i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear...
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
Tattoos as a form of ritual and meaning are not a recent phenomena. The art of tattooing occurred even 5000 years ago. It is said that during the Crusades, Christians tattooed a cross on their hand or arm to ensure they would receive a proper Christian burial.
Bereavement or memorial tattoos using concrete or metaphoric images have become widely popular in the past several decades as adaptive mourning rituals. Grief rituals contain “symbolic elements, presence of emotions, presence of spirituality, meta-awareness of performing rituals remembrance, and chosen others to participate in the ritual” (Gowensmith, 2000).I've had several regular readers ask me to post more information about my back tattoo. The reason for my own tattooing is very intimate. I do it mindfully so that I may mark those profound experiences of suffering, love, and transfiguration. And also, to furrow those enduring connections to my beloved Dead deep in my being.
The above photo was taken last week at Red Rock Crossing in Sedona, Arizona by Tim Condron, an amazingly talented photographer. It says:
The soul still sings in the darkness telling of the beauty she found there; and daring us not to think that because she passed through such tortures of anguish, doubt, dread, and horror, as has been said, she ran any the more danger of being lost in the night.
Nay, in the darkness did she, rather, find herself.
There are two alchemical symbols at the bottom of this verbiage, one for brass and one for gold. They represent something Sant Keshavadas once said which rendered me speechless:
Go ahead, light your candles, burn your incense, ring your bells, and call out to G*d, but look out. Because G*d will come and He will put you on his anvil and He will fire up his forge, and He will beat you and beat you until He turns brass to pure gold.
For me, there were no two more meaningful proclamations about the dark night of soul that so many traumatically bereaved endure. From formlessness into the kiln, and from the kiln into transformation.
The tattoo was done by a local artist, Siva Om, and they contain the ashes of my dead child.
To some, this may seem macabre.
To me, it is pure love born of the fire. And now, everywhere I go,
"i carry ^her^
If you have a memorial tattoo, what does it mean for you?