Before our youngest son left for college, he wanted to get a tattoo. I am not a big fan of “ink” even though I now have two tattoos. But that was something he wanted and to top it off, he wanted me to get one with him. I suppose you can call it a weird father son moment. To add to the deal, my Dad also went with us and so the three of us all got new tattoos.
When it came time for me to decide what I wanted to have permanently embedded into my body I had to think long and hard. Like I said, I’m not that big a fan of tattoo’s even though, like I said I have two.
So I decided on something that means a lot to me and upon further review the new tattoo developed more meaning.
First, the tattoo is the Vigil symbol of the Order of the Arrow, essentially, the triangle with three arrows in it.
Now I am not sure why the Order of the Arrow picked the triangle as its symbol for the Vigil honor, but it stands to reason that the triangle with its three sides and it’s three arrows represent the three W’s, Wimachtendienk, Wingolauchsik, Witahemui. We also know that E. Urner Goodman, one of the founders of the Order of the Arrow was active in the Masons. The triangle is a symbol that is prominent in the Freemason organization.
Be that as it may, I started thinking about it a little more and did some checking. This made my new tattoo a lot more meaningful.
At first, it was all about the Vigil Honor and what it means to me. Couple that with the three arrows, each representing one of my kids. Then I learned more about the triangle.
The triangle represents stability. It represents the Holy Trinity, it also represent Earth and Water. The triangle pointing upward represents masculine energy or fatherhood. As a three-sided polygon, the triangle represents the number three, which is meaningful to many groups. As such, triangles and other symbols made of three parts may be used to present such concepts as past, present, and future or spirit, mind and body.
I know that a lot of this is weird, and believe me, I have not spent too much time over thinking this, but I did find it interesting about what triangles represent. I am not into numerology or over use of symbols, but when I look at the symbols in Scouting and how much Scouting means in my life, it all comes together.
The Fleur de Lis is a universal symbol in Scouting. It represents the point of the compass, it is a flower that represents Mary the Mother of Christ. It has three distinct points that remind us of the three promises found in the Scout Oath. In Scouting history Baden-Powell first used the Fleur de Lis to recognize his reconnaissance scouts in the Army. He carried the symbol to Scouting. The stars that are attached to almost every Scouting organization on the Fleur d Lis represents Truth and Knowledge.
There is symbolism all around us in Scouting and by adding that symbol of the Vigil Honor to be a part of me forever I think that I have increased the meaning for me.
It’s certainly is not for everyone, and I do not promote or condemn tattoo’s. They are what they are. I think having this triangle on my chest where I have to see it every day is a great reminder of my Obligation and my life in Scouting.
Let me know what symbols impact your life? I know a couple of guys that have really cool Scouting tattoo’s.. do you?
Have a Great Scouting Day!