Criticism, facts, and individuality

Today I received the first real criticism of the Path I am following. It was in answer to a post by one of those who witnessed.


I’m not going to link it. By being open about my Path, I open myself up to criticism. This I understand; this I accepted with my collar. But there are a few things that bother me about this particular piece of criticism.

First: The assumption that anyone involved was coerced or influenced into this is simply false. Asked, certainly, and asked several more times during the six months of planning to allow folks to change their minds – including myself.

Second: No one in the conversation following the post has, as far as I can see by words alone, invalidated or belittled anyone else’s path in any way. I cannot assume intent, nor can I know what might have been said in private messages. But so far as I can tell, no one but the original poster has directed any commentary anywhere but towards the original post.

Third: If one is going to write a criticism, I would ask that they have all of their facts correct, if only for the reason that it strengthens their argument. (And if there are any questions, I can easily be reached at

That said, I do want to set some basic facts straight, both because I can’t let misinformation stand, and for anyone coming to this blog from that one.

  • I was not bound. I was held down, yes, but not bound.
  • I received shallow cuts from the knife, and the sjambok broke my skin in places, but I was never freely bleeding.
  • Yes, I vomited twice in the hours following, after consuming too much coconut water too quickly.
  • I did not, at any time, lose consciousness.
  • I’ve said it before; I’ll say it again: I am not submissive in my BDSM practice. Never have been, never will be. Cernunnos is the only One to Whom I offer submission. Ever.
  • We had every safeguard possible – short of an on-site ambulance – to ensure the safety of all participants, including experienced standbys and an active EMT.
  • I cannot stress enough that everyone involved was there because they wanted to be, and everything was done with full cognizance and consent.

I can’t speak for anyone else’s experience. I can’t speak for anyone else’s state of mind. But I will say that everyone has a different path, each unique, each valuable. Mine is different, often darker, following a far less common and often more disturbing trail. It doesn’t invalidate the experience, beliefs, or path of any other traveler. But neither does any other traveler’s experience, beliefs, or path invalidate mine.

Is it the right course for everyone? Absolutely not. This is not a path one recommends; it’s one that a person comes to on their own, after a lot of forethought, soul-searching, and never, ever lightly. However, it is the right way for me. I stepped on this Path willingly, cognizant and aware. I asked others to help me on this leg of the journey, and they agreed without coercion or influence. I cannot thank them enough for that help, before, during, and after my Ordeal.

Be well, whatever Path you walk.

About Fala

Fala Redwing is dedicated to Cernunnos as lover, submissive, and slave. A practicing Pagan since 2001 and a member of the BDSM community since 2006, Fala is an eclectic Witch and natural switch. Fala can be contacted at

4 thoughts on “Criticism, facts, and individuality

  1. ali says:

    Actually if it matters to 3rd parties, you had a Paramedic of 10 years experience and EMT of 18 years experience. Almost everyone there had varying shades of basic training. You were well protected in that aspect. *smiles* j and I were honored to be there. You don’t have to justify yourself and path to anyone. My opinion doesn’t count in the big picture, but I was very proud of you.

  2. Eric S says:

    To the Challenger, who I assume will may not read this, what experience do you have with ordeals or similar work?

    I have been through something similar to what Fala did, although the spiritual reasons were different and so were some of the details. While there were a few details I did not understand, there was NO coercion involved.

    If you feel you are being told that you must walk the same road, I cannot imagine ANY ordeal traveler or leader who would EVER tell you that.

    If you wish to ask someone else who was there, I can be reached.

  3. Eric S says:

    I should add that there was actually a desire to bind you based on past experience but, at the last minute, we determined to go with holding you based on limited materials. You HAD to be able to move to reach the Lover and we did not have the right equipment or skills to do that any other way.

  4. Rowan says:

    Your path is uniquely that. YOURS. While this was a literal “beating” as it were. Every path has some form of self-flagellation in my experience. I can not pretend to know what spirit says to you, and under what name spirit speaks.

    Cernunnos speaks to me as Green Man, and so presents me with a very different face.

    What I have observed is you being challenged to be the best YOU that you can possibly be. What I have observed is your relationship with your husband being challenged to be the best it can be. Were that all Gods were so directly involved in the life of their own.

    Love, Love, Love and Light,


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