BDSM Symbols

We use symbols all the time to express ideas or emotions.  The symbol stands for something else by reason of relationship or association.  In the D/s community and especially in your relationship symbolism is the unspoken words and meanings to ideas and beliefs.  The formal lifestyle is filled with symbols that come in the form traditions and ceremonies which can be seen and that which is only spoken.  These symbols are rarely seen by the vanilla world and when they are witnessed the meaning is lost for the meaning comes from within yourself.  I will only briefly describe some of the symbols and you can research them further if you want to further your knowledge of symbols.

The first form of symbolism is the BDSM emblem.  (Pictured at the left on this page.)  To the vanilla observer it is seen as an attractive piece of jewelry. We are free to wear and display it nod to those who see it and understand it's meaning.  I use this emblem as an icon for one of the hard drives on my computer at work.  Although BDSM would be frowned upon at the corporate environment I work in, I freely display the emblem getting compliments and sometimes the question "Where did you get that icon?"

The outside rim and the three spokes curving inwards indicative the "chains" or "irons" of BDSM servitude/ownership.  The three inner fields are black and represent a celebration of the controlled "dark side" of BDSM sexuality.  The three holes in the black denotes the incompleteness of any individual practitioner in that BDSM.  However "together" and "whole" individuals may be, there remains a void within them that can only be filled by a complimentary other.  The three divisions represent the various threesomes of BDSM.  First, the three divisions of BDSM itself: B&D, D&S, and S&M. Second, the three-way creed of BDSM behavior: Safe, Sane, and Consensual. Third, the three divisions of our community: Tops, Bottoms, and Switches.  The resemblance to a three-way variation on the Yin-Yang symbol was not by accident.  Just as the curved outline of Yin and Yang represent the hazy border between where one ends and the other begins, so do the curved borders of the BDSM symbol represent the indistinct divisions between B&D, D&S, and S&M.

A collar is an identifying band of leather, metal, or other material worn around the neck of the submissive to indicate that they belong, or have surrendered, to another.  It is my belief that today collars are given and accepted too easily, just as the engagement and wedding ring is in the vanilla society.  Don't rush to wear the collar of another, or to give your collar away to soon.  Spend the time getting to know each other so that when the collar is given it is because you, (the Dominant), knows the value of the one you want to call yours.  To the submissive, I say, make sure the Dominant has proven themselves to be honorable and that they will put your wants before their own so you can wear the collar with pride and certainty that the relationship will last.

There are many types of collars.  A beautiful metallic necklace can be worn all the time.  To the vanilla person it will appear to be a piece of jewelry, but in your heart you will know and feel the reminder around your neck that you have turned you life over to one who is worthy.  There are also collars made from different types of leather and suede that are worn in private and around others in the lifestyle to indicate you belong to another.  There are also leather and metal collars that have rings attached to them so they can be used as restraining devises during scenes.

In our relationship I first presented katrina with a green nylon collar when we knew that we wanted to explore our relationship further.  The collar green symbolized training and the collar was much the same as a friendship ring given in the vanilla society.  (Although I am not katrina's first Master I explained that she was a novice to what I expected of her within our relationship).  katrina was to refer to me as "Sir" and not "Master" while wearing the collar because we were getting to know each other.  I gave katrina her "training name" at this time and continue to use it today when I want to signify that she is at a learning experience in life.  At this point in our relationship we felt comfortable with each other and wanted to get to know each other better.  Part of our relationship now was filled with assignments, katrina following my directives, completing and going over play lists, and preparing our first contract.

After some time I felt I knew the submissive potential within katrina and we were starting to feel our completeness when together.  katrina was also building trust in me as I earned it.  katrina and I discussed how serious we each took collaring and that we should not enter into it lightly.   I told katrina I felt that for her to wear my collar would be much the same as engagement in the vanilla society.  From that day on she, and all she had, would belong to me as my slave and would refer to me as "Master".

 (Collaring Ceremony)

katrina and I had a simple, private, ceremony of submission.  There are also formal ones with a small gathering of friends.  I led by telling katrina how much delight I received in her submission to me and how I was complete because of her submission.  I promised to always put her needs before my own knowing that she would fulfill my needs in life.  katrina then let me know that she felt I was a good caring man worthy to receive her gift of submission and that she would strive to please me.  I then asked katrina what gifts she brought for me.  (The gifts were symbols of her previous relationships in life).  Among those gifts katrina gave me the collar that her previous Master had given to her.  I held it in my hands and looked her in the eye as I told her "we" would cherish it always because it had helped to bring us where we were today.  I then placed my collar around her neck and clipped a leash to it while promising to guide her through life always being careful to keep her safe.  I changed her name to katrina and explained to her she was to be proud of the name for it not only came from a history of royalty, but was given to her by me.

This is a private bonding ritual, that dates back for centuries, and at the most is shared with only one or two of the couples closest friends.  I will elude to a basic ceremony but remember that there are many variations on this and it is normally modified with special touches to make it as unique as the relationship that is being bonded.

The submissive carries a single white rose blossom that has not fully bloomed.  The Dominant holds a single red rose that is opened almost fully.  Although both roses must have thorns on their stems and be freshly cut, it is nearly impossible to find a white rose with thorns.  If one can not be found the thorns from the Dominant's red rose can be shared as his offering to lead the relationship.  The couple stands facing each other and the Dominant removes the submissive's collar.  He quickly purifies the collar by passing it through a flame and then returns it to her neck declaring to her that he will protect and guide her for eternity  With a thorn from his red rose he pricks the submissive's finger and lets two drops of blood fall on the white petals of her white rose. This symbolizes the Dominant taking her virginity and her belonging fully to him.  The submissive then offers her rose to him and repeats the procedure and lets two drops of blood fall onto the white rose, one above hers and one on top of hers.  The first drop signifies his willingness to shed his blood to protect her and the second signifies their unity.  The two then press their fingers together vowing to become one flesh and one blood.  If witnesses or friends are in attendance they will take a length of light chain and pass it quickly though the flame and then wrap it around the couple.   The chain symbolizes all the small links in their life that have made them what they are today and what has brought them together.  The couple will again make their vows that their souls will be bound together for all eternity.  The roses are touched so the blood from hers becomes their blood on  his.  To signify their unity they now exchange their roses, neither owning the part they have brought to the ceremony.  The chain is removed and never used again.  Instead it is wrapped in a cloth to be presented to the couple when the ceremony has ended.  The couple will keep the chain until they find a couple who they feel is worthy and they will use the chain at this couples ceremony, presenting it to them carefully wrapped after the ceremony.  It is a deep honor to receive the chain of ones who have gone on before you.  The couple then puts their roses into a single vase.  Later the vase is taken to their room to remain as a reminder to them as they think upon their new bond while joining their bodies. The next morning they share their hopes and dreams of being together for eternity while they take turns plucking the petals from the roses and placing them in a container together.  These petals are kept throughout their lifetime together and a portion of them are buried with each in death.

Words are easily used when around vanilla people for their true meaning is often misinterpreted or lost on them.  katrina will often call me "Sir" or say things like "Whatever Master likes" or " a slave's work is just never done."  The vanilla's think she is either being respectful or good nature teasing.  To us she is proclaiming her submission to me around those who would not understand and I feel proud to hear the words knowing the others will never know the depth and meaning behind them.  I explained to katrina when we first started seeing each other what it means when I say "Please".  She viewed the word's meaning to be what people in the vanilla society believe, that I am being polite.  It was only after I explained that I used the word as a request and not a form of politeness that the deeper meaning became ours.  When I say "Please" I am really saying "Please me."  Now what slave would not love to hear those words knowing that this not only a request from her Master but an opportunity only awarded to her.

There are many other symbols used in the D/s community.  These can be from handkerchiefs to signify your tastes and station in life to actions you take that have far greater meaning behind them.  It is my hope that I have piqued an interest within you to continue to learn about symbolism and how it can pertain to your relationship.  Keep researching and learning for the knowledge will bring greater depth to your relationship.  It is said that scenes are only 1% of D/s.  Now it is up to you to find the deeper meaning of what D/s means in your relationship.  katrina and I would be pleased to hear from you if you would like to share the symbolism's in your relationship.  If you express in your email that we have the right to use your email we may place a link off this page to share personal symbolism.