Damn it, Lupercus, I’m knotjokin!

CAESAR

Forget not, in your speed, Antonius,
To touch Calpurnia; for our elders say,
The barren touched in this holy chase,
Shake off their sterile curse.
The first time that I encountered the festival of Lupercalia, and the ritual races and fertility beatings that accompanied them, was in 10th grade English class.  Since I was already exploring a different path to sexual bliss than most of my classmates, I was really intrigued by the opening scenes of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.  If you’re not familiar with the holiday of Lupercalia, you’re really missing out.  It’s our favorite holiday here at The Barbed Pentacle!  In honor of that, Dr. David Hillman–of past Barbed Pentacle appearances and the author of The Chemical Muse and Original Sin–has written a guest post explaining the holiday (just in case you were ignorant!).

The Lupercalia: Rome’s BDSM Holiday

by Dr. David Hillman http://roninpub.com/orisin.html

It’s February again….Release the naked guys with their whips!  And good luck ladies; if you are fortunate this year, a crazed group of muscle-bound, oiled, pagan teenage boys will catch you in the streets and stripe your bleeding back with strips of leather while you clutch your bare breasts and scream in painful ecstasy.  Congratulations, you are now no longer just girls, wives and mothers; your titillation, screaming and wounds make you  the purified devotees of nymph-chasing Pan, and Lupa, the great Roman She-Wolf.
And don’t worry, the randy youths will be accompanied–as they always are–by the leading holy men of the city; priests of Faunus, artists and statesmen, with their rugged George Clooneyesque good looks…guys the likes of Mark Antony himself; a little sanctified eye-candy for everyone involved.

And yes, the Lupercalia was indeed one of Rome’s oldest and most distinguished high holidays.  It was a time of sexual fervor, when nubile young men cavorted at a public banquet, worked themselves into a drunken mania, and then shed themselves of their clothing, oiled each other up, and ran around the streets of Rome in a mob, chasing ladies while wielding nothing more than whips and hard-ons.
And what was the purpose?   Enlightenment!  Yes, that’s right.  The purpose was cosmic enlightenment…an understanding of the musical harmony of Nature.  The screaming girls formed the chorus of existence, and the pain was a religious tool used to acquire wisdom.  After all, as the Orphics taught, Pan was a primal manifestation of Apollo, the sun-god who brings light into the world–of course he also brought his youthful good looks and divine rock-star talent along with his wisdom.  Yep, you got it; the take home message was that pain-induced sexual ecstasy brings self-knowledge.  I knew you’d get it.
Oh….and I’m not making up the screaming part; the vocalization of orgasmic ecstasy, like the shout of a warrior about to give his life in battle, or the cries of a woman giving birth, were considered to be forms of worship in antiquity.  So getting a woman to bare her skin and shout while you whip her is…well…sort of a sacred act.
Obviously, the Roman Lupercalia mystifies modern classical scholars, who are happy to “live” in a monotheistic universe; we proud academics neither understand the purpose nor the spirit of these festivities.  Modern educators will tell you in a puzzled manner that they really don’t know the ins and outs of the Lupercalia.  Of course, their ignorance is part Christian prudery and part comedic irony–for the god worshiped at the Lupercalia, Pan, was called Inuus by the Romans.  And what’s so ironic about that?  “Inuus” in Latin means “the penetrator,” something the Christian world would rather forget–unless you happen to be a Catholic priest in the rectory with a nervous young boy, who according to long-established Church tradition, requires a form of sodomy-induced “sexual cleansing” to save his soul–a practice that esteemed early church fathers like Cyril, the archbishop of Jerusalem, instituted in order to purge the world of festivals like the Lupercalia.  Wow, that is ironic!  (FYI, Cyril preferred his pre-pubertal boys to be dressed up like girls when they were escorted to see him.)
Try not to make sense of why the Christians banned the celebration of the Lupercalia…just roll with the historic moral irony.  What’s really the point? The god pair Pan/Apollo were protectors of pre-pubertal kids, and the purification ceremonies performed in the Lupercalia were celebrations that preserved the ancient world’s focus on child safety by means of natural, adult sexual enlightenment; so the early Christians ended up prohibiting a festival meant to protect innocent children, while simultaneously adopting the ritual rape of young boys by their own priests.  Don’t read it again, you read that right.
And yes, it kind of makes twisted ironic sense that a Pope who sheltered so many pedophiles would pick this week–the week of the Lupercalia–to shed his own holy garments.
For any decent Lupercalia celebration, you need a good scourge.  While traditionally the scourge would have been made from a bloody goat skin, modern celebrants can be much more hygienic and order a toy from Knotjokin Rope Floggers.
How long have you been making rope floggers and other toys?  How long have you been in business?
I made my first Rope Mace Flogger in the summer of 2009 and gave it to a friend who pimped it out at the parties she hosted, leading to a bit of a local craze.
Soon after that, I was asked to vend at an APEX (Arizona Power Exchange) event which was quite a success, as their events usually are.
Don’t let any “professional” appearance fool you. I am still transforming from hobbyist to small business and have only been selling online for a few months. Though I’ve made a handful of online sales, “business” is slow, and my pricing doesn’t leave much room for profit (especially considering labor) just occasional gas money, or a nicer meal than I had planned.
Hardly a business, but I welcome change.
What gave you the idea for making toys out of rope?
I didn’t set out to make floggers (emphasizing plural), honestly.
I learned the monkey fist knot as a challenge to myself; the flogger part was almost an accident. Being generous and single on purpose, I gave it to a friend versus letting it collect dust. The other flogger styles were and still are my way of not being a one trick pony. Honestly, I loathe making Boney 9 Tails and Meat Grinders, but it’s not about me.  It’s about the consumer. Ask Joe Dirt.
What kind of rope do you use for the toys?  How long does it take you to make the toys?
Though I prefer natural fibers for rope bondage, for toys, I only use synthetic rope –for too many reasons to list, including the fact that a 5 ounce bird cannot carry a coconut no matter how it grips it.
It takes anywhere from 45 minutes to 2+ hours to make a flogger depending on the style. Happy Pants Floggers are quick but rough on my hands. Meat Grinders and Boney 9 Tails take forever and are even rougher on my hands.
You make more than just floggers.  Where do you draw your inspiration for creating the other toys?
I wasn’t sure how to answer this at first. To me, everything is a flogger…even one of my straight laced size 11 Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars will do in a pinch. Then I remembered all the people who hold my toys and say “what’s this for?”
A piece of rope can be a flogger, but it could fray if you didn’t knot it. Adding knots to high quality rope and finishing it the way I do just makes for a more attractive, reliable, reusable, sanitary, durable, fun toy than a knotted piece of rope or a dog toy.
What I’m doing may be a little different, but it’s not necessarily new per se. Pardon my French.
How many different types of toys do you make?
I lost count, honestly. I experiment often, and there are quite a few “one of a kind” pieces floating around out there.
Currently, I sell:
Rope Mace Floggers
Happy Pants Floggers
Boney 9 Tails Floggers (named for the human skeleton I tie into the design, not the number of falls)
and several other multi-fall floggers including my newest creations:
Meat Grinder Floggers ~multi-fall floggers with metal beads on the ends of the falls. My most recent Meat Grinders have 9 beads on 10 falls, plus some extras on the “hands” of the Boney 9 Tails “body”, making for 96 metal bits of pleasing punishment on a 2 way flogger.
(As with all of my floggers, the handle is also an implement and will fit inside a condom.)
I also have a small line of Glow-In-The-Dark toys including Happy Pants, Maces, and Multi-Mace pieces. They’ve been quite a hit since I introduced them a few months ago. That’s right; I said hit.
What tips do you have for people who are interested in selecting one of your toys for purchase?
My toys provide a plethora of sensations, but I do not have your superior intellect and education.
(See: Three Amigos. Really, see it. It’s a funny movie! *The fact that I just dated myself does not make this masturbation.* (Wait, yes it does. You like that?)
To answer your question by Knotjokin; I mean not joking, it really depends on the sensation you prefer. If you like: *THUD* -
There is no better toy than a Rope Mace Flogger. Nope. None.
If you like: *THUD+STING* -
Happy Pants Floggers are the way to go. The thinner/the stingy-er, er. A heavy hitting sadistic friend calls the thinner Happy Pants Floggers “little bastards” for their pain inflicting potential.
If you like: *STING* -
Boney 9 Tails and Meat Grinders are where it’s at. Ouch. Man, oh man; ouch.
Maces and Happy Pants will leave bruises if used heavily.
Both Boney 9 Tails and Meat Grinders will leave welts and even draw blood (especially Meat Grinders) if used heavily.
Finally:
*THERAPY*-
Rope Mace Floggers are surprisingly therapeutic on tight or sore muscles when used lightly. You don’t have to use the handle; you can choke up on them and use short, slow swings. I love the “ahh” look people make when they feel them like that…especially on their backs. I do it with almost every piece I finish, to be completely honest. Ahhh!
Really.
I also love hearing my name screamed from a sub in another room at a party ~after being struck by a sadist holding a Rope Mace Flogger…preceded by “fuckin”, of course.
(True story, sorta. I was outside and didn’t actually hear it, but I sure heard about it later!)
Do you take custom orders?  And if so, how do people/groups go about placing a custom order?
I welcome custom orders and have made a few recently, including a pink Meat Grinder purchased by a female dominant as a gift to her submissive husband for Valentine’s Day. I’m still flattered and proud to be a part of their celebration of love. Pretty cool.
You can hardly throw a rock without hitting a site where I can be contacted nowadays. Aside from www.knotjokin.com and my store www.knotjokin.etsy.com, I’m on Facebook, Fetlife, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Copious, etc…
Though my ETSY store is the best way to contact me, all of the above will work.
What is your favorite toy to use that you make?  And do you use it as a dom, sub, or switch?
It would take an incredible woman to make me consider any role other than dominant, with sadistic tendencies. Absolutely incredible.
With that said; I prefer Rope Mace Floggers. They’re just fun to wield, ya know?
ETSY
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Facebook friend (I’ll accept any legitimate friend requests)
Fetlife

Happy Krampusnacht!

Who is Krampus and his hermaphroditic counterpart Frau Perchta?  They are the epitome of Yuletide Dom(mes)!

As you can tell from the video, Krampus hails from Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and into France and Northern Italy.  Pretty much anywhere they speak German or once spoke German, he makes an appearance.

Although now most folks associate him with St. Nick and Santa and see him as a minor devil, he was originally a Pagan nature spirit in his purest form that was associated with the Winter Solstice.  His original purpose wasn’t to necessarily punish people, although he was a bringer of justice.  His original purpose was to scare off winter and bring about spring.

He is a carry over of the horned nature and pastoral gods like Pan and Cernunnos and of the trickster god Loki.  This can clearly be seen in his appearance and in the etymology of his name–”claw”.    Originally he brought chains to bind up winter and any roaming negative spirits.  He wore bells to wake the Earth up from it’s slumber and to ward off negativity.  He was also a bringer of fertility.  He is often portrayed riding a broom, which was a common sympathetic magic performed in fields to show the crops how high to grow.

In the same spirit of Lupercalia, he bears a birch rod.  The rod is seen as a phallic device. With every lick he imparted his fertile seed to the community.  The beatings with the birch can also be seen in the same light as beating the bounds of ones home to ward off evil, which may be how his whippings were twisted into a punitive context by early Christians.

And why does Krampus have his tongue out?  The better to eat you out with, my dear!

Even Krampus is a switch!
The Christian version of Krampus is still a big deal in German speaking countries and the pockets of the world where Germanic folks settled.  Instead of celebrating him on the Solstice, he is celebrated the night before St. Nicolaus’ Day.  Every year there are huge Krampus runs in the Alps, where everyone turns out.  The runs were originally done by young men to chase away winter and to bring about the spring.  However, in some areas the runs were more like an enactment of the Wild Hunt than of a Yule Vigil. Kids today look forward to Krampusnacht and stoically bear whatever beating they may receive.
Carting the babies off to Hell.

Krampus’ counterpart and sometime companion is Frau Perchta.
As previously stated, Perchta is a hermaphrodite, but often carries herself as a woman.  She represents both man and woman, both light and dark.  She is an incarnation of the goddesses Holda, Holle, and Frigg and vaguely of Brigid.  Her name means “blaze”,  and she is seen as a spinster who checks on the girls to make sure they’ve spun all the materials that they have available. She is also a leader of the Wild Hunt in some areas.  Sometimes Perchta is pretty and sometimes she is not!
Instead of beating you with a birch like Krampus, Frau Perchta slits open your belly, steals your guts, and replaces them with straw.  Dommes are always more sadistic than Doms!  If you’re on her good side, you can leave her an offering (she likes herring) and she’ll bestow upon you riches and fertility.  Around the solstice before she visits, folks usually smudge the house and barns to chase away evil spirits but to also cleanse the air of any germs.  Sage is a wonderful antiseptic.
Krampus and Perchta
Now to review just who Krampus is:
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Winter’s a long cold season.  Make it more fun by enacting some of these old traditions with your partner(s).  One night you can be Krampus and the next night the naughty one. Or maybe you’re always Krampus!   If you’ve never prepared a birch rod before, there are instructions in the BDSM ritual section to the right of this post.  Chains should be tight enough not to get caught and tangled in things but loose enough to allow for blood flow. Clips for chains are safer than locks.

If you decide to go into Frau Perchta territory, make sure that you are experienced with edge play, and have antiseptic and other first aid materials near by.  If you are not experienced with edge play, an alternative is to blind fold your partner and use a plastic or wooden knife.  Both can be made to have sharp edges that don’t cut.  If your hoodwinked partner thinks you’re still holding a real knife, it will feel like a real knife to exposed skin.  Using a sterilized pin to simulate a knife point works well too.  Since Perchta means “blaze”, wax play would be an appropriate tribute to her as well.

There are a myriad of other Solstice traditions out there that are meaningful and fun as well.  The wild hunt is one of them.  This can be enacted by partners or a group and be something as simple as wild hide and seek or something more complicated and serious.  There’s also the battle of the Holly and the Oak Kings (or it can be Queens).   The Holly represents the waning year and the Oak represents the waxing year.  In some myths there is also an Ivy girl/boy who is a mediator.  An idea for this tradition is a mock Holly and Oak king battle, with the weapons being oak and holly switches.  The looser can be bound with strands of ivy for the real fun to start.  Holly leaves can also be used on the skin like a Wartenburg wheel or spurs.

Have fun and remember:

As with any sort of S&M and or sex ritual, be responsible.  Use safe words and condoms and respect boundaries.  No under aged participants or spectators.  Outdoor sex should be on private property.  Bondage should allow for blood flow.  If you break skin, use first aid to treat it and clean your equipment properly.  And for heaven’s sake, avoid the spine and kidney area!
May your Krampus put you in the best chains with the loudest bells, wield the stoutest birches, and be super horny to put that long tongue to good use!

The Scourge Part 1

“The Goddess’ scourge is light—usually.”

           A scourge by any other name is still a scourge.  A scourge is the name given to what is basically a many-tailed whip used in Wicca.  People in the scene often call it a flogger, or if it has knots, a cat, and to outsiders it’s a whip, but all these boil down to a scourge.  According to Merriam-Webster, the word first appears in its current form in the 13th century and is originally derived from the Latin word corrigia, which means “thong” or “whip”.    It’s a ritual tool that many Wiccans either don’t own, don’t use, don’t understand, or have purely for show.
            Scourges and other whip like implements have been associated with religion forever. 
In Ancient Egypt, Osiris was often depicted with a crook and a flail, symbols of authority but also symbols of agriculture.  These symbols of agriculture could sympathetically translate to virility symbols.  There is more about the flail (which looks an awful lot like a scourge) in the “Ritual” section of this blog.
The Ancient Romans used scourges, whips, and switches sympathetically in their magic and rituals. These implements were seen as being phallic and were used in fertility rites, primarily Lupercalia.  According to a Hellenic expert, while Lupercalia is primarily a Roman festival, it has its origins in Ancient Greece. Originally male adolescents in Arkadia would reenact the feast of Lycaon every year. At the original feast, Lycaon prepared a feast for the Olympian gods that included some human flesh, perhaps from one of Lycaon’s male relatives. This so enraged Zeus, that he struck Lycaon’s house
with a thunderbolt and Lycaon turned into a wolf.
At the Arkadian reenactment, the teenagers would gather on a mountaintop and
partake of a meal of animal entrails. However, among the animal guts was hidden one piece of human intestine. If a participant ate this juicy morsel, he would turn into a wolf and was only able to become human again if he refrained from eating human meat for nine years. Another way that the boys could achieve this lupine transformation was to swim across a special mountain pool. Once again, after nine years, they could regain their human form.  

 

This tradition traveled to Rome via Hermes’ son, Euandros, who exported the cult of Pan Lykaios and the festival of Lykaia to Italy. This festival later became the festival of Lupercalia, which is described in the opening lines of Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar.

Once the wolf festival was transported to Rome and became Lupercalia, many
different stories and deities became associated with the celebration.  To honor Pan, two goats and a dog were annually sacrificed. The dog was sacrificed because they were sacred for their ability to protect flocks and because Pan raised hounds.
           Skin from the sacrificed goats was used for the flails that the Lupercalia runners would whip the female spectators with. It was believed that through this aggressive behavior Pan would bless the ladies with fertility. 

 

 

In Julius Caesar, Caesar tells Antony:
Forget not, in your speed, Antonius,
To touch Calpurnia; for our elders say,
The barren, touched in this holy chase,
Shake off their sterile curse.
Act I, Scene 2