Tattoo Magic: Whats up with all the Snakes?

 

by K Lenore Siner

A visit to my room at Witch City Ink often prompts people to ask me “What is up with the snakes?” They are in the artwork on my walls, scattered around the room in line sheets of future and finished tattoos, a snake print leather covers my tattoo chair – not to mentioned that they are tattooed all over my body. The question is always met with a pause and a smile; when it comes to myth, symbolism and my personal story there isn’t anything I would rather share about.

Symbols have intrinsic, seeping power. Spend time with one and it will leave its mark on you the way spending time around a fire leaves you smelling of smoke.

Snake is connected to transformation, creation, wisdom, healing, the underworld, the circle, the spiral, the element of water and both death and eternal life. Snakes are an important part of the myth and symbolism of cultures around the world. There are dozens of serpent gods and hundreds of stories where they are featured. They show up as beneficent, troublesome, evil and sometimes a mix of all three. With such a rich history of myth and symbolism there is no way for me to do justice to it all. However, I would like to share a bit of why I personally love the snake as a totem and some reflections on why you might want to incorporate it into your next intentional tattoo.

I got my first snake tattoo more than a decade ago after participating in a woman’s initiatory ritual that involved a group of us building and walking a labyrinth (more on labyrinths here). At the labyrinth’s center was a woman holding a large, live python. As I took my turn walking the labyrinth I wondered what I should do when I reached this personification of the Divine in the center – should I kneel? Should I say something important? What do you do when you have the chance to meet god?

I kept taking the path and getting closer and still didn’t know. When I arrived in the center I felt something inside me shift and I stood up a bit straighter. I looked her in the eyes with that huge snake twisting around her neck and shoulders and I knew in that instant that there was no other choice but that – to meet her dead on, eye to eye, as an equal.

Meeting the snake priestess was my first experience of knowing my own divinity and it was an event that changed my life, enough so that I immediately went and got my first snake tattoo, to remember myself as divine through wearing the symbol of that experience in my skin.

Symbols are alive. Just like us they have different moods and manners depending on what they are in relation to. And just like us they are evolving and changing. As we develop a relationship with a symbol we write our own personal story with it.

Being raised in Christian culture, the earliest snake myth I ever heard was that of Eve in the garden being “tempted” by the snake. Here is a version of the story:

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened.

Now I know this story is supposed to be about original sin and all that crap, but when I read it I cant help but think that this was a moment of empowerment! The snake shows up and directs Eve to consider that she has been given misinformation, she looks for herself and sees value in something that she had in the past ignored and when she engages it she becomes “like God”. This is not a story of sin, but a story of finding ones true will, and the power that goes with that – and the snake led the way.

In light of this myth, snake is connected to the acquisition of personal power and wisdom, specifically in the areas that we are told are dangerous or should be left alone. It is about listening to our intuition and acting on what we see as good and valuable – not just what we are told is true – and the transformation we encounter when we act on those impulses.

Another story – I had the terrifying pleasure of getting far too close to a rattlesnake while harvesting blue vervain in the hills of South Dakota a few years ago. I was out hiking miles away from any road or home and as I bent down to cut a plant I heard that distinct rattle sound from under a shrub a foot away. I was immediately still, focused, present and very aware of my heart beat, my life, as I backed slowly away.

In the presence of that snake, I got to feel the awe of being one false move away from a painful death. What has great power to transform has the power to destroy. In that, snake is not an easy friend. It means to invite death, to let go with each skin shed towards becoming the next version of us and its lessons often come to us as venom, the drop of poison that cures.

In the vast history of snake myth and meaning, these are my personal connections. So if you ask me “What is up with the snakes” the short story is that I love tattooing them as a reminder to embrace our divinity, follow our intuition even when it is contrary to what we have been taught in order to gain wisdom and power and to be able to come to terms with fear, death and letting go in service of our own transformation.

Do you have a snake tattoo that holds a particular intention for you? A favorite snake myth or personal story? I would love for you to share! Thinking of incorporating snake symbolism into your next tattoo? You know I would be more than happy to help, message me at @snakeoclock or call Witch City to set up a consult.

 

 

 

2017 Solar Eclipse

Happy Solar Eclipse day! Here is a small selection of some sun and moon themed tattoos our artists have done. Enjoy the eclipse and safe viewing!

Black Friday Sale Returns!

Well, 2016 has been a fun one but I think we’re all grateful for the holidays and the start of a new year.  We are definitely grateful for everyone who has supported us this past year and are eager to give back! We want to show how much we appreciate your business and also your trust in creating beautiful pieces of art by having a very special sale this week: All of our Gift Certificates will be 20% off!!

We hope you will take advantage of this once-a-year special, to give the gift of beautiful body art to your friends, family, and of course yourself.  Gift Certificates can be purchased online, in the studio and over the phone: 978.744.9393.

We are truly grateful for you all and hope you have a wonderful holiday season!!

Tis The Season…

k-witch-hatNo, not THAT season… its finally Fall and the Halloween season officially kicks off next weekend!  One of the reasons we love being in Salem, MA is this amazing time of year, filled with witches and bats and so much more.  We love to see our yearly halloween clientele, and love to meet new halloween-loving folks visiting the Witch City!

We do, however, want to remind everyone that, if you have an appointment with one of our artists, please be sure to give yourself PLENTY oscreen-shot-2016-09-25-at-2-26-38-pmf extra time to get into the city and find parking.  It can be a real nightmare this time of year, especially on the weekends.  We hate when clients lose time on their appointment because they are running late due to traffic problems, so be sure to plan in advance for the delay, especially the closer we get to Halloween weekend.

If you are visiting the Witch CIty this season and will only be here for a few days, we definitely recommend you call or contact us through the website to prebook your tattoo appointmentscreen-shot-2016-09-25-at-2-28-24-pmt, even for something really small, because we book up quickly on the weekends especially, and if you want to come in for a walk-in, come in early in the day to grab a spot.  We also have a lot more availability for walk-ins during weekdays.

Please don’t hesitate to call the studio at
978-744-9393 if you have any questions about getting tattooed at Witch City Ink!

 

Steve still has openings for the Massachusetts Tattoo Convention

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Steve Gillespie still has a few openings left at the upcoming Massachusetts Tattoo Convention at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA!  Call the studio at 978-744-9393 or email witchcityink@gmail.com via the Contact Form with inquiries!

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Travel Notices, Visiting Artists and Conventions, oh my!

The late winter and early spring will be a busy time for us here, and we’ve got a bunch of important tidbits to share!

Philly convention

FIrst, Natan and Steve will be attending the Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Convention over Valentines Day weekend.  The convention starts Friday February 12th and goes through Sunday!

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To book either Natan or Steve for the convention, give us a call at the studio: 978-744-9393 or email us at witchcityink@gmail.com to get the ball rolling.

When Natan is done with the Philly Convention, he will be traveling to Maryland to do a guest spot at Time Bomb Tattoos and Curiosities.  He’ll be there from Feb 16th through the 20th.

If you would like to book an appointment with him while he is there,
you can call the studio at: 978-744-9393.

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And finally, we will, as always be at the Boston Tattoo Convention, which is April 8th through 10th this year.  Steve and Jaesun will be taking appointments all weekend.  Call the studio to book. 978-744-9393 or email us to get a conversation started.  We will also be joined by visiting artist Amanda Marie, who will then be doing a guest spot here from April 11th through 17th.

Amanda got her start tattooing in New York about 6 years ago.  She loves to put her all into every tattoo she does, no matter how big or small.  Amanda values making an inviting atmosphere for her clients and loves to create unique, custom tattoos.
She currently works at Evermore Tattoo Company, Los Angeles, California.

To book an appointment with Amanda contact her directly.

Email: amandamarie@dolly-rot.com

Phone: 516-528-8203

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Natan Travel Notice- PA & MD

Philly convention

Natan will be attending the Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Convention February 12-14th in Pennsylvania.  If you’re in the Philly area and want to get work done by Natan while he is at the convention, call the studio: 978-744-9393 or email us at witchcityink@gmail.com to book your appointment!

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Natan will also be doing a guest spot at Timebomb Tattoos & Curiosities in Maryland the week after the convention.  He still has availability in his schedule, so if you’re interested in getting a piece while he’s there, get in touch with us at here and we’ll get you set up.

Holiday Hours

During the holiday season, our hours change a bit so our artists and front desk staff can
spend time with their friends and families.

We will be closing at 2pm on Sunday Dec. 20th,
and will be closed on Dec. 25th and Jan. 1st.

We still have a lot of availability for walk-ins and appointments with Steve and Jaesun the week before Christmas and the week between the holidays, so if you’ve been putting it off,
now’s the time to come in and get your new tattoo!!

While you’re at it, stop by and grab a Gift Certificate for your
favorite tattoo enthusiast and come in together!!

More Art Makes the Best Gift!

Leading up to the holiday’s we are showcasing the artwork of our tattoo artists, sharing pieces that they have available for purchase currently.  Gifting art is a very thoughtful and personal way to show someone how much you care about them, especially if  you know they would love one of these original paintings.

Jaesun is a classically trained painter and has finally decided he’s ready to let go of some of his older paintings to make room for new work he is starting this winter.  He also has a few Giclee prints available, and can occasionally be talked into doing commissioned work.

 

Jaesun has all of these pieces, and more available at the studio, as well as in his Etsy shop:  www.etsy.com/shop/JaesunTattoos

Give the Gift of Art this Holiday!

The holiday shopping season officially kicks off this weekend, and I am excited to share some of the 2-dimensional art our tattoo artists have created, which are currently for sale.  I know it can be tricky to find a unique gift, especially for those hard to shop for friends and family, but Art can be a really thoughtful and personal gift to give anyone.

Here are a few of Steve Gillespie’s currently available Watercolor pieces, done in a traditional tattoo art style.

Stop by the studio or email if you see a piece that catches your eye!!