A Dragon Tattoo By Any Other Name…

Ormr. Ddraig. Dreigiaw. Derkein. Derkomai. Drakon. Draca. Draco. Dragon.

Despite the language of the name given them, dragons inhabit the myth and legends of most ancient and modern cultures and have been portrayed throughout history as magical creatures possessing raw power and mystical might. This is the allure of the dragon tattoo design. No other tattoo art or tattoo design makes as distinctive and commanding an individual statement than a dragon tattoo.

Dragon tattoos also have the added advantage of being so fluid that they can conform to and flatter the contours of any part of the body. Many hardcore tattoo addicts have even gotten dragon designs whose tail begins at one ankle and winds its way up the leg and torso with the dragon’s head finally resting on the chest. Dragons can even coil themselves into intricate full and half sleeve tattoos, and a dragon in flight with its wings spread makes an excellent lower back tattoo.

Origin of the Word “Dragon”

The origin of the word “dragon” has been traced to a Greek word, “derkein,” meaning “sharp-sighted one,” which appears to describe a snake, so when it was converted to Latin, the word became “draco,” or “giant snake.”

The Popularity of Dragons

Dragons have always been the topic of fascination and mystery, as well as being a source of wonder, a symbol of hope and purity, and sometimes…jealousy, miserliness, maleficence and fierce rage.

Dragons have also been known to be notorious riddle-masters, sentinels of sacred shrines, and hoarders of treasures beyond imagining. It is even said that great philosophers would climb the highest mountains peaks or venture into the lowest caverns to seek the sage advice of dragons in secret.

When not out to slay dragons for immortality, like Sigfried, or for the golden apples of great happiness, like Hercules, we lowly mortals live under the ever-vigilant gaze of dragons. Sometimes we reside in the sphere of a dragon’s good fortune. And there are those lucky few who actually get to live under the wing of a dragon’s protection.

Dragons have even crossed over into the real world. Vikings carved dragon figureheads on the prow of their ships because they believed the dragons would endow keen sight and cunning to the Viking warriors. And in China, emperors think they are the real dragons and the sons of the heaven. They sleep on dragon beds, sit on thrones called the dragon seat, and their ceremonial dress is known as dragon robes.

Nowadays it’s quite common to hear parents tell their children bedtime stories about good and kindly dragons. For a fee you can hire the services of a dragon specialist who will tell you the name of your own personal guardian dragon and for an additional sum you may even obtain a sketch of your appointed guardian. There are even group therapy sessions that help you release the inner dragon that lies dormant in all of us.

With the success of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film trilogy, interest in dragons and the magical world created by J.R.R. Tolkien has renewed, just as it had back in 1973 when Gary Gygax of TSR, Inc. created a roleplaying game named Dungeons and Dragons (D&D).

D&D also goes into great length about dragon societies and the philosophy that revolves around the ancient Ceremony of Sublimation, where dragons aspire to reach a higher level of existence and possibly immortality unique to dragonkind.

And then there are the tattoos. Dragon tattoo designs come in many forms, Celtic dragon tattoos, tribal dragon tattoos, Asian dragon tattoos, and the list goes on. When it comes to body art, dragon tattoos are among the most popular tattoo designs.

What a Dragon Tattoo Represents on a Woman

A dragon tattoo on a woman usually acknowledges “woman as the creator.” Like the dragons of many mythologies, woman’s true body form is that of life, the world and the universe. It is this superior form that allows her to be without equal. Dragon body art also represents a flowing, fluid grace that conceals a reserve of power just beneath the cool surface. Studies have shown that women who get dragon tattoos become more self-confident and assertive.

What a Dragon Tattoo Represents on a Man

A dragon tattoo design on a man typically signifies raw power. Like dragons, men are the guardians of that which is sacred, such as women and objects of great wealth. But this must be tempered with wisdom, lest the greed of dragons overpower the man’s soul and turn him into a ravenous creature with an insatiable appetite. Men who get dragon tattoos view themselves as being revered for their wisdom but feared for their tremendous power.

Why All The Sudden Interest In Dragon Tattoo Designs?

Actually, the interest isn’t all that sudden at all. Dragons have always been an archetypal choice for a traditional tattoo design. Far more popular than tribal, butterfly, Celtic, and even cross tattoos, beautifully rendered coiling dragon tattoo flash can adorn any part of both the male and female body. Not to mention that tattoo designers have begun to take traditional dragon tattoo illustration to the next level, giving the dragon body art a stylized edge that is sure to keep people staring at your personal dragon tattoo design in awe and appreciation.

But before you rush out to get your dragon tattoo, you should familiarize yourself with the history of dragons to determine which tattoo design best represents your characteristics and strengths and beliefs.


Some of the first recorded stories involving dragons date back to the Sumerian civilization, located between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in an area once called Mesopotamia, which later became Persia, and is now better know as Iraq and Iran.

Mesopotamian Dragons

The earliest written dragon myth was carved onto clay tablets and depicts the story of a dragon named Asag, who battled the hero-god, Ninurta. Even in these stories, dragons guarded treasures, held back floods, and imparted great knowledge.

Babylonian Dragons

In Babylonian myth, a dragon was believed to have aided in the creation of the world and the gods, and although some of the dragons served as the guardians of god’s treasure and nature, most were depicted as evil creatures, who all too often angered the gods. It is believed that Asag and Ninurta, from the Mesopotamian myth, are introduced by the Babylonians as Tiamet and Marduk, though this may not be totally accurate as the preserved records are in poor condition and incomplete.

A story that did survive is the epic tale of Gilgamesh, who set out to slay Humbab, the dragon guardian of the forest, who was thought to be a threat to the nearby town.

Babylonian history also tells in the “Book of Bel and the Dragon,” that the ruler Nebuchadnezzar, kept a dragon in the temple of the god Bel, where the dragon was worshipped. When the Hebrew prophet, Daniel, began denouncing idols, Nebuchadnezzar told him of the dragon and argued that the dragon was real and Daniel must worship it. Daniel asked why the people worshipped such a creature, and when faced by the dragon, slew it.

Sumerian Dragons

Sumerian myth depicts several dragons, chief among them, Zu, a cunning and devious dragon who stole the Tupsimati, the tablets of law, from the god Enlil, who wore the tablets on him. Another popular dragon is Gandareva, an immense creature who was the guardian of another dragons and preyed upon humans for food.


The Differences in Asian Dragons:

The Chinese boast that their dragons are the “true dragons” and the proof of this lies in the number of claws on the dragon’s foot. The true Chinese dragons have five claws. The Japanese dragons have four claws, and the Vietnamese dragons have only three.

Chinese Dragons

In Chinese culture, the dragons are considered the governors of rain, entrusted with the power to decide where and when the rain falls. Dragons also play a significant role in Chinese Festivals and the dragon dance has a long history that dates back past the Song Dynasty, circa 960-1279 AD. Chinese even consider themselves “the descendants of the dragon” and their culture is rich with the presence of dragons, which is considered to be a symbol of imperial power.

Japanese Dragons

Ryujin, a Japanese Dragon King, who lived in a palace under the sea, loved his wife and daughter so much that he spoiled them both, often sending out sea creatures such as octopus and jellyfish on errands to retrieve odd things. In one version, Ryujin’s daughter, Otohime, wanted to dine on monkey liver and a handsome and strong-boned jellyfish was dispatched to retrieve the liver but was outwitted by the monkey. In rage, the dragon king beat the jellyfish to a pulp, a shape that they hold to this very day.

Korean Dragons

Tales of Korean dragon are fewer in number than their Chinese and Japanese counterparts. The most popular myth involves a poor fisherman who caught a Carp, and the Carp begged for its life so that he may return to his family. The fisherman obliged, and the Carp turned out to be one of the sons of the Dragon King, so the fisherman was rewarded greatly.

Vietnamese Dragons

The story of Slowcoach, involves a kindly man who fashions a fishhook out of a piece of enchanted wood. When he puts the hook into the lake, the water rises and the fishing pole and line disappear into the turbulence and the waves almost drown him. Then a beautiful woman walks out of the water and tells Slowcoach that she is the daughter of the dragon king and his enchanted fishhook is caught in her father’s mouth. When Slowcoach agrees to remove the fishhook, she turns him into a bubble and takes him to the underwater dragon palace. The fishhook is removed and the dragon king rewards Slowcoach with a bottle containing a little blue fish, which later turns out to be the dragon king’s daughter.

Hindu Dragons

Vitra is the dragon that comes from the Indian subcontinent. Vitra absorbed the cosmic waters from the universe and coiled around a great mountain. Vitra is sometimes described as the personification of winter.

A more fascinating Indian Dragon myth involves the only dragon ever to be converted to a human religion. The Dragon, Apalala, lived in the Swat River and was converted by Buddha himself. Apalala then set out to teach it to other dragons, who drove him away but allowed him to continue teaching the humans.


European dragons hold the honorary title of the “kings of evil.” And although these chaotic creatures have plagued mankind since the earliest remembrances with their malicious intent and insatiable battle-lust, still humans feel a strange sense of awe and respect for them.

The tale of St. George’s dragon is perhaps the most famous of the European dragons, in which a dragon appears at the village of Cappadocia and threatens to destroy the region. In fear the villagers offer sacrifices to the dragon in the form of sheep and later the village maidens. Eventually the only maiden left is the princess, who is tied to a stake. Before the dragon can devour her however, George wanders by and slays the dragon.

Another dragon can be found in the epic Anglo-Saxon poem, Beowulf, which chronicled the three battles of the hero of the same name. In the first battle, Beowulf slew Grendel. In the second, Beowulf battled Grendel’s larger, more fearsome mother. In the third and final battle, Beowulf fought a fierce and fiery dragon, that he managed to vanquish, but suffered wounds so lethal that he himself perished.

Greek Dragons

Greeks mythology views dragons as terrifying dark creatures, remnants of an earlier age, that needed to be slaughtered by a hero. Dragons were guardians of underground sources of power, and often guarded springs, where the watery underworld burst to the surface.

Austrian Dragons

In the Vorarlbeg area of West Austria dragons were not considered supernatural but rather simply an unwanted part of nature like wolves, bears, and mountain cats. The annoying dragons occasionally took a horse, cow, or some sheep but were rather shy about confronting mankind and were thus never seriously feared or hunted.

French Dragons

Tarasque is a dragon of a different kind. Reputed to be the daughter of the giant serpent, Onachus, and the water dragon, Leviathan, Tarasque came from the sea up the river Rhone and decided to make her home in Southern France. She terrorized the region for many years, despite the attempt by many knights and heroes to slay her. That was until St. Martha faced the dragoness alone in a white dress and armed only with her faith and a jar of holy water. Apparently that was enough as she led Tarasque back to the town where the now docile and trusting creature was hacked to pieces.

German Dragons

The village of Brand in Germany hosts a dragon who appeared and began eating cattle and tormenting the villagers. Every effort to destroy the dragon ended in failure, until a traveling scholar arrived and created a tempest that completely covered the valley in a landslide of rocks, trees, giant boulders, and mud. The dragon was never spotted again and the area became known as the “dragons grave.”

Norse Dragons

Nidhogger was a famous Norse dragon, who lived at the foot of Yggdrasil, the tree of life. Nidhogger was, in reality, Fafnir whose greed for the gold he horded slowly turned him into the great dragon.

English Dragons

In Sussex England there is a deep cleft in the ground named after the dragon who had resided there, Knucker, who in true dragon fashion caused the usual sort of mischief. This dragon, however, wasn’t slain by a knight. It was killed by a local farmer’s son, Jim Pulk, who put poison in a pie and offered it to Knucker as a meal.

Irish Dragons

Ollipeist is the most famous Irish dragon, who fled Ireland when St. Patrick started imprisoning dragons. It is said that he left a mark with his tail in what is now called the Shannon Valley.

Swiss Dragons

The historical figure St. Magnus (1698-1772), credited with founding several notable churches and monasteries, had his first encounter with a dragon at the city of Kempton, which was said to be empty of men and filled with dragons. He lured the dragons out by sleeping in the open and managed to slay the lead dragon, Boas, by calling on the power of his god.

Russian Dragons

Gorynytch, three-headed dragon with seven tails knew of the prophecy involving the hero, Dobrynja, who would slay him, but was still defeated despite having this information.

Did You Know?

Did you know that the name “Dracula” is linked with dragons” In 1410, the holy Roman Emperor, King Sigismund of Hungary, established a clandestine fraternal order of knights which he named the Order of the Dragon to advocate Christianity and protect the Empire against the Ottoman Turks. At Sigismund’s behest, an emblem was created depicting a dragon clutching a cross with its wings extended.

In 1431, Vlad Tepes II demonstrated great bravery in battling the Turks and as a result was inducted into the Order. His name became “Vlad Dracul” which translated to “Vlad the Dragon.” His son, Vlad Tepes III, inherited his father’s name as well as his lust for battle and was called “Vlad Dracula.” The Romanian word “ulea” translates as “son of the,” which means his name was meant to be “the son of the dragon,” however, “drac” has a second meaning, “devil,” which is one his enemies believed was more accurate.


Borneo Dragons

From the Island of Borneo comes the myth of a dragon named Kinabalu, who lived at the summit of a mountain of the same name, and possessed a fabled pearl of immense size. The Emperor of China heard about the pearl and sent an army to get it for him but the dragon killed all but a few. These survivors return and told the emperor about the disaster and said he could not be overcome by strength of arms. So the emperor sent his two clever sons named Wee San and Wee Ping to get the pearl.

Hawaiian Dragons

Mo-O-Inanea is considered to be the mother of all dragons, but little is known about her since natives are very reluctant to talk about this dragon. Some speculate she may still exist and is being protected by the Hawaiians.

Australian & New Zealand Dragons

Dragons in this region are called “taniwha” and the most famous is a dragon named Hotu-puku, who is credited with the mysterious disappearances of travelers going between Rotorua and Taupo.

African Dragons

In West African mythology, it is said that the world was formed by the genderless one god, Nana-Buluku. Out of loneliness, Nana-Buluku created a rainbow dragon companion named Aido-Hwedo, whose dung created mountains across the flat surface of the Earth and nourished the land so that plants and life could grow. But soon, the planet became so congested with plants and animals and mountains that Nana-Buluku feared the earth would collapse.

In gratitude for being created, Aido-Hwedo offered to help remold the planet, so the great dragon traveled across the earth, its massive dragon tail writhed with so much force and fury that it created the rivers and valleys, until its body formed an immense circular ring with its tail in its mouth, and enfolding the world.


Whether you’re attracted to the history, mythology or pure fantasy of these mysterious creatures, a dragon tattoo can reveal aspects of your true character or serve as a potential warning to those who cross you. Whether you choose a solid black tribal, Asian, Celtic or any of the many other dragon designs, your tattoo will make a powerful statement for the rest of your life.

Shhh, be quiet for a moment. Do you hear that sound” It’s the call of the dragon tattoo beckoning you to take that first step toward fulfilling your destiny.

Copyright ©2005 Rhyan Scorpio Rhys

Viva Mi Raza! A Brief Look at Aztec Art and Tattoo Body Art Design

Aztec/Mexican tattoos have seen a remarkable boom of late, which shouldn’t be too surprising seeing as the mark- ing of skin was an integral part of the ancient Aztec culture. Since religion was essential to their daily lives, Aztecs worshipped myriad gods and goddesses, and would tattoo the chest, wrist, and stomach of children with very specific designs and symbolic patterns in order to show dedication to gods such as Chalchiuhtlicue, Huitzilo- pochtli, Uitzilopochtle, and the more popularly known Quetzalcoatl.

Unfortunately, the true meaning of a great deal of Aztec art is lost it was written in the ancient script of Natuatl, which was a language so complex that it defies proper translation to this very day. This, of course, is a minor setback for the tattoo artists of today who have created interesting and unique tattoos revolving around sun designs. Why the sun, you ask? For the simple fact that the sun was extremely vital to the Aztecs as it was worshipped as the giver of life. They even designed their calendar with the sun in mind, decorating it with various images including skulls, gods and animals.

Another popular design is the Coat of Arms found on the Mexican flag, which is an eagle, holding a serpent in its talon. The serpent is perched on top of a nopal which is situated on a rock that rises above a lake. This image actually stems from the legend of Tenochtitlán, which tells us that the Aztec people were sent on a quest by the war god Huitzilopochtli to travel across Mexico in search of the divine sign that would let them know where to build their new home. The sign, of course, was the eagle and serpent on a prickly pear cactus that grew on a rock in the center of a lake. In case you’re curious, the Aztecs finally came across the divine sign two hundred years later on a small island in Lake Texcoco, and their built their home that today is called Mexico City.

And rounding out the most popular Mexican/Aztec tattoo designs is the scripted phrase, “Viva Mi Raza” which loosely translates to “long live my race”. A variant of this is “Viva La Raza” (“long live the race”). “La Raza” as a proper noun which refers to the Mestizo (or Mestiço) race, a term that usually refers to persons with mixed Latin, European and Amerindian ancestry.

Copyright ©2005 Rhyan Scorpio Rhys

O Butterfly, Beautiful Butterfly

In the brotherhood, or in this case sisterhood, of ink (once you get a tattoo…you’re a card-carrying member) the most popular design sported by women of all walks of life from all over the world is the butterfly. Whether combined with a flower tattoo design (roses, lilies, daisies or sunflowers) or a vine tattoo design (typically done as a butterfly armband) or a wispy-thin tribal tattoo design, butterfly tattoos have a versatility that few tattoo designs have. Aside from the beauty of symmetry, shape, hue and infinite variety in pattern (like snowflakes, no two butterflies are totally alike) of these imaginative designs, butterfly tattoos can literally be placed anywhere on the body.

Why Do So Many People Get Butterfly Tattoo Designs?

The main reason is the human/butterfly connection that has existed for centuries and recanted in the mythologies of many ancient civilizations. It’s a widely held belief that that butterflies are the physical symbols of the human soul and just as the night butterfly is attracted by flame, the human soul is attracted by heavenly truths.

But even when you look at butterflies scientifically, the metamorphosis of butterflies and moths is one of the great mysteries of Nature. Think about it, these insects have the ability to change from crawling caterpillars to flying adults. If that isn’t magical, then I don’t know what is. In fact, many people are so awe inspired by the metamorphosis that they believe that butterflies and moths could never have evolved over millions of years without the power of God behind it.

What a Butterfly Tattoo Represents on a Woman

A butterfly tattoo on a woman usually acknowledges “woman as the free spirit.” Like butterflies in nature, the female “blossoms” from a girl to a woman, equipped with the gift to create and harvest new life. No matter where the butterfly tattoo is placed on the body, it serves as a portal to release and draw in the energies of life, the essences of human souls. A butterfly tattoo is a talisman that focuses the awesome power that is contained within all women.

Now, the types of women who get butterfly tattoo designs are as diverse as the patterns on the butterfly’s wings. These women can be creative, delicately lovely, patient, observant, and intelligent, in tune with nature, deeply committed to friendships and virginal. But they can also be pedantic, shrewd, judicious, aristocratic and reserved.

Does a Butterfly Tattoo Represent Different Meanings On Different Parts Of The Body?

Most definitely. What’s amazing is that a good number of women tend to place butterflies on one of the seven chakra points without even realizing it. The seven points are: the crown (the top of the head), third eye (the forehead above and between the eyebrows), throat, heart, solar plexus, reproduction (lower belly or lower back), and tribal root (beneath the groin). Now, some of you might not think of placing a butterfly tattoo on your crown, third eye or throat, but we have seen it and depending on the design, it can look pretty hot.

On the shoulder blade, the butterfly tattoo represents the dreamer, whose head is usually in the clouds. On the chest, butterfly body art signifies unconditional love for all living things. On the lower back, the butterfly symbolizes stability, survival, self-preservation, physical health, prosperity, and trust.

Below the belly, the butterfly tattoo design typically represents virginity. This stems from the longstanding tradition of branding virginal maidens as an act of tribute and respect to the gods (and not always as a sacrifice or offering, either). Later, a butterfly tattoo in this area came to mean a vow of celibacy or a “return to innocence”. It has since been modified to designate the reproductive region as a vessel of true love. Love enters and love is produced from this area.


Greek and Irish Butterfly Mythology

In Greece the belief is that a new human soul is born each time a butterfly emerges from its cocoon, while in Ireland, people believe that butterflies are the souls of the dead waiting to pass through purgatory, and while Germans have a similar belief, they hold that the dead are reborn as children who fly about as butterflies, bringing childbirth to childless parents.

European Butterfly Mythology

Believe it or not, early Europeans viewed the butterfly with great respect and fear because they thought that the human soul took the form of a butterfly (and fearing a butterfly isn’t as crazy as it sounds. To this day, people still fear moths, especially in their homes, because they believe moths are an omen of death).

Asian Butterfly Mythology

Butterflies have been used by the Chinese and Japanese cultures for centuries as symbols of joy and the essence of happiness.

Native American Butterfly Tattoos

In general Native American legends speak of the belief that butterflies would carry the wishes to the Great Spirit in heaven to be granted. Individual tribe beliefs include:

  • The Shoshone believe that butterflies were originally pebbles into which the Great Spirit blew the precious breath of life.
  • Zuni tribes believe that butterflies can predict the weather. The Zuni also believe that the white butterfly predicts the beginning of summer.
  • The Blackfeet believe that dreams are brought to us in sleep by a butterfly.

Aztec, Mayan And Mexican Butterfly Mythology

Born out of the caterpillar in the chrysalis, butterflies are a symbol of fertility, rebirth, regeneration, happiness, and joy to Native Americans in Mexico.

  • The Aztecs believed that “the happy dead” visited their relatives in the form of beautiful butterflies to assure the family that all was well. These butterflies flew around the house and around bouquets of flowers, which were carried by Aztec men of social rank.
  • The Mayans looked upon butterflies as the spirits of dead warriors in disguise descending to earth.

Indian Butterfly Mythology

Among the Nagas of Assam the dead are believed to go through a series of transformations in the underworld and are finally reborn as butterflies. When the butterfly dies, that is the end of the soul forever.

Did You Know?

Did you know that butterflies have a connection to the Holocaust? Concentration camps contained barracks designated for children and the walls of these barracks are covered with butterflies. Hundreds and hundreds of butterflies, all scratched into the walls with fingernails and pebbles. It turns out that the children, knowing they were going to die, decided to leave a message of hope. Although their bodies would not survive, their immortal souls would live on in the form of butterflies.

So what are you waiting for? Find the perfect butterfly tattoo design and set you immortal soul free on a wondrous journey of metamorphosis. You will be transformed!

Copyright ©2005 Rhyan Scorpio Rhys

A Star, You Are – Selecting The Right Star Tattoo

Understanding Star Symbols And How They Relate To Star Tattoos.

“I am a star which goes with thee and shines out of the depths” —– Mithraic Saying

What is that light shining in the darkness? A star, of course. The star has long been considered a symbol of truth, spirit and of hope. Their very existence speaks to the struggle against the forces of darkness and the unknown, and their fixed nature brings the suggestion of order and destiny, and it is on this structure that astrology is founded. In the Tarot, “The Star” is the seventeenth card in the Major Arcana, which signifies hope and the uniting of spirit with matter though the mediation of the soul.

So, how does this relate to you and me? Just ask Aleister Crowley, who once wrote, “every man and every woman is a star”, which is a concept that associates the symbol of the star with the divine spark within each of us.

Does The Number Of Points On A Star Tattoo Change Its Meaning?

Most definitely. A star design’s meaning depends on the number and sometimes orientation of its points. The differences are as follows:

Four Point Star, depicted as an equilateral cross with sharpened ends, was especially popular with various early Native American tribes. The star design appeared in their rock art, tipis, shields, clothing, robes, and pottery. People who choose the four point star tattoo tend to be trustworthy, practical, and down-to-earth individuals. They are the cornerstone members of society, who perform their duties with dedication and perseverance, and have the kind of will power that is often mistaken for sheer stubbornness. Once a decision is made, it will be followed through to the conclusion, right, wrong, or indifferent. “Four star tattoo” people are very set in their ways and determined to handle things the way they know they should be handled and their tenacity of purpose and ability to get the job done borders on obsession.

Five Point Star, also known as a pentacle or pentagram, is commonly depicted with a circle enclosing the star and is a popular symbol among pagans and wiccans. The five points typically represent earth, wind, fire, water, and our spirit, which takes its proper place above the four elements. The pentacle (the five-point star drawn as overlapping outlines) is considered a potent sigil of protection and balance and is worn as an adornment by pagans just as the crucifix is worn by Christians. There is also something called a “pentagrammaton” (a Greek word that means “five-lettered name”, which refers to Yeheshuah, the Hebrew name of Jesus) that has many representations, one of which is a pentagram that incorporates a yin-yang symbol to emphasize its harmonizing nature.

People who are attracted to a five point star tattoo are usually very versatile, adventurous, progressive, and always striving to find answers to the many questions that life poses. Since the five point star is the sign of freedom and independence (just take a look at the American flag), these people want to be totally unrestrained, and know how to motivate people around them. Five point star tattoo design people also love adventure, are apt to be multi-talented and happy-go-lucky, and have an innate ability to think through complex matters and analyze them quickly.

The Six Point Star, can be drawn two different ways, as an upside-down triangle overlapping an upright triangle or as one continuous line that angles to create six points (credited to Aleister Crowley). In the first example, when used in alchemy, the upright triangle represents fire, the upside-down triangle is the symbol for water and together they symbolize the unity of opposites.

Although the pentagram is widely recognized as the symbol of witchcraft, the hexagram is actually a very ancient and one of the most powerful symbols used in occultism and the casting of zodiacal horoscopes by astrologers. In fact, magicians and alchemists believed that the hexagram was actually the footprint of a demon called a “trud”, which they used in ceremonies to both attract and repel demons. It is believed that the word “hex” or “curse” comes from the hexagon.

The hexagram, in addition to appearing in the Great Seal of Solomon, is also a common symbol in Judaism, as there supposedly was a 6-pointed star on the shield that David carried to battle Goliath. However, despite the popularity of the Star of David, there is no Biblical or historical evidence that connects the hexagram with King David of Israel, although it can be traced to King Solomon when he turned to pagan gods in his later years.

People who get a six point star tattoo design tend to be idealistic and have a strong sense of responsibility. Quick to offer advice, these people often take on the burden of leadership, which they temper with strength, compassion, wisdom and sympathy. They are always willing to carry far more than their fair share of the load and feel that the most important thing in their life is the home, family and friends.

The Seven Point Star, aside from being a septagram or septacle, is also known as the “elven” of “fairy” star, since it is the star associated with the magick and spiritual realms. Not surprising, the septacle is a sacred symbol to Wiccans who follow the “Faery” tradition, and is also important in Western Qaballah, where it symbolizes the sphere of Netzach, the seven planets, the seven alchemical metals, and the seven days of the week. The seven pointed star is also a significant component of the seal of the Astrum Argentum, the inner order of Aleister Crowley’s esoteric magickal order Ordo Templi Orientis.

Seven point star tattoo people are peaceful and affectionate souls, who are by nature rather reserved and analytical. Intellectual, scientific and studious, these people don’t accept a premise until they have dissected the subject and arrived at their own independent conclusion. Since this is a spiritual star, it often denotes a sort of spiritual wisdom that becomes apparent at a fairly early age.

The Eight Point Star or the octagram represents completeness and the regenerative cycle, which is also seen in the eight Sabbats of the Pagan year, and the eight-fold systems such as the trigrams of the I Ching, the pagan wheel of the year and the Ogdoad (the eight deities of the creation myth) of ancient Egypt.

Eight point star tattoo people are apt to be very independent, forceful, competitive, powerful, confident and materially successful individuals. These people are involved in practical, down-to-earth affairs, and they use their ambitions, organizational ability, and efficient approach to carve a satisfying niche for themselves.

The nonagram or Nine Point Star is a symbol of achievement and stability, and is related to nine-fold systems, such as kundalini power and the nine Taoist kanji (psychic centers) which are similar to the seven Hindu bodily charkas plus the Earth-star and Soul-star. In Qaballah, the nonagram symbolizes Yesod, the Earth, the Moon and the power of imagination.

People who choose nine point star tattoo designs are compassionate, generous, very trustworthy, honorable, and unlikely to harbor any sort of prejudice. These people feel very deeply for individuals less fortunate than themselves, and if they are in a position to help, they certainly will. Generally equipped with an artistic nature, nine point star tattoo people are able to express their deep emotional feelings through painting, writing, music, or other art forms.

In closing, now you realize that there’s more to browsing through a selection and picking the right star tattoo design for your personality than it just looking pretty, spiritual or patriotic on your body. As stated above, stars connect us to the celestial aspect of creation and speaks to that soul-spark that exists in each and every one of us. Remember, you are a child of the stars, a product of the heavens and you should be proud express to the world… the star you are.

Copyright ©2005 Rhyan Scorpio Rhys

Tattoo or Knot Tattoo… That Is The Celtic Question

Choosing The Right Irish / Celtic Tattoos

Irish tattoos, Celtic tattoos…it’s all the same thing right, so what’s the big deal? Well, actually it’s not when you look at the two different types of tattoo designs. Irish tattoos, for the most part, consist of things like shamrocks, leprechauns, the Irish flag, and Gaelic sayings such as “Erin Go Braugh” (“Ireland Be Free”). Celtic tattoos deal more with geometrical latticed designs and sometimes animals. Let’s take a look at some of these designs in a little more detail, shall we?

Leprechauns – As stated above, among the most popular Irish tattoo designs are leprechauns, who are native Irish fairies who possess hidden pots o’ gold and vicious mean streaks. If you listen carefully for the sound of the “tap-tap-tap” of a leprechaun’s hammer, you maybe be able to catch the crafty little fellow and make him reveal the hiding place of his treasure. But don’t take your eyes off him, for if you do, he will disappear instantly.

Four-leaf clovers are the age-old universally accepted symbol of good luck (according to legend, Eve carried a four leaf clover from the Garden of Eden) with each leaf bearing a separate symbol. The first leaf is for “hope”, the second for “faith”, the third for “love” and the fourth, and most essential leaf, is for “luck”. The odds of finding a four-leaf clover is estimated at 10,000 to 1.

Shamrocks are equally important and the symbolism attached to it is a result of St. Patrick, who brought Christianity to Ireland, established monasteries, schools and churches to aid in his religious teachings, in which he compared the Holy Trinity to the three-leafed plant (the three leaves represent the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, while the stem represents the godhead itself).

Did You Know?

Despite all the hoopla surrounding St. Patrick…he wasn’t an Irishman. He was actually born in Wales (circa 385 A.D) and if you’re one for legend, he is the reason that there are no snakes in Ireland today. The Serpents never returned after he drove them all out.

Shamrocks vs Clover

Clovers, shamrocks…aren’t they the same thing? Well, yes and no. A shamrock is actually a smaller version of a clover, in fact, the word “shamrock” derives from the Irish word, seamrog, which translates to “little clover.” A four-leaf clover can’t be considered a shamrock because of the shamrock’s connection to the Trinity.

The Claddagh Ring

A Claddagh ring is a famous Irish friendship ring, originating from the Claddagh village located just outside the old walls of Galway city, that illustrates two hands clasped together around a heart bearing a crown. The hands symbolize faith, the heart, love, and the crown, loyalty and fidelity. It is believed that this ring was derived from the Italian “fede ring” (also know as “faith rings”). There are several myths regarding the origin of this ring and one supposed true tale. We’ll outline just a few for you here.

One popular myth dates back to the time of the Gods, to one in particular, Dagda, the father of the gods (with power enough to make the very sun stand still). Dagda is said to represent the right hand of the Claddagh ring. The left hand represents that of Anu (who later became Danu), the ancestral and universal mother of the Celts. The mythical Beathauile represents the Crown, and the heart represents the hearts of all of mankind, and the element which gives everlasting music to the Gael.

Another myth tells the tale of the king of the small fishing village of Claddagh, who fell madly in love with a peasant woman, but because of her lower status, his love was forced to go unrequited. In his turmoil, the king killed himself and had his hands chopped off and placed around his heart as a symbol of his undying love for the peasant woman.

The supposedly true story is of a Galway slave, Richard Joyce, who was being shipped to a West Indies plantation owner. He was spared this fate, however, when was captured by a band of Mediterranean pirates and sold to a Moorish goldsmith, who taught him the trade. In 1689, Joyce was given his freedom and he returned to Galway to set up shop in Claddagh, where he eventually designed the ring.

Did you know that the way a Claddagh ring is worn sends the message of how love stands in the heart of the ring bearer? If worn on the right hand with the heart facing out, the ring says that the bearer’s heart is not yet won. On the right hand with the heart facing in, it tells the world that the ring bearer is under love’s spell and the two lovers have become engaged. And when worn on the left hand with the heart facing in, it shows the world that the ring bearer’s love has finally found a home in marriage.

The Fighting Irish

The symbol of the Fighting Irish (the “Irish” in this case refers to the “University of Notre Dame”) has an authentic history and a meaning deeper than race. It keeps alive the memory of a long, uphill fight for recognition against a spirit that was not always generous, nor even fair-minded.

The name originates from the old press reports that would refer to local colleges by the denominations that founded the schools, such as the “Baptists” or the “Methodists”, for example. For Notre Dame it was the “Catholics,” or the “Irish”, although the players were never all of Irish ancestry; nor were they all Catholics.

What A Celtic Tattoo Design Represents On A Woman Or A Man

As with certain other tattoo designs (religious and zodiac symbol tattoos, for example), Celtic tattoos are not gender specific, but rather tend to deal with humans as gender neutral. When you peruse the Celtic/Irish category, you’ll notice that most of the Celtic artwork is characterized by complex “plaitwork” (also called “knotwork”) patterns. These Celtic knot symbolizes the “Thread of Life”.

This is primarily because the Celts believed the human soul is a fragment of the divine that, through successive rebirths that will rid the soul of its impurities and ultimately return to its divine source. The interlaced unbroken patterns symbolize the process of humankind’s eternal spiritual evolution.

Have you ever stared at a Celtic knot? I don’t mean just glancing at it, I’m talking about focusing your attention on it and nothing else. You will find yourself drawn in as the design pulls you in and compels your psyche to follow the knot’s intricate paths. For this reason, Celtic knots are used as an aid to meditation since it occupies the conscious mind with a demanding repetitive task of tracing the thread.

A Brief History Of Celtic Art

Although not documented as fact, it’s believed that the Ancient Celt’s religion prevented them from depicting the works of the creator (plants, animals, and humans) so artists created geometrical spiral, key and step patterns that represented these aspects.

More Than Just Plaitwork?

Despite the modern day popularity of Celtic art, most people don’t realize that there’s more to the art of the Celts than plaitwork, such as:

  • Hallstatt designs date back to the Bronze Age, and are often mistaken for tribal art. It dealt mainly with geometric, maze-like designs that often repeated patterns to make the designs feel complex.
  • La Tene are very organic spiral and leaf shaped design that often depict shapes of faces and animals camouflaged in the artwork.
  • Knotwork Interlace, or “plaitwork” as discussed earlier, is what comes to mind when people think of Celtic art. If you’re among the few not familiar with this design, it’s simply a series of braided strips that bend on itself and connects to make one continuous, overlapping pattern. The most common example of this is the “Triquetra” (Trinity Knot), which has 3 outer points or petals, and some weavings occurring within the center. This plaitwork is typically found in the body of most Celtic crosses.
  • Spirals (double, triple or quadruple swirls) are typically joined to one another in either an “S” or a “C” design shape. It’s considered to be a relative to the triskelion spiral family, which has 3 arms or curls radiating from the design center.

Celtic Dragon Tattoo Designs

Long before the idea of etching a dragon symbol in ink on human skin became fashionable, Arthur Pendragon, King of the Arthurian Legend, had the symbol of the Celtic dragon emblazoned on his battle armor because it symbolized sovereignty, supreme power, insight and one who has conquered an enemy. In fact, the word “pendragon” (the etymology of which is: pen “head” and derkshal “to see clearly?) originally meant “Welsh warlord? but is more popularly identified today as “chief leader? or “king?. Today, Celtic dragon tattoos often depict the creatures as great winged beasts, but traditional Celtic dragons were originally depicted as a wyrm or water serpent, often intertwined in the classic Celtic knotwork. Since the Celtic dragons were wingless creatures, they traveled across the lands and their massively powerful bodies created veins (which are known as either “dragon? or “ley? lines) in the earth that supposedly act as a conduit for cosmic forces. And at the locations where one set of dragon lines intersected with another one or at sites where dragons actually rested, these spots are thought to be prominent points of concentrated power. Druids practicing geomancy sought out these spots to build megalithic structures, Stonehenge being one of the more famous edifices.

Celtic Cross Tattoo Designs

The Celtic cross is a Christian cross with a circle overlying the point where the lines meet (see: Celtic Cross), and the oldest Celtic crosses were carved into large slabs of rock that lay flat on the ground. Later versions were often decorated with interlaced knot work, spirals, key patterns, animal figures, foliage designs, and Biblical stories. Some suggest that the Celtic cross is derived from the Chi Rho symbol popularized by the Christian Roman emperor Constantine. “Chi” and rho” are the first two letters of “Christ” in Greek, and the overlapped letters are similar to the equal-limbed cross at the center of the Celtic cross.

Celtic Sun Tattoo Designs

The eight-rayed symbol of Celtic sun designs is slightly more difficult to pinpoint accurately due to conflicting information. Depending on which myth you subscribe to, in this case Druidic, the “sun wheel” was the symbol for Taranis, the Celtic sun god (which is why it was also known as the “wheel of Taranis”). However, Taranis was also known as the “Lord of the Thunder” (since “Taranis” comes from the Gaelic meaning “thunder”). Belenos (later known as Beli Mawr), also shared the title as the Celtic god of the sun, and like Apollo, he rode the Sun across the sky in a horse-drawn chariot. 

What Your Celtic Tattoo Design Means

Plaitwork (Knotwork Interlace) Celtic tattoos suggest an interconnection of life and humankind’s place within the universe, while the Trinity knot represents the Holy Trinity (modern belief) or the triple gods and goddesses of the ancient Celts. The Lover’s Knot (intertwined infinity symbols), quite naturally, represents two beings coming together as one. A spiral Celtic tattoo design speaks to the personal spirit, and an individual’s attainment of balance in the inner consciousness and outer self.

And you have it. With any luck you’ve come away from this knowing a little bit more that you did about that Irish/Celtic tattoo design you’re about to get. It’s a proven fact that people who get a nice Celtic or Irish tattoo are instantly imbued with the “luck o’ the Irish”, who are hands down the luckiest people to ever walk the earth. And hopefully you won’t put off getting that tattoo another day because…

Life’s too short not to be Irish!

Copyright ©2005 Rhyan Scorpio Rhys