A Spiritual Side to Tattoos and Piercings?
At the age of 20, I went to see Fakir Musafar give a talk and demonstration in Dallas. It was there that I first learned of some of the ancient rituals surrounding body modification. I saw suspensions and an ancient Sun Dance whereby a cage of arrows was strategically positioned on the torso of a seeker who then danced and flailed his body about to the sound of a beating drum as the arrows pierced him dozens of places. He achieved a trance state and it was wholly fascinating to watch. Fakir Musafar was a quiet, well spoken man and if you saw him on the street you would never guess
the extremes that he had gone to throughout his entire lifetime in his quest for fulfillment. I had never really thought of piercings as being particularly spiritual before that night, but his eloquence and fearlessness changed me.
Shortly thereafter, I began to focus my efforts on finding my spiritual center. I inhaled books on meditation and energy work, I began to appreciate myself as a whole; as a point of consciousness connected to the source, rather than simply seeing myself as a lost girl vainly attempting to look good or to get a rise out of people with what I had considered was a freakish masochistic tendency. Part of that change may have been the natural process of reaching adulthood and questioning who I was and why I would do the things that I did, but that night with Fakir Musafar helped open up an awareness of the divinity that rests within me and within all things; something that had been missing in my life up until that point. Sustaining that awareness has been my journey ever since. And while I have personally never participated in a suspension or an ancient Sun Dance ritual, I have continued to modify my body in various ways over the years for reasons both spiritual and cosmetic.
Each tattoo, each scar, each piercing holds a deeper meaning for me. They are stepping stones on my continued spiritual path. Of course I appreciate the visual appeal of body modifications of all kinds and the many reasons that people choose to get them. We all have our motivation, whether it is the enjoyment of the pain required to get us there, the rebellious nature of the social stigma that goes along with such mods or a more internal desire to find wholeness through testing our limits. For some people it is just about making a statement. Whatever our reasons they are valid.
Body modification is nothing new. In fact, it has existed for thousands of years. It is a culture of its own that continues to rebirth itself into each new generation; a tell tale sign that we are driven by the need to experiment with our bodies in order to make sense of the life that we have been blessed with. Those of us who choose body modification as an outlet to physical or spiritual discovery are pioneers, in a way, exploring our own unique expression of who we are in ways that are both satisfying and visually intense.