Famed ink artist Don Ed Hardy espoused, “A tattoo is an affirmation: that this body is yours to have and to enjoy while you’re here. Nobody else can control what you do with it.”
Here, here Ed. For as long as humans have had bodies we’ve found ways to affirm ourselves through them.
In Ancient Egypt, tattoos, including tramp stamps which were allegedly used as maternal magic, were applied as far back as 1550 BCE.
In East Asia evidence of the art of tattooing reaches back to the sixth century CE and exists in the form of haniwa, clay funerary figurines placed in or around tombs that were commonly depicted with facial tattoos.
Today tattoos are a ubiquitous art, an employment hindering addiction to some, a meet cute to others and a canary in the coal mine for a celebrity affairs.
National Tattoo Day, celebrated on July 17th observes the artistry and history of this most permanent of souvenirs. Read on to find out what ink aligns with your zodiac sign. Happy sticking and merry poking one and all!
Aries breezes right by the bike lane of tattoos and into the decidedly more extreme dermal decoration of branding.
Pressing searing hot metal into flesh is absolutely “on brand” for a fire sign that’s prone to following a moment’s impulse or a fool’s dare straight into lasting regret a la Pete Davidson’s permanent homage to Kim Kardashian.
Taurus is ruled by Venus, planet of love, aesthetics and eternal spring.
Botanical tattoos, especially those that feature edible plants, suit the needs of this fixed earth sign whose power color is green and whose affliction is hunger.
Succulents aside, bulls dig in when it comes to dedication and roll hard for romance as exemplified by double Taurus Dennis Rodman who recently got a portrait of his girlfriend tattooed on his face.
Gemini is ruled by Mercury, trickster planet of the mind and the mouth.
In kind, Geminis are lovers of language, salacious gossip, literature and clever quips making a quote tattoo, attributed to themselves or others, a natural extension of their communicable spirit.
Gemini loves a conversation starter and quotes are a streamlined way to introduce exchange. Case in point, the gem of a man I met on a beach in Goa who had “JESUS SAVES, I SPEND,” tattooed on his left knee.
Bless you and your disbursement, Nico.
American traditional tattoo
Cancer rules the fourth house of antiquity and ancestry and as the most nostalgia drunk sign in the zodiac, crabs are defined by their strong ties to, and longing for, the past.
American traditional tattoos are an homage to old school sailor ink and feature nautical and patriotic motifs, apropos for a water sign whose season includes Independence Day celebrations.
Add to the ink that Sailor Jerry, who is credited with popularizing and propagating the style, had himself a Cancer moon.
Leo loves to love and puts themselves on the tip top of that pyramid of worship.
Ruled by the sun and represented by a big cat, they are inclined towards a solar tattoo that speaks to their right to shine, a lion that roars for their royal station, or script tat hat reminds “to thine own self be true.”
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Virgos love symmetry and order, and their discerning hearts flutter and loins flush at the sight of a flawless line, perfect circle, spotless kitchen sink and/or a cleanly executed concept.
Enter the geometric tattoo, at once simple and intricate, the exacting application of this style contrasts beautifully with the natural curves of the body and compliment wholly the sensibilities of the zodiac’s resident perfectionist.
Trash Polka tattoo
Libra is the sign of partnership and Trash Polka is the result of the creative collaboration between artists Simone Plaff and Volko Merschky of Germany’s Buena Vista Tattoo Club.
Libras are chronically indecisive and Trash Polka is defined by its collage like aesthetic which features printed materials, hand-writing, paint splashes and photo realism, in effect the tattoo style that removes choice by encouraging all elements.
As a sign that is galvanized into action by external, rather than internal forces, Libra is also more likely than most to get a matching tattoo.
Scorpio rules the eighth house of sex, death and intimacy and as such doesn’t shy away from the dark or the doomed.
In their solar trajectory, Scorpios serve as walking, walking memento mori, a call to the rest of the zodiac to respect and revere the transient nature of life.
Scorpios are also a prickly, hard to get to know lot and a skull gives off that “don’t f–k with me, I’m not afraid to die,” je ne sais quoi.
Stick and poke tattoo
Sagittarius loves any decision, good or bad, wise or reckless that births a good story, and behind every crudely applied stick and poke tattoo is a tale waiting to be told.
The one on my middle finger for instance speaks to a sleepless night where the needle was cured by candle flame, the skin surface was sanitized with warm Pinot Grigio, and the “artist” was working with one eye closed and both t–s out.
Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, the planet of structure and definition that gives boundaries to time and meaning to matter.
Saturn reminds us of where we’ve been and a Roman numeral tattoo encourages a Capricorn to commemorate the day they met their spouse, buried their enemy and/or leveled up into the next tax bracket.
Aquarius artist and professional weirdo/sex dungeon set designer H.R. Giger is credited with developing the biomechanical style of tattoo which merges man and machine, a theme close to the chrome heart of all water bearers.
Alternatively, Aquarians can get suited up for abduction by marking their body with white ink and extraterrestrial markings a la Grimes so their alien comrades can identify them.
Pisces folk are mutable water, go with the flow, follow your bliss and fall in love with strangers on the street corner especially if said stranger lives on the street corner types.
They struggle with boundaries and for better or for worse the colors of their dream worlds regularly bleed into their waking life.
For these and other reasons, a water color tattoo is just the kind of sticking they need.
Astrology 101: Your guide to the stars
Astrologer Reda Wigle researches and irreverently reports back on planetary configurations and their effect on each zodiac sign. Her horoscopes integrate history, poetry, pop culture and personal experience. She is also an accomplished writer who has profiled a variety of artists and performers, as well as extensively chronicled her experiences while traveling. Among the many intriguing topics she has tackled are cemetery etiquette, her love for dive bars, Cuban Airbnbs, a “girls guide” to strip clubs and the “weirdest” foods available abroad.
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