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Sacred Tattooing

Long gone are the days when having a tattoo was looked at as rebellious and taboo. Tattoos are becoming a larger part of culture around the world, where even some of the biggest CEOs are sporting their own ink.

But tattooing is not a new practice, and has actually been used as a form of religious expressions for thousands of years. Here’s a look at some of the oldest tattooing practices in religions around the world.
Devotional Tattoos in Hindusim

Some of the most well decorated skin can be found on the Ramnaamis of Scattered across of Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. These special types of tattoos gave the people a way to spiritual disassociate from the harm they often endured as the lowest cast in the caste system. Often times their tattoos consisted of the name “Ram” repeated in Sanskrit on their whole body, including their lips and tongues.

Hawaiian Spirit Guide Tattoos

Hawaiian culture recognizes deities as ‘aumakua. It is believed that if these personal deities are honor they can offer protection, but if they are mistreated or or destructive if neglected they can cause bad fortune. The ‘aumakua can be manifested as animals, inanimate objects or even occurrences in nature like lightning and thunder can be considered ‘aumakua. Therefore, it is common for Hawaiians to show honor, by tattooing their own ‘aumakua on their bodies.

Mayan Tattooing

The ancient mayans were one of the first ancient cultures to practice tattooing as a form of honor and sacrifice to the gods they believed in, as mayan mythology drove almost every aspect of life. It was also common to practice other forms of body manipulation, including skull deformation where two board were used to shape newborn’s heads to be longer and protrude more.

Do you have any body art that signifies something religious? Let us know in the comment box below!

 

By: Sarah Ash

Sarah is a lover of all things spiritual, and has thoroughly enjoyed covering the spirituality beat during this spring semester. She is a fan of yoga, hiking, and positive vibes. She is currently a communications and branding intern with SparkWild Media, in Fort Collins, CO.