The full moon is a powerful astrological symbol, monthly night-time fixture, and navigational element in the sky. When it is in its full phase, it symbolizes completion, fertility, abundance, and transformation. If this type of imagery calls to you, a full moon tattoo might just be what you’re after.
The full moon is a strong, majestic, and bold option for a tattoo. In this article, we discuss the history of this type of tattoo, its symbolism, where such tattoos are usually inked on the body, and the most popular types. When you’re finished, you’ll be in no doubt as to whether this type of tattoo is right for you.
What is the history of full moon tattoos?
The moon has long been a popular subject for tattoos because it is saddled with multiple meanings and powerful symbolism. It is also a familiar symbol that is easily depicted as a simple circle, sphere, crescent, and as part of the natural landscape.
Full moon tattoos are also part of a wider tradition of nature tattoos that have always been a popular motif. However, such tattoos have recently benefitted from a resurgence in popularity. As distinct from the materialist 1980s and grungy 1990s, nature-based tattoos such as these represent an innate desire to move away from the fast-paced and technology-driven lives many of us lead.
A meaningful life cannot be forged through the possessions we own but through the experiences we have and a full moon eloquently captures this concept. There is no greater symbol of the freedom of nature than the full moon.
What do full moons symbolize?
For many people, the full moon represents spirituality, heightened emotions, and potent creativity. With its bright illumination – a bold reflection of the sun – it also represents knowledge and enlightenment, especially when this is juxtaposed against the vast darkness of space and the inky blackness of the night.
Full moons are cyclical, phasing in and out once every month. For that reason, they also have strong associations with womanhood and the monthly menstrual cycle that most women experience during their lives.
In popular culture, full moons are also associated with the werewolf monster myth. The common trope is that werewolves go about their daily lives as normal but when they are exposed to the light of the full moon, they are transformed into uncontrollable and dangerous wolf-like beasts.
What do full moon tattoos mean?
The full moon is a potent and popular symbol with many meanings. In addition to the imagery mentioned above, they symbolize:
Many people believe that the full moon influences behavior. Certainly, the word ‘lunatic’– meaning crazy – is derived from the word ‘lunar’ which refers to moon-like phases and characteristics.
However, this influence does not have to be malicious. The full moon is also seen as a calming and natural influence for good. Some people even go as far as ‘bathing’ in the rays of the full moon. Undoubtedly not for everyone, this ‘moon bathing’ involves getting completely naked and standing out in the open to bask in the moon’s lunar rays.
Perhaps it’s the ambiance or even a touch of poetic beauty. Whatever the reason, a romantic interlude under a full moon is the symbolic height of romantic love, fidelity, and commitment.
The power of the feminine
Women menstruate roughly once a month. Many cultures and societies link this natural process with the lunar phases which see the moon transform from a think crescent shape into the full circular shape and back again.
The moon has a strong connection to the feminine and its subtle power, natural phases, and even traditionally negative subjects such as witchcraft and Wiccan.
With every cycle of the moon comes the opportunity to renew yourself. It can be seen as a cleansing agent, providing the means to eliminate all the toxic elements that have built up over the past month.
This time of the month can be a time of renewal but also caution. The energy emitted from a full moon is chaotic and can cause tension and anxiety and although it fuels creativity, it must also be controlled.
Nature is full of cycles, from the daily rotation of the Earth to its year-long journey around the sun. The lunar phases are a measurable and visual representation of the passing of time and a reliable calendar.
The moon is also connected with feminine deities such as the Sumerian goddess Inanna and the Roman goddess Diana who represents both virginity and fertility, as well as skill in hunting with a bow and arrow.
The full moon in particular is connected to powerful female deities. The Roman goddess Juno protects and heals girls and women, while the Roman titan named Luna and the Greek moon goddess called Selene have strong lunar overtones.
Where do people usually get these tattoos on their bodies?
With their simple circular and spherical imagery, these types of tattoos are one of the most flexible and versatile types. If you’re after a simple tattoo, perhaps with some clouds, stars, a distant horizon, or moonbeams to accompany your moon, you can get it inked anywhere on your body and it will suit most sizes.
However, if you would like it to be part of a larger landscape, perhaps with a mountainous scene or moonbeams reflecting on the ocean, a large space on your back or thigh will allow you to include intricate details that will really make the scene pop.
What are the most popular types of full moon tattoos?
This type of tattoo can be as simple or as complex as you want, from a simple circle to an intricate landscape. Most people, however, choose to get their tattoos with additional elements to ensure that it can be recognized as a full moon. This includes:
- Clouds and stars
- As part of a reflection on a body of water
- As part of an astronomical scene
- As the focal point of a landscape
Is this tattoo right for you?
You’d be hard-pressed to find a tattoo motif that is more flexible or infused with symbolic meaning than this one. If you have strong feminine vibes, are drawn to a natural motif, find value in the cyclical power of nature, enjoy the werewolf horror trope, or relate to the natural beauty of a lunar-inspired landscape, this tattoo might be right for you.