Is There Special Meaning to Birthmarks?

Birthmarks are a relatively common place. It is said that around 1 in 10 babies born will have a birthmark. A birthmark may be a small mole or a larger area of pigmentation of the skin. These perfectly harmless marks may vary in size and colour; they may be bluish-gray, brown or pinkish. A birthmark may develop during gestation or in the first few months of a baby’s life. These markings can also be hereditary, meaning that siblings may share not only the look and size of birthmark, but its location!

But is there a special meaning to birthmarks? Where do they come from and what stories have been told about their occurrence over time and across cultures? The scientific perspective is that birthmarks are the result of a skin abnormality linked to the formation of blood vessels. However this answer leads to more questions, as the physiological explanation does not technically rule out the possibility that there may be more to these markings.

In folklore significance has been placed and generally three theories appear across cultures and time:

  1. Birthmarks signify are an omen which may denote a characteristic or life path
  2. Birthmarks are leftover from a past life/ re-incarnation
  3. Birthmarks are the result of events that happened to the mother while carrying her child or actions she took during her pregnancy.

So let us explore these further.

Birthmarks are an Omen
In this theory, the location of a birthmark signifies something about the person. For example it has been suggested that a birthmark on the right arm is an omen for prosperity, while a birthmark on the left arm conversely signifies financial struggle through life. The parallel of the right and left side of the body however does not always correlate to an opposing meaning of an omen. If a birthmark appears on the right foot, it is thought that the person in question will have an overpowering love of exploration and travel, while if such a birthmark appears on the left foot; this would be a sign of great intellectual ability.

The meaning ascribed to a birthmark can also differ depending on the gender of the person; marking on the ankle for a man denotes personal refinement, while for a woman such a marking is considered to represent independence and a zest for life.

Birthmarks and re-incarnation
The correlation between birthmarks and re-incarnation was first studied extensively in 1960 by Dr. Ian Stevenson (a former director in the field of Psychiatry and current researcher in personalities).  Stevenson was drawn into this research upon hearing about a case in Sri Lanka, involving a child who remembered his past life. After extensively interviewing the family of the child, the child and the people who the child claimed were his parents in his past life, Stevenson was convinced that the possibility of a past life was not only worth investigating, but highly probable.

Our interest in Dr. Stevenson’s research lays in his discovery that many children who remembered their past lives bore birthmarks located on their bodies which correlated with the deaths they claimed to have experienced prior to being re-incarnated. Being a scientist, Stevenson examined gestational and genetic causes that could be the cause of such skin pigmentation formations, and found that he could only explain 30%-60% of such cases. The combination of children’s memories and their birthmarks gave Stevenson a visual indication to his research, that re-incarnation was plausible.

Birthmarks, gestation and the mother
Italian and Spanish folklore states that birthmarks result from un-satisfied wishes of the mother during pregnancy, such as wishing for certain foods. Other believes include that the mother was startled during pregnancy resulting in a birthmark, the mother looking at a crescent moon during pregnancy and eating red foods during pregnancy. Finally some say that strong emotions felt by the pregnant women appear as birthmarks on the child.

While it is clear that there are many variations and believes about birthmarks, it is fair enough to suggest that mostly these can be attributed to old wives tales. However, the prominence of believes throughout many cultures and timeframes cannot be ignored, implying that there may more to be discovered. If you happen to be lucky enough to have been born with a birthmark which has been given an omen of luck prosperity or fortune, than perhaps it is wise to think it true and be happy!

About the author: Article by Outofstress.com Staff Author ‘Iva Dragostinova’.

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29 comments

  • Anonymous says:

    My birthmark is the number 12

  • Anonymous says:

    I got a birthmark, it’s on the left side of my ribs like in the middle of my back. Let’s say your arms are down it would be 3 inches right above the elbow right on the middle in shape of a square. I think I was stabbed in my past life.

  • Rose says:

    I have no clue what it means, but I have a birthmark on the bottom rightside of my left palm. And another on the bottom of my right foot. I never met anyone else with marks on their palms or on the bottom of their feet. Does this mean nothing at all or am I special in some way?

  • Day says:

    I have a brown faded heart shape birthmark. What does it mean?

  • Anonymous says:

    My baby girl birthmark is a diamond shape on her forehead.

  • Kapeka says:

    My son has a birthmark on his right eye that looks like a butterfly. An my daughter has a white birthmark on her left leg. They say in Hawaii these are marks from a lightning God.

  • Tamara says:

    I got a strawberry birthmark on my whole left arm..extending to a quarter of my back (left) and quarter on my chest (left). I am 24 now and it has not disappeared. When I get cold it turns purple and too much cold, my hand starts to actually hurt. Still I appreciate it and whatever the story behind it, I am still willing to embrace what I was gifted with.

  • Anonymous says:

    My daughter has a small circular brown birthmark on her right or left shin. What does it mean?

  • Michelle says:

    I have a birthmark on my left arm near my shoulder in the shape of a girl who appears to be praying. I think of a purpose that I am a very faithful person when it comes to protecting, something valuable in my life. I am wondering though what it means?

  • Matthew says:

    I have a birthmark shaped like the number 7, its on my left forearm underneath Its 7 inches from another birthmark on my elbow which is a circle a perfect circle. The circle is found in nature compared to the off chance the number 7 appears on my skin. I have to think I have some type of purpose and that I am on the side of good men.

    • Arianna says:

      I have a body mark shaped like a 6 it’s really weird but when u look at in person it’s 6 but flipped over. What does a flipped over 6 mark mean?

  • Anonymous says:

    I have a bluish- green birthmark under my right eye. People thought I was a delinquent and I got punched and all. Some people say my birthmark is getting smaller but it looks the same to me. What does it mean?

  • Nicky Rose says:

    I have two birthmarks. One below my rib on the left side, the other on my lower back on the right side. Before even reading this I had sometimes wondered the meaning behind it. Now I wonder if it is as this describes “left over from a past life” I have dreams constantly of battles and war. Lately they have been a mixture of medieval and futuristic battles. And I always seem to be the commander or leader. I’m going to do more research on birthmarks as well as dreams. :] I’m thoroughly interested now.

  • Brant Hunt says:

    I have a birthmark on my right love handle like a wide arrow pointing towards my belly or sometimes reminds me of the masonic v but sideways ,as I get older it seems to get more defined looking, wondering if anyone has any suggestions on it.

  • Precious(Presh) says:

    I have a birthmark on the back of my neck. My mom says it looks like the old map of Siam, current day Thailand. And my friend says it looks like a lion with two heads. And ever since I was little, I’ve been getting dreams of me dressed in golden clothing singing on stage beautifully. Then the crowd bows down to me. I wake up confused every time.

  • NY says:

    I have a strawberry birthmark on my left arm, but on my right index finger at the base I have a circle with something in it, it’s like a star or triangles, I can’t figure it out myself been puzzling me for years on end when I noticed it. It’s like the lines on your palm but this is on my finger and it’s a symbol of some description. I also have pictures it’s real not fake would like some feedback.

  • Meme says:

    I have a birthmark on my belly. It’s light brown and kinda tan. It’s like right on my belly button too. It keeps on getting bigger. What does that mean?

  • Myo says:

    I have a birthmark on my right foot on the bone (talus bone?). It is a perfect heart. What does this mean?

  • Stephie says:

    I have a large birthmark on my my left arm. It stars near my armpit and begins to fade closer to my elbow. There is no special shape or anything, but it does change colors. From a very light red to a deep purple. This usually happens when I am warm or cold.

  • Eli G says:

    I have a faded heart birthmark on my middle finger where it starts. What does that mean?

  • Divina says:

    I have a birthmark on my right leg in the shape of a heart. what does it mean?

  • KTrain says:

    I have a small brown birthmark on the inside of my right ankle above the bone. I am not sure what exactly it looks like.

  • Estgar says:

    Maybe someone here can answer my question: What if a child is born with a star above his right eye and 24 hours after birth the mark fades? I can’t seem to find anything over the internet about it or in any book I have came into contact with. It might just be a silly mark that meant nothing for all I know.

  • VN says:

    I have a birthmark of the size of index and middle finger put together and is in the shape of a fish. The fish eye, mouth and tail can be seen. I have it under my left arm on the side of my chest. What does this signify?

  • Jimm says:

    I have letter in the shape of an L on my right hand on the third finger, but looks like a tiny scythe. What dose that mean?

  • Jamesiscool says:

    I have a birthmark in the shape of an old English letter S. what does it stand for?

  • Silar the King says:

    I have a birthmark on my left forearm. It starts from my elbow and leads to my hand and covers my four fingers. It’s a huge birthmark that covers my arm what does that mean?

  • Fernanda Hernandez says:

    Hi, I was reading this book that dealt with fallen angels and Adam and Eve and the main character in the book had a birthmark on her right arm on her wrist and it made me wonder. That’s because I have the same birthmark in the same place. It’s not that noticeable and at first I thought maybe it was a spot of dirt or something but then I could not wash it off so i figured it was a birthmark and so I wonder if it has a special meaning like the girl in the book did. I would really like to know and if you can help then I would really appreciate it.

  • The Bee says:

    Very interesting information on birthmark meanings. I have a strawberry birthmark on my back and I read somewhere that the reason for the occurrence of this birthmark is because of an unfulfilled wish by your mother to eat strawberries which she was pregnant. I asked her if this was the case to which she said no :)