invisible and sacred tattoos in Cambodia

 

For centuries, Cambodians have been enduring hours of pain to get mystical tattoos pierced on their bodies. These tattoos are hand-drawn and are believed to have magical power. The tradition however is disappearing as the country is modernizing.

 

Magic tattoos are believed to bring luck and popularity, and many soldiers are sporting them in order to become invisible and be protected from bullets. In the past, tattoos were very popular among Cambodian men, with most of them getting tattoos. Nowadays, only countryside people and superstitious people still believe in their magical power.

 

Tattoos are done by traditional healers or Buddhist monks with profound spiritual beliefs. Today however, only a few of them are capable of using the long traditional needles and reciting the magical incantations (mantras).

 

Here I am touring a very nice and richly decorated pagoda.

Here, a monk is applying tattoo. In the past, these reputed tattooists drew magical motifs by hand with 2 or 3 bamboo sticks stringed together, and then injected black, blue or red ink under the skin. Today, the little magical tattoo machine has replaced the traditional needles.

 

Do you want a successful business, protection from bullets, anchor yourself on the ground, open up to spirituality or be lucky in life?

No problem! The Master will show a collection of printed designs for you to choose from; he can also offer a design created especially for you.

 

Here, anything is possible; you just need to know what you want. You can also get a consultation from the Master and let him do what he thinks would be the best for you.

The Master has the special gift to see the spirits, the sicknesses, the various problems… he is a kind of shaman, healer, sometimes perceptive. He may know what would suit you the best.

 

First step, tattoo selection

 

 

After selecting the design and deciding on its place on your body and its size, the design will be drawn on the skin.

Then, the tattoo itself is done with white, black, blue or red ink… as you like. White makes the tattoo almost invisible. Tattoos made with oil will make it perfectly invisible.

 

Good to know: « chtou » means “it hurts”- “At chtou” means “it doesn’t hurt”…

The tattoo completed: here with white ink

 

 

Last step: blessing of the tattoo in order to make it sacred and magical

 

 

It’s good to know that, after getting a magic tattoo, you may no longer “stray away”, as it would invalidate its sacred powers. No lies, no stealing, no extra-marital adventures, no alcohol. Also forbidden are some foods such as purple potato, calabash or star fruit…

 

A word to the wise is enough!

 

Sophie

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