Tattoos are the inside on the outside.
There is always a story with a tattoo.
Revelation carved into the skin.
Visual stories of time and space.
When do you to you choose to get marked?
Where do you choose for the image to live on your live canvas?
Why that/those images/words?
What does it/they mean to you?
Why did you do it?
What do you want us to see?
Tattoos illustrate our personal myth.
I ask myself am I the type to get a tattoo?
What type is that?
Debate with myself for years as I admire the sweaty bodies in my hot yoga classes – slippery skin of all colors etched with leaves, sacred symbols, hearts, serpents, flowers, mandalas, proverbs, faces, tribal markings, names, animal totems, vines, constellations, poetry and pretty much everything else. A picture book of our inner story buried treasure the soul wants to share with the world.
I finally muster courage after the birth of my third grandchild. My grandson Ali is born at the end of 2018. He is a Capricorn like me and simultaneous to his arrival on the planet I know the major shift has begun, we are on the cusp of worldwide transformation. I have watched the stars all my life, paid attention to the great cosmic clock of astrology and knew 2020 would mark an Ending. Capital E. In 2019 I gathered my courage and found a tattoo artist.
Why has this timeless tradition of body art exploded in popularity?
We crave ceremony, ritual, rites of passage, cycles of renewal. Tattoos anchor us in the flesh as they transfigure the flesh.
We want to be seen for the truth of ourselves.
People recognize themselves in tattoos.
People recognize each other in tattoos.
Tattoos are always tribal markings.
My first tattoos were not decorative or beautiful or chosen by me, l. They were the small black dots used as body map coordinates required for my radiation treatment during cancer. They were drilled into my chest to make sure the death-defying rays hit the exact spot of the grapefruit sized tumor that collapsed my left lung. “These marks are permanent” said the x-ray technician “like a tattoo”.
What happened between those first tattoos and my decision to ink?
I divorced after eighteen years of marriage, my grandchildren were born, I lived in South Africa and traveled around the world. I left behind an entire snakeskin of identity.
According to Chinese astrology I am born in the year of the snake. Since childhood the snake is my companion, me and Eve. To shed a skin, one must go blind first, the snakes’ eyes turn milky white. The great unknown is exactly where we are now as the human species. Our vision has to go inward into the void, into chaos in order for the new higher order to emerge.
My 2019 tattoo is a delicate snake dancing with a lotus displaying the blue pearl of enlightenment at its center. As I am tattooed, I feel the snake charmed up from my cellular memory to the surface, coaxed into view by needles and patience.
It was conjuring.
A close friend comes with me to document the session with a few pictures and while I’m on the table asks me “Are you asleep? You look so calm”.
It was meditation.
I was more at home in my body once My Snake was revealed. I felt braver. Bolder.
It was initiation.
Tattoos announce, ‘This is mine. I define my flesh’.
An ancient art has become a communication system for global youth. And for those like me who are young at heart.
Tattoos are where we track love and loss for the world to see.
See me. The map of my becoming. My literal scars and healings in blood and ink.
See me. I am Beautiful. Broken. Angry. Whole. Forgiven. Forgiving.
See me. I am Exalted. Human.
See me. Spark of the Divine.
Here is my testimony.
Here are my dreams.
Here is who I am. Really. Exposed as exoskeleton.
My Snake is over my left shoulder poised on the female side of the body welcoming the Divine Feminine’s rise on Mother Earth.
My Snake has my back.