The term religious tattoo can encompass many different designs. There are tattoos that are specifically Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic. If you factor in the religious tattoos of pagan religions such as Wicca, Voodoo and Satanism then you truly have a huge and diverse collection of art to choose from. The practice of religious tattoos is one that has been practiced throughout history. Early cultures often inscribed themselves with animal images and totems, probably in an effort to evoke the power of the animal spirits, possibly for success in the hunt, but also for protection. In more modern times, the Crusaders tattooed a small cross on their hand to ensure a Christian burial in the event they were killed in battle in foreign lands. A recurring theme in religious or spiritual tattoos concerns the afterlife. The great mystery of life and existence has fueled myth, magic and special rites in almost every culture around the world. Amazingly, from the Maori in New Zealand, to the Native American tribes of North America, to the Iban tribes up the Skrang River in Borneo, the religious tattoo is nothing less than a passport to the world beyond. If you didn’t have one you couldn’t get into your particular heaven.
Most of us are familiar with the common symbols associated with religious tattoos such as the rosary, praying hands and crucifix. But there are also a lot of symbols which aren’t as well known. So, before considering getting a religious tattoo you might just want to take these symbols into account. The first symbol that I want to talk about is the fish. In its early years, Christianity was an illegal religion. Because of this, the "Sign of the Fish" became a universal symbol that secretly identified believers to one another. The Greek word for "fish" is IXOYS. These five letters were also the first letter (in Greek) of the words Jesus Christ, god’s son saviour. By drawing the "Sign of the Fish", Christians revealed both their identity and the basis of their faith. Another not so well known religious tattoo symbol is the oil lamp. In ancient times, an oil lamp provided the most common means of illumination for those traveling after dark. Symbolically, the Bible, as a depiction of the word of God, provides mankind with the only reliable source of true Spiritual light. The last religious tattoo symbol I want to talk about is the crown. A crown has always been a visible symbol of a ruler’s power and authority. For Christians, the crown symbolizes the ultimate sovereignty and majesty due the son of God. So, if your shopping for a unique religious tattoo try incorporating these ancient symbols into your next design.
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