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sisterhood by fire

After months of trying to coordinate a time that worked for all of us, we finally had a date set. There were four of us: our crew of badass ladies, and we were all going separate ways after years of being together and living communally. We needed something to mark the occasion, a ritual for us all to commemorate the good, the bad and the everything in between we had all lived through together in the past five years. We decided to have a strike branding ritual.

We showed up at Passage and Blair had booked us enough time to chill and take things slow...we hung out on the deck and chatted a bit before starting up. We had gone for the consultation a couple months earlier and he answered our questions on aftercare, procedure, etc.

We all had our designs --very simple, just a series of nine dots. Now the meaning is not to be spoken, but Blair was so curious when we went for the consultation that we told him, he deserves to know after all since he would be facilitating this ever important event for us.

As an aside, never get a sunburned back on your way to get a branding...dehydration and mild sunstroke don't mix with hot metal on flesh. Lesson learnt. Especially when you're a super white ass like me!

We all examined the stencil and started moving the dots around a bit. Each of us wanted something a little different. It was almost humourous to see us all change our mind last minute, but knowing how our lives go it was really more about the experience than the final result, so we just went with it. Once we had all decided on our stencil and placement...we figured out the order. Nat and I decide done of us would go first cause the other two would make it look too painful. They all nominated me cause I've had the most work done out of all four of us. Little did they know what a chicken I really am when it comes right down to procedure time. I can handle the pain, even move beyond the pain, but to look at me, there is no question that I am feeling the pain.

So I went first....Blair was really great because knowing that none of us had been branded before, he did the procedure in very particular steps: demonstrating the pressure of the metal without heating it and then after heating it, just doing one quick touch to the skin before holding it on. He did touchups on previous ones without telling me, which at that point was better for me because for some reason each of the nine points he hit often felt like he was doing the same one repeatedly. Strange sensations that made my toes squirm and all the other girls saw the discomfort in my face... hmm badass huh? Nat of course was right up in my face asking me how it was, all I could say was "hot." No other word to describe it really. Not severe pain, just very hot and very uncomfortable. Definitely bearable, as the dots were small and so Blair only needed to use a 10 gauge piece of metal.

Next was Nat, she looked so peaceful, holding her rune stones, her thick dreads piled up on her head. You could smell the stench of her skin, it smelled like burning hair. How was it, we asked? Guess what she said? Yup, "hot." Then came Ann, who's always been way tougher than anyone gives her credit for. She sat there chilling like she was waiting for the streetcar. "Not bad at all" was all she said. Lastly, was Laurel who unlike us who all got burnt on the backs of our necks, she was getting it one her upper outer thigh to avoid having to explain the mod and its meaning to her family members. Like usual she was all smiles and we all watched intently.

When it was all done we chilled for a bit in the room and Blair told us more about irritating the wound to get a more dramatic scar. Really it felt no more than a little itchy, we all agreed, but Blair assured us we'd feel it in the next week or so. We promised to come back and let him know how they're doing and he's really great with touchups on brandings if by chance one has some super crazy vegan mega-healing powers!

After thanking and hugging Blair we left Passage with a reaffirmed sense of our bond as sisters. This event marked a lot for all four of us...times together, times apart and a future unknown. This ritual will always bring us back to more than memories...it will return us to the heart of true friendship, sisterhood, community and remind us that no matter where we go in our lives we are connected by something much stronger than our geographical locations. Long live DHS.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 16 July 2004
in Scarification

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Artist: blair
Studio: passage
Location: toronto

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