Tattoo designs take flight in 2013
# 1. Crow Tattoos
The current trend in tattoos has a decidedly Hitchcockian flair, as a huge number of searches this year flocked to check out bird tattoos. Yes, you read that right. And that favourite of the hipster crowd, the crow, was at the top of the pecking order. In addition to crows, we tracked impressive numbers of searches for their cousin the raven, phoenixes, owls, eagles, swallows and bluebirds, Albatross, seagulls and penguins!
As for the crow, it seems like an appropriate symbol to choose for the times. Intelligent, crafty and cunning, the crow not only survives, but thrives by dint of its cunning and ability to adapt to an ever-changing urban environment. If you check out the ink on your local bartender or barista, there’s a good chance that somewhere on that elaborately decorated sleeve there’s a least one crow in silhouette. And a flock of crows in flight seems to be a particularly favourite portrayal of this popular bird, with a few large crows in the foreground and the rest dramatically decreasing in size and perspective until they are rendered as mere dots receding into a distant horizon. Interestingly, the crow seems gender neutral, as popular with men as it is with women.
Taking on, or in other words, getting a crow tattoo can mean many things, ranging all the way from the profane to the sublime. It’s best to enter the tattoo studio well informed if you are seeking a crow tattoo.
We speak of a herd of horses, a school of fish, a pride of lions, a gaggle of geese, but crows? A grouping of crows is described as a ‘murder’ of crows. When it comes to this species of bird’s reputation, it seems the crow can’t catch a break. Perhaps it’s because in the West (or at least, the recent West), the Crow has long been considered a bad omen. Even within cultures where the crow is seen as the keeper of sacred laws, it is still symbolic of the ‘dark side’ – by which is meant ‘that which is unknown’.
At its very best, the crow is an omen of transformation. In Native American societies, Crow is an icon of supernatural talents, along with Coyote and Raven. All are revered as shape-shifting tricksters who have been entrusted with talents for teaching humans how to live. Some Amer-Indian tribes entrust the crow to protect the sacred writings of the Great Spirit.
Where the crow is attributed with magical qualities such as shape-shifting, the list includes bringing knowledge, eloquence, prophecy, boldness, skill and cunning, trickery and thievery.
Blessed with no sense of time, the crow can live simultaneously in the past, present and future. With such freedom, a being can freely navigate between the worlds of light and darkness. It takes such a mystical and cosmic perspective to ‘create the world’, which is what the crow accomplished in the belief system of the Athapaskan people in Alaska. His special talents are equally required to lead souls on their final journey through the darkness.
Taking a crow tattoo implies that you aspire to a mystical nature, or at least an expanded consciousness. But, most important – you haven’t lost your sense of humour.