Designing Your Own Tree Tattoo
Getting a tattoo is permanent, and while some people like just to grab something that catches their fancy because it’s pretty or scary or popular, others like to do research and spend time figuring out exactly what they want and why they want it. This article is not written for those who want to copy someone else’s tattoo, but rather for those who are looking for ideas and inspiration while they design their own unique and thoroughly meaningful tree tattoo design.
Below, you’ll find interpretations of what trees mean and some links to resources for images to use to help jump-start your imagination.
Religious and Cultural Meaning of Tree Tattoos
Tree worship (aka dendrolatry) is the age-old, multi-cultural practice of worshipping or otherwise mythologizing trees. Some people found certain trees to be sacred, such as the Celts and Greeks who revered oak trees. The Celts honored many trees that were thought to have special powers and also to serve as fairy houses. Druids (and other pagans) met in sacred groves, especially the oak, and the term “druid” may come from the Celtic word for oak. Germans felt that way about lime and linden, Scandinavians about ash, and Lebanese about cedar trees. Buddha reportedly saw Bodhi trees as the symbol of enlightenment; for Hindus, the peepal (or sacred fig or Bodhi tree) is also spiritually and holistically important and is used to treat asthma, jaundice, diabetes, epilepsy, gastric problems, inflammation, and infections. The Hindus also worship the banyan, Ashoka, and sandalwood trees. In the Bible’s story of Genesis, the tree of life in the Garden of Eden contained all knowledge of good and evil. In Judaism, in the Kabbalah, the tree of life represents a sacred geometry represented as a diagram of ten points.
Today, a form of tree-worship can bee seen in the Christmas tree, which many people (Christian and not) bring into their home during the holiday season and decorate with ornaments and lights. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica,
The use of evergreen trees, wreaths, and garlands to symbolize eternal life was a custom of the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews. Tree worship was common among the pagan Europeans and survived their conversion to Christianity in the Scandinavian customs of decorating the house and barn with evergreens at the New Year to scare away the devil.
Tree of Life Tattoos
The tree of life symbolizes immortality and eternity, knowledge and wisdom, strength and protection, abundance and growth, forgiveness and salvation. In many tattoos, the tree of life is drawn with its roots and branches intertwined in a circle.
Cherry Blossom Tree Tattoos
It’s good to know, though, that to the Chinese, the cherry blossom tree is more about femininity and grace, while the Japanese see it as not just a symbol of womanhood but also as a symbol of life, as the tree itself displays its annual evolutions in a very showy way and in the spring, the blooms only last a few spectacular weeks.