There is much debate in our community as to the use of the word Master. To some it is about describing their role in a power exchange relationship. To others it means that they have mastered a particular skill set or knowledge. Some even have a “kajira” classification for slaves – a term which is taken straight from the John Norman GOR novels where men are Masters and all women either slaves or intentionally freed by said Masters. In fact in one of those silly BDSM quiz things you see online I was identified as a Gorean Master myself; a fact which I felt accurate according to the original descriptions in the books. Truthfully these are all appropriate uses of the term, but there is also a much deeper meaning. So what does it mean to me to call myself a Master?
This is a matter which has been bouncing around in my head for quite some time, the origin of which happened some time ago while I was attending the BOLD conference in 2013. I sat in on a panel led by Master Bert on this very topic; what it means to be a Master, and to wear that title like a badge of honor and identification.
He related a story to us about a rite of passage for the young men of a certain tribal village in a remote, primitive area. In this rite, the young men must prove their readiness to step into manhood by climbing a nearby mountain, and returning safely to the village.
The first step in their journey is to go into the forest, and cut a small tree trunk to make a walking staff for their trek up the mountain. The staff is of course a practical tool, but more importantly it is a symbol of their commitment to the journey. Not just the journey up the mountain, but their journey into manhood itself; a commitment to become a man.
He equated our use of the term Master as a similar commitment to become a Master, to take up the mantle of Mastery, and commit to the lifelong journey towards this ideal.
To make a pact with oneself to work daily to become the Master of our own life, our own behavior and our own destiny. I was mesmerized and fascinated by the discussion and the concept has been rattling around my head ever since. “Am I ready for this commitment?” “What will others think about my use of the term at my level of experience?” So many quiet little doubts in my mind, preventing me from taking that first step in the commitment to the journey. As you can tell I’m a pretty deep thinker and have learned to not take important steps too quickly or lightly.
But there have been many changes in my life this year, many steps in a positive direction, and after a long and deep discussion about this and many other aspects of the D/s, M/s lifestyle with a friend yesterday, at last I feel I am ready to commit to the journey.
It matters not how others perceive the choice, or if anyone even notices. What matters is that I have made it.
I am in charge of my own destiny. I am in charge of my own life. I am in charge of my own behavior and attitude. I have made my staff, and committed to the journey. It is time.
I am a Master.