Tattoo for Identity

When I ended the elemental Emptiness working back in 2009, I'd switched to the element of Time, or so I thought, but I ended up realizing part way through the year that I'd really ended up with element of Identity, which makes perfect sense, because after emptiness I found I needed to establish a new identity. I'd cleared so much of myself out that I needed to rediscover who I was. Not to long after the emptiness year ended, I also got divorced, which brought its own change in identity with it. And in looking back at the years I'd done my different elemental balancing rituals it became apparent that much of my understanding of identity is wrapped in that elemental balancing work, because that work gave me the first opportunity to move past so much of what had held me back and replace it with what was healthiest for me.

As you can see the tattoo isn't finished yet, but this is what we gone done today. I hope to finish it up in a month, but I'm really pleased with the work the artist did.

I waited awhile to get this tattoo, partially because I had to decide if I was going to cover up a tattoo I already had. In the end I decided to cover up the old tattoo as the final part of a reclaiming/purification ritual for myself. Reclaiming my identity and my freedom to be who I need and want to be. I've pretty much done that already in my life, but this tattoo is the final part of that reclaiming, the last resolution needed to move on.

It's a lot more than that as well. I chose the Yin/Yang symbol surrounded by the five classic Chinese elements of Fire Water, Metal, Wood, and Earth. It represents the elemental balancing ritual and how much of a role it's played in my life, in terms of establishing and exploring my identity and place in the universe. And the yin/Yang symbol is representative of the Taoist meditation techniques I've used to help me do so much of the very needed internal work I needed to do.

Today as I was inked, I did the water breathing meditation and relaxed into the pain of the needle, letting it wash over, purifying me of the past, even as it helped me embrace the present and my promise to myself: Never to sacrifice my identity for anyone else. To always strike the right balance in all my relationships so that I can honor myself and the people I interact with. To be honest with myself so I can be honest with the people in my life.

I let the pain wash over me and I meditated on the pain of change and realized how good it can be. It's hurt while it's happening, but the end result, the realization is you're in a better place than you were before. And that's how I feel: I'm in a much better place than I've ever been.

Tattoos as magical oaths

I was looking at the green wolf paw tattoo that I got shortly after Lupa and I got married. We're getting divorced now, but it never once occurred to me to get the tattoo removed. In fact, I intend to keep it, because it's a very significant tattoo to me, as are all my other ones. I consider my body to be the most powerful magical "tool" I have. It is a physical embodiment of my life, and a record of that living. When I get a tattoo on my body, I am placing a record of a significant even, entity, or person in my life, but also taking a magical oath in relationship to that event, entity, or person, as it pertains to my life.

My first tattoo is a red orange phoenix with my symbol on it. I got it to signify my choice to move from the East to the West, to signify a Rebirth in my life. It marks my choice to rebirth my life completely and its fair to say since moving to the West coast, I have rebirthed my life in ways I couldn't even imagine.

My second Tattoo is the Green Wolf Paw, with an L in it. It represents Lupa. I got it because I wanted to mark in my skin the permanence of my relationship with Lupa. While we're no longer romantic partners and will soon be divorced, Lupa is a significant person in my life. She will always be in my life, in some capacity just by the fact that we wrote a book together. I'm comfortable with that idea.

My third Tattoo is a Blue Dragon. The Blue Dragon represents PDX and Northern Oregon. It's a magical oath that signifies the recognition that Portland and the surrounding area is my home and a place I intend to live for the rest of my life. While I have admittedly not visited many other countries, I have been all over the US and this is the one place that has always felt like home.

My fourth Tattoo is a pair of eyes and a phrase: From 0 to 1. It represents the year of emptiness work, my connection with my highest self and my vow to recognize and appreciate emptiness, instead of trying to fill it. From 0 to 1 also signifies the choice to manifest possibility into pro-activity, instead of reactivity.

All of these tattoos are powerful for me. They are something I can't remove, because even if I did remove them, something would be left. They are a record of my life, but also oaths I've taken. I've only realized that recently in a fully conscious way, but this recognition speaks mindfully to me of the choices I've made in my life.