Top 30 Nordic Tattoos and Their Meanings

Norse mythology is a collection of beliefs and stories shared by the northern Germanic peoples. It had no sacred book, this mythology was transmitted orally in the form of long and regular poetry. This transmission continued during the Viking Age, and our knowledge of it is mainly based on the Eddas and other medieval texts written during or after Christianization.

Most Popular Norse Mythology Tattoos

Nordic tattoos refer to the courage and strength in battle of the Viking warriors, but also to the numerous legends and symbolism of the Scandinavian cultures. In addition to Viking rune tattoos and battle scenes, Norse mythology tattoos have a wide range of possibilities, both in terms of meaning, where we find a lot of mythology and symbolism and aesthetics, as there are numerous watermarks and typical ornaments that are reproduced in the form of tattoos.

  • Hugin and Munin: they are two ravens of the Nordic mythology, they had the mission to collect the news happened in the world to inform the god Odin.
  • Tapestry of destiny: they were woven by female deities, very prominent figures in Norse mythology, called nornas. The nornas represented past, present and future.
  • Drakkar: is a recurring emblem, due inscribed on many Viking burial remains and refers to their long ships. They represent the journey to the afterlife.
  • Ottastafur: this sign was placed on shields and other weapons to frighten. One of these Viking symbols used to arouse the fear of enemies.

The Origin of Norse Mythology Tattoos

After having made numerous incursions through Europe, the Viking empire Viking empire left its mark on later civilizations, as well as numerous contributions and numerous contributions and technology, above all in terms of boats and the and the handling of the exploration of the land by sea. The history of tattoos drinks directly from the history of civilizations, therefore, they reflect to a greater or lesser extent the cultural heritage of different peoples.

The Most Common Nordic Mythology Tattoos

One of the most recurrent Norse mythology tattoo designs is that of the drakkar, the boats of the Nordic peoples, very recognizable by their elongated structure and with oars on both sides of the hull. These boats were very fast and allowed the Scandinavian people to travel by sea at a speed unattainable for other civilizations.

  • Yggdrasil: it is the giant tree that allows the correct union between the nine worlds of Norse mythology to function. Several creatures of Norse mythology inhabited this magical tree; such as the dragon Nidhug or the squirrel Ratatosk.
  • The Troll Cross: it was used as protection against evil creatures, such as trolls and elves. It was a runic amulet, the odal.
  • Shield Knot: as its name suggests, it is a symbol of protection, and bears some resemblance to the Sun Cross.
  • Sleipnir: according to Norse mythology, Odin rode an eight-legged horse called Sleipnir. The figure of this horse has been inscribed on various rocks of Viking origin. Its eight legs represent its ability to travel through the earth and air.

Meaning and Symbolism of Norse Mythology Tattoos

Viking symbol tattoos take on the lore and folk stories of the ancient Norse peoples, as well as their alphabet and the exploits and adventures of their kings and gods. The northern peoples had a very close relationship with the sea and their handling of ships made them an implacable power both militarily and in terms of expansion. The most important symbols of Norse mythology are:

  • Valknut: this symbol is formed by three intertwined triangles. It is a Viking symbol related to the fight and death. It is a symbol related to the god of death, Odin.
  • Triceps: is a variation of the Valknut symbol, but this is a symbol of protection. It represents the belief in the Ásatrú faith.
  • Mjolnir (or Thor's Hammer): symbol of strength and protection, it represents one of the most fearsome weapons in Norse mythology, which is why it is so attractive to wear it in tattoos.
  • Gungnir: represents Odin's spear, known by the same name. This spear was made by the dwarves and given by the god Loki to Odin.
  • Vegvísir: this symbol was used by the Vikings as an aid for navigation, as a kind of compass, that is why it is known as Viking compass. Its design is similar to the compass rose.
  • Aegishjalmur: also known by the name of Spell of Terror or Mask of Terror, it was used by Viking warriors in order to give them protection during the war. During battles, the Nordic warriors wore it on their foreheads.
  • Odin's triple horn: as its name indicates, it is formed by three horns that the Vikings used to drink what was probably mead. As its name also indicates, it is a symbol related to the god Odin.
  • The Jörmungandr Monster: it is a monster in the shape of a snake. It is said that he was the son of the giant Angrboda and the god Loki.

Norse Mythology Tattoos for Men

There are no specific tattoos for men or for women, only that, there are some types of designs that are more chosen by men and others by women. Normally, the Norse mythology tattoos that men prefer are those that represent the gods, since they can be bigger and with a lot of details.

  • Odin Tattoo
  • Thor's Hammer Tattoo
  • Jörmungandr Monster Tattoo

Norse Mythology Tattoos for Women

Women, in general, tend to opt for smaller and more discreet tattoos, so it is more common to see them with symbols of Norse mythology. Although, there are different tattoos for different tastes, each one has to get a tattoo that represents him or her the most. Let's see some examples of Norse mythology tattoos that women usually choose:

  • Valknut Tattoo
  • Yggdrasil Tattoo
  • Aegishjalmur Tattoo

Small Norse Mythology Tattoos

Generally, small tattoos tend to contain few details, since it is very difficult to capture everything on a certain surface. Therefore, small Norse mythology tattoo designs are more simple or minimalist, although they still have the desired meaning.

  • Odin's Triple Horn Tattoo
  • Gungnir Tattoo
  • Shield Knot Tattoo

Large Norse Mythology Tattoos

The large Norse mythology tattoos are more complex and elaborate, they seek to highlight all the details of the design, so that the meaning or symbolism surrounding it is clear.

  • Yggdrasil Tattoo
  • Jörmungandr Monster Tattoo
  • Drakkar Tattoo

Norse Mythology Tattoos on Body Parts

As with most types of tattoos, Norse Mythology tattoos are usually located on the arms, back and legs.

Norse Mythology Tattoos on the Arm

The arm is the most common part of the body to get tattoos. Both for those who want a large and very visible design, and for those who prefer it smaller and discreet.

  • Aegishjalmur Tattoo
  • Triple Horn of Odin Tattoo
  • Gungnir Tattoo

Norse Mythology Tattoos on Legs

In the legs, we also find a great variety of tattoos of Norse mythology, we find them both in the calves, as in the quadriceps or even all or almost all of the entire leg.

  • Aegishjalmur Tattoo
  • Odin Tattoo
  • Thor Hammer Tattoo

Norse Mythology Back Tattoos

Perhaps the best part of the body where it is easiest for artists to work. The back allows any kind of design. It also has very visible areas.

  • Aegishjalmur Tattoo
  • Yggdrasil Tattoo

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