What gets a year older whenever it rings? They can seem almost immortal, growing for centuries – the oldest one is over 5,000 years old. They provide shade, grace countless landscapes, and grow food.
Trees are a spectacular part of nature, and the different varieties have provided an incredible amount of inspiration for tattoos. Every tree has different symbolism which can translate to meaningful tattoos.
1. The Tree Of Life Tattoo
When it comes to the Tree of Life in Christian theology, it is not the same as the Tree of Knowledge. The latter was the tree from which Adam and Eve ate the fruit and, because of this, were banished from the Garden of Eden.
They apparently never ate from the Tree of Life.
“Most scholars agree that the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil are two different trees. Scripture reveals that fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil was forbidden because eating it would necessitate death…Whereas, the result of eating from the tree of life was to live forever,”Learn Religions
The Tree of Life makes another appearance in the last chapter of the Bible, Revelations, where it represents the restoration of the life-giving presence of God.
The idea of the Tree of Life isn’t just contained in Christian theology – in fact, it predates the Abrahamic religions.
Yggdrasil is the Viking version of this tree. Versions of the Tree of Life also pop up in Ancient Egyptian mythology, ancient Mesopotamian lore, and Germanic paganism.
So, what would a tattoo of the Tree of Life look like, and what would it mean?
The Tree of Life is often pictured as a large tree with roots growing out, and many branches that spread towards the sky.
As for a Tree of Life tattoo meaning, this varies depending on what culture or ancient story you’re basing your body art on.
“In Norse mythology the Tree of Life held the world of the spirits and the world of man together. The upper branches represented the heavenly spirits, the trunk stood for the earthly reign of man and the roots symbolized the lowly spirits of the underworld,”Tattoos With Meaning
It can also represent a connection to God, or a connection to Mother Earth. A design choice for the latter meaning is turning the trunk of the tree into the form of a woman in your tattoo.
2. The White Tree Of Gondor Tattoo
Lord of the Rings fan? If so, you most likely remember the White Tree of Gondor in Minas Tirith. It graced the armour of Gondor’s army and the realm’s flag.
In the Lord of the Rings universe, there were many versions of the tree throughout the generations of Gondor’s rulers. The one we saw in the movies was the dead tree, which was left standing until the true king of Gondor returned.
Aragorn did return, and he brought a sapling of the White Tree to plant.
There are many routes to take if you want a White Tree of Gondor tattoo. There are different additions you could add to this design, including the sword Aragon wielded to take to the last battle and claim his place as king. It can also include seven stars above it (a symbol that is weaved throughout the fantasy), or the script from the main character of the story, the One Ring.
The meaning behind this tattoo can be as straightforward as just being a symbol of your love for the Lord of the Rings stories.
This tattoo could also be a representation of hope. The people of Gondor kept the dead tree in the courtyard as a symbol of the king that would one day return.
3. Palm Tree Tattoo
Palm trees often bring to mind tropical islands and relaxing vacations, but these fronds have a far deeper symbolism.
Victory, eternal life, wisdom, abundance, and good luck are some of the meanings associated with these trees. Plus, according to Symbol Sage, seeing a healthy one in a dream is a really good sign,
“Seeing a palm tree in one’s dreams is a sign of prosperity and God’s blessings. It can also be a sign of opportunities that will help one to reach one’s personal goals. Many believe that dreaming of a palm tree could be their subconscious mind nudging them in the right direction, telling them to take the necessary steps to change their lives.”
Saved Tattoo explains that a palm tree tattoo can have a different meaning depending on what is pictured with it,
“A palm tree with a skull is ideal to symbolize loneliness or death, some flowers on the palm tree tattoo design stand for connection with the divine, sun next to palm tree tattoos form the ideal landscape of a tropical paradise, [and] tiny flowers next to palm trees are the symbol of happiness and positivity.”
4. Willow Tree Tattoo
Willow trees are quite common trees, partly because they can grow easily – they have been known to grow from a branch simply stuck in the ground.
Due to it taking route in many places, it has found itself in many different tales and, as such, has varied symbolism.
One example is the tree being used in Celtic rituals.
“Back in the era of ancient Celtic tribes, druid priests and priestesses, bards and ovates all held the willow in high esteem and they recognized its affinity to watery environments. The willow actually gets its moon associations because of its relationship with water…The Celtic spiritual leaders recognized such spiritual union which is why they noted the willow’s importance when it comes to influencing psychic visions which enabled a clearer understanding of the world then,”Tree Symbolism
While willow trees have a connection to the mystical, they can also be a symbol of sadness. These trees are also called weeping willows because when it rains, the water that runs down its branches looks like tears.
However, in this teary look, the willow can also represent flexibility and strength as it’s able to adapt to its surroundings and thrive.
5. Cherry Tree Tattoo
In Japan, cherry trees bloom in early spring. These waves of pink flowers attract a lot of tourists each year.
“They are seen as symbols of renewal, rebirth and reincarnation. Cherry blossom festivals called ‘hanami’ or flower-viewing take place throughout Japan to celebrate the blossom’s sweet but impermanent nature. The cherry spirit teaches us to embrace the sweetness and grace of life while practicing non-attachment,”Tree Spirit Wisdom
This reminder of non-attachment could be derived from the fact that cherry blossoms only bloom for one to two weeks. As such, a cherry blossom tree can symbolize fleeting beauty.
For a cherry blossom tattoo, you could opt to get a whole tree tattooed, or a single branch with flowers. This is a great chance to go colorful with your tattoo to really bring out the cherry blossoms.
A tree is not just a tree – there is deep symbolism behind every branch. If you’re looking for tattoo ideas, take a peek into different forests and be inspired.