Tattoos have become more socially acceptable than they used to be. Once the identifying mark of reprobates and near-do-wells this ancient method of sacred artwork is being discovered by a new generation of spiritual warriors.
In her book Conscious Ink Reiki practitioner, and astrologer, Lisa Barretta explores the use and application of tattoos from this important spiritual perspective and argues the case that rather than simply being a method of adornment and statement of individualisation there is hidden, powerful wisdom in tattoos.
Tattoos have always served multiple functions; though most of the time they are view as external expressions of some that it held dear or personal to its wearer. In the opening to her book Barretta explains how, from a metaphysical perspective, tattoos have a much more significant, and deeper effect upon the inner elements of the psyche.
She states; “They (tattoos) not only hint at your daring side, but also open a portal into the dimension of your soul.” This, of course, is something that ancient cultures who practice shamanic tattooing have always understood.
So, how do tattoos initiate such powerful spiritual transformation?
Barretta explains that they are a deliberate and conscious proclamation of your embodied archetypes, dreams, and emotions. They can also hint at past-life memories, events, and associations. Simply through the application of a personal ideogram to one’s skin these energy patterns resonate powerfully within the astral body as well as other, subtler energy fields within the human auric field.
A Magickal Ritual
For Barretta the process of inking is nothing short of a complex and transformative initiation process – one that has to be carried out with careful planning and application. In her book she outlines the various circumstances in which tattooing can take place and draws the readers attention to the need to be very aware of the energies inherent within and around the time of this penetration of the auric field.
Like any spiritual. or magical act, preparation is vital to ensure a successful outcome. Barretta catalogs the most important aspects to ritual inking. These include having a clear idea of what you want the tattoo to do for you, the most beneficial use of color, and proper prior preparation of the skin.
Even more important factors for consideration are the form the symbol takes and the point in the body at which it is placed. Later on in her book the author explores these facets in greater depth and reveals important insights into the nature of the archetypal energy that is invoked.
Finally, Barretta explores the use of tattoos and their connection to processes of healing. In her conclusion she states “The sacred, spiritual, and mystical elements of your tattoos hold the power of wholeness. Your inked-on images and symbols reveal the many journeys of your soul and chronicle your immortal existence.”
Clearly, tattoos hold a great function than that of simply being personal adornments.
I cannot say that prior to reading Conscious Ink by Lisa Barretta I had really thought much about tattoos and their function. Like many others I have seen so many old, poorly drawn; even self-drawn, tattoos to put me off any further interest in them.
However, Conscious Ink was, for me, an absolutely fascinating read and one that I was drawn to digging into on many occasions subsequent to my initial first read. This is a book that is not only expertly written but has been crafted with a great deal of attention to detail. It is well-illustrated and beautifully sectioned with line-drawings leading one to truly appreciate the arguments that its author is presenting.
Towards the second half of the book the information becomes even more interesting as the author details the exact effects of tattoo symbols and the process of unlocking the energy fields within the soul via connections to the natural energy centres or chakras. The scope of symbols that she covers is interesting for they range from common Wiccan iconography through to Eastern mandalas, geometric patterns, Japanese animals and Celtic knot-work.
Conscious Ink by Lisa Barretta is a book that anyone who is thinking f getting a tattoo should read for it contains a wealth of advice and information on how to avoid making. sometimes irreversible, mistakes. More than that it is a celebration of an important art-form which draws all of us into a closer connection to our inner-selves and soul directives. Thoroughly and unreservedly recommended!