anchor tattoo ideas

Symbolic Anchor Tattoo Ideas

Last Updated on October 1, 2020 by Avia

Symbolic Anchor Tattoo Ideas and Meanings

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.

David J. Crotty Photography on Etsy

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.

Anchor Tattoo Ideas

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…

Symbolic Anchor Meaning – Keywords

anchor tattoo ideas
anchor tattoo ideas
  • Hope
  • Safety
  • Fidelity
  • Stability
  • Security
  • Salvation
  • Good Luck
  • Steadfastness
  • Ocean/Sea/Waters

“Hope is the anchor of the soul.”


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.

symbolic anchor tattoo ideas
symbolic anchor tattoo ideas

Here are a few awesome sea gods and goddesses to consider incorporating into your anchor tattoo ideas…

Gods and Goddesses Associated with the Anchor Symbol

♦  Neptune – Roman sea god (doppelganger of Poseidon), storm-maker and earth-shaker

♦  Amphitrite – Greek sea goddess (and nymph), protects sailors and gives birth to dolphins (and you thought your kid was funny lookin! lol)

♦  Poseidon – Temperamental Greek sea god, rebel with a pitchfork and a cause to protect all inhabitants of the sea

♦  Triton – Greek sea deity who is half-man, half-fish. A blow of his conch, waters can be calm or tempestuous

♦  Ran – Old Norse sea goddess, her appearance is marked by her tugging on anchors – an omen of bad weather and/or tumultuous seas

♦  Varuna – Hindu god of the oceans with the power to make noble humans immortals. Those who died at sea were assigned into his care

symbolic anchor tattoo meaning
Symbolic anchor tattoo meaning – gods and goddesses

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.

mermaid meaning and mermaid symbolism

Mermaid Meanings

Naturally, mermaid meaning and symbolism also deals with love as they are frequently associated with love goddesses like Aphrodite/Venus. They are also affiliated with many sea goddesses. Get more information about symbolic mermaid meanings here.

Tattoo meaning and tattoo ideas

More Meaningful Tattoo Ideas

Tattoos can be a way of galvanizing intense and personal meanings. This article lists dozens of links about tattoo ideas and tattoo meanings. From planets to peacocks, roses to ravens – you are bound to find something that tickles your fancy for your next tattoo.  Click here for full access to all tattoo ideas and tattoo meanings. (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.