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Whale Tattoos

Long before humans conquered the seas, we were fascinated by these beautiful behemoths of the ocean. These gentle giants have been sources of inspiration for many and providers of nourishment for countless thousands. Humanity first fell in love with whales the nanosecond we heard their siren songs and saw them magnificently rise from the unknown depths.

Indigenous tribes with close ties to the sea viewed whales as reincarnations of revered ancestors and all powerful gods. It is easy to see why early humans thought that the siren songs of the Humpback Whale or the rapid clicks of a Beluga were messages from the gods. It is believed that the ancestors, in the shape of whales, roam the coastline and protect villages from troubles on shore as well as on the high seas, so the practice of paying homage to these titans with offerings of tobacco and food is commonplace in many areas, including in Native American tribes on the Pacific coast to the indigenous people living in the cold reaches of Siberia. Whales are also prominent characters in many creation mythologies like the Inuit legends. In parts of Vietnam, full scale funeral services are held for beached whales and it is considered to be a sign of arrogance and disrespect if villagers do not come to the aid of a stranded whale.

It is worth noting that there's no mother in the ocean quite like a Mama Whale. They are completely are devoted to their calves, often putting themselves in great danger simply to protect their young. Much like Elephants, certain species of whales travel in close knit family groups that are, more often than not, comprised mostly (but not exclusively) of several generations of females. This is why whales symbolize the strong bond within families and close knit communities.

Whales are also seen as emblems of our emotions and our subconscious being, thanks to the fact that they are creatures of the natural element, Water. Spiritual gurus and yogis associate the inner workings of the human mind with this life giving natural element. Many of the animals that call the Earth's countless bodies of water their home are viewed as being expressions of our emotions. In the eyes of man, whales are calm cetaceans, therefore their images are representations of Inner Peace, Emotional Harmony, and Mental Tranquility. They are also viewed beings of creative thought and intelligence. There have been numerous attempts to teach Beluga Whales to mimic human speech and wild life experts will attest to the ease with which orcas and belugas held in captivity can be trained to perform complex tasks. They've even inspired classic works of literature as well as a few great movies. Who doesn't remember tearing up a bit at the end of the movie, Free Willy?

In many ways, whales have come to represent man's desire to achieve perfection. Like Ishmael, we all have our 'White Whale' to battle and thanks to the classic literary piece, Moby Dick, the world has come to associate the sperm whale with mankind's unattainable desires and uncontrollable passions. This idea is also echoed in the biblical story of Jonah. In both cases, the title character undergoes an extremely difficult trial that helps to mold them into a wiser, more philosophical being that learns to see life in a completely new perspective.

But the human love affair with the whale hasn't always been the smoothest. In the early 17th century, humanity's lust for oil, whale meat, and baleen almost drove these helpless animals to the brink of extinction. Although the practice is largely banned across the globe, there are still a few countries that have a very active Whaling Industry. There has also been evidence that mankind's increased usage of naval sonar has adverse effects on the life cycles of our friends from the Deep Blue, as such, several countries have made a concerted effort to understand and minimize the impact of sonar devices on aquatic wildlife.

Whether you see yourself as a powerful Orca or a gentle Humpback, Whale Tattoos are great way to show the world that you are at peace with life in general.

The Meaning of Whale Tattoos

The Mothers of the Sea embody a variety of traits, including:

  • Motherhood
  • Protection and Guidance
  • The Subconscious
  • Patience and Understanding
  • Intuition
  • Communication
  • Peace and Harmony

Whale Tattoo Variations

By far, the most popular design is that of the Killer Whale. Orcas have a look that is both aesthetically appealing and immediately recognizable. Occasionally, Whale Tattoos have additional colorful maritime motives, and it is not uncommon to have designs that only highlight the beauty of these magnificent animals. Popular Whale Tattoo variations include:

Orca Tattoos or Killer Whale Tattoos

Of all the whale species in the ocean, none has captured our hearts quite like the Orca Whale. Many indigenous cultures hold them in high regard as noble warriors and honorable chieftains. Popularly known as Killer Whales, Orcas have a vibrant black and white coloration and a playful attitude that makes them prime headliners in public aquariums and aquatic theme parks worldwide. The Kwakwaka'wakw people of British Columbia believe that they are the rulers of the sea because they embody to souls of long gone tribal chiefs. To the Yupik of Siberia, Orcas are wolves that regularly transform into Killer Whales during the winter and then back into wolves during the summer months. An Orca Whale Tattoo embodies Power, Strength, Intelligence, and thanks to the animal's proclivity to frivolity, the design is also a tip of the hat to your playful side.

Tribal Whale Tattoos

From the Haida of Canada to the Māori from New Zealand, Tribal Whale Tattoos are the most popular designs of the genre. Each pattern is distinctly identifiable with a particular culture and is a common way for tribe members and spiritual leaders to pay homage to their ancestors and gods. Although there are designs that feature other whale species, such as Beluga, Humpback, or Pygmy Sperm Whale, most artists and wearers tend to have designs that show off the beauty and power of the Orca. Tribal whale tattoos signify your deep connection with the untamed seas, your love and respect for a particular culture, and unbreakable spiritual bond with the whale. These designs embody Power, Strength, and Intuition.

The right design can make or break your body art, so it pays to invest the time and effort needed to create a unique piece that speaks to your personality and adequately conveys the message you're trying to send to the world. Every piece symbolizes a particular event or person in your life and the challenge of creating a design that brings out your artistic nature and your spiritual side can be a daunting one. Need inspiration? Then our team of artists can help you to create a Whale Tattoo that's true to who you are. Simply visit our design page at www.itattoodesigns.com and take advantage of our Custom Design Service.