Friday, November 26, 2010

Big50 Day 19: Tattoos

I currently have two tattoos, but I have plans for at least 3 more.  Here are my current ones:

The tattoo on my back is the first one I got.  I scoured books and magazines and the internet for nearly a year before I found this design on some random webpage of uncredited Pagan symbols, and I knew it was what I wanted straight away.  I've never seen another like it.  When I showed it to my tattoo artist (the fabulous Dave Stevens at Electric Ink) and told him where I wanted it, he told me that I'd chosen pretty much the most painful tattoo I could for my first!

The main symbol is a pentacle.  Clockwise from top-left, the smaller symbols are as follows:

  • A six-pointed star, generally recognised as the Star of David
  • Aum, which is a sacred syllable in several Indian religions
  • Yin yang, a Chinese symbol that represents how opposing forces interact
  • A triskele, an ancient Celtic symbol
  • A sun cross, a prehistoric symbol that can be found all over Europe
As you can see, the symbols come from many cultures and religions.  Without sounding too much like a stupid privileged white person, I tentatively interpret my tattoo to represent balance, harmony, wholeness, and the sacred nature of all things.  I absolutely love it.  My only regret is that it's not somewhere I can see easily, because I could certainly do with a reminder of those things every day!

When my first one was done, my tattoo artist asked me what I was getting next.  "Nothing," I said.  He laughed and gave me a knowing look and said, "You'll be back."  He was right - I was back about 12 months later for my armband!

I knew I wanted an armband tattoo, but I wanted one a little bit different from everyone else.  I chose this design from a book of Celtic tattoo designs I had.  Sadly, the book doesn't say where it is from, but of the examples were from illuminated Bible manuscripts.  It's a bit hard to tell from the picture, but the tattoo is interlocking dogs in alternating red and green.  I chose the dogs because I love animals, and my tattoo artist helped with the colours - I knew I wanted colour rather than black like my previous tattoo, and he suggested the red and green as being traditional Celtic colours.

My remaining plans are: a small silver fern on the inside of my right wrist, a phoenix on my right shoulder (I'm hoping to cover my huge scar from removing my birthmark but apparently you shouldn't tattoo over a scar so need to think about that), and a quote, probably from Shakespeare, around my left ankle.  Then I'll have to come up with some more.

I'm reluctant to try another tattoo artist because Dave at Electric Ink did such a fantastic job, but I am getting really desperate for a new tattoo, and making a special trip to Levin just for a tattoo pilgrimage seems a bit extreme!

Do you have any tattoos?

This post is part of my Big50 blogging challenge series.


  1. just the one at this stage Jen - got it at age 19 at Rob Krouse on K Road. It's an inverted pentagram in red and black on my right upper arm, about the size of a large beercoaster. it has the word EFFIGY written in stylised text across it - the name of my (now defunct) band. never regretted it, although many people said i would. as far as I'm concerned, it's a birthmark - it's just one I chose to get. maybe I'll post a photo of it on facebook some day, but probably only after i get some more work done on it. it is begging for some flames and the text needs to be boldened so it's easier to read. all in good time...
    Cheers, Mat

  2. I have 5 tattoos.

    I got my first one at 19, it's a Gary Larsen Far Side cow on my back above my left shoulder blade.

    It was almost 15 years until I got the next two, both done on the same day - a pink heart balloon on the inside of my right forearm, and a lotus flower on the top of my left foot.

    Earlier this year I got two more - a red and yellow pansy on the top of my right foot, and then a blue jay on the inside of my left forearm.

    The only thing holding me back from getting my whole body tattooed is the money! But I'll keep working on it.