Malin tattoo meaning and symbolism

The Malin symbol is a cross similar to that of St Patrick’s Cross. On the other hand, it has an outline that encircles it and at each corner, there are extensions like rays of light coming out of it. The symbol was first found in County Cork where Saint Malain used the cross as his banner for evangelization. Accoring to culturacolectiva:

it is a mixture of the infinity symbol and an arrow, the latter implies that if you want to go forward you have to face setbacks.

Malin is the Patron Saint of those with mental illness. A person possessed by an evil spirit may be referred to as “touched” or “possessed”. In Irish history, the Malin cross was used as a banner in Cork as a sign that they were looking for a healer to cure those who were afflicted with this kind of illness.

Malin tattoo on the ancle 
Malin tattoo on the ancle  @nati.jovanovic


So what’s the meaning of Marlin tattoos ?

As a tattoo, the Malin symbol can mean different things: it can be a reminder to stay strong and keep fighting or to help those who are weaker than you. It is said that the person who has this as a tattoo, his/her life is regarded as full of light even if there is darkness all around.

It can mean according to gyllenwatches :

It means in order to grow, you must experience setbacks and challenges

Many put this tattoo on the back to illustrate the idea of “light overcoming darkness” and for them, it can also mean turning their backs on the light in order to face the darkness. This symbol is associated with purity and innocence that there is no fear in admitting you are not perfect.

Other uses of the Malin cross

The Malin cross is also used by churches and religious organizations that has the same name like the one in Bandon, County Cork.

It was brought to America and other countries by Irish immigrants who settled there during the Potato Famine; today we can find it tattooed on American descendants of these Irish immigrants.

Many victims of domestic violence use this symbol as either an act of spiritual salvation or for protection.

The Malin cross is used by the Irish travellers (Traveller community) that incorporates it on their tattoos, regalia and horse-drawn caravans.

Malin tattoo on the arm
Malin tattoo on the arm @jrpastor71


No matter what meaning you assign to this tattoo, do not forget that it has a deep connection with the mental health community.