Tuesday, August 23, 2016

My Tattoo | Expecto Patronum

My tattoo says “Expecto Patronum”. If you ask me what it means, I’ll give you a custom-made answer based on who you are to me and how much you know about Harry Potter.

In Short

The 5 second answer is that my tattoo means hope and inner strength. Since you are the lucky audience of this blog, I will explain to you in exhaustive detail why it means that and why that’s important to me.

Harry Potter

I believe that real world magic and witchcraft are either shenanigans or evil perversions of real spiritual concepts, but I do love the Harry Potter books and revere them as outstanding literary achievements. Not only did J.K. Rowling create a fun world for escapists, but she wove in deeply meaningful emotional concepts such as sacrifice, depression, racism, loyalty, and the sacredness of life.

In these stories, expecto patronum are the words used while performing the Patronus Charm, which is primarily a defensive spell against creatures called Dementors. This is one of the most powerful and difficult spells in the Harry Potter universe. It is a defensive spell that very few people have ever mastered. These Dementors feeds on the souls of humans in a fatal attack called the Dementor’s Kiss, which is so sinister that it is even traumatizing to watch.

The Patronus Charm

It has been said that the very presence of a Dementor “sucks all the happiness out of the world.” You don’t have to read too much into these creatures to conclude that they are an allegory for despair and depression. On the other hand, the Patronus Charm is a clear remedy for both the fictional creature and for the emotions they represent. To perform the spell, the caster needs to focus on a hopeful memory. Only the most powerful memory will be successful at creating a patronus, which protects you from the Dementor.

Light & Dark

A patronus is made of bright silver wisps of light and can be a cloudy shapeless shield or an animal embodiment of the pure nature of the person casting it. The conflict of light and dark is on every page of these stories, symbolized in the descriptions of the magic, the global conflict of the villains and protagonists, and in poignant moments of inner turmoil within the viewpoint character himself. I am no stranger to this battle, and I love the message these stories have of finding inner strength through the pure love of friends and family, even if it has to be found in a memory.

Inner Strength

In the 3rd book of the series, Harry and his godfather are saved from Dementors by someone who he thinks is his late father. He is consumed by the idea to the point of traveling back in time to meet his father while he saves them. While there, he watched in horror as he realizes that no one was coming to save him and that the person he saw saving them was actually his future self.

At the end of the day, we could have nurtured the most healthy relationships with friends and family, but true victory over life's great terrors will come down to us and the inner strength we have earned. This message of hope, pure love, and personal integrity are now written permanently on my forearm, always in view.