Sak Yant tattoos are a spiritual tattoo, inked using the traditional hand-poked method and preformed by a monk along with a special blessing ceremony.
It can be difficult to find a monk who will tattoo women, so I was very excited when I finally found a service who would help arrange it for me that wasn’t at an astronomical cost.
I arrived at a residence opposite a temple outside of Chiang Mai and paid my respects to the monk by bowing in front of him (whilst seated on the floor) three times, and bringing my palms together in a prayer motion.
We then discussed, (with the help of my translator) what I was searching for, what I would benefit from; when I was born, what I did for a job and what my aspirations were.
I asked for good luck and protection, this was shortly after I was attacked in a hostel dorm and it’s a long-running joke that I am quite an unlucky person who seems to attract strange people. So I figured it couldn’t hurt!
The monk then showed me some designs and explained the meanings behind them before deciding to merge two together. He traced the lines in the centre of my back, underneath my mandala and above my lotus flower.
“The monk said, this is going to be very painful.” said my translator with a worried expression expression.
Now, this wasn’t my first rodeo. I have three other tattoos, one of which was hand-poked over the course of several hours, so I was not scared.
But oh boy, I should have been.
I was the most painful thing I had ever experienced in my entire life.
The monk offered to stop for a break but I asked him to just do the whole thing in one fell swoop.
Honestly, I was like my skin was on fire and someone was peeling layers off of me with a knife. It was utter agony.
But so worth it in the end!
The monk preformed the blessing ceremony for me and gave me some extra tokens of good luck and protection – a print of pictures and symbols in gold on a red cloth (which I was told to fold up and keep in my bag) and a Sai Sin bracelet for extra good luck.
I paid my respects to the monk again before leaving with an aching, tingling feeling down my spine but a smile on my face.