Death and Rebirth in the New Year: Phoenix Tattoos | Painful Pleasures Community

Death and Rebirth in the New Year: Phoenix Tattoos

The new year is a sacred time for many, offering motivation for us to tackle new goals. These five Phoenix tattoos embody the feeling of the new year, showing respect for the past and and inspiring us as we set our goals for the new year.

by amber Last Updated: May 16, 2021

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New years offer new beginnings. Many of us make yearly resolutions to lay out concrete goals in efforts to make the upcoming year better than the last. Whether we set out to live a healthier life or to treat others more kindly than we have in the past, the new year gives us a chance to create an agenda for achieving those long-term goals.

Although time may not actually stop when the year ticks up, the fresh start that the new year symbolizes is similar to the idea of endless rebirth and growth associated with the phoenix. When a phoenix dies, the body of this mythological creature is engulfed in flames, and from the ashes of the former phoenix, a new bird is born.

Unsurprisingly, a phoenix is an attractive subject for tattoos. Many of us commemorate loved ones and cherished memories with tattoos; they show our dedication to something we love. As these various phoenix tattoos show, they can also inspire us to grow and push forward.


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This tattoo not only represents rebirth through its use of the phoenix as a universal cultural symbol, but also in its placement. In addition to making for beautiful body art, this tattoo also serves the purpose of obscuring a scar, and there is no image better suited for covering a scar than a phoenix.


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Phoenix tattoos are not uncommon in the industry, so to ensure each piece is unique, artists and clients must think of new ways to express common themes. This geometric phoenix marries the popular creature with a style that is both trendy and historically significant. The minimalist style calls back to native traditions and historic representations of the phoenix myth while also making use of the line and dotwork associated with the geometric trend.


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The Irezumi style of tattooing is notable for its use of black and grey ink and the inclusion of many natural elements. Because the style originates in Japan, where the influence of the Shinto religion commands a deep respect for the natural world, Irezumi tattoos are known to incorporate clouds, waves, flowers, and animals. Similarly, Irezumi tattoos are especially known for their symbolism, so the phoenix centerpiece evokes themes of death, rebirth, and most importantly the ever-present opportunity to start fresh.


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Images and stories of the mythological phoenix are found all across the globe. From historic myths to contemporary fiction, this creature carries a nearly universal message. This phoenix clutches a scroll quoting a famous line from Harry Potter’s Albus Dumbledore. In the series, Professor Dumbledore has a pet phoenix, Fawkes, and Dumbledore himself has a storyline full of both death and personal growth.


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Floral accents and peacock-like feathers adorn this phoenix, spanning from the top of the thigh down past the knee. Phoenix tattoos are commonly surrounded with flames and colored with warm tones of orange and red, typically causing them to appear masculine. However, the artist behind this phoenix cultivated a feminine look through the inclusion of pinks, purples, flowers, and peacock feathers. This sizable phoenix will no doubt inspire new beginnings.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the official position of PainfulPleasures.

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