BDSM emblem

The BDSM Emblem was created to allow BDSMers fearing persecution to identify themselves to each other secretly. The key words are “identify” and “secretly.”

Something I stumbled upon, that I wrote about the BDSM emblem way back in 2002ish…

History of the BDSM emblem

The BDSM emblem is based on a design common in old Celtic artwork and often referred to as a Celtic Triskele (tris-keel). The Triskele has a varied history culturally, being used as a symbol in Celtic, Asian, Italian and Greek cultures. The triskelion (Greek for three legs) is a symbol of the sun intended to express motion.

The Triskele is one of Sicily’s symbols that first appeared on the coins of ancient Syracuse. Also called the Triskelion, it is an ancient sun symbol related to the four-branched version, the gammadion or swastika (called a tetraskelion). There is one major difference between the Sicilian and Celtic triskele. The Sicilian legs are bare and the Celtic legs are armoured. The emphasis is on the numeral three which for the Celts symbolized the principles of creation, preservation and destruction embodied also as the triple goddess, virgin, mother and crone, and the phases of the moon.

The Celtic triskele has a history of many meanings even in its original culture. The triskele has roots deep in Irish culture. The symbols signified Earth, Fire, and Water to Irish pagans. When the catholic missionaries came to Ireland they used symbols familiar to the pagans to persuade them to convert. The catholics taught that the triskele symbolized the Holy Trinity, the holy spirit, Jesus, and God.

The Triskele is a common symbol used in ancient Celtic design throughout Northern Europe and is especially associated with the Isle of Man where the ancient College of Druids was centered. The “Three-Legs” or Triskele is the national symbol of the Isle of Man and has a long association with Man. The Swastika has also a long association with Man and is found on a number of runic crosses. The description of the Three-Legs as a Swastika is found also in Germany in 1940s. It seems for the period 1920-1945, both symbols were loosely termed “Swastika” in cultural circles in Man and seem to have been closely associated with one another. Both symbols are still in use in Man today, but the close association has ceased to exist.

The Triskele is still today popular as a symbol of Celtic tradition and used by those who follow Celtic Pagan spirituality. The Emblem also resembles a 3-part version of the Yin-Yang symbol. Variations of a dotted version have a rich history in Asian arts, particularly in various Buddhist and Taoist traditions.

The Triskele is the basic shape of the BDSM Emblem, with three “arms” curving out from the center and merging with an encompassing circle. Not all Triskeles are BDSM Emblems. It is the details of the design that make it the BDSM Emblem. Not the basic shape.

The idea for the BDSM emblem itself was taken initially from the description of the ring from The Story of O. This design did not remain long, however, for various reasons, including possible legal action. Therefore, the idea of a design inspired by, but not identical to, the “O” design was borne. Instead holes instead of dots were used.

The critical criteria of the BDSM Emblem design are as follows:

1) The rims and spokes are of a colour indicating metal.
2) The rims and spokes are of uniform width with the arms rotating clockwise.
3) The inner fields are black.
4) The holes in the fields are truly holes and not dots.

The BDSM Emblem was created to allow BDSMers fearing persecution to identify themselves to each other secretly. The key words are “identify” and “secretly.” To aid in secrecy, the Emblem was created to look common enough not to arouse too much interest. To aid in identification, it was created with very specific and meaningful details.

Sources:

https://members.aol.com/quagmyr/history1.htm
https://www.fabrisia.com/triskele.htm
https://www.smo.uhi.ac.uk/…/LIST/ARTICLE/Broderick/THREE.html

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