A tattoo can be one of the most meaningful decisions that you are ever going to make. When you plan to get a new tattoo, it would be wise to look more profoundly than the initial image. This means that it would be wise if you look for its meaning. Ask yourself the questions: What does it mean today? What meanings it had in the past? What does it mean to you?
The number of symbolic designs is quite great. From the ancient religions and histories which set the founding blocks of this world, to the infant ideas and cultures of nowadays, there is something for all.
In order to facilitate your choice, we are going to present you several symbols, designs, and their meanings.
Here they are:
The halo is actually the symbol of holiness, a representation of an enlightened spirit, using the right of light. Often, it is presented as radiance around the head. Sometimes, its representation is as a mandorla around the whole body. This is common for the Virgin of Guadalupe tattoo.
Apart from images of Jesus and saints, there are other forms of the halo in tattoos. The most common one is brilliantly radiant gold ring suspended over any number of people or things. In these particular images, it conveys less a sense of the sacred and more the center of spiritual energy. It also conveys the presence of something unique, special, and important. Halos convey the notion that a dead person or pet is still alive to the one that wears the tattoo. This is often in a spiritual way.
In the French folklore, the goblin is a mischievous little spirit that likes to attach itself to households. Ugly, and temperamental, goblins perform different types of pranks. They bang pots and pans, rap on walls, pull the covers off the sleeping, etc. However, they can even perform some household tasks.
They are especially fond of small and pretty children and wine. In artwork, as well as tattoo imagery, they are sometimes indistinguishable from gnomes. But, gnomes are generally kindly, while goblins aren’t.
Ibis is the tall and thin, water-wading bird, which has pointed and downward-curving beak. For ancient Egyptians, this bird was a creature of great symbolic importance. They even considered it the incarnation of the god Thoth. A great number of mummified ibises accompanied burials.
Much like the god, ibis also finds its association and meaning with wisdom, intellect, and knowledge. In Judaism, people created ibis with foreknowledge, heralding the flood of Nile. However, they considered it unclean. These birds feed off the carcasses of dead fish during the early Christian bestiaries.
Hobbits are a peaceful and amiable race of little human-like creature that lived in Middle Earth. Tattoos of hobbits form part of fantasy tattoos. The Hobbit, which J.R.R. Tolkien created, enjoys a warm place in the readers’ hearts. The two books are The Hobbit, written in 1937, and The Lord of the Rings, written 1954-55.
Tolkien creates a completely believable world and tells a tale of the heroic struggle between evil and good with profound meaning. He creates vivid images that nowadays inspire all manner of other creations, which include cartoons, movies, and numerous tattoos.
We can see the letters INRI in Christian crucifixion scenes, and they are also frequently present in tattoo imagery. Such kinds of tattoos involve Jesus Christ on the cross.
The Roman governor Pilate ordered that they should place an inscription on the cross. They wrote the inscription in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek. The letters “INRI” are, in fact, the acronym for the Latin version. The version is Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum, meaning Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.
- Jacob’s ladder
Jacob’s ladder actually comes from one story in the Judeo-Christian tradition. In this story, Jacob dreams he sees a ladder on which angels go up and down, between heaven and earth.
Generally said, ladders symbolize ascension, and the ladder that connects the heavenly and mortal realms also symbolizes ascension and connection. The basic meaning is actually the bridge and an expression of communication between humanity and God.
- Great Omi
The image of the Great Omi, a popular sideshow attraction, has itself been used as tattoo artwork. The other name of Great Omi is Zebra Man from the bold black stripes over much of his body. He was born Horace Ridler, to a wealthy English family during 1892. He served in the British Army, leaving the military after World War I. During 1922 when he was thirty, he started transforming himself into a tattoo attraction.
However, not until 1927, with George Burchett’s tattoo work in London, the black zebra stripes took their final bold shape. His place in different famous circuses and even in Ripley’s Believe It or Not, was his permanent one since then. Even though he died in 1969, his image is still very popular in the tattoo industry.