THE WONDER explores perspectives, rituals, and observances of modern, naturalistic, Earth-revering Neopagan religious paths. Naturalistic Pagans embrace the world as understood by science (that is, without gods, magic, or the supernatural), and enhance our lives with myth, ritual and activism. Hosted by Mark Green (author of ATHEOPAGANISM: An Earth-Honoring Path Rooted in Science) and Yucca (formerly of The Pagan Perspective YouTube channel, and of the Magic and Mundane channel). All opinions are those of the speaker, not necessarily those of The Atheopagan Society. Named #3 in the top 20 Pagan podcasts for 2023! https://blog.feedspot.com/pagan_podcasts/
Monday Sep 04, 2023
Monday Sep 04, 2023
Monday Sep 04, 2023
Remember, we welcome comments, questions, and suggested topics at thewonderpodcastQs@gmail.com.
Yucca: Welcome back to The Wonder Science Based Paganism. I'm your host, Yucca.
Mark: And I'm Mark.
Yucca: And today, we're talking about the senses, the other senses in our practices. So, the ones like smell and taste and touch that sometimes we can forget about.
Mark: Right. Yeah, I mean, humans are very visually oriented and they're very sound oriented. That, that tends to be the senses that we lead with, those of us who have those senses. And so, Our orientation towards what we do in ritual, what we do in our practices, all that kind of thing, will often kind of lean into those senses because that's what we're used to leading with.
But the other senses are also very compelling Very compelling, and can be powerful instruments in changing our consciousness and influencing the effectiveness of our ritual practices. So, today we're talking about that.
Yucca: That's right. And before we go much further, we should say that Yes, there are other senses. We're talking about the classical senses, which I think are useful because they are senses that, one, we have a specific organ, which is dedicated to that sense, and it's also about our interaction with the outside world, where we do have other senses like proprioception or things like that, but that's it.
Those are a little bit less obvious. Now, not that they aren't important and that you couldn't bring awareness of that into your practice, but for now, we're just going to be talking about those three in the more classical sense.
Mark: Yes. Yeah, I think That's plenty.
Mark: We could, I mean, we could certainly dive into other things, but I think, you know, that'll, that'll certainly take up our time.
Yucca: which is a fun rabbit hole if you're looking for a research rabbit hole to go down is how do we define senses and all of that stuff is delightful.
Mark: Sure. Okay.
Yucca: Now, let's start with, with smell, right? I think that's a good place to start.
Mark: Smell is a particularly powerful emotionally evocative sense. Our olfactory receptors are hooked pretty deep in our brains. You know, when you think back to, I mean really back to our earliest ancestors, the single celled organisms, they were able to detect the chemical nature of what surrounded them and move away from what was harmful, move towards what might be food.
That is, in essence, smell. That, so that, that sense has been coded into us from the very beginning, and in fact we've lost a lot. Of what we used to have in the way of smell in, in the way of, of the olfactory scents but it's still very powerful for us and it's very influential over our mood.
Yucca: It is, and it's one of those that is often hanging out in the background that we're really not conscious of, sometimes if there is a strong, potent smell, but we often start to tune smells out, even though they're there, they're there. And we don't think about them consciously, but they are influencing our mood and our, how we feel about things, and I'm guessing that most people listening, that if you have a sense of smell, that at some point in your life, you've encountered a smell.
And all of a sudden you're just, memory wise, just back at some previous scene in your life, right? The smell of walking into a coffee shop or the, you know, cigars and you're sitting on your grandpa's lap again or something like that,
Mark: Mm hmm. Yes, exactly. And the, the challenge in some cases with really cultivating that sense and its ability to influence our mood is that we have some social rules around acknowledging smell. There are a lot of smells that we're like supposed to pretend are not there
Yucca: Mm hmm.
Mark: because it's embarrassing for people or, you know, whatever it is, or you're not supposed to be critical of how somebody's house smells, that kind of thing.
Yucca: And humans are not supposed to have any smell whatsoever. We're supposed to... Be completely smellless. Yeah,
Mark: unless it's some goop that you apply to yourself, which has no relation to what a human actually smells like.
Yucca: Something that vaguely smells like a flower from the other side of the world, but maybe not, because you've never actually smelled what this flower really smells like. But they say on the bottle that that's what it is.
Mark: right. There you go.
Mark: I have a natural deodorant that I use once in a while when I'm going to be wearing a bunch of layers. And It's it's scented with ylang ylang. I have no idea what ylang ylang actually smells like. There it is, ylang ylang. So,
Yucca: enjoy looking at the bit. The names of, like, when you go through the aisle at the store, and, like, how they will name products, because sometimes it's just the name of a flower or something like that, and other times they just, they just give them these really weird names, like, it's like Spicy Night Out or something, and you're like, wow.
Mark: fresh garden scent.
Yucca: Yes. Fresh garden. Okay. Compost? I have yet to see that one. That would be a good one.
Mark: that would be a good one. Yeah, compost musk.
Yucca: Yes. Yeah. Anyways. You were saying that they're, first of all, acknowledging That the, that these things exist that they're a part of our world. Mm hmm. Mm
Mark: so, and, you know, I'm not, I'm not recommending that people suddenly start violating all the social rules around, around scent and smell. I'm just saying that it's helpful to be aware of that so that you can suspend those rules when you're engaging with your practice so that you can really let yourself kind of drift away on the associative memories and that the scents bring up for you.
Yucca: That you can be aware of them and make choices once you're aware of that, those norms, then you can decide. A lot of them are there for perfectly good reasons, right? Like you're saying, we're not saying necessarily just throw them all out the window, but you have a choice once you're aware of it, that awareness is the first step.
Mark: In terms of practice, I not infrequently use incenses and sometimes I don't burn them. Sometimes I just kind of sit them out because they're, they smell good without burning. I'm particularly fond of the resinous incenses, like frankincense and myrrh and dragon's blood. Those, they smell super sacred to me.
As soon as that hits my nose, they're just like, wow, here I am in the temple.
Yucca: hmm. Frankincense is one that I use in my house on a regular basis. Yeah.
Mark: Yeah. So your kids may come to associate that with home.
Yucca: They may, yeah. We use a lot of, of... Synths in the house, and I change it throughout the year so there's some that that's just like the frankincense, that often feels more like of a fall kind of wintry one to me but I still use it throughout the year simply because I love it, but we have a little diffuser that I'll put the oils in And then in the winter, we heat with a wood stove.
And since we're such a dry climate, I'll often have a little humidifier on top of the stove. So I've got a little iron kettle that is just for making sure that the house isn't so dry that you get nosebleeds from it, because really, we are in such a dry climate. So I'll usually put some drops of different oils into that.
And throughout the year, the It is a conscious choice, but there's just certain smells that just... They just feel like they fit the season better.
Yucca: And I was, I was mentioning to Mark before we started recording that here, it's really feeling like autumn is coming a bit early this year. Like it's the end of summer, but most years this would still be the end of summer.
Right now it feels like the beginning of fall. So I noticed the, the choices that I am making in the morning when I'm putting some little oils in, they're more, they got a little bit more spicy of a. You know, I put some clove in the other day and some things like that and it just, it just changes the feel and the mood of the, the house.
Mark: It does.
Yucca: think the kids really will grow up with that, right?
Mark: for sure. Yeah, there's something about kind of curating your olfactory experience that is, I mean, Here we are. We've got these senses, right? And we can either be just sort of buffeted by the winds of whatever comes along in a literal sense or we can we can make choices about what we choose to surround ourselves with in the way of, of olfactory cues.
And what I find is that the, the incenses that I use are so specific, each one is so specific in its felt sense. I mean, I wanted to say vibe. I mean, we know what that means, right? That sort of felt emotional sense that comes up when you smell a particular thing. That I'm afraid I have a lot of them and I kind of hoard them. I mean, I haven't bought incenses in years, but I have them all in sealed tubes and jars and boxes and things like that. Actually, this brings up a little story that came up recently. We were having the Thursday night atheopagan Zoom mixer. And I got to telling a story about this one particular incense that I just love which I said was called Five Grandfathers, and it was made by a metaphysical shop in San Francisco called The Sword and the Rose.
And a person who was on the call typed it in and the shop still exists.
Mark: And, and they, they make, they craft all their own incenses and they do it in the, you know, in a ritual way and all this kind of stuff. They have oils and all that kind of stuff as well. I think it's the swordandtherose. net, I think is their shop.
But it turned out it was six grandfathers, not five. I had just misremembered and the label fell off years ago. But now that I know that I can get more of it I burned some the other day. And it is this incredibly earthy, evocative really unusual it has a couple of kinds of pine bark in it and tobacco and some really unusual things that you don't usually find in incenses and it, it just seems super earthy to me and, and very evocative.
The story that the man at the shop told me was that his image of it is of the six grandfathers sitting in a kiva. And I can just see that image so well when I, when I burn this incense, it's so cool.
Yucca: Oh, that's one I can, I'm just imagining what that smell might be right now.
Yucca: We don't have a word for it. Picture, we can't, I can't picture it, right? We don't have a, we don't have a word to say that, right?
Yucca: Because when it's a, Visual scene, I can picture it in my mind, but I can't, we need another word for smelling it.
Mark: I wonder if it's possible to learn to imagine scent.
Yucca: oh, I, I certainly can,
Mark: Can you?
Yucca: absolutely, yeah.
Mark: Okay. I, I can't imagine it.
Yucca: to, okay, yeah. Well, different people have different relationships to what they can imagine and what they can't.
Yucca: I know my father doesn't see things in his mind,
Yucca: right? We've talked about it, but he doesn't. He doesn't dream in pictures, he doesn't see things but feel has a very strong physical awareness of how spaces feel, right?
I haven't asked him about whether he can smell things, but I can smell and taste things the sensation of a touch of something, right? Like I can imagine petting a big fluffy dog right now, and it's a very strong sensation, right? And I can, I can smell the smell of the dog's breath, right? Dogs have that very distinctive, they're stinky, but it's like you still kind of like it anyways.
You're like, oh, you're such a sweetie, right? Like that happy dog breath.
Yucca: Like, that's just very visceral, and we just, I think our language lacks words to really talk about those sorts of experiences in the same way we can talk about visual things.
Mark: Yes, yeah, I, I really think that's true because what smell evokes in us is a felt sense, sort of an atmosphere or a, you know, what some people call an energy or a vibe, right?
Yucca: It's a body awareness, but it's not body in the sense of, I don't, it's not something I'm experiencing with my hands it's not something I'm experiencing with my eyes, but there's a, there's something much more primal about the experience.
Mark: yes. And I, and I agree with you that we don't have good language to describe those kinds of sensations. Like, like the feeling of shame, for example, when you're suddenly embarrassed by something. There is a very definite felt sense in my chest when that happens. And it's a physical sensation.
It's not just an emotion. It's a physical sensation in my body, but we don't have words for those kinds of things.
Mark: Yeah. So scent very powerful very useful in rituals for creating a sacred space. You know, and it, and a little goes a long way. I mean, I've, I've been to rituals where there were great fuming braziers of incense and it kind of smoked me out and, you know, had to leave early.
Yucca: It can be such a challenge because that's one where people experience it so differently, right? What is a small, a strong smell to you may not be to somebody else. And what emotional state people are in is going to influence how much they can perceive it or not. We'll talk more about this with taste as well, but taste and smell are very connected.
When we're a lot around really loud noises and vibrations that can change how we perceive it, right? When, and I'd have to go back and find the original sources on this, but my understanding is that when we are in airplanes, with all of the noise and the vibrations, we don't actually taste as well as we do when we're in a calmer setting.
Mark: That's interesting.
Mark: That explains airplane food.
Yucca: right, that if you eat that same food on the ground when the engines are off, you will have a very different experience of it than when, I don't know how loud it is in an airplane, but it's...
Yucca: loud. It's loud, right?
Mark: Yeah. And it's kind of amazing that the brain is able to, in many ways, kind of filter that out. It resets your baseline, so you're able to have conversations with people and so forth, despite the fact that there's this very loud noise going on.
Yucca: I find I get exhausted. I can sleep very easily on airplanes because it is just so except if I have to sit by the window and then I can't not look out the window the whole time. I do not have the money nor do I want to spend the fossil fuels to do this, but I would be the person that If those weren't an issue, we'd just buy tickets just to sit and look out the
Mark: And look at the, look at the landscape, look at the clouds. It's, it's amazing. Yeah, I'm, I'm taking a red eye to Washington, D. C. in a couple of weeks and I'm, I don't sleep well on planes, so I'm really not looking forward to it.
Yucca: Well, maybe you'll have to listen to some good podcast or something like
Mark: Yeah, yeah. You know of any?
Yucca: So some, you're talking about using scents intentionally in ritual,
Yucca: So, so one thing that we can do with scents, and this applies to any of the other senses as well, is we can purposefully associate them with things
Mark: Mm hmm.
Yucca: and be our own little Pavlov's dogs. Where if we want to invoke a sense of comfort or something like that, we can, when we get into that state, bring out the thing that has that smell.
Right? Like, I'm thinking, for instance, of like a lavender pillow. Have you seen those little bags that people stuff lavender with? Well, that's something that you, if you wanted to use that scent, you get into that space, you smell the scent, you think about the scent and you experience the feeling that you have, and you intentionally do that several times and just reinforce that so that your body That's just a clue that you use just to do that.
Mark: I have an example from the annual hallows ritual that my, my ritual circle, Dark Sun, does and I introduced this, but I use it every year, but sometimes. I got a little vial of cedar oil, and the reason I got cedar was because for some reason cedar reminds me of coffins.
Mark: seems like cedar would be a good material to make a coffin out of.
So there's this sort of funereal solemn quality, I think, to the scent of cedar oil. And we've used it to anoint foreheads and things like that so that that scent is kind of around during the ritual and it's powerful. It's very powerful. I don't use it for anything else.
Yucca: Mm hmm.
Mark: It sits on my ancestor and underworld altar for the rest of the year.
I'm looking at it right now.
Yucca: Cedar's one that I tend to use around this time of year,
Mark: Is it?
Yucca: right? It is one that I associate with a late summer, early fall. Kind of, and then as we get into the winter, I'll definitely switch more into some of the piney, sappy kind of smells.
Mark: yeah, for sure, Yeah, and maybe this is a good place to transition into taste. Because taste and smell, as you say, are, are very deeply related with one another. I can imagine tastes.
Mark: So, and considering that taste is other than the, you know, the, what, six, seven types of taste buds that we have, all the rest of it is olfactory.
So, maybe I'm just, I need to practice imagining smells.
Yucca: Well, what if you start with a really strong one, like walking into a coffee shop that roasts its own beans?
Mark: I just, I just imagined a smell, ammonia.
Yucca: ammonia, oh, that's a, yep.
Yucca: say that and I've got, right
Mark: there it is.
Yucca: I can even feel the part of, of my nose where it is,
Mark: Where it burns.
Yucca: it burns, yeah oh yeah,
Mark: Okay. So I can't imagine since I'm just not very practiced at it. Okay. That's good to know. So taste. I have used taste in rituals where in order as kind of a part of induction into the ritual state, into trance, that very present flow state that That is, you know, what we seek to create in ritual space.
I've used cues like a single dark chocolate chip,
Mark: for example, you know, you put the chocolate chip on the tongue of each participant because there's, there's a way that that flavor, it kind of floods your sensorium with this. Deliciousness, and it's kind of a full body experience. It pulls you into, into being in, in, in your body rather than thinking about other abstract things.
Yucca: right? Reminds me of communion when you say that, right? Like, I think that's probably some of what's going on with that, that, little sip of wine, right?
Mark: I've used sips of wine as well. Now, under COVID, it's not so convenient because you're not going to have a single chalice.
Yucca: That you can, yeah.
Mark: just kind of wipe the lip and, and move on. But it could still be done. You could have a tray of, you know, little, little cups of wine and,
Yucca: Well, that's, you know, depending on, different churches have done different things, but ones that I have visited, I've seen they have, like, basically the little shot glasses, that there's just a little sip for each person, right? And then they have, like, the little wafer In fact, I visited one once in which the wafers came pre packaged and they're a little, like, plastic, like, thinking of, like, it would be, it sort of looked like the thing that Like, the flight attendant would give you on the plane, like, one of those little cookies.
Of course, that's somewhat wasteful, but it's, it was, I found it quite charming, right? It was like, oh, okay, that's a good solution. This was even pre COVID, like, okay, yeah, so, but that's something that humans, I bring up communion because it's, we've been perfecting this ritual thing for, you
Mark: Yes. Yes. There, there is nothing in a traditional Catholic mass service that isn't carefully calculated to create a particular mood, a particular set of emotions, a particular worldview. I mean, it's all very carefully curated. And. And, I mean, I, I find, you know, cathedral architecture and Gregorian chant and, you know, ritual music and the simple incense that they use and, I mean, all that stuff is just really amazing as a kind of sensory experience.
I, I don't care for the theology,
Yucca: I don't like, I don't particularly care for the theology or the message, but I, I I really do enjoy mass.
Mark: mm hmm,
Yucca: That, you know, that's something my, our father taught us when we were little, like, how to, you know, he was raised Catholic and obviously did not raise us Catholic, but taught us how to go through the movements and everything so that we could experience it.
And I just loved the whole ritual of all of it, and the, you know, the kneeling as you go in, and the water, and the pre like, all of this stuff is just, it's so effective,
Mark: It is super effective and that's why I reference some of those things in the Atheopagan Ritual Primer and in my book, my first book, the Atheopaganism book, because Because we've been doing these ritual things, you know, for tens of thousands of years, and we've learned a lot, and it's not, you know, these, these techniques, you know, we're not inventing them now.
They've, they've been used for a very long time. We're repurposing many of them to create modern pagan rituals.
Yucca: And they were repurposed before us, too. That's the, you know, they came from other sources as well.
Mark: So taste it is traditional in many pagan denominations, I guess I'd call them, or paths that cakes and ale is a a segment of the ritual that takes place after the main working of the ritual. In the structure that I've proposed which is arrival invocation of qualities. Deep working or deep play or working, gratitude and then benediction the cakes and ale or sharing a ritual meal piece happens during the gratitude phase because we're grateful to eat and it makes our bodies happy to food into them.
So that, that's another thing where. You know, you pass bread or cookies or, in some cases, meat depending on who's doing it and what time of year and all that kind of stuff.
Yucca: hmm. Yeah.
Outside of a formal ritual, something that I like to do when I go in my own land, when I'm just hanging out and being like, hey! Friendry. But when I go somewhere that, like on an adventure with the kids a couple months back we went into the Carlsbad Caverns and things like that, is to actually taste the air.
Now, that's again mixing in with the smell as well, but there is a very, places have really distinctive tastes, and you can take a deep breath in, kind of, it makes me imagine like the wine tasters and it's kind of the same way that you might taste the wine in your mouth and like move it around and all of that.
You can do that with the air and taste it. the back of your, on your tongue, in the back of your throat. And every place is very different,
Yucca: right? It's a little, it's subtle, right? Because it's not the same as like putting a chocolate chip on your tongue. But, but the taste of a city and different cities have different tastes, right?
And I'm not talking about putting things literally in your mouth other than the air. In some places that might be perfectly safe. If you're in the middle of a forest and you want to taste a pine needle, that's probably fine. Other places you might not want to pick up a rock and taste it because it's got diesel on it or something like that.
But experiencing the environments that we're in on a, consciously choosing to experience them on a level that isn't just site, I think, can really help us. Actually, I did a video on the YouTube channel about that a couple weeks back.
Mark: Go check that out.
Yucca: but yeah, that's there. So, I think that that really helps to connect with the places where we are and slow down a bit,
Mark: Mm hmm.
Because the more that we're experiencing things, the more new and novel things, the slower the time becomes. Your awareness of that. So a lot of this talk about how, when we were little, it seemed like our childhoods took up so much more time in our lives, and now the older we get, just the faster and faster time goes.
But I've found that this is something I've been working very consciously on, is trying to slow that down. and going, I can't actually signif like, I don't really get to choose how many years I actually get to be alive for. I can, you know, make certain choices that will help me to live longer, but, you know, I could be in a car accident tomorrow.
But what I can do is I can experience the moments that I have more deeply, and doing things like pausing and tasting the air, or really smelling the environment. around you, I have found really helps to get back a little bit of that stretched out time the way it felt when I was a child.
Mark: Huh. Huh. Yeah, I can really see that. And that brings us to touch, which is kind of an entirely different thing. And I, I think the reason it's a different thing is that when we breathe in a scent or we taste something, we do not yet consider it to be a part of ourselves. It's something that's in the process of becoming part of ourselves by being breathed in or by being ingested, but it's not us yet.
Whereas touch is very intimate. Because it's engaging with our skin, which is us. Does that make sense?
Yucca: Does, I mean, when we, when we're smelling something, or we're tasting something, it's, it literally is going into our bodies.
Mark: I know, but we don't think of it that
Yucca: yeah like, with smell, it's almost like a lock and key thing happening,
Yucca: but yeah, there's something different with the touch that,
like, I think it's, it's tapping into something a little bit more Like a different kind of instinctual reaction because the touch is, well, first of all, there's a lot of different touch, but some of it is there so that we know, like, get away, don't get eaten so going back to when we were way, way pre pre mammal ancestors, we were just these tiny little worm things we bump into something, oop, don't get eaten by that, go somewhere else Yeah
Mark: Yeah, so,
Yucca: I think I see what you're saying with that, like there's a
Mark: well, there's a question of safety. The immediacy of touch raises the question of safety. You know, am I, am I safe being in contact with this, whatever it is? We, there are ways that things that you breathe or things that you ingest can harm you. They're more the exception than the rule. We, you know, we eat every day, we breathe all the time.
We kind of assume that what we're doing in those regards is, is gonna be okay for us.
Yucca: right, and the, I mean, taste is there partly to let us know, oh, spit that out, that's poisonous, don't eat that but then we spit it out and it's, it's out, it's gone yeah, but yeah, the safety, and safety in both ways like, are we not safe, and are we safe? Because again, going back to that mammal side, when we're, when we're born, we're we clinging to our parents, right?
We hold on to the other animals because we're a social, we're a social animal. And we're held by and we don't wanna be put down. We'll, we'll make that pretty clear.
Mark: When people have a traumatic experience, Very frequently, what's done by emergency personnel is to put a blanket around them. And it's not because they're cold. It's because the blanket provides a feeling of safety. The, the, the tactile experience of having the back of your neck covered and, you know, all of that is, it And I've actually done this in ritual circles where if somebody was having a really hard time, they were, you know, going through an experience because the ritual had brought things up for them.
I've, I've actually brought people a blanket and put it around them for, for that purpose. And it makes a lot of difference. So these,
Yucca: a weighted blanket that is just amazing for that.
Mark: Yeah, my partner Nemea has a weighted blanket too and she loves it.
Yucca: Another one, this is a little bit more, more extreme than a blanket, but it's a squishbox. If you ever feel like you really, really just, you just really need to climb into a hole you can make a box that is big enough for you to get in, so maybe, you could also do this with a bathtub if you happen to have it, and just fill it with blankets or, you know, pillows and things like that, and you just get in it between all of those things.
That stuff, and you just feel squooshed and safe and surrounded. Because sometimes when you feel like, I want to be in a hole, being in the hole is the best thing that you can do for that feeling. So, probably you don't actually have a literal hole, so you can just make one, right?
Mark: Well, and, and I've seen memes, I mean both of us are neurodivergent, obviously in different ways because everybody's different but I've seen memes from particularly people on the spectrum where that sort of being crushed feeling is very comforting. It's like it keeps you from flying apart. In some way.
And so, you know, just kind of a bear hug from a trusted person can give a similar sort of, you know, squash me until I'm safe sort of feeling.
Yucca: yeah. Oh, I just love that name, Bear Hug, too. It just makes me think of, that was something that I remember as being a little kid, is I would ask for the bear hug, I want the bear hug, and they go, rrrrr, give the growl, and the big hug, and with the, you know, the big arms of the parents. So, yeah, those things, those never, you know.
Talking about how short, it's amazing how short our childhoods are, but how that never leaves us, right? Even though a lot of times we don't, we don't remember most of our lives, right? We cannot remember most of our childhoods, let alone our adult lives, and yet it influences us so much.
Mark: Yes, yeah, so many of the associative memories we were talking about was sent and so forth. So many associative memories that pop into your mind at a random time are from your childhood. They're just, that's, that's when all this baseline stuff was being laid down and we go back to it over and over again.
So, so yeah, touch. And I have used. Textured things in ritual like fur or even things like steel wool or like a pet brush, you know, that wire, the, the, the sharp wire pet brush, you know, those kinds of things, you know, if you very gently brush it along the skin or if they brush their fingers along it all of those are, are, Ways of once again, you know, pulling someone into being in their body and being in immediacy and presence rather than the past and the future. Yes.
Yucca: yeah. Temperature as well. Temperature's a big one. And you can go either direction with that. And there's some simple things that you can use, like, like those little heat pads, those hand warmers.
Mark: Mm hmm.
Yucca: But there's also the ones, you can get the little cold packs, that they're about the same size, they're for if, you know, somebody hurt their ankle or something like that, but, which by the way, I carry those whenever hiking because if somebody is getting overheated, you can open up one of those packs and have them put it underneath their armpit, or between their legs, and that really helps to start to cool them down faster.
Same thing in this. In the winter, do that with the, with the heat pack.
Yucca: But that's something that you could do in a ritual space as well.
Mark: Yes. Yes. All of this stuff. I mean, you know who really specializes in this stuff, who's really, really good at it is the BDSM community.
Mark: of this is called sensation play.
Yucca: Mm hmm.
Mark: And, I mean, they have, they've got feathers, and they've got horse whips, and they've got everything in between. They've got thuddy things, and they've got stingy things, and they've got gentle things, and they've got cold things, and they've got hot things, and, you know, this is all, you know, something that they really narrow in on, you know, dialing in exactly what works for people in, in all those circumstances and People that are on the receiving end of that are also exploring, okay, that works for me.
Okay, that doesn't, you know, this evokes a particular emotion in me. So it's all, it's very interesting stuff.
Yucca: Makes a lot of sense. Yeah.
Yucca: And I mean, so that could be a really good resource, and it doesn't necessarily have to be a sexual experience.
Yucca: So that may be the focus in that particular community, but the knowledge could be applied to, to any sort of sensation that you're, that you're intentionally invoking.
Mark: Exactly. Exactly. So, yeah, because there are multiple axes of That, that community explores. There are things around power, there are things around shame, there are things around physical sensation. There, as I say, there are these multiple axes that people will explore with one another. And that's all great, but what we're talking about right now is the sensation piece, the touch piece.
And yeah, so, I mean, Welcoming a blindfolded person into the ritual circle with a soft caress of a feather on the side of their face. You know, you, you just, particularly if, if they're blindfolded so that they're not depending on visual cues for everything. There's a way that that can really make the body's senses come alive.
And then you have powerful experiences of these other sensations that are provided.
Yucca: the blindfold, sometimes just closing your eyes or having a blindfold is enough to get you to shift to thinking about and paying it to paying attention to the other senses, because they're there. But it's whether we're really engaging with them or not. And then learning to use them, like just a couple minutes ago, with the imagining it when you said, Oh, yeah, I can imagine. I just have to practice it. I think that applies to all these other things, right? We, most of us can physically smell. It's just, do we practice noticing that and refining that? Most of us do have a sense of touch. So how much attention are we paying to it? How much are we not?
Mark: Huh. Yeah. And so, I guess, kind of moving towards a summation of all this, this, you know, the senses are kind of a playground. And they, they are very influential over what our psychological state is. And we, as practitioners of paths that we add. Deliberately work to affect our psychological state in ways that benefit us and that enable us to have, you know, experiences.
Really, you know, need to look at that. We, we need to be aware of all the different ways that, that our senses can be helpful for us. Particularly those that we don't tend to pay as much attention to, like, like scent and, and taste and touch.
Mark: Well, this has been super interesting again. Thank you for, for a great conversation. Yeah, this was a good idea. I'm, I'm glad we did this.
Yucca: Yeah. Thank you. And thanks everyone for hanging out with us and listening. And we really appreciate you being here with us.
Mark: We sure do.
Yucca: We'll see you next week.