Flagellation is the act of whipping or scourging the body. Some ascetics inflict flagellation upon themselves for punishment of their sins. For example St. Catherine of Siena was recognized for whipping herself three times a day, once for her own sins, once for the sins of the living, and once for the sins of the dead.
Certain occultists practice flagellation to strengthen their will; Aleister Crowley was among them. In the initiatory rites of both the Gardnerian (see Gerald B.Gardner) and Alexandrian (see Alexander Sanders) traditions of Witchcraft scourging is symbolic. A.G.H.