Moon Tattoos: Different Phases And Symbolism

Watercolor Moon Tattoo @h.suantsai

The moon has fascinated humanity for millennia, with this celestial body guiding people, making waves, and inspiring mythology and folklore. It is little wonder why the different phases of the moon have become a popular source of inspiration for tattoos. 

Symbol Of Femininity

While the sun is seen as masculine energy, the moon has long been associated with femininity. This may have something to do with the ancient goddess Hecate and the triple goddess symbol.

Feminine Moon Tattoo @val_tattooer

Hecate was a Greek goddess, with her image and influence appearing among people before the 5th Century BCE. Word History says,

“She was associated with witchcraft, magic, the moon, doorways, and creatures of the night like hell-hounds and ghosts. Often depicted carrying a torch to remind of her connection with the night…”

Her influence on communities of witches was profound:

“The goddess was especially appealed to by sorceresses for aid in their magic and spells and appears on surviving examples of curse tablets.”

This influence is still felt today through neo-paganism and Wiccan traditions. 

Handpoked Moon Tattoo @inkedbybre

One popular Wiccan symbol is the triple goddess, or three moons at different phases, which represents significant moments in a woman’s life: the maiden, the mother, and the crone.

As Hecate is often portrayed with three heads, you could have her as the singular goddess representing the phases of womanhood and the moon that goes along with this. Or, different deities could represent each moon in the triple moon symbol, as Encyclopedia explains,

“Among the most popular triads used within the Wiccan movement is that of Persephone (maiden), Demeter (Mother), and Hecate (Crone), but rituals and music move broadly across world mythology to call the names of different deities.”

Little Moon Tattoos @capinksa

For Wiccan, pagan, and witchcraft tattoo inspiration, click here.

Crescent Moons

When you can only see a sliver of the moon, it’s a crescent. 

The next phase after the new moon is waxing crescent, while the last phase is the waning crescent, and both have different symbolic meanings. 

Crescent Moon Tattoo @travassoslari

According to Elite Daily, the waxing crescent moon is a time that represents,

“intention, hopes, and wishes. After recharging under the new moon, your intentions and desires are ready to be planted.”

The moon cycle goes on, past the full moon and onto the waning crescent phase before the new moon. Spiritually, this phase can bring about feelings of tiredness as the moon cycle has come to an end, and it is now time to prepare for a new rotation. 

“In the same way that the waxing moon encourages you to be more expansive and outgoing in your actions, the waning moon should turn your mind toward downsizing,”

Wrist Moon Tattoo @cleovlamingart

Take this time to rest, recharge, and prepare for the good things coming your way.

A crescent moon is a popular choice to get tattooed in a minimalist style with a simple outline, or as a solid color. Mini tattoos work well just below the ankle bone, on the inside of the wrist, and behind the ear. 

Full Moon

After a waxing moon comes the full moon, where you can see the full celestial body in the sky. When the moon reaches this stage, it has completed its cycle (which runs over 29.5 days). It can be a time to focus on completion and letting go of things that you no longer want to form a part of your life. 

With this powerful symbolism, full moon rituals can be a way to let things go. 

Moon Flower Tattoo @boboink_ details a full moon ritual to take advantage of the energy of the moon at this potent stage of the cycle. It involves focusing on your breathing, lighting a candle, writing down what is bothering you, visualizing your goal, and speaking your intention to the moon.

“To truly let go, you need to identify the things that have been weighing you down. This could be a habit you’d like to change, a bad situation, or even a person in your life.”

A full moon tattoo is a great opportunity to go realistic with your ink style – there are craters and shadows that can really be brought out with black and gray. 

Full Moon Tattoo @justotattoos

There are also opportunities to incorporate other elements in a full moon tattoo, such as a forest for an added earthly natural element, or the animal that howls at the full moon – a wolf

New Moon

You can’t actually see a new moon – it’s not visible in the sky. The sun and moon meet together in the sky and, as the moon passes, turns into a crescent shape. 

“Since new moons happen once a month and signify the beginning of a cycle, you can think of them as a cosmic reset. The new moon is an ideal time to set intentions and goals that you’ll develop as the moon waxes toward fullness,”

Mind Body Green
Tiny Moon Tattoo @minsong.ttt

While the full moon is a time to let things go, the new moon is an opportunity to set intentions and welcome what you want into your life.

As you can’t actually see a new moon in the sky, when it comes to getting this tattoo, you’ve got to branch out and get creative. 

A new moon is when the sun and moon cross paths, so one interpretation you could get on your skin is a sun and moon together. 

Alternatively, you could go for a black moon, an unusual form of a new moon.

“A black moon could be the absence of a full moon, or it could indicate the presence of an additional new moon in a season. The phenomenon is rare, only occurring once every 33 months, and therefore making the concept both exciting and mysterious,”

The Trend Spotter
Color Moon Tattoo @eden_tattoo_

A black moon as a tattoo can be inked in darker shades than a realistic, traditional full moon tattoo.

With the different phases of the moon and the mythology surrounding Earth’s only natural satellite, there is a lot to be inspired by for your next tattoo. 

Remember, while a moon tattoo may look simple, it is anything but.

“Circles, straight lines, and anything that has to do with perfect geometry is always a challenge and could go easily wrong when not done with proper techniques and experience. I’ve seen many banana-shaped moons, inconsistent lines, and wrongly placed crescent moon tattoos,”

Tattoo Artist, Chris Vasquez, told Byrdie

So, even if your tattoo is small and simple, go through tattoo artists’ portfolios and find a tattooer that is specialized in the style that you want.

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