The Professor

tolkien

I’ve never believed in an afterlife, but if I did, I would want it to be how Tolkien described it through Gandalf – “No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path… One that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass… and then you see it. White shores.. and beyond. A far green country under a swift sunrise.”

Tolkien would have been 125 this year. He may be long gone, but he will forever live on through his mythology.

“The road goes ever on and on…”

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Mexican Souvenir

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Last January (2016), I was in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico with my family, playing in the waves and looking for shells when I found this little skull.

I have never quite confirmed what animal it came from, but I think (and others have said this as well) that it’s the skull of an axolotl. This seems possible as the axolotl is native to Mexico. It’s kind of sad though because the axolotl is currently critically endangered and possibly extinct in the wild.

I thought it was a really cool thing to find among all the shells and waves. Definitely the best souvenir I’ve ever found.

Palamnaeus Fulvipes

I found this cute little guy about two years ago at some festival in Gage Park in Hamilton. As a Giant Scorpion, it likely came from tropical southeastern Asia. At about 15cm, I would be terrified if this thing was alive, even though this species  has rather mild venom and a sting would feel much like a bee sting. I think its cool to be able to examine it up close, although I am relieved that it’s behind glass.

Scorpius

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Started this beast on Friday (March 3rd) with Jen at Cottage 13 in Hamilton with a two and a half hour session. I’ve wanted a scorpion tattoo for years but was never able to come up with a suitable design. Most scorpion tattoos are either realistic or tribal, neither of which I was very keen on. I came across some doubled exposed silhouette tattoos on Instagram and really liked the idea and thought it would work well with the scorpion. I took my idea to Jen and she thought it was a cool alternative to the usual scorpion tattoo and kept it feminine.

Although I don’t put any faith in zodiac signs, I grew up being attracted to the idea that I was a Scorpio (October 23-November 21). I always had necklaces with my birthstone in them and had a little scorpion charm as well. It’s kind of a romantic idea I guess. A few years ago, I bought a framed giant scorpion that hangs on my wall and I think it’s the coolest thing ever.

Although I knew the scorpion tattoo was something I wanted, I also wanted to be able to explain the meaning behind it and not have people assuming it’s just because I am proud to be a Scorpio.

Scorpions have been around for about 430 million years and can be found everywhere in the world besides Antarctica. They have adapted to all environments and can survive for long periods of time without food or water. There are about 1750 different kinds of scorpions that range in size, colour and venom. Only about 25 types are lethal to humans.

Scorpions have been prominent symbols throughout history in many different cultures. Notably, Aztec, Egyptian, Middle Eastern and Greek. They were often represented as being a goddesses which was part human, part scorpion and usually had traits/powers relating to heat, the sun, fire, protection, adaptation, reflexive and sexuality. The scorpion was believed to ward off evil and protect one from threats, guarding your blind spot and being aware of its surroundings. It is understood to be a warrior, its stinger as its sword.

Despite these seemingly positive attributes, the scorpion was also seen as the embodiment of evil and of death. Because most cultures anticipate an afterlife, death is seen as a transition. Therefore the scorpion also represents the transition from one stage of life to another.

And of course, the scorpion is most famously, the zodiac sign of Scorpios (Latin – Scorpius), which originated in ancient Greek Mythology. There are a several myths in Greek mythology about scorpions, most of which reference some kind of issue between a scorpion and Orion which results in Zeus raising the scorpion to heaven, which is how it became a constellation.

I guess in a way, I think of the scorpion as my spirit animal. It’s protecting me, watching my back (literally – it’s on my back), and represents a transition to a new stage of life as I graduate from University and move forward into the unknown. I will use it as a reminder to remove evil from my life and adapt to the situation.

Resources

http://www.whats-your-sign.com/symbol-meaning-of-scorpion.html

http://www.whats-your-sign.com/scorpion-tattoo-ideas.html

https://whatismyspiritanimal.com/spirit-totem-power-animal-meanings/insects/scorpion-symbolism-meaning/

http://www.scorpionworlds.com/scorpions-in-popular-culture/

http://www.universeofsymbolism.com/scorpion-symbolism.html

The Cheshire Cat

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This little guy was inspired by the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. Although he’s anything but ordinary, he also seems to represent the average cat: being mysterious and causing mischief.

Always

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This was a painting I did for my 8 year old cousin’s birthday a few weeks ago. Harry Potter is a series that I love (the books and the movies) and I think it’s awesome that it’s being passed on to the next generation.

This painting includes the lightning bolt and glasses on the front, the symbol of the deathly hallows and “Always” on one side, and the footprints from the Marauders map and the symbol for platform nine and three quarters on the other side. It also has a snitch on the top, which isn’t pictured.

I believe right now he is only on the third or fourth book, so he won’t even know what some of those symbols are yet. But I think it will be cool for him to discover them as moves through the series.

I could go into a lot of detail about what the symbols mean both to the story and to me, but I’ll just end up getting emotional and fan girling and staying up late to watch the Deathly Hallows part 2 (how amazing is that movie?!).

“If you have to ask, you will never know. If you know, you need only ask.”

Touchdown!

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This is a painting I did about two years ago for a friend who is a fan of the New England Patriots and the Hamilton TigerCats. This one is a bit different than what I usually paint and it took quite a while but it was fun and I’m happy with the way it turned out.

Seize the Day

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This is my most recent tattoo which I got almost two years ago. Also done by John at Rebel Soul. This one matches the other script on my arm in both font and meaning.

This tattoo was inspired by the Avenged Sevenfold song which begins with the lyrics “seize the day, or die regretting the time you lost.” To me this emphasizes living each day to the fullest and not wasting time. It also addresses the fact that ‘life is a journey, not a destination.’ I don’t believe we should spend our whole lives worried about the future or some goal. We should be enjoying each day as it comes

Live Free

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Another Tattoo done by John at Rebel Soul. We Spent a lot of time picking the right font for this one and played around with different locations and sizes. John always wants to make sure all his clients will be 100% satisfied with his work.

This tattoo acts as a daily reminder for me to ‘live free’ from negativity and live every day to the fullest. Thiis includes distancing myself from negative people, religion, bad habits, etc.

The White Tree

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This is another tattoo that was done by John at Rebel Soul. This is on the inside of my left ankle, mirroring Tolkien’s logo. This tattoo symbolizes The White Tree of Gondor, which was brought to Middle Earth by Isildur after the fall of Numenor and is a descendent of Telperion (a tree created by the Valar).

Although the tree has an ancient history in Middle Earth and Valinor, during the time of the Lord of the Rings, it is generally understood as a symbol of hope, and of a new beginning (in the form of the return of the king), which is what the tattoo symbolizes for me.