My Comfort and Shield

September 5, 2008 at 9:32 pm Leave a comment

When Native American men used to go on vision quests, they’d be gifted with a shield on their return.  This shield represented everything the man had gone through, his power animals and his special skills.  People could look at this shield and know immediately who this man was and what he stood for.

I feel that way about my tattoos.  After reading about that, I realized I am making my own shield out of my body and that is pretty awesome – especially since I only recently learned about this concept and I’ve been getting tattoos since I was 19.  Of course, I always wanted to be sure that the tattoos I was getting represented my self and my journey and now I know why.

I present to you my shield in progress:


The tattoo on the left is the one I got at 19. It is made up of two symbols representing a dolphin (one of my totems) and the ocean.  This represents my creative drive and the creative process in general: the dolphin represents the intelligence of the conscious mind while the ocean represents the much larger and unknowable subconscious.  As a writer, this process is very active in my daily life and I have come to rely upon it in many subtle ways.

The tattoo on the right is a line from James Joyce’s Ulysses.  The last line in the only chapter with a female narrator.  Her chapter is given over to reviewing her life, especially her marriage in which she is dissatisfied.  She is remembering how she and her husband became engaged and ends the novel with “Yes I said Yes I will Yes.”  I got this right after separating from my husband and not only does it represent the spiritual growth I went through getting my English degree, it also represents the growth I went through because of my husband, even if it was unpleasant, and my renewed dedication to saying “yes” to life when I know I must, even when I know that pain awaits me if I do.  The triple yes is also a spell in my mind affirming directed will and energy, as well as evoking the triple goddess.

Last, but not least, is my most recent:

This represents intelligence, sacrificing oneself for knowledge (because of the Raven’s association with Odin who hung himself on the world tree to gain knowledge of the runes), rebirth, trickery and so many other things I can’t name.  I associate it with Native American mythology, where it is a tricker, Norse mythology where they are Odin’s thoughts and memory, and Seattle where I lived for two years when I was starting to come into my adult mind and power.

So that’s my shield so far.  Maybe it’s too esoteric for others to really read, but it gives me comfort and strength to remember how much I’ve been through and how much I’ve been able to achieve.

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Entry filed under: dolphin, reality, totem. Tags: , , , , , , .

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