Humans have been inking their skin with tattoos for thousands of years. The ancient practice has been used to show status or tribal affinity, to decorate the body, and sometimes as a form of punishment.One of the oldest reasons for tattooing is, most often, connected to spirituality. Tattoos were used as amulets that safeguarded people against the unknown.Today, tattoos are still ways for people to express their religious beliefs or spirituality.Tattoos are permanent, and they can be used to tell a story that is uniquely yours. Here are some spiritual symbols that people get inked to show their belief in a certain law of nature or in a certain religion.
The lotus is a powerful symbol in Asian religions. This tropical plant rises above its muddy, watery surroundings and blooms into a delicate, fragrant flower. Because of its purity, many Hindu gods have been depicted in art sitting on a lotus, or holding the flower in their hands. In Buddhism, an open lotus flower represents enlightenment.
The triquetra, also known as the Trinity Knot, is a Celtic and Nordic symbol with pagan roots. Some pagans believe the three interlocking parts of the triquetra to symbolize the connectedness of the earth, sea and sky. Christians came to use this symbol to illustrate the Trinity, the idea that God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all one being. The triquetra also represents eternity.
Christians believe that Jesus, the son of God, was born into this world as a baby, lived a holy life of service, and died on a cross to save the world from its sin. As a result, the cross is a reminder of God’s eternal love, redemptive power and saving grace.
The dove is a symbol that is meaningful within many religious traditions. In the Biblical story of the flood, it was a dove that returned to the ark with an olive leaf in its beak, giving Noah the signal that the waters were beginning to recede. In Christianity, a dove is said to represent the Holy Spirit. In Greek mythology the dove was a symbol of Aphrodite, the goddess of love.
Om is a many-layered word. For Hindus, it is a sacred syllable that captures the essence of the entire universe. It is actually composed of three different sounds (a-u-m) that can represent several important triads: the earth, the atmosphere and heaven, for example, or the waking, dreaming and dreamless states of consciousness.
The Mandukya Upanishad, a Hindu sacred text, describes Om: “The past, the present, and the future, all that was, all that is, all that will be is om. Likewise, all else that may exist beyond the bounds of time, that too is om.”
People get Om inked on their bodies to invite good karma into their lives, or protect themselves from evil forces.
Water is usually inked in the form of waves. Water is an essential, life giving force in nearly all of the world’s religious traditions.Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Christians and followers of Shintoism use water to symbolically purify themselves.
The Tree of Life
Trees are sacred reminders of the interconnectedness of all life. A tree is a sign of strength and resilience in the face of a storm, but they offer shelter and nourishment to those who seek their shade.
In some religions, the tree of life was a symbol of eternal life.
Thus, there are infinite spiritual symbols with deep inner meanings that you can get inked. These symbols should be used more to confirm your faith in them than just a fancy drawing inked on your body. You could always ask the tattoo artist to help you in choosing a design or symbol that conforms to your faith, and enhances it.