“All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost.” -J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

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This is a tattoo design I’m working on for myself. Obviously not a finished product yet, in fact, the final art I will likely leave in the hands of a real tattoo artist, but I do want to get as close as possible on my own.

I’ve been toying around with the idea for a while now. The 8-point nautical star is a design that symbolizes balance, strength and beauty. The virtues on the points of the star describe what I want to be the guiding virtues of my life. The Tolkien quote (aside from being a nod to the awesomeness of Lord of the Rings, much like the star itself is a nod to the awesomeness of sailing and the time I’ve spent on the water) is actually sort of what makes it all make sense to me. I struggled for a long time with how to “bring it all together” and the notion that I wander a lot in life, seldom completely sure of what I’m doing or where I’m going, but that I have those points of virtue to guide me really just seemed to fit.

I think it’s important for people to know what guides them. To find stars to follow and to have anchors to hold you fast. The traditional virtues, such as courage, strength, perseverance and many more, are excellent because they can provide us with both. Decide who you want to be and it’ll help you find your way forward, but it will also give you an anchor when things feel out of control.

As for changes, the words on the points of the star probably need to be a little bit smaller (and obviously a stronger looking font, less curves, to match the strong geometric design of the star itself). Also the cursive will definitely be cleared up. If you can’t read it and didn’t get it from the title of the post it says “not all those who wander are lost.” The four virtues on the points took a lot of thought to narrow down because there are a lot of amazing virtues! Big contenders being discipline,  perseverance, and strength. I wish I had room for more, in fact, I may put smaller ones somehow in the smaller points of the star so that I have eight in the end. But I fear that might look too busy. And I am ultimately quite happy with the four I’ve chosen and my reasons for doing so. Lastly, I’m not sold on the wood grain on the dark side of the points. Either I need light wood grain on the other side, or I need to go solid dark for the dark sides.

Also, keep in mind that with this, as well as with anything I post here, feedback is welcome! I’m not blogging just so I can grandstand myself to the interwebs. It’s a way for me to keep in touch and keep sharing myself with anyone who’s interested. But I don’t want that to be one-sided. One-sided relationships aren’t worth much.

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