Even over Zoom, I can feel the grounding presence of Ash Mills. As we introduce ourselves, I admire her beautiful plants and her dog who curls up on the couch behind her. Mills’ tattooing journey began when a friend and mentor offered to buy her the setup and equipment she needed in exchange for tattoos. Then, when asked by another friend to give them a tattoo, Mills was given full creative freedom. It was hard to land on a single phrase or image to fully encapsulate her friend, so she let her intuition lead the way. The result was a simple, symmetrical design made up of fine, thin lines. The simplicity of the design and light-handed style of tattooing sets Mills’ work apart from other tattoo artists.
The traditional tattoo shop setting was one that never resonated with Mills. She noticed a gap in spaces where people could come and receive a different type of experience while getting tattooed. Ritual Healing was born, and through social media and word of mouth, her clientele grew, and she began designing more symbols.
In a session with Mills, clients can expect to spend time grounding through breathwork and meditation. With a 200-hour yoga teacher training and over a decade of journey-work in her back pocket, Mills knows how to create and hold space. Some of her clients in the past reflect on their time with her with sentiments like, “I feel so much lighter,” and “I feel really safe.” After settling and grounding, clients will share their story.
She has heard full life stories, from critical chapters to life changing experiences. As the stories go on, Mills will ask questions or simply listen and let her intuition guide her through the design. Once a client feels complete in sharing, Mills will reveal her design. If the client resonates with the symbol (which they typically do), they have the option to get it tattooed on their body. Choosing placement for their new art is often informed by energy meridians in the body, chakras and proximity to the heart. Of course, there’s no requirement to get the symbol tattooed.
The concept of making healing a ritual comes from the fact that, “You can’t wave a magic wand and expect to be healed,” Mills shares. “Healing won’t be found in one reiki session; it’s found in continuously coming home to yourself.”
The root of the word healing is “to make whole,” and by sharing an experience and seeing a beautiful representation of that experience, we can recognize our journey as a whole one, even as we continue to grow.