Madonna’s New Tattoo – The Kabbalah Tree of Life
Earlier this month, Madonna revealed on her Instagram that she and her 16-year-old son David Banda have gotten matching ‘Tree of Life’ tattoos on their wrists. It has been a while since the Queen of Pop spurred a resurgence of interest in the Jewish mystic tradition of Kabbalah when she was first spotted sporting the traditional red talisman string on her wrist, but she is still following the teachings.
Generally, the Tree of Life is a recurring theme in tattooing and is a fundamental archetype in many of the world’s spiritual traditions and religions. However, the Kabbalistic version has very specific connotations. Let’s take a closer look at what the symbol represents – but first a few details on the celeb family affair inking.
Madonna’s family tattoos
Reportedly, Madonna had already gotten the symbol done sometime in March, whereas David, who the singer adopted when he was just over a year old, had his done on the 4th of April. However, while accompanying her son to the tattoo artist, Madonna decided to get another one in red ink, reading ‘maman’ – French for mother – saying it was her turn to bleed for her mother who had bled for her when giving birth.
The incomparable pop star was ink-less for the first 62 years of her life, but since getting her first tattoo a little over two years ago (the letters of the first names of her six children – L R D M S E for Lourdes, Rocco, David, Mercy, Stella and Estere), she seems to have become quite the fan.
In November 2021, as her third tattoo, Madonna had the Hebrew word for ‘kissed’ inked on her wrist, beneath the initials of her children. At the time, the icon said she had ‘completed the trilogy of tattoos’ that she had intended to have done.
Her second was the letter ‘X” on her other wrist, in celebration of her ‘Madame X’ album. Completed? We think we know when someone has caught the bug, and are willing to bet we will see more ink-related news from the Queen of Pop in the future.
The Tree of Life
Commonly, the Tree of Life represents the interconnectedness of all things. The tree reaches into the earth for nourishment, and yet it also extends heavenwards to the sky with its branches, creating a conduit between heaven and earth, receiving sustenance through sunlight and soil and binding carbon dioxide but also contributing new oxygen, essentially breathing with all that is.
Photo: Robert Fludd / Deutsche Phototeek via Wikimedia
Meanwhile, the specific Kabbalistic tree of life usually consists of ten nodes (sefirot) that symbolise different archetypes – these are thought to be the ways in which Ein Sof (usually translated as ‘infinity’ or ‘the endless’) reveals itself and represent different aspects of God, human psychology and mind, or existence itself.
There are really 11 nodes, but two are thought to be different manifestations – conscious and unconscious – of the same principle. These are connected by 22 lines and arranged into three columns. They continuously create both the physical and higher metaphysical realms, and the tree can be read as a map of lived experience and consciousness expansion.