There are many animal images used regularly in the tattooing industry and big cats have always been popular but having a jaguar tattoo is one of the rarer designs of this nature. This is actually the biggest and fiercest cat of all, as it outweighs the tiger, lion or leopard both pound by pound and in ferocity. In the Americas as a whole, the jaguar is definitely at the top of the food chain due to its cunning ways and strong independent nature. Both male and female jaguars are very territorial and it is the only big cat that regularly hunts in water as well as on land. In South American cultures it was deemed a powerful symbol of dexterity when it comes to combat and hunting.

In Central and South American cultures, the jaguar has featured prominently in many myths and legends and can regularly be seen in art and religious artifacts from ancient civilisations. It was believed to be a familiar and revered companion to Mayan, Olmen and Aztec Shamans with its truly ancient origins in those regions. This big cat is a powerful animal totem and this is one reason it has such an impact as a jaguar tattoo. It also symbolizes the nobility and ancient lineage that is associated with royal families.

High ranking individuals would decorate their costumes by adorning them with the jaguar’s fur, teeth and claws as a symbol of status too. Many of these cultures also believed that is was significant that the jaguar has two colour phases which were considered to represent the sun and moon. According to these beliefs, the yellow was utilised to pull the sun across the sky during daylight hours while the black did the same for the moon at night. This is also apt because jaguars hunt equally well at night as they do during the day just like they are equally comfortable hunting in water or on land.

Having a jaguar tattoo could also suggest that the wearer is a spiritual person, as it is the symbol of spiritualists such as shamans who had special access to the afterlife. Not only could these individuals bridge conscious and unconscious worlds but it was believed that they had the ability to contact the spirit world at will. Legend has it that the jaguar was a shape-shifter who could transform itself into another being or creature as it wished, and was the god of the underworld for Mayan and Olmec civilisations. Perhaps this is due to the similarity in features of their Gods who closely resembled this powerful beast both physically and characteristically.

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