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Transformation into ritual cutting

I have always been classified, psychiatrically-speaking, as a self-injurer, a cutter, and I have visited emergency rooms and psychiatric wards and various therapists more times than I can count since the age of 17. Over the past summer I got into Paganism and went to festivals and campouts, participating in earth-centered ceremonies and seeing into a whole new realm of spirituality. I also met a lot of really great people who are into body modification. This grabbed my attention. Soon I was surfing the net, trying to find out more about how primitive people and cultures used cutting as part of their rituals. And then I stumbled upon bmezine and realized that today in modern culture we are still using, or rediscovering, ritual cutting and other forms of body play or modification to induce certain states of consciousness, either individually or in groups. That excited me, to find others who are willingly conducting their own research into the mind-body connection. And all these years I had thought cutting was just for an endorphin rush or the shock value.

The last time I took the razor blades to my skin differed from all the innumerable cutting events of the last 24 years. Before, I had always cut in a very conscious way, to get back at someone, to punish myself, to feel something because I was so numb, to get some kind of attention. But this last time, I deliberately pursued the cutting as an act of ritual scarification. I intended to leave designs or symbols on my body instead of just the usual straight, deep cuts I had been inflicting. I designed an atmosphere I hoped would be conducive to achieving this goal.

Once darkness began to fall, I knew the time was near. I laid out razor blades. I played music from Internet radio that was mysterious, nonverbal, slightly edgy, and atmospheric, and that would play continuously without interruption. With the lights out, I stared at a random light show screensaver on the computer screen and let my mind flow freely. Dark presences started to fill my room, one by one. They wore black robes and hoods that masked most of their faces or hid them in shadows. They were sexless. Telepathically they told me what I needed to do. They communicated to me the need to open my skin, to create symbols on my skin. I would bleed out the vibrant fluid of life that was carrying poisons blocking my vision into other dimensions of experience. I would scar, always able to wear and witness the symbols into other dimensions, even though I would have to figure out what they meant over time.

I tranced and meditated for a long time, then I fell asleep at some point, or my consciousness was altered so that I was no longer aware of time, space, or self. When I awoke from this state, I was completely naked and the sides of my legs were bleeding. Carved into the sides of my legs were designs, a triangle with lines inside of it, an eye, three parallel curved lines – these are now my new symbols to explore.

I showered away the dried blood and looked at the designs, so red and well defined, almost floating above my skin. I felt free, pure, and connected to something wonderful beyond me.

When I told my therapist about it at my appointment the next day, she did not exactly share my fascination or elation at discovering ritual scarification. She insisted I go to the emergency room, where I was brutally stapled (a couple of the cuts were a bit deep) and sent to a psych unit for a couple of days. Apparently, ritual cutting and scarification should only be shared with those who practice it. Luckily, I went off to another Pagan event that same week, and no one there batted an eyelash over the new cuts. I even had a long conversation with a tattoo/piercing artist who is trying to start a body play community in my area. Of course, I am already planning when I might want to try a suspension or what I might like tattooed on my back.

I would like to cut in a ritual way again, using trance and meditation, but I will have to be find a way to be aware enough to cut where no one will see (places that will be hidden by clothing). Thankfully the Pagan community I am becoming involved in accepts body modification and actually finds all of my scars beautiful. I find them beautiful and fascinating and they have so much meaning to me. At this point in my life, I am not cutting in a "sick" way. I am a healthy woman who knows there is so much more consciousness to explore than what the mundane worlds condones. More power to those of us who can open up our minds and bodies to reveal what is on the edge, over the edge, and in the shadows.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 14 Oct. 2004
in Ritual

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Artist: me
Studio: my+basement+bedroom
Location: Northern+Virginia

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