Feelings of love and passion has always been associated with the heart symbol. In fact, Ancient Egyptians believe that it’s the seat of the soul and that it governs all thoughts and emotions. That is why heart tattoos can have different meanings based on their design. A variety of elements often accompany the symbol nowadays. The meanings of each element is often associated with the bearer.
Heart tattoos can go from simple to complicated designs. It can also symbolize friendship and love. But it also have religious affiliation, especially with designs that are close to Christianity. The symbol can represent a lot of things that is why it has gained popularity among tattoo enthusiasts.
Popular Heart Tattoos and Their Meanings
Heart tattoo styles and designs can vary. But here are among the most common and popular designs with their meanings:
- Heart and key tattoo designs are often for couples and the closest of friends. This often means the pairing of soulmates. The heart often symbolizes one and the key represents the other person.
- The three hearts tattoo signifies a person’s love for the past, present and the future. It also represents their ever-changing passions in life.
- Blue heart is another common design. However, it can represent two different things. One of its meanings is being cold-hearted. This means you are unable to feel anything or difficulty with empathizing with others. But blue is also the hottest color so it can also mean that your passion is on fire.
- A black heart denotes a person’s sadness due to a loved one’s passing. The color is often associated with depression and losing strength because of someone’s death.
- Intertwined hearts is also a design that is popular with couples and friends. This signifies a close bond with them.
- The crying heart is another popular tattoo. Yet it denotes sadness and grief. It is often associated with heartaches and break-ups.
- Anatomical hearts are also gaining popularity. Doctors, nurses and those on the medical field often choose this design as it could signify their love for medicine and science.
- A bleeding heart is another imagery that is often linked to a loved one’s death. It represents pain and grief. However, some bleeding hearts can be associated with Christianity, especially when it has a thorn or flower crown on it. These are the symbols of the sacred heart of Jesus and Mary, respectively.
There are many other elements that can be included in a heart ink design. Each element could make a difference with its meaning.
Tattoos have long been a part of human existence. In fact, it exists during pre-colonial eras. It is a big part of traditions from tribes around the world. These were often a part of a person’s identity and a mark of their tribe. Suffice to say, tattoos represent its bearer.
That is still the norm these days. We often get tattoos to share our own stories and represent what we feel. That is why choosing the right design is important, no matter what type of tattoo you choose. Here are more heart tattoos that could represent you.
A broken heart might just be the next most common imagery that is associated with the symbol. As many might know, this symbol represents a state of grief and heartache. Many associate it with breakups but it can also mean losing a loved one.
There is also freedom in heart tattoo designs. The best way to represent it is to add wings. Free-spirited and joyous people can get a tattoo of a winged heart to signify their personality. This can also be a sign of freedom from something negative. For example, former drug addicts who have chosen sobriety could choose a winged heart to represent their freedom from the bad habits.
A flaming heart is another imagery that could best represent passion and love. This is often accompanied with a heart and scroll design. The latter often means a dedication to someone or something. That being said, the combination of designs could mean a passionate love for a person or your goals. For example, you can add a name of your partner on the scroll.
Stitched hearts are also very common imagery for heart tattoos. As stitches usually mean something is fixed, the imagery could also signify a heart that has been healed. Still, it could represent a lost love.
Just like with many other tattoo designs and symbolism, a heart with a dagger can have two different meanings. It both has a positive and negative representation. The former often denotes courage and bravery. However, the negative meanings could be sorrow, sad memories of love, and struggles.
Heart and Ribbons
You might also have seen many hearts and ribbon tattoos and logos. But you may have noticed that the ribbons have different colors. Usually, organizations use this imagery to raise awareness about a certain cause. Most of the time, these ribbons represent people who are fighting various health conditions like cancer.
Getting a heart and ribbon tattoo, especially with the color that represents a certain cause often denotes the bearer’s support. For example, breast cancer is represented by a pink ribbon. You can show your support for a loved who has been diagnosed with it through a heart and pink ribbon tattoo. It is also a way to raise awareness.
Here are some of the colors that represent various health conditions:
- All cancers – multicolored
- Brain cancer – grey
- Cervical cancer – teal/white
- Colon cancer – dark blue
- Leukemia – orange
A heart with a ribbon surrounding it can also be a dedication to a loved one or friend you might have lost to cancer, suicide, AIDS or any other causes with a ribbon associated with it.
Heart Symbolism Influences
The heart is another of the universal symbols. That being said, it has been derived and influenced by various cultures. Just as it is an important part of our body, it has also become an important symbol; one that symbolizes good things like love and passion.
In Christianity, the heart is revered as it is the place for human emotions, mainly love and compassion. The heart is also important in Islam. They recognize it as the spiritual abode.
The Greek culture also recognizes the heart as an essential part of a human. They often associate it with our emotional and spiritual intelligence.
Perhaps the most known of all the cultures linked with the heart symbol is the Ancient Egyptian culture. It is believed that in the afterlife, a person is judged with his deeds through his heart. The heart is weighted against a feather. If it is lighter than the feather, it is said that the human was pure and his heart is good.
Tribal Heart Tattoos
Tribal tattoos have long been a part of the tattoo industry. That is why it is very common to see common symbols turned to tribal styles. The heart is one of these symbols.
Modern day tribal heart tattoos still have the thick black strokes that is usual with traditional styles. Hearts can be made with heavy swirls or geometric lines and patterns.
Tribal tattoos can be good for men or for women. Oftentimes, men’s designs are more bold and heavy, with designs that resemble thorns. Women’s tattoo, on the other hand, are more delicate. These are often designed with swirls, dots and sometimes with flowers.
Where to Place your Tattoo
The placement is one of the most frequently asked question for many tattoo enthusiast. No matter if it is your first time getting a tattoo or it is your second, third, or so on. Every tattoo you have should be well-thought, from the design right to the placement.
For heart tattoos, the placement are usually on places where there is enough space to make an average-sized tattoo but without too much space that it would get lost on the vastness. The most common placement is the arm, forearm, inner elbow and the chest, close to the heart.
Nonetheless, it is best to consider the design of your tattoo. Women usually have delicate styles and designs and these are best on areas that could improve the tattoos delicateness. Areas such as the waist, lower back, ankle and the wrist are good places. Since men usually go for bold and hard designs, the back, arms and chest are the best areas to place a tattoo.
Who should Design your Tattoo?
The first step in getting a tattoo is getting a design. If you have decided on a heart tattoo, you would probably still be thinking exactly what imagery to choose. Now comes the question, do you design your own tattoo or have your artist make it for you?
These decisions can have pros and cons. If you choose to design your tattoo, you can get closer to the design that you really want. One of the cons associated with making a design of your own is that your tattoo artist might not approve of it.
If you choose a design that is made by your tattoo artist, it is more often closer to their style. That being said, the end result is better. However, one of the greatest cons of this decision is that they might not get the design you really want.
You have to be careful when it comes to designing a tattoo. Once it is inked on your skin, chances are you won’t be able to have it removed. Of course, you can always ask the assistance of your artist to create the design, especially if you are unable to. However, assure that you can communicate well with them. Good communication helps them make the design that their clients would be satisfied with.
In the event you do not like their design, tell them. Don’t be afraid to show your concerns and tell them your thoughts. Do not ever get a tattoo with a design that you do not approve of.
Must-do Before and After Getting a Tattoo
Let’s say you have found the tattoo artist to help you and the design you wish. How do you prepare for the big day of getting your tattoo? Here are things you must-do:
- Get proper rest the day before your appointment. You have to remember that in order to get a permanent tattoo, your skin has to be punctured by little needles. In order for it to heal quickly, your body needs proper rest.
- Take a bath. It is likely that you won’t be able to get a good long bath on your tub for the next couple of weeks. However, the main reason is that your body should be clean so that dirt do not enter the punctured skin and cause infections and health risks.
- Eat before going to the shop. The length of the procedure can depend on the design but it is likely to last for at least an hour. Eat and drink while you can to avoid getting hungry and thirsty and so that your body is in a good shape.
Of course, there are also things you have to do right after you get a tattoo. The aftercare is pretty much the most important phase as it could make or break the results. Here are some aftercare tips, especially for first timers:
- Let the bandage sit for 2 to 4 hours before taking it off. The ink is still getting settled and it is likely that there is excess ink. You can have the bandage on for the rest of the night so long as it is comfortable and tight.
- Wash your tattoo gently with circular motions using your hands and mild and fragrance-free soap. Do not use any coarse bath or face towels and dry cloth. Only dab it with clean paper towel until it is dry. You can also air-dry or use a blower on the “cool” setting.
- Use fragrant-free lotion to keep it moisturized. It will eventually flake but do not ever pick on the scabs and flakes. Doing that could cause scarring.
- Avoid soaking in sun or water two to three weeks after getting the tattoo. That means no pool, lakes, rivers, bath tubs, seas or sunbathing and tanning.