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what this is

We are a small community of women united by the desire to help each other live in a state of thoughtful surrender.

Who we are

This site is administered by the women of the Sodalitas S. Maria Ægyptiaca, one of the oldest sororal sodalitas, and, in its online manifestation, rooted in a previous SSMA initiative known as the Submissive Wife Project.

After more than fifteen years online – and after welcoming thousands of members and archiving more than 150,000 original articles and posts – the Submissive Wife Project was placed on hiatus in April 2011. The Project was simply overwhelming our limited resources. After a time, a devoted group of trained sisters decided to start anew, reforming the community along more traditional lines and refocusing on our core principals and its dedication to Watchfulness as a way of life.

As we were taught to do before, we continue to do here: We encourage and support each other in this work; our community provides us all with a way to embrace healthy acceptance and engaged surrender.

Our mission here is limited: to make the principles of Watchfulness known and to support the women who seek to live in this way. In Watchfulness, you will meet sisters who have been studying this approach for more than a decade; others are newcomers. We place great value on texts, thoughtful work, guided experiences, discussion, contemplation, obedience and shared and individual insights.

Who is welcome here

For those who feel called to a life of Watchfulness, we hope you will find this community welcoming and useful whether you are married or not; whether you are sexually edgy or comfortable in the mainstream; whether you are devout, lapsed, or not religiously active at all; whether you are 38 or 98. Participants, past and present, include lawyers, accountants, housewives and mothers, psychologists, religious women in orders, doctors and other medical professionals, business executives, dancers, performers, artists, writers, teachers and academics from Europe, the Americas and elsewhere.

We are structured along familiar sororal lines, and although some of us have come from or gone on to join more traditional religious communities, we are not a religious order affiliated with a specific denomination. However, we are a spiritual one. We embrace disciplines and cherish obedience. To further our work, we have a practical hierarchy in which experienced sisters mentor and help newcomers and a sister who serves an administrative function. Descriptively, we use many of the models employed in an enclosed life metaphorically. And, despite the stereotyped image of submissive women, most of us are quite well-educated and reasonably intelligent, if we do say so ourselves. We are all sisters in submission, and while our way is certainly not for all women, the sisters of our sisters are also welcomed here. The only requirement is that you are an intelligent, open-minded woman aged 28 or older who is willing to support the community and its members, follow the simple guidelines for participation and assume honest good faith in the the work we do.

What we are trying to accomplish

We seek to offer other women the values of lives lived in diligent Watchfulness.

Many of us spent years valiantly trying to control everything around us in an effort to make the life that we had been taught to covet a good life, a life filled with beautiful things, exciting careers, and buoyed by growing power. And many of us also wanted a family, a spouse, children. But no matter how much we attained, we were haunted by the nagging feeling that something was missing. This led us to redouble our efforts, to try even harder, to want more and more. This of course led to frustration and exhaustion. Slowly, we came to discover that what we really wanted was to live a life of aroused but patient attention, surrendering control and learning to take pleasure in the wonder of the world around us, and especially in the infinite possibilities of each moment.

This emphasis on careful attention can be found in many of the world’s spiritual traditions. Indeed most of these spiritual traditions have important features in common for the achievement of maturity and wisdom: prayer, contemplation, reading, fasting, self-control and self-denial, balanced with a proper appreciation for more secular pleasures.

In our earlier project, we were devoted to helping women avoid destructive behaviors (especially online) that threatened marriages in which submission was not a possibility. We have expanded from that to providing thoughtful women with the means by which surrender can be fully understood and lived, generally in support of a marriage, but, when necessary, independent of one. Our intention is to focus solely on the nature of surrender regardless of contextual distinctions. You do not have to be a married woman to study Watchfulness.

Our practices

In our communal practice of Watchfulness, we often rely on structured disciplines. Whether they are used to control eating or to elevate awareness or to strengthen patience, their ultimate purpose is to provide the means for obedience. Some of our disciplines are rooted in reflection, spirituality or sexuality, or a combination of these, and we consider them to be a wholesome solace to the heart of any woman who craves balance and peace – and who may long for the consolation of obedience as an expression of her intellectual, sexual and spiritual desires and needs.

Some – but by no means all – of us approach our desire to surrender from the perspective of sexual submission. Some of us first learned of these needs online or through sexual fantasies of obedience, humiliation, bondage, slavery, and/or pain, or from the practice of BDSM, DD, TPE and so on. In the struggle to understand these fantasies, come to terms with them, and integrate them into our daily lives, we found it was possible to obtain a deep sense of peace and wholeness, bringing light to something which was shameful and hidden.

So the practices we observe here may sometimes be unusual, controversial, audacious or extreme. They are articulated as disciplines to help direct our journeys. We measure the benefits of our disciplines in obedience, the fruit of which is arousal. For each of us, this creates a unique set of experiences. Our shared experiences bind us together and enable us to support and encourage one another. Ultimately, these lead to a greater understanding of what it means to be a woman, and to a different way of living. We freely admit and repeat: our approach to Watchfulness is not for every woman.

Indeed, it is not for most women.

Next-step surrender

We are attentive to the qualities and characteristics that inform approaches such as BDSM more than the activities themselves. For many, “submission” is something one does socially, sexually, occasionally – and for most, that is enough. For us, the Submissive Wife Project was an example of first-step submission in which “submissive” described not an erotic role so much as an important part of a rational, balanced marital relationship, or as a way of understanding ourselves-with-another. We still value this model.

This daughter site, Watchfulness, is a next-step community in which we live lives of constant awareness at the center of which is our deepening personal surrender to a whole life lived in arousal.  Other, smaller sub-communities and clusters of sisters are devoted to other, related “steps” – to a concepts such as submissive quietism, complete abandonment, confident humility, public service or an embrace of sororal generosity and support. We are widely scattered and we live our beliefs openly and practice spiritual arousal constantly, yet our practices go undetected by those who do not know how to see them. Our process is not a “course”; it is not linear – in fact, it is only notionally a “process” – but it can be deeply transformative. Through an embrace of awareness, trust, transparency, vulnerability, dignity and obedience, we are becoming the women we feel we are meant to be.

Some women simply wish to learn patience with a difficult relationship or acceptance of a seemingly disappointing life or help in finding a way to survive as a woman in a very androgynous culture. We are dedicated to the idea that a life lived in obedient Watchfulness can bring a sense of peace to inner struggles, to social compassion, to management and administration, to spiritual and intellectual enquiry, and even to everyday domestic situations, and that arousal in all its forms is the key to clarity.

If you wish more information or want to discuss Watchfulness with one of us, you may contact the sister serving as administrator.

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A note to media: We are often approached with interview requests and the like. Some of us are writers and artists, so we sympathize with these requests – without being able to meet them. While we are happy to try to respond to individual, personal queries from individual women, we are not able to encourage widespread attention to our efforts. With all respect, we earnestly do not seek publicity; it would only overwhelm us. Nobody is invited to Watchfulness; there is no SEO behind these pages; we believe those who need to find us will find us; those who do and wish to join us are personally screened. This site is not a resource for academics, writers or journalists. It is private property, protected by copyright, and intended only for the use of participating community members. We specifically withhold permission to reprint or reuse this content in any way. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise shared or used, except with the prior written permission of the Sodalitas. We’re quite serious about this (and we have a lawyer on our board to give credence to our seriousness). See also the community’s statement of content ownership. For additional information, please contact the sister serving as administrator.