Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

The Limbs

Arms and Hands


(on right shoulder) a circle-bound rune with eight spokes and right-curling swastika a center. This sign represents healing radiating inwards. It should provide (unconscious or conscious) healing for self.

(upper arm) Thorshamar. This is a representation of Thor’s Hammer for strength

(hollow of the elbow) Gemini, yellow. The understanding of this sign as male twins is fairly recent. In Egypt, it was thought to be a man and woman joining hands. According to Sanskrit interpretation, this constellation is Mithuna or Maithuna, the Lovers. Even among those cultures that did see them as twins, their sex was usually indeterminate like the Babylonia Mastabagalgal or the Perian Dopatkar and Didumoi or male and female – the Roman twins Apollo and Diana. Gemini has a yin-yang connotation. Because it is thought to enhance the qualities of cleverness, invention, arts, science, and knowledge, it is a sign also associated with the Roman Mercury.

(forearm) Mercury, purple; alchemical sign for mercury. Mercury or Hermes is a god of travel, commerce, theft, eloquence, and alchemy. He also acts as psychopomp to the underworld.

(below holy circle) Lapis Philosophorum. The alchemical symbol for the Stone of Wisdom or Philosopher’s Stone. This sign combines the three most important substances used by alchemists -sulfur, salt, and Mercury – with the Egyptian sign for human consciousness and spirit above it.

(inside wrist) Brigid’s Cross, yellow-gold. Brigid is the goddess of wells, fire, the forge and creation.

(thumb) Venus, green; alchemical sign for copper. This sign on the thumb, the mount of Venus, should enhance feelings of kindness toward bearer.

(back of hand, mount of Luna) This is a sign for sulfur and Pallas or Pallas Athene, a goddess of the moon. She is also a goddess of war, wisdom, and storms. Pallas Athene champions self-determination and personal freedom. She is a tutelary goddess. This sign should also assist in exorcisms.

(back of hand) Egyptian Scorpion, blue. This sign offers protection from chaotic forces and venomous creatures. In Central and South America, Mother Scorpion would receive the souls of the dead at her house at the end of the Milky Way. This sign also offers protection from restless ghosts who were thought to take the form of scorpions.

(back of hand, under Mercury finger) This is a Norse money charm. It is said to translate as “My Need is Great.”

(back of hand, under Apollo finger) Ceres. This is a sign of growth and fruitfulness. It is also a sign of lawfulness.

(1st finger, Jupiter) An Egyptian Shen, red, containing phonetic GLORY). The Shen is a symbol of the sun rising, or setting, and represents enduring life. It is often used to contain a name.

(2nd finger, Saturn) the Black Sun. The Black sun is another name for Saturn. This is also an Egyptian symbol of the “dead” god awaiting rebirth as Seker, the hidden one and Lord of Death. Alchemists consider this a symbol for primordial matter.

(3rd finger, Apollo) Double Wheel. This is a sign of infinity representing the eternal cycles of life on Earth. It is also representation of universal deity or elemental spirits.

(4th finger, Mercury) Wolf’s Tooth. The sign of the wolf is supposed to protect against astral attack.


(on left shoulder) a circle-bound  rune with eight spokes and left curling swastika at center. This sign represents healing radiating outwards.  It should facilitate healing of others.

(upper arm) Eagle’s feather, brown and white. This is a Native American sign denoting strength and wisdom.

(inside upper arm) Elder Sign

(forearm) Mars, red. Mars is the Roman god of war and battle, as well as a god of agriculture controlling vitality and fertility.

(below magic circle) elder sign

(inner wrist) The Pictish Knot. This sign deflects spells gone awry.

(thumb) Moon, gray. This sign governs emotions and travel.

(back of hand) Menat, bronze. This Egyptian symbol was often given to guests as a sign of hospitality. It represents joy, health, nutrition, and strength. It is associated with the goddess Het-heru and is used by wizards to ensure a continuation of their magical ability.

(back of hand, mount of Luna) Juno, Star of the Sea. Juno was once a goddess of the Moon. In Rome, juno was the name for the soul of a woman, while a man’s soul was called genius. On her birthday, it was customary for a woman to make offerings to her juno. Juno is a goddess of women, war, finance, and strong bones.

(back of hand, under Apollo finger) Vesta. Vesta is a goddess of the hearth and home. Her sign is symbolic of an altar. She is the guardian of innermost things and the sacred center.

(back of hand, under Mercury finger) Hermes. Hermes presides over occult sciences and acts as a psychopomp.

(1st finger, Jupiter) Heqet, red. Heqet is a goddess of resurrection, fertility, good health, and long life.

(2nd finger, Saturn) Infinity. Saturn is synonymous with Chronos, god of time.

(3rd finger, Apollo) Lotus, blue. The Lotus was sacred in Egypt, often carried in religious ceremonies. It is a symbol of chastity, purity, abundance, enlightened understanding, and new beginnings.

(4th finger, Mercury) Mitzu Domo. A Japanese sign of accelerated time. It may be related to the Triskelion, a variation of the triple triangle form representing fate. It is also similar to the Tri-pes or Tri-ped or Three legs of man. This sign has appeared on coins of  Lycia, dating from 480 BC. It is a sign denoting life force or the will to create. A similar sign, but facing the opposite direction, is the World Triad, adopted by Western Gnostics as an emblem of cosmic creativity, the three-fold nature of reality or fate, and eternally spiraling cycles of time. The Japanese Maga-tama or Mitsu tomoe represents the world soul, and in Bhutan and Tibet, it is known as the Cosmic Mandala, a sign of the Trimurti.



(wrapping round from from calf to thigh and back) fixed star signs of Antares, Spica, Algorab, Polaris, Algol, Procyon, Sirius.

(upper thigh) Hamsa, red and blue. Hands have been seen as protective since time immemorial. The Hamsa, with an eye shown in the palm of the hand and two quarter moons is a uniquely Middle Eastern sign for protection.

(inner thigh) Sagittarius,  violet. In Persia, this was the constellation of Nimasp the centaur. In Greece, it is Toxotes, the Archer, and in India, it is Dhanus, the bow. It is associated with Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt. Not only does it provide strength to the legs, but also enhances magical skill and accuracy.

(back of thigh) Saturn. Saturn is Jupiter’s alter-ego, the Dark Sun or Dark Father. He is identified with death and Chronos, Father Time.

(shin) Aquarius, blue. This is the sign Hydrokhoos in Greece, Dul in Persia, and Khumba in Sanskrit, all meaning “water-pot.” In Babylon, this was the sign of the goddess Gula. This constellation was originally thought to be under the jurisdiction of Saturn, but was given over to Uranus when it was discovered in the 18th century. It denotes freedom, invention and assists in causes which oppose prejudice.


(staggered from upper thigh to knee) Angelic guardians of the days. Michael (Saturday), Gabriel (Monday), Camael (Tuesday), Raphael (Wednesday), Sachiel (Thursday), Anael (Friday), and Cassiel (Saturday).

(upper thigh) Witch Charm. Also known as the Magic Knot, this sign consists of four interlaced vesicas, suggesting the four winds under female control. It provides protection against evil magic.

(back of thigh) Jupiter, blue. Jupiter is the father of the gods, and a god of rain and thunder.

(knee) Capricorn, red. In Babylon, this constellation is Suhurmas, in Persia it is Vahik, in Greece Aigokeros, and in Sanskrit it is Mahara. Vesta was associated with this sign and Saturn is supposed to have jurisdiction over this constellation.

(back upper calf) Vegvisir compass tattoo. Vegvisir means “direction sign” or “see the way.” This charm helps prevent one from getting lost. It is a “brun rune” or sea charm.

(ankle) Pisces, blue. In Greek, this constellation is Ikhthues, in Persian Mahik, and in Sanskrit, they are Mina, the fish. The Babylonians called it Two-tails, the southern fish being Simmah, the Swallow, and the northern fish Anunitum, the Goddess.  This sign is also said to depict two crescent moons, one waxing and one waning. Originally under the jurisdiction of Jupiter, this was eventually passed to Neptune upon its discovery.  The sign enhances sensitivity and receptivity, and protects the feet.


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