The cross is by far one of the most recognizable symbols in the world as well as one of the oldest. It is also one of the most popular choices for tattoos. While you might see the cross tattoo as having a simple (and powerful) Christian meaning, it’s actually a much more complex symbol than that. On this page we will take a look at all of the meanings that can be associated with the cross tattoo.
Typically crosses are used to signify one’s devotion to their religion or faith, but they have also been used as a way to honor or remember a loved one who has passed. Even those who are not very religious might get a big cross tattoo to represent that lost loved one because it is such a powerful symbol. Of course, a religious person could also use the cross tattoo for the same reason.
Initially the cross was a symbol of execution by crucifixion, in which a wrongdoer was nailed by wrists and feet to a large wooden cross until death. When Christianity flourished and became the state religion, crucifixion was banned and the cross became a symbol of Jesus’ death and resurrection. In this way, the cross represents everything that Jesus stood for, including peace and strength.
It is said that both beams of a cross represent different ideals; the horizontal beam being a symbol of femininity, earthiness, destruction and death; whereas the vertical beam stands for masculinity and is seen as eternal, creative, active, positive, celestial and full of life. As you can see, these are all very powerful meanings. Some people like all of them and will look at the tattoo when they want to use those meanings. Other people just pick out one or two of those cross tattoo meanings.
There are many different types of crosses one can select to adorn their body. The most popular types are Celtic, Tribal, Gothic and St. Peter’s. The Celtic cross, also known as an Irish cross, first originated in the 5th century as a symbol of the Celtic faith and heritage. These crosses are well known for their intricate knot work which represents the link between the physical life and the spiritual. Tribal crosses are usually done in solid black and were originated by ancient tribesmen to show achievement as well as ward off evil spirits. Many of the designs used are specific to each tribe. These tattoos are usually identified by their bold strokes, sharp edges and symmetrical design.
Gothic crosses are typically not used as a symbol of religion, but more so as a symbol of pain, anger or spirituality. They are often used to pay tribute to the Gothic lifestyle as well. St Peter’s cross, also known as an upside down cross represents the crucifixion of St. Peter and has also been used as a symbol of Satanism. No matter what style you end up choosing you can be sure that the symbol you’ve chosen is timeless and easily recognizable.
Some people see the cross as representing life itself. This is one of the many reasons why the cross tattoo has been so popular for so long. It also means that people who use the “life” cross tattoo meaning can basically use any other meaning that they want since life is basically everything (outside of death). Just be warned that most outside observers will not recognize that the “life” meaning unless you have that word tattooed above the cross or you tell them the meaning you’re using.
Interestingly, the cross can also represent the pain that comes with love. To Christians especially, this is an obvious meaning. Jesus was known for doing everything out of love, and the cross has come to represent everything that he embodied. Jesus’ dying on the cross could be seen as the epitome of the pain that comes when you love too much.
Another cross tattoo meaning that some people use is dedication. Someone who wants a constant reminder that they should keep pushing forward to reach their goals could do a lot worse than a cross tattoo. They can look at it every day to remind themselves that what they’re doing has a purpose and to not give up.
If you were looking for a tattoo design that is perfect for symbolizing peace, you really can’t do much better than the cross tattoo. Whether you believe everyone should live in peace or you simply want more peace in your life, the cross tattoo could be the perfect design for you. This is one of those meanings that can be used by religious and nonreligious people.
Another lesser-known meaning for the cross tattoo is equality. This type of cross tattoo usually has two lines of equal length unlike the Christian cross. In fact, the Greek cross is often referred to as the Equal-Armed cross, which makes this meaning a bit more obvious. If you are the type of person who believes in equality of any kind, this type of cross tattoo might be a great choice for you.
Many people get their cross tattoos to show that they take pride in their family heritage. Not only can people use this meaning to represent their family’s longstanding religious beliefs, they could also get it because the cross is in their family’s coat of arms. In both cases, people will often get their family name and/or other designs that make the meaning a little bit clearer.
The cross tattoo has also been known to be popular with those who follow occultism. In most cases, people who believe in the paranormal will get the cross tattoo along with other designs, including circled dots, the Eye of Providence, and hexagrams. The most popular cross associated with occultism is the Ankh, which is the symbol for eternal life.
The cross tattoo is often a design that stands out on its own, but many people decide to get angel’s wings at the top of the cross. This adds in even more religious connotations and gives the image an even more striking look. You will see these designs on people’s backs since they want the wings to look like they’re part of their bodies, but this combo tattoo can actually be placed anywhere on the body.
Once you know which cross tattoo meaning you want to use, the next step in the process is figuring out where you want the tattoo to be drawn on your body. Believe it or not you can add even more meaning to your cross tattoo simply by putting it in a specific place on your body. For example, many people decide to get their cross tattoos on their chests because they want others to know that those meanings are close to their hearts.
The colors that you use in your cross tattoo don’t have as much significance as they do in other tattoos. Regardless of whether you get a colored tattoo or you keep it simple with a black and gray cross, other people will recognize what it is and its significance. Of course, if you think that a specific look would make it pop a bit more, there’s nothing wrong with designing your cross tattoo your own way.
The cross tattoo is as popular with women around the world as it is with men. In fact, men and women often get the exact same designs since the cross itself does not have a masculine or feminine look by default. Of course, men can dress up these tattoos to make them a bit more “manly” looking, and women can add in some extra elements to give it a more feminine look. Regardless, the cross tattoo and its meanings can be used by both sexes unlike many other tattoo designs.
As you can see, there are a lot of meaning that can be attached to a cross tattoo. You can stick with most well-known religious meanings, or you can pick one or two off of the list above if they make sense for you. The cross tattoo should continue to be one of the most popular tattoo designs in the world thanks to those religious connotations and all of the newer meanings that people have given to it.