Sak Yant Magic Tattoos

Once a year in March, believers visit the Wat Bang phra Buddist temple, about 30 minutes outside of Bangkok  to have their bodies tattooed, known as Sak Yant Magic Tattoos, given by the monks that live there. These ‘magic tattoos’ are believed to have mystical powers, the ability to ward off bad luck and the power to protect wearers from harm. Devotees attend the religious tattoo festival at Wat Bang Phra, where they come to recharge the power of their sacred tattoos, in Nakhon Pathom province.

A Buddhist monk sprinkles holy water for devotees during the annual Magic Tattoo Festival at Wat Bangphra Buddhist temple in Nakhon Pathom province, Thailand, 19 March 2016. Thousands of tattooed men gathered for the annual festival at the Bangphra temple. The temple is famous for tattoos and amulets believed to provide strength and security as they were introduced by Buddhist monk, Luang Por Pern.
A Buddhist monk sprinkles holy water for devotees during the annual Magic Tattoo Festival at Wat Bang Phra Buddhist temple in Nakhon Pathom province, Thailand, 19 March 2016. Thousands of tattooed men gathered for the annual festival. The temple is famous for tattoos and amulets believed to provide strength and protection as they were introduced by Buddhist monk, Luang Por Pern.
tattoo-temple-wat-bang-phra
tattoo-temple-wat-bang-phra
During the festival, Buddhist monks use traditional needles to tattoo devotees, who believe that the inking has mystical powers
During the festival, Buddhist monks use traditional needles to tattoo devotees, who believe that the inking has mystical powers

The tattoos are inked by Buddhist monks using sharpened bamboo sticks or long metal needles. Originally etched for warriors needing protection in battle, they are also believed to bring luck and give strength.

A devotee in a state of trance, and clad in silver amulets, mimics an animal while visiting the temple to pay his respects
A devotee in a state of trance, and clad in silver amulets, mimics an animal while visiting the temple to pay his respects

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Thai devotees under the spell of a 'magic tattoo' participates in the annual Magic Tattoo Festival at Wat Bang Phra temple in Nakhon Pathom province, Thailand.
Thai devotees under the spell of a ‘magic tattoo’ participates in the annual Magic Tattoo Festival at Wat Bang Phra temple in Nakhon Pathom province, Thailand.
 A Thai devotee under the spell of the 'magic tattoo' reacts during the annual Magic Tattoo Festival at Wat Bangphra Buddhist temple in Nakhon Pathom province, Thailand, 19 March 2016. Thousands of tattooed men gathered for the annual festival at the Bangphra temple. The temple is famous for tattoos and amulets believed to provide strength and security as they were introduced by Buddhist monk, Luang Por Pern. EPA/NARONG SANGNAK
Deep in trances, devotees of a Thai temple charged through gathered crowds on Saturday mimicking the beasts on their tattoos.

epa05219742 A Thai devotee under the spell of a 'magic tattoo' participates in the annual Magic Tattoo Festival at Wat Bangphra Buddhist temple in Nakhon Pathom province, Thailand, 19 March 2016. Thousands of tattooed men gathered for the annual festival at the Bangphra temple. The temple is famous for tattoos and amulets believed to provide strength and security as they were introduced by Buddhist monk, Luang Por Pern. EPA/NARONG SANGNAKSak-Yant-Magic-Tattoos-Thailand-(5)epa05219719 Thai devotees under the spell of a 'magic tattoo' participates in the annual Magic Tattoo Festival at Wat Bangphra Buddhist temple in Nakhon Pathom province, Thailand, 19 March 2016. Thousands of tattooed men gathered for the annual festival at the Bangphra temple. The temple is famous for tattoos and amulets believed to provide strength and security as they were introduced by Buddhist monk, Luang Por Pern. EPA/NARONG SANGNAKSak-Yant-Magic-Tattoos-Thailand-(13)

Sak Yant tattoos have been around for over 2000 years. Buddhist monks originally engraved Sak Yant into warriors seeking protection and strength in battle. Often covering their entire bodies from head to toe in magic symbols to prevent knives and arrows from piecing their skin.

a-devotee-acts-like-a-tiger-while-under-the-spell-of-the-magic-tattoo-during-the-annual-festival-at-wat-bangphra-buddist-temple-in-thailand
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as-well-as-having-tattoos-applied-or-touched-up-believers-also-visit-the-temple-to-pay-respects-to-the-temples-master-tattooist
as-well-as-having-tattoos-applied-or-touched-up-believers-also-visit-the-temple-to-pay-respects-to-the-temples-master-tattooist
buddhist-monks-adorn-adherents-with-intricate-inkings-that-are-believed-to-have-mystical-powers-and-provide-strength-and-security
buddhist-monks-adorn-adherents-with-intricate-inkings-that-are-believed-to-have-mystical-powers-and-provide-strength-and-security
many-attendees-believe-that-the-tattoos-covering-their-bodies-help-to-ward-off-bad-luck-and-protect-them-from-harm
many-attendees-believe-that-the-tattoos-covering-their-bodies-help-to-ward-off-bad-luck-and-protect-them-from-harm
the-ink-is-made-up-of-ingredients-such-as-snake-venom-and-ash-and-the-monk-blows-on-the-tattoo-when-complete-to-infuse-it-with-power
the-ink-is-made-up-of-ingredients-such-as-snake-venom-and-ash-and-the-monk-blows-on-the-tattoo-when-complete-to-infuse-it-with-power
wearers-often-a-deep-trance-and-may-take-on-the-characteristics-of-their-animal-tattoos-as-such-some-visitors-may-need-to-be-subdued
wearers-often-a-deep-trance-and-may-take-on-the-characteristics-of-their-animal-tattoos-as-such-some-visitors-may-need-to-be-subdued

Sak-Yant-Magic-Tattoos-Thailand-(4)Sak-Yant-Magic-Tattoos-Thailand-(10)epa05219723 A Thai Buddhist monk using a steel rod with a sharp point to tattoo a man during the annual Magic Tattoo Festival at Wat Bangphra Buddhist temple in Nakhon Pathom province, Thailand, 19 March 2016. Thousands of tattooed men gathered for the annual festival at the Bangphra temple. The temple is famous for tattoos and amulets believed to provide strength and security as they were introduced by Buddhist monk, Luang Por Pern. EPA/NARONG SANGNAK

The ink, which may be infused with snake venom, causes its wearers to enter into a deep, trance-like state. It’s believed that adherents who fall under such a spell will then take on characteristics of the animals that they have tattooed on their bodies, growling like a tiger, for example. Those who invoke the spirit of their animal tattoos may need to be subdued and soothed before entering the temple, similar to how a captured animal would need to be calmed down.

Not Exactly a Sterile Workspace
Not Exactly a Sterile Workspace

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Traditionally, the tattoos are done with a ‘mai sak,’ a long bamboo stick sharpened to a point, by the Buddhist monks. The ink is made from several ingredients, which may include snake venom, herbs and cigarette ash. Monks bless the tattoo upon its completion and then blow on it, which is believed to infuse the inking with power. Each year, adherents may return to the temple to have their tattoos bestowed again with new healing and protective properties.   

Donations of Cigarettes, Flowers, and Incense
Donations of Cigarettes, Flowers, and Incense

Outside the entrance, purchase a temple offering consisting of orchid flowers, incense sticks, and menthol cigarettes for 75 baht. Everyone is expected to present these simple gifts to the monk as payment for a Sak Yant tattoo.

Thailand-Magic-Tattoos-Sak-Yant
Thailand-Magic-Tattoos-Sak-Yant

One of the most popular Yants is the Hah Taew (5 lines)

The Hah Taew Yant is also the number one choice among females as the Yant is both attractive and also not too conspicuous. Every sacred line of this Yant will bestow a blessing on the receiver, usually including loving kindness, success in all aspects of life, charm, good luck and protection against evil spirits and the banishment of bad luck. Although all Hah Taew Yants may appear to look the same, there are many different versions. The lines of the Hah Taew Yant are in fact small sections taken from Buddhist prayers.

The following Katha or Mantra which praises the Lord Buddha’s 5 outstanding attributes is associated with the Hah Taew Yant.

Namo Putta Ya Na Metti
Mo Putta Ya Na Na Metti
Putta Ya Namo Na Metti
Ta Ya Namo Put Na Metti
Ya Namo Putta Na Metti

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.

There is an Unaalome (ever decreasing spiral)  above each Yant to complete it. The spiral indicates the earthly distractions we encounter in our daily lives and as we grow older and wiser, this spiral gradually decreases until it becomes a straight line pointing upwards. This signifies the path to Nirvana or true enlightenment.

Apparently there are also 11 special rules that go with Sak Yant:

  • You cannot eat star fruit, pumpkin, or any other ‘gourd’ type vegetable.
  • You cannot be anybody’s lover who is already married.
  • It is absolutely forbidden to slander anybody’s mother.
  • You cannot eat food from a wedding, or funeral banquet.
  • You cannot eat left-overs.
  • You should not duck under a washing line, or an overhanging building.
  • You definitely should not duck under a Thaanii banana tree.
  • You cannot cross a single head bridge; but large or small bridges are not forbidden.
  • You should not sit on a ceramic urn. Especially a cracked, or broken one.
  • You cannot let a woman lie on top of you, or sit on top either.
  • You cannot brush by the blouse or skirt of a woman, especially during the menstruation period.

The above rules are quite basic for all people who wish to be good and for the bearer of a Yant tattoo, they must be followed at all times. Therefore having a Sak Yant tattoo is not something that should be entered into lightly.

Angelina Jolie’ Sak Yant Tattoos

Angelina Jolie Sak Yant Tattoos
Angelina Jolie Sak Yant Tattoos

Angelina-Jolie

Angelina-Jolie-back-in-2014-and-2015-after-adding-more-Tattoos
Angelina-Jolie-upper-back-in-2014-and-2015-after-adding-more-Tattoos

Angelina Jolie had got more tattoos by ex Thai monk Ajarn Noo Kanpai in Siem Reap-Cambodia in February, 2016. During the visit, Brad Pitt also got inked by Kanpai, who tattooed the left side of his stomach with a Buddhist symbol months before they separated in September.

Ironically, the former couple’s designs were intended ‘to symbolically bind them as husband and wife’, that didn’t work as planned and they separated in September and in the process of divorce.


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