Chain Tattoo Ideas and Meaning
Chain tattoo ideas can be are extremely powerful because they deal with issues of freedom and bondage. And, any time we talk about freedom we're talking about human rights which strikes at the core of every human heart beat.
Broken chain tattoos can symbolize liberation from a harrowing/challenging time in life. People who get a tattoo of a broken chain will likely tell you they may have been set free from a terrible burden. The tattoo represents freedom from bondage - or the removal of a heavy weight upon their heart.
Chain tattoos that are NOT broken may convey the feeling of being limited, enslaved, or imprisoned. I have a buddy who is serving life in prison and his chain tattoo meaning represents his life of being shackled with no hope of release. He has 14 links on his chain tattoo. One for each year he has served. He's told me that getting a new link tattooed to an existing chain tattoo for every year served is a relatively common prison ink ritual.
A chain tattoo idea may also symbolize honoring a bond of service or duty. It may also convey a feeling of sacrifice. For example, if you have served in the military, you may have felt bound (chained) to a code of honor. There is no choice but to serve your country - but your heart may feel chained because of the pain and sacrifice this duty brings. Chains in a military sense can also symbolize rank and office (ie: chain of command).
On a more uplifting note, chains sometimes symbolize an eternal connection with an ideal or a loved one. A linked chain has been a symbol of marriage because of the immortal connection soul-mates share. In this light, the chain stands for eternal love - especially in marriage.
Homer, the epic poet of ancient Greece (author of the Iliad and the Odyssey) once made a philosophical observation that an ephemeral chain of energetic gold formed a connection between heaven and earth. He said Zeus hung the chain himself as a way to keep the skies connected to the land. Plato called it a "rope of light" that encircled the Universe, holding all the energy in place.
A golden chain shows up in medieval Christian art as a symbol of divine connection - the chain is symbolic of prayer and it links man to God in unbreakable faith/communication. Alternatively, chains also take on an oppressive tone, especially when depicted with demonic or devilish imagery. In this light, chains are symbolic of being defeated by base/materialistic desires.
In ancient Celtic symbolism a chain is shown trailing down from the tongue of the Celtic god Ogmios and it rain to the ears of his followers. This symbolizes the mesmerizing power of Ogmios' words, and his effectiveness to capture his listeners attention.
In religions like Hinduism and Buddhism, a chain is sometimes used to represent the chain of karma. Karma is the action of life going through its cycles. A teacher once told me our individual actions in each life make up our chain of karma and predicts what kind of life we will experience in the next cycle of life. The term "breaking the chain of karma" refers to changing bad habits (breaking weak links) to liberate oneself from living out undesirable karma in their next life.
Chains can also be a symbol of friendship. More specifically, chains convey a sense of incredible strength and a joining together of a bond that can withstand all tests of time and hardship.
Some keywords to consider as you contemplate chain tattoo ideas...
I hope you've enjoyed these thoughts about chain tattoo ideas. Click the links at the end of this page for more relevant info.
An Important Note About Signs, Symbols and Their Meanings
Signs and symbols cultivate their meanings according to culture, context, passage of time in society as well as mass societal opinion. What's cool and highly important is that signs and symbols earn their most powerful meanings from our own personal perspectives.
This website strives to provide you with the best, time-honored information when defining signs and symbols. However, in the final analysis, "Beauty (and symbolism) is in the eye of the beholder."
Having said that, it's in our best interest to invest the time to do personal research on symbolic events happening to us. This website is just one perspective in an ocean of variety and diversity in the realm of symbolism. So dive in! There is a whole universe of deeper meanings to explore! You can start your research by clicking on the links at the end or to the side of this page. Odds are good I've got a follow-up article about this symbolic topic. ;)
As always, thanks for your willingness to learn more about the language of symbolism. It's a language that is universal and everywhere. It's super-groovy to travel with you on your symbolic path, and maybe offer a little translation along the way. Thanks for reading and exploring!