Books & Music
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
News & Politics
Religion & Spirituality
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies
Hook Pull Experience
The morning of April 10, 2010 I arrived at a private residence in the South of market district of San Francisco. My purpose there that day was to attend a hook poll workshop taught by Fakir Musafar, who did the branding on my left thigh back in 2001. The event was called "Spirit + Flesh," and Fakir has taught versions of this workshop in different locations for many years now. His purpose is to bring the awareness and experience of a more ancient and tribal ritual to contemporary society.
In the opening lecture period, the attendees were taught about different cultures who used physical ritual and bodily experience as part of their spiritual practices. Native American Indian rituals and practices found in the Hindu religion were explained and illustrated. Some wonderful video taken by anthropologists was shown, depicting traditional worship of the Hindu deity Murugan as occurs in parts of India, Indonesia and even southern parts of Africa.
In these traditional rituals, the experience of having body piercings and pulling against them is a means to ecstatic trance, a way of heightening sensation and connecting with Spirit. the dozen people attending the workshop were from multi-denominational backgrounds, however, an altar was built at one end of the workshop room to facilitate spiritual focus. Murugen, brother to the familiar Hindu god Ganesha, was depicted on the altar. He is the deity who oversees body piercings and is often shown as a young man carrying a spear of knowledge with which he pierces his devotees.
Following the historical inspirations, several of the facilitators talked about their own experiences with doing hook pulls. A variety of physical and mental reactions were discussed, piercing procedures were described and the participants were asked to think of an intention, to give their experiences a focus. Then everyone took a short break and changed into whatever clothing they wished to wear during the ritual portion. As people were going to be getting chest or back piercings (or both), the entire group was shirtless. Also available were piercings over the third eye (to stimulate insight) and cheek spears, known as vels which are traditional piercings found in Hindu ceremonies. By taking away the ability to speak, it is felt the celebrants are more able to focus on Spirit. Along with my chest piercings, I opted to get both of these as well.
When my time came to be pierced, I sat down on a bar stool and the areas to be pierced were prepared with surgical cleanser. The chest piercings were the hardest to endure, but it wasn't the actual piercing that was the most painful. It was the pinching up of the skin so that it could be pierced. Deep breathing was done to minimize the pain, but no anesthetics were used. The cheek spear was very quick to do, and made me realize that when you bite you own cheek accidentally, it's very painful as teeth are extremely blunt compared to a vel. The third eye piercing was done with a hypodermic tip and was very quick and easy.
I pulled against my chest piercings for close to two hours. As the endorphins released by the strong sensation built up, the physical experience shifted along a spectrum. My experience was more about being in my body than leaving it. I had periods where everything seemed intensely clear, like I was able to see everything little thing that was going on in the room. A few times I lost all sense of time and would have a sudden sense of "returning." Nearly a month later, I am still processing and interpreting the various thoughts and feelings I had during the ritual.
I wouldn't say this is an experience that I'd urge people to try. I feel that it's something which one would either feel called to do, or not. I'm so glad that I had the chance to do it myself.
Content copyright © 2013 by Rae Schwarz. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Rae Schwarz. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Rae Schwarz for details.
Website copyright © 2013 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.