The formal collar
The Formal Collar (frequently called the Slave Collar) is the representation of the final stage of commitment between the Dominant and submissive. This collar is offered after the Dominant and submissive have progressed through the 'Collar of Consideration' and the 'Training Collar'.
To read more on these prior collars and stages please refer to the articles titled "Collar of Consideration" and "Training Collar'. All three of these collars are given in real life, between live persons actively interacting in or forming serious BDSM relationships. In recent years we have seen the creation of what I can only call the 'cyber collar'. This creation attempts to mimic the real life collar but tends to be exchanged between those who are primarily BDSM cyber fetishers.
It is MY personal opinion that cyber collars are made of pixel dust, fantasies and illusions. In addition, those using and exchanging these imaginary collars tend to appear and vanish like shadows in the mist, lacking the primary reality and substance that is so much a part of the BDSM world. The presence of the cyber collar and it's apparent implications for those newly exploring the lifestyle tend to diminish what is a serious exchange in the real world. If you are a new Dominant or submissive, recognize that the internet is a tool which augments and gives you access into a real world. If you wish to remain cyber that is your free choice but try to respect the world that you mimic.
The training collar
The Training Collar represents the second collar exchanged between a Dominant and a submissive. For information regarding the first collar please refer to my article called the Collar of Consideration. The 'Training' collar is offered by the Dominant after they have engaged in a period of time where they have held extensive conversations with the submissive and explored characteristics, traits, interests, desires and lifestyles to see if they consider themselves to be a good match in enough areas to move into a relationship of deeper commitment. They will generally have engaged in many of the vanilla aspects of the relationship as well as commenced with some light sceneing to explore the beginning limits that the submissive may possess.
collar of Consideration
Collaring is the term commonly used by those in the D/s community to describe the commencement of a relationship between a Dominant and a submissive. It carries the same type of weight that a marriage ring does in it's final stage and denotes the same depth of commitment. In recent times (since the advent of the internet) we have seen a bastardizing of this ritual into something casual and transient. This attack on long standing traditions should be actively fought by educating those entering the lifestyle.
What is a collar?
What does it mean? These are questions I have been asked many many times. I will attempt to answer them here. Collars themselves take many forms in reality, they are any close fitting band around the throat. Most traditional collars are made of leather or metal and have a ring(s) embedded in them. There are also collars made specifically for show, these are usually more ornate in design and not meant to use in bondage, though some can be depending on the construction. As the wearing of a traditional collar can interrupt with work and other real life duties, some submissives wear chokers.
These can be pearls, ribbons, a cameo or some other close fitting necklace. I have also heard and seen some submissive that wear anklets as their symbolic collar other people have been known to use a tattoo instead. As you can see the choices are varied, limited only by your imagination and what is right for you and your dominant. .
"Rituals anchor us to a center while freeing us to move on and confront theeverlasting unpredictability of life. The paradox of ritual patterns andsacred habits is that they simultaneously serve as solid footing andspringboard, providing a stable dynamic in our lives." Robert Fulgham, from"From Beginning To End, The Rituals Of Our Lives" pg. 261 hardback edition
The above quote speaks volumes about rituals and their purpose or value topeople. There are many kinds of rituals in the world. Most people think offormal ceremonies, such as weddings, to be rituals. But there are manydifferent things that we do that are rituals according to the quote above,and the emotions or attitudes they inspire in us.
Rituals are human activities that deliberately alter or suspend the laws of everyday life and replace them with the rules of the ceremony. The ritual space can take many forms: the courtroom, the baseball diamond, the sandbox, the altar, the dramatic stage, the boxing ring, the gaming table, the bullfight, the funeral. They can be as elaborate as a wedding, or as humble as the meditative polishing of shoes. They can be as explicitly religious as prayer and the singing of hymns, or as secular as a baseball game.
Some rituals exist to honor individuals, like the retirement dinner, birthday, funeral, or the going away party. Others provide simple joys or symbolic expressions of good will: flowers, chocolates, "I love you"s even the lukewarm blessing of "have a nice day". Sports, ritualized demonstrations of strength and skill, are so popular that they occupy a whole section in the daily paper. Rituals tend to benefit from being old like the Sabbath, the Haj, or wedding ceremonies. But they can be as readymade as the shrines young people assemble in their bedrooms to their teen idols of choice. There is no end to the kinds of rituals we humans invent and indulge in: pilgrimages, feasting, fasting, holidays, prayer, confession, blessings, parades, retreats, meditative walks, games of catch with a young person. Each ritual has its own attendant roles, rules and tools (chopsticks with Chinese food, for instance).
And what might be appropriate for one ritual, might be perfectly absurd for another. Think how preposterous it would feel to use chopsticks to eat a cheeseburger.