Tattoos are ultimately symbolic to the individual who chooses to get one, but there are certain types of trees that are commonly used in tattoos; these trees have cultural or mythological significance.
In ancient times, painted and tattooed trees as body art were reserved for the noble class, as the trees signified wealth and power that was not available to the peasantry.
Today, tree tattoos retain much of their symbolic and religious meaning for individuals. The meaning of a tree tattoo is tied to its history as well as the symbolic importance the individual gives to it.
Most trees have a general symbolic meaning of fertility, rejuvenation of life and refer to the circle of life. Trees represent the cycles of the seasons and the ability of the individual to generate life.
Tree of Life
The Biblical tree of life is another common tattoo that signifies the search for knowledge and wisdom. Worship of trees that bear the fruit of knowledge and immortality is a common facet of many older religions.
The Norse tree of life, called the Yggdrasil, is a mythological ash tree. Its roots hold the spirit world together, its trunk contains the mortal world and the branches hold up the heavens. The Yggdrasil is a common tattoo for those who like complex imagery.