In the era of digital navigation systems, a compass seems to be forgotten. Despite this, compass inks take a vital part in maritime tattooing. They come in various shapes and designs among which are the star compass, Luo Pan Compass, Viking compass, Rose of Winds and ordinary lodestone compass.
Compass Tattoo Symbolism and Meanings
Compass symbolic meaning differs depending on the image and all complementing elements. The most wide-spread and general meanings are:
- Guidance – by using a compass and stars to find a direction, sailors had always found the way home;
- Understanding your place in this world – maps and compasses helped to determine the location, thus, getting an ink with compass and map may help you find out your life goal;
- Wanderlust– compass as a symbol of desire to explore something new and to be in motion;
- Following dreams – no matter how difficult your path is, compass tattoo can serve as a reminder of not giving up on your life course;
- The constancy and faithfulness – there’s a quote which says: ‘Stay true as a needle to a pole’. It means that you’ll be as faithful to your country, family, and close person as a compass needle which always points to the north.
- Protection and good luck – compass tattoos are often chosen by people connected to travels as sailors, journalists, explorers, and all the globetrotters who choose compass ink as a charm.
Compass tattoo designs can be applied as a separate piece or with different additions among which are:
- Items connected to the sailor’s work- ship, anchor, ropes, steering wheel, etc.;
- Map, globe, meridians and parallels coordinates, etc;
- Animals (Lions, Wolves), insects, birds, and flowers;
- Hourglasses, watches, clocks;
- Names of close people, family members, friends, etc.
The Features of Compass Tattoos
The whole variety of designs, all possible placements, and symbolic significances make compass tattoo patterns extraordinary and desired by both men and women. First engraved by sailors, tattoos with compass image have never been out-of-date and can be depicted in black and white or bright colors.
The most common variations of compass tattoos are:
- Realistic or 3D compass inks;
- Colorful tattoos performed in Old School or Neo-Traditional;
- Black and white compass inks with lettering;
- Simple compass inks done in Dotwork, Linework or Geometric style.’
Compass Tattoo Designs
While tattooed together the map, the compass and rope can be a sign of a world traveler or a sailor who have been all around the globe and seen it all!
The combination of compass and anchor is quite common in tattooing because one gives direction and the other one provides stability. As a result, you have got a powerful symbolic meaning for your ink!
Performed in the sepia color palette and artfully inked on the half-sleeve this spectacular tattoo consists of compass image and ancient Greek warrior head image.
This runic compass or so-called Vegvisir is a strong talisman for those who sail long distances. Vegvisir is translated as ‘see the path’ or ‘direction sign’ and tattooed by people in order to protect from being lost.
Similar to blueprints this clock and compass tattoo looks really stylish and innovative! By inking two objects where one symbolizes time and the other means direction you will get a reminder to explore until it’s too late!
Rose and compass tattoo indicates love and devotion to home! Dates inked below the compass could mean the dates of birth and death of someone who was close to this person.
While the arrow embodies moving forward through all the difficulties of life, compass signifies finding the path of life. The design is simple and alluring and will suit men as well as women!
When inked together clock and compass serve as a reminder to travel and explore while you can. The flying dove is a symbol of freedom that is also connected to traveling. Nice piece of tattoo art, isn’t it?
With the raven which symbolizes reclusion, a double cross that is the symbol of faith and a compass that embodies faithfulness and determination, this tattoo quarter sleeve impresses us with the incredible portrayal of every line in the ink!
People who choose this compass rose want to find a lifetime goal and search for the right direction. Compass tattoos are considered as powerful amulets which can help you if you are lost.
The tattoo includes images of the steering wheel, an anchor and a compass which are the inherent parts of maritime tattoos. All these symbols are intended to protect sailor or traveler in rough waters and show the direction.
If you travel a lot, compass tattoo can give you a hope of coming back home without any harm and always show you the right path!
Long before the invention of compass sailors were directed with the help of stars and winds. People ink nautical star tattoos that could guide them and show them the right path in life.
Commonly butterflies embody freedom and free spirit. Compass points out at wanderlust and desire for adventures. People decorating their bodies with these tattoo designs have got a freedom-loving, inconstant and open-minded personality!
The spirit of adventures and travels lives in each of us. You will hardly find a better way of showing your wanderlust than an ink on ankle with compass placed on the map of Earth.
This stunning compass rose and feather tattoo image is supplemented with an interesting writing below it: ‘The responsibility follows the freedom’. Do you agree?
Besides that this geometric compass and arrow tattoo looks absolutely fantastic and delicate, it conveys the meaning of determination, direction, and guidance.
Without any doubt wandering all around the world requires a lot of guts and bravery, thus this compass and peony tattoo is perfect for people who can define themselves as risky, adventurous and brave!
Compass needles that are etched on the map won’t let you get lost in unpredictable waters of life and will help you to follow your proper course!
Have you heard the phrase ‘a moral compass’? It is literally incarnated in a compass rose tattoo that is burning in purifying fire tongs and serves as a reminder to behave morally and stay true to your principals.
No one knows what life has prepared for them, therefore, such thing as a tattoo with North Star compass can give you confidence and show the right path.
People who choose compass tattoos with North Star are headed in the right direction and know their life goals.
Sundial compass is perfect for orientation in time and space and was irreplaceable for sailors. Nowadays the meaning of this tattoo is reduced to the ability to find one’s place in life!
Sailors got inked with the images of ships, compasses, anchors and other maritime things because they were very superstitious. While being a modern symbol of freedom, this ship is complemented with compass design that helps to find the way in life!
The Ink consisting of the pirate ship that is sailing in stormy waters and an image of a brass compass means that you are an adventurous and determined person who is not afraid of any obstacles as well as pirates used to!
Compass tattoos are common among military men as well. While lion image symbolizes strength and bravery, a compass helps to find the way out in any situation!
Even if the tattoo design is simple and consists of a circle and four needles that point in each direction, it is elegantly looking and interesting.
Words from the song ‘wherever I lay my hat that’s my home’ describe the soul of a real traveler, but even an ever wandering person has one native home. Coordinates and compass tattoo is the best way to show it!
Every person seeks for the only one right path in life and wants to be guided as well as sailors used to be guided by sun, moon, and compass in unpredictable sea waters!
As a symbol of friendship, this tiny compass with crossed arrows tattoo suits perfectly friends who by the will of destiny are far from each other and want to be closer.
Having a map of Earth and a compass inked on your arm is a nice option to remind yourself to live a full life, to explore and to travel!
If you have already got tribal tattoos, stick to your image and get tattooed with a nice compass star ink describing your adventurous personality!
This vintage pocket compass with decorations is fairly amazing! The way the shades and lightning are depicted on the forearm makes you believe that this is real!
Though most of the compass tattoos are done in black color, you can easily go for bright colored compass tattoo design reminding color splashing!
Seems as it is drawn with an ordinary graphic pencil on paper, this compass star ink is a loud design! Carve this tattoo on your chest and you will always be guided forward to your dreams!
You can get tatted up with compass, rose, and clock tattoo design to show your faithfulness, love to your soul mate the way this tattoo bearer did!
This amazing intricate mandala-compass with rose ink contains plenty of radiant and rounded lines with a strict observance of asymmetry and wondrous splashing of colors. Great choice for girls!
Compass tattoo can be chosen in order to connect you to someone who used to be a guide or a mentor and passed away.
If you want to have a tat that will help you to find the right course either in life or in love, go for this unbelievable compass tattoo design decorated with intricate radiant and rounded ornaments!
Though travelers can call the whole world home, the birthplace takes a vital part in their life. A compass rose tattoo won’t let you forget it!
People who choose arrow and compass tattoo designs are determined and adventurous and carving this design is a great way of implementing their beliefs.
If you want to reflect your position of wanderlust, you won’t find a better way than a tattoo with a compass inked on a world’s map!
While the compass including an anchor inside signifies faithfulness and right direction, coordinates point out on the place that is special to the tattoo wearer. Guess what? It’s Frankfurt!
Can you consider yourself as an adventurous, risky and open-minded person? If the answer is positive, stop searching for the perfect tattoo idea. You’ve already found it!
This simple yet interesting compass tattoo will fit any traveler and wandering person who go confidently to dreams.
This amazing hyper-realistic sleeve tattoo displays a sundial compass that was a common and irreplaceable thing in sailing in rough waters and helped to advance in a correct route!
It doesn’t matter if you are a sailor, a traveler or just an adventurous person, a tat with a compass image can be a lucky charm that will help in adverse situations.