I've always been a little hesitant to get a tattoo, considering how permanent a tattoo is—it's a big commitment to an idea. But, I've always held in the back of my mind that I would get one when inspired by something meaningful that I could design myself. That time has finally come, and I am going to share the process in several installments in this blog. This entry will document the inspiration for the design and the symbolism and ideas related to creating my first piece of body art.

Anybody who knows me is well aware of my affinity for math and geometry. I will attempt explain this as best as possible here, and as succinctly as possible. While I believe most people think of mathematics as a purely utilitarian and pragmatic tool (and I agree that it is successful to an unparalleled degree in this regard), few people acknowledge the

intrinsic beauty held in mathematical equations and relationships. There is something very visceral to me about the exactitude and the precision that mathematics captures, and

visually, it can be quite stunning. Geometry in particular is very resonant with me in this way, as it can be represented in a visual display of relationships that is a little less abstract than just formulae or statements.

In addition to being the king of sciences, mathematics (specifically geometry) was used for other, more symbolic purposes by philosophers and spiritualists for quite some time before totally coming into its own.

While I won't get into too many details here, suffice it to say that the image of the circle has been used as a symbol for the overall unity of the universe (with its singular center and infinitely-pointed circumference), and that two overlapping circles represent the division of this unity into the dual, polar opposites that we experience in life. Out of these relationships (i.e. the division of the unity into the duality), the rest of the variegated objects and experiences that occur in life arise.

Now, these are just stories that are told with geometry. They compose a creation myth made out of shapes, out of pure abstractions—which is really incredible, if you think about it. And, like all myths, it points to some kind of truth about life, about being a person and relating to the world. The image below is from a book by Robert Lawlor, titled

"Sacred Geometry: Philosophy and Practice". The book itself is full of new-agey stuff about

Neoplatonists, some of which I find interesting and some of it is a little bit over-reaching. None-the-less, this image captures this myth almost perfectly. I discovered it while borrowing this book from a girlfriend in college. I created a painting based on this image in college also, but that was lost (read: thrown away) in a custody battle with a landlord, and I have always wanted to recreate it.

While the intersecting lines make it a little confusing, it is kind of astounding how interesting of an image is made from just a compass and a straightedge (not even a ruler is needed, the compass is the only measurement of distance necessary!). Essentially, all of the points necessary to create regular polygons with 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, and 12 sides can be projected out of intersecting circles. (As an exercise, you can pick out one of the vertices and trace back where they are projected from – for instance, many of the 10-gon vertices originate from the pentagon, since 5 is exactly half of 10).

This is the seed of my idea. It is the basis for the creation myth that I will make my own, and embed into my own body. It contains references to the beauty of mathematics and the physical universe, the creation of those things, and ultimately, the ground out of which they arise – universal consciousness. It will also contain references to friendship, things that are awesome, and other inspirational artists that reflect spirituality in their work. These ideas will be integrated into this design and documented as this series of installments progresses.