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25 Religious Tattoos and Faiths Behind Them

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This word was first written in 1769. In 1891, the first electric tattoo machine was invented and patented by tattoo artist, Samuel O Reilly. Today, tattoos are still ways for people to express their religious beliefs or spirituality. Tattoo removal in the past was done by the application of wine, lime, garlic or pigeon feces.

We have gathered an impressive gallery of religious tattoos which people implant over their body just for the sake of faith. Every religious tattoo enlisted below has its own back story.

A brief tour of most commonly used religious tattoos.

1. OM

OM is a Sanskrit word that has become one of the most used Sanskrit words in tattoo by Hindus, with a belief to invite good karma into their lives, or to protect themselves from evil forces.

The symbol consists of three parts and every part has its meaning; I exist, I know, I am blissful. It has deep meaning; it is the vibration and consciousness of the entire universe.

simple wrist tattoo on forearm

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2. Ganesha

Hindu region is best known for its ritual and millions of God and Goddess. God Ganesha is one of them. The Hindus viewed the Ganesha as a symbol of wisdom, success, education, wealth and destroyer of evils and obstacles.

Ganesh tattoo on shoulder is believed to give strength to your arm and hands to do more work.

shaded half sleeve Hindu God Ganesha tattoo design

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3. Cross

For Christians, cross is a symbol of religious faith and belief that Jesus is god on earth. The cross tattoo has longstanding history as a powerful religious symbol; is that this tattoo is based on the wooden cross on which Jesus was crucified, it represents hope and grounding faiths.

The cross is a reminder of God’s eternal love thereby Christians love to have it on their skin.

Cross tattoo on wrist

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4. Ankh

The Ankh is an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic ideograph symbolizing ‘Life’. It represents the union of man and women and symbolizes the creation of life through this union.

The ankh is very popularly flaunted on the wrist.

Ancient Egyptian Eye of Horus Ankh tattoo

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5. Triquetra

Triquetra was created by the Celts a long time ago and is now being used as a symbol of God’s love around the Holy Trinity. The popular term for it today is the Trinity Knot and the Irish Love Knot. Christians tattoo this symbol and it represents father, son and Holy Spirit.

Small Triquetra Celtic Knot tattoo on back neck

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6. Anchor

Anchor is not only the part of ship that is put down at the end of  safe long journey rather it is a Christian symbol that represents safety, hope and steadfastness. It was often the symbol of a very experienced sailor.

anchor tattoo on ankle

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7. G>^V

The G in this tattoo is for God, this > represents greater than, ^ is highs and V is lows. Collectively this symbol means God is greater than highs and lows.

tattoo god is greater than the ups and downs

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8. Lotus

In Buddhism, an open lotus flower represents enlightenment and good vibes. This symbol is used to represent divine beauty and purity, while the unfolding of its leaves represents the expanding of the soul and spiritual awakening.

buddhist lotus flower tattoo on back

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9. Water

Long believed in Christian wisdom is the water as a symbol of purification or purity. Christians tattoo water symbol over their skin with belief that water has the strength to wash away evil and negativity.

amazing water tattoo on shoulder

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10. Dove

It is seen as in Christians as a symbol of sacrifice and faith. It represents notable attributes and does portray purity in faith. The dove has very strong association with Mother Mary and Jesus Christ.

small simple outline red heart and dove tattoo on wrist

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11. Ta Moko

Ta moko is tattooed on face, at ancient time sit represents the history of a person’s achievement and represents ones status in their tribe. This facial tattoo has been practiced for over a thousand years by Maori people.

tribal culture Maori Ta Moko tattoo on face

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12. Koru

Koru tattoo represents new life and harmony as well as growth and peace. Mostly it is tattooed by the people of New Zealand (Maori) at the side of the body.

Half Sleeve Maori culture Koru tattoo

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13. Fern

It’s a national New Zealand symbol derived from the young fern plants, called koru by the Maori tribes. The fern is often used as a representation of endurance and resourcefulness. It is symbol that is meaningful within many religious traditions from Maoris to Paganism.

fern tattoo on back

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14. Dharma Wheel

Dharmachackra is a Buddhist symbol that represents the wheel of truth and law. The eight spokes symbolize the four noble truths and the eightfold path. The wheel also represents endless cycle of rebirth.

dharma wheel tattoo on back neck

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15. Bodhi Tree

Bodhi is a Sanskrit word that means fully awake. Similarly, the bodhi tree tattoo is symbolic of awakening. It is the symbol of Buddha’s enlightenment, an ultimate reminder of human potential that lies within us all.

bodhi tree tattoo on back neck

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16. Stupa

Stupa is a Sanskrit word with meaning heap. This symbol is considered as the living presence of Buddha and living energy.

stupa tattoo

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17. Unalome

Unalome is originally a Hindu symbol that graphically recalls Shiva’s third eye and it represents wisdom and the path to perfection. It is supposed to the path that one follows to reach the destination of being completely enlightened.

unalome tattoo on back neck

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18. Mandala

One of the richest visual objects in Tibetan Buddhism is the mandala.Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘circle’ and represents the universe. The pattern within the mandala is usually balanced and harmonized symbolizing how we are all connected and part of the wider universe.

mandala tattoo on shoulder

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19. Hamsa Hand

Hamsa Hand symbol represents the protection against all kind of evil spirits and negative energies. The hamsa tattoo embraces a deep magical sense and serves as a strong defensive amulet.

hamsa hand tattoo on back

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20. Cat

In ancient Egypt, people believed that cats were an incarnation of the moon goddess. As one of the earliest domesticated animals in human history, cats have a long history of cultural symbolism. Cat tattoo is a symbol of prosperity, good fortune and progress.

behind the ear cat tattoo

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21. Scorpio

Scorpions have played a vital role in Egyptian history and mythology, and Egypt is where most of the dangerous scorpions in the world reside. The Scorpio tattoo meaning represents intimidation and fear like grim reaper tattoos, an expression of great strength, and the ability to control and protect oneself, loyalty, and powerful sexuality.

tribal scorpion tattoo on back

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22. Star of David

The Star of David is a generally recognized symbol of modern Jewish identity and Judaism. It is a combination of the Two Worlds which relate to the Heaven and Hell natures within Man as well as around Him.

star of david tattoo

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23. Foot Prints

As a tattoo design, Buddha’s footprint is a powerful reminder that the ideas of a single individual can transform the world, that spiritual pursuits take place in a material world, and they may act to help a believer to ‘follow’ in Buddha’s path and his teachings, literally by ‘following in his footprints’.

Buddha's Footprint Tattoo Design

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24. Trishul 

Trishul has great significance in Hindu Religion, it is in the hands of almost all the deities but the significance is even more when it is held by Lord Shiva or Goddess. Trishul is polyvalent and the three points have various meanings,they are commonly said to represent various trinities— creation, maintenance and destruction.

trishul with om tattoo on forearm

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25. Chi Rho

Chi Rho is an ancient Christian symbol, a Christogram that is made by overlaying the initial two letters (in capital) of the Greek word ‘Christos’ meaning ‘Christ’. Pronounced as ‘KEE-roe’, the monogram looks to have been formed with the English alphabets X and P.

chi rho tattoo

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Check our earlier entries on more faithful tattoo designs:

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