With a new year comes new things, and I-Kandy has plenty of them in store. One of the biggies is a new website, which will be launched in the next week. As we put the final touches on the site, we’d like to hear from you!
What would you like to see included on the website? What blog topics are you hoping to read about in the new year? What are you hoping to see in our soon to be launched online store? Let us know in the comments of this post.
It can be assumed that most of our readers are from the lower mainland, and therefore already know about the fantastic Vancouver Tattoo & Culture Show, scheduled this year for April 25-27. But what if you live elsewhere, or are prone to world travel? Here are 6 must-visit tattoo shows happening around the world this year.
This simple, one word question captures the most prevalent attitude towards all sorts of body modification, but none so much as suspensions and hook-pulls. For those outside of the modification world, it’s difficult to imagine just what would tempt anyone to allow large hooks to be pierced through one’s skin so that they may hang, tug, and pull. Pictures of suspensions and pulls are most often met with gasps and cringes, and YouTube videos of these events garner far more negative comments than positive.
Like most forms of modification, however, suspensions and pulls do not originate with masochists or weirdos, but with ancient tribal rituals. As far back as five thousand years ago, and in many unrelated parts of the world, people have been engaging in these practices. Some, like the rituals of ancient India, were meant as an expression of debt and honour to the gods. Certain Hindu devotees would (and still do) use skewers rather than hooks – a symbolic nod to the spear that Shiva’s wife gave to the war god to kill demons – and attach ropes to them so that they could either be suspended, or pulled. Native American tribes, such as the Mandan, had similar suspension rituals involving hooks, skewers, ropes, and weights, both to prove their strength and endurance, and to celebrate the creation of the Earth. Their suspensions came at the end of a four day ritual of fasting, prayer, dancing, and tests of will. Participants would hang until they fainted, and elders would then release them. Upon waking, the initiate was said to have been approved by the spirits.
Modern versions of these rituals have been practiced since the 60s, when Fakir Musafar and other early members of the “modern primitive” movement began exploring ancient customs and body modification related rituals. For the modern primitives, suspension was about rites of passage, and bringing back traditions that had since been lost or replaced, such as the Mandan rituals. For others, it was about pushing one’s body to its limits, and exploring feelings and sensations that would otherwise remain locked away in our subconscious, much like the ancient Hindus.
We are, of course, separated from these rituals by both culture and time, but the reasons have not changed much. Participants in modern suspensions and pulls speak of the meditative and healing qualities of the act, and describe a strong sense of euphoria and peace both during and after the event. While no gods are being appeased in these modern suspensions, the feeling of oneness with the universe and rising above our day-to-day concerns remains. And, much like the ancient practitioners, initiates walk away with the knowledge that they can endure and overcome any challenges or pain they may face in life.
A few of our posts have discussed the history of mods, explained that full-body tattoos or heavily tattooed women aren’t near as recent as you may think, and delved into ancient methods of tattooing – going back as far as 10,000 years ago. What you may not have seen yet, however, are the countless vintage tattoo photos circulating the internet and museum archives. Here are a few of our faves: