Of Trees and Tattoos

tree of life  elliottmetal.jpg I’ve been interested in getting a tattoo for a while. I couldn’t tell you exactly why. Piercings and tattoos mark rites of passage for a lot of people my age. The main things holding me back have been the price and finding the right tattoo. Since my wife recently got her nose pierced, I’ve been thinking more seriously about it.

Tattoos are an interesting phenomenon. Some happen on a whim. Some are intensely thought out and designed. Some are just meant to be cool or project an image. Some have deep meaning and significance. Some are ridiculous and silly. Some are thought provoking and intense. Some will need modification later on. Some will stand the test of time.

That last one is the one that interests me. What would I be willing to permanently etch in my flesh? What would I not regret 30 years from now? What will stand the test of time?

For me I think I’ve settled on a tree. It combines the things that I try to combine here on this blog, a love for God, a love for the earth and a love of real food. The tree as a symbol has a long history in the Christian tradition. The editors of the Green Bible put a tree on the cover, explaining that this is actually an ancient tradition in the church. The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil are central to the creation narrative. Psalm 1:3 says,

They are like trees
planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in season,
and their leaves do not wither.

I haven’t found the perfect tree yet or exactly where I want it. The one pictured is close, but I definitely want there to be color involved signifying life. I’ve never had any piercings or other tattoos and I’m not eager to get just anything. I do think that this is a mark I would always want and would never regret, a permanent reminder of my connection to the earth, to God and to my food.

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5 thoughts on “Of Trees and Tattoos

  1. zoecarnate

    Shut up! I’ve wanted a tree of life tattoo for about four years, for these exact same reasons. I’m actually having one designed by a master logo-designer, that will also be the basis for http://zoecarnate.com. I’ll keep you posted…

    Reply
  2. Kristina

    I have a tree of life tattoo. I got it because it also reminds me of the Celtic Cross. You can see a picture of it here: http://www.kelticdesigns.com/. I also wear it as a silver pendant around my neck – the *only* jewelry I wear. I can’t tell you how many people have commented on it – how many conversations it has opened. Good Luck.

    Reply
  3. april

    i got a celtic tree of life a couple of years ago on my inner forearm. im really happy with it. i did it on a whim, and found it very significant for my life. go for it!!

    Reply
  4. Lily

    I was never interested in obtaining a tattoo.

    I believe the Matriarchal Irish side of my family has tattoos, it seems to be a macho/trendy type of thing to do with them,but I remember the Patriarchal Maltese side of my family told me that the Maltese believe that tattooing the body is a sin and defacemnt of the body and an affront to God who made us. My Grandfather’s brother carried guilt for his whole life concerning a cross, I believe he had tattooed on his arm or leg.

    God sees the intent of the heart and judges that…that’s what I believe. I think a beautiful tree is a wonderful symbol and if you desire one, it is better that you think what you do all the way through and your intent seems to honor God and creation and that is good- to my way of thinking.

    Blessings on you all.

    Reply
  5. Pingback: Would Ya Look at That… « What Would Jesus Eat?

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