The quest to create the perfect ritual has haunted me for years. Of course, I would do all the preparation needed to ensure that the music, the venue itself, the guests, etc are the best I could find. That part may not be simple, but it’s obvious. But then what? A wedding too starts with massive preparation and a rigorous ritual but only in the later stages, when letting go into surrender, does it dissolve into decadence and hedonism. How do I bring that to my rituals?
Expressing culture in rules kills it. It takes years to learn because it’s symbolic and ever-evolving between and inside events. Seniority helps. Why not, when playing with power, for example, institute a hierarchy where people dressed in white get a mandate to shape the evening more than others. White contrasts so deliciously with the usual black, red and purple dark aesthetic of the leather subculture. They could both create and destroy by, say, directing more serious play here, or shushing chatters there. And by playing themselves, they would beckon newbies into a culture. Doing this without breaking the mystical experience is art. It’s how all mammals learn about life – through play and by being guided by elders.
This is embracing a hierarchy that always existed anyway. The more experienced will always be more comfortable and therefore have more power. But, of course, some beginners will always try to challenge that hierarchy to make the party their own. Sometimes that revolution is refreshing; other times, it’s destructive. But I believe in highlighting the power games being played. I remember at Schwelle 7 in Berlin when I first dared to dominate the community’s founder and curator at a party. It was a Freudian experience of killing my patriarchal father, forever changing my relationship to that community and culture. And he allowed me to do it. Embracing hierarchy in order to break it. So perhaps inviting others to ‘kill’ me is the answer to all my questions?