Symbolic Anchor Tattoo Ideas
Tons of seafaring matey's and pirates alike have adopted the anchor as a symbol of their love for the open waters.
There are varying designs of anchors, and the design of your anchor tattoo will tell a lot about your inky intentions. I've seen some anchor tattoos honor the dance between male and female duality and harmony. In this case, the crescent (along the bottom of the anchor) is symbolic of female (yin) - and the vertical rod is symbolic of male (yang) energy.
Ancient Egyptian art shows gender in the anchor too. An anchor drawing/etching designed with a skiff or a boat as the lower half of the anchor represented "female" (the curve of woman, the crescent of moon). And, a snake composed the upper half of the anchor-art, as the erect vertical mast - this is the male factor (phallus). Together, these two design compositions symbolize creation.
In Renaissance art, anchors are often depicted with the dolphin. This is symbolic of tempering speed with resistance. In this image, the dolphin is symbolic of speed and carefree direction, while the anchor is a symbol of remaining grounded and stable. Combined, these two symbols encourage a balance between quick action and sound judgment.
In Freemason art and symbolism the anchor is sometimes replaced with Jacob's ladder. In this case, the anchor tattoo meaning represents attainment and ascension. We're talking about a theological climb starting from base/mundane understanding to enlightened realization.
Here are a few keywords to ponder as you explore anchor tattoo ideas...
Anchor tattoos were common among pirates to denote a permanent connection with the sea. I've heard rumor that anchor pirate tattoos were a way to convey lots of time in the brig too. This makes sense as the anchor is symbolic of "being parked" - a time incarcerated would be synonymous.
An anchor tattoo is a common sight among US military branches specializing in sea duty (Navy, Coast Guard, Marines). It identifies a man (or woman) with the sea, as well as a branch of military - and therefore labels him/her with a code of protection, honor, duty and devotion to a greater cause.
I've also been told an anchor tattoo is symbolic of a sailor having crossed the Atlantic Ocean.
But you don't have to be in the Navy to be attracted to the anchor tattoo meaning. A love for boating, the call of the waters/oceans or perhaps a memorial to someone who held a deep affection for the seas could justify an anchor tattoo.
I've also seen anchors with a pitchfork look to them - these might be an artistic tribute to various sea deities. Here are a few awesome sea gods and goddesses to consider incorporating into your anchor tattoo ideas...
Symbolic anchor tattoo ideas can also share ties with Christian symbolism. Most anchors have a top-bar that looks like a cross, and therefore hearkens to the traditional Christian theme of salvation and sacrifice. This was particularly useful during dicey times when abiding by Christian faith was risky business. In these times, an anchor was used as a symbol instead of the cross to identify oneself as a Christian in a secretive way.
As an anchor is dropped in order to gain stability on troubled waters - this is synonymous with an anchored faith. Hebrews 6:19 touts: "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." in reference to the consistency of Gods unwavering presence in the hearts of men.
If you are a military seaman (or woman), a pirate-at-heart, or have an endless love of the sea - an anchor might be ideal for your next tattoo. And even if the seas don't really raise your sails, maybe an anchor tattoo might be symbolic of stability, hope, faith and security for you. Whatever the case, it's up to you to explore your personal feelings about an anchor tattoo meaning before committing it to ink.
Other symbolic suggestions that might float your boat when considering anchor tattoo ideas are found 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!