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This tattoo comes from the Flickrstream of Metaphorge and is licensed under Creative Commons.
This tattoo was inked by the amazing Idexa of Black and Blue Tattoo out of San Francisco. Be sure to visit the site as there is a lot of very nice work to view.
No real historical background to add to this; I'm just a sucker for spirals. They can be found the world over from almost every culture and every epoch. While they don't always represent the exact same things from region to region throughout time they are usually somehow linked to either goddess worship, veneration of ancestors or the continuity of life, or all of the above.