“This moment was very special to me. I had long dreamt about getting this tattoo, which also happens to be my first one, and getting a photo of it next to the picture stone that is exhibited in “Fornsalen” in Visby. The tattoo depicts the snake goddess, or snake witch, from Smiss, Gotland. Similar motifs have been found in various places worldwide, for example, the Minoan snake goddess from Crete and the god Cernunnos depicted on the Gundestrup cauldron, but the motif also reminds me of the Irish Sheela-Na-Gig. Every time that I encounter the picture stone, I get a feeling of awe, it’s just so powerful and is utterly vibrating with ancient power. The tattoo represents my dedication to the Goddess.

The motif of the picture stone is mystical but at the same time clear. Picture stones are typical of Gotland, this particular one stems from 400-600 C.E., but there are picture stones both younger and older than that. The interpretation of the motif is somewhat debated, it’s been suggested that it might be a symbol of fertility. The triskelion above makes me think of Celtic mythology. It portrays a boar, a wolf and an eagle, three animals with high mythological significance.

The snake is an ancient symbol of fertility, magic, life/death, change, and rebirth. I think the motif also might serve as a protection symbol. Quite often when something has been labelled “evil” or taboo in later years, it was deemed sacred in pre-Christian times. There are many more examples of snake carriers, like the woman who carries a snake at the front of a progression of warriors depicted on another picture stone from Smiss that is exhibited in “Fornsalen”. Or the giantess Hyrrokkin, who according to legend rides a wolf and uses snakes as reins.  Such mythological and archaeological parallels are truly fascinating to me.”



Tattoo artist: Lisa Dykhoff-Jones, Myling Konst & Tatuering

Photo: private