Rites of Passage
“Rituals have the power to reset the terms of our universe until we find ourselves suddenly and truly ‘at home.’”
– Margot Adler
Rites of Passage is currently one of the most active suspension groups in America with six chapters across the North East comprising eighteen members. I was able to speak with ROP founder and current leader of the Michigan chapter, Emrys (IAM:along those lines), as well as New York chapter members Brian (IAM:xPUREx) and Cere (IAM:cere).
What was your experience in the body modification community before getting involved with Rites of Passage?
Before I began working with suspensions with ROP I was heavily involved with practicing modification work in Connecticut. I worked with piercing, implants, scarification, and many other more “pseudo-surgical” aesthetic modifications at the time.
I was a body piercer of about five or six years and then I left piercing due to the fact that in New York even the best piercers can’t maintain a high enough standard of living (for me). Afterwards though, I remained “in the scene” by working on friends only, and going to conventions, clubs, and so on.
I’d been a body piercer for about two years at a local studio in my home town and served an apprenticeship under a traditional Fakir-trained piercer. I’d experimented when I was younger (nine-ish) with branding myself, cutting myself, and carving words in my skin as a relief of tension. I started stretching my lobes at around thirteen as a result of meeting a Kenyan tribesman that came to my school to give a speech on his culture. I also had a decent amount of tattoo work for someone under the age of eighteen, including a memorial tattoo crowning my head in dedication to my mother.
Cere’s first suspension being watched over by Brian (front)
and George (back), with Emrys working in the background.