This might be a bit hardcore for some of us to consider at the present time, but I thought I’d introduce it anyway. I’ve been studying some indigenous tattooing practices, especially those practiced in the Philippines where some of my ancestors are from. Tattoos in the islands were previously a sign of strength, showing that one is a tough warrior that can take pain, and also carried local styles and symbolic meaning. There are small groups reviving the practice today. I hope to get a protection charm on my shoulder that resembles scale armor, in imitation of a style in which warriors were tattooed with what looked like chain mail shirts.
The preferred method of tattooing was to use a stick with three small points attached at the end for the purpose of piercing skin. A dye, usually charcoal and water, was then smeared on the area being tattooed, and the small wounds were made by tapping the stick with something to make it pierce skin.
For those interested, I also recommend researching Maori and Hawaiian tattoo cultures, which are of course both also Polynesian cultures closely related to those in the Phillippines.
Do any of you know of or have experience with tattoos that don’t involve electric needles? Tips to prevent infections?