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Why I described my tattoo practice as Neo-Shamanic, and subsequently revised it as Animistic Ink

Over the years as i developed my practice, I found, as many energy healers, that I worked in a unique way. I struggled with what to call what I did, for the basics to be universally understood.

I have long worked closely with Archetypes of Native American Indians, namely, Lone Eagle and Lone Bear, and when the description’Neo-Shamanic Tattooing’ was suggested to me, it seemed to encapsulate many elements of my practice. And I was happy in the knowledge that the word Shamanic’ suggested a recognised healing and spiritual practice to the majority of people, giving at least a baseline from which I could explain further.

My practice is grounded in nature and the earth, embodies the use of plant and animal energy, crystal wisdom and ceremony, is based on information channelled directly from spiritual sources, and is a healing modality. I have also known and healed trauma, and often journey to places I believe to be of a high energetic value in support of my work. These are very inline with the pillars and values of a Shamanic practice. Aware that it was a different aspect of this ancient art, I loved how the ‘Neo’ prefix brought it into the present, also encompassing my own expression, based in the now.

As a side note- I have directly questioned the ethics of using the practices and values of cultures removed from my own, to be told very clearly that we are all one. When humans removed boundaries, then more progress will be made. I was, at the time, specifically asking about the ceremonial use of sage in the clearing of energy, and it’s ethical implications. I always source ethically harvested sage from the Southwest of the US, and the North west of Mexico, where it is sustainably and environmentally friendly harvested. I was told that medicine is medicine, and should not be solely available to one culture. How would I feel if antibiotics were kept from those in need if they lived on the wrong continent?

I had also addressed the use of crystal energy, investigating the opinions of those who believe that it is robbing the earth of its resources. Lone Eagle reassured me that it was far more beneficial to the earth for people to have that connection with the earth that is strengthened by the personal use of crystals, and that if we could only imagine the vastness and diversification of the earths resources, then this idea of there use being derogatory would not feel valid.

However, I have since felt a dis-alignment with the title, being also so interested in science based research, and pulled to forward movement rather than being honed in the dedication ancient ceremony, the name sometimes sounded a little too remote to my present living reality. I asked directly, ‘what would the best description for my practice be?’ ‘Cosmic Alignments‘

For some reason only known to my subconscious , this at first felt a little lighthearted a description for what I had come to value as a life changing process. But, on contemplation, the connection with the vastness of space and time, and its all encompassing, boundless indications, seemed perfect. Cosmic energy binds and animates all life forms and cultural beliefs, unifies us, nourishes us, and makes itself readily available for the energy work of so many of us here on earth right now. A simple word with extraordinary, and expansive connotations.

To me, this description is strikingly similar to the concept of animism - a concept that has held my imagination and been ingrained in my belief systems for many years. This idea of all elements of life having a vibration, an energy, their own signature way of being, and even their own form of consciousness. Animistic Art was my original business with regard to my intuitive artwork, so in retrospect, I have decided that my first and authentic expression of my tattoo practice being described as Animistic Ink seems very natural, familiar and apt.

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