I use my body modification to express the pain in my life, and the release of that pain, as well as my spiritual existence. My body piercings are representations of my pain and bondage to this physical existence and its strife. The act of piercing (for me) is done with reverence and respect through ritual. I will only have piercings done by those who understand this and will participate as needed. Needless-to-say I have done almost all of them myself. The final act, the releasing of the will and energy built up by the preceding ritual, is a form of release for my soul, my self. I allow the pain to wash over me, and through me, until only I remain--the pain or trouble within me released and sent onward with it.
1) Tongue (14 Gauge hole)--performed the first time by my good friend and brother, Kat--the second time by me. It represents my tendency to speak my mind without thought to the situation. I am brutally frank, painfully honest, and since I do not like hiding things from others--especially things I am thinking--I tend to speak my thoughts in an inappropriate manner. The piercing of my tongue was a way to represent my bondage to this flaw, a reminder to fight the impulse, and a release of my creative use of articulate speech instead. Removed it around the time my son was born/daughter was conceived; plan to do it again.
2) Ear 1 (left; 14 Gauge hole)--performed every time by myself. Represents my tendency to not listen to what others have to say. I used to listen only enough to formulate an argument for why an individual was wrong--and I was right. Now I listen, and can acknowledge my own imperfections and mistakes. This piercing is a representation of my bondage to this flaw and a constant reminder to keep my ears, and mind, open to others.
3) Ear 2 (left; 14 Gauge hole)--performed every time by myself. Represents my tendency to buck authority, to not acknowledge any other person as having authority above my own. A symbol of this flaw, it is a reminder to listen to those older and wiser than myself, and accede to authority above my own and listen to their dictates when necessary
3) Ear 3 (right; 14 Gauge hole)--performed every time by myself. This represents the difficulties caused by my Empathy, and the trouble it gets me into--my inability to close it off and shut it out when needed. A symbol of my bondage to my gift and a reminder to shut myself off, away from the troubles and pains of others for a while, when I need to realign; the inability to do so can lead to serious problems and imbalance for myself. You can only take so much of other’s troubles, pains, and ills upon yourself before you become affected instead--this is a reminder of that danger--a reminder to realign before it goes too far.
4) Prince Albert (14 Gauge hole)--performed by Kat the first time, the second by me for my apprenticeship test (I did not want to risk someone else with something that delicate the first time, and I had my own reasons). It is a symbol of my bondage to my more primal instincts. It is a reminder that with every action there is a price. It is also, a constant reminder that I am in control, not my emotions or instincts--my mind controls my body, not my passions. I removed it after I met my wife, when the Mother laid bare the answer to a question I asked her; the only time I have ever received an answer so plain, and so clearly. I no longer have need of this reminder.
Ink and branding are art forms that have been around since our ancestors first discovered the ability to use dyes and fire thus. They are a phenomenon that spans many cultures and times. With this in mind, I approach this particular part of my body modification with even more reverence, respect, and love than any other form. One of the reasons I have not had much done yet is the lack of “ink slingers” and branders that have a sympathetic feel for working when ritual needs be involved. Yes, I know that part of the Druid path is a coexistence between the spiritual path and everyday life, but my body is a sacred vessel, flawed though it may be, that contains and transports my spirit for a while. Anything done to it that drastically alters it (barring accidents that cause drastic changes) should be done in the proper fashion--in my opinion. Another reason for my inaction is a still clouded vision of the whole picture.
Hey Merlyn--I have seen some of your art brother... ever thought of doing Ink?
1) Celtic Knot-work Cross--on my right arm about 1" below my shoulder and going down to just above my elbow (black ink).
2) Quarter sized Chinese Character for Crow--on my spine at the base of my neck (blue ink).
3) Quarter sized Awen--on the inside of my right wrist about an inch below the heel of my palm (white ink).
1a) MacMillan Cross--on my left arm (same dimension as the one on the right--black ink) depicting the west facing side (sword and crucifix).
1b) Cover-up of the Knot-work Cross on my right arm with the east facing side of the MacMillan Cross (chief hunting).
2) Quarter sized Awen--on the back of my right wrist (parallel the one on the inside) in black ink (representing light and dark when taken together.
3) Four Dragons/Serpents intertwined/knotted down my right arm from the elbow--two ending with the black Awen between their open mouths (on either side), two with the white Awen between them likewise. The colors of the Dragons are still a subject of meditation.
4) A pair of Dice showing the faces bearing six pips and one pip to the front, five pips and two pips on the top, four pips and three pips on the sides--all representations of a roll of SEVEN. They show three different rolls of seven--or seven, seven, seven (777). In this way I represent my
sacred numbers of 7 & 777, a sacred triptych of 3--thus also representing the trinity. It displays my reverence and gratitude for my ability to see patterns and bend "chance" to my will (no such thing as chance--no coincidences) and "Lady Luck", representative of my trickster aspect.
5) Some form of representation of the zodiac sign of Leo on my right shoulder above the MacMillan Cross cover-up--and some form of representation of Virgo above the MacMillan Cross on my left shoulder. This represents my position between the two signs and the duality of my nature (my birthday is in the middle of the Leo/Virgo cusp). The two signs are on either side of me and I am stuck in between.
6) Big Dipper asterism on the inside of my right forearm to overlap the faded branding of the asterism I have already done on myself.
7) Orion/Arthur asterism on the back of my left forearm to overlap the faded branding of the asterism I have already done on myself.
All of the tattoos on my arms will eventually be connected in some way to create full sleeves, though the connective tissue and/or other archetypes are still the subject of meditation and study.
8) A multi-part Oak Tree Crow on my back--inspired by the crow outline design from the comics/graphic novels/movie(s) The Crow
. The short, wide trunk of the ancient oak, its large broad canopy, and its spreading root system will provide the outline/shape of the crow's body, wings, and tail feathers respectively. A large Awen will rest its base just above a dip in the canopy, and rise from there up to a point at the base of my neck (passing behind the Chinese Character for Crow); this is the head and beak. Below the roots will be a representation of a typical rock "step" structure surrounded by trees (like viewing a cut-out of the forested resting place of a pack) with wolves arranged in various positions around, and on, the rocks--the alpha pairing on the highest reach of the rocks. A full moon and a new moon will flank a "Black Hole Sun", a representation of light and dark aspects, with the merging of the thought in the middle (a sun that is a sun and a black hole at the same time--light and void in one). This triad will shine down upon them.
Any other archetypes present in the back piece have yet to present themselves (if they exist), and the connective tissue of it all is still the subject of meditation.
That is my tale of body modification thus far; I have enjoyed reading everyone’s responses. This was a truly excellent topic to open Lady Nimue! Thank you for thinking along this path, and sharing your thoughts with us all.