The Magickal Meanings Behind Five Pagan Tattoos
As any practicing pagan can tell you, symbolism is incredibly important. Whether it’s the triple moon to honor the lunar phases—and the goddess if you believe in deity—the color green to denote money and prosperity, or even a sigil designed to accomplish a specific purpose, nearly every visual has a meaning, and that meaning has power. It’s important to realize, though, that a symbol is defined by the significance with which you imbue it—so a color, for example, could have wildly different essences depending on the person.
These five pagans have taken their lean toward symbolism to a more permanent level, inking themselves with tattoos that represent their lives and their practice.
Tattoos: pentagram, triple protection symbol, triquetra
What it means: The pentagram is one of the most predominant symbols for pagans around the world, as it symbolizes the five essentials for life: earth, air, fire, water, and spirit. The triple protection symbol represents protection from the Goddess and the moon. The power of three, symbolized by the triquetra, means that whatever personal power you have will be increased three-fold. Conversely, it represents the negative aspect of tripling down—that if you curse someone, the negativity will come back to you three times as bad.
What it Means to Billie: “I have three pagan tattoos: a big pentagram on my stomach, a triple protection symbol on my right hand, and a triquetra on my right arm. I felt closer to my Goddess after getting the pentagram, I felt more protected after getting the triple protection, and more powerful after the power of three. Since inking them all, my spellcasting is more powerful.”
Tattoo: combination hamsa hand, evil eye, and lotus
What it Means: The hamsa hand is a protection symbol against the evil eye; it represents the hand of God. The evil eye, or a malicious look given to someone, is a type of curse that brings bad luck and injury. For centuries, the lotus has symbolized being both grounded and divine.
What it Means to Christabel: “I was born and raised in the Middle East, but my parents are originally from India. Both cultures believe in protection from the evil eye to ward off ill will and bad spirits. You will find the hand of hamsa all over the Middle East; it protects the entrances of households and can be worn as jewelry, bringing luck and protection to the wearer. The open lotus at the end of my hamsa tattoo is symbolic in yoga philosophy (I’m a hatha yoga teacher). It’s a sign of enlightenment and oneness with the universe.”
Tattoo: combination triple moon and awen rays
What it Means: The triple moon represents moon phases—waxing, full, waning—and the maiden, mother, crone progression of the Goddess. Awen rays are an ancient Celtic druid symbol that represents the balance between female and male energies; inspiration and wisdom; and the mind, body, and spirit.
What it Means to Benjamin: “The six rays are the Awen from Celtic druid teachings and represent wisdom and understanding. The triple moon, to me, represents that the moon is both ever-changing and unchanging—nothing lasts forever.”
Tattoo: Chiron glyph
What it Means: In Greek mythology, Chiron was a centaur and a healer, though he could not heal himself. His symbol, which is shaped like a key, represents healing through trauma and transiting from one place to another.
What it Means to Anastasia: “I have had mental health issues due to a mood disorder over the years. There was a point where I was suicidal, depressed, down in some deep heavy energy. But I survived the episode. Through years of self-care work (including meditation, journaling, the integration of astrological insight, yoga, ecstatic dance, and creative expression) I have achieved a level of wellness that I didn’t think was possible. People ask me how I do it. I was for many years a person who was reluctant to share what my experience was, but I found that by doing exactly that, my story became a catalyst, a beacon of hope, and something that inspired others. I like the concept behind Chiron energy, that our wounds are also our medicine. I am a writer who speaks a truth that was hard to voice before I found the confidence to do so. So I put the glyph for Chiron near my throat chakra to remember to speak my truth always.”
Tattoo: combination triskele, holly, cauldrons, and belladonna
What it Means: A triskele (three interlocked spirals) is an ancient Celtic symbol representing either the interplay of earth, sky, and water, or the connection between the physical, spiritual, and celestial worlds. Holly is a protective plant, and belladonna is a poisonous plant closely connected to the underworld and the spiritual realm. Witches typically use cauldrons (or really any sort of pot or bowl) to mix ingredients together.
What it Means to Bell: “I have a triskele symbolizing the maiden, mother, and crone aspect of the triple goddess, which is above holly (the symbol of the winter solstice) and triple cauldrons. It’s all surrounded by belladonna lilies. My skin is basically walking witchcraft.”
Image by Larm Rmah via Unsplash