Sage Tattoo: Symbolism, Meanings & More

Sage Tattoo: Symbolism, Meanings & More

Sage has a distinct greenish-gray color that has widely inspired fashion and home decor, but the plant is also known for its culinary use and spiritual significance for many cultures. Sage can be found in its many forms as part of some stunning tattoos, either for its appearance alone or for one of its assigned meanings. 

Sage, whether in its herbal form or garden form or anything in between, sage has been inspiring more and more tattoos, from those who enjoy small, cute tattoos to those who have a garden variety of detailed tattoos. 


What Is The History Of Sage Tattoos?

Sage has been recognized for its potential health benefits and its ornamental beauty as far back as in ancient Egypt and Rome. In Egypt, it was often associated with a woman’s fertility. In Rome, sage became popular for use in different forms of medicine. Sage has also been an herb of great importance for many Indigenous cultures for centuries. 

Before tattoos became the cultural phenomena that they are now, tattooing would typically only be done in specific cultures for very specific purposes. For instance, when Indigenous peoples would identify with certain tribes, they would often have tattoos depicting items of significance to their tribe. 

Given how important sage has been to many Indigenous peoples, especially in North America, it would make sense to assume that they might be the subject of some of these older tattoos. 

Sage seems to be a more recent herb depicted in tattoos, given that over the last five to ten years, herbs and wildflowers have been trendy for those looking for more minimal, organic tattoos. 


What Does Sage Symbolize?

Sage has been assigned many symbols and attributes over time, as it’s been held in high regard by cultures throughout over many eras. The herb has been associated with wisdom for a very long time. It’s believed that sage has the ability to improve memory and make one more mentally alert as well. 

Sage has also been seen as a symbol of virtue, partially based on its spiritual association and the belief that it keeps negative energy or evil away from you. Sage was also believed to thrive when things were positive, so when one would notice it wilting, it was a sign that something negative was to come. 

This symbolism can be traced back to old Celtic tales as well as ancient Roman and Greek mythology. Despite how old this symbolism is, these traits are still often associated with sage today. 


What Do Sage Tattoos Mean?

Bundles of sage are often associated with spiritual purity and are meant to help either cleanse the body or environment of evil, or keep evil away. Sage is often burned in many Indigenous ceremonies and practices, and some Pagan spiritual practices use bundles as well for cleansing. 

A sage tattoo can also stand for the desire to live a long and fulfilled life, perhaps as a general celebration for the gift of life or because the person has overcome something life-threatening. Sage used to be regarded as a magical herb of some kind, as it was thought that eating it could extend your life or even make you immortal. 

With sage’s older association with fertility, a sage tattoo might also be a symbol for one’s potential struggle with fertility. 


Where Do Sage Tattoos Usually Go?

Sage tattoos are most often seen somewhere along the arm. A sprig or stem of sage can fit nicely on the side of the arm, but it’s also often seen on the inside of the arm. Bundles of sage are also commonly seen on the arm or on the shoulder. 

A larger, more elaborate tattoo featuring sage may also be seen on the thigh or the shin. On the other end of the spectrum, small sage tattoos can be seen just about anywhere, from behind the ear, on the neck, along the rib cage, or even along the clavicle. 

Sage leaves have also become popular tattoos to showcase on either shoulder blade or at the center of the back, usually towards the top and following the line of the spine. 


Characteristics And Styles Of Sage Tattoos 

Sage can come in many different forms, as it is a fairly general term for a variety of sage plants. One of the most common sage tattoos is a minimalist sage sprig, sometimes with small flowers at the top. Sage is either done with minimal, thin linework, and may either be black and white, shaded, or sage green with purple flowers. 

Sage leaves attached to the stem are popular tattoos as well, with either a few scattered leaves or a lush set of leaves along the stem. Of course, coloring them in with sage green ink is very popular. Shading is also sometimes preferred, either with grays, greens, and blacks. Shading is a nice way to show the very small details within sage leaves. 

Sage bundle tattoos may be a little bit larger and more elaborate. The sage may either be left colorless, or may be colored with sage green or white. Often, the bundle of sage will be depicted with a tie around it, usually designed to look like rope or jute. 

It is also more common in modern tattooing to see sage tattoos being designed with new coloring techniques. This might consist of watercolor filling the leaves in with various shades of green. The leaves may also be colored in without any black linework outlining the design. 



Sage will likely continue to be a popular subject for tattoos, especially with how long standing its symbolism has survived, but also because herbs and greenery have taken the tattoo world by storm. Sage is very special to many cultures, even today, and can be a proud symbol of that spiritual significance. 

Outside of what sage has meant to various cultures, sage also has so many popular associations and is admired for its simple beauty. This herb continues to be depicted in its many forms in tattoos and will likely become a classic tattoo still inspiring ink in the future.


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