Moon Tattoo Meaning
The Moon is usually represented as the feminine power, the Mother Goddess, Queen of Heaven, with the sun as the masculine; exceptions to this are some African and North American Indian tribes, Teutonic, Maoric and Japanese symbolism where the moon is the male fertilizing principle. Whether male or female the moon is universally symbolic of the rhythm of cyclic time; universal becoming. The birth, death and resurrection phases of the moon symbolize immortality and eternity, perpetual renewal.
The moon also represents the dark side of Nature, her unseen aspect; the spiritual aspect of light in darkness; inner knowledge; the irrational, intuitional and subjective; human reason as reflected light from the divine sun. It is the eye of the night as the sun is the eye of the day. As periodic re-creation it is time and measurement, time being first measured by lunar phases, and, as such the bringer of change,suffering and decay, man’s condition on earth; as variable in its phases it symbolizes the realm of becoming. It controls tides, rains, waters, floods and the seasons, hence the span of life. All moon goddesses are controllers of destiny and weavers of fate, and are sometimes depicted as spider in the centre of its web; the spindle and distaff are also their attributes. The sun and moon depicted together represent the hieros gamos, the sacred marriage of heaven and earth; king and queen, gold and silver, etc. The three of the dark of the moon are the period of descent of the dying God into the underworld, from which, like the moon, he rises again.
The full moon signifies wholeness, completion, strength and spiritual power. The half moon is funereal; the waning moon the sinister, demonic aspect, the crescent and waxing moon is light, growth and regeneration. The moon is symbolized pre-eminently by the crescent or the horns of the cow; it is also the “ship of light on the sea of night”. All nocturnal animals, such as the cat and fox, are lunar, as are animals that appear and disappear, for example the bear, which hibernates and reappears with a newborn cub in spring; the snail, hare and rabbit, amphibians and everything associated with the waters, swamps and floods. The frog and toad live in the moon, as do, almost universally, the hare and rabbit. Often the toad, or hare, is three-legged, portraying the three lunar phases and past, present and future. There is also a man in the moon who carries a load of logs as a punishment; Christianity equates him with Cain or Judas Iscariot. A decrepit old man can symbolize the waning moon. Lunar deities are frequently triune, especially as Fates. Trees and various plants are connected with the moon, such as the Hindu soma, the American maize and the South American pachimba palm. Semitic moon Gods are associated with trees and bushes.
- African. Ashang: Time and death; some African tribes associate the moon with a tree; in some tribes the moon is the masculine deity:
- Alchemic. Luna, silver, is the affection purified; sol and luna are soul and body, gold and silver, king and queen.
- Amerindian.“The old woman who never dies”; also “the water maiden” with a pitcher of water. Associated with the palm and maize in South America and with a tree in North. The full moon resembles the light of the Great Spirit, but in some tribes the moon is an evil and malevolent power.
- Astrological. The animal soul; the seat of sensation; sexual life and impulse. With the sun as the heart and its desires and the element of character, the moon represents the general style of behaviour.
- Buddhist. Peace, serenity and beauty. The full and new moons are times of strength of spiritual power. The crescent moon is an emblem of Avalokitesvara, Kwan-yi and Kwannon. Also a symbol of unity, the Self. “One moon appears reflected in all waters. The moon and waters together represent the unobstructive nature of the Dharma.
- Chinese. The essence of the yin, feminine, principle in nature; the passive and transient, but also immortality. The hare in the moon, with pestle and mortar, mixes the elixir of immortality.
- Christian. The moon with the sun depicted in crucifixion scenes represents the dual nature of Christ. The moon in the abode of the Archangel Gabriel, with Michael in the sun.
- Egyptian. “The maker of eternity and the creator of everlastingness”. The crescent moon is pre-eminently an attribute of Isis as Queen of Heaven. Thoth is a lunar deity.
- Eskimo. “The sender of snow”.
- Greek. Associated with the tree. Moira, the moon goddess, was above the gods, and the Moirai, the three Fates, are the power of destiny of the moon.In Orphic symbolism the moon represented the liver, with the heart as the sun of the universe.
- Indu. The crescent moon is the newborn babe, quick and eager in growth. It is also the cup of elixir of immortality and is associated with the plant soma, which yields the sacred draught.
- Iranian. Venerated as Mah, with Hvare-Khshaeta as the sun. The moon is masculine in both Zend and Pahlevi.
- Islamic. “The number of years and the measure of time”. the Islamic year is lunar. The cloven moon depicts duality in manifestation ultimately returning to unity. The crescent moon, divinity and sovereignty, is a symbol of Islam. The Tree of Life, sometimes represented on Muslim tombs, is usually surmounted by a crescent or full moon.
- Japanese. The moon is masculine, the god Tsuki Yomi, born of the right eye of Izanagi. The hare with pestle and mortar lives in the moon.
- Manichean. The moon is Jesus the Splendour, with the sun as Mithra.
- Maori. “The husband of all women”; the Father god.
- Mithraic. Luna, in a one-horse chariot, with the Cautopates, is usually depicted on the left in iconography, with Sol, is quadriga and Cautes on the right.
- Oceanic. The moon is masculine and also symbolizes eternal youth.
- Scandinavian. Freyja’s lunar chariot is drawn by lunar cat.
- Sumero-Semitic. Sin, the moon deity, is the masculine god of wisdom and measurer of time. The night of the full moon was the time of prayer, rejoicing and sacrifice. His moon can be portrayed as lying on its back.
- Shamanitic. Magic power.
- Taoist. Truth, “the eye that shines in the darkness”. The moon is yin, but the sun and the moon together are all radiance; supernatural being.
- Teutonic. The moon is the masculine divine power
Symbolism: CYCLIC – RIGENERATION – ETERNITY