Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! The 'nautical' star is a symbolic star associated with the sea services of the United States armed forces and with tattoo culture.
The nautical star is frequently encountered as an informal signifier indicating membership in the United States Navy or Marine Corps.
The Nautical Star on the left wrist aligned with the thumb is believed to be a positive guide for the future. This symbol is often associated with sailors and those who make their living on or by the sea. Often, though, the symbol is used to convey an allegorical, rather than a literal, meaning.

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It is usually rendered as a five-pointed star in dark and light shades counterchanged in a manner reminiscent of a compass rose. The symbol recalls both the five-pointed star of the US national flag and the distinctive colour pattern of the compass rose found on many old nautical charts.
While the origins of their use as tattoos are obscure, they are often associated with the work of the prolific tattoo artist Sailor Jerry. The left palm is used in palm readings to reveal a persons future and the nautical star is used in this instance to guide the palm.

The link to celestial navigation could, for example, symbolize that the wearer's wish to find his or her way home safely, particularly in the case of military personnel.
As with many tattoo designs, the nautical star may or may not be intended to convey a meaning to the viewer. In some cases, the wearer may simply appreciate the design for its beauty, simplicity, symmetry or ability to serve as a backdrop or an additional ornamental element of any tattoo.
For other wearers, the symbol is intended to convey one of a variety of different meanings.

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