Tom Vater

Tom Vater

Eclectic crime fiction and informed, irreverent non-fiction from Asia and beyond

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Posts tagged tradition

Thailand’s Sacred Tattoos – A Secret Tradition Goes Global

My article in this month’s InDepth Magazine on Thailand’s Sacred Tattoos with images by Aroon Thaewchatturat, co-author and photographer of Sacred Skin – Thailand’s Spirit Tattoos, the first English language book to look at Sak Yant. On a sultry Monday morning, Ajarn Neng Onnut’s studio, known locally as a samnak, which sits tucked away in […]

Sacred Skin in Rise Tattoo Magazine

I am interviewed in this month’s Rise Tattoo Magazine from France. Big thanks to Dom Pichard and Laure Siegel.

From the Archives: The real Phuket – Tom Vater reports on the Vegetarian Festival for Fortean Times

Another golden oldie, that old chestnut, the Phuket Vegetarian Festival, which I covered in 2005 for Fortean Times and several other publications. Never mind the flash resorts, sleazy bars, high rise condos and MacHolidays on offer on Thailand’s largest and most overdeveloped tourist island.  Phuket also has culture. Every year, men and women have their […]

A State of Trance – Khong Khuen – Thailand´s Sacred Tattoos on Youtube

Visionary World Publisher Hans Kemp has created a short film on Khong Khuen, the trance state entered by Sak Yant (Thai Spirit Tattoos) devotees at the anual Wai Khru festival at Wat Bang Phra, a Buddhist temple west of Bangkok, last month. Watch and marvel and travel to the very heart of Thai culture, far […]

From the Archives: Wai Khru Day – The Wat Bang Phra Tattoo Festival in Thailand

Every year in March, thousands of Buddhist devotees gather at a temple an hour west of Bangkok to worship and celebrate one of Thailand’s strangest cults: At Wat Bang Phra, Buddhist monks use long needles to tattoo magic images and prayers on the believers’ skin. The tattoos are believed to give the wearer protection, especially […]

From the Archives: Tom Vater on the Wat Bang Phra Tattoo Festival in Thailand

Every year in March, thousands of Buddhist devotees gather at a temple an hour west of Bangkok to worship and celebrate one of Thailand’s strangest cults: At Wat Bang Phra, Buddhist monks use long needles to tattoo magic images and prayers on the believers’ skin. The tattoos are believed to give the wearer protection, especially […]

Dakshin Kali – Bloodbath for a Goddess

There are many Kali temples in the Kathmandu Valley but only one demands daily sacrifices – Dakhshin Kali. And on Saturdays, the blood runs faster, deeper and longer than on any other day. The first rays of the sun break through the pine trees that cover the steep slope that seems to drop right down […]

The Pain Of Vegetables – The Phuket Vegetarian Festival

The Vegetarian Festival on the tourist island of Phuket in Southern Thailand is a truly bizarre occasion. Men and women, ostensibly possessed by gods, pierce their tongues and cheeks with sharp implements. Adepts apparently feel no pain, and show little no sign of real injury. The young man wears only shorts. He is drenched in […]

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