May 17, 2021 3 min read

Norse tattoos are some of the most popular and awe-inspiring tattoos out there.

Each one of them has a deep meaning rooted in very ancient myths and stories.

Getting a tattoo is a serious decision so one should give it some time and evaluate it thoroughly.

With that being said, here is a list of 7 Norse tattoos that caught our attention and made the non-tattooed among us consider getting one.

1. The Valknut

The Valknut is a combination of the word "Valr", which means slain warriors; and "Knut", meaning "knot".

This association with the dead and with the god of death (Odin) have led to the Valknut being regarded as the symbol of a ‘Cult of the Dead’.

While this might seem accurate upon a cursory look, it is actually a shallow interpretation of something much more meaningful.

The Valknut symbolizes the recognition of brave individuals in the prime of life who sacrificed themselves for the good of the clan.

2. Runes

The runes are the written letters that were used by the Norse and other Germanic peoples before the adoption of the Latin alphabet in the later Middle Ages. Unlike the Latin alphabet, which is an essentially utilitarian script, the runes are symbols of some of the most powerful forces in the cosmos.

The tattoo can consist of one or more Runes. Each Rune has a specific meaning so you should do some research to choose the right one, or ones.

3. Ouroboros Jörmungandr

Jörmungandr is the huge serpent the encircles the world and that lurks below the ocean. It's the child of Loki.

The depiction of a serpent or a dragon that consumes its own tail is a very old idea of the cyclical nature of things and of life in general. It's a symbol that is found across many cultures and religions.

4. Yggdrasil and the Vegvísir

This tattoo combines two ancient symbols from the Norse and Icelandic cultures.

Yggdrasil is the tree of life at the center of the cosmos and from which spring the nine worlds.

Yggdrasil can symbolize many things like the interconnectivity of the universe, the connection of the seen world and the underworld. And it symbolizes life since it's the source of it.

On the other hand, the Vegvisir, or "That Which Shows the Way", is a symbol that is meant to act as a guide.
The Huld manuscript says, “If this sign is carried, one will never lose one’s way in storms or bad weather, even when the way is not known.”

So as long as this symbol is present, one would arrive to their destination safely.

5. Raven and Valknut

This is one of my favorites. It depicts the Valknut that we mentioned before, a forest, and a raven flying in the skies.

Ravens symbols are associated with Odin as he himself had two of them that accompanied him and brought him news from all corners of the cosmos.

6. Fenrir and the Helm of Awe

Despite his role as Odin’s killer and bringer of Ragnarok, Fenrir wasn’t viewed as strictly evil in Norse mythology. He, as well as his sibling Jörmungandr, is considered inevitable and a part of the natural order of the cycle of life.

He is a symbol of justice, power, ferocity, and destiny. 

As for the Helm of Awe, it is one of the most mysterious and powerful symbols in Norse mythology. Just looking at its form, without any prior knowledge of what that form symbolizes, is enough to inspire awe and fear: eight arms that look like spiked tridents radiate out from a central point, as if defending that central point by going on the offensive against any and all hostile forces that surround it.

7. Odin

To describe Odin and his symbolism is no simple endeavour. Books and volumes can be written about him.

He is the father of all the Gods and he is the God of war, death, wisdom, magic, poetry and so on...

If you are considering having the Allfather as a tattoo, read some articles about him and then decide.

So now that you have some ideas for Norse tattoos, we would love to hear back from you!

Do you intend to have a Norse tattoo in the future? If yes, which symbols are you considering? And please share with us some other tattoo ideas that you love!

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