Tree of Life Tattoos: Meanings for this Popular Tattoo


The Meaning Behind the Tree of Life Tattoo

A tree of life tattoo is a popular choice amongst Ukrainian single ladies and one you will see if you are walking around many Eastern European cities. There are lots of reason for this, not least because the design means so much to so many women and has an important place in history, religion and the region’s culture.

Trees have a significant place in most cultures because of what they represent – strength, stability, and long life. The trees that are revered, however, will vary depending on where a person lives (those from North West America will probably have a special place in their heart for the Redwood for example and the British love the ‘mighty oak’), but the reasons they are valued rarely changes.

Why are people so drawn to trees? We have already mentioned their strength and age, but for travelers in the days before planes, trains, and cars, they were a source of shade or a place to shelter during a storm. Not only do they offer travelers safety, but they also offer it to animals too. Then, finally, trees are seen as a source of life. They bear fruit, seeds, nuts, and berries, all of which are vital food sources and many of which can be used in natural medicines.

This is why the tree of life imagery is so powerful and has been so long-lasting. It can be seen in books, in art, and — now — in the tree of life tattoo designs. When the images were first used is unclear, though the Celtic tree of life tattoo designs suggest the idea of a tree of life has been around for a long time.

The Celts worshipped trees, as did many other ancient religions and believed trees held special powers, making them sacred. The term druid comes from their word for oak and it probably won’t be a surprise to read that druids met and worshipped in groves made up of oak trees. Other religions that have worshipped trees or place a special value on them include Buddhists, who see Bodhi trees as the tree of life, Hindus, who worship several different trees, and Judaism whose consider the tree of life a sacred symbol.

With this in mind, it’s no surprise that the tree of life tattoo is so popular or that it is a design that many women choose to mark an important time in their lives. Many women choose this tattoo, for example, before they get married and a visit to our photo gallery will show just how many brides with magnificent tattoos based on the tree of life there are. In fact, any search of the internet will throw up a whole host of a tree of life tattoo images.

If you look, you’ll see these designs are both the same but also different from each other because they take a core idea and then adapt it based on an individual’s specific culture, interests or beliefs and what that woman wants to say with their tattoo. This means tattoos showing trees of life might represent life, death, immortality, strength, knowledge, wisdom, growth, or forgiveness (amongst other things!).

Breaking Down Tree of Life Tattoo Symbolism

A tree of life tattoo isn’t just a tattoo of a tree. It is made up of branches and roots and may (or may not) include flowers and leaves, each of which means something to the person getting the tattoo.

The roots show a connection to a woman’s past, a past from which she draws strength, and which helps her understand her place in the present. The leaves, meanwhile, because they live and die each year, represent growth and rebirth. In a tattoo, they might mean a woman is looking to make a change or start a new life, especially if the leaves are in bud. More mature leaves suggest a person has reached the end of a journey and are settled in their life as it is.

Flowers can be seen in much the same way. Buds suggest a woman is at the beginning of a new phase in her life or is looking for something new. Flowers already in bloom might be favored by women who are more secure and self-assured, possibly ones in a permanent, loving relationship.

Without flowers or leaves, a tree of life tattoo can seem bare and barren and unwelcoming. Many people find this design simple and clean, whereas other find it stark and threatening. Why the tree is bare needs to be understood. Some women, for example, have a branch to represent each member of their family. For others, the barren tree is designed to show she is alone, possibly because a relationship has ended. At a future date, she may choose to add leaves or flowers, when she finds a new lover for example.

What is so wonderful about the tree of life tattoos is that no two are the same and that they can grow and change with the woman adorned with the tattoo.

Where Should a Tree of Life Tattoo be Placed?

Where you place your tree of life tattoo is up to you but your decision will be based in part on how large your design is and how much pain you are able to cope with. Some tree of life tattoos are small and placed on a wrist, shoulder or ankle. Smaller tattoos, however, might be limited in how much you can adorn them. If you want leaves and flowers, for example, you’ll need to find a larger space on your body to place the tattoo and this is probably why many people have a tree of life tattoos on their back.

Backs are one of the less painful places to place a tattoo, as long as you stay away from the spine because there are fat and muscle between the skin and the bone. Where is less fat and muscle, the ankle, for example, having a tattoo done will be much more painful. Your tattoo artist may use a numbing cream to help with this, though probably only for a larger tattoo which might take a while to complete.


You’ll also need to think about how public you want to make your tattoo. Some people would rather their tattoo was hidden away, kept for them and those close to them. Others will want to proudly display their body art. Brides from Ukraine, for example, might choose to have their tattoo on their arm so they can show it off with a sleeveless wedding dress. At the end of the day, it comes down to you and what you want to do with your body. Choose a tree of life tattoo design that you like, adapt it if you want to so that it suits you, and experiment with how the image will look on different parts of your body by printing out a picture. Once you are sure, go to a reputable tattooist and enjoy the statement you are making.


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