Menu

Compass Tattoo Meaning and Symbolism

Compass Tattoo: Meaning And Relevance

The compass was one of the most important instruments for the explorers. It guided them through the seas and helped them reach their destinations. A compass tattoo is thus symbolic of an instrument that would guide a person’s life towards the right direction.

In the olden days, Celts used to have compass tattoos on their arms, as they considered them lucky. Even if they got lost in the sea, they believed that the tattoo would help them reach the land safely. Moreover, by having compass tattoos on their bodies a sailor felt an affinity for the other sailor. It was how the sailors would recognize one another without verbal communication.

Today, many naval officers have the compass tattoo, as it reminds them of the ship, sea, and other fellow members. Officers in the Army also get this tattoo, as even on land a compass can help a person advance in the correct direction. Furthermore, the general belief that a compass tattoo is a good omen is still persistent.

The Compass Tattoo Designs

compass-tattoo-meanings

The look of the conventional compass is fascinating with its round face and the needle. It is considered one of the best 3-D compass tattoo designs because the object can be tattooed with dimension giving it a feel of being solid. A simpler version of the tattoo would be four needles pointing at each direction. Mostly, it is painted with a single color with the aim of creating a contrast with the skin. Therefore, you could choose any color for this type of compass tattoo.

The compass tattoo meaning ranges from being real to psychological. While actual travelers looked at the compass design and hoped to find a way through waters, now, people believe that the tattoo would help their soul follow the proper course.

In order to reinforce this meaning, the directions – N, S, E, W, on a compass tattoo are given different fonts and their sizes are changed too. It has led to the birth of compass tattoos in a plenty of styles. Since a compass works when the needle is pointed towards the north, a host of compass tattoos sports the N in a larger font than other directions. Many tattoos have the North Star drawn in the middle of the compass with a longer point pointing at the North. Actually, even before compass was used, travelers used to look at the North Star for determining other directions. Hence, the presence of the Star in the tattoo means that the individual is headed in the right direction. Due to this reason, many tattoo wearers find comfort whenever they see their North Star compass tattoos.

The tattoo is also chosen by people, who have recently lost someone very close. Losing someone who used to be a mentor and guide can give a sudden feeling of being directionless. By having a compass tattoo, you can feel their light of guidance even though the person is not anymore around in flesh and blood. It is believed that spirits can connect through symbols and the compass tattoo is considered one of such symbols.

Modify Your Compass Tattoo

compass-tattoos

You can either get a solo compass tattoo if you like its design very much. Otherwise, like many other tattoo enthusiasts, you could choose to have a compass tattoo with other objects that are generally associated with it like ship, rope, sailor’s log diary, skull, flowers, butterflies, etc.

The combination of compass and anchor looks fascinating because both of them have deep meanings. While compass provides direction, an anchor gives stability. Without either of them, it used to be impossible to cross the waters. That is why many tattoo enthusiasts choose to have both of them inked. If you do choose this combination, it is recommended that you get it inked on your back, chest, or thigh, as it will give the tattooist enough space for incorporating both objects as clearly and as artistically possible.

Compasses are not only associated with direction but also with time. When early sailors used the compass, through it, they also came to know about the position of the sun and thus, the time of the day. Therefore, objects that give a sense of time can be inked along with a compass tattoo. Hourglasses, clocks, watches, and sundials are some of the most popular choices. In fact, the scope of your imagination is the only limiting factor when it comes to compass tattoo designs.

Make It Colorful

Although conventional tattoos were in black, today, you could have a tattoo in any color you want. Give it a touch of surrealism by going for pastel shades or make it look solid with dark shades like maroon, dark brown, Prussian blue, etc. Birds, butterflies, flowers, leaves are beautiful elements that you can include in your compass tattoo design and make it look psychedelic.