Star tattoos are one of the oldest tattoo designs. Dating back centuries to the earliest sailors and port tattoo artists, the nautical star has been popular. When sailing, the stars, particularly the unchanging North Star, were incredibly important for navigational purposes, and could mean the difference between life and death. The nautical star tattoo represented this reliance on the sky, the constellation, and the stars. Sailors believed that nautical star tattoos would help them find home in times of difficulty or trouble.
Star tattoos became a symbol of personal navigation – a compass for life, which is why compass stars, sometimes called roses, are popular tattoo designs. They guide travelers safely to their final destination, leading them perils and dangers.
Today, nautical and compass stars are popular with those who must endure dangerous situations or travel far from home, like those serving in the military. Once reserved for sailors and seamen, today these nautical tattoo designs are popular with men and women from all branches of the military, not just the Navy or Marines, making them a favored military tattoo design. Furthermore, civilians are also drawn to the historic design, either from a love for retro tattoos or because they feel connected with the symbolism of the star.
In modern times, stars have come to symbolize achievement, success, and distinction. Even when children are very small, good work earns them a star sticker on their homework or tests. According to legend, the geometric pentagram, or five pointed star, was created by Pythagoras to illustrate perfection. Sometimes known as the Wizard's Star or Lucky Star, this star shape has become a symbol of good luck, mysticism, and fortune.
This geometric star, when red, is also representative of communism and socialism. Although the creator is unknown, the red star was used in a huge political campaign during the Russian civil war and towards the end of World War I. The red star was worn by members of the Red Army.
The red star has also been used by communist China (Established in November 1931 by Mao Zedong), broadening the symbol's meaning.
As communism spread, some states began to use a yellow star on a red background to portray their socialistic beliefs. Although the red star is banned in some countries that were once communist, the symbol remains popular. Red star tattoos mean that the wearer is a supporter of communism or socialism in general, and the specifics of their beliefs may vary widely. The red star is an ideological and religious symbol also used by several other countries.
The Pennsylvania Deutsch created a symbol that represents hope and protection. Known as the Morning Star, the symbol is an eight-sided star that is called a hex sign, which is a symbol enclosed in a circle. The Morning Star is entirely positive and makes an interesting tattoo design. A Morning Star tattoo is symbolic of a bright and cheerful day, the desire for love, and showing kindness towards others. The points of the star are connected to the cardinal directions. The name “Morning Star” is derived from a traditional Moravian Christimas carol. Unfortunately, some people are very confused by the design because, in the Bible, Satan is referred to as the Morning Star. It is important to note that the Morning Star hex design is unrelated to Devil worship or Satanism.
The pentagram is a sigil believed to have mystical powers and is used by Wiccan, pagan, and New Age followers. This star design is done with a continuous, unbroken line. Pentagram tattoos are very popular and common, but the meaning behind the tattoos is so incredibly diverse it is impossible to determine one specific meaning. Satanists use a pentagram with two points up, often inscribed in a double circle, with the head of a goat inside the pentagram. This is referred to as the Sigil of Baphomet, and is often used in devil tattoo designs and death tattoo designs.
The Star of David is a six-pointed star that represents the Jewish faith and Israel, and is a popular Jewish tattoo design and Hebrew tattoo design to show pride in Jewish heritage or Israeli ancestry.
Flags around the world feature various star designs that often portray the history of the individual nation. Also, stars can have any number of points. The Nauruan flag, the flag of an island nation in the pacific, uses a twelve-pointed star to represent the original 12 tribes.
Star tattoos, likewise, can utilize any number of points in the design, although five is usually the minimum used.