As one of our spectacular Presenters for Mischief in May VII, Raven Kaldera brings a long list of superlatives and outstanding reviews on his presentations. CIPEX wanted to find out a little bit more about him and maybe get a little sneak peek at the classes Raven will be presenting for us. He was happy to answer our questions and is looking forward to sharing some of his vast knowledge and experience with the kink lifestyle.
1) With your many years involved in the BDSM, transgender, and Pagan lifestyles, do you continue to learn new things? If so, what is the most recent thing you learned?
I always continue to learn new things, mostly from talking to other people who do things differently than I do. I do a lot of interview-based books, and that gives me access to a lot of folks who wouldn’t otherwise get heard. I’ve learned, over time, that when someone is doing something that doesn’t at all resemble what I do – but they seem happy and content with it – that it is my job to stop myself from saying, “They’re doing it wrong,” and instead tell myself, “They’re doing it differently.” If I can, I’ll then ask them about what they’re doing and why that works for them. Even if I don’t use that information personally, it broadens my view of the world, and I might run into someone in a counseling session who would be better off doing it that way. In addition, sometimes I learn a lot about my own desires (and why I chose them) from listening to other people.
2) How many other books have you written? Which of your books has proven to be most popular? Have your writings influenced your kink lifestyle or do you feel that your lifestyle experiences have shaped the direction of your writings?
I’ve written or edited 39 books in several different genres. I think I’m up to 14 in the realm of alternative relationships. Right now “Dark Moon Rising: Pagan BDSM and the Ordeal Path” is still my best-seller, with “Power Circuits: Polyamory in a Power Dynamic” as the second-best. People routinely come up to me and tell me that Power Circuits helped save their relationships. I write the books that weren’t there for me when I needed them. I want to be the person who prevents others from being let down and isolated in that way, at least in a few circumstances. I’ve gotten to the point where I give a class and people come up afterwards and ask, “When will you be putting out a book on this?” Most of my alternative relationship books are written as a community service – they go out through a writer’s cooperative because they’re too controversial for commercial presses, and I don’t get much money, but it’s worth it to hear people tell me how it helped them.
3) “Emotional Edge Play” is one of the classes that you are presenting at Mischief in May. Do you think this type of mind play requires more caution than the physical types of edge play like cuttings, suspension, etc.?
All play requires some caution, but emotional play especially so. We are proponents of RACK – Risk-Aware Consensual Kink – and we strongly encourage people to be honest with themselves and their mental state before engaging in potentially triggering, high-risk behavior. Our main points on this are to be self-aware, be communicative, have good boundaries, and if it goes wrong, problem-solve it and don’t whine about it on the Internet.
4) “The Far End of M/s: Consensual Non-Consent, TPE, and Internal Enslavement,” is another of the classes that you are presenting for us at Mischief in May. Would you consider this to be one of the most controversial classes that you present? If so why?
Power dynamic relationships are controversial anyway, even among BDSM practitioners. (We live in an area where the BDSM and power dynamic demographics are sharply divided, and many BDSM folks here don’t believe that full-time power dynamic relationships are healthy, or in some cases even possible.) So you can imagine what power dynamic relationships look like to people who don’t do BDSM! (Actually, there’s a good number of people outside the BDSM demographic who do power exchange, and we counsel many of them because they aren’t comfortable with kink events.) So when we start talking about high-control consenting power dynamics, where one member of the couple is willingly and thoughtfully giving up all limits and authority and recourse to the (hopefully trusted) other, sometimes we even upset people who are already in power dynamics with a lower level of authority exchange. That’s why we use a lot of disclaimers and explain carefully. We make everyone come in on time for this class, because if you miss the disclaimers, you may not understand the rest of it.
5) Mischief in May presenter Raven Kaldera, your presenter’s choice class for Mischief in May is “Polyamory in a Power Dynamic” Do you find that Poly relationships are easier or harder when they have a Power Dynamic?
Having a power dynamic, or not, isn’t what makes polyamory hard. Polyamory is hard because it requires people to be honest, communicative, self-aware, and do a lot of conflict management. Power dynamic relationships also require people to do all those things. So if you’re trying both alternative lifestyles and you’ve already got those qualities down, you’ll do fine. If not everyone involved is reasonably good at being honest, communicative, self-aware, and working through conflict, then you’ll have trouble at either of them, and double trouble if you’re juggling both.
6) Would you share one of your most unexpected, funny or memorable events you have had in the lifestyle?
Well, there’s not one lifestyle, there are several, all trying to crowd in under one umbrella of “alternative” sexualities and relationships. But in my own particular buffet of alternative dishes, probably the most unexpected thing was how much I’ve grown emotionally from owning a slave. I knew that I wanted it, I knew that it spoke to me deeply, but I didn’t know that it would provide a safe space for the healing of many old wounds, in a way that no other relationship had. While I can do OK without power dynamics – and I’d better, I have three partners and I only own one of them – having a power dynamic relationship grows and evolves me in ways I couldn’t have imagined before.
So there you have it. Come on out to Mischief in May VII and enjoy some of Raven’s insights into kink relationships. Register for Mischief in May VII HERE. And don’t forget to reserve a hotel room in our Host Hotel for Mischief where all the classes will take place and our Mischief Vendors will be set up. Our Hotel room block is limited and expires April 20th so go HERE for information on making your reservation at the heavily discounted room rate that CIPEX has obtained for you.