TATTOO DESIGNS & SYMBOLS - PANTHER TATTOOS
Tattoo designs - P >> Panther
Panther Tattoo Meanings - Leopard, jaguar, puma - they're all names for the graceful and ferocious panther. In Asia and Africa it's the leopard, in North America it's puma, and in South America it's known as the jaguar. Wherever this feline is found, it's revered for its strength, valour and power. Also for its maternal gentleness. As a tattoo motif, the panther makes a powerful statement about the person who chooses it, for it is a symbol of courage, strength and personal leadership.
This is the largest and most ferocious cat of the Americas, pound for pound more fierce and dangerous than: the tiger, the lion or the leopard. The panther is at the pinnacle of the food chain in the Americas. The panther / jaguar is fiercely independent and cunning. It is the only large cat that routinely hunts in the water.
These cultures found it very significant that panthers came in two colour phases, yellow and black and believed that the yellow phase of the panther pulled the sun across the day sky and that the black phase of the panther pulled the moon across the night sky. The panther / jaguar was often the symbol of shamans, individuals who could bridge the conscious and unconscious worlds, who had a special access to the afterlife and to the spirit world. Many thought the panther was shape-shifter, able to transform itself at will.
A powerful totem, the panther possesses an impressive range and scope of powers and abilities. Consider that its anatomy is said to consist of over 500 voluntary muscles. Be it physical, mental, or spiritual, that's a lot of 'muscle', and a lot of potential for action. For those who take the animal as their spirit guide, it's also a lot of responsibility. For those of a solitary leaning, the panther is a symbol of one who acts alone, particularly when taking the lead.
Wherever it has crossed paths with human civilization, the panther has been considered a highly intelligent and aggressive animal. The Greek god, Dionysus, chose the panther as his favoured mount, and his priests wore panther skins. The Egyptian Book of the Dead says that 'heaven opens itself' for the deceased king clad in the panther skin. The wearing of a panther skin signified one who had transcended their most base desires and was ready to enter the higher realms.
Mystery, mysticism and magic have been especially attributed to the black panther. Its sheer blackness suggests the night, the moon, primal darkness, and the energies that emerge from the depths. In art and legend, a beautiful and courageous woman is symbolized by the black panther. Virgin, mother, warrior, seducer, priestess and crone, this cat speaks of the feminine in all its aspects.
A nocturnal animal able to leap, climb, swim and chase - little wonder it became a mythic creature. In the Americas, it is said that the jaguar swallowed the sun, causing an eclipse, while its roar was thunder. Shamans are said to 'borrow jaguar power' in rituals that endow them with superhuman energy. Among the Aztecs and Mayans, the jaguar was a shape shifter, transmuting into human form. For those who achieved a meld with the jaguar power (becoming 'jaguar-man'), the result was freedom from social and cultural limitations. Many myths tell of the jaguar-men and their terrifying ferocity. In Greek myth, the black panther symbolized the unleashing of suppressed urges, of breaking through barriers and inhibitions.
The German philosopher, Nietzsche, is credited with saying, "That which does not kill us, makes us stronger." For those willing to open to the panther spirit, the potential for creating a link with the powerful archetypal force is considerable. The panther medicine can reawaken the innate power of our creative energy, even though it might have once been lost.
Biblical reference associates the sweet breath of the panther with the sweetness of Christ. The cat is said to have emerged from three days in a cave, its breath still fresh. In heraldry, the 'panther incensed' - sometimes depicted with a fiery tongue - symbolized fury and remorselessness. In China, the black cat reigned in the North, with water as its element.
Today, the Florida Panther is seriously endangered. Its traditional habitat has been so diminished that there remain but 70 of the animals left to continue the species.
Get inspired by some great images and photos in our Panther Inspiration Gallery
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Tattoo designs - P >> Panther
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