LA Ink LogoWell, one of the things we occasionally remind people about is part of the concept behind Pam’s House Blend. And that is, what we write about here — what we discuss here — is the kind of stuff we’d discuss in a Coffee House. So, most of the time over a PHB we talk about politics, often we talk about religious right antics, sometimes about other news and stories that interest us, and sometimes we write about what’s going on with our lives.

So, this is one of the latter kinds of posts. I’m going to sit down with a cup of coffee that’s infused with an added shot of espresso (which in San Diego is called a hammerhead), and talk about the Freya tattoo I had inked at High Voltage Tattoo for the show LA Ink.

Hannah AitchisonWell, I thought I was going to be on LA Ink in a segment where Hannah Aitchison inked my tattoo. The season is over, the production company has shut down, and my segment never made it into an episode. Here I was, thinkin’ I was pretty interesting and photogenic — with a compelling narrative — but apparently I’m not that interesting or photogenic, and my narrative perhaps wasn’t compelling enough to air. * sigh *

Autumn's Transgender Freya Tattoo - February 2008 PhotographWell anywho, the tattoo was still inked by the wonderful Hannah, a very skilled and renowned tattoo artist, and I couldn’t be more pleased with it. The point wasn’t to get on television; the point was to have the best tattoo artist for creating the perfect Freya ink it on me. I’m very much more than satisfied that actually happened.

So, since I promised to explain the elements of the tattoo when I finally posted the picture, let me go ahead and tell y’all about what the elements in my tattoo of the Norse goddess Freya mean…To begin with, I’m slightly hesitant to call this an ethnic tattoo, but in reality it is an ethnic tattoo. The woman on my back, right shoulder is the Norse goddess Freya. As my ancestry is in part Swedish — my last name is an Americanized spelling of the Swedish name Sandin — the tattoo reflects my Swedish ancestry.

My transgender Freya tattoo - a few days after she was inkedBesides representing my Swedish ancestry, Freya represents the female soul I’ve always had. Since she symbolizes a strong vision of femininity — and I think of myself as a strong woman — I thought she was a representative choice for me.

The sea, the knife, and the spear all represent my twenty years in the US Navy. Freya, besides being the Norse goddess of beauty, also was also the pantheon’s warrior goddess.

The herons are sea birds, and represent my three children. My kids all have bird names for middle names, and those middle names are Robin, Jay, and Wren. The two birds that are facing away from me (as I’m represented by Freya) represent my twin boys that currently don’t want anything to do with me at this snapshot in time. However, the twins — as represented by the birds — are near me as the twins are always near to my heart. And as you may notice, I (as Freya) am reaching for the two birds because they I hope some day to again have them near me in the form of a better family relationship.

The star at the top of the tattoo is actually the Evening Star — the planet Venus. The seven days of the week are named after the Sun, Moon, and five planets known to the ancients, and Friday was named for the planet Venus. However, to reflect the entirety of Europe, those who decided on the names for the days of the week didn’t just stick to the Greek/Roman pantheon. And since Freya is roughly an equivalent goddess to Venus, they named the day of the week for the planet Venus after the goddess Freya — hence Friday.

A couple of details related to Freya, but not necessarily related directly to me:

Freya was very associated with the moon (as most fertility and beauty goddesses are), so that’s why the “negative space” moon is up in the right corner of the tattoo. The necklace is Brisingamen, which Freya reportedly paid for by sleeping with the four dwarves who made it for her.

That pretty much sums up the details of my Freya. Despite 20-years in the Navy, Freya actually is my first tattoo. Many have told me that the tattoo is pretty large for a first, being about 8 or 9 inches in diameter; however, it’s that large because I wanted it to be wide and full enough to encompass all of the detail and meaning I wanted included in the piece.

(By the way, for those of you who might want to have a local tattoo artist make a copy of this for your body, remember Freya was designed to be transgender in this piece of bodyart, and you’d be wearing my three kids as herons on your body along with Freya.)

So what do you think of the tattoo and all of it’s elements?

Before you comment though, go get yourself a Latte, Americano, or whatever your favorite coffee or tea beverage might be. It’s always nicer to engage in coffee house conversations over some warm, coffee house beverages. ūüôā



* An LA Ink Tattoo For Blender Autumn?

* Dates Are Set, So Full Speed Ahead

* My Freya Tattoo Has Been Inked, Filmed


Autumn Sandeen

Autumn Sandeen