Tattoos-The Meaning Behind the Ink

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At the New Year’s Eve party this year the topic of tattoos came up. A good male friend of mine was like, “how many do you have now.” I said, “I have five.” He just shook his head saying he had gotten his second and was planning a third, but wasn’t going to be able to keep up with me. Now it is not an actual race, but when I started my tattoo journey a year ago, he was inspired to finally get his first tattoo because of the meaning. What do I mean by this?

Not all tattoos are mistakes done on an evening of heavy drinking where you stumble into a late night tattoo shop. While you will run into a few who did it by mistake or thought the picture of it was cool, you will find most people who adorn themselves in ink do so because there is deep felt meaning to that person and that person alone for what the ink or tattoo represents. Tattooing has been around for thousand of years with many of the early cultures using them as rites of passage and to recognize status in a tribe. Many cultural artists are still around doing the work of their ancestors, however, in most cases the methods have been brought up to the current century due to health standards and government laws.

I had always wanted a tattoo for years, but for most of my life I never got one because others said I shouldn’t. However, when I found something I was truly passionate for, it was almost like I couldn’t help myself from pulling that passion from within to the skin. Last year I did a blog called “Souvenirs That Last A Lifetime”. It goes into a description about my first tattoos and the meaning behind them. In October of 2015, I had the pleasure of taking my son to Australia and New Zealand and it was here that we shared a special bond by getting traditional Maori tattoos done in Rotorua.

We had them done by J.P., a Maori, at Whakarewarewa The Living Maori Village. The process began with an interview by J. P.. He then did a drawing based on the things he drew from our interview that were special and held meaning for us. Before he began the inking process he performed a traditional Maori blessing over each of us. I can’t even express in words the feelings that come over me when I am allowed to immerse myself in another’s culture. He gave me a print copy of what is etched upon my upper left arm. (seen below) A tattoo on the left generally will represent family. The swirls (as I call them) represent the people.

The meaning behind my tattoo…..

The main interlocking swirls located in the center of the tattoo represents my mother and father.

If you follow them to the upper right you will see to smaller swirls(hooks) interlocked. Those are my grandparents on each side. In addition you will see 3 individual swirls located on the upper end of the tattoo. These represent my niece and my two nephews.

If you follow the main center swirl down to the bottom, the longest swirl represents me. The single swirl just under my parents is my sister. Coming off of my long swirl you will see a swish with two curls and those represent my daughters, while the single one represents my son.

At the very bottom of the tattoo you will see a small swirl linked (overlapped) with my swirl. The small swirl represents a very special friend and our bond. The friend restored my hope and faith in the existence of good people and made me believe again. These are gifts I will be eternally grateful for.

The swirls are surrounded by other symbols FOR BLESSINGS AND PROTECTION
The ocean waves represent good HEALTH, VITALITY, and CLEANSING
The mountains represent paying RESPECT TO NATURE, the land of your births, and your travels
The ////\\\\//// weaving pattern represents close knit FAMILY and loved ones
The ))))) represent GOOD vibes, for only good things to come to my LIFE, HAPPINESS, LOVE, ABUNDANCE and FREEDOM.

My son’s tattoo photographed above has similar meaning. The swirls represent the important people in his life. Represented upon his shoulder are his dad, myself, his siblings, his cousins, his baseball coach, and his two closest baseball teammates. The other symbols will follow the descriptions listed above. It was a special afternoon we shared, not soon to be forgotten.

You see, for me, my tattoos are so much more than ink on my body. They have spent a long time in the waiting and making, and each has been done to represent my passions in life.

Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslTattoos-The Meaning Behind the Ink

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