ancient practices/permanent alteration Posted by muschi on June 12, 1999 at 00:59:33:
It seems to me that not only are there archaic resonances in the current popularity of psychedelic experience, but also in the current fashion of being tattooed and/or pierced. I am a tattoo artist, and every day I see people in need of a rite of passage. The majority of them don't seem to realize that they are changing their body permanently, that they are changing the way they see themselves. I view my tattoos as an expression of my "spirit" in physical form...I feel that by marking the body I'm currently using I can learn better how to use it correctly. It also serves well to filter out those who see time as a cage, their body as a final trap. (My tattoos are highly visible, and not done in a style which lends to easy interpretation.)
When this body dies, the mortician embalming it will see my tattoos. They are the closest to eternity my body and soul connection can get.
As an archaic ritual interpreted to modernity, tattooing is suited perfectly to be used as a rite of passage. I have seen many people with "tribal" designs, done in imitation of another culture. This is sometimes a bit unfeeling...I feel that we need to update our art, to make it more meaningful within our own heritage and traditions. As an empowerment ritual it is unsurpassed. To have that much control over your body encourages people to see beyond a quick reaction or decision, and to take time into account as something physical. To realize that some decisions are irrevocable is sorely needed especially now, I think. And learning how to sit through minor pain for a good purpose encourages the use of patience, stillness, and resolve to deal with decisions. Most first-time tattoos are beneficial to the client, because most have not been exposed to that notion that they are not their body, but more.
When I work, whether for ritual and artistic purposes or for an initiatory bit of adulthood, I feel an unbroken line, a thread connecting me to the first woman to poke herself with a charred stick. My tribe seems vast, into the billions, full of the most intelligent, intense, and alive people the earth has ever known. I am a living part of an ancient and (until recently) highly respected group of true artists, combining technical knowledge, artistic talent,drive,and genius, and the spirit of healing and progression. As a part of this conception I hold as the basis for my occupation, I have endeavoured to never work for money alone, to keep in mind the true nature of what I am doing and how it will affect the future. My integrity lies in my art, so I must make it timeless.
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