'Uncovering the History of the Dominatrix' - Talk at Freud Museum, Sunday 9th February at 5.30 pm January 23 2014

On Sunday 9th February 2014 at 5.30 pm, I will be giving a talk on 'Uncovering the history of the Dominatrix' at the Freud Museum in London.

 

Freud's famous couch at the Freud Museum

 

I share Freud's love of archaeology, of digging into the psyche, and the past. I have discussed my research as a kind of "journey into the Underworld". It came about during my father's decline and imminent death from a rare form of cancer, and the appeal of the dungeon was of that of an 'otherworld realm', offering insight into matters of submission, suffering, accceptance, and people's deepest desires. 

And it was literally from the underground where much of my material came from. The excavated artifacts of cuneiform tablets and figurines to the Goddess Inanna (Ishtar) in ancient Mesopotamia, votives of Artemis Orthia on Sparta, and from the formerly buried Villa of Mysteries in Pompeii with its Whipstress figure. From museum storage and library vaults of the British Library 'Rare Books' collection, and 'forbidden books' called up from the deep for me to view under security camera, fragile and rare. And from within darkened and often lower-ground basement dungeons of Dominatrices, I gathered the formerly unexamined knowledge into their practices.   

  

Freud's collection includes Goddess figurines from the Levant and Mediterranean, including the Goddesses of sexuality, Astarte and Aphrodite. 

 

Were Freud around today, I'm sure he would have a lot to say about the contents of my book and the Dominatrix who who taps into suppressed desires, providing a safe space to her clients and offering 'play' within the psycho-sexual realm:

"The Dominatrix operates along civilization's fault lines, where its floating crust drops into a bubbling magma of underground desire. A chaotic and flowing heat, which we seek to suppress within our society and within ourselves, frightened by its power and potentially destructive properties. (We paint it as Dante's Inferno, a fiery hell, we rightly fear to tread.)

We need, however, an amount of heat, gases and minerals to be brought to the surface we inhabit. And indeed the Dominatrix taps into this word of suppressed desires and identities, relieving its pressures. She not only plays out fantasy, but raises jewels on self-knowledge, suffering, ecstasy, acceptance, mercy and wisdom." (Exert from Anne O Nomis 'The History & Arts of the Dominatrix' 2013, pp.24-25)

 

FORMAT OF TALK

I will be giving a one hour talk, presenting artwork and historical material from my recently published book by Powerpoint presentation. This will mainly focus on: 

- The Ancient Dominatrix Goddess & Her Priestess Initiates

Examining the Dominatrix as archetype of female sexual power, and iconographical representations of ancient Goddesses such as Cybele, Inanna / Ishtar, the 'Mistress of Animals' motif, Artemis Orthia, and Dominatrix rituals known from ritual texts and hymns. Brought together for the first time in my book, these include hymns which present Inanna as the all-powerful Goddess who makes men and Gods bow down in subservience to her, and performs rituals involving cross-dressing, punishment, pain and ecstasy, and games using a 'keppu' (which I postulate may be a whip). 

 

       

Left: Votive artifact from Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia, Sparta, where male adolescents were whipped in honour of the Goddess. (late 6th-early 5th Century BC); Right: Whipstress with wings on wall fresco of the Villa of Mysteries, Pompeii. (pre 79 AD)

 

- The Female Flagellant Governesses of the 17th - 19th Century

Examining the secular profession of the Dominatrix as it emerges in surviving texts and prints, and which in England was more particularly absorbed with the female disciplinarian figure in various roles (as School-Mistress, Governess, Kept Mistress etc), and around which an entire craft of psycho-sexual expertise was developed. Much of the information comes from rare books including the Victorian erotomaniac Henry Spencer Ashbee's volume 'Index Librorum Prohibitorum' or Index of Forbidden Books, and a preface written by Mary Wilson in 'The Venus School-Mistress'.

    

Left: Flagellation engraving of English origin from Library of Congress (1752); Right: Erotic flagellation scene from frontispiece to 'The Use of Flogging in Veneral Affairs' in reprint edition by Edmund Curll (1718)   

The Dominatrix creates a special playspace as an 'otherworld realm'. It is variably a workshop and playroom of the Dominatrix's toys, a theatre of transformative performance, a school-room of female discipline, a medical room of bodily operation, a feminine boudoir of dress and gender rituals, and most ubiquitously - a subterranean dungeon chamber of torture and release. 

The Dominatrix and her domain have many riches to offer to the field human desire, brought up from the forbidden deep.  

EVENT INFORMATION:

'Uncovering the history of the Dominatrix' talk by Anne O Nomis

Freud Museum, 20 Maresfield Gardens, NW3 5SX, London

Tickets ₤15 per person, available from: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/uncovering-the-history-of-the-dominatrix-talk-by-archaeologist-author-anne-o-nomis-at-the-freud-tickets-10320429683?aff=estw

(Also option to purchase an autographed first edition book with ticket as part of a package)