The ultimate symbol in our collective lexicon of myth and faith, the Tree of Life is a figure of significance and beauty. What does the Tree of Life stand for, exactly? Well, it has meant a variety of things to different groups of people for thousands of years. That's no typo: first evidence of such a concept as a Tree of Life seems to have appeared as early as in ancient Mesopotamia -- quite literally the first known civilization on Earth. The Tree of Life, or aspects quite similar to it, appear within the texts of every major religion on the planet. And, in each interpretation or adaptation, the Tree of Life has taken on new meaning and purpose.
So, it comes as little surprise that Tree of Life tattoos are incredibly popular on Instagram and likely beyond. There's something specific to be drawn from the Tree of Life for almost anyone, with an increasing attachment to popular culture through the explosion of genres like fantasy. People have taken interpretations of the Tree of Life to some interesting places, from cosmic colors to whimsical illustrations, futuristic line work, and more. For you, we've collected some of the most eclectic, appealing, and even metaphysical Tree of Life tattoos out there to inspire that next, or first, exciting tattoo. Enjoy seeking inspiration for one of the most unmistakably cool and intriguing kinds of tattoos around.
A Tree of Colorful Life
Kicking off this list is a wonderfully colorful take on the Tree of Life by a Spanish tattoo artist named Laura Caselles. This approach both appears classical in its shape with the modernity that its bursts of color bring. The tattoo's message translates to "throw me earth, you will see how I bloom."
The Tree at the Center of the Orrery
This black-and-white piece is simply stunning for its sheer display of talent by Manon Z’ of Portugal, but also its classic medieval appeal. Many interpretations of the Tree of Life in mythology place the tree at the center of the cosmos, with its leaves and branches surrounding even the sun and moon.
The Storybook Tree of Life
Like an illustration ripped from the pages of the most epic children's book ever, this piece is mesmerizing dot and line work. Thanks to the Inked Up Irish Tattoos studio in New Brunswick, Canada, we're whisked away to a mythical place with this ink art.
An Ornamental Tree of Life
This piece really sticks to its aesthetic approach in interpreting the Tree of Life, becoming more symbolic than anything -- of what we're unsure. Inked by an artist known as Maxi Max from Spain, it truly does reflect expert line work and a quality akin to a logo on a flag.
Code is the Future of Life
Whether it alters it or becomes another form of it in itself, code and artificial intelligence are the future of life on Earth. We're reminded of this by Gina McDougall, an artist based in Aberdeenshire, England, with an incredible piece of line work meant to intimate that computers and the code they're built upon will become part of the life cycle one way or another.
The First Tree of Life
This piece looks like the archetypal Tree of Life, the one from which all the others were inspired -- or something like that. From the shading to the coloring and even the line work, everything about this pieces screams "classic", thanks to Port Orange Tattoo in Port Orange, Florida.
A Tree of Life Rooted in the Mandala
Not only are the line and dot work in this tattoo simply amazing, we dig the connection being made here between the two icons of ancient and even modern faith. Thanks to Filipa Guerreiro of Portugal, now it's going to be tough to separate the two -- at least in terms of what they represent and their round, symmetrical shapes.
A Whimsical Tree of Life
This is the kind of Tree of Life representation we'd expect to see in the pages of, say, The Wind in the Willows or The Lord of the Rings. It's got an incredible painterly quality to it that's honestly spellbinding. Kudos to Lefty Drewski of Placerville, or "Hangtown", California for the magical look.
A Stark Symbol of Cyclical Life
We love the stark, black line work in this piece for its simplicity and direct nature, not to mention its excellent asymmetry. Inked by Laura Leiva of Barcelona, it's a beautiful example of symbolic tattoo work that looks more like ritual than pastime.
A Cosmic Tree of Life
Here's a piece that takes the cosmic implications of the Tree of Life to quite a literal and beautiful level. In some adaptations of the concept, the galaxy or universe's planets and stars resided in the Tree of Life as its fruit. Fantastic work is on here by Daniel Alexander of Chile.
A Well-Rooted Tree of Life
This piece is particularly interesting for its focus on the roots and base of the tree moreso than the leaves. Gorgeously inked by an Instagram tattooer known simply as crim.ink TATTOO on the platform, the design's primary focus makes it seem more earthly than the others.
A Tree Aflutter with Life
We like this piece for the life that the silhouetted birds in flight add to the tone of this adaptation. It's both a symbolic piece as seen on #9, but it also looks like a snapshot in time captured in, well, silhouette. Huge points to Asderel Mir of Colombia for this genre-bending beauty.
The Tree of Life Uprooted
We're not sure what's being communicated thematically by this piece, but we just love the overall look an tone of it. For some reason, the dots makes it appear somehow celestial, as if part of a constellation, plus the color and line work are amazing. Thanks, Jess Confait of Maidstone, England.
The Tree of Later in Life
We're getting some serious golden years vibe from this fantastic piece by someone known as Tatu Taganrog on Instagram. This looks like the Tree of Life in decline, judging by the lack of branches up top and how some sort of dust is blowing off the tree itself as well. Plus, excellent line and color work by them.
A Tree of Life with Fiery Passion
This is a fantastic Tree of Life piece in that it both has that crest or logo-like appeal, but it also adds a new, unexpected element: flame. We're unsure of what the flame inside represents, but it's a badass idea all the same -- claps go out to Zigo of New Skin Tattoo.