Cléo on SM and Spirituality

Cléo on SM and Spirituality

SM allows us to look in all the dark places in a consensual environment… I find a lot of healing there. ~ Cléo Dubois

The following interview is excerpted from a longer piece titled “SCENEprofiles Interview with Cléo Dubois,” published in a section of Sensuous Sadie’s website that is dedicated to the intersection of the spirit and sado-erotic.

SENSUOUS SADIE: You have been in the lifestyle for twenty years. How has your practice changed over this time?

CLÉO DUBOIS: When I first discovered my sadistic Dominant side, I was very raw. My enthusiasm probably scared a number of submissives. In fact, many years later when I got on the Internet, men wrote me that they never forgot me and told me just that. “You scared me, but now I am ready for your intensity!”

While I am still an intense player, I have also become more nurturing, more intuitive and more understanding of people’s need to be accepted for their fantasies and kinks, regardless of how bizarre they might think they are. I have expanded my boundaries and explored practices that I never thought I would enjoy when I began this journey 20 years ago. I feel I have grown and embraced all the various facets of who I am. Perhaps the most important on-going lesson for me is to come from a place of integrity and compassion. This has helped greatly in my transition from Domina to Kink Educator and Private Coach.

Sadie: Many of the people who visit you want a big or shamanistic experience. How do you go about bringing this aspect of BDSM play into a scene?

Cléo: Well, SM players do not often call it a ‘shamanic experience.’ They simply want a great scene; they want to get out of their head. In a way, when we enter scene space, we can potentially have a spiritual body experience.

Let me give you just one example. My first video, The Pain Game, received much acclaim in the Leather and Queer community because the piercing and clothespins scenes resonated with many kinksters. The connection between Creed (my beautiful masochist) and me allowed both of us to fly in shamanic S/M play. When I pulled a feathered zipper off her back, Kali energy was running through me. I felt the destructive energy that is also loving. I also felt the symbolic removal of her ‘skin’ as a necessary part of growth and transformation.

Sadie: When did you first start exploring the connection between BDSM & spirituality? Was there a particular experience or moment that set you on this path?

The Queen of Swords, Card from "The New Tarot Deck" by Jack Hurley, Rae Hurley and John HorlerCléo: Yes, my first private experience as a fantasy slave girl connected my sexuality and my budding spirituality. The man that initiating me in ritual bottoming was Jay Magus. He was trained in Gestalt work and transpersonal analysis from the famous Esalen Institute. He was very sensitive, kind and sexy. I had met him, his wife and his slave girl at the Society of Janus. I also became friends with both women.

The day of my big scene, he started by ordering me to draw a Tarot card from a desk he had been involved in creating. I picked the Queen of Swords. He placed two of his swords in my hands and had me hold them like the image on the card for as long as I could while looking at myself in the mirror of a dimly lit room. When I finally put the swords down, I was ready to submit to him. My long meditation on the Queen of Swords ended when the pain of holding the swords had become unbearable. I was in a trance then, ready to learn and give up control. He was strict, gentle and practiced service to the Lady; the Goddess Archetype. His Dominance was also part of his spiritual path.

Sadie: What spiritual or BDSM practices help take you there? For example: yoga, meditation, Kundalini, Tantra etc

Cléo: Centering! Being fully present! Breathing! Breathing! Breathing! And guiding my bottom to do the same.

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Next, what Cléo has learned from coaching couples >>>


“Queen of Swords” from The New Tarot Deck by Jack Hurley, Rae Hurley and John Horler, © 2005-2010 Inner Light Society. Posted with permission. To see more cards, go to

This post was written by
A ritualist, BDSM educator & kinky coach, I founded the Academy of SM Arts in 1995 to share with others what I had learned since beginning my journey into BDSM in the 80's - that negotiated sadomasochism is a valid path to self-discovery, intimacy and healing.
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