There are some designs that have always been popular in the world of tattooing and an ivy tattoo is one of them. In fact, any vine style pattern is widely sought after as they work well as a design on their own or incorporated with flowers and other similar images. The main reason for this popularity is the way they can be wrapped around an appendage such as the ankle, leg, arm or wrist to give the effect of actually growing on the individual’s skin. These are also highly symbolic in their own right so let’s take a look at the origins and history behind this much favored design.

In ancient Roman mythology, the god of wine and revelry was Bacchus and he was always depicted wearing a crown of ivy and as this plant is of the evergreen variety, ivy can be used to symbolize eternal life. His followers, who gathered around him to celebrate the freedom of intoxication, also wore head wear adorned with ivy. To them, this was reminiscent of the grape vine that provided the source of the wine they drunk. Therefore an ivy tattoo could also be chosen to pay homage to Bacchus by a wine drinking part party goer. Ivy was also used as a symbol for intelligence in ancient Rome, perhaps because Bacchus eluded his enemies by crossing a bridge that was concealed by vines and ivy. In another legend, he was being hunted by pirates when the ivy saved him yet again when the enemy ship’s rigging became caught and tangled in the ivy’s tight grasp. The Egyptian god Osiris is also associated with this plant as he carried a staff which had ivy entwined around it.

Ivy had rather a different meaning over in Ireland where the Celts saw it as a symbol of religious growth, purpose and also death and if it appeared growing in a curve fashion around a tree it signified joy, excitement and reincarnation. The fact that ivy had the power to kill the might oak tree with its ability to curl and cling in a strangulating grip as it grew, also impressed the ancient Druids. The regularly used it in spiritual rituals as did the Pagans of the time due to its potent strength.

The Christian faith viewed the twisting, coiling growth of this evergreen plant as a symbol of Christ’s resurrection and to them it signified the miracle of God and spirit combined. Initially however, due to its connotations with Pagan rituals and customs, many Christians shunned the use of ivy. However when Roman festivals began celebrating the advent of winter with ivy and holly the ivy’s pagan past was soon forgotten as it became widely associated as a Christmas plant.

In days gone by, lovers accepted ivy as a symbol of fidelity and many brides would include it in their wedding bouquets for this reason but also to encourage good fortune and fertility. This lucky aspect is another reason one may opt to have an ivy tattoo, for the symbolism as well as the aesthetics of this versatile design. It was a symbol of friendship to the Victorians who also included it in wedding flowers to promote marital bliss. The ivy plant is also a very hardy plant that continues to thrive even in difficult conditions so a strong spirit could also be expressed with this style of tattoo. Additional symbolism connected with the ivy includes the friendship, wedded bliss, happiness and growth.

———————————————————- • • •
NEW: Upload your Ivy tattoo designs for others to see and enjoy!

Short description of your Tattoo:

———————————————————- • • •
Latest User Tattoo Pics!


———————————————————- • • •