It has been estimated that roughly twenty-five percent of all tattoos utilize animals. These animal tattoos become a way for us to express emotions, feelings, instincts, and even past and present experiences. Although what individuals associated with a particular animal has a great deal to do with the symbolic meaning that they personally ascribe to it, many animal images seem to speak directly about ferocity or grace, swiftness or strength, purity or poison, based mostly on the common perceptions that we have of them. Animal symbolism is among the most ancient of the representational tattoo.
Animal Symbolism And Totems
Since time immemorial, animals have served as harbingers of personality traits we, as humans, all aspire to achieve. Animals are powerful symbols in our spiritual toolbox. Native American animal totems most commonly come to mind when discussing this topic, animal signs are found throughout all cultures spanning the globe.
Animals can create our visions of how our lives could be if we lived more simply. From that point of view, animal tattoos and totems in our lives affirm our spiritual goals. By focusing on the attributes of our totems, we internalize these traits, and that is how we begin to externalize the very character we absorb from our totems.
–Land Animal Tattoos
These are critters who are mostly found hanging out on the land. As land creatures, these babies talk to us about what is foundational in our lives. This list of animals will speak to us in terms of what anchors us, such as Home, Family, Work…elements that are essential to the nature comforts’ of our lives.
–Water Animal Tattoos
These are critters who are mostly found hanging out marshes, seas, lakes, ponds, etc. As water creatures, these lovelies speak to us about what is churning within our emotions. These water babies tend to lend us understanding when it comes to our dreams and intuitions. Consider – water is an unknown quantity. We can see what is above the surface, but we’re rather clueless as to what is mustering below. That means water creatures will help us understand some unknown/unseen or murky elements in our lives
–Air Animal Tattoos
These are critters who are mostly found caught up in the clouds. These creatures live in an ephemeral, dreamy realm. Think about it: Unless they are touching the ground, or nesting, our creatures of the air are consistently in a state of intangibly, airy bliss. These air babies tend to lend us understanding when it comes to our communication. Our air creatures are superior messengers. Why do you think a dove was selected to bring Noah the big news about the Earth’s condition (according to Biblical text)? So, we can ask ourselves why are so many birds the icon of so many nations? It’s because the beasties of the air represent infinite potential. They bring us news of a certain type that is both reliable and remarkable.
–Reptile And Amphibian Animal Totem
These are creatures who are snuggled up in the earth or even in muggy bogs. We’re talking about nitty-gritty critters here. Amphibians and reptiles are all about sensory perception. They reverberate to the energy of awareness, being alert and taking care of business. What’s more, these creatures take care of their business in short order. In essence, these creatures help us understand our primal instincts. They also guide us in obtaining our goals on the straightest path of least resistance.
Some Animal Tattoos Meaning
Many animals hold a special place in our personal lives and cultures. They’re a major part of our modern life, and they have been connected to the human race for thousands of years.
- Bear: The Bear is a prominent symbol worldwide. Bears stood as symbols for wisdom, protection, and spirituality. Most commonly, bears represent power, motherhood, and fortitude.
- Butterfly: Traditionally, they represent transition or a transformative event. A butterfly starts its life out as a caterpillar, and only after going through metamorphosis does it emerge as a beautiful butterfly, with all its potential to be seen.
- Dolphins: many people have strong emotional connections with these sea creatures, making them a popular tattoo choice. Dolphin tattoos represent harmony, friendship, playfulness, and freedom.
- Elephants: these dignified animals are a popular tattoo design choice, and they symbolize power, longevity, and prosperity.
- Fox: these cunning creatures are symbols of wisdom and magic, and they can also represent a strong connection to nature.
- Horse: Humans have a long history of companionship with horses, and they’re a central part of life in many cultures. They symbolize courage, loyalty, strength, and freedom.
- Koi Fish: Koi fish have a very long history in Asian culture. They’re a symbol of strength and persistence, because of their ability to swim upstream and transform into a powerful dragon once they pass the dragon’s gate. Koi fish can also represent the overcoming of obstacles, prosperity, and independence.
- Lion: this noble animal is a source of strength, courage, and protection. In Egypt, they were used as war deities because the lioness is known for her aggressive attributes and protection. Lions are also seen in front of imperial palaces in China, as symbols of protection.
- Raven: the blackbird, the raven is a popular symbol for death and mystery. In Celtic culture, ravens were associated with war because they were seen eating at the remains of dead soldiers, but they’re also understood as symbols of protection and magic.
- Snake: it represents both life and death. Since a snake’s venom can be lethal or life-saving, the snake has come to symbolize the cycle of life, including birth and death.
- Swallow: swallow tattoos date back to the early 1900s, and they were commonly worn by sailors. They believed that if a sailor is drowned, the swallows would carry their soul to heaven.
- Tiger: traditionally, the tiger represents fearlessness, royalty, and strength. As the rival of the Chinese Dragon, the two are often seen fighting the same battles. The tiger is also the national animal of many countries including India, South Korea, Malaysia, and Bangladesh.
- Turtle: they have cultural significance in many places, including Japan, North America, and Africa, and they are popular symbols for longevity, wisdom, and peace.
- Wolf: primarily it stands for loyalty, greed, and destruction. In Japan, they dedicate shrines to the wolf to protect their crops from boars and deer. In Roman mythology, wolves are used to symbolize greed and destruction throughout the Bible. To many people, the wolf is like the dog- loyal, and built to protect.