Thursday, June 21, 2012

“That woo-woo shit”

My Owner is connected to the wolf-dog rescue community.  We have one, ourselves, and he’s the second rescue we’ve adopted.  Because wolf-dogs are illegal in many states, animal control will put them down and animal shelters won’t take them… so there’s a need for volunteers like Ma’am to occasionally help rescue and place them.  We have a friend in NC who had to give-up one of her wolf-dogs b/c he wasn’t integrating w/ the pack (the alpha didn’t like him)… so Ma’am found a home for him in GA.  Tejon’s 110 lbs, but he’s very submissive and gentle.  Here’s Tejon at his new home w/ his new kitty-cat friend:

So, Ma’am was going to attend Faerie Escape Atlanta w/ me… but when our NC friend’s mom dies, we had to step-up the adoption, deliver Tejon to his new home, and then she had to drive back to NC to pet-sit our friend’s other two wolves for 2 nights.  So I had to go to Faerie Escape solo on Saturday…

FEA is a cool, little con.  A smaller, more focused version of the Mythic Journeys conventions, it's a place for conversation, art, crafts, theatre, magic, and fantasy.  I enjoy these b/c I have always had a strong interest in comparative mythology, medievalism, Celtic lore, archetypal psychology, and all “that woo-woo shit.”

I got to see some good panel discussions on Saturday… and a lot of what I heard dovetailed remarkably w/ things I’ve been thinking about regarding parallels pup play and shamanism (see this post) and what I’ve been reading in Geoff Mains Urban Aboriginals (which draws on psychology and sociology to examine the leathersex scene as a tribe of modern primitives).

A highlight reel from Faerie Escape would include these thoughts:
  • Myths (and rituals) create the paradigms through which we view the world… both personal myths and collective, cultural myths.  (“Leather” is really about joining a tribe and having a mythology – complete w/ “Great Old Ones” in the legendary Old Guard – and rituals, costumes, rites of passage – i.e. earned leather – transformative experiences… all of which gives one a different paradigm through which to view the world)
  • Western culture’s mythology today is economics… our paradigm sees everything in terms of buying and selling goods/services/rights... and the heretics in this mythology are the poor
  • The were-jaguars of South America are shamen who change forms w/ the phases of moon (which gives more credence to my theory that the roots of were-creature myths lie in shamanistic animal “role play”… similar to what we do when we pup-out)
  • As humans, we have become so cerebral that we are so much less in-tune w/ our senses that other animals… and one fascination w/ were-animals is the desire to reclaim those senses of smell and hearing and night-vision
  • Our brains bring in a lot sensory data that our minds ignore b/c it can’t be put into words.  Smells for example.  It’s really hard to describe a smell w/ words… so our very word-oriented mind tends to disregard that data.  (Pup-space, for me, largely involves letting go of the words and opening myself to my senses – especially touch and smell…)
  • Empaths and hyper-intuitive people (shamans, mentalists, wizards…) are those who are better in-tune w/ all that disregarded sensory data… they pick-up on slight changes in smell or body heat, process that data (unconsciously – pre-verbally) and are able to “read” others very well b/c of that.  One speaker used the analogy of whales born w/ legs – throwbacks to an early form of the species.
  • In talking about getting more in-touch w/ our sensory capabilities on speaker longingly cried out, “I want that!”  (I thought, ‘Well, what’s stopping you.  Put on an animal skin, get down on all fours, and go for it!’)
  • “My animal totem is a troll.”  The guy who plays Ik the Troll talked about how this character he plays at Renaissance festivals is really an expression of an inner personality that he normally can’t use in our society, but is important for who he “really” is.  (Just as I can’t act the leather-pup everywhere I go b/c society makes other demands on me) 
  • Ik also mentioned how the more he plays the part of the character, the easier it is to instantly get into character  (Just like, the more time we spend in our scene-identity – pup or Sir or slave or whatever it may be – the more it becomes a natural role... w/ or w/o the costume)
  • Masks & costumes don’t conceal who we are so much as reveal who we are inside.  Ik the Troll made an interesting observation about how his big, scary troll costume in some paradoxical way puts people at ease and allows him to get away w/ behavior normally not acceptable.  “With this costume on, I can make jokes about eating babies… and mothers hand me their babies to hold for a picture!  Out of costume I could make the same jokes and get slapped.”  (And a lot of our leather & rubber gear is about allowing us to break normal social conventions by shifting to a new identity that permits new behaviors.)


  1. Tejon looks amazing! It makes me want one. Unfortunately, if I get a pet, it has to be under 20 pounds. :(

    I'm not exactly sure what you mean by your idea on Western Cultures Mythology. Could you elaborate?

    1. Usually we use “mythology” to mean stories about Greek gods and heroes… but among anthropologists and sociologists it has a broader meaning. The “mythology” of a culture includes those stories, symbols, legends, hero-figures, rituals, important places, ect. that inform the outlook and behavior of members of that culture. Among hip-hop culture, for instance, the mythology includes “heroes” like Biggie and Tupac, legends about the origins of the Bloods and the Crips, rituals like getting jumped-in, symbols ranging from gang signs to saggy pants, and so on.

      The mythology informs the culture’s paradigm. A paradigm is basically the way members of that culture see the world… how they interpret what is going on and what is supposed to happen, and who’s right and who’s wrong, etc.

      At FEA, on of the panelists, made the almost off-hand suggestion that in our modern, Western culture the organizing mythology is capitalist economics. It’s all about upward mobility. The “heretics,” he added, are the poor… those who have been left behind by (or opted out of) this upper-middle-class mythology and are left searching for other stories, heroes, symbols, and rituals to organize around.