Tattoo designs

The Symbolic Meaning of a Moon Tattoo

Mary Smith
By Mary Smith. April 19, 2017
The Symbolic Meaning of a Moon Tattoo

Have you ever wondered about the symbolic meaning of a Moon tattoo? First of all, you should know that the Moon is not just a star: it is a symbol that crosses the history of humanity, from Greek mythology to today's urban legends, through the Amerindian and Oriental civilizations. This is why it has so many meanings, especially according to the phase it is in. oneHOWTO invites you to take a short tour of this ancestral symbol and its meaning when embedded in a tattoo.

You may also be interested in: The Symbolic Meaning of Elephant Tattoos
  1. Meaning according to its phase
  2. Object commonly depicted next to the moon
  3. Mystery, dreams & magic
  4. Symbol of Hope & Ambition
  5. The Moon in mythology
  6. The Moon in Religion
  7. The moon according to Tarot

Meaning according to its phase

The moon is, first of all, the star of the night, the natural light that illuminates the darkness. Although the Full Moon is associated with the fantastic and creatures of the night, the Crescent Moon is above all a positive and reassuring symbol. The lunar star has a great influence on the tides and the seasons. Let's take a look at each of their meanings:

Full moon

It is said that, if you cut your hair on a full moon, it will grow faster. There are hundreds of superstitions linked to the full moon: when Werewolves turn into wolves (see below), when people are at their most sexually active and even the best time to cast spells by witches and wizards.

The truth is that a full moon tattoo can signify many things as the person can imagine. However, it is commonly associated to calm, fulfillment and clarity; as the full moon is the one that shines most in the dark night sky.

Crescent moon

Just like the minimalist tattoo shown above these lines, can have a mystic meaning. It is the typical depiction of the moon and, though it can vary in significance, as you'll be able to read below (it is commonly combined with the Sun). The crescent moon can often indicate the darker side of you, as it is also hiding part of itself. It is also a symbol of creativity and personal growth.

All of the moon phases in one tattoo

Take a look at the tattoo picture below. A tattoo such as this one, with all of the tattoo phases, will have a very different symbolic meaning from those described above. It is related to femininity and fertility, as it represents all of the biological cycles a woman has.

The Symbolic Meaning of a Moon Tattoo - Meaning according to its phase

Object commonly depicted next to the moon

You can customize your tattoo by combining several patterns. The symbols that best match the moon are:

Let's take a closer look at the symbolic meaning of the most popular combinations:

The Moon & the Sun

The Moon and the Sun symbolize all dualism when depicted together; They represent the opposing and complementary forces that ensure the equilibrium of the world:Feminine /masculine, mother /father, night/day, soul / body ... It can be understood as a type of yin-yang.

The Moon & Wolf

A tattoo of the moon and a wolf will clearly symbolize a person's inner side, your real you. Howling at the moon is commonly related to the afterlife and nature. It is also commonly represented in native American Culture as timber wolves were associated to the balance of the ecosystem.

The Moon & black cat

You may have seen a tattoo of a cat sitting on a crescent moon, won't you? As we've spoken about before, the moon is commonly associated with witchcraft. As you may know, black cats are also associated to witchcraft too, so you can do the math. These two symbols together depict the most mystical and spiritual side of you so, if you have always fancied yourself as a witch (the kind ones, not those scary ones from fairy tales), then his is the perfect combination for you.

The Symbolic Meaning of a Moon Tattoo - Object commonly depicted next to the moon

Mystery, dreams & magic

The Moon symbolizes the mystery that exists in the world. It represents the dreams and magic that exists around us and acts without our knowledge. To perceive this mystery, you must dive into your unconscious and let your intuition run free.

The Moon according to the Romantics

At night, mystery, fantasy and dreams are central themes of romantic literature. The Moon also symbolizes sensuality and fusion love.

The Unconscious & Intuition

The expression "being in the moon" is certainly not foreign to you. The Moon governs the dreams and the forces buried in each one. It is the star of idealists, imaginative and creative people, artists, wanderers and those who know how to listen to their hearts.

The Symbolic Meaning of a Moon Tattoo - Mystery, dreams & magic

Symbol of Hope & Ambition

The symbolism of a Moon tattoo goes further: it symbolizes hope and future chances, but also the ambition and the faith that turn into good fortune. The phrase "reach for the stars and aim at the Moon" means to have ambition and to believe in oneself, without "making plans on the comet".

Those who will tattoo the moon in such way can also opt for an inspiring motto or phrase that will help them in their quest.

The Symbolic Meaning of a Moon Tattoo - Symbol of Hope & Ambition

The Moon in mythology

The Moon according to Ancient Egyptians

The Egyptians associated the Moon with Isis - goddess and queen of heaven - but also with the god Toth, so that the Moon was not just a feminine symbol.

The Moon in Greek mythology

The Moon according to the Ancient Greeks - Selene - went to drown in the Eridan to follow his brother Helios, the Sun. Moved by this gesture, the gods turned the Moon into a star. She is represented as a beautiful young woman riding the sky on a silver chariot. The Moon is associated with the goddess Artemis. The Sun is associated with the god Apollo.

The Moon in the Aztecs

For the Aztecs, the Moon symbolized passionate love. As a feminine symbol, it embodied all the cycles that shape life on Earth.

The Moon in Taoism

The Moon is associated with Yin, the feminine and complementary principle of the Yang.

The Symbolic Meaning of a Moon Tattoo - The Moon in mythology

The Moon in Religion


The Moon is one of the attributes of Ganesh, the god of knowledge and the extra-cosmic world.


The horizontal moon symbolizes the cup intended to receive the 5th element, that which contains the 4 other elements. It is the divine principle, the breath of God, the Ether, the One.


In the same way as Ganesh for the Hindus, Janus presides over human destinies and ensures the connection between the past and the future, material and the immaterial. The Moon (Janus-Jana) symbolizes the transition to a disembodied spiritual state. The Moon represents the spiritual part that exists in each one.


The crescent moon is the symbol of Islam. It is found on the roofs of mosques. The Moon symbolizes the extra-cosmic world. The phases of the Moon - increasing and decreasing - are the rhythmic Ramadan.

The Moon as a National Symbol

You will find the Moon on the flags of Laos and Mongolia. It also recalls the Ottoman Empire, one of the greatest in history. Turkey, Tunisia, Algeria and Pakistan have made their emblem.

The Symbolic Meaning of a Moon Tattoo - The Moon in Religion

The moon according to Tarot

The Moon is on the 18th card of the Tarot game. It symbolizes motherhood, vital changes and intuition. If you pull the card to the place, you will attract the luck. The Moon symbolizes all at once:

  • Intuition
  • Premonition
  • Claivoyance
  • Imagination
  • Sensitivity
  • Sweetness
  • Receptivity

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The Symbolic Meaning of a Moon Tattoo