What my Phoenix tattoo means to me
I got inked for the first time on my 25th birthday and exactly a decade later, the tattoo hasn’t lost it’s meaning for me. In fact, it has only reinforced itself more with every passing year
People have always asked me – Why a Phoenix? It’s not a common, fashionable motif like say, a butterfly, stars or Chinese and tribal symbols. Not surprisingly, I had a tough time finding one that effectively represented my being. After two long years of wait (I just couldn’t find an artist who understood my requirement), I finally got it done from Al’s Tattoo and Body Piercing Studio in Bandra, Mumbai.
For those who may be unaware, the Phoenix is a mythological bird that burns itself and emerges all over again from its own ashes.
The Phoenix has varied references in Arabian, Greek, Roman, and Oriental mythology. Some believe it to represent the sun- bursting into flames at sunset and being reborn at the crack of dawn. It also symbolizes rebirth and re-incarnation ( or life’s victory over death- whichever way you prefer to put it). The Phoenix is also believed self-cremate itself in a nest of exotic and aromatic herbs when it is injured, tired or weak. In Oriental mythology, this bird with a dazzling plumage represents balance (yin and yang) and harmony.
To me however, the Phoenix is much more than a creature of folklore. I identify with many aspects of the Phoenix and use the motif to represent various facets of my personality and beliefs.
– The “emerging” Phoenix (as opposed to the burning one) symbolizes strength and invincibility in the face of adversity. It will constantly remind me to battle all odds and emerge victorious.
– The burning and resurrection of the Phoenix teaches me to erase everything that is unpleasant from my memory and begin each day as a fresh, new life with all its sparkle and splendor.
– The Phoenix is an unconventional creature- it does not adhere to the laws of life and death. In a way, it mirrors the overpowering rebellious streak in me and gives me the strength to go “against the flow” and live life on my terms.
– Of course, anything that symbolizes me has to have wings that stand for freedom, adventure, independence and a footloose character.
– The bright colors of the feathers represent positivity, optimism and a love for natural beauty.
I will add more to this as I connect other threads of my existence to the Phoenix.