Whether for religious, spiritual, or fashionable purposes, cross tattoos remain one of the most popular symbols for both men and women.

This ancient symbol of both Mother and Father nature (depicted in the vertical and horizontal line) can represent many things, including the rising and setting of the sun as well as life and death. Since the Ice Age, the cross has been around for quite some time and that makes it a significant symbol in history.

For many reasons besides faith alone, the cross has a significance that ranges from spiritual to cultural beliefs.

What has become widely recognized as a symbol of the Christian faith, there are hundreds of different cross styles to choose from.

If you’re considering a cross tattoo think ahead about what sort of placement ideas may fit best.

Due to their very sensitive and often very personal nature, a cross tattoo makes sense when it’s placed in a visible location where you can actually see it and feel the comfort and peace in its presence.

Consider wrist, chest. arm and ankle tattoos for your cross and you’re certain to feel a bit more connected to your faith or spirituality.

This gallery of tattoos has pictures of cross designs.

Crosses are often religious ones of the Christian crucifix. Jesus nailed on a wooden cross is iconographic of the catholic church.

Tribal and celtic crosses are popular. Other popular designs are the maltese cross and the iron cross.

See Also: Inspiring Faith Over Fear Tattoo Designs for Men and Women

What does a cross mean?

Tattoos with a cross and red roses are sometimes in the loving memory and honor of a passed friend. They can also signify suffering, redemption, or protection. A stone cross is often a tombstone.

A large cross on the back or one on the shoulder are common locations.

Popular complements to crosses are angels, wings, swords, rosary beads, hearts & praying hands.

Types of Cross Tattoos

Christian Cross Tattoos

The most popular of cross tattoos, the Christian cross represents the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Celtic Crosses

Introduced by Saint Patrick and also known as “Saint Luke’s Cross”, Celtic crosses are beautiful and ornate and are depicted as a standard cross with a circle around the center. The circle is believed to represent heaven, earth, and eternal love.

Egyptian Ankh

Representing fertility and life, the Ankh pre-dates the Christian cross and is depicted as a traditional cross with a loop at the top.


The crucifix is very prominent in the Catholic, Eastern Catholic, and Orthodox churches and symbolizes the body of Jesus Christ being crucified on the cross.

Choosing a Cross Tattoo

While many crosses bear significant Christian or religious beliefs, others offer nothing more than an individual expression of style.

Gothic and Western rhinestone-enhanced cross designs are fancy takes on the cross and are worn merely for their fashionable statement.

Before you ink this ancient symbol, determine what significance a cross bears to you. The cross can be added to many tattoo designs to offer memorial peace and life to your body art; so plan this holy piece carefully.

Cross Tattoo Styles – Types of Cross Tattoos

Cross tattoos can depict so much more than your measure of faith.

All cultures throughout the world have a relevant cross with its own special meaning. In fact, it’s been discovered that the first evidence of tattooing is that of the cross found on the body of Otzi the Iceman, who was believed to roam the earth roughly around 3300 BCE.

Cross Tattoo Styles
Photo credit: @lrhtmetalhead

Because the cross symbol is so diverse in style, choosing a cross tattoo should be a dedicated practice. First, find the right tattoo design and then decide where you can put it. A talented and trusted artist can bring to life your passion for the cross; so don’t lose faith in your quest.

Consider one of the many cross tattoo styles and get started on your own path for spirited ink.

1. Celtic

Intricate Celtic cross tattoos often include knotwork that can represent many different things. Eternal life, love, and protection can all be wrapped into a shielded cross that celebrates your Celtic or Scandinavian heritage. With four standard points to represent eternity, a Celtic tattoo is a forever mark of the Latin cross and continues to be one of the most popular forms of the cross display regardless of Irish or Celtic roots.

2. Christianity

To celebrate both the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ, a cross tattoo displays your daily faith and can serve as a long-standing reminder of your religious beliefs. The Latin Christian cross can be simple or elaborate and adorned with vines of roses or kept simple and minute. Placement ideas may include the Roman Catholic devotion of Rosary beads adorning the ankle or arm or a full back canvas illustrating the crucifixion of Christ. A simple cross on the inner wrist can also serve as a quiet mark of faith.

3. Pagan

Long before their Christian representation, the cross was celebrated within the Wiccan culture. Depicted as a traditional Celtic cross with a circle in the center that represented the sun and all existence, the four arms of the Celtic cross represent fire, air, earth, and water. A Pagan cross can be worn today in addition to many other Wiccan culture tattoos, including the Pentagram, various goddesses, and the moon to create a magical representation of your mystical religion.

4. Ankh

Known as the Egyptian cross and representing rebirth, an Ankh is depicted as a traditional cross with a loop at the top. The simple image of the Ankh makes it a popular tattoo for wrist, nape, and ankle placement.

5. Memorial

For a heartfelt memorial tattoo, many people decide to combine a cross with either a name or portrait to serve as an honorable reminder of their lost loved ones. Memorial cross tattoos can be combined with old-school banner fonts to create a modern and artful tribute. Due to their sensitive nature, take your time to work with your artist and design something truly beautiful to serve as a reminder of your beloved. Birth and death dates along with garlands of flowers are typical for this sort of commemorative piece.

6. Tribal

Tribal crosses can represent union within a tribal community or can be worn as a mere fashion statement. Tribal tattoos are one of the most popular forms of cross tattoos for both men and women and often are incorporated into armbands or shoulder pieces to adorn larger areas of the body. No matter your tribe, religion, or spirituality, a cross tattoo is a proof that some symbols spring eternal.

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