The Alliance of Christian Tattooers guide to avoiding ungodly tattoos.

As followers of Jesus Christ we take it upon ourselves the duty to serve God in all we do. At times this also means abstaining from certain practices. May the following be a guide to you in understanding practical biblical application of tattoos that should be avoided in both creating and receiving. Please remember that all tattoos we give and receive should be prayerfully considered and if you are not at peace in your spirit about the tattoo, that is a strong indicator of something to avoid. Below is a list of some of the common tattoos that are not of God accompanied by scriptural references for reasoning. Remember there are likely many things that are not on this list that should be avoided, this list should serve as a good starting point.

Astrology Symbols: As followers of Christ we should not create astrological symbols because they are a symbol of putting your faith in Gods creation rather than God the creator.

Definition - Astrology is the study of the movements and relative positions of celestial objects as a means for divining information about human affairs and terrestrial events. Astrology, in its broadest sense, is the search for meaning in the sky. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astrology)

Scriptural Reference: 

Isaiah 47:13-15 NIV. 

"All the counsel you have received has only worn you out. Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you. Surely they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up. They cannot even save themselves from the flame… Each of them goes on in his error; there is not one that can save you.”

Deuteronomy 18:9-14 NIV.

“When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD; because of these same detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you.  You must be blameless before the LORD your God. The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do so.”


1 Samuel 15:23 NIV.

"Rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.”


Isaiah 8:19 NIV.

“When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?”


The list below gives common examples of astrological symbols but is not limited to:

Western Astrology:

  • aries                                                   

  • capricorn

  • leo

  • cancer

  • libra

  • virgo

  • scorpio

  • sagittarius

  • aquarius

  • pisces

  • gemini

  • taurus

  • Eastern Astrology:

  • year of the pig

  • year of the dog

  • year of the rooster

  • year of the monkey

  • year of the sheep

  • year of the horse

  • year of the snake

  • year of the dragon

  • year of the rabbit

  • year of the tiger

  • year of the ox

  • year of the rat

Witchcraft/Sorcery Symbols: As followers of Christ we do not create symbols of witchcraft because practicing witchcraft is detestable and evil in the eyes of the Lord.

Witchcraft Definition – witchcraft or witchery broadly means the practice of and belief in magical skills and abilities exercised by solitary practitioners and groups. Witchcraft is a broad term that varies culturally and societally, and thus can be difficult to define with precision, and cross-cultural assumptions about the meaning or significance of the term should be applied with caution. Witchcraft often occupies a religious divinatory or medicinal role, and is often present within societies and groups whose cultural framework includes a magical world view. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witchcraft)

Sorcery definition: Sorcery is the practice of using occult supernatural means, such as incantations and/or spells, in order to control forces in the spiritual realm with the intention of influencing the physical realm. Sorcery was used, and still is used, in order to gain control of the environment and/or people, to foretell the future, to summon spirits, to harm others, and/or benefit one's self. It is often associated with magic, whether it be black or white. Black magic is the attempt to produce harm upon someone through curses and spells. White magic is the attempt to use incantations and spells for personal benefit. (carm.org)

Scriptural references: 

2 Chronicles 33:6 NIV.

“He sacrificed his children in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced divination and witchcraft, sought omens, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD, arousing his anger.”

Galatians 5:19-21 NIV.

“The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Deuteronomy 18:10-14 NIV.

“Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD; because of these same detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the LORD your God. The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do so.”

The list below gives common examples of symbols associated with witchcraft but is not limited to:

  • pentagram

  • pentacle

  • triple moon

  • evil eye

  • hamsa

Divination/Spiritist Symbols: As followers of Christ we should not create symbols of divination or spiritist (fortune telling) because the word of God tells us that such things defile us and that the practices themselves are evil.

Divination Definition - : the art or practice that seeks to foresee or foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge usually by the interpretation of omens or by the aid of supernatural powers. (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/divination

Spiritist Definition - : the belief that the spirits of the dead communicate with the living, esp. through a person (a medium) particularly susceptible to their influence. (https://www.thefreedictionary.com/spiritists)

Scriptural references:

Leviticus 19:31 NIV.

“Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.”

Leviticus 20:6 NIV.

“I will set my face against anyone who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute themselves by following them, and I will cut them off from their people.”

2 Chronicles 33:6 NIV.

“He sacrificed his children in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced divination and witchcraft, sought omens, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD, arousing his anger.”

The list below includes common symbols associated with divination and spiritist (fortune telling) but is not limited to: 

  • ouija board

  • tarot cards

  • chart of the hand

  • crystal ball

Sexual content/lewd/unwholesomeness: As followers of Christ we should not create sexual content, lewd or unwholesome images because even though the root of these things are not art related and are symptoms of an internal darkness, the art we create can encourage, promote and express an acceptance of such behavior to others.

Sexual content Definition : Sexual content includes media depicting actual or simulated sexually explicit conduct involving one or more persons. This includes sexual penetration, non-penetrative sex and masturbation. Partial or total nudity by itself is generally not considered sexual content. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Sexual_content)

Lewd Definition : involving or being sexual conduct that is considered indecent or offensive. (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lewd)

Unwholesome Definition : Not characterized by or conducive to health or moral well-being. (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/unwholesome)

Scriptural references:

Ephesians 5:3 NIV

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”

Matthew 5:28 NIV

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Mark 7:22-23 NIV

adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

Ephesians 4:29 NIV 

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

False gods/deities: As followers of Christ we should not create symbols of false gods because the word of God tells us to have no other gods before Him. We should serve only Him. Gods word tells us not to make for ourselves idolatrous images and to not even invoke their names with our lips.

Definition – a false god is, in Abrahamic doctrines, a deity or object of worship that is regarded as either illegitimate or non-functioning in its professed authority or capability, and this characterization is further used as a definition of "idol". The term is often used throughout the Bible to compare YHWH, interpreted by Jews and Christians, or Elohim/Allah, interpreted by Jews, Christians, and Muslims, as the only real God. For example, 2 Kings 17:30 (NLV) states, with reference to false gods, "The men of Babylon made the false god Succoth-benoth. The men of Cuth made the false god Nergal. The men of Hamath made the false god Ashima”.(https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_god)

Scriptural references:

Deuteronomy 32:16-17 NIV.

“They made him jealous with their foreign gods and angered him with the detestable idols. They sacrificed to false gods, which are not God – gods they had not known, gods that recently appeared, gods your ancestors did not fear.”

Psalm 97:7 NIV.

“All who worship images are put to shame, those who boast in idols – worship him, all you gods!”

Exodus 20:3-4 NIV

“You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.

Exodus 23:13 NIV.

“Be careful to do everything I have said to you. Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips.

The list below includes a small fraction of examples of false gods/deities from a few various backgrounds but is not limited to:

Greek:

  • aphrodite

  • zues

  • poseidon

Egyption:

  • horus

  • ra

  • anubis

Roman:

  • neptune

  • apollo

  • cupid

Hindu:

  • shiva

  • ganesha

  • kali

Japanese :

  • raijin

  • fujin

  • omoikane

Mayan:

  • bacab

  • bahlam

  • itzamna

Aztec:

  • coatlicue

  • quetzalcoatl

  • tezcatlipoca

Norse:

  • odin

  • frigg

  • thor

Polynesian:

  • ku

  • kane

  • lono

Norse:

  • odin

  • frigg

  • thor

Others:

  • buddha

  • mahavira

  • krishna

* note - While not all the characters in the ‘other’ section above are considered ‘gods’ by all of their followers, it is important to remember what their teachings symbolize. For they are a symbol of their teachings. For example buddha is believed to be a guru by some, however he taught that there is no god or heaven or hell or judgement. While he did teach on principles like peace and love, he also taught many things that are not of  God, his path is not a path to God but to destruction.

We hope this has been helpful and informative for you. Please remember that performing and receiving tattoos may not be right for everybody and we encourage you to prayerfully consider if this is something that is right for you in your walk with God. Below we have concluded with an example of how one Christian tattoo shop has decided to inform their clients not only of their faith in God but examples in the ways they choose to follow Him within their work.

Salt & Light Tattoos Terms of Tattooing:

All people are welcome here. We will tattoo anyone who is of age, of sound mind and sober. We will NEVER refuse service to someone based on their: race, color, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, religion or disability. However this does not mean we will tattoo anything you want, anywhere you want it. We reserve the right to refuse to create tattoos that may be impractical or harmful in nature by location or design, ultimately affecting the quality of the tattoo. We also reserve the right to refuse to create tattoos that violate our own religious beliefs. All people are free to make their own choices regarding how to adorn their bodies with tattoos however we are unable to participate in creating certain tattoos.  We do not do any tattoos involving: racism, gang affiliation, sexually explicit or vulgar content, astrology, witchcraft, divination, false idols/gods or any symbols of beliefs and practices that go against the teachings of Jesus Christ. We love all people but are forbidden, because of our own religious beliefs to create certain images. We thank you for your understanding and support.  

- “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." - Joshua 24:15 (NIV)