Right of Passage

Here’s a lovely video from Rica Shae’s Rite of Passage Experience.
Thank you for the video and it was a pleasure meeting you!

Rica Shae’s Kind Words

“I was given two free passes to attend the Calgary Tattoo and Arts Convention

… Within my first half hour of being there, I saw Birthmark Tattoos’ booth. The tattoo artist was busy with a customer. The artist appeared to be of Filipino descent which surprised me as its such a taboo thing within the Filipino mainstream community as they are believed to be reserved for the criminals and other outcasts of society.

I looked through his portfolio, the different clips from magazines, and some photos he had out. One of the photos was of him with the world’s last Kalinga Tattoo Artist, Fang-Od. They exchanged Batik and tattoos and she gave him her blessing to continue practicing the Filipino Ancient Ritual Art of Batik.

I read on to find that he’s met with and talks to the founder and members of the Apat Na Alon, in reviving our indigenous roots that was almost obliterated by the Spanish colonialists. This is something that not even my great grandparents have knowledge of as our pre-Hispanic history was forbidden from being taught in schools. I’ve been following this revival for about 20 years.

I immediately began rambling and bubbling over with questions. Having absolutely NO plans in getting a tattoo and ONLY intending on buying some cool leggings, I asked him if he would do a piece for me. When he asked me if I had any idea of what I wanted, I was honest and said I had no idea as I wasn’t expecting to run into an authentic mambabatok. I then told him I wanted him to choose it as per tradition. And the more we chatted, he asked me some personal questions to understand my story. Then he asked me if I would want to get it done by Batik – Filipino Tapping method. My immediate answer was “HELL NO – I’m too much of a pansy when it comes to pain”. Then a couple moments later I thought that this was a rare opportunity that I had only dreamed and fantasized about. And here it is in front of me by someone who genuinely follows the path as I’ve been following, who has been blessed to do so. I’d be foolish to let this chance pass me by so I booked the first available appointment which was the next day. I immediately took it and felt the Universe had aligned everything for this to happen.

Just as I was about to go, he told me to abstain from drugs and alcohol before, to bring a food offering with some tobacco, and to bring an item that is sacred to me. I looked at him with confusion. He then said “We will do the ritual first before tattooing you. This is a Rite of Passage. This will be a very spiritual experience.”

I stood there and blinked for a moment before realizing what he actually said. I suddenly started to tear up then thanked him profusely before making my awkward exit.

I don’t care if anyone thinks that this was just some new-agey hocus-pocus; I understand that a lot of what I felt and experienced throughout the whole process is totally dismissible by science with the whole adrenaline and endorphin high… but I truly felt the presence of my ancestors… through every strike and sting of the needles, I felt transported to a different plane… Transported through time… reconnecting through a collective consciousness… collective memories… I was communicating with them spiritually. The entire experience was so powerful and overwhelming. Even if it was just all psychological and hormonal, I feel reborn.

Many thanks to Mayo Landicho of Birthmark Tattoos for this intensely emotional and spiritual journey. This is something… a gift I will never forget”.