Chapter 16; Pagan Tattoos

I am all for them. There is a long history of tattoos with our ancestors and our culture. I feel the permanency and the pain of a tattoo is a ritual in itself.

They certainly are addictive. I have 18 or so.

There is nothing else to do but allow the mind to wander and concentrate on the sensations traveling through your body as you sit there hour after hour getting marked up. I was lucky enough to eventually find a tattoo artist with pagan leanings. She was definitely familiar with the lore and this made my tattoo experiences all the more important to me.

Here is an example; After graduating from law school, I studied long and hard for the Bar Exam. As a reward to myself for having passed, I got tattoos of Hunin and Munin on my chest. They are Odin’s raven, Thought and Memory. The go off into the world and return to whisper secrets to Odin. I felt it was appropriate, being as how I asked them to aid me on that Mo#$er Fu@*ing test..

So many times in our modern world we are forced to recreate in lesser ways, subtle ways, the deeds and thoughts of our ancestors. I might be able to get in a fistfight , but I cannot run an enemy through with a spear. Tattoos, I would proffer, are akin (albeit distant) to Odin’s sacrifice upon the world tree.

From the Havamal;

Stanza 138: ” I know that I hung on a windy tree, nine long nights, wounded with a spear, dedicated to Odin, myself to myself, on that tree which no man knows from where it’s roots run.”

Stanza 139: “No bread did they give me nor drink from a horn, downwards I peered, I took the runes, screaming I took them, then I fell back from there.”

For me, my tattoos each mean something, a concept or event I am trying to memorialize. I go through the ritual pain of getting a tattoo to intensify that process, myself onto myself.

Some tips for the future tattooed; 1) Make sure you have wanted that particular tatto for a period of time, do not be impulsive. 2) Are you double sure that you know what that tattoo means/symbolizes? 3) Is your tattoo artist any good? 4) Is this tattoo something that will close doors for you in the future?

If you have answered all 4 questions to your satisfaction, then ‘Fire It Up!’

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