Whether impulsive or steeped in profound significance, acquiring a tattoo has become a modern-day ceremony. It represents rites of passage, revelatory moments, affirmations of personal beliefs, or signs of commitment. In tattoo parlors across the globe, individuals use ink to articulate their deepest selves or connect to something greater.
Tattooing carries a rich global heritage, deeply rooted in rituals. From tribal societies like the Maori and Celts to the advanced ancient civilization of the Egyptians, tattoos were (and sometimes still are) imbued with purpose and symbolism. Marking rites of passage, seeking divine protection, invoking the gods – these reasons and more motivated the act of tattooing.
Though the ritualistic aspect of tattooing has receded in most contemporary societies, particularly as tattoos gain mainstream acceptance, some artists are reviving the tradition of ritual tattoos by focusing on the intent and the process as a whole.
The power of a tattoo's meaning isn't necessarily tied to the ritual; an authentic connection with your artist can intensify the experience, but even a great piece from an artist you don't connect with can still hold significant meaning.
So, what sets a ritual tattoo apart?
The entire process of the tattoo is performed with purpose and significance in mind. Each ritual tattoo artist brings their unique process to the table, influenced by their beliefs, cultural connections, and personal experiences.
It starts with a consultation to discuss the tattoo's meaning, design, and session, aiming to provide a truly personalized experience.
The session sometimes involves Reiki, or energy healing work, combined with setting an intention for the tattoo.
For Each Person's Life
Much like any tattoo, the rationale behind a ritual tattoo varies vastly from person to person. Typically, the designs could represent major life transitions, new beginnings, tributes to the end of an era, or memorial tattoos for a loved one.
Recognizing the deeply personal nature of these tattoos, it's important for tattoos artist to keep their approaches neutral concerning cultural influences. Artists can respect beliefs by striving to design the process around each client's requests, respecting their beliefs, and refrains from imposing their own.
No matter one's beliefs or personal reasons for a ritual tattoo, a respectful tattoo artists is committed to crafting an authentic reflection of that person and their intentions.
Ritual tattoos can often carry an extra layer of intensity, vulnerability, or emotional intimacy, which can be particularly exhausting. But, artists also create meaningful connections with their clients, learning their stories.
Emphasizes the importance of emotional aftercare, along with the physical aspect after any tattoos sessions carrying that extra personal burden. Clients, particularly those getting memorial tattoos, should bring a loved one for support during the session.
For more information on our sets, please take a look at our piece on Xtreme Inks: Artist Collections.