Ink Origins: The Rose Tattoo

In tarot, the rose is considered a symbol of balance. The beauty of a rose represents hope and new beginnings.

The rose originated in Persia where it was seen as a symbol of strength. However, the meaning shifted from a strong masculine symbol into a more feminine representation of love. This change could have been inspired by The Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite. She was often depicted with roses in her hair, on her feet, and neck; and was commonly linked with a rose bush that grew within a pool of blood spilled by her love. So, for Aphrodite, the interpretation is that the rose symbolizes an immortal love that withstands time and is untouched by death.

Moving forward from ancient times, in the 1930s sailors got rose tattoos as a reminder of their wives, girlfriends, or mothers.

The slightest alteration changed the meaning of a rose tattoo. A rose with thorns symbolized a love that's unattainable or a dangerous love affair. Different colors represented things too.

White was for innocence.

Red meant immortal love. A red rose also symbolizes passion, romance, and memorial.

Pink roses symbolize femininity, elegance, gentleness, grace, and innocence. Some people may use it to show that they are a cancer survivor. Pink roses also represent motherly love.

Yellow: Happiness, Joy, devotion, jealousy.

Black roses represent grief and sorrow, sometimes a tribute to a loved one who has passed. In some cultures, the black rose is tattooed on soldiers returning home from war because it symbolizes the completion of a long and arduous journey. They also stand for strength and rebellion.

Blue roses represent something that is unattainable or a fantasy. They also represent the Virgin Mary as her cloak is traditionally depicted as blue and roses are associated with the rosary.

Purple: This color represents enchantment or love at first sight. It is also the color of royalty and wealth.


Lastly, orange symbolizes enthusiasm, excitement, and new beginnings.


Maybe the greatest aspect of the rose tattoo is it can be seen on men and women.

What do you think when you see a rose? Life? Beauty? Strength? Comment below.

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