JE LIEBER JE LANGER
The literal translation of the German phrase “je lieber je langer” is “the better the longer”
In her poem which begins ‘Even long after my death’ Maria Martins (1900-1973), the vivacious wife of the Brazilian ambassador to the United States who was known to others as simply ‘Maria’ the surrealist sculptor and lover of artist Marcel Duchamp, exclaimed;
Even long after my death
Long after your death
I want to torture you
I want the thought of me
to coil around your body like a serpent of fire…
I want the nostalgia of my presence to paralyze you.
A passion reciprocal is offered here amid ‘sleepless nights’, a legacy wherein a ‘haze’ of ‘desires’ stretches through time until death. We are reminded of Petrarch’s ‘variis terroribus’ and his 14th century poems addressed to Laura, an idealised beloved who is thought to have been the unattainable Laura de Noves, the wife of Count Hugues de Sade (an ancestor of the Marquis de Sade).
Laura de Noves married at the age of 15 (January 16th, 1325) and Petrarch saw her for the first time two years later on April 6th (Good Friday) in 1327 at Easter mass in the church of Sainte-Claire d’Avignon. Falling in love at first sight, Petrarch would be haunted by her beauty for the rest of his life. Already being married she would turn down all advances he made toward her.
Did Laura exist? Fontenelle in his Nouveaux dialogues des morts (1773) re-imagines Laura in conversation with Sapho contemplating the “inexpressibly delightful mixture of pleasure and pain, which is the soul of the amour.”
In a letter Petrarch assured his close friend Bishop Giacomo Colonna, that Laura was indeed a real woman and his love a cruel passion. Her image haunted him by day and by night, at home and out of doors, awake or asleep, even after her demise. The relentless vision of Laura became an illness, a yoke of unbearable chains. Even as the poet sought refuge in the thickest woods Laura’s face seemed to appear in thickets, trunks of trees, fountains, and rocks. “In fact, often in the dead of night,” writes Aldo S Bernardo, “she breaks through the locked doors of his bedroom to claim her slave, causing him unspeakable agony and terror…”
Laura died at the age of 38 in the year 1348, on April 6th, Good Friday, exactly 21 years to the very hour that Petrarch first saw her (as Petrarch noted in his copy of a work by Virgil). Several years after her death, Maurice Sceve, a humanist, visiting Avignon had her tomb opened and discovered inside a lead box. Inside was a medal representing a woman ripping at her heart, and under that, a sonnet by Petrarch;
Here now repose those chaste, those blest remains
Of that most gentle spirit…
O lovely beauteous limbs! O vivid fire,
That even in death hast power to melt the soul!
Before his death in 1374 Petrarch bequested a sum of money to astronomer and horologist Giovanni de Dondi to be exchanged for a ring – a simple ‘O’ ring – “to be worn by him in my memory.” This image, a simple O, was used as a mnemonic device following Petrach’s death, to teach the alphabet in a book about memory, Giovambattista Della Porta’s The Art of Memory.
One is put in mind of another ‘O’, and the rings worn by the protagonists in Story of O, particularly that which is worn by O herself in order that memories of Roissy might sustain her paralysis of subservience. Indeed, Dominique Aury (1907-1998) who hid behind the pseudonym Pauline Réage for forty years, created in Histoire d’O another simple ‘O’ which has become a bequest, a simple (and as it turned out, single) gift which after 64 years still weaves its own haze of desires, and might even be blamed for many of our ‘sleepless nights’.
The Two Rings
O’s ring is worn also as a symbol of her ‘graduation’ from the Roissy chateau and, upon recognition, grants freedom of access to O’s body, if wished for, by those in-the-know, the members of the Roissy clandestine society.
Today two O-rings can be found to have derived from Story of O. The so-called shackle slave ring and the BDSM emblem ring, or Triskelion.
Of the slave ring FetJeweller Franklin explains, “Over time these rings have also come to be called “Collar Rings” because they look similar to the collars worn on necks. These rings are fashioned after the ring that O wore in the film version of “Story of O” as she experiences her journey through BDSM exploring her submissiveness. Often known as the “Story of O ring”, it has also been called the “Story of O slave ring”, or simply a “slave ring”.
Franklin states, “the slave O-ring is now worn by submissives, Dominants, Tops, and bottoms alike. They are worn on any finger, including the thumb. Some wearers choose to wear a slave ring on the left hand if submissive and on the right hand if Dominant; however, this is by no means a hard-and-fast rule.”
The ring mentioned in the original novel is unlike that which features in the 1974 movie. Wikipedia reminds us it, “was quite different from what is most commonly known as the “Ring of O” today. The novel describes the ring as shaped similarly to a signet ring (with a seal disk on top which was relatively large for a woman’s ring), made out of dull-gray polished iron, lined with gold on the inside, and with a golden Triskelion on its top area.”
The triskelion symbol appears in many early cultures, the first in Malta(4400–3600 BC). The triple spiral motif is a Neolithic symbol in Western Europe. Though popularly considered a “Celtic” symbol, it is an ancient Aryan symbol.
In the USA Stephen Flowers, head of the self styled Order of the Triskelion, a magical order in Texas dedicated to the practice of carnal alchemy, maintains in his book Carnal Alchemy that the symbol of the triskelion appearing in Story of O is one of the clues to a hidden reality behind the fiction.
The slave ring’s symbolic meaning in the novel also differs somewhat from the one commonly used among BDSM practitioners today. In the book, Wikipedia explains, such a ring is worn by a female “slave” after she has finished her training at Roissy. Those wearing the ring are obliged to be obedient to any man who belongs to the secret society of Roissy (whose emblem is the triskelion), and must allow him to do absolutely everything with them that he pleases.
The France based La Communauté du Triskel has made available to its members a ring designed to mirror that described in the book:
Il la pria ensuite de choisir, parmi des bagues toutes semblables, qu’il lui présentait dans un petit coffret de bois, celle qui irait à son annulaire gauche. C’étaient de curieuses bagues de fer, intérieurement cerclées d’or, dont le chaton large et lourd, comme le chaton d’une chevalière mais renflé, portait en nielles d’or, le dessin d’une sorte de roue à trois branches, qui chacune se refermait en spirale, semblable à la roue solaire des Celtes.
Fet Jeweller Franklin explains, “In the mid 1990’s, a discussion on AOL set the course for what we know as the BDSM emblem. There was an idea that a symbol was needed to represent this brand of sexuality and lifestyle. As well, the symbol needed to be a bit mysterious. When worn, it could not attract a great deal of attention from “vanilla observers”. It did have to be easily recognized by those who knew what it was.
In the end, Steve Quagmyr, a leader of the discussion, created an emblem reminiscent of the yin-yang design. The choice of design was influenced by a description of the ring that “O” was given in the novel “The Story of O” (which is very different from that worn in the movie version). The ring as described in the book ” . . . bore a three-spoked wheel . . . with each spoke spiralling back upon itself . . .”.
So, there you have it. The BDSM practitioner has basically two choices of symbolic ring. Of the Triskelion ring Franklin explains, “Within the BDSM emblem that we use today are the three spokes which create three divisions along several possible lines of representation. One is that they represent the three divisions of BDSM: bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism. A second idea is that each division represents one aspect of the BDSM motto of “safe, sane, and consensual”. A third meaning that can be derived from the divisions is that of the three segments of the BDSM community, namely, tops, bottoms, and switches. – Quagmyr describes the metallic colour as a representation of the chains or irons of BDSM and the black background as a celebration of the controlled dark side of BDSM sexuality. The curved lines symbolize the “lash as it swings”, and the circle shape represents the unity and oneness of a “community that protects its own”.
Two O-Ring Makers
After graduating with an Honours Diploma in Jewellery Arts at the top of his class and then achieving the coveted title of Graduate Gemologist, ‘Franklin’ embarked upon a fascinating career. He spent four decades designing and constructing fine jewelry. For most of those years he worked for himself, but when he did work for others it was for some of the finest jewellery firms in Canada and the U.S. Website: fetjeweller.com
Obsession Jewellery might be your choice of maker for high-end, handmade BDSM jewellery. Every piece in their kinky erotic jewellery collection is hand-crafted in Canada by Mr. Beast, an experienced and respected member of the kink community. Contact him via: www.obsessionjewellery.ca
“He then asked her to choose, from amongst all those identical rings he was presenting to her in a little wooden case, the one which would go on the ring-finger of her left hand. They were curious, these rings, made of iron, the inner surface was of gold; the signet was massive, shaped like a knight’s shield, convex, and in gold niello bore a device consisting of a kind of three spoked-wheel, each spoke spiralling in towards the hub, similar, all in all, to the sun-wheel of the Celts.” – Story of O
“Somewhere I have the name of the goldsmith that made the ring used in the movie.”
writes Franklin, ” I will try to find it. He designed the ring for the movie and that design did not exist prior to that. – The ring in the movie had a different top to hold the “shackle” than the “ball” that we usually see. The shackle was also very big and the ring was very wide. – I took that original design and made several addition designs based upon it. The “shackle’ on the ring is also featured in pendants, bracelets and anklets that I make.”
images © the individual makers
text © Stefan (Bookkeeper) Prince
GO TO: http://www.storyofo.info