Ivy tattoos are common because of their beauty and symbolism. Ivy represents fertility, determination, love, and peace.
In this article, we’ll look at the different meanings an ivy tattoo may have.
All About Ivy
Hedera is the proper name for the plant that is usually known as ivy. The most common type is Hedera Helix, otherwise known as English ivy. Ivy is a species of climbing or creeping plants that feature green leaves, yellowish-green flowers, and berries that can be green, purple, or black. Though somewhat poisonous for people, the berries are eaten by birds.
Ivy is native to certain parts of Africa, Asia, and Europe. It has also been brought to Australia, South America, and North America. This plant is usually seen climbing trees, homes, or other structures. It is commonly found in both populated and wild areas.
The ivy plant is considered an invasive species in many parts of the world. In the United States, it is considered a noxious weed in some states. Once planted, it is challenging to control the spread of the plant and very difficult to get rid of.
Ivy gets its name from the Greek word khandano, which means to get or to grasp. This refers to the way in which the plant clings to whatever it has attached itself to.
Tattoos that feature the ivy plant are done in black and white or in color. They may feature just the vine leaves, or the tattoo may also incorporate the flowers or berries. Ivy tattoos vary in size and are often seen wrapping around the arm or leg, as well as up the side of the torso.
Ivy and Ancient Egypt
Ivy is connected to Osiris, the ancient Egyptian god. Osiris was the god of many things, including fertility, the afterlife, and agriculture. He was also associated with immortality and eternal life.
Those who have an interest in ancient Egypt, especially in Osiris, may choose an ivy tattoo to represent this god. Ivy symbolizes the connection between Osiris and fertility as well as immortality.
Ivy and Ancient Greece
In ancient Greece, the god Dionysus wore a crown of ivy. When he was a child, ivy grew around the place where he lived and he was given this ivy crown after his birth. Dionysus was the god of wine and theater among other things. Modern-day worshippers of Dionysus continue to give ivy as an offering to him.
A person who either worships or studies Dionysus may choose an ivy tattoo.
Ivy and Christianity
In the Christian religion, ivy is seen as a symbol of eternal life as it is an evergreen plant. Since it is able to survive for a long time, it represents the continuation of the soul after death.
Ivy was also thought to ward off evil spirits and thus was frequently planted alongside churches so the plant would grow up the outer walls of the building. Ivy also represented prosperity and Christians saw it as a symbol of charity and helping those who are less fortunate.
Someone who follows the Christian religion may choose to get an ivy tattoo either to symbolize eternal life, to protect against evil, or to represent charity.
Ivy and Love
Both in modern-day and historical times, ivy has been representative of love and fidelity. The way that the plant clings to whatever it is attached to is symbolic of a person’s devotion to their partner.
The medieval legend of Isolde and Tristan illustrates the way ivy symbolizes love. Tristan was supposed to fetch Isolde so that she could marry King Mark; however, Tristan fell in love with her instead.
After Isolde and Tristan died, King Mark had them buried apart from each other so that they could not be together even in death. Ivy grew from the graves of both people and joined together between them. Even after King Mark cut the ivy, it grew and joined again.
Today, ivy is commonly used in bridal bouquets as a symbol of fidelity and devotion.
An individual may choose to get an ivy tattoo to represent their love for someone and their commitment to be with them forever.
Ivy and Fertility
In the pagan tradition, ivy is a symbol of fertility. Similarly, the ancient Roman god of fertility, Liber, wore a crown of ivy.
An individual may opt to get an ivy tattoo to symbolize their desire for children. They may view this symbol of fertility as something that can help them in their journey to parenthood.
Ivy and Peace
Ivy is sometimes viewed as being symbolic of peace. The way in which ivy can bind other plants together represents bringing people together. Ancient Celtic cultures believed that the ivy plant represented peace and harmony.
Someone who chooses an ivy tattoo may do so because of their peaceful nature or because they desire to see more peace in their life. This tattoo can be an expression of the person’s longing for harmony and unity in the world.
This tattoo may also be chosen as a way to display a person’s connection to their Celtic culture.
Ivy and Determination
The hardiness of the ivy plant, its long-lasting life, and its ability to spread over large areas all make it symbolic of determination and persistence. This plant can thrive in all types of environments, weather, and conditions.
An individual may choose an ivy tattoo to depict their own determination in life. It might symbolize their willingness to keep trying even when faced with challenges. The ivy tattoo can act as a reminder to the person to never give up but to keep going.
Ivy and Healing
Like many plants, ivy has healing properties. The ivy plant is believed to help with inflammation, the immune system, breathing issues, pain relief, and other ailments.
An ivy tattoo can be symbolic of a person’s desire for healing, whether this be physical or emotional healing. A person who has overcome an illness in the past may opt to get an ivy tattoo to represent their wellness.