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.