03 October, 2008

Significance of The Phoenix Tattoo

Ever since I got a Phoenix tattooed on my back, people have been asking me- Why a Phoenix? I mean, its not a common, fashionable motif - like say, a butterfly, stars or Chinese and tribal symbols. Not surprisingly, I had a tough time finding one that effectively represented my being. After two long years of wait ( I just couldn't find an artist who understood my requirement), I finally got it done from Al's Tattoo and Body Piercing Studio in Bandra, Mumbai.

For those who may be unaware, the Phoenix is a mythological bird that burns itself and emerges all over again from its own ashes.
The Phoenix has varied references in Arabian, Greek, Roman, and Oriental mythology. Some believe it to represent the sun- bursting into flames at sunset and being reborn at the crack of dawn. It also symbolizes rebirth and re-incarnation ( or life's victory over death- whichever way you prefer to put it). The Phoenix is also believed self-cremate itself in a nest of exotic and aromatic herbs when it is injured, tired or weak. In Oriental mythology, this bird with a dazzling plumage represents balance (yin and yang) and harmony.

To me however, the Phoenix means a lot more than a mythological creature. I identify with many aspects of the Phoenix and use the motif as a representation of my soul.

- The "emerging" Phoenix (as opposed to the burning one) symbolizes strength and invincibility in the face of adversity. It will constantly remind me to battle all odds and emerge victorious.

- The burning and resurrection of the Phoenix teaches me to erase everything that is unpleasant from my memory and begin each day as a fresh, new life with all its sparkle and splendor.

- The Phoenix is an unconventional creature- it does not adhere to the laws of life and death. In a way, it mirrors the overpowering rebellious streak in me and gives me the strength to go "against the flow" and live life on my terms.

- Of course, anything that symbolizes me has to have wings that stand for freedom, adventure, independence and a footloose character.

- The bright colors of the feathers represent positivity, optimism and a love for natural beauty.

I will add more to this as I connect other threads of my existence to the Phoenix.


  1. Hi there...

    I love the idea of the phoenix and am going to have the tattoo done on the side of my body (ribcage area) today. Going to use lots of colour. From what i've read, the phoenix seems to represent the femanine aspect and the dragon the male aspect. As such I might decide to get an oriental style dragon on my other side at a later stage.

  2. tats an awesome tatoo!!! lovin it gurl

  3. I am also getting a phoenix tattoo for similar reasons: to represent strength in the face of adversity and all that HOOHA
    I too am having trouble finding a helpful tattoo artist... though you would think they would want to be helpful, I am going to be paying him/her
    I especially like your tattoo and its simplicity

  4. I am getting a phoenix tattoo, have been viewing them on line, just to get an idea. I do like yours. I also believe in the symbol of rising out of the ash and facing challenges in life. I already have the dragon, and the cantonese symbol for strength under it on my back the same spot you have your tat.

  5. Hey, I love your tattoo..I have been meaning to get a tattoo for a long time now..Would you recommend this Al tattoo studio?What's the charge like?I am thinking of getting a all-black tattoo on my shoulder, not too big..

  6. Hey thanks. Yeah I would certainly recommend Al's Tattoo studio. The charges would depend on the exact size of the design. Its wise not to worry too much about the cost factor when you are getting something as permanent as a tattoo. Always better to shell out a bit more for quality than cry over a cheap, screwed up tattoo later!!

  7. Hey thanx for replying..Ya, u r right..one shouldn't worry too much about the charge..That's why I have been hesitant to go the some of the tattoo parlours near my home..No idea how these guys's are..But have heard about Al's tattoo studio from a few other people too..Might try that.

  8. hi i just dropped by and just wanted to comment on your tattoo. its very nice, and im quite jealous!
    i also have a pheonix tattoo which i had been wanting for years and finally got a few months ago. im glad you found a nice tattoo artist b/c my tattoo ended up horrible.
    i had designed it with a nice long flowing tail that would go down from my hip to my leg, but the artist made the tail look so rigid and stiff... bleh. i also had my a chinese character (my name) and he totally messed that up so i was not pleased...
    the guy must hate me or sth b/c that tattoo parlor is quite popular here.

  9. I was looking to get a tattoo to celebrate my being cancer free for two years I thought that it was a fitting symbol for what I was celebrating

  10. I'm considering a simple line-art phoenix in that new ink that's blacklight sensitive (invisible under normal lighting!)!

  11. This is nice! I like it. i wanted to get a tatoo, and since i was 10 i wanted it to be , if i ever decided to get one, a phoenix. i'm doing it because this year sucks, and i want to celebrate my rebirth, my newfound strenght. my parent's divorce...my granpa's cancer...
    But i can't find one i completely like...
    Yours is beautiful though!

  12. i would like to get a phoenix , would like something that represent new life , but would like to have it in front of my chest to cover my scars from breast cancer ,but I don't want it show any ideas out there

  13. i am thinking of getting this tattoo because i have had a cupple of bad relationships and now battling stress and depression so when i get threw it it will be a new beginning for me


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