The Symbolic Meaning Of Moth Tattoos, Detailed By Our Tattoo Artist

Choosing an ever-lasting tattoo design is no small decision. Not only do the style, colors, and placement come into play but the meaning and symbolism behind the tattoo are also significant and involve a fair amount of in-depth consideration — that is, unless you opt for the spontaneity of getting a flash tattoo. Geometric designs, butterflies, and micro hearts are some of the tattoo trends that might've inspired your ink as of late, but the mysterious moth has also remained a popular tattoo choice.


To learn more about the symbolic meaning of moth tattoos, we reached out to fine-line and micro tattoo artist Syd Smith, the owner of SYZYGY Precision Tattooing. "The symbolic meaning behind moth tattoos can vary from person to person but they often represent transformation, determination, and seeking the light in darkness," Smith exclusively shared with Glam. "Moths are drawn to light, symbolizing the pursuit of enlightenment or spiritual growth despite challenges." This spiritual symbology of darkness and light is one of the many reasons the moth has become a popular tattoo, in addition to its softness and contrasting edge. 

Moth tattoos can be realistic or abstract

If you've seen a moth tattoo in the wild, chances are high it was a luna moth, recognizable for its long tails, or a polyphemus moth — the one with eyespots on its wings. Of course, the designs don't have to be realistic and often will have an artistic and creative spin on them. "I've seen a wide variety of designs, including different types of moths such as luna moths, death moths, and more," Syd Smith shared with Glam exclusively. "They come in various colors and styles, from realistic to abstract, reflecting the individual's personal interpretation and aesthetic preferences. I personally have tattooed fine-line and micro moths and I usually stick to black or red ink with minimal shading."


The delicate, feminine, yet edgy moth tattoo has a lot to offer and is an aesthetically pleasing choice for those craving ink with meaning. It's no wonder these creatures are admired the way they are by many. "Moth tattoos have become increasingly popular over the years thanks to social media and style choices. A lot of people tend to get moth tattoos on their stomachs, arms, legs, and throats," Smith revealed.

Moth tattoos will vary in price

As with any body modification, it's key to do careful research about the studio you choose to go to, along with pricing, and aftercare. You'll want to consider your budget when selecting a tattoo artist as prices will vary. "In today's world, there's no such thing as standard when it comes to pricing," Syd Smith told Glam exclusively. "There are so many talented, independent artists who are able to charge their worth. An apprentice who is just starting out might charge $50 to $150 for a tattoo and a more experienced artist could cost hundreds of dollars dependent upon size, placement, style, hours, and skill level. It's essential to consult with the tattoo artist for an accurate quote based on your specific design and requirements."


You can peruse social media sites like Pinterest for moth tattoo inspiration and be sure to save examples of what resonates with you to show your tattoo artist. Keep in mind that it's proper tattoo etiquette to understand that the artist may adapt the design slightly and that the example isn't meant to be copied in exact form. Also, be prepared to care for your new tattoo to ensure healthy healing. You can do this by keeping it clean and moisturized and staying out of the sun.