Common Metaphors and Symbols in Tattoo Designs
We get numerous questions regarding the specific meanings behind our tattoo designs. We consider everyone at TattooFinder.com to be more knowledgeable about the symbolism commonly seen in tattooing than the average person, but we would never say we have all of the answers. The truth is that it's sometimes impossible to know. A symbol can have many meanings associated with it depending on the context and/or perspective as well as the artist's intent.
Consider the pentagram, which is a widely used and controversial symbol. Pentagrams celebrate the number five, a number which has significance in various cultures and belief systems, such as the Chinese Five Phases or Elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, water), or Medieval Christianity's Five Wounds of Christ, as well as the Five Virtues of Knighthood (generosity, courtesy, chastity, chivalry, and piety). In Wiccan belief the number five is symbolic of the four elements plus Gaia, or Mother Earth, being the fifth. A pentagram could be symbolic of all of these cross-cultural elements. Inverted, the pentagram also has a connection to Satanism. Depending on the angle of your tattoo, how will your pentagram appear to others? Not only in its position, but also in its meaning – some people don’t realize that the pentagram has symbolism beyond Satanism.
These differences don't only apply to pentagrams but also other literal symbols. A dragon tattoo can represent power, fertility, or it could be a celebration of a person’s passion for fantasy literature. If it’s a Chinese dragon it might stand for luck.
Symbols represent different things to different people. The best thing to do is do your research. However, keep in mind that no matter how diligently you research a symbol or design, it could still mean something different to an onlooker. What is important is that you understand the meaning of the symbol for yourself, and educate yourself or others about its interpretation.