We often talk about what our ink means to us, and with this collection of symbol tattoos, we take a deeper look once again. No matter how big or how small, something so permanent, like this body art, can mean a whole lot to the person whose skin carries the design. While some people don't mind if their pieces have meaning, for many many others it really does matter. Symbolism and ancient iconography is a perfect way for people to use well-known visual concepts to depict their emotional or philosophical ideas with a meaningful tattoo.
The first three symbol tattoos in this collection are from the sacred geometry style. Aries Rhysing has wonderfully blended, like he so often does, multiple symbols to create a super impactful design. A skull, lotus, mandala and third eye can all be seen illustrated here...and while singularly they already have meaning, put together they encompass something even more deep. The mandala tattoo, often representing the universe, the lotus, which usually symbolizes the life cycle, a skull, which usually means death, and the third eye, a symbol of enlightenment...all of these together create a conceptual piece with unending depth.
Dulah's mandala is very similar, as is Noski's sacred geometric piece which actually has another symbol hidden within the clever design! The black band at the bottom of this forearm tattoo bears a lot of resemblance to a Japanese Enso. The Enso is a Zen Buddhist practice and icon which means mindfulness, and acceptance of the inner self and outside world as one.
The next three pieces in this selection of symbol tattoos are all very different...Jefree Naderali's moon phase and lion portrait is imbued with the power of the moon and the king of the jungle. In our Birth Month Flower Tattoo article, we talked about how various flowers mean various things...and what does a lush red rose mean? It is the symbolic epitome of love, romance, and beauty...wearing one of these for a lifetime can almost always remind the person that their life will be full of love. Jamie Luna's piece is a spectacular surrealism piece...there are definitely some clues there to the meaning behind it, but we thought it would be fun if you unpacked it yourself. Surrealism is fraught with tons of meaning, especially since many of these pieces deal with the subconscious and dreams.
We also brought in some traditional pieces that contain symbols like the Buddhist Om, done here as a snake by Boxcar. There is also a cobra with a crescent moon, and an hourglass...While the cobra symbolizes wisdom, the hourglass mainly symbolizes the passing of time..and if one is wise, they'll use their time to the utmost.
You may already be familiar with the symbol in Yaroslav Putyata's piece. It is called a Caduceus; two snakes wrapped around a staff with wings at its head. This icon has been used in many different ways, by many different cultures. Traditionally, the image has been seen in conjunction with many Greek and Roman gods that act as messengers, like Hermes and Iris. It has also been used as a medical symbol for a very long time, but may actually have it's deepest historical roots in Mesopotamia "with the Sumerian god Ningishzida; whose symbol, a staff with two snakes intertwined around it, dates back to 4000 B.C. to 3000 B.C."
Like the Caduceus, the last three symbol tattoos in this collection are pretty ancient icons. Moons, lotus flowers, and a dream catcher, each of these images perfectly endows the piece with a special sort of meaning for the wearer. And although many of these meanings have esoteric beginnings, you can never really know what the tattoo means to the collector, until you ask! You may be surprised!