After countless Hollywood stars started adopting its designs on their skin, Sak Yant has quickly cemented itself at the top of the tattooing world. Its narrative dates back to ancient Cambodia, when the Buddhist ecclesiastical language of symbolism as well as Khmer and Pali writing were being used. Once tattoo methods came into play, Sak Yant emerged as a monk’s way of engraving magical symbolism onto his disciple’s skins manually, using a surgical steel needle while chanting the sacred mantras.

Due to the spiritual chant and the endurance people put up with throughout this painful procedure, Sak Yant tattoos are believed to grant great luck, strength, prosperity, and protection from accident or death. The belief seems to hold true even today, shown by the increased popularity that seems to be only rising. A strong advocator for this has been Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie, who bears five Sak Yant tattoos on her body, and has inspired many women to get the same.

Before the meanings of the sacred tattoos get lost in its proliferation, it’s prime time we learn what some of these Sak Yant scriptures really mean. Click ahead for some of the most prominent designs, and what they symbolise.