Experience of a lifetime?

John Durante and Ron Garza helping pierce at the Phuket Vegetarian Festival in Sa Pan, Thaiand…

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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by BMEzine.com LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by BMEzine.com LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

32 thoughts on “Experience of a lifetime?

  1. i am SO envious. what always amazes me about such photos is that there is never any bleeding. it must have been an awesome experience.

  2. i’ll be moving ron’s blogs someplace public this week (with his permission) so that people who aren’t on iam (though everyone should be…) can read them.
    his diary about this trip is far too important a documentation to miss.

  3. I’m curious about something: every time I’ve seen pictures of the rituals performed at this festival, the piercers have been Westerners. Is there any particular reason for this?

  4. when i was young and saw this i always thought it would just be excruciating pain and i’d never be able to do it if given the chance. i thought that about a lot of things. it’s so strange to change my mind about all that and start seeing that anything is possible.

  5. I’ve seen photos from this festival several times before and have always been curious. I’d love to see more shots of this.
    I have to say i’m very curious as to how healing goes afterwards…

  6. Such an amazing expierience!!! I have been attending now for 6 straight years… The first 4 in Trang (much more traditional) and the past 2 years in Phuket, actually piercing the participants… So this question is put out to paleblue… Have you EVER seen pictures of westerners besides me, Oscar Navarro, or now Ron Garza piercing in the festival???? If so I would love to see them!!! I have been told by people that have been participating for over 50 years that they have NEVER seen any westerners pierce in the festival, to my knowledge Oscar Navarro was the first 3 years ago, then myself 2 years ago, now Ron… Maybe you have just seen them on BME??? BUT, if there are ANY photos or documentation of any other westerners piercing participants I would like to know… Thanx!!!

  7. It truly was an amazing honor to be accepted by this group of people and to be allowed to pierce with them. Piercing by outsiders (ferang)doesnt happen. this is an EXTREMLY rare oppurtunity that we have given, and once someone attends you understand.

  8. What I would give to be over there and just be in the presence of the participants. Every time I see pictures from this festival I’m BLOWN AWAY.

    Seriously…If I had the time to travel… [I'm going to make some...sometime] In a heartbeat…

  9. thats wicked awesome.
    I was never into cheek skewering.. but of course modblog has changed my mind yet again.
    I’d love to do with something that big rather then smaller.

  10. I don’t think I have it in me to participate in that, but I would love to see that in person.

  11. So, lets see… They DO bleed, some alot!!! Alot of the photos you see are with HUGE spears inserted, the tissue is under so much tension there will be no blood until removal… I have seen the streets covered in blood many times.. As far as participation, this is a very obscure, relitively rare occurance in the world, much less Thailand, most Thai people dont even understand it… These participants are led into possesion( by Chineese deitys), and the physical ordeals only undergone while possesed… They leave HUGE scars for life…. That is devotion…

  12. Stunning. So insanely jealous as well. I’ve seen programmes about the festival. I think it’s absolutely mind blowing they are possesed by deities and feel no pain – it’s not something I can comprehend at all. And the fact that they get pierced with what is basically a giant pointy taper – that kind of makes me cringe a bit. To imagine the skin just being forced to rip apart.

    Was it difficult to be doing something that should have caused unbelievable pain?

    Wow. Congratualtions. It must have been so amazing.


  13. It is/has been an expiernce of a lifetime. Today i held devotee’s head during the piercing and i must say it was so intense. Much more than piercing them IMO. You feel and connect with the person , feel their movements and energy down to the very core. This has been such a rewarding expiernce( and still 2 days left to go ). I wouldnt trade it for the world!!

  14. There are some good videos on Youtube of some of the ceremonies that take place during the festival.
    My partner was lucky enough to visit Thailand and witness all of this several years back and says that it was one of the best spectacles she has seen. Am desperately trying to convince her that she needs to go back and take me with her.

  15. For the bleeding- it really isnt that unusual a concept

    Fill a zip lock bag with water…
    Seal it.

    Peice it with a sharp pencil
    Go through both sides.

    Surface tension creates a seal (as mentioned above).

    What happends when you remove the pencil is obvious… (and the analogy fallows… to a lesser degree!)

    Same goes for major puncture wounds/injuries….


    Looking forward to more.

  16. I always wanted to see what it looks like a year after or so, and to find out what are the long term implications of having your cheek muscles shredded.

  17. On a sort of related note, I keep seeing John Durante featured on modblog, and every time I see him I think how much I love his look. Just tought I’d say it now, seeing as I’ve not mentioned it any of the other times I’ve thought it (and I don’t believe compliments should be left unsaid).

  18. I’d like to know how “Phuket” is properly pronounced. I tend to say “foo – ket”. Is this right?

    Awesome photos though.

  19. Dear Sah…. I couldant find you on IAM, so hope you read this… Thanx so much, that is quite a complement… You should hit me up, and say hi!!! Anyway Thanx again!!! Peace, John D

  20. @ # 26

    Come on man, Seriously. Try and learn a TINY LITTLE BIT ABOUT HUMAN BIOLOGY! Since when are your cheeks muscles? Can you move your cheeks can you? without using suction etc from your mouth? my god some people are fucking stupid.

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