The first known photo of the moon was taken in 1840, just decades after the invention of photography itself.
We’ve never stopped wanting to photograph this silvery white orb in the sky.
Check your Instagram after a major lunar event and you’ll find thousands of artistic takes from thousands of locations.
What is it about the moon?
Once you’ve seen it in all its phases and understood how it works, why continue to try to capture it?
People have always been fascinated by the moon, and for good reason.
The moon is plain to see but impossible for the average person to experience close up.
It lights the night sky, but does not produce light itself.
It can block out the sun during an eclipse.
The moon has a “dark side” that we’ll never see.
It waxes and wanes.
There’s something so fascinating about a celestial body we can know so many things about but never fully understand.
There are many people who choose the moon as a jumping off point for tattoo ideas and may choose to get a design of the moon’s phases, or pay homage to one of the many mythological figures associated with the moon.
It’s only natural that we’ve always made stories about the moon, especially back in a time when it was the brightest light in the night sky.
Every culture seems to have their own take on this great lantern, this creature of many faces, this master of the tides.
Some say it’s made of cheese, others say there’s a cosmic rabbit living there, and many people claim to feel its influence on them in both good and goofy ways.
One overwhelming idea about the moon is that it’s a feminine image.
This is likely for two reasons:
- The moon goes through its phases (from seemingly invisible to completely illuminated) in 29 days, roughly the length of the average menstrual cycle. Though many women are on synthetic hormones now that cause their periods to change, the moon is proven to have an effect on a woman’s natural cycle.
- Women are generally considered more mysterious and adaptable than men. Therefore the fiery bright energy of the sun is associated with masculinity, and the softer (yet equally as powerful) light of the moon is associated with femininity.
As a result, there have been many female deities linked to the moon.
Chief among them is Selene, a well known lunar goddess in Greek mythology.
There were others before her and others since, but she seems to be the most pervasive.
Who is the Moon Goddess Selene?
Selene is not the only goddess with lunar associations, but she may be the most powerful in this group of myths.
This is due to the fact that Selene is considered the embodiment of the moon itself.
Though there are not many detailed descriptions of her in the original texts, she has been depicted beautifully by countless artists for as long as humans have been aware of her.
There are plenty of stories about the sun god riding his golden chariot across the sky, but Selene had her own chariot that, after the sunset, would slowly transform the warm tones of day into the silvery mystery of night.
Because most of her history was passed down orally, there are a few conflicting ideas about Selene.
Some say her chariot was drawn by silvery white horses, others say it was two oxen.
In the latter theory, depictions of Selene show her crowned with bull’s horns, also meant to represent the crescent moon.
Selene was the daughter of two Titans, Hyperion and Theia.
Naturally her brother was the sun god, known to the Greeks as Helios.
What Does Selene Tattoo Represent?
If you were to get a tattoo of this mysterious and beautiful moon goddess, what would it represent?
Selene belongs to the archetype of a lover- someone who may not be the most mature, but who loves deeply with reckless abandon.
She is a romantic in every sense of the word, but may not be able to commit to things.
She is a calming presence, but ever changing.
Selene represents that duality.
She is also known for her beauty and healing abilities, which would make sense as people often do the best healing in their sleep.
Selene’s Love Affairs
Selene had many love affairs in the stories told about her.
She is linked to Zeus, but then many goddesses are!
It is also said that she had an affair with Pan, the god of wilderness and music.
Her most enduring relationship is with Endymion, a man in an eternal state of sleep.
Reasons for his slumber are debated.
Some say he slept because, though he was mortal, Zeus told him he could choose his death.
He chose then to sleep forever so that he might never age.
Others say he was being punished by Zeus for his advances at Zeus’s wife, Hera.
Others say he slept eternally because of Selene- who rules the night and all things sleep related and wanted to see him as often as possible.
Nevertheless, the story goes that Selene would visit Endymion at night, and even bore several children by him.
A strange love affair to say the least, but not the strangest Greek mythology has to offer!
Common Themes in Selene Tattoos
What Selene looks like is up to you and the interpretation you like best.
Some symbols associated with Selene that you may want to include are the owl and raven, pomegranates, and silvery grey colors.
Selene Tattoo Ideas
Have you always felt an affinity to the moon, and wanted to find a creative tattoo to express that feeling?
A Selene tattoo is a beautiful manifestation of the moon, and can look however you want her to.
Still thinking of ideas?
Check out our gallery of Selene moon goddess tattoos so you can get a clearer picture!
For more Greek inspired tattoos go to:
- Centaur Tattoos
- Poseidon Tattoos
- Greek Statue Tattoos
- Athena Tattoos
- Zeus Tattoos
- Hephaestus Tattoos
- Medusa Tattoos