Whether you’re about to get your first tattoo or it’s the next one in your collection, it’s always useful to know if the symbol that your tattoo artist is about to whip out his tattoo machine and permanently ink you with has an appropriate meaning!
So what are the meanings behind the myriad of tattoos out there? Some of them are pretty obvious but some others you may not know – and they may even affect your decision when choosing a tattoo.
So read on and hopefully you’ll gain a little insight into what that tattoo you’re considering – or maybe even already have – means.
All Seeing Eye ~ this well known symbol of an eye in a pyramid or triangle surrounded by light represents perception and spiritual insight. Some cultures believes it wards off evil too
Anchor ~ an old seafarer’s tattoo which was hoped to guarantee safety and salvation to its wearer
Bat ~ perhaps contrary to popular belief the bat has long represented happiness, luck and good fortune
Bird ~ birds have a lot of symbolism and can be used variously to depict themes of birth, longevity, freedom and peace
Butterfly ~ another one with lots of meaning relating to life including freedom, transformation, reincarnation and the fragility of being alive
Devil ~ can be a sinister demon or a cute, playful cartoon. Depending on the style the devil can be depicted as thoroughly evil or simply mischievous; however he always represents desire and lust
Dog ~ loyalty and faithfulness are the meaning of the dog tattoo, although many people have a portrait of a deceased pet as a tribute
Eagle ~ this mighty bird represents strength and might, as well as being a patriotic symbol in the USA
Mermaid ~ for obvious reasons, the mythical half woman, half fish is a symbol of seduction and temptation
Phoenix ~ as in the ancient stories involving phoenixes, this bird represents rebirth, resurrection and immortality
Snake ~ due to its varying images within different cultures, the snake can be used to symbolize knowledge and wisdom, destruction and temptation (as in the Bible) or rebirth and renewal (due to the shedding of its skin)
Sun ~ sun tattoos are an indication of the giving and sacredness of life and of warmth and nurture
Swallow ~ once the preserve of sailors, the old school swallow tattoo is now hugely popular. It represents good luck and home-coming, especially after an arduous journey
Yin Ying ~ the ancient Chinese symbol of 2 parts creating one whole entity: light and dark, male and female, good and evil. This is a popular choice for those wishing to acknowledge the harmony that can only come from these 2 sides existing together
This is just a tiny selection of some of the best known tattoo symbols but for 100’s more check out the rest of the web as whether you’re looking for designs, tips and hints or a new tattoo machine for your studio – there’s a wealth of tattoo-related information out there.
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