October 24, 2014

Skull tattoo meanings

Traditionally, skulls are used as a symbol of death and decay, and these are typically the thoughts that are evoked when we see a skull tattoo on a person’s body. However, this isn’t the only meaning of a skull tattoo. Skull tattoos are a particularly interesting tattoo design because they sometimes mean something very different than what we first assume. While many skull tattoos do, in fact, represent death and darkness like we expect them to, other less obvious and less morbid meanings of skull tattoos include protection, power, strength and overcoming obstacles. In this sense, skull tattoo meanings can represent a reminder to live life to its fullest, because death will eventually come to us all. For this reason, many people choose to get a skull tattoo to signify a change made in their life for the better. Because there are so many different meanings of skull tattoos out there, as well as a variety of colors and designs for skull tattoos, men and women who opt for a skull tattoo can personalize the tat to make it unique to them.

History of skull tattoos

Skull tattoos have always had a following, since the early days of sailors even, but skull tattoos have become increasingly popular in recent years as more and more people have embraced the symbolism of skull tattoo meanings. The first image that probably comes to mind when you imagine a skull is the skull and crossbones, which traditionally represents death or danger, or a fierce skull tat on a biker’s arm, which can be frightening. In the past, these may have been the only widely-accepted meanings of a skull tattoo. Today however, the skull tattoo has come to mean a variety of different things, evidenced by the vast array of different skull tattoo designs that have become popular in recent years. Along with this acceptance of the skull tattoo comes the realization that a tattoo skull meaning change could be both good and bad.

Skull tattoo meaning

Skull tattoo meanings can vary greatly depending on the skull tattoo design and the beliefs of the wearer’s culture or religion. In Christianity, for example, skull tattoos often symbolize eternity, or the human remains that are left behind as the soul moves on. According to those who believe in Kabbalah teachings, the skull represents rebirth, which is a reason for celebration instead of sorrow, sadness and mourning. Along the same vein, death doesn’t always signify something negative; it can instead be a positive experience and remembering those who have passed away can be uplifting. In Mexico, for example, the skull is used as a symbol of a popular festival, during which the dead are honored, revered and respected.

Other tattoo skull meanings have less religious connotations. The skull has long been a symbol of triumph and rebellion, for example, depicted most often in pirate flags flown in rebellion of governmental rule and authority. During times of war in the past, the heads or skulls of the victor’s enemies were sometimes piled up as a message to those who harbored thoughts of revenge, promising to deliver to them a fate similar to that of their fallen comrades.

Sugar skull tattoo meaning

Sugar skull tattoos have been inked by those who recognize the Mexican “Day of the Dead” holiday, celebrated in Mexico on November 1 and 2. Similar to the Christian All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, which fall on the same weekend as the Mexican holiday, the Day of the Dead serves as an opportunity to celebrate the lives of friends and family members who have passed away. The most common symbol of the Dead of the Dead is the skull, which is often represented by masks called calacas and skull images called sugar skulls. For this reason, the meaning of sugar skull tattoos, also called Mexican skull tattoos and Day of the Dead skull tattoos, typically symbolizes a tribute to a loved one lost. Mexican skull tattoo meanings have been embraced by men and women of varying cultures and belief systems, making sugar skull tattoos one of the most popular skull tattoo designs today.

Skull and rose tattoo meaning

Skull tattoos are very versatile tattoo designs, and a popular skull tattoo design incorporates both skulls and roses. Because skulls and roses evoke very different emotions, it’s not uncommon for skull and rose tattoo meanings to be misinterpreted. The most common skull and rose tattoo meaning accommodates the most popular meanings of both skull tattoos and rose tattoos, representing the contrast between life and death or beauty and decay. It is this symbol of duality that brings to mind the everlasting struggle between good and evil, beauty and ugliness, and the belief that from death comes life.

Girly skull tattoo meaning

Even though skull tattoos have come to represent something much more masculine than feminine, skull tattoos aren’t just for guys anymore. Since skull tattoos are often viewed as demonic, women who opt for a skull tattoo may choose a more feminine skull tattoo design to smooth out the edges a little bit. Girly skull tattoos are often depicted as wearing pink or purple bows, which gives them a sort of quirky and ironic look. Some girly skull tattoos may even feature a skull with hearts for eyes, which could be a good choice for the woman in a couple that decides to get matching skull tattoos.

Celebrities with skull tattoos

Skull tattoos are extremely popular these days, and the idea of getting a skull tattoo hasn’t escaped some of our favorite celebrities. Pop superstar Rihanna, for example, has a cute girly skull inked on the back of her left calf, just above her ankle. Rihanna’s skull tattoo features a cartoonish skull and crossbones complete with a girly pink bow on its head. It’s not a big leap then from Rihanna to R&B star, Chris Brown, her former boyfriend who also has a skull tattoo. Chris Brown’s skull tattoo is inked on the back of his right hand and, like Rihanna’s skull tattoo, isn’t quite as dark and dangerous as it could be. According to Chris Brown, he didn’t want his skull tattoo to be quite so “demonic,” so he added a halo above it to make it into something more positive. Chris Brown’s skull tattoo certainly looks pretty scary, so it’s probably a good thing he neutralized it with an angelic halo.

Rihanna and Chris Brown aren’t the only celebrities with skull tattoos, however. Teen superstar Miley Cyrus recently got a sugar skull inked on the inside of her right ankle in a design matching that of her boyfriend, Liam Hemsworth. As you read above, sugar skulls represent a Mexican holiday called the Day of the Dead, during which friends and family members take the time to remember loved ones they have lost. Miley Cyrus’ sugar skull tattoo meaning then, could be a tribute to someone she has lost, although it’s a little strange that her boyfriend got the same one, unless it was a common friend. Or maybe Liam and Miley just really liked the sugar skull tattoo design!

Popular skull tattoo designs

As you can see, there are quite a lot of different meanings for skull tattoos, and this type of tattoo design can be manipulated to incorporate any number of symbols, images and colors to suit the wearer. If you are thinking about getting a skull tattoo, keep in mind that the traditional “morbid” skull or the skull and crossbones aren’t the only skull tattoo designs out there. If you’re looking for a skull tattoo that symbolizes making a change in your life, you may want to consider a skull and rose tattoo, which incorporates both life and death, or a move from that which is evil to that which is good. On the other hand, if you’re interested in getting a skull tattoo in remembrance of a friend or family member who has passed away, a sugar skull tattoo could be what you’re after. These very different skull tattoo meanings are only some examples of how changes in the design of your skull tattoo could completely alter what your skull tattoo represents, which is why it is so important to research your skull tattoo meaning before hitting the tattoo parlor!