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Trees Tattoo design have been a consistently popular theme in almost all forms of artistic expression. In tattoo art, they appear in a surprising variety of designs and styles. 

But what does a tree tattoo mean?

As you probably guessed, there is no simple answer to this question. Trees are an inextricable part of life on this planet and, naturally, they are very important in our mythologies, stories and spiritual beliefs. Below, you will find an overview of the importance of trees and the meaning of tree tattoos, as well as a large gallery of impressive-looking tree tattoo designs.

Trees in Norse mythology

The Norse believed that an immense tree, known as the World Tree or Yggdrasill, grows in the center of the cosmos, supporting and connecting all the kingdoms of the universe. It was believed that Yggdrasill's roots extended to the underworld (Niflheim), the land of the giants (Jötunheim) and the home of the gods (Asgard). The tree fed animals, humans and gods alike, and connected all phases of existence and all living beings. According to most sources, Yggdrasill was an ash tree.

Norse mythology is not unique in the belief in a tree that supports the structure of the universe. Among others, the folklore and mythologies of Eastern, Greek and Indian Europe imply the concept of the world tree. Interestingly, in the mythology of early India, the position of the world tree is reversed: the roots are in the sky and the branches grow down towards the earth. The Known as vörðr (which literally means "guardian" or "caretaker"), guardian trees also come from Norse mythology and culture. Vörðr were very old trees that grew on a farm or other piece of land inhabited by humans, believed to defend the land from bad luck. Guardian trees were treated with great respect and damaging them in any way was considered a very serious crime.

The Norse also believed that spirits lived under the roots of the guardian tree, and often performed rituals and offered offerings to appease the spirits and receive protection against disease or bad luck.

Trees in Persian and Slavic mythology

Both the Persians and the Slavs believed in a tree of life that provided the seeds for all the plants in the world. The Persian Empire focused on modern Iran, while the Slavs were a collection of Indo-European tribes and nations.

The tree of life was guarded by an invisible dragon known as Simarghu (Persian) or Simorg (Slavs). Because no one knew which of the trees in the world was the tree of life, the Slavs performed special rituals before cutting any tree. The Persians erred on the side of caution and did not cut any trees at all, waiting for them to fall naturally.

Trees in religion and spirituality

Most modern religions have some form of beliefs and legends related to trees. An example is Buddhism, where the tree is a symbol of wisdom, likes stories about the life of Buddha. According to legend, Buddha achieved spiritual enlightenment while sitting under a kind of fig tree (specifically the bodhi tree).

In Christianity, the most important trees in the Bible are those of the Garden of Eden, counted in the book of Genesis. After breaking their oath to God and eating a fruit from the Tree of Life and the Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam and Eve were denied the fruit of the Tree of Life, which would have made them immortal.

When European missionaries presented the Christian religion to Native Americans, a myth emerged about a talking tree that toured the world to spread the news about the new faith.

In popular culture, forests and jungles tend to evoke notions of mystery, worldliness and sometimes even danger. Wild, dark and wooded areas can appear as reserves of nature and peace and as home to strange and dangerous things.

The fantasy genre, in particular, makes frequent use of trees and forests. Think of the Ents in The Lord of the Rings (the talking trees) or the Forbidden Forest or the Weeping Willow in Harry Potter. In storytelling, the forest is often the scene where strange and mysterious things happen and the abode of creatures from another world such as elves, dryads or ghosts.

Designs and meanings of tree tattoos

Due to their complex nature in our culture, trees have many meanings associated with them in tattoo art. In general, trees are associated with strength, stability and longevity. In particular, oak tattoos refer to the generic meaning of a strong character and a long.