When I got my latest tattoo in December 2008, it had been many years since the previous tattoo. I was on the island of Oahu for a winter solstice gathering. I had been to this gathering once before, for Yule 2006. Before I left on this year's trip, I found myself seriously thinking about getting tattooed while in Hawaii.
I was staying with friends on the north side of Oahu, in a town called Haleiwa. I could look up shops in the area on the internet, but that doesn't really tell you how good or bad a shop actually is. To get a better idea of the tattoo scene, I asked one of my friends who got tattooed locally for her opinion. She told me of a few shops she felt were better avoided and made a recommendation for a shop a few towns over.
My design came to me one night during a fire circle when I was meditating and reading a set of cards which featured modern Hawaiian rune designs. I chose the designs for the four elements (earth, air, fire, water) and decided to have them tattooed going around my left wrist. I spent several night tracing the designs on paper, rearranging the order and location and making sure this was what I wanted. My friend also decided to get a tattoo of her own.
We went to Odyssey Tattoo in Wahiawa. The shop is small and serviceable. Both my friend and I were tattooed by a woman named Alex. She's been tattooing for a little over four years now and says she expects to be doing it until she's an old lady. I found Alex to have a really light touch when she works, which was much appreciated as I got my wrist inked all the way around.
She made a transfer for each of the four elemental designs and applied them one at a time. All four shapes were outlined and then she went back and filled them in solid black one-by-one. Start to finish tattoo time was just about a half an hour.