Symbolic Hourglass Meanings
for Tattoo Ideas

Hourglass tattoo meaning

Hourglass Meanings and Tattoo Ideas

I have three friends with hourglass tattoos, and they've helped me write this page on tattoo ideas incorporating the hourglass as a prominent symbol.

Frank is serving life in prison - no parole. His hourglass tattoo signifies the inevitability of his situation. In his case, the tattoo is a stern marker of the unchangeable truth of his future. There is only time. This is his harsh reality: His scenery will not change until his death.

If life finds you waiting, waiting, waiting for the next phase, an hourglass tattoo might be a good reminder that this too shall pass - change is inevitable - and one way or another - the scenery is going to change.

Another buddy of mine, Grayson, got an hourglass tattoo for much brighter reasons. To him, an hourglass is symbolic of the balance seen in the Universe. In script font, he had this tattooed around the timepiece:

"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour."

Of course, this passage is from the legendary poem Auguries of Innocence by William Blake.

This is a great conveyance. Ancient alchemists had similar ideas about the symbolic meaning of the hourglass. They pictured one half of the glass as symbolic of the sky. The lower half representing the earth. Energy passes between the two and expresses a pervasive feel of balance, duality, and the infinite cycles of life passing between experiences of mundane and ethereal.

Some keywords to ponder as you explore more about hourglass tattoo ideas...

Symbolic Hourglass Meanings

  • Time
  • Cycles
  • Nature
  • Balance
  • Transience
  • Life/Death
  • Inevitability
  • Temporal/Temporary

Are you awestruck by the wonder and inevitability inherent in the cycles of life and the cosmos? Are you needing to memorialize your knowledge that all life prevails (one way or another) with the passing of time? If so, an hourglass tattoo might be your thing.

Most of us are familiar with the saying "she has an hourglass figure." The hourglass has a curvaceous appeal, very feminine.

My friend Sable picked up on this sensual look with her ink. Her hourglass tattoo represents the Divine Feminine and how power can be derived through specifically female cycles of life. She understands female rites. From maiden, mother to crone and beyond - her hourglass tattoo captures all the elements of feminine progress. Her piece galvanizes her understanding of what it means to be a fully developed woman. Fascinating, really.

Speaking of gender, another view at the hourglass can reveal two triangles: One erect and one inverted, each meeting tip-to-tip. This is a common motif of male (erect) and female (inverted). An hourglass tattoo might be a unique way to convey the timeless connection between male/female. Or, perhaps even a way to express the endless dance between polarity (yin/yang, light/dark, creation/destruction, moon/sun, etc).

meaningful Hourglass tattoo ideas

Whether you are wanting an expression of "tempus fugit" (time flies) or looking for an unorthodox expression of the phases of life-at-large...I hope these observations help you in your hourglass tattoo ideas research.

It doesn't really matter if you have the sense that time is on your side, or feel time is an enemy...because have no doubt...time is an inevitable influence upon our lives. Maybe an hourglass tattoo can serve as a permanent reminder of the potential of time.

Maybe this type of tattoo can aid focus upon the importance of NOW. As Eckhart Tolle beautifully observed in his book, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment (loved it!), every moment is fleeting. All we have is NOW. As I look at an hourglass, I hone my focus in on the center part...that middle pinch of glass where, for a nanosecond, no sand can move because it's all bunched together. That, to me, represents the here-and-now moment Tolle describes. It's a visual illustration of now.

I hope these insights into the gravity of time, and the symbolic potential of the hourglass inspires your own tattoo ideas. Check out the links at the end of this page for more articles of symbolic interest. Thanks for reading!

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!


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click links below for symbolic meanings.