I have my family on my back. In tattoo form. A montage of trees and plants, flowers and leaves. They are the rendering of images that arise from Celtic Tree Astrology—the belief that we are born not under the power of the stars but under the power of the trees. Why this resonates so deeply with me I am not completely sure. I know that the need to have plants on my body came before the desire to have the trees that represent my family on my self. I feel—when I sit deep in that knowing that lives in my belly—that I was once a priestess of plants and flowers. A maker of potions and a guardian of all that grows from the earth. But in this lifetime the gift of growing that which begins in the dirt alludes me. The desire is there yet the skill has not passed through on this current journey of humanhood and so I place flowers and leaves on my skin in homage to the gifts of past lives.
I am the Ash Tree. In Celtic Mythology, the Ash tree is the World Tree—the tree that spans between worlds and the tree that represents The Tree of Life.
My son and middle daughter and my husband are all Holly—one of the most beloved and respected trees and the noble one among Celtic Tree Astrology, the Holly possesses protective qualities.
My youngest daughter is Hawthorn—one of the most sacred trees and the illusionist. Just like Gemini in Western Astrology, this shapeshifter isn't all that it appears to be. Fairies live under the Hawthorn tree as its guardians.
I am thinking lately about this forest on my back because two new souls have entered my family's lineage. Two new babies are now of this world and I feel the call to represent them on my skin. Conveniently (or not) they are both born under the Birch Tree. The first of the tree symbols, the Birch is the symbol of new beginnings. regeneration, hope, new dawns and promise of what is to come.
The promise of what is to come.
This meaning is lovely and right and makes sense to me. For this promise of the future, these babies hold this space. There is no expectation in this but merely the truth that they are the manifestation of the continuation of life. They are the as yet unknown opportunities. They are the creators of what is to happen. They are their next step in the evolution of their lifetimes—a huge undertaking and still a small step in the journey of their souls.
I am in awe of this and of them and the placing of them on my back as a part of the whole is an important task for me. In the nurturing of all that grows, their leaves intermingled within the others plants on my body means that I can feed them and hold them as they too grow forward into this time called their life times. This placing of the leaves in still to be determined locations is sacred. It is an honoring and a welcoming while it is a marking of time and place. Adding these two babies to the whole in this permanent way is my way of thanking them for choosing to become part of this family that they now belong to.
And so I will make time to get my ink on. And will find a rendering of the Birch Tree that captures what these new beings mean to me as they compliment the art on my back, a sign of their contribution to our tribe.
Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Rower, Runner, Dog and Cat lover.