Column: Jen Shakti, the Modern Tattoo Shaman

The tattoo has been an important sacred trial for individuals across multiple cultures for generations. The path of pain, identified in Western Witchcraft by Gerald Gardner and other early 20th-century esotericists, has a long history of altering consciousness and manifesting changes in people’s lives. Native cultures around the world have been utilizing the tattoo to mark sacred life passages for centuries, and those of Western heritage have been doing so for almost as long as they have had co­­­­­­­­­ntact with outside cultures. Whether it is a sacred mark of a warrior initiation, or a mark of military service, sacred ink that tells a tribal person’s life story or a mark of one’s alma mater, tattoos have long represented what is important in the narrative of people’s lives. As often happens when indigenous ceremonies get translated into new cultures, the sacredness of the tattoo became diluted as Western culture embraced it.

Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up. Excellent alternative culture magazine and blog Coilhouse is shutting down, though the creators are promising that this is a mere hiatus and that Coilhouse will return in some form in the future. Quote: “We can’t tell you what exactly is coming next, or when; we just know we have no intention of quitting. Potential directions that Coilhouse may move in somewhere down the line: books, apps, limited edition print/art objects, video, fashion collaborations.

Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up. Damien Echols of the now-freed West Memphis 3 discusses his interest in the art of tattooing, and the ink “talismans” he designed, for the Needles & Sins tattoo blog. Quote: “This one is for success in all ventures. And that’s what it says around it in the Theban alphabet; it’s also nicknamed the Witches’ Alphabet.

Forehead Tattoo Causes Problems

The Elmira Star-Gazette takes a look local residents and their tattoos. After spending some time with brothers getting memorial tattoos and a cancer survivor (and her friend) getting inked, the article turns to a local Wiccan woman and her forehead tattoo. Unsurprisingly, this has caused her a variety of problems.Camilla Nhamercedes”Along with the attention, Camilla said her tattoo brought another thing: discrimination. She said that it’s difficult to get through the entire job interview process without her tattoo becoming a hindrance … She said that her teachers at her adult education program even insisted that she find makeup to completely cover her tattoo so she could prepare for the work force.

(Pagan) News of Note

My semi-regular round-up of articles, essays, and opinions of note for discerning Pagans and Heathens. For those keeping track of the July 4th Pagan Religious Rights Rally that took place in Washington DC, one of the participants: Caroline Kenner, has posted a write-up of the event at the Witches Voice web site.”Finally after all these months, we were listening to brave speeches about freedom of religion, and the need for a Pagan chaplain in the military, the need for Thor’s Hammer and the Druid Awen symbol to be recognized by the VA as the Pentacle has been. We had a diverse roster of speakers representing many national Pagan organizations: The Troth, Asatru Folk Assembly, Military Pagan Network, Sacred Well Congregation, Ar nDraoicht Fein and Circle Sanctuary. It was inspiring to see so many diverse Pagans working together, people with very different beliefs, practices and deities sharing a common purpose.”You can read all my coverage of the rally and related news articles, here.Having exhausted all other angles, Christianity Today asks the question: what would Jonathan Edwards (the prominent colonial-era fire-and-brimstone preacher) do about Harry Potter?”So there we have it. The most engrossing imaginative world created at the start of the 21st century is essentially pagan.