Phoenix tattoos are said to be the ultimate sign of rebirth and eternal life. To the Greeks and Egyptians, this symbol represented the sun dying at the end of a day and rising in the morning to be reborn. The phoenix is also said to live for five hundred years, then goes to rest by building a nest which it sets aflame, the fire consuming both. After three days the phoenix will rise again from the ashes and begin anew. These tales have struck a cord with many people, and to express their new beginning — or ‘rising from the ashes — they decide to get a phoenix tattoo.
Phoenix tattoos are generally a rather considerable scale, encompassing large sections of the body such as the back, chest or wrapping around the leg or upper arm. There is a good reason for this, as most of these pieces are very detailed, and given that it is an expression of a new life beginning, it makes sense that these should make a powerful statement.
Phoenix tattoos are usually very colorful. Most will contain reds, yellows and oranges, as the phoenix is closely associated with fire and the sun. However, for a more unique look, some will use blues, purples, greens and tones of copper and gold. Less frequently, people will use blacks and grays, and only outline the massive wings and body of the phoenix.
Some of the most popular phoenix tattoos are seen with the sizable bird surrounded by fire. It can also be seen partially obscured and rising from its ashes, or bursting through the sun. A unique idea that can be used to symbolize the shift of days is having your phoenix surrounding the globe, its tail shadowing one end, and its face brightening the other.
Many also like to use the Egyptian phoenix. In early incarnations of this figure, the phoenix had the body of a man and the expansive wings of the phoenix. This image has changed over time, it became a wholly bird-like creature eventually, but the story has remained the same, and is seen in art as being immersed in flame so as to begin its transformation.
So whether you are beginning a new life, have survived troubled times and have become stronger for it, or the idea of such a masterful creature appeals to you, phoenix tattoos will always make for a beautiful and strong choice.