Protection & Divinity – Angel Tattoo Guide By Tattoo Designers

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Getting an angel tattoo can have a multifaceted role in people’s lives. It can be a symbol of protection, a memorial symbol for a loved one in heaven, as well as a representation of one’s Christian beliefs.

A tattoo of an angel comes in all tattoo styles, which makes it a great symbol for a custom tattoo design.

In short, an angel is a supernatural spiritual being who serves God.

In this guide we go in depth and explore the world of angel tattoos.

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Every Tattoo Has A Story – Angel Tattoo Meaning

Angels are ethereal and mysterious spirits that belong to a different order of beings.

Compared to flesh-and-blood human beings and don’t have physical bodies.

The word “angel” in the Bible is translated from the Hebrew word malach and the Greek word angelos, both meaning “messenger.”

Angels are gods messengers, and bring divine messages from God.

These can include warnings, comfort, including the good news of God’s desire to be close to humanity forever.

The way angels have various ways to bring messages, some of them being dreams, visions as well as visiting one in person.

Through these messages the God’s divine messengers help people get out of dangerous situations, relationships, and places.

These divine spirits do not have a gender in a human sense, but in Bible they are usually referred to as male.

While our contemporary idea of what an angel looks like emerged in the 4th century, the existence of angel-like figures in art can be traced back a lot earlier.

Angels are a positive symbol, and positive spirits, in some cultures thought to be appearing through animals and insects such as butterflies and moths. Their negative counterparts are the fallen angels, or the demons.

Fallen angels represent the evil spirit, that once used to worship the God themselves.

Under the leadership of Lucifer (Satan) they rebelled against God.

There was a war in Heaven (where God and all the angels lived).

However, the rebellious angels in the Bible were defeated and cast down to earth.

Types Of Angels

Angels have a wide range of ranks among them, and not all of them have the same or equal role in Christianity.

Here are nine types of angels to know:

  1. Seraphim – angels who are closest to God, always around his throne. They emit an intense, fiery light representing his love.
  2. Cherub (plural Cherubim) – keepers of celestial records and holders of the knowledge of God.
  3. Thrones – angels that serve as God’s chariot and dispense his judgment in order to carry out his desires for us. They are said to look like great glowing wheels covered with many eyes.
  4. Dominions or Dominations – angels that are considered heavenly governors, attempting to strike a balance between matter and spirit, good and bad. They exist in a state of transition between the celestial and human worlds.
  5. Virtues – sparks of light, virtues are in charge of maintaining the natural world, and they inspire living things in areas such as science.
  6. Powers – in their celestial forms, powers appear like brightly colored, hazy fumes. Powers are border patrol agents between heaven and Earth. They are the angels of birth and death.
  7. Principalities – shaped like rays of light, overseeing everything.
  8. Archangels – guardians of people and all things physical. They are usually involved in matters involving all humankind, such as justice.
  9. Angels – regular angels are guardians of people and all things physical and are the most common type of angels. These angels are sent as messengers to humanity.

Most common angel tattoos are dedicated to the three archangels mentioned in the Bible.

These are Michael, Raphael, Gabriel and Uriel, and here are their stories:

  • Archangel Gabriel is a guardian angel and one of the few angel whose name appears in the Scriptures. His most significant task is actually delivering the news of the Jesus coming.
  • Archangel Michael is the highest ranking angel. In the Bible he is described as the main prince of the heavenly world. His roles and tasks are vast, including leading a war against Satan. He is seen as a warrior angel, protecting humanity.
  • Archangel Raphael is among the high-ranking archangels as he stands before the throne of God. Some of his duties include presenting the prayers of the saints and entering into the presence of the glory of God. His work also includes healing.
  • Archangel Uriel is an archangel that watches over thunder and terror. Usually carrying a book, he represents an angel of wisdom. He is also a symbol of repentance and salvation. Uriel means God is my Light.

Best Angel Tattoo Placements

Angel tattoos come in all shapes and sizes.

Being a part of Christianity tattoos, they combine very well with crosses, doves, sun rays, praying hands, and many other religious symbols.

Many are done as a forearm tattoo, for a medium sized piece.

But if you want to go bigger, choosing a leg tattoo is a great choice, as it allows a bigger canvas.

For a large scene we recommend doing an angel tattoo sleeve, in which you can develop a whole scene with different elements.

Angel Tattoo Ideas

To help you with your research for your next tattoo design, we went on a hunt through Instagram to find the best angel tattoo ideas.

Take a look below to check them out all:

Angel Wings Tattoo

For those who do not want to depict a whole angels, an angel wings tattoo can be a great choice.

You can do a small version that fits snuggly on the wrist, or ankle.

It can also be fully developed wings on the forearm or back, spread as a symbol of protection.

Angel wings carry many meanings, among them purity, courage, love harmony, guidance, faith, and courage.

To some it also means having the courage and freedom to go on new adventures, feeling protected by their guardian.

Guardian Angel Tattoo

According to Christian tradition, every one of us has a guardian angel, who accompanies the believers from the moment they’re born until the moment  of death, and stays at their side at every moment of their life.

These good divine spirits come in many ranks, dedicated to protection of the human kind and Christianity, so a guardian angel tattoo can reference many things.

Getting a guardian angel tattoo can also be a memorial tattoo done for the people we perceive as our our protectors and guardians.

Fallen Angel Tattoo

Fallen angels are angels who were expelled from heaven.

The literal term “fallen angel” does not appear in any Abrahamic religious texts, but is used to describe angels cast out of heaven or angels who sinned. Such angels often tempt humans to sin.

When talking about fallen angel tattoos, it is also related to a painting by the French artist Alexandre Cabanel. It was painted in 1847, when the artist was 24 years old, and depicts the Devil after his fall from Heaven.

Cabanel painted this is 1847 at the age of 24, finding much inspiration from the story about Lucifer.

He said this about it:

“…I depict two natures, two races, one inexorably doomed, predestined to evil and misfortune, finally to fall ; while the other chaste and pure rises radiantly towards God glorifying him. However, the main motif of my painting is the evil genius, Satan!…”

Angel of Death Tattoo

The angel of death is personification of death and an angel which attends to death, collecting souls at death, ending life at the appointed time of death.

The angel connected to it in some Abrahamic religions is Azrael, especially Islam and Christian popular culture.

For people who want to get an angel of death tattoo, the reasoning usually involves around having a symbol of memento mori, or remeber death.

It’s a proclamation of life, by remembering that each one of us will die, and we need to use this life to the fullest.

Angel Number Tattoo

Angel numbers are a way for your angels to communicate with you and offer you guidance, support, or even messages.

These are repetitive sequence or pattern of numbers that carry meaning to people who see them on a regular basis.

For example, 444 angel number means a period of recreation or personal betterment is coming to one’s life.

They can be combined with the animals that also can reference to a message of a deceased loved one, such as butterfly, hummingbird, or a moth.

If you’re looking into getting an angel number tattoo, we have a deep dive guide here.

Baby Angel Tattoo

Baby angel tattoos carry an essence of purity with them.

There are two ways to interpret them, and what they can mean.

The term “angel baby” can refer to an infant who passes away during pregnancy or soon after birth. This euphemistic term gives grieving parents a simple way to reference their loss.

Another symbolism associated with a baby angel tattoo is putto  – a figure in a work of art depicted as a chubby male child, usually naked and very often winged.

Originally limited to profane passions in symbolism, the putto came to represent a sort of baby angel in religious art.

Female Angel Tattoo

Although angels are genderless, they are usually referred to as male in the Bible.

Still, people have taken this symbol of grace, protection and love and applied it to a female figure, too.

Expressions such as “an angel of a woman” is quite common, usually referring to a woman who has “angelic” qualities, such as kindness, mercy, holiness, and patience.

Historically, the female angel didn’t arrive in art history until the 19th century with the Romantic and Victorian periods.

As the artist Anna Rose Bain explains: perhaps women are more popular than men as winged figures because they are less intimidating, more nurturing or comforting, as well as more maternal.

Male Angel Tattoo

Angels are not male or female in the way that humans understand and experience gender.

But whenever angels are mentioned in the Bible, the word translated “angel” is always used in the masculine form, with masculine name.

Especially if you are looking to represent one of the archangels in the tattoo (see above in ‘Types of angels’), male angel tattoo would be the most correct representation.

The cherubim are a group of angels recognized in both Judaism and Christianity.

Cherub tattoos depict them as small, chubby male angels, which is a modern interpretations.

In theory, cherubim are powerful hierarchy of angels that have inspired art and through that tattoo art.

Basically, cherubs guard God’s glory both on Earth and by his throne in heaven, work on the universe’s records, and help people grow spiritually by delivering God’s mercy to them and motivating them to pursue more holiness in their lives.

Seraphim Angel Tattoo

The seraphim are the order of angels closest to God.

Visually they are depicted as six-winged angelic creatures.

Each set of the seraphim’s wings serves a different purpose, as explained in the verse Isaiah 6:2:

  • one set covers the face, denoting reverence and awe and acts as protection from the radiance of God’s glory
  • second set of wings is used for flying, to aid in their swift servitude
  • the third set is used to cover the seraphim’s feet so that they can humbly conceal their unworthiness, while in God’s holy presence.

Seraphims are known as purufication angels, as their name literally means to burn with fire in Hebrew.

Archangel Michael Tattoo

Archangel Michael is the chief prince of the heavenly and the most top ranked angel.

He is repeatedly depicted as the “great captain,” the leader of the heavenly hosts, and the warrior helping the children of Israel.

His order is most commonly known he is mentioned by name in the Bible — including Gabriel and Raphael.

Many relate to his image and story, as he is seen as a great warrior, leading the army of angels in the war against the devil.

In an Archangel Michael tattoo he is usually shown with a sword, in combat with or triumph over a dragon.

Angel And Devil Tattoo

In Christianity, demons and angels in the Bible play a major role in the events that happen here on earth.

The angels’ roles among many are also to protect and rescue believers.

Demons, that started out as angels in the Bible, after rebelling against God, are now on Earth, inviting believers to follow them and sin.

An angel and devil tattoo is a depiction of the eternal war of good and evil, in the world as well as in ourselves.

This tattoo can be a visual depiction of our own past battles that we’ve won against our personal demons, and how we’ve come out stronger.

Are you looking for a custom angel tattoo design? We got you.

Our expert tattoo artists will provide a quick initial draft to get you going.
Happy inking ❤

Milena Petrovic

Milena Petrovic

Co-founder of Tattoo Stylist

About the author

Milena has decided to start an organization that will create a safe environment for everybody to get their first, second or third tattoo and to encourage young people to transform their ideas into tattoos safely, with talent and vision.

You can find her writing about tattoos on Quora or updating our Pinterest profile with awesome tattoo ideas!

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