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Our Leather History

#1 User is offline   Michael's jewel Icon

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 02:53 PM

Hello everybodies!

Lazy, laid back Monday here....

This is only one of a number of on-going projects that will not only share and empower through the process of sharing, but allows us to lay down our stories of our own path as a stepping stone to leave behind for those who may seek this path at another time.

Our Leather History
"For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart.
It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul."

-Judy Garland

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#2 User is offline   Ginger Icon

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 07:40 AM

What a great idea and great site. Thank you for sharing it.

Ginger

"At times it is strangely seductive to know the extent of your own powerlessness." Erica Jong
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#3 User is offline   slave ziggy Icon

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 07:23 PM

[B][I]

Hey there Fern

i thought i would drop a little tid bit about thoughts as an "Old Guard" trained slave .....yes i am really <smiles> It was a great place to start and it just made sense to me with all my Marine Corps training and all<smiles> but dont worry i wont be an ass about my perceptions. But no really i found that what i took from that training is the following

The Master?s Cap
by slave ziggy



Beginning with a condensed version of what I understand to be a rudimentary history of Leathermen:

Servicemen in wartime had experienced the stress of war and the company of other servicemen for long periods. Upon returning, they sought each other out as a way to find support, to fit in, and to try to make sense of their shared experiences. The life they lived in the military was one of discipline and hard work. They often found it hard to assimilate back into a society that simply would not understand.

Those experiences became translated into a new lifestyle, once outside the military structure. Tightly knit groups of men formed, and they developed a language and specific practices that only one who was ?on the inside? or had been in military service would understand.

Most of these groups remained highly exclusive out of necessity. It was only through someone on the inside that another was allowed access. There may have been hundreds-perhaps thousands-of these groups throughout the country. Each had their own twist on protocols and practices, yet many adhered to what had been taught to them in the military. Although there were varying degrees of discipline and order, a few concepts were consistent in each of these groups.


1. Honor: The way one interacts with others, maintaining a good name and reputation.

2. Integrity: The way in which one handles one?s affairs and one?s adherence to accepted ethical codes.

3. Trust: Due to the nature of their practices, both socially and sexually, trusting a fellow Leatherman was as important as the trust one had in another when in combat. Their lives and their practices depended on it.

4. Respect: In the military, these men developed a mutual respect not only for each other, but also for authority. Seniority in rank and experience took a front seat in combat, and in these groups.

5. Loyalty: As in the military, these men developed strong alliances to the groups they were involved in, sometimes to the point of exclusivity. Outsiders were outsiders. Anyone wanting in would have to gain admittance through an insider, who then became responsible for him. People who wanted in were subject to testing just as one is tested in the military through boot camp. If they didn?t cut it, they were pushed back out on the fringes of the group where they stayed.








Discipline and order were required for their specific forms of sexual practice and social interaction.

As with the military, everything one has or is EARNED. This is what formed the tradition of earning one?s Leathers. This brings us to the meat of this article.

My understanding is that an insider, who, as mentioned, would determine one?s worthiness, brought in a person seeking entrance to a group. I would suspect that is why there is a process involved in acceptance into any Leather club today. This sponsor would mentor that individual who would begin as a junior bottom.

Regardless of where one ended up on the Dominant or submissive scale, nearly everyone started out at the bottom and earned their way up. I must assume our military ranking system had a lot to do with this way of thinking. I also suspect that a Dominant could take the fast track through earning His Leathers, but not the respect of His fellow Leathermen. One?s community determined whether he could graduate to the corps of Masters. The Master?s or Dominant?s cap became the symbol of that transformation, transition, graduation.

It is a seemingly simple ritual, done in the local leather bar, in the company of friends and other Dominants/Masters. All the Masters in attendance would agree that it was time, and that the recipient was worthy. They would pass the cover up from the back of the group, as each of the senior Dominants/Masters would say a few words about the junior Master/Dominant. The most senior would then speak on his behalf, place the cap on his head, and there would be a ?Thank You? from the newly capped Master. The new Master was expected to buy a round of drinks for his seniors.

As with most traditions, the capping ritual is not as prevalent today as it once was. Now, folks profess their Mastery with words from a keyboard, or clothing from a Leather shop. Sadly, it has lost its original meaning of longevity of service or knowledge. Thankfully, there are people who still value the idea of earning what you are given. There are people within the community that value this symbol and are working to bring the tradition back.

Most of our older mentors are lost to us from the AIDS crisis or through age, leaving us with a different view of the cap. Those who value this icon are adding new meaning to this tradition, developing their own standards by which one earns their cap.

One idea that speaks to me in present times is that one?s slave is the one who recognizes the Master as ready for capping. Perhaps this comes from the concept that a Master is not truly a Master without owning a slave. Regardless of who makes that determination, there still must be a consensus of other Masters or members of the community in high standing.




The capping of Mistress went something like this:

Mistress had owned me for almost three years when we became contestants for a Master/slave title at a regional Leather event. I had spoken with a couple respected Masters prior to this event to gain counsel on the proper protocol of capping a Master. Each of them suggested that I find an advocate to speak on my behalf with other Masters in the community. After the competition was over, this advocate gathered everyone, inviting them to be witnesses to this ritual. He chose the most senior Masters from our community, and of those in attendance, to participate.

Although not in a bar but in a conference room, people we know and respect gathered with U/us. As is the tradition, each participant passed the cap and spoke a few words. Lastly, the cap was passed to me.








I knelt before Mistress and spoke. I offered her the cap and she accepted it, and instructed me to place it on her. It was short and simple, but the long-term effects are incalculable.

It is not that Mistress has had one mentor for many years, or that she started from the bottom. Instead, it is for U/us and for Her community, a symbol of recognition; A symbol that she indeed is a Master worthy of wearing a Master?s cap.

From what we know of the past in regards to the present, here is what seems personally to be a change in tradition for Mistress; this cap is now a public recognition of Her responsibility to uphold the ideals of our past. She is now challenged to exemplify all the qualities of a good Master for Herself, for Her slave, and for Her Community. If She fails to do so, the cap She wears will be nothing more than an item bought from a Leather shop; simply a garment.

Is this ideology accepted? Who knows what old Leatherman might be turning over in his grave at the thought of a woman wearing a Master?s cap, proclaiming to be worthy of wearing it? However, I feel he might agree with its intent and with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities it holds.

From where I kneel, some strict standards of tradition must evolve over time to meet the ever-changing world we live in. What is important is that the commitments to uphold the true spirit of those traditions never change.

slave ziggy,
SE slave 2006
In grateful service
to Mistress Suzan
www.semasterslave2006.com
Honor, respect, integrity, loyalty and duty

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#4 User is offline   Michael's jewel Icon

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 10:11 PM

Hiya, handsome!
ziggy, thank you for this. As you know all too well, there seems to be so many myths and mystery behind alot of leather history. And sadly so, the facts of life that drove so many of these educators and leaders into the shadows of society still linger and exist. i think that each of us come to a place on this path where we stop and look both ways really hard and then have to make a choice. Do we head deeper into another kind of closet? Or do we stand to be counted?

i know that MSuzan's and your own recent accomplishments and things that i have experienced, both at our local group or at Together in Leather, has me completely convinced that, in the very least, that we need to write it all down and keep a time line of our journey. Spending time with Viola Johnson at TIL was one of the most powerful and intense experiences that i have had in sometime. And i *have* had some really amazing ones lately too....lol. i have really come to feel that keeping logs and journals and history, our stories, is important.
"For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart.
It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul."

-Judy Garland

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