Rune tattoos are reviving an ancient form of Viking symbolism for today’s manliest ink fans. The archaic language is intrinsically laced with profound meanings that any guy will love.
Runes are magnificent symbols of a long lost culture, and these sleek icons carry enormous connotations in ink form.
Each rune possesses a unique meaning, and many occult practitioners believe that these designs are connected to black magic from the Viking era.
Most of these dynamic likenesses are granted exceptionally positive meanings, and they can be applied as a holy spell to ensure blessings. However, a few of them can be considered curses. With this knowledge, you can hone your rune tattoo to be in accordance with your personal philosophies.
There are actually a few separate sets of runes that are known to historians, and each unique language is attached to a different Germanic mythology. For an alternative to the most well-known Viking versions, you can try out Orlanthi runes instead.
Because these characters were originally carved on stone, they have been preserved for us to admire today. Their link to sediment has also made them a hit among archaeologists. Regardless of what inspires your own rune tattoo inclinations, this stellar catalog will certainly instigate some motivation to get started.
1. Flesh Effects Rune Tattoos
A popular trend in tattooing involves black and gray ink and a specific application to create the sense of an image being carved into stone that lies beneath the wearer’s skin. A talented artist can use drop shadows to add depth to a piece, while smooth shading and precise lines are used to recreate the texture of stone tablets. This approach is most successful when utilized designs like these runes that look like they could come straight from an archaeological site in Lapland.
2. Black Ink Rune Tattoos
While some people use vibrant color ink to make designs pop, others prefer the effect created by fully saturated black ink standing out against a blank canvas. Stark black ink is especially effective for these rune tattoos: for some people, the focus of these tattoos should be on the symbol itself, and they would rather use a limited color scheme that lets the designs speak for themselves rather than clutter them with color and detail.
3. Color Incorporated Rune Tattoo Designs
Just as some people prefer the subdued tones of black ink work, just as many people want their tattoos to jump of the skin, and bright colors are a great way to accomplish this. Red ink specifically is an excellent choice for these rune tattoos thanks to its aggressive nature and its historical associations with the fierce Viking warriors from the Norse culture. These tattoos are great examples of how color ink can be successfully incorporated into rune tattoos.
4. Simple Rune Tattoos
These Norse runes are perfectly suited for simple tattoos. While there is definitely something to be said for intricate details, the stark shapes and simple design of these runes are enhanced by an uncluttered composition. One strategy that some people use with rune tattoos is to go big, using large applications of these shapes to create striking tattoos that stand out despite their simplified designs.
5. Viking Compass Rune Tattoos
The Viking Compass, or Helm of Awe (Ægishjálmr), is an ancient Norse symbol that is believed to have been mentioned in several of the Viking sagas being used by warriors as a protective charm. In Norse culture a helm referred a helmet, and while some argue that the Helm of Awe was an actual object, most people believe it to be a spell, cast to protect warriors. These unique symbols make for striking tattoos that instantly evoke images of Pagan rituals and fierce Vikings.
6. Traditional Norse Tattoos
These traditional Norse tattoos use bold line work and a number of different application techniques, including stipple shading and fully saturated black ink, to create these striking designs. Several different runes and Norse symbols are utilized in these tattoos, incorporating stylized images of dragons and mythical beasts along with these magic glyphs to complete these one of a kind pieces.
7. Norse Mythology Runic Tattoos
The Norse people had complex myths and legends that they used to explain the world around them and create a world view that was inextricably tied to the harsh Northern climate, as well as their warrior culture.
These tattoos incorporate a number of these symbols and characters, including ravens, which were considered Odin’s familiars, wolves who were associated with the fierce monster Fenrir, and the three interconnected triangle known as the Valknut. All of these different elements make for stunning tattoos thanks to talented artists.
8. Rune Tattoos Featuring Negative Space
Depending on the skin tone of the wearer, negative space can be used to create some striking designs. By incorporating stark black ink and shading techniques (specifically stipple shading) these tattoos successfully use negative space as a component to help these designs pop. The simple but powerful nature of Norse runes makes excellent subjects for this approach.
9. Neo Traditional Rune Tattoos
The vibrant colors and bold outlines of neo-traditional tattooing can achieve some incredible levels of detail and these tattoos demonstrate how excellent this style can translate into Norse rune designs. Whether they are skulls, dragons or designs that incorporate geometric shapes, a neo-traditional approach is perfect for these tattoos.
10. Dotwork Rune Tattoos
A growing trend in tattooing uses a meticulous application of dots in a variety of densities that range from negative space all the way to fully saturated black to create tattoos. These Norse runes are perfect subjects for this style thanks to their ancient and mysterious past and the ability of a talented artist to use this stipple technique to create depth and a sense of weathered texture.
11. Viking Warrior Tattoos Featuring Runes
Perhaps the most instantly recognizable symbol of Norse culture, the fierce Viking warrior is the perfect subject to incorporate into these rune designs. Thanks to the opportunities to incorporate colors and create intricate details that these figures provide, it is no surprise that they make for some of the best tattoos we have seen so far.
12. Runes on Hands and Fingers Tattoos
There are few places that you can get a tattoo that are as instantly visible as the hands and fingers. These simple glyphs are perfectly suited for this prominent placement and anyone who gets these Norse runes inked on their hands will instantly display the importance of these magic symbols in their lives.
Rune Tattoo FAQs
What do rune tattoos mean?
The term “runes” refers to several alphabets known as runic alphabets that a number of Germanic languages used in their written form. However, today when people say rune, especially in the world of tattoos, they refer to the Norse tradition of symbols that many believe held magical powers, which is corroborated by archaeological and anecdotal evidence.
While their original use may have had more spiritual and Occult intentions, in modern times these mysterious symbols are used more as a way to demonstrate pride in the wearer’s Norse heritage. These powerful symbols make excellent tattoos, incorporating Viking warriors, wolves and bears, and utilizing a variety of styles and applications to create striking pieces that are sure to turn heads.
Looking for more bad ass Viking themed tattoos? Click on the links below for more awesome Norse galleries: