The image above is a photo of my most recent tattoo, which I designed and created myself, almost instantaneously; and yet, I have come to realize that the symbols and meanings that it actually evokes for me have developed from thoughts and emotions that I have harbored subconsciously for many years.
I chose to incorporate a stern, hypnotizing wolf into the design because I have always been extremely drawn to them – not only to their beautiful exteriors, but also the mystery that lies within them, how they carry themselves and serve their own purpose in nature and in life. The wolf is widely regarded as one of the most powerful spirits, as it offers wisdom and guidance, and serves as an inner teacher. It encourages its followers to trust wholeheartedly in their own senses and intuition, which in turn will help them to discover and connect with their inner selves, ultimately prompting them to blaze their own path on the journey of life (1).
Interestingly, the wolf seems to get a bad rep quite often. In stories it is frequently portrayed as being a ferocious character with ill intent; images and movies depict it as being wildly savage and grotesque; and common dialect includes sayings such as “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” and “loner wolf” – making the assumption that wolves are incapable of being gentle, trustworthy, or lovingly familial creatures.
The truth is that wolves are very misunderstood…
Despite the concept of the lone wolf, it is actually very unlikely to come across. Rather, wolves will invest their survival in the complex social structure of their pack as opposed to trying to live in solitude. This is symbolic to me as it represents the meaning and importance of family. It is imperative to stop and take account of the relationships that exist in your life. Do not be too prideful to approach friends and family with the feelings and thoughts that consume you. Do not be afraid to seek assistance and guidance from those who want nothing but the best for you. Communication is everything.
I chose to make the eyes of the wolf ice blue because I have blue eyes and I got them from my mother. I also have two female Siberian Huskies that have the most striking blue marble-like eyes that pierce straight to the soul. It just seemed appropriate…
Above the wolf’s eyes are purple leaves. They not only serve as a means of camouflage, but purple is said to be the color of good judgment, and the color of people seeking spiritual fulfillment and peace of mind. For many years I have sought to find this peace, particularly with my family. As an adolescent, I often wondered why other kids I grew up with were always saying “I love you” to their parents, both in person and every time they hung up the phone. I never heard that, and I never said it. I didn’t know that that was normal and that my family was different. I would think to myself, “I’m their only kid. Don’t my parents love me?” ..Of course they did, and they still do.
I was unable to see how my mother’s relationship with her own mother affected and influenced the way that she interacted with me for so long. I had mistakenly thought that she was un-nurturing, not wanting me in her life. I internalized that and began to believe that I was incapable of being a nurturing person and genuinely loving something or someone. I couldn’t even bring myself to say the words that my best friend and boyfriend of 4 years needed to hear so that he knew how I felt. I was selfish and stubborn, and I resented my mom for not showering me with the “I love you’s” that everyone else had. I blamed her for my own ruined relationship…and I ran away from home for a number of years because I believed that the easy was the best thing for me.
While my experiences away from home served me well in many ways, I also found myself needing and wanting help on many levels. I began spiraling out of control, hating and blaming others without taking responsibility for my own actions and some of the things going on in my life. I was spending amounts of money each month that I knew I couldn’t keep up with. I had allowed negative people and their bad energy into my life, and karma came back and bit me in the ass…many times. Well, guess who was there, willing to extend an olive branch and pick me up off of the ground? My dad, and my mom standing right beside him. They embraced me once more when I thought I had no one left. I really don’t think that I deserved that, but they showed me that it doesn’t matter because we are family. They refused to give up on me, and I wouldn’t be here without them.
With all of that being said, the leaves symbolize nature and growth. They are plants which need daily nurturing in order to grow strong, and they must be watered and taken care of if they want any chance of becoming healthy entities. To me, the leaves exemplify both mine and my mother’s abilities to be nurturing people, despite whatever obstacles have been put before us. A woman’s nurture is something that I realized I had after I got my two dogs. They trusted me to take care of them when I honestly didn’t have the time or capacity to. I was trying to learn to take better care of myself at that point, and had no business taking on more responsibilities seeing as how I was in school full time and working part time; but really, I was working full time, too, traveling on the weekends for modeling gigs. Still, I did it. I raised them both from 8 weeks old, and they grew to love and respect me in a way that I had never really felt before. They were loyal, and they were always happy to see me, smiling when I walked through the front door. No matter how shitty my day was, they made it better. I learned to schedule my life around them, and they taught me to be selfless. I love them for that and for always being there to soak up my emotions and stress, simply just by laying quietly next to me.
All I know is that if this is anything like having kids, I wish that I could have been half as good to my mom as Maya and Ava have been to me. I have a lot of catching up to do…and I will do it.
As far as the design of my tattoo goes, purple, or violet, was a strategic color choice, too.
Violet is a combination of blue and red. Red is focusing,
dynamic and active energy, while blue is cooling,
calming and expansive. Violet brings a new dynamic to the
expansion of blue and the activity of red. Red brings
practicality to the undirected expansiveness of blue, and
allows more creative energy to emerge. For this
reason, violet is associated with imagination and inspiration (2).
You should put violet energy into your life when you want:
- To use your imagination to its fullest
- To rebalance your life
- To remove obstacles
- To calm over-activity or to energize from depression
I have needed violet energy for all of the reasons listed above.
Directly above the purple leaves is the symbol for the manta “om mani padme hum.” It means compassion, especially self-compassion. I felt that it was really important to connect this to the wolf because it is something that they are absolutely capable of being despite what society thinks of them. It is a reminder that there is strength in the compassion that you give to others, but there is such beauty in learning to love and appreciate one’s self. The wolf is me, and I am capable.
The feather that extends below the wolf’s face is a spiritual and ritual symbol of family. Those that wear the same feather move together as a unit, just like a pack of wolves; hence, there are wolf paw prints moving from the feather toward another symbol that represents a balance between the mind, body and spirit. This balance is what makes me feel happy and centered. Without it, I am null and void. I included a small “N” on top of the symbol so that it also serves as a compass; follow your instincts, trust in them, and they will lead you in the right direction.
When you look at the tattoo piece in its entirety, the message reads: “With the guidance of the wolf and your family, you will learn to love and be compassionate. You will move toward finding the perfect balance between your mind, body, and spirit. Trust your inner senses and allow them to guide you towards fruition.”
As much as my mother hates the idea of me inking my body, I want her to know how much I care about her, and that I had to leave her in order to realize what I was missing. I really wanted this to be cohesive..I think I got it right this time.
“More often than not, your seeking will lead you to the same conclusion that yor intuition did in the first place.”