The popularity of theÂ dolphin tattoodesign can most definitely be traced back to a long standing empathy and understanding between our two species. Humans and dolphins have co-existed for thousands of years, and the more we continue to learn about these creatures, the more we come to believe that the dolphin carries a divine spark thatÂ separatesÂ them from other animals. Early man was fascinated by the obvious intelligence of dolphins and their ability to herd schools of fish to make it easier to prey upon them.
In Sumeria, dolphins were connected to Ea-Oannes, the deity of the sea, and sometimes with the goddess Isis in Egypt. The Celts associated the dolphin with the healing power of water, and the image of people riding dolphins is seen on some Celtic artifacts. Some AustralianÂ AboriginalÂ tribes claim to be direct descendants of dolphins, who are sometimes regarded as guardian spirits.
To theÂ ancient GreeksÂ and Romans, dolphins were revered among sailors as symbols of divine protection and guidance, aided no doubt by the dolphin’s habit of surfing the bow wave of ships at sea. It was thought that dolphins would assist lost sailors back to their home ports and rescue sailors that fell overboard and take them back to shore. In Greece, killing a dolphin was comparable to killing a human and was a crime punishable by death. For dolphins were seen to be messengers for the Gods, and were closely associated with Poseidon’s daughters, the Nereids, the goddess of love Aphrodite, the heroine Galatea and the music-loving sun god, Apollo. It was said that the constellation Delphinus, the dolphin, was put in the sky by Poseidon in gratitude to the dolphins for finding his bride Amphitrite.
In addition to inhabiting the sea, a number of species of dolphin make their homes in largefresh waterÂ rivers all over the world. In the rainforests of theÂ AmazonÂ Basin, the native Indians tell stories about the theÂ Amazon riverÂ dolphin, also called the Boto. Stories abound of the river dolphins taking human form and wooing young girls. They are often as regarded as unlucky, as they may tempt unknowing men and women into the water, where they are taken to Encante, the underwater world of no return. Similar tales of shape shifting are told of the elusive Baiji, or Yangtze river dolphin.
he dolphin is also an important symbol in European heraldry, and is often featured on Heraldic coats-of-arms, and represents diligence, salvation, charity and love.
It has long been believed that dolphins serve as our connection between the world of men, and the underwater world of the sea. This interconnectedness between the dolphin and humanity has led to great understandings and innovations, like dolphin interaction and therapy.Â Swimming with dolphinsÂ has helped children to cope with handicaps, overcome learning challenges and soothed the suffering of individuals with severe depression or mental anguish. It is a sought after experience for people with various problems and from different walks of life.
Our affinity with this amazing creature has spawned the tribute ofÂ dolphin tattooÂ designs, living breathing art that testifies to the character, traits and symbolism of the dolphin, and in some way attempts to absorb this creature’s qualities into our own bodies.