Phoenix Tattoo Meaning

Phoenix is a mystical bird that has different meanings in different cultures. This colorful fiery bird is perhaps one of the most beautiful tattoo designs – it represents rebirth, immortality, grace, and virtue. It is, in fact, one of the oldest symbols in the world, and as a tattoo, it can be worn by both men and women. But let’s take a look at some of the most important phoenix tattoo meanings.

Greek Mythology – the Story of the Phoenix

In Greek, phoenix means purple-red, which indicates that this bird is associated with fire.

In Ancient Greek Mythology, the phoenix is known as a fiery bird, said to live for 500 years.

When about to die, the phoenix builds a nest from aromatic twigs and sets fire to it – then it consumes itself in flames. Three days after its death, the phoenix arises from the ashes, resurrected and reborn.

According to an Egyptian legend, after its resurrection, the phoenix carries the embalmed ashes of its previous existence to Heliopolis, the city of the sun. Once arrived, it submits its ashes to the Sun.

In both Greek and Egyptian mythology, the phoenix was known to sing very sweetly, while dazzling in its plumage of gold, scarlet and purple.

The Phoenix Tattoo Meaning Today

Phoenix Tattoo Meaning

Fire, rebirth, immortality

The phoenix tattoo represents renewal, rebirth and the beginning of a new life.

The rising of the phoenix symbolizes that a person has gone through difficult times, but has resurrected and survived. It means that he or she has arisen from flames as a winner, beating all life challenges and defeating hard times.

Therefore, phoenix is a symbol of rebirth from the ashes of the past, and it also represents the victory of life over death, thus immortality.

Kindness, goodness, reliability, duty, prosperity

  • The phoenix represents also a number of good virtues in the person. The reason for this may lie in the fact that when someone comes out of difficult situations, i.e. flames, he or she emerges as a new, better person.
  • In Chinese Mythology, the phoenix is associated with feminine virtues, such as grace and kindness.
  • It is also said that each part of the phoenix represents a different virtue: the body represents kindness, the wings symbolize prosperity, and the head means reliability.

The Phoenix in Different Cultures

Phoenix Tattoo Meaning

Chinese mythology

As we have just mentioned, the Chinese believed that the phoenix represented virtue and grace, and the Chinese Empress was the only person who could wear the symbol of the phoenix.

In Chinese mythology, the phoenix is therefore associated with a feminine side, while the dragon represents the masculine energy. These two symbols together represent the union of yin and yang.

The Chinese phoenix has black, white, green, red and yellow plumage, which are primary colors that correspond to five primary elements.

Early Christians

Early Christians considered phoenix as a symbol of resurrection – the phoenix’s dying and rising from the flames after 3 days had many similarities with the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Jewish legends

According to Jewish legends, the phoenix was the only creature who refrained itself from eating the forbidden fruit. To do so, the bird consumed itself in flames and resurrected from the ashes after 3 days. In this sense, the phoenix represents victory over temptation, as well as sacrifice and renewal.

Ancient Romans

Ancient Romans displayed the phoenix symbol on their coins to ensure the longevity of the Roman Empire.

Ancient Egyptians

In Ancient Egypt, the Phoenix was considered to be the symbol of the Sun God Ra.


Together with the rising sun, the phoenix is one of the emblems of the Japanese Empire. They call it Ho-o (Ho-ou), which means the Immortal Bird. For the Japanese, the phoenix is therefore associated with immortality.

Well, hasn’t all this convinced you to get a phoenix tattoo? Let us know in the comments!


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About the author


Jessica is a translator who has lived for many years in Asia and South America. She now lives and works in Europe, while preparing her new journeys. She enjoys traveling, meeting new people, exploring different cultures and foods, and being in love.


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  • My granddaughter’s name is Phoenix so I really want this as a symbol and love i have for her

  • I got a phoniex to represnt losing a boxing title fight in a national level re created myself from a braweler to a boxer mover , also when i fought a long battle with a drug addiction and getting physicaly and emotional abused by my step dad for years it means alot to me to see it on my back meaning i can achieve anything and be what ever i wish to be

  • I am getting a Phoenix as my first tattoo. I just went through the worst depression which almost cost me the best woman I have ever met, and my life. It took almost losing her to another man to help me rise up and be the man I was intended to be.

  • I got a tribal phoenix tramp stamp years ago, hand drawn by a local artist to depict exactly who I am. I am thrilled to find that the legend of the Phoenix completely suites me and my persona.

  • My husband of 17 years had tribal Phoenix on his back. I’ve always wanted a female version of it. He had this tattoo for all the right reasons and knew the meaning prior to getting it about 8 years ago. On February 15, 2014 he unexpectedly passed away. His funeral was on the 27th of February. The month prior to that on January 27th we buried my mother who passed just 3 weeks after finding out she had terminal lung cancer.
    So now, more than ever I want this tattoo. I also want to incorporate a stand of pearls for lung cancer to honor my mother. I was thinking in the mouth of the Phoenix??
    I haven’t gotten it done because finding the right artist is way harder than I thought. Any suggestions? I live in SoCal. The inland Empire actually.
    Thanks for reading.

  • I lost my job of twelve years, My mother died and My husband cheated on me, ao im in the process of a nasty divorce all of this happened in 4 months…And I’m still standing! The Phoenix is perfect for me..

  • I had a dream getting a tattoo of a flaming red/orangish /yellow phoenix with the sun in its claws on top of my left thigh, I’m puzzled over it’s meaning.

  • I’ve had a phoenix tattoo for a number of years now to signify the struggles I overcame. I then moved across the country for a new start and got my tattoo at that time. Still love it!