You don’t have to be initiated in any religion to get a magic tattoo, but you should know a bit about the basics of the religion, especially to be able to perform the magic sigil creation ritual.
Remember this is not a game, so if you don’t believe in what you are doing or you are doing it because can sounds cool to tell some friends that you got a tattoo made during a ritual, you should stop reading this article here as it makes no sense in going through all the ritual work for it. It is actually very offensive to people that spend their lives studying those symbols and subjects.
If you choose a pagan symbol you must know the principals of believes, that have already existed for thousands of years but were recognized and unified by the council of American witches in 1974:
1. We practice rites to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of life forces marked by the phases of the Moon and the seasonal quarters and cross-quarters.
2. We recognize that our intelligence gives us a unique responsibility toward our environment. We seek to live in harmony with Nature, in ecological balance offering fulfillment to life and consciousness within an evolutionary concept.
3. We acknowledge a depth of power far greater than is apparent to the average person. Because it is far greater than ordinary, it is sometimes called “supernatural,” but we see it as lying within that which is naturally potential to all.
4. We conceive of the Creative Power in the Universe as manifesting through polarity-as masculine and feminine-and that this same creative Power lives in all people, and functions through the interaction of the masculine and feminine. We value neither above the other, knowing each to be supportive of the other. We value sexuality as pleasure, as the symbol and embodiment of Life, and as one of the sources of energies used in magical practice and religious worship.
5. We recognize both outer worlds and inner, or psychological worlds-sometimes known as the Spiritual World, the Collective Unconscious, the Inner Planes, etc.- and we see in the interaction of these two dimensions the basis for paranormal phenomena and magical exercises. We neglect neither dimension for the other, seeing both as necessary for our fulfillment.
6. We do not recognize any authoritarian hierarchy, but do honor those who teach, respect those who share their greater knowledge and wisdom, and acknowledge those who have courageously given of themselves in leadership.
7. We see religion, magic, and wisdom-in-living as being united in the way one views the world and lives within it-a world view and philosophy of life, which we identify as Witchcraft of the Wiccan Way.
8. Calling oneself “Witch” does not make a Witch-but neither does heredity itself, or the collecting of titles, degrees, and initiations. A Witch seeks to control the forces within him/herself that make life possible in order to live wisely and well, without harm to others, and in harmony with Nature.
9. We acknowledge that it is the affirmation and fulfillment of life, in a continuation of evolution and development of consciousness, that gives meaning to the Universe we know, and to our personal role within it.
10. Our only animosity toward Christianity, or toward any other religion of philosophy-of-life, is to the extent that its institutions have claimed to be “the one true right and only way” and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways of religious practices and belief.
11. As American Witches, we are not threatened by debates on the history of the Craft, the origins of various terms, the legitimacy of various aspects of different traditions. We are concerned with our present, and our future.
12. We do not accept the concept of “absolute evil”, nor do we worship any entity known as “Satan” or “the Devil” as defined by Christian Tradition. We do not seek power through the suffering of others, nor do we accept the concept that personal benefits can only be derived by denial to another.
13. We work within Nature for that which is contributory to our health and well-being.
If you don’t agree with those rules you should stop the idea of a Wiccan ritual tattoo here. Perhaps just stick with something more basic for now. If you do agree with those, before you precede you should also know the rule of four:
“The Four Cornerstones of Wicca”
To know: Knowledge is the key of life.
To dare: Face your fears, but be cautious, some forces are much bigger than any human.
To will: The key for the success is to never give up.
To be silent: Never share your magic projects with anyone, they are yours, by sharing them you can bring up on yourself a great deal of sorrow and put others in harm. What goes against the most important of the wiccans believes: the karma law.
If you agree with all the above, now you a step closer from your goal, the ritual tattoo:
You won’t need all the tools of a real Wiccan; some basic tools will be more than enough for this simple ritual.
1) You will need to create a magic circle. A magic circle is a safe place created to perform any ritual. While inside this circle you will be in what we know as in between worlds. This circle will protect you from non-wanted forces, but they have to be non-wanted, so if you fear or keep them in mind while the ritual happens you are inviting them in to it. Never fear the unknown, respect it, and if while inside the circle there are some forces that you don’t feel comfortable with, try to persuade them, just very politely explain your reasons and ask them to leave your circle. If they don’t leave, never panic; ask the elements and the superior gods and goddesses to take them away from that sacred space.
2) You must know the elements position, because you will have to place something related to those elements in the quarters of your circle:
Water has to be to east of you (rules the emotions, feelings, love, courage, rivers, springs, wells, emotional intuition, mystery, birth, blood, the unconscious mind, the womb, generation and beginnings, fertility, charity) You can represent it with a beautiful jar or a nice container with the most pure water that you can find.
Air is south of you (rules the mind, all mental, intuitive and psychic work, knowledge, abstract learning, theory, windswept hills, plains, windy beaches, high mountain peaks, wind and breath, creativity of the mind, ideas and ideologies), honor it with a good quality incense, no matter the scent of it, choose one that pleases you.
Fire is west of you (rules energy, spirit of the flesh, heat, flame, strong passions, sap, life, the will, destruction and purification, bonfires, hearth fires, and candle flames, sun, deserts, volcanoes, hope, youth, courage of the heart, violence), use a candle to keep the element present at all the times.
Earth is north of you (rules the body, growth, nature, sustenance, material gain, healing, money, business, death, silence, chasms, caves, caverns, groves, fields, rocks, standing stones, mountains, metal, bones, structures, grounding and centering, strength, fortitude, stability, nurturing, hunting, laws, understanding, old age, wisdom), you can represent it with a beautiful vase with a planted tree or flowers.
3) There is no right or wrong way to create a circle, but before you start you have to take a bath or a shower with sea salt, and keep your mind as clear and open to good energies as possible. The place you choose has to be really clean and have a good harmonic feeling to it. If you don’t feel comfortable in the room don’t open your circle there. Take all the tools you need, remember they have to be new, you won’t need much not even an altar, since you are not a wiccan, and by following this small guide to help you with the basics of the creation of magic sigil or turning your future symbol tattooed in something blessed by the high spirits, so you will need some paper, coloring material, and the chosen symbols, just in case, bring some extra images and alternatives to your idea.
4) Sit and relax, take a deep breath, when you feel ready ask the guardians of the Universe the permission to start. With sea salt draw a circle on the floor, the circle has to be big enough so you can move inside. There is no need to create really huge spaces, is easier to control smaller circles.
5) You don’t need to use any special words or chants, just keep focus in what you are doing. Most of the times those words will actually come to you, remember the idea is to have a pure blessed place, so use words related to blessing, no to negative spirits, don’t think about one god in specific, keep the mind open for all of the old gods.
6) Walk around the circle three times, the first time just ask for protection, the second time go around sprinkling salt water, saying things related to purification of the space and asking for permission from the water and earth. And for last go around with the incense asking for the blessing of the air and fire.
7) Now you should direct yourself to each element quarter, starting with the east, south, west and last to the north and call the guardians of each element, do not call the element itself, you are not skilled enough to do so.
8) Once this is all done, call the presence of the superior gods, usually a male and a female presence, don’t name them, if they want they will allow you to know their names. Sometimes you will only get one of them, and trust me it is more than enough. Ask permission to create your symbol, explaining your reasons and promising your eternal appreciation, so if you are not ready for honor this tattoo while you live, you should not go ahead with the ritual. Only then ask for permission to sit down and draw something that will be on your body for the rest of your life.
9) Ask for the blessing of the tools that you will use.
10) Just sit in the center of the circle and allow images to come to you. Never try chit chat with the entities present, specially to give details of something that you don’t really mean, ask straight away what you want with the tattoo: if you want luck, money or love, be clear and direct, don’t try to please the gods with half truths or with promises, it does not help to get your sigil or image more or less blessed. Some entities are more patient than others. Some are actually quite curious and will want to hear as much as they can. By the way, most of the time you won’t be able to see the entity, but you will definitely feel its presence. If you see them, never look them straight in their eyes, unless they allow you to do so. Never try to touch them; in rare cases they will actually touch you. If it happens, feel really blessed. Try to not freak out. Not even the gods like people sucking up openly.
11) Only now start to create your sigil, let your hands and mind be as open as possible to new ideas. Just remember, no real supreme power would tell you to invert symbols, the same way you are respecting their presence they will respect your wishes and devotion. So keep combining the images until you feel that the final drawing is perfect, trust me you will feel it when it is right very strongly.
12) You don’t have to ask the god or goddess to leave, just thank them when you feel that they are about to go. Most of the time they will remain with you only while it is essential. After you are sure that they left you should start to free the other spirits present. Don’t worry if you fall asleep before freeing the guardians. It is an extremely strong process, and they know that you are not fully in control of the experience. They will probably look after you in your sleep. Sometimes amazing revelations will come to you while sleeping. Remember to never force the sleep process, if it happens see it as a bonus.
13) Sleeping or not before leaving the circle you will have to thank the guardians of the elements. Now once more starting from the east, get the blessing from the four of them. Now you have your magic sigil or your blessed symbol…the next step is to find a tattoo artist.
By the way, never throw the material used to cast the circle in the ordinary garbage or blow the candles. Let the candles burn or extinguish the flame with your fingers, yes you can wet them first, so they don’t get burned. If you have the chance; plant the tree or the flowers in a garden, use the water to wash your body and the incense will probably be done by the time you finish.
How can you know for sure if the ritual worked? It is a very personal thing, most of the time you will feel really tiered, and full of inner peace, there won’t be room for bad feelings and even tired you will feel really protected by a force stronger than ever.
Now let’s go and look for the tattoo artist.
If the tattoo artist has any experience with the old ways or not is not really relevant. Perhaps it is actually better if he is just a really open minded person. The most important thing is that you believe in what you are doing. Be serious, because you will be conducting a ritual, don’t feel shy and pay tons of attention to the smallest details. You are responsible for the protection of the circle.
You will have to tell him before hand that it is a ritual made tattoo and that he will need to be part of a circle casting ritual before tattooing it on you. He must feel comfortable doing it. If he doesn’t he is not your guy.
The studio has to be empty, only you and the artist. You can’t tell him the meaning of your image, especially if it is a sigil. Try to do it in a quiet time, no phones or people knocking at the door.
You will have follow the same steps used to cast the initial circle, just this time instead of blessing the drawing material you will be asking for blessing the place, the ink and the hands of the artist.
The tattoo artist has to remain all the times inside of the circle, and the only thing that you have to tell him is to keep his mind clear, if any thoughts come to his mind he has to stop the tattooing, take a deep breath and just go back to concentrate on the lines that he is making. While you have to keep in mind the meaning of it and keep asking for the god present in this ritual for protection and guidance. It might not be the same entity as present during the first ritual. Remember to just accept whoever comes and not ask why the other one isn’t there…I guess I don’t have to explain why, do I?
As already mentioned above the place to tattoo the sigil or the symbol has to be as hidden as possible. It is definitely not a tattoo to show.
One of the strange things about those tattoos is that they do not hurt. You won’t even feel the process happening, and as much as my tattoo artist told me about the experience he felt something really powerful, like if the lines guided him instead he guiding the lines. Usually the process will be really fast, the place might hurt after, as it is normal when you get a tattoo, even though it probably will hurt much less and in some cases not hurt at all. One thing that is not common with those tattoos is for them to get infected; the healing is really fast, as if your skin just accepts and easily absorbs the inscription.