Compass Tattoo Meaning, Designs & Ideas

You would have a hard time putting together all the images that are options to have tattooed on your body that have meaning and are symbolic. If you are looking for something nautical, you can narrow it down a little more but there are still a lot of good symbols out there to be tattooed.

Much of the decision is going to come from the reason you want the tattoo. What will it mean to you? Many of these nautical symbols also represent meanings not always associated with the water. To be fair, your tattoo can mean anything you want it to.

In this post we are going to be talking about the compass tattoo and what it symbolizes. The compass tattoo is a popular one these days and it is for a reason. We will talk about the different variations of this tattoo and how the meaning changes when paired with different symbols. We hope you have a better understanding of the compass tattoo meaning by the time you’re done reading this.

About the Compass

A compass is a tool that determines the direction when on the earth’s surface. Most of us would recognize the magnetic compass first. It relies on the magnetic pull of the earth which always pulls north. There are other types of compasses that determine your direction by using a star or sun, or even by relying on a fast-spinning object that will resist to being turned away from the place that the axis is directing towards.

When breaking down a magnetic compass, you will find the dial, the needle and the housing it resides in. They are generally inexpensive and you can even download an app on your phone if you need one in a pinch. A compass that would be used in a more serious situation will usually have other parts connected that are helpful as well.

You might find covers, a case, prisms and even mirrors that would help the person using it to figure out how far something is off in the distance. You can also find some compasses with a transparent baseplate that is notched with a scale of millimeters or inches so that you can use the compass on a map.

Many compasses will have a feature for automatic declination adjustment. In other words, this means variance and it is the difference between true North and magnetic North. Magnetic North is the direction to which the needle points. Declination varies depending on where you are on the planet. If you can determine the amount of declination, the automatic declination adjustment feature will let the user read from the compass the true direction instead of having to do the math every time.

Compass Tattoo Meaning

The compass tattoo has been a popular choice among a majority of cultures for centuries. This maritime symbol was popular among early sailors and it was believed that getting a compass tattoo would protect you on rough waters and ensure that you would return home safely. Even to this day, people can use the same compass tattoo meanings that others used centuries ago.

One of the main reasons sailors opted for this tattoo was that of protection. As a token of good luck, images of compasses were painted on the ships as well. The seas were rough and unforgiving and often times ships and the men onboard would disappear without a trace so these images served as a beacon of hope that they would be guided out of the treacherous waters alive.

Compass Tattoo Variations

Compass tattoos can come in a variety of styles and variations. These include, but are not limited to, the star compass, the astro compass, the lodestone compass, the Vegvisir compass and the prismatic compass. All of these tattoo designs have slightly different meanings, but the owner can decide to mix in a bunch of meanings to any of them.

Star Compass Tattoo

The star compass is the most popular of the aforementioned designs and is said to represent the North Star. Before maps and technology existed, humans used the North Star to guide them in the right direction. Because of this, this style of tattoo stands for guidance, direction and finding a way home. Someone might get this compass tattoo design when they are very family oriented or when they are the type of people who simply never want to forget where they came from.

Hourglass and Compass Tattoo

The compass and “time” have generally been linked together as well. A way of depicting this is to include an image of a clock or hourglass with the compass in the tattoo design. Maps and the planet earth play a role as well since they, like compasses, help a user determine their location. Someone might get a compass tattoo for this reason when they want to show that they recognize that they have a short time on this planet and want to be sure they do everything they want to.

Compass tattoos have also represented the ideal of following one’s dreams. It is symbolic of staying your course in life and to not give up no matter how rough things may seem. The compass will guide you where you need to be. While the compass tattoo isn’t the most popular of all of the motivational tattoo designs out there, the message can be pretty clear if the tattoo is done correctly.

While the compass tattoo is not normally thought of as a popular “lucky charm” tattoo, it’s not hard to see why someone might give their tattoo this meaning. It is the type of tattoo you can look at when you have lost your way and use it to turn yourself around. When someone gets the compass tattoo to represent luck, they will usually get additional designs around it to make the meaning a bit more clear.

Another popular compass tattoo meaning is protection. Since compasses have long been used to help people get where they need to go, it is easy to see why someone might get it to mean security or protection. Someone might use this meaning if they are in the military or they can even get it as a religious symbol.

For the most part, the compass tattoo conveys guidance and direction, but you may add additional design elements to your tattoo to have it depict a meaning that is significant to you. If you do, be sure to know all of those meanings as well so you have a tattoo that you can be happy with for the rest of your life. You don’t just want to get a plain compass tattoo unless that is exactly the design that you had always wanted to get.

One example of a popular add-on to the compass tattoo is a fish. This makes it very obvious to observers that your compass tattoo symbolizes your love of the sea. What’s great about this design is that you can pick out a unique compass and a fish that you are a big fan of. If you want to add even more to this tattoo (or you want to replace the fish), you can add an anchor to make the symbolism come across even stronger.

The compass tattoo is one of those tattoos that has endless design possibilities, so it’s no surprise that people love getting the compass tattoo and the artists love drawing them. They can be big tattoos that go down the middle of the owners’ backs, or they can even be small even to fit on the wrist. Either way, the compass tattoo can have a bunch of great meanings that most people would be satisfied with.

Find out what style you want to have your compass tattoo inked in and then look for an artist that specializes in that style. If you need help finding one, please let us know. We’d love to help you find the perfect tattoo artist.

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