The cross is one of the most cherished symbols in the world because of its connection to deep religious beliefs, but lately, the symbolic meaning of cross tattoos has expanded to include a wider range of personalization that may or may not have particular religious significance.
Crosses are very flexible in that they are a common element of greater tattoo designs, incorporating hearts, flowers, animals, names, or faces that provide greater meaning. Many first-timers choose a cross design; like the cemetery counterpart, the cross often represents the loss of a loved one.
There is currently a widespread acceptance of the tattoo as being not particularly religious, as many people choose this design only because they like the shape of the cross. As such, tattooists are usually knowledgeable about which tattoos represent religious and non-religious beliefs. The Latin, Celtic, and St. Andrew’s cross are popular religious crosses. Both the Ankh and Gothic cross are popular among non-religious people.
The Latin Cross is a very recognizable image in the Western world, and it is composed of a vertical line bisected at a right angle by a shorter horizontal line positioned about 1/3 of the way down from the top, much like a lowercase “t”. This simple design is the major symbol of Christianity, and is a tribute to those who are no longer with us.
One of the most beautiful crosses is from Celtic history, where a knot is placed at the intersection. Many people chose an option that features an intricate border made up of a series of additional Celtic knots. The St. Andrew’s cross has a radically different style from the traditional “T” cross. It is more like an “X.”
The Gothic Cross is derived from the German style of elaborate wrought iron work popularized during the Edwardian and Victorian eras. This type of cross is popular among the Goth subculture because it expresses pain and anger. Many Gothic Cross designs utilize imagery such as barbed wire and daggers to emphasize the darkness.