Today Garry and I got our tattoos finished, well, his will be finished, mine on the other hand...
It's one of those odd things, you wouldn't think it by either looking at me, or even folks who know me really really well, but I love tattoos. I especially love them when they're grouped together to create a story or to evoke an emotion. A lot of folks don't see tattoos as being "art," but they really are, they are an expression of ourselves - we're just using skin instead of canvas.
For a long time I've always thought it would be cool to have a sleeve tattoo for that very reason. To have pieces of artwork combined together to create a very special and personal story. I'm sure the vast majority of my family will not be pleased and I'm sure I'll hear more than once "What are you going to do when you're older?" Well, that's not something I'm terribly worried about because when I'm old, I think I'll be done giving a crap about what people think about me.
So I started this process with an admittedly complicated design. Of course, if it involves me it's going to be more complicated than it needs to be.
I didn't come up with the design on my own. Actually, I found it on the interwebs (like most everything else I find) and I absolutely loved the piece so much that I altered it a wee-bit in photoshop and went from there.
The tattoo I have is just the black linework of the above piece. Originally I was going to have it colored in, but the more I looked at it the more I liked it as just linework - and I can always go and get it colored in later on.
The price I paid the tattoo artist for this piece included color and since I ended up not getting color we're going to add some more linework instead.
Maybe I should explain the lotus tattoo a little bit...
The symbol I've worked with for the last five years or so is the white lotus (or lily). This flower is sacred to Hera, the goddess I do the vast majority of my work through. This design incorporated a lot of different energy that I really liked and found was appropriate with the work that I do. Getting into that would take a while to do, so I'll just leave it at that.
The piece above the original lotus design is called a hamsa. For the most part, the hamsa in varying forms have been associated with many religions over the years. I did some research and found that it was called the Mano Pantea in ancient Egypt (or Hand of the All-Goddess) and in Greece it was the Hand of Aprhodite.
In reference to the work I do, particularly with Hera, and the reason I chose this style of hamsa is for the symbology within it. The thumb and pinky finger are shaped like bird heads which will eventually turn into two different birds (one a peacock and the other a phoenix) with their tails coming down the sides of my arm and wrapping around the backside (yeah, I know, it's going to hurt!) Other symbols include the eye, the lotus, the three pomegrantes, and the crescent moon.
The reason I chose the hamsa to begin with is because of the epithet of Hera that I am starting to resonate with. Hera Hyperkheiria is the protectress, "she whose hand is above." The hamsa is a sacred hand symbol and I found it fitting considering Hera's ties in religions cross-culturally with other "All-Goddess" figures.