Tattoos have long been associated with rituals amongst tribal people. Young men would often be tattooed to mark their transition from boyhood to adulthood and to mark other rites of passage. The process of tattooing is deeply symbolic and contains many of the elements associated with ritual such as blood, symbolism and the awakening of the astral body through the experience of pain.
Tattoos and the modern practice of tattooing is seen by many as an almost mystical experience akin to the exchange of energy experienced during tantric sex or modern day sex magick. In many ways the level of trust involved in opening your body up to the tattooist is equivalent if not greater than the abandonment associated with the ecstasy and release of sex.