My tattoo explained....
I've always been interested in the Egyptian culture. The Old Goat has taken me to any number of Egyptian exhibits and museums over the years and I find them fascinating. Their views of spirituality were both simple and complex. In an odd way, it helped me to understand my own views on spirituality.
Here's the thing: I'm not classically religious. Having experienced the Catholic church, I can tell you that I can't be a part of any organization that practices gender inequality. Even as a 6 year old, when the priest said I had to wear the doily on my head because I was covered in sin (and my brother wasn't) there must have been a closet feminist forming because it just felt wrong. I visited other churches when I was in high school, kind of hoping to find something that was missing but I never felt any connection.
Eventually, I determined that spirituality, for me, would come from within. It wouldn't be found in a building or a huge organization or on a certain day of the week. The tenets are simple... Help others, make the world a better place than you found it, avoid causing hurt or pain to others, accept the differences in others....
One summer, we went to a festival on the waterfront. The girls were very interested in getting a henna tattoo and talked me into one as well. It was my kind of decoration... temporary! So I had the eye of Horus put on my arm where it would live for three weeks before fading away. Why this design? I didn't know, but I went home to research it and loosely translated, the eye of Horus is the symbol of justice and retribution. While that's not appealing to me, according to Egyptian beliefs, Horus is also the guide in the first part of the afterlife. As you walk through the first hours of death, Horus walks beside you and reveals everything you have done in your life to other spiritual entities. His role is to assure that you can never hide or deny any of the bad things you've ever done, and that knowing that, you should avoid doing them.
Now I'm not saying I believe in Horus, but I love the lesson behind the story. Eventually, Horus brings you to this room, where your ancestors await. To pass this point and move on with your journey, your heart (which is removed in embalming) is weighed against a feather.
If your heart is lighter than a feather, you move on your journey toward the field of reeds. If your heart is heavier than the feather, due to all the bad things you did while alive, the monster on the far right (part hippo, part alligator and part leopard) will leap forward and devour you.
So after the henna faded, I looked for a design I liked and had it tattooed. Because I like to look at it and know the lessons behind it. Any evil you do will always be known and go through this life with your heart as light as a feather.