Shepherding is one of the oldest occupations. Our domestication of sheep was a gateway to our development of advanced civilizations, so it’s not surprising that the majestic animals play a huge role in mythology and religion.
Though sheep travel in groups, a man with a sheep tattoo stands out.
An ancient Greek epic tells of a hero named Jason and his group of Argonauts seeking a golden fleece. Your sheep tattoo can represent your own life’s quest.
To followers of the Abrahamic religions, a sheep tattoo symbolizes sacrifice and atonement. Most of the towering figures of the Old Testament were shepherds. Sheep also represent peace. The lamb in particular is associated with purity, renewal, and the victory of life over death. The Bible’s vision of paradise is a place where a lion lies down beside a lamb.
But it’s not all religious piety. Some sheep don’t blend in with the herd. If you’re the “black sheep” of your family, why not ink that rebelliousness onto your skin?
Sheep are also important to the history of biology. If you love science, your tattoo can reference Dolly the sheep, the first mammal to be cloned successfully. If you’re fascinated by psychology and the subconscious, you know that sheep are the totem of the dream world thanks to the old adage about “counting sheep” to get to sleep.