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October 1 is World Tattoo Day. Archpriest George Tsyganov, head of the diocesan department for cooperation with the penitentiary service, rector of St. John of Kronstadt Church in Kirovskoye, told about whether it is possible to participate in the sacraments of the Church with tattoos and whether there are Orthodox tattoos.
Tattoo as a ritual
The Church has a somewhat negative attitude towards tattoos. Tattoos have been known since ancient times. There is an opinion that the first tattoo appeared by accident. Some person had a wound, dirt got there and stayed there. Almost all miners who work underground have such "tattoos" now. Coal dust gets into the incisions and marks remain.
In ancient times, tattoos had different meanings. First, informational: seeing a certain tattoo, a person understood what kind, tribe his interlocutor was from, what status he was in. The second meaning was mystical: a person tried to use it as an amulet, thinking that this particular tattoo would protect him from some illnesses. The third meaning was ritual, magical: these are the tattoos that priests, chiefs made themselves.
In the Old Testament we find a ban on the use of such tattoos. The book of Leviticus says: "For the sake of the dead, do not make cuts on your body, and do not tattoo writing on yourself. I am the LORD (your God)" (Leviticus 19:28). The book of Deuteronomy also forbids them: "You are sons of the LORD your God; you shall not make cuts [on your body] [your] body, nor cut out any hair above your eyes after you have died" (Deut. 14:1). That is, the Gentile tribes had such rituals to commemorate the dead. The Pentateuch of Moses explicitly forbids this so that the Jewish people would not follow barbaric traditions that led to ritual murder and other abominations.
Styles and colors that are popular for Orthodox tattoos in 2018-2019.
Despite the vast number of styles and currents in body art culture, in the context of Christian tattoos apply several designs today:
Old skool. - The classic way practiced since the 1990s;
realism - three-dimensional three-dimensional images;
minimalism - concise and simple design without redundant lines and details;
graphics - an appropriate style if the artist depicts small symbols and objects;
blackwork - brutal and austere style, using a black and white palette.
Most often religious pictures on the body are executed in monochrome style, where black and white shades are used. Less often colored colors are used, if there are flowers, different objects, landscapes, etc. in the picture.
Nakolki in Russia.
Today in our country tattoos are associated with the criminal world. Historically in Russia, it was so that ordinary people did not do them. Tattoos were common in Europe among sailors. Going to sea, they beat out on themselves crosses and icons, thinking that it will be their talisman. We have tattoos were not common until the late 19th century. In tsarist times they were given to serfs and convicts. Certain symbols meant that the person was in hard labor. In the case of escape it was possible to calculate in this way.
It was not until Soviet times that the tattoo culture began to spread in criminal circles. In the 1990s, when Soviet power faded into oblivion, the criminal world changed dramatically. The "thieves in law" no longer have the power that they had. And now tattoos no longer carry a certain connotation. People began to tattoo them to stand out, to show their freedom to their parents or to society. A simple pride, a desire to stand out from others in something, when there are no personal merits.
Chief of the Maori people Tuturei Kareva, late XIX - early XX century
How to choose a tattoo sketch in relation to the place on the body?
If the place on the body is predetermined, but the options sketches while in development, you can take as a basis the principle of proportionality. What it is about:
- On the chest, back, sides. Look harmoniously complex large images, whole compositions, consisting of different characters, objects, symbols and inscriptions, such as the faces of saints and icons, the crucified Christ, stories from the Bible;
- on the shoulder, forearm, legs, and shoulder blades It is better to place medium complexity and size tattoos, such as crosses, praying hands, prayers, angels;
- On the hand, wrist, palm, neck Small and simple images, amulets, symbols and talismans fit in, such as crosses, words from prayers, wings.
Do you already have religious tattoos on your body?
Facts about tattooing:
- In ancient Japan, a person with a tattoo was persona non grata: he was banished from family and society, condemning him to complete isolation. Tattoos on the bodies of criminals were usually prominently displayed and could even tell one in which prison they were serving their sentence.
- In the Japanese province of Chukuzen during the Edo period (1603-1867), the punishment for the first offense was a horizontal line across the forehead, an arc-shaped one for the second, and another for the third. The result was a composition that made up the hieroglyph INU - "dog". To this day, a person who has a drawing on his body is forbidden to work in a public office, to bathe in public places.
- In ancient China, one of the five classic punishments was also a facial tattoo. Slaves and prisoners of war were also tagged, making it difficult for them to escape. To this day, there is an elaborate system of prison tattoos in places of incarceration around the world that imprints a person's lifelong history of their crimes and punishments.
- The ancient Greeks and Romans also used tattoos for similar purposes, marking slaves. The practice was revived by the Spanish conquistadors in Mexico and Nicaragua.
- Mayan women tattooed their faces, which was considered a sign of low origin.
- The word "tattoo" is a borrowing from Polynesian languages. It was the name given to body tattoos by the wild tribes that inhabited the islands of Polynesia. This method of "decoration" was first scientifically described during his voyage around the world by the English navigator James Cook in 1773. He used the word from the aboriginal language, as there was no such concept in European languages.
- From his voyage, James Cook brought not only his notes, but also the "Great Omai" - a Polynesian covered entirely in tattoos. The appearance of such a marvel caused a sensation in European cities. No self-respecting performance, fair, or traveling circus was without the participation of the "noble savage.
- It was from traveling circuses that the fashion for tattooing went to the masses. Since the natives were not always available, the circus performers painted themselves with tattoos. For example, in the early 19th century, a certain lady Viola flaunted portraits of six American presidents, Charlie Chaplin and many other celebrities, delighting the crowds and making money on it. At the same time in the same XIX century workers of artels began to put pigment marks on their bodies to indicate their brotherhood, and sailors - in memory of voyages.
- During the First World War in Great Britain, the "D" tattoo was used to mark deserters.
- Tattooing was practiced in the SS divisions. The main theme in the tattoos of soldiers of the Third Reich was Nazi symbolism. After the surrender of Hitler's Germany, the Allies easily recaptured the SS with an external inspection.
- Islam forbids absolutely any tattoo, even of religious content.
- In ancient Israel tattooing as part of one of the pagan rituals was explicitly forbidden by one of the commandments: "For the sake of the dead do not make dashes on your body and do not tattoo writing on yourself. I am the LORD (your God)" (Leviticus 19:28, also Deuteronomy 14:1). This Bible injunction is still followed by Jews and Christians today.
The tattoo and the inner spiritual world
The form is meaningful and the content is designed. Not only tattoos, but even clothing can determine behavior. For example, in Russia and many other countries of the world, it is obligatory for a judge to wear a robe. It conveys a sense of the solemnity and dignity of what is going on and is experienced by both the judges themselves and those present. The same can be said of clergy, police officers, and the like.
Considering further the form and content in this context, it becomes clear that applying a tattoo to the body is always a transition from inner work on oneself to outer adornment, peculiarly understood. Often it serves as a sign of inner weakness: man has no other means to raise his own importance. God gave man the ability to create. It is a need, but in this case it takes a distorted form. If we look closely, we can see in the eyes of all tattooed people an inexpressible longing for the heavenly and eternal, an insecurity of self, a spiritual emptiness. Mikhail Krug captured this very subtly in one of his songs, putting the following words into the mouth of a prisoner:
"Ringleader, taper my domes, Near me - a miraculous cross with icons, So that the bells would play there With tinkles and chimes."
This brings to mind our Soviet-era desecrated churches, with drawings and inscriptions that also express a form of prayer. Pitiful, sinful, but nevertheless unconsciously directed toward a connection with the Eternal.
I once had the opportunity to speak with a man who owns a tattoo parlor in Moscow. He said that often he acts as a psychologist when people come to him, not finding themselves, not knowing what they need, not even decided what picture to put on. Some he even discouraged. For example, teenagers who want to put tattoos on their face, to spite everyone. "You don't like the way I am, let's see how it feels to see me like this!"
Obviously, in such a situation, it's not enough to declare a tattoo a sin, you need a justification. We need to give a helping hand, and for that it is important to give something more in return.
First of all, let's point out that man is a creature of God. God created all things "very well" (Genesis 1:31). Consequently, making changes to the body, including tattoos, is a rebellion against God. In the life of St. Peter of Galatia there is such an episode. A woman, adorned with blush and whitewash, comes to him for healing.
- What would you say," the elder said to her, "if you saw a painter who spoils the creation of a great artist: he would whitewash the face painted according to his inspiration, pour over the paint, blacken the eyebrows and eyelashes?
The woman fell to her knees and tearfully begged forgiveness.
- Remember, my daughter," he went on, "that if such corrections are offensive to the artist, all the more so to the Wise Creator, who so wonderfully adorned man, 'who diminished him with little than from the angels' (Psalm 8:6), to the Great Artist, who gave you your beauty.
The objective criterion of morality for the Christian is the Holy Scriptures, the revelation of God to man. If we turn to it, we will find that it condemns not only tattoos, but even immodest clothing and excessive use of cosmetics. God, through the mouth of the prophet Isaiah, threatens the following penalties for these sins:
"And it shall come to pass, that instead of incense thou shalt smell, and instead of a belt thou shalt gird thyself with a rope, and instead of a golden ornament upon the head thou shalt have a bald spot for thy works, instead of a scarlet robe thou shalt wear a sackcloth. And your most beautiful son, whom you love, will fall by the sword..." (Isaiah 3:23-24).
This was the case in Old Testament times. For Christians, however, such sins will bring greater condemnation. "If even then, before grace and such wisdom, it was condemned," says Saint John Chrysostom, "what justification can today's wives have, who are called to heaven and to greater exploits, who are obliged to compete with the angels.
The Church considers the human body to be a sanctuary and a temple of the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul says:
"Know ye not that your bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For you have been bought with a high price. Therefore glorify God both in your bodies and in your souls, which are God's" (1 Corinthians 19-20).
There are two points of principle to be emphasized here. First. We are not our own, we are God's, our body does not belong to us in the full sense of the word, we cannot do with it what we want. Second, we can and should glorify God not only in our souls, but also in our bodies. We know that God glorifies the bodies of His chosen servants through the imperishable relics and the miracles that flow from them. And these apparitions serve as a kind of foreshadowing, an image and a symbol of the divine and heavenly glory of the saints, which will be revealed after the universal resurrection. Hence, it follows that the Christian must take care of his body and treat it with reverence. "For no one has ever hated his flesh, but nourishes and warms it" (Eph. 5:29).
Further, the human body is sanctified in the Church in the Sacraments of baptism, anointing, communion, and consecration. In baptism the Christian is "clothed with Christ" (Galatians 3:27) and should strive in all things to follow "His footsteps" (1 Pet. 2:21). And just as we cannot put improper inscriptions on sacred vessels, so it is unacceptable to do so on our bodies. This sanctification of the human flesh is based on the great sacrament of the divine incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. The Lord took flesh, made it His own, and deified it, according to the Gospel, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). With His embodied flesh Christ ascended into heaven "and sat down at the right hand of God" (Mark 16:19). And since our Lord Jesus Christ became a perfect man in soul and in body, like us in everything, except sin, so He also gives us, who believe in Him, from His Deity and makes us kindred unto Himself according to the nature and essence of His Deity. And are we Christians, who have such gifts and promises, who long for the resurrection of the dead, to desecrate our flesh with writings and images?
Why is the Church against tattoos?
Nowadays, tattoos with the faces of Christ, the Virgin Mary are tattooed. People who have nothing to do with the criminal world think that this will be a kind of their talisman. The Church has a negative attitude towards this. God created man to be perfect. Trying to add something to this perfection, we take upon ourselves the mission of God - trying to show that we know better than Him and are more able. Basically, those who get tattoos have a desire to show off, to distinguish themselves.
A Coptic girl with a tattoo of a cross on her wrist. Photo: B. Armange / Associated Press
The best places to place an Orthodox tattoo
When choosing where to place a Christian tattoo, you need to consider the fact that it may be perceived differently by those around you. Historically, certain body art is desirable to place on specific parts of the body. For the most part this has to do with the meaning of the tattoo.
If it had a deeper meaning, it was placed on more visible or meaningful places. If the tattoo described the character of its bearer, it was placed in places not accessible to everyone. The most popular places for women's and men's religious tattoos:
- Shoulder - most often the shoulder is a tattoo of the praying man's hands. This emphasizes strength and courage. Sometimes there are tattoos of saints on the shoulder, for example of Jesus;
- Forearm - mainly on the hand prickle heavenly gates, the faces of the saints, Jesus Christ. Drawing in this place denotes strength of spirit, the desire for God;
- The wrist is an ideal drawing for this part of the body - a small Christian attribute. Mostly doves, anchors, roses, lambs are printed on the wrist. Rarely, there are crosses;
- Palm and hand - the ribs of the palm are often printed with religious symbols. Sometimes passages from religious scriptures are placed on the palm;
- Neck - most often crosses, Orthodox attributes and inscriptions are placed on the neck;
- Chest - large tattoos are placed on the chest. Basically, these are inscriptions, wings, tattooed icons. It is believed that the picture on the chest is a strong talisman for the person.
- Side - crosses, angels, and saints are tattooed on the sides. The tattoo on the side can denote confessional and ethnic affiliation;
- Thigh - Orthodox tattoos are forbidden in this area, as they are considered to carry an intimate meaning;
- The back - the most popular tattoo on the back are the wings of an angel. Not uncommonly encountered are church domes, the faces of saints. Such a tattoo symbolizes the burden carried by the person;
- Scapula - on the scapula are mostly printed symbols, text;
- Foot - Orthodox tattoos on the leg are decorative in nature;
- Tattoo sleeve - this type of image of Christian tattoos is very popular. Almost all types of Orthodox tattoos are placed on it.
Are tattoos in the form of a cross or an icon allowed?
Christians in the East have a tradition of tattooing. In Africa and the Middle East, Christians tattoo small crosses on their arms. They live in constant danger. The Muslim world is very aggressive toward Christians. By making this sign of the cross, Christians show the firmness of their faith, their readiness to walk with Christ even in death. In the event of death, this sign will help ensure that they are buried in a Christian manner.
This differs from our penitentiary tradition of embossing crosses all over the back - there is a small cross that is hidden somewhere under the clothes, like our personal cross. People around us cannot see it unless we specifically display it. At the same time, we know that this symbol of our faith is always with us.
In the twelfth century, the Arab conquerors who invaded Egypt began to forcibly convert Christians to their religion. One form of resistance to this was that Coptic Christians began to tattoo a cross on the inside of their right wrist. Because Islam expressly forbids tattoos and because a tattooed cross cannot be removed, forcible conversion to Islam became impossible for Copts.
Centuries have passed, but the tension between Christians and Muslims in the East has not disappeared. Christians still place a cross on their hands to indicate their preparedness to be martyred for Christ and their refusal to convert to Islam.
We will be held accountable for all of our actions. I met a lot of people, especially in the army, who had their arms tattooed. Then, when they came to faith, they were ashamed of the tattoo and didn't want people around them to see it. It was a very painful process, not many people went for it. For someone who is just coming to God and wants to get a tattoo, I would advise you to ponder whether you need it. Any bracelet, medallion we can remove. One day I like it, and the next day I don't. A tattoo can't be taken off. It is very painful to burn it off.
Every year, especially in summer, we notice how many people, especially young people, have on their bodies fashionable "accessories" in the form of tattoos. The number of tattoo parlors in the cities is becoming comparable to the number of cafes. People give each other certificates for visiting these salons. The majority of visitors there are, of course, young people. If earlier tattooing was an element of the prison or, more rarely, the army subculture, then today it has become fashionable and customary phenomenon. It happens that parents themselves bring their teenagers to tattoo parlors. Although in general it is difficult to imagine parents wanting to "decorate" their children in this way. In Spain, I remember an advertising board of a tattoo parlor. It depicted an infant in a diaper, head to toe painted. And at the top is the inscription: "Mom, I'm sorry! The older generation looks at the growing popularity of tattoos with bewilderment and horror. Many people still remember that tattoos were applied by force in German concentration camps. But there are some dads and moms who want to keep up with the times. There is a well-known case where a pensioner in his sixty-five years of age had a tattoo on his body for the first time.
This phenomenon is penetrating the church milieu as well. Either people come to God with tattoos, or Christians ignorantly, succumbing to the zeitgeist, put pictures and inscriptions on their bodies. There is a whole tattoo industry at the resorts. And designed for children, too: they put henna drawings, they are washed away. But in the mind embedded message that "tattoo - it's cool and stylish, when you grow up, you'll do everything in the adult. Tattoos are particularly common in Europe. Apparently the massive scale of this phenomenon in the West prompted the Old Believer Metropolis in Romania in 2021 to discuss this topic and make a special conciliar decision. To recall it:
"To consider the tattooing of the body a sin that does not prohibit baptism. Call upon the members of the Church, and especially the younger generation, to abstain from this vice" (par. 4 "On the Possibility of the Admission to the Body of Christ of Persons with Discharged Body (Tattoos)").
This, by the way, is the only official opinion of the Church on this matter. As far as I know, none of the local churches have expressed their position on this issue. We do not know the reasoning behind the decision of the Metropolitan See, so we will attempt to understand for ourselves what was the basis for such a conclusion.
Orthodox symbols in criminal culture
We must also consider the specifics of tattooing in our culture. The criminal world also has a tradition of tattooing crosses and icons. This tradition has its own subtext. Nowadays people don't always know what their tattoo means, what its meaning is. And he may find himself in a situation where he is told about his tattoo what he does not know.
So, the image of domes went as far back as the 1930s. The domes mean that the person was in jail. Their number shows how many trips he had to the zone. Sometimes there is one dome, but several windows are shown on the drum. In this case, the number of walks shows their number. The crosses, if they are pinned on the hands, also indicate the number of strokes.
The crosses on the domes also have their meaning. If the dome has a cross, it means that the prisoner has served from call to call, from the moment he was locked up until the last day of his sentence, without parole, which is given for good behavior. If the window on the dome is dark, it means the person has been in solitary confinement, a solitary cell. To people who have never been in prison, these images mean nothing. But for prisoners, it means that the person is protesting openly against the authorities and has been put in solitary confinement for that protest. Accordingly, the authority of this person in certain thieves' circles is raised.
Icons of Christ are usually taken out by convicts as amulets. This is often the case when an inmate is just beginning to come to faith. He begins to think about spiritual matters. This tattoo is a sign of remorse. It is the beginning of his journey to God. This path does not necessarily end in churching. Such a tattoo can mean that the person came to faith in prison.
Any police operative is necessarily instructed in recognizing tattoos. There used to be a very strong tradition in the thieving world of finger rings tattoos and the like, which were flaunted, because you can't hide your hands. Often crosses on the fingers indicated the number of trips. But sometimes they are tattooed and as a talisman.
Tattoos of icons of the Mother of God also have ambiguous meaning. They are done by convicts as a talisman, they can be a sign of a person's repentance. The implication of such an image, which goes back to Soviet times, is that a person at a young age has taken the path of a thief. A person needs to think about what this or that tattoo has besides the meaning that he wants to put into it.
There have been cases when someone decided to brag to his friends and got the tattoos and then was imprisoned for hooliganism and was told that he did not have the right to wear certain tattoos because he had not yet reached that "level" in the criminal world. And such a man in prison was punished by fellow inmates: tattoos were burned off.
Cancer at the site of the tattoo
What does a religious tattoo give a man?
While in past eras and centuries Orthodox religious tattoos were perceived as protective amulets against mishaps and dangers in battles and wars, today such body art serves other purposes. Namely:
- To demonstrate one's honor and love of faith and God;
- as a tribute to tradition;
- to protect yourself from evil and negative actions;
- to immortalize an image;
- for the purpose of attracting attention.
For reference! Many in this way wish to get closer to God and the higher forces, to make sacrifices to cleanse themselves from past sins and transgressions. And such inscriptions as "save and preserve" are for many men a strong talisman.
The dangers of tattooing are something that tattoo parlors usually gloss over or downplay
Poison under the skin
The red paint used for tattoos contains mercury sulfide, other shades contain titanium, chromium, lead and cadmium. Blue paint is considered the most dangerous. It includes cobalt and aluminum. Paraphenylenediamine and arsenic, the components of black ink, are no less dangerous. The last component can easily provoke cancer, and all others poison the body and lead to muscle tissue damage. The pigments used in tattoo parlors are not controlled by health authorities.
Death at the end of a needle
Thousands of people have contracted HIV, hepatitis B and C with a tattoo needle. Many viruses are not killed by boiling or other types of sterilization.
The cancer that might not have been there
It's not just the arsenic in the paint that causes it. A lot of people try to hide birthmarks and other skin defects with the help of tattoos. Meanwhile, to do so is strictly prohibited. In fact, not only a mole, but any tattoo under the influence of ultraviolet sunlight can provoke skin cancer.
According to a research conducted in Europe, one third of clients of salons and private masters faced with the negative effects of tattoos.
It is impossible to remove a tattoo without leaving a trace. Even with laser removal scars remain. At removal by other means the size of scars will be more the size of the vvodimaya tattoo by virtue of destruction of a skin covering. In fact, to remove a tattoo means to lose a piece of your own skin.
The Popularity of Scripture Tattoos for Women
Scripture tattoos for women usually include phrases from religious books and are considered one of the most popular forms of tattooing in recent times. They are more popular among Christians.
Scripture tattoos are very popular among young ladies and girls going to college. They use them to show the world their thoughts and ideas. Besides fashion and style, these tattoos for women can also be related to spirituality.
In some cultures, they are believed to protect women, mostly pregnant women, from unknown evil forces. For many people, it is not only an art form, but also serves as "road signs" to mark their spiritual path.
Is it possible to participate in the sacraments of the Church with tattoos?
A tattoo can neither bring a person closer to God nor away from Him. There are no barriers to participation in the sacraments. There are a lot of people with tattoos in the prisons I'm in charge of. They have them, and there's nothing you can do about it. They won't understand why tattoos are condemned. Sometimes it is the other way around - a convict tattoos an icon of the Savior or the Mother of God as a sign that he has taken the path of correction. Maybe this tattoo will even help him in some way.
If a person has never been in prison, but has a tattoo, it is not out of place to say in confession that he had a desire to stand out in his youth and had a tattoo. Often it is one of the manifestations of pride, and the confession will help the priest find the right approach to the person.
Religion has always played a huge role in Catholic countries. Initially, priests branded themselves with the image of a cross. It was a symbol of an everlasting, eternal faith in God and service to him. The most popular tattoo motifs with a religious theme are the cross, the rosary, Jesus and the Madonna, biblical scenes and quotes from Scripture.
Catholics in Latin America are considered to be the most devout. In that environment, religious tattoos are invariably popular. It is not uncommon to see the entire body painted with religious motifs.
Can a person with a tattoo be a priest?
Yes, he can. We even have an example of a tattooed priest, Ivan Okhlobystin. But a tattoo can make life difficult in the future. Our people have a very strong conviction that if a person has tattoos, it means he belongs to the criminal world. For a priest, if he has a tattoo on some open place, it can be very difficult to communicate with people. Some will be indifferent, but many will be alarmed.
A priest is usually looked upon as some kind of ideal person in whom everything must be perfect. People often do not want to take into account that he is a human being just like all the others, and that is why a priest with tattoos can be in trouble. This will not alienate him from God, though.
Interviewed by Maria Tsyrlina
Gorlivka and Slavyansk eparchy website
Popular religious symbols and their meanings
К popular orthodox symbols can include the following:
- Latin cross - symbol of Christianity (Orthodoxy), gives good luck and protection from evil;
- lamb - symbol of Christ, sacrifice and non-resistance;
- anchor - commemoration of the dead, and in general a commemorative event;
- rose - symbol of the mother of Christ, mystery, purity, martyrdom;
- dove - liberation of the soul, gives hope, symbol of the Holy Spirit;
- Cross of Jerusalem - symbol of the Crusades, contains five crosses;
- cross of the baptism - symbol of rebirth, immortality of the soul;
- Cross of Peter - symbol of respect for Christ, often used by Satanists as a symbol of opposition to religion.
Orthodox tattoo on the shoulder
Tattoo amulets from other cultures
Every culture has its own sacred symbols. They are also used for tattoos.
- Buddhist amulet tattoos
- Helps to find equilibriumThe tattoo can be applied to the lower part of the torso, to the soul, to save from problems, to find a solution in a hopeless situation. This tattoo can not be placed on the lower part of the torso.
The Lotus is a symbol of purity and spirituality.It symbolizes wisdom, teaches a harmonious combination of virtues and flaws, clears the way to self-knowledge and to achieve goals.
Black and white lotus. Pictures from the portfolio of the master Anna Sarkisyan (Kiev)
Lotus on the back
Mandala - protects the soul from worldly temptationsMandala helps not to disperse, to preserve the inner integrity and fidelity to their ideals.
Tattoo on the hip
Tattoo mandala sleeve
Mandala tattoo on the wrist
- Indian tattoos
Dreamcatcher - catches bad dreams And drives away evil spirits. It is better to stuff it near the head: on the shoulder, back or neck.
Options for women tattoos
Tattoo on the back.
A feather - a symbol of rebirth.The pen is a symbol of rebirth, eternal life. Eagle feather tattoos endow courage, power, and quick response.
Feather in watercolor technique
Variant of the male tattoo
Kokopelli - deity, brings people money wealthPreserves during childbirth. Is disposed to people who are prone to adventurism.
- Totem animals Tells about the personal qualities of the person:
- Wolf - Loyalty, intuition, persistence (see 215 photos of tattoos with wolves);
- Coyote - cunning;
- Bull - risk;
- Bear - Courage and strength;
- Eagle - power and attention.
Tattoo with a wolf. Photo from the portfolio of the tattoo parlor VeAn (Kiev)
Tattoo on the back with an eagle
Tattoo sleeve with a bear
Tattoo on his shin with a wolf
Tattoo amulets runes
Along with Slavic runes Scandinavian runes are popular:
- Ken - Shield from trouble, relieves illness, heals, protects love and friendship, awakens creative forces;
- Man - helps determine the path of life, reveals abilities, improves relationships with others;
- Jera - grants wishes, gives a wonderful mood, the strength for the successful completion of the initiated case;
- Horn (Turisaz.) - Attracts good luck in love and work, protects from spoilage;
- Uri (Uruz) - promises positive changes in fortune.
Tattoo of the three runes for good luck
Tattoo, stylized as runic painting
Tattoo on his back
Rune Odal - a talisman to attract luck, love and money
Mandala plus runes
3D Tattoo in Scandinavian Style
Foot Tattoo Variant
Teivaz - rune warrior. Photo from portfolio of the wizard Alexandra Kislaya (Kiev)
Runic sacred pattern
In the tattoo itself there is nothing wrong, but you need to prioritize properly.
Some authors, when they want to express how the Church feels about tattoos, refer to the verse:
"I praise You, because I am wondrously arranged. Wonderful are Your works, and my soul is well aware of it."
Here one supposedly sees the statement that the world and man are created by God so beautiful that they do not need any adornment, this also includes tattoos.
But this is not true. God created the world perfect, yes. But our world today is not the same world that God created. What surrounds us is the product of centuries of degradation in sin.
The human body today is not perfect; it is no longer what God originally created.
That's why there's nothing wrong with making something better, including our appearance. There are things that are of prime necessity: to improve your health. There's the desire to look nicer: plastic surgery to fix the nose or even increase the breasts, if that's what a woman needs. And then there are things of a minor nature, like tattoos.
A tattoo can be an object of art, even if it is about other religions, but what is important is what one puts into it.
From a Christian point of view, it is not the best thing to do, but everyone has the right to dispose of his or her own body. Especially in cases where, for example:
- you want to cover up an ugly scar;
- you live in a Muslim country, but you want to be buried in a Christian country;
- You fear for your life and specify your blood type (not relevant to religious tattoos, of course, but important, too).
There are a couple of other issues worth discussing along the way:
- Can a Christian get religious tattoos of, say, Zeus, Perun, or Odin?
The important thing is not the cause itself, but the purpose of the endeavor. For religious purposes, of course, this is not welcomed by Orthodoxy and cannot be welcomed in principle. If for any other purpose, this needs to be discussed individually.
- If there is already a religious tattoo, what is a Christian to do?
Of course, it is not necessary to remove or redo a tattoo at the request of the priest. It is a matter of everyone's finances, health, and desire. But if there is a religious tattoo that one repents of, one can tell about it in confession, instead of torturing oneself for the rest of one's life.
- The priest does not allow me to get a tattoo, what should I do?
And why go to the priest with such questions at all? He is concerned with the salvation of the soul. And petty problems of this kind only overburden the priest and tire him out.
Well, and most importantly - a person must first of all take care of his soul. The body is not eternal, and we must prioritize correctly.