Winged Tattoo Cross

From the countless different designs of tattoos, the Christian Cross is a favourite - along with angels and wings. This page discusses tattoos in general, but with the Tribal Winged Cross Tattoo in mind.

Tribal Winged Cross Tattoo

Winged Tattoo Cross

"but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

Isa. 40:31

Tribal Tattoos

We use the word Tribal because although tattoos help people to feel unique, independent and in control of their bodies, tats also enable them to belong to a particular subculture. Both standing out from the crowd and being a group member sounds contradictory, but membership of a 'tribe' is quite exclusive; those who lack the brand are excluded.

David Beckham's neck tattoo

After David Beckham had a winged cross tattooed on the back of his neck during the 2004 World Cup, fans had similar tattoos done to feel closer to their hero. If some people in the gang/chapter/tribe have a tattoo, then it's a must-have for others who want to be part of that group.

Ryan Gracie
Ryan Gracie with his tattooed Thugsta Cross

For the past hundred years or so, tattoos have been associated with gangsters, convicts, low-ranking military for men; and for women, heavy drinkers and sexually promiscuous. This holds certain glamour for people who are not gangsters, convicts, low-ranking military, heavy drinkers or sexually promiscuous, but nevertheless want to be viewed as such.

And this is often OK. The problem comes when something unforeseen occurs - causing embarrassment in minor cases or life-threatening situations in extreme cases.

Hundreds of years ago, legend has it that a tattoo of a Christian Cross on a sailor's back was his insurance against excessive flogging. Today, corporal punishment is no longer permitted. A Cross tattoo would be unfortunate for any of today's British or American military who happened to be captured by somebody wanting to payback Abu Ghraib and other atrocities. Sometimes being in a tribe has undesired consequences.

Fashions and tastes are forever changing. What might be acceptable now is often unacceptable later. We just cannot accurately predict where we will be in the future, who we will want to be associated with, and who we will not want to be associated with.

That's the down side.

Advantages of Tattoos

In a tattoo's favour is that the artwork, if done properly, can be very attractive. A tattoo has the advantage over jewellery, in that for certain jobs, jewellery is not permitted for uniform reasons or safety. Jewellery can be easily lost, stolen or broken. Such things do not affect tattoos.

The psychological benefit of feeling sexier, more powerful, rebellious, and even spiritual and intelligent, all help a person feel more worthy of themselves. Unfortunately such feelings are short-lived, and there are several less-expensive options that have a more lasting effect for people who need to feel more worthy.

Surprisingly, there can be a physical health benefit. The health risks of having a tattoo are well-documented, yet there have been one or two occasions where having a tattoo has saved a life. In Brazil, for example, tattooists are trained how to spot lesions that may indicate skin cancer; a serious risk for sun-loving beachies. Australia has the world's highest incidence of melanoma, and the USA is not far behind with 9,000 deaths per year from skin cancer.

If your tattooist hasn't undergone the training to diagnose melanoma, then unfortunately you cannot use the excuse of inking as a life-saver.

Nevertheless, your tattoo can be an advantage to professionals who can make a handsome living from the increasing number of requests to have tattoos removed. In October 2015, a Harris Poll found that 29% of Americans have at least one tattoo, up from 21% in 2012. They also found an increase of the number of people who regretted having tattoos; about 23% say they wish they hadn't got one, up from 14% in 2012.

The cost of removing a tattoo is significantly higher than the cost of inking, which is great news for the removers, whether they are licensed or not.

Non-Christians and the cross tattoo

For somebody outside the Christian faith to sport a Christian symbol has its drawbacks. No matter how attractive the cross might be to the bearer, he or she has no control over the reaction of people who see it. Some may assume the bearer is Christian and ask awkward questions. With no faith, the bearer loses credibility. If persecuted for bearing a cross that has no religious significance to the bearer, then that's a double tragedy.

Christians and the cross tattoo

Conversely, if a Christian sports a cross tattoo, they will have no problem in supporting that with their faith.

A cross tattoo can be an opportunity to evangelize and it's the Christian's duty to do so by whatever tactic possible. However, a Christian should read Christian tattoos before having pigment injected into their bodies.

Cross designs used for tattoos

In addition to the Tribal Winged Cross Tattoo, any of the hundreds of designs shown in our Index could be used for a tattoo. A few are shown here (click image for more information):

Tribal Winged Cross, a common tattoo design Guardian Angel Cross Alpha and Omega Cross; the beginning and the end. 3d outline Chi Rho Cross, a sigla in various forms combining the first two letters of 'Christ' in Greek. Sometimes mis-named as Pax Cross, but make no mistake, the Chi Rho is far from being a cross of peace; rather it is a warrior's cross. Celtic, Ionic, Irish, St. John's or Halo Cross. This cross might be a Christianised version (a conversion) of a pagan Sun or Solar Cross. Nails Cross or Carpenter's Cross. Is it possible that nails were not used? Cross with a crown of thorns crucifix Sacred Heart of Jesus Cross

And here's one more design and to be honest, we're not sure if it's a Christian design. We've called it an Evangelists' Cross and also added some information about it on our Puzzles Page. If you can shed light on the meaning of this symbol, please let us know

Puzzle  Tattoo on back of neck

(For more information on Christian tattoos and actual tattoo images, visit There are more tats at, and innumerable other sites.)

Flogging was removed from the Naval Discipline Act by an Order-in-Council dated 29 March 1949


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