We are pleased to be open again to serve you in these unprecedented times. We want to preserve this by following all CDC guidelines as closely as possible. This means that we have to do things a bit differently every single step of the way, from booking to the day of the appointment. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment, please review the information below as well as our Contact Us page for full details on the current process. We look forward to seeing your masked faces in the near future!
Happy New Year from Witch City Ink! Everyone here at the shop is looking forward to this new year with excitement as we enter our next decade of serving this historic city. In the next few months we’ll have lots of great news to share about fresh art, new retail offerings, tattoo conventions, guest artists, and lots more. Make sure to follow @witchcityink on Instagram to stay current with all the beautiful things happening here!
All of our artists will be attending the 21st Annual Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Convention in February! There are still some appointment openings left, so if you’d like to get tattooed there please contact your artist of choice directly or feel free to email us here at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s always a great time had by all!
As you may know, Witch City Ink has been producing the Boston Tattoo Convention each year for nearly two decades. While some of us our some of us are busy running the event, many of our artists tattoo all weekend as well! Jaesun Duggan, Larry Allen, Kayleigh Kerr, and Theresa Wall Duggan are now booking convention appointments for March, so get in touch if you’d like to make some magic happen in Boston this spring!
We are welcoming this sunny weather with wide open arms, and we have lots of updates to share about Witch City Ink! After the excitement of running the Seventeenth Annual Boston Tattoo Convention last month, we are going full speed ahead toward a busy summer season. From beautifying our interior, to offering new magickal items for sale, to welcoming a talented new artist into the fold, there are lots of new things to share…
INSIDE THE SHOP:
Here at Witch City Ink we have been enjoying the ongoing process of updating our beautiful space here in downtown Salem. You may notice a few changes next time you visit, like the fact that our beloved human skeleton Boris has a gorgeous new home! There is art everywhere you look, and we are proud to continue making the atmosphere more and more representative of the exceptional work happening within our four walls. First and foremost, tattooing is an art, and we want our space to reflect a respect and appreciation for this idea. How do you decorate a temple that is devoted the decoration of own our bodily temples? With a lot of beautiful, meaningful, and intriguing art! Many curiosities in our shop are a tiny bit of the evidence of a lifetime of travel & creation on the part of our owner Natan Alexander. If you can catch him in a rare free moment, he may tell you some tales of the places he’s been and the knowledge he has gained. It is really something special to be able to have a space devoted the appreciation of art in all its forms. If you haven’t been in for a while, or have never been, it is definitely time to come by the next time you are in Salem!
NEW PRODUCTS: SPIRITUS ARCANUM
We are pleased to announce the arrival of a new line of magickal items from Spiritus Arcanum that are all handcrafted right here in Salem, MA! There are apothecary oils for all sort of purposes, vials of dedicated incense, and Hexentaschen (protective witch bags & necklaces), along with some beautiful animal skulls and many other items. Mercury Retrograde Oil? We’ll take a couple dozen of those, please! Most items start around $12, so come by and peruse this unique selection.
In June we’ll be hosting guest artist Kevin Shattuck from Iconic Ink in the shop from June 14th-17th! Check out his work on Instagram under @iconicinkkevin! He is welcoming booking for his Salem dates through call or text at 774-766-0280.
In July we’ll be bringing a little Witch City magic to the Granite State! Our talented tattoo artists are excited to attend great year at the Live Free or Die Tattoo Expo in Manchester, NH running July 20th –July 23rd.
In September we’ll be hosting guest artist Master Bangkok Ajarn Ohr and Bangkok Ink from Thailand September 8th-11th. He specializes in Sak Yant, a traditional Thai form of handpoked tattooing performed & blessed in ceremonial style by a monk.
Right after that we’ll be running our next tattoo event, the Third Annual Massachusetts Tattoo Convention at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA, which happens the weekend of September 14th-16th, 2018! It’s going to be a great time, so come get tattooed, check out some cool vendors, and take in some unique entertainment. We hope to see you there!
One of the common things I hear from people when they are thinking about their next tattoo is that they have an idea of what they want but feel stuck as to where to place it on their body.
The first thing I want to say is that its ok not to know! By no means should not being sure of placement hold you back from moving forward with your tattoo idea. If you have your basic concept in mind, your tattoo artist should be able to talk you through options as to where to place it on your body.
Because placement is important there are a number of things that I consider when working with my client to find the best place on the body for their new piece of art. Below are five questions to help you think about the placement of your next tattoo and to spark helpful dialog between yourself and your artist.
1. Is the tattoo something that you want to be public or private? For example, if you get text on your arm people are going to ask you what it says. This may be great if it is an affirmation that you want to discuss and be reminded of. It may prove not so good if the tattoo is about something personal. Ask yourself, do I want to perform the story of this tattoo to strangers? If the answer is no then avoid tattooing the design in areas that are most readily seen like the wrist or forearm.
2. Will the tattoo affect your work or other aspects of your life? Although tattoos are more accepted in the workplace then ever before, stigma around tattoos is still very real. Especially when it comes to hand, face and neck tattoos, consider that depending on your profession an interviewers bias could mean that a tattoo looses you a job. I may ask my clients questions about their reasons for getting a tattoo in one of these highly visible places. This is not because I am trying to judge them worthy of getting this tattoo. I apprenticed under a tattooer (the incredibly talented Natan Alexander) who instilled in me the concept of “do no harm” when it comes to tattooing. I want to have real talk with my clients about what visible tattoos can mean for their life. If my client is young and/or not very tattooed I want to make sure that I am not aiding in them making choices that might negatively affect them. I suggest not placing a tattoo in one of these 3 places if you know that you will need to cover it up to keep your job, work in an industry that does not accept tattooing or are unsure of your professional goals. Odds are there is an alternate location that will cause you less stress in the long term.
3. How does the placement support the intention of the tattoo? Switching now from the practical to the more esoteric. When it comes to intentional tattoos, the intention of a given piece can be enhanced by placing it on a corresponding energy center. If you are getting a piece about opening to love or protecting your heart, why not put it over your heart chakra on the front or back of your body? In some esoteric models the left side of the body is the feminine/lunar/receiving side and the right is the masculine/solar/acting side of the body. Knowing this you might choose to place an design that is about what you want to bring into your life on the left hand side or put a sword or more martial element on your right. In doing so you can align your tattoos with the energetic patterns that are already present in your body.
4. Does the design fit with the anatomy of the body? This is a huge one. Just like the lines of clothing, tattoos can visually enhance curves and musculature or detract from them. The overall shape of the tattoo design should fit the body part both in size and geometry. For example, the curve of the top of the shoulder/deltoid suggests a round or oval shape whereas the back of the arm/triceps wraps diagonally and will distort a round design. Your tattoo artist is skilled in knowing what shapes will fit well with particular parts of your anatomy and may have helpful feedback when it comes to this particular consideration.
5. What is your long term plan for your tattoos? If you are getting your first few smaller tattoos but plan to get larger work in the future, don’t compromise your canvas. Placing a small tattoo in the middle of a limb or back means that you might be forced to cover up or work around the tattoo in the future. I suggest that my clients place smaller tattoos near a joint rather than in the center of a limb. For example, on the wrist or near the elbow crease as opposed to the center of the forearm.
<3 <3 <3 Gratitude as always to the history and tradition of tattooing for all it has given me and to my two best teachers, the school of hard knocks and my teacher and partner Natan. <3 <3 <3
My name is Larry Allen & I am the newest artist here at Witch City Ink. Before my move, I had known about Witch City Ink for years, both through the Boston Tattoo Convention & individual artists working out of this cool & very unique studio up in Salem, Massachusetts. When I started looking to relocate & find a new studio to call home, Witch City Ink was my only choice.
I was welcomed with open arms and have found the staff to be not only super easy to work with, but extremely dedicated to their clients & craft. New clients who are considering Witch City Ink can expect a great experience, not only because I now work here & it’s easy for me to state such a thing, but because I’ve seen their work ethic 1st hand. A combination of the art produced and artist commitment to their clients makes for a rock-solid experience.
About me & my style… If you’ve read my bio on my portfolio page or my website (lallentattoo.com), you’ll know I was, amongst other things, a former teacher. I enjoy explaining things to people & helping them understand the what, how & why of what I’m doing. I think people enjoy being ‘in the know’, especially if they are new to the world of tattooing. As far as my style, I do a lot of different types of tattoos, but I specifically like doing black & gray florals and bright, vibrant watercolor-style designs.
To those I have already tattooed here at Witch City Ink, thank you for your trust, confidence & gracious warm welcome to Salem. I look forward to meeting and working with many, many more of you!
by K Lenore Siner
A visit to my room at Witch City Ink often prompts people to ask me “What is up with the snakes?” They are in the artwork on my walls, scattered around the room in line sheets of future and finished tattoos, a snake print leather covers my tattoo chair – not to mentioned that they are tattooed all over my body. The question is always met with a pause and a smile; when it comes to myth, symbolism and my personal story there isn’t anything I would rather share about.
Symbols have intrinsic, seeping power. Spend time with one and it will leave its mark on you the way spending time around a fire leaves you smelling of smoke.
Snake is connected to transformation, creation, wisdom, healing, the underworld, the circle, the spiral, the element of water and both death and eternal life. Snakes are an important part of the myth and symbolism of cultures around the world. There are dozens of serpent gods and hundreds of stories where they are featured. They show up as beneficent, troublesome, evil and sometimes a mix of all three. With such a rich history of myth and symbolism there is no way for me to do justice to it all. However, I would like to share a bit of why I personally love the snake as a totem and some reflections on why you might want to incorporate it into your next intentional tattoo.
I got my first snake tattoo more than a decade ago after participating in a woman’s initiatory ritual that involved a group of us building and walking a labyrinth (more on labyrinths here). At the labyrinth’s center was a woman holding a large, live python. As I took my turn walking the labyrinth I wondered what I should do when I reached this personification of the Divine in the center – should I kneel? Should I say something important? What do you do when you have the chance to meet god?
I kept taking the path and getting closer and still didn’t know. When I arrived in the center I felt something inside me shift and I stood up a bit straighter. I looked her in the eyes with that huge snake twisting around her neck and shoulders and I knew in that instant that there was no other choice but that – to meet her dead on, eye to eye, as an equal.
Meeting the snake priestess was my first experience of knowing my own divinity and it was an event that changed my life, enough so that I immediately went and got my first snake tattoo, to remember myself as divine through wearing the symbol of that experience in my skin.
Symbols are alive. Just like us they have different moods and manners depending on what they are in relation to. And just like us they are evolving and changing. As we develop a relationship with a symbol we write our own personal story with it.
Being raised in Christian culture, the earliest snake myth I ever heard was that of Eve in the garden being “tempted” by the snake. Here is a version of the story:
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened.
Now I know this story is supposed to be about original sin and all that crap, but when I read it I cant help but think that this was a moment of empowerment! The snake shows up and directs Eve to consider that she has been given misinformation, she looks for herself and sees value in something that she had in the past ignored and when she engages it she becomes “like God”. This is not a story of sin, but a story of finding ones true will, and the power that goes with that – and the snake led the way.
In light of this myth, snake is connected to the acquisition of personal power and wisdom, specifically in the areas that we are told are dangerous or should be left alone. It is about listening to our intuition and acting on what we see as good and valuable – not just what we are told is true – and the transformation we encounter when we act on those impulses.
Another story – I had the terrifying pleasure of getting far too close to a rattlesnake while harvesting blue vervain in the hills of South Dakota a few years ago. I was out hiking miles away from any road or home and as I bent down to cut a plant I heard that distinct rattle sound from under a shrub a foot away. I was immediately still, focused, present and very aware of my heart beat, my life, as I backed slowly away.
In the presence of that snake, I got to feel the awe of being one false move away from a painful death. What has great power to transform has the power to destroy. In that, snake is not an easy friend. It means to invite death, to let go with each skin shed towards becoming the next version of us and its lessons often come to us as venom, the drop of poison that cures.
In the vast history of snake myth and meaning, these are my personal connections. So if you ask me “What is up with the snakes” the short story is that I love tattooing them as a reminder to embrace our divinity, follow our intuition even when it is contrary to what we have been taught in order to gain wisdom and power and to be able to come to terms with fear, death and letting go in service of our own transformation.
Do you have a snake tattoo that holds a particular intention for you? A favorite snake myth or personal story? I would love for you to share! Thinking of incorporating snake symbolism into your next tattoo? You know I would be more than happy to help, message me at @snakeoclock or call Witch City to set up a consult.
written by K Lenore Siner
Many people come to Witch City Ink looking to get a memento of their visit to Salem, most often something related in some way to the Salem Witch Trials or to witch craft in general. More often than not, I find that my client has only a vague notion of what the symbol they have chosen to wear permanently on their body means, and I at times I lack the ability to clearly explain the meaning of what I am tattooing. So I’ve decided to start blogging on some of the most common symbols that I tattoo and their meanings as a way to further educate myself as hopefully interest future clients as well.
Hands down the most commonly requested symbol is the pentacle.* The pentacle is an ancient symbol used by many cultures through out time. It was used by the followers of Pythagoras, the Jewish and Christian Mystics, and the ancient Babylonians. The symbol was coopted by several 19th century Western Magical traditions and also became a central symbol to the Neo-pagan movement in the 20th century. Add to that, the inverted pentacle was adopted by the Church of Satan in the 1960’s as its official seal and Hollywood has also had its fun over the past decades using it as an image of evil or “anti-Christian” beliefs.
With such diverse history, the pentacle has many different meanings to different people. However most meanings draw from its connection to the number 5 because of its geometry. Thus the pentacle is connected to the human microcosm -the 4 limbs and the head, the 5 fingers and the 5 senses – as well as the macrocosm – the 5 elements and the 4 directions plus center. Thus it speaks to the magical concept of the macrocosm with the microcosm, or that which exists externally (in the world) also exists internally (in the self).
5 is also a circular number and a number of manifestation as when 5 is raised to its own power, it produces itself again in its last digit.
The pentacle is often used as a suit of the tarot instead of coins or disks, and corresponds with the element of earth.
In Western magical and neo-pagan traditions each point of the star corresponds to a particular element. One may invoke an element, and the powers of that element by drawing the star starting from a particular point. This is of particular interest when tattooing a pentacle for you can enhance the intention of the tattoo by being mindful to the manner in which it is tattooed. The circle around the star can be seen as a magical circle, containing the energies invoked within.
One thing that frequently comes up while tattooing is the meaning of the inverted pentacle verses one with the point up. Many people associate the inverted pentacle as “evil” because of its association with Satanism and its use in pop culture horror movies. By looking at the attributes of the points of the stars its easier to understand possible meaning and decide for yourself what, if any truth that has. The pentacle point up places Spirit at the top, with Earth ascending towards Spirit. Inverted, Spirit is ascending towards Earth. This is read either as a focus on the internal journey of finding the Divine with in oneself, or as placing carnal or “earthly” desires over those of Spirit.
So why get pentacle tattoo? When it comes to tattooing magical symbols, intention is everything. Especially with a symbol that has been used so diversely, connecting clearly to your purpose in wearing it creates the matrix in which it can function. Looking at the above correspondences a pentacle tattoo can be an intention of focusing on manifestation and physical abundance, a way to dedicate yourself to the study and understanding of a particular element or direction, a reminder of the macrocosm within the microcosm,a symbol of your neo-pagan practice or just that “witch star thing” that people wear in Salem. No one intention is better than the other and each will lead the wearer down a different path.
Thanks for reading! I would love to hear your thoughts, your experiences of wearing a pentacle tattoo or requests for other symbols to blog about – please message me at @snakeoclock
Art is Magic, wear your Magic!
– K Lenore
*There is some debate as to the difference between a pentacle and a pentagram. Some sources say that a pentacle is a physical object while a pentagram is a drawing or diagram. Others say that that pentacle refers only to a paton or magical tool that can be inscribed with a variety of symbols. For the purpose of this article a pentacle is the encircled, 5 pointed star, in any of its forms.
Its Halloween in Salem and we have been busy busy busy at the shop! To celebrate the “most wonderful time of the year” (lol!) we are running a special for small Halloween flash designs October 17th- 31st. $75 per tattoo – first come first serve – walk-ins only. Here are a few of the dozens of designs our artists have tattooed this week:
Also a reminder that our shop Halloween party will be held on Halloween night, October 31st from 7pm-12pm. Come on by, meet our artists and enter our costume contest for a chance to win a $300 Witch City Ink gift certificate!
Happy Solar Eclipse day! Here is a small selection of some sun and moon themed tattoos our artists have done. Enjoy the eclipse and safe viewing!
Alas, you’re probably reading this with an eye roll, tapping your tattooed fingers on the table wondering when you’re going to hear the end of this debate. Answer: never. Because equal chances are that you’ve seen some really, really cute pictures of perfect finger tattoos on Pinterest or Instagram and are looking to get one yourself (see header). Whether it’s your first tattoo and you just like the look or you’re working on a full body suit, the do’s and don’ts of finger tattoos are always a good topic.
The truth of the matter is that finger tattoos are a gamble, at best. Take a moment to think about your hands. How much you touch with your hands each day, how little muscle and/or fat you have on each finger, how much work they endure in an afternoon. Though tattoos are permanent, your hands don’t have the thick layer of skin needed to hold the ink in, resulting in a tattoo that “falls out”- i.e. a fresh tattoo that can look sloppy, unfinished, or look years older than it is. Another common downfall of a finger tattoo is a tattoo that is “blown out”, or where the ink doesn’t hold in the spot and expands under the skin, turning your nice clean line into an ink blot.
This does NOT mean you shouldn’t get what you want. Many people decide on this tattoo and love the result. We tell you this because with the rise of social media and with celebrities popularizing the finger tattoo trend, many aren’t aware of the risks that come with this sort of tattoo. You should always go with what you want, it’s your body, just don’t be surprised if you come across an artist or shop that don’t do this or try and talk you out of it. As much as it’s your piece it is also the artist’s reputation, and no one wants you leaving the shop with a bad tattoo!