Magical Sak Yant Experience

Once upon a time I saw a yantra tattoo and immediately researched what it was all about and where I could get one. Low and behold I would have to visit Thailand in order to have this done and thus the seed was planted.

So there I was googling yantra tattoo which was more commonly referred to as sak yant tattoo. For whatever reason I thought the yantra tattoo was done by a monk, with a bamboo stick. (This is true.) After you spent time meditating with the monk, he would then choose an appropriate/intentional magical tattoo and placement. My idea about yantra was a bit different than the reality. There was no meditation involved in the process so basically you find someone that does them, a monk or sage.

Wat Phang Phra in Bangkok was the most popular and well known temples to get the sak yant tattoos. Multiple travellers had gone and written about it. Reading about their experiences left little to be desired. It seemed super impersonal, no communication or connection, and no meditation was involved. It seemed more like a trend of things to do in Thailand than anything of spiritual significance. There was tons of room for potential error, from everything to getting there, it read that if you didnt get there early enough you could be waiting all day as approximately 50 tattoos are done a day, sanitation was questionable if not sketchy as the needle tips weren’t changed so the same needles were used on multiple people, the area in which the work was done was far from a sterile or even a clean space.

wat bang phraWat Bang Phra as tourists overlook the tattoo process awaiting their turn.

 

I began my search for alternative options. Bangkok tattoo was the first option I came across. This is where the infamous Angelina Jolie went to have her magical tattoo done. The Ajarn or teacher she went to was not surprisingly the most expensive and ranged from $1,600 to $3,200 for the tattoo (prices ranging based on the tattoo wanted) not including the service fee $200. There were other ajarns available who’s prices were much less and more reasonable. The information and interaction with Bangkok Ink was professional but I felt like something was missing again a lack of connection with the process which is what the whole thing is about, feeling and being tuned in and connected. I stumbled upon Ajarn Fu’s website and immediately felt good about it. There was a ton of information, pics, video and as icing on the cake,Paul was the middle man/service provider was an absolute gem. He emailed me back within the hour that I wrote him and was not only professional but was super personal and kind. I felt great as I booked my appt.

With this in mind I began my search for alternative options. Bangkok tattoo was the first option I came across. This is where the infamous Angelina Jolie went to have her magical tattoo done. The Ajarn or teacher she went to was not surprisingly the most expensive and ranged from $1,600 to $3,200 for the tattoo (prices ranging based on the tattoo wanted) not including the service fee $200. There were other ajarns available who’s prices were much less and more reasonable. The information and interaction with Bangkok Ink was professional but I felt like something was missing again a lack of connection with the process which is what the whole thing is about, feeling and being tuned in and connected. I stumbled upon Ajarn Fu’s website and immediately felt good about it. There was a ton of information, pics, video and as icing on the cake,Paul the middle man/service provider was an absolute gem. He emailed me back within the hour that I wrote him and was not only professional but was super personal and kind. I felt great as I booked my appt.

Paul picked me up promptly on the big day. What a incredible character and bright shining soul. He told me stories of his travels and epic journey in life. He had been living in Thailand and had not only written but published books. We pulled up to a very simple house. There were various religious statues, plants and animals everywhere. There was a feeling of tranquility and peace when entering into the space. My heart was pounding at the immense energy and or anticipation of the magical new ink and prayer about to be bestowed on me. The space itself was powerful and demanded presence and attention. The majority of the room was a shrine with a twine like string encompassed the room. It ran through various points and was all connected (during the blessing part of this string would be placed on my head). Ajarn himself was magical. Welcoming, strong, grounded, loving and kind are but a few of the qualities he exuded.

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After browsing through some of his work and showing him pictures of what I liked he went to work. Ajarn ensured the placement of the tattoo was good for me and a new needle which he himself made would be used. Paul was there the whole time answering questions, translating and informing me of the intention behind the process as well as procedure.

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The bamboo stick was a little more intense as you could feel the needle and where it broke skin repeatedly. Like the needle of a sewing machine poking your skin. This in addition to having the yantra tattoo itself was unlike any other tattoo I had. Tattoos themselves are a form of expression and usually unique. Yantra on the other hand is the same design, meaning, intention and energy that is literally inscribed on everyone. While the tattoo was being done I thought of everyone else who had come before me that were in the same space going through the same process. Normally my focus was to tune out the pain in my physical body this was about tuning in to what was going on in this moment.

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The gold leaf acts as a vehicle to help channel the spiritual energy during the ceremony.
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Deep breathes and an hour later it was done. We took a break before beginning the next one.The second chat petch on my forearm lasted 45 minutes.

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The physically challenging part was over. I had a short break while Ajarn Fu prepared for the blessing ceremony.

I was reminded that it is very important to mentally prepare for the blessing. All negative thoughts must be banished. Happy, positive, loving thoughts should be focused on as you prepare to accept the strong spiritual energy that Ajarn Fu channels.

The blessing ceremony is about 15 minutes long and involves several important aspects, the dousing of sacred water, placing white paste on the forehead, holding the string (that I had been admiring as an open and deep connection to the space) and actually being part of it as it was in a halo on my head, and finally the placing of the Sian (Sak Yant mask) on my head.

 

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Finally it was with so much gratitude and delight that I placed my donation (plus tip) on the tray and offered it humbly to Ajarn Fu.

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The overall experience was as expected nothing less than magical. I hugged Ajarn (after asking Paul if it was okay) and left feeling energetic, grateful and truly truly blessed. Paul drove me back to my hotel and again I couldn’t have been more thrilled with my experience. Please feel free to check out his work and page at: http://www.ajarnfu.com there is tons of information and I highly recommend Paul and Ajarn Fu to anyone looking for an authentic, memorable and connected experience.

 

FUN FACTS:

Yantra tattoos are believed to be magic and bestow mystical powers, protection, or good luck to the bearers.

??? What is magical about it ???

The literal translation : sak means “to tattoo” in Thai, and yant is the Thai pronunciation for the Sanskrit word yantra, meaning “magical design” or “mystical insignia”.

It consists of magical geometrical, animal and deity designs accompanied by Pali phrases that offer power, protection, fortune, charisma and other benefits for the bearer.

Sak yant designs are tattooed by ruesi, wicha (magic) practitioners, and Buddhist monks.

8 Comments
  • Madison
    Posted at 12:10h, 11 February Reply

    Hi thank you so much for sharing. I have been researching around for a safe yet traditional place to get a sak yant tattoo. Do you know the location of this place. It’s located in Bangkok correct ?

    • admin
      Posted at 09:34h, 16 February Reply

      Namaste Madison,
      Thank you for your comment. It is in Bangkok however I dont know the address or exact location. I used a liason who picked me up and took me to Ajarn Fu’s I wish you all the best in your search and am sure it will be an amazing experience. Please let me know if you have any other questions or if I can help. Thanks again.
      Seana

  • Théo
    Posted at 17:42h, 27 June Reply

    Hi,
    I got a ganesha sak yant while in thailand, bamboo style but not from an ajarn 🙁
    I love the design of the one the ajarn tattooed on your forearm, do you know this designs name and meaning? I’ve been looking for it forever.
    Thx!

  • Heather
    Posted at 16:52h, 05 December Reply

    Thanks so much for sharing! I’m heading to Thailand in January, and have been planning to experience sak yant when I go. From what I have read, your experience sounds much more preferable than going to a wat. I’m curious about the cost – you talked about price early in your post, but never did say in the end.

    • admin
      Posted at 09:36h, 26 December Reply

      Namaste Heather,
      Thank you for writing. Yay for Thailand. I know I paid 2,500 baht ($55, the charge was 2,000 but I was super appreciative and tipped accordingly) for the mediator slash go between. For the tattoo itself, the price varies depending on what you get done. I think I paid around $300 for the both of them again including a tip but I dont remember the exact break down. Wishing you nothing but the best. Safe travels and feel free to share some pics of your magical ink. Cheers~

  • arsenal
    Posted at 01:54h, 22 February Reply

    I would like this!!!

  • Evelyn
    Posted at 13:48h, 06 April Reply

    Hello,
    On Ajarn Fu’s website he does not mention anything about a mediator. How can I get in contact with Paul? This was very informative! Thank you 🙂

    • admin
      Posted at 06:36h, 16 May Reply

      Namaste Evelyn, Paul is no longer working with Ajarn. I reached out to Ajarn directly however I have yet to hear back from him. I would suspect that language barrier would be problematic. Sorry I cant be of more help. Best wishes

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