Perhaps anchors are one of the most famous and traditional symbols in the tattoo world. In fact, I think that whenever someone thinks about tattoos immediately imagines a proud sailor showing off his anchor tattoos in his biceps (and don’t forget the classic heart with “mom” written bellow, but that is a topic we may end up talking about other day). But getting back to the topic of today, have you ever wondered what the meaning behind this tattoo is? Those who have already an anchor tattooed for sure know, and those who are considering this design for sure ended up here looking for an answer! Well, you have reached the right place, as now I’m going to explain you the different meanings about this tattoo and also a little bit about its origin.
In the beginning these tattoos were worn by sailors of any kind: pirates, buccaneers, fishermen, etc… Anchors are objects directly related to the life in the sea. If we get more in the historical context, one could imagine that such jobs were meant for a lifetime; a boy raised in a family of fisherman would most likely spend all his life following the “family job”, and so could be said for buccaneers (perhaps saying that being a pirate is a job is foolish, but you get my point, right?).
It is important to mention at this point that the very design of the anchors holds a religious meaning: the Christian church lies in it. So an anchor it was not only a symbol about the sea, but also about protection and spirituality. As a matter of fact there are plenty of anchor tattoos which contain an important quote from the Bible, Hebrews 6:19, which say: “Hope anchors the soul”. This is quite self-explanatory. As the anchor holds a boat during the storm, so the hope in good will hold our souls in the hard times.
The meaning has changed through the years, and nowadays a lot of people don’t identify it as something religious. But what it is still associated is the meaning of security, the analogy of the anchor holding a boat during the storms. A lot of people identifies themselves with this analogy.
Nowadays anchors are seen as symbols of endurance during hard moments of life. Some people get these kinds of tattoos after having passed through a big challenge in their life, others get it as a symbol of good luck, or simply as a reminder that one should always keep strong.
Something fantastic about anchors is that these can be easily personalized. These tattoos can come in colors, with classic designs or with modern ones and all sorts of objects can be added to enhance the aspect of the tattoo. It is really common to add animals such as dolphins or octopuses, or also objects such as waves, flags, skulls, compasses, etc…
The other fantastic thing is that due their oval shape, anchor tattoos can fit in almost any part of the body: arms, chest, nape, thighs, etc… Recently it has become really popular on the feet, as it also follows the analogy of the boat (the anchor is attached to the ground).
Just to end, if you want to see more designs, I invite you to take a look in this section. And if you are curious about other tattoo designs meanings check this other section.