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.
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!
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?
Facebook friend (I’ll accept any legitimate friend requests)