Tuesday, October 17th 2017

Discovering the spirituality of tattoos

Michelle Obama is sans tattoos because “polite society” still frowns upon them. But body-art has a long, sacred tradition. A Boomer’s tattoo confession.


Photo by Paul Clark RGD

GUEST COLUMN: MARY GIUFFRE — I wear two tattoos.  The top of my left arm hosts an OM symbol, which, to my mind, reinforces my commitment to a spiritual path.  In the same spot on my right arm (that’s me, stage left) is an icon of an energetic spiral, a reflection of our very galaxy.

I love body art! And talk about an archetype, the first tattoo I ever remember seeing was on the forearm of a wrinkled, unassuming sailor.  It was a bell, faded by time but I loved the way it shifted and melted when his aged muscle flexed.

Some spiritual teachers say that tattoos are a sacred symbol because they mark a tribal devotion. But they can also note the same in private intimacy: both my husband and I have the same tattoo in the same spot on our bodies. When I flew all over hell’s-half-acre like George Clooney’s character in the Oscar-nominee Up in the Air, I felt our mutual body-art as an inescapable testament of connection, regardless of where we were.

Tattoos and piercings — through the ages

The imprinting and energizing of body and Spirit through the use of tattooing and piercing can be traced back to early human existence.  Early cultures in China, Egypt, Rome, the Pacific Islands and Mexico were all very aware that stimulating our energy through piercing affected our physical health, and that adorning our bodies with tattoos helped connect us to our Spiritual essence.

Understanding meridians

acupuncture2Centuries ago, Chinese doctors mapped the body’s energy meridians and perfected acupuncture the piercing of the skin with fine needles as a method for treating and curing illness.  When it comes to our health, we can thus understand that a piercing placed on the appropriate acupuncture point will have very positive results, however, misplaced piercings can have adverse reactions.

Meridians are part of our metaphysical make up.  They are the lines along which our body’s energy travels, connecting energetic reservoir points which can be accessed to stimulate or sedate our personal energy flow and, therefore, our overall well-being.

When a point is pierced, an electrical impulse is triggered, and from that specific point via the brain, a flow of energy is sent to the corresponding area of the body. Becoming an expert in this field requires years of study and training.  I’m sure that out of the millions of tattoo and body piercing artists worldwide, only a small fraction have any idea of the repercussions a poorly placed adornment might have.

Piercings: not just for adornment

As a young kid, I really wanted my ears pierced, and when my reluctant parents finally relented, they didn’t realize they were doing me a big favor. The centre point on our earlobes, where most people wear earrings, relates to our eyes.

There are another two points, very close by, that affect toothaches, one associated with tonsils, and another, on the inside edge of the lobe, that influences memory. My first ear piercing, done when I was in Grade 5, is on the memory point.  When I think back, I won a public speaking award that year and several acknowledgments for reciting poetry from memory.

earpiercingAs multiple piercings became more popular, I added holes for additional bling, but that was long before I knew that there are over 200 acupuncture points on the outer ear alone.  The ear is a complete map of the body with each point corresponding to a different physical location. When you consider that, in general, gold is considered stimulating and silver sedating, I’m not sure what kind of conflicting messages numerous ear piercings might be sending through us.

The Feng Shui connection

And this all relates to my area of expertise, Feng Shui.  The Feng Shui arts, also charted by the ancient Chinese, is a metaphysical science based on the movement of energy. As a phrase, ‘Feng Shui’ refers to the all encompassing flow of energy that activates the power within and surrounding everything.  The words ‘Feng Shui’ translate as ‘wind and water’.

Air and water are naturally flowing energies, essential to our survival, and, along with our Spiritual essence, they are each part of the precious flowing universal energy.  Feng Shui is also an energetic language of symbols expressed through everything that surrounds us, all of which can leave an imprint on our lives.

Our external appearance — including fashion sense, makeup style and body art — is always a mirror of our internal state.  People adorn themselves with every kind of icon imaginable, from celestial beings, ancient and modern emblems, to Mother Earth’s most fetching, faithful or ferocious inhabitants, each one holding an energetic symbol significant to the individual.

Birds, for example, are often considered a symbol of our spirit; as their ability to fly raises awareness of the creativity and inspiration within us.  A butterfly often represents love or freedom.  Water can be seen as a symbol of creativity, an energetic pool of inspired ideas being reflected back to us.  Animals like wolves and bears can signify strength.  Fish, along with other forms of aquatic life, may reflect our spirit and symbolize intuition and creative imagination.  Celestial beings and various ancient emblems might be representations of our aspirations or our need for protection.

To think about before an artist get busy on your body. . .

Before tattooing and piercing, it is always beneficial to define clearly your intentions before proceeding, so the marks you choose are not trendy, soon to be outdated, social comments or peer emblems.  When considering body art, remember that each adornment is a symbol of how we feel about ourselves.

They reflect who we believe we are and what we want the world to know about us. Everything is energy, ebbing and flowing together and all of energy is consciousness, so by applying acupuncture and Feng Shui principles to the art of tattooing and piercing, we gain an understanding that what we place where on our body is energetically connected to our overall physical, emotional and Spiritual well-being.

In order to benefit from this life long commitment, spend time researching and meditating, and seek the advice of a professional acupuncturist to make recommendations for the ideal placement of any body enhancement.

marygAward-winning television producer/director Mary Giuffre stepped out of mainstream media to devote herself to the greater good.  Mary’s finely-honed abilities help move energy from thought-to-feeling, enhancing energetic balance, harmony, abundance and overall well-being.  Visit her at SoulWater EnergyWorks.

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10 Comments on “Discovering the spirituality of tattoos”

  1. Mary & Soul’s Code,
    What an unexpected and enlightening article. We all talk about and are generally aware that everything is connected and this is yet another (now obvious for me) example.
    Tattoos and piercings are everywhere we look, family, friends, TV, movies and it never occurred to me to ‘really’ look at them like this.
    This article just gave me ‘yet another’ great way to observe our world.

  2. What a wonderful belly picture! I have always felt that tattoos were incredibly beautiful when the art work enhances the body its on. I've wanted some myself, but unless/until I can imagine myself in a nursing home at 85 all wrinkled up with my tats feeling saggy, I just can't imagine decorating my skin that way. So...I'm still the way I was born barring some my earlobe piercings. Dull aren't I? *smiles*

  3. Nice Mary ! good to see here on this website... Congrats. nice way to share your message. Love L

  4. Hi Mare......what an awesome article. Your words convey what many people feel and believe and yet do not often share. What you bring to others is a gift to us all. Thank you for sharing your expertise with us all. I may be a Face Reading Guru, you are a metaphysical guru on many levels. Lin

  5. I don't have any "external" tatoo, but as the young Maori boy in the movie "Once We Were Warriors" said: 'I wear mine inside' ♥

  6. Hi Mary. Thanks for this cool article. I dont know much about the spiritual influence of tattoos on us. But now understood.

  7. I have my own spiritual journey to make with tattooing -- haven't done it yet, but I've "disowned" some parts of my body I need to "reclaim" in a sense.

    Let's call it unintentional scarification that I'd like to correct with tattoos.

  8. I have 4 tattoos and 5 piercings, the only meaning they have in my spiritual journey is that I love them, I really like them. Besides that the only thing that would make evolve is my work, discipline, responsibility and practice and for that I have to say that the tattoos don't help much:-)

    1. I agree totally. I do tattoos and I do not believe that they should have to be spiritual as long as they are something that you love.

  9. My belly button piercing displays a beautiful sparkling butterfly...a symbol of transformation...and a potent reminder for me on lifes' journey...superb article Mary...with gratitude for sharing xxx

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