“The study of magic is not a science, it is not an art, and it is not religion. Magic is a craft. When we do magic, we do not wish and we do not pray. We rely upon our will and our knowledge and our skill to make a specific change in the world…”
–Lev Grossman, The Magicians
I think my answer lies in an example I use a lot when I teach. If I come towards a person with a flogger, they know pretty much what’s going to happen. If I come towards a person with some fine leather bondage shackles, they know where they’re going to go. If I pull out some hand-blown fluted fire-cups, it’s pretty obvious what’s going to happen next.
If I walk towards someone with a coiled piece of hemp, they have no clue. Except that it will involve rope. Probably.
Here. I’ll set a timer, and come up with ten things I could do with that coil of rope:
- Cover it with a condom and fuck them.
- Knot the ends and give them a very sharp and painful whipping.
- Re-coil it into a soft, thuddy flogger.
- Tie a crotch rope hooked into their hair and make them give me head while rubbing out orgasm after orgasm.
- Hogtie them and enjoy their escape attempts.
- Use the rope to highlight a part of their anatomy (ass, breasts, cock & balls, whatever) and lavish attention on it.
- Introduce them to some Enforced Yoga Poses.
- String the knotted line across the room and force them to straddle it, walking along the line reciting humiliating phrases in Russian.
- Gag & blindfold them.
- Tie their hands together.
OK, that took me longer than expected – one minute and 15 seconds. Try it yourself; feel free to share your results in the comments. Admittedly, some might say that the last one (or two) shouldn’t count, that they’re too basic. That’s a subject for another post.
My point is that rope is nothing but potential until I exercise my skill and desire upon it-and at that point, the range of options available is greater than any other tool I’ve seen. It’s Schroedinger’s Rope, if you will: it’s everything until you make it something. It is unknowable:
The Unknowable is that which lies in the cracks between the known and the irrelevant…the Unknowable lives in a pack of cards after it has been fairly shuffled but before it has been dealt, when all the possibilities are open, and which each possibility matters.
—Stephen Brust & Emma Bull, Freedom and Necessity
That rope will do nothing without the rigger’s will. Their intent.
That intention may be nothing more than to replicate the knots on some picture they saw.
Or it may be with the intention of creating a passionate experience filled with ephemeral beauty for an audience of two.
I know which I prefer. And that is why rope, Lochai.
That is my ropecraft.