My Favorite Mistake, A Lord of The Rings Tattoo Story

It was the summer of 2002. My obsession with Middle Earth had been kicked into high gear by the release of the movie version of The Lord of the Rings, Fellowship of the Ring.

And I was itching for a tattoo...

I decided I wanted to get our "gang" number, 47. (Just kidding, we weren't really a gang, just a group of kids who became friends at a cult, I mean, Jimmy Swaggart Ministries in the '80s, I was one of the few girls, our "number" was 47... read this if want an explanation.) 

So while visiting my family in Okeechobee Florida, I decided to get a tattoo that reads "47" only I thought it would be cool to get it in the Elvish language of Sindarin, a language Tolkien invented for Middle Earth.

In the Appendices of Lord of the Rings, I found a list of letters, numbers, and symbols of the Sindarin language. I picked the symbol that was beside the number 4 and the symbol that was beside the number 7 for my tattoo. My sister and I went to the tattoo parlor and I branded myself forever with these beautiful symbols..of what I was sure was the number 47, in Sindarin.

But several weeks later, while visiting, I made a shocking discovery. My interpretation of the list of numbers and symbols was incorrect. As I started to realize that the symbols I had on my hip were not a Sindarin 4 or 7, I started to panic,  "What the heck have I branded myself with? What if it's 'I love Sauron' or 'Death to Frodo' or '666"?!!

I had to find out.

So I began the search for an Elvish language expert. I quickly found one in the Hall of Fire Chat on I sent them a picture of my tattoo and they sent me a detailed graph explaining the true meaning of my tattoo.

The symbols were not numbers at all, the first symbol means "Feather" or the letter K and the second symbol means "Iron" or the letter J. So my tattoo could stand for King Jesus or a more appropriate branding on my body, Feather Iron.

Feather - kind; character; nature:
something very light, small, or trivial.

Iron - something hard, strong, rigid, unyielding.
an instrument, utensil, weapon, etc., made of iron.
a sword.

I began to see all of this as divine providence. The words Feather and Iron are like bi-polar extremes of strength and frailty, gentleness and grit. Yep, that's me.

And that's why it's my favorite mistake.


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