By: Suzanne Maiden
I swore I would NEVER do THAT to my body – hahahahahahha. The Universe has such a wonderfully wicked and playful sense of humor. Because now, after a rare, nasty, mean-spirited cancer that left me with a 13″ scar from my right spine over my right hip into my right groin… I want one. I want a tattoo.
Me, a tattoo? My family does not do tattoos. My mother had me destined to become a debutante! But, instead of donning silver slippers, I selected steel-toed combat boots. Because much to my parents horror, I did not become a debutante, I enlisted in the US Air Force. And even as an Active Duty military person I never considered a tattoo. Odd how life reconfigures us and our story.
Now, when I look at my disfigured, scarred body, I think, “I need something to ritualize this experience…” I conclude the ancient Greek Ouroboros (the serpent consuming it’s own tail) would be the perfect metaphor for me. Why? Because the Ouroboros represents the cyclical nature of life and death over and over. Several months prior to my initial cancer diagnoses, I dreamed of serpents. They obsessively slithered into my nightly dream life. I hated them. But, what I later learned, is the serpent is a powerful symbol of healing.
Christianity has given the snake a bad rap. Many indigenous cultures still regard the serpent as the creature who comes from below to bring primordial knowledge. Even Christianity must give credit to the serpent. Because, without the snake Adam and Eve would have remained in the Garden of Eden. Without the serpent – they would have never become conscious. The serpent brings consciousness to us, to our lives, to our inner conflicts. If you’re unfamiliar with the Ouroboros, just look at my website header on the right is a shadow of the Ourboros.
If I am to mark my flesh, it must represent something spiritually significant. The serpent is a spiritual icon for me. A friend of mine suggested perhaps having the serpent slither around the entire 13″ scar… what a lovely and apropos image for me. This is analogous to out modern day medical symbol for healing – the caduceus which portrays double inter-twinned snakes around the staff.
I still dream of snakes. Sometimes I’m in the center with serpents in a circle surrounding me. Each one, individually approaches me and has secret wisdom to impart – but alas, I do not speak serpent language. The patient, primordial, cold- blooded creatures continue coming to me. Sometimes they dance with me. I know something big is approaching me when they begin to appear in my dream world again. I had a long respite from dream serpents. Then, weeks before I was diagnosed with more cancer, they slithered into my night psyche again. This time, the white snake was prominent. The white snake is the hero of a well known Russian Fairy tale. The white snake brings wisdom to the king of the land. I should be so fortunate.
So, once again, I am reminded to never say “never.” Or, the Universe creates an experience to challenge me. Here I sit contemplating not if, I should get a tattoo, but how I want it to look. For me, it is a personal symbol. I do not do it for anyone else’s eyes but my own.
What do you think of tattoos? Would you ever get one? Call me: 678-884-0524.