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Trees are a powerful symbol because their meaning derives not just from the sum of the whole but from each of its many parts, from their roots to leaf tops.

Not only do the different types of trees have separate representations, but their meaning can go deeper, as the cycle of the tree itself has its own representations throughout the seasons or stages of its life.

Before we dig into the symbolism of each tree as a whole, it is important to first consider the phases and the parts that each tree is comprised of and how these relate to the overall expression of tattoo art.

Tree Tattoo

SYMBOLISM OF THE TREE PHASES

Over the course of a year, a tree goes through four main cycles that are dedicated to each of the four seasons. The first cycle is in spring, the beginning, where trees start to bloom with leaves and flowers. The second cycle is summer, where trees are fully bloomed, living its life to the fullest. The third is autumn, where the leaves start to change and fall down, as if they are saying farewell. The fourth is winter, where the bare branches represent the end of the cycle, or, the end of life.

As such, it can be said that the phases of a tree symbolize the circle and rejuvenation of life itself.

REPRESENTATION OF THE PARTS OF THE TREE

LEAVES
Especially when it comes to the colour green, the leaves of a tree represent healing and abundance, and can symbolize health, contentment, abundance and even wealth.
BARE BRANCHES
The branches of a tree are seen to be reaching out into the world, as if it is trying to look for more in life. Because of this, tree branches represent the search for more; more freedom, more awareness, and more spiritual growth. In other words, it symbolizes the importance of expanding your mind to its full potential.
TREE TRUNK
A tree trunk represents protection from cruelty and harm. On the outside, bark protects the tree from dying while it continues to grow. And, because trees are revived from the inside out, a tree trunk represents that our survival and energy comes from within.
ROOTS
The roots of a tree are what keeps it steady and grounded. The symbolism of the roots represent that our belief system and ideas are what keep us grounded, even if it can’t technically be seen.

Illustrative Tree Tattoo

TYPES OF TREES AND WHAT THEY MEAN

Now that you have a better understanding of what the seasonal cycles and common parts of a tree symbolize, the next step is to pick a specific type of tree that resonates with your beliefs and personality.

THE TREE OF LIFE
The Tree Of Life is one of the most popular types of tree tattoos, and symbolizes strength, knowledge, and reincarnation. In other words, it represents that we are all physically, mentally, and spiritually connected.
WILLOW TREES
Willow trees have extremely long and winding roots and are also known to grow by bodies of water. A willow tree can represent stability due to its roots, and also a revival of love and healing due to its attraction to water, which is always forgiving and flowing. The willow tree is also the most mystical of the trees as their representation of love and healing leads to symbolizing magic, dreams, and one’s inner vision.
ASH TREES
An ash tree symbolizes growth and perspective as it is one of the highest standing trees in the world.
PALM TREES
A palm tree is typically known as a warm, happy tree and a symbol of beaches. Therefore, it represents honour, truth, and aspirations.
CYPRESS TREES
A cypress tree was often the tree that was planted in cemeteries as many cultures believed that this tree protects from evil. Therefore, a cypress tree symbolizes protection, death, and sadness.
APPLE TREES
Although the Apple tree is the tree that is most seen in many biblical references that represent mystery and temptation, the more spiritual symbolism of the Apple tree represents learning and knowledge.
ASPEN TREES
Aspen trees are the trees of literature; they are the animated trees that are known to dance in the wind. If you are a fan of art and literature, then you may know that the druids went Aspen Groves to “watch nature dance” as a sort of celebration. Therefore, an aspen tree represents conquering fear and doubt as well as overcoming hardship. As a whole, this tree symbolizes a positive end to something.
DOGWOOD TREES
These trees are interesting to choose as a tattoo because they represent apathy or indifference. Although that may sound like a negative thing to glorify, being indifferent or apathetic is not always a bad thing. For example, some people choose this tree to represent their indifference of others’ toxicity interfering with their lives.
FIG TREES
Fig trees have those big leaves that are used in art and paintings to cover up certain parts of the body, perhaps nudity or something embarrassing. Therefore, fig trees symbolize a lack of shame.
LINDEN TREES
A linden tree is the tree of marriage, so it is often used to represent love and monogamy, especially with newlyweds and young couples.
OAK TREES
An oak tree represents durability, strength, bravery, and liberty as is it the holy tree of the Celtic religion who believed that these trees have them physic abilities.

Asian Style Tree Tattoo

Closing Thoughts Regarding Tree Tattoos

All in all, a tree tattoo is a very powerful yet very personal choice of tattoo as each tree has its own personality that can represent yours, as well as a similar and relatable outside representation of their parts and phases which represents, as a whole, the meaning of life.

Interested in Getting your Own Tattoo?

Do you live in or around the Toronto, Markham, Mississauga or Kitsilano Vancouver area? Interested in getting your first, or perhaps 3rd or 5th or 10th tattoo? We’re the place to call! Our team of passionate, talented and professional tattoo artists can help you find the perfect design for your next tattoo. Stop by or reach out today for more info.

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