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160+ Fascinating Compass Tattoo Designs And Meanings

A compass is an instrument which has been used for guiding travelers, explorers, space adventurers and sailors, since times immemorial. It has been of great help t them for guiding them safely towards their destinations with the right idea regarding the directions. Like numerous other objects which have been of vital important to human race, the compass too has become a part of tattoo art and the compass tattoo has a huge fan following among discerning tattoo lovers around the world. Like the compass itself, compass tattoo too is connected with direction, guiding the bearer to the right path. This kind of tattoo, thus becomes the preference of such people who are looking for a direction in their life, which means that the symbolic meaning is an important aspect of picking this tattoo design, besides of course, its excellent visual appeal.

Symbolic Significance And Meanings of Compass Tattoos

A compass is something essential for a traveler, which he must carry when he embarks on a journey as this particular instrument will not only take him on the right path, but also ensure his safe return home. Therefore, the compass tattoo is of great symbolic sign for travelers and adventure lovers, in particular. These tattoos are equally popular among the military men, sailors and fishermen as their jobs too are related with the sense of right direction. In fact, it is believed that the Spanish sailors were the ones who got inked with compass tattoos for the first time, while the tattoo was popularized by Celts and other races of European origin some centuries ago. There is a wide variety available in compass tattoo designs, each one being related with different symbolic meanings. Some of these mentioned as follows:

  • Originally, the compass tattoo derives its meaning from the symbolism of the compass itself, as just like the compass, the tattoo is believed to help the bearer combat tough situations in life and reach his goal safely. The compass, too guided the user through rough waters and helped him reach home safely. In fact, compass tattoo is believes to work like a protective talisman. Besides the sailors and navy men, the compass tattoo was also worn by the family members of these people, as a good luck charm for wishing their loved ones a safe journey and praying for them to get back home safely.
  • In medieval Europe too, the sailors used compass as a tool of navigation on their ships, which related this tattoo design with safe navigation and return home. Similarly, compass was a navigation device in ancient India too, where it got the name of Matsya Yantra. The compass made its way to medieval Africa from China. In all these cultures, the compass tattoo became a popular feature of tattoo art.
  • Gradually, as the compass found its use in military services too, even soldiers started preferring this particular tattoo design as a symbol of protection and safety.

Today, the popularity of compass tattoo is no longer confined to soldiers, sailors and navigators, but has found its way to win the hearts of youngsters, who love this tattoo design not only because it looks cool and stylish, but also because it has a deeper symbolic meaning to reflect their attitude. The tattoo is meant for such people who are feeling lost in life and are looking for the right direction, for which the compass tattoo can serve them as an object of inspiration. For those who are feeling out of direction in their personal or professional lives, the compass design seems to be the best option in tattoo art. Perhaps, this is what is making compass tattoo design a much loved tattoo design among people around the world, both young and old, men and women, though the design was originally popular only among people form professions of adventure. The tattoo has also received a celebrity status, on account of being endorsed by some global celebrities. Justin Bieber is a popular celebrity who has been seen sporting a compass tattoo design, which has taken it to the heights of popularity.

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Placement of Compass Tattoo

Compass tattoo design is the new cool among the tattoo enthusiasts and mostly, the arm is the best suited location for getting a compass tattoo. Other spots for placement of compass tattoos are elbow, back, chest, ankle, hip, leg, wrist, thigh, back of the ear, back of the neck and side. The choice of location to get the tattoo really depends on the bearer, but it needs to be done at a point where it looks prominent, because the very purpose of getting a tattoo done is to make it visible to others. At the same time, one needs to be sure about the design an placement before getting the tattoo as it involves a great deal of money, time and the bearer has to undergo a lot of pain for having the tattoo done. Moreover, a tattoo is permanent and becomes a part of a person for a lifetime.

Popular Compass Tattoo Designs

There is a great diversity in designs available under the category of compass designs in tattoo art, which include star, angelbutterflyflower tattoos, name tattoos, arrow tattoosbirds tattoos and much more, each design featuring a deeper symbolic meaning. Discussed below are some popular compass tattoo designs:

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  • Compass Tattoo with North Star – A popular representation of the compass tattoo comes along with the North Star or the pole Star, the star of the north direction, which was used by navigators to guide them about direction since the beginning of time. The design boasts of great aesthetic value.
  • Compass Tattoo with Direction – The basic purpose of a compass is to tell about the direction and many f the compass tattoos include the alphabets signifying the cardinal directions as in N, S, W and E, standing for North, South, West and East respectively. North is considered as the yard stick to find the directions as it was the one looked up by the navigators to get a fair idea of their location. A tattoo design with these direction looks extremely cool and is favored by youngsters.
  • Compass Tattoo with Globe or Anchor – Since compass deals with marine travel, a globe added to a compass design is a good way to represent its significance in the voyage. Similarly, an anchor is another object used by the ships, which makes it a vital element to be incorporated in compass tattoo design.
  • Other Design Elements – Some other design elements which can be included in a compass tattoo design are celestial objects like the sun and the moon, while hour glass or clocks can be made alongside to represent time. For those looking for feminine compass tattoo designs, the tattoo artist can add girlish objects like flowers, butterflies, feathers, anchors, dreamcatchers and ribbons to the basic compass design.

Additionally, compass design can look great in basic black or can be done in some vibrant colors, depending upon the choice of the bearer, but the fact remains that this design looks eye catching anyways.

In case of compass tattoo, it is the philosophical meaning rather than the looks of the design which matters more. The design should rather be looked upon as an inspiration to fulfill one’s goals by gathering strength of moving n the right path, in the right direction in one’s life.

Popular Pictures Of Compass Tattoos

White Ink Compass Tattoo
Wanderlust Compass Tattoo on Arm
Wanderers Never Get Lost Compass Tattoo Ideas
Violet, Green and Blue Compass Tattoo on Arm
Travel with Compass Tattoo on Lower Neck
Tiny Compass Tattoo on Wrist
Swirls on Compass Tattoo for Ladies
Sun and Roses Compass Tattoo
Sun and Moon Inside Compass Tattoo

Solid Black with Double Arrow Compass Tattoo
Small Simple Compass Tattoo


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