Classes by Raven Kaldera

To be notified of events in your area that Raven Kaldera will be at,

About Raven Kaldera

Raven Kaldera has presented workshops on BDSM & Spirituality with a number of events and organizations, including Dark Odyssey, Free Spirit's Sacred Sexuality Beltane and the Boston Area Sexuality & Spirituality Network. These are the short descriptions of Raven's most popular BDSM & Spirituality classes, but certainly not the only topics he can speak on. Generally these classess run in one to two hour slots, but can be adapted to almost any length.

Raven and Joshua also speak on Master/slave topics, basic and advanced. We have presented at the Master/slave Conference for several years, plus many smaller groups, including MAsT groups.

If you are interested in having Raven speak for your organization or event, please contact him at Raven appreciates, but does not require, a small speaker's fee. He does require that his admission fee be waived. For events outside of Central Massachusetts, Raven also requires that reasonable travel expenses be reimbursed (gas or bus fare) and that he be provided with lodging for himself and his boy.

General BDSM Classes

The Ordeal Path: BDSM Spirituality

Presented by Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny 

From the Lakota Sun Dance to monastic submission, the elements of BDSM have been part of people's spiritual lives for millenia. We'll explore the different ways one can incorporate these varied practices into your spiritual life, from sacred pain ordeals to cathartic ritual theater to an ethical and spiritual expression of submission and mastery. Although this class is open to anyone over 18, we suggest that you understand the concept of consensual BDSM before attending. By the author of "Dark Moon Rising: Pagan BDSM".

Double Edge: BDSM and Transgender

Presented by Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny 

From the man or woman who cross-dresses for the first time as part of a BDSM scene, to the transsexual who is trying to figure out which play parties they can attend, being transgendered in the BDSM scene is both a blessing and a challenge. At the same time, a remarkably high percentage of transgendered people identify with leathersex - why? We'll discuss how BDSM roleplaying lends itself to gender play, struggle with the political implications of being gender transgressive perverts, talk about what happens to D/s roles when people change gender roles, and remind folks of what we have to teach the larger community. For transgendered folks of all stripes, their partners, friends and allies, and anyone who's curious about the intersection of kink, power exchange, and the gender spectrum.

Emotional Edgeplay

Presented by Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny 

Why do people play with real fear, humiliation, and even (gasp!) anger in scenes? Granted, it's not to everyone's taste, but what's the appeal in risking yourself emotionally, the way that other edgeplayers risk themselves physically? Is it therapeutic, or just really hot? Tops may wonder how to make things real enough while still making the bottom feel safe; bottoms may wonder what actually is safe. We'll delve into the depths of these controversial practices, which many more people are playing with than they'll ever admit.

The Invisible Toybox: Energy Work & BDSM

Presented by Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny 

There are many ways to move around that elusive yet powerful quality that most of us just call "energy", although it's been known as mana, prana, chi, ki, orgone, and many other names. Pagans, witches, and magicians move it around in ways that we call Magic; masters of Reiki and Ch'i Gong manipulate it in different ways. In this class, we'll learn about the ways in which energy work and magic can be incorporated into BDSM, for play and for intimacy. By the author of "Dark Moon Rising: Pagan BDSM".

Sex and Power Exchange

Presented by Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny

What is sex like when you’re dealing with power exchange? How do you negotiate it, whether for a night of playing with power or a lifestyle of committed relationship inequality? How do we deal with tricky issues of consent around sex, rape, fantasy and reality, and power dynamics? What about sexual service, and making sure that both dominant and submissive types stay emotionally and sexually healthy? We’ll talk about navigating the muddy waters of sex when power imbalances are involved, to any level of intensity ... and we'll also talk about how damn hot it can be.

How To Top Your Master

Presented by Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny

All sadists are dominants, all masochists are submissives, right? Dominants penetrate, submissives are penetrated, right? Well, no. In the real world, it's much, much more complicated. Some Dominants/Masters/Mistresses/Owners like strong sensation, rough play, and to be able to experience an hour as a character in their own live porn movie ... and have it all done just the way they like it, and still remain entirely in control. Who can they turn to for this topping from the bottom? Can their submissives/slaves/property be taught to "bottom from the top" as a service, and wield the whip, the strap-on, or the bondage rope in such a way that their M-type gets whatever sex they want, and no one is in any doubt about who is still running the show? This class will discuss the ways in which this can be done comfortably for both parties, as well as demonstrating clearly that activities never have to define roles in a power dynamic. Come and brave this taboo subject - let's bring it from darkness into light!

The Sadist Butcher: Anatomically-Based Fear Play

Raven Kaldera, Joshua Tenpenny, and Brandon Hardy

Want to pretend that your bottom is livestock, or a hunted deer, and it's time to get the knives? Or maybe you just like the idea of playing Hannibal Lechter? This can be an intense edgeplay scene if it's done right, even though no one actually gets cut up for real. But you have to know, convincingly, where to "cut" - and these three homesteading kinksters will show you how to look like you know what you're doing, and safely give someone a scene of fear and surrender. Warning: We'll be discussing graphic dismemberment, fairly bluntly; know yourself and your level of ability to listen to such talk. (This class requires a table on which to lay out our demo human carcass.)

The Spirituality of Predator/Prey Play

Raven Kaldera and Brandon Hardy

Predator/prey play is fun, hot, and sexy, whether you’re doing it as two humans, two animals, a human hunting an animal … or an animal hunting a human! It also touches on the spirituality of some of our oldest ancestors, who hunted for survival and donned the skins of the animal spirits to become brothers to both the ones they ate and the ones who ate them. Raven and Brandon will talk about both the spiritual and practical aspects of what it’s like to have a relationship based in Predator/prey. Warning: The slideshow contains both sexual scenes and National Geographic-style slides of wild animals killing each other, so be aware if either of these will not be OK for you to see.

Master/Slave Relationship Classes

24/7 D/s: Realities and Practicalities

Presented by Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny

Some people say that it can't be done. Some people say it's the ultimate goal of D/s. Some say that it's unhealthy. In this class, we'll refute all of those myths and discuss the practical, day-to-day realities of living in a full-time D/s relationship. We'll cover the differences between servants, slaves, and submissives; and Masters, Mistresses, and Owners. We'll talk about the difficult parts and the rewarding parts, and how to live this lifestyle in a healthy, sustainable way. By the authors of "Dear Raven and Joshua: Questions and Answers About Master/Slave Relationships".

Honor, Service, and Devotion: Love in a Power Dynamic

Presented by Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny

Can love exist healthily in a dominant/submissive power dynamic, for an hour or for a lifetime? This class explores the spiritual, emotional, ethical, and practical sides of consensual power exchange in relationships, whether part-time as play or full-time as a way of being in the world. We'll delve into the fire of power-exchange ritual and the darkness of using magic to consensually enhance the training of a submissive. We'll celebrate the many sacred archetypes of dominance and submission and see how they dance together ... Predator and Prey, Master and Servant, Owner and Slave, Magician and Enchanted Object, Priest and Worshipper, Seeker and Psychopomp, Lord and Vassal, Teacher and Padawan, Dark Goddess and John Barleycorn, and many others. Bring your stories! And your collars, and chains, and leashes ... both ends. By the authors of "Dear Raven and Joshua: Questions and Answers About Master/Slave Relationships".

A Narrow Thorny Road: Master/Slave Relationships as a Spiritual Path

Presented by Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny

There's using D/s and M/s to add a spiritual dimension to a relationship ... and then there's dedicating yourself to this work as a spiritual path in and of itself. This class will explore the latter condition. We'll compare spiritual power exchange to monasticism, noblesse oblige, asceticism, liege-fealty, and other similar roads. We'll also dive into difficult questions: Should the master be the slave's spiritual superior? What if they're on different paths? What happens when the slave's spiritual path interferes with the master's desires? How does one keep a balance between humility and hubris? This is a difficult road, and we need to talk about the thorns.

The Yin-Yang and the Tree: Models of Spiritual M/s

Presented by Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny 

More and more people are discovering that power dynamics can be a spiritual discipline and even a spiritual path … but our “spiritual M/s” doesn’t always look the same. This class will discuss different ways to structure a spiritual power dynamic that’s custom-built for the people involved. We’ll cover styles from the couple-focused “yin/yang” model to the outward-focused “tree” model to the disciple’s path of gurubhakti to the plight of the spiritual submissive whose dominant thinks it’s all silliness. We’ll also discuss how to bring the concept of healthy power dynamics to progressive spirituality, not just the other way around.

Real Service

Presented by Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny

For the service-oriented submissive and their various dominants! This class will discuss the day-to-day practicalities of real, down-to-earth service, designed not for the fetishy turn-on of the submissive but for the actual comfort of the dominant. We'll explore different types and areas of service - proactive and reactive, protocol-heavy or casual, flashy or subtle - and what different sorts of dominants want. Is your dominant the parental type or the rock star type when it comes to service? How can you serve them better in boring everyday life? We'll have some answers here. This class is for people who are intimately involved in D/s relationships of the more practical and real-life kind.

Building the Team: Non-Adversarial M/s

Presented by Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny 

It seems like so many written models of M/s feature the angry master continually punishing the disobedient slave, while the flow of information is deliberately choked off. This class is for people who aren’t interested in a power dynamic that’s one long series of takedowns, but becomes a smoothly-running system where both parties work together to achieve goals … and the s-types are encouraged to be honorable adults responsible for keeping their promises. We’ll concentrate on seeing the power dynamic as a Team rather than as adversaries, and discuss methods of useful conflict resolution that reinforce the power dynamic rather than putting it aside.

Polyamory in a Power Dynamic

 Presented by Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny

The practice of polyamory – multiple honest nonmonogamous relationships, especially long-term ones – has its own community, proponents, and theories, some of which are incompatible with deliberately inegalitarian relationships. On the other hand, people in power dynamics often try to leap directly into polyamory with no concept of how to make it work … and we’ve all seen their failures littering the Internet forums. How can we combine these relationship styles in ways that are functional and sustainable, and not become just another statistic? What can we learn from the decades of polyamory research, and how do we adapt it in a way that is right for us as masters and slaves? Come with your questions!

Mastering And Managing A Slave’s Clinical Depression

 Presented by Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny

When a slave develops clinical depression, what’s their master’s responsibility? If they’re property and you own them, do you own their illness, and if so what’s to be done? While a master can’t fix them, we’ll discuss how they can manage a depressed slave on a day-to-day basis, using the structure of the power dynamic to aid control of the illness. We’ll discuss handling mental health professionals together, creating a positive daily routine, and when to know when it’s beyond you. Raven and Joshua have been dealing with this issue for a decade, and will be telling their stories about how they learned to make their power dynamic work to support Joshua’s depression and save their relationship.

Power Dynamic As Exoskeleton: Coping With Disability in A M/s Relationship

 Presented by Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny

It’s not easy to cope with disability under any circumstances, but when you have to deal with physical limitations, it may seem like there’s no energy to spare for “traditional” M/s. After all, isn’t the erotica full of masters who are always tall, strong, healthy, and able to wrestle their slaves to the ground – not to mention beautiful, physically perfect slaves? How can it work with a slave who can’t kneel or a master who can’t do basic things for themselves? This class will discuss how to make it work in the face of all the obstacles. Not only can M/s work in the face of physical problems, it can become a kind of “exoskeleton” for the disabled partner, keeping them going in the face of all odds.

The Far End of M/s: Consensual Non-Consent, TPE, and Internal Enslavement

Presented by Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny

This discussion tackles the issues of Master/slave relationships that are controversial even among M/s demographics. What right – and what ability – does the master have to deeply change the slave, and how should this be negotiated? We’ll explore different levels of consent and the lack thereof, and the tricky problems of ethics and communal fear that they bring up. We’ll talk about collusion and conditioning – or is it brainwashing? - as well as how to tell what’s realistic and what’s fantasy. While we welcome a wide variety of opinions, please come with an open mind and remain courteous.

Reclaiming Power-Over: Power Exchange for Political Radicals

Presented by Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny. Geared for queer radical groups and conferences.

The general view of power dynamic relationships - meaning relationships where both parties carefully negotiate one person having a certain amount of power and authority over the other - is that it is politically incorrect, and probably only done by people with psychological damage. Comparisons are made to the unhealthy power dynamics of "traditional" marriages and nonconsensual slavery. However, many modern practitioners of Dominant/submissive, Master/slave, and Owner/property relationships are politically aware people who are turning the past on its head and creating a whole new form of power dynamic, one that has the possibility of making society itself a healthier place for all relationships. Raven and Joshua will discuss how mindful power dynamic relationships can actually be quite radically subversive to the political status quo; and how to build one, how to explain one to your radical friends, and how to understand one if it's not your thing.

"But I Can't!" Communicating Obstacles in Power Dynamic Relationships

Presented by Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny

What happens when the master gives and order and the s-type thinks it can't be done? How do we communicate these diificulties in ways that don't make us revert to egalitarian language and assumptions? This class will discuss how we can communicate around obstacles in ways that don't demoralize either party, and make the power dynamic into an aid rather than a burden. We'll also talk about how to do this in public places where unusual speech patterns are a liability.

Healthy Objectification in Master/Slave Relationships

Presented by Raven Kaldera, Joshua Tenpenny, and Brandon Hardy

People hear the word “objectification” and immediately tend to think of masters who don’t care about their mistreated slaves. For some of us, however, objectification not only adds a lot of heat to the relationship, it’s a way to reinforce the power dynamic in small ways on a daily basis. Some may hate it, but those of us who love it know its power, and we know it can be used in a healthy way. We’ll discuss how to do that, and how “being your master’s thing” can support the dynamic and be a source of comfort as well.

Risk Assessment for Masters

Presented by Raven Kaldera

Mastering another human being - whether part-time or full-time - is a constant act of risk assessment. How far can I push my s-type? What price will I pay if I do? What limits can be challenged, and which ones should be left alone? If I don't push them, will they feel grateful or like I think they're weak? What if I gamble and fail? This class will discuss the edges of the art of creating the Owner's Manual, with tips and advice for the people on the top of the power exchange. While this class is geared toward M-types, the s-types are absolutely welcome to come along as well.

Selfishness, Altruism, and Mastery

Presented by Raven Kaldera

Some masters say that the best form of mastery is to do nothing except for your slave's benefit and well-being ... and some slaves love that, and others find it unfulfilling. Some masters say that mastery means putting your own desires first, always ... and some slaves love that, and others end up getting hurt. How do we as M-types balance our desires - the desire to get what you want, the desire to do the right thing and keep your slave safe, and the desires of your slave? How do we work within life's limitations and still feel like we're the ones in charge? This will be a sensitive class around one of the most difficult questions of mastery. Both M-types and s-types are welcome to attend.

Mastering Around Our Scars

Presented by Raven Kaldera

When we talk about experiences of trauma and PTSD in the Master/slave demographic, we tend to assume that it’s the slaves with the problem, and the master’s job is to help them deal with their issues. But many of us masters have histories of trauma and PTSD as well, and the prevailing culture in this demographic often discourages us from talking about that. We’re supposed to pretend that we are always strong as a rock, and never flinch or get triggered. How do we learn to master around our scars, creating a framework where our trusted slaves can support us? Let’s talk about how to be the one in charge while engaging in this ongoing struggle. This class is for M-types only (you get to self-identify), and will be part roundtable discussion.

Behavior Modification Intensive

Presented by Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny

Masters want slaves to be the best slaves they can be, and slaves want that too … but how do we get from point A to point B? What are the best methods for changing behavior and attitude - not just facilitating obedience, but helping to achieve joy as well? In this intensive, we’ll talk about our best techniques for modifying a slave’s behavior in the most effective and fulfilling ways for each couple. We’ll talk about effective tools for masters, and help slaves get past their fears around being changed. We’ll also help troubleshoot past problems with obedience and attitude, which is why we keep this class limited to 12 couples.

Organizing from the Bottom

Presented by Joshua Tenpenny

Often it falls to the submissive partner to manage the details of everyday life -- housework, scheduling, shopping, etc. While there is endless advice out there oh how to do these things, much of it assumes you've got the authority to structure things as you please, or that you at least are in a position where you can persuade others in your household. But what if you want to do this from a place of service and obedience? How do you fit an organizational system into the life of a disorganized master? What if they don't seem to care? This workshop will give a variety of approaches to creating order in a way that works with how your Master wants things.

Sex in Service

Presented by Joshua Tenpenny

Being a skilled and enthusiastic sexual partner is a valuable service, and a learnable skill. Whether you only ever serve your master in this way, or you get "shared" with others, there is more to sexual service than just obedience and enthusiasm. Let’s talk about the various ways we integrate sexuality into our Master/slave relationships. We'll also talk about how we can express our desires without feeling selfish, communicate discomfort without killing the mood, and maintain appropriate boundaries while still being welcoming.

(Discussion group, open only to self-identified slaves/submissives/bottoms/etc as well as people looking to explore that aspect of themselves.)

General Sexuality Classes

Rules Can Be Romantic: Building Loving Structured Relationships

Presented by Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny

Many polyamorous people seem to be allergic to having structured agreements in their relationships - "...let's just see where this all goes!" Sometimes that's due to personal reasons, but sometimes it's due to the false idea that structured agreements are cold, unromantic, unfeeling, and set in stone. In this participatory workshop, we'll explore what it's like to create structured agreements and rules that are loving, generous, and flexible. We ask everyone to come to this workshop with one relationship "issue", however major or minor, that they are actively working on improving, and are willing to talk about as part of the class.

Sacred Prostitution

Presented by Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny

Sex work of all kinds has been around as long as there has been cities and civilizations. In many ancient civilizations, however, it was considered sacred work, dedicated to the Love Goddesses. Today, some sex workers are rediscovering the concept of sacred public service through sex work. We'll discuss how it used to be done, how it's done today, and how it differs from "secular" sex work. The sacred whore is returning, and wants some respect.

Sex Magic in the Northern Tradition

Presented by Raven Kaldera

In the Norse/Germanic cosmology, nine worlds spin around a world tree from heaven to underworld, and each has something to teach us about sexuality and sex magic. In the Northern Tradition, sex magic is a shamanic tool to raise power in many different ways, on different spectrums. Male, female or in between? Sky, roots, or Midgard=s earth? Transcendent, material, or community? Come and hear the stories of the northern Gods and their sexual magic.

100 Things You can Do To Keep Sexual Freedom Alive

Presented by Raven Kaldera

Want to make the world a sexually freer place? Find out how! It's not just for activists any more - no matter who you are, you can do a few things on this list and add to the Work of Sexually Healing The World. This is a fun and innovative lecture that is also inspiring. Appropriate for any sexuality-conference audience.

Intersex/Transgender Classes

While not related to BDSM, these classes have often been of interest to sexuality-themed groups. Raven can present on a variety of other issues related to gender and sexuality, appropriate for a wide range of audiences. Please contact him for more information.

Transgender Spirituality

Presented by Raven Kaldera

We have been symbols of the sacred two-in-one for thousands of years. Come hear the ancient stories about us, and rediscover our sacred nature. For transgendered people of all stripes, and anyone who is just interested in more direct ways of spiritually balancing male and female. By the author of "Hermaphrodeities: The Transgender Spirituality Workbook".

Power, Surrender, and Safety: Negotiating Unequal Relationships When You’re Gender Transgressive

Presented by Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny

Power dynamic relationships - where one person has authority over the other, such as Leader/supportive, Dominant/submissive, or Master/slave - are sought out by transgender, genderqueer, and otherwise gender transgressive individuals as often as anyone else, for reasons both good and bad. However, we have special challenges when it comes to finding, negotiating, and maintaining our health and safety in these relationships. For transfolk, those who love them, and those who are just interested, this class will discuss the joys, problems, and dangers of trans power dynamics. Taught by the 2014 North East Master/slave title holders, a trans/trans couple, we'll learn how to get what we need out of power exchange while staying safe and not settling for a less than optimal situation.

Intersex Issues in Social Health and Politics

Presented by Raven Kaldera

How does the conundrum of intersexual identity fit in with the various facets of gender politics and activism? How does it figure as a social health issue, or as an issue of feminist and progressive politics? More to the point, what can we actually do about the problems of intersex people, without seeing them as theoretical justifications, colonizable poster children, or circus freaks? This class will discuss practical possibilities for all of us.

The Two-Ton Gorilla Standing Between Us: The Feminist-Transgender Barrier

Presented by Raven Kaldera

The feminist movement and the transgender movement have gone back and forth between being uneasy allies and being outright enemies, when both sides would be better off being friends - especially when so many more cross over both groups every day. Still, issues of ideology keep us apart, and it's time to face and discuss the two-ton gorilla in the corner: the politics of gendered body modification. This is a controversial, in-your-face workshop; heated debate is fine, but let's remember to be respectful with each other.

The Sacred Third: An Exploration of Transgender Sacred Sexuality

Sex is sacred, and can be a source of great spiritual power and beauty. Walking the path of being the Sacred Third in this world can also be an integral and powerful part of one's spirituality. Yet in general, few know what a cross-section of those two paths would look like. The surviving traditions of sacred sex, sex magic, and energy work do not have clear guidelines for the work of those of us whose souls, energy, and sometimes our bodies exist somewhere between male and female. What does sacred sexuality look like when we do it, in all our ambivalent glory?

Loving Two In One: Sex and Relationships with Transgendered Lovers

It takes a special kind of person to be in a relationship with a transgendered person. We're complex people with a lot of special needs, but we're worth it. We'll explore what it takes to date, love, and commit to people who are more than just male or female. This class is for anyone of any gender who loves, lusts after, or embodies the sacred Third.

Transitioning With A Third Gender Identity

Let's think clearly about what physical transition means when it intersects with identity. Wondering whether to physically transition but held back because you don't have a solidly male or female identity? That doesn't have to be a barrier. Let's talk about the ambivalencies of shapeshifting your flesh when your identity is all over the place. Come with questions!