The heart is a symbol that is universally known, representing love and passion. Because it represents such strong feelings and deep meanings, this is one of the most popular tattoo designs out there. In fact, this has been well-loved even during the earliest days of body art.
The heart, along with the mind and soul, completes the aspects of humanity. Without this important organ in the body, no one can survive and live. Moreover, it is a mirror of the feelings and thus, a hugely vital element of human life. Beyond that, it has stood for feelings of both friendship and love, and this explains why it is chosen as tattoo designs of lovers or families.
Not only does the symbol of the heart look good on several parts of the body, but it has such a deeper meaning linked to it that people desire to get inked with a heart tattoo. Thanks to this symbol, the abstract emotions that humans feel for each other can be expressed. So getting this tattoo is a way of showing the love they feel in their lives. Because it is a universally known symbol, having a heart tattoo can transcend different cultures and languages.
Meanings Of Heart Tattoos
While there is a common symbolism of the heart tattoo, it is not entirely restricted to that. If you are considering getting yourself inked with it, it is good to know the various meanings. Only then can you decide if this design is suitable for your purpose or interests. This is a list of some meanings of heart tattoos that you should know about.
First and foremost, the heart symbol represents love, and this is the most common meaning all over the world. Love is a feeling that everyone all over the world feels and this explains why the heart tattoo is popular even in other cultures, religions, and beliefs.
Beyond being the representation of the heart, the Muslims believe that this symbol stands for a spiritual abode. In their religion Islam, they are taught that a person’s spiritual side resides in his or her heart. Thus, when they get a heart tattoo, it represents a place where the spirit finds sanctuary.
When you think about the real physical role of the heart, which is to pump blood all over the body, then you know that it supplies you with life. Without the heart, no one can live, which is why this symbol also represents life. Tattoo lovers get a heart tattoo to show their desire to live their life to the fullest because they appreciate the life they have been given.
Spiritual Or Emotional Intelligence
Some people believe that the heart symbol or tattoo represents emotional or spiritual intelligence. Thus, if you have this symbol inked to your body, you demonstrate a higher level of intelligence in these aspects of your life.
There are those who believe that the heart symbol stands for luck. After all, everyone wants to have a lot of luck. By having a heart symbol tattooed to your body, you try to attract a lot of good fortune in your life.
The heart symbol also represents a love that is non-romantic, or what exists between friends. In some cases, those who have it engraved on their body do so to remember a great friend.
There are other meanings associated with the heart tattoo, including compassion, acceptance, faith, hope, and trust. It may also represent the center of one’s being, as well as vitality, emotion, sacredness, honor, and wholeness. Thus, your heart tattoo might carry many more meanings other than just depicting love.
The Heart In Various Cultures And Religions
The heart is one of the body’s most important organs. In fact, it nourishes and sustains them so that they can do their work for the body. Thus, the whole existence of the human being is based on the heart. Thus, it is the starting point of life and is where the human soul itself takes a seat. While the universal meaning of the heart symbol is love, different cultures or religions will have other things associated with the hearth.
Christianity And The Heart Symbol
As opposed to Islam’s interpretation of the heart as the spirit’s abode, Christianity believes that the heart is where human emotions can be found. Of these, love is the most common meaning.
Greek Culture and the Heart
The ancient Greeks associate the heart with more than just emotional intelligence, they also believe it is linked to spiritual intelligence.
Egyptian Mythology And The Heart Symbol
In ancient Egypt, dead people’s bodies were mummified and their hearts were weighed against a feather. When it becomes lighter than the feather, it means the spirit is light and pure. Thus, it will reach the afterlife because the person has done good deeds while he or she was alive.
Heart Symbol In Buddhist Religion
The Buddhists associate the heart symbol with the Dharma Chakra or the Wheel of Law. The inverted heart shape is described to be of human buttocks or breasts. In some cultures, they say it looks like 2 people close together and kissing, thus aligned with the romantic meaning of the heart.
Some also say that the heart shape is similar to the triangle, which is then linked to birth and creativity. This is related to the popular meaning of the heart because a child is born to two people who love each other. Thus, even in these religions and cultures, the shape of the heart is also related to the emotions of love, devotion, compassion, and doing good to others.
The Anatomical Heart Tattoo
The heart symbol, though universal and popular, might be less popular with the men because of the romantic and mushy feelings associated with it. However, it does not mean that there are no heart tattoos that are more appropriate or suitable for the males, as the anatomical heart symbol is perceived as more mechanical in its nature and meaning.
This design follows how the real heart looks like, along with the arteries and veins attached to it. Because it looks like the physical heart, it has a more literal meaning of the heart as a driving force or as life-giving as opposed to other heart designs and their figurative symbols.
A working anatomical heart represents someone with unrivaled passion and puts his or her whole heart into work. He or she might be tough on the outside, but they want to convey to the world that they do have a softer side, a beating heart just like the rest of the world. The anatomical heart tattoo design symbolizes power, passion, strength, focus, drive, desire, and commitment.
Passionate people who know what they want to do with their lives can attribute their hearts to being the driving force that makes them strive to become better every day and stay on their course despite all challenges.
So while it does represent emotions as well as the normal heart symbol, its meaning is more mechanical to reflect the real human heart’s role as an organ. While it is one organ in the body, they want to represent it as one that functions at a higher level and pushes them to become better in every single part of their lives. Despite all the challenges and problems, the anatomical heart continues to beat strong.
On the other hand, an anatomical heart that is broken has a more romantic meaning attached to it. It stands for a broken heart, as this tattoo design symbolizes pain due to losing someone they love or due to a lover hurting them. Thus, the broken anatomical heart is a sign that the event has been etched in their memories and is not to be easily forgotten. There are also some who have this design because they are in a long distance relationship and they yearn to be with each other.
Lastly, the dark anatomical heart is filled with black ink. Figuratively, they want to convey that they have a black heart. It might, however, represent a very dark day or period in his or her life, due to events like losing a friend, a lover, or a beloved family member. It may also be as a memorial of a very tragic event. This black anatomical heart may mean they feel no more love or that their heart has been destroyed by someone. They may feel they are no longer able to love again or simply be there to remind the person never to wear his or her heart on the sleeve ever again.
Popular Heart Tattoo Designs
Many people who have heart tattoos do not just have one small and inconspicuous one done in their body. Because they want to send the message of love and passion, they prefer more complex designs that also have more meaning. Here are some of the popular designs.
Tribal Heart Tattoo
This design is hugely popular because it is both elegant and classy. Moreover, there are quite a few variations of this design to choose from, though the tribal razor wire design is the most sought after. Some people also choose to have a loved one’s name or a short personal message included in the design to make it more meaningful.
Pierced Heart Design
This option is one of the most romantic ones and it is associated with Cupid and his arrow. In this design, the heart is pierced with Cupid’s arrow and thus representing that the person is in love with someone.
Broken Heart Symbol
As opposed to the pierced heart, the broken heart signifies that the person has suffered a loss of a loved one or was betrayed by someone they trust. Because people get brokenhearted every day, lots of people opt for this design to remind them of their pain and loss of trust. In some cases, they even represent it with a bleeding heart to signify how the heart breaks because of the pain. Some designs, on the other hand, present the heart as crying or with tears because of heartbreak.
Heart With Flowers Tattoo
The heart is at times accompanied by flowers, with roses being the top choice. However, some decide to choose other kinds of blooms. This design also depicts the person as being very much in love that the heart is surrounded by beautiful flowers.
Black Heart Tattoo
While the red heart represents love and passion, the black heart represents grief and sadness. This may be because of the loss of a beloved person, a tragedy in his or her life or even the end of a relationship. It may also be chosen as a memorial to someone they love but is no longer around, especially if they add this person’s name to the tattoo design itself.
Winged Heart Design
In this design, the heart is shown to have wings like those of angels or fairies. This means the person feels free in love and thus, is a very positive symbol to have.
Celtic Heart Tattoo
The Celtic heart design has various elements added to it, including spirals, knots, crosses, and step work. This design represents strength and unity and is quite popular with tattoo lovers because it looks unique.
Sacred Heart Tattoo
This design dates all the way back to ancient France in the 17th century. It represents the love and compassion one should have towards other people. It is said that it belongs to Jesus Christ and symbolizes his love for all of the human race. Thus, having this design is a dedication to Jesus and may have other details added to it like wings, a cross or crown of thorns added to it.
Heart With Lock Design
This design is one of the most popular couple or partner heart designs. It is not just appropriate for couples, it may also be adopted by best friends or sisters. This design represents their mutual love and that the other person has the key to unlock their heart. Thus, women might opt for the heart design and the men have the key, though it may also work the other way around.
This is also a special tattoo for sisters who share a close bond with each other, with the lock symbolizing their bond and knowing each other’s deepest secrets. Though it might be more popular with pairs, the heart with lock design can also be done on an individual. It means he or she has the key to his or her dreams, fears, desires, and hopes.
Interlocking Heart Or Double Hearts Symbol
Similar to the heart with lock design, this is a common design for couples or family members. It is also quite popular for mothers who want to symbolize the love they have for their children. They might also want to add their names and birthdays.
Specifically, the interlocking heart is well-known to those who are Jewish or have Jewish roots. An upside-down heart that is interlocked with a right-side-up heart represents the Star of David. They can be in the traditional blue and gold or blue and white, and some might want a verse from the Torah to represent their faith.
Heart With Banner Tattoo
An iconic tattoo image is a heart with a banner or scroll. The banner is often unfurled across the middle or at the top of the heart. Most of the time, a name is written on the banner, like a spouse’s name while some opt to have a phrase added. This design is also appropriate for couples or partners, and they can add significant details like the anniversary or each other’s names. Parents may also choose to put their children’s names. The meaning, of course, is that these people are always in their hearts.
Heart With Flames Or Flaming Heart Design
A flaming heart tattoo also represents love and passion, but the difference is that it is not necessarily for a person. It may be for a hobby or even a place. The classic design of a flaming heart includes a bright red heart with fiery flames in shades of red, orange, or yellow behind or coming out on top of the heart. The heart itself might be made of flames when two flames form the heart. You can have it personalized with the person’s name, or add a symbol that stands for the favorite hobby.
Other Heart Tattoo Design Elements
A heart symbol can go with many different symbols, depending on what you want the tattoo to represent. Names and words can be added easily as well. This flexibility also extends to color choice, because while red is the obvious choice for a heart tattoo, other shades have also been popular. The most important thing is to do your research when it comes to elements or colors you want to add so that you are aware of the meanings behind it all before you get yourself inked.
Perfect Spots For Your Heart Tattoo
For many people who decide on a heart tattoo to demonstrate their love for someone, visibility is, of course, important. Thus, it is like shouting to the world that they love their partners or family members. But when it comes to heart tattoos, there are also other parts of the body where you can have it done.
One of the factors when it comes to placement is the size. Heart symbol tattoos can be small and simple (one color and only the outline) to medium-sized with other elements included. Because they are not particularly large, it can be done on almost any part of the body. However, an anatomical heart tattoo has a lot of details that having it done on a small scale is almost impossible. These tattoos need to be in a bigger part of the body like the back or the chest.
Here are some other ideas on where to have your heart tattoo done.
On The Arms
If visibility is the most important thing, then the arms are the perfect spot for your heart tattoo. Small ones can be placed in any part of the arm and some even choose to hide a tiny heart tattoo between fingers.
On The Chest
The chest, specifically close to the real heart, is the second most ideal spot for a heart tattoo. While it might not be visible unless you are topless, the fact that it is close to the heart amplifies its meaning even more.
On The Hips
The hips also offer a bit more space for a heart tattoo, though it is also not as visible as the arms. Some people choose to have it done here to also show off their beautiful hips.
On The Back
The back is the perfect spot for a large heart tattoo or an anatomical heart tattoo. The big space and the flat area makes it ideal, plus, it is very easily hidden by simply wearing a shirt.
At The Wrist
The wrist is also a spot where a heart tattoo is almost always visible (unless you are wearing gloves). However, because space might be limited and getting inked here might not be as easy for the tattoo artist, it is more ideal for very simple heart designs.
On The Thighs Or Legs
They might not be as common because of the lack of visibility plus the fact that it does not really allow for the message or the meaning to be as clearly displayed as in other parts of the body.
On The Stomach
Women might not find it easy to get inked on their chest and thus, the stomach is a good alternative. It can be covered or when it is low enough, can be easily seen when women wear a hanging top.
Wherever you want to have your heart tattoo, it is a permanent declaration of love and commitment to loved ones. At the same time, it may portray other meanings so it is best to consult with your tattoo artist about getting a heart tattoo.