Humans have long been fascinated by the moon, and it’s no surprise. The moon lights up the night sky, keeping our planet’s nights from being pitch black. For a long time, we did not know exactly what the moon was. We had no clue how it came to be or what it was made of.
As technology advanced, we learned much about the moon. We’ve even landed on it! Despite this, the symbolic nature of the moon has not faded. It is this symbolic nature paired with the moon’s breathtaking appearance that makes it a desirable subject for a tattoo.
What Do Moon Tattoos Symbolize?
The moon was once a prominent figure in many religions, often being personified by goddesses. Today, we find meaning in the moon’s beauty as well as the way it affects our planet. Let’s look at some of the most prominent meanings associated with moon tattoos.
Femininity and Fertility
The moon is often thought to represent femininity and fertility, and there are a couple of reasons for this.
The Goddess Artemis
The Goddess Artemis (known as Diana in Roman mythology) was a goddess of the moon as well as childbirth and fertility. Artemis was a huntress, and the shape of her bow is reminiscent of a crescent moon. Eventually, the moon became a symbol associated with her and can be seen in many artistic renditions of her likeness.
Though Artemis was a virgin goddess, women prayed to her to help them through childbirth. So, being a midwife was seen as one of her duties. Thus, the moon became linked with fertility through the Goddess Artemis.
The Menstrual Cycle
Another reason the moon is seen as a symbol of femininity and fertility is because of its cycle. The moon, as we all know, orbits the Earth. As it moves through its orbit, the sun shines upon it from different angles. Because we can only see one side of the moon, this causes us to see it in phases.
It takes the moon about 29.5 days to revolve around the Earth and go through all its phases. The connection here is that it takes women about the same amount of time to go through one full menstrual cycle. Some research has even suggested that women’s cycles can be in sync with the lunar cycle, with the period occurring around the same time as the new moon.
Because of the moon’s relation to Artemis as well as women’s natural cycles of fertility, it is often seen as feminine in nature.
Rebirth and Renewal
The moon is a prominent symbol of rebirth and renewal. This is because of the phases the moon goes through. It is constantly changing, slowly becoming full only to wane away into darkness.
But it does not get trapped in the darkness; it starts over and continues on in a never-ending cycle. This idea of rebirth and renewal is something many can relate to. Life is a constant struggle of ups and downs, but we are often reborn into stronger, more compassionate people for every hardship we overcome.
The moon can also represent renewing ourselves as people. Renewal can be simple, like refreshing our style to gain more confidence. Alternatively, it can involve working on recreating ourselves as people by acknowledging our flaws and striving to be better. Renewal can also be replacing toxic habits with healthier ones.
A tattoo of the moon (or its phases) can be an ode to one’s rebirth after hardships or a reminder to constantly strive to be a better, healthier version of oneself.
A tattoo of a waxing crescent can symbolize growth. Obviously, a waxing crescent gets larger as days pass until it eventually becomes a full moon. However, in its crescent stage, it still has a lot of growth ahead of it, which is why it is much more symbolic of this than, say, a half-moon.
If you’re interested in getting a waxing crescent tattoo, make sure you know which way it should be facing. A waxing crescent should look like a backward C because the illuminated side of the moon is on the right.
As we mentioned, humans can only see one side of the moon from Earth. You’d have to take a trip to space to see the other side. Because of this, the moon has a sense of mystery about it. Furthermore, there are still many things scientists don’t know about the moon.
If you see yourself as a mysterious person (or you want to be), then you may connect with the imagery of the moon. If you love how moon tattoos look and are also an avid fan of mystery series, you could also get one to represent your infatuation with the genre.
The moon is a vital part of nature. In fact, it directly affects the Earth and there are many species on it that depend on the moon to survive. If you love nature and feel a connection with it, a tattoo of the moon can be a great way to represent that.
The moon exerts a gravitational pull on the Earth. This has two major impacts on our planet.
The first is that it keeps the Earth from wobbling on its axis. Just like a spinning top, the Earth has a bit of a wobble. Without the moon’s gravitational pull, this wobble would change the degree of the Earth’s tilt and would cause both extreme heat and extreme cold. These conditions would be uninhabitable.
Thanks to the moon, the Earth’s wobble is subtle and does not affect the climate. Without the moon stabilizing the Earth, the climate would be out of whack.
The second way the moon impacts the Earth with its gravity is by causing tides. The gravity of the moon literally pulls the water of the ocean toward it, causing a high tide. A number of animals live in the intertidal zone — an area that is above water at low tide and below it at high tide. Without the moon, their habitat wouldn’t exist.
These are just two of the many ways that the moon plays a vital part in nature. If you would like to connect a meaning to this aspect of the moon, “stability” would be perfect. The moon not only stabilizes the Earth and its climate but provides a stable habitat for many species.
Coral reefs seem to depend on moonlight in order to reproduce. It is during the full moon that expansive coral reefs saturate the sea with their eggs and sperm, every coral releasing theirs at the same moment. In fact, if the moon is covered by clouds, the corals may even delay this reproductive ritual until the next full moon.
Corals are not the only species for which moonlight is a vital part of reproduction. Sesarma crabs, Christmas Island crabs, and Horseshoe crabs also use moonlight as a cue for when to lay eggs and mate.
Here we see another way in which the moon can represent fertility. The moon is intertwined with reproduction even when it comes to wildlife.
Some species use moonlight to navigate. Chum salmon use it as a lodestar, whereas Albatrosses use the extra visibility from the full moon to travel longer distances. Newborn rabbit fish use the lack of moonlight during the new moon phase to avoid predation as they migrate to the safety of coral reefs.
To relate this to a tattoo meaning, you can think of the moon as a guiding force that will help you find your way even when you feel lost in the dark.
While the lack of moonlight during the new moon phase can provide the disguise of darkness, there are some animals that have evolved to use moonlight itself as camouflage.
Bobtail squid developed a symbiotic relationship with bioluminescent bacteria. The bacteria live in folds on the squid’s underside and give off a moon-like luminescence that eliminates the squid’s shadow. Predators from below see nothing more than a moonlit sea.
As you can see, the moon is deeply connected with many different species and ecosystems on our planet. Without it, even the climate wouldn’t be the same. If you’re looking for a tattoo that represents your respect for nature, there may be nothing more perfect than an image of the moon.
The Triple Goddess Symbol
The triple goddess symbol has a full moon in the middle with a waxing crescent on the left and a waning crescent on the right. It is often used by witches, pagans, Wiccans, and neopagans to represent the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone. Because these symbols are deeply connected to the moon, we’d like to share what they represent in this context.
The Waxing Crescent: The Maiden
Because the maiden is represented by a “young” version of the moon, the waxing crescent is seen as a symbol of growth once again. The maiden also represents youth, innocence, creativity, naivety, independence, exploration, self-expression, and new beginnings.
Therefore, a tattoo of a waxing crescent can represent any of these things, even if it is not a triple goddess tattoo.
The Full Moon: The Mother
The Mother is represented by the full moon. She symbolizes fertility, love, responsibility, nourishment, patience, power, adulthood, gratitude, and self-care. The mother is all about giving and receiving love through care and nurture. She is essentially a romanticized version of what we all think of when imagining what a mother should be like.
A tattoo of a full moon could symbolize any of the things we listed. It could also pay homage to a motherly figure in your life with whom you have a deep bond.
The Waning Crescent: The Crone
The Crone is represented by the waning crescent, the moon that is about to disappear into the darkness. As such, she symbolizes wisdom, endings, death, acceptance, transformation, guidance, and culmination.
A waning crescent moon tattoo can therefore have any of these meanings. Many see this type of tattoo as symbolic of self-reflection or a reminder not to take life for granted. It can also be used to honor a loved one who has passed.
When it comes to the placement of your moon tattoo, you can place it wherever you want on your body. However, there are a few things you may want to consider in order to extend your tattoo’s longevity.
Do you want people to be able to see your tattoo? If so, do you want it to be visible all the time, or do you want to be able to cover it up?
In some cases, you may also have to consider your profession. Some professions are forgiving when it comes to tattoos, whereas others will require you to cover them while at work.
Aging is a natural part of life, but it can affect your tattoos in different ways. First of all, if you gain or lose weight from the time you get the tattoo, it can become distorted. Similarly, areas that lose their firmness and give way to wrinkles will also cause a tattoo to distort.
If this is something you care a lot about, consider getting a tattoo on an area of your body that isn’t as fleshy or squishy. For instance, tattoos on areas with bone underneath like the collarbone, shoulder blade, ribs, or sternum are less likely to be affected by age.
Just as the sun can age our own skin, it can fade tattoos. You’ll either want to cover your tattoo with your clothing or wear sunscreen on it every day to prevent fading. Be sure to read the directions on your sunscreen and reapply as often as necessary.
You’ll also want to make regular use of a tattoo lotion to help protect your skin and prevent your tattoo from becoming dry or flakey, even after the initial healing phase.
Frequency of Use
Some of your body parts get used far more than others, which means tattoos in these areas are likely to fade more quickly. Your hands are the biggest culprit for this. They are in almost constant use and are frequently washed with soap and water.
If you plan on getting a tattoo anywhere on your hand, keep it bold. Thin lines of ink can wear away too quickly in this area. You should also understand that touch-ups may be a necessary part of this tattoo’s future.
The Beautiful, Meaningful Moon Tattoo
Moon tattoos are stunning and versatile so it’s no surprise that they’re popular. They also have a plethora of meanings, so they’re easy to connect with. You can use them to represent your femininity, cherish a mother, honor your personal growth, and much more.
You can get a moon tattoo anywhere on your body, but be sure to put some thought into the perfect spot. Some body parts change as you age, which may result in the tattoo being distorted. Outside influences like UV rays or frequent exposure to soap and water can cause a tattoo to fade faster. Wherever you decide to place your moon tattoo, it’s bound to look awesome!