Unalome

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I don’t have any tattoos; it’s not really my thing, but if I ever did get one, it might this design.

In the Buddhist culture, the unalome symbol represents the path to enlightenment. The spirals are meant to symbolize the twists and turns in life and the straight lines represent the moment one reaches enlightenment or peace and harmony. The dots at the end of the symbol represent death.

Unalomes have been depicted for thousands of years in Buddhist art (the stone spires outside of the temple Wat Bang Phra), but the place that they’re most commonly seen today is as skin art. I read some people think it’s disrespectful or an act of cultural appropriation to replicate this design, so that’s something to consider.

I’ve edited this post because I forgot something! Although I was/am a drone mom (more intense than a helicopter mom lol), when my son was in high school, he apparently was able to elude me for a couple hours and came home with a crude, homemade tattoo. Notwithstanding the fact that he was a 4.8 student, he didn’t think he might be a candidate for blood poisoning (silly boy) and I was SO angry with him. That was pretty much his only rebellious episode, so he didn’t get in too much trouble. His tattoo? “SK8”, because he was a skateboarder, and it was right where you could see it every day, exactly where a watch would be. For years, I teased him with “What time is it?” And he’d take a look at his wrist and respond, “Time to skate.”

When it was time to be a grown adult, get his PhD and have a real job, he got tired of wearing long sleeved shirts and had it lasered off. It took twenty years, but he finally admitted it was not his finest decision.

If you have a tattoo, what is it?

 

 

 

 

10 thoughts on “Unalome

  1. I don’t have any tattoos, and at almost 56 I don’t see getting any. But I love those designs! And as for cultural appropriation, why not? It’s happened since forever. Do you think Hitler came up with the swastika design? He borrowed it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don;t have any tattoos, either. I wanted one years back, though made a pact with myself that I’d have to have the design around for 4 years before I went ahead and went into the process of entertaining getting it indelibly on me. I like Steven Wright’s joke: I got a tatto of myself, only larger.

    I consider the strains of thought that consider it disrespectful to make indelible on your body something you full-on resonant with to be similar to strains of disease. It’s like the old myth that you have to be gifted your 1st Tarot deck. So, what happens there? A wonderful wondrous teenager boy or girl gets interested in Tarot, though has to sit around in a cosmic 7-up popularity contest putting their curiosity and exploration and discovery on hold until someone else notices and gifts them a deck? Hogwash. You get interested in something, and you do something about it. I like the old “Ask for forgiveness instead of permission, and just do it. Because, once you start, and you love it, you love what you love, will protect it like family, and actually never cotton to asking for any forgiveness for it. I feel those are middle scale notions of crowd control. No glass ceilings in that regard for me.

    I appreciate you would look at a symbol such as the iterations of the Unalome. Symbols tend to evolve with you as you grow and experience things more deeply and ore matter of factly as you go along. A picture is cool, though, it’s often an ode to a time, an important memory, whereas symbols… symbols can be revisited throughout life to mirror where your development has gone, is, and even will go. Symbols feel more fluid as a tattoo, don;t glass ceiling themselves in the moment of inking.

    …from my perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

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