Rituals, Symbolism, Kink, and of course ME

Dress_Like_A_Target_V_by_RawCore on Deviant ArtLast month I tackled the topic of preparing for a scene with my usual OCD self dealing with the preplanned play time and Lord Raven wrote a piece on the impromptu scene within a relationships (play parties are of course a completely different set of dynamics).  As is our usual fashion we each wrote in a vacuum and published the pieces before reading the others work to avoid influence.  In this case that was an amazing idea since his caused me to once again reevaluate many things.
If you had asked me 30 days ago what role ritual played in my kink I’d have shot you a quizzical look, and then laughed.  Me? Ritualistic? Have you fucking met me? But now I’m actually not sure that’s really the answer.   I do plan scenes, in a lot of cases down to the minute details and possible variables.  I’ve always been a planner (even before officially discovering my list fetish) and already knew that but had never really associated it with being a ritual.  I also know that once it gets going things may go somewhere different.  But asked if ritual was part of my kink I’d have issued a resounding no.  How many times here and in conversations have I said I’m just kinky not a formal kinkster by any means.  Protocol, formality, the whole I/me You/you thing I’ve talked about in the past and the futile lost hours spent trying to understand the Gorean sub strains of the kink world with a friend who was way into it.
Look man that’s great if it’s your kink.  But it’s not mine I’d crow.  I even eschew traditional titles when referring to myself and my partners.  Using a lame movie comparison from the movie Dodge Ball I’m the Average Joe’s of kink doing the I’m OK, You’re OK thing and am just not a Globo Gym kind of guy. (which ironically is also true about me when it comes to gym memberships)
Now though I wonder.  And this comparison may be unfair, inappropriate, and uncomfortable but to me it makes sense.  When I was an altar boy (will miracles never cease) there was a flow, a ritual if you will to even preparing to serve mass. You came in through a different door, put on the black cassocks and other vestments. And from there the next 30 minutes was setting up.  Really not different than getting the kids out of the house, closing the blinds, running through the do I have the check list, flogger, wrist cuffs kind of thing I still do.  Hell on a good day I’ve even got music playing just like listening to the organist warming up except not at all like that.   So I guess there is a ritualistic aspect to my kink that I’d never considered when it comes to set up.
As for symbolism.  There’s no doubt that part of my causal look is meant to symbolize my not so public persona even if it’s only obvious to me and a select few.  Beyond that there is the random pride and love patches on a few toy bags and that’s about it.  The rest is pure costume, tools of the trade, or something of the sort.   That doesn’t mean I don’t respect other people’s symbols when appropriate (and I know what they mean to them).  Though this seems to be a slippery slope of late topic wise.  That’s the entire problem with symbols (and protocols), if they aren’t yours it’s hard to know what they are supposed to mean. When I head to parts of town for outings I pretty much get the rainbow flag.  I’ve been to places that fly the leather pride colors. Here is another topic for debate since it can be used by non leather folks who identify it with other BDSM practices.   Titles are a form of a symbol, for some people some types of toys are, for others collars.  For other things they are just part of play.  As for me I’ve always held very few symbols anywhere near sacred and those that I have are more so tied to music than kink, religion, or national pride.  Sacred symbols in my world are Frank Zappa’s Mustache, Alice Cooper’s eye make up, everything to do with a real Gibson Les Paul (fret inlays, bridge, shape, etc), the Pittsburgh Steelers, Mercedes, & BMW logos and that’s about it.  Then again my sense of sacred has always been askew.
So I guess there is both ritual and symbolism in my kink and if I had to choose someone to blame it would be the catholic church.  Without them I wouldn’t know the cassock and might never have thought of dripping hot wax on anyone.  No one question remains. Did I just get a better seat in hell?