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The Sacred Heart is one of the oldest and most meaningful tattoo choices. Jesus Christ and his crucifixion inspire the artwork in these designs. Often with references to Jesus’ crown of thorns and fire around the heart as a symbol of divine love, traditional sacred heart tattoos serve the dual purpose of showing spirituality as well as passion. Many times, additional symbols in the design visualize struggles or triumphs of the person. These are reflections of the struggles, and eventual triumph, of Christ himself.
Continuing in this theme, sacred heart tattoos also can symbolize promises just as Christ promised salvation and redemption to his followers.
Even if you do not believe in the teachings of Christianity, a sacred heart tattoo is a great way to represent a promise. Using the heart as the base and other imagery to show a specific vow, sacred hearts take on a whole new meaning that is meant only for you. While not everyone uses these tattoos as a testament of faith, all of the designs reflect an individual’s style and have deeply personal significance.
The tattoos we have collected vary in their complexity and religious significance, but all of the designs show the importance of symbolism in a sacred heart tattoo’s meaning. Whether you are looking for a traditional sacred heart tattoo or a modern update, you are sure to find a design that will inspire you.
Sacred Heart Tattoo Ideas
The Sacred Heart is a symbol of the love of Jesus Christ, and it’s one of the most common symbols used in Christian tattoos.
The Sacred Heart represents humility, compassion, and love for all people. It’s also known as the “Immaculate Heart,” which refers to Mary, who is said to have received this special grace from God.
If you’re looking for ideas on how to get your own Sacred Heart tattoo, here are some ideas:
Sacred Heart Torch
A modern look, this sacred heart tattoo uses the fire as a reflection of a torch. This could represent the burning passions of love, or using love as a light to direct one’s path. That is a key component of any sacred heart design, but in this case, the fire is used in a different way. The beaded edge gives the heart a broach or jewelry look.
Sacred Love Potion
Instead of using conventional symbols, this sacred heart chest tattoo switches up the design to make the heart look more like a potion bottle. The swirl of the smoke or steam coming out of the top accents this idea. Rather than surrounding the heart with fire, a metallic sun accomplishes a similar effect.
A Knife to the Heart
This sacred heart tattoo design illustrates the importance of detail and symbolism. While the heart is a typical “valentine’s” shape, two aortas come out of the top of the heart for a touch of realism. Again, we see swirls, which in this case could be either smoke or blood flowing from the heart. The crucifix is a reference to the religious significance, and its placement in the blood connects back to Christ’s sacrifice as well. The knives most likely carry a personal significance, perhaps implying a betrayal in love.
Rose of Sharon Sacred Heart Tattoo
Originating in the Song of Solomon, Rose of Sharon is one of Jesus’ many names. In this sacred heart hand tattoo, the rose fits perfectly among the crown of thorns as another Christ reference. The King of Kings who rules the sky and the stars. The design also incorporates wisps of smoke or haze, alluding to something beautiful and mysterious.
Classic Sacred Heart Tattoo
A design that references classic tattoos with its simple shapes and bright colors, this sacred heart tattoo combines a traditional design with an old-school tattoo style. The shading and color contrast speak to that original tattoo genre while still including the religious symbols of the cross and the crown of thorns. Small and bright, this tattoo would fit well on the chest, shoulder, forearm, or calf.
Sacred, Yet Surreal
A major mashup of art styles makes this tattoo totally unique. Elements of surrealism, such as the eye in the heart and the heart’s shape, give the design a distinct funk. The flames look almost like tentacles reaching out of the heart, putting a twist on the traditional look. While the flower is pretty…well, one of these things is not like the other. A great tattoo if you want something way outside the norm.
Pierced for Our Transgressions
Many places throughout the Bible refer to swords as a symbol of strength, but also of violence. Both a sword and a spear pierced Christ himself during the course of his crucifixion. In this design, the sword seems to have the double meaning of strength and sorrow. The beautiful decoration mimics the colors of the heart and surrounding details, but the heart also is bleeding. Alas, love does bring both joy and pain.
Bleeding Sacred Heart Tattoo
Another funky take on the overall design, this abnormal (although somewhat more anatomically correct) sacred heart design incorporates many of the traditional elements with a different spin on the artwork. The sun behind the heart alludes to grandeur and triumph, while the bleeding and thorns speak to the pain that it took to achieve that glory.
Angel Wings Sacred Heart Chest Tattoo
Rather than just going with the traditional elements, the addition of angel wings lifts this sacred heart chest tattoo to new heights. Considering the placement, the wings also add the practical value of making the tattoo symmetrical and drawing attention to the heart at the center. The color choice in the heart and the roses add beauty and complete the effect.
Sacred Heart Neck Tattoo
For those bold enough to for the neck tattoo, a traditional sacred heart tattoo is a great option. While this design moves a bit off the traditional path, all of the elements are there. The addition of the flames moving up the neck gives the look an edge and personal touch.
Mystic Sacred Heart Sleeve
This design combines several different spiritual references into one fabulously detailed sleeve. From the clouds at the top to the rose down at the bottom, each symbol is meticulously thought out. The use of color is perfect, with just the right pops of bright color among the other gray scale parts of the design. While the sacred heart is a smaller component of the overall piece, the flames and contrast between the thorns and the heart draw the eye.
Painted Sacred Heart Chest Tattoo
Several aspects of this design have a painted style that sends the whole piece to another level. The flames and roses in particular stand out with gorgeous shading and blending of color, a pleasant contrast to the bold outlines of the other parts of the tattoo. Using the sunburst to frame the heart gives more dimension to the design.
Personal Tribute Sacred Heart
Many people use tattoos as a way to pay homage to someone that they lost. In this case, the tribute tattoo incorporates the sacred heart at the center of the design. This fits with the theme of a promise, in this case a promise to never forget. The heavenly sky completes the faith references, implying that this person may be gone but will be seen again. Incredibly personal, this tattoo shows how a sacred heart integrates into any religious design.
Passion of the Christ
A more traditional sacred heart tattoo, this intense sleeve incorporates an image of Christ during the crucifixion. The deep shadows and bright white highlights provide intense contrast in the tattoo, which helps to emphasize the emotion of the scene. The heart itself has a shiny quality, a metallic contrast to the sketched style of the rest of the tattoo.
Tiny Sacred Heart Chest Tattoo
Perfectly situated to be close to the physical heart, a small sacred heart is an ideal and meaningful chest tattoo. The bright colors are a cool distinction from the dark shadows. While this person chose to put the design on the chest, the size of this tattoo would also work on the wrist or ankle.
Illuminated Sacred Heart
Stylized like an illustration in a medieval illuminated text, this beautiful sacred heart design gives a sense of movement with the swirl of the fire and the drip of the blood. The details of the artwork are so precise and delicate, a perfect foil to the faded shading on the heart. This tattoo fits well on the bicep as pictured, but is a good size for an upper back or even thigh placement.
Sacred Heart Shield
Sacred heart tattoos make a cool addition to a larger tattoo piece, or if you are trying to combine several pieces together. The sacred heart in this design is a backdrop to several other details, including flowers and other small aspects of different tattoos. Heavenly clouds complete the religious symbolism in the design.
Pop Art Sacred Heart
Incorporating geometric shapes, sharp angles, and bold colors, the artwork in this sacred heart hand tattoo references pop art styles of the 1960s-70s. A heavy metal vibe comes in the form of the riveted heart and the exhaust look of the fire. Surrealism comes from the eye and the neon blue angles.
Gothic Sacred Heart Hand Tattoo
If you are a fan of a darker tattoo look, this sacred heart would fit that mold. A more anatomically correct heart compliments the skulls in the tattoo higher on the arm. Sharp angles in the flames and thorns go with the Gothic, metal style. Even the cross shows a sharp contrast with the black and white.
Both the colors and artwork speak to surrealism in this design. Using the frowning skulls and sharp angles of the black wings gives a dark edge, while the bright colors fit with the surrealist style. The blood drips are reminiscent of melting wax, another bend in reality.
Illustrated Sacred Heart
A much more traditional sacred heart tattoo, the art style is like an illustration in both design and detail. This look also changes up a few of the elements, using barbed wire and arrows rather than thorns and swords. However, these components accomplish the same effect. The flow of the blood has dynamic movement, while the crown and shining light stretch the tattoo upwards. The detail in this piece lends itself to a much larger tattoo, but you could simplify the look if you prefer a smaller tattoo.
Stained Glass Sacred Heart Tattoo
Nothing is more beautiful in a church building than a stained glass window. This gorgeous tattoo design uses a classic stained glass look as its base with a traditional sacred heart design at the center. Multiple references to light give the tattoo character and depth. Gold accents in the shining rays complete the piece.
Minimalist Sacred Heart Hand Tattoo
Ideal for a hand tattoo, a minimalist design uses simple lines to complete the look. This traditional sacred heart tattoo fits perfectly within the back of the hand, and includes all the elements of the classic tattoo. The symmetry of the design also gives the piece a pleasing look.
Light unto My Path
While this design references a sacred heart it is far from conventional. An excellent example of how the sacred heart design is an inspiration for other looks, the bleeding heart and flames keep with the theme. Beyond that, the match and Light the Way are personal touches to make the tattoo unique to this individual. The phrase could also be a reference to Christ coming as a the Light of the World, and his promise to guide us through life.
Ring of Roses Sacred Heart Tattoo
Sometimes less really is more in terms of tattoos. Using simple elements in this sacred heart tattoo, such as the ring of black roses and basic shading, the tattoo has a bigger impact than other more complex designs. This tattoo looks great on the back of the arm, but is an ideal size for other placements like the shoulder, chest, or calf.
Broach and Stakes
A unique look, the heart has a jeweled appearance and is placed into a silver setting, much like broach jewelry. The reference to Christ’s crucifixion in this design comes in the form of the stakes that were put through Jesus’ hands and feet. Delicate lines in the sunburst complete the look.
Traditional Sacred Heart Tattoo: Roses and Smoke
Layered on top of a traditional sacred heart tattoo, detailed roses add an intensity and beauty to the piece. The choice to use smoke rather than flame gives an ethereal, spiritual feeling to the design. Deep shading adds drama and emotion.
Fear the Dark Side
For Stars War lovers, it may seem odd to see Darth Vader as the Jesus figure in this unique take on a sacred heart tattoo. However, it is true to canon that Anikan Skywalker is the one who brings balance to the Force, and in a sense becomes the savior of the galaxy by destroying the Emperor. The “heart” here is represented by the Death Star, which is at the center (heart) of the Empire’s plans to rule the galaxy.
Water Lily Sacred Heart Tattoo
This is an unusual take on a sacred heart tattoo, with the heart taking on a different shape and look from a more traditional design. Using a water lily also is a personal touch, and shows that you can be flexible with these tattoos based on your personal taste. The sunburst behind the heart is the only classic component of a sacred heart tattoo and rounds out the design.
Hearts on Fire
The emphasis is on the fire in this sacred heart chest tattoo. With the fire at the center of the chest, it becomes the focal point for the overall design. Other aspects such as the rays of light and the delicate thorns round out the look.
Bejeweled Sacred Heart Tattoo
A highly detailed look, this sacred heart tattoo appears three dimensional with the shading and intricate components of the design. The border of the heart makes it look like a piece of jewelry rather than a tattoo, almost as if it was embedded into the skin. The flames move in a dynamic way and give height to the overall look. A tattoo of this size would be perfect for the upper back or forearm as an alternative placement.
Resurrection and Easter Lilies
A clear reference to Christ’s resurrection, the Easter lilies add hope to a traditional sacred heart tattoo design. Most sacred hearts focus on the death of Christ, but the lilies speak to the hope of the resurrection as the end of the story. They also add beauty to the overall design.
Dagger to the Chest
An intense sacred heart chest tattoo, this design features a dagger piercing the heart among the other traditional symbols. With the dagger as the emphasis in the tattoo, it shows the suffering of Christ more acutely or could have a more personal meaning. While this tattoo is on the chest, it would also work on the upper back or shoulder for an easier placement.
Fire and Flowers
Flames are the main emphasis in this sacred heart tattoo, either as a symbol of fiery love or strong will. The strong colors of the artwork fit with this motif, setting off the flames with the bright blue of the flowers. The heart itself almost takes a backseat in the design.
Window to the Soul
They say that the eyes are the window to the soul, although in this case it could almost be the window of the heart. A detailed eye peers out from the heart at the center of the design, almost as if the person longs to see more in depth into others. The simple black and white of the tattoo makes the piece more powerful so as not to distract from the details.
Symbolic Sacred Heart Tattoo
With so many images and details, this sacred heart tattoo has a lot of room for symbolic interpretation. All the traditional symbols can come to Christ and his crucifixion – the sword that pierced him, the fire of divine love, the shining rays of his holiness, and Christ as the rose. Including the eye among these symbols might seem strange, but eyes can also symbolize enlightenment and a glimpse into the divine. If you are one for symbolism, this is the tattoo for you.
Crown of Flowers
This design is a traditional sacred heart tattoo, with the notable exception of using a crown of flowers rather than a crown of thorns. A crown of flowers also has religious significance in that they represent eternal life. This fits perfectly with the sacred heart tattoo meaning as the Christian faith says people have eternal life through Christ’s sacrifice.
Personal Message Sacred Heart Tattoo
In addition to the traditional sacred heart tattoo symbols, this tattoo design incorporates a classic tattoo look in the form of a banner with a personal message. Much like the stereotypical “Mom” heart tattoo, this banner includes a saying of the person’s choice. While in this case it is a “Terrible Surprise,” you could include your own message of other significance, faith based or otherwise.
Breaker of Chains
No, not a Game of Thrones reference, this tattoo design refers to Christ as the breaker of the chains that bind his people to sin and death through his sacrifice. The flames is this design reflect the victorious nature of Christ conquering death. Placed on the shoulder, this tattoo would also work well on the forearm or calf.
Sacred Heart Ankle Tattoo
A small and simple design, this sacred heart tattoo is perfect for an area with limited space like the ankle or wrist. Since the tattoo is smaller, the traditional sacred heart is streamlined to the heart, fire, and shining rays. Without some of the more “violent” aspects of sacred heart tattoos, this design takes on a lighter tone.
Sacred Mother Sleeve
The sacred heart is a smaller component of this religious sleeve that features the Virgin Mary. Mary was present at the death of Christ, so it makes sense to connect her to the sacred heart. Mary is also considered an important figure in the Catholic faith as the mother of Jesus. Her beauty in this piece is undeniable; meticulous details give us a full picture of what she might have looked like. Particularly if you want to incorporate Catholic symbols, this is an ideal design for you.
Goth Spider Web Sacred Heart Tattoo
Adding one image can change the feeling of any artwork, and that is the case here with the spider web. All the elements of a traditional sacred heart tattoo are there, but the spider web takes the tattoo to a Gothic place. Spider webs also have their own religious significance of God’s protection. Putting the web with a sacred heart of Jesus tattoo shows how God protected his children through the sacrifice of Christ.
Heart of Darkness
While most sacred heart of Jesus tattoos show hope amongst the pain, this tattoo design implies a darker message. The single phrase “Trust Issues” changes the meaning of the sacred heart to something more sinister. Using overall dark gray and black tones in the tattoo design emphasizes this idea. This again shows how personal touches can take a common design and make it into something completely new.
Peonies and Lilies
Both flowers hold significance here in this sacred heart tattoo design. The lilies reference the resurrection of Christ and his triumph over death, and peonies mean compassion for others. Combining them in this tattoo shows the love of Christ and his power in the middle of suffering.
Sacred hearts of Jesus are rich in symbolism and meaning. Choosing one as a tattoo option is perfect if you have a deep message to convey, even if that message is not religious at all. These designs also reflect original tattoo art in several ways and are an excellent choice if you favor that style. If it is your faith that is important to you, your personal journey, or a bit of both, these tattoos will inspire looks that are sure to stand out and make an impression.