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per amica silentia lunae

or, across the ferny brae with the evil voodoo celt

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blood sacrifice
I've been thinking about my next tattoo. I've got fourteen so far, and I'm afraid I'm mildly addicted. Or maybe not so mildly. It's not so much the end result, although I love it- the whole process fascinates and absorbs me. From the flash of inspiration, the hunt for art to co-opt and modify (my artistic talent is miniscule and definitely not suited to tattoo flash), the creation of the design, the consultations about aesthetics and placement with the Vortex, the ritualistic process of actually getting it, showing it off to friends, watching it heal, and finally accepting and integrating it into my personal bodyscape… it's a cycle that I'm probably going to be repeating for the rest of my life- or at least until I run out of space.

People often ask me how much it hurts. Honestly, that depends on how you're wired. It's all surface pain, which for me is easier to endure. Much of it depends on location- a lot of padding underneath is good (upper arm is a fine location). Also skin sensitivity- with my armbands, the underside hurt more than the topside. It can be an intense experience. The pain is not really that bad, IMHO, but it is sustained... It helps to breathe deeply (that biofeedback "breathe through the pain" thing), and try to get into a meditative state beforehand. This also helps you to remain immobile, which is highly recommended. And then, of course, your endorphins kick in, which makes it very interesting...

I have had much more painful experiences. I have never had a problem enduring. The Vortex says, "compared to a horsefly or black fly bite, it's nothing" Then again, I never rode horses like her, so I'm not sure I have that referent down pat. The pain fades quickly. For a few hours after, the whole thing stings, but not too intensely. It's sensitive until it heals.

The sound of the tattoo "gun" is actually more annoying to me. It's a kind of nasty electric buzzing and chattering noise. It certainly helps to have music of some kind, or drumming.

If all goes well, I will get this one at the Free Spirit Gathering next week. It's a wonderful pagan festival put by FSA, a Neopagan networking group I helped found way back when, before the Black Ships came. The theme of the event is Full Moon Rising- by a happy synchronicity, there is a full moon on that weekend, and it is FSG XVIII, and eighteen is the number of the Moon card in the Tarot. Naturally, my tattoo is going to be moon-themed- a Pictish symbol called a Crescent and V-Rod. It's a design found on many of the so-called "Pictish Symbol Stones" of Scotland, and I've liked it for a long time.

I got my first tattoo at FSG XII, and it was a wonderful experience. I did it in a fairly elaborate ritual format, mainly because I wanted my first one to be an especially powerful experience. And it was- I was afloat for hours after, and little magical things kept happening: a bat flew right over my head, the mayflies were leaving trails as they flew through the lights, etc.

The rest of my tats have been done without structured ritual, although I try to have music or drumming or poetry reading or something during them, and they're all done with intent- to commemorate something, to honor a god or spirit, etc. My first tattoo was a deliberate blood sacrifice, and this one will be, too- there have been troubles in my corner of the Neopagan community for the last several months, but this FSG marks a turn in the corner, hopefully an upswing, a renewal. And it is my third time on staff, and I'm a strong believer in the power of threes. So, I will offer blood to the Moon next week, but also to the spirit of FSG, for rebirth and for renewal.

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Come to any outdoor summer game, and it is likely that you'll get a chance. Come to Stardust, and it's definite. Otherwise, we'll just have to arrange for you to get a look. ;-)

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