Phoenix Tattoos – Designs, Ideas & Meaning



Great looking phoenix tattoo

Great looking phoenix tattoo on shoulder

Phoenix tattoos are absolutely both eye catching and astonishing.  Although this bird is a mythical creature reported sightings of it have been told all around the globe with the possible the exception of the America’s.  This bird is not to be confused with the Native American Thunderbird.  The phoenix is popular in the Far East and Middle Eastern parts of the globe. Most fascinating are the myths surrounding the gorgeous creature.  Most myths involve a story about how the Phoenix goes through a process of recreation.  This is usually accomplished by setting itself on fire and constructing an egg from the ashes from which the phoenix is hatched again.  Another version is that the phoenix is reborn from the ashes themselves.  Many cultures hold this mythical bird very close to their spiritual being.  It would be respectful of these cultures to keep that in mind when shopping for phoenix tattoos.

Types of Phoenix Tattoos

Lone Phoenix Tattoos – Lone phoenix tattoos are tattoos with the bird appearing by itself.  Sounds simple but this magnificent creature can occupy all of your back skin and look absolutely stunning.  It’s the choice of phoenix tattoos that will make or break the use of this tattoo in large scale.

Phoenix and Egg Tattoos – Phoenix and egg tattoos are a wonderful concept for design if you’d like to show the birth of a phoenix.  This would represent a new beginning which is one of the main symbolic meanings of the phoenix in mythology.


back phoenix tattoo

Work in progress: Amazing back phoenix tattoo

Phoenix on Fire Tattoos – Phoenix on Fire Tattoos is an illustrations of one of the steps that the phoenix goes through in the process of rebirth.  It must reduce itself to ashes before it can be reborn.  The Phoenix is also known as the firebird in some cultures because of its need to burst into flames to begin the process of rebirth.  Phoenix on Fire tattoos could represent the ending of one phase and the beginning of another. If this is your choice in phoenix tattoos, consider the amount of skin coverage.

Phoenix and Chinese Dragon Tattoos – Phoenix and Chinese dragon tattoos hold significant meaning.  If meaning is not important to you, then consider the fact that these two creatures produce a stunning piece of body art. The Chinese culture considers the Phoenix as both representatives of the female and male aspects. But when illustrated with a dragon, such as in Phoenix tattoos, the phoenix is the female counterpart to the male dragon.  These types of phoenix tattoos hold special meanings for lovers.

Phoenix Metamorphosis Tattoos – Phoenix metamorphosis tattoos are a unique concept.  While the process the phoenix goes through is not actually referred to by scholars as metamorphosis, what else would you call it?  Perhaps it’s because of the mythical nature of the Phoenix that scholars are hesitant to label its re-birthing process so similar to the butterfly. Phoenix tattoos of this type could actually illustrate the process of the birth of a Phoenix; ashes forming into an egg; egg breaking open; revealing the Phoenix. Spectacular!

Greek Phoenix Tattoos – Greek phoenix tattoos would most likely be seen in red and gold.  This is because historically they have been described to be most like an eagle in size and physical qualities with gold and red feathers; mostly red. The Greeks however, are also responsible for the illustrations we see of the Phoenix with feathers of a Peacock; very popular these days.

Roman Phoenix Tattoos – Roman phoenix tattoos are a little difficult to describe. Using the description by the ancient poet Claudius will give us a better visual.  While he does not describe the Phoenix in great detail (so take liberties here) he does describe the way in which the Phoenix requests to start the rebirthing process; which by the way would make great Phoenix tattoos.  The Romans believed the Phoenix made its nest in the branches of an oak or on the top of a palm tree.  Claudius describes that once that nest is made, the Phoenix calls upon the sun for fire. The sun replies by shooting a bolt of sun to the Phoenix head, igniting and starting the rebirthing process.

Egyptian Phoenix Tattoos – Egyptian phoenix tattoos should be illustrated with a bird more closely resembling a heron or stork if realistic Egyptian style is desired.  Egyptian phoenix tattoos would hold special meaning if inked with the Sun or Sun God Ra with who this bird is closely aligned.

Phoenix Tattoo Designs

From the TattooMeNow Gallery

Coloring of Phoenix Tattoos

Coloring on these mythical creatures is wide open unless you’re a person who adheres strictly to mythological dictation.  If you choose Greek phoenix tattoos, red and gold would be the colors of choice, but then you have the option of other colors in the peacock feathers, if you choose to use them.  The phoenix and egg tattoos offer the opportunity to use the black and white scheme with the bird being the pop of color.  If you are a person who likes a more understated look, go with Egyptian phoenix tattoos; Sun and a heron type bird; muted colors.  Obviously the dragons and phoenix tattoos offer the most versatility for color.  If you want color, color and more color, choose this tattoo.

Placement of Phoenix Tattoos

Most phoenix tattoos would wear well in a larger size because of the opportunity for detail work.  So the back, chest, leg or shoulder would work well for placement.  But these birds can also be created in smaller form keeping in mind that you’ll probably want some room for length. If choosing smaller phoenix tattoos, the best choice would probably be the Greek version with the peacock feathers. This could be placed on the lower leg with the feathers extending down to the foot or upon the shoulder with feathers spreading down the upper arm.  Phoenix tattoos in this form would look absolutely gorgeous on a woman’s chest area. But, you can let your own imagination work with that.  Have fun!