Close Encounters with Sak Yant Trance

Sak Yant is an age old ritual that dates back to more than 2000 years.
Some of you might recognise one of its more famous, celebrity followers — Angelina Jolie.

Sak Yant involves tattooing of scriptures and/or diagrams onto the body.
The tattoos are believed to be magical and bestow mystical powers, protection, or good luck for the wearers — as long as they observe certain rules.

Some Sak Yant followers get enchanted and enter into a trance whence they experience visions of the Yants that they wear, upon chanting of scriptures by venerables/Ajarns.

This is temporary and afflicts mainly wearers of strong Yants depicting deities and holy creatures whereupon the afflicted may mimic the behaviours of the associated Yants.
Moreover, most afflicted followers consider this a blessing and affirmation and actively condition themselves accordingly.

These images are records of my first close encounters with sak yant trance during an annual Wai Khru ceremony for Ajarn Meuk with hundreds of devotees in attendance.

In my attempt to share the intensity of the moments, I sought to get up close and personal.
This resulted in some extremely close shaves where the pouncing entranced came within mere inches of my camera!
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