A Man With Hats | Smutober Day 19

Men Man With Hats

There Are No Pictures Of Michael Doing the Safety Dance

Back when I was younger, Mom used to say I was a “man of many hats”. She didn’t mean it literally.

She didn’t mean it literally, although I do have an admitted penchant for wearing hats. Instead, she meant that I had a lot of different titles and duties. I was Chief of Staff, Campaign Manager, Press Secretary, community organizer, political activist, and I held an elected position within the Democratic Party.

I don’t have the responsibilities I used to carry. I walked away from that rat race. Thankfully.

But, as I mentioned, I do have a penchant these days for wearing stylish hats. It’s become part of my “look”.

hats make the man?

I don’t believe that ‘hats make the man’ any more than the old adage that ‘clothes make the man’.

Hat’s and clothes are really about first impressions. They are about image.

Those are attributes that matter to an extent, but they are also quite shallow approximations of our depth as individuals.

I never liked ‘dressing up’. I associated it with being put into uncomfortable clothes for the ubiquitous church visits on Sunday.

At least I felt that way until I discovered kink and cosplay.

However, if your hats can become a statement of personal style, as they have for me, then why not?

hats do serve a purpose

I’ve never been terribly secure about my looks. So, wearing a hat as part of my personal style helps me feel more confident. I’ve been told many times that I look good in hats, that they suit me well.

And, it doesn’t hurt that hats cover the area on top of my head where my hair has become thinner with age. I look younger and better in a nice chapeau. I feel better with a lid covering my head.

Happy, Baby Won’t You Keep Me… Happy | Smutober

Smutober Day 16 | Baby Won’t You Keep Me… Happy

never kept a dollar past sunset, it always burned a hole in my pants

Sinnjara, Tricia, Michael (left to right)

Happy…

Baby Won’t You Keep Me… Happy

We all want to be happy. Well perhaps most want to be happy, I’m not so sure about Baudelaire. Sometimes I think he reveled in being tortured. Then I think to myself, he was human too, he wanted what we all want.

But how much is your happiness worth? Is it ever worth the cost of other’s happiness? Is happiness like love? Poly people like to use the analogy of love and children. It’s the belief that we have the capacity to love many, just as we have the capacity to love more than one child. I think that’s true. Well, most days I think it’s true.

If that were true, it would seem there’s plenty of love and happiness in the world to go around. We all know that’s not true on the grand scale of things. The world needs more love. Most of us could use more happiness too. I’d like to believe that our own happiness enriches the world. Most days I know that to be fact. Todays is a day, however, full of creeping doubt.

As I learn and grow, that growth sometimes leads me in new directions. I’m not exactly the same person I was five years ago, My Mother’s death changed me. I’m certainly not the person I was 10 years ago, my divorce from Bliss changed me too. Just under twenty years ago, my Father abandoned my Mother for another woman after 40 years of marriage, leaving me to be Mom’s caregiver. No doubt that changed me as well.

Anytime I change, anytime I reach for my own happiness, it leaves destruction in its wake. When I change and grow, it seems to hurt others around me. They still cling to the Michael they loved, adored, or served. When that same exact Michael is no longer there, it hurts them.

I don’t want to sound egotistical. It’s not that I’m such a great man that I ever really deserved the love and adoration they gifted upon me. It’s just that I seem to have a great ability to create co-dependent relationships. And that codependency, I think, leads to great disruption as I go through the stages of life we all navigate.

My very first girlfriend showed up a few years ago, it had been 30 years since I’d had any contact. She said that she still loved me, that breaking up with me was the worst mistake she’d ever made. Bliss, my second wife, still feels she was pushed aside by Serafina. Now, Serafina feels pushed aside by Sinnjara.

How did this happen? I never wanted a monogamous relationship. I always wanted a big happy polyamorous family. But, there’s no doubt that poly relationships are more difficult to navigate than mono. They say communication is the key to poly. I’m told I’m a great communicator. I have special expertise there, I’ve served as a Press Secretary and spokesperson after all. In relationships, I’m also told I sometimes communicate too much. Go figure, right?

In the end, we all want to be happy. We all want the fulfilled life of our dreams. But, how does a person justify seeking happiness if it always has to come at a cost?

Sinnjara, Michael, Serafina

Well I never kept a dollar past sunset,
It always burned a hole in my pants.
Never made a school mama happy,
Never blew a second chance, oh no

I need a love to keep me happy,
I need a love to keep me happy.
Baby, baby keep me happy.
Baby, baby keep me happy.

Always took candy from strangers,
Didn’t wanna get me no trade.
Never want to be like papa,
Working for the boss ev’ry night and day.

I need a love to keep me happy,
I need a love, baby won’t ya keep me happy.
Baby, won’t ya keep me happy.
Baby, please keep me

I need a love to keep me happy,
I need a love to keep me happy.
Baby, baby keep me happy.
Baby

Never got a flash out of cocktails,
When I got some flesh off the bone.
Never got a lift out of Lear jets,
When I can fly way back home.

I need a love to keep me happy,
I need a love to keep me happy.
Baby, baby keep me happy.
Baby, baby keep me happy.
Baby

Happy, baby won’t you keep me
Happy, baby won’t you keep me…

Rolling Stones

Happy, Mick Jagger / Keith Richards

Charles Baudelaire – Key to Pointing Michael’s Way

Portrait of Charles Baudelaire | art by Michael Samadhi | adapted from photograph by Etienne Carjat (circa 1866)

Épater la bourgeoisie! | Wicked Wednesday | Smutober Day 14

Poet, Philosopher, Visionary… | Charles Baudelaire (1821 – 1867)

I’ve always been fascinated by Charles Baudelaire – his life, philosophy, and poetry. An undeniably brilliant man, it seems without a doubt that he lived a truly dissolute life.

It’s said that Charles Baudelaire was lazy, self-indulgent, and emotionally unstable. At the same time, he was also a brilliant visionary. Baudelaire’s indolence was matched by insight. His instability far out-shadowed by his influence.

In writing this, I’ve had more than my share of realizations, stirred by youthful memories. I feel a certain kinship with Baudelaire. His writing and life, his philosophy, influenced me in ways I hadn’t realized. In many respects, he provided keys to unlock parts of my own mind I had not known. Baudelaire pointed me towards Michael’s Way…

I hope you enjoy the collected artwork, as well as the images I’ve edited/created. Along with my own thoughts interspersed throughout, you’ll find a variety of insights into Charles Baudelaire from his own writing. Finally, I’ve included a variety of commentary about Baudelaire by those who have reviewed his writing and studied his life. I think Paul Valéry’s quote (near the end) will sum up some of Baudelaire’s philosophical appeal to a Dominant quite well…

Nature is a temple where living columns
Let slip from time to time uncertain words;
Man finds his way through forests of symbols
Which regard him with familiar gazes.

Charles Baudelaire

Lament Of An Icarus

The paramours of courtesans
Are well and satisfied, content.
But as for me my limbs are rent
Because I clasped the clouds as mine.
I owe it to the peerless stars
Which flame in the remotest sky
That I see only with spent eyes
Remembered suns I knew before.
In vain I had at heart to find
The center and the end of space.
Beneath some burning, unknown gaze
I feel my very wings unpinned
And, burned because I beauty loved,
I shall not know the highest bliss,
And give my name to the abyss
Which waits to claim me as its own.

   ~ Charles Baudelaire

The Lament for Icarus by Herbert James Draper (1898)

He could be said to have been the first modern poet: TS Eliot thought so, saying he was “the greatest exemplar in modern poetry in any language”.

It is as much a matter of his state of mind as anything else. Baudelaire was given to reverie and despair in more or less equal parts or, as he put it, “Spleen et Idéal”. He was very conscious of the way his mind was elsewhere, unsuited to quotidian existence. The idea of the poet who is scornful or terrified of everyday life pretty much begins with him.

Nicholas Lezard

The Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire review – the essence of a genius, The Guardian

I took a lot of French in High School, and some in College. I was advanced enough to earn membership in the National French Honor Society. But, I’ll be damned if I could ever understand Charles Baudelaire in his native tongue.

My French was just good enough to attempt to understand poetry like Baudelaire’s, to read the words (mostly) but miss the concepts. I did better with Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

I’ve read that Baudelaire made exquisite use of the French language. It really escaped me. I relied on translations. That’s less than ideal, I know. For instance, there’s another translation of Lament Of An Icarius that reads significantly differently than the one I shared earlier in the post.

As a small child, I felt in my heart two contradictory feelings, the horror of life and the ecstasy of life. Charles Baudelaire

Lament Of An Icarus

Lovers of whores don’t care,
happy, calm and replete:
But my arms are incomplete,
grasping the empty air.
Thanks to stars, incomparable ones,
that blaze in the depths of the skies,
all my destroyed eyes
see, are the memories of suns.
I look, in vain, for beginning and end
of the heavens’ slow revolve:
Under an unknown eye of fire, I ascend
feeling my wings dissolve.
And, scorched by desire for the beautiful,
I will not know the bliss,
of giving my name to that abyss,
that knows my tomb and funeral.

   ~ Charles Baudelaire

Portrait of Charles Baudelaire painted in 1844 by Emile Deroy

Baudelaire was a contrarian: a well-dressed dandy who delighted in the company of the back-street bars and bordellos, a purist in pursuit of artistic beauty who would spend his nights dazed with alcohol and drugs. Thus it was entirely in character that he should bestow the status of mistress on a barely literate mixed-race woman who seemingly had little to offer but her fleshly charms. James MacManus

Baudelaire’s Femme Fatale Muse, The Daily Beast

Charles Baudelaire was a complex man. He was a tortured soul.

The number of words written about Baudelaire vastly outnumbers his own quite meager production. His life was like the proverbial train wreck – we want to look away but cannot, our eyes drawn unceasingly to the disaster.

It’s easy to be frustrated with Baudelaire. It could be argued that he wasted his talent. His disparate life is as difficult to understand as the man himself. If he didn’t invent the model for the crazy visionary artist, he certainly refined it for the modern era.

How little remains of the man I once was, save the memory of him! But remembering is only a new form of suffering. Charles Baudelaire

An artist is an artist only because of his exquisite sense of beauty, a sense which shows him intoxicating pleasures, but which at the same time implies and contains an equally exquisite sense of all deformities and all disproportion.

   ~ Charles Baudelaire

To handle a language skillfully is to practice a kind of evocative sorcery.

   ~ Charles Baudelaire

Sexuality is the lyricism of the masses.

   ~ Charles Baudelaire

A few years ago I heard a sharp critic ask a poet what animated his work, what were his poetic concerns? “The city,” said the poet, pausing. “And boredom.” “More than a century later,” the critic said, “and we’re still catching up to Baudelaire.”

So goes Charles Baudelaire’s reputation for seeing such matters early. He’s the first modern man. Or at least the first modern poet — obscure, impoverished and suppressed in his lifetime. A sort of Goth dandy (“We’re all celebrating some burial or other,” he wrote), he completed only two full books of poetry. The first, “Flowers of Evil,” was prosecuted on its 1857 release as an affront to the public morals, as was “Madame Bovary.” Flaubert’s novel was vindicated; “Flowers of Evil” vanished, returning after four years with six poems excised, numerous others added. Six dissolute years later the poet was dead at age 46.

Joshua Clover

Invitation to the Voyage, NY Times

Before I became a Buddhist (discovering I’m a Pagan came recently) I had a very fatalistic outlook on life. While I was influenced by the Transcendentalism of Walt Whitman and David Thoreau, I also felt a certain kinship to the Decadents.

Much like Baudelaire, I’ve lived a life of excesses. My experimentation with drugs has included a wide enough range of mind-altering substances that I consider myself to be a psychonaut. I’ve experienced my share of lovers, and have left few stones unturned. There are very few of my own sexual fantasies I haven’t already fulfilled.

While I certainly have the intellect and ability to have pursued a career in medicine or law. I chose instead a life of near poverty as an activist and community organizer. Some might count my days as wasted, but I was too busy cracking open the bones of life, sucking out the marrow, to have noticed. I’ve lived life deep, full, and (mostly) on my own terms.

Beauty

I am fair, O mortals! like a dream carved in stone,
And my breast where each one in turn has bruised himself
Is made to inspire in the poet a love
As eternal and silent as matter.
On a throne in the sky, a mysterious sphinx,
I join a heart of snow to the whiteness of swans;
I hate movement for it displaces lines,
And never do I weep and never do I laugh.
Poets, before my grandiose poses,
Which I seem to assume from the proudest statues,
Will consume their lives in austere study;
For I have, to enchant those submissive lovers,
Pure mirrors that make all things more beautiful:
My eyes, my large, wide eyes of eternal brightness!

Charles Baudelaire

If rape or arson, poison or the knife
Has wove no pleasing patterns in the stuff
Of this drab canvas we accept as life—
It is because we are not bold enough!

   ~ Charles Baudelaire

It would be difficult for me not to conclude that the most perfect type of masculine beauty is Satan, as portrayed by Milton. 

   ~ Charles Baudelaire

Portrait de Charles Baudelaire by Franz Kupka

T.S. Eliot spoke of seeing Baudelaire as “something more than the author of the Fleurs du Mal.” “He is in fact a greater man than was imagined, though perhaps not such a perfect poet.” This is an odd view, but Eliot was, by 1930, tired of what he called Baudelaire’s machinery (“prostitutes, mulattoes, Jewesses, serpents, cats, corpses”) and anxious to register signs of spiritual struggle wherever he could find them. Baudelaire “attracted pain to himself,” was able to “study his suffering.”

Some seventeen years later Sartre made a passing reference to “Baudelaire’s greatness as a man” but generally saw him as something less than the author of the Fleurs du Mal, as someone who hid in the skirts of a religion he might have rejected, who chose not to choose his vertiginous freedom and converted his life into a lingering figurative suicide. “A hundred removals and not a single voyage”; “he elected to confuse the satisfaction of desire with its unsatisfied exasperation.”

Of course there is no great distance between these pictures of the poet. Only the evaluations differ. What is greatness for Eliot is evasion for Sartre. And the pictures are curiously alike in their unwillingness to focus on Baudelaire’s masterpiece. Les Fleurs du Mal is so disturbing a book, so spectacular and so patchy, so atrocious as Baudelaire himself said, that readers have always been tempted to avert their eyes from it—to prefer the prose poems, for example, or the intimate journals, or to bury themselves in the wretched, posturing letters in which Baudelaire, early and late, tried to persuade his mother that he really was the little boy she had always wanted, “that he was working hard,” as F. W. J. Hemmings nicely puts it, “and would shortly be at the top of the class.”

Michael Wood

Beautiful and Damned, The New York Review of Books

Nearly all our originality comes from the stamp that time impresses upon our sensibility.

   ~ Charles Baudelaire

The lover of life makes the whole world into his family, just as the lover of the fair sex creates his from all the lovely women he has found, from those that could be found, and those who are impossible to find.

   ~ Charles Baudelaire

An artist is only an artist on condition that he neglects no aspect of his dual nature. This dualism is the power of being oneself and someone else at one and the same time.

   ~ Charles Baudelaire

Perhaps we truly are little more than the sum of our influences.

We learn a snippet here, a verse there. And then, over time, they become a part of our existence. Perhaps you were most influenced by your parents, most folks probably are. My family was dysfunctional, so I deliberately looked elsewhere.

It could be argued I choose poorly in my influences. I’ve certainly heard that said by more than just family. But, the individuals who pointed my way had vision and originality. While those individual influences may have disagreed on many details, I believe they all felt that a man must, in the end, seek and fulfill his own vision.

Like the Transcendentalists, the Decadent Movement gave me keys to unlocking the recesses of my own mind. They were critical elements in my self-discovery. In that sense, Charles Baudelaire, like many others, helped to point me towards the man, the lover, the dominant, and ultimately the Master I’ve become.

Épater la bourgeoisie!

Delacroix, Wagner, Baudelaire—all great theorists, bent on dominating other souls by sensorial means. Their one dream was to create the irresistible effect—to intoxicate, or overwhelm. They looked to analysis to provide them with the keyboard on which to play, with certainty, on man’s emotions, and they sought in abstract meditation the key to absolutely certain action upon their subject—man’s nervous and psychic being. . . . [It was] the ambition of such violent and tormented minds, anxious to reach and as it were possess (in the diabolical sense of the term) that tender and hidden region of the soul by which it can be held and controlled entire, through the indirect path of the entrails and organic depths of being. They wish to enslave . . . and to bring us into bondage.

Paul Valéry

Portrait of Baudelaire by Gustave Courbet (1843)

On August 31, 1867, at the age of forty-six, Charles Baudelaire died in Paris. Although doctors at the time didn’t mention it, it is likely that syphilis caused his final illness.

Poets.org

A book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party, a company by the way, a counselor, a multitude of counselors.

Charles Baudelaire

Be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked!

Wicked Wednesday Logo - old
The old Wicked Wednesday logo fit's perfect with this post's theme. Marie's beautiful rainbow logo will return next week...

Michael’s Portraiture | Sinful Sunday Week 340

Sinful Sunday Week 340 | Portraiture

Portraits and portraiture have never been my forte.

When it comes to erotic photography, I’ve always been far better at chronicling scenes than attempting the artistic.

I compensated for this by developing skills with FotoSketcher, Photoshop, and a variety of other image editors and filters.

I’ve used filtered and processed images to establish a unique look for my site. It usually works very well for my purposes here, but not always.

Today’s image is a bit different. It’s a deliberate attempt at portraiture. There is a filtered version (top-right – click it for full-sized version) I very much like. I can’t resist at least trying some filter and photoshop magic.

But, in this case, I hope the original (below) attempt at creating a portrait speaks well for itself…

Kiss Molly’s lips with your cursor to see the other wonderful bloggers taking part in this week’s #SinfulSundaySinful SundayI always appreciate hearing your thoughts. Please feel free to leave a comment. ~ Michael

It’s Coming Out Day

Today is National Coming Out Day.

If you’re not sure, or simply don’t know what that means, follow the (above) link to find out.

To do my part for the event, I’ll make a little announcement of my own.

I’m a Dominant/Master/Owner/Leatherman – take your pick among those titles, any will fit. Anyone who reads the blog even a little should have figured that out by now.

I am also pansexual. This you may not know about me.

The day is running out, so I’ll just leave it there for now…

National Coming Out Day is celebrated annually on October 11 to remember the 1987 March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights. The goal of National Coming Out Day is to promote a world in which it is safe for LGBT people to be open and honest about their identities.

Jessica Stahl, Ph.D., guest contributor

Psychology Today

A Naked Michael | Wicked Wednesday | Smutober

 

So You Want to See Michael Naked?

Well, for Smutober and Wicked Wednesday, here goes…

Naked – The Prompt

Today’s Smutober prompt is -naked-.

That should be an easy topic, right? For a man who literally has thousands of photos from the past few years on his hard drive, there has to be more than a few quality nudes, right?

Well, perhaps there are naked pictures of others. Not so much for me. The closest thing to a good nude of me was posted for a Sinful Sunday back in August – I was supposed to LOWER the towel?

Nearly all of the photos taken with my Nikon cameras are in action shots. I don’t do “posing”. I document scenes as they happen. While I enjoy watching a good scene, photographing one is even more fun. The pictures taken of me are the same, they are the result of my play, not of any posing or planning.

And, to be honest, I’m not partial to getting naked myself for scene play. Yes, I often have a submissive disrobe for me at the start of a scene, unless I’m planning to cut off her clothes. But my clothes usually stay on.

That’s at least partially a “power thing”. When a submissive is naked before me, and I remain clothed, it works to establish/reinforce the power exchange. I also tend to wear clothes that reinforce the power exchange. Dressing in all black, a suit and tie, in military fatigues, or perhaps in leathers, helps to establish an immediate command presence.

It’s also a “sex thing”. Just because I play with a submissive doesn’t mean I’ll also want/expect intercourse. In fact, that’s not likely to happen at all unless we are in a serious relationship. I’m complex that way. Without a serious relationship, I’m quite satisfied to keep my cock in my pants.

Real Naked

Being naked to me isn’t really about taking my clothes off. I’ve gotten naked in front of a group without hesitation. I’ve played in front of an audience so many times now it’s become a thrill. I put on a good show, clothes on or off.

But to me being naked has nothing to do with nudity. Feeling naked is when I bare my soul. When I talk about my inner fantasies, personal demons, ambitions, faults, and insecurities. Those are the things that make me feel naked.

I can cover my body with clothes and symbols of power. But, there’s no covering up that inner core of who you have been, and what you are now. I played football and other competitive sports back when I was in school, physical pain doesn’t daunt me too much. But, risking the emotional pain of having that inner core doubted or rejected, that can mean real pain.

That’s the part of myself I protect, my psyche. That’s the part of me I hold within a shell, not my body. Question my intent, my truthfulness, or my integrity, and it hurts beyond words. I know I’m human, an imperfect man, but when my faults are brought into the light, I will likely just want to recede into the shadows.

Naked Insecurities

Let me say up front that dominants are no different than any other human, we have our share of frailties and insecurities. I think some dominants hide their own insecurities behind a domineering mask. Perhaps I might go so far as to say that’s the mask many dominants wear.

That’s not at all who I am. I will win respect with my integrity and intelligence, my knowledge and skills. If we were graded in life like we were in schools, I’d like to think those are subjects where I’d get high marks. Hell, I know those are areas I’d ace…

Yet, I remain insecure. The smallest things, inconsequential things can throw me for a loop with no warning. Something like 90% – 95% of the time I’m just fine. Then I have “one of those days”.

And when I have those kinds of days, I feel even more deficient. After all, I don’t style myself as a dominant, I see myself as being on the path of Mastery. From myself, I expect more.

Naked Depression

Since I’m baring my soul, I cannot deny that I’m also fighting long-term depression.

It goes back quite a spell, at least 10 years. I am still capable of fun and of passion, the smiles in the images shown here on my blog are sincere and real.

For the most part though, I just don’t show or talk about the bad days.

My depression has worsened in the last few years, there’s been an increase in anxiety as well. Pursuing polyamory, in addition to living a D/s and/or M/s lifestyle, has made navigating the waters of life rather hazardous. I wish it were otherwise, but it’s certainly become true.

I left politics so I could be free to be myself, to live my lifestyle without fear or shame. I was tired of feeling like I was living in hiding. When my Mom passed away in 2011, I felt I’d truly be free to live without shame. (I was “out” to my Mother about BDSM, but she vocally disapproved of my lifestyle.)

Since then, however, my depression has worsened. It’s as bad as anytime outside of working my last year in politics – at the same time as my Mother’s health became precarious. It’s been tough.

They say depression hurts, and it’s literally true. My arthritis, the diabetic neuropathy in my lower legs, none of it hurts as much when I’m feeling better mentally. When I’m depressed, it feels like I’m facing a hill I could never climb, just to get out of my chair. Sometimes thinking even hurts.

Michael Naked

So, dear reader, there you have it. I stand naked before you. Not literally, but perhaps at the same time, far more naked than if I had shot a nude picture just for this post.

While I style myself as being on the road to Mastery, I have struggles just like most other folks. I have insecurities and my share of anxieties. My depression has worsened. All those years in politics took a toll on my physical health. I’m not always the man I want to be.

At the same time, I can also guarantee you that every day I work to learn and to grow. Despite my difficulties, I’d like to think I’m still on the correct path, it just gets a little faint sometimes…

Be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked!

Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked

Saul Bass | Even if nobody cares…

Even if nobody cares… | A Saul Bass (1920-1996) quotation

I want to make beautiful things, even if nobody cares. Saul Bass

This quote serves a personal reminder.
I have to create for myself, to craft my words and images as art for their own sake.
Even if nobody cares…

Michael Samadhi, your humble narrator – at work on my first blog – circa 2007

Recipe for Michael’s Smile | Smutober Day 8

Michael’s Recipe for Gastronomical Satisfaction | Smutober Day 8

It really doesn’t get any better than this

Recipe for a Simple Man?

What is the perfect recipe for Michael? Despite some rumors to the contrary, I’d like to believe that I’m really a simple man. Perhaps that leads to a simple recipe?

Truth be told, I’m more than a little bit of a hedonist. At the same time, I ascribe to Buddhist beliefs. They are traditions that seem to hold opposing viewpoints on life.

Most Buddhists are vegetarian. I’m a confirmed meatasaurus. Of course, I’m a non-traditional Tantric Buddhist/pagan. That makes a difference, I suppose.

Hedonists are known, in many cases, for their excesses. Buddhism teaches moderation. I tend to ascribe to the Buddhist side of the equation here. With that said, you don’t often hear that living a BDSM lifestyle is a path of moderation…

Perhaps I’m not so simple after all?

A Tantric Recipe?

When it comes to the ideal meal, a Tantric ritual called Panchamakara comes to mind. Essentially, it’s a ritual meal accompanied by intercourse. Also known as the “Five M’s”, Panchamakara is a Tantric term referencing the five substances used as part of the ritual.

  • madya (wine)
  • māṃsa (meat)
  • matsya (fish)
  • mudrā (parched grain)
  • maithuna (sexual intercourse)

As I noted above, the taboo-breaking elements of this ritual (the consumption of meat etc.) are only literally practiced by “left-hand path” Tantrics (vāmācārin), whereas “right-hand path” Tantrics (dakṣiṇācārin) oppose that interpretation of this ritual.

Obviously then, I follow the left-hand path…

These functions are the subject of the Panchatattva or Panchamakara (“five Ms”), as they are vulgarly called–viz.: Madya (wine), Mangsa (meat), Matsya (fish), Mudra (parched grain), and Maithuna. In ordinary parlance, Mudra means ritual gestures or positions of the body in worship and Hatha Yoga but as one of the five elements it is parched cereal and is defined as ‘Bhrishta-danya dikang yadyad chavya-niyam prachaks-hate, sa mudra kathita devi sarvves-hang naganam-dini’. The Tantras speak of the five elements as Panchatattva, Kuladravya, Kulatattva and certain of the elements have esoteric names, such as Karanavari or Tirtha-vari, for wine, the fifth element being usually called Lata-sadhana (Sadhana with woman or Shakti). The five elements, moreover have various meanings, according as they form part of the Tamasika (Pashvachara), Rajasika (Virachara) or Divya or Sattvika sadhanas respectively.

Arthur Avalon (Sir John Woodroffe)

Mahanirvana Tantra

Recipe for Kink

If you didn’t fully understand Woodroffe’s quote, that’s ok. It makes my eyes blur a little too.

I included it, not only to describe the five M’s, but also to illustrate how difficult it was to study Tantra before it was popularized in the West during the sexual revolution. I only know a small handful of Sanskrit terms, and I’ve been following my own Tantric path since the mid-1990’s.

I’m not a very good Buddhist, to be quite honest. I lost my spiritual mentor something like 15 years ago. Even then, it wasn’t a simple path I chose for myself.

Without his wisdom, my personal path combining BDSM and Tantra has gravitated more and more towards the kink side of the equation. I haven’t truly practiced the Tantric ritual of Panchamakara for more than a decade…

Recipe for Smiles – Michael’s Edition

Perhaps I really am a simple man after all.

Give me a nice ribeye steak, a side of good vegetables, and I’m thrilled. A glass of wine is nice, but I’m a Type II diabetic, I’d probably prefer a cup of coffee or a diet soft drink. That’s really all it takes.

And, that’s my recipe for you too – pure simplicity. No courses. No sauces or glazes. Nothing marinated.

Sometimes it’s just the simple things in life…

My Path and Leaves of Grass | Smutober Day 5

Smutober Day 5 ~ Mastery, Walt Whitman, and Leaves of Grass

Whitman influenced me greatly. He could be called my spiritual father.

If you are an American, then Walt Whitman is your imaginative father and mother, even if, like myself, you have never composed a line of verse.

Harold Bloom

steel engraving of Walt Whitman in his 30s from the first edition of Leaves of Grass

Whitman and Mastery

I hope by now, any existing readers of Michael’s Way understand my love of quotes.

Collecting quotes from my readings has been part of my personal path to “Mastery”. How I define that word may be significantly different than the path other dominants take. And, to my mind, that’s a good thing.

There is no such thing as a “cookie cutter dominant”, we all must seek our own paths on the road to Mastery. To me, being a Master includes far more than knowing how to use a flogger or whip, learning shibari, or developing skills for other types of kinky fuckery.

Mastery is a lifelong path. It’s about learning and growing as an individual, and as a leader.

The vision I have for my own personal Mastery is to grow into a sort of leather-clad Rennaissance man, always ready with wisdom, a quote, or song to share.

If you’ve read Frank Herbert’s Dune series, picture Gurney Halleck in today’s world… (Sinnjara says I’m far more handsome than Gurney, but she’s quite prejudiced.)

Portrait of Whitman by Thomas Eakins

With that in mind, for today’s Smutober entry, I’m sharing quotes from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.

It’s a book that’s rather infamous in my mind, as a copy of the book was gifted to Monica Lewinsky by President Bill Clinton. Regardless of what you think of Clinton, like him or hate him based on his morality, there’s really no denying that the man is well educated, well spoken, and charismatic.

Leaves of Grass was part of Monica’s seduction. So, to my way of thinking, it may also prove seductive enough to provide a nice helping of food for thought for you too, my dear reader…

This is what you should do: love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men … re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss what insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem.

Walt Whitman

Leaves Of Grass

Quotes from Leaves of Grass

“Are you the new person drawn toward me?
To begin with, take warning – I am surely far different from what you suppose;
Do you suppose you will find in me your ideal?
Do you think it so easy to have me become your lover?
Do you think the friendship of me would be unalloy’d satisfaction?
Do you think I am trusty and faithful?
Do you see no further than this façade—this smooth and tolerant manner of me?
Do you suppose yourself advancing on real ground toward a real heroic man?
Have you no thought, O dreamer, that it may be all maya, illusion?”

Walt Whitman

I sing the body electric,
The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them,
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the soul.

Walt Whitman

Your very flesh shall be a great poem…

Walt Whitman

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.

Walt Whitman

The Ethical Slut III Released!

Millennials are increasingly embracing non-monogamous relationships – and the 1990s guidebook that helped popularize them is getting an update…

In 1994, sexual educator Janet W. Hardy, was bedridden for a month with a bad flu that had evolved into bronchitis. She was, as she recalls, “high off my ass on Codeine cough syrup” when she caught a showing of Indecent Proposal on TV. Married couple David (Woody Harrelson) and Diana (Demi Moore) are faced with a moral dilemma when a billionaire named John (Robert Redford) offers them a million dollars in exchange for spending one night with Diana. Hardy, who is now 62, had herself been in a marriage that had ended about a decade earlier, and had not been in a monogamous relationship since. At the scene where the couple hesitates over the billionaire’s offer, Hardy wondered if she was having a fever dream.

“I was sitting there going, ‘What’s going on here?'” she tells Rolling Stone from her home in Oregon. “A million dollars and Robert Redford, and they have a problem with this? It made no sense to me. I really got it at that point, how distant I had become from mainstream sexual ethics.”

Hardy reached out to her friend and sometimes collaborator, the psychotherapist Dossie Easton to work on a book about non-monogamy. The pair had already coauthored two books on kink which were read in BDSM circles, but not much elsewhere. Both Easton and Hardy identified as queer and polyamorous, and Easton wanted to reclaim the word slut. They combined their own experiences with both casual sex and open marriages, navigating orgies and battling jealousy. In 1997, under Hardy’s own indie sex-ed publishing house Greenery Press, they published The Ethical Slut: A Guide to Infinite Sexual Possibilities. It would go on to sell 200,000 copies.

Anna Fitzpatrick

Rolling Stone, 'The Ethical Slut': Inside America's Growing Acceptance of Polyamory

Janet Hardy

Ethical Slut (the original)

I’m a proud owner of a well worn first edition of The Ethical Slut.

I purchased it on my very first visit to Washington D.C., back when I worked as a community organizer.

In the days before Amazon.com, I was thrilled to discover my future copy at an alternative bookstore near Du Pont Circle.  (If memory serves me correctly on the details…)  It’s not like I was going to find it at the local Barnes and Nobles here in the Bible Belt.

My purchase was made just after the book was first published.  I knew immediately it was a must have for my sexuality library.  I had already read a pre-publication blurb in a magazine called S&M Utopian Guardian, which had very much peaked my interest.

Dossie Easton

ethical sluts

The group I was with had to fly home the next day.  And, I have to admit being very excited about my new purchase.  So excited that I set aside the biography of Thomas Jefferson I’d been reading for the trip, and started my new find.

Reading amidst my co-workers, seated next to my boss, I couldn’t hide what I was reading.  I didn’t care.  I just sat there on the plane with my jaw agape reading Janet and Dossie’s masterpiece, occasionally nodding my head in agreement with the text.  I’m not sure how my seatmates felt about my choice of literature, I honestly didn’t notice.

I was already living a poly lifestyle and had been poly for about a decade.  In fact, I’d started living like an ethical slut briefly before the term polyamory was invented.  To me it was a simple concept – if a parent can love more than one child, why can’t I love more than one person too?  But in practice, well, it was sometimes a real struggle.  The Ethical Slut provided the framework I desired for making polyamory work.

It would not be an overstatement to say The Ethical Slut changed my life.

Slutting of the Ethical Kind

I also own a 2nd edition Ethical Slut.  I purchased it out of respect for Janet Hardy, I have a bit of a crush on her.  And, I wanted to keep up with new concepts in poly.  Call it continuing education if you will.

The second edition wasn’t quite life-changing like the first had been.  That would have been far too much to ask.  But, I still found it more than a little bit useful.

I even picked up a second copy of the 2nd edition for my Kindle not too long ago.  While I love the feel of a physical book in my hands, it got to be a little too much to be purchasing a new bookshelf every year for more than a decade.

After picking up The Ethical Slut II on Kindle, I planned to resell my physical copy of the 2nd edition.  Obviously, I hoped to economize on space.  It never happened.  I’m a sentimental bastard, and I just couldn’t part with the book.

Even More Ethical Slutting

Now there’s a third edition, just published.  And, I’ve already picked that one up too.  I plan to write up a review of The Ethical Slut III once I’ve had the opportunity to digest the new material.  It won’t be easy to be objective, but I doubt there’s much to be critical of anyway.

I’m looking forward to more continuing education in polyamory.

Thank you, Janet Hardy and Dossie Easton.  To be quite honest, I believe you truly changed the world with your book, The Ethical Slut.  You certainly changed mine… 

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