Gods Above: A Closer Look at Religious Tattoos

Gods Above: A Closer Look at Religious Tattoos

Learn the true meaning and symbolism behind these spiritual tattoos.

Throughout the ages, people from every single part of the world have managed to rationalize things they can’t explain with religion. No matter what book you subscribe to — the Quran, the Bible, or maybe the Mahayana Sutra — or don’t subscribe to, you have to admit that some of the stories in there are pretty interesting. If the Greeks hadn’t thought up a way to explain thunder, something truly enigmatic at the time, we wouldn’t have any blockbuster movie involving Zeus. If Norse mythology hadn’t invented Thor, we wouldn’t be blessed with multiple films involving Chris Hemsworth in astoundingly tight spandex and flowing hair extensions. You see where we’re going with this?

The jury is still out on how many gods there are in Hinduism, although it’s commonly thought that the number is somewhere in the hundreds of millions. Of course, there are the more recognizable deities like Ganesh whose portrait you’re probably familiar with, but did you know that Ganesh is also the god of wisdom and education? Part elephant, part man Ganesh’s outward appearance may have something to do with why the world reveres elephants as incredibly intelligent creatures.

Fudo-Myo is an ancient Japanese buddhist deity that is said to ward off evil, but you might remember him from some of your favorite Irezumi work. Although his outward appearance might be a bit frightening, Fudo-Myo is actually a protector that aids those on the path to enlightenment.

We all know the story of Medusa, how Perseus chopped off her head and used it as a weapon to turn his enemies to stone, but did you know that Medusa had children? According to ancient mythology, when Perseus beheaded her, droplets of her blood spurting from her neck formed what would later be known as Pegasus — the divine horse companion to Hercules. Sure, it might be a bit farfetched, but then again what religion isn’t?

Say what you will about religion, but there’s no denying the fables, mythology, and legends behind deities are absolutely fascinating. What else were you supposed to do in those pre-internet days besides make up reasons as to why the sky sometimes made loud noises? Because Chris Hemsworth was up there wrangling Tom Hiddleston in, obviously.

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