Sometimes we make a mistake and get an un-conscious ink, or a tattoo for the wrong reasons. It could have been inked because it came from a place of ego, not soul. Perhaps you made a bad decision by not checking out the tattooist and the quality of their work. Maybe you were in the wrong frame of mind and captured a lot of negativity within your tattoo. Whatever the reason, a bad tattoo can wreak havoc in your life while you try to figure out how to cope with your ink disaster.
I interviewed numerous people who have regrettable ink and most admit their decision to get a tattoo was impulsive and not really contemplated. Their experiences with having a bad tattoo included suffering from severe depression and panic attacks. Some people even resort to therapy and antidepressants over a bad tattoo. Bad ink can mess with your psyche and consume you with thoughts on how to get rid of it.
Tattoos symbolically speak the language of your inner truth. They are visual reminders of your journey through life that mark special moments, certain mindsets, and inner visions. We all shift; no one stays the same. As we move through life, we change and update our style. You may decide to revise an older tattoo by adding to the image, or possibly want to have some regrettable ink removed because it is totally not in line with your current philosophies.
Deciding to remove a tattoo is a process because, as discussed in previous chapters, your ink goes deeper than your skin. It is also an imprint into your consciousness, where it stays in the form of an invisible scar. Having a tattoo removed can stir up some emotional energy and anxiety because tattoos in themselves are self-contained stories, symbols that represent a timeline of your life.
Every scar tells a story, like the time you fell off your bike or had surgery. In a sense, tattoos are the scars that go beyond the skin to be etched as memories held within the bioenergy field. Having a tattoo removed from your skin still leaves the remaining inner scar. This scar can be a past-life memory that initially held influence over you getting a tattoo, or it can be from a new memory you downloaded into your consciousness. In either case, your decision to remove or adjust a visible tattoo signifies you have had a shift in consciousness that must be addressed on every level, not just the physical.
Tattoos are symbolic of the inner archetypes and emotions you invite into visible, conscious awareness. An important aspect to keep in mind when getting a tattoo, altering an existing tattoo, or removing your ink is that you can expect to feel some rolling emotions. This moving stream of emotions may trigger some past trauma held within your consciousness, even if the tattoo you are removing or altering is just a small symbol. Your consciousness retains memory of what the body experiences and vice versa. You never know what getting or removing a tattoo may stir up in your emotional memory bank.
If you have a tattoo that no longer resonates with your frequency due to a shift in your consciousness, you will feel your body telling you to alter or get rid of it. Tattoos that have a lower vibration can start to attract negative situations. Your emotions will also take a hit. Holistic practitioners who do body work can often help to move the energy getting stuck in the tattoo portal if it becomes a problem.
What types of inner healing modalities work best with tattoos? Because tattoos are part of your consciousness and not just a separate image on your skin, it is best to go with healings that are holistic and ascribe to returning you back to wholeness. Your tattoo memory will get carried over into other incarnations, so it is best to address any changes in your ink during the here and now.
Because our body stores emotional memory, deep tissue massage should be considered when either getting, altering, or removing your tattoo. Massage stimulates the mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies. During a massage, especially around a tattooed area, you may perceive all kinds of sensations from the physical to the emotional. Your deep cellular memory will be shifting and responding to the changes going on within your system. Stay present and connect with your breathing as you begin to feel the emotional release. It is not unusual for past-life memory to arise during a massage for either you or the person doing the massage.
Most forms of energy medicine, especially Reiki, are suggested healing processes for tattoos. Reiki energy goes where it is needed, whether it is for a current life situation or to relieve a past-life trauma. Reiki has a quantum effect because all lives — past, present, and even future — are all happening simultaneously. Reiki can balance the chakras, release blockages, and restore the flow of subtle energy. Body workers and people who practice energy medicine perceive where emotions are stored in the body. They can often sense perceptible vibrations of deep emotional energy captured in tattooed body areas.
Body work isn’t just applicable to tattoo removals or alterations; it should also be considered a type of maintenance for your sacred body space that holds your mystic ink. Your tattoo portal receives as well as emits a very precise vibrational energy at all times. You are embodying some very sentient art imbued with ritual, intent, and emotions.
Scars are indicative of both wounding and healing. Ancient tattoo practices were not only used for decorative purposes, but also for therapeutic and medicinal purposes. It is theorized tattoo symbols on ancient Egyptian female mummies were indicative of protection during childbirth.
A 1,000-year-old female mummy found in Peru had neck tattoos that contained what is believed to be healing plant extracts. Indigenous people from the Arctic North tattooed specific joints because they believed they were the points where evil spirits enter the body and cause illness. Therefore, tattooing the joints served as preventive medicine.
It was common medical practice for medicine men of the Chippewa, also known as Ojibwe or Anishinabe, to administer a healing poultice in conjunction with tattooing as a means for the medicine to enter into the bloodstream. The pain experienced during the treatment was the soreness leaving the body.
Probably the one of the most famous and oldest forms of proof of what is believed to be medical, therapeutic tattooing was found on a frozen individual popularly known as “The Iceman” (Ötzi). He had been deep frozen for about 5,300 years and still retained tattoos with four groups of simple blue/gray tattoos on his spine, calves, and ankles. The tattoos were very organic, usually made up of lines or a cross. He appears to have been tattooed on or near his joints (ankle, knees, and spine) where he may have had signs of arthritis.
Today, modern medicine uses tattoos as a form of medical alert insignias in place of a bracelet or tag that may be easily lost. There has been research in using tattoos to deliver medicine, and tattoos are commonly used in cosmetic procedures to give pigment back to areas of the body that have been disfigured. There is always a corresponding inner aspect to your consciousness that follows the scars of your ink. Always remember, the body, mind, and spirit are one unit that fan out dimensionally from spirit to physical form.
Transpersonal tattooist Daemon Rowanchilde shared a beautiful story about his client Anita, whom he tattooed after her double mastectomy. Sadly, Anita passed away on March 9, 2011, at the age of 44, but Daemon’s abilities as an artist, tattooist, and gifted healer helped Anita reclaim her body and sense of self before she left the physical realm.
“The hidden gift in diseases like breast cancer is that it can open deeper levels of consciousness in the person who is sick,” Daemon said. “Over the course of her long illness, Anita Wintels developed the ability to communicate with angels and the spirits of departed souls. Even though her cancer was terminal, Anita wanted me to tattoo angel wings over the scars of her double mastectomy to represent the divine connection that became a huge part of her life.”
Spiritual reality becomes more prominent in a person’s consciousness when they face their own death or that of a loved one. However, in the case of breast cancer where the outcome is a double mastectomy, another kind of death occurs. The resultant scars can become an emotional dead zone. A tattoo, however, can not only transform a scar into art; the actual experience can create a tremendous positive shift in perception and meaning.”
Daemon shared what Anita had written him after he worked with her:
You can imagine, though, that as a woman, once breasts are gone and you have this ‘blank,’ everything kind of shifts. All of sudden how I thought about myself sensually and intimately changed. Nobody (including myself) touched me there anymore until you started working on me...and the first wave of emotion hit me! Well now that these beautiful designs are here, that has changed. I can’t even write this without tears streaming down my face.
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. They are the scars of healing, self-revelation, memories, and stories that reflect all of your lifetimes. The never-ending theme of life, death, and rebirth are reflected in your tattoos from the simplest of symbols to the most elaborate designs.
May you find enlightenment in your ink and aspire to consciously tattoo.
©2018 by Lisa Barretta. All rights reserved.
Reprinted with permission of New Page Books,
an imprint of Red Wheel/Weiser.
Conscious Ink: The Hidden Meaning of Tattoos: Mystical, Magical, and Transformative Art You Dare to Wear
by Lisa Barretta
Ancient cultures practicing shamanic tattooing laid the groundwork for our modern exploration of consciousness. Tattoos are both a revelation and a proclamation of your embodied archetypes, dreams, emotions, even a hint of past-life memories. Conscious Ink shows how this edgy skin art interfaces with our body's subtle energy field and reveals how tattoo imagery ties into the potent energy of inner alchemy that expands our self-awareness. Looking at tattoos beyond the lens of body art, Conscious Ink gives you a new perspective on tattoos and their undeniable roots in pure, magic and mysticism.
Lisa Barretta is a member of the National Council for Geocosmic Research -NCGR, American Federation of Astrologers - AFA, and the International Society for Astrological Research - ISR. She practices as an intuitive counselor, certified Reiki practitioner, and researcher in the fields of consciousness and psychic sensing. Lisa is also the author of Conscious Ink, The Street Smart Psychic’s Guide to Getting a Good Reading and The Book of Transformation. Visit her web site at www.lisabarretta.com