Star Tattoos: Symbolism, Meanings & More

Star Tattoos: Symbolism, Meanings & More

Having tattoo art is a major decision. Not only will it be with you forever, but it will also act as a mark you project to the world.

Therefore, the image must have a profound personal meaning. Depicting stars are one such way to do this.

A star tattoo is a classic symbol of humanity’s connection to the universe and has a depth of meanings. Every religion, culture and society throughout millennia holds them in high regard.

History of Star Tattoos

Traditionally, star tattoos have two historic uses. First was for seamen and sailors and the other were for prisoners, specifically in Russia. However, it’s important to note that these historic uses for a star come under the jurisdiction of men.

For women, back in the earliest parts of the Ottoman Empire, a star tattoo may have meant that you were part of a rich man’s harem. This might be for the Sultan or of any man who was noble, rich or prolific in some way.


Meaning of Star Tattoos Today

But, these meanings have changed in recent years. Tattoos no longer indicate slavery, servitude, imprisonment or other such implications.

Today, most star tattoos, whether for men or women, cave some to symbolize beauty, rarity and honor as well as ambitions, goals, dreams, mystery and desire.

The Symbolism of the Star

The star beholds many secrets and confers a plethora of meanings behind its symbolism. In general, it means hope, brightness, uniqueness, protection, guidance, love and an unending connection to the universe beyond earth.

But, of course, personal spiritual beliefs and religious implications will also come into the picture. In this way, it could mean a variety of things.

For some people, stars are a way to communicate with loved ones who have passed away. Yet others believe it’s a sign of hope as the promise of God’s love and compassion.


Five-Pointed Star

The five-pointed star, also called a pentagram, is a widely used and misused symbol spanning eons of human existence. Almost every religion and spiritual practice values this symbol.

In some circles, this represents the five elements: air, fire, water, earth and spirit. In other schools of thought, it represents the human body.

It’s also a nautical symbol for sailors and seamen to direct their path home. The five-pointed star is synonymous with the United States flag and military.

In Judaism, it’s the star of Solomon but in Roman-Celtic translations, it is a symbol of strong protection and power.

Six-Pointed Star

Also known as a hexagram, the six-pointed star is most often akin to Judaism and the nation of Israel. It often signifies the six days of creation in the Book of Genesis or the six principles of the One Most High.


But, it has other associations in paganism and other old religions. It often signifies the philosophical concept of “As above, so below.”

Seven-Pointed Star

The seven-pointed star goes by many names and has a host of various meanings. It’s the notorious star of Ishtar or Inanna, the ancient Babylonian or Sumerian goddess of the sky. In this way it connects to the owl and the powers of life, death and rebirth.

But, in Christianity, also called a heptagram, it is a symbol for warding off evil. Conversely, modern pagans refer to this as the Elfish Star or the Fairy Star and takes on a profound magical interpretation.

Nine-Pointed Star

Most people understand the nine-pointed star to belong to the Baha’i faith, but this has long been part of ancient Greek and Egyptian practices.

Among the Greeks, it symbolized the nine muses of music, poetry, song and dance. But, among the Egyptians, it has connections to the god Anu.


12-Pointed Star

The 12-pointed star, or dodecagram, can mean the 12 disciples of Jesus (Christianity), the 12 tribes of Israel (Judeo-Christianity), the 12 gods of Mount Olympus (ancient Greek) or the 12 houses of the zodiac in astrology.

What Does Tattoo Stars on the Knuckles Mean?

Knuckle tattoos of stars often accompany an arrangement of letters and numbers to mean something personal. However, they often represent good luck and fortune.

What Does a Star Tattoo Mean on an Elbow?

Stars on an elbow usually have a prison reference. It shows other inmates how long that person has been behind bars.


What Does It Mean When There’s a Star Tattoo the Face?

Facial tattoos of stars in modern culture can sometimes signify the number of killings someone has done. This is often in conjunction with gang activity in places like Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City, among other major metropolitan areas.

What Does a Star Tattoo Mean on the Shoulders?

In general, a star on one or both of the shoulders indicates authority. Just like the elbow, it harkens back to prison lingo.

Back during the days of Stalin’s Russia, dissidents would wear these proudly as criminal authorities. They were symbols of defiance against the soviet regime.

What Does a Star Tattoo Mean on the Knees?

When star tattoos appear on the knees, it takes on the connotation of prison in soviet Russia. It means someone who commands respect. It also serves as a warning to others; he will put you on your knees.

What Does It Mean When There’s a Star Tattoo on the Wrist?

Getting a star tattoo on the wrist can symbolize a few different things. It could represent a specific accomplishment or an event in which one survived against all the odds.

Alternatively, it could be some sort of daily affirmation to remind oneself of past trials and tribulations.


As you can see, the star has a host of meanings and various connections to history depending on how you want to look at it and what your worldview is.


Much of the symbolism listed here is thorough, but it doesn’t even touch the depths of everything they can symbolize. If a star piques your interest as a tattoo, it’s advisable to dig deeper for your own purposes.

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