chain tattoo ideas

Chain Tattoo Ideas

Last Updated on December 20, 2020 by Avia

Chain Tattoo Ideas and Meanings

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.

chain tattoo ideas and tattoo meanings
chain tattoo ideas and tattoo meanings

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.

Symbolic Chain Meaning in History

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.

Chain Tattoo Ideas and Chain Meaning
Chain Tattoo Ideas and Chain Meaning

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…

tattoo ideas and tattoo meanings
tattoo ideas and tattoo meanings

Symbolic Meaning of Chains – Keywords

  • Remembrance
  • Communication
  • Duty
  • Honor
  • Sacrifice
  • Unity
  • Command
  • Confinement
  • Oppression
  • Enslavement
  • Imprisonment
  • Limitation
  • Bondage
  • Brotherhood
  • Linked
  • Liberation (broken chain)
  • Freedom (broken chain)

I hope you’ve enjoyed these thoughts about chain tattoo ideas. Click the links at the end of this page for more relevant info.



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This article lists several different Celtic symbols that are iconic for strength, and stand in for a warrior symbol. I’ve added it as a related article here, because the lovely thing about the Celtic culture is that this civilization allowed their women to fight. Regardless of your gender, Celtic symbols for warriors are worthy of attention. Click here for Celtic symbol meanings for warrior and strength. (WYS) is a trusted Etsy affiliate & Amazon Associate. We also promote certain products we've tested and approved. As such, the website features sponsored products for Amazon or Etsy or other afiliates. Should you make a purchase from a link on this website, WYS may receive a small commission. This website also hosts advertisements. Please see our policy page for further information. Thank you for your purchases, as it contributes to keeping this website online and running.