Frequently Asked Questions

Suspension.org is a website for those interested in the art and technical aspects of body suspension and the responsible disseminationof information pertaining to such. It is not designed to encourage people to attempt any dangerous activities.
The act of suspension is hanging the human body from (or partially from) hooks pierced through the flesh in various places around the body.
There are many different reasons to suspend, from pure adrenaline or endorphin rush, to conquering ones fears, to trying to reach a new level of spiritual consciousness and everything in between. In general, people suspend to attain some sort of “experience”.
Some people are seeking the opportunity to discover a deeper sense of themselves and to challenge pre-determined belief systems which may not be true. Some are seeking a rite of passage or a spiritual encounter to let go of the fear of not being whole or complete inside their body.
Others are looking for control over their body, or seek to prove to themselves that they are more than their bodies, or are not their bodies at all. Others simply seek to explore the unknown.
Old FAQ
This FAQ was originally compiled by and copyright (c) 2002 BMEZINE.COM Inc. For more on suspension and other ritual, visit http://www.bmezine.com/
Please note that this is/was an entirely preliminary version of this FAQ. As of July 2009, a team of people has begun rewritting the FAQ. If you would like to help please drop an email to isa@suspension.org
Version: 0.01
Date: 01-15-2002

INTRODUCTION

Suspension is a tool that can be used for many purposes, and one that has been explored by numerous cultures. No culture can "patent" suspension and ask others not to be involved with it. As such, the real question would be, is suspension a cultural misappropriation?Suspension itself -- the physical act of hooks through flesh suspending a body -- has very little cultural meaning. The meaning comes from the ritual and philosophies surrounding it. We can use suspension, but it is our job to come up with our own meaning. As most of us are neither Native American nor Hindu, we can not reasonably understand the nuances of their rituals, and by attempting to replicate them we produce at best a shallow copy that insults everyone involved.

It should be noted that while the above is what most people feel, there are others who point out that cultures are constantly borrowing from each other. They feel that as long as we respect the cultures we appropriate from, that we have every right to assimilate their rituals.

The textbook definition of cultural appropriation is the “taking [a.k.a. appropriating] from a culture that is not one’s own of…cultural expressions or artifacts [or] history.” Many people hold that cultural appropriation is wrong because by stealing an element from someone’s culture and then representing it in a different (and often shallow) context, you both damage and dishonor the culture you have taken the ritual from.

These rituals were built on the foundations of their cultures, and to truly understand them, one must understand the culture first, and then the ritual. In general, these rituals formed a powerful element of these cultures’ spiritual and cultural life.

In modern terms, the most obviously related ritual is pulling, where two or more people play "tug-o-war" against each other with the ropes attached to hooks in their body. This is described later in this FAQ.As far as traditional rituals that are obviously related, one example is the Native American Sundance where the dancer is pierced in the chest or back, attached to a sacred tree and then pulls and dances until the piercing rips free. Another example would be the Hindu Kavadi bearing where devotees wear cages of spears/hooks or pull religious effigies by hooks in their skin. Others still would include cheek skewering and ball dancing (where small weights are sewed or hooked to the skin and slowly tear out over extended dancing).

As far as rituals that are peripherally related, very often fasting, sweat lodges, energy circle drumming, abstinence, sleep deprivation, and other practices are combined with suspension -- quite likely enhancing the odds of a 'spiritual' experience.

Most notable are some Native American tribes and different sects of the Hindu religion. Although other cultures may have used suspensions ritually, these two are the best documented in that they are still in practice today.

Historically, suspensions have been performed as rights of passage, vision quests, healing rituals, penance, rituals of deity devotion or as means to gain visions by leaving the body and/or communication with the spiritual realm. They have been used for testing the endurance of the mind and body, or even just to freak people out. Thanks to artists like Stelarc and modern suspension groups like TSD, suspensions are being increasingly used as performance art and even for entertainment.

STYLES OF SUSPENSIONS

Suspension is a tool that can be used for many purposes, and one that has been explored by numerous cultures. No culture can "patent" suspension and ask others not to be involved with it. As such, the real question would be, is suspension a cultural misappropriation?Suspension itself -- the physical act of hooks through flesh suspending a body -- has very little cultural meaning. The meaning comes from the ritual and philosophies surrounding it. We can use suspension, but it is our job to come up with our own meaning. As most of us are neither Native American nor Hindu, we can not reasonably understand the nuances of their rituals, and by attempting to replicate them we produce at best a shallow copy that insults everyone involved.

It should be noted that while the above is what most people feel, there are others who point out that cultures are constantly borrowing from each other. They feel that as long as we respect the cultures we appropriate from, that we have every right to assimilate their rituals.

The textbook definition of cultural appropriation is the “taking [a.k.a. appropriating] from a culture that is not one’s own of…cultural expressions or artifacts [or] history.” Many people hold that cultural appropriation is wrong because by stealing an element from someone’s culture and then representing it in a different (and often shallow) context, you both damage and dishonor the culture you have taken the ritual from.

These rituals were built on the foundations of their cultures, and to truly understand them, one must understand the culture first, and then the ritual. In general, these rituals formed a powerful element of these cultures’ spiritual and cultural life.

In modern terms, the most obviously related ritual is pulling, where two or more people play "tug-o-war" against each other with the ropes attached to hooks in their body. This is described later in this FAQ.As far as traditional rituals that are obviously related, one example is the Native American Sundance where the dancer is pierced in the chest or back, attached to a sacred tree and then pulls and dances until the piercing rips free. Another example would be the Hindu Kavadi bearing where devotees wear cages of spears/hooks or pull religious effigies by hooks in their skin. Others still would include cheek skewering and ball dancing (where small weights are sewed or hooked to the skin and slowly tear out over extended dancing).

As far as rituals that are peripherally related, very often fasting, sweat lodges, energy circle drumming, abstinence, sleep deprivation, and other practices are combined with suspension -- quite likely enhancing the odds of a 'spiritual' experience.

Most notable are some Native American tribes and different sects of the Hindu religion. Although other cultures may have used suspensions ritually, these two are the best documented in that they are still in practice today.

Historically, suspensions have been performed as rights of passage, vision quests, healing rituals, penance, rituals of deity devotion or as means to gain visions by leaving the body and/or communication with the spiritual realm. They have been used for testing the endurance of the mind and body, or even just to freak people out. Thanks to artists like Stelarc and modern suspension groups like TSD, suspensions are being increasingly used as performance art and even for entertainment.

HISTORICAL CONTEXT

Suspension is a tool that can be used for many purposes, and one that has been explored by numerous cultures. No culture can "patent" suspension and ask others not to be involved with it. As such, the real question would be, is suspension a cultural misappropriation?Suspension itself -- the physical act of hooks through flesh suspending a body -- has very little cultural meaning. The meaning comes from the ritual and philosophies surrounding it. We can use suspension, but it is our job to come up with our own meaning. As most of us are neither Native American nor Hindu, we can not reasonably understand the nuances of their rituals, and by attempting to replicate them we produce at best a shallow copy that insults everyone involved.

It should be noted that while the above is what most people feel, there are others who point out that cultures are constantly borrowing from each other. They feel that as long as we respect the cultures we appropriate from, that we have every right to assimilate their rituals.

The textbook definition of cultural appropriation is the “taking [a.k.a. appropriating] from a culture that is not one’s own of…cultural expressions or artifacts [or] history.” Many people hold that cultural appropriation is wrong because by stealing an element from someone’s culture and then representing it in a different (and often shallow) context, you both damage and dishonor the culture you have taken the ritual from.

These rituals were built on the foundations of their cultures, and to truly understand them, one must understand the culture first, and then the ritual. In general, these rituals formed a powerful element of these cultures’ spiritual and cultural life.

In modern terms, the most obviously related ritual is pulling, where two or more people play "tug-o-war" against each other with the ropes attached to hooks in their body. This is described later in this FAQ.As far as traditional rituals that are obviously related, one example is the Native American Sundance where the dancer is pierced in the chest or back, attached to a sacred tree and then pulls and dances until the piercing rips free. Another example would be the Hindu Kavadi bearing where devotees wear cages of spears/hooks or pull religious effigies by hooks in their skin. Others still would include cheek skewering and ball dancing (where small weights are sewed or hooked to the skin and slowly tear out over extended dancing).

As far as rituals that are peripherally related, very often fasting, sweat lodges, energy circle drumming, abstinence, sleep deprivation, and other practices are combined with suspension -- quite likely enhancing the odds of a 'spiritual' experience.

Most notable are some Native American tribes and different sects of the Hindu religion. Although other cultures may have used suspensions ritually, these two are the best documented in that they are still in practice today.

Historically, suspensions have been performed as rights of passage, vision quests, healing rituals, penance, rituals of deity devotion or as means to gain visions by leaving the body and/or communication with the spiritual realm. They have been used for testing the endurance of the mind and body, or even just to freak people out. Thanks to artists like Stelarc and modern suspension groups like TSD, suspensions are being increasingly used as performance art and even for entertainment.

HOOKS AND THEIR APPLICATION

Suspension is a tool that can be used for many purposes, and one that has been explored by numerous cultures. No culture can "patent" suspension and ask others not to be involved with it. As such, the real question would be, is suspension a cultural misappropriation?Suspension itself -- the physical act of hooks through flesh suspending a body -- has very little cultural meaning. The meaning comes from the ritual and philosophies surrounding it. We can use suspension, but it is our job to come up with our own meaning. As most of us are neither Native American nor Hindu, we can not reasonably understand the nuances of their rituals, and by attempting to replicate them we produce at best a shallow copy that insults everyone involved.

It should be noted that while the above is what most people feel, there are others who point out that cultures are constantly borrowing from each other. They feel that as long as we respect the cultures we appropriate from, that we have every right to assimilate their rituals.

The textbook definition of cultural appropriation is the “taking [a.k.a. appropriating] from a culture that is not one’s own of…cultural expressions or artifacts [or] history.” Many people hold that cultural appropriation is wrong because by stealing an element from someone’s culture and then representing it in a different (and often shallow) context, you both damage and dishonor the culture you have taken the ritual from.

These rituals were built on the foundations of their cultures, and to truly understand them, one must understand the culture first, and then the ritual. In general, these rituals formed a powerful element of these cultures’ spiritual and cultural life.

In modern terms, the most obviously related ritual is pulling, where two or more people play "tug-o-war" against each other with the ropes attached to hooks in their body. This is described later in this FAQ.As far as traditional rituals that are obviously related, one example is the Native American Sundance where the dancer is pierced in the chest or back, attached to a sacred tree and then pulls and dances until the piercing rips free. Another example would be the Hindu Kavadi bearing where devotees wear cages of spears/hooks or pull religious effigies by hooks in their skin. Others still would include cheek skewering and ball dancing (where small weights are sewed or hooked to the skin and slowly tear out over extended dancing).

As far as rituals that are peripherally related, very often fasting, sweat lodges, energy circle drumming, abstinence, sleep deprivation, and other practices are combined with suspension -- quite likely enhancing the odds of a 'spiritual' experience.

Most notable are some Native American tribes and different sects of the Hindu religion. Although other cultures may have used suspensions ritually, these two are the best documented in that they are still in practice today.

Historically, suspensions have been performed as rights of passage, vision quests, healing rituals, penance, rituals of deity devotion or as means to gain visions by leaving the body and/or communication with the spiritual realm. They have been used for testing the endurance of the mind and body, or even just to freak people out. Thanks to artists like Stelarc and modern suspension groups like TSD, suspensions are being increasingly used as performance art and even for entertainment.

ROPES AND RIGGING

Suspension is a tool that can be used for many purposes, and one that has been explored by numerous cultures. No culture can "patent" suspension and ask others not to be involved with it. As such, the real question would be, is suspension a cultural misappropriation?Suspension itself -- the physical act of hooks through flesh suspending a body -- has very little cultural meaning. The meaning comes from the ritual and philosophies surrounding it. We can use suspension, but it is our job to come up with our own meaning. As most of us are neither Native American nor Hindu, we can not reasonably understand the nuances of their rituals, and by attempting to replicate them we produce at best a shallow copy that insults everyone involved.

It should be noted that while the above is what most people feel, there are others who point out that cultures are constantly borrowing from each other. They feel that as long as we respect the cultures we appropriate from, that we have every right to assimilate their rituals.

The textbook definition of cultural appropriation is the “taking [a.k.a. appropriating] from a culture that is not one’s own of…cultural expressions or artifacts [or] history.” Many people hold that cultural appropriation is wrong because by stealing an element from someone’s culture and then representing it in a different (and often shallow) context, you both damage and dishonor the culture you have taken the ritual from.

These rituals were built on the foundations of their cultures, and to truly understand them, one must understand the culture first, and then the ritual. In general, these rituals formed a powerful element of these cultures’ spiritual and cultural life.

In modern terms, the most obviously related ritual is pulling, where two or more people play "tug-o-war" against each other with the ropes attached to hooks in their body. This is described later in this FAQ.As far as traditional rituals that are obviously related, one example is the Native American Sundance where the dancer is pierced in the chest or back, attached to a sacred tree and then pulls and dances until the piercing rips free. Another example would be the Hindu Kavadi bearing where devotees wear cages of spears/hooks or pull religious effigies by hooks in their skin. Others still would include cheek skewering and ball dancing (where small weights are sewed or hooked to the skin and slowly tear out over extended dancing).

As far as rituals that are peripherally related, very often fasting, sweat lodges, energy circle drumming, abstinence, sleep deprivation, and other practices are combined with suspension -- quite likely enhancing the odds of a 'spiritual' experience.

Most notable are some Native American tribes and different sects of the Hindu religion. Although other cultures may have used suspensions ritually, these two are the best documented in that they are still in practice today.

Historically, suspensions have been performed as rights of passage, vision quests, healing rituals, penance, rituals of deity devotion or as means to gain visions by leaving the body and/or communication with the spiritual realm. They have been used for testing the endurance of the mind and body, or even just to freak people out. Thanks to artists like Stelarc and modern suspension groups like TSD, suspensions are being increasingly used as performance art and even for entertainment.

PREPARATION AND AFTERCARE: MENTAL, PHYSICAL, SPIRITUAL

Suspension is a tool that can be used for many purposes, and one that has been explored by numerous cultures. No culture can "patent" suspension and ask others not to be involved with it. As such, the real question would be, is suspension a cultural misappropriation?Suspension itself -- the physical act of hooks through flesh suspending a body -- has very little cultural meaning. The meaning comes from the ritual and philosophies surrounding it. We can use suspension, but it is our job to come up with our own meaning. As most of us are neither Native American nor Hindu, we can not reasonably understand the nuances of their rituals, and by attempting to replicate them we produce at best a shallow copy that insults everyone involved.

It should be noted that while the above is what most people feel, there are others who point out that cultures are constantly borrowing from each other. They feel that as long as we respect the cultures we appropriate from, that we have every right to assimilate their rituals.

The textbook definition of cultural appropriation is the “taking [a.k.a. appropriating] from a culture that is not one’s own of…cultural expressions or artifacts [or] history.” Many people hold that cultural appropriation is wrong because by stealing an element from someone’s culture and then representing it in a different (and often shallow) context, you both damage and dishonor the culture you have taken the ritual from.

These rituals were built on the foundations of their cultures, and to truly understand them, one must understand the culture first, and then the ritual. In general, these rituals formed a powerful element of these cultures’ spiritual and cultural life.

In modern terms, the most obviously related ritual is pulling, where two or more people play "tug-o-war" against each other with the ropes attached to hooks in their body. This is described later in this FAQ.As far as traditional rituals that are obviously related, one example is the Native American Sundance where the dancer is pierced in the chest or back, attached to a sacred tree and then pulls and dances until the piercing rips free. Another example would be the Hindu Kavadi bearing where devotees wear cages of spears/hooks or pull religious effigies by hooks in their skin. Others still would include cheek skewering and ball dancing (where small weights are sewed or hooked to the skin and slowly tear out over extended dancing).

As far as rituals that are peripherally related, very often fasting, sweat lodges, energy circle drumming, abstinence, sleep deprivation, and other practices are combined with suspension -- quite likely enhancing the odds of a 'spiritual' experience.

Most notable are some Native American tribes and different sects of the Hindu religion. Although other cultures may have used suspensions ritually, these two are the best documented in that they are still in practice today.

Historically, suspensions have been performed as rights of passage, vision quests, healing rituals, penance, rituals of deity devotion or as means to gain visions by leaving the body and/or communication with the spiritual realm. They have been used for testing the endurance of the mind and body, or even just to freak people out. Thanks to artists like Stelarc and modern suspension groups like TSD, suspensions are being increasingly used as performance art and even for entertainment.

RISKS AND SAFETY

Suspension is a tool that can be used for many purposes, and one that has been explored by numerous cultures. No culture can "patent" suspension and ask others not to be involved with it. As such, the real question would be, is suspension a cultural misappropriation?Suspension itself -- the physical act of hooks through flesh suspending a body -- has very little cultural meaning. The meaning comes from the ritual and philosophies surrounding it. We can use suspension, but it is our job to come up with our own meaning. As most of us are neither Native American nor Hindu, we can not reasonably understand the nuances of their rituals, and by attempting to replicate them we produce at best a shallow copy that insults everyone involved.

It should be noted that while the above is what most people feel, there are others who point out that cultures are constantly borrowing from each other. They feel that as long as we respect the cultures we appropriate from, that we have every right to assimilate their rituals.

The textbook definition of cultural appropriation is the “taking [a.k.a. appropriating] from a culture that is not one’s own of…cultural expressions or artifacts [or] history.” Many people hold that cultural appropriation is wrong because by stealing an element from someone’s culture and then representing it in a different (and often shallow) context, you both damage and dishonor the culture you have taken the ritual from.

These rituals were built on the foundations of their cultures, and to truly understand them, one must understand the culture first, and then the ritual. In general, these rituals formed a powerful element of these cultures’ spiritual and cultural life.

In modern terms, the most obviously related ritual is pulling, where two or more people play "tug-o-war" against each other with the ropes attached to hooks in their body. This is described later in this FAQ.As far as traditional rituals that are obviously related, one example is the Native American Sundance where the dancer is pierced in the chest or back, attached to a sacred tree and then pulls and dances until the piercing rips free. Another example would be the Hindu Kavadi bearing where devotees wear cages of spears/hooks or pull religious effigies by hooks in their skin. Others still would include cheek skewering and ball dancing (where small weights are sewed or hooked to the skin and slowly tear out over extended dancing).

As far as rituals that are peripherally related, very often fasting, sweat lodges, energy circle drumming, abstinence, sleep deprivation, and other practices are combined with suspension -- quite likely enhancing the odds of a 'spiritual' experience.

Most notable are some Native American tribes and different sects of the Hindu religion. Although other cultures may have used suspensions ritually, these two are the best documented in that they are still in practice today.

Historically, suspensions have been performed as rights of passage, vision quests, healing rituals, penance, rituals of deity devotion or as means to gain visions by leaving the body and/or communication with the spiritual realm. They have been used for testing the endurance of the mind and body, or even just to freak people out. Thanks to artists like Stelarc and modern suspension groups like TSD, suspensions are being increasingly used as performance art and even for entertainment.

MISCELLANEOUS QUESTIONS

Suspension is a tool that can be used for many purposes, and one that has been explored by numerous cultures. No culture can "patent" suspension and ask others not to be involved with it. As such, the real question would be, is suspension a cultural misappropriation?Suspension itself -- the physical act of hooks through flesh suspending a body -- has very little cultural meaning. The meaning comes from the ritual and philosophies surrounding it. We can use suspension, but it is our job to come up with our own meaning. As most of us are neither Native American nor Hindu, we can not reasonably understand the nuances of their rituals, and by attempting to replicate them we produce at best a shallow copy that insults everyone involved.

It should be noted that while the above is what most people feel, there are others who point out that cultures are constantly borrowing from each other. They feel that as long as we respect the cultures we appropriate from, that we have every right to assimilate their rituals.

The textbook definition of cultural appropriation is the “taking [a.k.a. appropriating] from a culture that is not one’s own of…cultural expressions or artifacts [or] history.” Many people hold that cultural appropriation is wrong because by stealing an element from someone’s culture and then representing it in a different (and often shallow) context, you both damage and dishonor the culture you have taken the ritual from.

These rituals were built on the foundations of their cultures, and to truly understand them, one must understand the culture first, and then the ritual. In general, these rituals formed a powerful element of these cultures’ spiritual and cultural life.

In modern terms, the most obviously related ritual is pulling, where two or more people play "tug-o-war" against each other with the ropes attached to hooks in their body. This is described later in this FAQ.As far as traditional rituals that are obviously related, one example is the Native American Sundance where the dancer is pierced in the chest or back, attached to a sacred tree and then pulls and dances until the piercing rips free. Another example would be the Hindu Kavadi bearing where devotees wear cages of spears/hooks or pull religious effigies by hooks in their skin. Others still would include cheek skewering and ball dancing (where small weights are sewed or hooked to the skin and slowly tear out over extended dancing).

As far as rituals that are peripherally related, very often fasting, sweat lodges, energy circle drumming, abstinence, sleep deprivation, and other practices are combined with suspension -- quite likely enhancing the odds of a 'spiritual' experience.

Most notable are some Native American tribes and different sects of the Hindu religion. Although other cultures may have used suspensions ritually, these two are the best documented in that they are still in practice today.

Historically, suspensions have been performed as rights of passage, vision quests, healing rituals, penance, rituals of deity devotion or as means to gain visions by leaving the body and/or communication with the spiritual realm. They have been used for testing the endurance of the mind and body, or even just to freak people out. Thanks to artists like Stelarc and modern suspension groups like TSD, suspensions are being increasingly used as performance art and even for entertainment.

PULLING

Suspension is a tool that can be used for many purposes, and one that has been explored by numerous cultures. No culture can "patent" suspension and ask others not to be involved with it. As such, the real question would be, is suspension a cultural misappropriation?Suspension itself -- the physical act of hooks through flesh suspending a body -- has very little cultural meaning. The meaning comes from the ritual and philosophies surrounding it. We can use suspension, but it is our job to come up with our own meaning. As most of us are neither Native American nor Hindu, we can not reasonably understand the nuances of their rituals, and by attempting to replicate them we produce at best a shallow copy that insults everyone involved.

It should be noted that while the above is what most people feel, there are others who point out that cultures are constantly borrowing from each other. They feel that as long as we respect the cultures we appropriate from, that we have every right to assimilate their rituals.

The textbook definition of cultural appropriation is the “taking [a.k.a. appropriating] from a culture that is not one’s own of…cultural expressions or artifacts [or] history.” Many people hold that cultural appropriation is wrong because by stealing an element from someone’s culture and then representing it in a different (and often shallow) context, you both damage and dishonor the culture you have taken the ritual from.

These rituals were built on the foundations of their cultures, and to truly understand them, one must understand the culture first, and then the ritual. In general, these rituals formed a powerful element of these cultures’ spiritual and cultural life.

In modern terms, the most obviously related ritual is pulling, where two or more people play "tug-o-war" against each other with the ropes attached to hooks in their body. This is described later in this FAQ.As far as traditional rituals that are obviously related, one example is the Native American Sundance where the dancer is pierced in the chest or back, attached to a sacred tree and then pulls and dances until the piercing rips free. Another example would be the Hindu Kavadi bearing where devotees wear cages of spears/hooks or pull religious effigies by hooks in their skin. Others still would include cheek skewering and ball dancing (where small weights are sewed or hooked to the skin and slowly tear out over extended dancing).

As far as rituals that are peripherally related, very often fasting, sweat lodges, energy circle drumming, abstinence, sleep deprivation, and other practices are combined with suspension -- quite likely enhancing the odds of a 'spiritual' experience.

Most notable are some Native American tribes and different sects of the Hindu religion. Although other cultures may have used suspensions ritually, these two are the best documented in that they are still in practice today.

Historically, suspensions have been performed as rights of passage, vision quests, healing rituals, penance, rituals of deity devotion or as means to gain visions by leaving the body and/or communication with the spiritual realm. They have been used for testing the endurance of the mind and body, or even just to freak people out. Thanks to artists like Stelarc and modern suspension groups like TSD, suspensions are being increasingly used as performance art and even for entertainment.

SUPPLIERS

Suspension is a tool that can be used for many purposes, and one that has been explored by numerous cultures. No culture can "patent" suspension and ask others not to be involved with it. As such, the real question would be, is suspension a cultural misappropriation?Suspension itself -- the physical act of hooks through flesh suspending a body -- has very little cultural meaning. The meaning comes from the ritual and philosophies surrounding it. We can use suspension, but it is our job to come up with our own meaning. As most of us are neither Native American nor Hindu, we can not reasonably understand the nuances of their rituals, and by attempting to replicate them we produce at best a shallow copy that insults everyone involved.

It should be noted that while the above is what most people feel, there are others who point out that cultures are constantly borrowing from each other. They feel that as long as we respect the cultures we appropriate from, that we have every right to assimilate their rituals.

The textbook definition of cultural appropriation is the “taking [a.k.a. appropriating] from a culture that is not one’s own of…cultural expressions or artifacts [or] history.” Many people hold that cultural appropriation is wrong because by stealing an element from someone’s culture and then representing it in a different (and often shallow) context, you both damage and dishonor the culture you have taken the ritual from.

These rituals were built on the foundations of their cultures, and to truly understand them, one must understand the culture first, and then the ritual. In general, these rituals formed a powerful element of these cultures’ spiritual and cultural life.

In modern terms, the most obviously related ritual is pulling, where two or more people play "tug-o-war" against each other with the ropes attached to hooks in their body. This is described later in this FAQ.As far as traditional rituals that are obviously related, one example is the Native American Sundance where the dancer is pierced in the chest or back, attached to a sacred tree and then pulls and dances until the piercing rips free. Another example would be the Hindu Kavadi bearing where devotees wear cages of spears/hooks or pull religious effigies by hooks in their skin. Others still would include cheek skewering and ball dancing (where small weights are sewed or hooked to the skin and slowly tear out over extended dancing).

As far as rituals that are peripherally related, very often fasting, sweat lodges, energy circle drumming, abstinence, sleep deprivation, and other practices are combined with suspension -- quite likely enhancing the odds of a 'spiritual' experience.

Most notable are some Native American tribes and different sects of the Hindu religion. Although other cultures may have used suspensions ritually, these two are the best documented in that they are still in practice today.

Historically, suspensions have been performed as rights of passage, vision quests, healing rituals, penance, rituals of deity devotion or as means to gain visions by leaving the body and/or communication with the spiritual realm. They have been used for testing the endurance of the mind and body, or even just to freak people out. Thanks to artists like Stelarc and modern suspension groups like TSD, suspensions are being increasingly used as performance art and even for entertainment.