Â If you’reÂ lookingÂ for a tattoo that covers a lot of symbolic territory, then the squid oroctopusÂ may well be the motif you’reÂ lookingÂ for. Naturally intelligent, creative and flexible, theÂ octopusÂ also acquires its mystique from the watery environment in which it lives. Add to that theÂ octopus’ chameleon-like ability to change its color, or disappear in a cloud of black ink when frightened or attacked and you have an enigmatic phantom of magic, wonder andÂ transformation. The mysteries of the untamed sea contribute to the sense of wonder and mystery that surrounds this eight-tentacled creature.
It’s true, the squid andÂ octopusÂ are voraciousÂ predators, occasionally turning on themselves. For reasons no one has figured out, they will devour themselves, starting with their tentacles and ending with their death. There are hundreds and hundreds of different species of squid andÂ octopusÂ (289 discovered so far), inhabiting every ocean and sea that covers our blue planet. They range in size from a few inches to enormous denizens of the deep. The giant squid reaches lengths of over 40 feet (60 feet has been reported) and their only predator is the great Sperm Whale of Moby Dick fame. The North Pacific GiantÂ OctopusÂ can weigh up to 150 pounds with arms that span nearly 20 feet. Like the great Kraken of Pirate’s of the Caribbean fame, these eight-armed wonders can fuel the imagination, and not a few nightmares!
Octopi don’t have a spine, which makes them ‘invertebrates’, and which also accounts for their agility, grace and flexibility. Without much of a solid structure, they’re free to ‘go with the flow’. No wonder that they are escape artists extraordinaire. AnÂ Octopusas a totem guide would be a reminder toÂ loosenÂ up, to give up old and calcified habits, to try something new for a change.
TheÂ octopus’ ability to disengage a limb when under attack earns it the right to stand as a symbol of ‘jettisoning excess baggage’ from our lives. It reminds us that our life’s journey movesÂ forwardÂ more expeditiously when we continue with only what we truly need. Of course, theÂ octopusÂ can grow back that limb, making it a symbol of regeneration.
As aÂ masterÂ of camouflage, its symbolism grows more mysterious. TheÂ octopusÂ can literally disappear before our eyes. And if that tactic doesn’t work to evadeÂ predators, it ejects a dense black cloud of ink behind which it makes its escape.Â OctopusÂ as illusionist – it’s all part of the mystery surrounding this bottom-dwelling creature of the sea.
Various observations of theÂ octopusÂ by people over the years have attached even more qualities to this animal’s very busy aura — will, focus, magic, illusion, defense, mystery, expansion, complexity, adaptability, insatiability, and unpredictability.
Because the oceans are influenced by lunar cycles, by its waxing and waning and its constant motion and lightlessÂ depths, theÂ octopusÂ is considered to be a feminine energy.
‘Water demon’, this is how mythologists interpreted early images of theÂ octopusÂ found on Greek pottery. In many cases, theÂ octopusÂ was depicted with severed tentacles, as if it was the loser in battle. Around the world, cultures have chosen to represent the sea’s mood and mind with images of an angry monster, serpent, orÂ octopus. In many creation myths, it was the jealousÂ octopus, symbol of ‘the waters’, that tried to prevent the advent of life on terra firma. For the Babylonians, the god Marduk was dispatched to subdue the god of salt waters, Tiamat. The Greeks have their story of Apollo overcoming Python. The EgyptiansÂ speakÂ of their sun god, Horus, killing the serpent Aphopis. Krishna destroyed Anatha. The sea monster was the ‘enemy of life’, at least on earth.
‘Tentacles’ have a negative connotation because of their ability to reach, grab, and ensnare. Humans aren’t practiced in defence against eight predatory arms, making theoctopusÂ a true monster. The allegory of tentacles has been applied to various organizations or corporations that overreach acceptable limits. In the 1901 novel, “The Octopus”, farmers battled overzealous railroad barons. Fascists in WW2 were represented as anÂ octopusÂ reaching out to control the whole of Europe. More recently, a National Rifle Association publication depicted New York’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, as anÂ octopusÂ for his campaign against guns. “Tentacles!” shouted the headline. The NRA was then accused of anti-Semitism, due to Hitler having employed the same symbol to represent what Nazis perceived as Jewish conspiracy and control. Octopus tattoo design done in morbid tattoo parlor in cash and carry mall Makati Manila, Philippines.