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Compass Tattoos: Star Compass, Rose Compass, Prismatic Compass; Ideas And Meanings

Updated on August 18, 2013
thelyricwriter profile image

Richard Hale is a tattoo enthusiast who studies and researches tattoo symbolism, meanings, and history.

Compass Tattoo

Compass tattoos come in a variety of different styles and variations. Although the compass tattoo is not a mainstream tattoo design, it still has a popularity. This is especially true among coastal regions all around the world. Compass tattoo designs are worn by both men and women. Just like most tattoos, the compass tattoo also holds symbolic importance to the women and men that wear such a tattoo. Compass tattoos are also designed in a variety of different variations, colors, and sizes. Since compass tattoos are designed in various sizes, they can nearly be tattooed anywhere on the body.

In this article, we will look at compass tattoos and compass tattoo designs. We will also discuss compass tattoo meanings and you will have the opportunity to view a variety of compass tattoo designs. In the end, we hope that you are able to find ideas and inspiration for your next tattoo.

Compass Tattoo Pictures


Compass Tattoos And Associations

The compass tattoo has been popular for centuries and popular among a majority of different cultures and beliefs. The compass tattoo comes in a variety of different designs, such as the star compass, nautical star, prismatic, and the rose compass to name a few. This old maritime symbol was popular among early sailors. It is believed that some of the earliest sailors that used these designs were Spanish. There has also been evidence that supports the Celts and other European cultures used such designs.

One of the main reasons that the sailors wore the star compass design was to represent a safe trip over the open water and a safe return home. These designs were used as tattoos, but were also painted on ships and vessels. Back in those early times of sailing, it was very difficult to cross the oceans and very dangerous. More times then not, ships and the men they carried disappeared and were never seen again. Some people even believed there were giant monsters in the waters that snatched them up. Centuries ago, the ocean was a scary and deadly place. It was also believed to be a good luck symbol for any sailor. Back in those times, many people were very superstitious.

The star compass tattoo can represent the North Star. Before all directional and mapping technology, the North Star was the most reliable source for directional purposes. It was the main guide for finding your destination. Whether it was by land or sea, the North Star was used by all walks of life. Someone may consider a tattoo like this for its beauty or it may be to symbolize the North Star.

As you can already see, the compass tattoo or symbol served many different purposes. The star compass tattoo is also popular among different military officials and soldiers. It was believed to offer protection and security. They were also used to represent guidance. In modern days, people get these tattoos for all three meanings. Some people feel the tattoo offers protection and security, while others feel like it offers guidance in relation to the North Star. In these tattoos, you will usually see a "N" because that was the most important direction. It was how everyone found the other directions. Soldiers use this design as a reminder of home. When they look at their tattoo, they are reminded of the importance of making it home.

There are many different designs and images that are often associated with the compass tattoo. The compass and "time" have always been associated with one another. Just like the tattoo on the right, compass tattoos can portray anything associated to time, such as a clock, watch, or hourglass. As you can see in this tattoo, flowers and ribbons are also used in the overall tattoo design.

Maps and the earth are also portrayed in compass tattoos. Stars are also associated with the compass tattoos. As you already learned, we were able to map our direction by looking at the stars. This practice has been used for thousands of years. The anchor is also common in compass tattoos. This is the global symbol of sailors. Many men in the marines wore anchor tattoos to represent their life on the seas. With all the different options you have with the compass tattoo, it allows for a creative tattoo.

Sailor Jerry's Tattoo Stencils


Compass Tattoo Meanings And Variations

There is a vast variety of different meanings for the compass tattoo. Two of the most common meanings is guidance and protection. The compass has always been used to guide us to our destination. Some people feel that the compass tattoo guides us through life. A person may get the compass tattoo to symbolize a sense of direction through life. Although these tattoos are worn for symbolic purposes, they are also wore as a unique and colorful tattoo.

Even in modern day, soldiers still wear the compass tattoo to represent a safe trip home. Perhaps you are in the army or navy. The compass tattoo can remind you of this meaning. Some people wear the compass tattoo cause they feel it brings good luck, good fortune.

Compass tattoos have also been a symbol for following your dreams. For anyone that has accomplished their dreams, you may want to consider this design. It also has been a symbol to remind you to stay your course in life. You may have worked very hard for something and made it, but things haven't been going good as of lately. The compass tattoo can remind you to stay with this dream, stay the course. All compass tattoo styles represent one overall meaning, which is guidance and direction.

The compass tattoo can also represent to find your way in life. We all wonder where we would be heading at one time or another. The compass tattoo can represent the right way to go through life, the right path. Compass tattoos have also been linked to punk rock, anti-racism, and lesbians. These meanings actually scare some people away from the compass design, but these meanings are represented in a very small percentage of the population. Truth be told, in modern day, you rarely see them linked to them.

There are a variety of different compass tattoos, such as the star compass tattoo, rose compass tattoo, lodestone compass tattoo, astro compass tattoo, Vegvisir compass tattoo, and the prismatic compass tattoo. With so many different compass tattoo designs to choose from, it is no wonder that they are popular. They are many unique tattoos and designs and all of them make for a beautiful, creative tattoo design.


Before Your Compass Tattoo

Getting a tattoo is a big choice. You want to make sure you do your research and check out all the different tattoo styles, designs, and meanings before you choose one to get inked with. Take your time and review all possible options. Do not rush into the tattoo process as well. Those who get a tattoo on an impulse usually end up disliking their tattoo in time. If you take your time and view all your options, chances are you will be happy with your choice, even later on down the road. Research all the different tattoos that are available and then make a choice. If you feel like the compass tattoo design is not for you, be sure to check out more tattoo designs and ideas in the links below. Thanks for visiting.


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    • thelyricwriter profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard Ricky Hale 

      8 years ago from West Virginia

      AE, thanks for taking the time to drop by again. Glad you liked it! Take care.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      8 years ago from Southern Illinois

      They are all beautiful, my favotite, the one with the rose in the center. Thank's again..The history is really interesting...

    • thelyricwriter profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard Ricky Hale 

      8 years ago from West Virginia

      Frank, thanks for the comment and for dropping by. Perhaps I should have made a book? Oh well, it is good to know though. That means a lot.

    • thelyricwriter profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard Ricky Hale 

      8 years ago from West Virginia

      Pras, thanks for dropping by and for your kind words my friend. Have a good weekend and take care.

    • thelyricwriter profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard Ricky Hale 

      8 years ago from West Virginia

      Gypsy, thanks for dropping by and for your comment. I appreciate your kind words. Yes, that would be the ideal of the tattoo. Very important aspect of the symbol.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      8 years ago from Shelton

      Thelyricwriter I like these.. the history and things I should know.. you know if this was a collection in an e-book I would have pruchased it.. but why buy the cow when the hubs are free..right? LOL

    • prasetio30 profile image


      8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      My friend, you show me the way by your compass. I wouldn't be lost because of you. I love all the tattoos pictures. Thanks for share with us. Rated up!


    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      8 years ago from Daytona Beach, Florida

      Voted up and interesting. You do a real good job on these tattoo hubs. Lots of info I didn't know. Guess if you get a compass tattoo at least you'll always know where you came from and where you're going. lol


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