Skeleton Key Tattoo Meaning, Design & Ideas

Keys have long been popular subjects to be tattooed. There is a lot of symbolism behind the key which makes them a fun tattoo to get. Keys can be small and unassuming, or they can be bigger with intricate designs.

An example of the latter would be a skeleton key. We have all seen a skeleton key before. They look like they give you access to enter a place that is ancient or haunted. This interesting-looking key has been around for ages and therefore, has a story to explain its origins.

Skeleton keys have been the subjects of stories and movies. It is fascinating that a key would garner so much interest, but this is the case with the skeleton key. They also make for great tattoos as they have a mysterious look to them and can be placed in almost any spot on the body. These old-school keys have an allure to them and will have people wondering about the back story of why you got it.

In this post, we will talk about the history of the skeleton key and where they came from. We will also discuss the symbolism behind this symbol and what it means to the person wearing the tattoo. The cool thing about the skeleton key tattoo is that you can make variations of it and add imagery to either boost or change what it is supposed to symbolize. By the end of this post, you should feel more informed about the skeleton key tattoo. You might even consider getting one for yourself.

History of the Skeleton Key

Skeleton keys happen to be a hot item these days. From turning them into jewelry or adding them as accents to furniture, the skeleton key is a cool thing to have. Today, people are going beyond that and getting the image tattooed on their bodies. We wanted to talk about the history of the skeleton key to help you understand where they hype comes from.

The sole purpose of the skeleton key is to open a lock, and this is the obvious part. They are also known as a pass key because they are able to open a number of different locks which are known as warded locks. If you were to ask somebody about the name of the skeleton key, they might think it was named that way because the shape resembles a skull but the reason for the name is because it is essentially a bare bones key. There is nothing to it except what’s needed to open a lock. The original skeleton keys had a single rectangular tooth and a cylindrical shank.

Back when locks and keys were first being used they were made of wood. You can trace these keys all the way back to Egypt and Babylon. These didn’t last very long because they were big and bulky and could be opened by force. Eventually, the mechanism changed and in the mid 1800’s, flat and modern keys like we know today started to be used. People still used skeleton keys in most houses until after World War II. There are still a lot of cases where homes built before the 1940s still use these keys.

Skeleton Key Tattoo Meaning

These keys have a great deal of symbolism because of their history. Keys are known to open boxes, cabinets or locked rooms. The symbolism of the skeleton key tattoo starts with discovering or opening something that holds a secret. You might have a lot of things you hold close to your heart and this skeleton key tattoo symbolizes that. Skeleton keys are often able to open more than one door so there is a lot more symbolism in that.

Religiously, the skeleton key tattoo is important too. There are many mentions of “holding the key to heaven”. The hierophant in the tarot is a religious person with two keys crossed on the image. When talking about Judaism, the key can be symbolic of impregnating a woman.

In our current culture, having a key can represent having access that most wouldn’t. Getting a key to a city is an honor bestowed upon some. The skeleton key could be symbolic of having a key to your heart. It might also represent having a key to freedom. Your tattoo might represent you discovering something about yourself that freed you in some sense.

Skeleton Key Tattoo Variations

The skeleton key tattoo is often depicted in different ways. It is often a matter of looking cool but some of them have specific meanings to the person with it. Below are a few examples of skeleton key tattoos that we thought were pretty cool.

Skeleton Key with Skull Tattoo

The skeleton key tattoo is often depicted with a skull on the top. Outside of the obvious connection of the skeleton key and the skull, many people are fans of the darker side of life. This tattoo might represent a key opening up the darker side of the person with this tattoo. It also just looks badass.

Skeleton Key with Heart Tattoo

The skeleton key tattoo with a heart design at the top is most likely symbolic of a key to your heart. On top of the skeleton key having a unique look, adding the heart adds a different element to the tattoo. Because of the expression of having a “key to my heart”, we often see hearts associated with key tattoos.

Skeleton Key with Crown Tattoo

When you add a crown to the skeleton key tattoo, it is said to be symbolic of having the keys to the kingdom. Many refer to their soul and body as their temple or kingdom and to have the crown might represent you being the king or queen of your domain. It just seems to fit so if you are going to get your own skeleton key tattoo, consider this an option.

If you are considering your own skeleton key tattoo, get creative with it. It is already a cool symbol, but you can make it your own by adding a few things. Your tattoo artist should be able to help you in this department as well.

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