Some notes about „Bondage Meditation“ with Ron Hades at Karada House Berlin

The sound of a drum has a special quality: It is one of the only instruments – if not the most single instrument – that I feel cannot be captured on a recording: Sure, you can turn up the bass in your EQ, but the sensation of the vibration that resonates in your body when you’re standing next to a drum that gets played… That is something truly remarkable, you get in contact with your body and in the same time are part of a connection to the instrument via sound waves you can actually feel and the person who is drumming. The beat not only hits the drum – it also hits your body. And it ties you to your surrounding area.

So yesterday, on November 16th the @KaradaHouse Berlin hosted a workshop called „Bondage Meditation“ with rope master @ronhades. Eight attendees were exited to learn what the instructor, who comes from a long dynasty of shamans as he told in the beginning, hat to teach about the connection between bondage and meditation. Stripped of our names (only called by a self-chosen symbol written on a piece of tape on our chest) we would go through exercises in getting in contact with each other, understanding boundaries and accepting desires – and manifest the connection we slowly built up during the entire workshop through full-on bondage ball we all were a part of. Rope as the visible manifestation of the connection between human beings.

Ron – who chose the name △ during the workshop – is a person you immediately find sympathetic: With a warm and welcoming habitus and fun-loving sense of humor, this is basically the person you’d trust to pull of an 8 hour workshop on bondage with completely strange people. The key is that the anonymity we were supposed to keep did not prevent us from sharing ideas, desires, questions and stories – it rather encouraged that. You don’t fall into small talk, when you’re not supposed to ask where the person next to you comes from. That works surprisingly well and it’s way more easy to start a conversation.

A fact I like about the Karada House is their approach to forming groups: A key factor in their concept of a safe space is that they recognize that most people simply cannot make friends in the first 5 seconds they enter a room but need more time, especially when what follows is an immensely personal experience with your own desires. You need to be able to trust the others in order to be able to feel safe. Whereas other workshops simply go „Now everybody look for a partner“ and things get awkward almost immediately, Karada House starts off with small exercises you do together in a group and with changing partners. Sounds simple enough but actually is the crucial difference to other workshops I visited.

So, back to the workshop: Right at the beginning △ surprised us with a ritualistic approach (and if you read my work, you know △ got me at this second). We were to write down what we wanted to loose during this workshop, what we wanted to overcome, what we wanted to ban from our souls. These writings were then placed in a small pot, which stayed in the room the entire time, and △ explained, that we would burn those notes in the end. Then we started meditating, laying on the floor with our eyes closed while the shaman filled the room with incense, wind and the aforementioned drum.

After that unusual experience things went on much more familiar with the basics of bondage. In quick and easy steps △ showed us everything we needed to know in order to create enthralling rope work afterwards. Of course we had to change partners with every new exercise.

The second part of the workshop is were things got exhilarating: Now we knew each other well enough to make some serious contact exercises, touching each other at our hearts, breathing together, holding eye contact and really, reallylook into each others eyes. This is the point were things could have gone awkward if not horribly wrong, but thanks to △’s attentive and emphatic guidance it was actually nice and thrilling! How much simpler it was afterwards to tie up each other.

Because that is exactly what we did then: Now comes the bondage! Of course you know how to tie up somebody’s hands or maybe knot a harness or two. You maybe even did some suspension once. But the approach △ told us, was not simply the joy of tying up your bunny – everything we did was in order to tie our counterpart to ourself, even literally. We used the rope to make a profound connection to another human being we didn’t even know before and at no time during the entire workshop it felt wrong or even got out of hand, on the contrary: Looking around and seeing what unique and personal connections formed in the other participants was an experience of pure bliss: Everybody was allowed to express their feelings however they wanted and at no time were they negative. The one thing every combination of people had in common was the cuddling. We bonded.

I don’t want to spoil the end for you since I’d encourage you to visit one of Ron’s workshops yourself, but let me put it like this: The consequence of all that bonding (both senses of the word) is a deep connection to everybody in the room and through a final ritual we made that visible.

In the end we stood on the courtyard of Karada House under a clear, star-filled sky and burned our sigils after letting go of a final breath on them.

We all realized this was a step. Just a step, but an important step on the road to a shamanistic way of understanding bonds and bondage. And each other.

More about Ron Hades: www.ronhades.com
More about Karada House: www.karada-house.de