Thursday, September 15, 2005

Half NAAked Thursdays

Again for those of you who have not seen this before, on Thursdays those of us who are members of a certain 12 step program participate in Half NAAked Thursdays where we post an image of ourselves and some sort of explanation of that image.

A little over four and one half years ago, celebrating my first birthday sober, I got this tattoo... well, the pentacle in the center on my first sober birthday and the surrounding knotwork with the wolf heads on the second anniversary. At the time I really felt that I wanted something large and permanant engraved in my skin to remind me that I had been sober one year. That way, I reasoned, if I ever drank again I would always know that I had been sober and happy once. I chose a pentacle because I had found a Pagan Higher Power: the Celtic Goddess Brigit. My thoughts were that if I ever became a Christian, even then the pentacle would have a great deal of meaning to me. But I have remained a Pagan, growing and exploring within that faith.

This is the pentacle that inspired me. I really like it because while it is clearly a pentacle it is also very stylized and Celtic.

The animals tattooed around the edge on the anniversary of my sobriety. The pentacle looked and felt lonesome on its own. It is based on the animals on the Basse-Yutz Celtic flagon found near Basse-Yutz in France. That flagon dates back to the Hallstatt era of Celtic history, probably about 800 BCE. Check out the link above and get a good look at the flagons. They are really beautiful.

Like everything in my sobriety and journey of faith, the meaning of the tattoo changes gradually over time. Nowadays when I think of my tattoo, I think of the old Native American story (well, most websites attribute it to the Cherokees, but who really knows? I've seen a version where it is the old Scottish story and another where the same story became a Russian folk tale):
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside all people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two wolves."

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. And the two wolves fight each other fiercely for control of the spirit of each person."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."
To me that is the perfect essence of Step Ten of the 12 Step program I work: Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Right now I am not too happy because I have chosen to feed the evil wolf and it is starting to eat me up...

We'll see; fights like this don't end overnight. Oh, and T-7 and counting...