Here There Be Dragons!!!

p3050028.JPGThe other night, Priscilla and I were IM-ing each other while we waited for the feeding frenzy known as the last of the Sweet Georgia going up on The Loopy Ewe‘s site to go up. Now, you have to understand that she and I can have some pretty strange conversations about many strange and unrelated topics. But we were talking about the Chinese calender and whether or not I was really a snake like I have always been told or a dragon. I have this thing for dragons in case you weren’t aware of it.

So we both did some searching on the internet, and after finding a website that actually broke down the the Chinese Lunar New Year started for the last several decades, we discovered that I am really a dragon instead of a snake. That explains quite a bit. See the Chinese Lunar New Year for the year I was born did not start until February 1st so that means that I am a dragon. Checking the website just confirmed that my brother is still a monkey. His birthday feel close to the Lunar New Year but it is after the Lunar New Year.

Chinese culture is important to me because my passport says that I was born in China. Technically I was born Nationalist China but everyone knows it as Taiwan. I was only a year old when my parents left but I grew up around Asian cultures because there are so many Asians in the US military. Plus my father is part Filipino even though to look at him you wouldn’t know it. So I guess you can understand why I grew up around Asians in the military; they made my father part of the community.

The other day Scout was talking about tattoos and their meanings and the reason we pick the ones that we have. My dragon tattoo is the most visible of my four tattoos that I have at the moment. He is certainly the biggest one. The other three were chosen with care and mean something very important to me.

My first and second ones were Celtic knots. My grandfather came from the Celtic region of Spain known as Galicia. And my mother’s family is from Scotland and Wales with some Irish thrown in so there is a definite Celtic ancestry. Of all of the regions of Spain, Galicia is my favorite. I feel at home there. And yes, I have visited it several times. My ancestry is the reason for the two Celtic knots. p2060003.JPGp2060013.JPG

p2060010.JPGI grew up around the sea and have always loved sea turtles which is why my third tattoo was a sea turtle. The design is based on a Tahitian tribal design but it is in color to blend with my other tattoos. One advantage to growing up in the military is that you are surrounded by many cultures and their practices. I was lucky enough to live overseas almost all my childhood. And for the most part, the Americans that I knew were either Asians or Polynesians. Plus another place where I feel at home is Hawaii which is the blending pot in many ways of Polynesian culture.

But my dragon means the most to me. When I decided to get my dragon tattoo, I wanted something that would represent luck and the heritage of my birthplace. And that was a dragon. I found a dragon whose shape I liked and was Chinese. I took the drawing to my tattoo artist and told him that this would be the starting point. My dragon has to be Chinese and have red in it. The rest of the colors were up to him but I would like the dragon to blend with the other tattoos. Red is a color of good luck in Chinese culture. At the time, I still thought I was a snake. But now I understand why the dragon has always meant so much to me. p3050031.JPG

Priscilla found this description somewhere on-line that describes the Wood Dragon which is what I am according to the Chinese zodiac calender. – “Wood Dragon people are the most eccentric in the Chinese Zodiac. Soaring high into the serene heavens, they can be stubborn, passionate, excitable, honest, and brave, wear purple and walk barefoot in public fountains. They listen to their own drummer, thank you very much, while the rest of the world stands in amazement. People always admire their individuality and feisty personality. Dragons are capable of doing great work for mankind and they inspire trust in almost everyone. The Dragon symbolizes life and growth and is said to bring the five blessings: harmony, virtue, riches, fulfillment and longevity. Chicken Soup and Bamboo Shoots are among keys to even greater good health!”

And yes, it is pretty accurate. It is much more accurate than my Western zodiac sign. And yes, the tail of my dragon and the one Celtic knot do go where you think they do. If I wear low rise jeans and my shirt rides up, you can see most of the tattoos. The other two are on my hips but you can only see them if I want you to. There is one more tattoo to go but I still remember how much the dragon hurt at times. The dragon was done in one 3-1/2 hour session with only 3 breaks of 5 minutes each. My choice. And for those who are curious, the last one will be a Maltese Cross but with a Celtic flavor.

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8 responses to “Here There Be Dragons!!!

  1. Beautiful tattoos! The Maltese Cross will be a nice addition, too. Have you been to Malta? It’s one of the most interesting and surreal places I’ve ever visited. What a blend of cultures and history.

  2. Oh, I love your dragon!

  3. Your tats are definitely works of art. I loved your whole explanation/story, it’s really fascinating. I didn’t realize you were a Military brat! I, on the other hand, have never lived outside of a 75 mile radius.

  4. Much better photo of the dragon!! I love him in his pure red glory. 🙂

    I love the history behind all the tats… very cool. So cool you shared the history.

  5. cool! i have two but need to find dh home during the daylight hours to photo them for me! can’t wait to see the celtic-inspired maltese cross.

  6. I thought about trying to get a picture of the stuff on my lower back… but I’m pretty lazy.

    I used to have a great one that a photographer friend of mine took and digitally manipulated so you can’t even tell it’s on skin… I’ll have to look for it, I think it’s on a CD somewhere.

  7. Beautiful works of art! I have a Phantom of the Opera that was custom drawn for me. It’s on my left shoulder – well on the back of it if that makes sense. Only one I have. 🙂

    So anything new lately in the ole mail box?

  8. Love the turtle tattoo. It is just so cute!