Myth, Archetype, & Symbols of D/s Relationships & BDSM Sexuality

Understanding the compelling psychological undercurrents of our most taboo sexual desires and relationship structures.

Our deepest erotic fantasies are shaped from the interplay of inner mythic stories, archetypes and symbols within our sexual psyches, activated during sexual engagement. Bringing these initially subtle inner elements into conscious awareness can open us to more fully experience explosive erotic intensity, access our deepest emotions, and ultimately strengthen intimacy and trust between partners. In a committed relationship, or even for a one-time negotiated scene with a play-partner, exploring our most taboo desires in a conscious manner offers the opportunity for both empowerment and healing.

The challenge can be to notice these deeper, more vivid dimensions of our fantasies, often shrouded in shame, fear or trauma, and welcome them into our sexual expressions and relationships. To help in this regard, there are certain tools and techniques you can use, that can support you in discovering and inviting in what is personally sacred, authentic and meaningful to your sexual expression.

Learning to use or create your own tools, sometimes called ritual practices, can open internal psychological pathways to deepen the physical, emotional, intentional, and spiritual connection between partners. Their purpose is to help create more trust, intimacy, healing and soulful connection within the self and the relationship.

These key tools, techniques and practices can support heightened focus on your intention, presence, embodiment, intimacy, and communication between yourself and a partner, and an enriched experience in the exchange,

Intention is a very important tool. I view it as rock solid truth. It is my anchor I come back to when I get blown off course. I know it is true…because I created it from an aware place. My intention is to be as conscious a man as I can be. Is that true? Yes. Undeniably! I cannot achieve that intention to perfection. I can only move down the path towards it. An intention is an ideal. There is no perfection to attain. Intention allows one to build personally designed practices or rituals that support your intention and diminish what resists your intention.

A couple in a D/s relationship could create the mutual intention, for example, to aspire to the highest ideals of their respective positions as Dominant and submissive, and bring these evolving qualities to the relationship.

Ritual practices and protocols that are meaningful to both partners can be developed, such as a respectful, supportive, forth-right self-review once a month, to share experiences and renew their individual and shared commitments to each other. Ritual can be a process that connects each partner to the aspects of character or soul they aspire to. Through focusing your attention, rituals help bring your aspirations to a deeper, consistent awareness, and open the potential to discover and heal reluctant, protective, traumatized unconscious parts, that may be holding us back from or resisting our aspirations.

While this style of soulful, loving communication between partners can go a long way towards inner healing and empowerment, some places along this journey may be best worked through individually with a skilled facilitator or therapist that understands how to work in these realms.

As a Dominant, if my intention is to aspire to integrity (walking my talk), accountability, or leadership, I have to be aware of, acknowledge and examine all aspects of the ways I may not be in integrity, accountable or in leadership. And learn to address the underlying reasons why I may be falling short in these regards.

To better stay on my path, I find it helpful to have personal practices that support me to be more focused and committed to my intention. I have a regular discipline of practices generally that keep me embodied, present and aware of my intention such as various movement, mindfulness and breathing techniques. I use communication skills that allow vulnerable honesty for both my partner and myself to own mistakes and make corrections, to apologize, to ask for forgiveness when due. Many of these will be life-long practices to develop. I look at it as being on a journey not seeking the destination. I keep moving towards the goal of my intention.

These practices and their use are generally simple to understand, and easy to put into practice. They are meant to be personalized, in a way that makes them meaningful and effective for you. There is no more magic in them other than the results produced by consistent practice. The challenge is to remain consistent in one’s personal practices, similar to one’s personal workout regimen.

Another important potential of using ritual techniques or practices is accessing what I call the realm of the Sacred.

Sacred, as I view it is what has significant meaning to you personally. What is sacred is entirely personal. It does not come from dogma or a tradition that is not meaningful to the individual in the present. It has to resonate with something deep within the self. Our relationships to our partner’s, children, families, communities, professions, passions and more can be recognized as sacred for many of us.

But because it is personal, sacred may be quite different for different people. The sacred can only be experienced through feeling tangibly connected physically, emotionally, soulfully, and/or spiritually to another person, experience, practice, symbol or artifact that is personally meaningful. In other words what is sacred is only defined within your own context. But it often merges with a similar sense and reverence for the Sacred within others in the gene pool. This is how tribes are formed.

I believe it Sacred to allow everything that is true about myself both dark and light, to have a safe, welcoming place to exist, to be witnessed, encouraged, explored, expressed, honored, healed and loved, in a way that respects the rights and humanity of others.

When you understand what is Sacred to you, then you can develop your mission, within the relationship, and in life.

Another important ritual concept to consider, is that of a “container. A ritual container holds what is sacred (or profane). It is simply a space, either within your consciousness or it can be an actual physical space. A ritual container is an environment that through its design, intention and ambiance, can allow one to explore things in a more focused, fully present way. In the hub-bub and tumult outside the ritual container  – the container of our everyday life, it may be more challenging or impossible to connect deeply to the things we desire and aspire to.

The concept of a container can be used for instance for the space where you hold your sexual expression of D/s-BDSM.

This “container” is the real physical space you create to hold your sexual explorations in, as distinct from other spaces in your environment.  Depending on how much space you have, you can physically develop your ritual space or container in the moment, or more permanently, in your home. You make it as “safe” and private as possible. You make the container able to be “sealed” as tightly as possible, so unnecessary or unwanted things don’t “leak” out or in.

You fill it with personally resonant ambience, lighting, aroma, sound, music, and texture that will enliven your senses. These resulting sensations help activate your body, bringing more natural presence to your awareness. You can adorn your space with personally sacred objects – things that symbolize your passions, what or who is important to you, or what you aspire to, or a memento of a meaningful experience or transition.

These sacred objects/symbols in your ritual space will resonate with corresponding aspects that reside within your unconscious or with your conscious intentions that chose them. This resonance within the unconscious can also bring you to a deeper state of awareness presence, and aliveness, and shift from anxiety and other non-present states. You can fill your ritual space with the ambiance that encourages your conscious intention to heal, grow, express, explore, connect or whatever your intention may be.

All of these ritual tools can help you be more pro-active, creative, connected, embodied, and insightful during your sexual excursions into D/s-BDSM play, or heartfelt honest discussion about an important issues with your partner.

There is also a metaphorical container or ritual space you can consider, to hold your D/s-BDSM relationship in. This can be a helpful concept to help hold and differentiate the many complexities of this style relationship.

There is an important distinction to be made here, between the D/s and BDSM aspects of this lifestyle, and the two distinct containers required to hold them honorably

On the D/s side, the relationship side, there is the metaphorical container I call the Outer Chamber (container) of Dominance/submission. This is meant to hold all the day-to-day interactions, negotiations, protocols, agreements, rituals etc., for the relationship.

The Outer Chamber represents the intended mythic, noble, sacred connection between Dominant and submissive.

 

In this mythos the Dom can be thought of as aspiring to their personal ideals of the good King/Queen or similar archetype. In traditional myths throughout the world, the archetypal figure of the King/Queen blesses, protects, inspires, makes clear agreements, holds boundaries cleanly, is in integrity, accountable, responsible and many other qualities.

The submissive, the loyal devotee/one-in-service archetype, aspires to the powerful ideals of service, surrender, devotion, obedience, self-less-ness and more.

The Inner Chamber (container) – the Dark Eros/BDSM side, holds all that is dark, taboo, forbidden, painful cruel et.al.

The Inner Chamber, the Dark Eros/BDSM aspect can be thought of as a concentric container held within the protection of the Outer Chamber. The Outer Chamber protects the soulful, loving, intimacy between a D/s couple, and allows them to safely shine the light into the dark, forbidden underworld of the Inner Chamber of Dark Eros.  A place of the taboo, the forbidden, pain, suffering, cruelty, degradation, sadism and other, in a way that does not traumatize the core body, heart and soul of each, but in fact increases trust, intimacy and erotic ecstasy.

These two metaphorical containers are the interior landscapes where you hold, protect and nurture yourself, your submissive and the relationship, in ways both Light and Dark.

It is my experience that these two aspects of D/s and BDSM are paradoxical. One sacred and one profane. Sacred and profane are the yin/yang of D/s and BDSM. They need to be untangled from each other, and allowed separate contexts so that both aspects can fit tightly together, express fully and not be diminished or inhibited by the other. This can allow them to flow seamlessly back and forth as is right for the moment, or by negotiation, without confusion or emotional harm.

 

These are the two containers required, as I approach it, to hold the moral, ethical, soulful and spiritual paradox of the sacred (D/s aspects) and profane (Dark Eros/BDSM aspects) of this lifestyle. The two separate, but concentric containers, allow both the sacred and profane energies to co-exist together, in their full polarity, in a way that is honoring, safer, clear, honest, enriching, and authentic for both.

In the metaphorical container that holds a D/s relationship, there can be rich and meaningful protocols, ceremonies and rituals that connect to your and your submissive’s deepest yearnings, help resolve your deepest fears, and begin healing old wounds. You have the power to create personally meaningful rituals that tangibly feel sacred and soulful. Rituals can be fashioned that are healing, honoring and empowering to both the Dom and sub. Rituals can also be powerful ways to explore and examine parts of us that have been disowned, unresolved, feared, wounded, or significant insights might be revealed from our unconscious, that were previously flying under the radar.

Embracing a D/s container as a practice for a relationship to develop in, is immersing the relationship in a romantic, erotic mythos that exists beyond the relationship. The myth of the noble, regal, powerful, benevolent Lord or Lady (King/Queen/Master/Mistress archetype) and the devoted Lover (Devotee/Loyal Servant/Slave archetype) is an elegant “yarn” to weave a relationship with.

There is no adequate expression for me as a Dominant for the feeling of being treated with total adoration, humility and respect by my submissive. Both in the way it feels physically, emotionally and psychically to be held so highly, as well as in my ability to break past my own internal resistance (my shadows and wounds) to receive it.

There is a deep, personal, soulful, physical, emotional, alive connection to this feeling for me. As well as a connection I feel to the collective mythos where these archetypal personas of King/Queen and devotee/one-in-service, and all variations, exist metaphysically. These mythic stories and personas have been known and used by humans in ritual, and as a mainstay of cultural literature and cosmology, for thousands of years. The universal, collective nature of archetypes and myths being an integral aspect of all human experience has been well noted by Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell and many others. This multitude of archetypes and mythic symbols and stories are shared in common by diverse cultures all over the world. They are part of the human software already embedded in our unconscious. We may not pay attention consciously to this symbolic dimension of our experience, but we do respond and resonate to these myths, archetypes and symbols in ancient or contemporary form, as we do to symbols of all sorts coming from our inner and outer worlds.

Each small ritual act you perform, to high-protocol, ritual ceremonies you create with your partner, can, by design, be rich in meaning to both. These meaningful, emotionally charged rituals help your relationship connections approach the mythic level of the physical, romantic, emotional, mental, spiritual, embodiment of Dominant and submissive.

Imagine a protocol that requires your submissive to kneel upon entering your space. They are to be naked, adorned only in a leather collar. There is no eye contact allowed. They are to crawl and kneel before you, head bowed at your feet, ass up, in silence, until given permission to speak.

Consider all that may be going on consciously and unconsciously from this simple yet highly symbolic scenario between Dominant and submissive.

The imposed but voluntary adherence to protocol by the submissive, entering the Dominant’s realm exactly as instructed, is rich in mythos. As Dominant and submissive, we are both immersed in a number of archetypal pairings and counterparts, dancing together on a number of levels within the psyche.

Embodying and expressing these mythic pairings can strike deep chords that seem to be right from the core of my soul. It is through the expression of our physical embodiments and gestures that things we feel deeply are expressed. The body is naturally imbued to give off and receive these Dominant/submissive signals, as part of our instinctive natures.

When I experience this level of surrender from my submissive, I feel beheld in a mythos beyond my personal mythos. A familiar feeling, like I know about this, but not from conscious experience. It feels sacred. It is physically, emotionally, spiritually, authentic, real, and tangible. It is rich in symbolic nuance. Meaningful and intentional symbols can activate strong emotional connections within both partners.

First there is the symbolism of the submissive crossing the threshold of her Dominant’s realm (container). The threshold is an important place. It divides the container into what is outside and what is inside. It is a place of choice. It is a place to pause and connect deeply with one’s intention in crossing the threshold. A place to invite in what will support the submissive’s intention, and exclude what does not. A place to be in gratitude for what awaits across the threshold. Here the submissive can do a small ritual meditation – to pause, breathe, get grounded in intention, let go of unnecessary, distracting thought, before entering and kneeling.

Witnessing my sub’s impeccable obedience and devotion resonates a deep sense of trust within me. This symbolizes and consequently generates the emotions accordant with being honored through the keeping of agreements, even challenging ones, with grace and style. There is no resistance.  Only devotion, and the desire to please, are evident in the truth of my sub’s body, crawling to kneel and bow before me. Part of me feels physically and emotionally disarmed, tender, even awed. I feel the tremendous trust my sub displays so vulnerably, and a sense of the sacred responsibility that trust implies.

There is the relief, ease, and satisfaction of knowing my sub is surrendered and will not require correction or discipline, won’t act out in a way that disrupts the intoxicating flow and romantic beauty of complete power exchange.

The way the body moves towards me in its crawl, evokes an animal nature. This grace of movement and the physical vulnerability of the final pose, stirs my own animal nature. Some primitive, predatory Eros is in play in my body and soul.

Seeing the shape and pose of my sub’s body at my feet, is a powerful visual symbol of surrender. It is a classical, but profane embodiment of prone devotional gestures, organic to human nature and protocol in temples, churches, monasteries and castles of the realm for many ages past. The ass, arched in sexual submission, offering an invitation, is another potent image. To be treated so reverently, to have my sub totally, vulnerablly available for use, nurtures and enlivens my sense of power and control.

My submissive is fully exposed and vulnerable at all levels, at my whim, pleasure and mercy. I feel appeased.

The humble pose on the floor represents one in devotion, service and Eros. This resonates with the counterparts of these in me. I take in the truth that I am worthy of this devotion, that I am the one above, being elevated, the one being served. The deepest feeling for me in this acceptance is one of humility and grace, not inflation. My body, emotions and soul feel imbued with the birthright of my Dominance.

Many Dominants, myself included, and submissives, carry unresolved parts within the psyche that may be blocking them from more fully experiencing their chosen place in the relationship. Ritual practices I use, help me to get closer to allowing more of these powerful emotional and physical feelings to flow into my body and awareness without restraint. This is the experience of being, present, authentic and alive in the truth of the moment.

Making it a conscious practice to pause, breathe, open and receive this offering from your submissive can lead to a deeply satisfying sense of empowerment. At points, it may also be important for both partners to do more personal inner-work to resolve conflicts and deepen the experience. This means looking at unconscious, subtle resistances that limit fully embracing one’s Dominant and submissive or attendant sexual natures. Depending on the complexity of what resists your intention, professional sex-positive, kink friendly guidance may be the best choice to resolve some of these aspects.

The submissive, when bowed in surrender at my feet, also embodies and symbolizes the physical energetic of prey. In the animal world there is a natural point of surrender between predator and prey. A transition where fighting for survival/control by the prey, transforms to a physical embodiment of surrender and vulnerability.

The Dominant and submissive are reenacting nature’s ritual of predator/prey and/or alpha/beta mammalian pack rituals.  Resistance and the fight have ceased. The “prey” instinctually exposes vulnerable parts of the body. The eyes are cast down. Any physical movements are meek, stripped of all expressions of aggression or challenge. The Dominants’ body language will also express this same instinctual attitude. How deeply either hold this instinctual posture depends on how deeply they have freed all the restraints in the physical and emotional body that hold back natural authentic expression of what they feel. These restraints are primarily counter embodiments of deep shame and fear.

The instinctual postures expressed in D/s-BDSM are part of our biological, psychological heritage from reptilian forward. The body language conjured from these ancient aspects of psyche are pre-wired in the autonomic nervous system. Unencumbered, each partner instinctually respond just like any other predator and prey would in nature. It is not thought about. It is instinctual.

My experience is that of feeling these aspects of my evolutionary heritage alive in me. My animal nature. The symbol of my submissive posed before me rouses this instinct, It feels powerful and sacred to own, be aware of and embody these aspects of my psyche. The wild, untamed, primitive, instinctual nature still resides in us. No matter how civilized we might consider ourselves to be, these instinctual responses in our bodies and unconscious, are very much intact and operate in us daily.

My submissive can also represent an object. As Dominant, I have the absolute power to make my submissive a sacred or profane object. This absolute power can manifest as the Good King or the Merciless Tyrant.

As a sacred object, I am moved treat my sub with a certain reverent tenderness. My desire is to bless and protect, while also being served royally. This is not just some abstract concept in my head. I am connecting emotionally and physically with these energies and personas.

One tangible embodiment that I have experienced is the archetypal persona of “Daddy”. It is strongest in me, if the counterpart is also alive in my submissive. In this mythos the Daddy’s little girl totally loves and adores him. She knows she needs to be obedient and is eager for Daddy’s love and affection. She gives affection freely and generously. My “Daddy” persona feels drawn from my soul, in a ritual moment like this. I may not shift the core of my energy or embodiment there, which would be quite possible to do, but a significant portion of my embodied content may be channeling the Daddy archetype. To connect with this part of me is emotionally powerful and enriching. The feeling of tenderness and love is intense.  Who could Daddy love more than his little girl. especially when she is being so devoted, adoring, vulnerable and pleasing.

 

The point is, the feelings and experience are authentic in this moment, in this ritual, even if this is not true in the reality of everyday life. Nor am I condoning in any way, real life interactions between parents and children. Accessing the Daddy archetype can be a gateway for me to connect with my true tenderness and love that I may have been holding back or disconnected from in some way.

 

Connecting with these archetypal parts of us in ritual, is a sacred act that can transform and alter ways we may be holding back our deepest feelings for each other. It can help open up emotional blockages and allow deeper levels of emotional intimacy and free expression.

 

As a profane object my submissive becomes the symbolic counterpart of my darkest urges. In the realm of Dark Eros these urges are linked to sinister, mythic stories alive in my unconscious that can be called up. The lead characters are paired in polarized relationship. Generally speaking, these can be predator/prey, daddy or mommy/ daughter or son, teacher/student, rapist victim, Shadow Master/Mistress/shadow slave or many other dyads.

 

I consider shadows to be parts of me that are not consistent with my values and my conduct in the Outer Chamber of the day-to-day relationship. If I show up in the Outer Chamber in my “Tyrant” (shadow of the King/Queen), then I am being out of integrity to my code of conduct. I am not being present or just. I am no longer objectively listening.  I am misinterpreting data, and weaving it to fit my “story” inside. I am projecting unconsciously some past experience that wounded me, onto my submissive, in the present situation.

 

But the Inner Container is a place I can ritually own and embody my tyrant, sadist and other dark forces, in a way designed for safety, with agreement, awareness of emotional safety, and highly charged Eros.

 

In the Inner Chamber of Dark Eros my submissive is totally objectified, stripped of rights and entitlements, a target of pain, degradation, brutality, and cruelty. I can unleash my own shadowy dark desires as superior, all powerful, ruthless`, disdainful, disrespectful, asshole, mother fuckin’ tyrant and any other energies that I carry in me.

 

This is an astoundingly liberating experience to allow these dark aspects of my soul to be witnessed and expressed. To shine the light on them, to no longer hold them back, after having hidden them so long in my life. The fact that my sub is able to hold space for these shadow parts of me, and even beg for them to be unleashed, leaves a feeling of liberation and joy. And even in the midst of some cruel rampage upon my sub’s body and persona she is entwined with me in the Light.  I am at moments so aware of the tenderness and awe I feel, to be so loved and honored and encouraged to show all of me.

 

There is also an important note to make clear. Except for the mildest forms, humiliation and degradation are what I consider edge-play. It requires a lot of self-evaluation, communication, trust, and deep connection between the Dominant and submissive. There are real emotional traumas many of us carry around self-worth and image. Intentional humiliation and degradation is not a place to rush into or take lightly. I will speak more in depth about this in another piece. If you do find areas of consent that feel safe to explore these edgier places, these scenes can carry an intense emotional, physical, sexual catharsis.

 

Another level of symbol and imagery in the scenario I described, connects to the carnivorous animal heritage in our body and psyche. Letting your wild, savage, beast hunt, take down, bite into the back of the neck, or overpower activates survival level, eat or be eaten instincts, emotions and body language. These are a predator’s natural responses to hunger, and the need to dominate it’s hunting grounds to survive.

 

To feel these alive in your body and psyche is awakening deep connections and awareness of how complex and layered our experience can be. And how primitive, “uncivilized” and predatory responses within, can be consciously exercised/exorcized in the ritual container of Dark Eros. This can also bring greater awareness of how we let these shadowy energies loose in the world, in many unconscious ways. This can lead to “cleaner” communication and interaction in our relationships in the Outer Container, and in the rest of our lives.

 

I will describe more about use of ritual and symbolic tools to examine the shadows of the Dominant and submissive in the relationship oriented Outer Chamber, and talk further about Dark Eros and the shadows and wounds that may be inhibit its full expression, in a future offering.

 

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By | 2015-01-03T23:47:38+00:00 January 3rd, 2015|Uncategorized|1 Comment

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