Many in the Western world know of the term ‘Cherub’. It is a term that is used by grandparents to describe rosy cheeked children, who are the apple of their parent’s eyes, or it is used by people to describe the little flying babies we see plastered around on St Valentine’ Day.
In whatever way you know of the term, the actual name has a deeper meaning, rooted in spirituality and faith, and is often gotten as a tattoo to invoke these two concepts as well as to have a nice bit of body art.
Origin and Meaning
The origin of the word ‘Cherub’ is from the East Semitic languages of the Middle East and is most likely to come from the Akkadian word ‘Karabu’ meaning to bless.
However, over time this word and its connotations made its way to Israel and was adopted into the Hebrew language. Over time, the modern meaning was formed by the Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – as a one of the supernatural beings that serve and attend to God, in other words angels.
Depending on which religion you follow and which texts you adhere to dictates how highly ranked cherubs are amongst God’s servants.
In Judaism, they can be the ninth, second, or first ranked amongst God’s servants respectively. In Christianity, they are the second highest ranked amongst the Angels, after the Seraphim. Finally, in Islam, they are the angels closest to God themselves.
Although cherubs have been depicted in a multitude of different ways throughout the years – including having two pairs of wings and four faces, three of beasts, one of a person – the most common representation is that of the Roman god of love and desire, Cupid, who is often depicted as a small, winged boy.
Thanks to the long and deep religious and cultural history that spans two continents, cherubs and cherub tattoos can have an incredible spiritual significance. They are often seen as loving and benevolent protectors, caring for the things we hold most dear.
They are most commonly drawn as watching calmly or playing with one another, while retaining the innocence that is often associated with children.
The tattoo is also seen as a sign of faith, as cherubs are a servant heavily tied to God and hold religious significance across multiple faiths, they remind the wearer of the higher power they believe in watching over them and better times during darker moments.
In more modern times, the cherub tattoo has come to symbolize boundless love and immeasurable hope for the wearer, as well.
While you can associate any meaning you choose from the tattoo, due to the long history this tattoo already has many varied and entrenched connotations, however you can still adapt them for your purpose. Here are a few of the different meanings behind the cherub tattoo:
Due to the connection to religion and God, people will often get the tattoo in remembrance of something close to them.
This could be in celebration for a child that has just been born, or in mourning of someone close to you that has just passed, in getting the tattoo people are not only doing so as a reminder, but as a symbol of protection for their souls, in this life or the next.
The cherub tattoo is a great tattoo to get for the enduring themes that come along with it. If your reasons are spiritual, hopeful, for love, or for protection, then this is a great tattoo to be a constant reminder of those things.
However, that should not limit a person, if you wish to get the cherub tattoo despite not being religious, or just for a love of the design, then by all means go ahead, the message is one of love, protection, and hope, which is something everyone can enjoy.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Does It Mean To Have The Cherub Tattoo?
There is no one particular meaning to the tattoo, but it is a tattoo defined by intense love. All of its individual meanings link back to this one idea: protection, spirituality, faith, affection, hope, etc. These are all derived from the person who got the tattoo’s love of something or someone.
Are Cherubs Baby Angels?
Yes and no. Cherubs are angels, but they are not babies, they just take the form of babies in most depictions. The depictions we see are based on the Roman god, Cupid, and, more loosely, the Greek god, Eros, who were often depicted as young men or small boys with wings.
What Is The Difference Between A Cherub And An Angel?
Nothing, a cherub is a kind of angel, but not all angels are cherubs. There are many kinds of angels in the Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – and each has a rank on the totem pole of angel hierarchy.
Cherubs are part of this and fit one of these ranks – where they fit depends on the religion – but they are still angels.
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