The Coolest Crescent Moon Tattoos (And What They Mean)

Updated 06/24/19

The moon is symbolic of a range of interests and beliefs, making it a perfect tattoo choice for anyone who believes in the influence of the celestial body, appreciates the vast night sky, or enjoys its aesthetic look.

Regardless of intention, it’s essential to understand the vast symbolism of the moon. In Greek mythology, Artemis was the protectress of virgins, mothers, young animals, and the hunt who became the moon goddess. In Christianity, the moon symbol is used to highlight cosmic events, divine epiphanies, and the fleeting nature of life. Neopagans associate the moon with the Triple Goddess, also known as the maiden, the mother, and the crone, who each represent an individual element of the passage of time.

The moon is also a symbol of subtlety because it reflects light rather than producing its own. Whereas the sun will direct its blaze toward one goal with intensity, the moon softly beckons our attention, illuminating our surroundings in a way that is more open to esoteric interpretation.

Crescent moons, in particular, represent motherhood and fertility, though several different communities claim the symbol. Sarah Kim, a tattoo artist at Body Art & Soul Tattoo in Brooklyn, NY, says that there isn’t just one meaning behind a crescent moon tattoo.

“There is a huge subculture of people who love—or at least have an interest in—things like witches, moon phases, the occult, and other alternative styles who also find tattoos to be the perfect way to express their aesthetic and interests,” said Kim.

The moon has a vast history of association with witches. Alchemists associated the moon with silver due to its bright halo of light. In Wicca, it’s believed that the moon emits energy described as feminine and receptive, also known as the energy of the goddess. Wicca belief is that a waxing crescent is ideal for bringing something into your life, and a waning one is best for releasing something unwanted.

The different meanings for waxing and waning crescents don’t just exist in Wicca. The general meaning is that a waxing moon symbolizes growth, creativity, manifestation, and attainment. The waning moon, however, symbolizes letting go, contemplation, and reflection. Getting a crescent moon tattoo traps the lunar body in a time of transition, creating a reminder of its ever-changing ways. Subtly, it reminds us that all things have a natural cycle.

Of course, while there is a depth of meaning behind crescent moon tattoos, getting one doesn’t mean you believe in it. Since the symbol is small, it’s an ideal design to put in places such as behind the ear, on the inner wrist, or the ankles. Crescent moons also tend to be a basic design, so its ability to be filled in, left as an outline, or otherwise transformed makes it easily customizable. While Kim points to expressions of interest as one of the main reasons people get crescent moon tattoos, she also notes that sometimes what draws someone to it is the personal aesthetic value.

“The popularity of this tattoo can be as simple as someone simply just liking how a crescent moon looks.”

Keep scrolling to see 10 amazing crescent moon tattoos.

01 of 10

Mid-Size Ankle Crescent Moon

This mid-size ankle crescent moon has a face, adding a bit of whimsy to the design. The artist also used some dots near the tips of the moon to act as shading and around the outside as stars.

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Crescent Moon with a Small Hand

By adding a small hand holding the crescent moon, the tattoo puts extra emphasis on the femininity of the symbol. The filled-in moon adds some black art contrast to the line-art hand.

03 of 10

Black and Gray Crescent Moon

The artist used a black and gray technique to create a realistic crescent moon. The outer black edge is thicker to create a solid shape, and the grey shadowing gives the illusion of the moon’s glow.

04 of 10

Minimal Crescent Moon

The size and simple nature of a crescent moon make it ideal for placing in a small, hidden place like behind the ear. The unembellished design consisting of only an outline is perfect for minimalists or someone who wants a chic but tiny tattoo.

05 of 10

Watercolor Crescent Moon

The artist uses a watercolor-esque style on this crescent moon made up of crystals. While the symbols invoke a connection to spirituality and nature, the use of color allows the tattoo to be more aesthetically customized.

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Crescent Moon with a Black Cat

This crescent moon tattoo is depicted in the colors of a sunset with a black cat sitting on its bottom tip. Adding a cat increases the symbolism, as they tend to be associated with witchcraft or goddesses.

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Crescent Moon with Lily Flowers

In this tattoo, the crescent moon is depicted as thin line-art with dots on either tip for shading. There are also lily flowers affixed to the bottom, emphasizing the femininity and divinity of the moon.

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White Ink Crescent Moon

This tattoo is a small line-art crescent moon done in a white ink technique on the ring finger. By putting the small tattoo in white ink, it becomes more delicate and feminine than the classic black line-art.

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Dark Ink Crescent Moon

The pictured tattoo is a simple crescent moon outline tattoo filled in with some dots and shading, adding a sense of texture. The thicker outline of the crescent uses a dark ink technique that relies on heavy amounts of black.

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Bright Colored Crescent Moon

This tattoo of a crescent moon surrounded by starbursts and dots in different colors is a great way of showing how customizable the tattoo can be. By adding bright colors and using simple lines, the tattoo takes on an almost cartoonish effect.

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