Spiritual tattoos – symbols, meaning and design ideas
Spiritual tattoos are among the most powerful in the world and are a popular choice for both men and women. They are not necessarily religious. These tattoo designs usually feature strong symbols like mandala, hamsa, Budha, lotus, yin and yang, etc. and are an expression of the spirituality of the person or the religious beliefs of the individual so you can see spiritual tattoos that are based on images typical for Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. Whether religious or non-religious, spiritual tattoos are a powerful statement and you should carefully think of what message you want to send to the world when choosing the design of your tattoo. We shall look at some of the most popular and powerful spiritual symbols and see their meaning.
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Spiritual tattoos – symbols and meaning
Spiritual tattoos come in a variety of designs yet all of them are based on universally recognized symbols.
Water is a powerful symbol and often seen in spiritual tattoos. It is one of the four general elements of the world. Water is life, no one will argue with this. Tattoos, where water plays the main role, are very old, but at the same time they do not lose their relevance. Water symbolizes the flow of life change and purity, it is the essence of life. As a Christian symbol it represents purification or purity.
Moon and sun tattoos date back thousands of years and are recognized all over the world. The sun gives life and symbolizes fertility and rebirth, new beginnings and strength while the moon represents mystery, eternity, life, etc.
Tree and Tree of life tattoos have a deep spiritual meaning. On the first place the trees are sacred in many cultures and symbolize the connection between heaven and earth as well as growth and development, the endless cycle of life, fertility, knowledge, eternal life, strength, protection and immortality. Often the tree of life is depicted with numerous fruits and leaves. It is believed that they contribute to the maintenance of good health. The meaning of this spiritual tattoo is infinity, continuity, the connection between ancestors and their descendants.
Dove tattoos, although not mainstream, symbolize love and peace and the dove is widely known and popular symbol. In Christianity the dove is associated with Jesus and the birds are mentioned in the Bible. The dove is also accepted as a messenger, carrying messages from God, it is a symbol of new beginnings, devotion, faithfulness, Holy Spirit, etc. These spiritual tattoos come in a variety of designs and the dove can be combined with words or other symbols.
The dream catcher symbol came to us from the American Indians. In their culture, this symbol is of great importance. The Indians wove the dream catcher from the harsh threads, willow twigs, wooden beads and natural feathers, and hung it over the bed. According to ancient Indian beliefs it protects a person’s sleep and his life from evil spirits. North American Indians combined the dream catcher with an image of totemic animals to increase his strength and you can often see a dream catcher tattoo with a wolf or a bear in the center. Some people believe that these tattoos restore the internal power of its owner and help in acquiring spiritual experience.
Trinity Knot, also known as Triquetra, is one of the most popular Celtic symbols with deep spiritual meaning, hence the Triquetra is widely recognized as a spiritual tattoo. For the Celts it was a symbol of the natural forces: earth, air, and water and on a more spiritual level it represented life, death, and rebirth. Christians accept the Trinity knot as the three elements of the trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost). Often the Trinity knot is combined with a circle, which symbolizes eternity and adds significantly to the meaning of the image.
Hamsa, also popular as the Hand of God, Fatima’s Hand or Miriam’s hand, is a popular symbol in different cultures mostly in Judaism and Islam, in the Middle East and northern parts of Africa. It has two basic shapes and is used primarily as a talisman or amulet and nowadays the tattoo is widely popular among people from any religions and nationalities. Often hamsa tattoos are designed with other images located in the center of the symbol – an eye, a fish or the Star of David. The meaning of God’s hand is protective, it protects from evil eye. Modern tattoo designs combine powerful symbols like mandala with hamsa, lotus, elephant, owl, jewels, red flowers, roses, colorful leaves, etc.
Chakras represent the invisible centers of human energy and are located along the spine. These symbols belong to the group of spiritual tattoos and each chakra is depicted as a geometric figure or lotus. Chakra tattoos are usually chosen to enhance the connection between one’s mind and soul. Every symbol has its own meaning and different color, which means that you need to be very careful when choosing your chakra tattoo design and understand what it represents, especially if you are interested in the spiritual meaning of your tattoo.
Yin and yang tattoos represent the unity of opposites and it is the most famous symbol of balance. The swirling white and black symbol is the most recognizable and popular one all over the world depicting the inseparable opposing forces which work together in harmony. Yin and yang tattoos come in various designs – Yin Yang and lotus, Yin Yang symbol in an eye, Yin Yang heart tattoo, Yin Yang koi fish, etc. It should be noted that Yin and yang depicts the opposites in a circle that has become a symbol of infinity, and in addition there is a mystical center in which there is nothing, no movement, no worry, no struggle, no suffering.
Buddhists symbols and spiritual tattoos
Buddha tattoos are very popular among people who are interested in the philosophy of the East and this is one of the most popular religious tattoos. Buddhism is a very popular religion, which has many followers and they consider Buddha not so much a god as a Teacher. These tattoos are not only attractive, they have a deep philosophical and spiritual meaning and even people who are not related to the culture of the East find these tattoos appealing. What is important to realize is, that you do not have to choose an image of Buddha but a symbol – for example a blossoming pink lotus symbolizes the Buddha himself.
Lotus tattoos are widely popular as this flower is one of the most famous symbols of the East and its culture. According to legend, Buddha was born from a lotus. This flower often serves as a throne for meditation. Lotus has amazed and admired people for many centuries not only with its beauty, but also with its incredible ability to keep its purity even in the dirtiest lakes and marshes. Lotus symbolizes perfection, life and death, purity and eternity, spiritual growth and development, integrity and fertility, divinity and immortality, peace and tranquility, struggle and happiness. Lotus is one of the favorable Signs in the Chinese tradition and in Japan it is a symbol of chastity. The meaning of lotus tattoos also differs depending on its color. A white lotus means spiritual perfection, red is a sign of pure heart, love and passion, blue lotus means wisdom and knowledge, pink stands for divinity.
Mandala is another universal symbol which has deep spiritual meaning and consists of very complex patterns and different iconographic images. In Buddhist mythology, the mandala is a very important sacred symbol that reflects the geometric scheme of the universe, or rather, its structure. In addition, this diagram shows all Buddhist saints. Mandala tattoos are a holistic image of the world and this meaning can be explained by the fact that the main figure of the mandala is a circle inscribed in a square. Sometimes this figure is divided into four triangles, which, in turn, are oriented to the sides of the world and painted in special colors. Mandalas come in many different designs and when we talk about tattoo, it has different meanings and can be combined with other symbols. In general, mandala symbolizes wisdom and spiritual integrity. Very often the circle of the mandala is wrapped in beautiful patterns, making the symbol look like a lotus flower with its delicate petals. The basic idea of mandala tattoos is to protect the inner world of a person. This symbol acts as a guardian which not only protects you from the negative impact of bad energy, but will attract positive energy and helps preserve the integrity of the soul and find peace within itself, expressing it in its own way. Mandala has a strong energy that can influence the owner of the tattoo, especially if he believes in it so it is very important to choose the right mandala tattoo design.
Om tattoos feature a symbol with many meanings and usually the tattoos consist of a combination of three letters and a crescent moon with a dot above them. An Om tattoo has a meaning of great power, protecting from misfortunes, directing believers to enlightenment and knowledge. The symbol helps, protects and saves in desperate situations and is often used in combination with flowers, ornaments, rings, etc. When choosing such a spiritual tattoo you need to remember the sacred meaning of the symbol.
The endless knot, knot of eternity or Tibetan knot, also known as the “Mystic Dragon”, is one of the eight symbols of Tibetan Buddhism. It resembles the Celtic knot – a symmetrical knot with no ends signifying eternity and unity.The endless form of the Tibetan knot reminds us of the cycle of rebirth and of karmic connections. It symbolizes the changeable nature of time and interconnection of all things, and also the unity of compassion and wisdom. It is also a symbol of the connections of all phenomena and living beings in the universe. On a philosophical level it means the desire for knowledge, the mystery of immortality, eternal youth and beauty.
Most popular Christian religious tattoos
When we talk about spiritual tattoos and spirituality in general, there are numerous religious tattoos and tattoo designs that are based on Christian symbols – Jesus, cross, angels, Virgin Mary, dove, angel wings, etc. However, you should know that the church has a negative attitude towards tattoos and the reason for that is in the Leviticus 19:28 – “You must not make cuts in your flesh for a dead person, and you must not make tattoo markings on yourselves.” Having in mind that these texts are quite ancient, Biblical scholars have reached a consensus that this verse does not refer to modern body art or tattooing as we know it today but for old practices associated with mourning the dead. Nowadays people choose religious tattoos to express their beliefs and these tattoos are equally popular among men and women.
Jesus Christ tattoos are chosen by both men and women. On the first place these tattoos express the deep faith of the person and the Christian values: honesty, love for other people, love of freedom, hope, compassion, forgiveness, etc. These spiritual tattoos feature a variety of designs – Jesus wearing the crown of thorns on his head, praying Jesus, Jesus and cross, etc. There is a belief that you should not choose a design with and an image of the crucifix, because the Savior will continue to experience incredible pain. Often Jesus tattoos include other elements – angels, trees, cherubs, hands clasped together in prayer.
Cross tattoos are another widely recognizable symbol and despite the fact that the cross symbol has a much more ancient history and dates back before Christianity, it is accepted as a religious image. As we look at spiritual tattoos, we shall explain the meaning of the cross tattoo as a religious image. According to the Christian faith, the cross is the symbol of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ by the Romans. The Christian cross conveys the significance of the triumph of life over death, just as Jesus was able to rise when he was crucified. The tattoo comes in different variations – a simple Latin cross, symbolizing the vertical line of the divine beginning, horizontal – the earth. The intersection of lines means the union of these two worlds. The crucifix is another popular tattoo design. The tattoo is often combined with other elements which is a very good idea, because the additional image, as a rule, adds to the whole meaning of the tattoo composition. For example – butterflies and cross are a symbol of the resurrection of Christ. Quotes from the bible are very often added on a banner at the foot of the cross, flowers – roses, thorns of roses, lilies; angel wings are the most classic interpretation of the cross in tattoo design.
Angles and angel wings are widely popular for men and women as well. Angel tattoos feature numerous designs – fallen angel, guardian angel, crying angel, and these messengers of God are mentioned in almost any culture. The philosophers of India believed that the entire universe is divided into 7 main levels, which are inhabited by various angelic and demonic creatures. Ancient Greeks believed that a guardian was assigned to each person by higher powers. In Islam the belief in angels is one of the main pillars of faith. The images of wings can be traced back to Ancient Egypt where pharaohs adorned themselves with images of outstretched wings in order to emphasize their position over subjects, as if rising above them. Wings were associated with elves and fairies as well, but nowadays they are most often considered as a symbol of the God’s messengers. Many people interpreter the image of wings as a symbol of freedom and the free spirit of Icarus. Angel and angel wings tattoo can be combined with heart, flowers and depending on the particular tattoo design, with other symbols.
Spiritual tattoo designs – Hindu tattoos ideas
We have to mention Hindu tattoos as well as they are a large group with deep spiritual meaning. Hindu originated in India and is one of the major religions, except that is one of the oldest ones as well. People who practice Hinduism are devoted to their faith and the main themes of this religion are patience, duty, hard work, etc. The imagery of Hindu spiritual tattoos is exceptionally rich. Hindu tattoos are very diverse both in terms of image selection, and in terms of design. However, all of them have one noble idea – the fight against evil, the victory of good over dark forces, prosperity and happiness of man. Some of the most popular characters are Kali –the goddess of time, creation, destruction and power, Ganesha who is the favorite of all as he looks intriguing with his elephant face, Om tattoo, Goddess Lakshmi, God Shiva, etc.
Ganesha tattoos are the most typical ones. It is a figure with a head of an elephant and a human, rather well-fed, body. Ganesha is considered the master of success and the destroyer of obstacles, both material and spiritual. Often the deity is depicted with a snake wrapped around the neck, waist, or ankles. The snake is a symbol of energy conversion. Ganesha can be shown in different poses: sitting, standing or dancing. The number of hands of God varies from 2 to 32 from the picture to the picture and he can hold a wide variety of things – a rosary which is a symbol of the desire for knowledge, goad – to remove obstacles, a noose – for catching difficulties on the way, broken tusk, laddoo, etc.
Shiva personifies the cosmic consciousness, the static male origin of the universe, the opposition of Shakti, the dynamic feminine principle of the universe. The meaning of the tattoo is power, strength, a change for the better. The image of the god exists in many interpretations, and in each composition a separate element plays a certain role. For example, the trident of Shiva is a weapon with which you can control the world. Its main meaning (including the image on a tattoo) includes three aspects: the creator, the keeper, the destroyer. Sketches of Shiva tattoos come in a variety of sizes, and can tell a certain story. Particular attention should be given to the color scheme. In India, each color has a certain meaning and it is worthwhile to carefully study Indian culture and religion before making a tattoo of Shiva.
As you see spiritual tattoos vary significantly and include religious and non-religious symbols – dragons, koi fish, tribal symbols, Aztec symbols,etc. People have believed in higher power for thousands of years and whether you choose a laughing Buddha, dancing Ganesha, a mandala or a cross, the spiritual tattoo should mean something to you, to be a statement of your individuality, to create a unique connection between your mind and soul and give you a sense of peace and harmony.