What Is a Tree of Life Tattoo?

Tree of life tattoos often are symbolic of the interconnectedness of life. The tree of life is a symbol with many religious, mythological and even biological meanings with great potential for personalization.

A tree has roots in the earth and branches reaching into the sky. In many religious and mythological interpretations, this represents a connection between worlds or is a bridge between the Earth and the heavens. In some cases, the roots reach into the underworld. The trunk exists in the world of men, and the branches reach up to the gods. One of the most famous incarnations of this symbol is the world tree of Norse and Germanic religion,Yggdrasil. Yggdrasil connects the Nine Worlds of Teutonic belief and is home to various mythological creatures.

Another important tree in world religion is Christianity's Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, a symbol of knowledge, consequences or sin. In Celtic art, trees often incorporate elaborate knot-work symbolic of interconnectedness and eternity. Trees are also a metaphor of biology and evolution, depicting common ancestry and the descent of life.

A tree of life tattoo has excellent potential for personalization. Those with an interest in the biological sciences may choose an evolutionary tree. Others may choose a world tree that coincides with personal beliefs or heritage as most cultures and religions contain some variation on the tree-of-life theme.