Lupercalia, when the Dam Broke.

I admit, I want to be a grumpy old man when it comes to the event I just attended called Lupercalia. I wanted, when I signed up to teach at a kink conference in Edmonton, Alberta to be able to say afterward “yes, they tried, but really… Lupercalia without Bull Pizzle flaggelation?” I wanted to be able to bitch about flying to north Canada in February.

Why? Because there is a part of me that wants to be a grumpy old man. Who believes so strongly in the power of storytelling that he is fueled by bitterness and snarkiness from time to time. I don’t necessarily like that about myself, but I am aware that the grumpy old man is in there that says “back in my day” when someone will listen. He was so convinced he would get new stories for his “I lead such a tough life” file that I swear on certain bad days doesn’t exist, that I layer up with false humility and play off as me being so enlightened…

He went back into his hole with a hungry belly, for this weekend blew me away.

The grumpy old man in my scull was so convinced he was right on Friday- a toga party, a BDSM 101 class that mentioned practices that were far from 101… but saturday opened wide and my world shifted. My entire world shifted.

This weekend I had delicious brain sex with Dylan, an amazingly spiritual and passionate man who I sat around and had deep connections on faith and wisdom and babylon 5. I opened up into the smile and laughter of his wife B whose hat I won in the silent auction. I got to lock lips with one of the event producers and feel like a small creature next to him.

I was blessed with Muppetry in the forms of Anika and the return of UU church magic, and with the amazing Tillie who flew in my ropes in a transcendental muppet chakra revelation scene and muppet encasement. Yes, that does make sense.

I got to flirt, flirt so good. And when parts of the flirtation left me feeling out of sorts, people putting their feet in their mouth and gnawing- instead of my oftentimes mental script of “and THIS is why we put everything on the table from scratch, so we don’t get emotionally attached and then dropped when folks find out something they didn’t know” I stopped and breathed. I realized it really had zero to do with m. And I was able to take my frustration to fuel some amazing zingers that attracted other hot men and hilarious women who were drawn to the guy who stood up for himself and was himself, not apologizing for who he happens to be.

Though, it pausing, I see how far I need to go on that front. Just as Dylan has the habit of playing down his teaching, I have the habit of putting all my flaws up front so folks can walk away early…. things to think on.

I was blessed with the beginners ind of one amazing man and one beautiful couple, finding themselves amongst our world. I melted into a puddle of heart goo at seeing BootPig go somewhere primal and touching. I had raw hot primal unchoreographed connections with Asher and Scott, co-punching, human energy conduit stuff, and letting my tongue linger as I was pulled in tight…. yes please.

But the piece that blew me away was Edge. Arli and Edge at Lupercalia- the tales that spin off my tongue like Darmok at Julad, at Tenagra.

There are certain scenes and people that shape us in our evolution of self.

We do scenes because they get us hard/wet/get us off.
We do scenes because it is fun or because we can.
And sometimes we do scenes because it is the work of the soul and we have no other choice than to heed that call.

I can not speak for what happened for either of them, but I can speak from the front row. I can speak from my head covered, shaking the words from my lips, prayers for our blessed dead.

Edge, in his Catharsis class, offered three routes. He could bottom, he could find someone with their own network (he had to fly a few hours later), or there could be no demo. the air was tense. And then it all came to pass.

Someone very dear to the Vancouver Women’s community… and to SO many others, died unexpectedly in an airplane crash in November Her name was Catherine, and her hair hung like a silver veil around a face that told me the world of beauty I imagined… it was real. Catherine opened her home to me. Catherine inspired me. She still inspires me. I greive for my loss of a friend that was and was to be. I grieve for buds cut down. I greive… and before closed fists and screams of words I wanted to obliterate from his vile tongue that was so needed to lance the tonis from our hearts… I bore witness to greiving, I greived myself, and the tears rolled through the room.

Primal howls. I remember her. I remember her.

One of my challenges in having so much family, so much love, spread around the globe… is that I’m not there. I couldn’t bring cookies and casserole and cry on shoulders. I the case of Catherine, of Flagg, of my Grandmother Louise… I did not find out until a week later, an afterthought- because I was not there. I sit in spaces alone and try to greive, because though folks other places can get my wounds, they never called Flagg a fucker, never saw Catherine’s nervous laugh, never had my grandmother teach them how to blow bubbles in their soda or pierce their ears.

As a bard I carry the tales of my community on my tongue, and life immortal passes through the spinning of my words.

Arli and Edge, at Lupercalia. When the dam broke.

Another layer of healing took place as well, for me personally, getting to talk with Edge, truly for the first real time since his gun was in the back of my throat… but that is a tale for a different day.

For now I hold Lupercalia in my heart.
I sing the praises of Jim, Collin, and Dale. I sing the songs of Usha and Bonnie. I lift up the flat white spaces that require us to huddle together in hotel rooms and ball rooms. I toast to understanding wedding parties and easy bake ovens. I raise my voice and say that this work, this work is good. Blessed be to Faunus and Mars, to Juno, Lupercus, Lycaeus, Bacchus and Februus who watched over these workings.

For I was there… Alri and Edge, at Lupercalia. When the dam broke.

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Lee Harrington

Lee Harrington is an internationally known sexuality, relationships, and personal authenticity educator. Having taught in all 50 states and in 6 countries, he brings a combination of playful engagement and thoughtful academic dialogue to a broad audience. An award-winning author and editor on gender, sexual, and sacred experience, his books include “Traversing Gender: Understanding Transgender Journeys,” and "Sacred Kink: The Eightfold Paths of BDSM and Beyond," among many other titles. He has been blogging online since 1998, and been teaching worldwide since 2001. Welcome to his world, and your chance to expand your mind and heart alike.

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