shamanistic approach to suspension | General Discussion | Forum
March 20, 2014
I am kind of new to the church and I am trying to explore this site and how it works. My name is Brandon Sturgeon and I live in southern Indiana. I am in search of a group of people in my area that interested in a shamanistic approach to suspending. I do enjoy watching any suspension but for me I feel the performance approach is not what I'm looking for. I want so much to be able to work up to the sundance but unless I am invited it will not happen. I have not suspended yet but I want to and I want to do it this year. I feel like a back suspension would be appropriate for a first but who knows. It is all about your mind set and how you feel around the others that you are doing this with. I recently discovered Fakir Musafar and what he has done in his life and I really respect it. If there is anyone within the church that may have some info on this or is interested in doing this please let me know. you can email me also firstname.lastname@example.org . I feel like I need this more than anything right now and want to explore a balance of mind body and soul to better myself in my life and others as well.
Hi Brandon welcome to the forum.
I know that there are plenty of teams who will take a more ritualistic / shamanic approach to suspensions, but you won't often see pictures. Certainly not compared to performance or art suspensions where the pictures are more a part of the experience. The pictures there are of shamanic suspension may also not obviously be so, as the experience is primarily internal and thus may look like any other suspension.
I take a shamanic approach to my own suspensions but only those who know me well would recognise that if they watched i think.
My advice is to contact local teams and discuss what you want and what they do. Many teams will be able to cater for a variety of experiences, so just because you've seen them do high energy public shows don't assume that they don't also do more spiritual stuff. As you mention feeling comfortable is very import, so take your time to find the right people.
You can search via suspension.org if you haven't already.
March 20, 2014
I have taken the time to search suspension.org and have attempted to contact others from out of state and country. It seems likely that living in Indiana is not the best place for this kind of thing. I am now considering starting my own group in this area but I dont want to just jump on into it like I know everything. I have alot of education with piercing and how skin works which I do feel is important. I just want to be trusted in this art with anyone who chooses to do this with me. Where do I start?
You're wise not to jump into things. With suspension things can go seriously wrong if you don't know what you're doing.
The usual advice is to approach others and ask to learn first hand. There do seem to be a number of groups in or around your state. It is also recommended to attend suscon type conventions, such as Dallas Suscon (just missed it) or Mecca (this year's is soon i think).
Have you joined the Body Suspension group on Facebook? If not it's full of useful contacts and information. You can also ask questions such as those you have here and reach a much wider and more experienced audience.
I will admit that i did not learn directly from another team, instead taking the lengthy and difficult option to learn each aspect of suspension from scratch. It can be done but there is a lot to learn and there are no books on how to suspend people safely. It's also expensive to set up all the equipment yourself.
Key things you will need to know are;
Rigging and working at height. (This will include an understanding of safe working loads, rated equipment, principles of dynamics and force distribution, safe hoisting, as well as knots and rope use, threading pulleys etc. You will need this knowledge to have an idea of what equipment to buy. Expect to make a few expensive mistakes as you learn by buying things which aren't suitable.).
Aseptic technique, wound care, infection control and contamination issues. (Possibly the biggest risk in suspension, and something i see piercers get wrong all the time in much simpler situations. Learn about standard precautions and apply this to the rigging procedure. Get this wrong and people could get seriously hurt, or simply just expensive equipment becoming unusable when contaminated).Piercing, aftercare and first aid. (You need to know what to do if it goes wrong, such as being able to suture. Some of the piercing technique is very unique, especially hook placement, when compared to body piercing.).
Experience. (You WILL need this. My group practiced in non suspension situations, then to suspending each other and then close friends. We made a load of little mistakes which we learned from and continued to refine the process. I don't know anyone who suspends people who hasn't been through this process.).
Learn all this and you should be able to suspend safely. Then you can begin learning how to refine this. I have been helped by no end of experienced practitioners on little points and pieces of advice. If you are willing to listen and learn, and put in the work to try and do things as safely as possible, the suspension community is very warm and helpful.
March 20, 2014
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