Explore the ink of night and day with the best 35 sun and moon tattoos. Discover different design ideas and ink inspiration from the sky that are as old as we can remember.
In every culture, in every era, in every place, there’s reverence, mythology and superstition tied to the sun and the moon – they are central to every society. It’s for this reason they’re so popular as tattoo themes worldwide.
Stylistically your choices are almost unlimited, so there’s almost endless options for you to execute your tattoo idea. Images of the sun and moon make for a perfect matching tattoo: the sun as masculine energy and the moon as feminine energy depicted in attractive designs. Whether small or large, amazing options abound. The sun can be as easy as a small tattoo circle with rays, or the crescent moon outlined amongst other lunar traits.
Sun and moon tattoos are the rare designs that cross the gender divide. A very delicate fine line crescent moon tattoo for the feminine, a heavy black ink tribal sun tattoo for the masculine, the delicately balanced half moon tattoo against the simple sun as a tattoo etched in between.
Because of the power inherent in these symbols – going back to ancient times there have been tattoo interpretations of sun god and moon goddess – they scale up and down.
Large, colorful, in your face pieces work brilliantly, as do toned down tiny tattoo options. And for a lot of people aesthetics are the top value, whether it’s a simple minimalist tattoo on the wrist, versus an entire intertwined half sun shoulder tattoo.
There’s nothing stopping you from getting a sun and moon tattoo just because they look so damn cool. Below you’ll find 35 of the best sun moon tattoo design examples to use as inspiration for your next piece of body art.
1. Eye Catching Color Sun and Moon Tattoos
Color is surprisingly rare for sun and moon tattoos. Usually the designs are simple – a tribal sun, entwined in a crescent moon tattoo. Either fine line or outlines with little shading. If you opt for color, you’ll have an interesting piece that stands out.
Color is aesthetically pleasing for all different types of tattoo lovers, suitable for a variety of stylistic applications. More realistic depictions will have the sun in orange or gold, and a faint blue colored moon design. The juxtaposition of warm and cool can be used to great effect in images where the two symbols form a whole – they look classy and add to the effect of opposing balance and force.
For a free-spirited, artistic sun and moon tattoo consider applying a watercolor tattoo, adding geometric patterns, or detailed floral designs.
2. Abstract Sun and Moon Tattoos
The combination of these two symbols fires the imagination. Whether children’s bedtime stories, mythological tales, or even deciphering the tides, there’s plenty of room for creativity.
The sun and the moon are often depicted as lovers – man and woman. But they work just as well as planetary bodies reflecting each other in an artistic landscape design. Once you start to imagine the two as alive, all sorts of ideas and abstract images come to mind, like a simple tribal sun tattoo on one half, balanced creatively against a moon and stars tattoo.
Imagine a Picasso faced twin sun and moon, a coruscating mandala tattoo alternating the brightness of a simple sun against the darkness of a moon. Or body art fashioned into tribal patterns as if in an ancient dream.
Sun and moon tattoos are a great opportunity for you to showcase your abstract style and customized sense of independence.
3. Black and Gray Sun and Moon Tattoos
Black and gray tattoos create the opportunity for an impressive amount of detail. A skilled tattoo artist can use shading to add depth and texture when bringing your new piece of body art to life.
Black and gray also adds gravitas to your piece but isn’t so great for depicting whimsy. If you want more serious, deep, and conceptually powerful for your sun and moon tattoo then black and gray is the right choice in application. Likewise for larger pieces, black and gray is the gold standard for adding texture and nuance to background work.
4. Delicate Sun and Moon Tattoos
Gone are the days where tattoos were only for the big, beefy, biker blokes sporting a wicked neck tattoo, their old ladies with a demented fairy inked on a shoulder blade. Our tattoo sensibilities have evolved to the point that they can support any tattoo idea you wish to consider, with development in skills of the tattoo artist, ink and kit technology to bring them to life, and even temporary tattoos for those with reservations.
Whether cutesy, whimsical, funny or feminine, all sorts of tattoo design are possible these days. If you want to go for a fine line style then consider single needle work matching simple sun and moon tattoo design, crafting very thin, delicate lines, or dotwork – also known as pointillism.
Dotwork tattoo involves the artist building either part, or the entire tattoo image out of singularly etched points. It’s a time consuming, painstaking technical application but well worth it when inked by an experienced professional. The striking visual effect cannot be replicated with any other style. It is naturally delicate suiting a tiny tattoo or small, spiritual aesthetic.
5. Geometric Sun and Moon Tattoos
The sun and moon were once sacred to all of mankind. Viewed symbolically they’re a natural fit for geometric tattoos.
Most commonly, a sun and moon tattoo design gets incorporated into already existing geometric designs such as a mandala, the flower of life, or Metatron’s cube for example. These obviously have sun and moon shaped free space. If you are wanting a slightly different depiction, then consider a binary top/bottom placement and use repeating shapes or geometric linework to connect them.
Geometric sun and moon tattoos – like a perfectly halved sun moon tattoo or -are a great choice for incorporating spiritual ink into a memorable design.
6. Heavy Black Ink Sun and Moon Tattoos
Just as the masculine sun complements the feminine moon, heavy black ink is the go-to for masculine tattoo expression. Powerful and bold, heavy black ink designs draw the eye like nothing else. This style affords the artist great expression through applying opposition principles of fully saturated ink with negative space.
Be forewarned though, heavy black tattoos of this kind are not for the faint hearted. Depending on how large you go it could mean serious hours in the chair. They’re a big investment in both time and money. That said, you will reap the rewards with a well etched heavy black piece.
7. Linework Sun and Moon Tattoos
Linework is an obvious choice for many subjects when it comes to the design aspect of their sun and moon tattoos. Their traditional depiction is simple and almost cartoonish by modern artistic standards, making linework the perfect subjects for this style.
Like heavy black, linework tattoos afford the tattoo artist great leeway and individual interpretation. Through creatively using negative space linework tattoos can show a lot of style with a little bit of clever application, turning your half moon into a classical wolf tattoo balancing the elements of night and day.
Simple outlines can be used to create half silhouettes where more is alluded to than shown. On a practical note, small linework tattoos are serious bang for your buck, representing lot less time (and pain) than a more time consuming color or filled in piece.
Sun and Moon Tattoo FAQs
What does a sun tattoo symbolize?
As a tattoo design itself the sun is incredibly versatile. Some sun symbolism is universal: light, warmth, new life, always above us. There is a natural reverence all life must have for the sun for without it not only would we perish we would never have come to exist. The sun is a masculine symbol, it’s our symbolic father. Forever watching over, forever radiating its glorious rays down on us. Helping us grow, helping us see clearly. Astrologically the sun has the most powerful influence on your horoscope. Your star sign is in reality your sun sign.
Because of the broadness of these meanings a sun tattoo can be paired with countless other images to transform their message. If you go with a standalone sun tattoo it will symbolize one, or all the above interpretations. But depending on what you pair it with – think of a mandala tattoo or traditional Aztec ink – the meaning will change, and sometimes drastically.
What does a moon tattoo symbolize?
Like sun tattoos, there is amazing variety in moon tattoo meaning and thematic application. Traditionally, a moon tattoo idea symbolizes motherhood, femininity and fertility. She also has a long and storied association with the occult: witches and wicca particularly.
Feminine to the sun’s masculine in many ways, the moon’s lunar traits represent opposing but complementary forces. Solar traits are forceful, radiating their own light. The moon is receptive, softly and gently reflecting the light of the sun.
A moon tattoo design can also symbolize the cyclical. Be it the waxing and waning of the tides, the monthly transition from new moon to full moon, or even the menstrual cycle. The moon symbolizes the continuous nature of life from birth to death to rebirth. Everything changes and changes back again. The moon carries vast spiritual weight as a symbol and is very popular in new age circles.
What is the symbolic meaning of sun and moon tattoos in combination?
The sun and moon together in a tattoo design symbolize the complementary unity of opposites. It’s polarity but without opposition. This isn’t good vs evil, it’s masculine and feminine, cooperation not conflict.
While the sun is the life giver, the moon is fertility and the cycle of birth and rebirth. Most of all, the sun and the moon together symbolize perfect wholeness and balance.