MAGIC, THE SCIENCE AND THE ART OF TATTOOING
written by Pat Fish, first published in TATTOO LIFE MAGAZINE in 1986
The shamanistic aspects of tattooing are a basic element that has remained unchanged throughout the centuries. But in our modern world, each client/artist interaction contains a different degree of awareness of this magic.
The tattooist is the transformer, the agent of change, the one whose power to visualize allows the embodiment of the image to occur. In most ancient cultures the tattoo was placed on an adolescent's body at the rite of passage that would mark their transformation into adulthood. No less now, when peer group pressure or personal preferences inspire the young to declare allegiance or prove bravery through being tattooed.
It is wise for those in the tattoo industry to keep in mind their psychic responsibility to their clientele. Whether doing custom flash or traditional designs, they take on, through the magic alchemy of electricity and ink, the role of the Gods' representative.
In the old religions the tattoos were placed only after a spirit quest revealed the totem in a vision, and it was the artist's sacred responsibility to interpret that vision into skin so that the initiate would never again be without the protection of their totem.
Today's tattoo artists continue the work, weaving more or less mystique about their methods. Some counsel and advise, others just get the flash of choice from the file and put it on. But all, without exception, are having a permanent effect on the lives of their clients. Few occupations can claim as much.
For the commitment, the irrevocability, and the sense of permanent allegiance without room for regret, the psychic power of dermigraphics is unrivaled.
All those wearing, giving, or contemplating tattoos will do well to remember this definition:
MAGIC IS THE SCIENCE AND ART
OF CAUSING CHANGE TO OCCUR IN CONFORMITY WITH WILL.