Posts Tagged ‘Tiger Tattoo’

A Journey to a Traditional Tattoo (Sak Yant Part 2)

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

So I promised the follow-up to the Sak Yant, and here it is. This journey is pretty interesting to me and is what I am looking for when I say meaning behind a Tattoo. The difference is that this not only has meaning and a well thought out reason it also has a journey that goes along with it. The following is the story of Marianne told in her own words.

“I began getting tattoos when I was about 21 years old but had always been interested in traditional methods, such as Tebori (Japanese) and other tap methods such as used in Thailand for the Sak Yant.  Although there are artists in The States who offer clients tap method (without ceremony), I wanted to travel overseas for my own and truly experience traditional tattooing.”

“In early 2007 I finally was able to do just that. I was traveling to Asia for a charity education project and was going to be in Bangkok, Thailand as a central point while traveling in-between Myanmar and Cambodia.  I was staying at a popular hotel and had asked the front desk where the best traditional tattoo parlor was and if they felt I would be accepted for a tattoo. The hotel manager contacted Ajarn Noo Kanpai’s Samnak to see if they had any room for me and if Arjan (sometimes called Ajarn) Noo Kanpai himself would be able to tattoo me. Since he is no longer a monk, he is allowed to touch/tattoo women so this was very fortunate for me. I was accepted and told to come to the Samnak the very next morning with my translator.”

“Upon arrival at the Samnak (Samnak Ajarn Noo: 95/5 MOO.1 Tumbol Bangkayang Ampur Muang Patumtani Thailand 12000 Tel.0-2975-2799 Mobile.0-1363-1252 , 0-9144-9456 Website: www.arjannoo.com) it was very quiet. The Samnak looked like a large house with a slightly winding outer staircase up to the tattooing area. I removed my shoes at the bottom of the stairs and began to climb to enter the Samnak. There were about 30 Thais all waiting to get tattooed by the various artists. I was the only Farang (Westerner or Foreigner of European descent) in the Samnak. I took this time to pay homage to Buddha with a flower lei I had bought just for the occasion and some Thai Baht ($). I was told that Arjan Noo was in meditation and that he would see me when I was finished I was going to be first!  I was relieved because of two reasons, I felt it was special to be the first after meditation and also for some reason, although their practices are very safe and hygienic and I was not accustomed to their method, I still had some safety concerns.”

“When Arjan Noo was finished, I spoke to my translator about the correct way to approach him.  It wasn’t so much the respect for Arjan Noo I had to worry about, but the Budhas all behind and around him.   So I approached Arjan Noo as I would approach any temple by kneeling as soon as I was on the rug in front of altar. I was sure to keep my head always lower than Buddha’s, and never pointing my feet at Buddha, always facing the temple until I was well off the rug and still kept my head down.”

“I was asked what I did for a living, what I did for leisure and where I felt I was lacking. My translator and Arjan Noo as well as Arjan Noo’s accountant negotiated a price for a tattoo what he felt I would benefit from. He decided on a Sak Yant on the left shoulder (the left because the left arm is the receiving arm) and it would be a yantra for protection from death and injury as well as for prosperity and inner peace. This was exactly what I needed. However I was apprehensive because I knew that Angelina Jolie had gotten a Sak Yant by Arjan Noo (I do not know what hers is for, as I am sure it was very personal). He had suggested a tiger at first and I was very reluctant to get something so large; I also didn’t want a tiger tattoo. That was when he asked me about my life and chose the Sak Yant.”

“After the exchange of the appropriate funds, about 2-3 times the amount for a tattoo in the US this size and time, we began. Arjan Noo began cleaning my back and then drew on the design, and then the tattoo began…”

“I must say I was surprised at the sensation. It didn’t feel anything like a Western tattoo machine. There was no stinging, burning or that vibration that feels like electricity going through you. It felt like being punched and it bled more than the usual tattoos I had gotten. Although it didn’t really hurt incredibly much, it was not comfortable. I began meditating to soak up the experience and get everything out what I had traveled so far to do. Meditation made it much better.  When I had finished, I opened my eyes and many of the other customers had been staring at me. I almost think they were wondering if I was going to pass out. They had not seen that I already had tattoos so I am not sure what they thought.  There were two other girls waiting to get a Sak Yant when I was there, the rest were young men. The other art around the room was truly amazing, some men must have taken years to accumulate the amount of ink that they had. All in the traditional method as well.

“About 25 minutes later he had finished,  After cleaning with alcohol and then oils I was then bandaged and waited my turn to be blessed. Then the ceremony began. This was the best part. I wasn’t aware this would happen and I felt privileged. Arjan Noo blesses you and this is integral for the “magic” to work. He began by placing a piece of paper above my head as I drew my hands together at the heart. He then began splashing water from a split bamboo wand and then he placed the paper between his closed hands and prayed. He then blew on it and then he gave me the paper. During the ceremony I had lost track of time. I honestly do not even know how long it took to this day. I just know I felt honored to have gone through it. If you would like to see a video of Arjan Noo performing a tattoo and blessing ritual: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGWI_6meq1I (this is not me obviously).”

 

“I was told that in order for the magic of the Sak Yant to work I must abstain from Drinking, Smoking, Drugs and Sex. Although I could abstain from two of them, I couldn’t find myself not having the occasional glass of wine. However, part of me really feels as though it does work because I engage in many dangerous sports and have never been really hurt. Who knows, maybe it is simply luck or coincidence but whatever the case, I wouldn’t change a thing. Anyway, he gave me one of his books and told me to come back and help the Thai people (referring to the charity project I was there for to begin with.) I said I would send a photo and return and thanked him and bid him Sawadika and left.”

“Healing was not the usual experience I was accustomed to. My shoulder blade had bruised in a few areas. The strangest? There was no scabbing or lifting of the ink.  It had healed in about 3 days and I think that was what surprised me the most, Even the bruises were gone in about 4 days! “

“I do plan on going back to Arjan Noo’s and getting another tattoo again. But am also looking into the Tebori method very soon. I was unable to get my tattoo done while I was in Japan, but will return.”

Now that is getting a tattoo with some meaning behind it. If you find this interesting let me know I can write up more about the Sak Yant and other traditional tattoos. Or if you would like to have your tattoo story featured on my blog contact me.