time for the next step.  Now have your extra set of hands hold your cord in the middle while you bring your end of the cord to the end tied to the stationary point.  While the middle is still being held by the extra set of hands, slide the ends off of the pencil and untie the ends from the stationary point.  Tie both sets of ends together.  Now have the extra set of hands let go of the cord.  Your cord should be twisted around itself like a piece of rope and ready to wear.

Have fun, and remember that bondage should be tight but not so tight that it cuts off circulation, and bondage should never be done on anyone under the legal age of consent.













These folks caught the irony of the post:

Mystic Artisans

Passion And Soul

Knotjokin Rope Floggers

Tonia Brown:







Who Has Priapism?

This is a guest blog by Dr. David Hillman, who is the author of  The Chemical Muse: Drug Use and the Roots of Western Civilization (St. Martin’s, 2008) and Original Sin: Ritual Child Rape and the Church (Ronin, 2012).  He has a lot of varied interests, getting censored and pissing off the Vatican makes him hard, and he’s probably cooler than the person sitting next to you right now.  Check his books out–they’ll blow your mind.   

Many of you out there practicing variations of BDSM are showing a renewed interest in combining sex, religious worship and Greco-Roman gods.  This is thrilling because you have hit upon a deep vein of cultural gold that springs from the ancient world; through your unique sexual practices, you are acquiring a deeper knowledge of ancient cult, far deeper than what is perceived in modern universities and colleges that boast Classics and Ancient History departments.  You are the real investigators, and you are finding Aphrodite, Pan and Priapus in a way that only their ancient followers could.  You may not know it, but you are about to hit the mother lode.

Just one example: let’s talk about Priapus.  Who is Priapus? 

Any prudish, missionary-style adhering, modern scholar would tell you we don’t know much about his cult.  That’s because they refuse–even today–to study the large body of poetry associated with the worship of the god with the three-foot erection.  That’s right; walking around Italy in antiquity meant you would see lots of publicly displayed statues of this god, all of which were adorned with a large, angry erection–with a particularly bulbous and intimidating glans. In one wall painting that survived the disaster at Pompeii, Priapus is pictured weighing his hefty penis in a balance; the other side of the scale contains a large bag of fruit.  Young girls passing these statues would rub the penis for good luck in getting pregnant. 

So what did Priapus do with his huge erection that never went away?  He used it.  But he didn’t just use it like any other divinity uses his or her genitalia.  No, Priapus’ penis was a weapon.  You see, Priapus was the god of the Cosmic Garden.  He was a “watcher” who protected the fruit of life from thieves and anyone unwilling to acknowledge a divine or natural order to the universe; in short, he prosecuted anyone unwilling to venerate the goddess Nature.  The Greeks and Romans called this sort of person the “god-fighter” or the “atheist.”  Yes, the first time the term “atheist” enters into our Western vocabulary it was used to denote the Christians, who refused to honor the gods….particularly Mother Nature.  So who is the enforcer?  You guessed it, Priapus.  And what did the god do to violators of Nature?  He fucked them in the ass–and that’s a literal translation of the Latin. 

Yes, Priapus was all about chasing down anyone disrespecting of the gods–those who absconded with the fruit of his garden–and fucking them in the ass.  The whole process of Priapus’ justice is nothing but terrifying.  Priapus chases down the ungodly, and does things that they would never willingly want done….unlesss…

And what did the priestesses of Priapus do? 

Well, we know from Petronius, the Roman poet, that they used his statues in sacred, women-only ceremonies to apply drugs vaginally.  And we know these drugs were able to soften the cervix and induce abortion.  And we know it was pleasurably painful enough to put the priestesses into an orgasm-induced state of oracular ecstasy. 

So I applaud you BDSM practicing folks.  Keep it up!  And remember, you are just resurrecting rites long established by the very people who invented science, free speech and democracy.  Let me leave you with some sayings right out of the mouth of Priapus.  They were beautifully translated from the Latin by Sir Richard Burton in the 19th century:

“Take heed lest thou art caught.  If I do seize thee…thou shalt be so stretched that thou wilt think thy anus never had any wrinkles.”

“I will seize thee, and when thou art caught my girl, I will enjoy thee.  And the whole of this, large though it be, and stiffer than twisted cord, than the string of the lyre, I will surely bury in thee to thy seventh rib.”

“The greatest advantage in my penis is this, that no woman can be too roomy for me.”

“So long as thou snatchest nothing from me with audacious hand,
thou mayest be chaster than Vesta herself.
But, if thou dost, these belly-weapons of mine will so
stretch thee that thou wilt be able to slip through thy own anus.”

Check out Dr. Hillman’s books: The Chemical Muse: Drug Use and the Roots of Western Civilization   

 Original Sin: Ritual Child Rape and the Church

These folks know how to loosen up for Priapus:

Passion And Soul:

Knotjokin Rope Floggers:

Tonia Brown

Just Smack Me!:

Cannabis Roots: Feed Your Head, a supplement

While the focus of this series has been mainly on legal to semi-legal substances that can be used in ritual, I thought that some of you may enjoy Cannabis Roots: The Hidden History of Marijuana, which will air tomorrow live from 11 am-6 pm Pacific time on Pot TV.  Cannabis Roots is a ticketed event being held in Vancouver, Canada that will feature scholars of all sorts whose presentations will explore the important role that pot has played in world history, particularly the histories of many world religions.  Make sure to check out Dr. David Hillman’s lecture at 3 pm which will be about Bacchus, Aphrodite, sex, and drugs–you know, all the good things.  Of interest too will be Professor Carl Ruck’s lecture, also on Ancient Greek themes.

To watch the conference (and remember it’s live, so don’t mess up on the time):

For a summary of Dr. Hillman’s lecture:

For a summary of Professor Ruck’s lecture:

************************************************************************************************* November 2013 update:  Dr. David Hillman’s lecture:

These folks know their cannabis roots:

The Geeky Kink Event

Passion And Soul:

Knotjokin Rope Floggers:

Tonia Brown

Just Smack Me!: