The Moon is one of the first and earliest human symbols. For centuries we’ve been transfixed by its celestial appearance on the night sky. From the start, we knew it had an incredible impact on human existence, and to this day we’re inspired by it and enchanted by the moonlight, every single night. The Moon has inspired millions of people and continues to be the main source of our creative, artistic inspiration.
Naturally, the Moon is one of the most common tattoo design choices. If you’re looking for inspiration for your new tattoo, you’re at the right place. In the following paragraphs, we’ll explore and explain some of the most common Moon tattoo symbolisms and designs, which you can consider for your new ink. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
The Moon and Its Cultural Impact
Before we get into the tattoo designs, we should first discuss the reason why the Moon plays such an important role in our creative and cultural expression, even to this day. As one of the first human symbols, it was used as the main creative inspiration, from our prehistoric forebears to Vincent van Gogh, and numerous contemporary artists around the world. Why is that so?
Some of the first primitive sketches, found in France, show that people were aware of the constellation, as the drawings first suggested. Later, scientists discovered that the sketches represented a lunar code, which is a calendar that follows the Moon’s appearance in the sky. One can only imagine how impactful that must have been for the ancestral people.
From then on, humans became obsessed with the Moon. Some viewed it as a deity, others paid respect by offering sacrifices. Humans saw the moon as the leader to the right path, since the moonlight was the only light source in the night.
In ancient Egypt, the Moon is generally found sitting on the top of different gods’ heads, like Khonsu for example. Khonsu, whose name also means ‘pathfinder’ and ‘traveler’, was believed to defend the spirits of the dead from the demons, ensuring their posthumous voyage is safe.
For Celts, the Moon was the center of their spiritual system. They also believed the Moon helps departing souls navigate their posthumous journey. That is why there are findings of lunar map carvings in Ireland burial tombs, dating as far as 5,000 years.
Thanks to its shape, illuminance and celestial appearance on the night sky, numerous geniuses of art have been inspired by the Moon. Some of the greatest works of art feature Moon as either a centerpiece or an important aspect of the painting. Here are some examples of the Moon in the masterpieces of the human artistic expression;
- Joseph Wright of Derby – An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump – The full moon is one of the most significant elements of the painting. It shows how the meeting of the Lunar Circle (later known as Lunar Society), was timed to make the most use of moonlight when traveling. The painter had strong connections to this Circle, so the Moon in the painting was a nod to the monthly meetings of the Circle.
- Vincent van Gogh – Starry Night – This is one of the most recognizable paintings in the world. Of course, the starry night depicted in the painting is beautifully accompanied by a disquieting and blazing Moon. The whole painting is illuminated by the Moon in the corner, which furthers its necessity and symbolism as the piece that connects and tightens the painting, as well as the nature in the night.
- Caspar David Friedrich – Man and Woman Contemplating the Moon – The Moon has always had the power the make us contemplate its existence, and life itself. This painting is no short of depicting just that. The meditative, pensive energy of this painting truly shows the human neverending interest in the Moon.
The cultural impact of the Moon is endless; it would take us a whole article to write just about the basics. So, we’ll continue the further explanation of its symbolism and meaning through the examples of the most popular Moon tattoo designs. So, let’s continue with just that.
Moon Tattoo Designs and Meanings
Moon Phase Tattoo
The most common meaning and symbolism of Moon phases (and such tattoos) are generally connected to the human phases of learning, growing young and old, letting go and rebirth. Each Moon phase also carries specific and individual meaning.
For example, the full Moon phase symbolizes one’s peak success, fulfillment, power, and one’s ability to obtain things of wish or necessity.
New Moon symbolizes new beginnings, fresh ideas, and the leap of faith we all have to make once in a while.
Waning symbolizes surrendering, peace, and silence, as well as the ability to accept a loss. Waxing on the other hand symbolizes positive growth and attainment.
Here are some of our favorite Moon phase tattoo designs you can use for inspiration;
Sun and Moon Tattoo
The Sun and Moon correlation is very specific and interesting. For example, the Moon is believed to be the mirror of the Sun. Because of the sunlight, we have moonlight, so the Sun and the Moon have a yin and yang interaction. The Sun is, for example, associated with the masculine, while the Moon is associated with the feminine.
So, the Sun and the Moon tattoo can symbolize duality, genders, yin and yang, active and passive, light and darkness, and so much more. The Sun can represent the active, energetic, and passionate in life, while the Moon can symbolize the spiritual, celestial, and psychic.
This kind of symbolism, especially when used for tattoos, is generally uniquely interpreted and different for every person. Everyone applies their own interpretation and life experience to these kinds of tattoos. Nevertheless, here are some of our favorite and inspirational Sun and Moon tattoos;
Full Moon Tattoo
Now, the full Moon carries a lot of symbolism, depending on every person’s individual interpretation. For example, in astrology, the full Moon symbolizes maturity and pregnancy. In other interpretations, the full Moon stands for one’s ability to reach success and power; it stands for the fulfillment of dreams and desire, and one’s ability to obtain them and become a complete, fulfilled individual.
Because the full Moon is completely illuminated, while the other side of the Moon is completely dark, such imagery can also symbolize self-exploration, spiritual enlightenment, and complete maturity. Furthermore, such imagery can also represent the balance between lunar and solar energy, which is a completion of yin and yang.
All of these interpretations and symbolism can be applied to a Full Moon tattoo if it fits your interpretation and life experience. Having said that, here are some of the best Full Moon tattoo designs you can use for inspiration;
Moon and Stars Tattoo
Generally speaking, there is no actual symbolism applies to the image of the Moon and the stars surrounding it. Often, those are two separate celestial objects which happen to exist together in the solar system.
However, to some people, the Moon, and the stars together carry the symbolism of destiny, hope, maybe even the fleeing of time, change, mortality, etc. Here, we would have to apply the separate symbolism of the Moon and start to create a unified interpretation, which is something everyone should do individually.
When it comes to Moon and Stars tattoos, people sometimes get a specific number and shape of starts to deepen the symbolism; for example, a Moon and a lot of stars may imply infinitude, or the Moon and an ascending star may symbolize the spiritual, or the feminine/masculine. A seven-pointed start for example may symbolize progression or the human skill, etc.
If you like this kind of symbolism and interpretation, here are some of our favorite Moon and Stars tattoo designs to get inspired by;
Half Moon/Crescent Moon Tattoo
Also, knowns as Luna, the sickle of the Moon, the waxing or waning Moon, or the crescent moon, the half moon is a popular symbol across the world. Often associated with religions, numerous Biblical references, and Islamic symbolism (half-moon and a star is the main symbolism in Islam, often seen on Islamic countries’ flags, for example).
However, the universal symbolism of the half moon is generally associated with feminine energy, maternity, and lifegiving. It is even associated with fertility and the menstrual cycle, or virginity and chastity. Half Moon is a rather feminine symbol, so by getting a half moon tattoo, you will be showing off your womanhood, femininity, or feminine energy. If that sounds interesting to you, here are some of our top picks for half Moon tattoos you can use for inspiration;
Blue Moon Tattoo
Blue Moon is actually the second full moon appearing in the same month. Although there is no significant association with that, some cultures do interpret its appearance as something magical. Many even believe it symbolizes the female energy and the phases of a woman’s life. It also stands for wisdom and knowledge, and one’s ability to grow.
A Blue Moon does have a more spiritual sense to its appearance, as it feels otherwordly and completely rare. The expression ‘once in a blue moon’ doesn’t exist for no reason. An occasion that occurs so rarely, like the Blue Moon, makes us ponder and contemplate life, our role in it, and all of its beauty and mystery.
As a tattoo, the Blue Moon might be one of the best designs to get inked. The tattoos depicting the blue moon have a special energy and generally look amazing. So, here are some of our favorite Blue Moon tattoo designs you can use for inspiration;
Hopefully, our explanations and tattoo design recommendations were useful. The tattoos used in this article are not to be copied or used for your own tattoo. These tattoos are owned by respectful tattoo artists who have done original work. These tattoos only serve as a source of inspiration for people looking to get some kind of Moon tattoo.