The sign of the cilice

Tues. 10 June 2014

Observe the accompanying picture and marvel. Are you wondering what it’s all about? The instrument, or device, or perhaps even piece of jewellery – whatever you prefer – that you can see, is called a cilice. And the marks on the specimen’s thigh (which happens to be my special maid) that you can also see, are the signs the cilice has been worn.

Yes, you read correctly – worn. A cilice can be likened to a necklace, except that it’s worn around the thigh. It can be, and has been, worn around other appendages of the human body as well, as I know from applying a cilice or two or three over the years.

A cilice is typically woven out of surgical steel wire, and it has barbs facing inward, and it’s these barbs that press against the skin when worn. I have made a number of cilices’ with my own hand, of varying degrees of intensity, and I have sold some as well. I believe all customers have been satisfied with the results...

The cilice came to a greater public attention with the bestselling novel from the early years of this century, The Da Vinci Code. It was linked in the novel to the Roman Catholic organisation, Opus Dei (that’s Latin for “God’s work”), and presented in said novel as a secretive cult. It’s all very exciting, except that a lot of it is legend. The cilice, however, as an instrument, is real, and I recommend it for those who feel they might need a little “mortification of the flesh”!

I’ll be happy to oblige.

Mistress Geo