The Virgin Mary has long been a popular religious tattoo design, particularly with women who wish to express their faith through the display of a feminine symbol. Many early tattoo designs of Mary were copies of icons and paintings widely found in churches.
Mary was also a popular image among early seafarers, as a reminder not only to be virtuous, but also as a symbol of wives, mothers and sweethearts who waited in far off home ports. Life at sea was often tough, dangerous, and for long months at sea bereft of any female presence, lonely.
The Virgin Mary was a symbol of the life left behind and an amulet of protection.
The Virgin Mary figures prominently in the New Testament and is particularly revered among Catholics. Many Catholics choose Virgin Mary tattoos because she is one of the most prominent symbols of the Catholic Church.
For the Catholic Church, the Virgin Mary (often referred to as ‘BVM’ for ‘Blessed Virgin Mary’) is believed to have conceived the baby Jesus through the Holy Spirit. The Virgin Mary is held as a source of hope and comfort in times of trouble, and there are many prayers and feast days proclaiming her status as the Mother of Christ. She exemplifies unconditional love and consolation for those who implore her help, Christian or otherwise. As such, she stands in for the mother of all who look to her for comfort.
Tattoos of the Virgin Mary are generally drawn with clean, simple lines and is an easy tattoo to draw for a very small tattoo as well as for a larger one. Few details are needed other than a simple garment, a veil and the hands and face of Mary.
What Is The Meaning Of Virgin Mary Tattoos ?
The Virgin Mary as ‘mother’ has always had a place in the hearts and minds of Christians. Accounts of her standing at the foot of the Cross, then cradling the dead body of her son, have given inspiration to artists from the earliest times of Christianity. The most familiar and celebrated work of Christian art might be Michelangelo’s sculpture, “The Pieta”. Some of the greatest artists of all times have taken the Virgin Mary as their subject — Fra Angelico, Giotto, Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo, to name a few.
The traditional image of the Virgin Mary is one that is drawn in white and blue or in blue, white and gold such as the one seen on Our Lady of Guadeloupe. This makes for a calming image with a bright splash of the color blue. The image is sometimes depicted with red and blue for a brighter image.
Mary herself was said to be of an ‘immaculate conception’, a claim rejected by most Protestants. The Koran also tells us that Jesus was born of a virgin. The account of the angel’s announcement is similar to that found in the Gospels. Neither Christ nor his mother are given Divine status in the Koran, but both are regarded as “honoured servants of God” and the Virgin Mary is revered in Islam. Many women everywhere look to her as a pillar of female strength and compassion, a Goddess in her own right, seeing in her the symbol of feminine divinity.
The Biblical gospels tell us that the Virgin Mary was born of the House of David, the daughter of Joachim and Anna. The birth of Mary must also have been ‘miraculous’ because Anna was well past child bearing years, having been barren. Mary fulfilled a longstanding prophecy that a virgin would bear a son who would be called Immanuel. The Koran refers to one who “guarded her chastity” and who fulfilled an earlier prophecy of conceiving her child through “a Word from the God”.
Mary resided in Nazareth in Galilee, and it was during the time of her betrothal to Joseph that the Angel Gabriel announced to her that through the power of the Holy Spirit she would bear the child who would be the Messiah. For a young virgin just betrothed, this was not the time to be announcing a pregnancy. But she joyful accepted her fate in a prayer called the ‘Magnificat’.