- Koh Samui
- Koh Tao
Holy Tattoos with Triangle Ink in Sri Thanu.
What is a Holy Tattoo?
Sak Yant or Yantra tattooing, is a form of tattooing that originated in ancient Cambodia, but sadly almost completely vanished supposedly due to the civil war.
The symbols are magical ancient Khmer scripts that serves to protect and bring luck to the bearer.
It is practiced in Southeast Asian countries including Thailand. Also Chinese Buddhists in Singapore have taken the Holy art into heart.
Yantra tattoos are believed to be magical and bestow mystical powers such as protection or good luck.
Sak means "to tattoo", to tap (like Bamboo tattooing) and Yant, derived from the Sanskrit word Yantra, which means sacred geometrical designs and magical spells or chants.
Yantra (यन्त्र) is the Sanskrit word for a mystical diagram, especially diagrams or amulets are supposed to possess occult powers in astrological or magical benefits in the Tantric traditions of the Indian religions.
Traditionally such symbols are used in Eastern mysticism to balance the mind or focus it on spiritual concepts.
The act of wearing, depicting, enacting and/or concentrating on a yantra is held to have spiritual, astrological or magical benefits.
Shapes and patterns commonly employed in yantra include squares, triangles, circles and floral patterns but may also include more complex and detailed symbols, for instance:
Geometric element meanings:
Sak yant designs are normally tattooed by Ruesis, Wichas, magical practitioners and Buddhist monks.
It is traditionally made with a long bamboo stick sharpened to a point called a mai sak or alternatively with a long metal spike called a khem sak.
The Ruesi are Hermit sages who spend their time meditating and developing psychic powers and collecting magical herbs, minerals, rarities and other substances.
They use the magical ingredients to make special charms, spells and protective amulets.
They work to help other beings to have a happier life and do this by predicting futures, making rituals and spells to reduce bad karma, chase evil influences and spirits away, protection from ones enemies, or increase one’s luck and wealth!.
The traditional clothing for a Rueshi is a reddish brown robe.
Some will wear white and devote themselves exclusively to healing medical ailments. This kind of Ruesi is known as Chiwok, named after the Rishi Chivaka who was the official doctor of the Lord Buddha.
They have a tradition for wearing masks called "Siarn Ruesi", a life sized mask and headdress of an ancient hermit sage, or perhaps the Western comparison could be “wizard”.
The mask has an open mouth with two big buck teeth sticking out, a beard, a long moustache and a third eye located in the centre of the forehead.
Ruesi Por Gae is seen as the “Kroo” (master teacher) of all Samnak Sak Yant.
A Chiwok Ruesi would collect herbs, minerals and healing substances for making his healing potions.
They can perhaps be compared to the druid bards who were also healers, using herbal potions and ointments. A Chiwok Ruesi will also be expert in orthopedic massage and matters, such as astrology.
Of the types of Ruesi who make Sak Yant, most will be of the Dabos variety, such as Ajarn Thoy Dabos.
The Dabos will traditionally wear a tiger skin over his red ruesi robe to illustrate the tiger skin worn by Lord Shiva, who was and is the original Maha Ruesi (great Ruesi).
A Dabos Ruesi will normally have at least one Ruesi mask of the Thai Deity “Ruesi Por Gae Dta Fai” on his altar.
Most devotees will receive the Yant Kroo as their first tattoo. This is the bonding process between the devotee and the lineage of Ruesi Por Gae Dta Fai.
Most of the Ruesi in modern Thailand are of the "Dabos" type, and are not required to keep vows of sexual abstinence or poverty. Indeed, modern Ruesi often have a nice car or bike, mobile phone, are married, have girlfriends and have children.
The only requirement for such Ruesi is that of magical knowledge and psychic ability, having developed these qualities in meditative states.
Ajahn Man and Mr Run
Ajahn Man and his friend Arun are the two happy owners of the Sak Yant Tattoo Studio, Triangle, in Sri Thanu.
Ajahn is the Tatt Master while Arun is the freelancing super good Bro and partner in the studio.
Both of them are native Thais but not from the Koh Phangan family.
Arun grew up in Nakhon, while Man spread his wings from Bangkok.
"We come here because it is such a nice place. There's nowhere else like this. Phangan has everything we like. Lots of artists and many parties. The most beautiful thing here is that you can go ahead with almost any idea you have. There is nowhere in the world where you can do that as easily as you can here on Phangan.
The vibe here is special. The people who live here or travels through are of a special beautiful kind most of them and we like to be in a place where it is so easy to connect with each other as it becomes or are here! This place is Freedom! "
Man has been drawing since he was a child and has a past as a graphic designer. He studied Visual Communication and Design at Bangkok University.
He started tattooing about seven years ago after years of training and teachings from his guide and master.
Arun also does tattoes but he is more of a freestyler but has been practicing for about four years now. You are welcome to book at time with him also. He has his own studio in Tongsala. He is a talented artist too!
Man is the Holy Tattoo genious. He is a fountain of knowledge and a pleasure to speak with or just be around. He is surrounded by a calm energy and shows a legimate interest in every being he interacts with and comes across as a very uniqe and loving being.
"This artform nearly disappeared but luckily people have begun to trust their national art again. There is a new focus on The Local Arts instead of this general world fashion nonsense. It is so beautiful because it allows local artists to grow and not disappear and blend in between the many big and famous globally recognized and accepted artists." Man said to us regarding the Sak yant and its history.
Not many people know about the history or the origin or even the meanings of a Sak Yant tattoo. It is cultivating and progressing for the artform itself, that this new focus has been directed towards it. It allows time and talent spend on developing and creating this artform for many more artist and we will with time also get to see much more of the many varieties between the different areas and neighbouring artists. We will also get to really see how the different local areas developed or "secularize" the art into different art expressions in the present time.
The two friends just moved into a new space by Hing Kong Beach. A new little awesome Hobbit House that will be their studio for the next many years!
They hold small mini conventions here and not long ago they were busy welcoming guests for another small one here on Phangan.
Both of them travel to Nepal for the world famous great tattoo convention there every year. Last season they only spent a week there, but the year before that they were a group of friends travelling there together and spend a lot of time there.
"It is so nice to see artists there, everyone in it with all their hearts. No one is here just for the money. Nepal is a wonderful space for connecting people as well. Phangan and Nepal have those two things in common!"
Every year the convention gets bigger and there are so many talented people there that are happy just to show off their work and share their new tricks and ideas!"
Whenever you feel to check out this magical hobbit house in Sri Thanu you are more than welcome. Of course the boys are mostly available in the normal opening hours but if you are passing by anyway, just have a look if they are in. It is worth a visit, we promise.
If they are not in, you can be lucky to "coincidentally" bump into them on the beach just near the Freeway Bar!
If you never get around to Sri Thanu, then do not be too shy when you meet them at one of Phangans Party's. They do dance and they do like to engage in any new friendships and conversations. They are very good people that you should get to know for sure!
Take a trip to the magic world of Sak Yant and go see Ajahn Man and Mr Run!!
We share the last magical points of the yantra with you before we finish but then you also have to promise yourself to get one. Just a small one at least ;)
Thank you guys, for your time here! We wish you super luck with your new studio.
The five row yantra.
Hah Taew, represents 5 yants or magical spells. Yants are accompanied with chants, or Khatas and the sounds are pronounced over and over to invoke a state of the mind where the mind can create magical spells. They are chanted 108 times before entering the high level of meditation. Each one will be done individually and the following magical spells have been cast to do as described below.
1. The first row prevents unjust punishment and leans in your favour when the area is grey, cleans out unwanted spirits and protects the place you live in.
2. The second row reverses and protects against bad horoscope constellations and bad fortune.
3. The third row protects you from the use of black magic and anyone who tries to put a curse on you.
4. The fourth row energizes your good luck, success and fortune in your future ambitions and life style.
5. The fifth row is to gain charisma and attraction to the opposite sex. It is also is a boost to the fourth row.
The origins of the Hah taew is magic power born from the four elements, fire, water, air and earth.
It is said though that the power of sacred tattoos decreases with time. So, to re-empower them each year, Sak yant masters celebrate with their devotees the Wai Khru ritual. Wai khru, which means to "pay homage to one's teacher". In Thailand, the most impressive Wai Khru is held at the temple of Wat Bang Phra.
The performers of this art recieve great respect for their Holy work and some Ruesi (and Prahm) Masters will even become a “Rang Song” (spirit medium) for Por Gae or another spirit Deity to enter them whilst receiving devotees and administering Sak Yant and other magical services.
In this case the master will let the Deity use his body to manifest his mind onto this plane and then perform the tattooing or ceremonies directly. In this case, many Ruesi (such as the Ruesi Ajarn Thoy Dabos Por Gae Dta Fai), will don the mask of Por Gae covering their eyes and face while tattooing the Yant on the devotee. This renders the Master completely blind as far as seeing the tattoo is concerned, and is seen as yet another proof of the sacred magic of Por Gae Dta Fai, and Sak Yant Tattoos.
For more pictures full gallery here!