In ancient times, sheep were among the first animals to be domesticated and in transforming this creature from wild to domestic, man altered our image of it forever. The female sheep is a ewe, a lamb is its newborn but perhaps the most distinctive of all is the ram, the virile male member of this particular animal family. In the tattooing world, a ram tattoo is definitely more of a masculine choice in design for various reasons.

Sahara Rock paintings, dating back ten thousand years, show humans worshiping the ram depicted with the sun between its horn, in the form of a solar disc. The ram has long been associated with spring and the welcome return of warmer weather so not surprisingly a ram tattoo can signify new beginnings but it also symbolizes fire, assertiveness and strength. According to the Zodiac calendar, Aries the Ram is the symbol of Mars, who was the Roman god of fire and it is the first of the twelve astrological signs. Anyone who is born under this sign has great artistic potential and may also be a bit of a trendsetter when it comes to fashion.

Throughout history many civilizations worshiped the ram as a symbol of divinity from Greece and Rome to the Middle East and Egypt. In Greek mythology, Hermes sacrificed a ram with ‘the golden fleece’ to the god Zeus and accordingly this fleece became symbolic for heroic pursuits. The Egyptians revered the lamb as a sacred temple animal respected for its warlike attributes as well as its potent virility. Their sun god, Osiris, is depicted with ram’s horns and these two swept back magnificent spirals symbolize original ideas, potency, solar power and fire. The ram is also known as the god of wealth according to Indian mythology.

The ram and its distinctive horns, that never stop growing according to totem legends, indicate powerful mental gifts that trigger the mind’s imagination and curiosity. Spirit guides suggest that this animal in its spiritual form stimulates these mental powers in order for the individual to reach their maximum potential. To this day, natives in parts of the Chinese region of the Yangtse River valley still wear head wear adorned with sheep which are believed to be powerful totems.

There are many tales featuring rams in myth and folklore from around the world and the Norse god Thor drove a chariot pulled by two rams. However, it is the ram’s horns that seem to carry most of the power in these stories and the modern day expression ‘battering ram’ stems from days when these were used to knock down enemy doors. These horns are often considered to be a status symbol for the wealthy and victorious, and in ancient Persia the ram was one of ten animal manifestations chosen by the god of war and victory. The Celts also considered the ram to be an important cult symbol and one of the Celtic gods, favored a ram-headed serpent to symbolize rebirth. One popular body art design features a ram tattoo with two males smashing their heads together with their horns interlocked as they compete for supremacy. Our modern equivalent would be two men showing off their skills in some endeavour to show their ‘flock’ of female followers who is the alpha male.

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