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Catch Eileen and Celtic Kirtan live tomorrow, April 5th in NYC at Mary O's Irish Pub and on April 14th in Warren, RI. Find details for both shows on Eileen's Facebook page here.

Pigments have been available to humans for thousands of years and since then, we have adorned our skin with tattoos. Permanently pigmenting the skin holds significance for a range of reasons. The designs reinforce spiritual beliefs, declare love, celebrate a right of passage, the birth or passing of a loved one or hold other significant meaning. In this new series profiling members of the New Earth tribe, get to know some of the ink adorning our contributors and their stories.

Eileen Bray is a longtime Almanac contributor, singer, textile artist, professional voice-over artist and the creator of Celtic Kirtan. She is also a certified Kundalini Yoga teacher, Infinite Possibilities Trailblazer, and a Celtic Shamanic practitioner in training. She splits her time between Co Tipperary, Ireland, and Nashville, TN.

Eileen, tell us about your Celtic arm tattoo! What does it say and mean for you?

This was my second tattoo and it was/is deeply meaningful for me on many levels. It is the ancient tribal script of the Druids “Ogham” pronounced “Om” (that's interesting isn’t it!). Ogham dates back to the 5th Century originating in Ireland and Scotland. It exists still today on many stones chronicling our heritage and history. It is read from the bottom up. Each set of strokes represents a letter. This is “S-A-O-I-R-S-E” which is the Gaelic word meaning FREEDOM. It is my permanent Universal prayer for Humanity, the Planet and all life forms on it. It represents for me FREEDOM from oppression, cruelty, bigotry, prejudice, tyranny, war, intolerance, discrimination, judgment, poverty, dis-ease, so much that keeps us enslaved here. It’s meaning became even more poignant in the subsequent years as so many on the planet had civil liberties taken from them in such a militant fashion.

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