Nautical Star Tattoos The history, meaning and symbolism – what a strange mix!

The history, meaning and symbolism of nautical star tattoos is
a hotly debated topic. Today, many different groups have
adopted the nautical star tattoo as a symbol of his own
movement and all have attributed their own meaning and
history to symbol. This has given rise to a wide
disagreement as the meaning of the tattoo. Historically
almost everyone agrees that sailors were the first people to get
nautical star tattoos In fact, the very nautical word
It is related to navigation. So this connection has been
pretty firmly established. Most people would agree with the
Sailors were quite a superstitious bunch historically and
the seafaring tradition abounds in superstitious and fantastic stories
of life and death and getting lost at sea. Early
sailors sailed by the stars at night and the north star
it became the symbol for finding the way home. once you
you know where the north star is, you can point your ship at it
correct direction to get home. So the star became a symbol.
to find the way home or, more symbolically, even to find
path in life. That’s why many sailors would get tattooed
nautical stars on his forearms as a symbol of good luck in
hope to return home.

However, its modern meaning is a more debated topic.
Many believe that groups that include gays and lesbians, punk
rockers and military have embraced nautical
star tattoo as a very important symbol. the diversity of
these three groups has led many to discuss the meaning of their

For the military, the connection is quite obvious.
go back to the first mariners and the symbolism and meaning is the
Just like the first sailors. Many military men get a
nautical star tattoo as a symbol to find the way home
No danger. Of course, this can also include more
symbolically simply finding one’s own path in life.

Here is a quote we found from a member of the military
services and their interpretation of the tattoo:

“I’m in the United States Army, an MP who searched towns
and villages for Al Quida and insurgents. I was in Iraq for 1
year. I have a red and black nautical star on my wrist. Tea
the reason i got it was because when i was out there i felt it
it was a guide to guide me home to my family safely. I have it like this
to remind me that I’m going to make it to see myself
its growth. I’m not gay, no matter what you think.
represents, means something different for each one. Outside
in the desert, I looked at the stars and thought of
home. So that anyone can think what he wants, that’s what
It means to me. “

Punk rockers have also adopted this as a popular symbol for
have tattooed The punk movement traces its history and
The use of the nautical star tattoo goes back to Sailor Jerry.
Sailor Jerry is historically one of the most famous tattoo
artists ever. He was well known for his innovative and
cool designs. Punks have taken this symbol and made it
much the same meaning of finding a path in life.
Being the rugged individualists of the type, punks are attracting the
symbolism of true north and find your own unique way in
life. So the nautical star has become a symbol of this.
You see a lot of punk bands that have full sleeve tattoos.
typically incorporate nautical star tattoos on their
elbows or anywhere else.

The lesbian and gay connection is the one that doesn’t
seem so obvious at first. Historically back in the
1940s and 50s when alternative lifestyles weren’t the norm
and often women had to hide their alternative options that
would sport a hidden nautical star. They would often get
the star tattoo done on the inside of her wrist where
could easily be hidden with a watch during the day, but be shown
at night when he’s in town. Today many lesbians
where the nautical star is tattooed to show its connection with
her early pioneer sisters. here’s a little
evidence to support my points.

“Here is the excerpt (with some dropped pieces) from “Boots
leather, gold slippers: the story of a lesbian
Community” by Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy and Madeilne D. Davis
copyright 1993 p. 189.

(speaking of the 1940s and 1950s):

“…During this same time period, the cultural drive to be
identified as lesbian – or at least different – all the time
was so powerful that it generated a new form of identification
among the tough bar lesbians: a star tattoo on top of the
wrist, which was normally covered by a watch. This was the
first symbol of community identity that did not depend on
butch-fem imagery. We can trace this phenomenon back to a
revelry night in the late 1950s, when some butches
Went in droves to Dirty Dick’s tattoo parlor in Chippewa
Street and put the tiny blue pentagram on their
bracelets Later, some of the women in this group also have the idea.
one night and I did it… The community sees the tattoo as a
definitive identification mark…”the Buffalo police knew
[that] the people who had the stars on their wrists were
lesbians and they had their names and stuff. it was a
thing of identity with the gay community, with the lesbian
community.” The fact that the star tattoo was created by those
that they were firmly in roles, in fact because of the group that was
considered the butchy butches and their fems, suggest that the
force to assert lesbian identity was strong enough to break
through existing traditions of boldness based on butch-fem
roles. The stars foreshadow the methods of identity created by
gay liberation. In fact, the brand has become a kind of
tradition in local circles and has seen a revival since the

This meaning of the symbol, of course, has created a lot of
problems and arguments between the other two groups of carriers
of nautical stars. Most of the puck and military don’t
I want to have a nautical star that points to anything from
the lesbian movement so many will say that there is no
connection there and this is false.

Here is a quote from another member of the military about the
symbolism of the nautical star among the gay community:

“This ‘gay symbol’ is a bunch of nonsense someone made up
Very recently. The nautical star tattoo has been around for almost
as long as it gets tattooed. The last Celts (or first Irish,
depending on your view of World History) were said to have
been the first to have the tattoos, although the evidence of it
used on ships in Spain has been found to predate the
Irish claim.

As a Marine, it’s a very common symbol among us if
we have been part of a Boat Raid company, red for port, green
to starboard in various parts of the body. We send, I saw
about a million different variations on sailors that was was
serving, obviously remembering the seafaring roots”.

Here is a quote from a punk rocker and his feelings on
the symbolism of the tattoo:

“What idiots…even military guys don’t know what it is.”
really means… JUST FOR EVERYONE TO KNOW!!!!! was worn by OLD
sailors… and the symbol represents North on a map… and
is the north star, sailors would use it as a discovery to get
home… you can find it on really really old maps and old navy
vessels… Punk Rock… well we use it because we can and
because Sailor Jerry did the best tattoos that started
wearing them all.. my grandfather even had one like that
being used as a traditional icon”

It simply shows that when the same powerful symbol is
used over and over for decades of time can take on
very different meanings for different groups. so everybody
those you see sporting a nautical star tattoo might not
all have the same interpretation of its symbolism.

So do you have a nautical star tattoo or do you think of
get one in the future? What meaning of the symbol
Will you get the nautical star? as long as you know
what is the symbolism behind the star for and have you achieved
for the right reason to support the lesbian movement
or as a symbol to find your way!

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