Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I love tattoos. I only have three so far, but more will come. They are as addictive as coffee. My most recent tattoo is the one pictured here. I got it a year ago, in memory of the baby I lost.

This wasn't my first tattoo. I'd had one done in memory of my kitty, Abigael. When she died, I stamped her paws into a stamp pad and made little ink footprints and had a tattoo artist etch them into my ankle. There wasn't any question that I'd have one done after my miscarriage.

It took a while to come up with something. The more I thought about it, the harder it was to decide what I wanted. So I decided to stop thinking so hard about it. That's when the idea of using a sparrow popped into my head. Sparrows have amazing symbolism around them. All across the world they are linked with safe travel to Heaven/The Underworld. In some cultures, it is the sparrow who guides the soul to Heaven. Sparrows also represent safe travel and finding one's way home. This could also be why they are linked to helping souls navigate to Heaven - they safely guide the soul's travel to the next place in life. Wayward souls would be caught by sparrows and brought to Heaven. Sparrows also remind us to find joy, even when things seem down. They are symbols of family ,fertility and the Mama Goddess. They tell us that being small doesn't mean you can't do big things. In Christianity, the sparrow reminds us that God cares for even the least among us. In Matthew 10:29 Jesus says, "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father." A similar sentiment from Jesus is found in Luke 12:6 - "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God." We are reminded that no matter how insignificant a creature may seem, it is still important to God. Sparrows have also come to symbolize The Resurrection, both in Christian terms and in the idea of the resurrection of life that occurs each Spring.

It was a combination of all those things that made me realize the sparrow was a good choice. And it.just.felt.right. My sparrow is a symbol of River's soul taking flight and safely arriving in Heaven. My sparrow reminds me that her life, though short, was still very significant. My sparrow reminds me of my connection to the Earth, the promise of resurrection and as a reminder of my fertility. I googled some sparrow images, but didn't totally settle on one. One particular sparrow caught my eye, but I didn't take the image to my artist. I figured I would discuss it with her and decide if I wanted a "real" sparrow or a cartoon version.

At the shop, my artist, Christina, googled sparrows. The first image she clicked on was the exact one that had caught my eye previously. It was meant to be. She then suggested having my little sparrow sitting on a Cherry Blossom branch. Cherry Blossoms are symbols of Spring, new life, resurrection, joy (especially finding joy within sorrow), hope and fertility. Of course they were a perfect symbol.

This is my biggest tattoo and the only one with color. The others are quite small and black. Getting the tattoo was a great experience. It didn't hurt at all. I had a great conversation with my artist. Some tattoo artists are quiet and don't want to talk while they are working. Christina was very talkative, engaging me to talk about why I chose this particular story. She listened to the story of my miscarriage. We talked about my birth philosophy, which she seemed pretty interested in. It was a good, healing tattoo session. My little baby was etched into my memory, my heart, my soul and now into my skin.


Loraine Drosophila said...

This is so amazing. Without ever seeing your post I wanted to get the same type of tattoo the sparrow for the birth and heaven message and the cherry blossoms. Its strange how some things carry meanings across cultures. I was sitting down mourning my recent loss thinking how I wanted to memoralize my baby and a sparrow flew by the window. Your tattoo is beautiful.

Funky Little Earthchild said...

It's amazing when things happen that way. :-)

I'm so sorry for your loss of your sweet baby.

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