Life, Death, Rebirth and Renewal… Tattoo

I got my new tattoo this past Saturday. I got to the shop around 1p, left around 7p. Total time spent working on the outline was 4.5-5 hours. Keep in mind this is only the outline. It will be fully colored but the outline needs to heal first, and I will most likely have to do 2 more sittings of similar duration to complete the color. A lot of the color will be freehanded so there is no outline for that. The depth and shading, the fire aspects, none of which can be seen now, though hopefully you can see where this is going.  It did not hurt at all. Currently it itches like mad. I always forget what the healing stage is like.  I’m not sure how long I’ll keep this post public as I feel like I’m basically naked on the internet. I also can’t take a picture of my back so you can use your imagination to fill in the rest of the wing going up my back.

This is a Skeletal Phoenix. It is a marriage of two concepts that have been a part of my life for nearly as long as I can remember; the Phoenix and Death. What they represent to me is something I need to keep with me. I tend to lose my ability to hold onto things, people, concepts… and this is something I need to never forget. I need to constantly remind myself so that I do not fall to hopelessness with I am prone to. Talk about a need for some permanence.  
Every year, or two, or three, my life starts over. I crash, or burn, or both and I have to pick up and begin anew. Each time a little different than the time before, but it keeps going.
Phoenix – Phoenix imagery is just that: renewal and rebirth from the ashes of the past. I can never fully forget my past, but I can learn from it; leaving the char behind me and hopefully heal into a better place than I had been before.
Death – I’ve also been constructing my own Tarot deck. Meditating and drawing each card. While working on my Major Arcana, I got to my Death card and {a variant of} this image came to me immediately. I sketched the basic idea the minute I thought of it and knew I had to have this as a permanent reminder for myself.
If you’ve ever studied the Tarot you will know that Death, is not representative of physical death. Interpretations vary slightly by deck but some of the meanings include:
Ending of a cycle – Loss – Conclusion – Sadness – Transition into a new state – Psychological transformation – Finishing up – Regeneration – Elimination of old patterns – Being caught in the inescapable – Good byes – Deep change.
Typically it implies an end, possibly of a relationship or interest, and therefore implies an increased sense of self-awareness. An opening of new opportunities from the ending of those previous. When one region in your life empties, there opens a space to allow something new to replace it.
The banner the Firebird holds says ‘ Bás ’ which is Gaelic for ‘Death’.
The Death card is generally depicted as skeletal so the combination of this imagery along with the phoenix inspired this idea of a skeletal phoenix.
In my struggles with my BPD, my life, becoming who I will become, the nature of life in general; it is strikingly obvious to me why all of these things are a part of me.  This is a card of change. Transition. In the death of one thing springs the potential life of something else. Endings are not only endings, but also beginnings. Endings bring change. In change there is hope. With hope there is the possibility for a better life. A life worth living.
So here you go.

17 comments on “Life, Death, Rebirth and Renewal… Tattoo

  1. I am at a loss for words. I love the concept + all it stands for and am absolutely certain that it will look amazing once its colored in. You are truly talented that you can create such a beautiful design.

  2. Wow, that looks huge. I bet it hurts like hell.Worth it though, the design is awesome!I love your stomach btw…. you've got the whole skinny but curvy thing going on. Sexy. If you don't mind me saying….

  3. Thanks ladies =) I've wanted this for ages. I'm very happy with how the final design came out. My artist did some incredible things with my concept!

  4. @Erika… It is pretty damn huge. It was funny, when he first sketched it up, I could have worn the draft paper like a towel. I'm pretty little. It actually didn't hurt at all! My pain tolerance is extremely high though. Almost nothing hurts me. My roommate actually came in to keep me company for about an hour, she was astounded that I wasn't phased at all. My artist even commented on it. ::blush:: Thanks. I work out + curvy genetics. I'll never be a poster child for model skinny, but they're my curves damnit and I'm gonna keep 'em.

  5. looks like it'll be pretty impressive when done! i guess it's also motivation not to get fat and stretch it out, lol :)you look like you have powerful shoulders… for a girl :p you've inspired me – i've just done 10 x handstand pressups.time to heal + 2 more sittings… so what's the timescale for completion and did you pay for the whole thing upfront!? must be a small fortune.

  6. @Res … Hah, thanks =P I wouldn't want to get all manly looking anyways. Haha, shoulders and upper back are a favorite of mine. I lift weights so I do stay decently toned. Time to heal will also have to take into consideration that I'm going on vacation in August and a healing tattoo while on vacation is just not a good idea. I'll either do my first color sitting at the end of June or wait til mid-Aug. All in all I project it'll take about 6 months or so to be fully complete. I believe I pay for each sitting seperately. I honestly never even asked how much this was going to cost. I wanted it, so it didn't matter. The price for this sitting was less than I expected it to be, however I made up for that by tipping my artist 1/3 times over what the actual piece cost. It's a permanent investment so in the end it's less than pennies a day really. If I learn to tip more reasonably it shouldn't be that big of a fortune haha. @Ana: Thank you =)

  7. an amazing piece of art! I love the thought you put into it & the way you blended concepts and images together for it. While mine is nowhere near your level of color or intricacy, I relate to your desire/need to have a permanent reminder of your core essence.Seriously, gorgeous work on a gorgeous body–looking forward to seeing pictures of the finished work in November!

  8. Lady, you need to warn people when you plan on showing skin, and I am sure you have heard this one, but daaayaaam. Gymnast, I would say. Tat is cool too. On a final note, please come over and check in, I gotz something for you.daaaayaaaaaam

  9. @Lance: actually not that many sit ups (those only hit a small set of abdominl muscles), but I do have a pretty involved ab workout I do 3 times a week. Hahha. @the red one: thank you! You said November and I know that's the latter half of my time-frame adn I'm just like, geezus that's so far away. I seem to be healing quickly… @Adam: I have that thought after all of my tattoos (except my wrist). Too big! Once you get used to it though, it is what it is, a living piece of art that no one else will ever have or be able to take away from you. @Anon: ::smiles:: thanks =) Someone has to be a detractor don't they? At least he didn't tell me I was fat or something, hah. @ib… haha, yes actually, I was a gymnast for over a decade but that was quite some time ago. And thank you for the award! You're the best =)

  10. Stopping by the first time now. This post is amazing.Loved your tattoo, plus the concept behind it. Death and Rebirth. Those two symbols have been part of my life for a long time, too. Just loved it!I was thinking of making an ouroboros – basically, my intention is to catch a glimpse at it now and then and be reminded of the whole concept you talked about here, wich will inspire me on a daily basis; it's my way of doing what you did and keeping it meaningful only to myself and conspicuous to everyone else.

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