Bird tattoos are a symbol of freedom, flight and spirituality. Each bird has its own meaning, acting as spiritual guides for human beings known as “totems”. One of the most popular bird totem tattoo designs is a colorful peacock bird.
The Meaning of Peacock Tattoos
Peacocks are a breed of pheasant birds indigenous to Asia. The male is known as a peacock, the female as a peahen and a young bird is known as a peachick. The peahen is a non-nondescript shade of brownish grey, but the peacock is a bright, shimmering creature with unusually shaped, decorative feathers. The tail feathers of the peacock are especially prized, as they are eye-shaped and have a metallic sheen. Peacock feathers are often used in art as a symbol of beauty.
Peacock tattoo designs are usually chosen for a combination of the beauty of the bird, and the meaning of peacocks. Because of the eye-shaped feathers that make up its tail, the peacock totem is a symbol of watchfulness, awareness and protection. The meaning of a peacock in tattoo designs changes according to whether the peacock is the main subject of the design or a secondary subject. As the main subject of a tattoo, a peacock stands for self awareness, personal beauty and watchfulness. As a secondary subject in a tattoo (not the main subject), peacocks are a symbol of being watched or protected.
Peacocks can eat poisonous plants, insects, flowers and snakes without any ill effects. This has earned them the symbolism of being able to ward off evil spirits and dangerous influences. An amulet of peacock feathers, swallow feathers and amethyst stones was once believed to protect its wearer from witches and sorcerers. The poisonous foods that peacocks enjoy do not make the peacock poisonous to humans. In Medieval times, peacocks were a delicacy enjoyed by the nobility. Kings would often display a roasted peacock with a carefully crafted fan of tail feathers on his dinner table as a show of wealth and privilege.
Peacocks are very showy birds during the mating season. For the rest of the year, peacocks generally don’t display their tail feathers in the fan that has become associated with peacocks. When the peacock’s tail feathers are not on show, they generally drag in the dirt behind the bird. Each year the peacock replaces its feathers, so peacock tattoos are a symbol of rejuvenation and renewal. For someone who has changed their body and is now proud of their personal appearance, a peacock tattoo could be a perfect tattoo design.
Tattoos that you can Wear as Proud as a Peacock
Peacocks are very proud birds. In mating season, the peacock will woo the peahen with his bright plumage, strutting proudly before her while displaying his regal fan of feathers. The television network NBC uses a peacock as their logo, and in 1979 chose the slogan, “proud as a peacock”. The phrase is now often used with reference to people who have recently achieved something and are now celebrating their success.
The meaning of peacock tattoos varies according to which symbolism the tattoo owner associates with the bird. For example, if a person wearing a peacock tattoo believes in Native American symbolism, the peacock would stand for dignity, wholeness and beauty. If the person held Hindu beliefs, they would associate the bird tattoo with patience, kindness and luck. (This is why the peacock is the national bird of India). In Japan, peacocks are believed to be a symbol of love, protection and generosity.
Because of their beauty and intrigue, peacocks have played a large role in ancient myths and legends. In ancient Greece and Rome, the peacock was associated with the goddess Hera (aka Juno), the goddess of the sky and stars. The peacock’s tail feathers have gold circles on a blue background, and were believed to represent the stars in heaven. Hera’s husband, Zeus, took a lover, Io. Hera punished Io and placed the hundred eyes of Argus, Io’s body guard, on the tail feathers of the peacock. This is how the “eyes” on the peacock’s tail came about, and took on the meaning of watchfulness and guardianship.
The colors of peacocks are blue, green and gold, colors that are best displayed against a background of pink, red or orange, to highlight the cool color scheme of the bird. Pink, purple or orange flowers can be used as a background for peacock tattoos, adding extra meaning to the peacock tattoo design. To learn more about bird tattoos, read Beautiful Bird Tattoos Give Wings to Skin. For more information on flower tattoos, read Gorgeous Flower Tattoo Designs for Girls.