Although angel tattoos are very popular with women, an increasing number of men have chosen the angel as part of a greater design that often pays tribute to lost loved one. For women, there are three common themes of angels – the stereotypical angel representing innocence and seen playing a harp on a cloud; the guardian angel, offering protection from misfortune; and the avenging angel, an illustration of possibly violent retaliation and revenge.
Angels are spiritual entities thought to possess powers unavailable to humans. Some sources attest that angels are the spirits of highly evolved humans. Belief in angels can be traced back at least as far as the Bible, in which these creatures represented the will of God and served as messengers. While angels are general associated with the good and heavenly, they have also been associated with evil – Lucifer, the fallen angel, has come to represent evil incarnate.
As all cultures throughout history have believed in angels, the exact details concerning angels vary widely. A tattoo artist is free to create an angel according to his or her imagination, but there are some common motifs. The angel is usually based on a human form, surrounded by light, shrouded in a white robe, beautiful and alluring, with elaborate wings.
When looking for an angel tattoo design, the potential meanings and designs are endless. With regard to a religious or spiritual sense, angel tattoos may conform to a belief in Christianity, Islam, or Judaism–all of which profess a belief in angels. Angels can also be divorced from religion, and serve as representatives of love. From the Greco-Roman pantheon, comes Cupid, an angelic creature thought to shoot an arrow through the hearts of people in order to make them fall in love. Popular culture associates angels with life and death. Angel tattoos are a popular way to remember loved ones that have sadly passed away.
Another popular use of angels in tattoos is to illustrate the struggle between good and evil. Archangels, fallen angels, and the contrast between angels and demons are common subjects for a tattoo design, which often get placed on the arm, chest, shoulder, stomach, wrist, or foot.