Iron Cross Meaning and Tattoo Ideas
Often interchanged with the Maltese cross, the iron cross tattoo meaning has its roots with King Friedrich Wilhelm the third of Prussia in the mid 1800s. The King commanded this stylized cross as a symbol of bravery and honorary medals bearing the iron cross were awarded to brave soldiers during the War of Liberation.
Adolph Hitler adopted the iron cross as a medal for his own officers. In fact, it was the only major decoration awarded by the Nazis before the Third Reich.
The iron cross has some rebellious symbolism associated with it, and worn by certain people it conveys a message of nonconformity or - more accurately an "F-off" message to "the man" or the "establishment."
Perhaps its association with Nazi Germany that popularized the iron cross tattoo with more rebellious groups of people who wish to convey this edgy message. Bikers, skinheads and hardcore niches often adorn themselves with the iron (or Maltese) cross to snub noses at conventionalism. In this context the iron cross may also convey a revolt against following the masses. Rather, the cross is a symbol expressing a rage against common thought & to be militant in the pursuit of individual thought/action.
On a lighter note the iron cross tattoo meaning is redeemed when we see it in civic departments to acknowledge bravery on duty. Fire and Police organizations often utilize this cross to show commendable service and incredible bravery on the job. In these instances, the iron cross is a symbol of iron-will required to protect the community.
Some keywords to consider while exploring iron cross tattoo ideas...
The iron cross meaning is also associated with the Knights Templar. Although not consistently used, and certainly not recognized as their official symbol, evidence of the iron cross used by the Knights showed up in the mid 1100's. In this respect, this type of cross is symbolic of balance, faith, equanimity and protection. When in use, the cross was a bold symbol (a bright red cross laid against stark white robes) that identified the Knights with their spiritual ideals and their crusade. If you are a Templar enthusiast, and relate to the historical mission of the Knight's Templar, the iron cross might be a great tattoo idea for you.
In closing, the iron cross has many meanings across many eras and cultures. As I always advise, it's best to do more research on this symbol to enhance your understanding about its cultural and historical value. This is just a brief article summarizing the cross's use in some instances of human history. Before commiting to a tattoo, do yourself a service and really get to know this symbol more clearly with thorough research. Thanks for reading, and happy tattooing!
For more tattoo ideas and cross meanings, be sure to click on the links at the end of this page.
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!