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Tattoo Ideas: Symbols of Growth, Change, New Beginnings

Updated on February 2, 2016

I once went to a psychic who told me I was living the equivalent of two lifetimes in one. She said that at some point these lifetimes would diverge, and I would have to make a decision. I would be faced with a moment of great change, and the path I went down would have enormous bearing on the rest of my life. She was right. I often look back to that time and think to myself, If only I could go back to that moment when the road first forked, maybe I could rewrite destiny. Despite that fleeting, fanciful thought, I firmly believe that destiny needs no rewriting. The decisions I made were the ones that needed making, and everything that happened did so because at some point before birth, I must have decreed that it needed to occur. I don't necessarily need a tattoo to mark that time of transition--I gave myself enough scars over those long-ago years to prove it. But in return, I have the wisdom and knowledge that only comes through struggle and survival, and for the rest of my life I will have the strength of one who endures.

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Phoenix tattoo
Phoenix tattoo
Phoenix tattoo

Phoenix Tattoos: Symbol of Rebirth

The Phoenix is a mythological bird that symbolizes rebirth and renewal. With a colorful plumage and a tail of many colors, the Phoenix is destined to live 500-1,000 years. At the end of its life, it builds a nest around itself which then ignites into flames. The bird burns, right along with the twigs, and nothing but ashes remains. But this is not the end; from the ashes a new, younger Phoenix rises, and it will go on to live a life as long as its last. This image can symbolize the end of one life and start of another, or it can symbolize the death of some aspects of yourself that needed changing to allow the birth of a newer, more conscious persona.

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Caterpillar tattoo
Caterpillar tattoo
Caterpillar tattoo

Caterpillar and Butterfly Tattoos: Symbols of Transformation

The butterfly has a diverse symbolism across many cultures. In Japan it is the personification of someone's soul, and it is believed that butterflies carry messages from the dead to the living. In China two butterflies flying together are a symbol of love. A black butterfly can signify impending death, or it can be a sign of good luck, depending on where you are or who you ask. But taken at its biological face value, a caterpillar that enters into its self-made cocoon and emerges as a beautiful butterfly is the ultimate symbol of transformation.

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Ouroboros
Ouroboros
Ouroboros

Ouroboros Tattoos: Symbol of Re-Making

The Ouroboros is an ancient Greek symbol derived from the Greek word oura, meaning "tail," and boros, meaning "eating." Translation: "He who eats the tail." It is usually depicted as a serpent or a dragon, arched in a circle and eating its own tail. The Ouroboros is symbolic of the cyclical nature of all things. We are constantly redefining and re-creating ourselves, we are eternally returning. We have to devour and absorb the past in order to learn from it, move past it, and evolve.

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Robin
Robin
Robin

Red-Breasted Robin Tattoos: Symbol of Growth

The red-breasted robin symbolizes growth in all areas of your life, and rebirth of the spirit. The robin's red breast is seen as the life force that resides within. "When sufficient spiritual growth has been reached, it uncoils and moves up the spine to create heightened awareness. This will enhance psychic vision and leads us to enlightenment." Growth does not often occur overnight; it can be a slow, trying process and the results are not always immediate or apparent. Stick with it, however, and keep the happiness of the robin's song in mind. Approach life with a joyful, open heart, and all the growth you crave will come to you over time.

Quotes About Change

"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending."—Maria Robinson

"Be the change you want to see in the world."—Gandhi

"The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become."

"Things do not change; we change."—Henry David Thoreau

"Change is the only constant."

"You change your life by changing your heart."

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      Whillow 5 years ago

      As a recently established tattoo studio I thank you for having great design ideas and information for us all to see and learn from for FREE. I will definitely follow you and have now decided that I may share my tattoo journey as well. Keep us informed and keep adding your excellent work.

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