Life is a journey full of lessons and forked roads. Transformation is inevitable. Many people can look back on their journey so far, and pinpoint a situation in which everything changed for them. And, coming through this place, they’ve evolved.
Rebirth and transformation are popular themes for tattoos. From a phoenix rising from the ashes to the ancient Ouroboros symbol, let’s explore tattoo ideas that represent metamorphosis.
This mythical bird is featured in many cultures from around the world, including ancient Greek and Egyptian mythologies.
The phoenix story is one of rebirth. When it’s near the end of its life cycle, the phoenix is said to build a nest, burst into flames, and when the fire dies down, a new phoenix is there to start again.
“The power of the Phoenix to regenerate and to be reborn makes it a strong symbol for those looking to recognize a new chapter in their life,”Chronic Ink Tattoo
While a phoenix tattoo is a great design to go big with because of its resplendent wings, a phoenix still works as a mini tattoo. Just because you go small, it doesn’t mean you have to go minimal.
You can have a tiny tattoo that’s big on details. However, if the area of skin between two tattooed lines is really small (which happens in detailed small tattoos), over time the two lines can blur together.
You can prolong the crispness of your tattoo by looking after it. Follow the aftercare instructions your tattoo artist gives you, and always protect your ink from the sun.
The lotus is one of the most popular flower choices when it comes to tattoos, in part because of its spiritual meaning.
“The lotus represents spiritual enlightenment. Regardless of its dirty environment and the muddy water it’s rooted in, the lotus rises above it all to bloom in beauty, facing the sun. This is symbolic of overcoming the material world and emerging from the muddy waters of suffering to reach spiritual enlightenment and wisdom,”Symbol Sage
A lotus tattoo can symbolize a tattooee’s struggle through adversity and changing into the person they are today.
The color you choose for a lotus tattoo can add an extra layer of meaning, as Tatt Mag explains. A purple lotus can represent creativity, wealth, and wisdom; pink can symbolize your own relationship with the Buddha; and a white lotus can mean purity.
You don’t need to incorporate color into your lotus tattoo – you can opt for a minimalist style with just an outline of the flower. The shape of the lotus is distinctive, so you can forgo details and people will still be able to tell what flower it is.
A butterfly is one of the most well-known symbols of transformation.
This insect starts out as a caterpillar, goes through the chrysalis phase, before becoming a butterfly.
Because of this transformation, a butterfly tattoo serves as an apt way to commemorate an emotional metamorphosis.
“This process itself serves as a metaphor that individuals associate with trauma or emotional moments in their lives that they want to commemorate on their bodies through their tattoos, hence the popularity of butterfly tattoos,”Sorry Mom Shop
If you want to incorporate colors into your butterfly tattoo, it’s important to know what you’re signing up for. Some colors tend to fade faster than others.
“Pastel colors and white are the lightest tattoo colors; thus, they fade the quickest among all colors. They generally last for about five to eight years before fading. Moreover, pastel and white ink colors may look like scars if not done correctly,”Ink Eeze
This is one of the reasons why you should always go to an experienced, professional tattoo artist – they know how to work with different inks.
You, as the tattooee, also have a responsibility towards the longevity of your tattoo. The better you take care of your ink, the longer it will last.
The Ouroboros is an ancient symbol that can be found in Egyptian and Greek lore, and depicts a snake or dragon in a circle eating its own tail.
“Ouroboros expresses the unity of all things, material and spiritual, which never disappear but perpetually change form in an eternal cycle of destruction and re-creation,”Britannica
This circular symbol can represent the endlessness of time, the cycles of the natural world, as well as reincarnation.
In tattoo form, you could go the dragon or snake routine. Dragons have long been associated with power, strength, and wisdom, while a snake tattoo can mean good luck and change. In fact, because of their tendency to shed their skins, snake tattoos can represent rebirth on their own.
Besides choosing between a snake and dragon for a Ouroboros tattoo, you can also opt for a more minimalist or hyper realistic design with defined scales. The more detailed the design, the longer your tattoo session will be.
Plus, you don’t have to stick to a circular design. You can take the theme of the endlessness of time by designing your snake into an infinity symbol.
When it comes to placement choice for an Ouroboros tattoo, you could choose a flat section of your body and see the full tattoo at once, or, because of its circular shape, you could have the design wrap around your wrist, forearm, or bicep.
The thing about transformation is that it’s uncomfortable and it feels like you’ll never come out the other side. If you just looked at a chrysalis, you’d never guess that it would emerge as a colorful butterfly. But, it’s all worth it in the end, and a rebirth tattoo can be an amazing way to memorialize the struggle, the perseverance, and the positive outcome.