Have you always wanted a tattoo, but could never figure out exactly what to get? If you’re the type that prefers to go for tattoos that mean something, you’re not alone. After all, there’s nothing worse than living with something permanently inked onto your body that’s just a reminder of a drunken night or bad ex. That’s why we’ve put together this collection of awesome tattoos with meaning, in order to help get your creative juices flowing.
1 The Gibu Auja
Need a little luck in your life? The Gibu Auja symbol, which dates back to the fifth century, is an ancient Rune symbol said to bring good fortune.
2 The Latin Phrase “Ad Astra Per Aspera”
This sleek little Latin tattoo means “through difficulties, to the stars.”
3 The Malin Symbol
This Swedish Malin symbol is an acknowledgement of the fact that setbacks are often a natural part of moving forward in life.
4 The Vegvisir
This old Icelandic Symbol is actually a compass, said to garuntee that your never lose your way– whether you’re lost at sea, in the woods, or just in life.
A favorite of sailors for many years, swallows were traditionally associated with the approach of dry land. The fact that they mate for life, however, has also made them popular symbols of love.
6 The Moon Cycle
Since ancient times, the moon has always been associated with the feminine, the subconscious, and the mystical. This moon cycle tattoo is a reminder of the seasons of life, and of its ebb and flow.
7 The Greek Word “Meraki”
The Greek word Meraki is unique in that it’s a little hard to nail down the meaning completely. It essentially represents doing something with love, creativity, or passion.
8 The Alchemy Symbol for Copper
Copper is often associated with Aphrodite, the goddess of love, thanks to its own beauty and its ancient use in producing mirrors. It tends to be associated with beauty, femininity, and creativity.
9 The Compass
It may seem obvious, but what better symbol to keep you on the right paths in life?
10 The Hamsa
The Hamsa is a popular Middle Eastern symbol meant to indicate the hand of God. It’s said to protect its bearer and bring them happiness and good fortune.
11 A Clock or Pocketwatch
Ever heard the phrase “the clock’s ticking?” Tattooing a clock or pocket watch on your body is a surefire way to remind yourself that life is short, so you better get to living!
12 The Phoenix
We’ve all had our setbacks in life, but if you’re the type that’s always determined to rise from the ashes, a Phoenix is an awesome symbol of determination.
Though Hollywood has given the star symbol a whole new set of connotations, it’s also been used throughout history as an indication of light piercing through the darkness.
14 A Tiger
It may be one of the most beautiful creatures in the world, but the cool, graceful tiger is not one you want to tamper with.
15 Yin and Yang
The yin-yang is a symbol popular in Eastern philosophy. It deals with the harmony or balance that can be achieved in duality. For instance, light cannot exist without dark, day without night, men without women, etc.
16 An Elephant
Ever have problems bulldozing your obstacles? Having this strong, steady fellow hanging out on your ankle is a great way to remind yourself to combine strength with patience, determination, and loyalty.
17 The Ankh
The Ankh is the ancient Egyptian symbol of life. So if you love yours, this may be the way to go!
18 The Eye of Horus
The Eye of Horus was believed by ancient Egyptians to have powers of healing and protection, so this is a great tat for those who want to know that someone is always looking out for them.
If you’re the type to go against the grain, then you might consider a colorful Koi fish tattoo. These little guys are known for their ability to swim against very strong currents.
20 A Lotus
If you’re determined to flourish no matter where life takes you, the Lotus flower could be a great tattoo for you. The gorgeous flower is known for its ability to grow in muddy environments.
21 A Feather
Feather tattoos are not only beautiful; they can mean tons of different things to different people. They can indicate everything from a free spirit to the desire to soar above the competition.
22 An Anchor
An anchor is a great way to remind yourself to stand firm and steady, no matter how stormy the sea around you. As you can see here, an eternity symbol is a cool way to make this classic tat even more powerful.
23 The Zia Sun Symbol
This sacred Zia sun symbol is a little tattoo that packs a whole lot of meaning. The four directions of its rays symbolize the four directions, four seasons, four stages of life, and four elements, with the circle in the middle binding them all together.
24 A Butterfly
As anyone who has ever experienced a major life transformation can tell you, change is not necessarily always a bad thing. The butterfly is a symbol of rebirth and emerging from the darkness as beautiful, stronger creature.
25 A Thunder bird
Some Native Americans tribes believed thunder to literally be the call of the thunder bird, a powerful creature whose favor insured victory in battle.
26 An Acorn
While the idea of an acorn tattoo may sound a little nuts, these little guys were actually considered good omens by the English during the Norman Conquest. Though tiny, they can grow into huge trees that are strong and steady enough to outlast us all.
27 The Caduceus
The wings on the Caduceus symbol represent those on the feet of Hermes/Mercury, messenger to the gods. The intertwining snakes represent the balance of opposites. This classic symbol has been so associated with good health over the years, that it’s still used by many doctors to this day.
28 Three Keys
Legend has it that three keys worn together will unlock the doors to health, wealth, and love.
Still understood as a universal symbol of badass-ness, skulls have been warn since ancient times to ward off evil or illness.
If you need a little reminder to go with the flow, even during the rough times, a bamboo tattoo might be just the ticket. No matter what nature dishes out, bamboo is almost always left standing tall thanks to its flexibility, adaptability, and resilience. Perhaps it’s no surprise that the plant is often associated with longevity in the Chinese culture.