By Fakir Musafar


"Kiss of Fire" is the title I used for an article in the very first issue of BODY PLAY way back in 1992. At that time, very few people had brands or did any branding. The subject and "how-to" of branding was a complete mystery both in the subculture and among the general public. The world was filled with misinformation and myth. But I had been intrigued by the practice for about thirty years and had slowly learned, by trial and error, what works and what does not work on humans. I had experimented on my own body starting at age seventeen.

Fakir's early self-brand done in 1947

The first thing I learned is that complex brands, with many parts and strokes (like in cattle brands), were not suitable for human branding. It was impossible to make controlled, uniform and evenly deep marks. So early on I realized that complex patterns could only be made by breaking the brand into small, manageable strokes. Then each part of the brand could be made to a similar depth and width. The second thing I learned was that any finished and healed mark was always two to three times WIDER than the heated metal used to make it. So for making brands on humans, I ended up using metal strips ( called "strikers") that were never thicker than a piece of cardboard. Stainless steel strikers worked best. The ones I use range from .010 to .015 inch thick. They are heated to cherry orange-red (about 2400 degrees F) with a propane torch.

This kind of branding is called "Multi-Strike" and we teach it's art and application at the Fakir Intensives school. There are other types of branding. One is the direct application of fire to the body. It comes from many old traditions among Native American cultures and from South East Asia.


Fakir heats a metal "striker" with a propane torch as the
first step in doing a complex brand of petroglyph figures.

Heated "striker" is pressed lightly into a transfer outline
on flesh of thigh.

Example of a healed, two-year-old multi-strike brand.
Notice how much wider the lines have become.


Outline of petroglyph figure is started with an electro-cautery pencil.

A more recent branding technique makes use of medical electro-cautery pencils. Several contemporary body art practitioners (including C.M. Hurt and Marc Pinto in Australia) pioneered the making of fine brands with this method. For over three years now, we have been refining the art of branding with cautery pencils at the Fakir Intensives. With the cautery pencil it is possible to make brands that are as fine and flowing as one can make with a tattoo machine outline.  

Unlike multi-strike brands, a line can be made in a continuous moving flow.


Completed outline of petroglyph figure
made with electro-cautery.


Example of year-old electro-cautery brand.
Fakir Intensives branding page for technique used.


Some Photos From July 2002 Fakir Intensives Branding Class

Fire-direct mark being added to multi-strike "OM" brand

Complex multi-strike/cautery brand in progress

Simulated claw marks being made with cautery pen

Finished animal claw marks

Traditional Masai woman's scroll made with cautery pen



By Fakir Musafar




For nearly a thousand years, the art of cupping has been practiced in China and the Middle East. Cupping is primarily a practice used for diagnosis and healing. However, in contemporary times it is also a kinky and fun play adventure for body arts enthusiasts and S/M players.I have been toying with cupping since my teens. At first I used cast off jelly jars or juice glasses for cups. I heated air inside the jars with a small alcohol flame and quickly plopped them down on my skin. Rapidly cooling air in the jars created a vacuum and sucked in a rounded dome of flesh. What fun! In twenty to thirty minutes, when the jars were removed, I had round purple or brown welts all over my chest, belly and thighs. They sometimes lasted for a week!

Alcohol flame is held inside mouth of cup for a few seconds
 then quickly removed as cup is plopped down on skin.


Top view of a woman's cupped back, buttocks and thighs.

In later years, I refined my cupping techniques. I found that the traditional, thicker glass cups used in Turkey and China (called "inspirators" at Eastern medicine shops) worked much better. The wider rim on these cups does not dig into the skin and cut like the thinner edges of jelly jars. Also, the thicker glass overall promotes a stronger vacuum because only the air inside the cup is heated -- not the glass cup itself. In time I developed quite an expert cupping technique and could put about 30 of these cups on someone in less than fifteen minutes. To heat the air inside the cups, I use a small wad of cotton wool clamped in the tip of a Kelly medical forcep. The cotton is dipped into denatured alcohol (sold as shellac thinner). Do not try rubbing alcohol as it does not burn hot enough.
With a little practice, anyone can learn to cup. You simply hold the cup a few inches above the skin, light the alcohol-soaked cotton and hold it inside the mouth of the cup (or jelly jar) for a few seconds. Then the BIG trick! You must learn to remove the torch and very quickly plop the cup down on the skin. Try it. You or someone you know might like it!

After cups are removed, the back is covered with discolored
spots and welts.


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