What Each of Dwayne Johnson's Tattoos Mean to Him

We all know The Rock is big and tough. However, take one scroll through his Instagram page and it's clear he's a softy at heart. The star, whose real name is Dwayne Johnson, recently gushed over his daughter in an adorable Father's Day message on social media, and he's been known to post cute family pictures. While his tattoos are part of his tough exterior, even those have heartfelt meaning with a touching story behind each one. After he shared why he evolved his iconic bull tattoo and the thought process behind it on Instagram, we got to thinking: what do all those symbols in his tattoos stand for?

The Evolving Bull

This tattoo stands for progress and growth. The Rock had his famous bull tattoo reconfigured so the horns were no longer facing up and out. He wrote in his Instagram caption of the transformation that they're "pointing straight ahead representing relentless energy and forward progress."

He also wrote that the energy in the eye is "always alive and ready to disrupt the universe and love and protect my family and all things I love with intense passion and gratitude."

Coconut Leaves and Sun

Johnson's other iconic tattoo is also full of symbols. It's a Polynesian-style tattoo, which is a nod to his heritage, and while it may look like one big tattoo, it contains a bunch of smaller symbols that connect together and have big meaning.

He wrote about his ink in one of his Instagram posts, saying, "And while these symbols may appear to be primitive, unsophisticated and crude — they're extremely sacred, thousands of years old and very powerful. My mana (strength)."

First, the coconut leaves you see on the far left are symbols of Samoan chief-warriors. Now shift your focus to his trap (not a bad view), and the sun you see peeking out is a symbol of good fortune.

The Swirls

Representing the past, present, and future, the swirls are continuous to signify that the future is still bigger and brighter. As you can tell from his evolved bull tattoo, his ink has a common theme of progress and of always looking forward. The swirls continue under his arm to the words, "It changes in the place where it is found to be gone."

The Great Eye

The circle you see at the top contains "the great eye" which is a symbol meant to possess the spirit of enemies in moments of confrontation. Also within that circle are two eyes called o mata e lua, which represent his ancestors watching over his path. It also contains auta, a Samoan god.

It's all marked by shark teeth to close in the circle and symbolize strength in the face of struggle.

Spiritual Guide

The circle you see on the bottom right is the priest and the spiritual guide, a symbol of enlightenment.

Tortoise Shell

This part of the tattoo is the tortoise shell. Since warriors used shells to shield themselves, it's meant to deflect evil spirits.

The Shark Teeth

Here's a closer look at the shark teeth, and the dashes you see are the stones of achievement continued throughout the tattoo. Dwayne wrote in his caption, "Ironically enough the symbol she's fixated on is our ATUA (our God) protected by the small building blocks of my life and then by shark teeth."