Symbolic meaning of heart tattoos
Heart tattoos typically convey love, friendship and they commemorate our feelings of adoration. They also represent unity and the centralization of life as the human heart is the center engine of life.
The heart symbol itself reminds me of a vessel holding pure potential of love. I get this from my education in the Tarot where the suit of cups is associated with love, connectivity, intuition, emotion and passion. The suit of cups in Tarot corresponds to the suit of hearts in conventional playing card decks.
The heart symbol also talks about procreation; creating something wholly unique and divine from the union of partnership (like the birth of a child from a union). Why? because the lower portion of the heart symbol represents a triangle, which is an ancient symbol for creation, creativity, and the birth of something new from the culmination of sacred love.
Heart tattoos can also represent a deep spiritual love. To wit, ancient Greeks and Egyptians believed the heart was the center of emotional, spiritual and intellectual life for humans. The Greeks were convinced the heart was the source of emotional intelligence and specialized thought was born from the heart (not the brain).
I’ve seen heart tattoos with feathers, and this reminds me of the legendary “weighing of the soul” ritual performed by Egyptians during mummification. Anubis weighed the heart against the weight of a feather. If the heart was lighter than a feather, then the spirit of the deceased was light enough to ascend through the Corridors of Judgment. This is symbolic of purity in spirit, integrity and a soul worthy of progressing into the Afterlife.
In Buddhism, the heart is associated with the Dharmacakra; the Wheel of Law. In this context, heart tattoos will be symbolic of the perfection of the Universe. It also conveys mindfulness, spiritual devotion and compassion.
In Christianity the heart will continue its theme of love and unity. The Sacred Heart tattoo (a heart with a hovering flame wrapped in thorns) is symbolic of the capacity of Christ’s compassion – a symbol of his enduring belief in the potential of brotherly/sisterly love. It is an icon that beckons humankind to keep the fire of the soul well tended – even in the face adversity.
Heart tattoos with arrows through the heart hold similar meanings. These typically represent lasting love in the face of hardship. They are also symbolic of Cupids (Eros in Greek myth) arrow piercing the heart and forever joining lovers with his amorous aim.
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