When I turned 35, about 7 years ago, I got a tattoo. I’m not actually cool enough to refer to my tattoo as ‘Ink’ but let’s just pretend that I am.
It wasn’t so much that I felt a burning need for a tattoo, it was that I wanted to wear a certain symbol. So, after a lot of consideration of design and of placement, I got the eye of Ra, tattooed on my right upper arm/shoulder area. I had thought about getting it on my upper leg or somewhere hidden, but I changed my mind.
Now, you can see it when I wear fancy dresses and I get a kick out of seeing who gets thrown off by it. Some people are thrown off because I ‘don’t seem like I’d have a tattoo’ (whatever that means) and others are thrown off when they ask me what it is and I have a big story to tell them.*
The reason I got that particular symbol is because of the story of the Egyptian Lioness Goddess, Sekhmet. She was created as a tool of vengeance, the Eye of Ra, but once she was created, her father (Ra) couldn’t control her – she had a will of her own. It took a team of people to trick her into stopping her plan. I’m not much of one for vengeance (although it is probably better if you don’t cross me – heh heh) but I like many aspects of her story.
For starters, in some stories she is referred to as the ‘Goddess of Necessary Destruction’ – How badass is that? Sometimes, you do just have to get rid of what is and start over completely, and she can totally get behind that.
She is also known as ‘The Force Against Which No Other Force Avails.’ Who wouldn’t want to channel that kind of power? I know that having a tattoo that represents that force isn’t the same as being that force but I’m inspired by it all the same.
Also, I found one of the prayers of Sekhmet to be incredibly powerful ‘I am the phoenix, I am the fiery sun. I am consuming and resuming myself. I will what I will.’
I will what I will! Doesn’t that phrase just fill you with power? Don’t you feel like you are calling on the energies of the universe when you say it? If I find myself feeling down or overwhelmed, I sometimes repeat that like a mantra to get myself energized for whatever lies ahead.
And don’t you just love the idea that you can recreate yourself? That you can just start over? That you will rise from the ashes of what was and become something else? I loved (and still love) the idea of wearing a symbol of all of those powerful statements on my arm – it was like an outer manifestation of my inner spirit.
I don’t like that her story is about destroying part of the human race for mocking Ra but it is the story of an ancient goddess after all – very few of them are serving tea and cookies. And it isn’t the details of what she was up to that impresses me, it’s her self-determining power. And, I like how, in her story, the Egyptians were honouring the destructive power of the sun, and the desert, even as they were recognizing how important they both are.
There is a also a sense of balance there that appeals to me, a recognition of the forces of nature, that we often think that we have control over.
So, all of that adds up to my pourquoi story – Why Christine has a tattoo of the Eye of Ra on her arm.
And just for fun, here’s a link to a video of me telling the story of Sekhmet. I just propped up my phone to take the video when a friend of mine couldn’t make it to the event, so don’t expect a fancy movie. 🙂
PS – Lately, I have actually been considering more ‘ink.’. When I go to TKD, I have to take off my wedding ring so I don’t hurt my hand (or anyone else) when I am punching. I hate not having my ring on, I miss that symbolic connection when I’m not wearing it. So, I’ve been trying to think of something I could get tattooed on my finger that would have the same symbolic importance for me. I haven’t figured it out yet, but when I do, I may be booking another appointment. 🙂
*Note: Storytellers make everything into a story with important meaning. Engage at your own risk!