Ritual Septum Piercing
It was a dark and stormy night. The moon was full, though it could not be viewed through the endless gray clouds. Actually, it was a bright and beautiful Sunday afternoon, but the standard vision of a ritual seems to be under the light of a full moon or on a dark and stormy night.
Being a frequent ritual piercer, the event had been in its planning stages for several months. I had chosen an 11g autoclaved piercing needle and a 12g septum retainer to achieve my goal. I already had in my collection of tools, a pair of septum pliers in case I opted not to do the piercing freehand as I have preferred with past piercings.
I retrieved a sterile 12g taper and began examining my nose (with nitrile gloves on, of course). I carefully prodded the soft tissue inside my right nostril near the tip of my nose. Interestingly enough, there seemed to be one specific place where it felt like the piercing "belonged."
Getting the piercing straight was going to be an interesting task. I already had both nostrils pierced, and had difficulty getting them to look symmetrical because of the lack of symmetry with my nose. One nostril was slightly bigger. As I had learned with other piercings, making it look symmetrical and straight was more important than it being level or parallel with the ground. A "marking" of where I wanted entrance and exit points was also going to be useless inside my nose as they would most likely not be visible.
With every ritual piercing, there is the practical part and the spiritual part. I would consider almost every piercing "ritual," as the experienced piercer has developed a sequential progression of events to insure the safety and satisfaction of their customer. But in my case, I was using the word "ritual" more to mean a piercing for spiritual purposes conducted under specific circumstances and with specific intention.
My intention was a spiritual cleansing and re-centering for myself. I saw the piercing as a duality to have the piercing done was an act of personal strength, but another hole in my nose was going to give me yet another place on my body susceptible to being yanked on by my two small children. There was also the symbolism behind "being led around like a bull with a ring in its nose." I was/am a little too controlling, and needed to learn to let go a little more.
On that bright and sunny Sunday afternoon, tools assembled, I asked my husband to assist me with the piercing. He had assisted me with a number of other piercings, and had an eye for placement.
The main difference behind a ritual piercing (for me, of course) and a spur-of-the-moment studio piercing is environment and intention. The piercing was done in my dining room in full sunlight. My intentions, as previously mentioned, were spiritual. I also wanted the piercing from someone I knew well. The rest of the piercing procedure was similar to one you might receive at a studio. The tools were all sterile and of a professional grade. The septum retainer was 316-LVM ASTM-138 implant grade stainless steel purchased online from a reputable source. We both wore gloves that were changed multiple times. The area was cleaned, and I even used a nose-hair remover to insure the area was hairless.
After we both probed my nostrils with the end of the taper, we had a good idea as to where the piercing should be. We decided that a freehand attempt might be too difficult for us, as I wanted it up near the tip of my nose. We decided to use the septum pliers. The pliers would guide the needle to its entrance point and then, on the other side, would serve a similar purpose as a receiving tube. The septum pliers would help insure placement, and help prevent him from poking me inside my other nostril.
Once the septum pliers were in their proper place and we were ready for perforation, my husband removed the needle from the autoclave envelope. We both closed our eyes, and I said an enchantment/prayer. Then he opened his eyes and told me that on the count of three he was going to push the needle through. On the third count, I blew out as hard as I could. I blew out the air and let the exhale carry out all the sadness, disappointment, and anger that I might be carrying inside me. He slid the needle most of the way through my septum. He removed one side of the needle from the pliers, then the other side. Then, in one smooth movement, he slid in the septum retainer.
I had tears streaming down my face. I'm not sure if I was crying, or if the stimulation to my nostrils had just made my eyes water. I felt wonderful. I felt clean. I felt whole.
Many people, including some in the modification industry, have expressed concerns with do-it-yourself or DIY piercings. Many DIY piercings are done in unsanitary conditions, with improper equipment, with a lack of planning, and/or with a lack of knowledge. You CAN do a ritual piercing in a professional piercing studio. Talk to the artist about your intentions and wishes. If at first you can't find anyone to help you, keep looking! Doing it yourself is not the first or only answer. Many of my first piercings were done ritually in a shop before I was comfortable attempting them on my own. Get to know yourself and your limitations, then get to know the procedures from a reputable piercer. Don't attempt a DIY piercing unless you feel comfortable with it and you believe it will have a good outcome.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 22 April 2006
in Nose Piercing