Title photo: Maori tattoo scene, ca. 1910. Collection of the author.
Several years’ back global community thinking led me to consider the psychological and therapeutic aspects of tattooing. A holistic view that was born from researching and noting the varied tattoo cultures which dot our globe. This world wide web of tattoo practices was itself one of the first indicators that tattooing possibly affected us on a deeper subconscious level. Tattooing being a global ritual that unites us on a primal level in similar ways as other cultural practices, ceremonies, and celebrations do across continents.
Eventually this broad perspective that I was investigating, which contained recorded evidence of its effect on peoples and groups of peoples, such as the magic tattoo festival in Thailand or tribal rites of passage tattoo practices which bring entire tribes together, narrowed in to consider and observe the effects tattooing had on each guest during a personal experience. The level of emotional awareness that would arise during consultations indicated that tattooing brought to the surface a myriad of personal factors. The observed personal factors included emotions, personal ideals, subconscious symbolism, psychological perspectives, and healing objectives. I observed that guests tied their body art to a personal experience that held uniting themes that could be sympathized with through out our global community. Leading me back to tattooing as a practice that connects us on a subconscious level as a shared global experience within a global community.
If a practice as “small” as adorning our skins can be so connective physically and subconsciously, what else can global thinking truly achieve even on the smallest level?
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