Tarot and Tattoos – The Journey and the Memory

When I started writing Queen of Swords, I knew that it would involve tattoos in some way.

For me, tattoos have always been a way of marking the important moments in one life, of marking yourself with a period of time held in ink and the shape of memory. I have nine tattoos and each of them represent a moment in my life that I wanted to remember or a lesson that I learned about myself. When I look at the tattoos that grace my skin, I can recall what they mean or what inspired them.

I have nine tattoos and am planning a tenth. There is one tattoo that I have that is linked to Tarot. A few years ago, I had the Strength card from The Wild Unknown Tarot tattooed on my right shoulder. The Wild Unknown if my favourite Tarot deck out of all the ones that I have used. There is just something about it, a certain poetic primal beauty, that calls to me.

The Strength card is the first card I look at when I’m considering another Tarot deck. To me, the Strength card is reminder of what I’ve overcome and that it is okay to love myself. This card holds the force that I’ve had to use to get past certain obstacles and a reminder that I’m worth of self-love, no matter the battle scars that mark my skin.

The Strength card was beautiful on its own, but the tattoo didn’t feel done. I went back to the tattooist and had him add the Ace of Wands and the Ace of Swords from The Wild Unknown Tarot as well. They represent the two sides of me: one is the creative journey that I am always on, the light of my spirit that shines brightly and the other is the journey I am on with my mind and the power I have with my words.   

I love the fact that both the Ace of Wands and the Ace of Swords represent beginnings. Tarot is a cycle after all and I always feel like I’m at the beginning of something, especially when something ends. I knew that with Queen of Swords I would have to follow the main character Jackie on her journey and that she would be marked along the way, both by what had happened and was happening to her and by tattoos that would be her talisman’s in the unknown.

There are other characters in Queen of Swords that have tattoos. Gabriel is marked with the symbol of Venus and Xander is marked with a variety of tattoos. For each of them, they depict something of the journey they have both been on. In fact, when Jackie first meets Xander and Gabriel, their tattoos are one of the first thing she notices about them.

She looked at Xander’s tattoos which ran along his forehead and face. They framed his face and made his cheekbones stand out, making him look like some kind of scarecrow man. Taking in all the different tattoos, Jackie saw that there was an infinity symbol on his forehead in the very centre. While all the other tattoos were done in black ink, the infinity symbol was tattooed in yellow ink, standing out against the black ink of the other tattoos.

Stepping into the kitchen, Jackie’s first thought was that the voice matched the man perfectly. He stood well over six feet and was broad shouldered. He had a thickly muscled chest and his arms held more muscle. Her eyes were drawn to the rope-like veins that ran up and down his arms. He wore a vest that looked as if it had once been made out of denim, but had things added to it. It now looked as if it were armour, and the weather had turned it hard and supple. Leather had been sewn overtop of the denim. There was a black tattoo that covered his arm. She was into astronomy and the planets, so she recognized the symbol as the planet Venus. It was surrounded by a heart which had been made to look like barbed wire.

Jackie doesn’t know it at the time, but by looking at their tattoos, she has already learned something about Xander and Gabriel before they have even opened their mouths. Yes, tattoos are used to remember but they also communicate and tell a story without words.

I think that’s the true power or tattoos. They hold power because of the memories that they hold, but also because of what they say about the person without even uttering a word.

Queen of Swords comes out on March 21st! It’s ready to pre-order. Check out where you can get my new book here: https://jamiesonwolf.com/2023/03/12/queen-of-swords-available-for-pre-order/

I hope that wherever your journey takes you that you learn something about yourself along the way.

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