O meaning of anchor tattoos is one of the few in the world of tattoos that remains popular and true to its origins. The person who gets an anchor tattoo is usually or was a sailor of some kind (has served the Navy, Coast Guard) or sometimes related to maritime recreational or commercial practices.
In maritime tales, the tattooed anchor showed that a sailor had sailed across the Atlantic Ocean and returned home safely.
This tattoo also serves as a symbol of passage, between the novice and experienced sailor.
In Mediterranean maritime tales, the anchor symbolized various gods of the seas:
- Neptune: Roman god of the sea, creator of storms and earthquakes.
- Amphitrite: Greek goddess of the seas (and nymph), she protected sailors and gave birth to dolphins.
- Poseidon: Greek god of the seas, temperamental, rebellious, and with a trident used to protect all the inhabitants of the sea.
- Triton: Greek deity of the Sea, half man, half fish. A blow from his shell can alternate the sea between calm and stormy.
- Rán: Ancient Goddess Norsa (Scandinavian mythology), with her appearance marked by being pulling anchors, an omen of bad weather and/or stormy seas.
- Varuna: Hindu goddess of the oceans, able to turn noblemen into immortals. Those who died at sea rested under her care.
While in early Christianity, the anchor (with the horizontal bar under the link) was used as a reminder of the symbolism of virtue by assimilating to the cross in a way that went unnoticed by non-Christians.
According to Hebrews 6:19:
?we have hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure?
In many cases the anchor tattoos combined with other symbols can elaborate more specific meanings ? sea creatures, boats, harbor names, etc.
In general, the meaning of anchor tattoos can also be interpreted as security in the physical world, and consequently, firmness, hope and confidence in the spiritual world.
Some people still tattoo anchors to represent their difficulties in changing, in making decisions. They use the anchor as a representation of something firm, secure, and unchanging, but it can also represent someone thanking them for their current stability, fidelity, being valid for relationships, professional endeavor, among others.