My New Phoenix Tattoo

So, here it is. My first tattoo, a full back. Just the outline so far and color will be added in later as well as shading and detail. Not only is my little girl’s name Phoenix but it has a lot of meaning in my own life. My daughter turned 6 months old on the March 20th solar eclipse and I had this finished on April 4th, 2015 (Passover/ and the Lunar Eclipse). Very meaningful tattoo for a first timer. Go big or go home, right?

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“Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgment wage war against your passion and your appetite. Would that I could be the peacemaker in your soul, that I might turn the discord and the rivalry of your elements into oneness and melody.

But how shall I, unless you yourselves be also the peacemakers, nay, the lovers of all your elements?

Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul. If either your sails or your rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas.

For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.

Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion, that it may sing;

And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection, and like a phoenix rise above its own ashes.

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

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Just some referenced material I got:

In Greek mythology, a phoenix or phenix (Greek: φοῖνιξ phoinix) is a long-lived bird that is cyclically regenerated or reborn. Associated with the sun, a phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. The phoenix was subsequently adopted as a symbol in Early Christianity. While the phoenix typically dies by fire in most versions of the legend, there are less popular versions of the myth in which the mythical bird dies and simply decomposes before being born again.  Herodotus, Lucan, Pliny the Elder, Pope Clement I, Lactantius, Ovid, and Isidore of Seville are among those who have contributed to the retelling and transmission of the phoenix motif.

In the historical record, the phoenix “could symbolize renewal in general as well as the sun, time, the empire, metempsychosis, consecration, resurrection, life in the heavenly Paradise, Christ, Mary, virginity, the exceptional man, and certain aspects of Christian life”.

Classical discourse on the subject of the phoenix points to a potential origin of the phoenix in Ancient Egypt. In the 19th century scholastic suspicions appeared to be confirmed by the discovery that Egyptians in Heliopolis had venerated the benu, a solar bird observed in some respects to be similar to the Greek phoenix. However, the Egyptian sources regarding the benu are often problematic and open to a variety of interpretations. Some of these sources may have been influenced by Greek notions of the phoenix.

In terms of physical appearance, the phoenix, when pictured or described in antique and medieval artwork and literature, will sometimes have a nimbus (a physical feature that emphasizes the phoenix’s connection with the sun).  Quite often, the oldest images of phoenixes on record would have nimbuses with seven rays, just like Helios (the personified sun in Greek mythology).  Pliny also describes the bird as having a crest of feathers on its head and Ezekiel the Dramatist compared it to a rooster.  The phoenix is also commonly associated with royalty and the color purple.

The phoenix was, generally, believed to be colorful and vibrant; Tacitus claimed that this was one aspect of the bird that made it stand out from all other birds.  Some thought it had peacock-like coloring, although there was no clear consensus about the mythical bird’s coloring in antiquity (although Herodotus’ claim of a red and yellow theme is popular in many versions of the story on record).  Ezekiel the Dramatist claimed that the phoenix had red legs and striking yellow eyes, but Lactantius claimed that its eyes were blue like sapphires and that its legs were covered in scales of yellow-gold with rose-colored talons.

In terms of size, according to R. Van den Broek, Herodotus, Pliny, Solinus, and Philostratus describe the phoenix as similar in size as an eagle, while Lactantius and Ezekiel the Dramatist both claim that the phoenix was larger; Lactantius wrote that the phoenix was larger than the ostrich.