Evidence of homo sapiens tattooing dates back to 3370 BC — over 5,000 years ago on Otzi the Iceman — making it one of the oldest art forms still practiced.
Today, people get tattoos for various reasons.
For some, it’s a cultural rite of passage; other folks simply appreciate the beauty of body art.
And Dr. Jacob T. Meyers, an associate professor at Emory University who studies emerging expressions of faith and practice, once described tattoos as “road maps” that mark a person’s spiritual journey.
In that spirit, we’ve curated this list of 47 spiritual tattoos.
- What Do Tattoos Represent Spiritually?
- 47 Gorgeous Spiritual Tattoo Ideas
- 1. 7 Colorful Chakras
- 2. Single Chakra
- 3. Black-Ink Lotus
- 4. Lotus Spine Art With Chakra Symbols
- 5. Purple Lotus With Butterflies
- 6. Colorful, Intricate Hamsa Hand
- 7. Overcoming Obstacles
- 8. Sanskrit Single-Ink “Breathe” Symbol
- 9. Single-Ink Dragon
- 10. “Child of the Universe”
- 11. Single-Ink “Om” Sanskrit Symbol
- 12. An Inner Peace Symbol
- 13. Unalome Soul Evolution Symbol
- 14. Kundalini Snake Art
- 15. Human Yin-Yang Tattoo
- 16. The Spiral
- 17. Hidden Egyptian Eye
- 18. Our Solar System
- 19. Angel Numbers
- 20. Temporary Henna Decals
- 21. Colorful Elephant Lotus
- 22. Celtic Love Symbol
- 23. Tree of Life With Chakra Colors
- 24. Hand of Fatima Evil Eye
- 25. Egyptian Astrology Tattoo
- 26. Eye Am Ideation
- 27. Minimalistic Dragonfly
- 28. Large, Colorful Dragonfly
- 29. Geometric Mandalas
- 30. Colorful Mandala Shoulder Art
- 31. Colorful Mandala Sleeve
- 32. First Nations’ Dream Catcher Single-Ink
- 33. Eye in the Sky on Hand
- 34. Early Egyptian Culture Symbols
- 35. Sacred Geometry
- 36. Large Hindu Gods and Goddesses
- 37. Buddha With Waves
- 38. Delicate Moon Phases and Mother Nature
- 39. Teach Peace
- 40. The Cosmos and Nature
- 41. Astronomical Sign Tattoo
- 42. Consciousness Raising
- 43. Mandala Heart
- 44. Angelina’s Coordinate Tattoos
- 45. Tarot Card Art
- 46. Goddess Tattoos
- 47. Cosmic Awareness
What Do Tattoos Represent Spiritually?
Tattoos mean different things to different people — but nearly everyone who opts for ink does it for artistic, personal, or spiritual reasons. The first two are self-explanatory, so let’s unpack the third: the spirituality of tattoos.
To date, the oldest tattoo evidence dates back 5,000 years. Archeologists found the stone-age ink on a pair of Egyptian mummies, but early-human body art is a near-universal phenomenon linked to religion and culture.
In essence, tattooing is an ongoing reflection and record of cross-cultural spiritual development — which continues today.
What are some examples of ancient spiritual tattoo practices?
- Tattoos — or tatau — are integral to Polynesian cultures and traditions. Initially, body art was a communication tool used by disparate clans on the area’s 10,000-plus islands. Ultimately, tattoos became a foundational aspect of the population’s belief system, and they represent a person’s physical and spiritual journey.
- The Council of Northumberland granted medieval Christian and Catholic crusaders permission to get tattoos and considered them “praiseworthy.” Some knights got them before leaving as a show of faith; others got inked upon returning from pilgrimages as a badge of survival.
- Women in Myanmar tattooed their faces with the goal of disfiguration. They wanted to avoid being captured and forced into Burmese harems. Arguably, tattooing protected one’s spiritual and bodily autonomy.
47 Gorgeous Spiritual Tattoo Ideas
Chakra tattoos come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. This mid-size example runs up the arm and incorporates all the colors and chakra symbols.
If you’re looking for spiritual tattoos that promote balance, something like this may be a great option.
Is there a particular chakra that’s special to you? Instead of getting all seven, choose one to highlight.
They look great on the inside of the wrist, where they can serve as constant visual reminders. Or perhaps you want to get it on your foot or leg — somewhere you can see while in the lotus pose.
Lotus flowers rise from the mud, unstained, and they represent purity, rebirth, and strength. They’re a prevalent spiritual symbol, especially in the Buddhist tradition.
This attractive lotus foot tattoo is both simple and intricate. If you’re looking for small spiritual tattoos, this design could be sized down easily.
Chakra points run along our spinal cords. Some people get the symbols tattooed down their backs to commemorate their presence.
This elegant design incorporates a lotus at the top with a cascading chakra set. Choose a color that has meaning to you, or use all the chakra colors.
Do your tastes lean toward female spiritual tattoos? Would you like something that’s traditionally feminine?
If yes, you may fall in love with this purple lotus with butterflies. It would look great in any bold color, or a black-ink outline could also work.
Are you interested in spiritual hand tattoos — aka hamsa and hand of Fatima designs? The palm-shaped amulet is ubiquitous throughout the Middle East and Africa and is believed to guard against the evil eye. As such, it’s a popular tattoo.
There are too many stunning hamsa tattoos to choose from. So here’s a general pick of the symbol. As you can imagine, people get creative with what they put inside the hand.
7. Overcoming Obstacles
People who prefer simple spiritual tattoos may like the universal overcoming obstacles symbol. It’s just two lines of three triangle peaks and can be easily sized up or down. Get it in black ink or a color of your choosing.
Since it’s a character-based language, Sanskrit provides a wealth of tattoo ideas.
The Sanskrit symbol for breath is especially attractive, and it’s a great reminder to take life as it comes. Control what you can and do what comes naturally (as long as it doesn’t hurt others).
Dragons are spiritually significant to many people, and they’re also important cultural touchstones in some Asian communities.
According to various schools of thought, dragons are linked to wisdom, supernatural powers, strength, and hidden knowledge. This strong dragon design would work on arms, legs, and backs.
Sometimes, words say it better than a picture. This Child of the Universe tattoo is a simple statement that speaks volumes.
If you believe everyone on Earth is just trying to do the best they can, including you, it may be a suitable tattoo.
The “Om” (or “Aum”) Sanskrit symbol is attractive and meaningful. Various schools of faith have slightly different definitions for the entity.
However, generally speaking, Om is a vocal and written representation of universal consciousness.
Various spiritual paths use different symbols to represent inner peace and related emotions. Pick something from this handy chart and incorporate it into a tattoo.
13. Unalome Soul Evolution Symbol
The Unalome symbol chronicles the journey of the soul from birth to enlightenment. It’s a delicate symbol that works well as a tattoo.
According to Kundalini thought, a coiled snake, representative of the divine feminine energy, is coiled at the base of every spine.
The goal is to uncoil it along your chakra points and have that energy raise up to your higher self. Plus, they make for dramatic spiritual tattoos.
A twist on the yin-yang symbol, this human-centric one may be the perfect fit for someone looking for a spiritual tattoo for balance.
It’s great-looking and reminds us that we’re all just humans trying to navigate the mostly mysterious universe.
16. The Spiral
Simple and stately, the spiral is a great symbol to incorporate into spiritual awakening tattoos.
The ancient concept reminds us that life is a long, winding, repeating journey, and that to truly know ourselves, we must look inward to see divinity.
Known as a “Wadjet,” the “eye of Horus,” and the “all-seeing eye,” it first appeared in ancient Egypt and is believed by many to ward off evil.
Due to the design and shape, they can be inked most anywhere. We loved this one on the inside of a finger.
18. Our Solar System
Do you find magic in astrology? Then check out this solar system tattoo. The detail is fantastic, and the design artistically incorporates energetic connections between certain planetary entities.
19. Angel Numbers
Do you want to keep your guardian angels near? Or maybe you want to honor them for swooping in when you most need them?
Whichever the case, a discrete 333 (the number of angels) would work. Check out this delicate one accented by stars.
Not ready to commit to a permanent tattoo? Check out these temporary henna decals. The mandalas look super placed on the foot.
Henna is a great DIY project to do alone or with friends.
Elephants are amazing animals, and they figure prominently in many spiritual traditions.
A symbol of strength and good fortune, elephants are gentle giants who exhibit innately nurturing tendencies. This beautiful elephant tattoo incorporates several mandalas and a lotus.
The Celtic love symbol is a simple design that represents the six aspects of adoration: mind, body, love, peace, joy, and spirit.
Due to its shape, it’s easy to incorporate with other spiritual symbols — especially inside mandalas.
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Tree of life tattoos can be gorgeous, and this one incorporates the colors of the chakras. It symbolizes our natural roots and celebrates the various roads we wander down throughout the course of our lives.
24. Hand of Fatima Evil Eye
This is another Hand of Fatima tattoo that we couldn’t pass up. The palette of blue is striking, as is the actual eye in the palm. If blue isn’t your hue, consider tweaking it with reds, oranges, pinks, or greens.
You probably know your cosmic astrology sign — but do you know your Egyptian astrology symbol. Instead of calculating by the month, Egyptian astrology is determined by the week you were born.
Figure out yours and incorporate it into your spiritual tattoo art.
26. Eye Am Ideation
The essence of existence is being, so the phrase “I am” has become a common saying in self-improvement and spiritual circles.
This tattoo is a spin on the phrase, with an Eye of Horus representing the “I.” This ranks up there with the most innovative spiritual awakening tattoos.
Dragonflies are another popular animal in the spirit realm. They represent change, transformation, self-realization, and adaptability.
They’re a great option for people who want to celebrate an incredible shift in their lives. We loved this minimalistic dragonfly for its lines and simplicity.
Some people like simple things and other folks are crazy for details. This dragonfly tattoo caters to the latter group. It’s big, bold, beautiful, and colorful.
Mandala art has been around for thousands of years. Their symmetry is enticing and attractive and symbolizes the balance of life.
This geometric mandala tattoo is different from the average one because it also incorporates triangles.
This ornate mandala shoulder tattoo is gorgeous. If you go for something like this, expect to have a few sittings to get the coloring right.
Are you looking for something with a bit more coverage? Check out this colorful mandala sleeve. The artistry and detail are incredible.
But before you move forward with a design like this, think hard about the colors and get something you can live with, day in and out.
Dream catchers are a recognizable part of First Nations’ culture. Before inking one on your body, it’s polite to do a little research to ensure your tattoo plans aren’t inadvertently offensive.
If all signals say go, have fun with it.
33. Eye in the Sky on Hand
This eye-in-the-sky, metaphysical tattoo is a choice for people drawn to the all-knowing energy of the source. It’s an elaborate design — but eye-catching and unique.
34. Early Egyptian Culture Symbols
This great-looking tattoo incorporates several symbols from early Egyptian art. The detail is incredible, and the flow is excellent.
35. Sacred Geometry
Numbers and math play a pivotal role in the Universe’s system. Celebrate the beauty of ancient formulas with one of these sacred geometric shapes.
36. Large Hindu Gods and Goddesses
Are you in the market for something bold, big, and on your back? This body mural of various Hindu symbols tells a story and pays homage. Plus, it’s a conversation piece.
37. Buddha With Waves
Are you connected to the ocean? Do waves speak to your soul? If so, this Buddha with waves spiritual tattoo may be for you. The style of art mimics the style of Katsushika Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Kanagawa.
38. Delicate Moon Phases and Mother Nature
These delicate moon phase designs work well on the hand, but they could also be great on your back, arm, or legs. Consider getting the moon phase as it was on the day of your birth.
39. Teach Peace
The Dali Lama advises people to “be the change they want to see in the world.” This “Teach Peace” tattoo is a reminder of that mantra.
The melding of “teach” and “peace” is striking, and the tree can be personalized to your liking. Though, we love the one pictured.
40. The Cosmos and Nature
This unique tattoo incorporates the cosmos, earthly growth, and the all-knowing eye in the sky.
We love this one, as it has a lighter, carefree feel to it. There’s almost something endearingly childlike about this cosmos and nature tattoo.
What’s your sign? Declare it with a tattoo. We dug this one with the ancient Roman wreaths surrounding a word. It’s simple yet bold.
42. Consciousness Raising
This consciousness-raising tattoo has a lot of elements. It almost has a fantasy novel feel to it and speaks to the duality of the human soul.
43. Mandala Heart
Want something traditional and delicate? This mandala heart tattoo is a sweet, spiritual tattoo that would fit just about anywhere. You could also add color.
44. Angelina’s Coordinate Tattoos
Sometimes, celebrities inspire us. Take Angelina Jolie’s tattoos. She’s got a lot, and they all mean different things. But we’re drawn to the coordinates for her children’s birthplaces. Get one for your’s or someone you love.
45. Tarot Card Art
If tarot reading is your bailiwick, why not get a tattoo of a specific card? The possibilities are endless in terms of design, colors, and size.
46. Goddess Tattoos
Keep a goddess close to protect you from life’s pitfalls. We love this one for the details and flowy lines. It has an ethereal vibe that works for spiritual tattoos.
47. Cosmic Awareness
Maybe you’re not 100% sure about what you believe, but the outer cosmos fascinate you. Check out this simple yet artistic rendering of a constellation if that sounds like your speed. The colors are great, and you could get it in any shape.
It’s not for everyone, but if it’s for you, we hope our gallery of mind body soul tattoos inspired you to commemorate your personal spiritual awakening through body art. We know it will look great.