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Ankh Scarification

September 4th, Labor Day 2000, my dad shot himself. No one knows if it was intentional or not - but he was found dead in the bedroom closet of his home near Lake Tahoe, Nevada, with a 9mm in his hand, face planted in the carpet. I didn't meet my dad until I was 9 years old, but he was my hero. He knew something about everything, always had great stories to tell, and he had this wisdom to him that came from a hard childhood. He was hard not to like. I hadn't seen him in two years, (he didn't know about most of my piercings; he'd have flipped) but I was living in Eugene, Oregon when I got a call from my evil stepmother telling me what had happened. I puked that day for the first time in 7 years. Having become close friends with many of the people who worked at High Priestess Piercing, when I came back from the wake in Nevada I went to the shop and confided in my friends. Georg Birns, the owner of High Priestess, told me that since I had some of my father's ashes, that I could keep him with me forever by doing a ritualistic scarification. I had been given many piercings from this shop, and trusted them completely, so I spent a few days thinking about it. I thought about what I would have scarred onto my body to remember my father by. I thought about where I would put it. I considered if I could handle the pain - I'd never felt a scalpel before. After talking with close friends, I decided to have an Ankh carved into my skin between my shoulder blades. My dad had always liked the Ankh symbol, it represented sanctuary to him, and to me it represented eternal life for him, through me. I decided to live my life doubly for him. That day I bought nutmeg and cayenne pepper, and thistle to blend with his ashes for irritation.

I went to the shop that night, sifted out some of my father's more fine ash, blended it with the herbs, and drew a sketchy picture of what I wanted the Ankh to look like and what size it was to be. I decided that about 6 inches long and 4 inches wide was good. Ryan, an apprentice at the shop and a good friend, drew it onto my back with a pen, and we turned down the lights. Usually during a session, I like to listen to music, but during this session I wanted it silent. About three friends were present. I had two pictures of my father next to my face as I laid down on my stomach and started to breath deeply, while Georg disinfected my skin. I started to think about how my father would not have approved of body modification in his memory, or for any reason for that matter, but that at this point he would respect that it was something that I had to do for closure. As the cutting began, and the scalpel opened my skin, I began to breath deeply. It felt really good... Satisfying, like food after a long day of work or sex after a week separation from your lover. Then as Georg had to go over it twice more, into deeper layers of skin, it began to hurt - really bad. I started to cry a little bit, which was good. I couldn't tell you now whether it was from the pain or the thought that started to creep into my head, that my father wasn't going to feel pain anymore. No matter how much of a nuisance pain seems to be through every day life, it is probably my number one reminder that I am alive. With this thought, I started to talk to him; regardless of how crazy I looked, crying, bleeding, lying on my belly, talking to a picture of my dad. After the cutting was over, Georg let me sit and bleed a bit. I like to bleed a bit through any procedure. I feel cleansed afterward. Next came the ash rub. The only thing I can akin the feeling of cayenne pepper, nutmeg, thistle, and human ash being ground into your skin is maybe roadrash. The inability to breath smoothly because of crying, because of big arms pushing with all their might into your raw skin, and the pain of the cayenne coarsing through my blood stream. My back felt as if it were being burnt. After the rub (about 15 minutes), everybody left me to the photo of my dad. The nutmeg started to get into my blood and I began to hallucinate. The room was warping in length, and height, and I started to have a conversation with my dad. I didn't hear him talking, but I felt something inside that told me he was replying to everything I said. After I cooled down, I spent the majority of the night talking with Georg and his roomate, whom had also lost his father. That night gave me a lot of closure. It's now about six months later. My pain threshold has gone up and I have had a lot more body modification. My scar healed well, it's rather light, so I've been thinking of going back in. I've moved to South Lake Tahoe, to be near the rest of my dad's ashes that are in the lake. I took the remainder of the ash and blood from the rub to the ocean, which he loved, and put it in the water. Before I moved to South Lake from Eugene, I had my ears cut a bit, and since have stretched my lobes to 3/4 inch. I've got 0 gage conch, 4 gage flats, two nape piercings, nips, tongue, septum, had both nostrils, had a vert. labret, and have a 6 gage hood piercing. I'm very thankful for High Priestess for being such a kick ass shop and having such good expertise and knowledge about procedure. I've been thinking about going back soon to get some implants... Overall, I'd say that scarification is going to be something I'd like to do with all of my relative's and friend's ashes. It makes you feel as if you are prolonging thier existence by carrying them around with you. It gave me a lot of closure.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 25 April 2001
in Scarification

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Artist: Georg+Birns
Studio: High+Priestess+Piercing
Location: Eugene%2C+Oregon

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