Consciousness is the intangible part of our being. It stores every bit of information about who we are and holds the blueprint for where we are headed. It is the sum of your spirit’s evolutionary development. Every minute, the cells of your body are updating and recording information. Our cells remember all of our past lives and everything that has happened in this lifetime right up to the present day. This is what’s known as cellular memory.
Believe it or not, your tattoo, and what it represents, is also captured in your consciousness. It is immortally etched into your cellular memory and will either enhance or lower your vibration, based on the intention and emotions imbued at its creation. Your ink may even represent something from another lifetime that has come through for review. The Maori, along with other Polynesian groups, believe a person’s spiritual efficacy, or life force, is displayed through their tattoo.
Exploring Consciousness With A Tattoo
Tattoos can effectively help you explore the deepest layers of your consciousness and bridge the gap between your conscious mind and the spirit. The images you have inked on your body create visual stimuli that evoke emotional release. Many times, these images reveal themselves via impactful dreams. These dreams may bring a regressed memory closer to the surface for healing.
Quite a few tattooists I talked to told me many people want a tattoo that represents a specific dream. Very often through dreams, the subconscious mind uses a past-life story as a means of symbolically bringing forward vital information that needs to be processed. Childhood memories, the nine months in the womb, and even other incarnations are forever held in the essence of consciousness.
Dreams can also inspire you to face your fears, bring out your hidden potential, and give you a glimpse into the future. Whatever inspires you to get a tattoo, know there is a hidden meaning that is personal to you. Consciousness is creative, and that creativity is expressed in myriad ways. Tattooing is an amazing modality that awakens your spirit—if you dare.
Shamanistic Roots of Tattoos
Because tattooing is rooted in shamanism, it also subscribes to the philosophy that there is no separateness. Your physical reality is just a layer of consciousness. Images you are intuitively drawn to hold more information about your true self than you may realize. There is a deep, personal resonance you instinctively feel.
You may think you are just inking something on but you are also bringing something out that is linked to an emotion, memory, or trauma. Emotional memories are powerful and serve to guide and inform you. An image that visually speaks a personal dialogue with you is telling you something about yourself.
Get The Latest From InnerSelf
Many people who shun traditional forms of therapy find that getting a tattoo is an appropriate, satisfying way to express their emotions. Getting inked allows you to explore, express, and find your hidden pieces without spending endless therapy sessions (and money) talking about it. Like Aristotle said, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
Tattoos Can Birth Awareness
Your consciousness, in a mystical way, urges you toward tattoo images that are curative. Even dark image tattoos serve a purpose. They bring your shadow and fears to the surface. A nemesis can be a vast part of the story for many awakenings. The happy, playful tattoos you ink may be a clue to your inner child. Tattoos of a lighter nature coax your carefree nature to come back to the surface. You may be so caught up in the grind of work and the material world that you don’t take time to find joy. A new awareness can be birthed from getting a tattoo.
The spot on your body that you decide to ink is where your chosen image will hold space. The phrase hold space is a term used quite often in transformative healing work like Reiki, therapeutic massage, and other holistic therapies. The inked area becomes a portal on your body where an emotional expression can come through as an affirmation for what you find meaningful.
When you consciously tattoo, you are establishing that the intention, emotion, and image exist on all levels of consciousness without judgement. The tattoo symbolically marks the place on your body where you are able to hold space and be honest about who you are.
Conscious ink is without ego, because it is from a deep inner connection with meaning. The ink on your skin lives and breathes along with you. It is sentient. It will feed you emotions and feel your emotions. The tattoo reminds you to be present with yourself, and it holds that protective space for you.
Consciously tattooing is about much more than bringing an image physically onto the body. It can conjure a whole range of unexpected and sometimes difficult emotions. When energy is stimulated on the physical body due to the tattoo needles piercing the skin, its counterpart held in the subtle bodies is also awakened. A stream of information is exchanged throughout the entire system, resulting in the movement of emotional energy.
One of the most rewarding aspects of consciously tattooing is that it can be the perfect modality to become more aware of those emotions so you can begin to work through them. Tattooing stimulates your energy, which in turn initiates change in your consciousness.
Tattoo Pain As A Pathway To Spiritual Identity
The pain experienced when getting a tattoo can be a pathway to spiritual identity. Pain causes a shift in your awareness. This complex process is executed on many spiritual levels, through every layer of your subtle body. When getting inked, the needles penetrate your body and aura. This is a form of trauma, and your body responds in kind. It recognizes the wound and begins to heal. In the subtle body, a deeper healing is experienced and the pain may be released through emotions. Often, letting go emotionally is more raw than physical pain.
Endorphins are released during a tattoo session. They are your body’s natural pain relievers. These chemicals come directly from the brain, flooding your body. Endorphins are feel-good chemicals and help us realize, on some level, that we are more resilient to pain than we think.
Your body also releases endorphins right before you die to ease the transition from the physical world to the afterlife. In a sense, we can theorize getting a tattoo signifies to your consciousness that a shift is taking place. There is a metaphoric death and rebirth within yourself.
Tattoos Can Trigger Buried Feelings
After you get a tattoo, pay attention to how you emotionally feel. Tattoos can trigger buried feelings that rise to the surface for release. It either happens right away, or the effects of the shifting energy kick in weeks later. You may be thinking, “Wow! No way!” But it’s true — you just need to be present and aware. Listen to what your body is conveying to you.
When you understand how something works, you are able to experience everything it has to offer. Tattooing is no different. If you just get some random tattooist to put a flash image on you or some impulsive design, you may be limiting yourself to an extremely reduced experience. You will not have full awareness of its effects on your consciousness. It’s like buying a ticket to a concert but not going to the show.
While writing this book, I sought out people who consciously inked with deep intention and purpose. There seemed to be a common theme: many of them said they had more lucid dreams after getting tattooed. Another commonality was that during their tattoo session, there was a feeling of drifting into a Zen-type state. Some even said they felt an overwhelming purge of emotion.
Dan Benonis is a music therapist. He shared with me an interesting story about two tattoos he had inked. He decided he wanted the tattoos underneath each one of his arms. Dan said:
When I first had the idea for these tattoos, I wanted to get two F-holes underneath each one of my arms. When people hear F-hole, they immediately think of something dirty, but the F-hole is a portal in an instrument that resonates the sound. Think of a violin, cello, or semi-hollow guitar. The slot that you see in the side is an F-hole.
As I readied myself to get this tattoo, I had a dream. This dream told me that I needed a compass. In the dream, I had the lines and measurements of a compass tattooed on me. I decided that I should have a compass rose on top of an F-hole, and have it inked on each arm. To me it is a representation of resonating on a higher level in my life. After I got the tattoos, I began suffering panic attacks that I believe were a release of negative energy and a pathway to my next chapter for my soul.
Dan told me this wasn’t his first experience getting a tattoo. He was shocked by the emotional shift and the panic attacks brought on by these two F-hole tattoos. The piercing of the skin most likely incited and shifted some emotional energy held in his subconscious. The tattoo itself is a portal, and he chose to put the image of an instrument’s portal on his skin. This was, in the sense of energy, like putting a portal on a portal, making his tattoos even more receptive to being an outlet. I told Dan it most likely was a release of fear-based emotions, maybe from a past life when he got caught for hiding, either himself or something else. In any case, this experience offers Dan the opportunity to explore his consciousness and find the hidden story.
Ancient cultures practicing shamanic tattooing actually laid the groundwork for our modern exploration of consciousness. The tattooist who is inking your skin is, in a sense, the shaman who is facilitating your journey into the layers of your psyche. They help you depict and translate, through art, the voice of your inner muses.
Most tattooists will not ink an original tattoo on someone other than the person for whom it was created. You may like someone’s unique tattoo, but it depicts their consciousness, not yours. By threading ancient tattoo practices together with our advanced concepts of consciousness, we can delve into the deeper layers of ourselves.
©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.
About the Author
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
Books by this Author