Gorilla Tattoos: behind the Symbology

The gorilla is the master of the jungle and a noble creature, but also a “fetish animal” for hundreds of tattoos in all styles from all around the world.

Beast with an enormous charisma

In Egypt, China or Tibet, the ape (and the gorilla in particular) was revered for the divine qualities of its intelligence and enormous charisma. Generally speaking, “to ape someone” means a comprehension of the deepest, hidden aspects of our souls. Those which we prefer to keep hidden in our unconscious, but which the ape – as a psychological fetish – manages to bring to the surface.

An “uncivilised way”

There’s no arguing with the fact that the body of the gorilla replicates the main features of our own human body, or at least, the one we had in our more primitive form. Which means that the ape connects us with a way of life that is utterly “uncivilised”. Free from social infrastructures and capable of explaining to us what we once were, who we are now and what we could become (in the positive sense) if only we were to make a little more of an effort.

The Carl Jung theory

To dream of a gorilla leads us back to a number of concepts accepted by modern psychology, including classic themes such as “the origin of anger” and “the unleashing of sexuality”. This hairy creature basically belongs to the shadow zone where our most obscure and mysterious aspects are to be found. For some modern thinkers (including the eminent Carl Jung) the devil is actually “the ape of God” while other schools of thought simply view the ape as the archetype of an intense brazen vitality which has not yet been subjected to the brake of the intellects. Or, in the case of the gorilla, as a symbol of nobility, pride, and wisdom.

Arlo DiCristina, Elysium Studios, Grand Junction, USA
Arlo DiCristina, Elysium Studios, Grand Junction, USA

Sense of honour

The gorillas are notoriously sociable animals with sophisticated systems for communicating among themselves. These primates have dealings with one another founded on a real sense of honour, respecting their own kind and continually avoiding fights over the sharing of food or females. The gorilla deserves nothing but respect. In fact gorillas are communicative, loyal, intelligent, noble, strong, responsible and loving. In short, they possess leadership qualities.

Against improper behaviours

Dreaming about a gorilla is a warning to be more active. A signal which stops us from resting any further. Basically, it means the time has come to earn what we deserve. Or else, this communication with a gorilla may mean that our unconscious is warning us against improper behaviour. Sometimes, in fact, we do tend to overdo things and be heavy handed. And those around us (family, friends, etc.) can suffer considerably as a result. They might be offended by our pushiness and crushed by the constant reminder of our pressing problems.

Dashuai Ma, Haloink, Beijing, China
Dashuai Ma, Haloink, Beijing, China

Animal with positive impulse

Usually – according to psychologists – we dream of a gorilla when we have health problems or trouble at work. Or are going through a painful emotional separation. Basically, we are irritable and want to offload the blame onto those who continue to be there and care about us. At that point our mind will rebel and send us a positive impulse in the form of a gorilla. As if to say: change your lifestyle, be kinder to those around you, use your wisdom and you will see that your problems will sort themselves out through the weapon of spontaneous communication. Only at that point can you become a better person and allow the gorilla leader to (gently) take control.