Since the beginning of the human conquest of the sea, theswallow has always been one of the emblems of the maritime tradition. This is partly due to the fact that swallows were the first visible birds when seafarers approached the mainland. Seeing swallows meant that a safe harbor was looming on the horizon. The swallow has become an anchor: a sign that, despite the tumultuous waters, everything would be fine. The story of sailors and swallows began in the British Navy. The sailors decorated their bodies with tattoos of swallows because they thought that it would allow them to return safe and sound.
Swallow tattoos were also an important step in a sailor's life. According to legend, the more tattoos swallows a sailor had, the greater the distance he could safely travel.
The ancient Egyptians also revered these little birds. For them, swallows were powerful stars and living guardians of the souls of the dead. Swallows were also considered as creatures of the sun and their presence symbolized the renewal and the arrival of new opportunities. This concept has found an echo in Christianity and several verses of the Bible mention swallows / sparrows as a sign of rebirth and renewed hope during the time of persecution of Christians. In some circles, the sparrow and the swallow are emblems of Jesus Christ and show that Jesus continues to watch over his followers filled with faith. A famous gospel song reflects this biblical concept (His Eye is on the Sparrow – His eye is on the Swallow) – If the Almighty keeps a watchful eye on the soul of a humble bird (the swallow), he will certainly watch over the souls of believers.
The symbolism of a dead swallow represents the loss of freedom. Swallows have a free and indomitable spirit. They are considered as the most difficult birds to domesticate and prefer to escape only to stay close and to sing obediently.
Sparrows and swallows are symbols of the Greek goddess Aphrodite, making them representations of love and desire. Classical writers, like Shakespeare, were not afraid to use these birds in their works to symbolize passion and lust. But despite their versatile nature, swallows are also symbols of motherhood. They are loving mothers who would do anything to protect their little ones.
Meanings of tattoos of swallows
These birds are associated with some powerful features:
- Security and safety
- Maternity and family
- Freedom and independence
- Love and compassion
- Hope and fertility
Variations of tattoos of swallows
Tribal tattoo of swallows
There are drawings that reflect the traditions of tribal cultures. The black and white tattoos of swallows are beautifully complex and represent the religious image of the bird and its connections to the spiritual world.
Tattoo of two swallows
For sailors, a swallow tattoo marked a cape in their lives. Two swallows on the chest or on the shoulders (one on each side) represented a successful trip across the equator (round trip) or the completion of a journey of 5000 nautical miles. In some places, the position of a swallow tattoo changes the meaning of the drawing. The swallows on both wrists would mean that you are a staunch street fugitive who has certainly spent time in jail.
Rose and swallow tattoo
The rose, like the swallow, is a symbol of the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite. This drawing represents immortal love and is usually done in memory of a loved one, on a seabed. Swallows are seen as guardians of the souls of the dead, making this drawing a perfect tribute to lost loves and loved ones gone missing.