ruthless compassion (aroraborealis) wrote,
ruthless compassion

tattoo: what it means

On my phone photo post, fnoxib asked the big question about my tattoo: What does it mean to me?

This is the image we used as the most direct basis for the pattern:

As I posted a coupld of weeks ago, the images I was working from were pictures of fluid motion from Sensitive Chaos. Schwenk, the fellow who wrote the book and did a lot of interesting work with water, was big into the wifty water-as-being-with-volition take on things, which doesn't appeal to me, but I do think he was onto something in terms of seeing how the patterns that water (and other fluids) take on can be seen in uncountable ways in the natural world, and, thus, also, in the artistic realm of the human sector of the natural world. So, for example, the flow of water around obstacles makes eddies that look a lot like the knots in tree bark, and that looks a lot like the sky in van Gogh's Starry Night.

So, my tattoo is a mark of connection, or recognition of connections, between myself and the world around me and the connections between elements in the world and in myself.

In permaculture and other fields where natural patterns are systematized, spirals, and in particular, the double-armed spirals that you can see in the image above are one of the patterns that people talk about. This pattern shows up in fluid motion of all kinds, in fire, in earth as it erodes, in clouds, water, stone.

So, my tattoo is an image based in movement, particularly fluid movement.

One of the things I love about the movement in the whorls of the image we used, and the other images we looked at, is the way each pair of spirals turns to nestle neatly, so that each spiral is part of two pairs simultaneously.

So, my tattoo is about multiplicity, individuality and partnerships.

And when I look at these images and think of harmonious movement, I think of dance and joy.

So, my tattoo is about celebration, body and pleasure.

A thing about fluid motion that can't be captured by an image of it, whether a photograph or a tattoo or a wall carving... is the fact that it is motion, and constantly changing. These photographs, beautiful as they are, are stolen moments in a process that is imperfectly frozen in this context.

So, my tattoo is about imperfection, contradiction and striving within those constraints.

But why a tattoo at all? I can't fully answer that, but the appeal has always been a combination of factors: decoration, permanence, marking -- it's like a name that I'm adopting for myself, just... visually.

Or, maybe I just like the idea of tattoos and think this one's pretty. That'd be okay, too.
Tags: tat

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