#domagick

#Domagick Day One: Ritual (Un)dressing 

Many years ago, I was hired for a job modeling custom fetish chainmaille lingerie. (If you’re curious, yes, everything in this blog is autobiographical. I don’t think I could make this shit up.) It was something of a favor for a metalworker artisan friend, and supported my nasty habit of higher education. Needless to say, I wasn’t sure what to expect. 

When I walked into the building, the artisan herself was in another room, and two men were there to assist with fitting and photography. I wasn’t sure how I would be treated, but it was with…some of the most appreciation and respect I’d ever received. The pieces were wrapped in hot towels to warm them so I’d be more comfortable. Additional rings had to be added (because it was, ahem, a little smaller than it initially measured). I was fitted into the pieces precisely, by hand, every ring, since of course there is no give. There was a certain ceremonialism to the process that removed the sex, and put the sexuality back in.

 

When I read about the Latex Nun, (a short video and article are here, a more in-depth interview is here) I knew EXACTLY what she was talking about when she described how placing fetish latex on her body had now replaced the ceremonial dressing in her robes as a nun. She says:

Whether dressing in robes or rubber, both involve a type of ritual. A ritual of being bound and of finding release — albeit with different motivations. Ritual is something that I have become very interested in considering in my art practice. The root of the word ritual comes from rtu, Sanskrit for menses and the earliest rituals were connected to the woman’s monthly bleeding. As part of my own return to inhabiting my home, my gendered form, I’ve become much more aware of the ebb and flow of the cycles of life and the way in which ritual creatively contrasts between performance and social reality and manifests through the activities of the body. Damcho Dyson

When I was belly dancing professionally, I’ve experienced dressing in many a green room, bar or restaurant bathroom stall, on occasion my own trailer, and twice, at very busy festivals, unfortunately, a porta-potty. Dressing and accessorizing — arm cuffs, layers of bangled bracelets, hooped earrings, coins, belts and scarves and henna — is intentional, deliberate, and every piece adds to the process of transporting you to a different time and place in womanhood and art. Just as the chainmaille pieces did (which I sometimes wear dancing…with layers over top or underneath of course!)

This all brings me to the point of today’s blog. Dressing can be a ceremony. Preparing for the day can be ritual. There are many examples of clothing playing a role in the ceremonies of our lives:

  • Brides wear very specific cultural garb, and exchange rings at the altar with their grooms
  • Graduates flip the tassels of their unique hats from one side to the other to signify their accomplishments 
  • Athletes win medals and laurel wreaths in their victory ceremonies
  • Earning your “stripes” or “wings” in the military 
  • Coronations

For these reasons and more, I like to incorporate daily ritual into the daily practice of, well, morning rituals like dressing.

I started my magical day today as I will do every day this month: with the Rosary to Lilith including lighting the Goddess candle (I’ll write more about what this means specifically in future posts though I can tell you it includes yoga asanas, breathing practice and shamanic movement). I am also a practicing Nichiren Buddhist, so my day also begins with with chanting with the Juzu (meditation beads) and ringing the singing bowl. Then my day can begin. 

I also love ritual baths, though I don’t have time every day. The cleansing of the body, the care of the skin afterwards, and the dressing. 

Then the morning begins: feeding my familiar, nourishing my own body, beginning the day with my child. 

The day belongs to the divine and the divine in you. Morning ritual allows setting intentions and deliberate living. And I would live no other way. 

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