“Left festering with Donald Trump’s soiled boxers”
What began with a small innocuous tattoo on my wrist six years ago has evolved into what’s gradually becoming a unique, special, and delightfully colourful piece of art.
In chronological order we have a:
— Testosterone molecule
— Anatomical skull with “ars longa, vita brevis” inscribed around it
— Small fleet of ships burning in the bay
All of which—without a whole lot of planning—have laid the foundation for what I’m writing to you about today…
Last week I spent the day with the artist I’ve spent the past six years looking for, adding on the next elements.
But first, the backstory:
If I were to pin down my personal philosophy for living, it falls somewhere between Stoicism, Epicureanism, and Buddhism.
Stemming from there, I’m a big fan of the Stoic principle, Memento Mori.
Memento Mori, when translated from Latin to English comes out as “remember death.” Which is to say, it’s to remind yourself that one day you’re going to suck down your last breath of air, and your soul is going to depart this earth.
Death is inevitable, and it’s coming for all of us at different rates, in different forms.
The idea behind remaining cognizant of the fact you’re going to die is to live each day, each moment as if it’s your last.
That doesn’t mean to run around like an idiot and brutally murder your worst enemies or tell that restaurant with soggy falafels how you really feel about their shitty hummus and cardboard-tasting pita wraps.
Rather, it means to actively work to be present in each moment, to put concious time and energy into your relationships, and to do only what you love.
Borrowing the following quote from an article by The Daily Stoic:
“Mediating on your mortality is only depressing if you miss the point. It is in fact a tool to create priority and meaning. It’s a tool that generations have used to create real perspective and urgency.
To treat our time as a gift and not waste it on the trivial and vain. Death doesn’t make life pointless but rather purposeful. And fortunately, we don’t have to nearly die to tap into this.
A simple reminder can bring us closer to living the life we want. It doesn’t matter who you are or how many things you have left to be done, a car can hit you in an intersection and drive your teeth back into your skull. That’s it. It could all be over. Today, tomorrow, someday soon.”
There’s a 17th century French painting by Philippe de Champaigne which expresses the memento mori concept through a tulip (life), a skull (death), and an hourglass (time).
Taking these elements of memento mori into account, I’ve decided to turn my left arm into my own homage, and daily reminder to remember death.
Given the already established presence of a skull, this last sitting with Steve (a tattoo artist with a true gift for uniqueness and colour) was to add on a pocket watch (time), and a honeysuckle (life).
And we wove in a few choice bits of my personality into the pocket watch.
The crown of the pocket watch (used to wind, pause, and set the time) became an actual crown as a nod to the Kingdom I’m building, and face of the watch has but four numbers: 3, 6, 9, and 13.
Because I don’t want no “normal” watch, and 13 is my number.
Check out this ink-soaked chunk of forearm:
(Please excuse the low quality picture…I didn’t take any myself immediately after the fact, and it’s currently a disgusting mess of peeling skin)
Anywho, whether you have your own tattoos or think everyone with a piece of ink should be thrown into a Russian gulag and left to fester with Donald Trumpys soiled boxers, I care not.
The tattoo is not the point.
The point is to remember that you’re going to die, and use that as “motivation” to live life on your own terms, relentlessly chase your missions, to be present with those you love, to remain aware of your own tenuous mortality, and to not waste a breath on the trivial or the frivolous.
If that’s a mindset you can get behind, The Sorcerers Guild is the perfect place for you.
Membership info lives here: