November 11th, 2009
If you're not familiar with the vegetarian festival in Phuket, Thailand, you should check out the amazing photos here. People participating in the ritual go into deep trance states and endure incredible feats of piercing! Should you desire to learn more about this festival, the Association of Professional Piercers has a video on the subject. In fact, I'm the narrator! Check it out here. Here's some information about the video:
In a time when traditional rituals from all over the world are disappearing either because of natural disasters or globalization, the documentation of these practices is important in keeping these sacred traditions alive. This DVD takes you deep into the heart of a festival which most onlookers keep a safe distance from, and is a rare and insightful look into the modern vegetarian festival in the vibrant culture in Phuket, Thailand. Not only is the footage a great up close look at all the different facets of the celebration, but the narration is quite thorough as well. The amount of footage included truly encourages you to feel as if you are walking right along side of the spiritual procession. It was obvious to me that the videographer and photographers truly had respect and a great deal of admiration for the acts being filmed, and that they are lovers of the acts of ritual. It is refreshing to see a documentary done by members of our community, rather then the casual onlooker or tourist with less desire to understand these practices, and to seek the similarities between these and our own. Paul King captured the faces of this festival in such a way that it makes the viewer connect with the devotee in their moments of true faith. (While watching the large size perforations of the devotees it has to be noted that there is relatively minimum bleeding taking place.) For those of us who are practitioners of piercing, it is obvious that the spiritual aspects of this ritual truly control the outcome of the sacrifices made. This documentary is not only a valuable anthropological accomplishment but is an unparalleled contribution to the piercing community. If you have not yet seen it, it is essential for any person interested in anthropology, ritual, and/or body modification.