21 April, 2013

Sacred Tattoos: a way to honor relationships with Spirits

These past few weeks have been a struggle for me, as I learn the lessons of internal Self-Work, patience, and Trust in the Universe.

I've been re-reading all of my old journals (do you ever do that, readers?), and it has been entertaining! Some of my writing is full of clich├ęs, and it's a bit painful to realize how young and immature and naive I used to be (six - eight years ago)! But I am finding real gems in unexpected places, and I am trying to make all of that learning (and those lessons) more conscious in my mind.

In going through this process (similar to the symbolism inherent in the Hermit card in Tarot, and/or the High Priestess ), my relationship with Artemis has really blossomed.

I first began seeking her out when I started to practice target archery as a sport, and a stress-relief after work:
I'm a left-eye dominant archery, just like so many of Artemis' images!
It took a while for me to understand some of her language in my head, because it sounds so similar to my own voice in my head (a common problem for shamans, tee hee!). But she helped me to learn the lessons of patience, intense focus (to the exclusion of all else), and Trust in the Universe (when releasing the arrows). We've also been working together on more private lessons for my life, and so I sought her advice on honoring our relationship with a tattoo.

In my first journey to her, she appeared as a giant, glorious Greek goddess, in stereotypical robes and fierce gaze. I stuttered a bit in my head, and was definitely overwhelmed. She laughed, and then shrunk down to my size, and changed into jeans and a T-shirt, so that we could communicate easier.

I spoke of the symbols that tie my thoughts directly to hers; the Moon, a bow & arrow, and our mutual friend the Red-Tailed Hawk (see my previous entry on the lovely Hawk). We began discussing ideas for a symbolic tattoo image, and tried to figure out how to incorporate all those images. I had a few ideas, and then sought out a very specific tattoo artist, Capt. Gordon of Time Bomb Tattoo in Frederick, MD.

I have a few tattoos, inspired by different spiritual journeys, but I've always been a bit lazy in finding a good artist. I will create my idea, and then bring it to a shop that's nearby, and pray that the gods work their magic through the vessel of the tattoo artist. Sometimes it works well, sometimes tiny things get lost in translation... So for this tattoo, I made sure that I sought out an artist that was both incredibly gifted and understanding of shamanism & magick. Capt. Gordon is both- hurray!

I took off last Thursday from work, and began a ritual dedication on Wednesday evening. It was the New Moon (how appropriate!) and I Journeyed to her. We drank some excellent Mead from Orchid Cellar Winery (it had one with an image of Artemis called "Archer"-- perfect!), asked for her presence during the tattoo, and on Thursday, dedicated the entire day to Artemis and this work between us.

I brought my images and symbolism with me to Capt. Gordon, and trusted in his expertise and own connection to the Gods. He helped us create an exquisitely powerful and meaningful work:
It incorporates the full Moon, the image of my actual bow that I use (not the one pictured above), and the colors of the flectching of the arrow is the coloring of Red-Tail Hawk feathers!

I look forward to when it is fully healed, and the increased ease of communication between me and Her. I originally thought that this tattoo would signify the culmination of lessons learned, but as I hear her laughing in my head, I realize that it is just the beginning of the long friendship and Journey between us (another Two-By-Four moment, brought to you by Coyote himself!).




Do you have any spiritual tattoos? How did you know what to get? Any readers thinking about their first tattoo?