Richard Hale is a tattoo enthusiast who studies and researches tattoo symbolism, meanings, and history.
Fire and Flame Tattoos
When mankind first made fire, it was a huge accomplishment, and it changed destiny forever. Fire gave humans warmth in the cold and offered protection from other men and deadly animals. They could cook, clear brush and forest, and make tools. Fire gave light in the dark and became part of many religious ceremonies and rites. Fire played an elemental role in man's evolution.
Eye-catching fire and flame tattoos can represent an array of different things. In this article, you will learn about the different meanings and design ideas and see lots of photos to inspire your next tattoo.
The Historical, Religious, and Mythological Symbolism of Fire and Flames
Fire and flames are mentioned in a variety of different myths and legends.
- In Greek mythology, Prometheus was known to have stolen the fire from the gods. Prometheus gave the fire to mortals, since Prometheus, who created humans out of mud, loved them more than the Olympian gods who had banished his family to Tartarus.
- The phoenix is made out of flames and has the ability to reincarnate itself every 500 years from its own ashes. The flames on the phoenix are said to symbolize transformation and rebirth. It also represents the circle of life, just as the sun.
- Fire and flames are also symbols of Christianity and hell. Hell is made up of fire and flames to torture those who sin and are cast there by God. It is said that those who end up in hell will be there to suffer for eternity.
- Fire is also a symbol of the Holy Ghost and might represent the burning bush that Moses saw.
Fire and Flame Tattoo Meanings and Interpretations
Below, you can find some of the meanings behind fire and flame tattoos:
Circle of Life
Deadly or Transforming Heat
Positive and Negative Meanings
When we look at what fire and flames represent, we find that both are very diverse in associated meanings. They can be used in positive manners, but they can also cause destruction and devastation of wide proportions.
As you already know, fire and flames give off heat, which can give you warmth in the cold. It can also give us light in the dark. Fire can also be very destructive and can burn nearly anything down to ashes. Nearly anything that is in the path of the flames can be destroyed. Every year, wildfires destroy thousands of acres of land. Fires can claim buildings, homes, and also human life. When a fire is out of control, the results can be devastating.
Why People Choose This Tattoo
Since there are so many diverse meanings of fire and flame tattoos, you really see a variety of different reasons why they are chosen as a tattoo. Most meanings depend on what tattoo symbol is portrayed with the fire and flames. For example, when alone, a heart represents love, but fire and flames on a heart tattoo might represent deep, burning passion and desire.
Fire and flames have both positive and negative associations; therefore, the meanings behind the tattoo can be either positive in nature or negative.
Design Options for Fire or Flame Tattoos
- Most importantly, these tattoos don't have to be red, orange, and yellow. You can choose to have your blaze inked in any color you choose. Blue and black are obvious and popular options, but I've seen other colors, too.
- A tattoo might be portrayed solely as flames, or sometimes with smoke.
- The flames can be designed with any other image or symbol, and this will change its overall meaning.
- Flames and fire are often inked with skulls, dragons, phoenixes, crosses, demons, hearts, and barbed wire.
- Flames are a popular choice among bikers and can be associated with Harley Davidson Motorcycles.
- Fire and flames are commonly used in firefighter tattoos. Some may get a firefighter helmet tattooed with flames or get their logo or station number inked on.
- If you want flames put on any symbol, it can be done. The options are endless.
Before You Tattoo
It is very important to do research. You want to make sure that you fully understand what your tattoo represents and try to learn everything it might mean. Take your time and don't rush into getting inked. Make sure you are 100% confident in your choice.
anonymous on April 08, 2019:
Fire is one thing that you can’t control and many things happen in your life that you can’t control hence why I got my flame tattoo done on my forearm but I got it done in my favorite color and I am also a fire sign so make sure you want your tattoo
Claudia Virginia Alarcon on April 04, 2019:
My zodiac sign is LEO. My career was Food Service. My element is Fire.
I want to design a tattoo that symbolizes me, just don't know how big and budget wise.
Can you help me on this please, thanks
Richard Ricky Hale (author) from West Virginia on May 23, 2012:
Raj Kamal Singh, thanks for viewing this article. Hlad you enjoyed them. Take care.
Raj kamal singh on May 17, 2012:
Really fantastic collection of tattoos!!!!!!!!!!!!""
Richard Ricky Hale (author) from West Virginia on March 10, 2012:
Thank y all for visiting and your comments. I have been awhile for a little while so sorry I can't address you all individually. Many thanks and I wish you all the best.
Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on March 03, 2012:
I like the colorful ones, but the black and white ones are REALLY striking. Voting up and beautiful. :)
Brett C from Asia on March 03, 2012:
Interesting article. I actually like the flame and tribal style tattoos, but only when in black and white. I'm not sure why, but most lose their impact when in colour, unless exceptionally well done.
Thanks for SHARING.
Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on March 03, 2012:
Voted up! These are great and fiery!
Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on March 02, 2012:
One of the more dramatic tattoos, especially when it wraps around the entire limb with color. Voting this Up and Beautiful.
Brenda Barnes from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on March 02, 2012:
Some of these are amazing, others almost frightening. All are wonderfully done and presented in your own great style. Very nice Hub lyricwriter.
Rosemary Sadler from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand on March 02, 2012:
A great hub and the detail you go into is in depth. I don't think I would ever have a flame tattoo but it is very interesting.
Frank Atanacio from Shelton on March 02, 2012:
thelyricwriter this was hot...huh? LOL great share as usuasl
f on March 02, 2012:
I think most of the examples you gave are of male tattoos; I think the fire motif tends mainly to be used by men.
Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on March 02, 2012:
Great hub about the symbolism around fire and flame tattoos.
As the photos show, these tattoos can be pretty intense and some are very colorful.
Some reminded me of the decals on hot rod cars.
Voted up, useful and awesome.