Wednesday, April 22, 2020

A while ago, we had a. photoshoot at a reconstructed longhouse from the viking age, located on Sjælland, Danmark.
All tattoos you see are handmade and have a spiritual connection to the bearer.
The pictures are taken by a good friend of mine, publishing among others as @thursarn on Instagram

Friday, March 13, 2020

Teachers and teachings

To my teachers

My teachers are among the greatest blessings I received in this life.
Starting out with some teachers in regular and church school, also during my builders education, who answered my sometimes weird questions and didn’t t block off that wild, uncomfortable boy. I learn of stabile basics.

My teacher for Shamanism is a man that lives secluded in the forest with his family. When he came in my life, my level of aggression sank drastically and during initial contact I gained healing of a skin disease, that was with me from childhood. Whenever that man spoke to me, it was as if something inside me responded, as if my own knowledge got evoked, woken up. We travelled many worlds and hit the drum for many hours together. Now, more than twenty years after we first met, I look back at that amazing path, that opened for me thanks to the connections he made and remain in awe. I met many people during these years, listened to many stories and was even able to help some. I hope that all my actions honour his work, since it is such a big part of my personal path. I learn of great strength.

My teacher for tattooing lives and works in one of Germanys big Metropoles. Coming from an old craftsmen family, I considered myself never a great artist. However, what I was drawing inspired her to offer me a place as an apprentice. She initiated me in the old system of tattooing, made me understand, why we cling on to the traditional teacher and apprentice roles, give area protection. To claim apprentices due in forehand was out of fashion at that time already, still I understood the value of her lifetime invested in me, the effort of teaching and that it should be directly honoured.
Apart from an incredible upgrade of drawing skills I also learned my fair share of bookkeeping and how to run a tattoo shop.
Finally she also linked me up also to my current workplace and all the success that came with it. I can say with pride that I am of the rare species of tattooers, that left the teacher on good terms and I am very grateful for that. I learn of great creativity.

Musically I received off course the basics in my christian upbringing thanks to my parents. I heard hymns, sung by hundreds of people already in the belly. Of whatever nature they might have been, they left traces.
After years of unsuccessful trying throat singing a good man and strong nordic shaman, living in the Norwegian mountains taught me much later in life the secrets. It took him only one day in a long friendship to make me finally succeed.
At that time Heilung was not named, but existed in its very first fine fibres already.
Last but not least, deriving from a Scandinavian metropole I received one of the greatest gifts in my life. A studied musician and producer listened to that wild, dynamic drumming, howling and screaming crazy me and found it worthy to work with me. His partner affectingly took care for my breathing  and vocal skills. Both sacrificed a great share of lifetime, wich also already counts years, to make music with me, upgrade my rhythm and tonal skills and finally made me fit for stage to perform while being in half trance in a gigantic, complicated and complex ritualistic performance, that touches many people. I learn of great sound.

I would have never been able to reach the point where I am now without these people, who approached me with passion and an open heart. They helped me to find my place in life, to fullfill the purpose why I was born. All of them are good friends on a very deep level, living close to me or far away.

My compassion goes out to those, who I hear constantly complaining and talk bad about their teachers. Mankind has the phenomenon of mirroring out in the world. Every teacher, a person meets, is a reflection of the inner teacher or advising element, however you want o perceive or name it.
So we are never the result of our teacher or his or her actions, more the result of our reaction to the teaching, reflected back in us.
Simply said, an Idiot can only teach you to be an idiot and your actions will show. So choose your teachers wisely or give all you have to be chosen by the best.

Acceptance - the first step

Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune.”
-William James
Basics of healing: Acceptance
Life is a long line of spontaneous changes. The moment we fail to accept changes we create misery for ourselves and others. If we accept new situations free of judgement or disagreement it gives us the chance to see the situation in all its qualities as it is. This enables us to find the right reaction or action or let it find us.
That is the key to bare pain without suffering.
Acceptance is often mistaken for resignation. That should not be the case. We are not carpets where everyone can just walk all over. 
Acceptance to me is taking a step back, rethinking, meditating instead of pushing into a hopeless fight all over again. 
It is the understanding, that we are not a product of what happens to us but that we are a product of our reaction to what happens to us.
I think trying to bend reality according to wishes deriving from not-acceptance of what is, will result in the mirroring of the repellant attitude in the world and others. The fate of the not accepting individuals will so be the disconnection from the path of happiness and healing. 
They will maybe start intrigues, leave those who live love and wonder why they feel empty and isolated, even from themselves. 
They will possibly accuse others or the circumstances for being the cause of their misery, not understanding that they carry it in them and the outer world just triggers it.
Acceptance is in my worlds the very basic of every true spiritual path. 
Those who fail to accept will clearly not be able to embrace the challenges of the higher teachings.
No acceptance equals no real healing.
No acceptance means a constant fixing of symptoms without ever getting to the root of the problem.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Ask for help

Ask for help

I learned that real, effective help in traditional shamanism can only emerge after the client asks for it. Even just in the mind. In addition, that unrequested help, even with best intensions can lead to worsening the situation. A look in the future, for example or any kind of divination would not reflect the affairs of the client in any kind, but would be only the reflection of the asking individual.
Explaining this, I heard a story once from old Siberia. Unfortunately I forgot the name of the tribe.
A man is sick and the family asks the shaman to come over and help. But as soon as the spirit helper wants to enter the room, the sick man, a good christian, yells at him, curses him and wants him to leave.
Quiet the shaman leaves.
As the disease of the man progresses, the family again requests the help of the spirit helper, so he comes to the sick mans bedchamber, only to hear him wishing the shaman to hell.
Quiet the shaman leaves.
The story repeats on more time, with the desperate family returning to the shaman, begging for his help in bitter tears. One more time the spirit helper approaches the sick man, just to hear him whisper in weak hasps that the shaman should leave.
The shaman leaves and the man dies from his disease.
Now the widow in sorrow and anger cries out to the spirit helper: “Why didn’t you help my husband? You would have had the power to do so easily!”
“No, I would have not, he didn’t t want me to.” Is his answer and he leaves quiet.
Here we recognise in the answer of the shaman, that the power of healing would have emerged from the client itself, not from the helper.
Just like in trance journey drumming it s not about to just hit the drum, but pulling the sound repeatedly out of the drum ;)

Friday, March 2, 2018

Fresh works

The tree of life,another personal  interpretation with the cosmic couple as trunk

The Hammer of Thor, crusher of giants and the ultimate weapon of the gods. When Thor dies, his sons inherit the hammer and its powers in the new world.

Here the client is of wiccan background and an artist herself, so this is just my tattoo, but her very own design, representing spirit animals and was done in a ceremonial context.

The bear- also for the native europeans a centrally important animal, that was hunted and worshipped before Christianity stroke with great respect and awe.

Here we see fresh interpretations of two styles from the viking age: The Borre-style (around 900 A.D.) and the Urnes-style (after 1000 A.D.)

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


Something very special: These inner thigh tattoos have a long tradition among the arctic first nations. The to be mothers received these tattoos so the first thing, the baby would see would be something beautiful. The background of the bearer is greenlandic, tattoo handpoked with reconstructed tools of the region and in a ritualistic context.

Spiral movement...

One of the most amazing performances in front of the camara ever :)
Some of the work on the model is done by the retired Erik Reime.

Of Northern Darkness...

Midsommer ritual

Early missionaries, arriving in the north, describe shocking rituals, where the norsemen were hanging animals and people in the trees in order to honour their demonic gods...

The big dragon

The deer...

The design is based on a children s drawing of the client. It is her first and only tattoo

Yoga and ink

The backpiece is not my work. The tattoo on the leg represents a sanskrit mantra, the Iboga plant and other relevant symbols for the bearer.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Shamanism, Christianity and Syncretism or how to rule the world

Let us start with contemplating about three things:

-Nomadic cultures seemed to have favoured some kind of shamanic spirituality, with earth and sky as main entities and independent figures as facilitators.

-Peripheral organised settling cultures show structures of an animistic concept, with a cast of priests, taking care for local entities and the rituals in the cycle of the year.

-Centrally organised empires need a regulated, concentric cult with a main entity and dogma.

The journey is for the nomads a main part of their life, only logical the spiritual caretaker is a wanderer in between the worlds. Earth and Sky rule the everyday life, so do their powers on the other side. The Thunderstorm and the Wind generally are of great influence, also as the connecting element between earth and sky, so their blessing is always wanted. The believe, that the soul wanders on in the afterlife is common.

The settlers are much more interested in the well being of their crops and cattle, so the contact to the very earth they want to remain on is important for them. Also, that that very place is blessed with the right amount of sun and rain to the right time. These people don´t need anyone to go out and tell them where to find the big rendeer herds anymore, they need someone to call the rain to their field, someone holding an eye on the movement of the sun for time measurement. The believe, that the souls of the deceased remain “living” in their graves, is not unknown. Fully furnitured grave chambers go along with that believe. 

To rule large amounts of people and land is the focus for a monotheistic cult, already early egyptian pharaohs demand solitary worship, worth mentioning also the emperor cult of Ancient Rome. The central cult also collects the donations and offerings centrally and is so holding the economical control. The spiritual or even physical disadvantage not following the dogma is of great importance to keep up mind control and homogeneous behaviour. Rome, ruling big parts of Europe with massive military force first managed to remain in power and expand global after all with the turn to Christianity.

As a connecting element, we have syncretism, usually appearing, when cultures undergo a change in cult and culture. It means that religions blend and exist parallel to each other without a regulating element.
In the viking age we see in Scandinavia very clear signs of christianity slowly sinking in in a spirituality of settlers, wich still bears marks of the old, nomadic roots of the early eurasian cultures. Like the nomad tribes of the Siberian Steppe 500 BC, the Vikings still bring great horse sacrifices with their dead nearly 1500 years later. At the same time they already embrace the new religion from the south. We know cast forms, where with one melting pot a Thors Hammer and a cross can be cast. Christ is mentioned among the older gods in the majority of full rune line poems we know today. A big number of rune inscriptions is of christian nature. Even the highest god, wide worshipped Odin, undergoes a change. The angry Wotan, raging in the sky as dark ruler of souls but living under the grave mounds moves up to heavenly realms while his name slightly changes northwards.

copyright: @sarikatainenphotography

On many Shaman and Udugan coats we still to this very day find crosses, none of these healers would be shy to use blessed water, if it helps.
Traditional Shaman burials are also found containing crosses and other christian symbolism.
In the Americas some of the First Nation churches even practice consumption of trance inducing hallucinogens during Sunday service. 

Since shamanism technically is not a religion, it mixes very well with all other spiritual lines. It is the oldest way of seeking answers to the unanswerable, always open and always curious, since we are all wanderers on the wide open plains by nature, where it is space for everyone. The nomadic hunter and gatherer period is the longest form of existence for mankind. Nothing else left deeper traces in us. The nomad, a permanent guest, has no reason to see a foreign cult as hostile. The settler, living on the mountain couldn’t care less about the maritime religion of his fishing cousins at the sea. 
The evidence shows us that christianity in the very beginning in the north was tolerated and loosely embraced. Christianity at that time also had no problem to adapt to local habits and absorb some cults, turning them in their own.

The people we see as the old pagans today had space in their temples for the newly arriving Crucifix, just the other way around it turned out to be a little bit difficult.

A monotheistic minority can be enriching, a monotheistic majority historically seen strives to Absolutism.

From the dephts...

On the darkest of all days and the longest of all nights 
When all worlds crumbled, all trees fell
When entrails emerged from bodies and there was no joy
The worlds spat out a dark coat, made from skin and bone
                                                                  Born in blackness just to greet the light…

Traditional designs from Greenland

Here we see designs, that are in use for centuries among the people of Greenland and other arctic first nations. The bearer is of partly greenlandic blood, we used a reconstructed needle from the region and the spirits of the ancestors were invited before we started inking.

100% handmade dotwork

Here you see this extraordinary piece still in progress, it is 100 handmade, no machine was used.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The fox with nine tails...

Like most of the tattoos we do at Kunsten på Kroppen, also this one contains very personal stories, history and symbols, a nine tailed fox and the power of the sun and Thor is part of it...