A Beginner’s Guide to Spiritual Tattoo Placement
When getting a tattoo, it is expected to agonize a bit over the design. “Will I want this when I’m older”, or “Could this be misconstrued in the future?” are practical and thoughtful questions to consider before committing to permanent ink (especially given the countless tattoo failure messages floating around the internet). You can also spend time finding the perfect spot, making sure it looks good, is symmetrical, or is in an area you want to show or not show. However, you may not necessarily think about what tattooing this part of your body means for your spiritual energy. Maybe you should.
Last month, Julianna Mallozzi posted a video on TikTok that got over 1.7 million views. The video describes the spiritual meaning of the tattoo locations you have chosen. In this one, and in a second video part that followed, she detailed the specific spiritual meaning of different body parts and recommended tattoo ideas and designs for each. According to Mallozzi, every tattoo has a spiritual purpose. For example, an ear tattoo can represent the influences you listen to. Or you might want to tattoo something you’re looking to “kiss” on your arm.
Getting a tattoo on your chest or torso is “one of the most energetically vulnerable places,” according to Mallozzi, so it’s best to get something extremely personal. The 21-year-old who is based in Florida recommends getting your favorite angel numbers tattooed as a small, entry-level tattoo and says thinking about where you place your tattoos could “open doors for you, spiritually speaking.” “Everything has a purpose,” she says. “If someone is careful about where they place their tattoo, they may be surprised at how comfortable that tattoo is to place where it belongs.”
In the viral video, Mallozzi also explains that connecting with the person tattooing you is also important, as their energy is put into you when they tattoo your skin. “Feel the vibe of the person you’re considering getting a tattoo with. And I mean really feel their vibe,” she says. “Their energy will tell you everything you need to know. If the energy is calm, smooth communication, they are ready to meet your needs and you appreciate their work – congratulations. You have found yourself your perfect tattoo artist. She says it only happens “once in a lifetime”.
Mallozzi is thrilled the video opened up a conversation for people as she believes “tattoos co-existing with the best suited part of the body” can cause an energetic shift. When it comes to popular tattoo placements and their meanings, she explains that the shoulders represent the burdens you carry, the face represents the energy you put out into the universe, the lower back and abs represent sexuality and the lower legs represent what you’re working (or moving) towards. Meanings can become even more specific, with your right hand representing what you give versus your left hand representing what you receive. Your neck is where you hold all your emotions and your ankles represent balance and support.
Little Porsche, a diviner from Los Angeles, thinks the reason spiritual tattoo placement is now a growing conversation is because Gen Z traits are partially defined as being “more intentional.” In addition to physical placement, she thinks now is a good time to remind people to think about the totality of their tattoo designs. “It’s important for others to really culturally understand what they’re getting tattooed. There are many people who get Buddha tattoos who are not Buddhists or who get tattoos of an African tribal figure, without knowing the tribe,” she says. “I would recommend researching the history of these tattoos before doing this as you don’t know who you might offend. Or if this energy even aligns with you ancestrally.
Little says that spiritual knowledge relevant to your personal tattoo placement comes from “whatever culture you come from.” “In most parts of Africa, people could tell which tribe they belonged to just by looking at their tattoos. Where they were placed and how they were placed also gave them more information,” she says. “But in American culture, there’s nothing wrong with getting a tattoo like pancakes or a bowl of cereal. So honestly it just differs depending on where you are.
While Little doesn’t want to tell people what to do with their bodies, for those interested in her perspective, she does recommend arm placements for a first tattoo. “Culturally, it’s one of the most popular places and it also gives you space to save time to really meditate on where you would have more meaningful tattoos (like your face, your back, your hands),” she said. Little also says that getting an ankh tattoo on your leg rather than your third eye means others will hold you to a certain standard. “If I saw someone with a tattoo of something related to my tradition on their forehead, I would assume they know the ins and outs of it,” she says. “So be prepared to live up to that.”
Since tattooing is an ancient practice that dates back to many cultures, what a tattoo design means to a person will not be a universal standard across the board. The same goes for placement. However, Mallozzi’s video serves as a much-needed reminder of what Indigenous tattoo artists have shared for years: tattooing is not just body art, but a deeply rooted tradition. Regardless of your background or spiritual beliefs, everyone can benefit from taking the time to choose a thoughtful (and culturally appropriate) tattoo design and think carefully about where you want it tattooed forever.