Unlike primitive civilizations and their tribal beliefs, monotheistic religions generally have an unfavorable position vis-a-vis the practice of tattooing and bodily changes in general. Yet many believers, especially Catholics, choose a religious tattoo motif to symbolize their faith in God. Most of the time this is a Catholic cross tattoo, which is a very common motif of the old school American tattoo. The Old school cross tattoo is one of the oldest and most popular tattoo designs, still today.
Old school cross tattoo – Symbolic of the Catholic Cross
The most common cross pattern for a tattoo is that of the Christian cross. Men often opt for a medium sized cross tattoo, a crucifix on the arm for example, associated with other old school motifs such as the heart, skull or even roses. The Old school cross tattoo for women is more often a small representation of simple cross attached to a rosary, in the form of ankle bracelet or on the wrist.
The Christian cross tattoo is usually a symbol of piety and religious fervor, often performed at a time of life where the person has found or regained faith or redemption. The Christian religion represents faith in Jesus and in his resurrection. Crucifixion was a particularly cruel means of carrying out the death penalty among the Romans. The Catholic Cross thus symbolizes the victory of Christ over the death inflicted by the righteousness of men.
The vertical line of the cross represents the divine, while the horizontal part symbolizes the world of humans, the intersection of the two symbolizing the union of man and God. When Christ is represented on his cross, the motif is called a crucifix. The symbol of the cross can be accompanied by hands joined in a prayer, symbolizing devotion to the Almighty God. The Catholic Cross has spawned another popular representation in the Gothic tattoo: the Gothic cross, at the intersection surrounded by a circle and with a pronounced Germanic style, symbolizes the union of heaven and earth, space and the weather. It is a magical and mystical emblem that symbolizes the crossroads of destinies. Gothic pendants are the source of inspiration for many Gothic or tribal tattoos.
The Old school cross tattoo is often, in the old school tattoo, a tattoo symbol in memory of a loved one disappeared. It is usually accompanied by a parchment and a memorial message. This type of tattoo has undergone a renewed interest in the old school tattoo in recent years in the US following the tragedy of September 11, 2001 and the patriotic wave that accompanied the war in Iraq.