To fully understand Angelina Jolie's tattoo meanings, one must first look at the history of her tattoos and what lies beneath several of them.
The Most Tattooed Celebrity
Angelina Jolie is frequently heralded as the most tattooed celebrity with more than fifteen tattoos, including those that have been removed or covered by more recent designs. The meaning of these tattoos can be traced in several directions when the layering of new over old tattoos is considered.
Angelina Jolie Tattoo Meanings
Angelina Jolie's tattoos are interwoven into one another, connecting several meanings at once.
Originally placed on her upper left arm, was the name of Jolie's husband Billy Bob Thornton. This tattoo was combined with the image of a dragon. The dragon has since been lasered off while the Billy Bob has been covered.
Covering the tattoo of Billy Bob's name is the coordinates of the birthplaces of her children. She has added to this tattoo with the adoption or birth of each of her children, bringing the count to a total of 6 separate lines of coordinates.
Reportedly received on a trip to Amsterdam where Jolie got drunk, a second dragon tattoo was placed on her left hip. This dragon was black, with a blue tongue and has since been covered.
Covering the tattoo of a dragon on her hip is a large, solid Latin cross. Accompanying the cross are the words "Quod me nutrit me destruit" Latin "What nourishes me also destroys me".
Between Jolie's shoulder blades on her upper back are the words, "Know your rights" which is the title of a song by her favorite band.
The first tattoo that Jolie received has since been covered, but was once visible on her left shoulder. It was the Japanese character for death.
On her left shoulder, Jolie sports a Buddhist Pali incantation, which is reported to protect both her and her adopted Cambodian son Maddox from harm. This incantation covers and replaces the death character.
The Letter H
On the inside of Jolie's left wrist is the letter "h". Reportedly this is to symbolize her love for her brother, James Haven.
On the inside of Jolie's forearm there was once a tattoo that she shared with Billy Bob Thornton. This has since been covered and is no longer visible.
Strength of Will
Covering the original tattoo on her forearm is the Arabic lettering for "strength of will" or "determination" depending on translation.
Previously on her left forearm was the character for courage. This has since been removed and covered.
A quote from Tennessee Williams is seen on her left forearm, "A prayer for the wild at heart, kept in cages."
On Jolie's left forearm is also the Roman numeral 13, which is placed there to flaunt the fact that she is not superstitious. Later added to this tattoo are the numerals V MCMXL, which represent the date 5/13/40 or the day on which Winston Churchill gave the speech, "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat".
On Jolie's lower back are two small tribal tattoos surrounding a tribal dragon. Incorporated into these, and partially covering the dragon is a large, Bengal tiger which was tattooed to celebrate her Cambodian citizenship.
Beneath the tiger and tribal tattoos was a tattoo of a window, which has since been removed. According to Jolie, she had the window tattooed on her back when she spent her time looking out the window and wishing to be outside. She had it removed when she began to live out of doors.
Jolie once had a tattoo below her naval depicting energy waves. As this tattoo has not been seen in recent photographs, it can be assumed to have been removed.
Rarely seen is the tattoo on the palm of Jolie's hand. This "M" is in remembrance of her mother, Marcheline Bertrand.
Angelina Jolie's tattoo meanings are vast and varied. While some tattoos have been removed or covered, she reports that for the most part her tattoos were done at times of happiness and joy and that they represent a diary of her life.