Tattoos as a Meditation Practice

Tattoos as a Meditation Practice
I knew if I ever got a tattoo it would have to be meaningful. I just couldn’t see putting Bugs Bunny or a commercial logo on my body in ink forever just because it was cool. Having grown up in a strict religious setting where tattoos were basically forbidden, the decision to get a tattoo came surprisingly not out of rebellion, but out of a desire to integrate the understandings and life lessons I had reached in my life thus far. The act of getting a tattoo became more of a conscious meditation in action, a practice that has continued, though not excessively, and one that I do not know if it will have another piece -or is, at this point, finished.

Stepping through the Gate

My first tattoo came in 2005, when I realized my boyfriend was ill with what he thought was terminal colon cancer. That’s what the doctors told him at least. He was a person I always saw as seeking the balance in life, yet wanting to live brightly and shine a light on the lesser seen joys and possibilities. He had a tattoo on his left shoulder of a yin/yang sign inside the sun. When he was diagnosed it was several months before he told me, instead he just disappeared. I think he did not want to put anyone through the trauma he himself was enduring.

When we finally spoke, and myself being a huge proponent of self-healing, herbs and cleansing practices, I was deflated to hear that he would accept his fate of dying without a fight. I realized I needed to respect and accept his decision to let go even if it meant denying what I knew and losing his physical presence in my reality. During the time he spend away – in Hawaii where he wished to pass – I got my first tattoo, medicinal herbs surrounding a yin/yang sign.

The most amazing thing happened when I got the tattoo. Unaware before hand of how intense the sensation would be, I was prompted into a deep state of meditation and found myself stepping through the pain. It was like the images which were being imprinted on my skin were taking root deep in my psyche. After the tattoo was complete, I felt I no longer had the need to profess to know anything about herbs and healing, as I had so fervently done before the tattoo. Instead, it was like I became the tattoo, the herbs became integrated into my being – if that makes sense. Gratefully, my friend chose a path of healing just following my tattoo. He started to meditate and eat healthy and cured himself of cancer – miraculously – and is still alive, and a dear friend to this day.

The Butterfly Effect

The next tattoo came with the completion of an intensive yogic lifestyle immersion course in India. I learned terminology for the experiences I was having in my body and started to master the art of yoga in a way I had never dreamed possible. Prior to the course, I realized I had a strong sexual addiction. I found myself looking for ways to draw myself into sexual experiences at every turn. I blamed it on my sexually repressed upbringing and my inability to express myself prior to my adult years, but none-the-less, it was there and I was largely unaware of the implications of my actions until attending yoga school.

Following the life-transformation which occurred during my months of study, I felt as though I had risen above my lower tendencies, starting a new journey into the realms of the heart and mind deeper than ever before. I chose the image of a butterfly rising out of a lotus blossom filled with water at my low back, the site of said base root and sexual chakras. This was to symbolize a great awakening taking place within me.

During the actual tattoo, I again went into a deep meditation. This time the shock waves shot up my spine, like the description many have of a kundalini awakening. I confirmed to myself that I was indeed raising my consciousness above the state I was in prior to this experience. I had planned to get this tattoo done in color, like the first, but was stopped at a black and white outline by the awareness of my first son’s conception.

After finding out I was pregnant, I could not endure the needle, it made me nauseous. And hence, the transformation I had depicted began. The growth and arrival of my son marked a huge step in the changes I anticipated with the choice of my tattoo. I was able to move through and embody a new level of my sexuality and find it as an integrated part of my beingness rather than a sore thumb that needed special attention.

Clarity and Trust

My third and fourth tattoos were bonding experiences. I went with my girlfriend and her mother. My dear sister and I had spoken about getting matching tattoos, but again, I didn’t wan’t to do it ‘just because’, there had to be deep meaning behind it. The inspiration came from working together and creating raw chocolate. As we progressed in our business, so too would our personal and financial lives blossom. It became more and more clear to both of us that creating the life we wanted was first about becoming clear, and second – about trusting that life would deliver whatever it was we were clear about.

There it was – the tattoos were to be of clarity and trust. We chose our feet as placement spots so we would be reminded every time we stepped, to do so with clarity and trust. We then decided to each find our own personalized images of what clarity and trust meant to us – this way the tattoos would be personal and not just copies. I had been studying alchemy with world renowned mystical teacher, Almine. She had many symbols on her websites correlating with different spiritual principles and I searched long and hard for ones relating to clarity and trust.

Finally, I found them – purified clarity and surrendered trust. They were called creation codes, and had languaging with them that was meant to invoke these qualities when spoken, like a spell or a prayer. We went to the tattoo parlor and I was prepared, so I thought. I had no idea the intensity of a placement we had chosen. The tops of the feet are excruciating to get tattoos on. Luckily, the man was quick and nimble and the tattoos only took about 5 minutes for each foot.

During the imprint, I repeated the words of my invocation again and again in my mind while I slipped into what seemed like another realm. It was like my personal matrix was being rewired. After the tattoos it seemed as though I couldn’t walk properly, as if my feet and the nerve impulses in them had changed. I had a deep knowing that unless I could integrate the concepts which I just imprinted on my feet, I would not be able to walk. I spent many days in conscious meditation around these concepts and finally, one day – they dropped in.

Mine are on the left
Mine are on the left

Love Praise and Gratitude

My final tattoos, at this point, came with ease. I had always felt them sitting on my right arm, opposite the first tattoo’s positioning, though it had never been time. I had just broken up with a boyfriend and was seeing, briefly, a tattoo designer who I asked to work on me. He was happy to do so and I was thrilled to have our short interlude sealed up nicely with some lovely angelic scripting. The symbols I wanted were for the words Love, Praise and Gratitude. These words also came from my alchemy classes and were thought to be the three attitudes to support the ascension of the body.

This time I was ready, the scripting went on easily and with very little pain. Meditation came as an automatic response and took nearly no effort or prompting. The scripting went on so fast it was over before I knew it. This time, it was smooth and beautiful. I had received the gift of what tattoos could be for me, and it seemed, at least for now – these would be my final ones.

This was several years ago. The words of Love, Praise and Gratitude, as imprinted in angelic sigils, still draws most people’s attention. It is an opportunity to speak of these concepts and reflect on how they are playing out in my life currently. The biggest blessing of all is the conversations invoked by their placement. I am truly in praise and gratitude for the love that has manifested so purely in my life through the practice of getting these beautiful tattoos.

Though my mother may still not approve of the body art or my reasoning, I am convinced that getting tattoos has been some of the greatest forms of meditation practice I have ever engaged in. I am grateful every day for them. They are meaningful, speak volumes of my past and present and I love them as beautiful parts of me that will stay with me as long as I keep my form. Whether the act of body art is right for anyone else, I cannot say, I can only share my story and thank you for listening to it.


Written by: Stasia Bliss