In agreeance with the general direction that this thread is heading, tattoos are merely symbols. Symbols, on the whole, only carry as much power as
the user/beholder' mind gives them. I do believe that certain symbols can however be imbued slowly over time with a certain kind of resonance if
enough people use it for a specific purpose over a long enough timespan. I do not believe that this is some kind of residual power which makes one
particular symbol more powerful overall than any other symbol. More this is some kind of archetypal memory that some certain symbols, when used for
magick or any other 'energy working' practise, are better suited to a certain kind of result, or a certain type of method.
An example of this would be the planetary seals from a book such as the 'Key of Solomon'. If I were cereomonial magically inclined, and decided to
do some sort of ritual energy work to promote peace, growth and harmony, I may try and invoke some kind of planetary spirit guardian of either neptune
or venus using the appropriate seals. Now if my Book of Solomon were written in idk Chinese or some other language i didn't understand and I
unwittingly picked the seal for Mars the God of War instead of Neptune or Venus, I can pretty much guarantee that the ritual will not be too
effective, even if I honestly believed the symbol I had picked was the right one.
The main reason for this is that that particular symbol has been used for centuries in rituals promoting victory, war, disharmony etc etc and unless I
was truly magically gifted (in which case I probably wouldn't be using dusty old grimoires any way) I will not get my desired result. I believe this
power is similar if not the same that as those talked about in jungian archetypal theory.
None of these symbols have any the type of power to create 'wizz bang' Harry Potter type stuff happen. To the casual observor, the planetary seal
for Mars will know more invoke feelings of rage, war or victory than it will invoke peace growth or harmony, unless of course that person is
pychically sensitive, or for some reason has been continually exposed to it overtime. These resonances are on the subtle, vibratory level.
Symbols when used in magical working are used mainly as a focal points for the energy gathered to cause the desired change. Whether the symbol itself
is charged, or merely used as a channel, the outcome is much more dependant on of the energy initially expended and the mindset of the spell
caster/energy worker than on the particular symbol chosen.
I would however caution those thinking of tattooing a magical symbol from any source other than your own making. One does not know exactly what kind
of magic it has been used for throughout the ages, or what the original intentions of its maker might have been. Therefore the kind of resonances it
has picked up along the way are unkown. Not that I'm saying it will slowly drive you crazy, or possess you, or anything else so dramatic. But if you
do work with energy and you permanently have a symbol with powerful resonances inked into your flesh, it can play a little with your subconcious and
the natural flow of things especially at times when you are more susceptible to these subtle influences such as during ritual. However this is just a
minor caution for if a symbol means enough to somone that they would want to ink it on themselves permanently, I would like to assume (although I know
its not always the case) that it means something so important to the wearer that this meaning far out wieghs any negative resonances collected through
I myself have to tattoos which could be called magical. I got them a few years ago and despite my caution above they themselves are taken from
centuries old magical text.
They are from called the 'Seales of the Earthe' and they are designed to keep the wearer grounded during magickal workings. One is power over all
things immaterial, such as spirits and unseen forces. The other is power of material things such as the weather etc. I have one on each shoulder. I
purposefully kept them as simplistic like in the original design so as to make them easier to incorporate into a larger sleeve piece sometime in the
future (when I got a lot of free time and $$$)....These two tattoos on my shoulders I do often use as focal points in energy work, mainly for
grounding and sometimes protection.
My third tattoo on my side is more homage to the dreamtime spirits of northern Australia, known as the Wandjina. They are creator spirits, and also
have power over thunderstorms. It was also one of my favourite stories as a kid (my babysitter at the time was an Australian Aborigininal woman. This
tattoo I designed myself but it was never finished as the tattooist had a serious car accident and I moved interstate before he recovered. I've never
used this in any kind of formal energy workings although I do sometimes concentrate on images similar to what is depicted during meditation.