The early sailors didn't have sophisticated navigational systems and relied heavily on the stars for navigation. The five-pointed nautical star, which stands for the Polaris or the North Star that never sets or rises, was their navigational aid. Once they were able to spot the circumpolar North Star, they had a sense of direction and could then navigate accordingly.
The nautical star was not only a navigational aid but a symbol of hope. It helped sailors overcome their fear of getting lost or losing a sense of direction. To lift their spirits, they began to get this star inked on their body. The five-pointed star tattoos became a symbol of good luck or hope. The colors used in the tattoo were also used to symbolize the port side and the starboard side of the ship. The five-pointed star continues to be a popular tattoo, symbolizing hope.
Nautical Star Tattoos for Sailors
In the five-pointed star, a line is drawn from each point to split it into half and each section is filled with an alternating color. The colors used are either red and black, or green and black.
The sailors would usually get two (nautical) stars inked. The port side, which is the left side of the ship is represented by the red and black star, while the green and black star is used to represent the starboard side or right side. Those who served the port side of the ship had the red star inked while green star was for those who served the starboard side of the ship.
Sailors loved to flaunt these tattoos to symbolize their life at the sea. Donning a red and black star was linked to their pride as it meant that the sailor had traveled across the Pacific ocean at least thrice. That was a great achievement in itself. Some of them got a red and black star inked as the compass at the bottom of most of the sea maps was colored red and black.
Since sailors completely relied on celestial navigation in the olden days, the North Star being a fixed reference point, was a great aid. These tattoos were also symbolic of hope. They got these tattoos to ensure safe passage. Since the sailors were staying away from their loved ones, they hoped to reach back home safely to reunite with their dear ones. Their beliefs about the meaning of this tattoo stemmed from their dependence on the celestial navigation to get back home.
These tattoos were earlier a symbol of hope and guidance for sailors. As time went by, even soldiers started getting these five-pointed stars inked on their body for the same reason. These tattoos have gained popularity and it is not just the people working in the armed forces who are getting them.
The meaning that a tattoo enthusiast may assign to the star could vary depending on his/her own perceptions. It can be a symbol of the person's perspective towards life or may symbolize one's ambitions. Since the five-pointed star was a symbol of hope and good luck, it could be your good luck charm. It may give one strength to succeed in life. These tattoos have also been linked with the gay or lesbian movement and punk rockers.
Nautical star can remind you of your ideals, dreams and give you the courage to go on. With time, several designs have become popular. You could get these in your desired colors. You could get a blue star inked to show that you cherish loyalty. You could get a tribal star, shooting star, moon star, pentagram or star of David tattoo. You could also think of innovative ideas and use your imagination to make the five-pointed star a part of a bigger design.
On a concluding note, besides being a navigational aid, the nautical star has been a symbol of hope and guidance. Get this star tattoo and let it give you the courage to carve out your life path and respect your ideals. If you are simply getting a star inked on your body to make a style statement, you should use vibrant colors or design elements to make it attention-grabbing.