A five-point star is a common tattoo image that has various meanings. As tattoos are so highly subjective, the meaning of the star varies depending upon the individual. The symbolism also depends on the way in which the star itself is drawn.
One common use of the five-point star as a tattoo is the nautical star. The nautical star has five arms with alternating light and dark shading. The image has a long tradition among sailors, for whom the star evokes celestial bodies and the compass rose of a map, both important navigational tools. As such the star is a symbol of protection, guidance and finding one’s path. In modern times it has been adopted by both the gay and punk rock communities, but it is still a meaningful way for many in military and seafaring careers to connect with their life’s calling.
The other most common star image in tattoos is the pentagram, a five-pointed star with interconnecting lines. The meaning can vary intensely depending on the wearer. A pentagram with one point facing upwards, especially when surrounded by a circle, is a popular symbol among pagan faiths representing earth, air, fire, water and spirit. When a circle surrounds a pentagram, forming a pentacle, it represents the circle of life or the flow of energy. The pentagram has also been a Christian symbol in times past; the five points of the star symbolize the five wounds of Christ. A pentagram with a single point facing downwards has associations with Satanism, and is indeed the symbol of the Church of Satan. In this incarnation the points form the horns, ears and muzzle of a goat. Inverted pentagrams also find a great deal of use as Masonic symbols, particularly the Order of the Eastern Star. By far, the most illustrious use of the downward-facing pentagram is the emblem of the Armed Forces’ highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor.