Tattoos have come a long way over the last few decades. As a kid, I remember they were still considered something for people on the fringes of regular society - sailors, rock stars, carnies, exotic warriors from far away, that kinda thing. Today, just 20 years later, tattoos have become practically mainstream. It seems like almost everyone has a tattoo now (or is flirting with the idea of getting one).
The thing that I love about tattoos is the symbolic meaning that they carry. Most tattoos come with some pretty interesting stories. These can be deeply symbolic and personal in some cases. Some people get huge pieces that cover their whole arms/legs/body, while others opt for something a little smaller.
Don't be fooled by size, though. Just because a tattoo is small doesn't mean it can't carry a big meaning. Check out these 13 simple-but-powerful tattoos and you'll see what I'm talking about.
1. Moon Phases
The phases of the moon have several meanings, but are usually symbolic of the changing nature of life, and/or the cyclical nature of time, karma, and life as reflected through the cycles of the moon. This can be especially meaningful to those born under the Cancer star sign, as the moon is their governing celestial body.
2. Inguz Symbol
Inguz is a Greek symbol which means "Where there is a will, there is a way." How great is that?
3. Lotus Flower
The lotus flower is considered sacred in many Asian cultures, in large part due to the fact that this gorgeous flower grows in muddy water. It's symbolic of rising above unpleasant circumstances, as well as enlightenment.
4. Om/Aum Symbol
Brit + Co.
Om/Aum is a powerful concept from ancient Hinduism. It is a powerful mantra, and some research has shown that chanting "om" produces a frequency which is considered naturally harmonious with the universe. Om represents many things, including the four states of consciousness - waking (jagrat), dreaming (swapna), deep sleep (sushupti), transcendental state (turiya) - and the world of illusion (maya).
5. Exploration Glyph
"Glyph" is short for "heiroglyphics," a form of picture-writing used by the ancient Egyptians. Heiroglyphics relied on various pictures and symbols to denote meaning. This particular glyph, which resembles a capped mountain, symbolizes "exploration."
Anchors are quite common in the tattoo world, initially popularized by sailors. Anchors also symbolize strength and stability, so they're a good symbol for someone who is a "rock" for others to rely on.
7. Alchemist Symbol
Although alchemy is considered an ancient art, you may be surprised to learn that there are still those who practice alchemy today. Alchemists of old obsessed over finding a method of turning basic metals like lead into gold. They also sought to create formulas for immortality. Symbolically, alchemy is the science of transformation, as well as balance between opposing halves (like science and magic).
8. Viking Symbol
Those of Scandinavian descent will especially appreciate this tattoo, which means "Create your own reality." It comes from the ancient Vikings, and I have to say this is probably my favorite from this whole list.
9. Open Delta Symbol
Knights and Ninjas
The first tattoo (up top) is an open delta symbol. Delta is a Greek symbol which, when used in scientific notation, denotes change. Thus, an open delta indicates a person's openness to change. The lower tattoo is a symbol which represents strategy.
10. Malin Symbol
The Malin is a Swedish symbol which means "You have to face setbacks in order to go forward." Ok, what's up with Swedes having the most meaningfully minimalist tattoos?
11. Zen Circle
The zen circle, represented by an incomplete circle that is thicker on one end, symbolizes enlightenment and the strength within each of us.
Ships, regardless of size or design, tend to symbolize one thing: an adventure or a journey of some sort.
This one is absolutely beautiful. It means exactly what it symbolizes - a sentence or thought that could have ended, but decided to continue. This tattoo has been adopted by those who have survived suicide attempts as a symbol of how their lives almost ended, but then kept going.
Don't forget to SHARE these powerful tattoos with your family and friends.